Meta-Blogging: July 2004 Archives

Jeff Doolittle hosted the 97th COTV this week. It contains my post about Colin Powell's being not black enough for some people and how that undermines one of the primary motivations for affirmative action.

I don't mention this post at goobage on dumb things John Kerry has said so much to make fun of Kerry but to show that most of the things Bush gets made fun of for are extremely common for anyone doing a lot of public speaking. It doesn't show lack of intelligence. It shows humanity. Some people are a little better at avoiding such things, but the facts in this case are that preconceived opinions lead people to focus on Bush (and Quayle before him) and ignore how much others do the same thing.

I don't know anything about the election this post at Spot On is about, but the story of black voters being handed Democratic ballots and being told that they really should be voting on Democratic ballots once they return it and ask for a Republican ballot is pretty sick. Racism takes some odd forms. Not quite as bad, but pretty silly, is Politcal Correctness Watch's story of a woman who was told she was discriminatory for including "hard-working" in a job description.

And now for the most shocking of all: QandO has done some digging into the 9/11 Commission to see that they've disproved a number of claims by Bush's opponents. The connections between al Qaeda and Saddam were much stronger than mere communication, according to statements by Richard Clarke. Iraq and al Qaeda made repeated overtures to each other regarding Iraq serving as Bin Laden's new home if it became clear that the Taliban couldn't protect him. It turned out that such an agreement never solidifed, but that's quite a connection. Going after Iraq was something General Franks, Paul Wolfowitz, and Tony Blair all pursued before Bush was willing to consider it a priority. Bush even himself dismissed the possible connection between Iraq and 9/11 that some within the administration were pushing.

The 28th Christian Carnival is up at Fringe. As of this writing, I can't get it to load any individual pages. If that's still true when you check, go to his main page and scroll down. The Carnival is still there.

It features my Organized Religion and the Church.

Doc Rampage reflects on some encounters he's had with people on the street asking for money, unsure what the proper Christian response should be. The last encounter he describes is worth reading just to see what lengths someone will go to get the actual cash in his hand rather than getting something paid for.

My Domestic Church has some excellent thoughts on the selfishness of youth and the wisdom of middle age. Some of this wisdom didn't come from aging but from the responsibility of having children, but the point is the same.

Exultate Justi has an excellent explanation of the sort of political theory I would endorse, a libertarianism of sorts limited by a realization that some forms of morality really do need to be enforced and mollified that Christians values are a perfectly good starting place for wanting to encourage and protect against certain behaviors or attitudes. He concludes with a good explanation of why "you can't legislate morality" is a fairly stupid claim but also what true claim people mean to be expressing when they say such things.

Messy Christian shows that having a ministry is simply choosing to serve people. She gives some excellent examples to help us avoid the trap of thinking we don't have a ministry simply because no one has put us in an official ministry position.

Digitus, Finger & Co. will be hosting next week's Carnival #XXIX.

This coming Wednesday (7-28) the Christian Carnival will be hosted at Fringe. If you have a blog, this will be a great way to get read, and possibly pick up a few readers.

To enter, your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude ones that are political (or otherwise) in nature from a Christian point of view. Please send only one post per blog dated since the last Christian Carnival. Then, do the following:

The Christian Carnival mailing list has gone kaput. Nick just realized it. If you were on it and haven't received his message about the new list, you're probably not someone he remembered as being on it. He has no records of who was on it. So if you want back in (or in for the first time), go here to subscribe.

The 27th Christian Carnival is up at Mr. Standfast. We're still strongly competing with the COTV, with one fewer this time around. Sadly, I can say that I could have made it a tie by not submitting my entry to the COTV this week. Well, at least my post with w1re's questions and Sam's on unity in the church prevented it from being three short.

The 96th Carnival of the Vanities is up at soundfury. Five hours ago, I'd already gotten 12 hits from it, which is more than I've ever gotten from COTV in the past. No one has left a comment or (that I know of) linked, so perhaps they didn't expect such an in-depth post from such a short description that it analyzes a definition of racism. In the Olympics theme, it is labeled cross-country, though!

I enjoyed this post at INCITE about libertarianism, laws like the Patriot Act, and when it's ok to disobey the law.

Also, QandO has a great post on socialized medicine.

Update: Somehow the link to the carnival itself got removed, along with part of the sentence it was in, before this got post. It's fixed now. I forgot to link to my own post too, and that's now there. One post I referenced turns out not to have been in the carnival. Blogger's typical problem with not directing you to the right entry but hanging out at the top of the page led to this misunderstanding. Since it was the post I did write about that I wanted to highlight and not the one that had been submitted for the carnival, I'm removing it and putting it in its own entry.

Christian Conservative

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I'm not talking about the religious right. Christian Conservative is a blog I've really just discovered. I think I looked at his site when it first joined the Blogdom of God a while back, and I probably made a mental note to look back in on it occasionally to see if I liked it. I generally like a good track record before I'll plug something.

This time I'm making an exception. So many of the last few posts are so interesting that I've added it to my blogroll. I expected a site primarily about politics, but it seemed mostly about theology and the Christian life, with some political reflection, often more general analysis looking at biblical themes. Here are some of the posts that drew my interest:

This coming Wednesday, July 21, is the next Christian Carnival, and it will be hosted by Mr. Standfast. If you have a blog, this will be a great way to get read and possibly pick up readers in the process or highlight your favorite post from the past week.

To enter is simple. First, your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) in nature from a Christian point of view. Then, do the following:

As I was doing a my top 15 of Parableman, I grew interested in comparing some statistical data that the list led me to wonder about.

My first thought was that there was a notable lack of comments on many of my favorite posts. Some of the top 15 have a good number of comments, given that the average for the blog is just over 2. [There have been 500 entries and 1022 comments. The top 15 list has one with 17, one with 14, two with 7, one with 4, two with 3, four with 1, and three with 0.] The highest here are in the top 15 commented entries of the blog's history, and the average (over 4) is higher than the average for the blog (just over 2), but the majority of the posts in the top 15 are toward the lower end. I wonder why the entries I consider my best are the ones that have fewer comments.

Here are the highest-commented entries:

Parableman's Top 15

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This is my 500th entry, and as I said a few days ago I decided to do a top ten list of my favorite entries, but I can't limit it to just ten, so I'm going with fifteen. I only got one response in my request for recommendations, with quite a few items recommended, and I don't know if it's better to weight that heavily or just take it as one person's preferences, but I do happen to agree that all of those are among my best, so I've included them all.

I've decided not to rank them, because it's hard enough settling on the fifteen posts I like the most. Ordering them would be much more difficult, so they're in chronological order. I'll do some analysis in another post.

1. Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? (20 January, 14 comments)
2. A Deeper Notion of Marriage (23 January, 3 comments)
3. Intellectuals and grasping the mercies of God (15 February, 1 comment)
4. Racial Narratives (20 February, no comments)
5. Matthew's use of scripture (21 February, no comments)
6. Victimology (26 February, 4 comments)
7. My Amazing Wife (27 February, 1 comment)
8. Separatism (11 March, 1 comment)
9. Is There Potentiality in God? (17 March, no comments)
10. Limited Atonement (19 March, 7 comments)
11. All Creation Groans (23 March, 1 comment)
12. Presuppositional Apologetics (3 April, 7 comments)
13. Does the Bible Count as Evidence for Christianity? (24 April, 3 comments)
14. Review of Bible Translations (22 May, 14 comments)
15. What Should Christians Think of July 4? (3 July, 17 comments)

The Christian Carnival is at From the Anchor Hold this week. It's growing by leaps and bounds. We even outgrew the Carnival of the Vanities this week by a couple entries. Next week it will be at Mr. Standfast, so stay tuned for details. Patriot Paradox now has a schedule up for the next few weeks of hosts. I'm doing the week right after the last one on that list, August 18. I don't think it's a good idea to do it while I'm teaching, so that might be the last one for me until December or January unless I change my mind on that (or unless there's a good week when I'll have Wednesday off that isn't Thanksgiving, which I think does happen with the Mass of the Holy Spirit -- the benefits of teaching at a Catholic school).

My post on evangelicals and politics is part of it, along with a number of other posts on similar matters, including a roundup of some of the best at Digitus, Finger & Co. Given that Karen Marie was hosting, it shouldn't surprise long-time Carnival readers that a number of others from the Catholic blogging community showed up, including The Curt Jester, who is themed his blog on a Jesuit monk whose life he greatly respects, combining prayer with punditry, in this case giving some excellent reflections along the same lines as posts in Neil's aforementioned roundup. The Society of Jesuits pays my salary, so I have to be nice to them people who base their blogs' themes on them, but it's a good post independent of my own prejudices.

The 95th Carnival of the Vanities is up at d-42. It's themed according to Rush albums, sort of. It's an interesting idea, but I was having trouble seeing the connections between the songs and the posts. Maybe I just don't know Rush well enough. I never could get into them, mostly because there wasn't really enough room for the kind of layering the complexity of their music required when you only have three musicians who try to do only what they can duplicate live. Progressive rock needs at least five people to do it right, unless Bill Bruford is involved or at least two people are doubling up on parts. If you don't have a non-standard rock instrument (e.g. saxophone, violin, flute, tuba, Irish pipes, chicken clucks), then you're already behind.

Two caveats:

First, the host thought La Shawn Barber was a he. This shows some serious ignorance of the naming conventions within African American culture. The 'La' prefix is almost always for a girl's name and can be followed by any otherwise male name (though Shawn can, but isn't usually, female). What's worse is that he didn't even match up his misimpression with her picture. What's worse than that is that he linked to the comments and not the post. Here's the real link for those who want to see the post itself.

Second, the host thinks Freewill is one of Rush's best songs. That's like thinking I Can't Dance is one of Genesis' best songs. It's like thinking Mr. Roboto is one of Styx's best songs. I'm unable to transcribe the sound I want written here.

It's got my post about colorblindness along with a post on a blog I've never heard of before, Strat Speaks Out, talking about something I have talked about before here, the idea that black people who decide to excel in school for its own sake are viewed as not black enough by their peers. They're called Oreos. After all, school is a white thing, so anyone taking delight in the subject matter learned in school must not really be black.

Another blog I haven't seen before, Spot On, has a thoughtful defense of abstinence in sex education and a probing analysis of those who harp on abstinence advocates, noting its success in Uganda. This isn't a social conservative saying all this, either.

I forgot to put this up earlier, probably because I knew about it much earlier. Tomorrow is the next Christian Carnival, and it will be hosted at From the Anchor Hold. If you have a blog, this will be a great way to get read and possibly pick up readers in the process or highlight your favorite post from the past week.

To enter is simple. First, you post should be of a Christian nature, but
this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) in nature
from a Christian point of view. Secondly please send only one post dated
since the last Christian Carnival (7-7 or after). Then, do the following:

Best of Me Symphony

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One of the lesser-known blog carnivals is the Best of Me Symphony. The specialty of this one is best posts of a blog. To be a best post, a post needs to stand the test of time, so all submissions must be at least two months old. The quality of submissions is much higher than most carnivals, and this week's looks to have some great stuff, judging by the descriptions. I submitted my Freedom not to Pledge, partly because I thought it was one of my better posts from a prior age, partly because the discussion in the comments was so engaging.

Parableman's Top Ten?

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Baldilocks is approaching her 500th post and is planning a top ten list of her posts. I'm also approaching 500. This is my 489th post.

I don't have a list of my favorite ten posts, as she does. I do have a list of posts in my side column that would be my best candidates. Some of them have been diverted to posts listing more than one in the interest of saving room in that list (and unfortunately the link rot from moving hasn't all been fixed in some of those meta-posts, but the titles are there, and the search engine on this site will find the ones I haven't yet fixed). Being moved to such a meta-post and out of the main list doesn't indicate that those posts are less deserving. They're just more easily grouped.

Does anyone have any favorite posts that should be in this list? Maybe it's vain to ask, but if I'm following Baldilocks into vanity it's at least good company.

A New Low

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In the endless quest for more linkage, I submitted my women's bicycles post to the Bonfire of the Vanities, and somehow the host thought it was bad enough to get in.

I've got some good contentful posts planned, but I just haven't had both the time and energy at the same time to do much with one kid who has been sick over a week now, another in his first week of school ever (I've had to bring him and pick him up along with bureaucracy and trying to be aware of what they're doing with him and how they intend to help his high needs), and my first week of an intense five-week summer class (though it helps that I've taught it before). I hope to get something more in depth written in as the week goes on.

Messy Christian is this week's Christian Carnival host. It's even bigger this week at 27 entries (actually 30, because three people violated one of the basic ground rules of the Christian Carnival, and as far as I know all blog carnivals, by submitting two entries from the same blog), and unsurprisingly I have a few more posts to recommend than I sometimes do.

My 4th of July post is there., but so is Belief Seeking Understanding's important counterbalance to some of what I say.

Rebecca Writes has a good introduction to the Reformed view called monergistic regeneration, which roughly speaking says that God doesn't work in cooperation with us in initiating the process of salvation (though I feel compelled to add that it would be both misleading and morally wrong to say as the common straw man of Calvinism has it that we and our choices aren't involved in that process, since they pretty much are that process).

Mark Roberts is working on a series on worship. His first post is here, and the Christian Carnival entry is here.

I've been saving up a post on this, and I may still do it, but View from the Pew can give you a sense of the National Association of Evangelicals' letter on politics. It may surprise you.

Christian Carnival XXV Plug


The 25th Christian Carnival will be hosted at Messy Christian for the first time this coming Wednesday.

If you have a blog, this will be a great way to get read and possibly pick up readers in the process or highlight your favorite post from the past week.

To enter is simple. First your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) in nature from a Christian point of view. Then do the following:

Email MC at: messychristian2 at yahoo. com. sg or use this handy-dandy form.

Provide the following:

Title of your Blog
URL of your Blog
Title of your post
URL linking to that post
Description of the Post

Cut off date is Tuesday by 6 PM EST.

If you are reading this and are not a part of the Christian Carnival mailing list please go here and join up:

*If you wish to host the Carnival in coming weeks email Nick at

Comment Problem


Several people have had problems submitting comments. MTAmazon, the plugin that allows my blog to download the pictures of books automatically from the Amazon site, has been causing problems, and the blog won't rebuild properly during those problems. Sometimes it's led to error messages when submitting comments. If this happens, don't resumbit your comment, because then I'll just have to go in and delete one of them. This problem doesn't prevent submission of information. It prevents the site from rebuilding to show that the information is there. Most of the trouble has been coming from the games, and I've removed those Amazon links now, so I hope it won't be as frequent anymore.


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Here's some more stuff I've decided not to have longer posts on.

At Writing to Understand, Kris gives some reasons not to be so harsh with Fahrenheit 9/11. There really is something to be learned from it, even if you have to know a lot about the issues to be able to evaluate which bits are something to be learned and which are complete fabrications.

I knew video games were good for something.

Also from McConchie, a debunking of numerous claims about fetal stem cells. Destroying embryos doesn't seem to be worth it even if you ignore the fact that you're killing a human being.

Mark Liberman of Language Log has more on Bush's supposed disfluencies. This time an extremely respected linguist, George Lakoff, says Bush proved himself to be an excellent debater when running for governor. He describes him as eloquent, quick on his feet, and able to get out complicated sentences smoothly and without hesitation. Liberman considers a few theories as to why he seems to have become less that way during the 2000 presidential race and during his presidency. Interesting stuff.



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