Matt Knight

My thoughts on faith, books, and life in general

Category Archives: politics

“Writing is Easy…”

Peggy Noonan discusses speech-writing in this piece on her Wall Street Journal Blog.

She discusses the hollow nature of many political speeches in the present era, saying:
“If you try to write ‘good lines’ you’ll likely wind up with strings of dumb, unconnected applause lines. The audience will probably applaud—crowds of supporters are dutiful that way, and people want to be polite—but they’ll know they’re applauding an applause line, not a thought, and they’ll know they’re enacting enthusiasm, not feeling it.”

She has some great thoughts. Read the article here.

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2 Lessons from the Anthony Weiner Scandal

It’s been all over the news for the last few weeks, and watching the fall of Congressman Anthony Weiner has been like watching a train wreck in slow motion. There’s a lot that can be said (and most of it has been) about this situation, but I want to point out two lessons that everyone can learn from Weiner’s failures.

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Book Review: Decision Points


I just recently finished Decision Points, the memoirs of former President George W Bush. I looked forward to this book, and (fair warning) have liked President Bush for many years. So, I admit up front that this is not a totally objective review.

Having gotten that out of the way, I really enjoyed the book. This book is not an in-depth biography (viz. Edmund Morris or David McCullough, et. al.) and does not treat his whole life. The purpose of the book, according to Bush himself, is to highlight some of the major “decision points” in his life and presidency and help readers understand who he is and why he made the decisions he made.

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Book Review: Illegals by Darrell Ankarlo


Darrell Ankarlo’s book Illegals is a clarion call to action on the issue of illegal immigration in America. For too long now, politicians have allowed a torrent of humanity to flow across our border to the detriment not only of our country and way of life, but also to many who are harmed by the trafficking of drugs and people across our southern border.
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Interesting Thoughts on the Tim Tebow Ad

Someone sent me this column from the Washington Post concerning the Tim and Pam Tebow superbowl ad. The author comes from a different political perspective than I do, but it’s well written nonetheless. I’ll let Ms Jenkins speak for herself. What follows are her words, not mine.

—————

By Sally Jenkins
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I’ll spit this out quick, before the armies of feminism try to gag me and strap electrodes to my forehead: Tim Tebow is one of the better things to happen to young women in some time. I realize this stance won’t endear me to the “Dwindling Organizations of Ladies in Lockstep,” otherwise known as DOLL, but I’ll try to pick up the shards of my shattered feminist credentials and go on.
As statements at Super Bowls go, I prefer the idea of Tebow’s pro-life ad to, say, Jim McMahon dropping his pants, as the former Chicago Bears quarterback once did in response to a question. We’re always harping on athletes to be more responsible and engaged in the issues of their day, and less concerned with just cashing checks. It therefore seems more than a little hypocritical to insist on it only if it means criticizing sneaker companies, and to stifle them when they take a stance that might make us uncomfortable.
I’m pro-choice, and Tebow clearly is not. But based on what I’ve heard in the past week, I’ll take his side against the group-think, elitism and condescension of the “National Organization of Fewer and Fewer Women All The Time.” For one thing, Tebow seems smarter than they do.
Tebow’s 30-second ad hasn’t even run yet, but it already has provoked “The National Organization for Women Who Only Think Like Us” to reveal something important about themselves: They aren’t actually “pro-choice” so much as they are pro-abortion. Pam Tebow has a genuine pro-choice story to tell. She got pregnant in 1987, post-Roe v. Wade, and while on a Christian mission in the Philippines, she contracted a tropical ailment. Doctors advised her the pregnancy could be dangerous, but she exercised her freedom of choice and now, 20-some years later, the outcome of that choice is her beauteous Heisman Trophy winner son, a chaste, proselytizing evangelical.
Pam Tebow and her son feel good enough about that choice to want to tell people about it. Only, NOW says they shouldn’t be allowed to. Apparently NOW feels this commercial is an inappropriate message for America to see for 30 seconds, but women in bikinis selling beer is the right one. I would like to meet the genius at NOW who made that decision. On second thought, no, I wouldn’t.
There’s not enough space in the sports pages for the serious weighing of values that constitutes this debate, but surely everyone in both camps, pro-choice or pro-life, wishes the “need” for abortions wasn’t so great. Which is precisely why NOW is so wrong to take aim at Tebow’s ad.
Here’s what we do need a lot more of: Tebows. Collegians who are selfless enough to choose not to spend summers poolside, but travel to impoverished countries to dispense medical care to children, as Tebow has every summer of his career. Athletes who believe in something other than themselves, and are willing to put their backbone where their mouth is. Celebrities who are self-possessed and self-controlled enough to use their wattage to advertise commitment over decadence.
You know what we really need more of? Famous guys who aren’t embarrassed to practice sexual restraint, and to say it out loud. If we had more of those, women might have fewer abortions. See, the best way to deal with unwanted pregnancy is to not get the sperm in the egg and the egg implanted to begin with, and that is an issue for men, too — and they should step up to that.
“Are you saving yourself for marriage?” Tebow was asked last summer during an SEC media day. “Yes, I am,” he replied.
The room fell into a hush, followed by tittering: The best college football player in the country had just announced he was a virgin.
As Tebow gauged the reaction from the reporters in the room, he burst out laughing. They were a lot more embarrassed than he was. “I think y’all are stunned right now!” he said. “You can’t even ask a question!” That’s how far we’ve come from any kind of sane viewpoint about star athletes and sex. Promiscuity is so the norm that if a stud isn’t shagging everything in sight, we feel faintly ashamed for him.
Obviously Tebow can make people uncomfortable, whether it’s for advertising his chastity, or for wearing his faith on his face via biblical citations painted in his eye-black. Hebrews 12:12, his cheekbones read during the Florida State game: “Therefore strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” His critics find this intrusive, and say the Super Bowl is no place for an argument of this nature. “Pull the ad,” NOW President Terry O’Neill said. “Let’s focus on the game.”
Trouble is, you can’t focus on the game without focusing on the individuals who play it — and that is the genius of Tebow’s ad. The Super Bowl is not some reality-free escape zone. Tebow himself is an inescapable fact: Abortion doesn’t just involve serious issues of life, but of potential lives, Heisman trophy winners, scientists, doctors, artists, inventors, Little Leaguers — who would never come to be if their birth mothers had not wrestled with the stakes and chosen to carry those lives to term. And their stories are every bit as real and valid as the stories preferred by NOW.
Let me be clear again: I couldn’t disagree with Tebow more. It’s my own belief that the state has no business putting its hand under skirts. But I don’t care that we differ. Some people will care that the ad is paid for by Focus on the Family, a group whose former spokesman, James Dobson, says loathsome things about gays. Some will care that Tebow is a creationist. Some will care that CBS has rejected a gay dating service ad. None of this is the point. CBS owns its broadcast and can run whatever advertising it wants, and Tebow has a right to express his beliefs publicly. Just as I have the right to reject or accept them after listening — or think a little more deeply about the issues. If the pro-choice stance is so precarious that a story about someone who chose to carry a risky pregnancy to term undermines it, then CBS is not the problem.
Tebow’s ad, by the way, never mentions abortion; like the player himself, it’s apparently soft-spoken. It simply has the theme “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life.” This is what NOW has labeled “extraordinarily offensive and demeaning.” But if there is any demeaning here, it’s coming from NOW, via the suggestion that these aren’t real questions, and that we as a Super Bowl audience are too stupid or too disinterested to handle them on game day.

Are Muslims Proving His Point?

Dutch member of Parliament Geert Wilders arrived today in London despite fears that his arrival would lead to interfaith violence. Here is the story in the Daily Mail. Wilders says that the lifting of a ban on his travel to the UK is a victory for free speech.

He has become a polarizing figure because of comments like: ‘I have a problem with the Islamic ideology, the Islamic culture, because I feel that the more Islam we get in our societies, the less freedom we get.’
Additionally he has criticized the Koran for inciting violence…some Muslims have responded with death threats against him.

I’m not sure yet what I think of Wilders. Is his rhetoric divisive or hateful? Is he wrong or inaccurate in what he says? Or is there merit to what he says?

It seems the me that the guy could use some greater tact, but I think he truly believes that he’s sounding a clarion call to the West against a takeover by Islam. The things he is saying are very politically incorrect, but if he’s right, many will wish they had listened to him. Frankly the protesters in London aren’t helping the case against him — they appear to help make his point.

What do you think?

Article: Was Jesus a Racist?

Here is the opinion piece from Associated Baptist Press, written by Miguel De La Torre entitled, “Was Jesus A Racist?”

Seriously?

Come on ABP, why even put this out? If you’re interested, you can check out Dr. Thomas White’s thoughts on whether this is even the right question (hint: it’s not).

De La Torre’s article is indicative of the thinking of our age. Sometimes we can get really wrapped up in politics and project our political baggage upon the Bible text. That doesn’t make it right though. This piece is garbage.

Thoughts from President John Adams

Yesterday was Presidents Day (Washington‘s Birthday). Today is just another day, but I did hear a great quote today from President John Adams, our 2nd President. Here’s what he said:

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

— John Adams, October 11, 1798

HT:Rush Limbaugh

It’s Beyond Ridiculous!

U.S. Taxpayers Risk $9.7 Trillion on Bailouts as Senate Votes –That’s the headline from Bloomberg.com. Drudge puts it this way:

Here’s how the article begins:

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) — The stimulus package the U.S. Congress is completing would raise the government’s commitment to solving the financial crisis to $9.7 trillion, enough to pay off more than 90 percent of the nation’s home mortgages.

The Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have lent or spent almost $3 trillion over the past two years and pledged to provide up to $5.7 trillion more if needed. The total already tapped has decreased about 1 percent since November, mostly because foreign central banks are using fewer dollars in currency-exchange agreements called swaps. The Senate is to vote early this week on a stimulus package totaling at least $780 billion that President Barack Obama says is needed to avert a deeper recession. That measure would need to be reconciled with an $819 billion plan the House approved last month.

Only the stimulus package to be approved this week, the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program passed four months ago and $168 billion in tax cuts and rebates approved in 2008 have been voted on by lawmakers. The remaining $8 trillion in commitments are lending programs and guarantees, almost all under the authority of the Fed and the FDIC. The recipients’ names have not been disclosed.

“We’ve seen money go out the back door of this government unlike any time in the history of our country,” Senator Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, said on the Senate floor Feb. 3. “Nobody knows what went out of the Federal Reserve Board, to whom and for what purpose. How much from the FDIC? How much from TARP? When? Why?”

I think I agree with Rick Moore over at HolyCoast.com. They should’ve just paid off everybody’s mortgage. It might’ve saved us some money.

Inauguration

Today I’ve been watching the inauguration ceremonies on Fox News. I’m always interested in seeing these major political events. It is (as has been said many times today) always truly amazing to witness the orderly and peaceful transfer of power in our country from one leader to the next.
I enjoyed many things about the ceremony itself. First, it was great to see so many former presidents, vice presidents, and other officials all together. (A news source reported that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates would be off-site as a security precaution). I also enjoyed the music. I’d love to hear that John Williams composition again (what a masterful job those musicians did — seeing those musicians together was very impressive). One cannot help but be impressed by the sheer scope of the events in Washington. This is a HUGE day there. I enjoyed most of President Obama’s speech (though, not much really stuck out to me as particularly original or memorable). It’s amazing to see that there are people who can get the Bushes moved out of the White House and the Obamas moved in so quickly.

I enjoyed hearing Rick Warren’s prayer. I thought he did a good job. I wasn’t so sure about that poem. It seemed a bit too–free verse? for me. I like some form and substance and I couldn’t discern much from that one.

I also enjoy seeing all the military tradition that surrounds events like this. Being a military guy myself, I am fascinated by those sorts of things.

On the whole, I have to say that I think very highly of President Bush, and will miss him. At the same time, I am hopeful that President Obama will do his best to lead us. I will be praying for him.

I will look forward to him keeping some of the promises he has made to the American people, though some of them probably cannot (and some should not) be kept. I think many people will be disappointed by the end of the year when he changes some of his positions.

Still, for today, I’m a little kid watching the parades and events. I’m geeking out on the historical trivia. I want Obama to be successful as our leader, and I want him to protect the greatness of our country and people. May God bless our president and our nation.