Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bush: No Human-Animal Hybrids

From tonight's State of the Union (transcript from CNN.com):

Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research -- human cloning in all its forms ... creating or implanting embryos for experiments ... creating human-animal hybrids ... and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos. Human life is a gift from our creator -- and that gift should never be discarded, devalued, or put up for sale.

I don't know; I think our Creator would be proud of us if we managed to breed centaurs, werewolves, mermaids, and sphinxes.

Hat tip: Wonkette.

Warning: Nudity

Tuesday Evening Reading

  • J2 offers an insightful, nicely crafted comment about the President's proposed health savings accounts. I take issue with some of his arguments, but he is definitely better informed on the subject than I am, and his comment is well worth reading. (J2 gets the Scrambies Award for best comments. I actually once met J2 in person, but I regret that I've forgotten his name.)

  • Cole looks back on the time he met Coretta Scott King, who died last night at age 78.

  • Legislators in at least five states, including my native state of Indiana, are proposing bold anti-abortion legislation in hopes that these laws will survive, given the current makeup of the Supreme Court. (I need to discuss this development with my source in the Indiana Statehouse.)

  • Jesus' General updates the Bill of Rights. It's a little over the top, but funny nonetheless.

  • The Onion: Vegetarian Can't Bring Self To Eat IHOP's Funny Face Pancakes. (As a vegetarian, I'm allowed to find this funny.)

  • And so you know, I'm not happy that Love Monkey was pre-empted tonight by the State of the Union Address, the opposition response, and the subsequent commentary. (As it were, Bush said very little in the SOTUA about healthcare.)

    Monday, January 30, 2006

    Get Ready for the SOTUA, Learn About Health Savings Accounts

    Tomorrow, your television viewing plans will inevitably be ruined by the State of the Union Address. I don't care who's in the White House, no SOTUA is more worthwhile than back-to-back episodes of Scrubs. (I hope that Love Monkey isn't Pre-empted.) The State of the Union Address is almost always short-sighted, one-sided, self-serving, unrealistically optimistic, and boring.

    But the President will devote several minutes tomorrow to promoting "health savings accounts." I'm glad to hear that Dubya will be discussing the oft-neglected, but extremely important, issue of healthcare; but I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around these health savings accounts. Fortunately, a recent article in the New York Times offers a good overview of the President's healthcare plan:

    As the plans were conceived, people using their own money could be expected to spend less on health care, switching to lower-cost drugs, for example, and adopting healthier lifestyles. Employers were promised savings as they shifted responsibility to workers for thousands of dollars in costs. Uninsured employees of small companies and self-employed people would be able to set aside pretax dollars for low-cost, limited coverage.

    But for those who criticized the idea of health savings plans from the start, the early results simply confirm their gloomier forecasts. The critics say this approach is increasing many people's out-of-pocket expenses and warn that it will make them less likely to seek routine preventive care that might stave off bigger problems down the road.

    I still don't entirely understand how these health savings accounts work, but for those who are already insured, these plans are an alternative worth considering. But I'm not terribly concerned about people who are insured; I'm worried about people who are not. (Sure, those of us with relatively good health coverage have to worry about rising costs and capricious decisions about what is or is not covered; but at least we have something.) For the uninsured, a health savings account seems like just another substandard, high-deductible healthcare plan that they can buy into.

    But I could be way off; I'm curious to learn what the President has to say. Of course, I'll just read about it on the Internet after the address has been given.


    Diana Butler Bass in The Practicing Congregation (Alban Institute, 2004)

    Too often what Protestants read about their tradition is ultimately unimaginative—the same tired story lines about conflict, about liberal and conservative divides, and about mainline decline. Contemporary mainline Protestants have believed these stories, allowing their self-understanding to be colonized by storytellers outside their tradition whose work is sometimes driven by agendas that benefit from stories of conflict and decline. By believing others' stories and not having the confidence to imagine their own narratives, mainline Protestants have often fuelled the cycle of conflict and given into the temptation of spiritual despair.


    Sunday, January 29, 2006

    Audio of Today's Christian Dissent Live

    Here it is. Today we were joined by Alex Wiesendanger of the Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing (TCASK) with whom we discussed capital punishment in America and particularly the cases of Paul House and Greg Thompson, both of whom are on Tennessee's death row.

    During the show's first hour, Cole, Joey, and I discussed the widening gap between the haves and have-nots, abortion, and Joey's vision of Cole's demise. We also identified and eliminated the source of the alien interference that disrupted last week's show.

    For Real?

    Is our military really kidnapping insurgents' wives so that their husbands will surrender? Read more.

    Saturday, January 28, 2006

    God, Mammon, and the Fate of Pedro's Soul

    I am not a fan of T-shirt designs that spoof popular T-shirt designs and brand logos. Frankly, I expect T-shirt designers to be more creative. During my rock 'n' roll years I came across several such silk-screened parodies; bands seem especially fond of them. Now that I work for the church I often see such T-shirt spoofs marketed to Christian teens. Profiting from stolen ideas hardly seems Christlike to me, but I'm probably over-reacting.

    This afternoon, at an event for youth and youth ministers in the Tennessee Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, I saw a shirt that played on the popular Napoleon-Dynamite-inspired "Vote for Pedro" design. It read "Jesus Died for Pedro," and it was for sale at the event. Did Jesus die for Pedro? Personally, I have found that Christian theology is complex enough without adding to the conversation the salvation of fictional characters. Again, I'm probably over-reacting.

    Friday, January 27, 2006

    The Gap Widens, Especially in Tennessee

    A report issued yesterday by the Economic Policy Institute and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (two think tanks often considered liberal) shows that the income gap has increased significantly in the past two decades:

    For the period between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, the report found that the incomes of the top fifth of families grew faster than those of the bottom fifth of families in 38 states. The states where the gap grew the most were Arizona, New York, Massachusetts, Tennessee and New Jersey.

    In only one state – Alaska – did income growth for low-income families outpace that of high-income households.

    Notice that my home state of Tennessee, which has the nation's sixth largest "top-to-bottom" income ratio, is one of the states where the gap has grown the most. The bottom 20 percent of earners in Tennessee make an average of only $14,303 per year, the nation's sixth lowest average income for the bottom 20 percent. Tennessee's top 5 percent fairs much better, ranking 26th in mean annual income.

    Thursday, January 26, 2006

    Thursday Evening Reading

  • "Theocracy, Eh?" The Revealer looks at the fundamentalist religious leanings of new Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

  • Randy Horick's column in this week's Nashville Scene uses the success of Glory Road to explore the possibilty of breaking the "sexual orientation" barrier in major college and professional sports. He's gonna get letters.

  • Glenn Greenwald asks, did the administration refuse to support legislation that would have made legal its unwarranted eavesdropping efforts?

  • Oh, and I have an article up at I Lead Youth.com.
  • Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    Chili Cookoff Results

    My chili didn't win any prizes, but someone must have liked my recipe because I went home with an empty Crock-Pot®.

    Pacers Finally Trade Artest . . .

    . . . to the Sacramento Kings. In return they get all-star swingman Peja Stojakovic, who has battled injuries in recent seasons. Peja is not the complete player that Artest is, particularly with regard to defense. But, thanks to Artest's much publicized baggage, getting a player of comparable skill would have been impossible. When I first rumors of the Artest-for-Peja trade, I thought it would be a bad move on the part of the Pacers. Now, I think the Pacers made the best of a difficult situation: landing a skilled spot-up shooter who can score 20 every night and giving up a star who hadn't been playing anyway. I've always liked Stojakovic; I just hope he's a good fit for the Pacers.

    May the Best Chili Win

    Today is the day of the big Chili Cook-Off at work. I doubt that my vegetarian chili has much of a chance of beating its beefier competitors; but, as an employee with his own chili recipe, I feel that participation is my duty to my workplace. I am not prepared to reveal my recipe, but I can give you a glimpse of my chili-making process:

    Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    I Like Love Monkey

    I became a fan of Tom Cavanaugh over the course of three seasons of religiously watching Ed. So I decided to check out Tom's new show Love Monkey, which he stars in and executive produces. I like to think that, as a Gen-Xer who spent the nineties immersed in independent music, I am the show's target market.

    It's a good show, though it tries too hard to be cool (in a New York, bohemian sort of way). The cast is solid, and most of the characters are strong. On the other hand, the plot can be kind of hokey, and I don't care for the musical stylings of the critically acclaimed, John Mayer-esque, independent singer-songwriter. Overall, I enjoy Love Monkey, and I'll probably tune in every Tuesday, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it to someone who isn't me.

    What Exactly Is a Domestic Partnership?

    From the Gainesville Sun:

    University of Florida employees have to pledge that they're having sex with their domestic partners before qualifying for benefits under a new health care plan at the university.

    The partners of homosexual and heterosexual employees are eligible for coverage under UF's plan, which will take effect in February. The enrollment process began this month, and some employees have expressed concern about an affidavit that requires a pledge of sexual activity. . . .

    In addition to declaring joint financial obligations, prospective enrollees must "have been in a non-platonic relationship for the preceding 12 months," according to the affidavit.

    As a 29-year-old male, I think I'm obligated to make a crack to the effect of, "Hey, a lot of married people haven't been in a 'non-platonic relationship for the preceding 12 months.' Whoa!"

    Seriously though, while I think that employers should offer domestic partner benefits, I'm not sure how to describe what constitutes a "domestic partnership." No employer wants to invest in benefits for roommates, but what makes someone "more than a roommate." If more states would offer civil unions for homosexual (and possibly some heterosexual) couples, this distinction would be a lot less confusing.

    Specification: (Since Narnia is so en vogue right now) C.S. Lewis's relationship with Janie Moore would be a good candidate for a heterosexual non-marriage civil union. They were not related by blood and were not romantically involved, but they were nonetheless family.

    Monday, January 23, 2006

    What's Going On at ABC?

    Welcome to the Neighborhood was part reality show, part sociological experiment. In it seven families competed "to persuade the residents of a cul-de-sac here to award them a red-brick McMansion purchased on their behalf by the ABC television network." The winning family was a gay couple with an adopted son. Curiously, ABC decided, ten days before the first episode was to air, to pull Welcome to the Neighborhood. According to the New York Times, show producer Bill Kennedy suggests that the show might have been pulled to allow "the Walt Disney Company, ABC's owner, to pre-empt a show that could have interfered with a much bigger enterprise: the courting of evangelical Christian audiences for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."

    The Times article gives no hard evidence that the cancellation of Neighborhood has anything to do with evangelical support for Narnia. But why would ABC not only pull a show that it had already promoted, but also (the article reveals) refuse to sell the show's rights to a network that would be willing to broadcast it? I have to suspect that Neighborhood's telling the story of a gay couple that ultimately finds acceptance in an upper-middle class conservative neighborhood has something to do with its cancellation, especially given the recent evangelical protest of The Book of Daniel.

    As it were, ABC also cancelled Emily's Reasons Why Not after only one episode. I had no interest in watching the Heather Graham vehicle and missed the sole episode, but rarely has a show been so thoroughly marketed by its network. Why did ABC plug Emily during every commercial break for two months only to pull it before episode #2?

    Recall also that ABC kept Family Matters on the air for nine years and that it decided to give over Monday Night Football to ESPN after over three decades of success and tradition. Something funny is going on at the American Broadcasting Company.

    Meyer Loses His Shirt to Cheer On Uncle Troy

    Meyer explains why he was spotted at Hunter's Lane High School Saturday night without a shirt on and with "MJHS" written across his chest:

    Sunday, January 22, 2006

    The Eschatalogical Significance of the Snake-and-Hamster Story

    Jonathon appropriately notes that the recent story of the snake who has befriended its would-be dinner, a hamster, is reminiscent of the prophet Isaiah's vision of God's peaceable kingdom:

    The wolf shall live with the lamb,
    the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
    the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
    and a little child shall lead them.

    The cow and the bear shall graze,
    their young shall lie down together;
    and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

    The nursing child shall play over the hold of the asp,
    and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den.

    They will not hurt or destroy
    on all my holy mountain;
    for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

    —Isaiah 11:6-9 (NRSV)

    Saturday, January 21, 2006

    James Lawson Returns to Vanderbilt

    Budding civil rights leader James Lawson was expelled from my alma mater, Vanderbilt Divinity School, in 1960 for organizing nonviolent sit-ins at Nashville lunch counters. (As I understand it, he was expelled by the University's Board of Trust without the blessing of the Divinity School faculty; many divinity professors resigned in protest.) Now Lawson is back at Vanderbilt Divinity as a visiting prof.

    From Ciona Rouse and the UM News Service:

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Decades following his expulsion from Vanderbilt University as a student, civil rights pioneer James Lawson will return as a distinguished visiting professor for the school's 2006-07 academic year. . . .

    After his expulsion from Vanderbilt, Lawson continued his work for justice, serving as director of nonviolent education for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, as pastor of Centenary United Methodist Church in Memphis and as chairman of the strategy committee for the Memphis sanitation workers' strike in 1968, during which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. . . .

    "Permanently expelled from Vanderbilt, James Lawson would have done fine and well. But Vanderbilt could not be fine or well without confronting its troubled soul," said [Divinity School Dean James] Hudnut-Beumler.

    Thursday, January 19, 2006

    True Love Knows No Food Chain

    From the BBC:

    A rodent-eating snake and a hamster have developed an unusual bond at a zoo in the Japanese capital, Tokyo.

    Their relationship began in October last year, when zookeepers presented the hamster to the snake as a meal.

    The rat snake, however, refused to eat the rodent. The two now share a cage, and the hamster sometimes falls asleep sitting on top of his natural foe.

    This story has to make you feel good.

    Artifacts Found in the Tinley House

    As we were undergoing the tedious task of preparing bedrooms for the coming of our currently unborn second child (sixth if you include cats), the Tinleys discovered several long-forgotten photographs.

    I almost cried when I stumbled upon these baby pictures of my oldest children, Reggie and Naomi:

    See current pictures of Reggie and Naomi.

    I was also shocked by this picture of my old band, Three Hit Combo, from the summer of 2000. I had no idea I was ever so thin:

    Joey Goebel Novel First Among NPR's "Librarians Picks"

    My former Higher Step Records label mate, Joey Goebel, was honored today on NPR. Contributing librarian Nancy Pearl named Joey's novel Torture the Artist one of her "picks for a rainy day" (Pearl lives in Seattle).

    Back when I was the bassist and vocalist for Evansville, Indiana's Three Hit Combo, Joey was fronting the Henderson, Kentucky punk rock outfit The Mullets. In 2003 Joey published his first novel, The Anomalies, which I highly recommend. His sophomore effort, Torture the Artist, was published last year.

    It's good to see Joey honored by the national media.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2006

    SCOTUS Upholds Oregon's Assisted Suicide Law

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked the Bush administration's attempt to punish doctors who help terminally ill patients die, protecting Oregon's one-of-a-kind assisted-suicide law. . . .

    The administration improperly tried to use a federal drug law to pursue Oregon doctors who prescribe lethal doses of prescription medicines, the court said in a rebuke to former Attorney General John Ashcroft.

    I'm not qualified to analyze the decision, which involved the interpretation of a specific law and not necessarily the legality or morality of physician-assisted suicide.

    But, as a result of this decision, moral questions about assisted suicide and euthanasia will come up. My faith tradition, The United Methodist Church, rather bluntly says, "The Church opposes assisted suicide and euthanasia" ("The Social Principles: Suicide," The Book of Discipline 2004), though the denomination does not advocate taking extraodrinary measures to extend the lives of dying persons.

    Personally, I like what UM uber-pastor Adam Hamilton says on the subject:

    But there is another way [besides assisted suicide as a means of ending suffering], a way that includes doctors trained in how to treat pain and hospice workers who support you and help you find comfort, a way in which each day is considered a gift from God and is filled with purpose, a way that recognizes death not as the enemy but as the vehicle by which God prepares us for life, a way in which lessons are learned and taught. (Confronting the Controversies, p. 77)

    However, I have known situations where each day of "life" could hardly be considered a gift nor "filled with purpose." In some cases a dying person's suffering is so great that assisted suicide or euthanasia seems like the only humane (or even moral) option.

    While I understand moral opposition to assisted suicide, I'm not sure I understand legal opposition. From my perspective, a "right to life" implies the right not to live. Life isn't much of a right if it's forced on you.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    Didn't You Ever Consider the Hamster's Feelings?

    A court in the UK today fined two Cambridge students for sending a hamster through the mail as a prank. From The Guardian:

    David Jordan and James Cole, both 19 and second year students at Churchill College, claimed to have undertaken the bizarre prank in revenge upon a man who had threatened Jordan four months earlier.

    Magistrates sitting in Ely, Cambs, heard that the pair carried out the cruel practical joke after getting "plastered" at a college garden party.

    Jordan and Cole both admitted abandoning a hamster in circumstances likely to cause the animal unnecessary suffering, when they appeared before magistrates today.

    Jordan was fined £750 and ordered to pay £100 towards costs. He was banned from keeping animals for the next 10 years.

    Cole was fined £500 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £100. He was also banned from keeping animals for the 10 years.

    I support punishing persons who are cruel to animals. But, frankly, that hamster's brush with the post office will undoubtedly be the most exciting episode of its inevitably short, domestic life.

    Monday, January 16, 2006

    Book Review: Bait and Switch

    During an unusually long wait at the doctor's office today, I finished Barbara Ehrenreich's Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream. Ehrenreich gained notoriety and mild fame for her 2001 book about America's working poor, Nickel and Dimed, for which she went undercover as an "unskilled" wage laborer. For 2005's Bait and Switch, she disguises herself as an unemployed, but educated and skilled, white-collar worker.

    Ehrenreich discovers a life that is familiar to those of us who have exhausted ourselves in vain hoping to land a "real job." But she intentionally goes to greater lengths than the average white-collar job seeker. Ehrenreich hires career coaches, attends every job fair and networking event she can get to, posts hundreds of résumés on the Internet, gets a makeover, and reads a dozen-or-so books on success in the corporate world. Alas, Ehrenreich (who legally reverts to her maiden name, Alexander, for this project) fails to find reliable employment. She receives two offers—one from AFLAC and one from Mary Kay—but neither includes benefits or a guaranteed salary and both involve substantial personal startup investments.

    Ehrenreich notes the corporate trend to convince employees and job-seekers that their fate is entirely in their own hands:

    From the point of view of the economic "winners"—those who occupy powerful and high-paying jobs—the view that one's fate depends entirely on oneself must be remarkably convenient. It explains the winners' success in the most flattering terms while invalidating the complaints of the losers.

    While we all must take responsibility for our own careers, Ehrenreich describes a corporate culture that treats its employees as expenses; that will lay off high-performing salaried workers if they can be replaced by consultants who don't expect benefits; that expects complete loyalty from employees without offering any in return.

    Ehrenreich also happens upon the growing Christian business culture. I would expect the intersection of the church and the corporation to be a place where Christian businesspeople seek ways to increase wages for the working poor, to ensure that all workers have adequate healthcare, and to make sure that business has a positive impact on community. By contrast, Ehrenreich discovers that corporate religion has been dressed up as "Christianity":

    In the testimonies I have heard so far at Christian gatherings, God is always busily micromanaging every career and personal move: advising which jobs to pursue, even causing important e-mails to be sent. . . .

    The old [career] narrative was "I worked hard and therefore succeeded" or sometimes "I screwed up and therefore failed." But a life of only intermittently rewarded effort—working hard only to be laid off, and then repeating the process until aging forecloses decent job offers—requires more strenuous forms of explanation. Either you look for the institutional forces shaping your life, or you attribute the unpredictable ups and downs of you career to an infinitely powerful, endlessly detail-oriented God.

    However, both Bait and Switch and Nickel and Dimed reveal that Ehrenreich has a very limited view of the church. Yes, the "prosperity gospel" and Christianity-as-self-help are common in the business world (and have themselves become multimillion-dollar industries). But several churches take a different approach, serving as an advocate for workers who have been treated unfairly and as a support system for those who are going through a rough patch. Unfortunately, these churches don't always advertise themselves very effectively.

    While I appreciate the work Ehrenreich has done on behalf on the American worker, I find her efforts patronizing. The working poor and the white-collar unemployed are not anomalous little subcultures—tens of millions of Americans fit into one of these two categories. As someone who has had to make ends meet by working low-wage jobs with no benefits and who has spent months as a white-collar job seeker, I'm a little uncomfortable with someone going undercover to experience a lifestyle that isn't at all uncommon.

    Bait and Switch is a good read, and a quick read. Ehrenreich's writing is delightful and peppered with sarcasm and irony. While the author's approach certainly has shortcomings, the conclusions she draws are insightful, though worrisome. On a scale of 0 to 2π, I give Bait and Switch a 13π/8.

    Happy MLK Day!

    On this day when we celebrate the life and work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we should take an honest look at the man whom I consider the greatest American ever to have lived.

    First, we should remember that King was a great American, precisely because he effected significant cultural and political change using only those tools granted by the first amendement of the U.S. Constitution: speech, religion, the press, assembly, and petition. He practiced nonviolence and never resorted to malicious or dishonest tactics.

    But in the relatively short period of time since Dr. King's death, we have turned him into someone much safer than he actually was. While he remained true to the rights guaranteed by the first amendment, King and the Civil Rights Movement distrupted life-as-usual, politics-as-usual, and faith-as-usual in the United States. King's efforts forced Americans to deal with issues of injustice and inequality immediately, without hesitation. Often, by forcing the hand of American culture and government, King and others in the movement knowingly put themselves at great risk.

    His message was also much more radical than many people today realize. As a culture, we remember King as he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963 and turn him into someone who simply wanted a color-blind America. But Dr. King wanted much more. Michael Eric Dyson, a Baptist minister, professor at DePaul University, and scholar of race in American culture, writes in I May Not Get There With You:

    We have sanitized [King's] ideas, ignoring his mistrust of white America, his commitment to black solidarity and advancement, and the radical message of his later life. Today right-wing conservatives can quote King's speeches in order to criticize affirmative action, while schoolchildren grow up learning only about the great pacifist, not the hard-nosed critic of economic injustice. . . .

    King was attacked within the civil rights movement and beyond for his daring opposition to war. He broke with other leaders in a dramatic but heartfelt gesture of moral independence. . . . Martin Luther King, Jr. opposed the Vietnam War because he was a profound pacifist and proponent of nonviolence, because he was a Christian minister, and because he was, as noted Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel said ten days before his death, a "great spiritual leader."

    On the other hand, because of King's undeniable greatness, America made him a saint within two decades of his death and relieved him all of his faults. As a nation, we do not recall that King's commitment to his family was sporadic at best, that he cheated on his wife, that he was wary of putting women in leadership roles in the movement, and that he was somewhat of a misogynist in general.

    King was a prophet, a great leader, and an American hero. We should celebrate his life and work, and we cannot credit enough the Civil Rights Movement for making the United States a better, more moral, nation. And while the folktale version of King that we have created may have a place in our society, we should not neglect to take an honest look at the real Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his great contributions in the struggle for equality, his radical message, and his shortcomings.

    Recommended Listening: King's "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, delivered the night before his death.

    Recommended Scripture for MLK Day: Isaiah 58:6-12.

    Audio of Yesterday's Christian Dissent Live

    There you go. I did the show by phone yesterday, but Cole was joined in studio by guest co-host Dahren White. (Joey was in Memphis helping a friend shop for dresses.) We spent much of the show discussing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the issue of race in American culture, religion, and politics.

    Saturday, January 14, 2006

    Kurita 2006: Spinning and Nursing

    A press release I just received from the Rosalind Kurita campaign (Kurita is a Democrat in the Tennessee State Senate who is running for the U.S. Senate in 2006) reads:

    Our August 3 Democratic Primary opponent Harold Ford, Jr. released preliminary reports about how much he raised too, but lots of his support came from outside Tennessee.

    Political Money Line reports that 42 percent of Ford contributions came from outside the state

    OUR RESPONSE: While Ford's fund raising in Chicago, Sen. Kurita is meeting people in Chattanooga. And while he's having events in Dallas, she's having events in Dresden."

    I agree with the Kurita campaign that candidates should seek contributions primarily from within the state they serve, but Senator Kurita hasn't always been so insistent on limiting fundraising outside the Volunteer State. When a group of Nashville bloggers (including myself) met with Senator Kurita in August, she boasted about the out-of-state contributions she'd received. Either the campaign has had a change of heart or the outside money stopped coming in.

    Nationally, Democrats assume that Ford will be the nominee and that he has a realistic shot of winning what is currently Bill Frist's seat in the Senate. (This comment from Daily Kos does a good job of explaining the current political dynamics in Tennessee.)

    Back to the press release: The Kurita Campaign's possible flip-flopping aside, as the husband of a nurse, I appreciate Kurita's pride in her profession. (Kurita is a registered nurse.)

    In 1964, Senator Kurita worked as a Candy Striper at Midland Memorial Hospital. Her momma told her that helping others was the best way to become the person that she wanted to be. Momma was right! Senator Kurita loved helping sick people feel better so she went to nursing school and graduated in 1968. Her nursing background taught Senator Kurita the value of a hard days work. She will apply the same work ethic to Represent the people of Tennessee in the US Senate.

    Senator Rosalind Kurita will be the only nurse serving in the US Senate if she wins the General Election on November 8.

    The United States definitely needs more nurses; in my opinion, we need more nurses in public office. Kurita should emphasize her professional background; it sets her apart from the career politicians she is running against.

    IRD "Outs" Effort to Bring Attention to Gay Families

    The Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), an organization whose primary mission seems to be attacking homosexuals (and their supporters) in the mainline church, has intercepted an e-mail from Soulforce, an organization that seeks to protect LGBT persons from "political and religious persecution," that reveals the following plot:

    On April 17, 2006, when the White House lawn is opened to families for the Annual Easter Egg Roll, imagine if the first 1,000 families onto the lawn were LGBT families.

    According to the IRD news release:

    Recipients of the Soulforce e-mail were asked to be “discreet” and not to post the information on websites because the “success of this action depends on keeping it under the radar of the media and the administration!!!”

    Soulforce is apparently joined in this effort by pro-LGBT caucuses in mainline denominations, such as the unoffical Reconciling Ministries Network of The United Methodist Church. The role of these mainline groups in the Egg Roll operation is unclear, but the fact that they are involved at all gives IRD an excuse to rally the troops for another battle in the supposed "Culture War."

    Even if no one is surprised by the large number of two-daddy and two-mommy families at this year's White House Egg Roll, I hope people take notice. I don't know that the Egg Roll is the best opportunity to make such a statement, but such a statement does need to be made.

    LGBT persons and their supporters are often accused of being anti-family, an accusation that ignores the existence of strong families headed by gay and lesbian couples, not to mention loving relationships between LGBT persons and their parents, siblings, and extended families. Based on what I know of friends and acquaintances, being homosexual has nothing to do with one's ability to establish and maintain healthy family relationships. If anything, the barriers that keep gays and lesbians from joining in marriage and adopting children serve to strengthen the bonds of family.

    Friday, January 13, 2006

    Meyer: "I Will Not Be Told Where to Sleep!"

    Meyer explains why he was found sleeping on a bookshelf yesterday.

    Bleach Josh Tinley

    Aunt B. of Tiny Cat Pants has discovered that someone may be planning to attack me with chemicals:

    According to Sitemeter, someone ended up at Tiny Cat Pants looking to "bleach Josh Tinley."

    I don't know what that means, but it tickles me.

    Channel 4 Pulls Book of Daniel

    The controversial NBC drama won its time slot in Nashville last Friday, but WSMV, the local NBC affiliate, has decided to cancel it anyway. From The Tennessean:

    [Station manager Elden] Hale said he made the decision after receiving "thousands" of complaints about the show, which features a pill-popping Episcopal priest with a gay son, a pot-dealing daughter and a philandering bishop father. Viewers objected to it all, Hale said.

    "They didn't like the priest saying, 'G..d… him.' They didn't like the fact that there was a 15-year-old girl having sex in the back seat of a car. Many of them didn't like the portrayal of Jesus," Hale said.

    Well, I object to a lot of what I see on Dr. Phil (also broadcast locally on Channel 4), but I don't asked for it to be pulled from the afternoon lineup.

    Personally, I wasn't terribly impressed by Daniel, but I think the complaints are misguided. Drug use and promiscuity are common on prime time television. But Daniel, unlike many programs, does not glorify these behaviors; it presents them as struggles. Anyone who thinks that Christians (and particularly ministers' families) don't struggle with addiction or other morally suspect behaviors is delusional. Theologically, Daniel (at least the first episode) is hardly unorthodox.

    I also wonder if the several people that contacted the station asking that the show be pulled had actually watched the show or got their information from the American Family Association or another group lobbying to have the show cancelled.

    As it were, though the show is about an Episcopal parish, "Channel 4 received no official complaint from local Episcopal churches."

    The Tennessee General Assembly Continues to Not Impress Me

    From The Tennessean:

    In the first major vote of the legislative special session on ethics, the state Senate decided yesterday that it's OK for two members indicted on bribery charges to take part in the debate.

    Senators did not pass a resolution yesterday asking Sen. Ward Crutchfield, D-Chattanooga, and Sen. Kathryn Bowers, D-Memphis, to sit out the special session.

    On one hand, I cannot support any motion to prevent indicted senators from voting on legislation, simply because I believe strongly that one is innocent until proven guilty. Not allowing indicted legislators to vote also gives political rivals a motive for setting up their opponents to be indicted on false charges. (I know this never happens, but it could.) Moreover, what if senators were to be indicted for protesting a law that many people found unjust and morally questionable and did not support? If those legislators were kept from voting, the law would stand no chance of being repealed. (Again, this is only hypothetical.)

    On the other hand, Senators Bowers and Crutchfield (the two senators indicted in Operation Tennessee Waltz who have not yet resigned) should willingly sit out any votes on ethics reform. There is little doubt that either senator is guilty, and few would argue that taking bribes in exchange for introducing, or voting a certain way on, legislation is morally acceptable. And while I defend the right of indicted legislators to continue serving, I think that Bowers and Crutchfield should resign their offices.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006

    Another Controversy Over Teaching Intelligent Design

    FRESNO, California (AP) -- A rural high school teaching a religion-based alternative to evolution was sued Tuesday by a group of parents who said the class should be stopped because it violates the U.S. Constitution.

    Frazier Mountain High in Lebec violated the separation of church and state while attempting to legitimize the theory of "intelligent design" by introducing it as a philosophy class, according to the federal lawsuit filed by parents of 13 students.

    The suit was filed by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. While I am hardly an adovocate for intelligent design (ID), I'm not sure this suit has merit. The class is only an elective, and ID is in no way a part of the school's standard science curriculum. (I am glad that we have Americans United to fight for the separation of church and state, but I think that the organization often goes too far and becomes a caricature of itself.)

    On the other hand, while I support the right of public schools to teach elective intelligent design classes, this course in particular is suspect. The school is offering the class, "Philosophy of Design," as a philosophy, rather than science, course; and it will be taught by a social studies teacher. That would be OK if not for the course description (from the AP article):

    An initial course description sent to parents in December said it would examine "evolution as a theory and will discuss the scientific, biological and Biblical aspects that suggest why Darwin's philosophy is not rock solid."

    If the class's primary objective is to debunk a scientific viewpoint, it should probably be taught by a science teacher. Moreover, simply pointing out flaws and holes in the theory of evolution—or pointing out how the theory conflicts with the Bible—in no way proves or supports ID. For ID to be taken seriously, it needs to be more than an anti-evolution theory.

    NOW Should Leave Paterno Alone, Go After Portland

    Most sports fans know that, just days after Penn State's overtime victory in the Orange Bowl, the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) asked the Nittany Lions' aging Hall-of-Fame coach, Joe Paterno, to resign. The organization was upset with the following comments that Paterno made regarding Florida State linebacker A.J. Nicholson, who was accused of sexual assault and not allowed to compete against Penn State in the Orange Bowl:

    "There's some tough -- there's so many people gravitating to these kids. He may not have even known what he was getting into, Nicholson. They knock on the door; somebody may knock on the door; a cute girl knocks on the door. What do you do?"

    "Geez. I hope -- thank God they don't knock on my door because I'd refer them to a couple of other rooms," Paterno continued. "But that's too bad. You hate to see that. I really do. You like to see a kid end up his football career. He's a heck of a football player, by the way; he's a really good football player. And it's just too bad."

    The coach's comments were tasteless, insulting, and, for lack of a better word, stupid, but they were said in the course of an interview and were not premeditated. Allegations of sexual assault should always be taken seriously, and blaming the alleged victim (even implicitly) is wrong and irresponsible. Then again, Paterno professionally mentors young men who have to deal with the pressures and temptations that come with "so many people gravitating" toward them. While we should not excuse what Nicholson allegedly did, it is OK for Paterno to feel sorry for Nicholson. Most of us feel for people who make poor, even immoral, decisions.

    Paterno shouldn't have said what he did (and I wish he would issue a more substantial apology), but NOW shouldn't waste its energy going after JoePa. There is a problem with Penn State athletics, but it involves the university's second most famous coach: women's basketball coach Rene Portland. Penn State's women's basketball program has been very successful under Portland, perennially contending for the Big Ten title. But Portland also has a history of homophobia and has often been accused of creating an atmosphere where non-straight (and, some would say, non-feminine) players are not welcome. According to ESPN basketball analyst Michelle Tafoya, "Many observers would say the description of Portland as having a problem with gays is accepted fact. She created the perception herself with her statements to the media and has really done nothing to change it." The latest complaints leveled against Portland involve the dismissal from the team of Jen Harris, who claims that she was dismissed because she was thought to be a lesbian. (The university is investigating the charges.) Apart from general ethical concerns, treating lesbian players unfairly violates the university's discrimination policy.

    Despite Portland's reputation, there seems to be little or no hard evidence that she has discriminated against lesbian (or presumably lesbian) players. On the other hand, there have been several complaints and rumors, and Portland's negative attitude toward homosexuals is no secret. NOW's time and resources, in my opinion, would be better spent seriously investigating such charges of systematic discrimination than attacking a 79-year-old man for a poorly thought out impromptu comment he made in an interview.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    The Hopeless Life of a Chicken

    Poultry already lead difficult lives. Now officials in Turkey are slaughtering chickens en masse to eradicate bird flu. I understand that these measures may be necessary to prevent a pandemic, but I still feel for the chickens.

    Rowling: "My Books Are Largely About Death"

    (Reuters) In a recent interview the Harry Potter author explains the primacy of death in her writing:

    The 40-year-old said the experience of losing her mother had such an impact that she chose to make death a theme throughout the series.

    "My books are largely about death," she said in excerpts carried by the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

    "They open with the death of Harry's parents. There is Voldemort's obsession with conquering death and his quest for immortality at any price, the goal for anyone with magic.

    "I so understand why Voldemort wants to conquer death. We're all frightened of it."

    Monday, January 09, 2006

    God Bless Owen Meany

    During my lunchtime jaunt on the elliptical machine today, I finished re-reading John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany. I maintain that Owen is the best novel I have ever read. This time around, reading the final pages again gave me THE SHIVERS and strengthened my faith in God.

    Metro Council Sets Record With 7 1/2-Hour Meeting

    Last week, Nashville's bloated, 40-person city council held its longest meeting ever. From The Tennessean:

    After a 7 p.m. start, the council met until 2:30 a.m. yesterday, setting a record for the length of a meeting with the 7½-hour session. While most of Davidson County slept, council members pondered everything from zoning ordinances to whether a former councilman should get a handwritten resolution of appreciation.

    I caught some of this meeting on Channel 3, the Metro Government channel, and the faces of everyone involved revealed boredom, frustration, apathy, and exhaustion. I started dosing off after watching five minutes of the session; the actual meeting lasted 90 times that long.

    At any rate, I have now decided that I will never run for Metro Council. It just isn't worth it.

    Sunday, January 08, 2006

    Remembering My Forgettable Music Career #4: "Lost"

    Lost (May 1994)

    Music by Josh Tinley and Liquid Diet
    Lyrics by Josh Tinley
    First performed by Liquid Diet, July 1994
    Released on Drywall's No Mustard, April 1995

    Liquid Diet was:

    Josh Tinley: Vocals, bass
    Brian Fuzzell: Drums
    Tim Gober: Guitar

    Free download: Lost (MP3)

    "Lost" is a lot like Dead Frog: It is in A minor; its lyrics are about sadness, isolation, and hopelessness; the vocal melody closely mirrors the bass line; the transitions from one part of the song to the next are awkward; and there are multiple choruses with no verses. Overall, I would say that "Lost" is a better song than "Dead Frog," though the lyrics are weaker and it lacks the distinction of being my "first rock song."

    For some reason "Lost" was selected over stronger songs (such as "Broken Fools" and "Summer Days") to appear on Drywall's debut EP, No Mustard. "Lost" is probably the most forgettable song on that most forgettable of albums. If anything, the song might stand out because of the especially weak lyrics in the third verse:

    I got bored the other day
    While I was wasting time at work
    So I dug into my mind
    And I wrote another verse
    I don't care about my pants
    I don't care about my shirt
    I just gotta be myself
    And I don't have to rhyme

    Of course, the other verses are almost as bad. (e.g. "I sniff a lot of glue, and I'm getting kind of high." Only "kind of high," mind you.) If "Dead Frog" was a cry for help; "Lost" was a cry for humiliation, an indication that my angst shouldn't be taken seriously. By the time I wrote "Lost," maybe it shouldn't have been. In April of 1994, I was sad, lonely, and distraught. By May, I had a bass guitar, a rock band, and an attitude. I was on the verge of becoming an entirely different person than the one who, during the spring of his junior year of high school, had glamorized suicide and become obsessed with his own depression.

    Audio of Today's Christian Dissent Live

    Here it is. Today we discussed a proposed Holy Land theme park, the ethics of outing someone, and an Italian priest ordered by a judge to prove that Jesus existed, among other topics. The show also featured music from Common, Mindy Smith, Todd Snider, Anthony and the Johnsons, and others.

    Friday, January 06, 2006

    Reggie Chews Me Out

    As you can see, Reggie was not happy to find that I had betrayed the secret of his magic powers, and he let me have it.

    Blessed Are You Who Are 54-Inches-Tall, for You Shall Be Allowed on This Ride

    From The Guardian:

    The Israeli government is planning to give up a large slice of land to American Christian evangelicals to build a biblical theme park by the Sea of Galilee where Jesus is said to have walked on water and fed 5,000 with five loaves and two fish.

    A consortium of Christian groups, led by the television evangelist Pat Robertson, is in negotiation with the Israeli ministry of tourism and a deal is expected in the coming months. The project is expected to bring up to 1 million extra tourists a year but an undeclared benefit will be the cementing of a political alliance between the Israeli rightwing and the American Christian right.

    This is possibly the worst idea to come out of the church since the Spanish Inquisition. For one, putting an amusement park on the shore where Jesus is thought to have performed one of his most famous miracles strikes me as sacriligious. Secondly, the religious right rarely does anything in Israel without an eschatalogical motive. Finally, the park is located "north-east of the Mount of the Beatitudes where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, and Capernaum which was described as the town of Jesus in the Bible." This places it very close to the Golan Heights—a territory occupied by Israel that Syria still claims as its own. In other words, this region isn't exactly ideal for tourism.

    Hat tip: Wesley Blog.

    I Actually Watched The Book of Daniel . . .

    . . . and I was outraged! Outraged that CBS cancelled Joan of Arcadia. Daniel is just Joan with weaker writing, weaker characters, and an obsession with being controversial. Instead of a confused teenage girl, Daniel features a confused Episcopal priest; instead of God being manifest in a diversity of personal forms, Daniel gives us Jesus, exactly as he appeared in every Renaissance painting. The Book of Daniel is a decent show; and while it touches on a host of subjects that make some people cringe (homosexuality, female clergy, inter-racial dating, removing a dying person from life support, and so on), the theology (at least in the first episode) is not unorthodox. I just couldn't watch Daniel without yearning for Joan.

    Bred for His Skills in Magic

    This recent picture (taken by our new digital camera) reveals that Reggie—normally a quiet cat who keeps to himself unless one of his siblings needs a good tongue bath—probably has supernatural powers. I'm not sure exactly what these powers are, but the glowing eyes indicate to me that Reggie is no ordinary cat. (I suppose I already knew that Reggie was not ordinary, as he incessantly licks the pages of magazines.) I only hope that Reggie can use his gifts to restore peace to the Tinley household. (I should explain that peace in our household has been disrupted by Meyer's decision to start his "terrible twos" two months early.)

    Thursday, January 05, 2006

    Researchers Discover Largest Known Prime Number

    Math geeks at Central Missouri State University have discovered the largest known prime number thanks to 700 computers that have spent years searching for large prime numbers. The number is 230402457 – 1. That's a large number. (Prime numbers in the form, "2 to the power of a prime number, minus 1," are called Mersenne primes. For example, 23 – 1 = 7; 7 is a Mersenne prime number.)

    When I worked as a math instructor at a Sylvan Learning Center, I had to teach several students to recognize any prime number less than 100. (91, by the way, is not prime; it is the product of 7 and 13.) Now I know that this exercise had a purpose: If a student develops this skill and is able to recognize an exceptionally large prime number, her or his efforts will be covered by the Associated Press.

    Wednesday, January 04, 2006

    Abramoff Scandal Takes Us to the Northern Mariana Islands

    Living in Tennessee, I have had plenty of opportunities to rant about political corruption. But I haven't, because political corruption just doesn't excite me. Unfortunately, I don't think that anyone is surprised to learn that favors from elected officials are up for sale. So I was planning on avoiding entirely the controversy surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramoff. (Abramoff pleaded guilty today to charges of conspiracy and fraud.) But, as I read up on the situation, I learned of some disturbing dealings in the tiny Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).

    CNMI is an American Commonwealth located near the Philippines in the South Pacific. According to Wikipedia:

    The Northern Marina Islands had successfully exploited its position of being in a free trade area with the United States, while at the same time not being subject to the same labor laws as it. This means that the minimum wage in the Commonwealth is lower than in the US, and some other worker protections are weaker leading to lower production costs. In addition, a different immigration régime meant that a large number of Chinese migrant workers were employed in the Islands' garment trade.

    CNMI's unique economic position allows it to operate sweatshops, employing underpaid immigrants from China and the Philippines. The clothing produced at such sweatshops arrives at trendy stores, such as The Gap and Old Navy, with "Made in the USA" tags sewn into the garments. While a lower cost of living in CNMI may justify a lower minimum wage than in the United States proper, U.S. Representative George Miller (the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Resources, which has jurisdiction over the Northern Marianas) reports that "some in the garment industry lived in barracks with no running water and a hot plate for a kitchen."

    More disturbing is the sex trade on Saipan, the territory's primary island. Asian girls are contracted to come to CNMI to work seemingly legitimate jobs, but arrive to find themselves forced into sexual slavery. According to an article last spring in The Galveston County Daily News:

    But the U.S. Justice Department did find proof of sex slavery.

    In 1999, Soon Oh Kwon, president of Kwon Enterprises, and his wife pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to violating federal laws against involuntary servitude.

    The two admitted to bringing Chinese women to Saipan in 1996 and 1997 on contracts to work as waitresses. Instead, they were forced to work as “bargirls” at Kwon Enterprises’ karaoke club, K’s Hideaway. The women were forced to have sex with the patrons, Kwon said.

    If the Chinese women said they wanted to return home, they were told they could not leave until they repaid their debt for coming to Saipan. In case they had any thoughts of leaving any way, they were told they would be killed if they tried, Kwon said.

    Where does Abramoff come in? CNMI political and economic leaders paid Abramoff $1.36 million to convince his friends in Congress "to stop legislation aimed at cracking down on sweatshops and sex shop." (From an April 2005 ABC News investigation.) Among Abramoff's friends were, of course, Texas House Republican Tom DeLay. DeLay and several other members of Congress enjoyed lavish vacations to the Northern Marianas (a popular tourist destination in eastern Asia), and successfully blocked all attempts at serious reform.

    Native American Casinos have been the focus of the Abramoff investigation; and I think it is safe to call Abramoff's dealings with Indian tribes he has represented both illegal and immoral. (I am also bothered by Abramoff's enlisting of former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed to protect his casino-operating clients. Why is a conservative fundamentalist like Reed defending, even supporting, gambling operations?) But protecting sweatshops and an illegal sex trade that targets young, immigrant girls is entirely reprehensible.

    Write your U.S. Representative and Senator and ask them to support reform in the Northern Mariana Islands and a full investigation into Abramoff's efforts to bribe members of Congress to block reform in CNMI.

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Oh Yeah, Prove It!

    An Italian judge has ordered a priest, Father Enrico Righi, to prove in court that Jesus Christ actually lived. The case against Father Righi was brought by Luigi Cascioli, author of The Fable of Christ, a book arguing that Jesus did not exist. Cascioli, whom Father Righi had openly criticized in the past, accused the priest of "abusing popular credulity." According to the article:

    Mr Cascioli's contention is that there is no reliable evidence that Jesus lived and died in first-century Palestine apart from the Gospel accounts, which Christians took on faith.

    He argued that all claims for the existence of Jesus from sources other than the Bible stem from authors who lived "after the time of the hypothetical Jesus" and were therefore not reliable witnesses.

    Cascioli has a point: Most, if not all, nonbiblical sources that mention Jesus appear to have some knowledge of the biblical Gospels or an organized Christian church. Still, while the historical accuracy of many ancient documents, including the Gospels, is questioned by scholars, few historians would argue that Jesus and the other key players in the Gospel narrative never existed.

    In some ways, this trial is reminiscent of the Scopes trial in Dayton, Tennessee, eighty years ago. I can't imagine either party being severely punished or ordered to pay significant damages, but the courtroom drama and the debate about the subject matter might get exciting. Then again, these characters don't seem to match up to Clarence Darrow, Dudley Moore, and William Jennings Bryant.

    The Tinleys Put Another Toe in the Twenty-First Century

    Now we have a digital camera, so I can post pictures without waiting to have them developed. I already have a dozen new pictures of Meyer and the cats on my hard drive. To the right is a picture Ashlee took of Meyer last night. Click on it for the large, hi-res version.

    Monday, January 02, 2006

    Waffle House Wars

    Life in Tennessee is never without drama. This article, from today's Tennessean, needs no commentary:

    JOHNSON CITY — Bart Hoard's desire for a little milk has spilled over into a five-year dispute with a Waffle House restaurant.

    Hoard describes himself as a loyal, two-decade-long Waffle House customer who was driven to demonstrate with a handmade sign last week over an escalating conflict that began when he simply asked for some milk to put in his coffee.

    As Hoard tells it, he was told that if he wanted milk he would have to pay for a full glass. He responded by going to a nearby market, buying a carton of milk and coming back to needle Waffle House franchise executive Andy Mount with the well-known tag line: "Got milk? I do."

    It gets better.

    Should States Use Humiliation as a Punishment?

    (From the Associated Press.) If you haven't heard already, as of yesterday a new law took effect in my home state of Tennessee that will require convicted drunk drivers "to do 24 hours of roadside cleanup while wearing orange vests emblazoned with the phrase, 'I am a Drunk Driver.' "

    Jeanne Mejeur, a research manager at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver, said Tennessee's law "is pretty much a unique program nationally."

    The whole thing seems very Hawthorne-ish (and a little childish).

    I would hope that the General Assembly would not pass such an unconventional law without having the psychological research to back it up; but I'm not sure that they do. Rep. Charles Curtiss, one of the law's sponsors says:

    "You cause them to go out and pick up trash in front of their friends and neighbors, the embarrassment is going to be such that they're never going to want to go through that again. Hopefully you can turn them around to never become a second-time offender."

    I would hope that jail time would also have that effect, but it doesn't always.

    Governor Bredesen opted not to sign the bill; the measure also has been opposed by the Tennessee chapter of MADD and the Tennessee Sheriff's Association. Critics argue that the program will be very expensive. (The law stipulates that the offenders' roadside work must not interfere with their work schedules; thus most of the clean up will take place on weekends, requiring supervising officers to work overtime.)

    Yesterday's Radio Show

    Download it here. Cole and I discussed the big Christian news stories of 2005.

    Unfortunately, the December 18 show, which featured our interview with Alex Wiesendenger of the Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing, may be lost to posterity. If so, we will invite Alex to return as a guest as the execution of Tennessee death-row inmate Greg Thompson nears.