The Iranian earthquake:
: Pedram is on top of the tragic Iranian earthquake news…. including complications related to giving relief:
Have been doing some more research on this as a few bloggers wanted to start a fund and were busy finding suitable NGO’s inside Iran to give the money to, but apparently for those of us in USA to attempt to send donations through other means may be a violation of sanctions and subject to prosecution. In short, we aren’t free to decide how our donations are spent.
: Here’s the National Iranian American Council disaster relief page.
: IranMania’s earthquake news here.
: IranFilter is keeping up with the latest.
: Iranian Truth has tons of good links, including Iranian blogger comments.
: Persian Blogger has a beautiful photo of the history lost.
: To all my newfound Iranian blogging friends: I hope you and your families are safe and secure.
The clipification of life
: Smart Mobs tells us that TextAmerica, the incongruously named moblog photo site, now offers mobile video clips. It won’t be days before we’ll see a celebrity caught doing something there. (Then flesh.) Then news. Then advertising: quick clips of homes for sale, personals, bands for hire, hotel rooms. Ten seconds tells the story.
OD on me
: I’m flattered to be the subject of a Norm profile today.
Dean finds religion
: Two days ago, in the words of the NY Times, Joe Lieberman called “for strengthening the role of religion in public life and took a veiled swipe at Howard Dean, who has run a steadfastly secular campaign.”
“I know that some people believe that faith has no place in the so-called public square,” said Mr. Lieberman, an observant Jew. “They forget that the constitutional separation of church and state, which I strongly support, promises freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Some people forget that faith was central to our founding and remains central to our national purpose and our individual lives.”
And today, Dean finds religion in the Boston Globe:
Presidential contender Howard B. Dean, who has said little about religion while campaigning except to emphasize the separation of church and state, described himself in an interview with the Globe as a committed believer in Jesus Christ and said he expects to increasingly include references to Jesus and God in his speeches as he stumps in the South.
Dean, 55, who practices Congregationalism but does not often attend church and whose wife and children are Jewish, explained the move as a desire to share his beliefs with audiences willing to listen….
He acknowledged that he was raised in the ”Northeast” tradition of not discussing religious beliefs in public, and said he held back in New Hampshire, where that is the practice. But in other areas, such as the South, he said, he would discuss his beliefs more openly.
The “Northeast” tradition? I’d say it’s more the reform or liberal tradition. There are those who evangelize and those who don’t. I don’t. So I don’t talk about religion easily; I’ve done so here when it has been relevant to another discussion. So I respect Dean’s reluctance to talk God.
But saying that he’s going to talk Jesus just because he’s going into the South smacks of religious pandering. It’s likely to insult Southerners — and fundamentalists — that he’s willing to acknowledge religion only because he’s trying to get votes south of the Mason-Dixon line.
This may be the religious equivalent of his Confederate-flag-on-the-back-of-pickups remark.
He may as well have said he wants to appeal to the voters who have have fish stickers on the back of their Chevys.
Then one bloggy Christmas Eve
: Halley’s Christmas carol.
The moral crisis of North Korea
: Iraq was a humanitarian crisis — whether or not it was a security crisis — and over at Harry’s place, Johann argues that the same is true of North Korea.
The worst human rights abuses in the world – including government engineered famines – are unfolding in North Korea today. Since the US isn’t involved, the Chomskyites aren’t interested. But the pro-intervention left – if we are serious about human rights – cannot take the same morally blank position.
Musharraf survives another attack
: Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf narrowly survives another terrorist assassination attempt as two human bombs kill themselves and 12 innocents.
: Newsweek says such attacks will help lead us to bin Laden:
Yet such operations
And Merry Christmas again
: It’s 1 in the morning. The beard’s still white, but I’m Santa no more. Duties done. Church over. Morning approaching very quickly.
It was a wonderful night at our little church. Sometimes, everything just goes right. Our early, family service was packed with kids. They gathered up around our associate pastor, Virginia, for her children’s sermon by the creche. They crowded in like a holy mosh pit and then the little ones started storming the stage, they were so fascinated. One of our favorite little girls was answering questions about the Christmas story like an expert and I was proud, because my wife teaches her Sunday school class. The children were darling. Some new folks from the neighborhood came — always good news in a new and growing church.
After dinner and tucking the kids in, I was back at church for the candlelight service of lessons and carols, in which I try my best not to ruin things by hitting the wrong note (at least not so loud that anyone could notice) or reading the wrong words (I rewrote God only a little). Our choirmaster, a high-school choral teacher with the tenor voice of a woodwind, sang an amazing duet with a former student of his. The music went well. Tons of new people from the neighborhood came. I stood at the door at the end and just ended up shaking hands with them all as they left; “Merry Christmases” abounded.
This Christmas snuck up on me; a week ago, I couldn’t believe it was a week away. But this Christmas is turning out nicely.
Those of you who’ve read this space for the last two years (all two of you) know that at emotional cues, I often return to September 11th as a touchstone. Two Christmases ago was so hard. Last Christmas was still difficult. This Christmas, at last, begins to feel like the celebration it is supposed to be. I can’t wait for the morning (and I won’t have to wait long with two kids who’ll beat the sun up).
Merry Christmas, my friends.