Friday, November 30, 2007

Endorsement Watch 11/30/07

Breaking the recent string of Right-To-Life endorsements for Fred Thompson, today Mike Huckabee picked up the Georgia Right To Life PAC, which called him "the only candidate which qualified ... [based on] the positions of the candidates on the life issues, their records on the life issues and their ability to win."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Endorsement Watch 11/28/07

Well, that was quick. Jerry Falwell Jr. has endorsed Mike Huckabee.

Also this week, Huckabee announced the formation of the Faith and Family Values Coalition, which includes a number of evangelical leaders in its starting line up.

While Giuliani's endorsement from Pat Robertson has dominated the discussion for two weeks, seconded by Thompson's collection of right to life endorsements, Huckabee is gathering quite a list of supporters, and not all of them fellow Baptists, either.

New names coming with this announcement:

Randy Alcorn, author and Founder of Eternal Perspective Ministries
Dr. Mark Bailey, President of Dallas Theological Seminary
Phil Burress, President of Citizens for Community Values
Rev. Keith Butler, Founding Pastor of Word of Faith International Christian Center Church
Jerry Cox, President of Arkansas Family Council
Michael Farris, Chair of Home School Legal Defense Association
Dr. Ronnie Floyd, Former Chair, Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention
Janet Folger, President of Faith2Action
Dr. Joe Fuiten, Founder of Positive Christian Agenda
Bishop John Gimenez, International Overseer of Rock Ministerial Family
Pastor Anne Gimenez, Co-founder and pastor of Rock Church, Virginia Beach, VA
Thomas Glessner, Founder/President of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates
Michael Heath, Executive Director of Christian Civic League of Maine
Dr. Jerry Jenkins, co-author of the Left Behind series
Dr. Billy McCormack, Founding National Board Member of Christian Coalition
William J. Murray, Chair of Religious Freedom Coalition
Star Parker, Founder and president of CURE
Jim Pfaff, President and CEO of the Colorado Family Action
Rick Scarborough, Founder and President of Vision America
Kelly Shackelford, Chief Counsel, Liberty Legal Institute
Mathew Staver, Dean of Liberty University Law School
Dr. Jay Strack, President/ Founder of Student Leadership University
Karen Testerman, Founder and Executive Director of the Cornerstone Policy Research

Monday, November 26, 2007

Endorsement Watch 11/27/07

West Virginians for Life endorsed Fred Thompson today, according to his press release on Christian News Wire.

The Providence (RI) reports that the Rhode Island Right to Life Committee has also given their nod to Thompson:

Rita Parquette, executive director of the Rhode Island chapter, explained the local chapter’s choice this way in a statement late last week: “Fred Thompson has had a strong, consistent pro-life record throughout his political career. Thompson opposes abortion and believes the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision was wrongly decided and must be reversed.”
Evangelical Endorsements So Far:

There is also a reference in this article to Michael Farris of HSLDA campaigning for Huckabee in Iowa. I'll count this as an endorsement.

For Rudy Giuliani:
Pat Robertson (Founder, Christian Broadcasting Network)

For Mitt Romney:
Paul Weyrich, (Co-founder, The Moral Majority)
Dr. Bob Jones III (Former president, Bob Jones University)
Dr. John Willke (Founder, National Right To Life)

For Fred Thompson:
National Right To Life Committee
West Virginians for Life
Rhode Island Right to Life Committee

For John McCain:
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)

For Mike Huckabee:
Home School Legal Defense Association PAC
Rev. Donald Wildmon (President, American Family Association)
Rev. Jerry Vines (Former president, Southern Baptist Convention)
Rev. Jimmy Draper (Former president, Southern Baptist Convention)
Rev. Jack Graham (Former president, Southern Baptist Convention)
Stephen Strang (Founder, Charisma magazine)
Dr. Daniel Akin (President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Endorsement Watch - 11/25/07

Another quiet week in the evangelical circle, at least as far as presidential endorsements went.

World Net Daily's Bill Press says that Mike Huckabee has been endorsed by author Tim Lahaye, which may not be the best news to get:

Huckabee's only evangelical endorsement comes from Tim LaHaye, co-author of the "Left Behind" novels – which may be the appropriate title for Huckabee's campaign.

Press is wrong, since American Family Association's Don Wildmon has already endorsed Huckabee. But I won't add Lahaye to the list until I get another news reference, though.

Jerry Falwell Jr., son of the Jerry Falwell, was featured in the Lynchburg, Va., News & Advance yesterday, which reported that ...

... Although Falwell Jr. hasn’t been as politically involved as his father, he plans to continue bringing national political speakers to the school. “Convocation is meant to be a forum for business, political and religious leaders to speak - that will always be part of the convocation here,” he said.

Even in the midst of an interview two weeks ago, he got a call from Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

Falwell Jr. has not decided whether to endorse a presidential candidate, he said.

In September, Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes spoke at [Liberty University]. That was about a month after Falwell Jr. began his first semester as
chancellor of Liberty ...

And in older news, Huckabee's campaign website links to a video where author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar comes out for Huckabee.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The One That Matters

Clemson 23
USC 21

Field goal on the last play of the game put them over the top.

ENTIRELY too close for comfort, if you ask me.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Song for Thanksgiving

My favorite setting of Psalm 146 -- it's [all in here]

Hallelujah, praise Jehovah,
O my soul, Jehovah praise; [1]
I will sing the glorious praises
Of my God through all my days. [2]
Put no confidence in princes,
Nor for help on man depend; [3]
He shall die, to dust returning,
And his purposes shall end. [4]

Happy is the man that chooses
Israel's God to be his aid;
He is blessed whose hope of blessing
On the Lord his God is stayed.
Heaven and earth the Lord created,
Seas and all that they contain;
He delivers from oppression,
Righteousness he will maintain. [6]

Food he daily gives the hungry,
Sets the mourning prisoner free, [7]
Raises those bowed down with anguish,
Makes the sightless eyes to see.
Well Jehovah loves the righteous, [8]
And the stranger he befriends,
Helps the fatherless and widow,
Judgment on the wicked sends. [9]

Hallelujah, praise Jehovah,
O my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises
Of my God through all my days.
Over all God reigns for ever,
Through all ages he is king;
Unto him, thy God, O Zion,
Joyful hallelujahs sing!

-- Trinity Hymnbook No. 53

NOTE 11/23: I had connection issues yesterday so I backdated this post to place it on Thanksgiving Day, where it should be!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

August 1914

I just finished Solzhenitsyn's World War I novel August 1914 - the earlier version, with just six hundred pages or so. I read that once he was in the U.S. he wrote a revision with some three hundred additional pages. Presumably this included the "Chapter 22 withheld at the request of the author", but I don't forsee going back to seek it out now. I stuffed it in my computer bag on the way out the door on business last week, and ended up reading it for bedtime and traveling (having finished my two library books, a biography of James K. Polk and a new study of the lives and friendship of Washington and Lafayette).

Offhand I would describe this as Dostoyevski Meets Hemingway -- a readable twentieth-century war story featuring a million characters with unpronounceable names and a sense of inevitable doom hanging over the whole. Well-written, interesting, but very long.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sacred Harp

This is a great movie trailer from a documentary about "Sacred Harp" singing:

Great line in the trailer: "At one point he said, 'Do you want to sound like a bunch of untutored Southerners?' and everybody said, 'Yes!'"

More music at the movie's website, Awake My Soul

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Endorsement Watch 11-13-07

As previewed yesterday, the National Right to Life Committee endorsed Fred Thompson for president today, reports CNN this afternoon.

The organization's executive director David O'Steen said that in spite of variation in polling results, "the overwhelming consensus has been that he is best positioned to top pro-abortion candidate Rudy Giuliani for the Republican nomination ... and also, looking at polls against the likely Democrats, he is well-positioned, and we believe [he is] best positioned, to win the presidency of the United States for unborn children."

My take on it: This is a critical endorsement for Thompson, who has an excellent voting record on pro-life issues but has taken flak because of a principled stand that is unpopular among some Republicans -- opposing a Constitutional amendment outlawing abortion, not because he's soft on abortion but because he believes it should be decided by the states (as it was before Roe v. Wade).

Also, Baptist Press reports that three former presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention have endorsed Mike Huckabee.

James (Jimmy) T. Draper Jr., Jack Graham and Jerry
Vines all said they were supporting Huckabee, a fellow Southern Baptist
and former president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Draper and Vines served as president of the SBC during the 1980s and played key roles in returning the denomination to its orthodox roots. Graham served as president of the SBC from 2003-05.
My take on this one: Interestingly enough this didn't pick up in my news scrape yesterday. None of these men is a lightning rod like Robertson, Wildmon, or Dobson, but you don't get elected to lead the SBC without long and solid conservative and evangelical credentials; why didn't the mainstream media seem to notice this announcement?

For perspective, membership in the Southern Baptist Convention is over 16 million, which is more than the population of any state except California, Texas, New York, or Florida (and exceeds the combined population of the fourteen smaller states). Don't forget, too, that doesn't count young children in most cases. It's nothing to sneeze at.

A few more interesting endorsements highlighted in the Baptist Press article -- Stephen Strang of Charisma magazine, and Dr. Daniel Akins of our own Southeast Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest.

Evangelical Endorsements So Far:

For Rudy Giuliani:
Pat Robertson (Founder, Christian Broadcasting Network)

For Mitt Romney:
Paul Weyrich, (Co-founder, The Moral Majority)
Dr. Bob Jones III (Former president, Bob Jones University)
Dr. John Willke (Founder, National Right To Life)

For Fred Thompson:
National Right To Life Committee

For John McCain:
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)

For Mike Huckabee:
Home School Legal Defense Association PAC
Rev. Donald Wildmon (President, American Family Association)
Rev. Jerry Vines (Former president, Southern Baptist Convention)
Rev. Jimmy Draper (Former president, Southern Baptist Convention)
Rev. Jack Graham (Former president, Southern Baptist Convention)
Stephen Strang (Founder, Charisma magazine)
Dr. Daniel Akin (President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Endorsement Watch 11-12-07

CNN reports that Fred Thompson will pick up an endorsement from the National Right To Life Committee tomorrow. Three GOP sources told them so, they say.

The New York Times website mentions that NRTL's founder Dr. John Willke has already endorsed Mitt Romney, though.

Stay tuned ... I'll tally tomorrow

Class at Clemson

Clemson has a old tradition of preaching a funeral over a dead rooster before the Carolina game. In memory of the six USC students who died in a beach house fire October 28, Clemson students are not going to do the funeral nor burn the Gamecock in effigy this year. WLTX (channel 19 in Columbia, SC) reports:

In place of 'Big Thursday,' the school will hold what they're calling a "Fowl Fest" at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 15. The event will be held on the lawn of the school president's home.

School officials said they felt that something different would be more appropriate this year.

“After hearing the news of everything that happened, and especially being at the vigil that brought so many people together to mourn,
the decision was obvious,” said Anastasia Thyroff, a senior marketing major from Pittsford, N.Y., and co-chair of Fowl Fest in a written release. “During this time of grieving, there needs to be a time of celebration, not a time of rivalry. We look forward to having the traditional Big Thursday come back next year, but this year was definitely not the right time.”

The event is called 'Fowl Fest' because both of Clemson's final opponents, Boston College and USC, feature bird mascots.

Good decision, Tigers. Don't sheath any claws on the football field, of course, but fires and funerals aren't funny this year.

UPDATE 11/13/07: Carolina cancels "Tiger Burn" too

I'm relieved to see the students at USC came to the same conclusion as Clemson. Frankly, WLTX's story yesterday didn't do them any favors, but today brought the right response: credit where credit is due. I'll even be nice and write it in their school color, too.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Word in Season, from Isaac Watts

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works his sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow'r.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain.
God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Another Perspective on Robertson's Nod

American Thinker has a symposium of opinions on Pat Robertson's endorsement of Rudy Guiliani. The best comes from Greg Neumayr of Catholic World Report -- he's not surprised, because Robertson has already turned down a dead end road followed by political Catholics years ago:

Unlike Jerry Falwell who didn't bother to play such games, Robertson had a weakness for the Big Tent babble that made the rise of the Schwarzeneggers and Giulianis inevitable. ...

... This approach was the Christian Republican equivalent of the liberal U.S. Catholic bishops' ill-fated Seamless Garment theory in the 1980s which treated abortion as just one among many concerns.

And it has proven just as "successful." The Seamless Garment theory helped elect pro-abortion Catholic Democrats; now the Robertson/Reed version of it helps elect pro-abortion Republican ones.

If anything, history shows that the "narrowly defined doctrial purity" of the Moral Majority packs much more of a political punch than the muddled Christian Coalition message. Falwell helped elect Ronald Reagan; Robertson has reduced himself to a PR tool for an obvious cultural liberal who wouldn't dare appear with him on stage if he didn't serve the temporary purpose of head-faking Christian conservatives.


More Time Isn't Always Better

Report: Longer Class Time Doesn’t Guarantee Results

By HAL YOUNG - Contributing Editor

RALEIGH -- In a move to add instructional time to the school day, a high school in Bergen County, N.J., recently scheduled nearly 1,000 students to share a single lunch period in a cafeteria built for 300. News reports showing students eating lunch on the cafeteria floor — and a microbiologist’s analysis of the cleanliness of the floor — brought about a change in seating accommodations, but not the schedule.

It might be logical that extending the number of classroom hours allows teachers to present more comprehensive lessons and deepen the learning experience. Many students in other states and overseas spend more time in class than North Carolina’s, and Howard Lee, chairman of the State Board of Education, supports not only longer school days but also longer school years.

However, research suggests that might not be the right move. A report by the John Locke Foundation’s Terry Stoops outlines proof that simply adding hours to the day doesn’t increase academic performance. Some nations with higher test scores actually spend fewer days in the classroom, a concept actually supported by Department of Public Instruction’s own internal
guidebooks, Stoops wrote.

Stoops’ report, “Better Instruction, Not More Time,” says that when student results on international tests are compared, the nations with the highest average scores are not always the ones with the greatest number of classroom hours.

In mathematics, for example, students in the United States average 169 instructional hours per year. In a study of 39 countries by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the nation with the highest math scores, China, spent 177 hours per year in math class, only 4.7 percent more than in the United States, but scored nearly 14 percent higher on the exam. On the other hand, the Netherlands, No. 4 on the list, spent 110 hours on math instruction each year, but scored more than 11 percent higher.

The United States ranked 27th out of 39 countries. U.S. students spent the equivalent of four weeks more than the global average time in math class, but ranked only barely ahead of the lowest fourth.

“Overall, there was no consistent relationship between in-school instructional time in mathematics and the countries’ average score,” Stoops wrote. “In fact, there is a slight decrease in math performance as instructional time increases.”

A study published by Pennsylvania State University found similar results in science, reading, and civics instruction. The researchers recommended that as long as scores were within international norms, “Do not waste resources in marginal increases in instructional time … If there is a choice between using resources to increase time versus improving teaching and the curriculum, give priority to the latter.”

Publications from the Department of Public Instruction acknowledge the need to focus on instructional quality over simple questions of seat time. DPI’s guide for implementing the Standard Course of Study, a pair of documents titled, The Balanced Curriculum, cautions, “extending the school day won’t necessarily help teachers deliver a balanced curriculum. Research has shown that it is how time is used verses [sic] the amount of time that students are in school that makes a difference.”

“It is important not to confuse time spent in school with learning,” the guide says. “Learning is complex and affected by a variety of factors. No notable research exists suggesting that extending time in school results in a direct increase in student learning.”

Stoops acknowledged that some successful schools do have a longer instructional day, such as those based on the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP). However, he said, the difference is what they do with the time.

“KIPP’s success has much more to do with their high-quality instruction and superior school climate than with the length of their school day. KIPP schools are able to fill their longer school day with highly effective instruction, whereas most public schools do not,” he said.

Programs such as KIPP demonstrate that “an extended school day and year may be well suited for students who could benefit from high-quality supplemental instruction,” Stoops wrote, but longer time “is not the panacea that advocates make it out to be.” Instead of imposing a blanket solution across the state’s entire school system, he recommends making longer, or shorter, school days available at different schools, and giving parents the option to place their children where the time would best be spent.

“Otherwise,” he said, “the measure becomes one in a long list of one-size-fits-all reforms that invariably fail to deliver on the promise of increasing student achievement.”

Friday, November 09, 2007

Endorsement Watch 11-09-07

Dr. James Dobson says no endorsement any time soon. This comes from his radio program he taped today for airing Monday.

A Great Line

In May 1785, the Society for Universal Harmony blew up.

James R. Gaines, For Liberty and Glory, p. 210
Read the book. Really, this is connected.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Endorsement Watch 11-08-07

The Associated Press story was almost too snarky to quote anything of length, but it confirmed the rumor in this morning's Washington Times:

[The Rev. Donald] Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association and a retired United Methodist minister in Tupelo, Miss., announced his support for the former Arkansas governor in a statement released by Huckabee's campaign. ...

"I feel that Governor Huckabee understands the needs of our country and has the ability to lead us in meeting those needs," said Wildmon, who added that his endorsement was personal and did not represent an official endorsement from the family association.
Other Endorsements:

For Rudy Giuliani:
Pat Robertson (Christian Broadcasting Network)

For Mitt Romney:
Paul Weyrich, (The Moral Majority, The Heritage Foundation, Free Congress Foundation)
Dr. Bob Jones III (Bob Jones University)

For John McCain:
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)

For Mike Huckabee:
Home School Legal Defense Association PAC

Still looking for Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer, James Dobson, Richard Land, Gary DeMar, Mark DeMoss, Franklin Graham, Phyllis Schlafly ... Stay tuned ...

Ju Jitsu in Congress

The local elections Tuesday overshadowed an interesting vote in Congress. Why were the Republicans in North Carolina's delegation* voting to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney?

Because Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) went around the committee process to introduce the bill, and by gum, the Republicans wanted to be sure the Democrats gave it a good, serious airing on the floor. Even when they desparately wanted it to go away.

The vote to kill Kucinch’s privileged resolution began as a largely party-line affair, but halfway through the vote, Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) persuaded Republican leaders to get rank-and-file GOP lawmakers to change their votes to force the debate.

At one point, the vote to table the motion stood at 246-165. Once Republicans began switching their votes, momentum swung the other way. When the vote stood at 205-206, some Democrats began switching their votes.

The vote to kill Kucinich’s resolution finally failed 162-251, giving Republicans the opportunity to watch Democrats debate whether to impeach Cheney — a debate in which many liberal Democrats were more than willing to engage. House Republicans clearly enjoyed watching Democratic leaders squirm during the series of votes, which lasted more than one hour. ... Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), accused Republicans of “wasting time.” (From The Hill - emphasis added)

HT: Rick Moran, American Thinker

* Except for Walter Jones (R-NC3)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Endorsement Watch

Today Pat Robertson announced his support for Rudy Giuliani for president, saying that

"The overriding issue before the American people, is the defense of our population against the bloodlust of Islamic terrorists ... Our world faces deadly peril...and we need a leader with a bold vision who is not afraid to tackle the challenges ahead."

Giuliani, who is pro-choice and pro-gay marriage, welcomed the endorsement; an aide said the mayor and Robertson "have shared goals despite some minor differences", according to Fox News.

My take: Robertson points out Giuliani's obvious strengths, but I don't know how he is dodging the other questions.

Meanwhile, ABC News and others ask if this is the end of the Religious Right voting bloc.

And on their Match-O-Matic quiz, they say Fred Thompson is my best candidate (8 of 11 questions agreed). Romney and Giuliani are tied (6 of 11).

Other Endorsements:

For Mitt Romney:
Paul Weyrich, (The Moral Majority, The Heritage Foundation, Free Congress Foundation)
Dr. Bob Jones III (Bob Jones University)

For John McCain:
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)

For Mike Huckabee:
Home School Legal Defense Association PAC

Where are Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer, James Dobson, Richard Land, Gary DeMar, Mark DeMoss, Franklin Graham, Phyllis Schlafly ? Stay tuned ...

When they came for the health and prosperity preachers ...

Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) has opened an investigation into the financial affairs of several ministries, notably those headed by Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, and Binney Hinn, along with three others.

I don't follow these teachers, and the parts I've seen make me very skeptical of their message on several fronts. However, if they are mainly "prosperity gospel" preachers, as Fox News characterized them, I would think that charges of lavish personal spending are hollow. If they teach that great personal wealth is a sign of God's favor, and then rise to a leading position in that sort of movement, what does anyone really expect them to do with donations to their ministries? Criticism at this point seems to be the equivalent of slamming a Roman Catholic monk for moving to a monastery after taking a vow of poverty; isn't he simply living out what he claims is right?

I simply can't imagine that anyone following such teaching would expect anything else, and yet they choose to give financial support to these ministries. The teaching isn't Biblical, but it's a particular group's religious expression, and while it may be unorthodox or even unpalatable, the government should keep hands off.

It reminded me of Martin Niemöller's famous statement about not speaking up for groups singled out for attack, simply because they were not obviously of one's own group. Christians of a more traditional evangelical stripe should beware of brushing this aside, because a government with the right to investigate or dictate in matters of religion is a very, very risky thing to have around.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bearding the lion? Well, tweaking it some

Sen. Fred Smith spoke to the N.C. School Boards Association convention this week:

Smith kept to his business background by saying children are customers of the education system, adding that money should halt for programs that aren't working.

"We need to encourage vocational education," Smith said.

Murmurs spread through the audience after Smith suggested that home-schooled children should be able to participate in extracurricular activities at local public schools.

"My message stays the same," he said later, acknowledging that many crowd members weren't thrilled about the idea. "I'm not going to pander to any group."

I'm not anxious for extracurricular access; it would require the state to cajole or compel the N.C. High School Athletic Association to change its rules, for one thing, and NCHSAA is a private non-profit membership organization. There are several things wrong with the state stepping in like that.

Other extracurriculars like music programs, academic clubs, and the like, are up to the local districts or individual principals, which is probably the best alternative; while places like Raleigh and Charlotte usually have a wide range of programs particularly aimed at homeschoolers, there are places in the state where options aren't available. Frankly, I would guess that adding some interested homeschoolers (as well as private school students) into the program would strengthen some of the public school clubs, too, since those same counties are likely to have fewer alternatives or participants in their school system as well.

However, hats off to Sen. Smith for being willing to stand and say it not just in front of the media, but in a group that was very likely to be hostile.

Oh, and the suggestion of turning off the money tap ... didn't that draw a murmur or two? WRAL didn't mention it if it did.

Monday, November 05, 2007


There are many who say,
"Who will show us any good?"
LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.

You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased

I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

-- Psalm 4:6-8

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Update: To be fair

I'm into day six of my experience in serious cross-cultural collegiality, and I probably need to say everyone has been really really nice about it. Everyone is trying to be very accommodating of everyone else, so we sometimes turn into a very indecisive group. ("Oh, anything's okay with me." "No, really, wherever you want is fine.") But we're doing fine. We managed to add two drivers on the rental car so there's at least the freedom to go somewhere if you need to -- not that anyone has, you know, it's just good to have the freedom.

One very helpful discovery is The Clay Pit, a restaurant owned by a Punjabi family in Murphfreesboro. It's too far to make it for lunch, but it's just right for supper, and we've been twice this week already. Everything is a la carte so we end up with everyone ordering an entree and we all share. Everything so far has been very good, and I think my Indian colleagues enjoy being the hosts, so to speak. I'm trying to go with their recommendations, since I don't know much at all about the names of these dishes (other than "curry" and "tandoori"). Here's what we've had so far:

Paneer pakora
Samosa chaat
Tandoori chicken
Paneer makhani
Daal makhani
Vagharelli daal
Chicken saag
Chicken biryani
Vegetable biryani
Na'an (with and without garlic)
Tandoori roti
and for dessert, gulab jasmun

We also had a yoghurt and mango milkshake called Lassi this evening

A nice break from salad bars for all of us.

The Value of Humility

Lafayette had two other qualities that recommended him to Washington and his fellow officers, qualities that were not often found in combination: a conscientious devotion to his success and reputation, and the willingness to acknowledge his limits and mistakes. ...

About a week after he met Washington, Lafayette [then only 19 years old] was invited to a review of the troops. There he saw what he later described as "eleven thousand men poorly armed and even more poorly clothed." Washington must have seen his army through Lafayette's eyes that day, because as they reviewed the troops together he said, "we should be embarrassed to show ourselves to an officer who has just left the French army." Lafayette later wrote that his response to this observation cemented their relationship. "I am here to learn," he told Washington, "not to teach."

James B. Gaines, For Liberty and Glory: Washington, Lafayette, and Their Revolutions (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2007), pp 69-70.


Writing after the war, Confederate General G. W. Gordon said, "If the writer ever knew a man of which he could say, 'He was fearless', he thinks that man was Gen. Rains." Rains was the first commander of the 11th Regiment, Tennessee Infantry, and Captain Samuel C. Godshall's superior 1861-1862.

Accepting a Confederate flag from the ladies of Nashville, then-Colonel Rains concluded his speech:
With a look at the sun and a prayer to the sky,
One glance at our banner that floats glorious on high,
Rush on as the young lion bounds on his prey;
Let the sword flash on high, fling the scabbard away,
Roll on like the thunder-bolt over the plain --
We'll come back in glory or we'll come not again!

This remark was almost prescient, but he didn't allow that both could come true. Rains was later promoted to general and was killed leading his command, several hundred feet directly ahead of his old regiment, at the Battle of Murphreesboro (Stones River), December 31, 1862. He was close enough that the horse he was riding plunged into the Federal lines.


[1] Gen. G. W. Gordon, s.v. "Eleventh Tennessee Infantry", in John Berrien Lindsley, The Military Annals of Tennessee (Nashville: J. M. Lindsley & Co., 1886), p.296. Accessed 11/3/07 on Heritage Quest.