My humble opinion on
January 7, 2002
One Last Look at 2001
All right, I admit it. I'm still
obsessed with 2001. It was so rotten, I can't get it out of my head.
Like the lingering stink of spoiled meat, it has hung around in the
ether, invisible yet impossible to ignore. To borrow a Clintonian phrase
from 90s, I am having trouble "moving on." So, with this
week's Weekly Muse, I hope to spray some Lysol and do way with the
stench of 2001 by covering some stories I didn't get a chance to
discuss, but clipped and saved in the hope of discussing them. You may
have missed some of these, as they were most likely buried on page A24
in the Podunk Times, but they're all interesting and important
nonetheless. And some of it is actually good news! That's right, from
I must admit to another motivation for
rehashing the previous year. Nothing from the past week interested me
much. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle kicked off the 2002 electoral
campaign (and possibly his own 2004 presidential campaign) with a
typically misleading and bitterly partisan speech. Ho hum - nothing new
Israeli intelligence captured a cache
of smuggled Iranian arms bound for that paragon of peace, the
Palestinian Authority's dictator Yassir Arafat. This made it plain (to
some, at least) that Arafat has never given up his violent and murderous
ways, and merely cloaks them with nice-sounding words to gain Western
support. State Department know-nothings insist Arafat wants nothing but
peace and love with the Little Satan, and even claimed that the Iranian
arms weren't really from Iran, because they are further disillusioned
that Iran can be our ally in the War on Terrorism. Iran should be a
And finally, a sad, confused, and
messed-up teenager flew his Cessna into a skyscraper in Tampa, killing
himself but injuring no one else. A note recovered in the wreckage
explained his motivation - he admired the September 11 travesty and
wanted to emulate his new hero, Osama the Hunted.
Those were last week's lowlights. I'm
sorry, I couldn't get inspired to write anything inspiring or
substantial about any of them. So, one last time (hopefully), let's look
back at the year that was.
Have we found Luke?
An Italian population geneticist has
discovered what he and several others think is the body of the
evangelist, Luke, author of the third Gospel and the Book of Acts. Luke
was born in Antioch, died at age 84 around 150 and was buried in Thebes,
Greece. The coffin was later moved to Constantinople, and finally to
Padua, around 1177. The scientific evidence, based on DNA samples taken
from a tooth, does not contradict any of this. The DNA matches what is
widely accepted to be the ancestors of Greek Antiochs; radiocarbon
dating showed that the tooth belonged to someone who died sometime from
A.D. 72 to 416; the remains belonged to a man who died at age 70 or
Is this absolute, iron-clad proof? Of
course not. Such a standard is impossible. To prove that, we'd have to
travel back in time, get a DNA sample from the living Luke, and compare
that with the tooth. But a real-life Dr. Who hasn't emerged, so that is
not likely to happen anytime soon. The standards of evidence for archaeology
and other sciences that study history are, by necessity, not as
stringent for the biological sciences, nor can they be. All the evidence
points toward the body in the coffin being that of Luke, and it probably
It's an exciting discovery, because
it's yet another piece of evidence that shows the Bible is not just
another nice story. It's real, it's legitimate, and so is Christ, and so
The ice caps are melting. The
atmosphere grows more dense. The planet is warming.
The Red Planet, that is. Mars.
That's right, global warming has
arrived at Mars. According to researchers, the carbon dioxide ice caps
are eroding and shooting the warming gas into the atmosphere. If this
continues, Mars could become a "shirt-sleeve
Of course, we are talking about
long-term climate change. This may not happen for another, oh, couple
thousand years. But it's important because it shows that climate change
acts pretty much on its own, devoid of human or other
Let's concede, for the sake of
argument, that the earth is warming. Could we humans really do anything
about it? I don't think so. The whole history of the world is one of
climate change. It's the height of human folly and arrogance to think we
can reverse such an unpredictable and unstoppable phenomena. It's also
folly to think that we somehow caused it.
Americans Living Longer
The National Center of Health
Statistics, yet another agency of the behemoth federal government,
released a report showing that the average American life expectancy
reached an all-time of 76.9 years. For men, it's about 74, and for
women, nearly 80. For black men, though, it is only 68.3.
This is important because of Social
Security. Right now, the retirement age is 65, when oldsters can start
collecting their full Social Security benefits. This is scheduled to
rise to 67. If the black male life expectancy retains its current rate
of roughly three years past the retirement age, black males can expect
only three years, on average, of Social Security benefits. This after a
lifetime of paying taxes to finance retirements for others.
It's a scandal, a travesty. Black men
are essentially getting ripped off by Social Security, and I have yet to
hear one prominent black leader utter a peep about it. Jesse Jackson, Al
Sharpton, et al. In fact, I've only seen one person discuss this,
columnist Deroy Murdock.
Where's the outrage, the marches, the
protests? Is Social Security such a sacred cow that can't dare be
criticized? Is that the problem? Why the silence?
Talk about the Odd Couple
Jerry Falwell and the ACLU are teaming
That's right, the American Civil
Liberties Union, whom Falwell despises, has filed a friend of the court
brief on Falwell's behalf. The reverend is challenging as
unconstitutional a Virginia state law that restricts how much real and
personal property a church can own. Falwell wants to expand his church,
but the state won't let him.
Two things are interesting. First, of
course, the ACLU supporting their avowed enemy. Secondly, the ACLU has
largely ignored property rights in its quest to protect civil liberties.
In fact, in the brief, they cite not the Fifth Amendment, but the First
But it's still the right move. A
church wants to buy some land, the owner wants to sell it, and the state
should keep its nose out.
Salvation Army Under Fire
During this past Christmas season,
several gay activists planted notes in Salvation Army kettles,
protesting the Christian charity's policy of offering employee benefits
only to married couples. The activists claim this discriminates against
gays, lesbians, and others who voluntarily decide to live together.
To its credit, the Salvation Army did
not back down. "We're a Christian organization. We don't provide
these benefits for heterosexual couples that aren't married," said
an Army employee. Besides, anyone who asks for help gets it, gay or
To say this discriminates is
laughable. Shame on those gays who would force their own views on others