Morning Report, September 25th: Terrorism in the Air, Academic Sins, People for the Ethical Treatment of Themselves, Anatomy of Hate, Dealing with Cancer, and Dealing with a Cancer

Morning Report, September 25th: Terrorism in the Air, Academic Sins, People for the Ethical Treatment of Themselves, Anatomy of Hate, Dealing with Cancer, and Dealing with a Cancer September 25, 2009

One Christian’s perspective on the day’s news:

1.  I don’t think it’s alarmist to say that something is afoot.  Yesterday I noted all of the news regarding terror arrests, terror threats, and terrorist videos.  Today more news arrives: a 19-year-old Jordanian was arrested for a plot to explode a Dallas skyscraper, an Illinois man known both as Michael Finton and Talib Islam was charged for a plot to bomb federal offices, and two suspects in North Carolina (Daniel Patrick Boyd and Hysen Sherifi) were arrested on charges of planning to attack a Marine base at Quantico (and they are among seven charged with providing support and conspiring with al Qaeda).

So what’s going on here?  At first glance, you might think that the searches and arrests in Queens and Denver exposed the network of American terrorists and law enforcement authorities are moving swiftly to gather them up.  But the FBI and others have apparently been following some of these cases for months, developing relationships with the suspects through Arab-speaking informants and undercover operatives.  So we have known about these men for a while — and we chose to roll them all up in the past few days, right after the emergence of video and audio from Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden — video and audio which, it appears (as I explained yesterday — see point #6), we jammed and prevented from spreading quickly.  Were the instructions for attack somehow woven into the video and audio?

Or is it the case that these cells/individuals knew of one another, and capturing one set of them (the Queens and Denver arrests) could lead the others, knowing they will soon be discovered, to take action?  The authorities are being very hush-hush; they haven’t explained any more than they had to explain to justify their detention of suspects, perhaps because they did not want to reveal the extent of what they knew.  And yet, sooner or later, the story will be told.  I’m eager to hear it.

2.  The original suspect was indicted on conspiracy to use WMD.  He got supplies by going from one beauty supply store to another, buying large quantities of hydrogen peroxide and nail polish remover.  Never knew cosmetics could be so dangerous, did you?  I don’t know if we’re quite ready to joke about this one, but someone sooner or later has to make a joke about Tammy Faye as a walking WMD.

3.   The Seven Deadly Sins of the Academy.  Just the name is tantalizing.  A thorough Christian critique of the academy, done from someone with impeccable academic credentials, is sorely needed today.

4.  I am an animal-lover.  It breaks my heart to see what happens to animals in Chinese fur farms, for instance (Google it and watch the video if you dare), and it seems to me that every Christian as a matter of course ought to stand for the ethical treatment of animals.  But that doesn’t mean that you have to stand with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).  A dissenting view here.

5.  Evangelical Outpost share an article with a “principled conservative” case against universal health care.  Whether or not you agree (or agree and disagree in part, as I do), it’s worth reading.

6.  An excerpt from the Anatomy of Hate video.  I won’t embed the video here, since Fred Phelps needs no more exposure.  What interested me was one person who speaks of how horrible eternal fire would be, and how much it should be avoided.  “And if that means that I have to love my neighbor by telling the truth they don’t want to hear and be hated for it…if that’s what I have to do then I’m going to do it.”  It’s just striking to me that I agree with the general sentiment, that sometimes “loving” a neighbor Christianly really is telling them the truth they don’t want to hear.  I agree with that.  And I don’t know what else the young man says, or even what he thinks he has to tell people.  But it’s followed with all sorts of nasty language against gays.  Is it not also “loving” to tell the truth lovingly?  Can one not tell a person that he is misled or misbehaving without the rancor, the animus, the cruelty?

7.  As payrolls continue to decline in the private sector, the federal government has grown by 1.3%, adding 25,000 jobs.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  We will need new government workers to operate our growing government, and in this economy I’m happy for job growth of any kind.  But I do wish that job creation in the private sector were more in evidence.  And I worry that the growth of government only leads to bloat, waste, inefficiency, corruption, to a self-serving institution that always strives to grow itself and never declares its job finished.  If we’re going to cut waste and form a lean government, if we’re going to limit the power of lobbyists, we need to start shedding extraneous government jobs.  Now may not be the time; but soon.

8.  Iran reveals that it has a second nuclear facility–strategically located near a Shiite holy city–for making highly enriched uranium:

President Obama and the leaders of France and Britain blasted Iran’s construction of a previously unacknowledged uranium enrichment facility and demanded Friday that Tehran immediately fulfill its obligations under international law or risk the imposition of harsh new sanctions.”Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow,” Obama said, detailing how the facility near Qom had been under construction for years without being disclosed, as required, to the International Atomic Energy Agency. “International law is not an empty promise.”

The new Iranian plant, the country’s second uranium enrichment facility, is believed by U.S. officials to be part of a broad effort by Iran’s leadership to pursue the ability to build nuclear weapons. Iran has repeatedly denied having any such goal, insisting that its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity. U.S. officials said they believe the Qom plant is not yet operational but is intended to produce highly enriched uranium — suitable for nuclear weapons — and will be capable within months of producing enough material for at least one bomb per year.

If we didn’t even know about a second nuclear facility, how can we be so confident that we should not have missile defense against long-range missiles?  Isn’t this a case of “better safe than sorry”?  Ahmadinejad is interviewed about it here.

Also, a strong conservative response to the news from Contentions.

8.  Honda creates a new “personal mobility device.”  Must be seen.

9.  Not afraid of inflation from the enormous expansion of government expenditures?  You should be.  How does 15-20% sound?

10.  Just came across this video.  Stay tuned until the end:

11.  I have at least half-defended ACORN.  Now, after reading this article from the Washington Post, where ACORN is described as a reverse Robin Hood, stealing from the poor and giving to the rich, I’m having second thoughts.

12.  Like Mark Steyn, I never thought much of the argument that Obama could not win the election because America is too racist.  And I don’t think much of the argument now that the opposition to Obama, in any significant measure, has to do with racism.  Still, it’s easier to demonize than to understand, and easier to deny the rationality of the opposition than to take seriously their critique.  This is simply human.

13.  Too funny.  And I’d still like to hear the story behind that peculiar video of children singing about Obama and how all races “are equal in his sight.”  Who created the song — and why?  Some information has begun to trickle out; the person who uploaded the video had already written a children’s book about Obama.

14.  The Congressional Research Service has determined that Manuel Zelaya was lawfully arrested by the Honduran Supreme Court.  He should not have been exiled.  But this was no unlawful coup.

15.  I don’t have that much sympathy for protesters–or reporters–who are repeatedly told to leave, and then receive tear gas when they refuse.  There is a certain responsibility to follow the directions of law enforcement officials, after all.

16.  Carly Fiorina is an attractive candidate in California, and this is worth reading about her recent struggle with cancer.

17.  Today’s Two-Sides.  From the center, Peter Feaver from Foreign Policy.  From the Left, Juan Cole believes that Obama’s clever moves have given us leverage over Iran (assuming that Russia will now be more cooperative, which remains to be seen).  From the Right, Jamie Fly asks (importantly) whether this overthrews the earlier determination, made in 2007, that the Iranian government had suspended its nuclear program in 2003.

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