The AP can’t make up its mind

The Associated Press (or maybe just its editors) can’t seem to decide on how to report the elections in Iraq:

This is the headline on its main news page.
This is the headline on its main news page.
When you click on that link from the main page, this is the headline that greats you.
When you click on that link from the main page, this is the headline that greets you.

Perhaps the first headline was just a case of wishful thinking on the part of the editor?

Movie thoughts: Can Narnia be fixed?

It took a month, but the Narnia movies will continue under a new distributor.:

Twentieth Century Fox has agreed to co-finance the third movie in the “Chronicles of Narnia” series, pending approval of the final script and shooting budget. If all goes as planned, Fox and Walden Media, which controls the movie rights to C.S. Lewis’ classic children’s books, hope to be begin production on “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” by late summer so it will be ready for holiday 2010 release.

First, however, Fox and Walden have to hire a screenwriter to do another pass on the script that was last rewritten by Richard LaGravenese, whose credits include “Freedom Writers” and “The Horse Whisperer.” The movie companies are looking to make the film for about $140 million. Michael Apted, who made “Amazing Grace” and the 1999 Bond flick “The World Is Not Enough,” is on board to direct.

Producer/author Mark Joseph has some ideas about how the series can be fixed. One of those is finding a new director since he is not thrilled about the choice of Apted to replace Andrew Adamson:

Some saw hope when a new director signed on to direct the third installment, but this choice only compounded the problem. As head of the Directors Guild, he had proudly led the charge in crushing traditionalist groups who had invented devices that allowed desperate red-state films fans to clean up their favorite movies, then cemented his status as being out of touch with the types of fans who made up Narnia’s base when he seemed to brag to reporters about gutting the biopic of the devoutly religious British lawmaker William Wilberforce of its religion:

“Then this script arrived, which was pretty much a straight biopic of Wilberforce – which probably veered more into his Christian side than it did the political side,” he had said. “So I thought if I could persuade them to put the politics right more in the front of it – to make that the engine of the story, and certainly deal with his belief system and his religion and all that – then this might be something that would really be good for me to do it. So I did manage to persuade that, on all sorts of levels because I said it makes the character more interesting, because his political skills and political achievements are enormous, and we would move away from the idea of kind of making him an artifact, a kind of saint-like figure; it would give him real personality, real dimension.”

Joseph goes on to say that Apted’s reluctance to embrace the Christianity of the Narnia stories would make him a poor choice and lists  10 ways that the Narnia films can be saved. As I mentioned in a comment thread, you would enjoy the movies, but I am so thankful for the books. You would do well for your children and yourself to read them. They are a treasure.

John Piper on ‘Finally Alive’

John Pipers latest book is Finally Alive, due for release Feb. 2
John Piper's latest book is Finally Alive, due for release Feb. 2

John Piper’s new book Finally Alive is due for release next week. Today at the Desiring God Blog is a Q&A with Piper about why he decided to write this book at this time. Of note, he voices a concern that he sees in the church today:

I am deeply concerned that there are many church members in America and beyond who think they are saved when they are not. Part of the reason for this nominalism is a failure to teach and understand the true meaning of the new birth.

You must be born again. It is a miracle. Many, I fear, don’t even want to think in terms of “being saved” as being in the category of a miracle that only God can perform. They want it to be a decision based wholly on human power involving no necessary miracle. That is deadly.

We are all needy people

My thoughts and prayers are with the folks who are navigating their way through their neighborhoods and towns in the wake of ice storms. My friend Barry, who is from Missouri, has posted some pictures and some background about the storm there and what it’s left behind. I also have other friends who have been caught in the storm in their areas as well.

It is during times like these that we have opportunities to look at how God moves powerfully in our lives, even in ways that seem harsh. With one brush of His hand, God breaks into our lives and gives us just a glimpse of his power, creativity and sovereignty. We are left amazed and helpless. God, who seeks glory in all things, stands alone during the storms in our lives. Daniel 4:35 says God “does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’ ”

But we can also know “that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” It’s good to know that the same powerful God who makes the storm also directs our lives for good if we love him. And see our need.


Mark Driscoll talks about Jesus to Nightline reporter

ABC's Nightline profiled Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll in a recent show.
ABC's Nightline profiled Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll in a recent show.

Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll was the subject of a recent segment on ABC’s Nightline. While Driscoll is unapologetic about his love for Jesus and the Bible, the reporter just couldn’t seem to get over the fact that the people at Mars Hill don’t look like typical evangelicals or that Driscoll himself is not what a “typical pastor” is supposed to look or sound like. As if Jesus wasn’t enough to get someone’s attention, the reporter even referred to Driscoll as the “indie rock star of evangelicals.”

And, even stranger (to the reporter),  Driscoll is one of those Calvinists (!). Wow. Perhaps that would be a good subject for a future episode. We can only hope.

Obama appointee has interesting take on the law

From the blog of U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) comes this shocker: James B. Steinberg, President Obama’s nominee to be the next Deputy Secretary of State, claimed in written testimony to the Foreign Relations Committee that Congress cannot constitutionally restrict taxpayer funding to perform or promote abortions. Mr. Steinberg stated that the Mexico City policy, which bars taxpayer funding of abortions overseas, “is an unnecessary restriction that, if applied to organizations based in this country, would be an unconstitutional limitation on free speech.” Here is the Q&A:

Question from Senator DeMint: For more than 30 years the Hyde amendments, which prohibit federal funding for abortion services, have been supported by Republican and Democrat administrations and Congresses. Unfortunately, while this is the domestic policy of the United States, President Obama has vowed to reverse our foreign policy by repealing the Mexico City policy and use the federal taxpayer dollars to fund abortion services overseas. Do you support President Obama’s efforts to lift the Mexico City restrictions? Do you believe our foreign policy should contradict long held domestic policies?

Answer from James Steinberg: President Obama has supported repeal of the Mexico City policy, as has Secretary Clinton. Longstanding law, authored by Senator Jesse Helms, expressly prohibits the use of U.S. funds of abortion. The Mexico City policy is an unnecessary restriction that, if applied to organizations based in this country, would be an unconstitutional limitation on free speech.

DeMint explains in the same post that this statement is a direct contradiction of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Rust v. Sullivan, in 1991. But then again, this is all about change, not about laws and things like that.

HT: NRO’s The Corner

Richard Doerflinger: A happy, pro-life warrior

Richard Doerflinger was one of six recipients at Fridays Life Prizes in Washington, D.C.
Richard Doerflinger was one of six recipients at Friday's Life Prizes in Washington, D.C.

NRO recently did an interview with Richard Doerflinger, who was one of six recipients last Friday at the first-ever Life Prizes in Washington, D.C.

Doerflinger is associate director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, where he has worked for almost 29 years. He monitors, analyzes, and responds to federal and medical developments on life issues. He writes and he educates—colleagues, bishops, Congress, the media.

During the interview, Doerflinger was asked how devastating the Freedom of Choice Act  would be in this country:

We have said this is the most extreme piece of abortion legislation ever introduced in Congress. It would elevate abortion to the status of a “fundamental” right, and call on all public-health programs not to “discriminate” against abortion—in other words, any government effort to support childbirth would also be mandated to support abortion to the same extent. It would overturn hundreds of modest pro-life laws passed over the last 35 years—conscience clauses, public-funding restrictions, informed-consent and parental-involvement statutes, and so on.

Doerflinger also discusses in the interview how effective former President Bush was in eight years in promoting pro-life issues and how his stance on stem cell research has been totally misrepresented. I encourage you to read the interview. To read more about the Life Prizes and those who were recognized, go here.

Despite what we see, AP assures us that Obama is a uniter, not a divider

Even though Barack Obama has confidently asserted that he doesn’t care what millions of people believe is morally wrong, the Associated Press wants us to know that he has done better than former President Bush:

Barack Obama opened his presidency by breaking sharply from George W. Bush’s unpopular administration, but he mostly avoided divisive partisan and ideological stands. He focused instead on fixing the economy, repairing a battered world image and cleaning up government.

“What an opportunity we have to change this country,” the Democrat told his senior staff after his inauguration. “The American people are really counting on us now. Let’s make sure we take advantage of it.”

And he has changed it, as evidenced by his executive order to overturn the ban on using taxpayer funds for international organizations that promote abortions or give information about them, the so-called Mexico City Policy. The AP noted that Obama went this direction, but downplays its significance:

In the highly scripted first days of his administration, Obama overturned a slew of Bush policies with great fanfare. He largely avoided cultural issues; the exception was reversing one abortion-related policy, a predictable move done in a very low-profile way.

The rest of the article, by Democratic cheerleader Liz Sidoti, goes on to explain that Obama’s decisions have muted most criticism because they were long-expected. You see, he’s popular so we really shouldn’t worry about anything he does.

Sidoti’s breathless prose, which seems suited for an analysis piece or a column, goes on to include this gushing passage:

A picture of poise, Obama didn’t get rattled when Chief Justice John Roberts flubbed the oath of office, an exercise repeated a day later to ensure constitutionality. He breezed through his speech – which repudiated Bush’s tenure though never personally attacked him – without a misstep. Even with the weight of the country’s troubles now on his shoulders, he was relaxed as he twirled his wife, Michelle, at celebratory balls.

“I don’t sweat,” Obama said on the eve of his inauguration – a comment meant literally, and, perhaps, figuratively.

People who disagree with the president will have a hard road to hoe over the next four years. The idea that this president can do little or no wrong, perpetuated by the people who have gone from being attack dogs over the last eight years to lapdogs, will make dissent harder.