Saturday, April 30, 2011

After the Tornado.

Wednesday morning, just before 8:00 o'clock, after my wife & son left home for work and school, I went back to bed. It was a short nap. I was awakened forty minutes later by a tornado passing thru our area.

As it turned out, that tornado was one of what the Washington Post called "a series of deadly tornadoes that visited destruction on six Southern states....."

Thankfully, no one in our town was injured. We had no property damage, though as you will see in a video below, the college where my wife works lost several large trees. As a matter of fact, the tornado blew over so many trees in our county that 40% of the town's residents were without electricity due to so many power lines being knocked down by fallen trees.

Oddly enough, on the east side of town, most residents did not realize that a tornado had hit the west side; in east Rome, it was seen as "just a thunder storm". Fortunately, the school were my son attends is on the east side.

At our house, we were without electricity for a day and a half. There was no power outage where I work so I was able to go in.

All in all, I'd say the city of Rome, Georgia, fared rather well....especially compared to Ringold, Ga, in Catoosa county where "there are several homes that are nothing but foundations left” and at least 15 people were killed. Being without electricity is an inconvenience, but we're lucky that's all we experienced....an inconvenience.

The folks in Ringold - and other parts of the South - need our prayers.

Below, I have two videos taken from the Rome News Tribune website.

video

video

Monday, April 25, 2011

Obama and Gitmo.

In June, 2008, during the height of the Presidential campaign, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case Boumediene v. Bush, declaring that the detainees at the U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba have the right of habeas corpus and cannot be detained indefinitely, without being charged.

I noted in a post at the time [What's Wrong with Habeas Corpus?] that my candidate of choice, pro-life Libertarian, Bob Barr, was in agreement with the Supreme Court decision. Barr stated,

"The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the importance of the ancient writ of habeas corpus, one of the bedrock guarantees of American liberty."

The Supreme Court decision came before the 2008 Democratic convention - I can't recalled how then candidate Hillary Clinton reacted to the ruling, but I remember that Barack Obama was in agreement with the majority on the Court.

This is the only time that Obama and I have agreed on anything. His view on Guantanamo was, however, not enough to get my vote. His views on abortion completely eliminate him from any consideration.

After he was elected, I expected him to take action on the detainees.....I actually thought he would close Guantanamo. Now, nearly three years after Boumediene v. Bush, Obama hasn’t fulfilled his promise to close the facility. The Washington Post article linked to above states, "Only a small fraction of detainees can be prosecuted, President Obama has been told. In many cases, court-worthy evidence is lacking."

"Court-worthy evidence is lacking" and we continue to hold the prisoners.

In the cartoon above (snatched from arabamericannews.com) we see Obama opening the door for Human Rights. A more accurate and up to date cartoon would show him closing the door.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Another Republican Presidential Candidate?

Oh, the things we learn from reading the Washington Post.

Had I not come across Post Opinion writer, Dana Milbank's latest piece [Ten Commandments for 2012] I would never have been aware that Roy Moore - AKA the Ten Commandments Judge - recently announced on a Des Moines radio station his intention to form an exploratory committee to look into his chances of becoming POTUS.

For those unfamiliar with Moore, he is known for attempting to defy Alabama and Federal law while Chief Justice of the Alabama State Supreme Court by installing a Ten Commandments "monument" (made from high quality Vermont granite) in the rotunda of the Alabama state judicial building and his failure to remove the "monument" when ordered to do so. He was subsequently removed from office by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary (COJ).

It goes without saying, Dana Milbank has very little love for Moore. Heck, for that matter, I'm not too crazy about him either. I followed his case closely while it was going on in 2003. His home town of Gadsden, Al. isn't far from where I live in Georgia. I don't agree with his notion that the Ten Commandments should be on display on government property and I completely agree with the COJ's decision to impeach him.

On his website -roymoore2012.com- Moore gives his position on several national issues, most of which are standard, conservative Republican positions. His position on the economy and taxation are nearly identical....I don't understand why he bothered to separate the two. Having spent most of his career either as a judge or in private law practice, I can't say that he gives me much confidence in his abilities as an economist.

He appears to be making an attempt at divorcing himself from his fracas with the COJ by his comments on the Constitution, found on his website:

"As a former judge and Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, I know that the Constitution of the United States is the Supreme Law of the Land, and all officials, state and federal, legislative, executive and judicial, are bound thereby. Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances, States Rights, and our Bill of Rights are integral parts of the Constitution, which we must observe. All actions of state and federal officials must conform to the Constitution, and it should only be changed by amendments by the people, not decisions of activist judges. "

As I write this, there have been more than one hundred comments on Milbank's article. It shouldn't surprise anyone that the majority of those comments are anti-Republican/anti-Roy Moore; this is the Washington Post, after all. What does surprise me, somewhat, is the accusation, by some leaving comments, that Moore is a racist. I can't defend Moore on his actions concerning the Ten Commandments, but I haven't seen anything to suggest that he's a racist. In the eyes of some folks, the fact that he's a Republican and from Alabama is enough to tar and feather him with that label.

That's the real tragedy.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Answer to Everything.

According to Washington Post Editorial page editor, Fred Hiatt, On climate change, the GOP is lost in never-never land.

Maybe.

Both sides of this never-never land of global warming climate change debate are occupied with legions of propagandists. It was, however, one of the comments to Hiatt's blog that prompted this post.

From jameschirico we have this:

"400,000 year old Antarctic ices cores give a timeline going through a few ice ages and warming periods. The scientific evidence is clear. Nature has it's adjusting controls, more snowfall on Antarctica and jet stream change from pole to Canada. Those adjustments will take far too long leaving us with reduced krill population in the ocean and the possible true hypothesis of additional continental shifting from the weight redistribution caused by warming. Japan moved 13 feet with the last earthqua... ke."

It was the "continental shifting from the weight redistribution caused by warming" line that caught my interest. One of the problems I have with global warming climate change is that everything we do causes global warming climate change and global warming climate change is the cause of everything in the world.

The argument says that global warming climate change makes massive amounts of ice melt, which in turn, causes pressure on the tectonic plates, which in turn will cause more earthquakes and tsunamis. To this non-scientist, that sounds reasonable enough, but I don't know if the idea is backed up by real scientific evidence.

On the subject of everything being caused by global warming climate change we have A complete list of things caused by global warming where I learned that Freak weather destroys Afghan poppies and Rising carbon dioxide levels lead to higher concentrations of opiates in poppies.

In the first story, we're told that an especially cold winter caused by global warming is thought to have stopped millions of poppy seeds from germinating in Afghanistan, whereby some farmers will lose half their crop.

In the second story , we find out that the current crop of poppies is twice as potent as those grown at carbon dioxide levels seen in 1950.

If projections hold, the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide will increase morphine levels three-fold by 2050 and by 4.5 times by 2090.

If this is to be believed, we'll have fewer poppies which will be more potent than ever.
(the article goes on to say that the increased CO2 levels that make opium poppies more potent, make for lower levels of nicotine in tobacco).

Hum........

As I said, everything we do causes global warming climate change and global warming climate change causes everything that happens to us.

Time for a nap.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hitting the Big Time.

Sometimes, in spite of the evidence from Google Analytics, I wonder if anyone is reading this blog. My posts rarely receive the volume of comments of other blogs I read.

It seems now, however, I may have finally hit the big time, so to speak.

Going over to Creative Minority Report this afternoon, I discovered that Matthew Archbold had been to my blog and utilized a photo from my post, Obama's Lack of Leadership Qualities, putting the photo into his post, 7 Reasons Obama and Easter Bunny Are Frighteningly Similar.

The proof that one of the Archbold brothers would visit my humble blog is as monumental as LarryD discovering that Pope Benedict reads his blog.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Obama's Lack of Leadership Qualities.

Judging by his piece in the Washington Post today [A president without a doctrine] it would appear that Richard Cohen has finally reached the conclusion that many of us came to much earlier. Namely, President Obama is not a leader.

Regarding Obama's "wee war in Libya" - to use Cohen's phrase - he writes, "Libya may now be in for a protracted civil war. Obama botched this one."

Concerning Obama and the Federal budget, Cohen has this:
"The plan is to be announced this week — at last. For some time a bipartisan group of more than 60 senators has been asking Obama a basic question: What’s the plan?"

Many of us looked at Obama's "resume" during the campaign and understood clearly that Obama had no experience leading anything or anyone. He had never been a CEO of a business, he had never been a governor.........heck, he hadn't even been a mayor. He had less executive experience than Sarah Palin.

When he became president, he didn't even show leadership with the healthcare fiasco; he had basically given the Democrats carte blanche and he would sign - and take credit - for whatever the Democratic Congress passed.

Cohen, too, may have seen this during the Presidential campaign had his vision been focused on something that was useful for the country. Instead he, like many others, voted for Obama because of his race. Cohen writes in the same article,
"You could not vote for Obama and not have felt that somehow you had fired a shot in the Civil War or ridden a freedom bus into the Jim Crow South."

Cohen voted for Obama in order to feel good about himself. One would hope that, rather than vote for a candidate because of his skin color, people like Cohen would follow the words of Martin Luther King Jr. :

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Request for an Interview.

For quite some time, I've wanted to interview someone ......anyone.....from the pro-choice camp concerning abortion. I believe it would be in everyone's best interest to understand the pro-choice "logic" as they believe it to be.

In a comment left on my post, Stuck in the Middle, Nathan Wilkinson wrote:

"Third, to your issue specifically on abortion. I rarely deal with social issues on my blog, however I would be more then happy to debate the issue with you."

Unfortunately, Mr. Wilkinson would not submit to an interview.

I decided on another approach in finding someone willing to discuss their support of abortion. Putting "anti-choice" into a search engine, I eventually came upon an interview with Marissa Valeri from Catholics for Choice.

Seeing an opportunity, I sent the following email to Ms. Valeri:

"Ms.Valeri,
I recently came across your interview with Serena at feministsforchoice.com.

As a pro-life Catholic, I found the questions posed to you to be "softball".

Would you consider being interviewed via email concerning the issue of abortion and the idea that one can be Catholic and pro-choice? The questions and your answers will be published on my blog http://sorryalltheclevernamesaretaken.blogspot.com/

Your answers will be unedited and presented accurately with no manipulation. I believe it is in everyone's interest to present both sides of this debate truthfully.

Thank you,
Robert Simms
"

It's too early to tell whether or not this interview will come to pass. I've only just sent off the email and I'm waiting on a reply.
I'll keep everyone up-to-date.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Stuck in the Middle.

Being an incredibly talented writer an extremely popular blogger on some spammer's email list, I recently received an email from one Jill Asher, publisher of Blog Critics, asking me if I'd consider writing articles for their website. Taking a look at the website and samples of the articles there, I don't think an offer from Blog Critters should necessarily be considered a compliment on ones writing ability.

I'm thinking of sending something to them soon, though I hope it doesn't become the disaster my experience with BrooWaha subsequently turned out to be.

Political creature that I am, I wanted to see what passes for politically insightful writing at Blog Critics......I'm not impressed so far. I took a look at an article written by "a political independent thinker who wants the opinions and voice of Middle America to be heard", named Nathan Wilkinson who has a blog he calls The Middle American Voice. Wilkinson believes he writes "independent commentary on news and events from and for Middle America". I'm not quite sure what that is.

I don't want this post to become an ad hominem attack on Mr. Wilkinson, but I have serious problems with his philosophy. Like a proverbial political Buddhist of sorts, he believes that rather than choose between the Right or the Left, we should travel some Middle Way .

From his blog:

This blog is meant for the middle, so who are the middle? The middle is most commonly defined as neither political progressive or conservative. They are politically independent thinkers that are not tied to a political party and ideals. This does not mean they do not share some of those political ideals, but prefer not to be boxed into a certain way of seeing the world. The Left and the Right all have venues of getting there [sic] voice heard. What makes their voice so misleading is often times the Left and Right try to mask their message as a "middle" message. What also happens is that both sides play to the middle, only to go back to their corners after the elections are over. A blog for the middle by the middle, is one of many ways that our middle voice can continued to be heard continuously.

Wrongly classified as independent thinkers, these "middlers" actually expose their inability to come to a decision on the important issues in life. Contrary to what they would have us believe, there is usually no middle ground.

Where is this middle way vis á vis abortion, for example?

The pro life stance on the issue of abortion is quite clear. The fetus is a human being. That this is scientifically provable should be obvious. We -the pro lifers- maintain that abortion is the taking of innocent human life and therefore, immoral. We maintain that no one has the "right" to kill an innocent human being. Period.

The, so-called, pro-choice groups maintain that the woman has the right to abort the fetus with no restrictions or interference from anyone.

What is the precious middle way between these two positions? There is none.

Just as Rush Limbaugh believes that all of his views are Conservative, Mr. Wilkinson likewise believes that any view he may have is in the Middle. Rather than see the middle as politically independent thinking that isn't tied to any political party and ideals, I see the middle for what it is; a lack of any real or consistent philosophy as well as an inability to think logically and coherently.

The choice may be difficult at times, but each of us must choose between the Right and the Left, between the right and the wrong, between the moral and immoral.

"I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth."

Monday, April 4, 2011

Further Thoughts on the Religion of Peace.

I tuned into Boortz' radio program this morning to see if he had anything to say about his pal Herman Cain and his comments on Muslims and Sharia. Instead, Boortz was on a rant about Terry Jones and his recent Qur'an burning.

I don't know........looks like Boortz wants to have it both ways. Boortz and Jones appear to have similar views on Islam; Boortz certainly isn't a fan of the the religion of peace. I'm not quite certain why he thinks Jones is such a jerk (a bit of jealousy on Boortz' side, possibly).

Liberals Progressives and fence sitters Moderates are in an uproar over Cain's statement that, should he become President, he would not appoint a Muslim to his administration. I've often wondered why some people ignore the dangers of Islam. One need only look to the words in the Qur'an to see that the idea that Islam is a religion of Peace is a cruel joke, to say the least. Apologists for Islam ignore news reports concerning the horrors of Sharia . The fact that the Iranian penal code specifies the manner of execution and types of stones that should be used in the stoning of married persons guilty of adultery rarely makes front page news.

"Article 104 states, with reference to the penalty for adultery, that the stones used should "not be large enough to kill the person by one or two strikes; nor should they be so small that they could not be defined as stones". This makes it clear that the purpose of stoning is to inflict pain in a process leading to slow death."

Many liberal Catholics mistakenly believe that they can ignore Catholic teaching and still be Catholic. They disagree with the Church's teaching on contraception and abortion.......pretty much convinced that a "thinking" person doesn't go along with that "extremist stuff". This probably goes a long way to explaining why these same folks ignore the dangers of Islam. They -the cafeteria Catholics- don't take all this seriously, so, they believe, "thinking" "moderate" Muslims don't take the Quran seriously either. Not being able to follow their own religion, the liberal, cafeteria Catholic can't imagine anyone taking Islam to heart.



Authentic Christians (Catholic and Protestants) have no problem understanding that Muslims will follow the tenets of their religion. When you take your own religion to heart, you have no difficulty understanding that there are others who will do the same regarding their religion.

Westerners who don't take seriously the threat of Sharia might do well to read this article from Assyrian International News Agency :14 Old Muslim Girl Raped, Charged With Adultery, and Lashed to Death which has this -

"Never mind that this 14-year old girl was raped. Under Islamic Law or Sharia rape is well-nigh impossible to prove, and the female victim typically is accused of 'fornication,' or 'adultery' and lashed, if not stoned. Despite a 'ban' by ostensibly overriding secular law, Sharia law and its attendant discriminatory abuses of women compounded by barbaric punishments of these victims, persists in Bengladesh".

My Personal Voter's Guide.

As I mentioned in an earlier post [There's One in Every Crowd] my wife and I are part of a small group that comes together on the first Saturday of each month to pray the rosary. After the rosary, we'll (over) eat and eventually, the women will gather in one part of the house - the men in another.

This past Saturday, the group came to our home. The women took over the kitchen with the men in the spare bedroom/family room/computer room. As is often the case, our conversation turned to politics. Because we've been brought together due to our wives having come to this country from Philippines and not from a common outlook on life, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the husbands don't always agree on politics. As luck would have it, this particular Saturday, I found myself out-numbered....the only political Conservative in the group.

It was a lively discussion, with constant interruptions from both sides. With these types of debates, it's practically impossible to get one's point across completely. That's where this blog post comes in. In this post, I hope I can explain how I go about picking the political candidates I do when it comes time to cast my vote.

I take my religious faith seriously. The teachings of the Catholic church are the primary influences in my decision making. I'm not going to try and convince anyone who isn't already Catholic that he or she should convert. That's a conversation for another time. The point is, the closer a candidate, or political party, is to authentic Catholic teaching, then the more likely that person or party will get my support.

As Bishop Charles Chaput points out in his book Render Unto Caesar , neither of the two major American political parties completely aligns with Catholic teachings. Often times, I've had to hold my nose while voting for the lesser of two evils.

My problems with the Republicans, basically, center around the issues of war and security. Although I realize that radical Islam is the greatest problem facing the world today, I have a difficult time supporting the empire building put forth by many Republicans. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have argued that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not acceptable under Catholic understanding of the Just War Doctrine.

Likewise, far too many Republicans excuse the use of torture ( water-boarding) on enemy combatants and/or terrorists. The same goes for the overwhelming support of capital punishment by Republican "pro-lifers".

Unfortunately, the Democratic Party is far and away worse, vis-à-vis Catholic teachings, than the Republicans.

It should go without saying that the Democratic Party's support of abortion, embryonic stem cell research and the Party's love affair with Planned Parenthood, disqualify the Democratic Party from any consideration what-so-ever. Sadly, when other areas of Catholic teaching are considered, the Democrats sink even lower. The Church has spoken out against Socialism since , at least, the days of Pope Leo XIII and Rerum Novarum . Democrats often accuse Republicans of greed, but they should remember that envy is a sin as well.

If these issues aren't enough to turn one away from supporting the Party, the Democratic Party's passion for centralization and bureaucracy characteristic of the Welfare State seriously conflict with the Church's teaching on the principle of subsidiarity.

I could go even further.... I could discuss the history of the Democratic Party concerning it's treatment of Native Americans, the sins of slavery and racial segregation. I believe I've more than proven my point concerning the evils of the Democratic Party.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

SPIEGEL TV's 'Kill Team' Documentary.

I doubt I will gain many friends - from either the Left or Right - by posting a link to this video from Der Spiegel, but it should be viewed, never-the-less.

SPIEGEL TV's 'Kill Team' Documentary.