Tuesday, March 11, 2008

reports of Luther's rehabilitation by Rome are amiss


British journalism on religion being what it was I couldn't be sure they knew their head from their behind ... and sure enough ... . Not that there aren't great writers on the subject of religion from the UK ... but I haven't come across any journalists on the topic (I'm including you Mr. Hitchens and I'm sure you don't care what I think).

Boeing formally protests, EADS plans to buy an American company, possibly in defense industry


Formal protest from Boeing. Meanwhile, it's of note that EADS, or someone at EADS, has leaked the news that the company is considering purchasing a company in the United States and possibly in the defense industry. Since the euro is in better shape than the dollar now is considered a good time to acquire some overseas companies (i.e. we're overseas for them). So, if EADS were planning to buy an American company with a background in weapons or military tech what would they get? Notrhrop/Grumman? I don't know but I got the impression after the McDonald Douglas/Boeing merger almost a decade ago that the game in aerospace tech has gotten small and only huge players can play anymore.

I guess my question at this point is that given our active involvement on multiple fronts should the United States let this happen in terms of business? If we are in a wartime economy then wouldn't it stand to reason that certain things would be good to not have on the market? My hunch at this point is that whatever EADS considers getting isn't going to be Lockheed Martin.

Monday, March 10, 2008

surprise, protest


Not too surprising.

Some Souther Baptists say we should take climate change seriously


There's an old joke that two rabbis will have three opinions. I wonder if it may also be said of Baptists. The Dobson connected rejoinder is not too suprising. Basically the news is that, potentially, even religious conservatives may come around to environmental stances. That this should even be news seems curious since pretty theologically conservative Protestants spoke out on environmental issues decades ago (e.g. Francis Schaeffer) but I suppose it speaks to the times that this is the kind of news item it is.

Boeing vs the competition continues


Ah, so Northrup/Grumman/EADS gets the deal and we have some coverage about how Airbus to help build the A380 superjumbo planes and local workers couldn't read the manuals because they were printed in the wrong language.

Ah ... the joys of having anything for the United States built with any involvement of a European consortium of companies that don't really have a history of getting along.

I would have hoped that the disastrous attempt at building a joint main battle tank venture we tried with Germany in the 1970s would have told us something. The reason we have the Abrams and they have the Leopard 2 series goes something like this--imperial vs metric measurement system, left vs right orientation in schematic drawings, smoothbore 120 mm vs 105 mm gun that's not smooth-bore, depleted uranium vs tungsten ammunition for armor-piercing rounds ... and, really, do I need to go on? Thirty years ago and a scrubbed collaboration probably indicates something.

Now, theoretically, having EADS and affiliates working on lesser levels than overall design might make a difference but the more I see covered about this situation the less surprised I am. Boeing and Airbus have been duking it out for a while now so Boeing seriously considering protesting the award of the tanker deal to Northrop/Grumman makes sense. I suppose Northrop/Grumman might want something besides the B2. I'm rusty on major military procurements these days but Jack's company hasn't exactly been rolling in contracts ... or I'm just amazingly rusty on department of defense procurment and research and development. Yeah, I suspect that explains it all right there. :)

I don't even know why I'm trying to follow this, actually. Maybe it's that it involves a presidential campaign and Boeing suits have more than hinted that they think McCain is somehow responsible for carting part of a major military contract to a company collaboration that includes companies that aren't in the United States. Protectionism? Maybe, but the consortium members are part of NATO (not that being part of NATO ever seemed to mean much of anything since it seemed like our working assumption was that the United States would have to do a good chunk of fighting.

Ah, well, it's tough to blog about this too much. The story is still breaking news after all.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Crazy for God on a short hiatus

Not that I haven't enjoyed reading the book and found it illuminating, but I'm juggling a few other projects, too. Since the blog title indicates a yen for non-Spanish classical guitar music I might as well 'fess up and say that sometimes writing new music for guitar is more interesting than blogging.

Way more interesting, especially given some of the stuff I've managed to write lately. So it's not that I plan to abandon my likely rarely read blog, but artistic life takes precedence over blog life every time. I'd rather be an accomplished composer and musician than an accomplished blogger, all things considered. Not that I can't blog up something but there's enough bloggers out there.

Actually, to touch on that matter for a moment, part of why I feel many of the critiques of Frank Schaeffer's books end up being so daft is precisely because they're liable to, effectively, blog about it. Even though I respect Os Guinness' right to sound off on the strengths and weaknesses and the rights and substantial wrongs of Crazy for God as Frank published the book ... the very fact that the rebuttal/reprimand/interpretation is happening within the same context steals the thunder, or gives it away. I don't mean for Guinness' comments, which I thought were still insightful, I mean bloggers who bloga bout Frank Schaeffer not having the right to say this or that about his dad when they say without qualms any number of things about him. Romans 2, bloggers, go read it.

For my part, I don't have any compelling interest in either assuming everything Frank wrote is true (especially since he dumped a huge disclaimer at the front of the book for me and other readers) or false, which is more than I think some bloggers have managed to do regarding their own work.

I want to give Frank the benefit of the doubt, that he is writing in good faith and that even where he seems wonky that I would ask him to give me the benefit of the doubt. I don't have to believe everything he tells is the truth to trust that his intent is to tell the truth as best he understands it and admits that how he perceives things may be wrong. It's foundational to any honest communicative enterprise.

Of course the difference here is that in a book by the time everything gets fact-checked and people get a chance to ask you what you mean (if ever that arrives) so much water under the bridge has flowed, so many feathers are ruffled, and so many egos may be bruised that it's harder to step back and say, "Well, uh, what I was trying to say was X and not Y." So Frank can, understandably, be stuck with a few things in there that now that the book has gone to print he may change his mind about a few years later.

Even Augustine of Hippo published a book called Retractions. I can't vouch that he retracted diddley or squat, actually, as I haven't read that book of his, just Confessions and a decent chunk of City of God (which, trust me (those of you who've read the book) can be a startlingly small part of said book).

If Frank changes his mind I'm sure he'll write a book. That is, in the best sense of my understanding of this book's scope, the whole point of Crazy for God. Christopher Hitchens once wrote a long article recounting Winston Churchill's acidic ways, his cruel views on race and class and involvement in military matters in foreign lands. Hitchens painted this unflattering portrait with a particular rhetorical and historical point in mind. Churchill was not a hero because he was a good man or because he spent much of his life holding what Hitchens would consider good or right views. Hitchens' point was more this--that when the chips were done and the fate of millions upon millions was at stake Churchill changed his mind and changed his mind all the way, all the way enough to decide that the National Socialists needed to be stopped regardless of the cost.

At the risk of making an absurd comparison that invites the legitimate chard of Godwin's law, I invoke Churchill precisely because Frank seems to, in his own way, invite that precedent. Frank is writing a lengthy apology for playing his part in founding, shaping, directing, and promoting the Religious Right that he believes (obviously) has betrayed the principles and best qualities of his father and his father's legacy; capitalizing on those things for the sake of raw and unmitigated political battles; and transforming Francis Schaeffer from a real flesh and blood man who loved God and his family into an evangelical Protestant's variation of an idol.

So, there you go, my probable violation of Godwin's law indirectly by invoking WInston Churchill as written about by Christopher Hitchens (probably in the Atlantic Monthly some six or seven years ago and since the Atlantic Monthly is on-line and you don't have to pay money to search the archives anymore someone can go spend some time looking that up and telling me how full of crap I am for blogging about an article that may just possibly have not been written in the Atlantic Monthly by Christopher Hitchens about Winston Churchill). Go ahead, prove me wrong, that is, after all, part of what blogging is about. In any event, the analogy seemed useful for some reason so accept it for what it is, an analogy. It's partly to show that Schaeffer's comments can sometimes seem a bit overboard. Then again, the comments of the Religious Right and Left can be pretty overboard.

I wonder if the prophets of old were simply preparing the way for highly charged political rhetoric. Seems like it sometimes. But now, truly, I digress.

See, I ended up blogging about the book anyway. One of these days I'll have to blog about something like music or something else again.