Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Monday, November 22, 2004


This is probably going to be my last post before Thanksgiving. If I get a chance, I'll post from California. But, what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving then to quote the 100th Psalm:

Psalm 100
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is He who made us, and we are his;
we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name
5 For the Lord is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

The Salvation Army vs Target

By now, I am certain that everyone has an opinion on Target banning the Salvation Army Bell Ringers. When I heard the racket from various protesters, I thought 'this does not seem like a new story. Where have I heard it before?' It occured to me that I heard of it during the late summer or early fall, probably in the Star Tribune. But, I couldn't find the article; so I thought that I had just been over exposed to the protest. But, a voice in my head said, 'No, Liz, you did hear this story at least six weeks, if not a couple of months ago. Perhaps you can find it elsewhere.' I did my little search at the Target web-site, the Salvation Army web site, and finally, I searched Yahoo News. I did not hit pay dirt, but I did find this. The Salvation Army was infromed in JANUARY! (Some justification that I had probably heard of this earlier.)

I think both Dr. Banaian and James Lileks (who has taken away the link from his own site) have good perspective on the issue.

Since the policy is not new as of November, we, the discontent, have had 11 months to do something about it. The Salvation Army has had 11 months to encourage their patrons to write letters to Target insisting that The Salvation Army be given permission to ring bells outside Target stores. The mature thing to do would be to give Target a break this Christmas and, come January 1, 2005, start a letter writing campaign stating in intelligent and polite words that people disaprove of the Target policy regarding the Salvation Army and ask that it be reconsidered.

We are acting like the uneducated, ill-informed brats that the media makes conservatives out to be. Do not blame the people working at a store and do not blame the receptionist answering the phone at Target HQ. In fact, this mess makes the Salvation Army look bad considering they've had 11 months to do something about it. Be responsible and polite citizens. If you cannot do that, stay away from Target and do not voice your opinion to Target exectutives or the media. Let us, as conservatives, show a good example by acknowledging the media was late in reporting the story, save face, and not make any rash actions until after the holidays.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Imposing civilian actions on Marines during war

I try not to talk about battle often. My husband has completed his term of service in the Army and his reserve duty in the National Guard and elected not to re-enlist. This was a difficult decision for him because he trained for years of his life to go and fight in a war in Iraq. Now that there is a war going on, he’s not in it. I am incapable of explaining his feelings, but say you spent years of your life studying and preparing to do a certain career, and never used your degrees. It is somewhat like that.

Recently, there has been a video tape released of a Marine shooting an Iraqi in a mosque. This Iraqi was wounded, and appearing to be faking death. The ACLU and others have been calling for the court marshal of this young man. A court marshal would be a mistake.

Here in the United States, very few living men, relatively speaking, have served in the armed forces. Even though many were drafted and killed in Vietnam, it is not a significant percentage of the young men of the time. Furthermore, we now have an all volunteer military. The time and situation is quite different then it was in the Vietnam War era.

War is different then walking down the street in your neighborhood. Here in the US, we do not go into a house of worship and start shooting. The war is not here; and actions mentioned above would be grave crimes, punishable by death in some instances. In war, a fighting person has one objective: complete the mission successfully, hopefully with your life and limbs intact. The mission of the Marine mentioned above was this: get rid of the insurgents in Fallujah. One of the difficulties in fighting in an Arab country is that members of various factions are neither uniformed troops, nor do they play by the rules of conventional warfare. There is a widely accepted practice among these factions to booby trap themselves before death to take as many people with them as possible. The wounded still fight back.

We do not know all of the thoughts behind this Marine’s choice. We only see through the television screen what the cameraman chose to show and what the news networks choose to edit. This Marine was making a life and death decision. He has had extensive training, and was following the procedures dictated in training. Those of us who have never served in the armed forces can ever judge his actions.

When we civilians wake up each day, none of our choices have immediate life and death consequences. When a member of the armed forces wakes up, most of the choices they will make each day are life and death choices. Furthermore, very few of our choices involve the life of others dependent on us. Sure, we feed and take care of our young and infirm, but a reasonable, law abiding citizen is unlikely to die because someone screwed up and didn’t do their job correctly. A member of the armed forces depends on each member of their company to perform their assigned job correctly, efficiently, and on time. Members of the armed forces are trained to make these decisions and make them quickly and correctly.

As most of the general population has never been in a war situation; we as civilians should not judge this young man. Nor should we shun him from our society. It is time to put the evil murderous soldier stereotype to death. The Vietnam Vets were not cold blooded killers of the innocents; and neither are the men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you want to see cold blooded killers of the innocents, go to your local prison.

Which reminds me, why is it that our fighting men and women are cold blooded murderers of the innocent when those who REALLY murder innocents in cold blood are glorified in rap music and by our culture as a whole? The ironic thing that will be a topic later is we educate cold blooded murderers for free, but still expect our fighting men and women to pay part of their tuition.

Making cloths

I needed a hobby. I am not supposed to talk about economics, for fear that my opinion may be taken as the opinion of my employer. I read the Wall St. Journal and I have a bachelors degree in economics, and when I comment to new people, I usually add the disclaimer that I do not have a very high degree in economics and I anything that I say is that of someone who has a little knowledge in the subject, but not enough to base financial decisions on. So, the state of the economy is not something you will find discussed here. I’m a few years out of college. I got married, which for women is a year long event as the wedding needs to be planned by someone. And now that Josh and I are to the point that we can do independent activities for a few hours in the evening, I have taken up sewing again.

My old machine almost died this summer, and it would cost $50 to get it fixed. I could buy a sewing machine for $100, and one with a hemming feature and a button hole in one step feature at that. So, Josh told me I could get a new sewing machine. New machine is pretty nifty. It’s a Brother machine, and their lower end model. I’m not interested in doing a lot of fancy embroidery or anything, so I didn’t need a serger.

I found some nifty fabric at Joann’s for $2 a yard. It is a lovely wool/linen blend; not suitable for the washing machine. But for $2 a yard, it was a great buy. It is a nice plaid that you would have seen in the 1970’s, so I think that I am cool. I bought enough to make a suit. Making a suit is a little more work then I thought it would be. The vest came out OK, but my husband put it in the washing machine, and so now it’s good for scrap. But, I remembered that I had never made a waist band before. So, I made a skirt and a pair of pants from an easier pattern so I could get the technique down. I finished my nifty new pants on Sunday, except for the hook and eye closure. I realized that I was out of hooks and eyes. Last night, I was about to start on the jacket, when I realized that I only had enough of the proper thread for a bobbin, and certainly not enough to finish the blazer. Furthermore, I thought about it for a minute, and realized that I have never put a collar on anything before. So, I started a short sleeved shirt. I will either finish it tonight or on Friday.

Well, now I have new pants, a new skirt, and a new shirt to wear when I go to California.

I find it rewarding to make my cloths. What is really nice about it is there are two patterns that never go out of style, straight legged pants and button down shirts. So, the only work is keeping up with fabrics. Suit and dress cuts change regularly, so that will be more expensive, but not as expensive as buying cloths from a store. On top of that, one can buy these pattern inserts so one can make maternity cloths out of “normal” patterns; not that I need to worry about that right now. Also, I can come up with a unique style of my own.

My other on again off again hobby is making soap. Yes, soap. Real soap. With lye. Again, this is just another neat thing to do. The big problem is using it all or giving it away. Most of my friends and family have gravitated towards the no color no scent soap, which is just no fun. I understand why, though. I don’t put detergents in my soap, or a lather agent, or drying agents or whatever. Also, it does not dry out skin like store bought soap. The big question people ask me about my soap (apart from commenting on the lye) is “Do you add glycerin?” Well, glycerin is a natural by product of the chemical reaction between lye and fatty acids in the soap making process, so yes, homemade cold process soap does have glycerin in it, but I do not add extra glycerin. Glycerin has been a big deal in the cosmetics world because it has moisturizing qualities. Supposedly, if you don’t put glycerin in your soap, it is rough on your skin. The big reason glycerin is a big deal is that soap manufactures remove the glycerin from their soap, sell it to cigarette manufacturers, and have to put a cheap imitation back into the product. No, seriously, that’s what they do. This is why the FDA does not consider what you buy at Target or where ever real soap. You use detergent on your skin. This is why manufacturers put glycerin in their product.

Now, I am a soap snob. Seriously. My skin is so used to my good home made soap that is nice and gentle on my skin that I take little bars of my soap with me when I travel. I have some nice, hotel sized, soaps that I take with me. So, when Josh and I go to California, I will be bringing my soapy goodness with.

Speaking of California, I will probably not be posting between November 24th and December 1st. I’ll be in California with Josh where we will be renewing our relationship with his dad and family.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

What is a Christian?

I would like to respond to Patrick Henry's op ed in November 14th's Star Tribune.

I acknowledge that Christians, and very devout Christians at that, voted for John Kerry. I understand that Christians have differing views on Social Justice issues, such as affirmative action, welfare, the poor, illegal immagration, and other issues that should be of concern to Christians.

However, this is my problem with Mr. Henry's piece: if you are a Christian, a TRUE and ORTHODOX Christian, you believe that there is only one way to be saved, and that is through Jesus. There is no room for "well, if you're a good person and try hard" stuff.

I would like to address what a Christian believes and how a Christian acts. If you disagree and say that you're a Christian and believe differently, then you need to re-examine your faith by reading the Bible. As a reference, I will use documents from the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church web site. I am a Missouri Synod Lutheran. However, I have attended a variety of churches from a variety of denominations in my life. I am using the LCMS web-site because I am familar with it.

In general, one would say that an orthodox Christian believes the words of the Apostle's Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. On study of these creeds, especially the Athanasian Creed, a Christian MUST believe that Jesus is God, that he suffered for the sins of mankind, rose from the dead, assended into Heaven, and will come to judge the living and the dead; and that adherence to this faith is the only way to get to Heaven. These creeds reflect what is in scriptures. If you do not believe these creeds reflect scripture, read the Bible for yourself.

I wish to expand on the judgement of mankind. I'm not going to argue pre-trib, mid-trib, or any other time frame of when the judgement of the living and dead takes place. I believe that when the judgement happens is a non-salvation issue and that devout Christians can disagree on the when. First, we must understand that God does not have to justify himself to mankind. People ask all the time: Would a loving God send anyone to Hell? Well, would Winston Churchill have killed Hitler? You bet. People, in general, believe in the existance of crimes so horrible that those who committ these crimes deserve death. We do not have to justify to those who committ these crimes why they deserve to die. God does not have to justify to anyone why he sends people to Hell.

The arguement continues: Do I deserve to go to Hell? This is the hardest question for Christians to answer. If a Christian says, "Yes," the pagen says, "Jesus says 'Judge lest ye be judged.'" If a Christian answers, "No," they are probably a heretic. All mankind deserves damnation in Hell, even Christians. "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." Romans 3:10-12. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23. "For the wages of sin is death" Romans 6:23. All have sinned and are worthless, we fall short of God's standards, and we deserve death. How are we redeemed? "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us," Romans 5:6-8. "For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith-and this not of your own, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no man can boast," Ephesians 2:8-9. "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death," Romans 8:1-2. However, even though Christ died for our sins, we must be repentent of our sins. "what shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" Romans 6:1-2.

So, what does a Christian look like. John 14:21 "Who ever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." Obey Jesus's commands: "Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself." Follow the 10 commandments; Exodus 20:1-17. "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teacing them to obey everything I have commanded you, "Matthew 28:20. "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; atred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you , as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kindgom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control," Galations 5:19-23.

I am not the perfect example of what a Christian behaves like; but I try, with the help of the Holy Spirit to leave my sinful nature behind. A good Christian will be loving. A good Christian will be kind to the poor. A good Christian performs charitable acts. How Christians perform these acts or think about government involvement in these acts may be an issue of disagreement, and this is not an economic or social welfare policy discussion.

For further resources on Christian theology, I would recommend the following extra reading:
The Bible (all of it)
The Augsburg Confession
The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
The Small Lutheran Catechism

Friday, November 12, 2004

Give me a week or so and I'll comment on Arafat

There are certain people that spawn such violent extreme feelings in others. Arafat is one of them. And after I get over my extreme feelings about his death perhaps I'll comment in a sane and rational manner without derogatory or vulger language.

As I feel a same day comment is required, I will say this, however. There are certain people that I am just not sorry for when they pass. Hitler, Stalin, Tim McVeigh, Pol Pot, Chairman Mao... I will not be sorry for Saddam, or Ben Ladin either. Arafat joins this list.

My loathing and utter lack of sympathy is an indication that I should not be in charge of the salvation or damnation of others. And this gives me pause to thing about something else, very quickly because I'm on lunch. In God's eyes, we are all equal. We are all sinners deserving of eternal damnation in hell. Yes, my sins are every bit as grave as Arafat's. The good news for me is that I acknowledge my sinfulness and I have asked God for forgiveness for my sins because Jesus became my replacement in death. And I try, with the help of the Holy Spirit to not sin anymore.

Anyway, enough about Arafat and the things I think of when I hear that name.

Tonight, Josh and I are going to go hear Os Guiness (theologian, and yes, of the beer family). So, this weekend, I may take some time to do theological commentary. Politics and my thoughts on Arafat, his death, and such can wait.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

I am the Minister of Silly Walks

You are the Minister of Silly Walks...Dare to be different!
You are the Minister of Silly Walks

What Monty Python Sketch Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

And I'm married to...

You are the Abuse Clerk. You dish out verbal abuse all day long as the customer keeps paying. AAH, what satisfying work!
You are the Abuse Clerk! You dish out verbal (and
some physical!) abuse all day long as
the customer keeps payin'! Aaah...such
satisfying work!

What Monty Python Sketch Character are you?
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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Is it only about gay marriage or is there more?

I've been doing the "open minded" thing the last week by listening to MPR in the afternoon while at work. I have a couple of reasons for doing so. First, I can't get AM reception in the office. Second, I want to hear where some of my liberal friends are coming from. Third, at least I now have an intellectual reason for not listening to MPR regularly. One of the issues that struck me as narrow minded was the opinion that the election was about gay marriage and abortion. Though both are parts of the whole problem conservative Christians see with society, they are not the only issue. Gay marriage was the straw that broke the camel's back. When the camel's back breaks, one does not explore the last straw, but rather, why it was overloaded in the first place. I would like to explore what other factors there are in causing the conservative Christians to say "enough."

Let us go back in time about 15 to 20 years. What were the popular television shows on prime time? "Who's the Boss," "Family Matters," "Full House," "The Cosby Show," "Family Ties," and others. "The Simpsons" was considered shocking television. Now, we have reality television where the more obnoxious, vulgar, and sexually explicit a television show is, the better the ratings. We have television shows like "Desperate Housewives" and "Sex in the City." It is hard for a family to sit down and watch television together.

One might suggest that I could change the channel. I do. I do not watch reality television or trashy sit-coms. On Monday nights, I watch "7th Heaven" or "Everwood." I know some consider "Everwood" on the risqué side. However, it is responsible and considered a family show where people do suffer consequences for their actions. The rest of the week, I watch O'Reilly and "Law and Order" reruns. Conservative Christians want more shows like what we had in the late 1980's; and like "7th Heaven." They feel this way not because they want to suppress people's right to _expression, but to protect their children from things small children should not see. Again, the answer is "change the channel."

I would argue that there are not always similar alternatives to some situations. Take, for example, the Super Bowl. I understand beer commercials. I will even accept them. What is not acceptable are images like Steven Tyler from Areosmith singing "Walk This Way" with Brittney Spears. Wardrobe "malfunctions" are not acceptable. A society that thinks cowboys Toby Keith and Nelson singing "Whisky for my Men, Beer for my Horses" is too much for a half time show, but think Justin Timberlake singing sexually explicit lyrics to Janet Jackson is fine have priorities mixed up. Again, conservative Christians could change the channel, but there is no alternative to the half time show.

Conservative Christians are being forced out of the culture by the answer "change the channel." I say, "Why should we change the channel?" Enough is enough. Perhaps I do want to tell people what to do; to an extent. Justin Timberlake can sing all the explicit lyrics he wants. Fine. He should just have the decency to not do it during prime family viewing hours. Networks can show all of the smut and obscene shows they want. They should have the decency to do so after prime family viewing hours.

Part of the problem is not that conservative Christians are so closed minded that they cannot take the culture as it is. The culture is so closed minded to family values that they alienate the conservative Christians. In regards to television, if the networks and such really want a unique idea, try this on for size: have a gay or lesbian couple in a completely monogamous relationship with kids and let this couple teach the kids lessons similar to what is taught on "7th Heaven" or "Everwood." There are a variety of topics that this show could address that are not being addressed right now. This would also be landmark television, to the extent of when Ellen Degenerous came out of the closet. Would conservative Christians watch at first, probably not. But conservative Christians would be interested in a show that taught family values, and would consider such a show as a safer alternative to the smut that is currently on television. Bring back clean family television.

Another part of the problem is that actors and media members are condescending to conservative Christians. Conservative Christians are not narrow minded, uneducated hicks. In fact, most conservative Christians have good arguments why they feel strongly about obscene television and other topics. Pick an issue, such as the sexually explicit culture, and wait for a month after the latest shock. Then sit down with a conservative Christian and discuss the event. A conservative Christian may surprise a liberal culturist by sounding urbane and even citing decency acts. Conservative Christians are perceived as people who do not know or understand anything and are in a little sheltered world. They are perceived as people who have no appreciation for arts, poor, illiterate. They are people who are perceived as rich capitalists who are greedy and selfish.

Conservative Christians like orchestral and operatic music. They often provide instrumental training for their children at the same rate, or a grater rate then their secular counterparts. They have college degrees. Some are very well versed in classical literature and thought. A conservative Christian may send their child to private school to get training in some of these classics because public schools do not offer the average student such advantages. Conservative Christians operate food shelves, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters. Conservative Christians also contribute financial resources and their time to such things. Evidence in the Generosity Index. Note the placement of red and blue states in this index. Look at the placement of red states verses blue states. Thanks Mitch.

To quickly expand: I understand that because the private sector in and of itself does not cover the need of the poor, the government helps. I also understand that not all Christians tithe or donate money to the poor. However, neither of these are excuses for punitive taxation policies towards those making more then $200,000 a year. You want a fair tax policy? Eliminate loop holes. If you're a person who earns more then $200,000 a year and you're ashamed of the tax break you received? The IRS does accept donations, as does the non-profit of your choice.

The third, and final, point I will discuss about the overall culture is that conservative Christians have a different idea of what a well rounded education involves. Most conservative Christians want their children to read a wide variety of literature, perform ever increasing in difficulty math, and to be able to think on a critical level. They want schools to teach basics like reading, writing, history, literature, math, science, art, and music. They want most of the time in school donated to this, and not to disciplinary issues or to a broadened horizon assembly. Children can cover many of these topics while broadening their horizons and experience. Children can research different country, its culture, history, and beliefs. Understanding the facts will help children to form opinions and start to think at a critical level. Conservative Christians also wish to keep sexual education out of elementary schools, with the possible exception of an anatomy course. Conservative Christians just want their children to have a well defined period of innocence in their lives.

I would like to conclude by discussing how conservative Christians and the libertine culture can co-exist. First, sexually explicit or vulgar language should not be broadcast during prime time viewing hours. This is not suppression of speech. This is understanding that not everyone accepts sexually explicit material and vulgar language as a couth or educated way to communicate. Many, including those who are not Christian, consider such things degrading, both to people's bodies and to their intelligence. Second, develop more programming that touches on family interaction in a clean and moral manner. Third, do not insult the intelligence of anyone. It is one thing to tell people that their statistics or facts are wrong. It is anther thing to tell someone that they are stupid for having an opinion and voicing it. Fourth, accept that the vulgar and sexually explicit have absolutely no moral standing except for in the Northeast and out on the West Coast. Just because people like your entertainment does not mean they like your politics or that your politics are the correct way of viewing the world. Finally, if one is not a Christian AND has not read the Bible, do not call Christians hypocrites because they disagree with how you express some economic values. Yes, it is a Christian value to give to the poor and to help the disenfranchised. But just because a Christian is a Republican does not mean that s/he does not help the poor and disenfranchised. It might mean that the Republican disagrees on how it is to be done. There are many Christian values expressed on both sides of the political landscape. Many Christians have chosen to express distaste for the libertines who run the popular culture by voting Republican. Some recently switched parties from the Democrats. The problem is not only gay marriages, it is primarily the libertine nature of the popular culture and the disrespectful behavior of the popular culture towards conservative Christians.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Coupon Clipping

I spent my usual 10 to 15 minutes clipping coupons on Sunday. It is pretty easy to do. The primary grocery shopper (in our house, that's me) sits down and sifts through coupons to determine if product "x" is something the household regularly uses, and if so, when will the household need it again. Clipping can be rewarding. For example, on October 30th, I saved $10 on my grocery bill with coupons. Also, when one knows others who shop at the same store, one can take advantage of the "one coupon per household" warning. My mom and I shop at different branches of the same chain. Last week, they had a special on sugar and chocolate chips. For people who like baking, this is the perfect time to stock up. My mom got two coupons for the chocolate chips, I used my coupon, and between the two of us, we have ten 5 lb. sacks of sugar and 15 bags of chocolate chips. Grandma will get some of the chocolate chips; however, this is still a lot of sugar and chocolate chips. Clipping coupons is a cheap way to save money and sharing shopping information is a great way to maximize on good deals.

Saving consumers money is not the primary goal of the manufacturers and stores, however. A prime example of this is the Mall of America coupon book in Sunday's paper. While manufacturers, such as Proctor and Gamble, have coupons for most of their household products about once a month, the expiration date is many days away. It is their hope that a customer will say, "I feel that Downey is a superior product. And in a couple of weeks I will need dish soap. Perhaps I will use this other coupon for Dawn." It is the hope of the Mall of America that one will see a coupon that they would use; and spend money at other stores. Furthermore, the Mall of America assigned its various coupons to different weeks. So, if a customer has several coupons they want to use, this consumer will have to go to the Mall of American once a week for several weeks. How ingenious! One may have use for the J. Jill coupon, and then they may be tempted to also visit the Banana Republic or J. Crew. And for general information, there is an OK coupon for Famous Dave's that Josh and I will probably use when we do Christmas shopping for my family. Buy two entrees, get a appetizer or dessert for free. Good deal. Josh and I usually each get an entrée, and we may get a dessert to split or an appetizer. It saves a couple of dollars, anyway, on something we would probably get regardless.

My advice in shopping is to go prepared. I really do not like to shop, but I go prepared. For grocery shopping, some easy tips are to have a menu of what you plan on making each night, plus a list of what you normally eat for breakfast and lunch. Write down the needed elements and ingredients for each meal on a list. Add other needed items. Then, divide your lists into sections of the store as you will walk through the store. This takes about three weeks of practice; however, it saves time and reduces the "Oh, I think I'd like this" factor. Also, don't go shopping on an empty stomach. For Christmas or birthday shopping, write a list of people who you will shop for. Write down the specific gift or a general gift idea of what you will buy for each person. Write down the store where you will likely find the gift. Several weeks before you go to your shopping center of choice, obtain an up to date map of the center. Map out your stores, and devise a plan on which stores should be shopped at first. Also, try shopping on a weekday evening. If you are unsure on what you want to buy a person, do not window shop for inspiration. You will waste money that way. It is better to ask other family or friends for gift ideas. Finally, when shopping for yourself, also write a list of things you need, and then things you want. Write down which stores you can find these things, what you expect them to cost, and what your budget is. Repeat the steps for Christmas shopping.

I think I will call this a day in regards to blogging. Tomorrow, I hope to start in on my party platform analysis.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Is it a mandate?

Currently, we have a nation wide discussion on whether or not Bush has a mandate. The vote statistics are available. The question, in my opinion is not whether or not he has a mandate, but whether or not he owes his constituency anything. I want to pose that question and briefly discuss whether or not he does owe those who voted for him something.

Does Bush owe those who voted for him anything? I would say, to an extent, he does. I don’t think that he has a mandate to the whims of the voters. We have checks and balances to prevent something horrible from happening on both extremes. I do feel, however, that Bush was elected by conservative Christians. Therefore, in order to maintain a Republican majority and keep the presidency in the hands of a Republican, he and the rest of our elected representatives in Washington need to acknowledge the conservative Christians by making small movements in the direction conservative Christians see the world.

Conservative Christians have now discovered activism. They are flooding in Senate faxes protesting the advance of Alan Spector to the chairmanship of the judiciary committee. In the next four years conservative Christians will not let any elected official forget why elected officials are in the current majority situation they are in.

Most conservative Christians followed the advice of commentators and considered a majority and a Republican President important. And a majority is important, but only if you do something with it. It is the opinion of some that since the Republican majority has been increased, the job of the voters is done and we should trust the elected officials and mind our own business. It is the opinion of others that we should be obnoxious. It is my opinion that we need to be watchful of those we elected, respectfully express our opinion, and strive for one or two pieces of progress. I would like to make suggestions to both elected officials and voters.

Elected officials, you may not “owe” conservative Christians anything, but if you want to be re-elected, you need to make progress in advancing the conservative Christian cause. Progress to any one of the following would be greatly appreciated and rewarded by your voters: advance conservative judges who are Constitutionalists and believe in state rights, advance the rights of the unborn and encourage states to address the issue while encouraging the Supreme Court to encourage states rights, advance the sanctity of marriage through states rights, and, most importantly, advance the cause of free expression of conservative Christian speech and practice of religion. Conservative Christians understand that in four years we will not have everything we want. We just want steps in the right direction (sorry for the pun).

Voters, be realistic. Spector is probably not the person we want in charge of the judiciary committee. But, remember that Roe v. Wade will not be overturned by 2008 and one way or the other, eventually, a Democrat may nominate judges too. Remember that we may not get a marriage amendment (by the way, I do not think this is the best way to proceed, it is a states rights issue). Remember that progress towards the ultimate goal is still progress and good. When elected officials make strides to nominating favorable judges, reward them with re-election. When elected officials advance Christian freedoms, no matter how small the advance, reward them. Furthermore, watching elected officials is not enough. Are you happy with the direction of the Republican Party? Attend caucuses, vote in primaries. Pick an issue and educate yourself on it. See that your issue gets air time on the radio, on internet newspapers, and in the paper newspaper. Furthermore, devise an argument for your issue that does not rely on “the Bible says this is wrong.” The Bible is a good moral resource, but many in our nation do not fear or acknowledge God, and so, in order to advance your issue, you will need to speak the language of an unbeliever. Be noisy, be verbal, be heard, and be intelligent about it. If you are so inclined, blog. Regardless of your method of activism, advertise that you are active. Let others know about your articles, letters to the paper, involvement in caucus, and blogs.

Progress and change will not happen without voters voting, achieving majorities, being involved, being heard, and holding elected officials accountable. For more information, I recommend visiting Hugh Hewitt.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

I could gloat but...

I was talking with a co-worker of the opposite political view. Work isn’t the time to gloat, nor is it the time to rub in that your candidate won. And I’m not about to do either right now. My co-worker pointed out that people voted for the first time in years because of the gay marriage issue. I agree to an extent. But I’d like to challenge everyone to think beyond that. It is not just about gay marriage, though that is a huge part of it.

I am a slightly conspiracy theory oriented person. And I also hold very true and steadfast to my belief in Jesus as the savior of the world. Those two pieces of information combined are enough for some to consider me nuts. OK, I can live with that. And I will admit to being a little off balance.

I come from a variety of individuals who call themselves, and are referred to as, Born-Again Christians. Also, they are called the conservative Christian right. I will refer to this group as the conservative Christians. It seems a little more inclusive of who we really are. This group includes Catholics, Lutherans, and others who may not claim to be “born again” but are none-the-less very devout in their belief. And not all Born-Again Christians agree with the conservative Christians, so I want to limit myself.

Based on this conversation with my co-worker, I want to clarify what a values vote truly is. I probably can’t share this at work, and again, I am not paid to discuss politics and religion there. I am doing this in hopes that my readers may understand what ideas were rejected in the election and why.

To start with a conservative Christian worldview, one needs to understand that conservative Christians, and orthodox (with a small o) Christians, believe in the existence of absolute good and evil on a moral and spiritual plane. And orthodox Christians believe that mankind is born with a sinful nature and is deserving of eternal damnation in Hell. As there is the existence of good and evil, conservative Christians seek to discern what is good and evil based on what the Bible says. These people believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. Conservative Christians strive to obey God as His word appears in the Bible. Conservative Christians share their faith with others, but will never force people to change. This is because Conservative Christians understand that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to win souls to Him.

Conservative Christians see their place in the world through a few different pictures. I’d like to talk about two of these pictures as an explanation. First, Christians are to be in the world, yet not of it. Second, Christians are to be the salt in the world.

Conservative Christians are in the world yet not of it. They take this role very seriously. Being in the world means that we cannot loose touch with the world around us. You see conservative Christians performing good works and acts of charity constantly. They participate in the work place, in the neighborhood, and in the schools. You may know someone who is a conservative Christian. Their object is to not withdraw from people they see as their mission field. However, Christians are not to be of the world. Christians have developed their own music, radio, schools, movies, books, commentary, media, television, and entertainment. Christians do this so that they are not lead to sin against God. Also, they want to protect their children from sin against God. Most of their actions can be explained by the avoidance of sin. Take for example their stance on condom distribution in school. They do not want condoms distributed in schools because they do not want to increase the level of temptation put upon their culture for their children to have extra-marital sex. The same goes with abstinence education in schools. Basically it is the Christians goal to become more like God through the obedience of His word as spoken in the Bible, avoidance of sin, the living of pure lives, witnessing to others, and performing acts of charity and kindness. The biggest fear of Conservative Christians is that they will be suppressed and unable to practice their beliefs in the way they see fit. They want to be free to read the book of Leviticus. They want to be able to call what the Bible calls sin, sin. And if anyone threatens any of the above, they react.

There are a couple of political views that are fairly universal among conservative Christians. First is the preciousness of life. This view is expressed primarily in an anti-abortion stance. Conservative Christians may disagree to the extent of abortion being wrong, but they do not want people just having abortions like it is a common and acceptable form of birth control, and generally they support a ban on third trimester abortions. Other life is precious views include stances against euthanasia, and occasionally the death penalty. I personally believe that there are certain crimes that warrant the death penalty, genocide, for example; but I live in an anti-death penalty state, so I really haven’t thought much about it. Second, conservative Christians are pro-Jews in Israel. Regarding the extent of foreign aide will be discussed when I take apart party platforms. However, at least, conservative Christians believe that Jews should be able to live wherever they want, including and especially their Holy Land, without threat from terrorists and hate. Furthermore, they act upon such beliefs, either through foreign aide or charitable giving. Third conservative Christians tend to have bad gut feelings about the United Nations, and other people telling the United States what to do and how to do it. They tend to believe that the US is a sovereign nation and is not accountable to anyone but God and voters.

Conservative Christians disagree on a variety of economic and social policy issues, but economics and other social policy issues really have little to do with being a conservative Christian. Conservative Christianity is a God thing and a values thing. Conservative Christians are not necessarily fiscal conservatives, or Supply Side Economists, or Libertarians, or even traditional Constitutionalists.

Next, I would like to discuss progressives. I will use the term “progressive” instead of liberal as is the choice of those who fall into this category. Progressives start with a belief that man is basically good. Furthermore, they believe that all of mankind is basically reasonable and can be talked and negotiated into just about anything. Progressives like unity and everyone to come to an agreement that they all find mutually satisfying. You see this belief practiced in labor unions. They are concerned about people being disenfranchised. They want everyone to have an opinion. There is no good or evil because most everyone can be reasoned with. They also like learning about others and seeing that others have what everyone else has. This is manifested in several ways. If group A has access to a brand new playground, they want every group to have a brand new playground. Progressives are also religious, though they tend to practice unorthodox Christianity (if you acknowledge a goddess, you’re unorthodox). Also, they may practice other religions, be merely a spiritual person, or be an atheist. Progressives like to help people they see as victims. Say you’re a smoker; they want to help you become healthy and quit because it is someone else’s fault you smoke. They don’t like consequences. For example, let’s say two consenting teens have sex. They don’t want them to have to suffer the consequences, so they hand out condoms to everyone so they won’t get pregnant or diseases and can still have sex. They also see everything as a problem for the collective unit to solve.

Progressives believe in education. No, not the go to school to learn reading, writing, and math, type of education. Progressives believe that if you just look at an individual and his problem or desire, you will have all of the information and will have to agree with that individual and his needs for resolution. Let us take for example, the parents of a gun shot victim. These parents go out on TV and say how horrible their kid’s death was and how tragic and everything. They say that no one should have to go through such a tragedy. I agree that there should be no murder. But the next time you see these folks, they are with some politician or another who wants to ban guns and is using their story. You may argue that people shouldn’t kill people. You’re right. But is it a gun issue? Progressives see the problem as the killer had a gun. You see this education belief practiced in prisons where criminals are talked through their problems, go back out on the street, and do the same thing.

Because progressives believe in education and unity and compromise; that there is no right or wrong; they have a few very basic political beliefs. First, that everyone should have the exact same privileges under the law. Marriage, for example. Access to the same education (which is why they are against private schools and vouchers), is another example. Access to the same amount of money, is the third example. They also have conflicting views on personal choice. For example, it is OK to have an abortion but not to smoke.

The above beliefs lead to a few very scary things. First, is the UN. The UN is the ultimate ground of compromise to the progressive mind. One can talk to all of the leaders of the world and come up with solutions to problems and interfere with every country’s business without bombing them. Second is the current state of the public schools. There are too many moral points of view being taught that real subjects are not. It is one thing to do a paper on a different culture. It is another thing to call it equal or superior to your own. Third is multilateralism, or the involvement of Western Europe in US affairs. Progressives have a need for committees. And if the committee doesn’t include France, Germany, or Russia, it must not be complete. Finally, it is judges. Progressives nominate fellow progressives to judgeships so that people will not become victimized by laws that the legislature passes.

Here is where I will discuss my second example of a Christian’s role in the world. Christians are to be the salt. Christians walk a fine line in their daily lives between sharing the gospel and turning off unbelievers. Mostly, they do this quietly and in the micro level. If a teacher doesn’t want a kid to bring “Hermie the Wormie” to school, a parent will step in. If someone can’t wear a cross around their necks, they’ll say something about it. If someone invites a Christian to a sexually explicit movie, they’ll decline. It is very simple things that most Christians will do. But at times, Christians recognize that there is a time for more salt. This election was that time.

First and foremost, this election was about the Christian world view. Gay marriage is a part of it. But Christians don’t want their kids exposed to anymore sin in the world and they put their collective foot down and said, “Enough.” This doesn’t just involve the gays neighbors actually getting married. It is about explaining homosexuality, other religions, and other values systems to children at an earlier and earlier age. It is about taking control over what our children see and what we see. Though Christians can flood their homes with all sorts of Christian media, they cannot bring any of it into school. And they are forced to blindly accept what the curriculum says. Second it is about potential interference into conservative churches. I attend a conservative church in the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. The Missouri Synod reaffirmed its stance on homosexual marriage this year. Conservative Christians do not want to be suppressed when they disagree with progressives. They see potential suppression as religious bigots, homophobes, and on the abortion issue.

Second, the election was about how we see the world. Conservative Christians rejected the UN, France, Germany, and Russia. It is not that we rejected allies. We rejected specific points of view, namely that this is a time for negotiation.

Third, the election was about Hollywood and other forms of media. Conservative Christians have long felt irrelevant to Hollywood and the news media portray them as idiots. We gave them what for and called them irrelevant and idiots.

The statement has been made. The world now has to deal with it.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Morning News

So, I got up about an hour and a half a go. Got my papers. Went back to sleep. Then I finally really got up at 7 and turned on Fox And Friends.

To give everyone an update on what is going on:
In "Judge Parker" we find that Aunt Rachel cornered the new guy's dad out of the Real Estate Market.
Gunther has a mathematical chart and formula on who he likes better, "Luanne" or Bernice. (Don't we all have something like this?)

Oh, is there an election? Sorry. I thought we all have the same priorities.

Here's the news on Ohio:
Kerry: 2,658,125
Bush: 2,794,346
Provisional ballots to be counted: 135,000 (aprox)


As I said last night, Bush won.

Here's what I didn't stay up to call:
Nevada Bush
Hawaii Kerry
Michigan Kerry
New Mexico Bush
Wisconson Kerry
Bush: 286
Kerry: 252

So here's the agenda for my day off. I'm going to watch Ann Coulter on Fox and Friends (quality choice in guests), read the Star Tribune, read the Wall St. Journal, listen to some talk radio (haven't listened to much all year), do dishes, do laundry, do some Chirstmas shopping... I may work on that suit I am making... crochet a little...

All for a relaxing day. I'll check in again if I read or hear something of great importance.

To clarify, yes, I read the Star Tribune. Why not, the coupons pay for it. Yes, I clip coupons. I have a degree in Economics, and the 10 minutes it takes me to go through the coupons can lead to a chunck of discounts. I saved $10 off of last weeks groceries. The Star Tribune also has superior comics. I read the paper Wall St. Journal. I like clipping articles and sending them to people. I will probably join the 21st centruy and get the online edition when this subscription ends.

There are some things I'm going to be posting about over the next few months. I'm going to read the party platforms for the Republicans, Libertarians, and Constitution Party and give you the summary and my take. I'm going to review a few movies coming out as I go and see them. I'm going to give you that Jonathan Edwards commentary that I promised below. I'll also talk about books I've read. I'll have other topics, of course, but I'm really excited about these topics.

As for a posting schedule, now that our computer is well enough to last until taxes are filed and returns come back, I'll post Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and at least once on the weekend.

Have fun listening to post election analysis!

The Election

It is 6:03 pm. Foxnews just called the following using exit polls:
Score: Bush 34; Kerry 3

I'm going to switch to Salem Radio for a while.

6:10 pm. Hugh Hewitt encouraged Minnesotans to get out and vote. They have a first time voter, Kyle, on line. A first time voter. Sounds like he voted for Bush. Go Kyle!

6:16 pm. I am not particularly interested in the Senate Races; and I'm not too sure who is running right now. If anyone reading is interested in a particular race, I'll look it up or track it for you. Just give me a write.

6:25 pm. Hugh is talking about Tommy boy in SD. If one of my folks out there check in, provide a little commentary on how your friends feel. I know that Mom out in SD doesn't like him. Understatement of the year. Other Senate races of interest that I forgot about (my bad) are Illinois and also Georgia. Republicans picked up in Georgia.

6:30 pm. Hugh gave us a reminder to check out the Northern Alliance. They're down at the local Salem affiliate (or will be soon). AM 1280. Give it a listen.

6:35 pm. Foxnews just called West Virginia. Bush 39 Kerry 3

6:37 pm. Back to Hugh (more interesting right now the Fox) had some Minnesota callers in. They have had some good points. We need to also win the popular vote as well as the electoral vote.

To Minnesotans, if you havn't voted get out and do so!

Some commentary on voting, while we're in a lull. It has been 75 years since women were given the right to vote. This was a hard fought win. And so, on my way home from work today, I was thinking of the powerful thing it is to vote. My Grandpa's mother, Lulu, died before women got the vote. How powerful is this, women? Who in your families have voted? I got confirms from Becky and Hermionygonzo that they both voted. My own dearest Mom voted. My Granny voted. I'm fairly sure my Aunts and Grandma in Illinois have voted, but I don't have a confirm. But, those of us in our 20's and 30's, are moms have always been able to vote. Our grandmothers have always been able to vote. But, go back one more generation, and we should start feeling very fortunate. A moment of silence for those who have gone before us without the right to vote.

6:48 pm. My Josh just brought me Subway! What a great husband!

7:03 pm. To Hermionygonzo: In MN, if you're in line at 8pm, you get the vote.

New results:
Alabama Bush
Maine, Maryland, Mass., New York Kerry

Bush 48 Kerry 74

It looks like Fox is adding some to their tally that haven't been called, but merely projected. I'm keeping track of those called.

Gay marriages and civil unions banned in Ohio.

7:14 pm Foxnews
Kerry Illinois
Bush South Carolina

Kerry 95 Bush 56

Per Hermionygonzo: Good point. The Evangelical Protestant church is a factor. But what we’re looking at is not just the EFC. Actually, I really don’t keep track of the Free Church. Basically, what that term refers to is the people who refer to themselves as "Born Again Christians." Mostly they go to similar non-litergical churches, though I do think that the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church would probably fall into this category. Most of these people are pro-life, and vote for traditional heterosexual family values. They are the type of people that listen to Focus on the Family and other conservative think tanks. Basically, these people, like me, consider themselves in a culture war. They want the ability to pray in schools. They don't want to have to explain sex to their kids too early. They want to be able to share the gospel with others. Very radical liberals have hopefully awaken a sleeping beast.

Per Foxnews, Bush is wining the popular vote with 56%.

7:35 pm. Alan Keyes lost the Senate race in IL.
5 million to 3 million Bush on top popular vote.
Oklahoma Bush
Tennessee Bush
Virginia Bush
102 Bush 94 Kerry.
Info from Foxnews

We're going to keep track of Fox news for a while. Sorry to Hugh Hewitt. Not that he'll take this one personally. I'll switch back in a few hours when the action slow down. I'm going to take a quick break to see if there is any action with the Northern Alliance. Be back in a few.

7:46 pm A special thanks to Josh. I guess this is what I get for being a very good sport during baseball. Not that I hate baseball; 7 days a week is a little much for me, and I stuck it out. Josh is keeping up with which states are called, and also the popular vote. What a guy!

States with 10+ votes left:
New Jersey

States with 20+ votes left:

Rhode Island Kerry.
Bush 102 Kerry 98

7:57 pm So far Fox says that 77% of Minnesota voters decided a month ago. 5% decided today. Voters here are saying it’s a good economy, that the war is going badly, and that they disapprove of Bush.

Now, my dearest Mom listens to WCCO Radio. And they have a call in poll from 3am to 5am each Monday before the election. She was saying that Bush has consistantly won. This poll called 200, Ventura's election, and also the 2002 election. So, perhaps there is still hope for a Republican victory here.

8:05 pm
Kansas Bush
Nebraska Bush
North Dakota Bush
South Dakota Bush (thanks family!)
Texas Bush
Wyoming Bush
New Jersey Kerry
156 Bush 113 Kerry

24 states left to call.

Bush leads in Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Florida, trails in Missouri, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania.

Our sympathies to Hugh Hewitt: Kerry has 10 states and DC; a slim chance that Kerry could take as many as 15, per Josh.

107,000 for Alan Keyes, the Democrat has over 1,000,000

7 States are too close to call!

This is exciting!

So, here’s my little commentary on other races. I voted for John Kline. And I did follow the Fraters and wrote in Scott Johnson for unopposed judicial races.

With 1% of precincts in, Bush is leading in MN; 52%!

8,828,061 to 7,328,863 million Bush is up in the popular vote.

Josh is very disappointed because no one is saying anything stupid. I must say that I concur to an extent. But I learned to appreciate watching votes come in, thanks to the Kevin-O-Meister's first state house run.

8:25, polls have been closed here in Minnesota for a while. So, we're also going to start listening for local elections, primarily Congressional races. We have a slight lull in the action.

State of Florida: 65% support the measure saying that parents need to be notified if minor children want to get an abortion! Pro life victory!

8:33pm Louisiana Bush
Bush 165; Kerry 113

Per Foxnews; Bush is leading New Mexico. Great news!

Some more commentary back to Evangelical Christian questions. I hate sounding like a conspiracy theorist. However, a lot of Conservative Christians feel like there is a culture war going on. First off, there is a trend in churches moving away from Orthodox Christianity. When I say Orthodox Christianity, I'm talking about those who believe in such statements of faith as the Apostles Creed, and generally take an inerrant or close to inerrant view of the Bible. Conservative Christians feel under attack by those with unorthodox views. Some of the threat comes from those who add elements to Christianity such as godess worship.

The traditional Christian point of view is this:
All of mankind are sinners deserving of eternal damnation in Hell (don't you love that term; very descriptive).
Because mankind are deserving of eternal damnation; God sent His son, Jesus, into the world as a sacrafice for our sins.
If people acknowledge their sinfulness, repent of their sins, which means that they will leave their life of sin with the help of the Holy Spirit, and ask God to forgive them of their sins for the sake of Jesus. Then, upon death or rapture, the repentant soul will join God in Heaven.

North Dakota: Marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Taking a quick break to publish.

Mississippi Bush
Utah Bush
Bush 176; Kerry 113

Interesting is that Delaware was called earlier for Kerry, but Bush is leading there right now. I'm not changing my count because Fox hasn't changed their designation.

Back to Christian values:
Since the church is splitting between the orthodox and the new age; there is a bit of a culture war in the church. No wonder the conservatives feel like there is a huge problem with traditional values. As conservatives often feel that there is not a voice for them in places where they often found a platform, namely, church; they are starting to express their voice in the ballot. Some of these people are conservatives who voted the union line with the Democrats. Some of these people are farmers who voted the rural line with the Deomcrats.

Now, some may say, if they do not like their church; they should leave. Leaving a church is just as hard as leaving a poltical party. And it is easier to vote for the opposite candidate then it is to change churches.

Break to publish.

9:15 pm
Bush Arkansas
Bush Missouri
Bush Montana
Bush 196; Kerry 113

18 States left and this is going to be exciting because there are some key states coming up. Florida, California, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa.

Back to the Evangelicals:
The question is how to express their values? Some of the things Christians fear is that they will be unable to teach their children about sex; that they will not be able to teach their children about rights to life; that they will not be able to teach their children truth about the Bible. They do not want a big conflict between what is being taught at home and what is being taught at school. And, a reasonable person might say, "Why should there be a difference? Why should some of these issues be discussed, or discussed at a grade school level?"

And when various statistics say that between 1 and 10 percent of the population is homosexual; and perhaps up to 40% of the population is Conservative Christian, it seems strange that there is such a disparity in media coverage of issues. This is just evidence that perhaps there is truth to the theory that the squeeky wheel gets the oil. I am not condemning the homosexuals for the way they campaign for their rights. On the contrary, others should be as vocal and well organized. I give them credit for reaching the magnitude of people that they get the message out to.

Basically, the big problem that the conservative Christians have is that they feel unheard. Some may say that they have been heard in the past; but the culture has changed so much in my short life. When you talk to the average conservative Christian, they will say a few things that are surprising to a liberal voice. We do not hate homosexuals, we do not hate abortionists, we do not hate heretics (well, maybe the heretics). We will be among the first in line to extend a hand to help people out. We can work and live with people that we disagree with. We just want some respect, and not to be called unintelligent.


I think one of the things that Evangelical Christians need to do is to come up with arguments apart from "the Bible says" to back up their political beliefs. For example, abortion. Yes, the Bible says that murder is wrong. Let us get more basic. I would argue that a woman has the right to do what she wants with her body. However, what does one define as a person’s body? I would argue that a unique individual is defined by a unique set of DNA. This gives not the mother with property rights over what to do about an unborn child, but the unborn child. Also, from an atheist point of view: Atheists believe that this life is all we’ve got. How dare someone take away the one and only chance a unique person has to live and enjoy their life?

9:50 quick update on Delaware: It is a Kerry State. no change in electoral vote counts.

10 pm:
States too close to call:
New Hampshire
New Mexico

Pennsylvania Kerry
Bush 196 Kerry 134

California, Oregon, and Washington are now closed. These will probably put Kerry ahead again tonight.

10:00 pm:
States too close to call:
New Hampshire
New Mexico

Idaho, Bush
Bush 200; Kerry 134

I have never thought that I would put California as too close to call! Of the 16 states left to call, 13 are too close! What excitement! What drama! I’ll be up for a while. Thanks to Julie for letting me take off tomorrow!

Washington Kerry
Bush 200; Kerry 144

McCain will be representing AZ again in the Senate. (I guess there are interesting Senate races, after all.)

California voted in favor of taxpayer funding for stem cell research.

Florida: ACLU filed suit in Miami Dade and Broward Counties because the powers that be did not put some absentee ballots in the mail until Sunday. They'd like this deadline extended until November 12. As I am tempted to roll my eyes, this was just a dumb move by the absentee ballot mailing people.

Arizona Bush
Bush 210; Kerry 144

There was a mistake in the Foxnews reporting of the Flordia suit. It was filed in Miami Dade and Broward, not Palm Beach. I have fixed the situation and linked to the ACLU site.

Also, the following states have banned homosexual marriages:

Fox still reports the following states as too close to call:
New Hampshire
New Mexico

These other states still have not been called:
New Mexico

11:05pm Still no change in the Presidential Election. Other networks are calling Florida, but the Foxnews people are going with caution. Bush does lead in Florida; and that is how other networks are calling it. I will keep my results in line with what Foxnews has.

According to the Star Tribune:
Minnesota Congressional Races:
District 1: with 34% of the precincts reporting, Gutknecht
District 2: with 60% of the precincts reporting, Kline
District 3: with 93% of the precincts reporting, Ramstad
District 4: with 87% of the precincts reporting, McCollum
District 5: with 69% of the precincts reporting, Sabo
District 6: too close to call
District 7: with 31% of the precincts reporting, Peterson
No other news to report.

California Kerry
Oregon Kerry
Florida Bush (98% of the precincts are in, I'm going to call it)
Bush 237 Kerry 207

Colorado Bush
Bush 246 Kerry 207

It's time to go back to the radio. It's been more of the same on TV, so I'm listening to the Northern Alliance and Hugh Hewitt on AM 1280, The Patriot. I could do pretty links here, but I'm getting tired. I'll fix this tomorrow morning.

Remember with Minnesota, outstate Minnesota hasn't been counted yet. This could make a difference.

Hewitt has a good question going from a caller. Not very many people know about the electoral college. Since I've been watching elections for a while, I remember my 4th grade teacher's lesson on electoral votes. For those not as fortunate as me, The Federal Register has a great site about the electoral college and voting.

People are calling in to Hewitt saying that Thune is still ahead in South Dakota. I, too, have my doubts that he will actually win, but Mom in South Dakota has her hopes and she called in pretty happy about Thune tonight.

Fox called Ohio for Bush with 87% in! I hope that I will not have to take this back later tonight! According to my Excel electoral vote counter, Bush 266; Kerry 207 (I am giving Kerry all of Maine, and others have not done so).

My poor husband has been asleep for two hours. So I just gave him the good news about Ohio and Florida.
Minnesota Congressional District 5: Kennedy with 53%.

I must say that this does not surprise me. Patty Wetterling was not prepared to run for congress. In a couple of years, with preparation, she will be a formidable apponent. It just doesn't seem like she is educated about issues. Also, Jack Welsh did not help.

The Associated Press is calling Minnesota for Kerry, but I'm still joining the Northern Alliance in optomism. We may deliver Minnesota for Bush, yet.

Thune is up with 84%, but we still haven't counted the reservations yet; so watch out. Tommy boy still may get in.

Well, what was Foxnews expect? Of course this is not the year of the young voter. It is never the year of the young voter, unless your Ventura in Minnesota in 1998. No, the candidates are not going to talk about "relavent" issues to youth. But, wait, maybe they do. Perhaps it is the youth who do not see how relavent some of these things are. Do the young people really want to pay higher Social Security Taxes? Do the young people really want to pay for Socialized Health Care? Do the young people REALLY want to give up our sovereignty (I'm sure this is spelled wrong, but I have a learning disability, and the computer thinks that spell check is a virus) to the whims of the UN. The UN, by the way, has a lot more dictator and anti democratic states then they do Democracies. Plus, most young people don't care. Now, no offence to Hermionegonzo or The Twin or The Twin's friends who came to church on Sunday. They were all informed. And they all seemed like the voting type. I'm not sure why people were expecting a huge turnout. After all, P.Diddy, Demi Moore's kept man Ashton, and Leo, are not all that, as far as influence.

Alaska Bush
Minnesota Kerry
Bush 268; Kerry 217

12:14 am, Thanks to Hermionegonzo for her comments on CNN. For me, TV has become too repetitive, so I'm listening to talk radio. Hermionegonzo, would you give a run down on how some of these states are being called on CNN:

Hewitt is reporting that Bush is ahead in IA with 86% of the vote in.

12:19 am, I'd like to give a special thanks to Hermionegonzo. What a great sister! She comments on my blog late at night when she has school tomorrow. She gently mocks my excitement in following some of Foxnews's calls when CNN has something different! How great!

Daschel is back at a 3000 vote lead according to CNN? Too busy typing to hear. I'm trying to keep the radio noise at a minimum so Josh doesn't wake up.

12:30 am, there is some discussion on whether or not Kerry will concede and when. You know, I would rather that the election ends tonight/this morning. I don't think the US can afford another Florida. It's my guess that it will be 3am before anyone says anything.

IA, 96% in, Bush has the lead. He's about 7,000 up
NM, unsure of the % in, but Bush has a 5,000 lead.
In MN, there is a 4.5% gap, Kerry ahead; 73% reporting. Bush would have to get 2/3 of the remaining vote to get MN, and this is unlikely.
Now Thune is up 5000 in SD. There was a bit of a mistake on Hewitt/Northern Alliance a few minutes ago.

12:45 am. Thanks to Hermionegonzo. It looks like my count and CNN's count are different because OH, FL, and a couple of others.

CNN called MN. But, I called that a bit ago. No change in my count.

Mitch from Shot in the Dark make a good analysis of MN. Kerry had to play defence here. We've turned pretty Republican lately. During my first election (1996), we had only 2 Republican Congressmen. Now, we have 4. We have a conservative Republican governor. We have genuinely moved right. Kerry is not that secure here. In two years, the Dayton campaign will be interesting.

12:55 am: Captain Ed (link to follow) has just called Iowa. So, as far as the Foxnews/Northern Alliance/Hugh Hewitt/Blonde Liz calls go, Bush has won.

Iowa Bush
Bush 276, Kerry 217

Now for the statistic that Josh has been wanting:
Kerry has taken 15 states and DC thus far; the 10 state call was wrong.

In SD: 90% in Thune is up with 6000. He is the likely winner.

As of 1am, Foxnews called Senate race for Thune.

A nod towards Hermionegonzo's comment on Ohio beint to close to call: Foxnews thinks that 100,000 votes is a secure lead, considering 94% is in.

As of 1:10am, it sounds like people on Hewitt's show don't think Kerry will concede tonight. I'll probably stay up another hour or so. I've checked my results against Foxnews, and at this point, the only state that I have called that Foxnews hasn't is Iowa. According to CNN Nevada, New Mexico, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michgan, and Ohio have not been called yet. I stand my picks at this point.

The last post and the analysis:
I have not called the following:
New Mexico

As you see above, I have called the election from Bush. I do not necessarily think I know more then the CNN pollsters. But, with provisional and military ballots, Kerry will have to win 75% of these votes. It is NOT going to happen, Kerry. I will probably hear New Mexico called tonight.

This will not be litigated significantly. Oh, sure, someone will file suit, but we are talking about huge margins; nothing like in 2000. It would be near death to the Democrats to throw a fit. Kerry needs to concede sometime on November 3rd. He's lost. Also, this election has been so long. We've been watching this stuff for almost 2 years. And the American people are not going to put up with this.

John Edwards is speaking. They are going to wait for another night to call it. What freaks!!!!!!! And they are going to count the provisionals in Ohio. This is going to go on forever. I am so angry. I'm just too tired to fight it. This is very bad news. What horrible sports. It is 120,000 freaking votes people!

I am shocked.

I do not believe that this is going to be another 2000. They should know better.

I am disappointed.

I would love to expand on this, but I'll wait until the talk shows tomorrow. I am going to bed. Gotta love mono! Thanks for reading! Come back again!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Message From Kevin Knight

The Kevin-O-Meister would like to remind voters that because of the high voter turnout, Republicans are to vote today, November 2nd; and Democrats are to vote tomorrow, November 3rd. Please advise.

A little introduction on what I find interesting in politics

I am pro-life, pro-gun, pro-military. I favor low taxes and efficiency in government. I am pro-Israel. I am against suppression of speech in general. If people start suppressing Christians and Conservatives, especially Conservative Christians, they will not be around to stand up for the rights of others. However, I believe in being respectful in expressing thought and religious beliefs. Sarcasm is welcome. I believe campaigning period should be short and sweet. I am sick of this election. But, I love Election Day. I believe that the government should not be involved in sanctioning marriage. I know I make some of my friends and family mad about this. I have friends on both sides of the issue and for various reasons. However, one of the only ways to make everyone happy is to acknowledge the truth: marriage is a religious institution not a government institution. I understand that homosexuals want legal recognition not only for family reasons, but for estate planning reasons. However, my fear is that churches, such as mine, that take a traditional stance toward marriage will be forced to sanction homosexual marriages. If the state is taken out of marriages, then churches would be independent on deciding who should be married. I am in favor of states rights. I am against judges imposing beliefs on others. I am young enough to be idealistic, but smart enough to acknowledge that I am idealistic.

I am interested in politics. It affects the long run condition of our lives. Regardless of who wins, the sun will still rise tomorrow. And, in the short run, nothing much will change in our daily lives. However, we will be different in four years, regardless of who wins today (or next month). I’m not educated enough to make predictions on which state will turn in which direction. The only thing that I am sure of is that I want Bush to win.

This said, there are a few interesting things that will be going on tonight and also in the next four years. Tonight, it will be interesting to see at what percent of precincts reporting will be enough for networks to call a state. In the past, it was between 1 and 3% of the precincts needed to call a state. My guess is that they will wait a little longer to make the call, especially for Ohio and Florida.

I would also like to explore the next four years. I want to explore what will happen if Kerry wins, if Bush wins, and some things that Republicans need to do regardless of the outcome.

If Kerry wins, Hillary can kiss her chance of running for president good-bye. Kerry will run for re-election; and Edwards is young enough to run after Kerry. Apart from the obvious social policy, foreign policy, and economic policy changes, we can also expect some further suppression of conservative and Christian speech. Those who, like me, believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, will have some of their speech rights taken away. And I’m not just talking about certain passages against homosexuality and other sexual practices. The New Testament is pretty clear that the only way to get to Heaven is by faith in Jesus. This statement appears to be very closed-minded, and will be suppressed either through law or through social pressure. We will also experience a greater amount of judicial activism. This is a welcome thing for liberals.
If Bush wins, Hillary will run in ’08. This means that the Republicans will have to come up with someone good to beat her. Most women are not bothered by the idea of a female president. And I know a lot of women who, when given the chance, vote for the female candidate regardless of the issues. If Bush wins, and the Republican Party is not united behind a charismatic candidate, we can look forward to Hillary. Other things will not change that much. We all know what Bush’s economic policies, social policies, and foreign policies are. We’ve lived with them for four years. We can expect four more years.

Regardless, the Republican Party is in a quandary. One of the issues that needs to be addressed is how we feel about foreign born citizens running for President. Arnold seems to be the most charismatic person in the party, and if there is not a Constitutional amendment allowing for foreign born citizens to run for President, we will probably see him in the Senate, if the opportunity cost is not too big. Another problem is there are people elected under the Republican banner who are consistently unfaithful to the Republican platform. There will need to be a purging of the ranks to get rid of people who do not support the Republican Party platform. If this does not happen soon, many conservatives and libertarians will feel discouraged and may either vote third party or not at all. A third issue is who is next? If not Arnold, then who? It will be interesting to watch to see which Republican Governors, Senators, and Congressmen start making frequent public appearances in states other then their home state. Regardless of who is the victor tomorrow, the process of selecting a successor should start fairly soon. Finally, Republicans need to come up with a strategy on how to outreach to Libertarians and Constitutional Party members. Both parties value personal freedoms. Some Christians see the Constitution Party as a more godly alternative to the Libertarian Party because of pro-life and homosexual marriage stances. The point is that there are a lot of people who are discouraged with the Republican Party. If no effort is made by the Republican Party to outreach to third party voters, I think we could easily loose the next Presidential Elections.

To sum up, Hillary’s political future is determined tonight, free speech and free practice of religion could be questioned in the next four years, and the Republicans need to start working on the future.

On an administrative note: I will begin Live Blogging around 7pm Central Time tonight.

Monday, November 01, 2004

New links, etc.

Thanks to Dr. Banaian!

New to this site is my list of links. Please visit these blogs and sites. Keep in mind that I do link to conservative and libritairian places on the web. But, this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

Apart from the conservative sites that I know and love, I have linked to people with different takes, namely my sisters. Yes, I come from a family of diverse views. You can’t expect such a faithful conservative to come from an entirely conservative family, now can you? Not to insult anyone I love. Most of my family now votes a split ticket. (I like to think I had something to do with that.)

Finally, here’s the plug for Hugh Hewitt. I bought his book during the “I’m going to vote for the Libertarians from now on” phase I went through this summer. I am now pretending to be realistic, at least through November 3rd. Buy it, it is a good read. Share it with people. Remember that changing political parties is just as hard as changing churches. (And changing churches is very hard.)

And the good news is that I’m taking Wednesday off, so I’ll be up most of the night. No, seriously.