Saturday, April 30, 2005

U.S. intelligence thrown a Curveball

Belmont Club also has two posts (here and here) about a source (appropriately, in hindsight, codenamed "Curveball") trusted re Iraq WMDs. Was thought "diamond", and relied on publicly by U.S. officials. As a result, junior intel officers who began to suspect Curveball was "paste" and to doubt his credibility were reluctant to tell higher-ups. Therefore, politics were at play in intelligence-gathering re Iraq's WMD, but not in the way critics suspected. Troubling bit is that Curveball's handlers were a foreign intelligence service, and that direct American contact with Curveball ultimately told the tale. The motives of Curveball's foreign intelligence service handlers are intriguing. And U.S. overreliance on satellites instead of "humint" (human intelligence, and in this case, direct contact with a source) has proven problematic again.

"Napster News"

Wretchard over at Belmont Club discusses the emergence of new media supplanting old media: hundreds and thousands of bloggers with digicams taking pix and video and reporting in unedited detail on current events and news as it happens. News file sharing. More information than ever. "Napster News". "A Vulcan mind-meld". The Times (New York Times, LA Times, Times of London, etc.), they are a changin'.

Another day at the Madsens

I happily read Garry's post over at IMCA about his first of Friday nights out with Vanessa. We have had a wonderfully typical day -- a convergence of sorts -- at our house.

Marcie and daughter Sarah Duston have been visiting for BYU's Women's Conference (Thursday and Friday). The Dustons are dear friends first met in England while Paul was serving as an Army Intelligence officer in the now-defunct "Silk Purse" (aerial command post) mission at RAF Mildenhall, and I was Deputy SJA at the RAF Mildenhall base legal office. We spent a week together in a stone cottage in the highlands of Scotland. Also lots of dinners at each others' homes, and multiple pilgrimages by the ladies to Stoke-on-Trent to the china second stores (still have some unbroken china to prove it). Abbie Duston (drama Sterling Scholar at Tuachahn High School for the performing arts in St. George) arrived today.

We had a wonderful lunch with the Dustons and with Astrid Guygon Høst and her husband Frederick and daughter Clara. Like the Dustons, we met Astrid in England where she and her sister were exchange students from France staying with our British friends the Steeles. Astrid met Frederick (who is Norwegian) while both were studying at the University of Utah. Remarkable -- a French girl and a Norwegian boy come to Salt Lake City to meet. Even more remarkable, Frederick is continuing a rotating internship for GE in Salt Lake City so they're back for six months. And they have an adorable daughter, Clara, born three months premature, now six months old. Such wonderful people, so well matched.

My wife's sister, Carrie, and children Jane and Mitchell, also joined us for lunch. Carrie was able to provide Frederick with a list of museums and other sights to visit when he and Astrid are in New York next week. While we were visiting after lunch, friend Suzanne Cutler, and her three sons Christopher, Steven, and Alexander, dropped by. My wife coached Suzanne when she delivered Alexander three months ago (and her husband was on reserve Army duty). He's now in training in Montana (for six months) before he departs for Iraq for a one-year active duty tour.

Shaun and Allie Chapman also dropped by after lunch to drop off some freezer jam she had made with her grandmother today. Shaun Joseph Chapman was one of Jed's choice missionary companions in the Morristown New Jersey (Spanish-speaking) Mission. Allie is expecting, and we joke that they will be providing us our first grandchild (since they are now so much a part of our family).

The Chapmans spent some time visiting with Bruno Correa (pronounced "Co-HAY-uh"), another of Jed's missionary companions who is from Brazil by way of Florida. Bruno has been staying with us since January and is going to BYU in Accounting/Finance, and is an intern at our firm.

Our lives have been enriched by our many friends from many parts. There is good society in our home, and we are glad to be such a happy crossroads.

Politics and the courts

Orin Kerr over at VC has some interesting thoughts on the current political battle in the media that is preparing the field for Bush's Supreme Court nominee (whoever that may be). Both sides are posturing the other side as extremists. A lot's at stake. But the debate, so far, is not really worthy of either side. In fact, it might be termed extremist on both sides.

For my part (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington notwithstanding), I'm all for ending filibusters for judicial nominees, and letting them get their up or down vote.

The modern mind

Lileks reviews an Entertainment Weekly review of movie "Palindromes". Money quote:
It’s the sort of argument that marks the Modern Mind in its most facile and aggravating: the presence of hypocrisy on both sides renders both equally suspect; wisdom is best manifested by posing trick questions; people who believe stuff are all alike, in a way, inasmuch as they believe stuff, and what’s most dangerous is not what you believe, but how much you believe it. Conviction is good if the last word in your credo is “but.” Otherwise you’re a fundamentalist.
Read the whole Bleat.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Women in combat?

Donald Sensing has a photo and story here. Compare my earlier post here. My personal take is that war is hell: it is hard enough to send young men into combat; it is wrong to send women.

The year of the Utes

It pains me to say it, but this is the year of University of Utah athletics: their football team went undefeated, won a BCS bowl game, and produced the #1 draft pick in the NFL draft; their basketball team made it to the Sweet Sixteen, and produced the player of the year (also a real possibility to be the #1 draft pick in the NBA draft -- a first for one school in one year to have the #1 pick in both NFL and NBA drafts) -- and, their rugby team defeated BYU in the national Final Four today, 31-27 (after BYU led 17-0 in the first half...). (Not that I'm bitter). There's always next year. Go Cougs!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Order your Benedict XVI mug today!

Julie, at Happy Catholic, has posted this item, which includes a picture of a coffee mug -- or in my case, a hot-chocolate mug -- now available for purchase through an organization called the Pope Benedict XVI Fan Club. I assume membership in the Club does not require being Catholic, because I think I might want to join it myself. At the very least, I am going to order one of these mugs. (The quote about the cafeteria being closed is taken from a disparaging column written a few days ago by Maureen Dowd. Whenever I sip cocoa from this mug, I'll think of it as a way of thumbing my nose at her.)

Monday, April 25, 2005

A night to remember

A high school senior at Spanish Form High took his 7 year-old sister to prom:
For the Amundson family of Birdseye, the rule on dating is engraved in stone. Simply, the Amundson children are not permitted to date until they turn 16 years old. Saturday night, however, Bryan and Jana Amundson made an exception to the rule for their only daughter, Paige.

Only a first-grader at Spanish Oaks Elementary, Paige was asked to the Spanish Fork High School prom. Her date was high-school senior Brady Amundson -- her oldest brother.

Seven years ago, when Paige was born, Brady told his parents he wanted to take his only sister to his high-school prom. His parents thought the idea was cute but never took him seriously.

. . .

On Saturday, Brady and Paige went to dinner, made a teddy bear at the Build-a-Bear workshop and then attended the dance at Thanksgiving Point. And, like the consummate gentleman, he even had his young date home in time for curfew.

Read the whole story in the Daily Herald. (Unfortunately the online edition doesn't have the two photos). A feel-good story.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Rupert Murdoch on the old and new media

Read selected quotes by Jeff Jarvis over at BuzzMachine. Here's a sample:
What is happening right before us is, in short, a revolution in the way young people are accessing news. They don’t want to rely on the morning paper for their up-to-date information. They don’t want to rely on a God-like figure from above to tell them what’s important. And to carry the religion analogy a bit further, they certainly don’t want news presented as gospel.

Instead, they want their news on demand, when it works for them. They want control over their media, instead of being controlled by it. They want to question, to probe, to offer a different angle.
. . .
What I worry about much more is our ability to make the necessary cultural changes to meet the new demands of the digital native. I said earlier, what is required is a complete transformation of the way we think about our product and the Internet itself. Unfortunately, however, I believe too many of us editors and reporters are out of touch with our readers. Too often, the question we ask is “Do we have the story?” rather than “Does anyone want the story?”

And the data support this unpleasant truth. Studies show we’re in an odd position: We’re more trusted by the people who aren’t reading us. And when you ask journalists what they think about their readers, the picture grows darker. According to one recent study, the percentage of national journalists who have a great deal of confidence in the ability of the American public to make good decisions has declined by more than 20 points since 1999. Perhaps this reflects their personal politics and personal prejudices more than anything else, but it is disturbing.

This is a polite way of saying that reporters and editors think their readers are stupid. ...

Newspapers whose employees look down on their readers can have no hope of ever succeeding as a business.

Religious tolerance and the Left

Cal Thomas speaks to a double standard on religion in politics:
From abortion, to gay rights, the ordination of homosexual priests, same-sex "marriage," disarmament, peace movements, environmentalism, government programs and a host of other issues, any clergy or lay person who signed off on the agenda and objectives of liberals was more than welcome at the political table and was never thought to be a threat to the Constitution or accused of attempting to impose a theocracy.

But let conservatives organize to express themselves and suddenly we are told they are a danger to our way of life and religious storm troopers can soon be expected at the door to take us away in the middle of the night to dungeons where we will be brainwashed into accepting the religious and political doctrines of the uneducated fanatics.

For better, and sometimes for worse, "people of faith" have spoken to moral and political issues since before the founding of the nation. Why is the republic in danger only when conservative religious people speak and act? Why are only conservatives seeking to impose a "theocracy" and liberals are never charged with such motives?

The answer is that liberals fear their earthly power is slipping away. They are less able to impose a secular leftist world view on the country. They know that the courts have been the only means by which they have been able to force their views on a majority who do not share them.
Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Donald Sensing discusses Muslim cleric's pleas for religious tolerance -- juxtaposed against a lynch mob of 400 Pakistanis who murdered a man because they thought he had burned a copy of the Koran. Says Sensing, "I’ll start listening to Muslims giving me advice about religious tolerance when Christians can openly, publicly worship in Saudi Arabia."

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Good company

Spent a wonderful evening with old friends Brent and Alanna Farnsworth from Vermont. We were neighbors and friends in married student housing over 20 years ago. We have only seen them a handful of times since. After a wonderful dinner (including friend Margo Catts), we drove around town showing the Farnsworths the changes on campus and off.
Timp was beautiful in the sunset, there was a full moon, and the "Y" on the mountain was illuminated because of BYU graduation. Afterward, Brent shared thoughts about service in the Church and "bishoping" while the ladies chatted in the kitchen. He was called as an LDS bishop at 32. I was just called to serve as a bishop (at 48). The Lord has stretched us all over the years. Good society, wonderful fellowship, and memories.

Habemus Papam!

Check out Garry's post over at I miei cari amici about Benedict XVI.

Friday, April 22, 2005

From the best of The Anchoress

The otherwise nameless creator and author of The Anchoress has taken off for a vacation in Ireland, accompanied by her husband and son. This is wonderful for her and them, of course, but sad and unfortunate for those of us who have to stay behind and endure several lonely weeks without any new posts on her blog. But she has left us a few morsels to chew on in her absence, in the form of a sort of "best-of" post, which features several previous efforts of hers that were well-received out in the blogosphere. This one particularly impressed me. It's about the vitality and energy of America, which she is obviously unembarrassed to proclaim to one and all. She is many things, but Politically Correct is obviously not one of them. Good for her, I say!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: in his own words

Millions of worldwide words today about the new pope. Here are his own recent words: the homily (in English translation) he gave before the conclave. Lots of people are quoting parts of it. It's all here (hat tip: Hugh Hewitt).

Although not a Catholic, I find myself agreeing with nearly every word. Read in context, this is a good and thoughtful and profound man (my favorite bits are in bold):



At this hour of great responsibility, we hear with special consideration what the Lord says to us in his own words. From the three readings I would like to examine just a few passages which concern us directly at this time.

The first reading gives us a prophetic depiction of the person of the Messiah - a depiction which takes all its meaning from the moment Jesus reads the text in the synagogue in Nazareth, when he says: "Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing" (Lk 4,21). At the core of the prophetic text we find a word which seems contradictory, at least at first sight. The Messiah, speaking of himself, says that he was sent "To announce a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God" (Is 61,2). We hear with joy the news of a year of favor: divine mercy puts a limit on evil - the Holy Father told us. Jesus Christ is divine mercy in person: encountering Christ means encountering the mercy of God. Christ's mandate has become our mandate through priestly anointing. We are called to proclaim - not only with our words, but with our lives, and through the valuable signs of the sacraments, the "year of favor from the Lord." But what does the prophet Isaiah mean when he announces the "day of vindication by our God"? In Nazareth, Jesus did not pronounce these words in his reading of the prophet's text - Jesus concluded by announcing the year of favor. Was this, perhaps, the reason for the scandal which took place after his sermon? We do not know. In any case, the Lord gave a genuine commentary on these words by being put to death on the cross. Saint Peter says: "He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross" (1 Pe 2,24). And Saint Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians: "Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, 'Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree,' that the blessing of Abraham might be extended to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." (Gal 3, 13s).

The mercy of Christ is not a cheap grace; it does not presume a trivialization of evil. Christ carries in his body and on his soul all the weight of evil, and all its destructive force. He burns and transforms evil through suffering, in the fire of his suffering love. The day of vindication and the year of favor meet in the paschal mystery, in Christ died and risen. This is the vindication of God: he himself, in the person of the Son, suffers for us. The more we are touched by the mercy of the Lord, the more we draw closer in solidarity with his suffering - and become willing to bear in our flesh "what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ" (Col 1, 24).

In the second reading, the letter to the Ephesians, we see basically three aspects: first, the ministries and charisms in the Church, as gifts of the Lord risen and ascended into heaven. Then there is the maturing of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, as a condition and essence of unity in the body of Christ. Finally, there is the common participation in the growth of the body of Christ - of the transformation of the world into communion with the Lord.

Let us dwell on only two points. The first is the journey towards "the maturity of Christ" as it is said in the Italian text, simplifying it a bit. More precisely, according to the Greek text, we should speak of the "measure of the fullness of Christ," to which we are called to reach in order to be true adults in the faith. We should not remain infants in faith, in a state of minority. And what does it mean to be an infant in faith? Saint Paul answers: it means "tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery" (Eph 4, 14). This description is very relevant today!

How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking... The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves - thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so forth. Every day new sects are created and what Saint Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error (cf Eph 4, 14). Having a clear faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas, relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and "swept along by every wind of teaching," looks like the only attitude (acceptable) to today's standards. We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires.

However, we have a different goal: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism.
Being an "Adult" means having a faith which does not follow the waves of today's fashions or the latest novelties. A faith which is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ is adult and mature. It is this friendship which opens us up to all that is good and gives us the knowledge to judge true from false, and deceit from truth. We must become mature in this adult faith; we must guide the flock of Christ to this faith. And it is this faith - only faith - which creates unity and takes form in love. On this theme, Saint Paul offers us some beautiful words - in contrast to the continual ups and downs of those were are like infants, tossed about by the waves: (he says) make truth in love, as the basic formula of Christian existence. In Christ, truth and love coincide. To the extent that we draw near to Christ, in our own life, truth and love merge. Love without truth would be blind; truth without love would be like "a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal" (1 Cor 13,1).

Looking now at the richness of the Gospel reading, I would like to make only two small observations. The Lord addresses to us these wonderful words: "I no longer call you slaves...I have called you friends" (Jn 15,15). So many times we feel like, and it is true, that we are only useless servants. (cf Lk 17,10). And despite this, the Lord calls us friends, he makes us his friends, he gives us his friendship. The Lord defines friendship in a dual way. There are no secrets among friends: Christ tells us all everything he hears from the Father; he gives us his full trust, and with that, also knowledge. He reveals his face and his heart to us. He shows us his tenderness for us, his passionate love that goes to the madness of the cross. He entrusts us, he gives us power to speak in his name: "this is my body...," "I forgive you...." He entrusts us with his body, the Church. He entrusts our weak minds and our weak hands with his truth - the mystery of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the mystery of God who "so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son" (Jn 3, 16). He made us his friends - and how do we respond?

The second element with which Jesus defines friendship is the communion of wills. For the Romans "Idem velle - idem nolle," (same desires, same dislikes) was also the definition of friendship. "You are my friends if you do what I command you." (Jn 15, 14). Friendship with Christ coincides with what is said in the third request of the Our Father: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". At the hour in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus transformed our rebellious human will in a will shaped and united to the divine will. He suffered the whole experience of our autonomy - and precisely bringing our will into the hands of God, he have us true freedom: "Not my will, but your will be done." In this communion of wills our redemption takes place: being friends of Jesus to become friends of God. How much more we love Jesus, how much more we know him, how much more our true freedom grows as well as our joy in being redeemed. Thank you, Jesus, for your friendship!

The other element of the Gospel to which I would like to refer is the teaching of Jesus on bearing fruit: "I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain" (Jn 15, 16). It is here that is expressed the dynamic existence of the Christian, the apostle: I chose you to go and bear fruit...." We must be inspired by a holy restlessness: restlessness to bring to everyone the gift of faith, of friendship with Christ. In truth, the love and friendship of God was given to us so that it would also be shared with others. We have received the faith to give it to others - we are priests meant to serve others. And we must bring a fruit that will remain. All people want to leave a mark which lasts. But what remains? Money does not. Buildings do not, nor books. After a certain amount of time, whether long or short, all these things disappear. The only thing which remains forever is the human soul, the human person created by God for eternity. The fruit which remains then is that which we have sowed in human souls - love, knowledge, a gesture capable of touching the heart, words which open the soul to joy in the Lord. Let us then go to the Lord and pray to him, so that he may help us bear fruit which remains. Only in this way will the earth be changed from a valley of tears to a garden of God.

In conclusion, returning again to the letter to the Ephesians, which says with words from Psalm 68 that Christ, ascending into heaven, "gave gifts to men" (Eph 4,8). The victor offers gifts. And these gifts are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Our ministry is a gift of Christ to humankind, to build up his body - the new world. We live out our ministry in this way, as a gift of Christ to humanity! But at this time, above all, we pray with insistence to the Lord, so that after the great gift of Pope John Paul II, he again gives us a pastor according to his own heart, a pastor who guides us to knowledge in Christ, to his love and to true joy. Amen.

Pope Benedict XVI

The intelligentsia seems shocked that the conclave of cardinals elected a Catholic pope. Don Singleton has it about right:
I am not a Catholic, but it seems to me that the complaints come from two sources: Cafeteria Catholics that disagree with major tenents of the Catholic faith, and who foolishly hoped for a Pope that would change the Church to what they wanted, and the Secular Left that hates anything related to Faith.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

A new curse?

The Yankees are off to their worst start in 14 years, are 4-7, and tied with the Devil Rays for last place. It's still early, but as Glenn Reynolds would say: heh.

(Photo courtesy ESPN)

Thought for the day

"These last records shall establish the truth of the first"

The Independent is reporting a breakthrough in technology derived from infrared satellite imagery that will enable scholars to read ancient documents:
Thousands of previously illegible manuscripts containing work by some of the greats of classical literature are being read for the first time using technology which experts believe will unlock the secrets of the ancient world.

Among treasures already discovered by a team from Oxford University are previously unseen writings by classical giants including Sophocles, Euripides and Hesiod. Invisible under ordinary light, the faded ink comes clearly into view when placed under infra-red light, using techniques developed from satellite imaging.

The Oxford documents form part of the great papyrus hoard salvaged from an ancient rubbish dump in the Graeco-Egyptian town of Oxyrhynchus more than a century ago. The thousands of remaining documents, which will be analysed over the next decade, are expected to include works by Ovid and Aeschylus, plus a series of Christian gospels which have been lost for up to 2,000 years.
(Emphasis added). In the Book of Mormon, Nephi prophesied of our day:
39 I beheld other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles unto them, unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true.

40 And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.
(1 Nephi 13:39-40). Hmm.

Death control and birth control: a foolish consistency

Is there consistency in the standard liberal position on the death penalty and abortion? They oppose the death penalty and favor abortion (as opposed to conservatives who favor the death penalty and oppose abortion).

Conservatives side with punishing guilty life (a murderer who takes innocent life) with death and giving innocent life the benefit of the doubt. Liberals give guilty life the benefit of the doubt ("juries are fallible") and side with slaughtering innocents (over 46,000,000 "safe and legal" abortions since Roe v. Wade in 1973).

The liberal consistency: murderers should not have to face the ultimate penalty (forfeiting their lives) for taking another's innocent life; irresponsible and promiscuous women who fail to use birth control should not be prevented from taking innocent life.

Not the Great Society. Call it the "Irresponsibility Society."

Those who still read the Bible likely find infant sacrifice to pagan gods unbelievably primitive and perverse. We recoil at the Aztecs offering human sacrifice to their gods. Yet, Americans sacrifice more than a million unborn on the altar of appetite every year. The central tenet of the new moral orthodoxy is sex without consequence. The old moral orthodoxy is "outmoded" and "unsophisticated." But in what way are modern abortionists more sophisticated than primitive Baal-worshippers and the perverse Aztec blood cult?

My church teaches that "the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife." Amazing in its simplicity and very pro-choice: abstinence is possible, and married love is the ideal. In contrast, modern moral determinism seems to deny freedom in human procreation. It says, "We are merely advanced animals without control over our urges." When sex is the ultimate value, anything goes: adultery, homosexuality, pedophila, bestiality. That is false and dehumanizing and poisons human relationships. It also denies that we are children of a heavenly Father. Being children means we're part of a family, and that family is important.

Modern popular culture's siren song -- "I can't get no satisfaction" -- ironically affirms that human intimacy, the bond between a married man and woman, is more fulfilling than all the selfish one-night-stand substitutes.

I personally believe that capital punishment emphasizes, not minimizes, the value society places on human life. I also personally believe abortion should be exceptional not routine: only in cases of incest or rape, or to save the life of the mother. Even then, it should be a carefully considered alternative, not a default (or "de-fault").

Naysayers' revision history

First it was only about WMD. Now Bush never said a thing about democracy in the Middle East. Google prevails. And Glenn Reynolds offers details rebutting the naysayers' rewrite of history. The only thing apparently present in war critics' minds is their own anti-Bush bias. Only accommodating facts need apply for admission.

Critics of US efforts are late for history

They predicted failure in Iraq, and cannot accept our success. Like a cow chewing its cud, they are resigned to taste only their own bile. Madeline Albright, Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski are taken to task by Victor Davis Hanson over at NRO.

Friday, April 15, 2005

BYU football: new uni's

After the bibs, new blue, blue helmets, and new logo, BYU football is returning to the old white helmets with the old "Y" logo and the old basic stripes.

Good news. Wasn't sure who was masquerading as the Cougs the past three years.

Now if they can just win. GO COUGS!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Ah, spring; ah, baseball

Charles Krauthammer writes well about fandom, and his new obsession: the Nats. Read it all here.

"Jimmy of Mayberry"

I found this article about Jimmy Carter in today's online edition of National Review. I never thought Carter was a good president, but in addition to that, I have found my respect for him as a person, and as an ex-President, gradually diminishing in recent years. So I think this piece may be just a little harsh on Mr. Carter -- but not too harsh.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Apple unleashes Tiger

Read all about it here. Highlighted features of the new operating system include Spotlight and Dashboard.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Berger's trail: something stinks

Prepping for the 911 Commission, former Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, stole documents from the National Archives, stuffing them in his shirt, pants, and socks. They're still missing. He pled guilty recently, but nary a blip on the MSM radar. Read all about it in Instapundit's archive. Read especially Dick Morris's NYP piece on the subject.

Double standard? If there is a lack of attention to Berger's crime, is it because it's what we've come to expect from someone who served the nation under Bill Clinton? One is always tempted to say, under such circumstances (i.e., lack of press coverage/outrage over a prominent Dem's indiscretions/crimes) that it would be a different story if, say, Condi Rice were caught stealing documents that should have gone to the Commission investigating 911.

Why would a high-level government official steal documents? The obvious conclusion is that Berger was trying to hide something from the Commission to protect the reputation/careers of Clinton administration officials (including his own?). Perhaps he has saved others, but could not save himself. Once slated to be President Kerry's Secretary of State, it appears Berger's service to the nation is now over. Why he's not serving in federal prison is a mystery -- unless he is now cooperating with authorities to bag the people whose reputations/freedom (from prison?) he had formerly tried to save.

The bottom line is that, thanks to Berger's theft, we don't know the whole story (perhaps the best parts of the story) about why 911 happened -- what the Clinton administration knew about al Qaeda, bin Laden, et al., when it knew, and what it did (or didn't do) about it.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Opening the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times - 3 April 1836

169 years ago today, the Savior, Elijah, and others appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple in Kirtland, Ohio and restored priesthood keys required for the dispensation of the fulness of times and the restoration of all things. See Doctrine and Covenants 110.

The record of Elijah's appearance is found in Doctrine and Covenants 110:13-16:
13 After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:

14 Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—

15 To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—

16 Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.
This was in specific fulfillment of prophecy (see Malachi 4:5-6; 3 Nephi 25; Doctrine and Covenants 2; Doctrine and Covenants 128:17; JS-H 1:33-39).

The day chosen for this event, the beginning of the dispensation of the fulness of times, was no coincidence. 3 April 1836 was Easter Sunday, the second day of Passover, the day of the presentation of the firstfruits of the harvest:

[H]ow often does Easter Sunday occur on both April 3 and 16 Nisan, as it did in A.D. 33? It happens less than once every century, on the average. The year 1836 was the only such occurrence in the nineteenth century.
(Id.) LDS astronomer John Pratt has suggested the following connections:
This is the dispensation of the fulness of times. When did it begin? At the First Vision? At the organization of the Church? One clue to answering this question was provided by the Prophet Joseph Smith, who taught that the sealing power of Elijah has been given in every true dispensation of the gospel (D&C 128:9), and that it "is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which is now beginning to usher in." (D&C 128:18.)

Thus, apparently this dispensation could not have fully begun before 3 April 1836, when the keys of Elijah were restored. But by July 1837 the dispensation apparently was in progress, when the Lord called it "the dispensation of the fulness of times" and referred to "the keys of the dispensation" which had been restored. (D&C 112:30-32.) Finally, Elijah's own declaration seems to favor the significance of the 3 April 1836 date, for it was then that he declared, "The keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands." (D&C 110:16.)

But why would the bestowal of the keys of the dispensation of the fulness of times have been timed to coincide with a special anniversary of the Resurrection? One possible reason is that one use of the phrase "fulness of time" referred to the time when the law of Moses would be fulfilled. Lehi prophesied that "in the fulness of time he [the Redeemer] cometh to bring salvation unto men." (2 Ne. 2:3.) Paul clarified the meaning: "When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son to redeem them that were under the law." (Gal. 4:4-5.) Thus, the "fulness of time" apparently referred to the time that man would be redeemed, which was completed at the resurrection of the Redeemer.

At his return, Elijah stated that "the time has fully come" for Malachi's prophecy to be fulfilled (D&C 110:14), suggesting that the prophecy of Elijah's return was to be fulfilled at a specified time. Perhaps he also implied that the time had fully come to begin the fulness of times.

Thus, on Sunday, 3 April 1836, apparently the time had fully come to open the dispensation of the fulness of times on a special anniversary of the fulness of time of the Resurrection.

Timing of the "Elijah Period."

As discussed earlier, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught that "the spirit of Elias is first, Elijah second, and Messiah last." This teaching suggests three distinct periods in Church history.

Perhaps 3 April 1836 can be thought of as the close of the "Elias period" or preparatory phase of Church history, when finally all the forerunners had restored their keys in the spirit of Elias. (See D&C 27:5-13; 128:20-21.) This period could have been closed when Elias himself, perhaps the same Elias who holds the keys of the restoration of all things (D&C 27:6), returned immediately before Elijah.

Then the next period could have commenced with the long-awaited advent of Elijah's return. The Church would then enter into an era of temple work and building up the kingdom, having had all of preparatory keys restored. The "Elijah period" would then end with the coming of the great day of the Lord.

On Sunday, 27 March A.D. 33, the body of Jesus was anointed ("dedicated"?) for burial. (John 12:1-7.) Similarly, the Kirtland Temple was dedicated on Sunday, 27 March 1836. (D&C 109.) Moreover, during the week following both of these dedications, the ordinance of the washing of feet was introduced and the sacrament of the Lord's supper was observed. (See History of the Church, 2:410-40.) . . .

The organization of the Lord's church in the latter days occurred on 6 April 1830. Apparently, this "birth" of the ecclesiastical "body of Christ" occurred on the anniversary of the birth of his physical body, 6 April 1 B.C. Thus, a correspondence is suggested between the birth of the Savior and the birth of his church.

It is proposed that on Easter Sunday, 16 Nisan, 3 April A.D. 33, the physical body of Christ was restored, clothed with a fulness of power and glory. (See Alma 40:23.) On Easter Sunday, 16 Nisan, 3 April A.D. 1836, the ecclesiastical body of Christ was restored, clothed with a fulness of priesthood authority. Thus, a correspondence is suggested between the restoration of the body of the Savior to a fulness of power and the restoration of the body of the Church to the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Thought for the day

Pope John Paul II: 1920-2005

LDS General Conference

"In the economy of heaven, God does not send thunder if a still, small voice is enough, or a prophet if a priest can do the job." -- Elder Neal A. Maxell, General Conference October 1976. God be thanked for the gift of prophets in our day. The still small voice testifies that they are God's living witnessses. Come listen to a prophet's voice! Listen here.