Current Events Politics

On politics

So one of my favorite things to think about is politics. I feel kinda guilty admitting that, as it’s given much more attention and importance than I feel it deserves. At the same time, it’s been a long time since I’ve had such mixed feelings about an election.

Two years ago, I believed Obama was a longshot candidate. Today, he seems a near certain victor. Eight years ago McCain was too much of a maverick for republicans. Today, he’s towing the party line (not Bush’s line, but still hat the party leadership wants). I would have happily voted for the 2000 McCain, since a true bipartisan and maverick would be a welcome change. Obama’s claims of post-partisan politics are only true if you define post-partisan as left-leaning.

What I like about Obama:

  • He’s an inspiring speaker
  • He comes across as presidential
  • He’s young
  • He’s smart
  • He’s inspiring
  • He took down the Clinton machine-ended the Bush-Clinton dynasty
  • Would probably not deliver on promises and would be a one term president

And what I dislike:

  • He’s arrogant like no other. I think he’s running for Jesus, not president
  • He uses people for political gain
  • His associations are scary
  • He says what you want to hear, not what he intends to do

What I like about McCain:

  • He’s spent time in Washington
  • He’s not a Bush clone – as a matter of fact, he was the bane of his party in 2000
  • He’s a centrist
  • He actually has meaningful experience

What I dislike about McCain:

  • He’s a hothead
  • He’s old
  • He has a Bush-like tendency for gaffes
  • His conservatism is suspect-seems to be for big government, like most current republicans
  • He’s inarticulate
  • I can’t see him as president
  • The chances of him dying in office are too high to have inexperienced Palin as the vice president
  • Would most likely be a one term president due to age

All that said, I can’t vote for either major party candidate. I’m investigating my options. Looking into third parties and write ins. Whatever your political persuasion, go vote next Tuesday. It’s critical in shaping who runs next time around.

Current Events General Movies

The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight

Back in 2005, I wrote about Batman Begins, which truly blew me away. I left believing that I could be Batman. Ever since seeing the trailer for The Dark Knight a couple of months ago, I’ve been waiting to see the next installation in the series. Finally made it out Friday night. A week since the release, yet the showing was still sold out. I would have rather seen it in IMAX, but didn’t want to wait at least another week to get tickets.

The movie didn’t disappoint. If it doesn’t win best picture this year, I’ll be shocked. Outstanding acting. Great story. Plot twists. A seat gripper for the full 2.5 hours. The movie is open for a sequel, but I have to say that I don’t think it should get one. I can’t picture anyone but Heath Ledger as The Joker and can’t picture a sequel without The Joker. Hollywood, if you make a sequel, please do Heath’s memory proud.

As I’ve become quite a fan of Netflix, I probably won’t buy the DVD. But I suspect that I’ll see this movie again. And I’m going to rewatch Batman Begins.

Current Events Faith General Virginia Tech

Reflections on the Massacre

VT HopeIt’s been a year. It feels so far away, yet it could have been yesterday. The day that my quiet little town of Blacksburg became the center of the world.

From the first I heard – a phone call from my sister saying that something had gone terribly wrong in her dorm – blood everywhere, it seemed unreal. Nothing in the news yet. The suspense was unsettling. Surely something that had my sister so upset would be at least mentioned in the news. Finally, an email. “A shooting incident occurred at West Amber Johnston earlier this morning. Police are on the scene and are investigating.” I never knew so many words could say so little. Perfectly written PR mumbo jumbo. Still nothing in the news.

I’m still not sure what to think when another email arrives. The composure of the first email long gone. The subject was “PLease stay put” with a brief panick-stricken message: “A gunman is loose on campus. Stay in buildings until further notice. Stay away from all windows”. This is not just a shooting incident. God, what is going on?

The day brings back memories of September 11, 2001. A day spent in shock. The pentagon, less than nine miles from where I sat in high school, was the victim of terrorism. I had studied terror, but it was something that happened overseas. This was America after all. In much the same way, I sat in my black office chair staring at the computer screen. Continually pressing the refresh button to see what was going on. Reading news coverage from hundreds of miles away about events going on just blocks from where I was sitting. It seemed the number of the dead just kept rising. First it was one, then four, soon 14, finally rising to 32. The worst massacre in the history of the nation was unfolding in the kind of town you came to in order to escape senseless killings.

As I joined others to reflect that evening, emotions ran raw. There was a lot of crying, even more hugging, and certainly a lot of praying. Still, the whole thing felt artificial, like a movie. Was this really happening? My connections to those who were confirmed dead were limited – just friends of friends. Which kept me somewhat insulated from the events. Don’t get me wrong: I was very glad that my friends were safe. But things still felt unreal. I was able to help support those who were hurting, but I hadn’t grieved for me yet.

A couple days after the massacre – I don’t remember exactly when – everything came together for me. I was looking at more news, watching campuses from across the nation overflow with Hokie spirit. The only way you can understand Hokie spirit is if you spend some time in Blacksburg. It’s something that goes beyond sports and school loyalty. Something I’ve never felt anywhere else, and I’ve been on a lot of college campuses. It was amazing to see the whole country get caught up in a glimpse of this spirit. But the one thing that did it was when I saw a picture that would come to mean more to me than any others over the coming months.

The picture was simple. Not something that you’d want on your living room wall. A picture of a storied bridge two hours up the road. The Beta Bridge in Charlottesville, home of The University of Virginia. One place where Hokies usually aren’t welcome, even though that’s more trash talk than truth. When I saw this picture, I lost it. I cried all those tears that the previous few days had stored up in me. If Hokie spirit can touch UVA, truly anything is possible. I can’t even explain exactly why this picture gets to me, but I still tear up today when I see it.

Beta Bridge

As I grieved and continued to do my best to meet people where they were at, things started to change. I have never felt such a palpable spiritual change in my life. We had seen evil. On that day, there was no denying that evil exists in the world. An evil so dark that we can’t explain it. But what we saw after that is that there is a God who has overcome evil who is in the world. As people started to return to the new normal, people came together. People who had wanted nothing to do with God were suddenly seeing God in the midst of tragedy. The people of God came together and prayed. And on those days God poured out his blessings on us because we simply asked.

Less than two weeks later, many groups from across campus came together to declare that we truly are all here because we’re all needed parts of the body of Christ. A powerful night when many people were finally able to experience true worship again. I will never forget standing on the side of that hill in the heart of downtown Blacksburg where we sang these always powerful words that will never be the same to me again.

Savior he can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever, author of salvation
He died and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

Those words were challenging at first to sing on that crisp spring evening. And sometimes they still are. I teared up every time I heard this song even during the summer.

As I reflect on the massacre a year later, I remind myself that evil is very real in this world, but I know a God who has conquered evil and the grave for eternity.

Current Events Faith Virginia Tech

Prayers from Around the World

VT Ribbon Cross 4-16-07I want to draw your attention to a page we put up on the vtONE site sharing some of the prayers and stories that are flowing in from around the world. Feel free to check out the page and the announcement post on the vtONE site.

Current Events Faith Virginia Tech

Please Pray for Virginia Tech

It’s been the kind of day that you wouldn’t wish on anyone here at Virginia Tech. Our campus has been shaken, but God is still our king.

As people are coping with the loss of so many members of our community, we want to take every chance that we have to lift our campus up in prayer. There’s a few specific things that we can pray for:

  1. The injured members of our community
  2. The families of those who have passed away, especially that people in their lives would be able to share the Good News with them while they’re more receptive
  3. That a tragedy like this one would not derail what God is doing on this campus. God is moving powerfully here like we saw two weekends ago, and a tragedy like this is no excuse to let Satan have the victory instead of God.
  4. Ministry opportunities as our campus heals to share the Good News with people who wouldn’t have cared at all 24 hours ago.

Gatherings related to the tragedy in Blacksburg:

  • 7 p.m., West Eggleston Hall on Virginia Tech campus – sponsored by IV
  • 8 p.m., Henderson Lawn on Virginia Tech campus – sponsored by VT
  • 8 p.m. at the Old Red Cross Building (130 Jackson Street, Downtown Blacksburg) – sponsored by NLCF
  • 6 or 7 p.m., Blacksburg Church of Christ
  • 7 p.m., Blacksburg Presbyterian Church
  • University ceremony, 2pm TOMORROW in Cassel Coliseum
  • Planned gathering for the Christian body Wednesday night (details not yet available)

Outside Blacksburg:

  • 6 p.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church, Roanoke
  • 8 p.m., McLean Bible Church Community Room A, McLean, VA
  • 8 p.m., Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

We appreciate your prayers as our campus struggles to resume life. Please post a comment if you’re aware of any other goings on that would be of interest to the Christian body at VT ro cool ways of how God has worked through this bad situation.

Current Events General Virginia Tech

First class and escaped prisoner

UPDATE 4PM: suspect was captured near the rugby field behind the south main Kroger.  Now let’s see if I can get home.  I’ve been gone since 8:30AM with little to do.

UPDATE 12:45PM: another sighting on campus. Neighborhood on lockdown. Looks like I’ll be spending the day in Christiansburg. Story is the top story on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and makes the front page of the Washington Post.

UPDATE 11:20AM: someone matching the suspect’s description was spotted in Squires student center. The building was evacuated. No cars allowed back into my neighborhood, even though classes were cancelled and students ordered to return home and stay indoors. Logan is attempting to walk back to the neighborhood. I’m at University Mall catching up with the intarweb.

I’m in my first class today, but I’ve already had some excitement. A prisoner escaped from the Montgomery County Jail (he was in the Montgomery Regional Hospital emergency room for a sprain). Apparently, he’s shot three people since escaping, one which was fatal. He’s hiding out on the Huckleberry trail between the trailhead at the Blacksburg library and where the trail crosses Tech Center Drive by the airport. Especially exciting, since I live less than 100 feet from this section of the trail. I drove to campus this morning.

Current Events Politics

Looks like the terrorists are winning

Since we’ve “foiled” another terrorist plot, what you can bring on an airplane has been cut down again. And who says we’re winning the war on terror? As all our freedoms leave us, it makes me think that we’d be better off if we had some people die in terrorist attacks, but kept our freedoms. I mean, isn’t that what the terrorists are fighting against?

Current Events Politics

So I had an adventure tonight

The White House up closeLook at what The Washington Post had to say about it

WASHINGTON — President Bush was the host of the annual congressional picnic Thursday at the White House, but it was his chief of staff’s band that came close to stealing the show. (more)

A little over a week ago, my dad gets a call from Tabetha Mueller, a family friend of ours that I taught Vacation Bible School music with one year and my dad played in a band with for several years. She said that she was playing in a band and they needed a rhythym guitarist to help fill out their sound for an upcoming event at the White House. The CompassionatesShe explained that she was playing in a band called The Compassionates with Josh Bolten (the president’s current chief of staff, the president’s former economic advisor, and her father (the president’s former chief of staff). The set was three classic rock songs, and she could probably get my family in to the congressional picnic. He accepted.

Mom, Laura, and I with George W. BushMy mom, sister, and I took the metro downtown and walked to the White House. We enjoyed the beautiful house, appetizers, dinner, The Compassionates in concert, and dessert, interrupted by a photo shoot and autograph signing with the president. It was a beautiful evening for a picnic. It was originally scheduled for yesterday, but pushed back because of a chance of rain. The only downside of the date change was that we missed Laura’s high school baccalaureate service and Tabetha’s dad was unable to join the band. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer evening, and everyone that we interacted with at the White House was extremely nice.

The Family with Laura BushBush is much better with people than I realized. He may not be my favorite president (or even close), but it was amazing to spend an evening at an official event thrown by the president of the world’s super power nation. It’s also too bad that the rumors of Bill and Hillary attending proved to be untrue. Meeting two presidents in one night would have been ridiculous.

UPDATE: it appears a clip of me holding my camera from this event appeared on MSNBC around noon yesterday.

Current Events General Work

Keeping Busy and Cooking

I’ve been busy the last few days. We’re getting a lot of new people at work, and I’m on a project in addition to doing IT, so I’ve been keeping busy. I’ve also been doing a lot of cooking in the evenings. Tonight, it was my oat fudge bars recipe. We’ll see how they came out in the morning. Also, if there is no rain, I will have a cool post for you (hopefully with pictures) tomorrow night.

UPDATE: they’ve picked the rain date, so the adventure is Thursday.

Current Events

Judge Orders Lawyers to Play Rock-Paper-Scissors

Rock-Papers-ScissorsA Florida judge has ordered two lawyers to play rock-paper-scissors to settle a dispute. Unfortunately, all that was settled was who would pick the location for the deposition. Even still, I think it’s a great caricature of American society.

See the full story at CNN Money.