Monday, September 26, 2005

Bush quotes Carter in wake of Katrina/Rita

Bush says to carpool and cut down on trips because we have a gas problem. Jimmy said it first.

Some time ago, i wrote a post stating that we need Jimmy Carter of '76 to be President in 2008. It was scoffed at quite a bit.
One of my main points was that he called on Americans to make "personal sacrifices" when it came to the gas pump. Today, President Bush echoed Jimmy Carter very loudly, which is a HUGE change for a Republican administration that has said we can both have tax cuts and as much consumption as we want.

Bush said: "We can all pitch in by being better conservers of energy." He called on people to avoid taking unnecessary trips and to carpool. He called on people to make personal sacrifices. I was amazed to hear NPR replay Carter's 1979 speech, and see Bush used the exact same verbage.

For those of you who weren't paying attention, Pres. Carter just recently co-wrote some recommendations with former Republican Sec. of State James Baker to help improve our elections in America, and voter participation. They made 87 specific recommendations, including updating methods of registration and calling on states to share voter information for when people move states.

See, he's working with a hard-core Texas Republican to help give people more confidence in their country vis-a-vis the electoral process. That's good stuff for everyone to unite behind.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Winners and Losers (pt. 2)

First, the Winners:

Congratulations to the USF Bulls! You've just BLOWN OUT #9 Louisville, and ended all their hopes of a national championship game berth!

Congratulations to Chris Leak of the Florida Gators. 319 yards and 4 touchdowns, all pretty much in the FIRST HALF of the UK game. If you go down to 'Bama and beat the now 4-0 Tide, you will be a strong Heisman candidate, and Urban Meyer will be a leader for Coach of the Year.

Congratulations (again) to Vanderbilt, you're now 4-0. If you beat MTSU next week, you'll be a whopping 5-0! You know that if you hit hard enough, you can really rattle Kentucky.

Congratulations to the Michigan State Spartans, having stomped Illinois 61-14. Your offense is superior. A win over Michigan next week will put you atop your state, and in good shape for the Big Ten Title. Anyone think the Spartans aren't better than Penn State or Minnesota?

Big Losers:

The University of Michigan. You have lost another game, and have fallen from #4 in the AP poll to being unranked. Your season is done.

University of Louisville. You boasted and bragged about winning the Big East, and playing in a BCS bowl, and going undefeated and all that. Must hurt to get destroyed 45-14.

Until next week...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Winners and Losers (Hurricane Watch edition)

Congratulations to Waco and Central Texas. The hurricane completely missed you, rain and all. You got some wind, clouds, and lower temperatures (a very nice break from the heat), but didn't have to live up to your doomsday expectations. We can pour out the extra 2-liters we filled with tap water down the drain.

Don't mess with this man. He's cooler than you are.

Congratulations to John O'Hurley! You beat Kelly Monaco in the Dancing With the Stars rematch on ABC. You were truly cheated out of a win during the regular season series. It came as no surprise that they awarded it to a hot Playboy model, who would be propelled on to fame and acting roles, and help promote the show. Want a boost in your career? Pose nude. Worked for people like Monaco and Paris Hilton.

But, Americans were quick to call in (I tried several times, but the lines were busy) for the rematch and make sure that O'Hurley (aka: Peterman!) was the true winner this time. I felt that justice was served. May your feet stay quick and nimble!

Big Losers:

New Orleans, Mississippi, and Alabama. You get more rain and hurricane damage. I hope America gives glory to God for weakening the hurricane and moving its path into areas that had been evacuated and abandoned for weeks.

Biggest Loser:

The New York Times

I've read your newspaper online for almost 10 years. Thomas Friedman's columns have influenced my view of the world, and have made me really enjoy his books. Paul Krugman liberal, Bush-bashing economics columns also were insightful. Now, you're wanting me to PAY to read you (about "37 cents a day"). I understand that all newspapers are losing money, and trying to make up revenue somehow. It was a poor choice for me to have to pay to read your editorials. I will BOYCOTT THE NEW YORK TIMES!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Hurricane Watch Day 3

Well, it's now a Cat 3, and heading east of here. We might not even get much rain on Saturday. Allergan will be open, and I'll be working from 7am-3:30pm or later tommorrow.

Gas is still $2.49, and the shelves have been restocked with water.

Houston is in bad shape though, people ran out of gas while fleeing. Antioch Community Church, which I mentioned in a previous post as being very go-and-do, already has a team in Houston weathering out the storm. They've got another busload of folks ready to go as soon as it's over, and will send semis full of relief supplies again. These are families, regular folks (not staff members), who just take off work and spend a couple days doing hurricane relief and sharing the Gospel. What's your church doing?

Governor Rick Perry said "Say a prayer for Texas." I have some distant relatives who were unable to flee Houston because of the traffic and have boarded up their home instead. You can say a prayer for them too.

Looks like the Hurricane Watch might end because we're not likely to see a hurricane in Waco at this point...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hurricane Watch Day 2

Here in Central Texas, the word went out yesterday: go to the store and buy as much stuff as you can. Buy water (always an amusing one. Don't get it free from your tap!), buy flashlights AND candles (can't have one without the other), and buy plenty of gasoline! Baylor is cancelling classes on Friday, and Texas A&M is playing their Saturday game tonight instead.

Word yesterday was that Hurricane Rita would slam into the coast and then quickly make its way up to the Waco area. On Saturday, it would probably be about a Category 1 storm over us. 100mph winds, and torrential rains. Our houses just might float away. The Allergan factory might shut down, a truly apocalyptic event.

Today, while we were trapped at work (although some people stayed home, apparently fearing the storm 3 days in advance!) word came that most of the gas stations were sold out of gas, and that prices were going to reach $5.00/gallon. Wal-Mart is completely stripped bare, and people were over water! We must get home quickly before gas stations run out and anarchy reigns!!!

At work, I also heard that this is all Bush's fault, that global warming is making these hurricanes (completely unfounded, check out Captain Mike's blog), and that because Bush let all of the Katrina evacuees come to Texas, it was going to cause a sort of Civil War...

However, driving home from work a few minutes ago, I was happy to see the Diamond Shamrock station was still selling for $2.49/gallon, without long lines. Traffic is normal, Wal-Mart still has things on their shelves, and, as far as I could tell, anarchy is still a minor player here. Ah, rumors on the assembly line, gotta love 'em. I left work expecting Left Behind, but got Dumb & Dumber instead.

Rita is now a Cat 4, which might help things, and it's also veering slightly further north...

The Watch Continues!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Winners and Losers

Congratulations to Guy Morriss and the Baylor Bears! 3-0 for the first time since 1996! You won your first game outside Texas since 1997 (20-10 over Army)!

Congratulations to Vanderbilt University! You're 3-0 for the first time since 1984! 2-0 in the SEC for the first time since 1956!! If you beat lowly Richmond next week, you'll be 4-0. If you beat Kentucky, which at this point appears quite likely, you'll have 5 wins and then we can start talking bowl!

Congratulations to Indiana University. With a first-year head coach you're 3-0 for the first time since 1994! You trounced a Kentucky team that needed a win but got a blowout instead.

Congratulations to other big winners!

Florida coach Urban Meyer, you just won the biggest game you can win at Florida. Now, keep the good times rolling and you might just be SEC champs! See if you can hang 70 on Kentucky next week!

Alabama Crimson Tide. You just spanked Steve Spurrier! That must feel good.

Michigan State Spartans. You beat my beloved Irish in OT, but you were truly the better team yesterday. You're also 3-0 and on your way to being ranked!
Props to ND QB Brady Quinn who kept "chucking the ball" on his way to 487 yards and 5 TD's. Notre Dame got 594 yards of total offense, and came back from a 21-point deficit. Not bad, boys! MSU's QB deserves props for his performance too.
I can't wait for Irish vs. USC in South Bend!!

Big Losers on Saturday:
Oklahoma, put a fork in yourself because you're done!

Kentucky... Rich Brooks, pack your bags? Kentucky got a whopping 77 yards on the ground, 217 total for the game. To quote the quarterback: " You could tell we were flat. We had nothing for them. We had nothing right from the start. Every single drive seemed like it was three-and-out. We never got focused."
Gee, seems like the coaches' job to me to focus their players and mount more than 217 yards of offense. We've officially gone back to the Bill Curry era.
I predict that Rich Brooks will save his job by beating South Carolina. "He beat Spurrier!" they'll all say.

I'm going to put up a new poll soon so you can vote for BCS champion.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Paradigm Shift

What's your church doing for hurricane relief? Collecting supplies? Housing some refugees? Renting an apartment somewhere for refugees? Talking about sending teams to help over Christmas break?

Imagine that you went to a church of about 2,000 people that responded within 48 hours of the hurricane with teams of volunteers, semi trucks full of supplies, and about $20,000 that they'd raised over the weekend.

Imagine that for the big tsunami last year the church did the exact same thing, just with more people. People of all ages and backgrounds, armed with the Gospel and love of Christ in action.

Imagine that this same plain church has planted over 30 churches around the entire world, including tough-to-get-into Muslim countries, and is supporting and pastoring their missionaries there.
Imagine 160 people from this church trained and equipped to go out and plant churches. Imagine about 30 or so people (including families with kids) a year going out from this church to go overseas long-term (ie: to live there for a long time).

Imagine that on Sundays this body of believers meets in a low-rent facility without a lot of glitz and glamour. Just an old, simple stage and simple sound equipment. They pump their money into things like sending that semi truck of supplies down to the Gulf Coast.

1. Does this sound good? 2. Does this sound like your church?

Now, imagine yourself in a small group of believers, say 10-12, meeting in a house every week for worship. You sing some songs, pray, and pray for eachother. Maybe one person gets a burden to pray for someone else in the group and leads a time for the group to pray for specific needs. Maybe another person gets a burden to confess sin, or share a testimony or scripture.

Now, let's say that in that group you have a responsibility to disciple someone else. There's a new Christian there who doesn't really know what it means to incorporate Christ into his everyday life, so the house group leader asks you to do it. You've been discipled by someone else in the group, so you kind of know how it goes.

You meet with a couple of the guys in this small group for accountability once a week. People from your small group go out into the neighborhood doing evangelism, maybe help some of the old folks rake their yards and such. Just whatever you think of.

Reproduce this house church until you get 150 or so house churches in your city. Adults, elderly, and young folks.
Imagine that several of these groups are centered around a college campus. 400 or so college kids on fire for worship and discipleship.

Every Sunday, all 150 groups get together at the same local church for worship. There's a good hour of singing and praising. All the people, including the elderly folks, raise their hands and dance with all their hearts while singing praise songs. Then, the pastor preaches from several parts of the Bible, using a lot of Scripture for an hour.

Everything youv'e read about is what I'm seeing in Antioch Community Church here in Waco. I've never seen old people worship and raise their hands before. I've never seen a church respond so quickly and relevantly to a natural disaster. I've never seen a church multiplying hard-core discipleship and planting churches so quickly.

A couple months ago I wrote a long post about what I felt church should be like, and suggested a model that I thought would work well and look like New Testament church. Someone suggested we visit a church in Waco that looks like that. So, we did.

Now, we don't know what to do. This is a non-denominational church. This is not SBC. They do things that make us uncomfortable. Completely Scriptural things, but things not done in the churches where we were raised. These people actually expect you to really commit to things, and to seek both to disciple and to be discipled. They actually believe that the only way you're going to grow is through small groups that highlight prayer and accountability.

When do you leave your comfort zone, and jump into something that's already established and growing? When do you really practice what you preach about becoming a learner?

These are the things we're praying about...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Extreme Makeover

My wife and I were watching one of her favorite shows on Sunday, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition while I was reading a good book. An idea came to me, and I wonder if it will fly or gain interest here in America.

The premise of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is to quickly build a house or building of significance for someone who can't afford it. A special house for a child with special needs, a new house for a family whose house has burned down, or a house for children who have lost their mother (as Sunday's was). It's extremely emotional and involves the whole community. The families are always so stunned and grateful. Their lives are changed for the better, and you feel good watching the benevolence happen. It's good stuff.

So, if ABC can afford to build a nice house (they look to be worth at least $250,000 each, much of the material and tools being donated by sponsors like Sears, Craftsman, Home Depot, etc.) for a needy family, can't it afford to help an entire impoverished village?

The book I was reading: The End of Poverty, by Jeffrey Sachs.

Sachs is arguably the world's most well-known and influential economist. He's helped with Poland's transition to a market economy, and done a lot of observations in India and China, where people are being moved out of extreme poverty by economic progress sparked by market reforms and capital investment.
He's an advisor to the UN and is helping them to implement strategies to eliminate extreme poverty by 2015, something that all the UN charter nations have agreed to do under the Millenium Development Goals.

He illustrates a point by writing of a Kenyan village that has poor access to water, roads, and electricity. Its people are very poor, and live year-to-year on the crops their continually depleted soil produce. They can't afford to invest in fertilizer or nitrous-producing trees and miss a years planting season. The people have no access to medicine, and cannot even afford mosquito nets for their beds. Despite a nearby cellphone tower, the community has no way to contact the outside world. Their society is dying of malaria and AIDS, and no one is lifting a finger to help.

He explains that for about $70/villager per year, about $500,000 altogether, this community could be saved and even be turned around. Initial donations of good fertilizers and trees which produce nitrogen and help keep it in the soil would be needed. Another donation of $ or food aid to help sustain the villagers while they miss a growing season by putting down the fertilization would be needed also. After that, the villagers could sustain themselves using the new methods of farming. Mosquito nets could be donated and could decrease lack of production due to malaria by a large amount. The community could just have 1 cellphone donated to it, to be shared by the whole village, and have access to information and family abroad. Meals could be provided for students, which would allow more to be educated in the village. Some of these investments could pay off big time for the villagers and be a one-time donation. The other costs he mentions in the $500k figure would go to building a clinic and funding a doctor with retroviral medicines and cheap (compared to U.S. prices) medicines for AIDS patients. He also suggests donating a pickup truck to be shared for transporting crops and taxi rides to neighboring villages or the big city. It sounds like a perfect way to sign up sponsors.

So far, it's been very difficult to sign countries and donors up to give funding for things like this. 150 countries signed an agreement in Monterrey, Mexico a couple years ago to raise funding for the Millenium Development Goals to 1% of rich-world GNP (currently, the rich world gives about .2% of GNP (1/5 of 1 percent) to causes such as this. They've previously pledged to give up to .7% of GNP, but haven't quite met that).

So... if ABC can afford to build a $500,000 house to help a whole family while the viewers cheer and cry, why not save an entire village? Imagine the ratings for that. Extreme Makeover: Village Edition is my idea.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Weekend Thoughts

Here are some semi-random thoughts from this weekend:

Went to the Baylor season opener yesterday. After a lot of heavy rain, the game got started. They have a cool tradition of lining up all the freshmen student body in the tunnel before the game, decked out in Baylor Line jerseys. They then get real pumped, and run a circle around the field.

To start kickoffs and on defensive 3rd downs, everyone in the stadium puts a hand up in the air like a bear claw and waves it. On the kickoff everyone makes a quick swooping motion and yells "Sic 'em Bears!!!" Kinda cool. They also do a Florida State-style bear claw thing.

Baylor beat Samford. Samford put up a good fight though, and Baylor's offense looks like UK's offense did under Morriss, just a spin of Hal Mumme's offense: a lot of shotgun draws, mostly passing routes going downfield. They went into the I formation one time, and had trouble running the ball. Too many dumb penalties.

Kentucky avoids embarrassment. I'm sorry, but when you're losing 29-28 with 5:06 left to a I-AA school, that's bad. I didn't see any of the game. I heard they ran quite a bit.

GO IRISH!!! Shows what good coaching can do. These guys haven't even played a home game yet! They're now squarely in the BCS title hunt!

Smashmouth went nowhere against Texas. I enjoyed turning the TV on with 5 minutes to go and seeing the Buckeyes marching with a perfect I-formation. Only to then go nowhere due to poor quarterback play. I thought Texas was overrated and that Vince Young wasn't all that great. I've changed my mind. He can play. OSU should be ashamed, though.

Texas plays Baylor in Waco soon...

On politics:
Why is it that all the politicians on TV claim the moral ground and say "We shouldn't be pointing fingers of blame now. We should be focusing on rebuilding and helping those in need," only to blast Bush or someone else in the same sentence?
I was watching Fox News this morning and saw 2 senators, 1 Dem and 1 Rep from LA. The Democrat was blaming Bush, and the Republican was blaming the local mayor and governor. Both of them claimed the moral high ground by "not pointing fingers of blame," however.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Return of The Curse

I enjoyed watching college football’s openers this weekend. I listened to some of them on the radio and internet, and watched a couple of them on what TV I could get with our antenna.
31-24 Louisville

Kentucky is CURSED, that’s all there is to it. We’re like the Cubs, or like the Red Sox used to be. We’re doomed!
Over the years, I don’t know how many games I’ve seen where KY plays well enough to put themselves into position to win it, and then they lose it. How many close defeats, miraculous defeats?
So, here we are against the #12 team in the nation, in what would have been the biggest win in Kentucky history since Bear Bryant was coaching. KY comes back from a halftime deficit of 28-7 to the tantalizingly close score of 31-24. With 2 posessions on Louisville’s territory with less than 7 minutes left, surely we could get it done. The first time was typical, fumble, sack, punt. The second time we have miraculous field position, Woodson is taking it in for the score! I raise my hands in jubilant expectation of Kentucky tying the score and forcing overtime. Respect for UK at last! The result? FUMBLE ON THE GOALLINE!!!! Louisville ball, game over.

This game reminds me of the 1994 season (Bill Curry era) when we beat Louisville in the season opener, and then lost every other game that year. The final game was against someone weak, Northern Illinois or someone easy, I don’t recall. Commonwealth Stadium was almost empty, it was pouring down rain, and Kentucky needed a touchdown to win. They were on the goalline with time to run just one last play to get the score. The running back had a hole the size of a barn door. Result? He slipped and fell ON THE GOALLINE… Game, season over.
Usually against decent teams: South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee. We get sooo close, and yet lose. Last year vs. UT and a couple close calls against Florida in previous years. In 2000 we missed a big win over Lou Holtz’s Gamecocks right at the end. Penalties and whatnot every year.
The Peach Bowl in 1993… Marty Moore makes a huge defensive interception, and then fumbles the football. Clemson scores and game over 14-13.
Need I remind anyone about the LSU game a couple years ago?

That’s why we hang onto coaches at UK. Because they get soooo close to a big win every year. This must be the year that we actually cross the hump! Then, there’s always next year….
My only solace is that we will beat UL in basketball soundly this year, by at least 10 points.

Other scores I enjoyed this weekend:
28-23 Baylor

Ladies and gentlemen, Baylor’s first road win in 5 years!!!

Yes, former UK coach Guy Morriss continues his campaign to make Baylor a power in the Big 12 before he leaves for his next job. Wendy’s is doing a promotional campaign offering $5 tickets for the next home game, so we’ll call it a date next Saturday.

42-21 IRISH!

Notre Dame has been my favorite college team for years, since UK never really had a team to speak of. I don’t like the arrogance of their administrators, and think they never should have fired Tyrone Willingham, but let’s face it: Charlie Weis was a GREAT pickup as coach. 3-time Super Bowl winner, welcome back to South Bend! I hope the Irish rock people’s worlds, including USC on October 15th!
My weekend was slightly tainted by the fact that I didn’t get to watch this game on ABC. We had to watch Texas A&M play at Clemson. 25-24 Clemson was good revenge for me not being able to watch my beloved Irish.

17-10 TCU! Horned Frogs shock everyone but me.

Because Oklahoma is weak. They were weak last year and never should have played in the BCS championship. Auburn would have destroyed OU last year!
I like TCU because they wanted me to come to their MBA school. They even sent me a free TCU MBA hat that’s really cool. So, if I ever decide to get my MBA that’s where I’ll probably go. Go Frogs!

Game I most look forward to:
Let’s get ready to rumble.

I LOVE to watch Florida State-Miami. You’ll never see a football game anywhere where guys hit as hard as they do in this game. They fight before the kickoff, they fight afterwards. Animal houses go at it! 2 Dominators go head-to-head! I love it!

Tapp University

Principles of Domination, Lesson 2 has just been posted. It's a tribute to perhaps the greatest Dominator of the 20th Century: Bill Russell and a lesson on the importance of Mastering the Art of Communication.