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February 6, 2006
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Paris Burning!
The New Face of the Democrats?
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Enough Is Enough

Well, I don't have much time to write this evening. It's getting a little late, and I need to get to bed, so I'll keep this pretty brief.

Congratulations to the Steelers

Well, it was a disappointing afternoon for Seahawks fans. The Steelers made the big plays and got some help from the officials (in my opinion, enough to change the outcome of the game, but maybe that's just sour grapes on my part). So, congratulations to Pittsburgh and the Steelers for winning the SuperBowl today.

The Seahawks had opportunities to win the game. They moved the ball well (against the Steeler defense that was supposed to completely shut them down) and played (for most of the game) excellent defense. The 'Hawks just couldn't finish with a score on too many drives. The officials took a couple of touchdowns away from the Seahawks on calls that were pretty questionable, if you ask me, and they gave the Steelers a touchdown when I really thought the 'Hawks had held. It's maddening when the officiating determines so many big plays in such a big game.

The Steelers, on the other hand, were able to hit on just a couple of plays that really clinched the outcome for them. The one long touchdown run at the beginning of the second half, and the "gadget" play for a touchdown later in the game were perhaps the difference. It was a heartbreaking way for the Seahawks to lose, but they had a great run, and I enjoyed watching them play this season.

All I can say is just wait until next year! Go Seahawks!

Defending Denmark, Defending Free Speech

On a more serious note - and this something I take very seriously.

The Islamists are at it again. They've burned down the Norwegian and Danish embassies in Syria and the Danish embassy in Lebanon was set on fire.

Why? Over some cartoons.

Yes. Cartoons. (Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the post and links. She has much more on this).

My ancestors came to the United States from Scandinavia (specifically Norway), and  my wife's did as well. She has fairly close relatives (cousins) living in Denmark still, so I find it rather disturbing to see their embassies being attacked and burned.

Now, I understand Muslims being upset at cartoons that they feel disrespect their religion. After all, people disrespect my religion all the time. I defend the right and even the reasonableness of Muslims to protest against the cartoons. I don't have any problems with them holding marches, boycotting Danish and Norwegian products, making speeches, demanding apologies. That's all fine by me - after all, I believe that they have a right to free speech, just as much as I do.

On the other hand, destruction of property and violence (or threats of violence) cross the line. Enough is enough. Muslims want me to respect their religion and traditions. Fine. I am willing to do so. At the same time, they must respect the rights and traditions of others. It's a two way street. They cannot demand respect, but at the same time not be willing to give it.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution says this:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The right to freedom of speech, and of religion, is guaranteed to me by this statement and is encoded in U.S. law. That right includes the right to follow any religion I choose, or none at all, and it also includes the right to criticize or, yes, ridicule and insult those same religions. Other "western" countries (those in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and so on) have similar rights, though the particulars of what is considered protected speech differ.

Muslims must understand that when I am in the United States it is my right, and one that I am very serious about defending, to speak freely about pretty much any topic I choose, including their religion. If they don't like it, that is just too bad for them, and threatening me with violence on account of what I say is against the law (and see Revised Code of Washington 9A.46.020).

Finally, I think it is perhaps instructive to examine the response of Christians to truly offensive and disgusting insults to our religion (like the Piss Christ "art" that I linked to above) versus the response of Muslim extremists to the cartoons originally published in a Danish newspaper.

Here's the Muslim extremist response:

This Reuters photo from Spiegel Online shows rioters in Syria set fire to the Danish embassy.

And here is what the Christian response should be, but too often isn't:

You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48 NIV

Perhaps the Muslims rioting, threatening death, and destroying property over some silly cartoons in an obscure Danish newspaper aren't living up to the standards of their religion, just as Christians often don't. I am not a scholar of the Koran, nor a Muslim, so I can't say. But I do know that, while many Christians were outraged and disgusted by the Piss Christ art (I hesitate to call it "art"), there was no rioting, and I have not heard of any threats of death against the artist. (And I looked for them). Yup, some people have taken extreme offense to what they perceive to be blasphemous artwork, and such artwork has been vandalized in some instances, but in nowhere have I seen any Christian response to extremely offensive art that was anywhere close to the Muslim extremist's response to the Danish cartoons.

Draw whatever conclusions you choose. Muslims claim that Jesus is a prophet in their religion as well, but they sure don't seem to have heard anything He said.

You know, in my opinion, a little tolerance goes a long way. Perhaps it would be for the best if media in the West would avoid inciting Muslims, and on the other hand, Muslims would respect Western laws and customs, most especially our rights and laws vis-ΰ-vis free speech. If that had been the case before the cartoons were published, then none of this uproar would even be happening. I'm not sure it's possible, but I'll be praying for peace this week.


The New Face of the Democrats?

Greetings, earthlings! Once I again, it has been quite some time since I've written anything, and it's likely that my usual rate of writing (as in, not very often) will continue. I haven't been inspired to write for quite some time, but tonight I have a few minutes to put together a few more-or-less random thoughts and links.

Super (Bowl) Seahawks!

Well, as long last, my team is in the SuperBowl. It's been great fun watching the Seahawks this year: Shaun Alexander racking up the yards and touchdowns; Matt Hasselbeck making great decisions at quarterback and throwing some fabulous passes; awesome catches by the wide outs and tight ends; Lofa Tatupu and the defense making great plays when it counted. All around it has been a fantastic season.

I had the opportunity to go to a game at Qwest field earlier in the season, and watched the Hawks crunch the Arizona Cardinals. Everyone says how loud Qwest field is - I can verify it. Whenever the opposing team's offense is at the line in their snap count, the crowd goes absolutely bananas. You can't hear anything but the roar of the crowd. Texas A&M's traditions aside, Seahawks fans are, without a doubt, the 12th man at Seahawks home games.

Whether the Hawks win or lose in the Super Bowl, I've enjoyed watching them this season. I hope that they play their very best next Sunday, and that the game is fun and exciting to watch - especially for Seattle fans! Go Hawks!

What Is Happening to the Democratic Party?

I know that there are a lot of people unhappy with the Bush administration (though I'm not one of them), but do the Democrats honestly think that the American people are going to be voting Republicans out of office, given the strange shenanigans of so many leaders of the Democrats lately?

Some of the cases I've noted:

  • John Kerry and Ted Kennedy writing articles at far left blog Daily Kos, associating themselves with some of the most vile anti-Bush, anti-Republican, even anti-American diatribes ever to see the light of day. (Thanks to Michelle Malkin). If Kerry was considering at all running again in 2008, he just tubed his chances with that bad decision.
  • John Kerry and Ted Kennedy (two peas in a pod, if there ever were) calling for a filibuster of Judge Alito, an eminently qualified jurist.
  • Nancy Pelosi saying that “I would not want any president — Democrat or Republican — to have the expanded power the administration is claiming in this case,” regarding the NSA wiretapping of international calls originating from or going to suspected Al Qaeda members or associates. <sarcasm>Yeah, that stance will get people believing that the Democrats are serious about defending the country. Not!</sarcasm>
  • Harry Reid claiming that the Bush administration is doing a poor job of disaster preparedness because it is too distracted by political problems. And where do you think those political problems that the administration is dealing with might originate, Senator? It wouldn't be the Democrats, now, would it? Oh yeah, it is.
  • Last, but not least - Cindy Sheehan cavorting with socialist Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez at the "World Social Forum" in Caracas. You just can't make this kind of stuff up.

This picture comes from Reuters and the MSNBC article linked above. From the article:

Sheehan also noted that singer and activist Harry Belafonte recently called Bush “the greatest terrorist in the world,” and said, “I agree with him. George Bush is responsible for killing tens of thousands of innocent people.”

Mrs. Sheehan is also considering running against incumbent California Democratic senator Diane Feinstein. As a Republican, all I can say is, please, Mrs. Sheehan, run! It will help expose the whole country to the loony left, and wake the country up to what the Democratic Party is becoming.

At one time, I had some sympathy for Cindy Sheehan, but I really don't any more. The loss of her son was tragic - something no parent should ever have to face - but her continued venomous speech, not only against President Bush but against the U.S. and the country as a whole, has left me feeling nothing but disgust with her. She is simply a tool of the far left - fascists, socialists and communists hiding behind anti-war rhetoric.

I hate to say it, but it really is true, I think. When so many of their leaders seem to be going completely off their rockers, Hillary Clinton is starting actually look like a good choice for the Democrats. Urk! Gag! Wow. When Bill Clinton's wife seems like the reasonable choice, you know the Democrats have fallen far. When will they come to their senses?

Well, that's all I have for now. I'll write again whenever... See you then.


Paris Burning!

Well, it's been ages (again) since I've written anything. Sometimes I wonder why I keep on doing this, since I hardly ever write anything anymore, and hardly anyone ever reads what I write. I must admit writing here is somewhat cathartic for me at times, so that must be the reason I keep it up. I find that when my work-a-day world gets to be a major headache (which is a lot of the time lately), writing on this blog helps me feel better. "Pete's Journal" is an apt name; I don't blog here, in the strict sense of daily commentary and updates. It really is an online journal, where I write whatever crosses my mind whenever I feel like doing it.

Almost a month ago now (October 8th) I hit my two-year blogiversary (a goofy way of saying I've kept this up now for over two years!). So, I guess I'm somewhat hooked on it.

So here's the latest: work has been (as usual) taking up a lot of my time and emotional energy. The project I'm working on is really difficult: huge and complicated, with people working on it in three dispersed geographical locations. The planning (IMHO) hasn't been very good and neither has the requirements gathering and analysis. On my part, the architecture I did for the subsystem I'm working on (by "subsystem" I mean a major part of the overall project - on the order of 50-100K lines of code, maybe 100 classes, around 25 user interface screens) didn't work out that well. The design was a bit radical, and I was hoping that it would save us a lot of development time and effort, but it didn't turn out that way. The code works OK, but the hoped-for savings in time and complexity didn't materialize at all, and the whole thing has turned into a slog through the mud just to meet the basic requirements. On the upside, it's some pretty advanced stuff which may turn into one or more patents for me and another engineer that worked on it (if the software is patented, then I may get some cash out of it, even though I don't own the intellectual property).

Because I've been working so many hours, and my commute is so long (yeah, more whining about that, too), I haven't had much time to write - same story, different day.

Random Stuff I've Been Following, Kind Of

So, what's up in France? I thought the French enlightened attitude meant that they weren't going have any trouble with Islamic extremism. Actually, this is too serious for snarkiness. I really hope that the violence ends soon - innocent people get caught up in stuff like this. I also hope that more people on both sides of the Atlantic start taking Islamic extremism more seriously. The extremists are eating away at Islam like a cancer. I'm afraid of what is going to happen if moderate and liberal (in the classical sense of the word) Muslims don't regain control of their religion. A full-blown clash of civilizations wouldn't be good for anyone.

I see that Michelle Malkin has a new book out that looks interesting and funny. It's called Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild. I'm looking forward to reading it - perhaps I'll ask my wife to buy it for me for Christmas or my birthday. Given the nastiness that some leftist hate mongers have said and written about Ms. Malkin (which I've commented on before) and other minority Republicans, I suspect it was a pretty easy book for her to write. Perhaps she'll do a book tour like she did for In Defense of Internment, and I can get an autographed copy of her new book, too!

The Pajamas Media website is featuring Michelle today in a profile, with a nice picture and interview.

Another of my favorite bloggers/writers also has a new book out. If you haven't read anything by James Lileks, leave my lame web site now, go to www.lileks.com/bleats/ and start reading stuff by someone that actually knows how to write. Lileks' new book is called Mommy Knows Worst. It's about the crazy advice that the (ahem) experts from years past gave to parents on raising kids. Of course, now that we're in such an enlightened age, parents don't do weird stuff anymore, right? Riiight.

So, President Bush has nominated another candidate for the Supreme Court. I have to say that I'm glad that Ms. Miers' nomination was withdrawn. I haven't paid that much attention to the whole issue, but I was very surprised that someone with no judicial experience at all was nominated, no matter what her other qualifications were. Judge Alito seems to me to be a much better choice - and it doesn't bother me at all that he has the leftists' panties all in a bunch. In fact, I see that as evidence that he's the right guy for the job.

I'm sad to see that Rosa Parks has passed away. She sparked a movement - still ongoing - that has made and is making America a better place. Racism and racial prejudice are ugly and evil, and I'm glad that the U.S. has made a great deal of progress in getting rid of it. Clearly, there's still a long way to go. When you read some of the hypocritical racist harangues of some leftists towards minority conservatives (see Michelle Malkin's blog for some disturbing examples), it's clear that racism is not bound by political ideology. It just needs to stop, no matter where it comes from, or why.

What are the Senate Democrats doing? Why in the world did they force the Senate into a closed-door session to talk about pre-war WMD intelligence? It's just crazy. Here's a little tidbit of intelligence for the Democrats in the Senate: it's too late! The war has already happened! Playing the blame game at this point is worse than useless - it's disgusting party politics that could ultimately lead to failure in Iraq. If the U.S. military were to pull out now, Iraq very well could collapse into chaos and/or civil war, which is exactly what Al Qaeda wants. Success in Iraq, and the whole of the Middle East for that matter, is too important to be messing around with. Political stunts like the one the Democrats pulled this week are not helpful. They really ought to grow up.

Well, that's it for now. I've got to get to bed. I don't know when my next post will be - but that's par for the course!


Prayers for the Gulf Coast

I'm still incredibly busy at work, so my postings are (as usual) sporadic at best, but I had to get a quick note up regarding the situation on the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. By now, everyone has heard the story. The worst of the hurricane missed New Orleans (although it was still hit incredibly hard), but after the strongest part of the storm has passed by, some of the levees broke, flooding and ravaging the city.

It looks like much of the Gulf Coast is devastated, with potentially thousands of lives lost, and many, many thousands of lives completely disrupted - homes and belongings destroyed, jobs lost, possibly rampant disease outbreaks. A couple of towns along the Louisiana/Mississippi coast are essentially completely destroyed, with hardly a single intact building still standing.

I've linked to these relief agencies before as responsible organizations that will handle your donation wisely. Now seems like an especially good time to make a donation to World Vision or World Concern. I know people personally that have worked for both of these Christian relief agencies and can attest that they will get help to those most in need. Both agencies have incredible experience getting help to those in need under the most terrible conditions. As an example, my wife's cousin and her husband worked for World Concern in Bangladesh and lived there for many years. They dealt directly with the aftermath of typhoons that hit there - a country with little of the ability to handle disasters that the U.S. has. My point here is that both World Concern and World Vision are agencies that know how to get help to those most in need, in the most disastrous conditions. They are worthy recipients of your donations.

Beyond that, let me suggest that we set aside some time to pray for those impacted by the hurricane and its aftermath. Pray for the engineers and workers that will repair the levees - that the work will go more smoothly and quickly than expected. Pray that the region remains free of disease. Pray for rescue workers - that they will be safe. Pray that those in need will find food and shelter quickly. Pray that the economy of the whole area will get back to normal as soon as possible.

A natural disaster like this reminds me how small and dependent on God I am. We need His blessing. Pray for His blessing on the whole Gulf Coast today.

P.S. Dr. Reynolds (aka Instapundit) as well as several other bloggers on heavily visited sites are linking to lots of places where you can make donations for hurricane relief.

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Revised: 06 Feb 2006 00:35:32 -0800 .