Monday, January 30, 2017

Valid Criticism or Trump Derangement Syndrome?

Regarding POTUS Donald Trump's statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, it has been noted that the words "Jews" and "anti-Semitism" were left out of the 3 paragraph statement. In addition to the Washington Post article linked to above, Mark Shea implies in his blog that this omission is further proof of Trump's own racism and anti-Semitism.

The complete statement follows below:

"It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.

"Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest.‎ As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent.

"In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world."

While I admit that Trump's omission of the words "Jews" and "anti-Semitism" does appear odd, I look to the first sentence in the statement -
"It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.

The obvious question for Trump's opponents would be, who is Trump talking about when he mentions "the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust" and "the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror"?

If, as his critics maintain, Trump is a racist and anti-Semite, why would he even bother to give a statement regarding the International Holocaust Remembrance Day? The idea that Trump would issue the statement simply because it's expected of him contradicts Trump's normal refusal to do something simply because he is expected to do it.

I suspect that, had Trump's statement had included the words in question, his critics would have claimed that Trump didn't actually write the statement himself.

Look, I am not a Trump supporter, but I suspect that this is mostly another case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Trump Wrong on Torture

As anyone who has read my blog for any length of time should be aware, I did not support either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton during the campaign and I did not vote for either candidate. I've stated on several occasions, that choosing between Clinton or Trump is like choosing either mayo or mustard on your shit sandwich.

That said, I decided, after Trump was elected, that I would give him the benefit of the doubt and support him as POTUS up and until he proposed something which I believe goes beyond the pale, morally speaking.

With this article on Trump's support of torture, it appears that time has arrived. As a Catholic, I cannot support the use of torture under any circumstances. Trump believes torture "works". There may be disagreement on the effectiveness of torture, but that is beside the point. The Church has made it perfectly clear that "there exist acts which per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object" and like homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide, mutilation, physical and mental torture is included among those intrinsically evil acts.

Trump recently took the appropriate step of reinstating the Mexico City Policy which stops U.S. taxpayer funding of the abortion industry overseas. While he deserves praise for that particular Executive Memorandum, his views on torture are unacceptable.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Homeless in Dumaguete

While roaming about Dumaguete this morning, I happened upon this homeless boy sleeping on a sidewalk. This isn't the first time I've come across homeless children in the city, but the first I've posted.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Stuck Truck

My wife and I drove out to the property in Magatas this morning to see how far along the workers had managed to progress in spite of the on again - off again rain we've experienced this week. While we were there, the material provider delivered another load of sand for the concrete. The company had already delivered cement earlier this morning.

As always, I had my camera handy - I could document the delivery for a blog post. The driver managed to get the truck stuck in mud while backing onto the property. In addition to the multiple photos, I was able to video a portion of the incident to upload to Youtube.

There are quite a lot of photos here - more than I normally upload to a blog post, but I decided that, rather than pick out the best ones, I'd post them all so I could retain all the photos without keeping on my pc.

Sibulan Rainbow

This morning, as my wife and I were driving to the property, we came upon a rainbow above the Sibulan skyline. This has to be the widest rainbow I've ever seen.
We drove behind the public market to the pier hoping we could get a better shot. Unfortunately, the rainbow was not visible from that angle and by the time we had driven back to the front of the market, the rainbow had disappeared. It's all a matter of being in the right spot, at the right time.

Friday, January 20, 2017

On Point Car Wash

Since buying our car two years ago, we've been having it cleaned at Cyd's on the National Highway in Maslog, Sibulan. A few weeks back, while having the car washed, I noticed that a new car wash had opened up directly across the street from Cyd's. Although I've been completely satisfied with Cyd's. I thought that I might check out the On Point Carwash one day. After all, competition brings about good service.

After all the rain this past week, the car was in disperate need of washing. Cyd's was packed - five cars ahead of me - so this seemed like a good time to try out On Point.

The quality of the car wash (inside and out) is equal to Cyd's at exactly the same price. With On Point, I didn't have all those cars ahead of me, so I feel like I made a good choice. While getting my car washed, I couldn't help but notice one of the car washers at Cyd's giving me a "look" for doing business at the new place. I had to smile.

While my car was being washed, I talked with the owner of On Point. He's an older Filipino, originally from Sibulan, who has been working in Miami, Florida as a chef, for the past 16 years.

The owner, George, put on a musical CD, On the Border by the Eagles. I hadn't heard that music in ages and it was nice hearing it again. George is an old fart, like me, and I guess we grew up listening to the same music.

As I said, I've had no problems with Cyd's. Since both car washes do equally well at the same price, I'll go back to whichever one is easier to get in and out of when I need the car washed again.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


As Thomas' Fat Controller might say, rain has caused "confusion and delay" in regards to the work on the foundation of the house.

In the first photo, we see workers removing rain water from the foundation trench. I felt sorry for them - considering that more rain was expected the following day. Thankfully, they were able to add hollow blocks to the area where they had worked so hard removing water, before the rain returned.

Two Mondays back, we were expecting a typhoon in the area. We received quite a lot of rain that day, but no typhoon. It's rained pretty much every day since then. This past Monday, the rain was so hard that parts of the province were flooded and the rivers were abnormally high. Unfortunately, it's expected to rain for several more days. The workers could only work 1 1/2 days this week. Let's hope they can return full time very soon.

Dumaguete's New McDonald's

Over the past few weeks, I've seen advertising banners attached to light poles, announcing a new McDonald's opening soon in Dumaguete. According to the banners, the Mickey D's will be located in Dumaguete Business Park. I had no idea where the business park was located, but most of the banners that I saw where located not far from Dumaguete's new mall (which hasn't opened yet) so I made the erroneous assumption that the McDonald's would be located inside the mall.

This week, I was disabused of that notion, when I passed the construction site of the fast food joint. It will actually be located within walking distance of the Ceres Bus Terminal on Calindagan Road.

The Book List Turns to WWI

Having finished reading The Adventures of Elizabeth in Rügen, I've begun reading the first of the top selling books of 1917, Mr. Britling Sees It Through, by H. G. Wells. It was one book in particular which lead me to the decision to read the 1917 best sellers - Christine by Alice Cholmondeley. Alice Cholmondeley was a pen name used by Elizabeth von Arnim.

The last five books I've read were written by von Arnim, and it was my plan, originally, to read Christine first. However, after The Adventures of Elizabeth in Rügen, I changed my mind. That book did not impress me as much as the other four von Arnim books and I decided to take a short break from her.

Mr. Britling Sees It Through begins just prior to World War I. There are references to the Irish War of Independence which escape me, but overall, the book is enjoyable.

Following H. G. Wells, The Light in the Clearing by Irving Bacheller is next on the list.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Wyoming Seeks Ban on Wind and Solar Energy

The fact that discussion on climate change is oriented more toward politics and less toward science disturbs me a great deal. While I agree with Pope Francis that destroying the planet is a sin, the political climate today makes an understanding of the planet's climate difficult, if not impossible. On one side of the argument, we have people who proclaim that every weather event - extreme heat, extreme cold, heavy rain, drought conditions - is proof that man is destroying the Earth, while on the other side, we have folks who are willing to deny any problem what so ever.

It doesn't help us understand the true situation, when we hear stories of one state legislature attempting to ban the use of solar or wind energy to produce electricity in their state. According to more than one source, lawmakers in Wyoming have introduced a bill that would forbid utilities from providing any electricity to the state that comes from large-scale wind or solar energy projects by 2019.

Of course, with the prevalence of 'fake news' today, I had to track down the story to see if there was any truth behind it. I've read SENATE FILE NO. SF0071 and the reports I've read appear to be true.

I understand the need for law makers to be skeptical; look honestly into the science behind the issue, and make the most educated accessment. However, I cannot for the life of me understand why any law maker would want to ban wind or solar energy projects. What sort of head up your butt logic is behind this?

Even if the claims of certain enviornmentalists are exaggerated - or even outright lies - why would anyone consider banning alternate energy sources. If you want to provide evidence to the climate change folks that you're in the pocket of Big Oil (or Big Coal) you've certainly done that.

Mark Shea Cracks Me Up

Mark Shea cracks me up.

No, really - he does.

Anyone who has read anything written by Shea lately knows that Shea despises Donald Trump. That's fine; I'm hardly a big Trump fan myself, but Shea's attacks on Trump verge on Trump Derangement Syndrome. He should, at least wait until after the inauguration and Trump has actually done something as POTUS.

What really has me laughing at Mr Shea, is his recent post, The Dear Leader revokes WaPo’s press credentials, where he posts an eight month old link, from the Washington Post telling how candidate Trump pulled The Washington Post’s credentials to cover his campaign events. Shea writes;

"Any time any media says anything the Vandal Chieftain and his horde don’t like, they will scream 'fake news' and their gullible base of willing suckers will chant it in unison. This is not a demographic that thinks. It’s a demographic that takes marching orders. And when they have command of the guns, I think it’s quite possible their Dear Leader will see if he can get away with jailing people who criticize him as well as shutting down critical media. And his base–in the name of Freedom and America and Patriotism and Unity–will *love* that if it happens. They long to crush free speech now just as much as Safe Spacers on the academic Left do, for they have become the enemy they hate. He is an authoritarian and his followers are enemies of liberty and hungry for power and punishment of what the Dear Leader calls his 'enemies': namely half of the American people".

Shea calls Trump "authoritarian" for shutting down critical media, yet Shea himself will ban folks from commenting on his blog at the slightest provocation. I've been banned from commenting at Shea's blog on more than one occasion for disagreeing with Shea. The thought of Mark Shea calling anyone "authoritarian" has me rolling on the floor, laughing uncontrollably.

It does my heart good to see Shea switch to writing comedy.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Second Monkey

A couple of Tuesday's ago, while out on our morning walk, my neighbor and I took a detour down a road we don't travel frequently. It was during that Tuesday's excursion that we had come upon a monkey being kept as a pet by a Filipino. As I mentioned at the time, I wanted a photo of the monkey, but I was reluctant to walk onto a stranger's property in order to photograph the monkey up close. Sadly, because of that reluctance, the resulting photos were not of the highest quality.

As usual, we went walking this morning - this time toward the market in the Poblacion area of the town. My neighbor has been a bit under the weather and wasn't up to as long a walk as I'd like, so when we arrived back at the apartment complex, I decided to continue on.

I found myself walking in the direction of the house where I had previously seen the monkey. I was determined, this time, to walk onto the property and get close up photos. After all, as they say, it's better to ask forgiveness than permission. I'd simply walk up to the monkey's cage and if the property owner objected, I'd apologize and move on.

As it turned out, no one objected. I was taking up close photos when I saw a second, smaller monkey in a tree some distance from the older, caged monkey. This, obviously younger monkey jumped from the tree and ran to the area where the adult monkey is caged.  This time, I was able to snap photos of both monkeys.