Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I Won't be Participating.

Not long ago, someone whom I once considered a dear friend took up a habit that I found disturbing enough for me to put an end to a decades old friendship.

Of course, people change with time. My spiritual quest led me back to the Roman Catholic Church, while my former friend had become an atheist. This difference in religious belief need not have caused an end to our friendship. If two people respect one another as fellow human beings, I believe they can remain friends in spite of their differences of opinion.

A problem arose when my former friend began posting "humorous" cartoons on the Internet which I consider offensive. He would regularly post a cartoon on his Facebook page which mocked some aspect of Christ and Christianity. While he may have thought these anti-Christian cartoons were funny, it seemed apparent to me that his motive was simply to insult Christians.

I called him out on his posting these cartoons. More than once.
I've since removed him as a Facebook "friend" - I have no way of knowing if he's given up his posting these types of cartoons, though I strongly suspect he hasn't.

I'm mentioning all this because of a recent op-ed piece by Kathleen Parker. [Freedom of sketch] In her column, Parker writes of cartoonist Molly Norris, who has inadvertently set off a firestorm of sorts by jokingly calling for a "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" on May 20. In a recent cartoon, Norris asks "will the real likeness of the prophet Mohammed please stand up?" - drawing Mohammed in the likeness of a coffee cup, a domino, a box of pasta - to name just three.

Norris now wants to distance herself from what her cartoon has wrought.

What may have started out as an offhand remark by Norris has taken on a life of it's own. Someone, not connected to Norris in any way, has even created a Facebook page devoted to said "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day". At the time of this writing, the page has nearly 10,000 guests. The Facebook page "Ban Everybody Draw Mohammed Day", which boasts Norris as a member, has only a bit more than 2000 members.

Parker's reaction to all this is predictable. Freedom of speech, blah blah blah, blah blah.
"The truth is that Americans love their free speech and have had enough of those who think they can dictate the limits of that fundamental right."

I, for one, don't wish to dictate to anyone. I wouldn't think of advocating any law which limits freedom of speech. I do advocate common courtesy. Why insult anyone just to insult?

I am not fearful that drawing a cartoon of Mohammed would bring death threats upon me. The Internet allows enough anonymity that one could draw whatever one likes without fear of being identified. No, just as I am not in favor of cartoons that insult Christians, I am not in favor of cartoons that insult Muslims, Jews, Hindus or any other religion.

Anyone doubting that the "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" Facebook page is motivated by bigotry need only go to that page and read the comments posted. Don't, however, expect to find a link to the page in this article.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More Thoughts on the Arizona Immigration Law.

In his latest op-ed piece in the Washington Post, Eugene Robinson calls Arizona's new immigration law "an act of vengeance" "draconian", and "an abomination -- racist, arbitrary, oppressive, mean-spirited, unjust."

No fan of the, so-called, "Tea Parties", Robinson (sarcastically) questions why these folks aren't up in arms over the new law : "Isn't the whole premise of the Tea Party movement that overreaching government poses a grave threat to individual freedom?" He asks that question because, "Legal immigrants will be required to carry papers proving that they have a right to be in the United States. Those without documentation can be charged with the crime of trespassing and jailed for up to six months."

Robinson is, obviously, unaware that, according to Federal law, "If you are a permanent resident age 18 or older, you are required to have a valid green card in your possession at all times." Don't take my word for it ..... go to the USCIS website and see for yourself. [click here.]

Robinson recognizes that "Washington has failed miserably to address what Arizonans legitimately see as a crisis". He writes, "The influx [of illegal immigrants] imposes an unfair burden on the state, and for years Arizonans have implored federal officials to do something about immigration reform and border control -- to no avail." He doesn't, of course, have a solution.

Robinson sees a problem with a law that treats undocumented immigrants as criminals. Earth to Robinson : undocumented immigrants are criminals.

Does this law make Latino citizens and legal residents vulnerable to arbitrary harassment as Robinson believes?
Is it harassment for a police officer to ask you to show proper ID? As I mentioned in Sunday's post [Thoughts on the Arizona Immigration Law.] my Filipina wife, who is a permanent resident and often mistaken for Hispanic, doesn't think so. Like many legal immigrants, she knows that illegal immigration is a serious problem and she sees no problem with showing her "green card" when asked.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that 70% of likely voters in Arizona approve of the legislation, while just 23% oppose it. I suspect a good many voters throughout the country approve as well.

Nationally, 60% Favor Letting Local Police Stop and Verify Immigration Status

Monday, April 26, 2010

Thoughts on the Arizona Immigration Law.

My wife and I were recently discussing the new immigration law in Arizona.

According to Washington Post article, the legislation makes it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally. It also requires local police officers to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are illegal immigrants. Everyone must have proper identification.

It is already Federal law for resident aliens to have their "green card" with them at all times. There's nothing new in this.....why the controversy?

As many readers of this blog know, my wife is a Philippine citizen. She is a legal resident of this country. She has applied for US citizenship. She is often mistaken for Hispanic - even by Hispanics. Many who see her will start a conversation with her in Spanish which she does not speak. My wife is fluent in three languages, but Spanish is not one of them.

It's very likely that, should she and I be in Arizona, she might be asked for ID. I asked her if that might bother her. Would it upset her to be asked by a police officer to produce her "green card"?

No, she said. She is here legally and it is no problem for her. The only ones, she says, who would be fearful are those who cannot produce the proper identification. It has cost us a great deal of money, up to now, filing for all the legal documents that allowed her to enter the US and stay here legally. It's not right, she says, for others to by-pass these costs by entering the country illegally.

I'd be the first to agree that reforms in US Immigration laws are needed. I, for one, think that it should be easier for immigrants to come here legally. We'd like to bring my wife's family here. Once she becomes a citizen it will be only slightly easier for her to bring her parents here (but not her siblings, sadly). My wife is following the rules; the laws are difficult and the applications are expensive. Is it fair for citizens of countries that border the US to have an advantage simply because they can walk across the border?

A Day with Thomas.

A day spent with Thomas the tank engine in Chattanooga Tennessee.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Using Abortion for Gender-Selection.

In a post this past Wednesday, [Raising Some Questions Pro-Aborts Don't Want to Face ] blogger Al Troupe linked to an opinion piece from Canadian National concerning the ethical problem of using ultrasound technology and abortion-on-demand to determine who is chosen to live or die based strictly upon gender.

Wanting to know more on the subject, I searched the Internet and found an article on entitled Gendercide: The worldwide war on baby girls, which documents the practice in China, India and other Asian countries, of families aborting female fetuses in order to have the culturally preferred male offspring.

The article says that the natural ratio (at birth) is between 103 and 106 boys born for every 100 girls. A wikipedia article gives the ratio as 105 boys for every 100 girls. The reason for this ratio (as given by the writer) is that boys are slightly more likely to die in infancy than girls and the ratio is "nature's" way of compensating for the difference.

The article goes on to say that, in China,
"According to CASS the ratio today is 123 boys per 100 girls. These rates are biologically impossible without human intervention."

In Beijing municipality the ratio is 275 boys per 100 girls.

The increase in the boy to girl ratio comes from an increase in the use of ultrasound to determine the gender and using abortion to select males over females.

As disgusting as this is, there is one, so-called "bioethicist" who is OK with this. In an Opposing Views article, Jacob Appel writes,
"If abortion is not a moral wrong, and I am among those who believe that it is not, then aborting an unwanted child for any reason—even to produce an infant of the opposite gender—is desirable" and "Gender selection, if used wisely, offers yet another opportunity to increase individual autonomy and familial happiness."

Although Appel is in favor of a woman's right to abort for gender-selection, he finds a problem with the fact that in many cultures and nations the process still favors males. He doesn't explain why that is a problem for him. He goes on to suggest that, rather than outlaw gender-selection abortions, countries should pay “girl-subsidies” in annual installments to counteract the economic advantage of having boys. It seems logical to me that the result of this sort of "girl-subsidy" might be the increase of using gender-selection abortions to abort more boys. There are probably some who would be fine with that.

This is the logical conclusion of the "pro-choice" abortion-on-demand point of view. The idea that abortions should be "safe, legal and rare” is a lie from the start. Pro-abortion advocates, like Appel, believe "abortions should be as frequent or as infrequent as are unwanted pregnancies". ( In one article, Appel writes that women should be proud of their decision to have an abortion - "I dream of the day when women are not afraid to walk the streets with pins reading, 'I had an abortion and it was the right decision,' and when station wagons bear bumper-stickers announcing, 'Thank me for having an abortion when I wasn’t ready to be a parent.'")

Abortion harms women. The idea that abortion empowers women and gives them more freedom is a lie. Now we see that abortion harms unborn females even more than it harms unborn males.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

April 15

A slightly different version of the Beatles' "Taxman".

The Beatles - Taxman .mp3

Found at bee mp3 search engine

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Protesting Girl’s Mom Charged with “Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor”.

I first came across this story from
Protesting Girl’s Mom Charged with “Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor”.

On April 7, 12 year old Frankie Hughes and her mother, Renee Lynn Espeland accompanied Christine Gaunt on Gaunt's third sit-in protest at the federal building where Sen. Harkin and Sen. Grassley of Iowa have their offices.

The three are part of the Peaceable Assembly Campaign which seeks an end to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and end the Israeli "occupation" of, so-called, Palestinian land.

After the Senators' offices had closed for the day, police were called in when Gaunt refused to leave. Although she claims not to have encouraged her daughter, Espeland allowed the 12 year old to stay behind in the office where Gaunt and Hughes were subsequently arrested for trespassing.

The following day, Espeland was ticketed by Des Moines police for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Police say Espeland "knowingly encouraged and contributed to her daughter's arrest."

According to reports in the Des Moines Register, Police Sgt. David Murillo said: "I understand and fully appreciate a person's constitutional right to free speech. However, this was a case of bringing a child into a criminal arena."

I believe the arrest of the 12 year old and the ticketing of the mother was entirely appropriate under the circumstances.

Of course, we have freedom of speech and the freedom to lawfully assemble and protest the actions of our government officials, but we do not, however, have the right to trespass in a Senator's office after hours.
Had the arrest occurred on the sidewalk outside the office, I'd agree that the situation was uncalled for. Protesting - whether the protest is against abortion or the war in Afghanistan - is admirable, but there are limits. We can not take over government offices in protest.

Would the Progressive be as sympathetic towards the 12 year protester had she been staging a "sit-in" in the Senator's office to end abortion ?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dawn Johnsen Withdraws.

In one bit of good news coming from Washington, we learn that Dawn Johnsen - President Obama's nominee to head the Office of Legal Counsel - has withdrawn her bid for confirmation.

If one were to believe articles written in the huffington post and the opposition to Johnsen's nomination stems from Johnsen's legal opinions on John Yoo and the torture of detainees during the Bush years.

Let me put the record straight. I do not support torture. Had this issue been the main focus of Johnsen's legal career I would have found no reason to oppose her. However, as I wrote in a previous post [Obama nominates another pro-abortion monster] Johnsen's views on abortion are completely unacceptable to anyone with even an ounce of compassion towards the unborn.

In my previous post, I included this from Congressman Steve King's opinion piece on Johnsen's nomination;
"Johnsen has condemned virtually every type of regulation of abortion conceived by a legislature and espoused a passionate pro-choice agenda throughout her career.
Her public records are dominated by pro-abortion rhetoric and criticisms of the pro-life movement."

A list of Johnsen's more outrages quotes on abortion can be found on the Susan B Anthony List website.

We have little to be thankful for these days as far as politics is concerned. We should be thankful for Johnsen's withdrawal.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Saintly Intervention.

This past Easter Sunday was an especially pretty day here in Rome, GA. It was so nice, in fact, that after Mass, Cathy and I decided that we would go to Lowe's after lunch, pick up a few things and begin some much needed work in the yard. I had some iris that I had been wanting to get in the ground; we purchased concrete edging, top soil and compost then dug in, so to speak.

By late afternoon, we had finished that project and were relaxing out front, talking about future projects, when we heard our four year old son screaming, "Chipmunk, chipmunk !!!"

I came running towards him and discovered the reason for the screaming. A young squirrel (not a chipmunk) had jumped onto my son's back, clinging to his t-shirt. I knocked the squirrel off J.P.'s back. At first, the young squirrel ran under my wife's SUV, but then immediately came out, ran towards me and tried to jump up on my leg.

I swatted at the animal, told my son to go into the house and told my wife to fetch the garden hose. This squirrel was acting peculiar and I did not want it around the house. It had not bitten me, or my son, but I was not taking chances. It is certainly not normal squirrel behavior to run after humans and jump up on them. The idea that it might bite my four year old was something I had to take seriously.

Spraying the animal with water from the hose did the trick......or so I thought. The next morning (yesterday) J.P. came and told me that the "chipmunk" was asleep on the carport. When I went to investigate, I was sure I'd find a dead squirrel. I was wrong. The squirrel was, indeed asleep.

At some point during the morning, it had awakened and taken shelter under my van. Monday is trash pick-up day and when I went out front to retrieve the garbage can, the squirrel came running towards me from underneath the van. Now, I don't even want domesticated animals - like dogs or cats - jumping up on me. This squirrel may very well have been harmless, but the idea of a wild furry creature jumping up on me just creeps me out. I tossed the garbage can lid at it and it ran back under the Dodge Caravan.

I was at a loss as to what to do. I knew that the animal had to go; you know, animal bites, rabies, four year old child. I was determined that given another chance (like finding it asleep on the carport again) I'd have to kill it. It had eluded all my attempts of running it off our property. I didn't want to do it, but I felt I had no other option. It's a question of my child's safety.

We have a statue of St. Francis of Assisi in our front yard. OK, I thought, I'll ask the assistance of the patron saint of animals. If anyone could help solve this problem it would be St. Francis.

The last time I saw the little squirrel at our house was just before 1 PM yesterday afternoon. I was getting ready to go to work, I looked out the door and saw the squirrel come out from under the van, running after a little bird that had come onto our driveway. The bird went under the van and so did the squirrel.

When I arrived at work, I told a number of my co-workers about the squirrel and its strange behavior. Quite of few of them agreed that I would have no other choice than to kill the animal next time I had the opportunity. More than one of my co-workers thought the whole thing was too funny and I was the butt of several jokes that evening.

Just before eleven o'clock last night, as the third shift was coming into work, the door of the plant was opened and a young squirrel ran inside. One of the techs picked up the squirrel. Someone came up to me as I was clocking out and told me that Fred had caught my squirrel. I thought it was just another joke at my expense until I saw Fred walking to the time clock, holding a young squirrel as one would hold a kitten or puppy.

One fellow at work thinks this is just a coincidence; he believes that this is a different squirrel - the plant is surrounded by a wooden area, but the idea that another young squirrel (the same size, no less) climbed over or under the ten foot high fence and into the building isn't the most logical explanation to me. "My" squirrel had been hiding underneath my van; this I know for a fact. Obviously, the animal had hidden up inside the spare tire stored under the van (or some other nook) and had inadvertently ridden with me to work. At some point during the eight hour shift, it had crawled out from underneath and followed one of the third shift workers inside.

The fact that the squirrel is gone from our carport is proof enough for me that my hypothesis is the correct one. Fred now has "my" squirrel. It's safe and no longer my problem.

Thank you, St. Francis.