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May 28, 2002



Tuesday 28th May, 2002


Martin Roth posts:


Practising What You Preach

I’ve received – and no doubt many others have as well – the following email from Dean Peters, who runs one of my favourite blogs, healyourchurchwebsite:


Without warning, at about 1am, I received an e-mail message from the company that hosted my website, which sent its customers the following message:

"It is with great sorrow and a heavy heart that I must let you know that Avail has gone out of business. Because of the recent failure of our server, the loss of data, and the lack of help from the datacenter's on-site staff, we have been forced to end our services."

Of course, this comes on the heels of a week where the site was mentioned by various newspapers, ezines and wire service stories, as well as a couple of radio shows.

None-the-less, we are hard at work showing our faithful followers that it pays to have backups and a contingency plan. Within the next 24 to 48 hours, the domain name will be resolving to a real site. In the meantime, you can look at the website as it was late on 25-May-02 at ...

Good thing I practiced what I preached about making my own backups and downloading the data to my local PC.

and in 48hours


Dean’s blog – hints on how to run a church website - is well-written, witty, warm and highly informative. It’s a niche blog on its way to becoming a cult blog. Pray for Dean.


-posted 10:05pm, by Martin Roth



Bene Diction posts:



Healyourchurchwebsite has a post on spelling mistakes. Reading this blog is like getting a free technical lesson every day. He’s right. Spelling mistakes slip by the best of us, and the best of spell-checkers. However (clear throat here), we must persevere. What are the top ten spelling mistakes on Christian web sites and blogs?


Relapsed Catholic is producing posts at a prestigious pace today.


Thinking Out Loud shares some of his current reading and posts about an important piece of doctrine he recently discovered, or rather, re-discovered.


Tolle, Blog says that Touchstone magazine has a blog. He’s right! Thanks!


-posted 2:55pm, by Bene Diction



Martin Roth posts:


The Punting Priest

The Herald Sun reveals that a leading children’s charity, operated by a Catholic priest, raises its funds from poker machines. It has caused consternation among the church-based anti-gambling forces.


Father Giacobbe - known as the "punting priest" - yesterday defended the charity's right to raise funds from pokies gamblers.


"I wouldn't be allowed to do anything if it was against the rules of the church," he told the Herald Sun. "Why would I be uncomfortable? The industry is legal and regulated." 


But revelations of the charity's link with poker machines has angered the Interchurch Gambling Taskforce and embarrassed its members from the Catholic Church.


Taskforce spokesman and Baptist minister the Reverend Tim Costello said Doxa's dependence on pokies was morally unacceptable.


"It's quite inappropriate to be raising money, for what may well be good purposes, from problem gamblers," Mr Costello said. "Father Giacobbe should know better."



Muslims Vs Christians in Melbourne

The Islamic Council of Victoria has lodged a complaint with the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission against Catch the Fire Ministries, a Christian group which organised a Koran study conference in March.


The Council claimed that participants at the conference were told:


ONCE a majority of a population becomes Muslim, they will kill all those who refuse to convert to Islam. 


MUSLIMS can be commanded by God to loot homes and rape women.


ISLAMIC leaders can order their followers to attack and fight other members of the Muslim community.


MUSLIMS were lying when they said they want peace.


Catch the Fire, which includes an “Insight into Islam” page at its website, says it will defend its right to freedom of expression.


-posted 9:25am, by Martin Roth



Bene Diction posts:



Strategy Page says that nuclear war in South East Asia may be hard to avoid. Both India and Pakistan need to cool war fever and find a way to back off while saving face.  Mixed messages are evident.



South America

Colombia has a new President. Voters died casting ballots. What is it like to live in a country where fighting has gone on for 38 years?



Suicide Bombing

A two year old child is dead. An Israeli woman is dead. The bomber is dead. 49 people are wounded. Several of those wounded are babies. The bomber exploded himself in a shopping mall in Petach Tikvah. Fatah-Tanzim al Aska Brigades, a branch of Arafat’s PLO, claim responsibility. Here is the security incident map again.



Freedom of the Press?

 The IDF have a 22 year-old Reuters’ journalist in custody after arresting him in the Gaza Strip. He was driving a Reuters vehicle and was in possession of a hand grenade.


Reuters' editor-in-chief, Geert Linnebank, has demanded that Israel release Salem or publish the reasons for his detention. Linnebank said it was "unacceptable" for a journalist "doing their duty" to be held without being charged and without being given access to a lawyer.


Since when is it ‘acceptable’ for a journalist to be carrying a weapon of war? A Reuters photographer was arrested in the West Bank in April and detained.


The International Press Institute (IPI), a media watchdog organization, has also strenuously protested Salem's detention. In a letter sent last Friday to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, IPI director Johann Pritz writes that the organization "strongly condemns the detention without charges" of the Reuters photographer.


Five other ‘journalists’ are also being detained.


IPI charges that the detentions are "yet another attempt by [Sharon's] government to restrict the free flow of information through the intimidation and suppression of the media. No less than 75 percent of all 220 press freedom violations recorded by IPI during the first 19 months of the Palestinian uprising were perpetrated by Israeli authorities," the letter states.


I’m going on a rant. Skip these paragraphs if you don’t like rants.


Israel is a democracy and charges need to be laid. But to say that Sharon’s government is ‘restricting the free flow of information through the indimidation and suppession of the media’, is foolish hyperbole. Reuters needs to clean house. They are hiring terrorist sympathizers or even terrorists. This article isn’t clear if this recent detainee is really one of their employees. How do we know the charges haven’t been filed? At the best of times this organizations credibility on mid east coverage is questionable. And, the legitimate complaint is tainted by the political agenda in the IPI statement.


Freedom of the press in a war zone does not give news organizations the right to romp freely through a fire fight. It certainly does not give them the right to tranport weapons.  The statement, ‘75% of the 220 press freedom violations’, is something to be taken with great sceptisim. How many media lives are saved because the Iraeli army wouldn’t let some news crew go where it wanted to go?


Canadian police have ‘threatened’ me when I’ve been at the scene of an ‘incident’ be it a crime, accident or whatever. Some things are understood. Yes, officers can be boorish and obnoxious while running on adreneline, dopamine and testosterone, but when the dust settles the commands and most of the threats have been about keeping themselves, me, and others safe. It is my responsibility to keep myself under control and get my job done. There are all kinds of ways around an information barrier or even a police barrier if necessary. The police know it, and responsible journalists know it. If I was arrested, I’d be charged at the scene with more charges pending. It’s not a legal comparison, but it is a human one.

Will IPI and Reuters report the charges once Israel lays them against these detainees?


Ok. Rant is over. Move on.



Freedom of the Press (part deux)

NBC correspondent David Gregory was mocked by President Bush in a joint news conference with French Prime Minister Jacque Chirac. Journalists are free to ask stupid questions.


This Washington Times article doesn’t cut Gregory a lot of slack. Decide for yourself.



A Cartography Lesson

Jeff Jacoby gives us a lesson in how Palestine maps out the Middle East in this Boston Globe editorial. Thanks to Banana Counting Monkey for the link.



Australian Suicide Nancy Crick

Medpundit is a USA blog by an MD. He posts an informative piece on abdominal obstructions, and offers observations on Nancy Crick. Tim Blair diagnosed Medpundits email problems when he tried to get a second opinion. Medpundit is working on the email cure. Meanwhile, Blair did manage to receive an email reply from the good doctor to his blog query and posts Medpundits emailed response.



Eurovision Song Contest

A post yesterday looked at anti-Semitism in this televised music contest that was seen in 120 countries. Little Green Footballs has a breakdown of what the heck happened here.


And the truly ironic part of it: Akamai founder Daniel M. Lewin, whose company’s technology enabled this event to reach the Arab world as never before, and who was raised in Jerusalem and served in the IDF as an officer in an elite anti-terrorism unit, was on one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11.


Read the whole piece on the politics that brought this issue to the forefront.


Bank of England – Whoops

The Bank of England has suspended distribution of its new five pound note that has been in circulation less than a week. Apparently the serial numbers rub off.


The spokesman said: "This is just the serial number which gives you a unique number

 for the note and tells us when and where it was printed. "It is not one of the key security features on the new note."


That is a disingenuous statement, isn’t it? It may not be one of the key security features, but isn’t it key enough?


-posted 8:55am, by Bene Diction