The Rights of Men

By GotDesign
This morning I awoke to the sounds of Bill Bennett's Morning in America. Dr. Bennett was absent and so the program was being hosted by Jerry Boyer (?). One caller stated that he believes that the Roadmap to Peace is a farce. Jerry dissented by asking if the Palestinians had a right to an independent state. To support his position, Jerry quoted the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed....
At first, I tended to agree with Jerry. But the more I thought about it I realized that Jerry is wrong. The Palestinians do not have a right to an independent state. Why not? Because rights are not given, they are earned. Jerry Quoted the Declaration of Independence. Well, the Founding Fathers had to fight to secure those rights that they declared -- no one handed them those rights of which they so eloquently wrote. King George and the British Parliament did not confer those rights on the American colonies. In fact they resisted the colonies' efforts to secure these rights.

Even now, rights are not something that can be given. As I remember (and I may be wrong), the Palestinians have never asked for an independent state. The Palestinians were offered a state as a condition of peace. But what Palestinians truly want is the destruction of Israel. If the Palestinians have pursued statehood, it has been as a tool to be used to secure their ultimate objective -- Jewish destruction. The Palestinians have no right to an independent state without their standing to achieve that right.

The same goes for all "rights." What most people call "rights" are truly privileges. We don't have a right to privacy -- privacy is a privilege of our society. If individual privacy were to endanger the safety of the society, the government of that society would have the responsibility to curtail privacy in order to secure the safety of the people. Roman statesmen Marcus Tullius Cicero once stated that "The safety of the people shall be the highest law." Governments are established to protect its citizens and provide for an ordered society. The people have to wisely establish the rights of man through their governing bodies. The Founding Fathers asserted three general, non-specific rights of mankind within the auspices of the government of the United States -- life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Later, these same Founding Fathers further enumerated the rights of American citizens when they enacted the first 10 amendment to our Constitution -- also known as the Bill of Rights. And even these rights had to be fought for.

Let us remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Or more to the specific point I'm making -- there is no such thing as given rights. They are always purchased with devout struggle. And sometimes with blood.

The Conservative Mind

By GotDesign
Jeffrey Hart wrote a piece recently in the WSJ's Opinion Journal on how Russell Kirk's book "The Conservative Mind" and how Conservative thought has stood the test of the past 5 decades. I highly recommend that you read it. I think it is vital that every Conservative know the underpinnings of his/her philosophy. Check it out. I'd also be interested in your comments regarding Hart's piece.


By GotDesign
I just wanted to pass along a quick quote of an American soldier taken from the article "The Media, The NSA and The Patriot Act" by Clint Van Zandt:
"Freedom. One word but yet countless words could never capture its true meaning or power. For those who have fought for it, freedom has a taste the protected will never know. The biggest outcries of opposition to our cause are from those who have had no military experience and have not had to fight for freedom." (Emphasis added)
Hooah! 'Nuff said.

(HT: Hugh, Counterterrorism Blog)

Case Closed

By GotDesign
Evidence has been brought to light (thanks, Drudge) that all of the hubbub over the Presidential "wiretap" order is merely vile partisan politics. Drudge has unearthed two executive orders -- one signed by President Jimmy Carter and another by President Bill Clinton -- that have authorized similar activities by the NSA and FBI.

On May 23, 1979, then-President Jimmy Carter signed an executive order (EO# 12139) stating that:
the Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order, but only if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section.
This is essentially the same action that President Bush has taken. the only difference I can see is that President Bush has required that the need for the surveillance be reviewed every 45 days to ensure that civil liberties are not infringed upon. President Carter's order does not so stipulate.

On February 9, 1995, President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order # 12949 that authorizes physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes:
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including sections 302 and 303 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 ("Act") (50 U.S.C. 1801, et seq.), as amended by Public Law 103- 359, and in order to provide for the authorization of physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes as set forth in the Act, it is hereby ordered as follows....
EO 12949 provides such authorization for "periods of up to one year," which is even more intrusive than either Carter's or Bush's surveillance authorizations.

One other point should be made. President Bush's authorization limits surveillance to "people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations." The other aforementioned executive orders made no such limitations. So, if anything, President Bush has taken greater steps to protect civil liberties than previous administrations.

One key thread that runs through all of these authorizations is that they stipulate that the purpose for such authorizations is the collection of foreign intelligence. Foreign intelligence means information which points to threats to the sovereignty and security of the United States from foreign powers. These "foreign powers" are no longer as nicely defined as they used to be. In the past we looked to threats from other nations. Now, we must look not only to nations but also to non-national actors such as terrorist organizations. Terrorists work without concern to geographic origin. Therefore, greater efforts much be taken to gather information and form intelligence about these organizations. And guess what? They are currently operating within the United States.

Now, let's see if we actually hear anything about these other authorizations from the MSM. I kinda doubt it.

A Must Read

By GotDesign
Go take a look at this e-mail received at the Mudville Gazette from the father of a soldier killed in Iraq. It is a must read.

(HT: Hugh Hewitt)

Bush Opens Up A Can

By GotDesign
Can I just say that I love President George W. Bush? Can I? His press conference yesterday was fabulous. Not only did he step up and give a great defense for his authorization of NSA monitoring of al-Qaeda-related international calls with one connection within the US, but he also bitch slapped some pesky members of the press. Take, for instance the following exchange:

Q: Thank you, Mr. President. I wonder if you can tell us today, sir, what, if any, limits you believe there are or should be on the powers of a President during a war, at wartime? And if the global war on terror is going to last for decades, as has been forecast, does that mean that we’re going to see, therefore, a more or less permanent expansion of the unchecked power of the executive in American society?

THE PRESIDENT: First of all, I disagree with your assertion of “unchecked power.”

Q: Well –

THE PRESIDENT: Hold on a second, please. There is the check of people being sworn to uphold the law, for starters. There is oversight. We’re talking to Congress all the time, and on this program, to suggest there’s unchecked power is not listening to what I’m telling you. I’m telling you, we have briefed the United States Congress on this program a dozen times.

This is an awesome responsibility to make decisions on behalf of the American people, and I understand that, Peter. And we’ll continue to work with the Congress, as well as people within our own administration, to constantly monitor programs such as the one I described to you, to make sure that we’re protecting the civil liberties of the United States. To say “unchecked power” basically is ascribing some kind of dictatorial position to the President, which I strongly reject.

Q: What limits do you –

THE PRESIDENT: I just described limits on this particular program, Peter. And that’s what’s important for the American people to understand. I am doing what you expect me to do, and at the same time, safeguarding the civil liberties of the country.

What a great response! The whole press conference was like this -- great replies to many stupid questions. I also like the President's response to this question:

Q: Mr. President, in making the case for domestic spying, could you tell us about the planned attacks on the U.S. that were thwarted through your domestic spying plan? And also, on the issue of race, since you brought up the issue of Katrina, 2005 gave us your defense of yourself on race, and some are still not sold on that. In 2006, what are you giving to the nation on the issue of race, as we're looking to the renewal of the Voting Rights Act in 2007 and things of that nature?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, thanks. April, the fact that some in America believe that I am not concerned about race troubles me. One of the jobs of the President is to help people reconcile and to move forward and to unite. One of the most hurtful things I can hear is, Bush doesn't care about African Americans, for example. First of all, it's not true. And, secondly, I believe that -- obviously I've got to do a better job of communicating, I guess, to certain folks, because my job is to say to people, we're all equally American, and the American opportunity applies to you just as much as somebody else. And so I will continue to do my best, April, to reach out.

Now, you talked about -- and we have an opportunity, by the way, in New Orleans, for example, to make sure the education system works, to make sure that we promote ownership. I think it is vitally important for ownership to extend to more than just a single community. I think the more African Americans own their own business, the better off America is. I feel strongly that if we can get people to own and manage their own retirement accounts, like personal accounts and Social Security, it makes society a better place. I want people to be able to say, this is my asset. Heretofore, kind of asset accumulation may have been only a part of -- a single -- a part of -- a segmented part of our strategy. We want assets being passed from one generation to the next. I take pride in this statistic, that more African Americans own a home or more minorities own a home now than ever before in our nation's history, not just African Americans; that's positive.

I still want to make sure, though, that people understand that I care about them and that my view of the future, a bright future, pertains to them as much as any other neighborhood.

The President also was quite humorous. I highly recommend that you go and read the official transcript.

Loose Lips

By GotDesign
Yesterday, the New York Times published an article about a supposed Presidential order signed in 2002 allowing the National Security Agency -- whose mission is to monitor international communications -- to monitor calls originating inside the United States with international destinations. Now, I could spend some time discussing the ramifications of such a move, or the legal merits of the order, or even the methodologies involved. However, there is a more pressing issue -- the leaking of classified information to the press and the presses insistence on publishing these leaks.

This article is just another in the recent series of leaks that have come out in the MSM and I find it despicable. The press was all up in arms about the supposed leak of Valerie Plame's identity though it was not classified information, but they have no compunction against venting any classified information that may portray President Bush in a bad light or damage his foreign policy positions. And the MSM has no problem publishing this information although its disclosure may lead to the death of American intelligence assets in the field.

Something has to be done to staunch the flow of classified information to the MSM and to halt its publication. I would be in favor of enacting a new component of the Patriot Act that would make it a criminal offense to publish classified information. Now I fully understand that the MSM can play an important role in being a whistle blower against legally or morally repugnant activities by the intelligence communities, but I think that such whistle blowing should be vetted through the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. As the Senate is required to provide oversight on intelligence matters, it should be the clearinghouse for such leaks in order to safeguard national intelligence assets.

I also think that DCI Porter Goss needs to throw out the baby with the bath water in order to clean house at the CIA. Stronger measures need to be taken to find and stop leaks of intelligence information. In Tom Clancy's novels, CIA analyst (and future US President) Jack Ryan is credited with creating a method of subtly altering documents so that their specific text and wording will point to that document's origination. Clancy called it a "Canary Trap." We need to be rounding up the loose canaries at the CIA and throughout the intelligence community.

Now, regarding the NYT article, I have no problem with the NSA listening in on demostic calls with an international destination. The NSA would monitor all of these calls and run them through search algorithms using certain keywords -- words or codewords synonymous with terrorist plotting. If these keywords are found then these calls are further scrutinized. When the United States is faced with a non-national enemy -- read "terrorists" -- who has infiltrated the territory of the US and seeks to destroy the government and its people, a greater degree of security is necessary.

UPDATE: Drudge has just posted that this NYT story was released in conjunction with an upcoming book release by an NYT national security reporter. So now we're endangering national security and foreign policy in order to hype book written by a staff reporter? That's a wonderfully moral use of the power of the press. I was listening to Laura Ingraham earlier when said that the NY Times has had this story for over a year without disclosing it. Now we see what they were waiting for -- a chance for one of their own to make some money. Sickening.

More on this from PowerLine.

Fantastic Science

By GotDesign
Those of you who have been reading me for a while will know that I am vehemently opposed to embryonic stem cell research (if not, please read this). But I am a great supporter of the use of adult stem cells in medical research and treatment. To that end, there has been a major scientific breakthrough in, of all places, Louisville, KY.

Researchers at the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center have been able to coax adult stem cells in mice to change into other cell types throughout the body. This is fabulous because it would obviate the need to the morally bankrupt use of embryonic stem cells. Dr. Mariusz Ratajczak had the following to say:
We have found a counterpart for embryonic stem cells in adult bone marrow. This could negate the ethical concerns.
For years, scientists have been making groundbreaking advances in medical science using adult stem cells. At the same time scientists have always held that adult stems cells have the most potential for future medical breakthroughs -- not embryonic stem cells. As soon as the stem cell research team at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center can replicate this success with human adult stem cells, there will be no reason to pursue embryonic stem cells other than to further the agenda of pro-abortion crowd.

This is fabulous news. I would encourage you to support the research of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and similar ventures seeking solutions through adult stem cells. Support life.

Die Santa Die

By GotDesign
This year we have seen a more mainstream effort to end the attacks on the Christian aspects of the Christmas holiday. But we're also seeing some more blatant attacks on Christmas in its secular aspects. A Miami Beach, FL citizen has strung up Santa (HT: Drudge).

Miami Beach resident Ron Stroia took a large Santa doll (photos) and bound its hands and feet together, blindfolded it, and has hanged it in a noose up in a tree in plain sight of all neighborhood residents. Many of Mr. Stroia's neighbors have complained to police and have asked to have it taken down. Police have responded that they cannot remove the bound Santa because Mr. Stroia has a constitutionally-protected right to free speech.

Mr. Stroia obviously received a lump of coal at some point during his youth and still bears the emotional scars thereof. I have served my country in order to protect our Constitutional rights -- free speech included -- but Mr. Stroia's actions are repugnant. While "Free Speech" is protected, the Supreme Court has placed limits on free speech. Personally, I would say that this type of action is tantamount to inciting to riot. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if someone climbed the tree at night and freed Santa.

So let's all take up the cheer, Free Santa! Free Santa!

Couldn't, Shouldn't, Wouldn't

By GotDesign
I remember last year's campaign season and how I said back then that the Democrat Party was not offering any solutions, merely opposition to President Bush and the Republican Party. I said that opposition alone does not a political party make. Without having an alternative plan, it's just loud squawking.

Well, recently DNC chairman Howard Dean has been squawking rather loudly about Iraq. In an interview given on San Antonio, TX radio station WOAI, Dean stated that the "idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong." In fact, Dean is a prominent member of the cut and run crowd. He wants to see all Reservists and National Guardsmen pulled out of Iraq immediately and the rest of U.S. troops out within 2 years. Retreat is not an alternative plan -- it's a failure to deal with the issue at hand. Dean's idea is not to deal with the problem of terrorism but to run away and say, "Don't hurt us." Dean goes on to pull another Democrat ploy -- compare it to Vietnam:
I've seen this before in my life. This is the same situation we had in Vietnam. Everybody then kept saying, 'just another year, just stay the course, we'll have a victory.' Well, we didn't have a victory, and this policy cost the lives of an additional 25,000 troops because we were too stubborn to recognize what was happening.
Dean fails to recognize that his comparison is innappropriate and gravely flawed. Dean fails to offer any alternative to the Bush Administration's strategy for the War on Radical Islamic terror. It's the same thing we saw last fall during the campaign -- John Kerry wasn't so much a Democrat candidate for President as much as he was an anti-candidate against President Bush.

If the Democrat Party continues to push itself farther and farther to the Left, if they continue to offer opposition instead of alternatives, if they stay on their current path, we will have an even greater Republican majority at this time next year.

Keep it up, Howie!

Additional Thoughts
I just wanted to add something. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had some great comments in a speech he gave on Monday at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies which was reprinted in the WSJ's Opinion Journal. While I would recommend reading the entire speech, here is one quote that is salient regarding pulling out of Iraq:
Quitting is not a strategy. Quitting is an invitation to more attacks and more terrorist violence here at home. This is not just an hypothesis. The U.S. withdrawal from Somalia emboldened Osama bin Laden in the 1990s. We know this. He has said so.

The message retreat in Iraq would send to the free people of Iraq and to moderate Muslim reformers throughout the region would be that they can't count on America. The message it would send to our enemies would be: that if America will not defend itself against terrorists in Iraq, it will not defend itself against terrorists anywhere.

What is needed is resolve, not retreat; courage, not concession. Rather than thinking in terms of an exit strategy, we should be focused on a strategy for success. The president's strategy focuses on progress on the political, economic, and security tracks. You can read that strategy paper on the White House's Web site.

In Flux

By GotDesign
flux (noun) - ...
2 : a continuous moving on or passing by (as of a stream)

Well, my life has sort of calmed down for the moment. I just started my new job a few weeks ago. I am so busy now that I don't have time to do freelance graphic design work -- which is what I had hoped to be able to do. So, where does this leave me? I'm not really sure.

Part of me just wants to be involved in nothing else outside of work. A part of me wants to take on a more significant role at my church -- whether it be in teaching, taking a Bible study, or something yet undefined. And yet another part of me wants to work on a Ph.D.

I just don't know. Those of you who are the prayin' kind, send a word up for me, please.

By the way...
Tak a look at this article comparing Monday Night Football to the MSM's coverage of Iraq. I loved it.

Back to Basics

By GotDesign
It seems that a lot of the MSM is coming out against the Catholic Church's new policy on homosexual clergy. A priest in Arizona recently left the priesthood and called his presence there like being a Jew working for the Nazis. Everything I've heard coming out of the MSM in response to the new "Instruction" released by the Congregation for Catholic Education has been radically opposed and usually included some epithet about Nazis. But let's take a look at the heart of the matter.

Both in the Old Testament and the New, the Bible is very clear about the practice of homosexuality. In Exodus 20:13, the Bible says, "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable." And this verbiage is repeated frequently. Also in the New Testament letter to the Romans (1:27), the Apostle Paul says, "In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion." So the Bible is very clear about its prohibition on the practice of homosexuality.

But the Bible also calls everyone to live a life of sexual purity -- not just for homosexuals, but also for heterosexuals. You'll notice my language above -- the practice of homosexuality is forbidden. The practice of any sexuality -- gay or straight -- is forbidden outside the bonds of marriage. The Bible requires the self-discipline of its believers in all aspects of their lives, and even more so in their sexual lives. This is the Biblical teaching about sexual purity.

Throughout the Bible those who are called to be preachers and teachers are called to live a life of purity and live that life to a higher standard than what is expected of the body of believers at large. How can a man lead if he does not live a life worthy of following?

Therefore, the new Catholic "Instruction" restricting the ordination or the acceptance of homosexuals as priests is very much in line with the teachings of the Bible. I give a lot of credit to Pope Bendict XVI for bringing the church back into line with the Bible. Most of the Catholic church's problems throughout the past 2,000 years have come when the church ignored or departed from the teachings of the Bible. And while this one edict will not miraculously heal the problems the Catholic church has been having with sexual abuse by clergymen, it is a start. I personally think they should also rescind the requirement of celibacy for its priests and reduce it to a strong recommendation. After all, the Apostle Peter -- the man the Catholics claim as their first Pope -- had a wife (1 Corinthians 9:5). But this is just my opinion.

To Heal the Sick

By GotDesign
Recently, we had a guest speaker in my Sunday school class who really has one of the keys to helping with health issues in Third World countries. Dr. Alynne MacLean is the founder and director of Science with a Mission (SMI), Inc. During Dr. MacLean's studies and her travels, she came to understand that one of the major hurdles in dealing with medical issues in the Third World is diagnosis. Because of the tax breaks, many pharmaceutical companies are more than happy to provide medications for practically any illness. But the problem is getting an accurate diagnosis before starting treatment. Many doctors who work in impoverished countries can only diagnose an illness by noting the symptoms displayed and then guessing. The truly lucky physicians may have access to a microscope. But Dr. MacLean is developing diagnostic tools that will vastly improve the ability to diagnose and treat a wide variety of diseases.

If you've ever been in the military, you've had a "whiz quiz" -- a urinalysis. A significant number of women have used a home pregnancy test. In both cases, a small quantity of urine is placed on a test strip and, after a few minutes, results are displayed by either a color change on the paper or the appearance of a + (plus) or - (minus) to indicate the results of the test. Very simple. You're either pregnant or you're not. You've used drugs or you haven't.

Dr. MacLean is using this same technology to diagnose illnesses in Third World countries. Recently, Dr. MacLean delivered 5,000 malaria tests and 1,000 typhoid tests to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Currently, through Dr. MacLean's work and the efforts of a few others, a small amount of blood is all that is required to test for Malaria , Typhoid, HIV 1/2, Dengue IgG/IgM, Hepatitis B, H.pylori, Tuberculosis, Syphilis, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea. Can you imagine how effective this would be in diagnosing and treating villagers in the remote regions of Congo, Nepal, Burkina Faso, and similar nations? Previously, this kind of work could only have been done with microscopes. A small village would take several weeks to diagnose before beginning treatment. Now, with a simple blood test can quickly screen for the diseases listed above and begin treatment. Also, this type of diagnostic testing can be done without needing a doctor or nurse on-site. Roving medical teams can be much more effective in their efforts using these diagnostics.

So what? What's the big deal? The big deal is that I'm asking you to consider helping Science With a Mission by donating to their efforts. With your help, diagnostics can be developed for even more diseases. With your help, more of the existing diagnostic tests can be distributed throughout the world to quickly diagnose and treat diseases and reduce their death rates. Please go to the SMI website and look at their work. Contact Dr. MacLean and ask her to come and speak to your church or organization about this important work. And, in addition to anything else you may do for SMI, please pray for Dr. MacLean and SMI. The work could be the beginning to reducing the impact of diseases in Third World and impoverished nations.

Editorial Update: After publishing this post I received a few corrections regarding the technical aspects of SMI's work and the diagnostic methods they use. It is important for you to have an accurate understanding of what SMI does and the impact they can achieve. Thanks.


The Sweet Smell of Employment

By GotDesign
For those of you who care, I received and accepted a job offer last Friday. I will be working as a project manager for a printing company. My primary responsibility will be helping them roll out a new product line. It will be a significant challenge as I have not done anything this ambitious before. But I am confident that I will succeed.

For those of you who were praying for me, thank you very much. This job opportunity came through rather quickly for me and I am sure that the Lord has brought this about. All praise, honor and glory are due to the Lord, my God.

For those who don't care and/or didn't pray for me, just move on to the next posting. And thanks for visiting.

Sticks 'n Stones

By GotDesign
In my most recent post -- Propriety -- I started with a brief discussion of why I am Republican. This is frequently an action that will draw a response of some sort, and this particular posting is no exception. Some unknown commenter -- "JB" -- decided to take me on regard my statements in this posting. Below I have posted his original comments and I will reply to each statement he makes. I would have responded directly to "JB," but he/she did not leave an e-mail address to which I could respond. So I have chosen to respond here.'s hard to read this without laughing.
quote: "We Republicans don't just throw money..."
Really? What do you call Iraq? How about throwing enough money (as
in over 200 billion dollars & counting) to bring our national debt
to previously unimagined proportions (after those morally repugnant
Democrats had balanced the budget for us), dropping the dollar into
the toilet, and bringing the economy to a near standstill. I guess
the Republicans don't just throw money, they also throw the lives of
young men and women as well.

There is a great difference between throwing and spending money. For instance, one hallmark of liberal social policy is the tendency to constantly increase spending on educational programs without any sort of metrics for tracking the success or failure of these policies. This is throwing money at an issue. In JB's example of Iraq, this is not an instance of throwing money and expecting results. Money is being spent to fund the U.S. military's efforts to effect regime change in Iraq (a U.S. policy since 1998 -- completed 2003), restore social order (in progress), empower the Iraqi people to defend themselves (in progress), and prepare the way for a democratic form of government in Iraq as defined and selected by the Iraqi people. This is not throwing money, it's money well spent. As for the lives of U.S. service men and women, they are never asked to give "the last full measure of devotion" without reason. And while JB may not like the reason for sending our best and brightest into harm's way, as Thomas Jefferson once said (a perennial favorite of liberals) "
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Just what exactly are you referring to when you are saying
"republicans take their civic responsibilities as seriously as their
civic liberties?" Or by civic responsibilities do you mean
protecting the interests of Big Business?

Liberals are frequently crying about freedoms and liberties. Our constitution guarantees U.S. citizens certain freedoms -- freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, etc. But you rarely hear them speak of the responsibilities of each citizen also bears as part and parcel of that citizenship. For instance, responsibilities may include (and are not necessarily limited to) military service, the assistance of civil authorities (police, emergency services, etc.) in maintaining social order, service in the governing bodies of our nation (local, state and federal), etc.

As for "Big Business," all business entities -- from sole proprietorships to multinational corporations -- abide by laws and regulations set by the people of the United States (and other countries when applicable) through the Congress. It is this body of laws that governs all commerce. Businesses have a right to ply their trade and make whatever profits they can within the law. A basic tenet of business is that as risk increases, so does reward. Businesses who take larger risks, frequently receive larger rewards (from the market) for doing so. But, as always, they have to be responsive to the markets (read "the people"). For example, oil companies used to have little concern for the environment until the greater public decide that a clean environment is important to them. Since that time of environmental awakening, oil companies have had to clean up their act, so to speak, as a matter of social or civic responsibility. So, as long as business act within the laws that govern commerce, I have no problem with them making as much profit as they can responsibly make.

And just what exactly is "trumped up" about the Plame-CIA leak? and
why do you refer to it as a "so-called" leak? It is a fact that
Plame's undercover identity was outed. Is it not? It is a fact that
outing an undercover agent's identity is a crime, not um...a civic
Partisanship has nothing to do with it.
Yes, Libby should be prosecuted. Great. Now what about Rove?

The whole matter of Valerie Plame is trumped up. There is no record that Ms. Plame has ever worked as a covert agent for the CIA or any other government organization. At the time of the newspaper article in question, Ms. Plame was flying a desk at the CIA. If you will refer to my earlier post -- Plame Game -- you will find that the mere statement that Ms. Plame is/was an employee of the CIA is not criminal. And partisanship has everything to do with it. It was Ms. Plame's husband -- a dyed in the wool Bush hater -- who made the assertion that the law broken in "outing" his wife. There was no outing. And Ambassador Wilson has been caught in any number of lies about his role in the matter and his participation in a mission to Niger regarding Yellow Cake allegations.

Libby should be prosecuted only if he was found to have lied to the grand jury. I don't think he will be found guilty of perjury at all. Rove has been cleared of any wrong-doing, so, what about Rove?

Oh, and speaking of lying...where are the Weapons of Mass
Destruction? Why has everyone forgotten about that?

There were no lies about WMD. At the end of the Persian Gulf War of 1990-91, the U.S.-led coalition found large quantities of WMD in Iraq. As part of the cease fire agreement with Iraqi, they were supposed to destroy these materials in the presence of coalition/UN inspectors. Inspectors were never allowed to watch the destruction of Saddam Hussein's WMDs. Since that time, every major intelligence organization in the world claimed that Saddam Hussein maintained his stock of WMD -- the U.S., the British, the French, the Germans -- everyone. Since we had no evidence of their destruction, the natural assumption was that they remained in Saddam's arsenal. After the 2004 invasion, no WMD were found. Many reasons have been advanced for their absence. The most credible reason, in my opinion, is that they were transported out of the country -- possibly to either Syria or North Korea. At most, there was an unforgivable lapse in the intelligence regarding Iraqi WMD. But this does not mean that anyone lied. It means that we were misled. There is a big difference.

Make no mistake. Clinton did lie...and that was wrong. Unequivically wrong. However, I think it's interesting that you dismissed the Plame incident as a partisan attack...if the Clinton incident was not a partisan attack, I don't know what was. That doesn't make it any more right...but at least his actions did not put someone's life at risk.

Actually, the impeachment of President Clinton was not a partisan attack. Clinton lied to a grand jury and he was correctly prosecuted for it.

We acted against the UN in attacking Iraq. Shouldn't someone be

The U.S. acted in accordance with the U.N. Charter and international law. First, the united States was the major signatory power to the Persian Gulf War cease fire agreement. Iraq failed to uphold its responsibilities as a part of this cease fire agreement and was therefore liable for a resumption of hostilities without regard to any claims by the U.N. As for the United Nations, Article 51 of the UN Charter and the precedents of international law allow any UN member nation to act in preemptive self-defense of their national interests. The United States (and others) passed 17 resolutions through the UN Security Council and Iraq did not comply with any of them. The final Security Council resolutions allowed the U.S. to act in any way to enforce the outstanding resolutions. Therefore, we did not act "against the UN." We were acting in accordance with the U.N. Charter and international law.

Or is that more Republican civic responsibility?

Actually, our actions in Iraq could be considered an action of "civic responsibility" if you expanded the general definition to a global scale.

It will be interesting to see if JB will reply to this posting. The facts are already on record as I have stated both here and in other postings. If JB does reply, I'm sure it will be more unsubstantiated spin. But I will listen to any reasoned argument.



By GotDesign
Do you want to know why I'm a classic Republican? It's because I believe that the Republican party stands for a pragmatic approach to the issues of the day. We Republicans don't just throw money -- although recent congressional behavior has me concerned. We seek solutions that are all about the people taking their civic responsibilities just as seriously as their civic liberties. And, we classic Republicans, moderate our rhetoric and focus it on issues and not on vitriol.

Recently I have been concerned about how Democrat ex-presidents have broken with tradition and publicly malign a sitting President. For years now, former president Jimmy Carter has blasted President Bush over anything that the MSM has brought up as an issue. But, I think that president Carter has only been serving as lackey of the Democrat movers and shakers. But recently, former president Bill Clinton has also taken up the role of party hack. While at a recent symposium at Hofstra University devoted to the consideration of the legacy of the 42nd President of the United States (which I think is too soon to be historicly informative), former president Clinton joined the fray. As the Washington Post's John Harris says in his article, Clinton started off by saying that we would not be commenting on President Bush but, true to form, he did take shots at the President's foreign policy.

Clinton also commented that he felt that his impeachment by Congress was "an egregious abuse of the Constitution" and "challenged those who say history will judge him poorly because of his White House tryst with Monica Lewinsky." But, one should remember that president Clinton's impeachment was not directly about Lewinsky, but was directly about his lying before a grand jury. As we have recently seen (vis-a-vis Scooter Libby) purgery is -- and should be -- taken very seriously. And while I think that the so-called Plame-CIA leak is a trumped up partisan attack, if Libby did lie under oath, he should be prosecuted.

(HT: Drudge)

European Civil War

By GotDesign
Those of you who watch world events have, by now, heard of the rioting in France (despite the MSM's attempts to downplay it or ignore it). Over the past week, Muslims have begun rioting -- over 1,500 cars have been set ablaze in France. The French Interior Minister claims this brings the total number of immolated cars to over 9,000 since t he beginning of the year. I have also just heard that similar riots are beginning in Belgium, Denmark, German and Holland. I believe these to be the first shots fired in the inevitable European Civil War.

As with our own Civil War, these riots have been long expected by those who have their eyes open. In the U.S., we had decades of discussions and debates over the institution of slavery. But the precursors of the impending European Civil War have not been as vocal. The French in particular have gone out of their way to not require Muslim emigrants to assimilate into French society and culture. This is partially due to arrogance about French culture (which Muslims would dilute), and it is also partly due to France's moral relativism. While it is OK in France to bash Israel and French Jews, it is intolerable that they would criticize Islam or its adherents.

I intend to keep a close eye on the state of Europe and how it deals with its Muslim problem. I'll be posting more on this as events unfold.

Job Update

By GotDesign
I just wanted to make a quick update on my employment situation. Last Monday I interviewed with a company that is looking to expand. The position would entail my working on expansion opportunities while the owner is working with franchisees on a new product line. My only concern has been with the personality inventory that he requested I take. Throughout my career I have found it very efficacious to modify my responses based on the situation and personnel involved. Having said this, it is difficult for me to answer a work-environment personality assessment without knowing the "details". In other words, does the subordinate in question require a firm hand or encouragement? So I am not sure how this personality inventory turned out.

Regardless, I know the Lord will provide.

Plame Game

By GotDesign
Well, today is the day on which the authority for the special prosecutor for the so-called CIA Name Leak runs out. Thank you, Lord. This has been the biggest joke in a long time. Let's review the facts.

Under paragraph B of Section 421 0f Title 50, Chapter 15 of the U.S. Code (Protection of Identities...):
Whoever, as a result of having authorized access to classified information, learns the identify of a covert agent and intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent’s intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
According to the statute listed above a "covert agent's" identity may not be knowingly disclosed. Valerie Plame was not a "covert agent." Case closed. Despite that, the special prosecutor is plowing on to get indictments of White House officials. The claim is being made that either Rove or Libby, or both, leaked Plame's name. But from what I've heard, the only thing they said was that Ms. Plame worked for the CIA. Which does not necessarily indicate her status as an covert. There should not be any indictments. If there are, they are completely political.

Let's get rid of Special Prosecutor law. It should not be reauthorized. No more Witch Hunts!

Prayers Needed

By GotDesign
Last Friday I lost my job. The company I worked for had two lines of business. The owner of the business decided to close the division I managed. No warning. This came as quite a shock as my wife and I just purchased a house.

So I am now back on the job market. I would greatly appreciate your prayers regarding my situation. I am quite certain that God will take care of me. There is no doubt about that. My only concern is where God will lead me. It's like being on a sled ride down a snow-covered hill with a blindfold on. Brisk. Refreshing. Fast-paced. But nerve-wracking.

As I told many friends on Friday, this is where I prove that my walk matches my talk. Just as Paul discussed the war within him in Romans chapter 7, I too have an inner struggle between my faith that God will provide and the human desire for utter security. But, as I have mentioned, I am confident in my Heavenly Father. Please pray for me.


UPDATE: I have been interviewed for a very promising opportunity. I hope to hear something about this opportunity next week. However, in the interim if you would like to see my resume -- maybe pass it to someone -- send me an e-mail. And thanks for your continued prayers.


By GotDesign
It has been a long time since I posted anything about graphic design (with the possible exception of the redesign of this site). But I have recently come across a fabulous, animated website -- TokyoPlastic -- that I want you all to check out. It has a very minimalist approach to navigation -- you'll have to explore by clicking on various elements to see what happens. To get started, click on the Japanese text on the home page. This will open a pop-up window in which you'll view the rest of the site. You'll need Flash in order to view the site.

Let me know what you think.

For The Love of Cardboard

By GotDesign
This past weekend, my wife and I moved into our new home. On Friday evening, we hosted a House Blessing where we invited close friends to join us in praying in each room of the house to ask God's blessings and continued provision. We had a great turnout. On Saturday morning, I wasn't sure how many would show up to help us move. By 9 a.m. we just had our closest friends. So I was concerned. But within 15 minutes, another four of our good friends showed up and we accomplished the move in record time.

Despite the natural drudgery of a move, Saturday was a very good day. Our best friends -- Robin & Patrick -- stayed with us well past the conclusion of the move. We started unpacking, got dinner and spent some quality time together.

At present, my home is filled with cardboard. I'm beginning to think I may be witnessing the dawn of a new lifeform. But the bulk of the work of moving occurs after the new home is occupied. Emptying all of the boxes and storing their contents is the truly hard work. Yesterday, we went in search of drapes, curtains and the accoutrements to hang them. Tonight I have too many other commitments to do any work on the house. But I've planned another busy evening for Wednesday -- including diving into the crawl space to search for a valve for the water line to the refrigerator.

Please pray that the cardboard lifeforms do not move beyond self-awareness and begin trying to capture territory and force us out of our new home.

Reforming the CIA

By GotDesign
Every day I receive an update from In today's update, Gabriel Schoenfeld penned a piece about reforming the CIA from the point of view of President Jimmy Carter's CIA Chief -- Admiral Stansfield Turner. Adm. Turner examines the CIA by looking at the relationships between the sitting President and his Director of Central Intelligence (DCI).

While I understand Turner's point of view on this, his approach only a piecemeal effort. Changing the relationship between the president and DCI is only one piece of the necessary reform of our nation's preeminent intelligence agency. Not only do we need presidents to pick their DCI to serve the foreign policy goals of the president, but they must also effectively use the CIA as a foreign policy tool and not see it as some circumspect, shadow organization.

The Central Intelligence Agency was designed to be an organization that would collect information from a wide variety of sources and provide analytical support of the president's foreign policy objectives. In the absence of a firm presidential foreign policy objective (e.g., the Clinton Administration), the CIA should continue its mission of information collection. As for the conduct of clandestine operations, they should always be in support of policy and subject to the oversight of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee.

My opinion about reforming the CIA is probably in the minority. I think the CIA needs a major reorganization. Currently, the CIA is rife with political struggles -- as is the State Department. The CIA, in order to be effective, must be apolitical. Politics in an information-based organization only leads to bias and distortion of the information collected. This must be avoided at all costs. Also, I would collect all of the various intelligence-related organization back with the umbrella of the CIA. Because, as it stands, the Central Intelligence Agency is not very centralized. I would place organizations such as the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Security Agency within the structure of the CIA. I would also reorganize the Defense Intelligence Agency and the various Intelligence Branches of the armed services. Our military should be served by the all of the intelligence assets available to our nation. Therefore, let's create an all-source tasking and distribution department in the CIA to accept the intelligence taskings and distribute the intelligence products back to our armed services.

In short, I feel we must reorganize the CIA from the ground up. This would be a monumental undertaking, but the benefits of doing so would greatly enhance the national security of the United States. Bring together all participants in the Intelligence Community -- from the White House and Congress to the Military and Homeland Security -- and rethink the Intelligence Community of the U.S.

Belated Respect

By GotDesign
I remember being a congressional intern in Washington in 1995 and going to cover a meeting of the Judiciary Committee where FBI Director Louis Freeh gave testimony. I can't remember what the hearing was about. But I do remember what I thought of Director Freeh -- ummm, "OK, I guess." There was nothing outstanding about him. But now my impression of Director Freeh has changed. Freeh is publishing a book about his time as Director of the FBI -- "My FBI: Bringing Down the Mafia, Investigating Bill Clinton and Waging War on Terror."

Drudge has posted a brief review of the book. Here is a snippet of the post:
The director sought to distance himself from Clinton because of Whitewater, refusing a White House pass that would have enabled him to enter the building without signing in. This irked Clinton. “I wanted all my visits to be official,” says Freeh. “When I sent the pass back with a note, I had no idea it would antagonize the president,” he tells [60 Minutes'] Wallace.
I guess, in retrospect, that Freeh was an excellent, if unwitting, choice by Clinton to helm the FBI. Maybe that quiet exterior held a man deeply devoted to fulfilling the trust of his position. Just reading this brief article has made me reexamine Director Freeh. I have long said that President Clinton will, in the eyes of history, rank right up there with President Millard Fillmore -- unknown. I also have been waiting for the skeleton-filled closets to be opened and the light of day to shine in. We may find the skeletons of hither-to unknown species beasts in those closets.

I hear someone jiggling the handle.

Suck It Up

By GotDesign
This morning I've been following the commentary coming out on President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers for the vacant position of associate justice of the Supreme Court. And I have been disgusted. While I am a bit apprehensive, like so many others, by the nomination of a relative unknown -- let's face it, republicans haven't had a whole lot of luck with "unknowns" -- I am willing to wait and see what unfolds. What disgusts me is the reaction of some conservatives.

I've been listening to the Laura Ingraham Show this morning and I've been surprised to hear the defeatism spewing from conservatives. Many callers said they were giving up on President Bush, saying he's no conservative. Many of those callers also said they would no longer support President Bush's initiatives. Let me get this right, just because the President nominates someone not on your short list, someone you don't know, suddenly he's no longer a true conservative?

Also, many have talked about abandoning Bush because he's not conservative enough. What choices does that leave for conservatives? Will conservatives abandon electable moderate conservative candidates in favor of more strictly conservative candidates who haven't a chance of being elected? I remember hearing a lot of this type of talk during the California gubernatorial election that saw the election of Gov. Schwartzenegger. Many complained that Schwartzenegger was a RINO -- Republican In Name Only. But the more conservative candidates had no chance of being elected. So, do we concede the race to the Democrats and Liberals because we conservatives are unwilling to unify around an electable candidate? Doing so would send the Republican Party in the direction of the Democrats -- toward fractious chaos.

Leave the President and Harriet Miers alone. Let's give them both the benefit of the doubt. Let's move the conservative agenda ahead even if it's not as conservative as some very vocal proponents would like. I learned a very useful phrase when I was in the Army that would benefit everyone here -- Suck it up, and drive on!

Five Years Later

By GotDesign
I was just browsing over at Drudge Report and found Drudge's piece on Elian Gonzalez. For those of you who don't remember Elian's epic, Wikipedia has a briefly recap of the story. Drudge reports that 60 Minutes is working on a piece about Elian five years removed from the custody battle that took place in May and June of 2000.

Drudge's piece reports that the 11-yr. old Gonzalez is now considered a hero in Cuba. Recently Gonzalez "graduated" from elementary school and Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, attended his graduation. While Gonzalez's Miami-based relatives claim this was an obvious propaganda piece, Elian has stated that he considers the Communist dictator a friend and a "father." What will be truly interesting is how the 60 Minutes piece will turn out. I fully expect the 60 Minutes piece to be a celebration of how well Elian has been treated in Cuba and how good it was that Elian was returned to Cuba.

Is it just me, or do Gonzalez' statements sound entirely like the product of his indoctrination? You have to know that Elian, because of what happened in Miami 5 years ago, was treated to the absolute best that Cuba has to offer after his return to Cuba. You know that Castro's advisors have been milking this situation since Gonzalez returned to Cuba. It was the best propaganda investment Cuba could make. Treat Elian like a little Communist prince and he'll be the best possible PR campaign we could ever want.

During the height of the Communist era, the "classless" Soviet Union was a divided society. Despite its claim to being a "workers' paradise," the Soviet Union had political elites that lived lives that would inspire reality shows today. The Soviet political elite had access to the best groceries, automobiles, health care, cultural events, etc. They lived the pampered life. From about the 1950s onward, anyone who made the bright lights shine graciously on the Soviet Union was also lifted into this elitist class -- e.g., Gary Kasparov, Olympic athletes, Cosmonaughts, etc. Cuba has the same system of patronage today and the shining example of this system is Elian Gonzalez.

So, sit back, have a cold drink handy, and bask in the glow of the wonder that is Cuba and Elian Gonzalez.


By GotDesign
Some of you may have noticed that I recently replaced my new header image with a Macromedia Flash animation. First and foremost, I want to thank Anthony Campla for creating this animation and helping me with the code. Please go check out his online gallery and let him know what you think of his work.

One of these days I will get around to learning how to do this stuff myself. But until then, I will rely on people like Anthony who so graciously provide their assistance.

Bravo, Anthony! Bravo!

First Anniversary

By GotDesign
It was one year ago today that I started blogging. And what a year it has been! It started out with the outstanding experience of being selected as Hugh Hewitt's blog of the month and all of the traffic that honor brings. And I still get traffic from Hugh's site. I'm sitting here thinking about the last year and listening to Metallica's "The Ecstasy of Gold" from their live "S&M" album (S&M stands for Symphony & Metallica, not sadism and masochism, ya pre-verts) and it's like having my theme music. And "The Ecstasy of Gold" kinda describes the past year -- the thrill of discovery followed by the expanded realm of opportunities provided by such a discovery. It's been a good year.

As I've mentioned previously, I have today rolled out my final major site redesign. Please don't hesitate to let me know what you think. I will also take recommendations for my next color theme (whenever that will be). From here on out, I will use the same template and just drop in new graphics and change colors in the template. If there is anyone out there who would like to help out with some expertise in Macromedia Flash/Shockwave, drop me a line. I'd like to be able to add a little more spark to the site through some SWF files.

Lastly and -- by no means -- least, I want to thank all of my readers for riding this Magic Bus with me. It is comforting that some people think my opinions are worth reading and have some degree of merit. So, to all my regulars and to my occasional visitors -- Thank you very much!

Finger Pointing

By GotDesign
There is a saying that goes something like this -- if you point your finger at someone, realize that there are three other finger pointing back at you. In reflecting back on the desolation of Hurricane Katrina, I'm struck by how many local officials blamed the President for slow response time. But as we stand back a look at Katrina from a standpoint three weeks later, we see a little more clearly. Days before Katrina struck, the President advised the governor of Louisiana to evacuate New Orleans. Despite claims of a slow response by FEMA, voluntary emergency services workers and rescue personnel were not allowed to enter the effected areas without having cultural sensitivity training -- holding back assistance for an extra day. There is also the matter of the unused school buses that were the perfect tool for evacuating residents who had no means to evacuate themselves. But, today there is something new to add to the mix.

Responding to complaints that New Orleans city officials were keeping relief aid for their personal use, the Police searched the house of Cedric Floyd -- Chief Administrative Officer for the Kenner suburb of New Orleans. Police found four pickup truck loads of food, clothing, tools, and related relief supplies in Floyd's house. Now, accusations of corruption are not unheard-of in the New Orleans area, but I hope that if New Orleans is rebuilt -- either rebuilt or built outside of the flood plains -- that it's citizens will spend more time evaluating candidates for public office. Hopefully, in the wake of Katrina, residents of the Big Easy will take a more direct hand in their local government and will no longer stand for corruption and incompetence.


By GotDesign
As many of you know, I attend Southeast Christian Church, which is a "mega-church." By mega-church, I mean that we average around 19,000 in attendance each weekend. And while it is hard to surprise me with anything related to charitable giving at Southeast, this weekend I was blown away. In the wake of Katrina's destruction in the Gulf Coast states, Southeast decided to focus its efforts in providing for the long-term needs of the hurricane victims by organizing the donation of clothing, cleaning supplies, etc. No mention was made of taking monetary donations like had been collected after the Indonesian tsunami and after Sept. 11th, 2001. The only thing that was said about monetary gifts was that such donations should be marked with "Hurricane Relief." Monetary giving was not down-played, but it was not highlighted.

This past weekend, Southeast announced how much money had been given by Southeast members for hurricane relief -- $620,000! That's right, $620,000 in one week's time. And this is over and above members' giving to the church's general fund and their material giving to hurricane relief. Amazing! I had expected, due the church's lack of emphasis on monetary giving, that maybe $250K had been collected -- impressive but not "over the top." I'm still a little dazed by this amount. And the fact that there are probably more monetary gifts coming in to Southeast since this announcement.

Why am I saying this? I am not trying to praise Southeast, though as a church it is very praiseworthy. No, my aim is to give praise and honor to God for the work He has done through His people. Every time something like this happens and Southeast responds so compassionately and overwhelmingly, I am humbled at being priviledged to be a member of such a blessed community of Christian believers.

Praise, honor and glory be to God. May he continue to shine through his people -- that the world may see the light of his glory.


By GotDesign
As many of you know, I frequently listen to the Dennis Prager radio program. Today, Dennis took a moment to share something he received via e-mail. A fellow listener advised Dennis to look up the word "conservativism" at The "main entry" for conservativism is "bigotry." The following terms are listed as the synonyms of the word "conservativism":
bias, conservativism, discrimination, dogmatism, fanaticism, ignorance, injustice, Jim Crowism, mindlessness, narrow-mindedness, partiality, provincialism, racialism, racism, sectarianism, sexism, unfairness
The antonyms for conservativism are "fairness, open-mindedness, tolerance."

Now, I don't even know if "conservativism" is truly a word, or is merely a construct. It is not listed in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. It is listed at (maintained by the same people as and its definition is not biased in any way -- not like the Thesaurus listing.

The source for these listings is cited as being Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.1.1), Copyright © 2005 by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. Personally, I think this is merely some childish effort by an employee of to "strike a blow" against the "Right-Wing Conspiracy" and the 'forces of evil" it represents. I would recommend that those of you who are offended that someone has tried to besmirch those of us who are conservative in our political philosophy, please go to's "Contact Us" page and register a complaint.

UPDATE: It looks like have removed its listing for "conservativism." It must have happened some time recently because it was there when I made my blog posting. Maybe, like-minded conservatives gave an "ear-full." Regardless, it has been set right.

House Hunting

By GotDesign
Well, Mrs. GotDesign and I went out Sunday afternoon on a whirlwind tour of available proprties. We have two possibilities and we have made an offer on one of them. The last thing I have heard, and I don't want to "jinx" anything, is that our search may be nearing completion. I'll let you know after I've had sufficient celebratory revelling.

The first house is a single-story ranch with 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, an attached 2.5-car garage, a brick-enclosed back patio, and all the space and storage we could want. The second property is a 2-story house, 2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths with a detached 2.5-car garage and a fabulously landscaped back yard (including a koi pond with waterfall). The second house is filled with beautiful hardwood bannisters and accenting woodwork -- gorgeous. But we opted to make an offer on the first house considering it has the number of bedrooms for which we are looking.

We'll see what the Lord provides. Pray for us.

Approaching One Year

By GotDesign
I started blogging almost one year ago -- Friday, September 24, 2004. And for some reason, it was an instant hit. Before that first weekend was over, Hugh Hewitt had chosen it as his Blog of the Month for October '04 -- a true honor.

If you've been watching GotDesign, you'll know that one of my trademarks has been a veritable plethora of site designs. I've changed my site design whenever the whim struck me. And, to tell the truth, I think Hugh chose my site as BoM due an early site design that didn't actually last long. However, I have decided to stop the practice of frequent redesigns. But that does not mean that you won't see different visual styles on GotDesign in the future.

In celebration of my One Year anniversary, I will be posting my last major site redesign. HTML has never been one of my strong suits, so I will make one last major template redesign and then I will only be changing the header graphic and accent colors. In this way I can continue to be graphically innovative, but won't have to wrack my brain to get the coding correct. I'll be using a variety of header graphics and may add some Shockwave animations to give the visual impact you're used to at GotDesign.

In marketing and advertising, you have to be distinctive. So many blogs are lost in the background clutter of noise. There are so many blogs out there that are blogging on everyday politics and news stories. And while I know that I have my own thoughts to add to the blogospheric discussions, I'd rather retain my unique identity and not become another wavelength in the background hum. This is why I have not been as prolific as a Hugh Hewitt, PowerLine or InstaPundit. What you would see from me would closely match these cornerstones of the blogosphere. So I will be blogging about the overlooked and adding my voice where it differs from the crowd or adds a different perspective. In a sense, this is my rebellion against conformity. I hope you will appreciate my desire to be something other than another bleating sheep. Please let me know.

Biting My Nails

By GotDesign
My wife and I are in the process of buying a house. We have a contract on our current condominium and we have just made on offer on a house. I can't remember this much nervousness when we bought the condo 3+ years ago. I keep fighting the impulse to call my realtor and ask if he has heard anything.

The house we are pursuing is a 2-story, 3 bedroom, 2 full bath house with all new paint, carpet, electrical wiring, and HVAC ductwork. It is a thoroughly charming property. Yes, it needs a little work. We will need to finish the basement, repair the steps from the porch, we'll have to install shelving in a walk-in closet and replace a tub with a shower surround. In fact, I'm looking forward to working on the house -- it's a man thing. I'm also looking forward to getting a grill and charring some animal flesh (insert grunt here).

So, if you are a kind soul, if you are praying person, please send one up for my patience and for our success. Thanks.

UPDATE: Well, as I expected, our offer was rebuffed. And not only rebuffed, but we were told through the seller's realtor that the sellers would not entertain an offer for less than the asking price. So, this will not become the GotDesign house. The search continues.

Death of an Icon

By GotDesign
When I was growing up, there were few television shows I just couldn't miss. One of these programs was Gilligan's Island. Bob Denver, who played title character Gilligan, passed away on Friday at age 70. Denver died of complications from cancer.

Little buddy, you'll be missed.


By GotDesign
While browsing at Drudge (once again), I found this piece at The Huffington Post where Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. comes just short (and narrowly, at that) of blaming Mississippi governor and former Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour for Hurricane Katrina.

Does Governor Barbour have some great mystical powers? Can he somehow control the weather? No, but if they could pin that on him, they most certainly would (I can see it now -- "Former RNC Head Has Demonic Powers). RFK Jr. tries to connect the dots between Barbour's stance on environmental policy and Katrina. To my knowledge, there have been no scientific studies that link emissions or atmospheric contaminants to the likely formation of hurricanes or atmospheric disturbances. So how is it that RFK Jr. can attempt to blame Gov. Barbour? He's a Republican and that's good enough, evidently.

This story itself is ludicrous. Not to be given any legitimacy. What gives me recourse to the title I've given this post -- Repugnant -- is that one day after Katrina hit the Mississippi/Louisiana coastline, Liberals are trying to play politics. The damage hasn't even been surveyed, the dead are not counted, the full measure of relief workers and rescue crews have not even reached the scene of the devastation. Speculations of the extent of damage are the best we have at the moment, yet Liberals have tried foist the calamity onto Gov. Haley Barbour. That is what is repugnant. RFK Jr. doesn't even take a moment to grieve with the grieving, to shed a tear for the dying, or to mourn those who have died at the "hands" of Katrina. No mention of the damage. RFK Jr. just rushes headlong into a diatribe about Barbour's and the Bush Administration's environmental positions. How sickening.

On a slightly related note, I just noticed that on the Home page of The Huffington Post is the banner text, "Delivering News and Opinion Since May 9, 2005." Does anyone else find this silly? Just because Huffington (and others) have been blogging for almost 4 months, this is supposed to give The Huffington Post some degree of credibility? I'm sorry but I don't expect to see a "Since...." banner on letterhead, home page, etc. until an organization has been around for several decades -- you know, until it has stood the test of time. But I guess that when you're as vacuous as Arianna Huffington and tag-alongs, having four months worth of content is an achievement.

Stupidity on Display

By GotDesign
"Seeing people in a different environment, among other animals ... teaches members of the public that the human is just another primate." -- London Zoo spokeswoman Polly Wills.

That's right. The London Zoo has begun a display of Humans. A sign reads: "Warning: Humans in their Natural Environment." Their point? As their spokeswoman said -- humans are just another type of animal. In other words, we're nothing special. For most people, this is just comical, farsical, even downright stupid. But for Christians, such as myself, this is insulting.

"In the beginning, God..." is how the Biblical narrative kicks off. On the seventh day of creation, God created mankind -- Adam and Eve. Man was special because, among other things, God had to breathe into man the "breath of life." Nowhere else does God so invigorate any other portion of creation. God also said, in reviewing His creation of mankind, that it was "very good." God spends significantly more time developing man's character and developing a relationship with man. There is no doubt that, in the Bible, God sets man apart from the rest of creation. In fact, God makes the earth in order to give mankind a habitat -- a place to live and a place to interact with God.

But what if you're not a Christian? How can we tell man is more than just another animal? Try opening your eyes! So many people make the "just another animal" claim based on similarities in behavior. So many of man's actions have been likened to those observed in the wild. But, as my statistics professors have always told me, "correlation is not causation." In other words, just because there are similarities in behavior does not mean that behavior has been maintained through an evolutionary process. You never see anyone making evolutionary arguments about humanity's higher functions. Give me an evolutionary argument for philosophy, music, art. Someone once said that, given enough time and a typewriter, a pack of monkeys could turn out the collected works of Shakespeare. I'm still waiting for a first rough draft. Where is it? Did Jane Goodall happen upon any chimpanzees browsing through Jean-Paul Sartre? Did she observe any primate trying to scrawl out Rene Descartes' dictum -- cogito ergo sum -- on a piece of bark? I don't think so.

They only humans who are "just animals" are those who have no desire to discipline themselves. Without impulse control, without personal discipline, without the forestalling of personal pleasure in the pursuit of a greater good, we are all animal-like. But despite a lack of self-control or self-discipline, we humans have the capacity for higher cognitive function that animals do not have. And, unfortunately, these days a significant number of humans have very little desire to reason or use intellect. The London Zoo staff, for example.

UPDATE: Al Mohler chimes in on this.

Group Hug!

By GotDesign
I just had to blog this. I was over at Drudge checking the latest headlines and found this piece about Cindy Sheehan's liberal "group hug." Actor Martin Sheen has gone to Crawford to meet with Mrs. Sheehan. The headline is "Fictional President Meets With Cindy Sheehan."

Yeay! We're liberals! We hate George Bush! Look at us!

This act, and that's all that Mrs. Sheehan is doing -- acting, is now officially a sham. The blogosphere has made it rather plain that the death of Mrs. Sheehan's son in Iraq has nothing to do with showboating outside the President's ranch. Don't get me wrong, I honor the sacrifice that was made by Mrs. Sheehan's son. However, she is using her son to give her credibility she would not have otherwise. And now that Mr. Sheen has joined the party, any iota of respectability or credibility is now frittered away.

Wakie, Wakie....

By GotDesign
...Eggs 'n bacie (as my wife has gotten me in the habbit of saying). You would think that, having just completed my Master's degree (an MBA to be exact), I would have a lot more time on my hands during which I could do more blogging. Well, that's what you get for thinking!

Most of my time lately has been taken up in trying to get my condo sold. Mission accomplished! I have a contract on my condo and have begun the frantic work of trying to find a house to buy and move into. I will be closing on my condo at the end of September -- that's right, one month to find a house. But tonight my wife and I will be going with our realtor to look at several houses. Hopefully, we will find something quickly and the owner will agree to a quick closing. So, if you're the praying kind, please send up a few for me.

I have also occupied myself with coaching a youth soccer team. That's right, I'm coaching a group of 10 & 11 yr-olds in soccer. They're making progress. I'm trying to inculcate the importance of ball control and quality passing. They still tending to bunch up on the field, but they are beginning to learn. This is my first-ever attempt at coaching so, we'll see how it goes.

I'm also working on blogging more. So, check back and track my progress.

Giving a Defense

By GotDesign
Way back in May, I posted the story of Jewel Graham who was persecuted because of her beliefs. Specifically, she wrote a story about the biases in favor of homosexuality and the political agenda of the "gay movement" to portray homosexuality as normal and mainstream.

I recently (and surprisingly) received an anonymous comment on the original posting -- Calling It As She Sees It -- criticizing Ms. Graham and my support for her. Here is the text of the post:
Its great that you support your friend, but as a student at Butler at that time, you must understand the other side of the situation. First off, she was not as harrassed as she said. And wasn't her article essentially harrassing homosexuals and those who support them? Second of all, she wrote the article in response to something she saw on of her favorite shows. Not only did she continue to watch the show (thus supporting it?), but I don't believe she ever wrote an article condeming the heterosexual interactions that were clearly in violation of her beloved beliefs. Her main arguement was that homosexuality was in violation of the Bible, but she never had a problem watching shows/movies with premarital/extramarital sex. Lastly, as an RA, one of her responsibilies was to create a safe environment for all residents. Telling how much she hated gays definitely alienated residents. In most places she would have been fired for harassment.

Before you blindly agree and support things people tell you, please not only think about the other side of the argument, but also that Jesus calls us to LOVE... not judge. LOVE first and formost. The rest is up to HIM. Telling people how horrible they are will not make the situation better. Love and understanding will. Open your mind, and especially your heart. Having an open mind does not mean you can't be a Christian, but it will give you better perspective. Remember to LOVE!

Actually, Jewel WAS harassed. In fact, her position on the student newspaper was threatened unless she retracted her story and apologized. Her position as a Resident Assistant (R.A.) in the residence halls was also threatened unless a retraction was made. She received threatening e-mail and phone calls on a regular basis at the time of the events mentioned. If it was not for the intervention of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) -- an organization that provides legal support for persons who are threatened legally for their Christian beliefs -- she would not only have lost her positions on the student newspaper and as an R.A., but she also would have been suspended, and possibly expelled, from Butler. So, there is no doubt that she was harassed.

As for the article that triggered all of this, it was about the biases of the mainstream media (MSM) and the television entertainment industry in favor of normalizing homosexual behavior. As for the presence of heterosexual, extramarital sexuality shown on such programs, Jewel was not unaware. But such depictions of adultery and frivolous sexuality have long been a part of American television entertainment. There was little Jewel could do about such firmly entrenched immorality. However, the support being shown to the homosexual community on television is a more recent phenomenon. Jewel's comments could be more effective in stemming the tide of moral decay in the area of homosexual advancement than in standing against heterosexual immorality. Choose your battles wisely.

As an R.A., Ms. Graham was highly regarded. She had been consistently promoted and acknowledged as an example for others. Her comments about the MSM's support for homosexuality by no means created a threatening environment. Let's remember that Ms. Graham's newspaper article was not about homosexuality, but about the MSM and entertainment industries' support for homosexuality. This had nothing to do with her position as an R.A. or her responsibilities towards the students she advised.

I never "blindly agree and support things people tell [me]." I am not a parrot of opinions that I hear someplace. I actually met Jewel Graham and she told me her story. I research her story afterwards and read her original article and the criticisms (and the hatred) that followed. There are many things of which I can be accused. But willing blindness is not one of them. Those who know me realize that I am by nature an inquisitive person. When I read a book, I research ideas and topics presented in the book. When I hear someone speak, I follow up on the issues and problems brought forward. When I became serious about my Christian beliefs (back during my undergraduate education), I studied the Roman Empire and the environment in which Christianity began and flourished. I collected ancient Roman coins and artifacts. Blind is an adjective that just doesn't apply.

As for love, I think anonymous has missed the mark again. Just because I love someone doesn't mean I should overlook their faults. If I am to love everyone, just as Jesus did, I cannot do so blindly but as honestly as Jesus did. Every person Jesus confronted, Jesus also loved. He loved them in spite of their faults and sins. But Jesus did not overlook their sins because of his love. Because of Jesus' love for people, he required that they change their ways. Jesus once met a woman at a well and asked her to draw some water for him. When she, a Samaritan woman, balked about being asked for water by such a well-regarded Jewish rabbi, Jesus told her about her whole life of sin. He pointed out to her that she had four failed marriages and was living with a man who was not her husband. When she acknowledged her sinful ways, Jesus didn't just say, "That's great! I love you. Have a nice day." No, he asked her to change her ways. "Go and sin no more," is what Jesus told her. Every instance where Jesus confronted someone about their sins, he required that they repent and change their lives. If Jesus didn't change lives, then he is not worth our worship or our consideration.

Anonymous, I greatly appreciate your visiting GotDesign and taking the time to read my postings and leave comments. But don't malign someone because their opinions differ from your own. There used to be a time when Democrats and Liberals were staunch advocates of tolerance. But I haven't found any tolerance on the Left lately. Let's remember that the definition of tolerance is "sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own."

Well, Anonymous has responded to my comments above in almost the way I had expected. It seems that instead of seeing that Jewel Graham and I have deeply held beliefs about the issues in question, he/she wants to come back claim we're intolerant. Anonymous says, "Christians can be democrats." Yes, they can. So what? Do Jewel and I have homosexual friends? I can't speak for Jewel but I do have some homosexual friends. Once again, so what? Anonymous seems to think that just because Jewel writes an article about the biases of the entertainment media towards homosexuality, that she must hate them deeply and wish them all some degree of harm. Because I write a blog posting support Jewel, I must hate gays too. While I have only had brief contact with Jewel Graham, I don't think Jewel could hate anyone. As for myself, I don't hate anyone. Why should I? Anonymous continues by saying that Jesus could confront sinners because he did so in love. The implication is that we cannot because we don't do so in love. Is it love to allow someone to do something self-destructive without saying anything? If they continue in this self-destruction after having been confronted, that's their problem. While we Christians are not perfect like Jesus, we're trying. That, after all, is our goal -- to be more like Jesus.

Thank you, Anonymous, for continuing to visit GotDesign. I hope that some day you'll see that blogging about issues we don't agree with does not mean we hate. It means we care enough to speak up. Who will listen? That's up to you.

Well, Anonymous isn't giving up. He/she still thinks Jewel graham's article -- the one that cause such a stir -- was designed to bash gays. Anonymous still thinks anyone who agree with the Biblical injunction against homosexuality automatically hates gays. One last time -- Jewel's article was not about gays. It was about the entertainment industry's attempts to push the gay political and social agendas. To make its seem that homosexuality is good, acceptable, and normal. Obviously, I'm not reaching Anonymous. Too bad.

Going Overboard

By GotDesign
The Pro-Abortion advocates are foaming at the mouth to block the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. CNN has accepted an ad that falsely accuses John Roberts of supporting an abortion clinic bomber -- calling it this a link to "violent fringe groups." However, the documents that were claimed to have been filed by Roberts were actually filed 7 years before the abortion clinic bombing actually took place.

NARAL is slandering John Roberts. This is dispicable and, unfortunately, not unexpected. Please go to to get additional details of NARAL's reprehensible actions.

(HT: Drudge)

Faith in Theories

By GotDesign
Much ado has been made lately about President Bush's recent comments regarding the theory of Intelligent Design and its place in school curricula. Until the early 20th century Creation was the only explanation taught in schools for how our universe came into being. The Scopes Trial of 1925 slowly changed that. The American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU) offered to legally defend anyone who wanted to teach the Theory of Evolution in breach of the Butler Act in Tennessee. This act eventually led to the widespread teaching of the theory of evolution in public schools.

At the time of the Scopes Trial, the ALCU released comments to the effect that they thought it was unacceptable that only one theory was being taught about the origin of life on Earth. But today, the ACLU and others cry bloody murder if anyone even suggests teaching anything but the Theory of Evolution. Hence the outcry about the President's remarks. In Cobb County Georgia, a judge ordered disclaimer stickers to be removed from text books. The stickers read:
This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.
I ask you, what is wrong with this sticker? As I see it, absolutely nothing! Whether you subscribe to the Theory of Evolution or not, this sticker gives laudible advice. Any theory that is given to explain the origins of life should be "approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered." But six parents sued to have the stickers removed on the basis of "the separation of church and state." First, there is no legal underpinning for the so-called "separation of church and state." The concept is only briefly mentioned in a personal letter written by Thomas Jefferson. Second, and probably more importantly, where does the sticker mention anything about the "church?" I don't see any mention of religion, Christianity, God or anything vaguely related to "the church" in the text of the sticker. So, any opposition to the Theory of evolution is religious then, is it? A large number of scientists would disagree. There is a growing number of scientists who feel that the Theory of Evolution cannot explain the degree of complexity of life that has developed on Earth. Such complexity of life, both in scope and in design, would require the process of its development to break the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The Second Law states that the chaos/entropy of a system tends towards maximum. That means that the complexity of a system, by nature, breaks down into chaos over time. The Theory of Evolution is trying to get us to accept the opposite.

Many Evolutionists feel that theories other than Evolution are not science, but are instead a statement of faith. But the Theory of Evolution is as much a matter of faith as anything else. It is just that Evolutionists put their faith in science, instead of God. Their faith is based on a system of suppositions by which the Theory of Evolution has been cobbled together. They have faith that a small number of individual bones found across the broad expanse of Africa can be composited into some pre-human being (a giant leap of scientific faith). Since this constructed protohuman looks different from a modern human, it must be a precursor (another leap of scientific faith). If this precursor developed into modern humans, then the process can be extrapolated back through time (more scientific faith) to some pre-evolved creature...or back further still to some multicelled entity. Since none of this has been actually observed, it's matter of faith for scientists and adherents to the Theory of Evolution.

Despite what evolutionists may think, Intelligent Design is not just a scientific moniker for Creation. The Theory of Intelligent Design basically says that, if you look at the complexity of life, in scope and in design, it seems to suggest that there is some degree of artificial design. Where did that design come from? Are we the product of some very ingenious and industrious alien race? Are we the product of a supreme being? The Theory of Intelligent Design (TID) does not presuppose a belief in God, it just asks that the possibility of outside design agent be considered. TID does not make the leap of (scientific) faith that Evolution does. It leaves that leap to others. If others say that there is an intelligent designer -- whether God or aliens or something/someone else -- that is up to them.

In the end, a theory is a "best guess" that most closely fits the available facts. And why shouldn't the Theory of Intelligent Design and the Theory of Evolution be taught side-by-side and the conclusions be left to individual students? I guess because that would require students to think instead of eagerly gobbling down whatever is set in front of them.

Silly me.