I haven't put together a random news story post in a while, so here goes --
The current Battleground Polls show a statistical tie between Barack Obama and John McCain. And the latest AP poll seems to confirm what Battleground is finding. But it's the trend of the Battleground results that is important -- over the past two weeks, Obama has been losing momentum, and McCain has been steadily gaining. Undecideds have remained relatively steady.
Yet John Zogby just released a poll showing a nearly 10 percentage point lead for Obama. What gives?
DJ Drummond the "go-to" source for poll analysis, has repeatedly stated that polling internal numbers have been skewed heavily in favor of registered Democrat voters, based on the premise that Democrats are more excited about their candidate and therefore will go to the polls in greater numbers. Drummond also notes that state-by-state polling results tell a different story than national polling results -- Barack Obama is in trouble in a lot of states that should be decidedly blue. (As for Oklahoma, my home state, McCain has a roughly 2:1 lead over Obama.)
The conclusion is simply this -- it ain't over 'till it's over. The race is currently too close to call. Despite the outward confidence of Democrats, they are secretly very nervous. Always remember this simple rule -- the only poll that matters is the one open on Nov. 4.
Connect the dots:
1) The United States Military is the only -- ONLY -- area specifically mentioned by Barack Obama as a target for budget cuts.
2) Joe Biden admits, "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy."
3) Ralph Peters lists 15 possible tests, and concludes, "Think Bush weakened America? Just wait."
This item didn't receive much mainstream press coverage, but when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in New York last month addressing the United Nations General Assembly, a group of Quakers and Mennonites held a dinner and invited Ahmadinejad as their honored guest. The dinner was hailed as a success, and according to the American Friends Service Committee, "The president was glad to meet. He was genuinely interested in further conversation with the religious community and engaging in a real discussion with the U.S. government." A concurrent counter-protest, held outside the hotel that hosted the dinner, was organized by Women United, the Jewish Action Alliance, Stand With Us, Center for Security Policy, the Catholic League, the The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Alliance of Iranian Women. It is interesting to observe how Christians who espouse absolute pacifism, and those who support the doctrine of Holy War, choose to interact with leaders of nations hostile to the United States and Israel.
Those who consider "spreading the wealth around" to be a superior economic policy should note that a cholera outbreak in Africa's most oppressive Communist nation, Zimbabwe, has already claimed dozens of lives. When Zimbabwe was Rhodesia, it was the bread basket of Africa. But after years of violent, corrupt, and inept Communist rule at the hands if dictator Robert Mugabe, the nation has been economically destroyed. Zimbabwe no longer has enough resources to provide even basic health care for its people.
Meanwhile, the same level of corruption and ineptitude that has crippled Zimbabwe has also severely damaged Venezuelan oil production. Oil is Venezuela's primary source of income, and falling oil prices coupled with Hugo Chavez' clumsy mismanagement of Venezuela's oil production infrastructure could mean trouble ahead for this nation. We could very well see a Venezuela-Cuba-Russia alliance form during the next 24 months.
ADDED: Venezuela has also severely neglected its electricity infrastructure, resulting in faulty power grids and numerous wide-scale blackouts.
Blood-boiler of the day: Ten Percent Of $700 Billion Bailout Could Go To Bonuses
Here is a comprehensive report on ACORN activities in Oklahoma. I guess the Obama campaign's $800,000 never made it this far south. Apparently ACORN abandoned its OKC office with rent left unpaid. Sifting through the papers that ACORN left behind, a reporter found evidence of deliberate attempts by ACORN (supposedly a "non-partisan" organization) to use their organization efforts strictly for the benefit of Democrats.
Stanley Kurtz recently published a must-read piece at National Review Online about ACORN's direct involvement in the low-income sub-prime mortgage business. Poor people didn't break the banks, but outfits like ACORN certainly helped because ACORN failed to understand simple mathematics -- within any income group looking to purchase homes within any price range (starter homes to McMansions) there will be a finite number of people who are a match for both the kind of home you are selling, and the cost of the loan. ACORN simply kept pushing people into mortgage loans they couldn't afford, after the pool of qualified home buyers had essentially run dry.
Steven Sailer published a similar article a few weeks earlier, citing the pursuit of diversity over common sense as a prime reason for bank failures.
And get this -- KFYI radio in Phoenix reported that up to five million illegal aliens currently hold mortgages. That's just insane.
Orson Scott Card believes that if the chain of events leading to the current credit crisis clearly pointed to Republican malfeasance, the mainstream press would have immediately christened it "Fanniegate" and would still be running lead news stories about every Republican who was involved. He asks, "Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for?"
But then again, who knows? Maybe it's all God's doing. It seems that a lot of charismatic/Word of Faith churches who preach the "prosperity gospel" foolishly interpreted easy credit as a blessing from God. Yet another reason to stay as far away from the prosperity gospel peddlers as possible.
With all the worrying going on about politics, and the helplessness that each of us as individuals seems to feel when financial and economic circumstances are completely out of our hands, it is easy to succumb to acedia. "At its Greek root, acedia means the absence of care, and in personal terms it means refusing to care, even that you can't care. It is a supreme form of indifference, a kind of spiritual morphine: you know the pain is there, but can't rouse yourself to give a damn."
For Christians, acedia represents a pattern of thinking that, along with pride and anger, has the potential to lead us into periods of deep despair. Kathleen Norris writes,
Acedia in particular could shake the very foundations of monastic life: once a monk succumbed to the notion that his efforts at daily prayer and contemplation were futile, life loomed like a prison sentence, day after day of nothingness. In a similar way, acedia can make a once-treasured marriage or vocation seem oppressive and meaningless.
Western culture lost the word acedia because the monks' subtle psychology of the bad thoughts was eventually solidified into the Church's doctrine of the seven deadly sins. What the monks had recognized as temptations that all people are subject to became seen as specific acts or omissions, and as acedia was not easily characterized as either, it was subsumed into the sin of sloth, which came to signify physical laziness rather than a more serious existential indifference. (emphasis added)
Even though the world around us confounds us, we should never forget that there is always hope in Christ, and in the work necessary to build His Kingdom. In the face of insurmountable adversity and turmoil, what can we do? Perhaps it is as simple as helping the defeated among us wash away the dust of everyday life:
With her hair dyed an unnatural shade of red and a thin green shawl draped over her, Carmelite Sister Begona Arroya stands out among nuns in a convent overlooking St. Peter’s Square.
But when she is ministering in southern Spain to prostitutes from all over the world, she blends right in.
“I dress so I won’t intimidate the women I need to reach,” said Sister Begona, 41, with a smile.
... “It is so terrible. The girls get in the car, and when they come back, most look completely gone, like they don’t exist, they are destroyed by this,” she said. “We talk to them and pray with them. We serve them hot tea.”
We can also pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world whose lives are threatened every day because they believe in the Gospel. In Saudi Arabia, a young Christian girl was recently burned alive by her father in an honor killing, because she had published a profession of Christian faith on the Internet. And this weekend, a young Christian missionary was gunned down by a Taliban remnant group in Kabul, Afghanistan.
And finally, we can pray for our nation and for ourselves as we vote. We can pray that the election is honest, and we can ask for God's divine guidance to be bestowed upon the winner. Above all, we can ask that we, the American people, continually seek His will and work to build His Kingdom.