The Mark of the Motion

I haven’t been looking around the blogosphere, so everyone may be talking about it. The wife sent this news article to me, which I’ve included in full. Does this mean the Church of England is the Antichrist, or rather that Parliament (or those proposing the motion) are?

Since the Antichrist or the Beast is supposed to deceive the whole world, I’m not putting my money on either one. After, very few people are likely follow the C of E anywhere, since even most Anglicans world-wide don’t. And given the rise of the executive power of the Government in this country, combined with the supremacy of European law, the sovereignty of Parliament means less and less.

AFP – Thursday, January 10 12:57 pm

LONDON (AFP) – Eyebrows were raised in the House of Commons on Thursday when a motion calling for the Church of England to be disestablished was listed with the number 666, symbol of the AntiChrist.”This number is supposed to be the mark of the Devil. It looks as though God or the Devil have been moving in mysterious ways,” said Bob Russell, a Liberal Democrat MP among those proposing the motion for debate.”What is even stranger is that this motion was tabled last night when MPs were debating blasphemy,” he added.

The motion calls for an end to the formal link between Church and State in England — embodied in the monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who is both head of state and head of the Church of England.

The number 666 is referred to in the Book of Revelations in the Bible: “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred, three score and six.””It is is incredible that a motion like this should have, by chance, acquired this significant number,” said Russell.

Under the rules of the House of Commons the motion by backbenchers has little chance of actually being debated in parliament.

Paper Everywhere

The Year 11 reports are printed. I was late home tonight because after I dislodged some paper from my printer, it refused to work. This happened just after the computer tech went home and I couldn’t figure out how to network to a different printer. So I fiddled and fiddled with it, until for no apparent reason, it decided to start printing again.

I have doubts as to how many parents are actually going to read my reports. After all, if parents took my subject more seriously, some of the kids probably would, too. But no matter, reports are what we write.

We were told on our INSET day that PSE (Personal and Social Education) is moving toward an assessed model. Since we all teach PSE to our forms, there was a general outcry about more marking, especially marking that is very dubious in value. But everybody seemed to agree that if there was paperwork to be done, the Government would find more of it for us to do. We are an “eco school”, but even the students openly wonder how this can be when we go through so much paper. And every piece of it goes across a teacher’s desk.

Then there’s the post. Every day I get anything from a few to a stack of offers for every possible resource or course. Sometimes I get the same thing twice on the same day. It all goes in the bin.

I try to re-use worksheets and handouts. Nonetheless, my copies are slowly destroyed as they get used by three or four sets of pupils, and they supply has to be continually replenished.

My recycling bin is in constant overflow. But not with reports. Those end up in someone else’s bin.

And Now the Time Has Come. . .

Christmas break is not well and truly over. The INSET day is done and the kids come back tomorrow.

I’ve been scurrying to get all the new units of study in place and finish merging all of the Year 11 reports for printing.

I’d love to stay and chat but I must get back to it.

Christ is baptised!

In the Jordan!

Searching for Mike

Once again I have been getting lots of traffic from various Mike Huckabee searches. It is interesting to see the sort of searches that bring people to my blog. So far today it has included “huckbee + gay rights”, “Mike Huckabee theocrat”, “huckabee theocrat”, “Michael huckabee”, “mike huckbee evolution”, and “mike huckbee immigration”.

Seems a lot of folks are worried about Mike, afraid he is going to persecute gays, ban the teaching of evolution, and do all sort of other dastardly theocratic things. Of course he’s never suggested these things.

The closest thing might be when in 1992 he suggested that those with AIDS should be quarrantined. Since AIDS was generally associated with the gay community due to the nature of the transmission of the disease, particularly in the early days, I suppose this could be considered a persecution of gays.

Most Americans don’t believe in evolution, so like the majority of the electorate, Mike Huckabee is a creationist. Of course the liberal elite (even those who call themselves Fiscal Conservatives) can’t imagine that someone who holds high political office actually holds the same views as the unwashed masses. This is really why they can’t stand Mike. Politicians all talk about being public servants – but they don’t really mean it.

The only weakness I see is the immigration issue. There seem to be an awful lot of people for whom immigration is a very hot button issue. Mike is trying very hard to be anti-immigrant as possible, while still obeying the directive to love his neighbour as himself. It is certainly a hard row to hoe. If he shows a Christ-like attitude toward immigrants it could cost him the votes of many of his natural constituents who are anti-abortion, favour the traditional family, and don’t believe in evolution.

Grown Up

I have known Jared all of his life. He was born the month after I moved away to college in my junior year (I commuted up until then) in the church where I went to college. When he was three I was teaching him about the guitar on the platform at church after the services. His family became good friends of mine and I spent a lot of time with them.

Jared graduated from Texas A&M last December, following his father and grandfather from the Corps of Cadets into active military service. Today as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army Rangers, Jared deploys to Iraq.

I will be praying daily for Jared’s safe return to his wife of less than seven months, his parents and sisters. If you get a chance, pray for Jared too.

Paid to Misbehave

Figures released from the Department for Work and Pensions have revealed more of the nature of the Welfare State. As reported in The Times:

120,000 adults aged 18 to 34 have been on incapacity benefit or severe disablement allowance for five years or more.

A further 130,000 have been on the benefit for at least two years.

An analysis of the figures for May 2007 shows that more than a third of the 289,150 adults aged 25 to 34 have been on benefits for more than five years . . .

A spokesman for the DWP said that 300,000 of the 504,000 young people claiming sickness benefit last May had mental and behavioural disorders.

Yes, they are claiming sickness benefit because they can’t behave. With the sort of young people that are leaving schools now, we can only expect these numbers to increase. Kids will have even less motivation to buckle down and do their work – they can be as disruptive as they want to be – even get thrown out when school governors can resist the pressure of the Government to keep them in the classroom – and they will still get an income from the State.

Hyperbole on the Stump

John Edwards campaigning in Iowa:

“We have so much good to do because we stand on the shoulders of our parents and grandparents and twenty generations who came before us who made absolutely certain that they gave us a better life.”

Twenty generations? John Edwards knows all of his ancestors back twenty generations? I do quite a bit of genealogy and I can trace back to a handful of ancestors as far as ten generations, and two back eleven which takes me back about 500 years. I know nothing of the character of most of these people beyond my great-great-grandparents. So everyone who came before Edwards and his audience, and by extrapolation all Americans he wants to elect him, going back 1000 years or so made absolutely certain they gave the present generation a better life?

I think he should stick with parents and grandparents, which while not universally true as there are certainly a number of these who have been scoundrels, at least makes a bit more sense.

Watching Iowa Everywhere

In the run up to, or even on the night off, a British general election, the American press couldn’t care less. I am watching BBC News 24 and the Iowa Caucuses have taken the first 10 minutes of a 30-minute programme. Even in the days leading up to tonight, it has been a major news story.  The level of coverage on Sky News has been similar.

With these two we also get the CBS Evening News and ABC’s World News Tonight. I have seen Iowa from every angle. Because the Republican procedure is a bit different from Democrats, it is a matter of minutes before the GOP results should be known.

It seems so strange that everyone in the world is putting so much stock in what a few hardy Midwesterners do on a cold, snow blanketed night. Though it seems like it shouldn’t make that much difference, I’m still hoping Huckabee shows well. Other the other hand, I’m of two minds about Hillary. I hate to see her win anything, but I like the idea of a Democratic nominee with such a high negative ratings.

So we await the results.

Negative Numeracy

My brother-in-law came across a news story from November in the Manchester Evening News demonstrating just how poor math skills are in this country. The story is just too good not to post in full, though I’ve highlighted a few things in bold:

A LOTTERY scratchcard has been withdrawn from sale by Camelot – because players couldn’t understand it.

The Cool Cash game – launched on Monday – was taken out of shops yesterday after some players failed to grasp whether or not they had won.

To qualify for a prize, users had to scratch away a window to reveal a temperature lower than the figure displayed on each card. As the game had a winter theme, the temperature was usually below freezing.

But the concept of comparing negative numbers proved too difficult for some Camelot received dozens of complaints on the first day from players who could not understand how, for example, -5 is higher than -6.

Tina Farrell, from Levenshulme, called Camelot after failing to win with several cards.

The 23-year-old, who said she had left school without a maths GCSE, said: “On one of my cards it said I had to find temperatures lower than -8. The numbers I uncovered were -6 and -7 so I thought I had won, and so did the woman in the shop. But when she scanned the card the machine said I hadn’t.

“I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher – not lower – than -8 but I’m not having it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Yet Another Apology for Slavery

When I saw on the CNN website that New Jersey was considering joining the misguided legislators of the Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland in apologising for slavery, I thought, here we go again, more of liberal white folks and their politically correct guilt. Then I got curious.

The resolution is sponsored by Assemblymen William Payne and Craig Stanley. They are both black. Funny, CNN didn’t mention that. Why are they apologising for slavery? So it’s not so much that they feel guilty for slavery as they want to make other people feel guilty for it.

The resolution is being considered today by committee. The Assembly Appropriations Committee. When I saw that, I thought it seemed odd. There’s no spending involved in the resolution. Why would it get assigned to Appropriations? Somebody must have convinced the Assembly Speaker to send it to Appropriations. Will it get an easier ride there than somewhere else?

After all, the closest comparable legislation this session was ACR 175 which “Honors victims of the Holocaust forced to wear yellow badge with Star of David.” It was sent to the State Government Committee, where it died there without action. It was, however, introduced by two Republicans.

And maybe the Holocaust resolution wasn’t forceful enough. It was, after all, a modest five “Whereas” sentences long. ACR 270, the slavery resolution, with a verbosity that would make Al Sharpton proud, runs 26 paragraphs, some of them quite lengthy. See for yourself.

When I looked into why ACR 270 might get an easy ride in Appropriations, I saw that Chairwoman Nellie Pou had co-sponsored other legislation with Payne and Stanley, including extra money for the Wynona M. Lipman Ethnic Studies Center at Keen University. So you know me – I wanted to find out more about this facility. I found a report on the dedication of the center in 2003. It was in this report that I found a unique bit of journalism.

The daughter of the late Senator for whom the center is named spoke at the dedication. Or as the writer put it, “In memory of her mother, and in honor of the event, she read a stirring poem from the late poet, rapper and activist Tupac Shakur. . .” This is the same Tupac Shakur who shot two police officers, went to prison for a sexual assault that the judge descibed as “an act of brutal violence against a helpless woman”, went back to jail for an attack on a former employer, paid off a family in six figures for the death of their six-year-old son, had a former friend murdered execution-sytle, and finally beat the crap out the wrong person which led to Tupac’s death the same night in a drive-by shooting.

But for Assemblymen Payne and Stanley, all that is no doubt the fault of white people in the 18th and 19th century, so they want an apology.

A Taste of British Culture

I have long said that Britain is a much more violent place than the US.

Over here, people think that every one in America has a gun and everyone shots someone else with a gun, so it must be like movies about the Wild West. In fact, many American do have guns, most don’t shoot anyone, and most gun crime is done by people who aren’t allowed to have guns in the first place.

Of course no one is allowed to have most guns here. When a a primary school headteacher was jailed for four years for possessing a large number of guns, the judge said, “You had no intention of misusing them nor at any time did you attempt to do so. But you know that the intention of the legislation is to prevent weapons being in circulation.”

Over here, everyone has fists and opposable thumbs to grab objects, so we have stories like the savage beating of Terry Malone by a worthless yob named David Sanderson. In Malone’s words:

Sanderson was banging on the door and then he urinated through the letter box. Eventually after it had been quiet for about half an hour and there was no sign of him outside we let some of the ladies leave.

But as one of them walked across the road Sanderson reappeared and hit her across the face. As we got her back inside her brother who was in the pub went after Sanderson – so I followed.

As the Daily Mail notes: “Police said the attack was so savage every bone was broken in Mr Malone’s face. His lips had to be stitched back together, he lost 12 teeth and he is expected to lose half the sight in his left eye.”

The article was in the newspaper because Sanderson was just sentenced to a minimum six years. That would be half of the average life sentence here.

In the same paper is the story of Ron Sharples who was beaten to death in the early hours of yesterday when he went out to find the family dog which had been scared off by fireworks. He found the dog, but a gang of at least four youths found him before he could get home. So much for a Happy New Year.

Even the weekly local paper has scattering of small stories about unsolved incidents or people who have been to court for violence in each issue. Thanks to 24-hour drinking introducced by the Labour Government, it is only going to continue to get worse.

St Basil the Great

Born just after the First Council of Nicea in 325 and reposing two years before the First Council of Constantinople in 381 (otherwise known as the First and Second Ecumenical Councils), one man is more responsible than any other for the key changes to the Creed ratified at the latter. Our father among the saints Basil of Caesarea – Basil the Great – helped us understand the nature and work of the Holy Spirit.

Not one to use a few words when 206 will do (at least in an English translation), in a sentence he summarises the nature of the Holy Spirit:

We are compelled to advance in our conceptions to the highest, and to think of an intelligent essence, in power infinite, in magnitude unlimited, unmeasured by times or ages, generous of Its good gifts, to whom turn all things needing sanctification, after whom reach all things that live in virtue, as being watered by Its inspiration and helped on toward their natural and proper end; perfecting all other things, but Itself in nothing lacking; living not as needing restoration, but as Supplier of life; not growing by additions; but straightway full, self-established, omnipresent, origin of sanctification, light perceptible to the mind, supplying, as it were, through Itself, illumination to every faculty in the search for truth; by nature unapproachable, apprehended by reason of goodness, filling all things with Its power, but communicated only to the worthy; not shared in one measure, but distributing Its energy according to “the proportion of faith;” in essence simple, in powers various, wholly present in each and being wholly everywhere; impassively divided, shared without loss of ceasing to be entire, after the likeness of the sunbeam, whose kindly light falls on him who enjoys it as though it shone for him alone, yet illumines land and sea and mingles with the air.

What does this mean for us?

So, too, is the Spirit to every one who receives it, as though given to him alone, and yet It sends forth grace sufficient and full for all mankind, and is enjoyed by all who share It, according to the capacity, not of Its power, but of their nature.

In other words, we can have as much of the Holy Spirit as we can handle.

Assassination and the Civilised World

They get their day of fame and then fade from memory. That’s the fate of attempted assassins. Get the job done and they are famous forever. Miss and they fade into oblivion.

I’m surprised that the parole of Sara Jane Moore is a top story right now on US news network websites.  I suppose it is the combination of a slow news day and the aftermath of the Benazir Bhutto assassination. I’d even forgotten her name until now. Moore took a shot at President Ford in 1975. She has been paroled at the age of 77. I’m guessing she’s given up the radical revolutionary politics that motivated her actions. She’s probably happy to fade into oblivion.

Squeaky Fromme, who had a pistol without a round in the chamber when she got close to Ford a couple of weeks before Moore, is 59 and still incarcerated. She waives her right to parole hearings. It’s probably for the best, since she hasn’t exactly been a model prisoner. She hit the prosecutor in the head with an apple at her sentencing hearing. She then attacked another inmate with a claw hammer. She then escaped from prison in West Virginia, apparently to try to meet up with Charles Manson, though this would not have been likely as he is in prison in California. She’s tucked away in Texas now. Fromme is now 59 years old.

John Hinckley, who shot Reagan, is now allowed out of the mental hospital for a few days at a time to visit his parents. No word on whether he is still fixated on Jodie Foster, or whether Jodie’s coming out as a lesbian has finally convinced him to give up the dream. Maybe he be declared cured when he is in his seventies. He’s 52 now.

I think that’s all the presidential would-be assassins.  Deprived of freedom, tucked away, lives wasted, mostly forgotten. That’s the price of their actions.

Because of the proximity to the Bhutto assassination, I can’t help but make a connection. If any of them had been successful, it would have been a terrible day for America and a tragic loss to the First Families.  Nonetheless, I can’t imagine that there would have been rioting in the streets, banks robbed, untold numbers of deaths. Likewise if something were to happen to one of the current presidential candidates, it would be the top of the news for days, but the country would not unravel.

This is another juncture at which the politically correct idea that all cultures are equal falls apart. I have no problem making a moral judgment that the response to the Bhutto assassination in Pakistan is inferior to the response to an assassination in a Western country.  While I do not think it is the responsibility of the US to force the rest of the world into democracy, neither is it wrong to say that non-democratic states ruled by a combination of Sharia and tribal customs are inferior.