Some Light Reading

By GotDesign
Sorry to have been gone for a while. The Charming Mrs. GotDesign and I went to Reno, NV for a week. What a beautiful area! It is places like the Sierra Nevada mountains and Lake tahoe that reaffirm what Paul said in Romans 1:20:
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

The power of God is clearly seen in His creation -- the Sierra Nevadas, Lake Tahoe, etc.

I have a few reading assignments for you. They are on subjects that are dear to me. One is about the growing attacks on Christianity and its evangelical practitioners in particular. The other is about an attack on an obscure provision of the Constitution of the United States.

Were Nazis Christians? Are Christians fascists? by Marvin Olasky is about recent attacks on Christianity. There seems to be a growing trend in trying to paint all Christians as extremists and radicals. This might become so if the culture continues to be pushed farther and farther to the Left. But, for centuries Christianity has been mainstream, not some farcical, extremist belief. One could even argue that Christianity has been mainstream in Western society since Constantine the Great legalized Christianity throughout the Roman Empire in 313 AD. It seems to me that Olasky does a good job of reporting on the fallacies of these recent attempts to paint American Christians (Evangelicals) as radicals. Go take a look at the article and let me know what you think.

The second article is about Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger's recent veto of a bill from the California state legislature that would have given all of the state's electoral college votes to "whichever candidate receives the most popular votes nationally." This may take a little explanation by way of introduction.

Many people came to realize during the 2004 Presidential election that the United States is (and always has been under its current constitution) an indirect democracy. By "indirect," I mean that the people do not directly elect their chief executive. When the people vote, they are signalling their intent to an Electoral College which then places the actual votes for the presidential candidate. Each state within the Union decides how to allocate the electoral votes. Some will cast all of their electoral votes for the candidate who wins the popular vote within their states, while some states cast their electoral votes based on which candidates wins a majority in each congressional district. So basically, each state sets its own policy on the casting of electoral college votes.

This particular bill in California would have cast all of California's electoral votes for whoever wins the popular vote nationally. It means that California would turn over its votes to the majority of other states -- effectively nullifying the will of California's voters. George Will explains this failed legislation very well. Take a look and let me know what you think.

What's Opera, Doc?

By GotDesign
I couldn't help myself in using the classic Looney Tunes episode title, but my usage is not as hilarious as the original. A great deal of talk lately has been about Muslim response to Danish cartoons or the Pope's speech, and now an opera -- Idomeneo by Mozart -- is being scrapped because of expected Muslim backlash about certain scenes in the opera. Namely, the decapitation of the Prophet Mohammed.

But after reading a recent column at, I am of a mixed mind about this particular incident in the Muslim attack on Western culture. Normally, I would say "damn the torpedoes" let the opera continue. By no means would I advocate placating the cry-baby segment of the Islamic faith by pulling the opera. But, this is where I am of a mixed mind. The producer, Hans Neuenfels, has made his own revision of Mozart's 1871 opera.

As Roger Kimball states in his OJ piece, the original opera, Idomeneo, is a story of sacrifice and reconciliation. Kimball sums up the original thusly:
The opera ends with King Idomeneo issuing a "last command. I announce peace,"
before ceding power to his son.

Whereas, Neuenfels' ending now concludes with King Idomeneo parading around the island of Crete with grisly trophies -- the severed heads of Poseidon, Jesus, Buddha, and the Prophet Mohammed.

If the original Mozart production were scrapped for fear of Muslim reprisal, I would be much more outraged and probably make a bigger stink about it. But, knowing more about the specifics of the revised Idomeneo, I will merely express my relief that such a travesty of art will put out of our misery.

Winds of Change

By GotDesign
Many of you have been very supportive of me recently during my current period of unemployment. Until recently, things have not looked particularly good for me. But all of that seems to be changing.

I have just come from an interview. A friend of mine -- from my early days in Louisville -- owns an advertising and design company. Before my recent trip to Mississippi, he took me to lunch and told me he felt I would fit very well with his company. Today, I met with him and his two designers so they could learn a little bit more about me. They confirmed something I already knew about myself -- I'm weird. They didn't expect someone with military service experience to have the creative background that I do. But I am happy to confound them. My friend told me that he would contact me later this week to follow up on this interview. The most encouraging thing about the interview was that they started talking about how I would fit into their workflow.

I want to thank all of my readers who have sent me notes of encouragement and have asked for my resumes to circulate. It means a lot to me that help someone you only know from my online rantings. At this point I would only ask for your prayers concerning this job opportunity. This could be the position that starts me on the career path I've been seeking for years. By God's will, and for his glory, I will get this position. Please pray that this will be so.

Thanks again.


By GotDesign
I want apologize for my absence of late. For the past two weeks I have been in lovely, scenic Hattiesburg, MS at Camp Shelby. Camp Shelby, as near as I can tell, is the primary National Guard facility for deploying Nat'l Guard troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. Anyway, the Guard unit to which I am assigned -- the 231st MI Company -- returned from Iraq in June and I went to Shelby in order to unload my unit's shipping containers and prepare the unit's equipment for return to the Louisville, KY area. And glamorous work it is (ahem).

In the meantime, I am ready to return to the blogosphere. And there is no dearth of issues to comment on, so I shall dig in.

The Pope
Can you say "much ado about nothing?" Muslim extremists have only justified the Pope's words by reacting violently. They are doing the Muslim faith absolutely no good. You know, there used to be a time when Muslims and Christians and Jews could live together rather peacefully. But now, the moderate elements of Islam have sat idly by while the extremists have taken over as the public face of Islam. The peace-loving majority of Muslims must step up and oppose their violent brothers and reclaim the reputation of Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.

By now, you may have heard of the breaking news from Thailand. Some are reporting it as a coup d'etat, whereas others are reporting it as a coup attempt. Right now, Fox News is reporting that the Thai military has seized control of the media and the Prime Minister's offices and is declaring support for a return to monarchy. Now, while I am against the widespread corruption that seems to have spread through the Thai government, I am aghast that the military has risen against the government and have left the people of Thailand without a voice in their nation.

When it comes to political philosophy, am I first and foremost a proponent of Democracy. I feel that power, in its most basic form, is derived from the consent of the people. But in Thailand, senior members of the military have usurped the people's position and have toppled a government that was democratically elected. Whatever claims of corruption there may be, these have to be resolved through Thailand's judiciary not by the arbitrary exercise of military force.

Finally (for now), NASA has delayed the scheduled Wednesday-morning landing of the space shuttle Atlantis. Part of the reason is the spotting of a mysterious object orbiting the earth near the International Space Station. It's aliens, I'm tellin' ya! They're comin' to suck out our brains! Quickly, find yourself some aluminum foil and make little hats -- it's the only way to protect your brains!


By GotDesign
O LORD, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
"God will not deliver him."

Above are the opening lines from Psalm 3 and they are an accurate reflection of how I feel at the moment. I find myself in a position that I was in not even a year ago -- out of work and not sure where to go. Today, I was cut loose from my job and I feel horrible. I was not released for any specific cause, but this does little to assuage my fears and guilt.

My fears are that I will not be able to find a job that will provide for my wife and I. My fears tell me that I will be living over a steam grate this winter somewhere in downtown Louisville. My fears would have me break down and live in shadows and doubt.

My guilt says that I didn't do enough to achieve the goals that were set before me. My guilt says that I'll never be good enough to make a real career for myself. My guilt tells me that I the best I should expect is a position at McDonald's somewhere.

But you are a shield around me, O LORD;
you bestow glory on me and lift me up my head.
To the LORD I cry aloud,
and he answers me from his holy hill.
I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
I will not fear the tens of thousands
drawn up against me on every side.

Arise, O LORD!
Deliver me, O my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

From the LORD comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.

I have been very careful to include the full text of Psalm 3 here. Including the word, "Selah." Selah means, pause and consider. And while I have been pausing and considering for most of the afternoon, it has been difficult not to consider my fears and my guilt. And while, emotionally, I have struggled with these, I have also lifted up my voice to the LORD. I am confident that the LORD will hear my cry and, as David says in Psalm 40, he will lift me from the mud and mire of my fears and guilt. While I am not confident in myself (at the moment), I am confident that the LORD has wonderful things planned for me and that HE will sustain me.

I would appreciate your prayers for my job search.

UPDATE: Well, I have two interviews scheduled for Tuesday, August 22nd. I'm feeling a little more confident about my prospects. Thanks for your prayers and keep praying.

Separated at Birth?

By GotDesign

I just couldn't help but notice a striking similarity between this bust of Hillary Clinton and Taun-We from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Am I wrong?

Global Warming?

By GotDesign
While getting my morning news fix I found an article that really grabbed my attention. A lot of people have been saying that record high temperatures during the summers over the past couple years must mean that global warming does exist and must be dealt with. But what would these people say about record cold temperatures elsewhere in the world? While getting my news fix I came across an article on a rare snowfall in South Africa. Snow? In Johannesburg?

Although I am no scientist, this tends to support my contention that our climate changes over time -- sometimes hotter, sometimes colder. Thirty years ago we were facing record cold temperatures and record snowfalls. I remember going to school on the bus and not being able to see anything out the windows but snow drifts. I personally don't think global warming exists. I think it's a knee-jerk reaction by environmentalists. But that's just my opinion.


By GotDesign
While I was driving around and listening to the Laura Ingraham Show, Laura mentioned an article by syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer where he talked about the change in the moral environment where people claim that a nation reacting to a violent and indiscriminant attack on its people and territory must only respond proportionately to that attack.

Once again Krauthammer shows how clearly he thinks. A must read article. You go, Chuck!

I'll add one comment to Krauthammer's piece. You can go all the way back to Sun-Tzu and throughout history before and since (including Vegetius, de Saxe, von Clausewitz, Du Picq, Jomini, Frederick the Great, get the point) -- the history of military philosophy is clear that one responds to attacks only with overwhelming force. To do anything less is to invite continued attacks and a prolonged conflict. By responding with a "proportionate" amount of force you are not doing anything to settle or resolve the conflict, in fact you are prolonging it and doing a disservice to your nation. Adapt, overcome and destroy! Then, if any opponents remain, settle the matter with diplomacy.

The only remaining problem is to figure out how Israel's opponents can be negotiated with when to do so is to turn their backs on a guaranty of life everlasting in Heaven.

Universities in the Future

By GotDesign
Over the past several years, there has been an increase in the number of outrageous things coming out of our colleges and universities. Probably the most glaring instance was Ward Churchill of the University of Colorado. His statement that the victims of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center towers were all "little Eichmanns" -- referring to Nazi Adolf Eichmann (logistical mastermind of the concentration camps of Eastern Europe during World War II) -- set the nation on fire in indignation. But this notoriety led to the discovery of his various plagiaristic activities and eventual dismissal from the University of Colorado.

People like Ward Churchill draw our attention to the academic world (and it is another world) and rightly so. I came across a great article -- The Future Will Be Different! -- which comments on the frivolous activities and coursework that parade as "education" today. Definitely worth a read.

US Position on Israel

By GotDesign
Much has been made of late about the U.S. government's lack of commentary on Israel's attacks into southern Lebanon. Many have taken this as another opportunity to attack President Bush on his foreign policy (although it's not like they seem to lack any opportunities for attacking Bush -- they often make up opportunities). Critics seem to think that because the President (until recently) had not made any comments about Israel's foray against Hezbollah that it indicates a lack of a position or policy.

Many have even called for President Bush to appoint former-President Clinton as special envoy to the Middle east for the purpose of calling all parties to talks. this does not surprise me as Clinton seemed to be only capable of talking when it came to his own foreign policy. And all of this talking that took place during the late 1990s only allowed organizations like Hezbollah to build up their strength and weapons in order to press future attacks.

Very few (apart from most conservative pundits) have called into question Iran's part in Hezbollah's attacks on Israel. It has been quite obvious that from the time President Ahmadinejad took office that Iran was going to step up its antagonism of Israel -- possibly to the point of a nuclear attack. It is beginning to get some notice that many of the rockets that Hezbollah is firing into Israel are of Iranian manufacture.

But, back to my main point -- US policy regarding the current hostilities. It has become an unfortunate mantra that hostilities -- real or threatened -- should always be met first with negotiations. But, as I've mentioned in the past, negotiations will only work when all parties are committed to resolve the conflict. If (as is the case with Hezbollah, Syria and Iran) one party in the conflict has no desire for conflict resolution, but only wants to press its attacks, then peace is only "that blessed time when all [terrorists] pause to reload."

America's best policy in regard to Israel's attacks into Southern Lebanon is to allow Israel to decimate Hezbollah and create the buffer space it is looking for. With the degree of hatred that Hezbollah, Iran and Syria have for Israel, it will only be through military might that Israel will win an all too brief respite from these attacks. Total eradication of Israel is the only goal Hezbollah, Iran and Syria have. Therefore, talks will only buy time for re-arming and escalating the battle.

The U.S. is taking the correct stance on Israel -- let them press their advantage and destroy Hezbollah. Maybe a call should be made to coordinate anti-terrorist activities with the Lebanese government thus aiding both Israel and Lebanon. Either way, enemies of civilization are being eradicated. So I will say, "drive on Israel, drive on."

Then and Now

By GotDesign
I've just found an article at by Fred Barnes on how liberals/Democrats are revising the legacy of Reagan to bad-mouth President Bush. A very worthwhile read. Check it out.

Don't Laugh

By GotDesign

Yes, the New York Times WOULD out Superman ...for the public good.

Cartoon by Gary Varvel

Origins of Treason

By GotDesign
Lately, I've been thinking about the latest exposure of American covert activities in the war on terrorism. As you are no doubt aware, The New York Times came out with an article exposing U.S. efforts to use an international banking database to track the financial dealings of terrorists and their supporters. This leak follows others exposing NSA signals intelligence programs and secret CIA prisons for terrorists (and European support of these prisons). What is it that is driving these leaks and the joyous way the New York Times, and other members of the MSM, has published the information disclosed in these leaks?

I look back at the modern history of terrorism. Going back into the 1960s and 70s, the first type of terrorism most Americans were aware of was communist terrorists. The communist world, headed by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), espoused that the only way to continue the spread of world communism was to export it via "terrorist" organization which would take the role of being the "vanguard of the proletariat." So the Cold War saw the rise of terrorist organizations like the Bader-Meinhoff Group (a.k.a. The Red Army Faction, in Germany), the Red Brigades (Italy), the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia or "FARC" (Columbia), and Action Directe (France). While this list is by no means exhaustive, it is representative of the organizations that sought worldwide socialist revolution in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. The idea behind these organizations is that they would infiltrate a given society and foment public discontent with the government and spark an eventual revolution in which the communists would rise to power. These organizations would receive support from the Soviet Union and its client states (members of the Warsaw Pact). Such support would include not only money, but training, equipment and weapons.

How does this tie into our current security woes? I'm glad you asked. As you should be aware, many of today's liberals are constantly urging that the government should take on greater responsibility for society's ills and woes. This effort often borders on outright socialism (e.g., Hillary Clinton's universal healthcare initiative of the early 1990s). Sound familiar? The communist terrorists of the 60s-80s went to whatever lengths to explain how utopian socialist revolution could be. "From each according to his abilities, to each according to their needs!" It sounds good, but the failure of over 70 years of communism has shown the fallacy of good sounding slogans. But, for American liberals, those slogans just sound too good to be left behind.

But the Cold war ended. The foreign policy efforts of Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan led to the downfall of the Soviet Union. So now we have no more enemies, right? Wrong. Beginning in the 1980s, we saw the rise of militant Islam. Beirut, Lebanon, Palestine. The philosophy of terrorism changed from communist ideology to radical Muslim theology. Terrorists are no longer seen as extensions of a powerful communist state sponsor. However, just because they no longer wear a uniform, does not take away their status as combatants. The Left has decided that with the fall of communism, there are no more enemies. Therefore, terrorism is a legal/police matter. So we shouldn't engage in combat operations. Because early terrorists claimed to be fighting on behalf of the oppressed peoples (a lie even back then), many liberals see that as the reason for today's terrorism. "If these Muslims were not oppressed by Western foreign policies, they would not be fighting so." That line of reasoning is as much a lie now as it was back in the Cold War days.

Basically, what I am saying is this. Modern liberals identified with the ideology given for communist terror during the Cold War (to throw off oppression) and still see that as being the valid reason for the militant Islamic terror we see today. But they have not seen that world has changed from those "bad old days" of the Cold War. So their sympathies for socialist ideology manifest in a desire to oppose Western (read "American") oppression of Third World and impoverished societies and cultures. "How can we disrupt such policies," they say to themselves. By reporting on anything that portrays the US in a bad light or derails its foreign policy. So, if the New York Times oir the Los Angeles Times should hear about covert American programs, they expose them in order to do their part in fighting oppression.

Which leaves me with one question that I'm not entirely sure I can answer -- how cognizant are the MSM of their underlying motivations? Do they know they are helping to destroy the US? I would love to get your input on this question.

The Second Coming of Superman

By GotDesign
The title I have chosen for this post is both provocative and stolen. It is provocative because of the mixture of Christian eschatology and pop culture -- the return of Jesus Christ, our Lord and the latest movie featuring America's greatest pop icon -- Superman. I have intentionally chosen this title because many of the reviews of the new film Superman Returns have remarked on its Christian themes. It is amazing that an organization like CNN would pick up on some of the Christian themes that are present in the Superman mythos. CNN does not have a positive history of positively presenting Christian theology no matter what its medium.

I mentioned that I have stolen this title for my blog posting. Guilty as charged! I snagged it from ChristianityToday's leadership blog -- called Out of Ur. They recently posted a review of Superman Returns called, you guessed it, The Second Coming of Superman. the purpose of their posting was make the point that, in Superman Returns, we have a movie that features Christian values and themes without the often over-rich marketing that "Christian films" get. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy films like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Passion of the Christ, etc. But I don't necessarily enjoy the way such films are marketed. The media has often treated Christian films much like kibbles thrown to a rather noisy and bothersome puppy.

Now, I will admit I'm rather biased when discussing Superman. After all, I've devoted part of this blog to the Superman Returns marketing effort. But, when you filter out all of the various political and social spins placed on the Man of Steel, you are looking at a fabulous moral character. Now, while Superman holds only a dim candle to Jesus, I have always looked up to Superman. Superman is an amalgam of high moral character, altruisms like truth and justice, and positive American nationalism known as the American Way. While a being such as Superman might have a definitive right to boast of his Kryptonian origin and the powers conferred by that heritage, Kal-El chose to identify himself as an American and to live his private life as an American citizen. What's not to like?

So, if you're looking for me over the next several days, try looking in a theater. That's probably where I'll be.

Just Doesn't Get It

By GotDesign
I figured something like this would happen. Frank Cannon & Richard Lessner wrote an article for the Weekly Standard titled Nil, Nil -- The nihilism of soccer: The more you look, the less there is to see. The article sound to me more like some backwoods hillbillies decrying the diversion of public interest from typical American sports (and trust me, living in Kentucky, I hear a lot of this. to Kentuckians there are only two sports -- Cardinal or Wildcat). But let's take a look what these two "learned" gentlemen have to say about soccer.

First they take aim at the U.S. Men's National Soccer team's match against Italy. Compared to the US's other matches (against the Czech Republic and Ghana), the match against Italy was remarkably well played. The US worked better together and showed a more aggressive spirit than they did in their match against the Czech Republic. And while the US team's lone goal was due to a shot being deflected by a defender into his own goal, American player Brian McBride was waiting at the back post for the pass that was deflected into the goal by the Italian defender. It would have been an American goal even without the Italian deflection.

Then the authors the move to their primary point -- not enough scoring. I can see that these gentlemen are probably great afficionados of professional basketball where scores often range near 100 points. But it seems to me this is more boring than soccer. When you're scoring 100 points per game how much time do you actually have for tactics and strategy? Many basketball fans I know cite this as the primary reason they have moved their interest to collegiate basketball. Except in the extreme, scoring has never been the primary determinant in what makes an exceptional game/match in American sports. More often than not, American sports have attributed greatness to the level of struggle in a game or match. The true giants of American sports have claim to their titles due to stratagem and talent, not ability to score. Pete Rose, for example, is considered great due to his hitting consistency. When the focus of American sports turns solely to scoring, we will get nothing but Barry Bonds clones.

Cannon and Lessner then take stabs at the fans of soccer. They belittle them for their enthusiasm over near misses and their notoriety for violence in defeat. But Americans are not to be left out of the fanaticism debate. I still cannot understand the draw of watching two dozen (or so) high powered automobiles speeding around an oval track. But fanaticism is not explained by its active environment, but by the emotional and psychological setting of the fans themselves. The fanaticism display in the stands of soccer pitch is more a product of the nihilism of their own lives that they ascribe so much personal meaning to soccer. European soccer fans have so little to hope for in their increasingly socialist home countries that they seek achievement and glory in 22 men kicking around a sown leather ball. South American and African fans have even less to which they can tie their personal identity. While I call myself a soccer fan, I do not find meaning in the actions of Beckham, Ronaldo, Donovan, Ronaldinho, or any other soccer phenom. I derive my meaning and self worth from the Lord God Almighty and his son, Jesus the Anointed One of God.

The authors denigrate soccer by claiming that any sport that denies players the use of their hands is contrary to nature. Golf? Duffers cannot simply pick up their dimpled white pellets and throw them up the fairway. They must use a club. Sounds cave-mannish! How about billiards? Tennis, anyone? In basketball you can't just run down the court, you must "dribble" the ball while you walk/run. There are plenty of sports where use of the body is restricted.

It sounds to me like the authors just have decided to respond to a drought in their usual sports fixations with a childish rant. I enjoy making references to Shakespeare so let me say that I think
"it [this article] is a tale Told by...idiot[s], full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing. (Macbeth, Act 5 Scene 5)"

End of an Era

By GotDesign
Yesterday, my wife, parents and I attended the worship service and farewell sermon of Bob Russell at Southeast Christian Church. Bob has been the senior minister at Southeast for 40 years. When he first starting preaching at Southeast in 1966, the church was averaging in the mid-100s in attendance. Currently, weekend attendance at Southeast runs around 18,500 in three weekend services. Bob's final sermon drew over 23,000!

No one can deny the massive impact Bob Russell has had for the Lord in his 40 years of service. By Bob's own recollection, he has seen the baptism of around 35,000 people in his tenure at Southeast. It is my hope that Southeast's ministry in Louisville, KY and around the world will continue to grow and spread the Word of God.

For my own experience at Southeast over the last 7 years I can say that, before Southeast, I did not know what worship truly was. I grew up in a church that varied in size from around 150 to over 800. And I was a bit dazzled when I first visited Southeast. But since that time, I have felt more at home at Southeast than anywhere else.

So I will add my voice to those who extoll the virtues of Bob Russell -- preacher, teacher, storyteller, man of God. But I will say that what has been done at Southeast over the last 40 years was not done by Bob, but by God working through him.

Catching Up

By GotDesign
A lot has happenned since I last blogged. So it's time I got caught up.

The Episcopal Church USA, in its annual convention, has elected a female bishop to head the church. While I am very positive about the contributions women can make within the church, I agree with the Apostle Paul in saying that women should not be in leadership positions within the church -- this is a role God has reserved for men. To give a case in point as to potentially one reason why God has reserved leadership for men is the first pronouncement of Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori. Almost immediately after being elected, the Right Reverend Bishop Schori issued a statement saying that homosexuality is not a sin -- in complete opposition to scripture (for a discussion of this proclamation, see Albert Mohler). Now, Ms. Schori has also given a sermon about "our mother Jesus." I don't know whether Ms. Schori is confused about the sex of our Lord and Savior or is trying to luad the feminine side of God. Either way, she is preaching heresy. And this heresy (in addition to many others in recent years) are leading the ECUSA to the brink of schism. In my opinion, those members of the ECUSA who believe in the inerrancy and non-relativistic nature of the Bible should require the heretics and liberals to leave the ECUSA and form their own church or, failing this, break off and form their own new church. Please pray for the Episcopal Church -- it really needs your prayers.

North Korea -- what can I say. N. Korea is going to do whatever it wants and completely disregard the rest of the world (just like Iran). N. Korea will soon test launch a long range missile with the capability (supposedly) to reach the West coast of the U.S. Surprisingly, two former Clinton Administration officials have now come out urging a preemptive strike. I have to wonder if these officials were among the crowd decrying American preemptive intervention in Iraq under the Bush Administration? I'll have to do some digging. But I am of two minds on this issue. At first, I would agree that we need to strike the missile launch site and destroy the missile before it can be launched. But this would only deny N. Korea the performance data to be gathered from such a launch and increase the diplomatic tension in the region. The communist regime would still have its research and production facilities and would only forestall the inevitable test launch. Striking first will only increase N. Korea's obstinacy. But I must stand on principle and state that we must oppose them however we can on this matter. Going further, I would say we need to find some way to overturn the communist government of N. Korea and support the establishment of a democracy in its place. Although I'm not ready to recommend doing so by force.

That's my two cents on these issues. Let me know what you think.

Happy Birthday

By GotDesign
In case you should hear the tune of "The Caissons Go Rolling Along," you should know that today is the 231st birthday of the U.S. Army. The U.S. Army has been around longer than our current form of government (only 215 years). So, should you see an American soldier -- specifically, a member of the U.S. Army -- acknowledge both their service to our nation and the long, proud tradition of which they are the current embodiment.

A proud and mighty "HOOAH!"

Ding Dong

By GotDesign
"...the witch is dead. Which witch?"

Zarqawi, of course. Silly rabbit. Precision bombing is not for kids. It's for terrorists.

Switching topics to euthanasia (how's that for transitions?). According to Great Britain's The Guardian newspaper (article link), one of UK's leading medical ethics voiced a call for doctors to be able to end life without patient consent. Here's an excerpt:
Len Doyal, emeritus professor of medical ethics at Queen Mary, University of London, takes the euthanasia debate into new and highly contentious territory. He says doctors should recognise that they are already killing patients when they remove feeding tubes from those whose lives are judged to be no longer worth living. Some will suffer a "slow and distressing death" as a result.

It would be better if their lives were ended without this unnecessary delay, Professor Doyal writes in an article in Clinical Ethics, published by the Royal Society of Medicine. He calls for the law and professional guidance to be changed.
And people look at Christians and conservatives funny when we talk about a "Culture of Death." This shouldn't even be a point of contention. Erring on the side of sustaining life should be the unquestioned norm. Instead, Europe is moving toward disposing of problematic patients -- permanently! And they're asking to be able to do so without giving patients and choice in the matter. Can I get a Sieg Heil? Pray for Europe. Pray for both their leaders and their citizens. There are many in the USA who look to Europe for their ideas and trends. We cannot let such evil thought processes get a hold here.


The Future of Christian Adoption

By GotDesign
No, this won't be a post about deep Christian theology -- our adoption by God as sons and daughters through Christ Jesus. That is already guaranteed to us, according to the Bible, through Jesus' blood. What I'm posting about now is the legal future of Christians to establish adoption agencies that function in accordance with Christian beliefs and morals. has posted an article by Maggie Gallagher about a recent court ruling in Massachusetts. The article is about how a Catholic adoption agency is being forced to grant adoptions to same sex couples against their own Christian-based policies. Instead the adoption agency has chosen to quit the adoption business.

This article goes to the heart of two interests in my life -- my own future adoptive child and my devout Christian faith. As I see it, we as Christians need to begin standing up for our faith and not allow it to be trampled on. The courts of State of Massachusetts did not need to force same sex couples on to those who have a moral reservation against them. There are other adoption agencies in Massachusetts that are not Christian organizations who will grant adoptions. If there were none in the Boston area, one could have easily been established. But instead the courts have chosen to force Christian-based adoption organizations to act against their convictions or go out of business.

There are a number of things that we Christians can do. First, elect judges who will stick to the interpretation of the law and not try to legislate from the bench. Next, Christian lawyers could take cases defending these organizations on a pro bono basis. Also, we could donate money to help these organizations with taking challenges to the United States Supreme Court, since this case is an obvious infringement on the U.S. Constitution's "Establishment" clause.

Jesus said, "blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." But Jesus did not mean a meekness where we sit around and let others step all over us and the truth of the Bible.

This article was originally posted on The Adoption Blues
(HT: Al Mohler)

Character Still Counts

By GotDesign
You haven't heard from me lately due to the usual reason -- super busy at work. But I did find this article (HT: Albert Mohler) about the Colorado Rockies baseball team and how they are rebuilding their organization with a strong emphasis on personal and organizational character. Hear is an excerpt from the article:
Behind the scenes, they quietly have become an organization guided by Christianity — open to other religious beliefs but embracing a Christian-based code of conduct they believe will bring them focus and success.
This type of organization deserves our support. Way to go, Rockies!

Mo Media

By GotDesign
Here is some more media for you to check out. I love this one -- Hyperactive. It took a good deal of editting to work this one out. Enjoy!

Do It Vulcan Style, Baby

By GotDesign
One of the most effective techniques of comedy is to take something that is widely know and accepted -- and, if possible, well integrated into the culture -- and give it new or different attributes such that the difference created is comic.

Case in point: G4 TV -- the technology and gaming network -- decided to broadcast the original Star Trek television series with some additions. They added a scrolling chat dialog at the bottom of the screen, list the number of times Cpt. Kirk's shirt gets torn -- you know, take advantage of the campy nature of the old series.

To advertise this re-issue of Star Trek, G4 got an advertising campaign that featured the stop animation of Star Trek action figures. You have to see them! Check out the links below.

Star Trek Karaoke
No Wi-Fi
Star Trek Poolside
Star Trek Cribs
Star Trek Cribs - Director's Cut

Not By The Hair...

By GotDesign
"...of my chinny chin chin."

That is one phrase I will no longer ba able to use. As of Saturday, I will no longer be sporting a goatee. I will be reporting to my National Guard unit, so I will have to shave my goatee to comply with U.S. Army uniform regulations. I am a little heartbroken about it, but I am making the sacrifice in order to once again serve my country. I will post a new photo of myself in uniform sometime soon.

I appologize that I have not been keeping up with things. I have been extremely busy at work and have not been able to post.

Oil Profits

By GotDesign
It seems that every year (and this year in particular due to the rise in gas prices) Liberals take great joy in thrashing the oil companies for their "excessive profits." But to a shareholder's mind, there is no such thing as excess profits. A shareholder has put up some of the money that the oil companies use to pay payrolls and buy oil rigs (and the like). The first reason for anyone to go into business is to make money. Thing come things like "for the public good" and "because I like to do it."

But let's look at how much profit oil companies are making. I went to the Exxon Mobil website and looked at their 2005 annual report. On page 38 of their annual report, Exxon Mobil reports its Statement of Income. Exxon Mobil had a total income of $371 Billion and costs (including taxes) of $334 Billion -- which means that Exxon Mobil made a profit of $36 Billion. When you do the math, that means Exxon Mobil's profits as a percentage of Income were 9.7%. That's not bad and its definitely not excessive. In any investment you would do well to get a return on your investment of 10%. After briefly browsing other oil companies, you see generally the same level of profits across the board. I wouldn't categorize profits as "excessive" until you get above 25%. But, if you can get 25% profits, GO FOR IT! There is nothing wrong with profits at any level. If people will pay for it, profit as much as you can. In the end, the market will work you back down to "more reasonable" profit levels.

Back In Boots

By GotDesign
I, GotDesign, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
That's right! I'm back in the service. I was sworn in last Friday and will begin service as soon as my paperwork is processed and I receive orders for duty. I kept the same rank -- Staff Sergeant (E6) -- and job title -- Intelligence Analyst.

Can I get a Hooah?

Keepin' Busy

By GotDesign

I've been workin' my tail off lately. The company I work for has a number of very nice contracts with Papa John's Pizza including doing a digital wrap on a 42ft. mobile pizza kitchen (see photo). I helped design and apply the wrap. And the corporate folks are talking about a dozen or so more.

Work, work, work.

Immigration Etc.

By GotDesign
It seems that the discussion about immigration is all the rage lately. While I have generally held back from "pop politics," I feel there may be a new dimension that I can add.

First, I think we must secure our borders. This should not be a surprise coming from someone with an intelligence and security background. There is a definite problem with illegal immigration and we need to stem the tide before we can do anything about serious about it. I think it would be a good idea to put up a fence/wall similar to that employed by the Israelis. Turn off the leak before it becomes a torrent.

Being a business school graduate, I initially thought that the debate over illegal immigrants was so much hubbub. I mean, after all, illegals do fill certain unattractive jobs and help keep prices lower. But after examining the effects of illegal immigration in the medium to long term, I begin to put some more serious thought into the issue. You should too.

The massive influx of illegal immigrants will have a serious impact on our economy. As most people know, illegal immigrants are willing to accept lower wages here in the U.S. This has the effect of lowering the payroll costs for those employ the illegals. As payrolls -- or "labor costs" -- are a significant portion of the cost of goods and services, hiring illegals either increases the profit margin of the employer or lowers prices of goods and services or -- more frequently -- both. While it is a boon in the short run, it bites you in the butt in the long run. The lower labor costs effectively put a cap on wages for everyone else. Because, let's face it, if an illegal is happy to pick lettuce for lower wages that same illegal will also happily build your house or landscape your pool for lower wages. What won't an illegal happily do for lower wages? If an illegal has a degree, why wouldn't he be able to take someone else's well paid job by offering to accept less in pay?

So illegals cap wages at an artificially low level. This is not just an isolated effect. Lower wages hamper buying power throughout an economy. And while lower labor costs will keep prices low, it also thwarts the expectations of ordinary citizens. Your garden variety employee has a general expectation that his/her wages will increase with the change in the cost of living. Well, if the economy grows but wages don't grow with it, it causes frustration for the legal workforce. Frustration that usually shows up at the ballot box or in incidents of road rage and maybe...violence against immigrants -- legal or otherwise? Who knows how such frustrations will manifest themselves. In addition, it will cause people to stop spending money. And this leads to economic depression which would be disastrous for the U.S. coming in the middle of a fabulous growth in the economy.

If you disagree, I would love to hear from you. Let me know what you think.

Steel on Celluloid

By GotDesign

I am giddy with anticipation. Superman returns to the big screen on June 30th in Superman Returns. For all of my life, I have been a Superman fan. While Jesus Christ the man I want to model my life after, Superman still ranks rather high on my list of personal influences.

I have, for the past 4 seasons, been a regular viewer of the WB TV series Smallville. I was a huge fan of the Christopher Reeve films (except maybe the last two -- Superman IV: The Quest for Peace). I even enjoyed watching re-runs of the 1950s TV series "Adventures of Superman" with George Reeves. And I also used to collect the comic book on a fairly regular basis.

Because of my love for Superman, I have placed links to Superman-related websites in my links column at right. I hope you enjoy them.

The title role has been filled by relative-unknown, Brandon Routh. Now, some will bemoan that "no one can replace Christopher Reeve." Well, no one can. But if Superman is to continue to be a integral part of American culture, we must move beyond Christopher Reeve. Adding more gravitas to the movie, Kevin Spacey is playing Lex Luthor. Smallville actor Tom Welling will even make a cameo in Superman Returns.

And if the premier of Superman Returns weren't enough for the month of June, my birthday is on the 27th and my anniversary is the 29th. What a month!

If I Only Had A Heart

By GotDesign
While I am not prone to rust, the status of my heart has been called into question lately. Yesterday I had an appointment to see a cardiologist regarding my recent diagnostics. To recap: I had an Army physical for the purpose of enlisting in the National Guard. The Army physician looked at the chest x-ray and thought he saw an enlarged heart. While this problem in chest x-rays is not uncommon, he thought it best to have a secondary diagnostic done to rule out an enlarged heart. So I had an echocardiogram (ECG) done and the interpretation of the ECG said that my heart was not pumping up to snuff (50% against a normal range of 55-70%). After seeing the interpretation of the ECG the Army physician suggested a thallium stress test. So, that brings us up to yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon I saw my cardiologist. Before the cardiologist even saw me I had an electrocardiogram (EKG). After asking some background medical questions, Dr. Bessen (the cardiologist) said, "Let's look at the ECG." After looking at the ECG he proclaimed that he could see no abnormality. By his calculation, my heart was working normally and pumping blood well within the normal range. So it turns out that this has been much ado about nothing. So, just like the Tin Man, it turns out that I was doing fine all the time. Going further, Dr. Bessen said that, while he could go ahead and order the stress test, he saw no medical need for it or other diagnostics to be done.

Thanks to those of you who have been thinking about me and/or praying for me. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer.

Uncommon Valor

By GotDesign
One of the relatively few things that strike me to the very core of my heart is heroism. The reason I value heroism so highly is because heroism is rooted in love. A person loves their family or friends, and so will give up their life in place of their friends'. Generally, heroism is an "uncommon valor," as Admiral Chester Nimitz once said. And it is in the armed forces where, to continue Nimitz's quote, uncommon valor is a common virtue.

The reason I bring this up is because of the recent award of the Medal of Honor to SFC Paul Ray Smith. Please read the linked article at Opinion for the details of SFC Smith's actions. SFC Smith is among the many reasons why I am proud to have served my country in the U.S. Army.

The soldier, above all other men, is required to perform the highest act of religious teaching—sacrifice. In battle and in the face of danger and death he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when He created man in his own image. No physical courage and no brute instincts can take the place of the divine annunciation and spiritual uplift which will alone sustain him.

The Adoption Blues

By GotDesign
My wife and I have decided that we are going to adopt a child. And as we begin down the road of adoption we want to invite others to follow us. So, we have started a blog -- The Adoption Blues.

You might be tempted to think, "You don't seem to be excited about it -- I mean, 'The Adoption Blues?'" It is a common misconception that The Blues are depressing form of music or music that focuses on depression and the like. Give a listen to the works of Stevie Ray Vaughan, listen to Texas style blues, or even Chicago style. You will find that The Blues incorporates just as much elation and excitement as it does commiseration. When you come right down to it, The Blues is a form of communal music. The signer invites you into his life through his song and sets the tone through the music. Since neither my wife nor I have much musical talent, we will share our adoption experience through blogging.

Standing for Christ

By GotDesign
Hopefully by now you have heard of the case of Abdul Rahman, a 41-yr old Afghan, who is now facing trial and possible execution for converting to Christianity from Islam. Sixteen years ago, Mr. Rahman converted to Christianity. At which time he told his family and friends. Now this, in itself is a brave thing. It is not uncommon for family or friends to themselves kill another family member or friend for apostasy (renouncing faith in Islam) in the name of family honor. While most "honor killings" we hear of are usually about killing a woman who has "disgraced herself" (frequently a loosely defined offense) in the eyes of the family, honor killings are frequently used for any family member who commits apostasy.

Apostasy has always been treated harshly in Islam. It is treated as treason might be within a national political context. It also must be understood that apostasy is not mentioned in the Q'uran, but in the Hadiths -- the Islamic interpretations and traditional of law and the Q'uran. So this is not a requirement of Islam required by the Q'uran.

The most recent development is that Mr. Rahman has been offered the opportunity to take the insanity plea to avoid death. It has never been contested that Mr. Rahman has, in Islamic eyes, committed apostasy. He is definitely a professing Christian where he was once a muslim. Which brings me to my point -- would you take the plea?

By accepting the insanity plea, Mr. Rahman could walk away from a definite death penalty. (By the way, before the case has even been decided, Mr. Rahman's family, the prosecutor and the judge have all said that Mr. Rahman should be put to death if found guilty of apostasy.) Mr. Rahman can walk away and keep his Christian faith. But should he take the plea? Would you?

I recently started reading Corrie ten Boom's The Hiding Place. Corrie was a Dutch Christian who helped hide and protect Jews during the German occupation of Holland during World War II. Corrie was eventually discovered by the Germans and put into prison and eventually a concentration camp. Throughout her entire ordeal she continued to look for God in everyday events. Corrie was able to forgive her captors because they were the means by which she could live life as Jesus called her to -- with bravery and full reliance on God's strength, not her own. As the Apostle Paul said, it is in weakness that God is shown strong.

How strong will Mr. Rahman be? How strong could you be? I will be watching this case closely. Please pray that God's glory may be shown through Mr. Rahman's case. Pray that Mr. Rahman will continue to stand strong for his faith and his reliance on Christ. And consider how you would stand when you face what -- comparatively speaking -- little persecution you may face here in the U.S.

(HT: The Counterterrorism Blog)

Education in the Military

By GotDesign
Yesterday, I was listening to the Laura Ingraham show. She was playing clips from Bill Maher's Real Time program on HBO. Mr. Maher had guests including REM's Michael Stipe, actor/comedian Richard Belzer, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), writer Michele Mitchell, and television anchor Lou Dobbs. The clips that Laura played were from that portion of the show where the guests discussed American troops in Iraq. Richard Belzer said the following in response to Rep. Ros-Lehtinen's comments about our troops commenting about what is going on in Iraq:
They don't read 20 newspapers a day. They're under the threat of death every minute. They're not the best people to ask about the war because they're going to die any minute.
Mr. Belzer also said that most American soldiers are 18 and 19 year olds who have only a high school education and couldn't find any other kind of work so they entered the military. I find these comments disgusting. According to Wikipedia, Belzer dropped out of Junior College and joined the Army. If anything, Belzer should have certain sympathies with our troops -- himself only being a high school graduate and a U.S. Army veteran.

I guess what disgusts me the most about Belzer's comments is the assumption that our troops are mindless automatons who have to be spoon fed information to be functional in any given situation. While Belzer claims he reads 20 newspapers a day. And this is supposed to make on intelligent? And which newspapers would these be? The Congresswoman pressed the point that her son(-in-law ?) is a Marine officer with a Master's degree and that many other servicemen and women have a great deal of education, Belzer hastily added that her son was in the extreme minority.

For the record, all U.S. military entrants are required to have either a high school diploma or a GED. And while a significant number of veterans also have collegiate degrees, those who don't are highly trained. Gone are the days when you only needed a basic education to fight our nation's conflicts. Apart from basic soldier weapons (M-16, 9mm pistol, etc.), most weapon systems require a great deal of additional training. Also, many military jobs require extended training that includes an understanding of the laws and morals of war and international relations and diplomacy.

Don't get me wrong, after serving over 11 years in the Army myself, I know that there are some real rocks in the military. I have come across those whose brain's electrical activity would only lightly toast bread, but these are the aberration -- these are the exception, not the rule.

While I am a member of the not-insignificant minority of those in the military with a master's degree, I know that the vast majority would be well qualified to comment on the both the military and political situation in any zone of conflict in which they are serving. Despite Mr. Belzer's crazed ravings to the contrary, our military is very capable of intelligent analysis and commentary on any situation in which it finds itself.

By the way, I just found this article (thru Hugh Hewitt and Mudville Gazette) about the press being not particularly bright regarding the recent Operation Swarmer in Iraq. It seems that press did not read a press release on Operation Swarmer that described the scope and mission of the action. Instead they bumble around trying to get a description of the military action. And people say soldiers are not bright?

The Heart of the Matter

By GotDesign
I just got back from having an echocardiogram (ECG). Why would a strapping young man (guffaw) such as myself need an ECG? Well, I'll tell you.

Back in February, I had a physical examination for the purpose of enlisting in the Kentucky National Guard. As part of this physical, I had a chest x-ray taken. When the doctor reviewed the x-ray he said my heart appeared to be enlarged and said I would need to get a second opinion by means of another chest x-ray or an ECG. I would have thought that electrocardiogram (EKG) I had during the physical should have been used to rule out any abnormalities in my heart, but I just do what I'm told. Anyway, I had my ECG today. The results are to be sent to my doctor either on Friday or Monday.

Now, my intellect knows that fears are mostly irrational -- the hobgoblins of a worst case scenario. But that doesn't stop me from letting run amok with my emotional self. In other words, I'm a little worried. I know that it is premature (at best) to worry about the ECG before the results come in but, for some reason, that doesn't stop me. Rationally speaking, I probably don't have any reason to worry -- I'm a healthy, 37-yr old male with a slight weight problem, but no real history of any problems. So I'm going to put it out of my mind (as best as I can) until Friday.

Prayers would be appreciated (and I almost said "but probably not necessary" -- which is NEVER true.) Thanks.

UPDATE: I got the results of my ECG back today. The impression given by the ECG was that I have: 1.) Borderline generalized left ventricular hypokinesis, 2.) Trivial posterior pericardial effusion, and 3.) Trace aortic insufficiency. It sounds really bad, but isn't. I just spoke to a friend of mine who is an emergency room physician. He told me that it sounds kinda mild. Regardless, I have an appointment to see a cardiologist later this month. Your continued prayers would be appreciated.

It's Not Easy Being...

By GotDesign

But seriously, I decided it was time for a little change. Let me know what you think of the new verdant look.

Also, much thanks to my friend Anthony Campla who made the Flash header for me. He's a very talented designer. Please go check out his work -- personal site -- DeviantART site.

Glimpse Into The Subconscious

By GotDesign
This past Sunday, I was channel surfing and came across an interesting movie. The movie was entitled "Equilibrium" starring Christian Bale (from Batman Returns). Equilibrium is about a future totalitarian society where they have eliminated murder, war, and all crimes of hate. They have done so by eliminating all emotion. Citizens are required, several times a day, to inject themselves with a chemical which supresses emotion. The movie continues its Orwellian themes -- gray or black clothing, video monitors, secret police, etc.

There was one scene that I thought was particularly enlightening. In that scene, Christian Bale's character's son is sitting in front of a video screen watching a "Big Brother-like" character (I didn't catch the character's actual name) talking about how their perfect society was achieved. "Big Brother" says that society became enlightened when they pass the first hate crime laws. That is when my brain slipped into overdrive thinking about the role of hate crime legislation.

So called hate crimes are normal crimes that are motivated, in some sense, by hatred. In truth, hate crimes don't do anything other than make "hate" a crime. For instance, hate crime status has been mostly added to crimes of physical violence (assault, murder, etc.) that have some racial component -- e.g., the beating of a black man by a white man. Hate crime status has also been applied to crimes committed against homosexuals. Some have even lowered the degree of criminal activity below physical violence. For instance, in Canada and Europe, anyone speaking out against homosexuals can be convicted of a hate crime. A Christian pastor in Europe was arrested and imprisoned for preaching about the Biblical view on homosexuality. Once again, the crime here is "hate," not speech.

According to the movie, the advent of "hate crimes" was the opening that led down the road to their perfect society. A society where emotion is prohibited. Possession of art and music that provokes an emotional response is outlawed and the offending art is collected and burned (in the opening scene the police raid a home and find the Mona Lisa, which is then burned). In the real world, hate crimes are still being pushed and expanded -- more so in Europe than in here in the U.S. Speech is being targeted for hate crime status. American universities are already implementing speech codes for their campuses. Any "intolerance" is being rooted out through the application of hate crime status. Who determines what speech is worthy of hate crime status? I would also point out that where hate crimes are being advanced, liberals are the ones behind them. I find this particularly interesting.

Something to think about.

Join the Coalition

By GotDesign
Way back when, I created the Cardinal Coalition to be a mini blogosphere for the greater Louisville area. I envisioned something like the Northern Alliance. But due to increased workload and business travel, many of the Squawk Squad at the CC have been unable to post very frequently. So, after polling the group, we've decided to send out a call for bloggers to join the Coalition.

If you are a Louisville-area blogger and would like to join the Coalition, drop me a line. We're also looking for ways the Coalition can better serve the Louisville area. Just let us know. We would greatly appreciate it.


By GotDesign
Getting an MBA is a difficult task. This should be obvious. Not only is it a Master's degree program -- with all of the challenges that entails -- but the MBA requires the achievement of a certain minimum score (differs at each university) on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Beyond these hurdles, individual MBA programs often require a certain amount of "real world" experience. Now, add to this list of hurdles blindness.

I recently received a phone call from a friend of mine who has started the MBA program at the University of Phoenix Online. He is having some problems with one of his courses and he has asked for my assistance. This in itself is not uncommon. What is uncommon is that my friend, Mario, is blind.

Mario was born and grew up in South America. At about age 9, Mario was injured in a hunting accident and was rendered blind. Because Mario lived in a rural/jungle area, having a blind son was a difficult burden on his parents. Not knowing how to deal with a blind son, Mario's parents gave him over to an American missionary to care for. The missionary arranged for Mario to be adopted and moved to the United States. Mario was raised in the U.S., has completed a B.A. in Business, and is now working on his MBA.

Mario asked me over to help him with his Intro to Accounting & Finance course. Of course, accounting is difficult subject for most, but what one generally fails to notice is that there are certain fundamentals of accounting that are spatially oriented. For someone who is blind, how do you explain the spatially oriented nature of accounting and financial data. For instance, the basic premise of accounting is that assets must equal liabilities plus owner's equity (assets = liabilities + equity). This posits a horizontal relationship. Add to this the vertical notation of different types of assets, liabilities and equity that shown on a Balance Sheet. How does someone who is blind keep track of all of these entries on financial statements when their interrelation is frequently shown in a visual medium?

Mario has no problem understanding the concepts of basic accounting. And I have no doubt that he will be able to master the precepts of managerial accounting. But I am amazed at the challenge that still faces Mario and how well he handles them.

Mario lives with his wife -- Sharon, who is also blind -- and their daughter, Sierra, who is sighted. So Mario faces challenges every day in almost every aspect of his life.

The purpose of this posting is not to describe the hurdles that the visually impaired face. It is definitely not to toot my own horn about helping Mario. The purpose of this article is as an encomium to Mario. Encomium means "glowing and warmly enthusiastic praise." And I must say that Mario is worthy of such encouragement.

Hitting Home

By GotDesign
I have long been a proponent of Christian values and morals. Being a Christian myself, this should be obvious. But my desire to have these beliefs and morals generally accepted as good for society has been based almost solely on intellectual arguments. You aren't really a "true believer" until it comes from the heart.

My wife is a mental health therapist at a local university where she counsels students. And while most of her clients are "I don't know how to handle my girlfriend leaving me" and "my parents just don't understand me" -- typical college life issues -- she recently had a client of a different nature.

A female student who is pregnan came in to talk to my wifet because she is considering an abortion. She and her parents emigrated to the U.S. a number of years ago and her parents still hold to traditional cultural values. The girl wants to have an abortion because she knows her parents will ostracize her. Normally, I would oppose this abortion on the strict grounds that the Bible teaches us to hold every life -- even those still in the womb -- as sacred and valuable to God. But another factor has been added to the equation.

My wife and I have recently decided that we are going to adopt. We haven't established a timeline yet, but we know that we would like to adopt some time in the next year.

With this added to the mix, abortion takes on a new meaning. I see this young woman's unborn child as the "every child" -- one that could potentially be the child my wife and I would adopt. I now find that I am heart-broken when I think about this girl's plans to abort "the fetus." The young lady asked my wife if we had any children and "smiled" when told we plan to adopt. But she would not be able to hide her pregnancy from her parents and carry the child to term in order to put it up for adoption.

I find myself grieving terribly for the unborn child. I grieve for the young woman who is put in the position to make such a decision. And while I have a greater understanding of this issues that such women face, I still stand firm on my belief that abortion is the murder of unborn children for convenience sake. The young woman in question is merely exchanging one set of the consequences for exercising her sexual "freedom" for another set of consequences. She is trading potential ostracism by her parents for the psychological and spiritual damage of an abortion will cause. And while I try not to hold it against her, she has broken my heart. She has decided that there will be one less child who could potentially be my son or daughter. One more offering at the altar of the culture of death. This will not be easy for anyone involved.

Please pray for her -- unnamed. Please pray for me. Pray for our society of convenience and death.

Valentines Day

By GotDesign
I know... it was yesterday. But I wanted to pass along a secret.

Yesterday, after work, I raced home to pick up my beautiful wife to whisk her off to Outback for V-Day dinner. We arrived at approximately 6:10 pm. As we approached the front entrance, we were greeted by others waiting in line who were mumbling something along the lines of "2 hour wait." Indeed, as we stepped up to the rostrum and asked, we were told that there was a wait of over 2 hours. My response was probably not what you would expect. No rolled eyes. No intake of breath. No emotional explosions. Instead, I said, "I called in earlier, the name is Mr. GotDesign."

We were seated within 15 minutes.

What's my secret? Did I slip the attendant a $20? No. At about 2:30 pm yesterday afternoon, I called to ask if they took reservations on such a busy night. "No," I was told, but they do allow you to put your name on the waiting list in advance of your arrival. They asked, at what time would I like to have my name inserted? Six o'clock, please. And...voila!

I had a wonderful evening with my wife. I had "Ribs on the Barbie" and my wife had the "Outback Special" steak (after tasting mine, my wife preferred the ribs). We finished the evening with a "Chocolate Thunder from Down Under." They wheeled up a forklift and helped me out of my seat and then we went home.

The moral of the story? Even if they don't accept reservations, call ahead anyway. It never hurts.

Greeting Cards

By GotDesign
I was out with my wife yesterday looking for some goodies for a baby shower she will attend next weekend. After we had selected the gifts we moved on to the greeting card section to look for an appropriate card. While I was standing out of my wife's way (like a good, dutiful husband), 2 cards caught my eye. The first had a picture of President Bush on the cover and the message was that you could have a great birthday because George Bush cannot run for President again. The second had a picture of Senator Hillary Clinton and had a fake autograph on the cover with a message that such an autographed photo would make you popular and prestigious. There were no other cards to appeal to a conservative/Republican audience.

While I could probably rant about the liberal appeal of seemingly innocuous greetings cards, I won't. You know what I would say. My problem is that I think the society is becoming too fractious. Too political. Greeting cards! Political greeting cards! Can't we get a break from the political messages we seem to be getting everywhere? I am the first person who would enjoy a good political discussion or debate, but it's getting so that you cannot escape political biases anywhere.

What do you think?

Cartoon Madness

By GotDesign
I was pleasantly surprised just a moment ago when I discovered an illustration on the graphic arts community that I belong to -- -- that calls for the Islamic community to stop its riotous ways and respect freedom of speech rights in the Nordic countries where editorial cartoons have caused such an uproar. The piece is called STOP -- go take a look, leave a comment.

UPDATE: After browsing this artist's gallery, I can by no means endorse his other works -- she is obviously a Bush hater -- but she is paradoxically on the right side of the Danish Cartoon issue. I say "paradoxically" because the same toleration he exhibits in his piece STOP is missing everywhere else in his political pieces. Instead of expressing opposition to the President's policies or offering constructive criticism, Fealasy resorts to the basest of emotions and attacks the person of President Bush instead of administration policies. Instead of acting responsibly, like she exhorts Muslims to do, she echoes their behavior. Do as I say, not as I do.

UPDATE 2: I need to issue an appology. I overlooked the fact that Fealasy is a women, not a man. I have corrected my above comments accordingly. I am sorry for my oversight.

Adoption Adventure

By GotDesign
Good friends of mine -- Andy & Julie Gould -- are in the process of adopting a little girl from China. They will be traveling to China sometime during the next month to pick up their newest child -- Maya. They have also put up a blog to chronicle the process and post photos. Please go check it out -- The Adoption Adventure.

Super Bowl XL

By GotDesign
Now most of you know that I have practically no interest in most sports. The only exception being soccer at all levels. But I must say that I am happy with the results of last night's Super Bowl XL. The only reason I have any interest in this game is because Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is a graduate of my alma mater -- Miami University! Go Redskins! (Although they're now know as the Miami Redhawks -- I hate political correctness)

Busy Busy Busy

By GotDesign
As many of you have probably noted, I haven't been posting much lately. At work, I have been working on a project that has taken all of my time. Including the time I would normally devote to posting to GotDesign. Anyway... here's the latest.

I will be joining the Kentucky National Guard. I don't have a specific date, but sometime in the next 2 weeks. Since I have over 11 years of prior service, I am returning to the Guard at previous rank of Staff Sergeant. I am joining an intelligence unit -- which makes sense because I am an intelligence analyst. If I can swing it, I will try to get in another 7 years of service so I can qualify to retire at 18 years of service. I am even considering becoming either a commissioned or warrant officer. We'll see what the options are.

An Ode to Jonathan Kent

By GotDesign
There are only a few things that will make me emotional. For instance, when I look into my wife's eyes and see the love she has for me. Anything having to do with my fellow veterans. And any display of positive father-son relationships.

One of the things I have always loved about the Superman mythos is the relationship between Jonathan and Clark Kent. Although I don't know if the comic books have spent much time on it, the WB television series Smallville has spent four seasons showing how Clark Kent has been taught by example to be the Superman (or super man) we know he'll become. I think that the father-son relationship shown in Smallville is about the best that can be expected on television today.

This past week WB aired the 100th episode of Smallville. This episode was advertised by saying that one of the regular characters would die. From the trailers one would expect that Lana Lang was going to die. But it was Jonathan Kent who died. Those of us who know the Superman mythos have been expecting this. We know that Jonathan Kent died when Clark was in his late teens. So this death was not unexpected. But it moved me strongly.

I love my father. I can think of no better example of how a man should live his life than the example my father has lived for me. I hope that if/when I have children, I can be at least half the fatherly (and Christian) example that my father is for me. So when Jonathan Kent keeled over from a heart attack last week, I was teary-eyed. I am not looking forward to the time when the Lord calls my father heavenward (of this there is no doubt).

Breath of Fresh Air

By GotDesign
As I frequently do, I was listening to the Albert Mohler radio program (today via WTSJ's website) and heard an ad featuring Kenneth Blackwell, the Secretary of State for Ohio. Mr. Blackwell's commercial made me take a moment. The commercial was for a program Mr. Blackwell has initiated within the State of Ohio to focus attention on the undeniable truth that character is essential to a healthy society.

I was born and raised in the State of Ohio and did not leave Ohio until I joined the Army after high school. While I was in junior high school, I did have a section where we were taught some Ohio history. But I have never heard of any other state-sponsored programs even remotely similar to Mr. Blackwell's character initiative.

Kenneth Blackwell, as Ohio's Secretary of State, has established the Ohio Center for Civic Character in order to: 1) build leadership character, 2) unite leaders in a collaborative culture, and 3) equip leaders to effectively enrich their communities...together. To achieve these goals, the Ohio Secretary of State's website offers downloadable documents and materials that sponsor character development, leadership development and civic education. Go take a look.

I am truly impressed by what Mr. Blackwell has undertaken. In most cases, governments try to shape the behavior of society by enacting laws and regulations. But what Mr. Blackwell has done is to take the issue of societal behavior to the very kernel of its being -- individual character. This program shows a truly rare and wise insight into what drives behavior both on the individual and the communal levels.

I cannot overstate how much this raises Mr. Blackwell in my personal estimation. Kenneth Blackwell for President!

Reading List

By GotDesign
As I was sashaying through Jefferson Mall I came to B. Dalton Booksellers (a division of Barnes & Noble) which is in the process of closing up its Jefferson Mall location. What interrupted my sashaying was the 50% off closing sale they were having. So I decided to stock up. I decided to pick up the entire "Brotherhood of War" series (9 books) by W.E.B. Griffin and "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius. I know...a little light reading.

I read The Brotherhood of War series back when it was first published and loved it. Somewhere along the way, I lost all of these books (or maybe I gave them away). This series covers the military careers of several officers from mid-WWII through the 1970s. I really enjoyed the whole series. I guess it makes me remember the highlights of my own Army service. I am currently reading the first book in the series -- The Lieutenants. The series includes:
Once finished with the Brotherhood of War series, I will turn to a more heavyweight subject -- Stoic philosophy. Marcus Aurelius' Meditations is considered a primer in Stoic philosophy. But I'm going to read it because it was recommended by the Hillsdale College reading list. In any case I am always up for learning from the classics.

What is on your reading list? Drop me a line.

Back In Boots?

By GotDesign
Surprisingly, I am considering rejoining the U.S. Army Reserve. Today, when I went to lunch, I stopped into a recruiter's office to ask about getting copies of my military personnel records. In trying to determine where I should look for these records, the recruiter asked about my background. He then asked if I would like to get back on board. I told him that I am 30-something years old and have bum knees. He told me that the Army is looking for prior service personnel to return to service in the Reserves and that, if I sought medical treatment for my knees and took a physical, a reserve unit would likely work with me.

So, I have asked my wife to think about this. It would mean one weekend a month, 2 weeks in the "summer" by way of time commitment. I would receive pay as a Staff Sergeant with 11 yrs of service. In addition, I would also receive a $7,500 signing bonus for a 3-yr contract or $15,000 for a 6-yr contract. It's beginning to sound really attractive to me.

To be honest, I miss my time in the Army. While I am fully cognizant of the problems I've had in the Army/Reserves, I do miss the good times I've had.

What do you think? Should I? Anyone out there, prior service, rejoin the military lately? Please, tell me what you think.

Withholding Judgment

By GotDesign
While scanning Drudge, I came across a story about the upcoming NBC television series "The Book of Daniel." The show will feature an Episcopal minister who has an addiction to Vicodin, troubles within his church, and he has imaginary conversations with Jesus -- who is actually a character in the series.

Already, Christian organizations have begun calling for NBC affiliates to boycott the show. Many affiliates have been receiving phone calls and e-mails regarding the program, but it has even aired yet. I, however, am withholding judgment. No one has even seen the show yet. And while I find it difficult to accept a show with an imaginary Jesus character, it is possible -- repeat possible -- that it might actually be an OK program. I don't have a problem with the main character's addiction to Vicodin, because that is a problem common with painkillers and ministers/priests are, after all, common people.

Let's just wait and see how this show will portray Christians and Christianity before we raise a howl. But if it does take a derogatory approach to Christianity, then let us ask NBC to cancel the series and ask the affiliates to not air the show locally.

Murtha Monster

By GotDesign
Having served in the U.S. Army, I understand the great opportunities presented by military service as well as the way military service redefines, hones and polishes a person's character. Democratic Representative John Murtha, a 37-year veteran of the Marine Corps, should understand these observations as well. After all, he served during a period of war. He led men in battle. And war is the ultimate crucible for shaping a man.

In an interview last Friday, rep. Murtha, however, said he would not serve in the military today. Murtha, a proponent of the insane idea of pulling troops out of Iraq immediately, went so far as to say that he would encourage the enlistment-age youth of America not to join the military either.

"And I think you're saying the average guy out there who's considering recruitment is justified in saying 'I don't want to serve'," the interviewer continued.

"Exactly right," said Murtha.
Rep. Murtha is quickly flying up the list of those members of the Liberal Left who sicken me. As a 37-yr veteran of the Marine Corps, Murtha should be able to put aside the current mission of our military and acknowledge the personal development aspects of military service at the very least. Beyond shaping one's character, the military also provides first class professional training. In fact, the list of personal and societal benefits that come from military service is almost as long as Santa's checklist.

It pains me that a distinguished veteran such as Murtha would chuck the lessons of a life of service out the window for the sake of sound-bite politics. Shame on you, Mr. Murtha.

(HT: Drudge)