Saturday, November 30, 2013

Liturgy Wars. . .


With respect to the worship wars of Lutherans, personal preference is indeed the name of the game.  The witness of the Confessions, the example of the Reformers and their earliest successors, the church orders of Lutheranism from the sixteenth century, and the practice of the Church of the Augsburg Confession have all become less important than what either the people in the pews or the people not in the pews or those leading worship desire.  We have an anarchy of personal preference in which the particular desires, preferences, or style of one becomes papal in authority over the many.

Some would say that is exactly what I do as a Pastor working to restore the liturgy, manifest the full resources of our Lutheran liturgical tradition, respect the Confessional words and practice of our Church, and maintain an identity on Sunday morning which is consistent with what we believe, confess, and teach.  I am accused even in this blog of playing pope to the detriment of the wishes of the people whom I serve.  But I would maintain that I am not advancing personal preference or style but preserving the faithful tradition as a gardener tends the garden.  What has happened, however, is that our practice has come so far from our Confession that when we restore that evangelical and catholic tradition, we are accused of Romanizing or of imposing personal preference over the preferences of the congregation.

Lets cover a few of the hot button items.
  • Chanting is not personal preference.  It was and is the accepted practice of the Church before Luther and it was the customary tradition of Lutherans after Luther.  That we forgot it for a time is our failing and not a virtue.  
  • Weekly Communion is not personal preference.  It was and is the accepted practice of the Church before Luther and it was the customary tradition of Lutherans after Luther.  
  • Full eucharistic vestments is not personal preference.  It was and is the accepted practice of the Church before Luther and it was the customary tradition of Lutherans after Luther. 
  • Liturgical integrity is not personal preference.  It was and is the accepted practice of the Church before Luther and it was the customary tradition of Lutherans after Luther. 
  • Kneeling is not personal preference.  It was and is the accepted practice of the Church before Luther and it was the customary tradition of Lutherans after Luther. 
  • Crossing oneself is not personal preference.  It was and is the accepted practice of the Church before Luther and it was the customary tradition of Lutherans after Luther. 
I could expand the list but I am sure this is enough to cause a few comments from those reading....  No Lutheran Pastor who works to restore these items is acting papal or imposing personal preference.  These are who we are as Lutherans.  Just because we have allowed personal preference to dispose of these practices does not mean that to restore them is to invoke personal preference.  As someone once said of Lutherans, our problem is not that we do not have a pope but that we have too many.  At the core and center of the liturgy wars in Rome (EF or NO) or worship wars in Lutheranism is the confusion of personal preference with tradition (the good kind, that kind that Pelikan called the living faith of the dead as opposed to traditionalism, the dead faith of the living).  Rome may be listening too much to the personal style and preference of its current pope but Lutherans have made personal preference the pope and listen to much to what people want and too little to what is faithful and authentic practice of what the faith of our Confessions.

I know I will have stirred up a hornets nest here but I think these words need to be said.  We are not Calvinists imposing something foreign to our tradition on Sunday morning.  We are Lutherans acting like the Lutherans we say we are in our Confessions.  If you like or dislike these things, well, you like or dislike them;  to make conflicting and competing likes and dislikes papal pronouncements is to miss the forest for the trees.  We do not do these things because we like them but because we are Lutheran.  I write this only because I find it confusing and frustrating that our failure to be who we are on Sunday morning has become normal and trying to restore the integrity of our practice to the integrity of our Confessions has become the odd man out.

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

A New Butcher

A butcher goes to heaven.  His great-grandson takes his place.

An Obama Thanksgiving Top 10 List!

A combination of what has been voted one of the most disturbing Thanksgiving graphics with a Top 10 list of reasons why the liberals at your table voted for Barack Obama...Twice!

10. I voted for Obama because I believe oil companies' profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn't.

9. I voted for Obama because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

8. I voted for Obama because Freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

7. I voted for Obama because I'm way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves.

6. I voted for Obama because I believe that people who can't tell us if it will rain on Friday can tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don't start driving a Prius.

5. I voted for Obama because I'm not concerned about the slaughter of millions of babies through abortion so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

4. I voted for Obama because I think illegal aliens have a right to free health care, education, and Social Security benefits.

3. I voted for Obama because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as Obama sees fit.

2. I voted for Obama because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would never get their agendas past the voters.

1. I voted for Obama because my head is so firmly planted up my ass it's unlikely that I'll ever have another point of view, and since I will never have it extracted I don’t need to keep the doctor I like. -

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Now Thank We All Our God; arr. John Rutter

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Style Essential – The Pea Coat


In a previous edition of this series I discussed the field jacket as an excellent, versatile coat that can be worn for a better part of the year. However, now that winter has all but arrived the field jacket just won’t cut it for most men. With the temperatures steadily dropping most guys will be looking for something more than a thin cotton jacket to keep them warm.
Enter the pea coat.
A classic and a beauty.
A classic and a beauty.

The pea coat is a classic menswear coat that has been keeping men warm during the bitter winter months for over 200 years.

The pea coat has a long and storied history in menswear but gained much of its notoriety after the US Navy adopted it as a part of its uniform sometime in the 1800s. It is believed that the coats were originally designed for “reefers”, sailors whose job it was to climb the rigging of the ship. In fact, it is still sometimes referred to as a reefer coat.
A classic design that hasn't changed much in over a 100 years.
A classic design that hasn’t changed much in over a 100 years.

A classic pea coat is made from 100% wool and features a double breasted design. Modern, Navy-issued pea coats come with 6 buttons while older renditions will typically have 8. Ensured to keep the wearer warm, the extra large collars of a pea coat are a nice blend of form and function.  Not only can they be used to create extra warmth by being propped up and buttoned together, they also add a nice touch of elegance to the coat.  Standard-issue pea coats usually come with side slit pockets and a centre vent.

With a pea coat fit is of particular importance because it is a double breasted garment. Double breasted garments have a tendency to create a little more extra bulk around the midsection so you want to make sure that you select a coat that fits you well through the torso otherwise you run the risk of looking like you are wearing a garbage bag.
Pea coat fail.
Pea coat fail.

When it comes to finding the correct fit there are a few things you want to look out for. First, you want a coat that has high arm holes. This ensures that the body of the coat doesn’t move around on you when you shift your arms. This is the same principle for finding good blazers and suit jackets. Second, you want to purchase a coat that fits much more trim through the arms and torso. As I mentioned before, guys with more muscular physiques will invariably run into the problem of coats fitting well through the chest and shoulders only to have them billow out around the waist. Chances are you will have to make a trip to the tailor so be aware of that. Third, the length of the coat should hit you just below the hips.  Much like modern day blazers and suit jackets, it is common for pea coats today to come in much more “chopped” varieties. I recommend forgoing this trend. Lastly, stick with the classic design. Stay away from epaulets, zippered pockets, hoods and any other “fashionable” accoutrements that designers are adding to their coats. This will extend the life of your coat as a classic design will never go out of style.
How it should fit.
How it should fit.

I suggest that you stay away from black. In fact, don’t even consider it. Chances are that you already have enough black coats sitting in your closet. I’ve written about my reservation about wearing too much black in a previous article and I see tons of guys wearing ill-fitting black pea coats today. Instead, opt for a classic navy coat, or charcoal grey if you want to change it up a little bit. These are great colours that will compliment most of your wardrobe.

How to Wear
I prefer not to wear my pea coat over a blazer or suit jacket. Technically speaking, that is not the coat’s intended purpose. However, in the event that you do want to wear your pea coat over a blazer or suit jacket, I recommend that you buy a coat that hits you around the mid-thigh level instead of just below the hips. The extra length will better accommodate your blazer or suit jacket and has a slightly more formal look to it. These types of pea coats are better known as bridge coats.
Double breasted, but a little longer in the body.
Double breasted, but a little longer in the body.

The great thing about pea coats is that they are perfect for creating high-low looks. For example, you can wear a pea coat with a cable knit sweater, a pair of dark denim and some boots for a casual yet rugged look. On the other hand, you can just as well wear a pea coat with a white button up shirt, tie, v-neck sweater, wool trousers and some leather lace ups for a more polished look. The pea coat truly is a versatile coat.

Final Word
The pea coat is a classic menswear coat that is imminently masculine and stylish. The coat has a rich history and a functional, yet elegant design that has transformed it from a simple part of the Navy uniform to a much vaunted menswear style essential.
Keep yourself looking warm and stylish this winter with a classic pea coat.
Here’s to looking sharp!

Report: Islamists’ slaughter of Syrian Christians ignored by Obama, major media

WASHINGTON — The West has ignored the killing of Christians in
Syria, a report said.

The Middle East Forum asserted that the United States and other NATO
countries were overlooking reports of the killing of Christians by Islamist
rebels. In a report, the forum cited the raid of Islamist units supported by
the United States of the Christian town of Sadad in late October.

The coffins of the three Christian Syrians who were killed by Islamists in Maalula are displayed during a September religious service in Damascus. /AFP

“One of the worst Christian massacres — complete with mass graves, tortured-to-death women and children, and destroyed churches — recently took place in Syria, at the hands of the U.S.-supported jihadi rebels; and
the U.S. government and its mainstream media mouthpiece are, as usual, silent — that is, when not actively trying to minimize matters,” the report said.

Author Raymond Ibrahim said the Islamist rebels held Sadad for more than a week and killed 45 Christians. The town’s 14 churches were said to have been destroyed in what could be seen in the videos released by the militias.

“The bodies of six people from one family, ranging from ages 16 to 90, were found at the bottom of a well — an increasingly common fate for ‘subhuman’ Christians,” the report, titled ” ‘Largest Massacre of Christians in Syria’ Ignored,” said.

The Syrian Orthodox Church has confirmed the killings in Sadad. The
report cited Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, who said that the
Islamists held 1,500 families hostage and used them as human shields.

“What happened in Sadad is the largest massacre of Christians in Syria
and the second in the Middle East, after the one in the Church of Our Lady
of Salvation in Iraq, in 2010,” the archbishop, referring to an Al Qaida
attack in Iraq, said.

The report said the capture of Sadad marked an Islamist campaign against
Christians throughout Syria. Ibrahim said Christians have been beheaded,
abducted, raped and driven out of them homes during the Sunni revolt, which
began in 2011.

Ibrahim, an associate fellow at the forum, said the Western-backed Free
Syrian Army was also participating in the killing of Christians. He said the
massacre in Sadad was not cited by the U.S. State Department.

“That no ‘human consciousness’ is to be found in the White House, or in
the editorial offices of the leading Western media, is now a matter of
well-established record,” the report said.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How to Carve a Turkey like a Man

This is how my grandfather, the butcher, taught me to do it.

Good luck gents and stay thirsty my friends.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Obama’s call to close Vatican embassy is ‘slap in the face’ to Roman Catholics

People crowd St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, on occasion of the celebration of the Easter mass Sunday, March 31, 2013. Pope Francis is celebrating his first Easter Sunday Mass as pontiff in St. Peter's Square, which is packed by joyous pilgrims, tourists and Romans. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) The Obama administration, in what’s been called an egregious slap in the face to the Vatican, has moved to shut down the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See — a free-standing facility — and relocate offices onto the grounds of the larger American Embassy in Italy.

The new offices will be in a separate building on the property, Breitbart reported.

And while U.S. officials are touting the relocation as a security measure that’s a cautionary reaction to last year’s attacks on America's facility in Benghazi, several former American envoys are raising the red flag.

It’s a “massive downgrade of U.S.-Vatican ties,” said former U.S. Ambassador James Nicholson in the National Catholic Reporter. “It’s turning this embassy into a stepchild of the embassy to Italy. The Holy See is a pivot point for international affairs and a major listening post for the United States, and … [it’s] an insult to American Catholics and to the Vatican.”

Mr. Nicholson — whose views were echoed by former envoys Francis Rooney, Mary Ann Glendon, Raymond Flynn and Thomas Melady — also called the justification for closing the existing facility a “smokescreen,” Breitbart reported.

“That’s like saying people get killed on highways because they drive cars on them,” he said in the report. “We’re not a pauper nation … if we want to secure an embassy, we certainly can.”

Moreover, the existing facility has “state of the art” security, he said.

Mr. Flynn, meanwhile, said the administration’s announcement reflects a hostility toward the Catholic Church.

“It’s not just those who bomb churches and kill Catholics in the Middle East who are our antagonists, but it’s also those who restrict our religious freedoms and want to close down our embassy to the Holy See,” he said in the National Catholic Reporter. “[There’s no] diplomatic or political benefit to the United States” from the relocation at all, he added.

Catholic Vote, a publication for the Church community, called the move “an unmistakable slap in the face” that clearly communicates that the United States cares little for the diplomatic facility.

And Mr. Nicholson went on, as Breitbart reported: “It’s another manifestation of the antipathy of this administration both to Catholics and to the Vatican — and to Christians in the Middle East. This is a key post for intermediation in so many sovereignties but particularly in the Middle East. This is anything but a good time to diminish the stature of this post. To diminish the stature of this post is to diminish its influence.”

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PRUDEN: Obama’s full grovel to Iran

 There’s good news and bad news in Barack Obama’s sucker deal with Iran. The Iranians get all the good news, and the West gets all the bad news. The only good news for the good guys is that the deal, like Obamacare, is President Obama’s baby. Sometimes, the baby daddy has to pay up.

The president and his administration, having done the full grovel in Geneva, is now into full defensive mode. Stung by the cries of disbelief in Washington from a growing number of his partisan allies in Congress, the president insists that his handiwork “halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program.”

But it has done no such thing. The deal, or the “interim accord” as the Western deal-makers insist on calling it, does not even meet the requirements of several United Nations resolutions insisting on suspension of all enrichment of uranium before it gets relief from the sanctions that were driving the mullahs in Tehran to cry “uncle.”

Mr. Obama, the crafty Chicago politician, is counting on the maxim that “all politics is local,” that the talk of centrifuges, the plutonium reactor at Arak, and oxidation of 5 percent against the enrichment of 20 percent, will quickly make everyone’s eyes glaze over and we can get back to the important affairs of state that everyone understands, such as whether to change the name of the Redskins.

The deal, signed at 3 o’clock in the morning, when diplomats are supposed to be in bed, was meant to distract attention from the spectacular collapse of Obamacare. But the point of “all politics is local,” as any Chicago alderman could tell the president, is that if you fix the pothole, the suckers will pay no attention to the mischief at hand, but you’ve got to actually fix the pothole. This pothole — the Affordable Care Act — is unfixable, a pothole without a bottom.

Mr. Obama sold himself as the man who could charm the Muslims into the 21st century because he understood the Islamic mind. Hadn’t he grown up in the Islamic world, listening to the call to evening prayer, “the prettiest sound in the world”? He would make nice with the Muslims, and they would make nice with the West. But they’re not even making nice with Barack Obama.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, who decides whose deal gets ratified and who loses his head, couldn’t resist playing the game by his own rules. He spent the weekend crowing, not bothering to hide his agenda. “I thank God that … the new government … was able to legitimize the Iranian nation’s nuclear program on the international stage and take the initial step in a way that the nuclear rights and the enrichment rights of the Iranian nation are acknowledged by world powers.” The new president, Hassan Rouhani, did a little taunting himself. “No matter whether the world wants it or not,” he said, “this path [to the bomb] will, God willing, continue to the peak.”

The “peak,” as everyone with eyes and ears understands, is the development of the nuclear bomb to destroy Israel and intimidate everyone else in the Middle East. For all their comic bluster, meant for the Muslim street, the big ayatollah and all the little ayatollahs in Tehran have always believed that America and the West have no choice but to accept Islam as a nuclear equal.

“Looking back at the past decade,” wrote Mohammad Mohammadi, regarded as an Iranian authority on his country’s nuclear affairs, “all the red lines by America and the West over Iran’s nuclear issue have now been transformed into acceptance. America has always adopted radical actions at first that have changed to symbolic measures later.” After that, the acceptance.

He’s right about that. The governing elites in the West have trouble recognizing deep belief and conviction as calls to action. Having abandoned religious faith themselves, except for the convenient rituals of weddings and funerals, the elites do not understand those who act on religious conviction, however perverted the convictions may be.

The threats and boasts by the mullahs in Tehran, like the braggadocio of the fanatics in Pyongyang, can sound like the stuff of “Saturday Night Live.” But despite the promises of the leaders of the West that it could never happen, North Korea has the bomb, and Iran is well on its way to raising the dust and making the noise of the big one. The Israelis, so scorned by Mr. Obama and his friends, stand alone as the West’s last hope.

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Rejecting Kennedy’s Economic Legacy

Rejecting Kennedy’s economic legacy

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hugo G. Vicari 1920 - 2013

Hugo G. Vicari  AGE: 93 • Brick Twp.

Hugo G. Vicari, 93, of Brick Township died peacefully on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 at The Concord Care Center in Lakewood. Born in New York City, he was raised in Jersey City before moving to Brick Township in 1983. Hugo was a self-employed Butcher who owned Vicari's Meat Market in Jersey City for many years. He was a communicant and member of the Visitation R.C. Church in Brick Township. He was a 3rd degree member of the Knights of Columbus and the V.F.W., both of Brick. He was a volunteer with senior services until the age of 90. He was a member of both the Ocean County Republican Club and the Brick Republican Club. Hugo had also been a member of St. Peter's Catholic Church in Jersey City, and was a member of their Holy Name and St. Vincent DePaul Societies. He was Grand Marshall in the 2006 Columbus Day Parade in Seaside Heights. Hugo was an Army Combat Medic during WW II. He received a Bronze Star from his participation in The Battle of the Bulge. Hugo received a Master's Degree in Economics and a Master's Degree in Health Education from Jersey City University. He also received a Law Degree from John J. Marshall College in Newark. Hugo loved spending time with his family and friends; entertaining them with stories, songs, and jokes. He was a fantastic dancer and he will be remembered by all who knew him.

He was the son of the late Giuseppe Vicari and Filippa Costanza. He was also pre-deceased by twin great-granddaughters. Surviving are his wife, the former Ann Parisi Vicari, to whom he has been married for 71 years; his two sons, Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari and his wife Joyce of Toms River and Hugo F. Vicari; two daughters, Phyllis and her husband Tony Monteforte of Bayonne and Annette and her husband Harry Appleheimer of Brick. He is also survived by his sister, Martha Maneri of Sparta; 8 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.

Viewing hours will be held on Sunday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Weatherhead Young Funeral Home, 885 Mantoloking Road in Brick. A Funeral Service will be offered on Monday at 11:00 a.m. at the funeral home. Entombment will follow at Ocean County Memorial Park in Toms River. In lieu of flowers please make donations to the Arc of Ocean County (

Published in Asbury Park Press on Nov. 23, 2013
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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Islamist Fighters Kidnap Christian Girls as Slave 'Brides'

Hajja, 19, who was kidnapped by al Qaeda-linked Islamist group Boko Haram, poses for a picture after an interview with Reuters in Abuja November 6, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Joe Brock

ABUJA (Reuters) - In the gloom of a hilltop cave in Nigeria where she was held captive, Hajja had a knife pressed to her throat by a man who gave her a choice - convert to Islam or die.

Two gunmen from Boko Haram had seized the Christian teenager in July as she picked corn near her village in the Gwoza hills, a remote part of northeastern Nigeria where a six-month-old government offensive is struggling to contain an insurgency by the al Qaeda-linked Islamist group.

In a new development, Boko Haram is abducting Christian women whom it converts to Islam on pain of death and then forces into "marriage" with fighters - a tactic that recalls Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army in the jungles of Uganda.

The three months Hajja spent as the slave of a 14-strong guerrilla unit, cooking and cleaning for them before she escaped, give a rare glimpse into how the Islamists have changed tack in the face of Nigerian military pressure.

"I can't sleep when I think of being there," the 19-year-old told Reuters, recounting forced mountain marches, rebel intelligence gathering - and watching her captors slit the throats of prisoners Hajja had helped lure into a trap.

Nigerian security officials say the Islamists have pulled back after army assaults since May on their bases on the semi-desert plain and are now sheltering in the Mandara mountains, along the Cameroon border around the city of Gwoza. From the hills they have been launching increasingly deadly attacks.

The rugged mountain terrain - as fellow al Qaeda allies found in Afghanistan - has proven an advantageous base for a movement that once styled itself the "Nigerian Taliban" and sees all non-Muslims as infidels who must convert or be killed.

The United States designated Boko Haram a terrorist group on Wednesday. Western governments are increasingly concerned about the wider threat posed by the group, which wants to create an Islamic state in a religiously mixed country of 170 million and which has ties with al Qaeda's north African wing.

Hajja's account of how Boko Haram has adapted and survived in recent months underlines the difficulties governments in the region face. The spread of the threat was underscored by the kidnap on Thursday of a French priest in Cameroon, an attack France believes may have involved Boko Haram.

The following day, Nigerian troops raided a base for the group in the Gwoza hills. The army said it killed 29 Boko Haram fighters and was "closing in" on the rebels.


The group, whose name broadly translates as "Western education is sinful", has killed thousands during a four-year insurgency against the Nigerian state, targeting the police and armed forces as well as politicians and then turning on Christians in the predominantly Muslim north of the country.

The military offensive launched in mid-May, and the fact that large numbers of civilian vigilantes have supported it, has triggered a fierce backlash against local people by Boko Haram. The militants have killed hundreds in the past few weeks, including in massacres of school children.

The Islamists dragged Hajja along rocky mountain paths and slept in caves in the hills, a landscape unfamiliar to most Nigerian soldiers, recruited from the plains.

She ceremonially converted to Islam, cooked for the men, carried ammunition during an attack on a police outpost and was about to be married to one of the insurgents before she managed to engineer a dramatic escape. She says she was not raped.

"If I cried, they beat me. If I spoke, they beat me. They told me I must become a Muslim but I refused again and again," Hajja told Reuters in an interview. Her family name is withheld to protect relatives still living in the Gwoza area.

"They were about to slaughter me and one of them begged me not to resist and just before I had my throat slit I relented. They put a veil on me and made me read from the Koran," she said in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, where she is now living.

At least a dozen teenagers like her remain in captivity, Michael Yohanna, a councilor in Gwoza's local government told Reuters. Some have married commanders, recalling Kony's LRA, which abducted thousands of "wives" in a 20-year war in Uganda before a truce in 1986. Kony remains a fugitive.

A man called Ibrahim Tada Nglayike led the group Hajja was with. On one mission, Hajja was sent to stand in a field near a village to attract the attention of civilians working with the army. When five men approached her, they were ambushed.

"They took them back to a cave and tied them up. They cut their throats, one at a time," Hajja said. "I thought my heart would burst out of my chest, because I was the bait."

Among those who did the killing was the Muslim wife of the leader Nglayike, the only other woman in the band of fighters.

Reuters verified Hajja's account of having been abducted with independent figures in the region. Boko Haram shuns the media and none of its members could be contacted for comment.

Hajja says the long-bearded insurgents lived a basic lifestyle, eating corn, millet and occasionally meat from animals they stole and which she slaughtered.

The group, armed with AK-47 rifles and pistols stolen from police they killed, moved every day around the hills to avoid being tracked by the army and slept in the caves to shelter from the cold and for protection against air assaults.

"They didn't use phones but they had a radio," Hajja said.

"They would listen to BBC Hausa or Voice of America and jump and shout if they heard about Boko Haram attacks."

The Madness of King Barry by Intellectual Froglegs

The Battle Of New Orleans by Johnny Horton

Friday, November 15, 2013

Milton Friedman Schools Young Idealist

German Woman Objects to Muslim Call-to-Prayer in Lutheran Church

00:00 (Imam calls to Muslim prayer)
00:04 blaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
00:08 (sound of steps)
00:12 blaaaa-aaaa-aaaaaa
00:16 Jesus Christ alone
00:20 is Lord over Germany. I (unclear)
00:24 I am standing here, I cannot do otherwise.
00:28 This is the Church of Martin Luther.
00:32 I stand here, I cannot do otherwise (famous quote by Luther).
00:36 “It’s a concept for peace”, NO it’s not, no-one touches my flag
00:40 “Allah-u-akhbar” is … (unclear) don’t be fooled,
00:44 don’t be fooled, it is a lie.
00:48 (no sound from there on)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The High-Low Theory of Fashion Affordability

Illustrations by Joe McKendry
Some items in your wardrobe are always worth spending the extra money on. Some items in your wardrobe can usually be had at a bargain. Some items can go either way. Above, from our March issue fashion extravaganza, a breakdown of how you should sort your price priorities. One important note: Unless you're dressing up for a Very Important Meeting or dressing down for a day of fishing, your outfit at any given time should contain at least one high item and one low item. It helps throw things off center just a bit.
Read more: Men's Clothes Discounts - Best Men's Clothes for Finding Bargains - Esquire
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Christians in Syria Face Mounting Horrors

DAMASCUS, Syria (BP) -- For Hanna, a Syrian Christian mother living in Damascus, the country's civil war is more than just statistics and news articles.

"Every day when I walk to the school I work at I hold my breath; every minute something can happen," she wrote in a first-person account to Open Doors USA, an organization supporting persecuted Christians. "Many streets are closed and when you walk the streets you see the traces of the battle: little fires all over the streets. Also in our house you see the traces of the war: we already noticed a bullet hole in our guest room, but recently I also discovered one in the room of my girls."

As the conflict between President Bashar al-Assad's forces and rebel fighters rages on, the country's Christians fear they are becoming easy targets for Islamic extremists.

"In fact attacks on churches happen a lot now. They are also targeting Christians," Hanna wrote. "Many of them are killed or kidnapped. When they are kidnapped they ask their families for ransom or they force them to convert to Islam. Women are often raped. The people that return from such events are traumatized. One of the men I know that came back from a kidnapping didn't speak a word since he came back. He is crying a lot. Nobody knows what happened to him."

Nina Shea, who directs the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, wrote in the National Review Online about the plight of Syria's Christians. She relayed a report by the Vatican news agency Fides about the discovery of a mass grave containing 30 bodies near the ancient Christian town of Sadad. Since Oct. 21, rebel-allied Islamist militias have killed 45 people there in total.

"Surviving relatives and friends uncovered the graves after government forces recently recaptured the town from rebels," Shea wrote. "Those killed were reported by the local Syriac Orthodox metropolitan, who presided over 30 of their funerals this week, to be Christian civilians, including women and children."

St. Theodore's Syriac Orthodox Church, along with other churches and a monastery, have been desecrated, Shea wrote, and about 2,500 families have fled Sadad.

Rebels allied with al-Qaeda have not been shy about imposing their harsh view of Islam on areas under their control.

The town of Raqqa, CNN reported, formerly was one of Syria's most liberal cities before Islamist radicals took over. Now locals call it Tora Bora.

After attacks by Assad's regime on the town, moderate rebels were pushed aside by foreign jihadist rebels from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a militant group with links to al-Qaeda. They started indoctrinating children with their extreme view of Islam. Edicts began springing up on the town walls -- No smoking. No cameras. Women could not walk alone or style or show their hair.

A man called Adnan, whose name was changed for fear of his safety, was caught writing anti-ISIS graffiti and filming. The jihadists dragged him into a church they had torched and turned into an ISIS base.

"Every 15 minutes, someone poured water on me, electrocuted me, kicked me, then walked out," he told CNN, adding that the screams of other tortured prisoners was worse than his own pain.

"When a person is tortured in front of you, you feel responsible. That's the hardest. One guy still inside used to call me Dad as I taught him about democracy," Adnan said.

Shea wrote that Syria's top Catholic leader, Gregorios III Laham, the Melkite Greek Catholic patriarch of Antioch and all the East, estimates more than 450,000 of Syria's roughly 1.75-2 million Christians have fled their homes since 2011.

Hanna wrote to Open Doors USA that she and her husband struggled with that decision.

"As a mother and as a wife I want to leave, but as a Christian I want to stay. Every time my husband and I pray, God gives us a burden on our heart: stay in Syria," she wrote. "He has things to do for us here. God will bless Syria, know this for sure. He is already blessing us. Every time we go to church, the church is full; people come together in times of despair."

Many new refugees from Muslim backgrounds are appearing at her church, she wrote. They say they have lost everything but in Jesus have found what is most important.

"The situation is hard," Hanna wrote, "but we are living by faith."
John Evans is a writer in Houston. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook ( ) and in your email ( from

Sunday, November 10, 2013

HALBROOK: What made the Nazi Holocaust possible? Gun control

This week marks the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or the Night of the Broken Glass, the Nazi pogrom against Germany’s Jews on Nov. 9-10, 1938. Historians have documented most everything about it except what made it so easy to attack the defenseless Jews without fear of resistance. Their guns were registered and thus easily confiscated.

To illustrate, turn the clock back further and focus on just one victim, a renowned German athlete. Alfred Flatow won first place in gymnastics at the 1896 Olympics. In 1932, he dutifully registered three handguns, as required by a decree of the liberal Weimar Republic. The decree also provided that in times of unrest, the guns could be confiscated. The government gullibly neglected to consider that only law-abiding citizens would register, while political extremists and criminals would not. However, it did warn that the gun-registration records must be carefully stored so they would not fall into the hands of extremists.

The ultimate extremist group, led by Adolf Hitler, seized power just a year later, in 1933. The Nazis immediately used the firearms-registration records to identify, disarm and attack “enemies of the state,” a euphemism for Social Democrats and other political opponents of all types. Police conducted search-and-seizure operations for guns and “subversive” literature in Jewish communities and working-class neighborhoods.

Jews were increasingly deprived of more and more rights of citizenship in the coming years. The Gestapo cautioned the police that it would endanger public safety to issue gun permits to Jews. Hitler faked a show of tolerance for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, but Flatow refused to attend the reunion there of former champions. He was Jewish and would not endorse the farce.

By fall of 1938, the Nazis were ratcheting up measures to expropriate the assets of Jews. To ensure that they had no means of resistance, the Jews were ordered to surrender their firearms.

Flatow walked into a Berlin police station to comply with the command and was arrested on the spot, as were other Jews standing in line. The arrest report confirmed that his pistols were duly registered, which was obviously how the police knew he had them. While no law prohibited a Jew from owning guns, the report recited the Nazi mantra: “Jews in possession of weapons are a danger to the German people.” Despite his compliance, Flatow was turned over to the Gestapo.

This scenario took place all over Germany — firearms were confiscated from all Jews registered as gun owners. As this was occurring, a wholly irrelevant event provided just the excuse needed to launch a violent attack on the Jewish community: A Polish teenager who was Jewish shot a German diplomat in Paris. The stage was set to instigate Kristallnacht, a carefully orchestrated Nazi onslaught against the entire Jewish community in Germany that horrified the world and even the German public.

Under the pretense of searching for weapons, Jewish homes were vandalized, businesses ransacked and synagogues burned. Jews were terrorized, beaten and killed. Orders were sent to shoot anyone who resisted.

SS head Heinrich Himmler decreed that possession of a gun by a Jew was punishable by 20 years in a concentration camp. An estimated 20,000 Jewish men were thrown into such camps for this reason or just for being Jewish. The Jewish community was then held at ransom to pay for the damage done by the Nazis.

These horrific events were widely reported in the American media, such as The New York Times. After Hitler launched World War II, the United States made preparations in case it was dragged into the conflict. Just before the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, Congress passed a law noting the Gestapo methods and declaring that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms may not be infringed by such measures as registration of firearms.

Kristallnacht has been called “the day the Holocaust began.” Flatow’s footsteps can be followed to see why. He would be required to wear the Star of David. In 1942, he was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, where he starved to death.

One wonders what thoughts may have occurred to Flatow in his last days. Perhaps memories of the Olympics and of a better Germany flashed before his eyes. Did he have second thoughts about whether he should have registered his guns in 1932? Or whether he should have obediently surrendered his firearms at a Berlin police station in 1938 as ordered by Nazi decree, only to be taken into Gestapo custody? Did he fantasize about shooting Nazis? We will never know, but it is difficult to imagine that he had no regrets over his act of compliance.

Today, gun control, registration and prohibition are depicted as benign and progressive. Government should register gun owners and ban any guns it wishes, Americans are told, because government is inherently good and trustworthy. The experiences of Hitler’s Germany and, for that matter, Stalin’s Russia and Pol Pot’s Cambodia, are beneath the realm of possibility in exceptional America. Let’s hope so.

Still, be careful what you wish for.

Stephen Halbrook is research fellow with the Independent Institute and author “Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and ‘Enemies of the State’” (Independent Institute, 2013).

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Allen Edmonds Shoe Corp.Sold to Private Equity Firm

Upscale men's shoemaker Allen Edmonds Shoe Corp., which was sought by multiple suitors, will be sold to a Los Angeles-based private equity firm and keep its headquarters in Port Washington, the company said Monday.

Allen-Edmonds Sold
There was talk that Mens’ Wearhouse or Jos. A. Bank might make a play for Allen-Edmonds when the company was put on the market not long ago, but it looks like that wasn’t to be. Instead, the shoe brand will be going from private equity company to private equity company, and leadership will remain intact. And a collective exhale was heard coming from the direction of Ask Andy and Reddit.

An affiliate of Brentwood Associates will take over the company from Minneapolis-based Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison, which bought Allen Edmonds in 2006.

Terms of the transaction weren't immediately disclosed.

As part of the deal with Brentwood, former Goldner Hawn executive Paul Grangaard, who became Allen Edmonds' CEO in 2008 and helped get the company back on track financially, will remain chief executive.

Grangaard said he could not comment on who else bid for Allen Edmonds, but noted that Brentwood Associates stood out for its commitment to the company's current growth strategy and has a similar corporate culture. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Men's Wearhouse Inc. had been interested in buying Allen Edmonds.

"Really, everything stays the same except our ownership and our board of directors will change. But these guys are truly a partnership with management, and they are investing in the direction we've already got going on here," Grangaard said in an interview Monday. "It's not only steady as she goes, it's put the throttle down a little more."

Founded in 1922, Allen Edmonds is one of the few remaining American shoemakers. It has 1,000 employees, about 450 of them at its headquarters in Port Washington.

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Blocked in Iran

A Sad Walk Through An ELCA Seminary


(I received this the other day.  It's written by Pastor Tom Brock) -

Today I walked through my old alma mater, Luther Theological Seminary in St Paul, Mn. It is known as probably the most conservative of the ELCA seminaries. You wouldn’t know it from the number of gay/lesbian bumper stickers in the parking lot. Upon entering the main building a sign was up promoting a new book at Luther’s Bookstore, “Pastrix” by ELCA Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber. She was a favorite speaker at the ELCA Youth Assembly and a few months ago spoke at the historic Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis—using the “f” word in her speech. I flipped through her new book and she repeatedly uses the “f” word, referring to the 12 disciples as a “bunch of “f” ups”. Former ELCA Head Bishop Mark Hanson praises the book on the dustcover. Even more disturbing is that Bolz-Weber in a sermon on Christ the King Sunday denied that Christ died in our place to pay for our sins. To quote:

And just to be clear: The cross is not about God as divine child abuser sadly sending his little boy off to be killed because we were bad and well, somebody had to pay.

Can someone deny the things of “first importance” as Paul puts it in I Corinthians 15:3, and still be a Christian? Yet she is a favorite speaker at ELCA events.

This attack on Christ’s substitutionary atonement is also going on at the ELCA’s Wartburg Seminary. Professor of New Testament David Lull wrote this:

" . . .I can’t get past the idea that God had a thirst for innocent blood that had to be quenched, or that God’s justice required a death-penalty for sinners until Jesus’ death satisfied God’s wrath. Even if Bible passages can be made to support these ideas, I can’t get past the idea that God had been unforgiving before Jesus died. That’s not the God I find in the Bible."

“Even if” the Bible teaches it, Professor Lull rejects it.

So now the day has come that the ELCA allows pastors and professors to deny the central teaching of the Christian faith: that sinless Jesus Christ died in our place to pay for our sins so that we could receive the forgiveness of God.

Like I said, a very sad day walking through Luther Seminary.

Anti-racist Activist Raped after Anti-racism Festival


An Italian social worker and “anti-racist” activist became the victim of a hate crime after attending an “anti-racism” event called the “Festival multietnico” in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

The rape victim and her fiances befriended from illegal aliens during the festival and accepted an invitation to stay with the,. The fiances was held captive at knife point, while the female victim was raped.

The attack took place last June, however the police have just now arrested a suspect. The suspect is Buojemaa Es Sahly, a 32 year old illegal alien from Morocco.