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Sunday, 22 October 2006

Neener, neener



Hint: You really do have to pick the right smiley.
And, as is typically the case with multiple-guess tests, you have to be no less stupid then the test writer, who in this case didn't realize, or admit, that Pluto isn't a planet.

Friday, 20 October 2006

Thursday, 19 October 2006

Sexual assault with robbery? A satire


This is based on a true story.
Hint: watch for a paradigm shift, when we switch to actual copies of the original emails.

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: January 31, 2005
Subject: Pray for my family

Dear Friends,
I just got off the phone with my wife. She was robbed this morning on a trip to town with our daughter. The robber didn't get much--only about $140--and it looks like insurance will cover most of it. The scary thing, though, is that he did threaten to do this again, on a regular basis, over the next few months. Please pray that he won't abuse anyone in the process.

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: March 3, 2005
Subject: Pray for my family's safety

Well, it happened again, just yesterday afternoon. The same assailant struck again, and got another $140. And we haven't even gotten the insurance settlement from the last incident yet! I talked to someone at the police station, and they told me that they have no intention of doing anything about it. Apparently this assailant has powerful friends in high places and the law is on his side. So far my wife and daughter haven't been hurt, and they think I'm making too big a deal about this.

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: April 4, 2005
Subject: Pray for the assailant

I got bold enough today to walk right up to the assailant who's robbed us three times now and asked him to stop. He was pretty brusque with me, assuring me that this is how he operates and hinting that if I interfered he'd get the law on me himself. For all he claims to be a kind and caring professional, from what I've heard of him I'm convinced he's armed and dangerous.

BTW, we got the insurance settlement for the original incident. They covered 80%. Apparently they get a lot of claims like this.

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: July 12, 2005
Subject: More threats

Thanks to those who have been praying about this tense situation with my wife and daughter. The encounters are becoming more and more frequent. The assailant has been bombarding the latter with intense energy waves in an attempt to probe for some weakness in her that he can take advantage of. So far he hasn't found any, but we feel very vulnerable. Every time he confronts them, he won't release them until they've left him another $140. He's already gotten all kinds of personal information out of my wife, including where we live and even where I work. So no one here is likely to be safe from this man as long as he remains at large.

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: August 14, 2005
Subject: Imminent Danger!

My wife returned home yesterday in tears. She'd had yet another run-in with her nemesis, and this time he openly bragged about his intentions. He even showed her where he would cut her if our daughter didn't concede to his demands. His constant probing has shown him that unless she changes her position on a very important matter, he's coming after both of them with his blade.

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: September 6, 2005
Subject: Doom!

This man is determined now. He's picked the time and place for the assault, and assembled a gang of accomplices. They are determined to go forward with this, and have made dark but unspecified threats to me as to what would happen if they don't show up. I really don't know what else to do but pray.

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: September 6, 2005
Subject: Reprieve!

This is a major answer to prayer. We left the choice up to her, but our daughter has now conceded to the assailant's demands, and given up the position she's held so long. He says it's too late, though, to go back on his plans entirely. But rather than coming after my wife with the knife, he's changed the weapon to a drug-infested needle. My daugher will get a dose of the same, and he's confident that under the influence of the drug they will be compelled to do his will.

* * * * *

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: September 8, 2005
Subject: Update

As I wrote earlier, my wife is past her due date, but the baby is no longer in the breech position. The doctor wants to go ahead with the delivery before the weekend starts, so he's put her on Pitocin drip. Contractions have begun. Pray that all goes well.

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: September 9, 2005
Subject: Report

The doctor reports that our daughter is under stress so he's going ahead with the planned C-section. Pray for a safe delivery.

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: September 10, 2005
Subject: Latest Report

Well, it's just past midnight, and I'm proud to report that we are now the parents of a 6 pound 10 ounce baby girl! Mother and baby are fine. Everything went as planned, so they should be out of the hospital in another few days.

Thanks for praying.

Monday, 16 October 2006

Adam and Noah were tall, black and bearded

I've made a side study of anthropology and over the years I've collected quite a few Creation and Flood stories. But here's a new one I just ran across, from the Andamanese culture, most of which had no historic contact with the rest of the world prior to 1858 when a British penal colony was erected at Port Blair.

* * *
After Puluga had made the world, he created man and called him Tomo. He was black in colour like his modern-day descendants but much taller and bearded. Puluga showed Tomo how to use fire and especially how to cook pigs which in those days were easy to catch as they had neither ears nor noses. Later Puluga also created a woman whose name was Chan Elewadi. The original couple had two daughters and two sons. When pigs became plentiful enough to be a nuisance, the clever woman drilled holes into their snouts and heads, thereby enabling them to hear and see to avoid danger and procure food for themselves. Puluga then covered the whole land with jungle in which the newly-equipped pigs could hide, thereby becoming much more difficult to catch. Puluga came to the rescue of the people by showing Tomo how to hunt with the help of bow and arrows as well as how to build canoes and how to fish. He showed Chan Elewadi how to weave baskets, make fishing nets and to use ochre and white clay. He also set down a number of rules and regulations such as a prohibition on noisy work at night during the wet season. Puluga also gave the people their language, A-Pucikwar. In those days Puluga lived on Saddle Peak and being so near could visit and instruct his people. The canoes of those early days were not, according to legend, equipped with outriggers and were made of the hollowed out trunk of the pandanus tree which was said to have grown much bigger then. The creeks so characteristic of Greater Andaman are also said to have been made at that time: Tomo had harpooned a large fish which in its frantic efforts to escape hit the land repeatedly with its snout and caused the indentations that turned into useful creeks. Tomo himself was said to have lived to a great old age and to have seen his descendants increase in number to such a degree that the original homeland could no longer accommodate them all. Puluga then interfered again and had them all equipped with weapons, implements, fire and their own language before they scattered in pairs all over the country. Tomo and his wife later drowned and were turned into a whale and a small crab respectively.
Tomo's successor was his grandson, Kolwot, who distinguished himself by being the first to catch turtle. After Kolwot's death, the people became remiss of the commands given to them at the creation. Puluga ceased to visit them and then without further warning sent a devastating flood. Only four people survived this flood: two men, Loralola and Poilola, and two women, Kalola and Rimalola. When they landed they found they had lost their fire and all living things had perished. Puluga then recreated the animals and plants but does not seem to have given any further instructions, nor did he return the fire to the survivors. They suffered grievously. At this critical moment, one of their recently-drowned friends reappeared in the form of a kingfisher. He noticed their distress and flew up to the sky where he found Puluga seated beside his fire. He sized a burning log and tried to fly to earth with it. The kingfisher-spirit dropped the log on Puluga who suffered burns and angrily hurled the log at the bird. It missed its mark and instead fell near the four survivors people who thus had their problem solved for them. The legend at this point adds that since that time until the present day, the Andamanese tribes have never been without fire, thanks to the precautions they employ to guard against its extinction. The survivors received no such help with the other skills of daily life which they had to recover by themselves. The pigments for body-painting were said to have been rediscovered accidentally by women searching for edible roots.

* * *

Note the following historical elements in this myth:
1. Creation of a single couple: man first
2. Close communion with God, later lost
3. Physiological change from the original human prototype
4. Long Lifespans and rapid population growth
5. Global dispersion accompanied by language change
6. Cataclysmic flood

Now, another interesting element in this myth has no direct counterpart in recorded history, but it is shared by other myths across the globe: Fire from Heaven. Distinct to this myth is the admission that the use of fire had been lost earlier. Fire is the most basic technology that distinguishes Man from Beast. All men make use of nurtured fire; no animals do.

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Getting closer to Apocalpse 13:7

A blog that recently made front-page news in USA Today is the subject of a defamation lawsuit, claiming, among other things, that the blogger, Frank Vance, defamed both Tim Dick and Ligonier Ministries inc. by stating, "It would be one thing if Tim Dick were qualified for the position . . . it's self-evident that the man is as unfit to head Ligonier Ministries as is RC Sproul Jr to be a pastor."

Thus a civil judge is being asked to adjudicate the qualification of the litigant for Christian leadership--something we hope the judge has refused to do.

But such is not the case in a similar legal battle being waged out on a rocky peninsula on the Aegean where the one hundred monks of the Esphigmenou Monastery are being actively persecuted by the Greek government over an issue of who is fit to lead the Eastern Orthodox Church. Four monks have already died, and the rest are being starved into submission--or death.

It has been centuries since a secular European state was asked to penalize members of a church whose heirarchy had accused of heresy. The Inquisition, long thought to be dead in the West, has now reared its head in the East.

The monks' crime? They oppose the support of their Ecumenical Patriarch--a Turkish citizen--for unification with the Catholic Church and submission to the Pope.

Their leader, Methodios, wrote to his fellow abbotts:
"Keep in mind, what is now apparent, the official Union of the Churches, because the European Union is being rushed to complete a Unified Europe. "

Sign of the times?

More on Postpartum Hemorrhage

In a previous post, I originally misidentified the abortion drug now being pushed on women in developing countries. This was easy to do, as text on the NPR website does not name the drug, and the original article it cited is not freely available online. Compounding that, several websites I looked at misspelled the drug.

Here's how one of these websites describes the use of Misoprostol in medical abortions:
"In the French Protocol, misoprostol is given in pill form (400 mcg) 48 hours after a woman has taken mifepristone. It is sometimes prescribed as a vaginal suppository (800 mcg) because this route can be safer and more effective, especially with pregnancies that are farther along. The use of misoprostol by itself for medical abortion has been studied, particularly in Brazil, where abortion is illegal and misoprostol is the easiest of the three medical abortion drugs to acquire. These studies have found that although misoprostol is about as effective as both two-drug combinations, there are many more unpleasant side effects.

"Among the side effects of misoprostol are diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Some women also get hot flashes or episodes of fever. Possibly because it enters the bloodstream more gradually, misoprostol seems to have fewer side effects when given as a suppository than by mouth."

One of the unpleasant side effects of being a Voice Crying in the Wilderness is that you offend a lot of experts. Pharisees were the religious experts of Jesus' day, and he outright offended them in the very area in which they were the trained experts and he was the uneducated upstart from the back hills of Galilee.

I'm a Voice Crying in the Wilderness on the subject of Postpartum Bleeding, and I won't be able to write on the subject without offending the experts. A pity, because I've stood and watched a half dozen times as my postpartum wife lay bleeding, attended by experts at childbirth with licenses hanging on their walls that cost them up to a hundred thousand dollars to legally obtain. In every case, the expert's solution was an injection of a synthetic drug available only by prescription; a drug in one case that had to be obtained on the black market because the person administering it was only a registered nurse and not a medical doctor. A drug so dangerous that if given prematurely it can cause uterine rupture and swift death.

A drug that in some hospitals is part of the standard treatment given to postpartum women, regardless of medical indication.

And yet, in most of these cases, administering this drug, like so many other procedures associated with professionally managed childbirth, was totally unnecessary. How do I know this? Because twice I have seen a skilled woman--one a medical doctor, one a certified midwife--gently pull the placenta out of my wife's womb with minimal bleeding. This is a skill that any birth attendant can learn, but few practice. Giving a shot of Pitocin is just too easy--if you can get your hands on it in the first place.

Only once have I seen my wife give birth in a situation in which medical assistance was needed; that time, she suffered from a detached placenta, and the baby came so quickly--and well that it did, or it would have died from anoxia--that it was delivered by a member of the hospital staff not certified to do so. This person then stood by helpless, watching my wife continue bleeding, until the certified professional could come by and administer Pitocin. Had we delivered that baby at home, and had we been in a developing country, and had Bill & Melinda Gates succeeded in making Misoprostol available OTC, I could have given my wife three fifty-cent tablets and stopped the bleeding myself. Instead, I got a bill for $1400 from the medical professional. The woman who actually delivered the baby got not a cent of it. She had to get her cut out of the additional $2000 paid to the hospital.

I'm all for the availability of Misoprostol. I'd even like to have a few tablets on hand when my next child is born, just in case. But handing out Misoprostol tablets to every pregnant woman in the Third World would be like handing out loaded pistols to every middle-school student who wants one. Some won't use them at all; some will use them to save lives; but most will likely use them to put lives at risk, the very reason this will never be done.

There has to be a middle ground. Professional birth attendants, regardless of their level of training, should have access to Misoprostol tablets. Giving them to a pregnant woman should land them in jail for attempted murder.

That's the solution; but it's too simple for the likes of Bill & Melinda Gates and NPR. Instead we will have Misoprostol being dispensed like candy where it can do the most damage, all in hopes of saving some women from postpartum bleeding, and find ourselves having to shell out thousands of dollars for the same treatment back here in the People's Republic of America.

Monday, 9 October 2006

Pushing an Abortion Drug on Third World mothers

NPR's Morning Edition ran an interesting story this morning. Quoting a new study just published in The Lancet, Brenda Wilson reports that "a drug originally developed to treat ulcers," Misoprostol, could "save thousands of lives of women in developing countries" by controlling post-partum bleeding--a condition, by the way, presently treated with Pitocin, a synthetic oxytocin. The study, conducted in India, was funded by the Global Network for Women's and Children's Health research, a partnership between the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

What the three-minute report is careful not to say is that while Misoprostol was originally developed as an ulcer treatment, its primary use for the last decade has been as an abortifacent--one that, as it turns out, often causes extensive bleeding when administered to pregnant women. Yes, that's right--Misoprostol is a constituent drug of the medical abortion procedure.

NPR's Wilson predicts that the extremely low cost and user-friendly nature of Misoprostol will result in it being used by uncertified birth attendants throughout the Third World. Unspoken is the implication that it could make abortion as easy a matter as a trip to the nearest pharmacy.

This is news. Too bad it's not being reported.

Monday, 2 October 2006

Another unintended consequence of overregulation


Today, Charles Roberts strode into an elementary school building brandishing an arsenal of weapons. He ordered the students against the wall and began singling out the ones he intended to kill.

What's unusual about this scenario is that it was a 1-room Amish school. What did Roberts have against the Amish? Nothing, as it turned out. He chose this particular school because, unlike the public schools across the country in the wake of Columbine, it wasn't locked or guarded.

Amish aren't likely to start locking down their school buildings just because a loony decided to make them an easy target--any more than they'll give up horses just because somebody gets killed by a runaway buggy.

But stand by for some officious meddling by those who think they can legislate away bad behavior. They'll compound their original (useless) regulations with something new targeting the Amish themselves, thus making them suffer twice from this crime.

But it won't work. Note that most of the school shootings this week were at public schools.

Posted 10/2/2006

I have to report that in the three days since writing this post I did in fact discover the existence of an Amish group that gave up their buggies due to a high accident rate. Too many of their members were dying in auto-buggy crashes, and they gave up this part of their heritage. But even more troubling is news of how easily small private country schools (many of which are not Amish) were affected by this event: already school entry doors are being locked for fear of this happening again.

This fear of 'copycat crimes' is logically fallacious. The odds of any one country school being targeted by a pedophilic assassin are remote. So it happened once; yeah, it may happen again. But whenever a barn is burned down by lightning, must every other barn owner in the country immediately be required to carry fire insurance? Yet the odds of an Amish boy being struck by lightning, or his barn burning down, are far greater than his sister's chances of being raped or murdered in the classroom.

IF Amish children continue to be targeted because they meet behind unlocked doors, THEN it may be time for the Amish to review their historic stance of non-resistence. Certainly the Plain People in Haiti have a level of comfort with deadbolts and padlocks. But until life in Pennsylvania becomes as precarious as life in Haiti, over-reaction is the greatest danger--as is the loss of freedom that inevitably comes with it.

Demons in the Church


This from a Mennonite church in Central America:

"We had a 'vigil,' which means church lasting all through the night, consisting mainly in load praise songs. It took place on a Saturday night--nine hours of worship services with a 30 minute break in between for coffee and baleadas. I didn't get to bed until 5 am. There was also preaching, speaking in tongues, and an emphasis on making noise. The youth were encouraged to dance or at least sing with excitement. I had never seen exorcisms before, but that night there were two, one of them being M____. A bunch of people had to restrain him, and they kept repeating over in over 'in the name of Jesus.' Finally he went limp and everyone applauded. I don't know why he was attacked by a demon. During the time for giving testimonies, he spoke of feeling 'blows,' after entering 'the presence of the spirit.'"

Not your typical image of a Mennonite church, is it? Yet Mennonites are not any more immune than any other denomination to the inroads of the various Pentecostal movements that have swept America for a century, and are taking on a new life in countries across the world.

I must say I'm very concerned to hear about this, but not particularly surprised. Rodney Howard Browne's organisation is pushing to enroll foreign evangelists and pastors in its training program.

I have heard firsthand testimony of a person--an ex-Mennonite woman from Indiana--being observed after having come back from hearing Browne in Pensacola. She's got unmistakable symptoms of demon posession. No doubt this type can be cast out in such a service as described above--but does it stay out? I doubt it. And for every one cast out, seven more come back.

Prior Restraint doesn't work


Another School Shooting has occurred, the third in a week. But note what officials said this past July when they released more documents from the 7-year-old Columbine case that started it all:

Police refused to release videos and audiotapes made by the pair amid fears they could spark copycat killings.