Monday, December 31, 2007

Chelsea Clinton doesn't do Interviews.

Even though Hillary Clinton has been using her daughter Chelsea to gain support in Iowa, she's insisted that reporters steer clear of Chelsea.No interviews.No exceptions.
According to an article by Beth Fouhy on the MYWAY website, this ban includes interviews with 9 year old fourth graders.
Sydney Rieckhoff, a "kid reporter" for Scholastic News, has posed questions to Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls as they've campaigned across Iowa. When the kid approached Chelsea recently, she got a different response. When asked a question, Chelsea told the little girl reporter,
"I'm sorry, I don't talk to the press and that applies to you, unfortunately."
Evidently, the Clinton campaign wants Chelsea to simply smile and shake hands. They say it's to protect her privacy but, when you dive into the world of politics you forfeit that protection. It's more likely that Bill and Hillary don't want Chelsea making embarrassing comments like other politicians' family members have been known to do.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Jonesin' for a Kwanzaa Movie ?

Believing that someone's been jonesin' for a Kwanzaa movie,Boston-based independent filmmakers Jibril Haynes and Nicole D. Parker released their new production "Kwanzaa with the Jones's".
The Boston Globe says,
"The film tells the story of a wealthy, and apparently flourishing, African-American family in the suburbs. Each member, though, has issues that set him or her apart from the others, and the family is largely ignorant about its heritage. A friendly spirit comes to the father in a dream, showing him how the seven principles of Kwanzaa can help him to better nurture his family."
I wonder if Deborah Jones celebrates Kwanzaa or how she will receive the movie.
Kwanzaa is the invention of Maulana Karenga.Karenga, also known as Ron Everett was once convicted of felony assault and false imprisonment.
According to an article in The Dartmouth Review,
"On September 17, 1971, Karenga was sentenced to one to ten years in prison on counts of felonious assault and false imprisonment. The charges stemmed from a May 9, 1970 incident in which Karenga and two others tortured two women who Karenga believed had tried to kill him by placing 'crystals' in his food and water.
A year later the Los Angeles Times described the events: 'Deborah Jones, who once was given the title of an African queen, said she and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothes. She testified that a hot soldering iron was placed in Miss Davis' mouth and placed against Miss Davis' face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vice. Karenga, head of US, also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said.'"
Of the trial, the same article goes on,
".... shooting at UCLA caused Karenga to become deeply paranoid and spurred his bizarre behavior. At his trial, the question of Karenga's sanity arose. The psychiatrist's report stated, 'This man now represents a picture which can be considered both paranoid and schizophrenic with hallucinations and delusions, inappropriate affect, disorganization, and impaired contact with the environment.' The psychiatrist observed that Karenga talked to his blanket and imaginary persons and believed that he had been attacked by dive-bombers."
Happy Kwanzaa.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Dalai Lama "aint no ho".

In a recent interview, Canadian PM, Stephen Harper spoke of his meeting with the Dalai Lama by saying the Dalai Lama "aint no ho".
Well, that's not an exact quote. According to a Reuters article, Harper said, "You know, he's not a call girl".
I felt I had to translate his comment into American English for my readers who are not fluent in Canadian.
China considers the Dalai Lama a separatist and presses world leaders to avoid meeting with him. China condemned Harper for "disgusting conduct" in October after he met the Dalai Lama in his parliamentary office with television cameras and photographers present.
The Chinese were none too happy a few years back when Dalai Lama met with U.S. President George Bush. In an article from China Daily, in 2003, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said,
"The Dalai Lama is not simply a religious figure; he is a political figure living in exile who has long been committed to separatist activities and to undermining national unity."
Of course, other than talking, Western leaders will do very little to free Tibet from China's control. It's all a question of money.This year, our trade deficit with China averages about 20 million US Dollars a month. ( the figures at that link only go to Oct. of this year )
In an all out economic war with China, the U.S. would probably lose.We couldn't survive without the junk we buy from China.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Alabama Man Wins Georgia Lottery.

Just in time for Christmas, I have a heartwarming story from I.N.N. about an Alabama man that recently won $20 million in the Georgia lottery. The man, Bud Tugley, lives in nearby Cedar Bluff which makes the story even more special for me.
I'm providing a link to the I.N.N. website so everyone can read this touching story for themselves. I'm sure everyone who reads the story will want to email the link to all their friends. We can all use a bit of Christmas cheer.
Alabama Man Wins Georgia Lottery.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Is El Rushbo following my lead ?

Has Rush Limbaugh been reading my blog?
Back in October, I wrote a piece called Giuliani clashes with Romney.
In that post, I opined that,because we Americans are so obsessed with appearances, Mitt Romney would forge ahead of then front-runner Rudy Giuliani based on the obvious fact that Romney is taller, has more hair and looks better on television.
On Rush's show from yesterday (Dec. 17) Rush spoke of the importance we place physical appearance and how it will help determine who Americans will elect President.
His comments followed Drudge posting a particularly unflattering photo of Hillary Clinton on his website.
El Rushbo ends that monologue with this,
"Let me give you a picture, just to think about. I'm not even going to answer the question for you, just want you to think about this. The campaign is Mitt Romney versus Hillary Clinton in our quest in this country for visual perfection, hmm?"
The transcript of the monologue can be found here.

Evolution versus Creation.....really?

It seems that now-a-days everyone has an agenda when reporting the news.We're often given only selected details in place of facts.So,I feel that I should put in a disclaimer at the beginning of this post, lest someone mistakenly believe I have a dog in this fight.
In the battle between the Evolutionists versus the Creationists, neither side completely describes my views on the subject.I am a Catholic and believe the Church's view to be the most reasoned.I believe in God but I don't look at Genesis as a history book or scientific manual.The book, like quite a number of books in the Bible, was written by a poet and mystic. The book was not intended to give an exact description of creation.
I don't have a problem with "evolution" per se. It is the (so-called) skeptic's removal of God from the picture that I find disingenuous.
I came across a story on another blog jamesmcinerney.blogspot.com/.
His head-line was provocative , to say the least, as was the headline at the link he provided, Evolution vs creation row ends in stabbing .
The story tells of the death of Scottish backpacker in New South Wales in January, 2006. According to the news story, Rudi Boa was killed by Alexander Christian York following a drunken argument over evolution.Mr.York was found guilty of manslaughter, rather than murder, and was sentenced to five years in prison.

"Mr Boa and his girlfriend Gillian Brown arrived in Australia from Scotland at the end of 2005 and went to Tumut to pick fruit as their first port of call on a round the world holiday.
York had been in the country since April 2005.
The Scottish couple and York, neighbours at the caravan park, were becoming friends and spent the night of January 27 drinking at the Star Hotel in Tumut.
However, towards the end of the night, an argument between York and the pair about creationism versus evolution escalated into a shouting match at the pub.
The couple, both biomedical scientists, had been arguing the case of evolution, while York had taken a more biblical view of history."

There seemed to be something missing in the story, so I Googled the name "Rudi Boa" and came across a few more articles.
Although the argument over creationism did occur, the argument was not the focal point of the earlier news reports. Making the argument the point of the story is the "journalist's" way of drawing attention to his piece.
I eventually came across a website that gave a transcript of the legal judgment in the case, Regina vs York.
Judge Adams' decision seems more appropriate after reading the transcript. We have a tragic story of a life cut short and a man in prison due to bad tempers and alcohol.The earlier argument could have just as easily been about football.....the evolution/creationism bit was beside the point.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Another Assault on Christmas.

It looked as if, this year, things might be different. Maybe this would be the year the assault on Christmas would ease up a bit.
According to a recent story in Reuters , Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims in Britain joined with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to issue a statement urging Britain's Christian community to enjoy Christmas without worrying about offending non-Christians.
Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said,
"That's why I asked leaders in different religious communities to join me in saying:It's time to stop being daft about Christmas. It's fine to celebrate and it's fine for Christ to be star of the show.".
He also said,
"Let's stop being silly about a Christian Christmas," referring to a tendency to play down the traditional celebrations of the birth of Christ for fear of offending minorities in multicultural Britain.
But, as religious leaders were issuing this statement, it seems, they had forgotten to include the environmentalists. Their assault on Christmas continues.In a BBC NEWS report Manchester, England researchers calculated the production, processing and transportation costs of the traditional turkey dinner in Britain.Researchers estimate a dinner for eight generates 20kg (44lbs) of carbon dioxide emissions.They arrived at the total emissions figure by assuming one third of the UK population eats a typical Christmas meal.
According to the BBC NEWS story, project leader professor Adisa Azapagic, from the University of Manchester, said:
"Food production and processing are responsible for three quarters of the total carbon footprint, with the largest proportion - 60% - being related to the life cycle of the turkey.
"All stages in the supply chain have been considered, including raising the turkey, growing the vegetables, food storage, consumer shopping, cooking the meal at home and waste management.
"This includes the emissions of carbon dioxide due to energy consumption along the turkey supply chain and the emissions of methane and nitrous oxide generated due to the agricultural activities to raise the turkey."
So now, we learn that having your Christmas dinner leaves an enormous "carbon footprint".
I wonder when some scientists will calculate the "carbon footprint" left behind from the same Christmas dinners in the U.S.
The Left will stop at nothing in denigrating the traditions of Western civilization. To them,if you try to enjoy the traditional family get-together you'll be destroying the planet.
We all know this craziness isn't limited to Britain....it's going on here as well.
There's a story on the Alliance Defense Fund website about city officials in Mount Pleasant, Michigan changing the name of its Dickens Christmas Festival to “Dickens Holiday Festival” after the local school district enacted a policy banning the word “Christmas.” The Mount Pleasant School District enacted a policy that purportedly bans the use of the words “Christmas,” “Santa,” and “nativity” so that a festival named after Charles Dickens’ classic book, A Christmas Carol, has to be renamed a ‘holiday’ festival.
I received an email from my sister-in-law that sums up the situation:

To All My Democrat Friends:
Please accept with no obligation, implied or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

To My Republican Friends:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Barack Oblivion


Not so long ago,the Presidential campaign of the Democratic Party's latest wunderkind, Senator Barack Obama, was in trouble. It was as if Hillary were unstoppable and his chances of winning the election were vanishing faster than a box of Krispy Kreme donuts at police headquarters.

Then, along came Oprah.

Now, everywhere he goes, people flock to see him.
Of course, the crowds only come to see Oprah. It's unlikely that Obama could have drawn 25,000 people, as he did in South Carolina, without her.

Surprisingly, un-presidential, he's becoming too dependent on her and it looks as if she's the one who's running the show.

Going to Obama's website, you'll see more Oprah and less information about where the man stands on the issues. While Ms. Winfrey may have the power to propel an author's book sells through the roof with her endorsement, I think a Presidential campaign will prove to be different. Like the "Rock the Vote" campaigns of previous elections, in the end,very little will change. The Democrats won't take any votes from the Republicans. Obama may take a few voters from Hillary's camp, but not enough to win the nomination. He isn't as well known as Clinton and it's unlikely the Democrats will trust the election to a relative new comer.

He may return again to run again in 2012, but, by then, the bloom will have fallen off the rose.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Kanada ?


If I were to compile a list of the ten strangest novels ever written, Franz Kafka's Amerika would most certainly make the cut. Kafka was never an easy read, but what makes this novel doubly bizarre - doubly Kafkaesque, if you will- is the fact that Kafka had never visited the United States. He had no first hand knowledge of life here. The work was strictly a product of his imagination.
I thought about that novel a few days ago as I read a number of blogs by folks living outside the U.S.- more specifically, Canada and Ireland.
In one blog, the topic turned to the recent shootings at a mall in Omaha, Nebraska.Naturally, the blame was laid upon the availability of firearms here.One Canadian girl said that she had wanted to move to the U.S. for the milder climate, but she was afraid to come here because of incidences such as this.I found that ironic since Canada is the home of the pig farmer-serial killer. His victims are believed to triple, if not quadruple, the number killed in the mall shooting. His method of killing was not an AK47 but strangulation.
An Irish blogger seemed particularly "cross" with Mitt Romney's speech on religion.It upset him to no end that Romney had overlooked atheists and was sure they would be discriminated against should Mitt be elected.
Give me a break.
Is it just a case of bad manners ? I would never suggest to anyone outside the U.S. how they should run their country or for whom they should vote.
Sure, this country isn't perfect, but some of these folks need to clean up their own house. If we are as bad as some would have us believe, then why is everyone trying to come here ?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Puzzle.

This past June and July, the work I was doing on this blog was of a satirical nature.Starting with foreign-exchange-student-expelled and ending with democrats-converge-on-nc , it was an absurd story, which involved, among other things, an arm wrestling contest in Iceland between President George Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Now, a part of that episode has been getting a rather large number of hits this past week and I'm at a loss to understand way. For some unknown reason, the post My Interview with an Icelander is getting a lot of attention. I know this because this blog is tracked by Google Analytics.
I also find it odd that whoever is hitting that post is not going to the other episodes in the story.
No one has left a comment and only one of the hits came from Iceland itself. Maybe someone will fill me in.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Mitt Romney's Speech on Religion in America

As a Catholic, I am very often uncomfortable with the influence that Protestant Evangelicals hold over the Republican Party and the Conservative agenda. It goes without saying that I find myself at odds with quite a number of their religious and theological beliefs. I share a few of their political goals, though certainly not all.I share the Evangelicals' views on abortion, though I don't understand why their pro-life stance doesn't include the abolition of the death penalty.
I cannot support their ideas on the teaching of Creationism or prayer in the public schools.
Now, it appears that some Evangelicals would have me believe that a vote for Mormon Mitt Romney would be a vote for a cultist and non-Christian.They say that the Mormons are not true Christians, never stopping to think that this Catholic may feel the same way about their Protestant views.
I have a theological bone to pick with both Protestants and Mormons, but that would not prevent me from voting for a qualified candidate of either religion.
Mitt Romney's speech on religion in America was the work of a true spokesman.......we need more like him in politics today.
Anyone who has not read the text of his speech can do so by going to this link. Romney's Speech.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Getting Inside the Candidates' Heads.

In an article published in the L.A. Times,neuropsychiatrist Dr.Daniel G. Amen suggests that, just as a presidential candidate's physical health can be taken into consideration during an election, a candidate's brain health should be a factor as well. He "want[s] our elected leaders to be some of the "brain healthiest people" in the land." and believes giving the candidates brain scans isn't off limits.
Behaviors such as, "Rudy Giuliani's messy personal life, John McCain's temper and Hillary Clinton's inability to seem authentic" can be evidence of underlying brain dysfunction.
Dr. Amen believes that both President Clinton and President George W. Bush have shown clear brain pathology. He says,
"President Clinton's moral lapses and problems with bad judgment and excitement-seeking behavior -- indicative of problems in the prefrontal cortex -- eventually led to his impeachment and a poisonous political divisiveness in the U.S. The prefrontal cortex houses the brain's supervisor, involved with conscience, forethought, planning, attention span and judgment.
One could argue that our current president's struggles with language and emotional rigidity are symptoms of temporal lobe pathology. The temporal lobes, underneath your temples and behind your eyes, are involved with language, mood stability, reading social cues and emotional flexibility."
If what he says is true....that certain behaviors can show evidence of brain dysfunction ("Sometimes people with messy personal lives have low prefrontal cortex activity associated with poor judgment; sometimes people with temper problems have brain damage and impulse control problems; sometimes people who struggle with authenticity have trouble really seeing things from someone else's perspective."), than we can do as we've always done when choosing a candidate; let's just look at past behavior.That should give a good indication whether or not the person has a problem with "poor judgment", "impulse control problems" or "trouble really seeing things from someone else's perspective". There's really no need to go to such extreme measures as brain scans.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Why Hillary Won't Win.

I didn't think I'd be writing about this again.....at least not at this stage in the election process.
In an earlier post-Pesidential Election Predictions- I predicted that Senator Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic nomination for President but would lose the general election in Nov. 2008.I'm still holding to that prediction, though it looks as if I need to clarify things a bit.
An anonymous commenter took issue with me for writing,
"Come the televised Presidential debates in 2008, when the voters see Hillary Clinton coming across as the incarnation of the proverbial "angry ex-wife", the Republican candidate will zoom ahead.".
This commenter pointed out to me that Bill and Hillary were still married.When I wrote that particular sentence, it never entered by mind that anyone reading my blog would not have the words "incarnation" and "proverbial" in her vocabulary.Never-the-less, I feel the time as come for me to expand upon that statement.
Like it or not, the sad fact is, there are a large number of voters in this country who will decide for whom they will vote- not based on political ideas or experience or the candidate's qualifications, but on touchy-feely imagery and appearances.They will pick a candidate because on how he or she makes them feel.
There are far too many people who will vote for or against a candidate based on the candidate's gender, race, height and the amount of hair the candidate has.
The candidate that comes across better on television will be the winner.
Hillary doesn't stand a chance.She does not have a likable personality; she doesn't know how to laugh and when she begins her banshee screech on T.V., the game will be over.
She may not actually be any body's ex-wife but that is the image she conveys.Too many men will see her and say to themselves, "Oh my God....it's my ex-wife!". Too many women will see her and say, "Holy #$%$#@&^ she reminds me of my husband's ( or boyfriend's or brother's or son's ) ex !!!".
I'm quite sure there are a good many Democrats who know that what I'm saying is the truth , but they'll be powerless to stop their party from nominating her.
Her "incarnation as the proverbial angry ex-wife" may be the biggest obstacle she has in her way but, it is far from being the only one.
Truth be known, Bill probably dreads the thought of Hillary becoming President and wouldn't stop at sabotaging her candidacy if she gets too close to winning.
I'll save that theory for another day.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thoughts on Voting with a Religious Conscience

Recognizing that "Our nation faces political challenges that demand urgent moral choices", The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a number of statements after their recent meeting in Baltimore "to help Catholics form their consciences in accordance with the truth, so they can make sound moral choices in addressing these challenges".

To me, one of the more significant quotes from "The Challenge of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" describes the difficulty in choosing the political party which best addresses these problems :"In today’s environment, Catholics may feel politically disenfranchised, sensing that no party and few candidates fully share our comprehensive commitment to human life and dignity".

Often, when voting, I've had to make compromises. With of the Democrats' position on abortion, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research, it's nearly impossible for me to vote for any Democrat, but that does not mean that I support everything the Republican Party stands for. I'm not comfortable with most of the Republicans' ideas on illegal immigration, prayer in school or capital punishment.

Neither party seems to have a rational view concerning the war in Iraq. In a statement from 2006, the chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Policy, Bishop Thomas G. Wenski, wrote:

“Our nation cannot afford a shrill and shallow debate that distorts reality and reduces the options to ‘cut and run’ versus ‘stay the course.’ Instead we need a forthright discussion that begins with an honest assessment of the situation in Iraq and acknowledges both the mistakes that have been made and the signs of hope that have appeared. Most importantly, an honest assessment of our moral responsibilities toward Iraq should commit our nation to a policy of responsible transition…. Our nation's military forces should remain in Iraq only as long as it takes for a responsible transition, leaving sooner rather than later.”

When you compare the "pro-life" positions of the two parties, most Republicans I know are in favor of capital punishment with the Democrats being militantly pro abortion. I believe, however, that one would have an better chance of changing the Republicans' view on the death penalty. It would be much easier to convince a conservative Christian that Jesus is against capital punishment than it would be to convince the Democrats that the unborn have a right to life.

Health care in this country needs improvement, to say the least. I don't know if socialized medicine would be quite the nightmare Republicans make it out to be, but, I know that, should the government have control over health care, the tax payer would certainly be funding abortions and I can't go along with that.

So, what does one do on election day? There's one small conciliation; with electronic voting machines, it's easy to hold your nose while you vote.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The more things change......





.......the more things stay the same.



The American humorist,Will Rogers once said:
"I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat."


Judging by the photo of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama below, Democrats haven't changed since Will Rogers' era.




Thursday, November 15, 2007

Presidential Election Predictions.

A number of people, using the results of national polls, believe that former New York city mayor Rudy Giuliani will become the Republican Party's presidential nominee in 2008. Most are so convinced of this, they won't listen to any contrary argument. I don't happen to be one of those folks.

The national polls can't be used as a reliable predictor at this stage of the game. Giuliani has the greatest name recognition and that tilts the scales unrealistically. The Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary will give the best indication of who the party favorite will be. Former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney holds a substantial lead in both those races. Winning in Iowa and New Hampshire will give Romney the Big Mo to carry the next primaries.

The "conventional wisdom" says that Romney can't win the Republican nomination because the party's large number of Evangelical voters won't vote for a Mormon. I'm not buying that, either. Faced with a choice between Romney's Mormon faith and Giuliani - a pro choice "Catholic in name only"- who has had several marriages and divorces, I'm sure most Evangelicals won't pick Giuliani.

I'm predicting that Romney will be the Republican candidate.

Hillary Clinton has been getting a bit of flack lately from her Democrat opponents but, in the end, she'll still take the nomination. In spite of what they would have you believe, Democrat liberals are too racist to nominate Barack Obama as their top candidate.

Come the televised Presidential debates in 2008, when the voters see Hillary Clinton coming across as the incarnation of the proverbial "angry ex-wife", the Republican candidate will zoom ahead.

I'm predicting Mitt Romney will be the next President of the United States. You heard it here first.

UPDATE: April 15, 2008.
Looks like I was wrong on all counts.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ga. Governor turns to prayer to ease drought.


In an earlier post,Scientists a Step Closer to Steering Hurricanes I wrote a bit about the current drought in Georgia. A good deal of our rain comes as a result of hurricane activity in the Gulf of Mexico.After New Orleans was flooded by Hurricane Katrina, global warming alarmists predicted that the number of hurricanes would increase due to the rising temperatures.The opposite has happened and the decreased number of hurricanes in the Gulf has made the drought here worse.

Now, in an attempt to alleviate the drought, Georgia Governor, Sonny Perdue will host a prayer service tomorrow to ask God for relief from the drought gripping the Southeast United States. Perdue's office has sent out invitations to leaders from several faiths for the service, set for 11:45 am. on Tuesday, 13 November 2007 at the State Capital Building in Atlanta.

My own personal belief is that God chooses not to interfere with natural phenomenon. He will not make it rain just because we ask.It would serve us better if we were to pray for the guidance to be better stewards of the environment.

The Atlanta Freethought Society (AFS), along with the two national organizations for "freethinkers", the Council for Secular Humanism (headquarters in Amherst NY), and the Freedom From Religion Foundation (headquarters in Madison WI) will hold a protest against the prayer service from 11:00 to 1:00 the same day.

According to an AFS press release, which I clipped from their web site:

"A major reason for protesting is the egregious violation of church-state separation that the Governor of Georgia is leading at the Capitol at that hour flouting the First Amendment and the Georgia Constitution.

This protest will be directed at the Governor's actions on the basis both of violations of religious liberty and on the basis of absurd religious ideas.
Deeply religious Christians and other believers should take offense at this as bad religion and as a threat to religious liberty.

Deeply irreligious Georgians should take offense that someone representing us should engage in such illogical nonsense, with the potential to embarrass us all internationally.
Georgians of all religious or irreligious beliefs and of every political philosophy should take offense at this waste of our tax dollars and plain violation of separation of church and state and of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and straightforward violation of the Georgia Constitution, Article I, Section II, Paragraph VI:

"Paragraph VI. Separation of church and state. No money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect, cult, or religious denomination or of any sectarian institution." ".

I'm not quite sure that a prayer service violates the First Amendment......no one is being forced to participate and I doubt that money is being taken from the State treasury to pay for this. What does it cost to pray?

I don't see this as a threat to my religious liberty as the AFS opines. The Governor isn't restricting my religious activities by holding this prayer.The State isn't preventing the AFS from holding their protest.

From a theological point of view, I don't believe Perdue should be praying for rain, but it doesn't upset me and I don't see the need to protest it.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Intellectual Dishonesty of the Modern Atheist.

Whenever I have difficulties thinking of subjects for the blog, I follow a certain routine looking for inspiration.I'll check out a couple of my favorite blogs,but if that fails, I'll go to Drudge Report for the latest news.If that doesn't give me enough to think about, I'll check out a second tier of blogs.
I was doing that a few days back. I went to a blog that I only rarely read.The young woman is certainly a talented writer but her posts are far too often filled with too much angst for my tastes.That day, she had written a piece about the possibility that she may----or may not----become an atheist.
I decided to write something about my thoughts on atheism and that called for a bit of research.
From what I've read, most modern atheists are not so much true atheists as they are anti-religion, particularly Protestant fundamentalism.
Looking at various blogs and web sites, I don't see them providing arguments attempting to disprove Islam or Hinduism although they have a lot to say about the Bible and Jesus.They seem oblivious to that fact that there are entire religions that don't believe the teachings of Protestant fundamentalism but still believe in a God.
It seems to me that if these folks were really intellectually honest, they would be arguing against "God" in all His forms.They'd be attacking the idea that there really is an underlying "creative intelligence" behind it all. That is, after all, what they claim to believe. If they could prove that this universe is just a random collection of atoms ( that appear from who knows where ) coming together under uncreated laws of physics they would not have to confront each religion individually.
On a less serious note; I went to the American Atheists website and discovered that they are planning a Winter Solstice party in New Jersey this coming December 22ND. I don't understand the point of that.Winter Solstice celebrations been associated with paganism and sun-worship.Surely, they don't subscribe to any of that.
My guess is, that most modern atheists come from a Judeo-Christian background and miss celebrating Christmas and/or Hanukkah. Having a Winter Solstice party allows them to have the Yule decorations and Santa Claus.
Ho Ho Ho.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Tao te Kling

And now something for the true Geek......
It shouldn't have come as a surprise.There is actually a Klingon language. I kid you not. According to the wikipedia article:
"The Klingon language (tlhIngan Hol in Klingon) is the constructed language spoken by Klingons in the fictional Star Trek universe. Deliberately designed by Marc Okrand to be "alien", it contains many peculiarities, such as Object Verb Subject (OVS) word order. The basic sound (along with a very few words) was first devised by James Doohan ("Scotty") for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. That film marked the first time the language had been heard on screen, all previous appearances of the Klingons being in English. Klingon was subsequently developed by Okrand into a fully fledged language."
There is even a website for The Klingon Language Institute .
If that's not geeky enough for you; there's even a Klingon translation of the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tse.

Monday, November 5, 2007

On Donating Blood.

There was a time when I wouldn't even consider donating blood. There wasn't any logic behind it....I guess you can say that it just boiled down to fear- a fear based on ignorance.
As time went by,with a raising of consciousness, I realized that a life could very well depend on my blood. I began donating on a regular basis; usually, two and three times a year.
When I was on a self-proscribed aspirin regimen I was unable to donate platelets as aspirin interferes with the body's production of platelets.I started donating platelets by apheresis earlier this year. A single apheresis donation of platelets can provide as many platelets as 5 whole blood donations. Not only that, but, whole blood can only be donated every 8 weeks where as platelets can be donated 26 times a year; the process of apheresis returns certain components of the blood back to the donor.
The last time I went to donate platelets I ended up donating just whole blood instead....the young woman taking the donations didn't feel comfortable taking platelets from me because of the small size of my vein. She felt OK about drawing whole blood, however. I set up another appointment to give platelets this coming Saturday. She had suggested that I try increasing my intake of water and decrease my coffee drinking. She believes that a slight dehydration may have been the problem. It's always been difficult drawing blood from me......it usually takes an expert. I'll try to hydrate myself this week to see if it really does make a difference.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Ending Daylight Saving Time.

This is the weekend folks living in the U.S. set our clocks back to Standard Time.......ending Daylight Saving Time (DST) for the year.
This whole idea of DST borders on the surreal.We don't really save squat. All this talk of saving energy is unproven propaganda.
It's been said that the idea came from Ben Franklin. The idea might have made some sense in the 18th or 19th century but not today. We live in a 24/7 society and people can stay up or go to bed any time they like.....there's not need to keep up this ritual of moving our clocks forward and backward.
Any money that may be saved from not having to turn on the lights at 8:00 o'clock is probably offset by the increase in automobile accidents in the days following the change.Also, research suggests that worker productivity goes down immediately after the clocks are reset.
Now, as if I didn't have enough reasons to hate the change; my son is 2 years old and doesn't live by the clock. He wakes up every morning by his internal biological clock. He'll wake up the same time next week (according to his internal clock) but for me it will be an hour earlier. One less hour of sleep for me.
Personally, I think it's just the government's way of manipulating us.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

All Saints Day


A prayer for today:
Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
today we rejoice in the holy men and women
of every time and place.
May their prayers bring us your forgiveness and love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Today is All Saints Day, a Holy Day of Obligation in the Roman Catholic Church.In terms of Catholic theology, the feast remembers all those who have attained the beatific vision in heaven, while tomorrow, All Souls' Day, commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven.
In countries with a large Catholic population, the custom is to attend Mass, visit the graves of loved ones and relatives as well as praying for the dead and lighting candles.
In Mexico, today and tomorrow are celebrated as Día de los Muertos -the Day of the Dead.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Church must speak about the devil.

A good many people who are not well versed in the history and traditions of Christianity mistakenly believe that Halloween is a holy day, of sorts, for Satanists and Devil worshipers.Folks who have grown up in a Protestant culture- or even a secular one- often don't realize that many of the customs of Halloween come from the observance of the two holy days; All Saints Day and All Souls Day. (November 1 and 2).
However, in keeping with talk of the Devil that goes on this time of year, I've copied and pasted an article written by Cardinal Georges Cottier, O.P., the former Theologian to the Pontifical Household, before he retired from that position.
The following is a translation of Cardinal Cottier’s introduction to the book "Presidente degli Esorcisti — Esperienze e Delucidazioni di Don Gabriele Amorth" which was posted at Zenit.org on January 22, 2006:

The Church must speak about the devil. Though he sinned, the fallen angel has not lost all the power he had, in the governance of the world, according to God’s plan. Now he uses this power for evil. John’s Gospel calls him “the prince of this world” (John 12:31) and also in the First Letter of John, one reads: “The whole world is in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). Paul speaks of our battle against spiritual powers (cf. Ephesians 6:10-17). We can also refer to Revelation.

We must fight not only against the human, but also the superhuman, forces of evil in their origin and inspiration – suffice it to think of Auschwitz, of the massacres of entire peoples, of all the horrendous crimes that are committed, of the scandals of which little ones and the innocent are victims, of the success of the ideologies of death, etc.

It is appropriate to recall some principles. The evil of sin is committed by a free will. Only God can penetrate the depth of a person’s heart; the devil does not have the power to enter that sanctuary. He acts only on the exterior, on the imagination and on feelings of a sentient origin. Moreover, his action is limited by the permission of Almighty God.

The devil generally acts through temptation and deceit; he is a liar (cf. John 8:44). He can deceive, induce to error, cause illusion and, probably more than arouse vices, he can support the vices and the origins of the vices that are in us.

In the Synoptic Gospels, the first apparition of the devil is the temptation in the desert, when he subjects Jesus to several incursions (cf. Matthew 4:11 and Luke 4:1-13). This event is of great importance.

Jesus cured sicknesses and pathologies. Altogether, they refer to the devil, because all disorders afflicting humanity are reducible to sin, of which the devil is instigator. Among Jesus’s miracles are liberation from diabolical possessions, in the precise sense. We see in particular in Saint Luke that Jesus orders the devils who recognize him as Messiah.

The devil is much more dangerous as tempter than through extraordinary signs or astonishing external manifestations, because the gravest evil is sin. It is no accident that we ask in the Lord’s Prayer: “Lead us not into temptation.” Against sin, the Christian can fight victoriously with prayer, prudence, in humility knowing the fragility of human freedom, with recourse to the Sacraments, above all Reconciliation and the Eucharist. He must also ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of discernment, knowing that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are received with the grace of Baptism.

Saint Thomas and Saint John of the Cross affirm that one has three tempters: the devil, the world (we certainly recognize this in our society) and oneself; that is, self-love. Saint John of the Cross maintains that the most dangerous tempter is oneself, because we alone deceive ourselves.

In the face of deceit, it is desirable that the Catholic faithful have an ever-more-profound knowledge of Christian doctrine. The apostolate must be promoted on behalf of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is of extraordinary usefulness to combat ignorance. The devil perhaps is instigator of this ignorance: he distracts man from God and it is a great loss that can be contained by promoting an adequate apostolate in the media, in particular television, considering the amount of time that many people spend watching television programs, often with contents that are culturally inconsistent and immoral.

The action of the devil is also unleashed against the (priests) of the Church. In 1972, Pope Paul VI spoke of the “smoke of Satan that has entered the temple of God.” He was alluding to the sins of Christians, to the devaluation of the moral law, the growth of moral decadence (consider the history of the religious orders and congregations, in which the need for reform to react to decadence has always been noted), to yielding to the temptations in the pursuit of a career, of money and of wealth, in which members of the clergy themselves can participate, committing sins that cause scandal.

The exorcist can be like a Good Samaritan — but he is not the Good Samaritan — as sin is a graver reality. A sinner who remains set in his sin is more wretched that one who is possessed. The conversion of heart is the most beautiful victory over the influence of Satan, against which the Sacrament of Reconciliation has an absolutely central importance, because in the mystery of the Redemption, God has liberated us from sin and gives us, when we have fallen, the restoration of his friendship.

The Sacraments have a priority over the sacramentals, the category to which exorcisms belong; these are requested by the Church, but not as a priority. If this approach is not considered, the risk exists of disturbing the faithful. Exorcism cannot be considered as the only defence against the action of the devil, but as a necessary spiritual means in those cases where the existence of specific cases of diabolic possession have been confirmed.

It seems that the possessed are more numerous in pagan countries, where the Gospel has not been disseminated and where magic practices are more widespread. In other places, a cultural element endures where Christians conserve an indulgent tendency in regard to ancient forms of superstition. Moreover, it must be considered that alleged cases of possession can be explained by present-day medicine and psychiatry and that the solution to certain phenomena may consist in good psychiatric treatment. When a difficult case is manifested in practice, it is necessary to get in contact with a psychologist and an exorcist; it is advisable to make use of psychiatrists of Catholic formation.

A course on these topics has recently been instituted in the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum. It also seems opportune to include such formation in seminaries, in a balanced and wise dimension, avoiding excesses and constrictions.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Jack-O-Lantern.

Growing up,I never gave a lot of thought about some of our Halloween traditions.If I'd ever asked my parents about why we carve Jack-O-Lanterns, I'm sure they wouldn't have known.It was just something we did.
My son will be turning two in a few weeks and I carved his first Jack-O-Lantern a couple of nights ago. Of course, at two, he's too young to be asking questions about it but I thought I'd read up on the tradition so I'd know what to tell him when the time came.
According to most of what I've seen online, the Jack-O-Lantern came to the U.S. with the Irish immigrants who came here to escape the potato famine. The Jack-O-Lanterns in Ireland had originally been made from turnips.The immigrants began fashioning the lanterns out of pumpkins because the squash was cheaper and more abundant here than the turnip.
The story as to why they carved Jack-O-Lanterns goes back to an old legend of a man named Stingy Jack. The man in the story was called that because he was a tightwad and very stingy with his money.Not only was he cheap, but he was a drunkard as well. But, unlike a good many drunks, he did not become freer with his spending when he drank.
One Halloween, Stingy Jack was spending the evening at a local pub....getting drunk as usual. He struck up a conversation with a stranger who turned out to be the Devil himself. Seeing a chance for a free drink, Jack made a bargain with the Devil; his soul in exchange for another drink. When Jack had finished the drink, the Devil changed himself into a silver coin so Jack could pay the bar keep. Instead of giving the coin to the bar keep, Jack put the coin in his pocket. Unfortunately for the Devil, Jack had a Rosary in his pocket and the crucifix made the Devil powerless to change back. Jack agreed to release the Devil on condition that the Devil not collect his soul for ten years. The Devil agreed and he was on his way back to Hell.
Ten years passed. It was Halloween and Jack was making his way home from another pub when the Devil appeared to fetch Jack's soul. Jack asked the Devil if he would allow Jack to have an apple before they left for Hell. The Devil saw no harm in that and climbed to the top of a nearby apple tree to get an apple for the poor man. When the Devil reached the top, Jack took out his Rosary and wrapped it around the base of the tree and trapped the Devil. Jack told the Devil that he would remove the Rosary and free him if the Devil would not take his soul. Again, the Devil had no choice but to agree to the bargain.
When Jack finally died of old age, Saint Peter refused him entry into Heaven because of his drunkenness and because he had been too stingy on Earth to help the widows and orphans and others in need of charity. Not knowing what else to do, Jack went down to Hell, but the Devil was so angry at having been tricked by Jack that he would not allow Jack to stay in Hell. Jack was condemned to spend eternity walking the face of the Earth. As he walked away, the Devil threw him an ember from the fires of Hell. Jack carved out a turnip and put the ember inside to make a lantern.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Who Ya Jivin' With That Cosmik Debris ?

I was looking around for a video of Zappa doing Zoomby Woof to continue my Halloween theme. Found one of Dweezil and Steve Vai doing it...but I couldn't embed the better version. So, in it's place, I've posted Zappa doing Cosmik Debris.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Halloween Phone call to Philippines.

Before meeting my wife in 2003, I had traveled to Philippines a couple of times; specifically, to the island of Siquijor. For those of you unfamiliar with the country, Siquijor has a reputation of being an island of shaman ( AKA " quack doctors" ) voodooesque shenanigans and an assortment of things that go bump in the night. Having once had a friend living there, I've spent a fair amount of time on the island.

I've had experiences with a quack doctor which I went into in an earlier post [ A visit with a quack Doctor in Siquijor ] so there's no need to go into that again here.

It was Halloween 2002. It was still early morning here in Georgia. It was, however, early evening in Philippines when I called my friend for a chat. Her teen-aged sister answered the phone; I was fond of the sister and decided to talk to her for a few minutes. I asked what she was doing that evening and she replied that she was putting onions in the window. I wasn't quite sure what to make of that but, knowing her as I did, I suspected it was Halloween related.

"Why are you putting onions on the window?" I asked. She said she wasn't sure of the English word....but it was because of the "dead people who aren't really dead".
Obviously, she could not see me smiling and my voice did not betray me when I said I had heard of putting garlic in the window for protection but never onions. There was a pause. She asked something of someone in the house with her and then told me that the English word for the thing in the window was indeed garlic and not onion.....she had made a mistake in translation.

That was basically, the end of our conversation. I went on to talk to her older sister but I forget now what that particular conversation was about.

Now, five years afterwards, I'm wondering which "dead people who aren't really dead" she was referring to. Two things come to mind.It could be either zombies or vampires. I'm not really up on my Philippine folk lore and I don't know of any Filipino zombies.

The only vampire I know of is called the Manananggal .According to Wikipedia :

"A manananggal is described as being an older, beautiful woman (as opposed to an aswang), capable of severing its upper torso in order to fly into the night with huge bat-like wings to prey on unsuspecting, pregnant women in their homes; using an elongated proboscis-like tongue, it sucks the hearts of fetuses or blood of an unsuspecting, sleeping victim. The severed lower torso is left standing and it is said to be the more vulnerable of the two halves. Sprinkling salt or smearing crushed garlic or ash on top of the standing torso is fatal to the creature. The upper torso then would not be able to rejoin and will die at daybreak. The name of the creature originates from an expression used for a severed torso: Manananggal comes from the Tagalog, tanggal (cognate of Malay and Indonesian tanggal) which means to remove or to separate. Manananggal then means the one who separates itself from its lower body."

Also from the same article:

"Superstitious folk in the Visayan provinces still hang cloves of garlic or onion around windows, doors, etc. with the purpose of repelling this creature as well as the aswang.".......Siquijor is in the Visayas so, it actually could have been onions after all that girl was putting in the windows.

I know some of you may scoff, but, nothing happened to anyone in the household that Halloween. No one was attacked by any sort of vampire or zombie or even werewolf. Whatever it was....garlic or onions.....they seem to have done the trick.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Halloween Colors

The traditional colors of Halloween are orange and black.Black, I suppose, represents Death and mourning while the orange signifies the colors of the falling leaves of Autumn.Now, a new color has been added.....green, as in environmentally friendly "green".
Actually, I guess I'm not really talking about the greening of Halloween so much as I am the greening of something associated with that day. Namely, funerals and burials. You know, the whole disposing of the dead sort of thing.
Burials, like everything else we do in the United States is no longer suitable. We just can't get anything right. Now-a-days, if we want to show how enlightened and progressive we are, we must make plans to have our final remains taken care of in a eco-friendly way.
You have two basic choices: You can opt for the eco-burial in an eco-cemetery. There, your corpse is laid to rest without the use of that nasty embalming process. Of course, there's no metal casket. As one website put it: "The body is prepared for burial without chemical preservatives and is buried in a simple shroud or biodegradable casket that might be made from locally harvested wood, wicker or even recycled paper, perhaps even decorated with good-bye messages from friends." Oh, isn't that a lovely thought.....being buried in a casket made of recycled paper with my dear friends and family drawing little smiley-face designs on the outside. :)
The cemetery will forever be kept.....or rather unkempt....in a "natural state". No cutting the grass or removal of trees.
Your second option for a greener hereafter is cremation. After your corpse is cremated the ashes are put into the handy-dandy bio urn. Made from compacted coconut shells mixed with a layer of organic fertilizer, the bio urn also contains a tree seed which will presumably germinate posthumously. Simply bury the urn, and wait . Then.....voila....a tree !!!!!
Now, I understand that you all want to leave with a small carbon footprint. I'm not at all certain which way is the best for that. Somebody else is going to have to figure that out for you.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Scientists a Step Closer to Steering Hurricanes.

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans two years ago,the alarmists put the blame on global warming, predicting that we haven't seen the worst yet.According to these "experts" we would continue to have more and more Katrina type hurricanes....getting worse as the years went by.

It hasn't happened that way. As a matter of fact, the opposite has occurred. Rome,Georgia where I live, is 500 miles from the Gulf of Mexico but the hurricanes that go on there have a significant affect on our weather. A hurricane there results in a heavy rainstorm here.But, instead of heavy rains, we're experiencing a drought.The lack of rain has caused unprecedented problems.The rivers running through Rome are at an all time low.

Now, according to an article at Telegraph.co.uk, scientists believe they can now steer hurricanes.
I've no idea if their theory will actually work, but, is it really a good idea?

If, as is stated in 'the butterfly effect': "a butterfly's wings might create tiny changes in the Earth's atmosphere that ultimately cause a tornado to appear" do we really want to be pushing hurricanes around?

People love sticking their grubby little fingers where they don't belong.

Moshe Alamaro, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), was quoted as saying:

"The social and legal issues are daunting. If a hurricane were coming towards Miami with the potential to cause damage and kill people, and we diverted it, another town or village hit by it would sue us. They'll say the hurricane is no longer an act of God, but that we caused it."

It's even more complicated than even Alamaro states. He isn't taking places like Rome into consideration. Could Georgia sue MIT for the drought? Georgia, Alabama and Florida have been battling it out for years over water. One more lawsuit won't bother Sonny Purdue.

Friday, October 19, 2007

My ( edited ) letter to the Rome Hews Tribune.

Tuesday morning, after posting the entry about My Letter to the Rome News Tribune , I sent an email to the editor of the editorial page to find out if the letter would be published.It's the policy of the Rome News Tribune to call to verify the identity of the author and they hadn't contacted me. I got the phone call a couple of hours after sending the email and the letter was in Thursday's paper.
I knew the editorial staff would edit the letter. It's been my experience that they almost never print a letter exactly as written unless it's very short. Here is the part they removed:
"It is highly presumptuous of him to conclude that he knows how each individual demonstrator feels about the current war. His implication is that being anti-abortion equals pro-war. That’s quite a leap."
Frankly,I expected other sentences to be taken out........I was surprised by what made the cut and what didn't. The letter, as written, did go over their 250 word limit by nearly 150 words. If it was edited for length, those 3 sentences wouldn't have been enough. The letter I sent was not my first draft. I went over it, more than a few times, being careful of every word I put in.
Maybe, that's why the staff was unable to take out more. Taking out any more would have changed the meaning of the letter. As it turned out, I would have liked my comments on the war to have stayed in. But, all things considered, they could have done worse.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Letter to the Rome News Tribune

In keeping with an earlier post [Woodsman Spare That Tree ] I'll be writing more about things going on in my local community.
On Sunday,Oct. 7th of this year, a group of about 50 Pro-Life demonstrators gathered on one of the main thoroughfares of our city to hold a silent protest against abortion.That story can be found here.
In Friday,Oct 12 the Rome News Tribune published a "guest column" from a local resident criticizing the demonstrators. Unfortunately, that column isn't available online so I'm unable to provide a link or paste it here and it's much too long for me to type out. Of course, people with access to the paper can read it. I found most of the writer's criticisms to be beside the point.On Sunday, the 14th I sent a letter to the Rome News Tribune .
I held nothing back in this letter. As of this writing I've heard nothing from the Rome News Tribune as to whether or not my letter will be published.
I've decided to post a copy of the letter below and I'll be posting more about this as the days go by.

While reading Nathan Adler’s most recent guest column in the Rome-News Tribune, a light went off inside my head. Now, I understand why people who vote for and support Democratic candidates do so. I’ve come to the conclusion that these individuals are incapable of having a rational thought and for them, logic is an alien concept.
In all these years, I’ve yet to read a column or letter from Mr. Adler that wasn’t filled with emotional ramblings, absurdities and non sequiturs.
In his column, Mr. Adler was critical of a group of anti-abortion demonstrators because they had failed to hold up signs protesting such unrelated issues as the war in Iraq, minimum wage and the state of our educational system. The validity of the pro-life movement should be determined by analyzing the points made by it’s supporters and not in it’s relation to subjects that are logically beside the point.
I had to ask myself : Should a group of anti-war demonstrators assemble on Broad Street will Mr. Adler write a letter criticizing them for not carrying signs relating to healthcare in this country? I doubt it.
Just as there were no signs among the anti-abortion demonstrators that read “ End the war in Iraq now “ there were none that read “Let’s bomb Iraq “. It is highly presumptuous of him to conclude that he knows how each individual demonstrator feels about the current war. His implication is that being anti-abortion equals pro-war. That’s quite a leap.
He also laments that there were no signs reading “Educate our children, don’t regiment them.”. Does he think that pro-lifers forget about the children once they’re born? He need look no further than to the Christian schools in Rome and Floyd County to see that being pro-life and pro-quality education is not contradictory.
The issue of abortion boils down to whether or not we recognize the unborn as being fully human and deserving of all the rights and protection we give to all others in our society. Yet, by bringing up the issues of minimum wage and credit card debt, Mr. Adler wants to compare abortion to the question of whether or not the government should be interfering in our capitalistic, free market society.
Mr. Adler wrote that abortion is a “useless issue”.
The newspaper points out that Mr. Adler is a retired school teacher. For the good of the school children in our community, I’m thankful that he is retired.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Woodsman spare that tree.

One of my favorite blogs is villageidiotsavant.blogspot.com written by a young man named Dominique Cimafranca.Not only is Dom a talented writer, but he keeps it interesting by writing on a variety of subjects.

I've tried to do much the same thing by writing about such diverse subjects as American politics Nigerian scammers, or prayer in public schools.
I've tried my hand at Satire and I've written on my "home-away-from-home Dumaguete.
One lesson I've taken from Dom's blog is that I should write a bit more about things that are happening where I live. So, to that end, I'm relating a story that happened here a few years back.

The roots of the story go back more than 20 years. Like all U.S. cities, Rome GA has a problem with traffic.To alleviate the problem, the main East/West road ( Turner McCall Ave.) was widened several years ago and a companion-nearly parallel road (Veterans Highway) was built not long after that. To further help ease the congestion, roads were needed to run North/South to connect the two.There was one particular road already doing that. Riverside Parkway.Unfortunately, Riverside Parkway was not wide enough nor straight enough to accommodate the added traffic.

So, it was voted upon more than twenty years ago to provide funds so that the much needed widening could get underway.
This is where the problem started. Almost immediately, a group was formed to stop the road project and court injunctions were filed.One problem with the new project, the group said, was that the large stately oaks growing along the road would be destroyed during road construction.
Finally, in 2005, the case was won by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the work could go on. A compromise had been reached where as a number of the trees would be preserved by means of a median in the road.

As work began,Rome City Manager John Bennett said he noticed that trees that were supposed to have been marked for preservation were being cut down and he asked Public Works Director Kirk Milam to investigate.
“There were some trees the contractor was supposed to take down. He took down the wrong ones,” said Bert Brantley, director of communications for the Georgia Department of Transportation. “We absolutely regret it, and we’re definitely going to look at what we can do to mitigate the situation.”
Needless to say, quite a controversy ensued with allegations of conspiracy on the part of the DOT.

The strangest part of the story, in my view, is what happened after the incident.
About 45 mourners attended a memorial service for the oak trees, which were mistakenly cut down.

According to the local paper:
"The solemn melody of “Taps” rang out over the swishing din of passing motorists on Riverside Parkway as a group of Romans bowed their heads around a stately oak tree and said their good-byes."

The paper goes on to say:
"Members of Rome Federated Garden Clubs Inc. erected nine straw wreaths festooned with golden bows in honor of each fallen oak, and retired preacher the Rev. Warren Jones provided a short eulogy."

One of the residents who had been dedicated to saving the trees for more than a decade, Virginia Jackson, said she was grief-stricken when she drove past the site and saw the trees were gone. “I had a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach,” she said.
Elizabeth Neal, a former president of the RFGC, said she hoped the memorial service will show that people in Rome “care about their trees.”

Let me be clear about something.I am very sorry that the trees were felled by mistake.However, millions of dollars were spent of this.....wasted money.Add to that, it is a sacrilege to have a memorial service for trees as if the trees were like human beings. Playing Taps? Eulogy by a retired minister? Give me a break.

Links to the news reports can be found
here
and here
here
and here.

Update:8/20/2012.
After revisiting this story, I learned that the links to the original news story are no longer available. I've found a copy of the newspaper article at news.google.com

Friday, October 12, 2007

Al Gore, Muslims and Superman

In the DC Superman comics,there is a cube-shaped planet called Htrae - also known as Bizarro World
where everything is the opposite to the normal life on Earth.

Two recent news story should alert us that we may actually be the inhabitants of this bizarre planet.

Story #1: Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming.

Story #2: Muslim leaders ask Christians to give peace a chance.

I guess we'll know for certain if we ever come across a story about Paris Hilton or Britney Spears wearing underwear.

Update:
The link on the Muslim news story not longer works. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Giuliani Clashes With Romney

The Political item du jour is the clash between Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani at a Republican debate in Michigan . The stories emphasized policy differences....as if that would have any affect on the final result come November 2008.
During the early primaries, the extremists on the right and the left turn out en masse to support their favorite and at that stage political views have some impact. But, come the final election, the American people will use other criteria for choosing the President of The United States.
As I stated earlier on my post about Hillary Clinton, likability means more than politics. Another important factor for American voters is the candidate's appearance.
Sad to say, height matters. The photo above shows that Romney has the advantage there. The voters will also make their decision based on how the future President looks on T.V.. Again, as the photos show Romney has the edge. The American voter would rather have a President with hair.....thank you very much.
So, my prediction is that Romney will continue to pull ahead of Giuliani.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Looking at the Republican Presidential Candidates

In an earlier post I opined that the Democrat's choice for their 2008 Presidential Candidate would, obviously, be Hillary Clinton .
Predicting who the Republican will be isn't quite as easy.
The conventional wisdom is that the only Republican capable of defeating Clinton is Rudy Giuliani. The conventional wisdom also says that Giuliani's pro-choice views will not sit well with the Evangelicals who may choose a Third Party candidate thereby giving Clinton the election.
But, now it looks as though former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is leading in Iowa where the first caucus will be held in January.
Romney seems to be someone pro-lifers can support. Should he become the Republican candidate, he's sure to get the support of the Giuliani faction and the "anyone but Hillary" crowd.
As I said in the earlier entry, a Republican candidate need only appear more likable than Mrs. Clinton. I don't really know much about Romney but he could probably manage that.
The photo isn't an endorsement of Mitt. I just thought the use of a coffee cup by a Mormon candidate a bit funny.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

First AdSense Check

I finally received my first check from Google for the AdSense ads placed on my blogs and website.
$101.38.
The account was set up around December....about two months after I started the Dumaguete website.
The check came just in time. It's time to renew the account with the site's host.That cost $95.40.It does cover the cost of keeping the website going but I'm certainly not making anything.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I will not chant in class....

Being human,we all get a bit lazy at times and take little shortcuts.This is true in our relationships with other folks as well.We'll pigeon-hole people that we don't really know so well because it makes our life easier.Some secularists I know like to do this with those of us who have strong religious convictions.
A case in point: A co-worker of mine recently sent an email to me with a link to a story which, I'm sure, he thought would send me off into a rant on the evils of modern American society.The link he sent can be found here and the story on video can be found here.
The Reader's Digest version of the story is that another public school is considering eliminating traditional holidays from the school system....or at least, changing the names of Christmas and Halloween to Fall and Winter Festival so as to keep the peace between the Christians and Muslims in the school.
Honestly, I don't have a problem with this.Celebrating Christmas in a private Christian school is fine, but religion has no place in the public schools.Christmas celebrations in public school would only be a secular Santa Claus Xmas anyway.Certainly, not my idea of how the Holiday should be celebrated.
Needless to say, I wouldn't want any government employee leading any sort of school prayer either.It is the responsibility of the parent to instruct his children in religious study.My wife and I will teach our son how to pray....thank you very much.
Keep all government agencies-local, state and federal- out of this.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Hillary Clinton's Attempt to Buy Votes

In a blatant attempt to buy votes,presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Friday that every child born in the United States should get a $5,000 "baby bond" from the government to help pay for future costs of college or buying a home.
After coming across the story, I googled $5,000 baby bond program. and have a boat-load of references.
The stories make mention of the fact that nearly 4 million babies are born in the U.S. every year.Do the math. The cost would be close to $20 billion a year.Where would the money come from? Oh yeah, I guess I forgot about The Magic Money Tree growing behind the White House.
Something that isn't mentioned in any of these stories is that, by law, any child born in the United States is an American citizen regardless of the legal status of his or her parents. Should this plan see the light of day, babies born here to illegal immigrants would be entitled to the baby bond.
Of course, even if Clinton is elected, the scheme would have very little chance of passing in Congress.Passage of the legislation isn't her primary motivation in bringing this up ,however.Even if the bill fails, her idea-even if unsuccessful-would show that she "cares". The blame will shifted to someone else.It would be those evil, mean spirited Republicans who stopped her from helping the children.