Something I Should Have Done Long Ago…

Filed in Politics, ReligionTags: Republicans, War on Terror

Now is as good a time as any.

Given that, at least for now, I am throwing my support behind the yet-to-officially-announce Fred Thompson, and more importantly, given the following statement by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice before the Senate Appropriations committee (5/12/2005):

Mr. Chairman, before I begin my actual testimony, I want to speak directly to Muslims in America and throughout the world. Disrespect for the Holy Koran is not now, nor has it ever been, nor will it ever be, tolerated by the United States. We honor the sacred books of all the world's great religions. Disrespect for the Holy Koran is abhorrent to us all.

I am officially renouncing any support for Ms. Rice, for any elected office. CondiBlogs (which appears to be defunct now, anyway) is no longer linked from this site.

With all due respect, the United States is governed by the Constitution, the First Amendment to which protects the most basic and fundamental rights of a free society: the right to free speech, political expression, and practice of religion. Therefore, this most fundamental freedom of our society demands that the United States tolerate disrespect for the Koran - or, any other statement of political, social, philosophical, or religious belief.

Besides, the ideas espoused by the "holy" Koran are themselves disrespectful (of Jews, Christians, polythiests, and all other "infidels" who do not submit to Islam), abhorrent (killing and enslaving innocent women and children, forcible marriage and rape of women, dismemberment, beheading and torture of infidels, etc.), and entirely unacceptable in a free society.

If Ms. Secretary cannot understand these truths, I cannot support her, in any capacity.

Stanislav Shmulevich Koran Hate Crime Case Beginning to go Viral

Filed in Politics, Religion, Social IssuesTags: War on Terror

The Stanislav Shmulevich story I discussed yesterday is beginning to go viral.

LGF updates with a report that Phil Orenstein of Democracy Project is getting involved, and also that many lawyers are lining up to help with the defense.

The mainline blogosphere is taking notice, as Michelle Malkin, Allah Pundit (who agrees with my legal analysis that the felony charges are baseless), Neal boortz, and others are beginning to weigh in.

More blog reactions: Infidel Terrorist, Side Effects May Vary, Jihad Watch.

Why is this case important? Consider that Omar Ahmed, the chairman of the board of CAIR - the group behind the escalation of the valdalism to the level of a hate crime - spoke the following (H/T Halal Pig) [emphasis added]:

"Those who stay in America should be open to society without melting, keeping Mosques open so anyone can come and learn about Islam. If you choose to live here, you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam ... Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth."

This statement represents the true intent of CAIR, MSA student groups at college campuses across the country, and Islam as a whole. Islam is not merely a religion (if it can even be called that); it is a fascist socio-political movement, the goal of which is world domination and subjugation to Islamic law. We must stand together against Islam's goals of conquest, or we will all fall together - and the Land of the Free will be no longer.

Outrageous: Sharia Law in New York

Filed in Politics, Religion, Social IssuesTags: War on Terror

Completely, utterly, outrageous: Sharia law has now taken precedence in New York.

LGF reports (and follows up on) the story (with a hat tip to Purple Wombats) of Stanislav Shmulevich, who was arrested on felony counts of aggravated harassment and criminal mischief, for throwing a Koran into a toilet at Pace University. From the wire story:

A 23-year-old man was arrested Friday on hate-crime charges after he threw a Quran in a toilet at Pace University on two separate occasions, police said.

Stanislav Shmulevich of Brooklyn was arrested on charges of criminal mischief and aggravated harassment, both hate crimes, police said. It was unclear if he was a student at the school. A message left at the Shmulevich home was not immediately returned.

...

The school was accused by Muslim students of not taking the incident seriously enough at first. Pace classified the first desecration of the holy book as an act of vandalism, but university officials later reversed themselves and referred the incident to the New York Police Department's hate crimes unit.

Yes, you read that correctly: two felony counts, aggravated harassment and criminal mischief - classified as hate crimes - for throwing a Koran in the toilet.

According to this story, Stanislav was caught by a security camera as he was leaving a (Muslim) meditation room where the Korans were stored.

This incident is clearly a First Amendment, free speech and establishment challenge, and reeks of involvement by CAIR.

As has been pointed out in the LGF comments, burning the American flag, displaying a crucifix in a vat of urine, and displaying a painting of Mary covered in dung are all considered forms of protected religious or political speech. Flushing a Koran, however, is now considered a hate crime.

Here are the New York Penal code definitions of aggravated harassment (First Degree, Second Degree) and Criminal Mischief (First Degree, Second Degree, Third Degree, Fourth Degree).

Granted, I'm no lawyer, but the felony escalation of the criminal mischief charge appears to be specious, and the aggravated harassment appears not to apply whatsoever. On the former charge, no explosive was used (first degree, class B felony), the Koran was not worth $1,500 (second degree, class D felony), and the Koran was not worth $250 (third degree, class E felony). At best, Stanislav committed a class A misdemeanor (fourth degree).

On the latter charge, Stanislav neither communicated with a person via phone or any form of written communication nor physically touched a person (second degree, clauses 1-3, class A misdemeanor), nor did he damage premises used primarily for religious purposes (first degree, class E felony). That no actions (spoken or written communication, or physical contact) were directed at any person, the "hate crime" provision of the first degree charge is irrelevant.

If you value your freedoms as an American, you had better be absolutely outraged at what is happening here.

Personally, it makes me want to go buy a Koran, wrap it in bacon, throw it on the glowing charcoal of my Weber, and douse the charred remains in the toilet - and then post a picture so the intolerant, fascist scum at CAIR and elsewhere can choke on it.

After all, as has been pointed out on various comments threads:

The Koran is itself a hate crime against Jews and Christians.

Amen!

More coverage from Digg, Hot Air, Jawa Report, Texas Hold 'Em, UrbanGrounds, Deep Thoughts, Pierre Legrand’s Pink Flamingo Bar, Riehl World View, JustOneMinute, Saber Point, Israel Matsav (twice), Relapsed Catholic, Dog Opus, 186K Per Second, Never Ye Melted, Hindu-Jewish-Christian Rightwing Conspiracy.

Our Weekend Outing: Grant’s Farm

Filed in PersonalTags: Family, Fatherhood, Marriage, Missouri, Photos, Saint Louis

Grant’s Farm Family Photo

Family picture taken at Grant's Farm
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

Since the weather this past weekend was so absolutely amazing, we decided to get out to enjoy it as much as possible.

Saturday afternoon, we checked out another of Hazelwood's many parks; this one was Howdershell Park, about five minutes away. We then decided to go see Grant's Farm, but by the time we got there, it was just past closing time.

So Sunday afternoon, we decided to try again; this time getting there around 1:30, giving us plenty of time to look around.

The Grant's Farm experience begins with a tram ride through the Deer Park. Of the myriad wildlife living in the Deer Park, we had the unusual pleasure of seeing the critically endangered, Chinese-origin Pere David Deer swimming in the creek over which the covered bridge traverses:

Grant's Farm 033

Pere David Deer swimming in the creek
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

The tram drops off at the new Excursions building, entering into the main park. Since Lily is still too young to appreciate the more kid-friendly things such as feeding the goat kids, we decided just to wander around and see the various animals on display, such as the elephants and bald eagles:

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Bald Eagle at Grant's Farm
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

We made a stop in the Bauernhof to get something to drink, and to heat up Lily's bottle, and decided to see the upcoming Elephant Education Show. Unfortunately, Lily decided that she was getting hot and tired, and that she had just about had enough for the day (and was probably bothered by the more noisy crowds by the Elephant Amphitheater), so we decided to head toward the parking lot and the Label Stable, home of the famous Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales.

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Clydesdales and foals at Grant's Farm Label Stable.
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

By the time we wandered through the stable and corrals and back to the parking lot and the car, Lily had fallen asleep. We carefully put her back into the car and made our way home, having very much enjoyed our first family outing to Grant's Farm!

Upcoming Travel Plans

Filed in Personal

Just a quick update on some travel plans that we are in the process of finalizing:

First up, our first real family vacation: Gatlinburg, TN, and Asheville, NC:

Since our original Vegas plans fell through, I moved my vacation days to the Wednesday through Friday before Labor Day. So, we will be spending Wednesday and Thursday nights in Gatlinburg, TN, courtesy of Blue-Green Vacations. Other than the obligatory, 2-hour tour/sales pitch, we have no set plans for our time in Gatlinburg.

Friday morning, we will make our way through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to Asheville, NC.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
(Public Domain)

We will be staying Friday night through Monday morning at the Quality Inn & Suites - Biltmore South. The primary purpose of visiting Asheville is, of course, the Biltmore Mansion. I haven't been to Biltmore since I was about five years old, and have wanted to go back for some time. I think Steph will really enjoy it, too. We have two full days to explore the mansion, gardens, grounds, winery, and everything Biltmore has to offer.

Biltmore Mansion

Biltmore Mainsion
(Public Domain)

We will be returning home through Cincinnati, and hope to see some family on our way.

Next is our trip to Indianapolis for our wedding:

The weekend after we return from our Smoky Mountain vacation, we will be heading over to Indy for the day we've been anticipating for what seems like forever: our wedding!

We want to keep things as low-key and informal as possible, yet want our friends and family to be able to celebrate with us. We will be getting married Saturday, September 8th, at Noon. The ceremony will take place at the Gazebo at Williams Park in Brownsburg, IN, with my Uncle Don as the officiant.

Williams Park Gazebo

Gazebo at Williams Park

We will be having a picnic in the park immediately following, and are just asking those who come to bring a dish to pass.

Then, we will be spending our first night away from Lily, who will be staying with Nana and Papaw Bennett while Mrs. Bennett and I enjoy a night at the Getaway Suite at the Speedway Bed and Breakfast.

Finally, we come to our Las Vegas Trip:

My company is sending me to the ISPE Annual Meeting 4-7 November in Las Vegas, and I will be able to take Stephanie along with me.

Once again, we will be first driving to Indy, so that Lily can stay with her Nana and Papaw. Then, Saturday November 3rd, we will fly out from Indy, through Denver, and on to Las Vegas on Frontier Airlines.

The meeting will be taking place at Caesars Palace, which is where we will be staying until we head back to Indy Thursday morning, November 8th.

Caesars Palace

While I will be spending my days in various training sessions, as part of the events of the meeting Steph and I will have several fun opportunities, including a Roman-themed party one night, and a visit to Hoover Dam Wednesday afternoon. But I also have a very special surprise planned for Steph. (And if any of you manage to figure out what it is, you will know how big of a surprise it will be, and I'm counting on you not to spoil it for Steph.)

Well, that's the travel we have planned in the next several months... I'm sure we'll be updating with copious amounts of pictures from our journeys!

Pregnant: “She Is” or “We Are”?

Filed in Personal, Religion, Social IssuesTags: Christianity, Family, Fatherhood, Marriage

Steve Carr blogged in agreement with this Christianity Today article denouncing fathers who use the phrase "we are pregnant". His lead-in and closing sentences sum up his agreement:

The author, a man by the way, believes that sentence to be both inaccurate and demeaning. When men drop that phrase, he believes, they are actually belittling all that the woman endures during and after the pregnancy...So no matter how secure I am in my fathering skills far be it from me, or any other of us guys, to declare that “we’re pregnant.”

When I read his post, I had to comment, to convey my opposing opinion:

Steve, I completely disagree with you. When Stephanie was pregnant, I always said we were pregnant - not because I wanted some of the attention due solely to Stephanie, but because I had a rightful place in the experience. And as you well know, we fathers are part of that experience, for better and for worse.

We shared the difficult physical and emotional stresses of pregnancy, just as we shared the joys of being blessed with the spiritual and physical care of a new life. I proudly embraced my God-given role as Stephanie’s supporter, encourager, and confidant, even as I did not experience the most intimate experiences with which only a woman is blessed (and cursed).

I couldn’t care less that society marginalizes the role of the father - even through the experience of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. God has blessed me with the role of husband and father, and proudly will I thus declare my rightful place in that role.

Besides, if you believe that little phrase, “…a man will leave his father and his mother, and the two shall become one flesh,” then it is only right that every experience, good, bad, and otherwise, is shared equally by husband and wife.

So, I proudly declared that we were pregnant, and when God blesses us with another child, I will do so again. It in no way belittles Stephanie, nor her role in the child-bearing process; to the contrary, it affirms God’s plan and desire that this process be experienced as a man and a woman, united as one, in Him.

I wanted to take some time to address the original article, and also to expound upon my comments above.

Here, the author, Mark Galli, begins his argument:

A male friend, married to a lovely women, comes up to me beaming and says, "We're pregnant!"

"Wow!" I reply, with inappropriate sarcasm. "When I was a young man, only women could get pregnant."

I've heard this phrase—"We're pregnant"—too much recently, but it's time to move beyond sarcasm. The intent is as understandable as the execution is absurd. It arises out of the noble desire of men (and future fathers) to participate fully in the childrearing. And I understand that for many men, it simply means, "My wife and I are expecting a baby."

Here I have my first point of disagreement with the author (a point which will be developed further momentarily, but which I introduce here): my use of the phrase, "we're pregnant," is not "to participate fully in the childbearing" but rather to identify with complete involvement and unity in my relationship with my wife.

He continues:

But the first dictionary meaning of pregnant remains, "Carrying developing offspring within the body." Whenever a word is misused, it means the speaker is unaware of the word's meaning, or that the cultural meaning of a word is shifting, or that some ideology is demanding obeisance. Probably all three are in play, but it's the last reality that we should pay attention to. It is not an accident that this phrase, "We're pregnant," has arisen in a culture that in many quarters is ponderously egalitarian and tries to deny the fundamental differences of men and women.

Introducing the dictionary definition of "pregnant" here is a specious argument. Obviously, the speaker of the phrase "we're pregnant" is not unaware of the word's meaning, as the definition of "pregnant" in no way biologically ambiguous (as demonstrated by the author's sarcastic comment in the article's introductory paragraph). Likewise, "cultural shift" of the connotation of the term is irrelevant. Thus, we are left with the third point of the argument: that some ideology is demanding obeisance.

And what is this ideology that the author argues thus demands deference? Namely, "...a culture that in many quarters is ponderously egalitarian and tries to deny the fundamental differences of men and women."

First, let me clarify: I am speaking as a Christian. I do not inherently ascribe to cultural mores, especially when we live an culture in which those mores increasingly differ from the ethical standards to which I as a Christian ascribe. Thus, my use of the phrase "we're pregnant" may very well have a fundamental difference from any secular uses of the phrase. I do not believe that Christian culture resembles that which the author describes above. With that understanding in mind, let us continue with the author's argument:

This phrase is most unfortunate after conception because it is an inadvertent co-opting of women by men—men using language to suggest that they share equally in the burdens and joys of pregnancy. Instead, pregnancy is one time women should flaunt their womanhood, and one time men should acknowledge the superiority of women. Men may be able to run the mile in less than four minutes and open stuck pickle jars with a twist of the wrist, but for all our physical prowess, we cannot carry new life within us and bring it into the world. To suggest that we do is a slap in the face of women.

It is also a slap in the face of our Creator, who made us male and female. We were not created with interchangable parts or traits, nor is it our purpose to duplicate or replace one another.

That's not a happy thought to many, because egalitarian culture resents differences. We believe (wrongly) that differences by their very nature are unequal. History would seem to support this assumption. The sad history of most cultures has assumed that male traits (authority and leadership) are superior to female traits (meekness and service). But that is more a product of human pride than of the created order. In the end, we have no objective standard by which to judge the intrinsic value of differing gifts and abilities.

Gender egality and gender differences both rightfully belong in Christian philosophy. As Christians we recognize the wisdom and sovereignty with which God made man and woman spiritual beings equally in His image and having equal intrinsic value, just as we recognize and appreciate that God created man and woman different physically, physiologically, and emotionally - and created to hold unique roles in the life for which He created them.

However, God also created man and woman to live in relationship with one another, in a manner symbolic of our relationship with Him. The most fundamental such relationship between man and woman is that of husband and wife in marriage - a relationship directly analogous to and symbolic of Christ's relationship with His bride, the church. Let us take a moment to explore the biblical nature of these relationships.

On Marriage:

4 "Haven't you read," [Jesus] replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'[Gen. 1:27] 5 and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'[Gen. 2:24 ]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

Matthew 19:4-6 (NIV)

On Christ and the Church:

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Ephesians 5:21-33 (NIV)

On Unity in Christ:

26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3:26-29 (NIV)

12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many...

I Corinthians 12:12-14 (NIV)

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

I Corinthians 12:26 (NIV)

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

I Corinthians 12:27 (NIV)

In my opinion, the analogy between the relationship between husband and wife and the relationship between Christ and His church is perfectly clear. Now, I don't want to take the analogy farther than Scripture implies, but I don't think it is going too far to say that the intimacy and unity between a husband and wife is analogous to the intimacy and unity between Christ and His church. In fact, I believe God intended this symmetry between these relationships, so that through marriage men and women would develop a greater understanding of the intended nature of their relationship with God.

So when we are told that in the body of Christ, when one suffers all suffers and when one is honored all rejoice, I believe the symmetry applies also to the marriage relationship. It is God's divine intent that the two united as one suffer together just as they rejoice together.

Do these shared experiences demean or belittle the unique role husband and wife each play in the marriage? Not at all. Consider again the words of Paul:

28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?

I Corinthians 12:28-30 (NIV)

God clearly intends for the different parts of the body of Christ to play unique, individual roles according to the direction and gifting of the Holy Spirit; likewise, God clearly intends for husband and wife to play unique roles in the marriage. Even so, the many parts share equally in the experiences in which each one suffers or rejoices. Therefore, God ordained a marriage relationship that is both egalitarian in intrinsic value and shared experiences, and discriminatory in role and gifting - just as God ordained the same characteristics for the body of Christ.

Therefore, it is only natural that a husband would identify with his wife's experience of pregnancy. That he cannot empathize with the physical, hormonal, and emotional changes and stresses of pregnancy is completely irrelevant; he still experiences all of those stresses and changes both directly in his relationship with his wife and vicariously through his wife. And just has he cannot experience the full measure of his wife's suffering through pregnancy, neither can he experience the full measure of her joy.

Thus, far from being a "co-opting of women by men", much less a "slap in the face of women" or - heaven forbid - "a slap in the face of our Creator", a husband's proclamation that "we're pregnant" is an affirmation of both his God-ordained relational unity with his wife and his God-given role of supporting his wife through the suffering and joys of pregnancy.

Back to the article; after the author spends several paragraphs defending the undisputed argument that men and women are created with differences, he begins his conclusion:

My point is simply this. I continue to look for ways to encourage us all to relax a little about gender. I'm hoping that after the tumult of the last 30 years—during which time women have rightly learned a great deal about things like leadership and men have rightly learned a great deal about things like nurturing—we can once again affirm what culture after culture in human history seems to confirm: We are created male and female, both fully loved in God's eyes, but created with unbridgeable differences.

I think perhaps the author needs himself to relax a little bit about gender. It seems counter-productive, if one's objective is to "relax a little bit about gender," to denounce the use of a phrase that is intended solely to emphasize the relational unity between husband and wife in marriage during pregnancy.

Also, I disagree that male and female were "created with unbridgeable differences." As individuals, yes: men and women cannot hope to bridge their created differences; however, men and women were never intended to live as individuals. Our Creator endowed us men and women with differences that are intended to be complimented and completed in the marriage relationship. God did not create gender differences to be unbridgeable; rather, God Himself bridges those differences through the bond and covenant of marriage

(Again, I note the symmetry between the marriage relationship and the body of Christ, since God also intended that the differences with which He endowed each unique part of the body all compliment and complete one another, and all such differences are bridged through His Holy Spirit.)

Finally, the author concludes:

Better than the language of equality, I believe, is the language of fulfillment. "God created man in his image, male and female he created them." That is, we do not reflect the divine image when we try to duplicate or co-opt or replace each other. It's only when we participate with each other, with all our differences as male and female—as married couples, as friends, as co-workers—that we begin to fill out the image of the Triune God who created us.

Whenever that happens, I believe God once again says, "It is very good."

How truly ironic! A husband who uses the phrase "we're pregnant" epitomizes the principle of participation with his wife; indeed, the phrase is the epitome of "language of fulfillment."

Therefore, I stand by my original conclusion:

So, I proudly declared that we were pregnant, and when God blesses us with another child, I will do so again. It in no way belittles Stephanie, nor her role in the child-bearing process; to the contrary, it affirms God’s plan and desire that this process be experienced as a man and a woman, united as one, in Him.

Lillian: Two Months Old

Filed in PersonalTags: Family, Fatherhood, Photos

Hard as it is to believe, Lily is already two months old!

Lillian Two Months - July 025

Lily is two months old today! (Look how big I'm getting!)
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

Lily is definitely getting more and more curious about her surroundings:

Lillian Two Months - July 017

Lily is two months old today! (Princess is still very curious, but also very cautious.)
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

She got all dressed up for her big day, but by the time we were able to take pictures, our poor baby wasn't in a very good mood. She had to visit the doctor for her checkup, and got four immunization shots in her legs.

Lillian Two Months - July 010

Lily is two months old today! (And not happy that Daddy is trying to get her to sit up in the glider.)
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

And, just to see how much she has changed in the past month:

Lillian Two Months - July 002

Lillian One Month June 013

Update on Stephanie’s Tooth

Filed in Personal

For those of you aware of Stephanie's issue with her abcessed tooth, just a quick note to let you know that we got her an appointment at 10:30 this morning, to have the tooth extracted.

Free At Last!

Filed in PersonalTags: Family, Marriage

For those of you who know what it means, today is a day to celebrate, because as of this morning, Stephanie is finally free!

In related news, we are planning a private wedding ceremony, Saturday, September 8th, at my parents' house in Indianapolis. More information on that, later.

Thank you, Lord, for answered prayer!

Blog Updates: Comments and OpenID

Filed in Web DevelopmentTags: Geekery, Web Site

I would like to phase out my use of Haloscan for comment and trackback management. To that end, I have enabled commenting from within the blog, and have enabled trackback verification and CAPTCHA comment verification.

For those of you who leave comments, the comment verification is just a simple math equation, the answer to which must be entered in order to verify that you are human. It is one additional step, but unfortunately necessary in order to prevent comment spam. I have also enabled comment moderation, meaning that the first time you post a comment, it will have to be approved before is appears. Once you have had a comment approved, future comments will not require approval.

Also, for this and all future posts, I am requesting that all comments be made using the comment form for each post, rather than using the Haloscan link.

If you don't know what a trackback is or how to use one, you won't need to worry about trackback verification. For those of you who do use trackbacks, the verification will simply require that you link from a valid web site with a reciprocal link to the post to which you are sending the trackback.

Finally, I have implemented this plugin, to allow comments via OpenID identity authentication. I will follow up with a later post, detailing what OpenID is, and why you should use it (and not just for my blog).

OpenID will likely become my preferred identity authentication method, so I encourage anyone who comments to look into it.