Friday, September 30, 2005
Christian nation? Secular government
Which is it ER - are we a Christian nation, or must we have complete separation of church and state? I don't see how the two are compatible.
It's the Right who claims this is a Christian nation, for the most part.
It's the Left, but not just the Left, who insists on separation of church and state.
Besides that, yer smarter than that. "Nation" is one thing, "government" -- that, is, "state" -- is another. ...
Says Mark Maness:
If this is not a Christian nation, Then what kind of nation is it?
No, of course you aren't saying that, but Jesus said "He who is not with me is against me."
If it isn't a Christian nation then it is an atheist nation, no matter what you want to call it.
That makes for an intersting discussion. As a student of history, how often do you actually divorce 'government' from 'nation' in historical context? Not often. The reasons for this are simple - the easiest way to examine a society (or nation) is to look at the sum of its parts - the laws it passes, foreign relations, wars fought, etc. From a macroscopic viewpoint, the nation and the government (or state, if you wish) are one in the same. Seldom do we pay much attention on a microscopic scale - and even then, it can still be very difficult to separtate the government from the people that it rules.
For instance, when we speak of Nazi Germany, we do not consider the average citizens. We think of their government - Hitler, Goerbles, Eichman, etc. We consider their laws, the internment and destruction of the Jews, Slavs, and other 'enemies of the state'. For that time period, very seldom do people disassociate Nazi from German.
The same thing goes on today. We consider England as an extension of Blair and his parliament, France an extension of Chirac. When we think of Russia, we think of a former communist giant.
Usually one only divorces government from nation when said nation is in a flux, or when said government is dysfunctional. Current examples could be Iraq or Darfur. Another time they may be disassociated would be when propaganda is geared up such as in Cuba - the citizens of Cuba are never painted with the same brush as the government led by Castro.
Another way to look at it would be to consider for whom the actions of a government have an affect. If the nation of Iran becomes a nuclear player, all of Iran would be affected by the decision of the government. The entire country would be under the protection of the nuclear umbrella. On the flip side, if a country didn't want Iran to become nuclear, the entire country would be fair game in a conflict. Once again, the nation and the government are joined at the hip. Separation of the two is a tricky concept. History would simply record that the nation of Iran became nuclear, making no note of the government's role. That role is just assumed.
Mark, have another cup of coffee, OK?
This is a multicultural nation, with a majority of Christian people (by name), with a secular government.
This is no more an atheist nation than a Christian one. (If it were a Christian nation, we should change the name to Laodicea).
Weigh in, y'all.
WARNING: Assanons will be "shot" on sight.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
This post is for him or her -- and anybody else to let loose.
Y'all knock yourselves out. I've had it today with the pukes who can't play fair.
It's open season on anything. Bring it on.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
What always surprises me is the low level this "Christian" organization goes to promote what really is a secular right-wing agenda.
It takes facts out of context, it breathlessly presents ancient history as new news, and it twists and spins and obfuscates or hyperbolizes -- whatever works, like every other worldly interest group.
The ACLU had Communist connections at its inception. Duh. The whole point of the ACLU was, and is, to protect unpopular speech. It has protected righties as well as lefties over the years.
This book, hawked today by Focus on the Family, preaches to the right-wing choir.
This Wikipedia article article give a more balanced look at the ACLU.
Here, the ACLU speaks for itself.
Sweet, unsweet, WWJLD?
Dr. ER stirs!
With something light: The Charleston Bell Twins.
And something not: A Rose By Any Other Name.
And something spacey: Gulf Coast: The Final Frontier.
(Feel free to ignore the next post below these three where she calls me a cow.)
Dale Dribble indicted!
Thank God for Ronnie Earle.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Dale Dribble and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, an indictment that could force him to step down as House majority leader.
Dribble attorney Steve Brittain said DeLay was accused of a criminal conspiracy along with two associates, the former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by Dribble, and the head of Dribble's national political committee.
The indictment against the second-ranking, and most assertive Republican leader came on the final day of the grand jury's term. It followed earlier indictments of a state political action committee founded by Dribble and three of his political associates.
The grand jury action is expected to have immediate consequences in the House, where Dribble is largely responsible for winning passage of the Republican legislative program. House Republican Party rules require leaders who are indicted to temporarily step aside from their leadership posts.
It would be up to the rank and file to select an interim replacement. Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., could make a recommendation, whether choosing to elevate another member of the leadership or tapping an alternative to reduce the possibility of a struggle if Dribble were cleared and then sought to reclaim his post.
Lawyers with knowledge of the case said the Dribble defense team was concerned that the Travis County grand jury might consider counts of conspiracy to violate the state election code.
Their concern was triggered when similar charges were handed down two weeks ago in an expanded indictment against two Dribble political associates. The associates were accused of conspiring to violate the state election code by using corporate donations for illegal purposes.
A real story about "Hot Tub Tom" DeLay.
NASCAR drivers' strike, 1969
Here's an account by Tom Higgins, longtime motorsports writer for the Charlotte Observer.
It's from his new blog, Tom Higgins' Scuffs.
Talladega! Sunday! Somethin' extraordinarily cool to look forward to this weekend.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Everyone screwed up in N.O.
Newspaper standards are dropping in an effort to keep up.
Blogs have taken some credit for outing stories ignored by the MSM. They get part of the blame for stoking untruth and inaccuracy.
In this case, as the following story points out, Katrina whipped to shreds the entire thin veneer that holds government officials and the media and readers-viewers together in an effort to find the truth.
We all should be ashamed. We all do have a dog in this hunt.
Thanks to former regular commenter Nick Toper for the following. He has wisely chosen to remain scarce lately to avoid unfair personal attacks by the anonymi. (I'm stuck with 'em.)
By Susannah Rosenblatt
and James Rainey
L.A. Times Staff Writers
Katrina Takes a Toll on Truth, News Accuracy
Rumors supplanted accurate information and media magnified the problem. Rapes, violence and estimates of the dead were wrong.
Read all about it.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Posse Comitatus Act
Houston Chronicle (c)
BATON ROUGE - President Bush indicated Sunday that he may ask Congress to put the Pentagon in charge of the response to domestic disasters such as the two recent hurricanes — a change that could take authority from the hands of governors and local officials.
Read all about it.
God. Help. Us.
The left should freak out because it's the Defense Department. The right should freak out because it's the federal government being considered for constitutionally and traditionally state and local responsbilities.
And any Son of the South who has an ol' Rebel anywhere in his family tree should freak out on general purposes.
And we all should all review the following, and the spirit behind it.
I DON'T WANT U.S. SOLDIERS EVEN DIRECTING TRAFFIC AROUND A DOWNED POWER LINE OR TREE LIMB AFTER A STORM -- and neither should y'all. The DOD WILL take a mile.
And most importantly, them boys and girls are taught to kill first and ask questions later, which is fine in a war zone -- and scarier than hell in a storm zone.
The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States Federal Law (18 U.S.C. § 1385) passed in 1878 after the end of Reconstruction, and was intended to prohibit Federal troops from supervising elections in former Confederate states. It generally prohibits Federal military personnel and units of the United States National Guard under Federal authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States, except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or the Congress. Coupled with the Insurrection Act, the powers of the Federal government to use the US military for law enforcement are limited.
Read all about it.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Bird's Yankee beau
Not did he have even the hint of faux bravado, or whatever it is, that some boys, and men, put up to make up for fear and nervousness.
He seemed quietly, easily self-confident, is all.
He's studying aviation, and has 10 hours of flying time. Makes sense.
And Bird looks at him in a way I never saw her look at her previous b-friends:
"Looky here what I found!" she seems to be thinking. "What a nice guy."
And, damned if he doesn't favor Dale Earnhardt Jr. from the side. Bird L-O-V-E-S Junior.
Good for the them both! And they met on-line, just like Dr. ER and I did, in a structured, not wide-open, circumstance, just like Dr. ER and I did. How cool.
Sadly, bad timing on my part caused the boy to get only a few bites of the "ER Special" steaks I fixed up for him and Bird and a friend of mine who came over for supper. They had to leave for the concert before either of them could do more than wolf down some salad and their baked taters and just a bite or three of steak.
My bad! They were the some of the best steaks I have ever grilled! Sigh.
One of the things Bird and Yankee Beau share in common is a sharp wit and love of sarcastic remarks. He was wise enough to keep such down, maybe because Bird knows I have a low tolerance for such, coming from her.
Closest he came to it was this, which I thought was funny, not biting sarcasm (Bird, see, still hasn't quite learned the difference in being witty and being overly sarcastic to the point of cutting people a new one when she really doesn't mean to):
Before cooking, when cleaning the table attached to my trusty Weber kettle grill, I was about four squirts into it before I realized I was spraying equine fly spray (procured for the dogs awhile back when flies were tearin' up their ears) instead of the anti-e.coli cleaner. I caught myself, and cleaned and disinfected, but then came in an announced my mistake "in the spirit of full disclosure."
They had a good laugh about it and Bird gave me a little s--- for the goof. As I was walkin' back outside I heard Yankee Beau stage whisper: "These steaks are extra tangy!"
Overnight, Yankee Beau slept in Bird's room and Bird took the couch for some reason. Bird has a life-size cut-out of Earnhardt Jr. in her room, standin' in a corner. When she went in to wake Yankee Beau up, he said, "Your boyfriend stared at me all night!" Mirth and laughter ensued.
There was one poignant monent, for me.
Since Bird was a little Baby Bird, she has always brought ME bottles and jars to open, when her little Bird hands couldn't do the job. Yesterday, she brought the Coke bottle to HIM to open.
:-) Made me smile -- and feel the crinkles around my eyes.
Bird has found her a man.
And now they're already back in Stillwater.
I got up and felt driven again to go to the crazy-lefty church I've been attendin' since Katrina and the aftermath, and now Rita, reminded me of why Jesus is a liberal, I am a Democrat and I HAVE to, at the very, very least, SHOW UP for church.
So, I missed out on an hour or two with my beloved Bird, and gettin' to know Yankee Beau a little more.
But it was worth it. I missed last Sunday. You don't experience koinonia by readin' and meditatin' alone. You have to get up, and show up.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Wooooo pig! SOOUIEEEE!
Woo hoo, with my beloved Oklahoma State Cowboys off today, and the ou sooners off today, too, there's nothin' to distract me from concentratin' on my second favorite college football team:
Playing 'Bama, in Tuscaloosa:
By THOMAS MURPHY
Mobile Register Sports Reporter
TUSCALOOSA -- Motivation for Arkansas-Alabama today is a multi-layered stew, brimming with retribution, redemption and respect.
Read all about it, if you wish.
If not for havin' to pay higher, out-of-state tuition, I'da headed up to Fayetteville for my extry book learnin' instead of to Stillwater.
Woulda helped if there'da been a good road between home and Fayetteville. I reckon I mighta commuted, at least at first.
But there wadn't one in the mid-1980s -- just an unimproved U.S. Highway 71, with a big sign up at one point that had removable numbers:
"(19) people have died at this spot since (date)."
Sigh. I grew up in the Ozarkian hills of eastern Oklahoma, closer, as the crow flies, to the University of Arkansas than to OSU, which seemed -- and was, and is -- way the hell out on the western prairie compared to my home stompin' grounds.
I do loves my Cowboys. But I do wonder what mighta been ... I'da made a great Razorback undergrad -- and if the planets every get all lined out just right, I've got this crazy, CRAZY fantasy about one day bein' a Razorback doctoral student.
Erudited rednecks can dream, cain't they?
Woo pig! Sooooieee! Arkansas! Razorbacks!
Whup the Tide!
Friday, September 23, 2005
Variation on a meme theme
1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Post your sentence in the comments here.
And here it is: "Sliced dill pickles, cucumbers soaked in vinegar or green tomato relish is a must."
Here the link to my post, "Fried chicken and watermelon," from Aug. 22, 2004.
Unintended radio silence
Not really. I'm busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kickin' contest today!
More anon! Maybe!
Hi-ho, Silver, I'm off again!
Thursday, September 22, 2005
My right-wing bloggy buddy TugboatCapn poses some questions and demands some information and accountability regarding who knew what, when, how and why regarding the Saudi attackers of 9/11.
I join him in setting aside politics, for purposes of this subject.
No doubt, evil lurks at the highest, shadiest levels of government. No doubt. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And nothing is more powerful in a supposedly free society than a secret government anything.
Aside: I am privy to a multimillion-dollar business deal about to go down. It involves at least moderate risk to the investors. It involves public resources and local government, which is supposed to be pretty transarent regarding such deals.
The fact is, despite laws requiring the posting of agendas, open meetings and such, despite mechanisms that are supposed to allow open discussion and public debate, this deal is going on in a couple of boardrooms out of the public light. It will be handed to elected leaders, who will approve it, I am positive.
And they should. It's a good deal. The people involved are good people. But it could not happen at all if the strict letter of the law were followed at every step of the way. It's a multilayered, complicated deal.
Things like that happen at all levels of government, all the time, for good reason, for the common good.
What Tugboat is writing about is a complicated deal, too, but it has a sinister air about it.
Here's his point:
The story, according to Fox news is that the Army's special intel project known as Able-Danger identified four of the nineteen hijackers, as well as Mohammad Atta more than a year before 9/11, and when they tried to report their findings, they were not only ignored, but threatened and told to stand down by their superiors.
Read it all here.
While I'm on the subject of conspiracy, check this out, a site that purports to debunk a story going around for four years now that it wasn't really a passenger jet that hit the Pentagon on 9/11.
Check it out here.
This is a particularly hard-to-resist story. I flirted with it myself, based on an extremely well-put-together flash video, complete with haunting music.
Check it out here.
Finally, there's this:
A handbook that offers advice to bloggers who want to protect themselves from recrimination and censors has been released by Reporters Without Borders.
Here's a story on it, from BBC. I acknowledge that I know nothing about Reporters without Borders. (Based in Paris. Multilingual. Click on "Enter.")
All kinds of red meat above. Enjoy.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Baby Bird poses dilemmas
Baby Bird -- note use of her full former, pre-college nickname -- is bringin' home a suitor this weekend. It'll be just me and them, since Dr. ER is gallivantin' off to Charleston, then Vegas, on bidness (or so she says).
She's 19; he is a hairy-legged young man of 21, hence she suddenly is Baby Bird again, not just Bird!
"So, like, (boyfriend) and me are gonna, like, come in on Saturday and stuff and go to (a local concert) and go back on Sunday probably," Baby Bird allowed yesterday on the phone from Oklahoma State.
"Oh? OK. And where are you going to deposit the boy?"
"On the futon, I guess, or the couch," she said.
"OK. Y'all goin' to be able to keep your clothes on and all?"
"YES! WE'LL BE ABLE TO KEEP OUR CLOTHES ON!" Baby Bird said laughingly and plainly, suggesting that she had an audience, perhaps the beau hisself, which means she and somebody prolly had a grand hoohaw over my concerns.
Oh, he is a certifiable Yankee, by the way. From Massachusetts. And he has one Big Thing goin' for him, as far as Baby Bird, as well as the rest of the ER household, is concerned.
The boy's a Democrat.
Of course, he's prolly a screamin' lefty -- and neither Dr. ER nor I are that, despite recent rants in this space.
I'm just gearin' up for the '06 elections, since Katrina has handed us something we Dems can rally around: Not the failures of the Bush administration per se, but the immorality of an unfettered free-market approach to ANYTHING.
But, fact is, ol' ER would rather his Baby Bird hook up with a screamin' lefty as a righty Repub of any description.
However, the weekend's plans do come with some conundra:
Numero uno: The way Baby Bird's beaus have traditionally been welcomed to the ER fam is with an inch-plus-thick "ER Special" steak. Either grilled or pan-fried -- and I can flat pan-fry a mean steak, ah tell you what. Thyme. Lowry's. Fresh-cracked black pepper. Garlic powder. Butter right before you take 'em up.
Dilemma: Do I fix ribeyes or T-bones?
Numero two-o: The boy will be sacked out on either the futon next to the sun room or the couch in the front room.
Dilemma: Do I deposit him -- and chain him, with Ice-T, the Attack Cat with Street Cred, at the ready -- to the futon, where he has a great view of Dr. ER's photo of the monument to Stonewall Jackson taken at the Manassas battlefield in Virginia? Or should he go on the couch, where he can admire a nicely framed print of the Battle of Pea Ridge (Arkansas), and if he raises up, he can get a glimpse of the Confederate battle flag down the hall tacked to the roof of my office?
Just a plain dilemma. When Baby Bird and this hairy-legged Yankee boy come traipsin' into the house Saturday afternoon, should I be sittin' there cleanin' my trusty Mossberg 12-gauge?
Or my Winchester 30-30?
Questions, questions ...
Meet the Newshounds
Check out the Hounds.
Grand Old (Spending) Party
Here's another reason the current occupant of the White House is a travesty, to the country and his own party.
By Stephen Slivinski
The Cato Institute
President Bush has presided over the largest overall increase in inflation-adjusted federal spending since Lyndon B. Johnson. Even after excluding spending on defense and homeland security, Bush is still the biggest-spending president in 30 years. His 2006 budget doesn’t cut enough spending to change his place in history, either.
Read all about it.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
On Dubya's liberry
To wear your lack of awareness of current events on your sleeve is one thing if you're a frat boy skirting by on the work of others. If you're the president of the United States, it's another. But I repeat myself.
By John Kelso
Friday, September 16, 2005
I'm having a little trouble with the concept of putting George W. Bush's presidential library in hippie dippie Austin.
For one thing, will this library have actual books in it? And if so, why? Why in God's name would a George W. Bush library contain reading material? This is too much irony even for me. Who's going to read to him? He doesn't like reading, so you know he's not going to read this stuff himself.
Read all about it.
Monday, September 19, 2005
'President' Bush is shameless
This is one:
The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., has obtained a copy of an internal e-mail the U.S. Department of Justice sent out this week to various U.S. attorneys' offices. Reporter Jerry Mitchell’s conclusion: “Federal officials appear to be seeking proof to blame the flood of New Orleans on environmental groups, documents show.”
Read all about it.
Long live a free press.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Meet Ice-T (Sweet Tea, Catmeat)
It only took a minute to see the light. Ehh! Here, I look admiringly at the picture, which shows the graves of Mr. and Mrs. E.W. Floyd at Akins, Okla. E.W. was sheriff of Sequoyah County for years and years, until 1970 or so. He was a brother of Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd, who is still regarded as something of a hillbilly hero of the common man -- and the common cat -- in rural eastern Oklahoma. Ehh!
Here, I look adoringly at ER, my chief of staff.
What was that? Ehh! Ehh!
Yep, I was an urban street cat with urban street cred until I adopted the ER household. This is me posin' next to a mandolin that ER plans to learn to play someday. (It was ER who taught me drop me to drop my G's, too.)
Smitten by a kitten
By The Erudite Redneck
I've always been a dog man. Hound dogs, farm dogs, stray dogs, little dogs, big dogs, huntin' dogs, herdin' dogs -- even alleged dogs like poodles and chihuahuas.
All dogs all the time.
Cats had one purpose on the farm when I was growin' up: to maintain a balance of power with the rats in our big hay barn. They were all about the same size. The trick was just makin' sure there were about as many cats in there as rats, if not a few more.
Country cats are mousers and -- well, ratters, that's all. And city cats!?! A waste of fur and meat.
Girlfriend of mine in college had the scariest cat I've ever known. Just seemed to have been from another planet. A space alien. Or a demonic manifestation. Those were the kindest things I had to say about it -- and it was an "it," too, not a "he" or a "she."
Which is why no one is more surpised than me that a cat has taken up residence inside the ER household -- INSIDE the joint, not just hangin' out on the porch.
In early summer, "God gave us a cat," Bird (19-year-old redheaded redneck stepchild) observed, walkin' in the house with a scrawny, bug-eyed, fleabitten varmint with a gash in a shoulder. The critterlet was small enough to stretch out on a potholder.
She "found" him -- note use of pronoun -- in front of the house makin' a noise like a tiny reptile or something. Not a mew. Not a meow. Not a rowr. Something like "ehh!" "Ehh!"
So many dollars later, the critterling was gettin' meds, attachin' himself to our bleeding hearts -- but to MINE, harrumph! -- and livin' on a potholder in Bird's bathroom.
Bird and DR named him Ice-T because, as they said, "he's black and he's got street cred."
Weeks go by. Kitten grows, but not much. We think he got pulled off his mama too quick and got stunted. And to this day he can't meow. Just that "ehh!" sound. "Ehh!"
Over the summer, I rescued him off the roof twice, got him out of a tree, and a couple of times sternly pried him from the grasp of a little girl across the street who wanted to claim him for her own, feedin' him and playin' with him and such while Dr. ER and I were at work during the day.
Then, one day last week, headin' to work, I knocked on the hood of my pickup as usual to spook Ice-T -- also known as Sweet Tea when he is particularly purry and Catmeat when he is bein' a jerk -- so I didn't fan him to death when I started the truck.
Dr. ER and I both have sad personal experience with what happens to a kitty-cat caught unawares under the hood of a vehicle when it is bein' started. Bird taped a note to the inside of the front door of the house, in fact, signed by Ice-T, to remind me to bang on the truck every day to make sure the critterling didn't get fileted.
But Ice-T wasn't under the truck. And I stomped around the yard fussing, wonderin' where Catmeat could've gotten off to -- then I started worrying about Sweet Tea.
I had to go on to work. After the kitty showed hisself, Dr. ER, havin' seen how distraught the unexplained absence of the kitty had made me, rushed to the store and laid out $95 for a fancy litter box and some other stuff and moved the danged cat indoors.
Riker, my stepdog, is appalled. Bailey, the redneck wienie dog, is clueless, as usual. Dr. ER finds herself havin' to rassle the kitty away from the heatin' pad she uses on her back a lot in the front room.
But I don't mind the presence of His Highness, Prince Ice-T, Esq., a bit. I have been smitten by a kitten.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
'I will cry tomorrow'
By Dr. Erudite Redhead
My former boss is nearing the end of his days...an end brought on by a brain tumor -- a glioblastoma -- that was diagnosed only nine months after he retired.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Wish us luck! In seeing 'em, and in stayin' awake!
From Sky & Telescope
(Sept. 15, 2005) -- No major auroral display was seen last night, even though a coronal mass ejection from a solar flare on Sept. 13 swept past Earth on schedule. Keep watch in the coming nights.
During the last week, a large, intensely active sunspot complex known as Region 10808 (or 808 for short) has exploded with nine X-class flares and many smaller M-class flares. These have altered the near-Earth environment, disrupted radio communications, and caused beautiful auroras across much of North America on the morning of Sept. 11.
Also, from Physorg.com:
The aurora borealis has been seen in the United States as far south as Arizona.
Rerun: Sept. 15, 2001 (a day late)
(Four years ago yesterday), when I woke up -- four full days after the Sept. 11 attacks, after an adventure I could never have dreamed up -- finally in my own bed, in my own home, in my own house, one thing was still out of place:
Read all about it.
As I told her over at her place, I like her. She's smart as whip, usually thinks before she posts or comments and seems honest about it when she's torn -- by events, her own thoughts, others' good arguments.
It IS hard sometimes when all sides of a good rhubarb make good points. Around here, Rebel Angel has handled herself, and others, with aplomb. I reckon she'll do right fine over at her own place.
She knows how to cut up and carry' on some, too. And she knows when not to.
First rattle out of the chute, she's gone and took on the federal judge out in California who is lettin' a certifiable atheist gun for the Pledge of Allegiance. Small loss, if you ask me, but a loss. A couple of words that either really mean something -- as a prayer, which means maybe they ought not be in the pledge -- or don't, as a common cultural expression, so what does it matter? But that's me -- and this is about Rebel Angel, and she has her own ideas on the subject.
She is a grade-A sweetie-pie -- and I get the idea she knows how to kick ass and take names when the occasion warrants.
For what it's worth: Rebel Angel comes with the Erudite Seal of Redneck Approval. Go visit and tell her that ER sent ya.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Question for all y'all
Sometimes, we all get to cuttin' up, too -- and almost anything goes there, too.
However, lately a few anonymi have been comin' in and causin' trouble. They violate the tone if not the general direction of serious debate and discussion -- and that's sayin' something considering how wide-ranging the threads can become. See "Jesus is a liberal. Discuss," for example.
And when we're just cuttin' up and carryin' on, the anonymi inevitably come in and start leavin' sophomoric remarks, not meant to provoke thought but to get a reaction, stupid stuff, just trying to disrupt the goings-on, or trying to draw attention to themselves just for the sake of drawing attention to themselves.
It reminds me of a party where a bunch of serious upperclassmen in college are drinkin' beer and discussin' life, the universe and everything, and some freshman comes in not knowing jack -- and not knowing that he doesn't know jack -- and interjecting himself into discourse he has no business involving himself in.
It's not a question of intelligence, knowledge or information, I don't think. Just blog maturity and protocol and experience.
The question: Do I start using the delete key more often or do I just ignore the jerks?
I do NOT have a problem with the anonymity, since most of us are anonymous here. My problem is with the immaturity and the trash talking.
To the anonymi: If you think you are who I'm talking about, you're probably right. If all you want to do is treat this place like a hecklers convention, go away.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Maybe faith is just a fairytale to you. Or something from dull history. Or questionable philosophy. Or a murky lesson from a big musty black book.
Maybe it’s something you never wanted to hear to begin with and that you’d just as soon forget.
Maybe you think it’s just a myth used by bad people to trick gullible people. Or it’s just a waste of time. Maybe it’s something that makes you mad and you’re not sure why. Or it makes you sad because you had it once, before you forgot it, before you got so smart.
Maybe you’re offended to even see it mentioned in a public place. Maybe, as far as you think about it, it all makes sense. But you don’t think about it that much. You just go and listen, put some money in the plate, sing a song and go home. Or maybe you just stay home.
It’s easy, with all those maybes.
Or, perhaps you believe, simply and quietly and genuinely. And you’ve been blessed with a great measure of peace about it all. Be glad.
For others it’s hard.
When Jesus and the devil are as real to you as your brothers and sisters, and they both live in your house, wake up with you, go with you to school or work, follow you around during the day, sit at the dinner table with you, hang out with you in front of the TV in the evening, watch you as you drift off to sleep at night, one constantly beckoning you to do good, the other constantly tempting you to do bad, when the stories in the Bible are messages carried by the very breath of God himself sent through specially chosen messengers and meant for you personally, when you go to church and you love the people in it and you BELIEVE and you’re strong singing hymns on Sunday morning but you were a weakling raising hell on Saturday night, when your prayers have to blast past the demons teasing your mind and racing your heart and you’re saved and you know it but in the dark hours of the night you start to wonder, when you feel an otherworldly presence in a breeze from nowhere that touches the curtains in the front room ever so slightly or rattles the screen on the back door, when you don’t know whether the spirits are there for you or against you because you see through a glass darkly, when you’re tortured in your soul yet still praising God, then it’s terribly easy to be walking with Jesus one minute and dancing with the devil the next.
Amen. Or, oh hell. Jesus is a first cousin, the devil is a cousin once removed – but you’re all still kin. And you’re all close.
Salvation is something that started when you first saw the light and it’s still under way and will be ‘til you draw your last breath and it’s complete, not just “fire insurance,” not something that happened one time that you think about on Christmas or Easter and once in awhile in between: Heaven and hell are constantly before you. And in some ways it’s hard but in another way it’s the easiest thing in the world.
It’s your self, or his, day after day, sometimes hour to hour, and when things are really rough it’s minute by minute. Redemption is painful.
Then you’ll get it when Alan Jackson sings: “The gates of hell swing open wide, inviting me to step inside. ‘I’ll be your friend,’ he calls again. I know it’s him. The flames are spreading everywhere, but through the smoke I see her there. She’s all I see between the devil and me.”
And you’ll feel it in your heart, and it’ll hurt, when you hear that his 17-year marriage is on the rocks.
You’ll get it when actor Robert Duvall, as Euliss “Sonny” Dewey, a country preacher called from on high but still stuck down below, with his own marriage wrecked because of his own sins, angrily shakes his fist in God’s face and in bitter anguish cries out for help. And a little bit later he reaches for a bottle.
In the movie “The Apostle,” Sonny is upsetting his neighbors late at night with his hollering and carrying on, alone in his room – but then you know he’s not really alone. He’s not talking to himself. He’s praying out loud – a true tortured soul. And to anybody who’s ever been there, or even close, it’s as real as it gets.
If God is a “concept,” Jesus was just a man and the devil is a bad joke, life’s probably a lot easier, truth be told, but you won’t get Alan Jackson’s song, or Robert Duvall’s movie, at all.
And you won’t smile inside when you see “Jesus Saves” on a hand-scrawled sign stuck up along the highway – and when you realize there are signs like that all over the South, where Jesus needs the least PR to begin with since there’s a church at almost every crossroads. You’ll scoff.
You won’t be kind when some kids from a neighborhood church stop by to see if there are any kids on your place to be invited to Vacation Bible School. You’ll be gruff.
You won’t cringe when another preacher or priest gets in trouble. You’ll laugh.
You won’t pray for the president and the country, then curse, then pray again.
You’ll just curse.
ER Note: This is a little dated, but I've been through this kind of ringer again -- again! again! -- lately, and another president needs prayer, whether I agree with his dang policies or not.
'Kids being home-churched'
I've never understood the attacks on public schools by certain elements of the Religious Right. Removing children from community schools, if done for so-called religious reasons, is an act of fear, not faith. Plus, it removes the Christian influence from an important part of the mission field, doesn't it?
"I couldn't believe that the liberal elite had infiltrated even the study of our Holy Scriptures," said Norville Tucker, who moved his family to the woods outside Shelby, AL, in 1998 to "escape the damaging cultural influences of urban Mobile."
Tucker said: "It was bad enough that my youngsters were being taught evolution in public schools, but when I discovered they were learning to embrace foreigners and Big Government in Sunday school, I drew the line."
Read all about it.
Don't forget: Jesus is a liberal. :-)
Rerun: Sept. 14, 2001
Read all about it.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Hell freezes over
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush said Tuesday that he takes “full responsibility” for what went wrong with the government response to Hurricane Katrina.
Short yellow doghouse?
Rerun: Sept. 13, 2001
Read all about it.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Friday, August 26
GOV. KATHLEEN BLANCO DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY IN LOUISIANA: [Office of the Governor]
GULF COAST STATES REQUEST TROOP ASSISTANCE FROM PENTAGON: At a 9/1 press conference, Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, commander, Joint Task Force Katrina, said that the Gulf States began the process of requesting additional forces on Friday, 8/26. [DOD]
Saturday, August 27
5AM — KATRINA UPGRADED TO CATEGORY 3 HURRICANE [CNN]
GOV. BLANCO ASKS BUSH TO DECLARE FEDERAL STATE OF EMERGENCY IN LOUISIANA: “I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments, and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a disaster.” [Office of the Governor]
FEDERAL EMERGENCY DECLARED, DHS AND FEMA GIVEN FULL AUTHORITY TO RESPOND TO KATRINA: “Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.” [White House]
Sunday, August 28
2AM – KATRINA UPGRADED TO CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE [CNN]
7AM – KATRINA UPGRADED TO CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE [CNN]
MORNING — LOUISIANA NEWSPAPER SIGNALS LEVEES MAY GIVE: “Forecasters Fear Levees Won’t Hold Katrina”: “Forecasters feared Sunday afternoon that storm driven waters will lap over the New Orleans levees when monster Hurricane Katrina pushes past the Crescent City tomorrow.” [Lafayette Daily Advertiser]
9:30 AM — MAYOR NAGIN ISSUES FIRST EVER MANDATORY EVACUATION OF NEW ORLEANS: “We’re facing the storm most of us have feared,” said Nagin. “This is going to be an unprecedented event.” [Times-Picayune]
4PM – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ISSUES SPECIAL HURRICANE WARNING: In the event of a category 4 or 5 hit, “Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps longer. … At least one-half of well-constructed homes will have roof and wall failure. All gabled roofs will fail, leaving those homes severely damaged or destroyed. … Power outages will last for weeks. … Water shortages will make human suffering incredible by modern standards.” [National Weather Service]
AFTERNOON — BUSH, BROWN, CHERTOFF WARNED OF LEVEE FAILURE BY NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER DIRECTOR: Dr. Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center: “‘We were briefing them way before landfall. … It’s not like this was a surprise. We had in the advisories that the levee could be topped.’” [Times-Picayune; St. Petersburg Times]
LATE PM – REPORTS OF WATER TOPPLING OVER LEVEE: “Waves crashed atop the exercise path on the Lake Pontchartrain levee in Kenner early Monday as Katrina churned closer.” [Times-Picayune]
APPROXIMATELY 30,000 EVACUEES GATHER AT SUPERDOME WITH ROUGHLY 36 HOURS WORTH OF FOOD [Times-Picayune]
Monday, August 29
7AM – KATRINA MAKES LANDFALL AS A CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE [CNN]
8AM – MAYOR NAGIN REPORTS THAT WATER IS FLOWING OVER LEVEE: “I’ve gotten reports this morning that there is already water coming over some of the levee systems. In the lower ninth ward, we’ve had one of our pumping stations to stop operating, so we will have significant flooding, it is just a matter of how much.” [NBC’s “Today Show”]
MORNING — BUSH CALLS SECRETARY CHERTOFF TO DISCUSS IMMIGRATION: “I spoke to Mike Chertoff today — he’s the head of the Department of Homeland Security. I knew people would want me to discuss this issue [immigration], so we got us an airplane on — a telephone on Air Force One, so I called him. I said, are you working with the governor? He said, you bet we are.” [White House]
MORNING – BUSH SHARES BIRTHDAY CAKE PHOTO-OP WITH SEN. JOHN MCCAIN [White House]
10AM — BUSH VISITS ARIZONA RESORT TO PROMOTE MEDICARE DRUG BENEFIT: “This new bill I signed says, if you’re a senior and you like the way things are today, you’re in good shape, don’t change. But, by the way, there’s a lot of different options for you. And we’re here to talk about what that means to our seniors.” [White House]
LATE MORNING – LEVEE BREACHED: “A large section of the vital 17th Street Canal levee, where it connects to the brand new ‘hurricane proof’ Old Hammond Highway bridge, gave way late Monday morning in Bucktown after Katrina’s fiercest winds were well north.” [Times-Picayune]
11:30AM — MICHAEL BROWN FINALLY REQUESTS THAT DHS DISPATCH 1,000 EMPLOYEES TO REGION, GIVES THEM TWO DAYS TO ARRIVE: “Brown’s memo to Chertoff described Katrina as ‘this near catastrophic event’ but otherwise lacked any urgent language. The memo politely ended, ‘Thank you for your consideration in helping us to meet our responsibilities.’” [AP]
2PM — BUSH TRAVELS TO CALIFORNIA SENIOR CENTER TO DISCUSS MEDICARE DRUG BENEFIT: “We’ve got some folks up here who are concerned about their Social Security or Medicare. Joan Geist is with us. … I could tell — she was looking at me when I first walked in the room to meet her, she was wondering whether or not old George W. is going to take away her Social Security check.” [White House]
9PM — RUMSFELD ATTENDS SAN DIEGO PADRES BASEBALL GAME: Rumsfeld “joined Padres President John Moores in the owner’s box…at Petco Park.” [Editor & Publisher]
Tuesday, August 30
9AM – BUSH SPEAKS ON IRAQ AT NAVAL BASE CORONADO [White House]
MIDDAY – CHERTOFF FINALLY BECOMES AWARE THAT LEVEE HAS FAILED: “It was on Tuesday that the levee–may have been overnight Monday to Tuesday–that the levee started to break. And it was midday Tuesday that I became aware of the fact that there was no possibility of plugging the gap and that essentially the lake was going to start to drain into the city.” [Meet the Press, 9/4/05]
PENTAGON CLAIMS THERE ARE ENOUGH NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS IN REGION: “Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said the states have adequate National Guard units to handle the hurricane needs.” [WWL-TV]
MASS LOOTING REPORTED, SECURITY SHORTAGE CITED: “The looting is out of control. The French Quarter has been attacked,” Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson said. “We’re using exhausted, scarce police to control looting when they should be used for search and rescue while we still have people on rooftops.” [AP]
U.S.S. BATAAN SITS OFF SHORE, VIRTUALLY UNUSED: “The USS Bataan, a 844-foot ship designed to dispatch Marines in amphibious assaults, has helicopters, doctors, hospital beds, food and water. It also can make its own water, up to 100,000 gallons a day. And it just happened to be in the Gulf of Mexico when Katrina came roaring ashore. The Bataan rode out the storm and then followed it toward shore, awaiting relief orders. Helicopter pilots flying from its deck were some of the first to begin plucking stranded New Orleans residents. But now the Bataan’s hospital facilities, including six operating rooms and beds for 600 patients, are empty.” [Chicago Tribune]
3PM – PRESIDENT BUSH PLAYS GUITAR WITH COUNTRY SINGER MARK WILLIS [AP]
BUSH RETURNS TO CRAWFORD FOR FINAL NIGHT OF VACATION [AP]
Wednesday, August 31
TENS OF THOUSANDS TRAPPED IN SUPERDOME; CONDITIONS DETERIORATE: “A 2-year-old girl slept in a pool of urine. Crack vials littered a restroom. Blood stained the walls next to vending machines smashed by teenagers. ‘We pee on the floor. We are like animals,’ said Taffany Smith, 25, as she cradled her 3-week-old son, Terry. … By Wednesday, it had degenerated into horror. … At least two people, including a child, have been raped. At least three people have died, including one man who jumped 50 feet to his death, saying he had nothing left to live for. There is no sanitation. The stench is overwhelming.”" [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/05]
PRESIDENT BUSH FINALLY ORGANIZES TASK FORCE TO COORDINATE FEDERAL RESPONSE: Bush says on Tuesday he will “fly to Washington to begin work…with a task force that will coordinate the work of 14 federal agencies involved in the relief effort.” [New York Times, 8/31/05]
JEFFERSON PARISH EMERGENCY DIRECTOR SAYS FOOD AND WATER SUPPLY GONE: “Director Walter Maestri: FEMA and national agencies not delivering the help nearly as fast as it is needed.” [WWL-TV]
80,000 BELIEVED STRANDED IN NEW ORLEANS: Former Mayor Sidney Barthelemy “estimated 80,000 were trapped in the flooded city and urged President Bush to send more troops.” [Reuters]
3,000 STRANDED AT CONVENTION CENTER WITHOUT FOOD OR WATER: “With 3,000 or more evacuees stranded at the convention center — and with no apparent contingency plan or authority to deal with them — collecting a body was no one’s priority. … Some had been at the convention center since Tuesday morning but had received no food, water or instructions.” [Times-Picayune]
5PM — BUSH GIVES FIRST MAJOR ADDRESS ON KATRINA: “Nothing about the president’s demeanor… — which seemed casual to the point of carelessness — suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis.” [New York Times]
8:00PM – CONDOLEEZZA RICE TAKES IN A BROADWAY SHOW: “On Wednesday night, Secretary Rice was booed by some audience members at ‘Spamalot!, the Monty Python musical at the Shubert, when the lights went up after the performance.” [New York Post, 9/2/05]
9PM — FEMA DIRECTOR BROWN CLAIMS SURPRISE OVER SIZE OF STORM: “I must say, this storm is much much bigger than anyone expected.” [CNN]
Thursday, September 1
8AM — BUSH CLAIMS NO ONE EXPECTED LEVEES TO BREAK: “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” [Washington Post]
CONDOLEEZZA RICE VISITS U.S. OPEN: “Rice, [in New York] on three days’ vacation to shop and see the U.S. Open, hitting some balls with retired champ Monica Seles at the Indoor Tennis Club at Grand Central.” [New York Post]
STILL NO COMMAND AND CONTROL ESTABLISHED: Terry Ebbert, New Orleans Homeland Security Director: “This is a national emergency. This is a national disgrace. FEMA has been here three days, yet there is no command and control. We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can’t bail out the city of New Orleans.” [Fox News]
2PM — MAYOR NAGIN ISSUES “DESPERATE SOS” TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: “This is a desperate SOS. Right now we are out of resources at the convention centre and don’t anticipate enough buses. We need buses. Currently the convention centre is unsanitary and unsafe and we’re running out of supplies.” [Guardian, 9/2/05]
2PM — MICHAEL BROWN CLAIMS NOT TO HAVE HEARD OF REPORTS OF VIOLENCE: “I’ve had no reports of unrest, if the connotation of the word unrest means that people are beginning to riot, or you know, they’re banging on walls and screaming and hollering or burning tires or whatever. I’ve had no reports of that.” [CNN]
NEW ORLEANS “DESCEND[S] INTO ANARCHY”: “Storm victims were raped and beaten, fights and fires broke out, corpses lay out in the open, and rescue helicopters and law enforcement officers were shot at as flooded-out New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday. ‘This is a desperate SOS,’ the mayor said.” [AP]
CONDOLEEZZA RICE GOES SHOE SHOPPING: “Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, ‘How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!’” [Gawker]
MICHAEL BROWN FINALLY LEARNS OF EVACUEES IN CONVENTION CENTER: “We learned about that (Thursday), so I have directed that we have all available resources to get that convention center to make sure that they have the food and water and medical care that they need.” [CNN]
Friday, September 2
ROVE-LED CAMPAIGN TO BLAME LOCAL OFFICIALS BEGINS: “Under the command of President Bush’s two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan…to contain the political damage from the administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina.” President Bush’s comments from the Rose Garden Friday morning formed “the start of this campaign.” [New York Times, 9/5/05]
9:35AM — BUSH PRAISES MICHAEL BROWN: “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” [White House, 9/2/05]
10 AM — PRESIDENT BUSH STAGES PHOTO-OP “BRIEFING”: Coast Guard helicopters and crew diverted to act as backdrop for President Bush’s photo-op.
BUSH VISIT GROUNDS FOOD AID: “Three tons of food ready for delivery by air to refugees in St. Bernard Parish and on Algiers Point sat on the Crescent City Connection bridge Friday afternoon as air traffic was halted because of President Bush’s visit to New Orleans, officials said.” [Times-Picayune]
LEVEE REPAIR WORK ORCHESTRATED FOR PRESIDENT’S VISIT: Sen. Mary Landrieu, 9/3: “Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment.” [Sen. Mary Landrieu]
BUSH USES 50 FIREFIGHTERS AS PROPS IN DISASTER AREA PHOTO-OP: A group of 1,000 firefighters convened in Atlanta to volunteer with the Katrina relief efforts. Of those, “a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew’s first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.” [Salt Lake Tribune; Reuters]
3PM — BUSH “SATISFIED WITH THE RESPONSE”: “I am satisfied with the response. I am not satisfied with all the results.” [AP]
Saturday, September 3
SENIOR BUSH ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL LIES TO WASHINGTON POST, CLAIMS GOV. BLANCO NEVER DECLARED STATE OF EMERGENCY: The Post reported in their Sunday edition “As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.” They were forced to issue a correction hours later. [Washington Post, 9/4/05]
9AM — BUSH BLAMES STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS: “[T]he magnitude of responding to a crisis over a disaster area that is larger than the size of Great Britain has created tremendous problems that have strained state and local capabilities. The result is that many of our citizens simply are not getting the help they need.” [White House, 9/3/05]
Sen. Biden on Judge Roberts
"The Constitution provides for one democratic moment before a lifetime of judicial independence, when we the people of the United States are entitled to know as much as we can about the person we are entrusting with safeguarding our future and the future of our children and grandchildren.
"This is that moment. That's what these hearings are about."
Read all about it.
Rerun: Sept. 12, 2001
Sept. 12, 2001
Sunday, September 11, 2005
The One True Church
Sep 11, 2005
Someone recently wrote me an email arguing that only those who belong to his particular denomination are any part of the body of Christ and the universal church of God. How should we respond to such claims, which are made across the "Christian" spectrum?
* * *
For more than a millennium now, different people have equated the true church of Christ with some particular group found in the Yellow Pages (an anachronism, I know, but you get the point). All such attempts will ultimately fail because they are trying to shrink Christ's spiritual body, God's true church, to a tiny segment of the whole -- a segment which, regardless of its identity, sprang into existence far too late to claim such a lofty distinction. The true church of Christ includes every saved person who knows Jesus since Pentecost, and it is far bigger than any Christian denomination or nondenomination regardless of its name, claim or fame. To suppose otherwise is to fall, however.unintentionally, into sectarianism and possibly into heresy as well in the biblical sense.
The world is full of would-be "true churches," each of which has preserved or restored some part of the apostolic message, church detail or personal experience, and all making exclusive claims. Each such group probably is correct in some of its specific doctrines or practices, though such groups usually are not nearly as unique or distinct in those matters as they themselves imagine. And they all are wrong in their exclusive claims.
The time has come to stop playing the "Guess the Right Religious Organization and Win a Trip to Heaven" game. Instead, as repentant sinners who have nothing that God needs and nothing of which we dare to boast, let us put all our trust in the sinless Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Let us entrust ourselves to Jesus Christ -- to learn from him, to follow him and to become like him. When we do that, we can stop quibbling about the name over the church house door. And we then can say with confidence that we are part of the church of which Jesus Christ is the head and the Savior.
© 2005 by Edward Fudge. Unlimited permission to copy without altering text or profiteering is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice. For encouragement and spiritual food any time, visit our multimedia website at http://www.edwardfudge.com/ .
Rerun: Sept. 11, 2001
Rich Bachelor and Mark Maness have posted similarly. Today is a day for remembering.
This morning's Prayer of Confession at church:
"Lord of Life, as we remember the unspeakable horrors of this day four years ago, help us to remember that without forgiveness, we are paralyzed. We believe that we know how often God wants us to forgive, and under what circumstances, but Jesus taught how much we don't know -- about God, about forgiveness, about faith. Teach us again, on the anniversary of our sorrow. In Christ's name we pray, Amen."
Saturday, September 10, 2005
" ... a Nixon feel ... "
He struck me that way the two times I met him whle on a newspaper editorial board during his campaign against Ann Richards in Texas. (Note: My take on the man on a personal level has not changed; my tolerance for Republican policies is OVER.)
The following analysis -- not ment to be detached or "objective" -- shows what happens when that kind of legitimate business approach is applied to government. It ain't pretty.
By Steven Thomma
Knight Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON - As President Bush flew last week to the Gulf Coast for his second post-Katrina visit, an aide said the trip reflected Bush's usual routine of "seeing as much as possible and getting information from different places."
Read all about it.
Rerun: Sept. 10, 2001
Sept. 10, 2001.
Friday, September 09, 2005
Overheard at the ER supper table
She is SUCH a college girl! Khaki knee-length capri pants. Casual sleeveless shirt. Sandals. No make-up -- and she doedn't "need" it. Boston Red Sox ballcap on backwards (Massachusetts-native boyfriend influence), red hair spillin' out the back.
We were all gabbing, stumblin' over one another, havin' a fine ol' time over supper at the Delta Cafe here in town. Talkin' about school. Talkin' about her BF. Talkin' talkin' talkin' hoo-ha'ing and just carryin' on.
Everybody else is the joint, just about, had blue hair or were otherwise way too civilized and quiet, which made us stand OUT. Imagine.
Dr. ER, ER and Bird, all hangin' out together, genuinely glad to be with one another -- which is THE best thing about our Bird. She loves us and is not embarrassed to be seen with us in public -- not matter how erudite, or how redneck, we get. And it almost always is a good combination of both.
Bird regaled us with stories of "Preacher Bob," this generation's incarnation of "Brother Jim" and "Sister Cindy," two fundies who were always screaming at people, "in Christian love," of course, when I was at Oklahoma State back in the day.
(Read about "Preacher Bob" here. He actually sounds like an everyday run-of-the-mill Holiness preacher. On the other hand, I know from personal experience that even the freakiest of freaks can come across as dang near normal in a newspaper interview. Whatever. Bless him. Bird seems to recognize the difference between "preachers" who scream at people and those who more genuinely represent the message of Jesus.)
We're talkin' about classes. No tests yet. Physics is hard, but she likes it. Chemistry is hard, but she likes it.
Art history is -- "hard" -- "boring" -- and she hates it! Which makes Dr. ER and ER's liberal arts hearts sad. But hey, Bird likes the math and science stuff, which pays better. So that's OK.
And out of Bird's mouth comes this, which dang near causes me to snort deep-fried corn out both nostrils and Dr. ER to do same with a chicken and-or dumpling:
Bird: "All that Greek crap looks the same! Nothin' but dudes with their weiners hangin' out! Every day! And all the weiners look alike!"
That's college, that's art, darlin'. :-) And that's a hoot!
War on the working class
From: Tom Kiley, Democratic Press Secretary
House Committee on Education and the Workforce
Office of Congressman George Miller, Senior Democratic Member
Date: September 9, 2005
Subject: President Bush's Executive Order on Davis-Bacon for Gulf region: Exploiting Katrina to Pay Substandard Wages Is a Disaster for Storm Victims
YESTERDAY, by executive order, President Bush suspended the Davis-Bacon law for areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. Davis-Bacon is a 1931 law that requires federal contractors to pay its workers at least the prevailing wage on construction projects, including highways, buildings, and bridges. (The prevailing wage is the average wage for specific jobs in a local area; it is not the union wage rate.) The law was intended to stop unscrupulous employers from exploiting workers and has been a critical force in stabilizing wage rates for federal contracting work throughout the country. Congressman George Miller is calling on the President to rescind this order immediately.
But the President's executive order says that the way to save money in this time of crisis is to not pay the already-low prevailing wage rates in the affected Gulf communities and that contractors are now free to push the rates even lower. Workers and their families in the Gulf region are desperate to get back on their feet and are especially vulnerable to being exploited. They are trying to rebuild their lives after suffering devastating financial and emotional losses. Paying them poverty wages for critical work will undermine the quality of the work that is needed and will undermine the storm victims' ability to rebuild their lives quickly.
Deep poverty in New Orleans and other Gulf cities and towns is a big part of the story of Hurricane Katrina - undermining thousands of people's ability to get out of town before the storm, to get help quickly, to quickly rebuild their lives. Roughly one out of every four New Orleanians lived in poverty before the storm; fully half of the city's children lived in poverty. As America seeks to rebuild the city and the rest of the region devastated by Katrina, the federal government can and should ensure that it does not take advantage of the desperation in the area nor intentionally recreate the poverty that added to this disaster in the first place.
The fact is, The President and most of his Republican allies have tried time and again to undermine Davis-Bacon, but they have failed to garner the necessary votes in Congress to do so. Now, the President is exploiting Katrina to score another ideological point for his right wing allies. That is a disgrace. The wage standards in Davis-Bacon are critical to helping in the overall effort of getting families' lives back together in the affected areas.
Congressman Miller, the Senior Democrat on the House labor committee, will seek a vote to undo the President's order at the soonest possible opportunity. Congressman Miller is also asking for transparency in the contracts made by FEMA and other federal agencies for rebuilding in order to determine what wage rates are being paid by contractors.
There are several things to keep in mind as you consider this issue:
Suspending Davis-Bacon does not mean lower costs for taxpayers. Companies that win federal contracts to rebuild in New Orleans are under no obligation to pass the savings from reduced labor costs onto taxpayers. There is nothing to prevent these contractors - including profitable companies like Kellog Brown & Root and others - from taking advantage of this executive order to cut workers' wages and boost their own profits, while passing no savings onto taxpayers.
Davis-Bacon does not apply only to union workers. Davis-Bacon applies to all workers, whether they belong to a labor union or not. Davis Bacon helps to provide a floor for all workers' wages.
Prevailing wages for construction labor in the affected region are already low but the executive order sends a message to contractors to make them even lower. Charts are available showing prevailing wages by job type and region if you are interested.
Davis-Bacon repeal has repeatedly failed in Congress. Repealing Davis-Bacon has long been a favorite pet project of right-wing conservatives. But conservatives do not have the votes in Congress to repeal the law. That is why they have chosen this anti-democratic method - the executive fiat - for chipping away at a key protection for workers.
Davis-Bacon requires contractors to maintain records on wage rates paid for specific work. Suspending Davis-Bacon eliminates any record of what rates were paid to workers in these areas.
In Bush economy, poverty is already up, real wages are already stagnant. Despite growth in GDP during the last few years, it has been widely documented that real wages in America have failed to grow while the richest Americans have gotten richer. Late last month, the U.S. Census Bureau showed that poverty had grown for the fourth straight year, while median household income had continued to stagnate. The median household income is still $1,740 lower than it was in 1999. Suppressing wages further in the Gulf region is a callous and disastrous move.
Congressman Miller issued a statement on this issue yesterday.
Rerun: Sept. 8-9, 2001
I just thanked Dr. ER, again, for telling me about sleep paralysis years ago. Once you know about it, it helps your mind get you out of the tangle of these kinds of bad dreams.
I'd say that my subconscious is pissed because real-time events the past week or so have so riveted my attention that I had none left to give in remembering the events of four years ago.
Which means I need to review. Y'all are welcome to join me, or not. :-)
Sept. 8, 2001.
Sept. 9, 2001.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
OSU, 2:0; OU, 0-1
GO OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS!
They slipped by Florida Atlantic University tonight. (I am really fairly embarrassed. But a W is a W. Ouch. There's a better way to say that: A win is a win!)
(Dr. ER and I have four degrees between us from O-State. BIrd is workin' on another one. Not all Oklahomans are sooners.)
Happy happy, joy joy!
Name a couple or three things yer happy about or grateful for.
It's OK. Really. More of the world is in good shape than bad. It's true! Including all the little points and places here and there that help us get by when the electronic boxes in our lives want us to think otherwise.
Bird seems happy and content at college, with classes that are challenging her but (apparently) not freaking her out, and with her new Yankee boyfriend(?).
Dr. ER has found a form of treatment that gives her relief from hurtin' and actually has her chipper sometimes. In Dallas. Like, a 23-minute flight or something. Which means she gets to get away for herself when she's able to do so. (Go read her thoughty essays and look at her excellent photography, if you haven.t!)
Myself? I weigh too much, which means I'm well-fed. I'm dry. My truck runs. The house doesn't leak. The dogs love me. And a stinkin' cat even.
And world events of the past week or so have driven me back, again -- again! again! -- to the Cross, face first. Jesus. Not the Christian-industrial complex. Jesus and a congregational church. Go y'all, therefore, and find Him. He ain't far.
I'll never forget what a preacher used to say when I was growing up: "We should consider ourselves living sacrifices. Problem is, livin' sacrifices tend to crawl off the altar!" Amen. And how. Boy howdy.
WARNING: Assness, smart, silly and otherwise, as well as snark of any kind, will be cheerfully deleted from this post. No politics. Keep it personal. Keep it real.
If not now, when?
Accountability has several meanings and is the subject of a broad debate among students of modern governance. It is often used synonymously with such concepts as answerability, responsibility, blameworthiness, liability and other terms associated with the expectation of account-giving. As an aspect of governance, it has been central to discussions related to problems in both the public and private (corporation) worlds. As important has been its centrality to the study of ethics.
Read all about it.
From Upon Further Review.
At what point are you accountable?
For five years, I've listened to nothing but excuse after excuse from the Bush Administration, it's hard work, that's not our responsibility, we really thought there were weapons, it's Clinton's fault, that was the result of something that started before we took office, the accountability moment has passed, their will be plenty of time to place blame later, we don't control the weather, everyone else thought that too, we need more information, it wasn't technically a crime, blah, blah, blah, fucking blah. So ok, I'll just go ahead and accept that you're always going to have an excuse for why absolutely nothing in the world is your fault, I'll even give you the benefit of the doubt and say that sometimes it might not be your fault. But what I'd like to know is, since you are the fucking President and all, at what point do you become accountable for anything? Because I'd really like for us all to start on the same page. When is it ok to criticize something that you have done? At some point, if I was in a position of power, I might expect to be held accountable for results, whether or not they were my fault in the first place.
Read all about it.
Thanks to The Talent Show:
That's a horrible pun, I know. You'll forget just how terrible it is when you read that fighters loyal to militant leader Abu Musab Zarqawi asserted control over the key Iraqi border town of Qaim on Monday:
Read all about it.
Thanks to Wholesale Pants:
When, America? When is enough enough? And I'm not talking about impeaching Bush or whatever -- I'm talking about accountability. When does he have to answer for what he's done?
Read all about it.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
'Working class heroes'
Two days after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the Walgreen's store at the corner of Royal and Iberville streets remained locked. The dairy display case was clearly visible through the widows. It was now 48 hours without electricity, running water, plumbing. The milk, yogurt, and cheeses were beginning to spoil in the 90-degree heat. The owners and managers had locked up the food, water, pampers, and prescriptions and fled the City. Outside Walgreen's windows, residents and tourists grew increasingly thirsty and hungry.
Read all about it.
Dubya, go probe yourself
I've had all I can stands, and I can't stands no more.
By Michael Kranish, Boston Globe Staff | September 7, 2005
WASHINGTON -- President Bush, under fire about whether he acted aggressively to help tens of thousands of desperate people left homeless, destitute, and starving by Hurricane Katrina, promised yesterday that he would lead an investigation into ''what went wrong" with the government's response and will dispatch Vice President Dick Cheney to ''assess our recovery efforts" in the region.
But two hours later, Scott McClellan, Bush's press secretary, told reporters the president would simply ''lead an effort" in the escalating catastrophe. McClellan was unclear about whether Bush would look into his own actions and vague about when and how the investigation would start, and rejected questions about whether the president should fire anyone responsible for the problems.
Read all about it.
God save this honorable court!
John Paul Stevens, Associate Justice, was born in Chicago, Illinois, April 20, 1920
Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice, was born in Trenton, New Jersey, March 11, 1936.
Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice, was born in Sacramento, California, July 23, 1936.
David Hackett Souter, Associate Justice, was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, September 17, 1939.
Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice, was born in the Pin Point community of Georgia near Savannah June 23, 1948.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice, was born in Brooklyn, New York, March 15, 1933.
Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice, was born in San Francisco, California, August 15, 1938.
The foregoing was taken from a booklet prepared by the Supreme Court of the United States, and published with funding from the Supreme Court Historical Society.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Wasn't it "personal responsibility" that got us in trouble in the first place?
Assuming the Creation myth is just that, a myth meant to give meaning -- or even literally true, whatever, I don't care -- wasn't it "personal responsibility" that caused Adam and Eve trouble?
Didn't they personally assume the responsibility of breaking the one lil ol' marchin' order God had laid down?
Isn't "community responsibility" what Christianity is all about? Whether it's the community of Christians or Christians acting within the wider communities that surround them?
Isn't community responsibility one of the things that Alexis de Toqueville praised this country for? (Yes, it is.)
Doesn't the very concept of government, in this country, rest on the concept of "We, the People" -- not "I, me and mine"?
So, why did righties scoff and hoot and laugh when Hillary Clinton put words to something a lot of know in our hearts, and in our own experience: "It takes a village to raise a child"?
Isn't that right out of the Gospel? Isn't it right out of our own national culture and history?
"Personal responsibility!" is just another way of saying, "I got mine, you get yours," or, "I was able to save myself, hope you can do the same."
Won't relying on "personal responsibility," according to the main plank of Christianity that most Christians agree on, land you in hell in the next life?
Won't insisting on "personal responsibility" of our friends and neighbors when they are in the direst of straits keep them in a kind of hell on this earth?
Since the Right seems to thrive on this concept of "personal responsibility" -- wearing it like a badge of honor -- is it too much to ask it of our leaders, especially the righty ones who so espouse the concept?
Most lefties, some liberals and a few moderates realize it take "We, the People," not just a bunch of "I's" to do anything worthwhile. But we should ask them to be personally accountable, as well, since the political leadership of the national government has pretty much made that the rhetorical price of admission to get into the national discussion. Yes.
But isn't it OK to demand more "personal responsibility" from the ones who have harped on it so much?
I think so.
Posted in response to my conservative blog bud TugboatCapn at Trucker Philosophy.
With all due respect
at the Supreme Court of the United States
... After the brief ceremony, a long line of people formed outside the court and people began walking inside past the coffin of the chief justice.
Among the first was Sarah Chusid, 24, an intern at Mobilizing America's Youth, a private organization that seeks to increase the involvement of young people across the political spectrum.
Although she considers herself a liberal, Chusid said she respected the influential role that Rehnquist played on the court for more than three decades. "This is a pivotal time in the court's history; I had to come down and bear witness to this event," she said. ...
Burial at Arlington National Cemetery will be private. ...
As chief justice, Rehnquist is entitled to a funeral that includes a 19-gun salute, four ruffles and flourishes from drums and bugles, and the last 32 bars of the John Philip Sousa march "Stars and Stripes Forever" among other military honors. ...
Monday, September 05, 2005
White House joins blame game
From the New York Times
September 5, 2005
White House Enacts a Plan to Ease Political Damage
By ADAM NAGOURNEY
and ANNE E. KORNBLUT
WASHINGTON, Sept. 4 - Under the command of President Bush's two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan this weekend to contain the political damage from the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.
It orchestrated visits by cabinet members to the region, leading up to an extraordinary return visit by Mr. Bush planned for Monday, directed administration officials not to respond to attacks from Democrats on the relief efforts, and sought to move the blame for the slow response to Louisiana state officials, according to Republicans familiar with the White House plan.
The effort is being directed by Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, and his communications director, Dan Bartlett. It began late last week after Congressional Republicans called White House officials to register alarm about what they saw as a feeble response by Mr. Bush to the hurricane, according to Republican Congressional aides.
As a result, Americans watching television coverage of the disaster this weekend began to see, amid the destruction and suffering, some of the most prominent members of the administration - Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Donald H. Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense; and Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state - touring storm-damaged communities.
Mr. Bush is to return to Louisiana and Mississippi on Monday; his first visit, on Friday, left some Republicans cringing, in part because the president had little contact with residents left homeless.
Republicans said the administration's effort to stanch the damage had been helped by the fact that convoys of troops and supplies had begun to arrive by the time the administration officials turned up. All of those developments were covered closely on television.
In many ways, the unfolding public relations campaign reflects the style Mr. Rove has brought to the political campaigns he has run for Mr. Bush. For example, administration officials who went on television on Sunday were instructed to avoid getting drawn into exchanges about the problems of the past week, and to turn the discussion to what the government is doing now.
"We will have time to go back and do an after-action report, but the time right now is to look at what the enormous tasks ahead are," Michael Chertoff, the secretary of Homeland Security, said on "Meet the Press" on NBC.
One Republican with knowledge of the effort said that Mr. Rove had told administration officials not to respond to Democratic attacks on Mr. Bush's handling of the hurricane in the belief that the president was in a weak moment and that the administration should not appear to be seen now as being blatantly political. As with others in the party, this Republican would discuss the deliberations only on condition of anonymity because of keen White House sensitivity about how the administration and its strategy would be perceived.
In a reflection of what has long been a hallmark of Mr. Rove's tough political style, the administration is also working to shift the blame away from the White House and toward officials of New Orleans and Louisiana who, as it happens, are Democrats.
"The way that emergency operations act under the law is the responsibility and the power, the authority, to order an evacuation rests with state and local officials," Mr. Chertoff said in his television interview. "The federal government comes in and supports those officials."
That line of argument was echoed throughout the day, in harsher language, by Republicans reflecting the White House line.
In interviews, these Republicans said that the normally nimble White House political operation had fallen short in part because the president and his aides were scattered outside Washington on vacation, leaving no one obviously in charge at a time of great disruption. Mr. Rove and Mr. Bush were in Texas, while Vice President Dick Cheney was at his Wyoming ranch.
Mr. Bush's communications director, Nicolle Devenish, was married this weekend in Greece, and a number of Mr. Bush's political advisers - including Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman - attended the wedding.
Ms. Rice did not return to Washington until Thursday, after she was spotted at a Broadway show and shopping for shoes, an image that Republicans said buttressed the notion of a White House unconcerned with tragedy.
These officials said that Mr. Bush and his political aides rapidly changed course in what they acknowledged was a belated realization of the situation's political ramifications. As is common when this White House confronts a serious problem, management was quickly taken over by Mr. Rove and a group of associates including Mr. Bartlett. Neither man responded to requests for comment.
White House advisers said that Mr. Bush expressed alarm after his return to Washington from the Gulf Coast.
One senior White House official said that Mr. Bush appeared at a senior staff meeting in the Situation Room on Friday and called the results on the ground "unacceptable." At the encouragement of Mr. Bartlett, officials said, he repeated the comment later in the Rose Garden, the start of this campaign.
Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
Hounds of the ER household!
Riker, the regal Pembroke Welsh Corgi! (My stepdog. Dr. ER had had this critter, the sweetest dog I have ever, ever known, a year or two before we met. He's now 10.)
FEMA heads should roll
Read all about it.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Jesus and justice
The hymn is "Spirit of Jesus, If I love My Neighbor."
Spirit of Jesus, if I love my neighbor out of my knowledge, leisure, power or wealth,
Help me to understand the shame and anger of helplessness that hates my power to help.
And if, when I have answered need with kindness, my neighbor rises, wakened from despair,
Keep me from flinching when the cry for justice requires of me the changes that I fear.
If I am hugging safety or possessions, uncurl my spirit, as your love prevails,
To join my neighbors, work for liberation, and find my freedom at the mark of nails.
I don't have acces to the rest of the hymn, from The New Century Hymnal. Anyone who does, please add it in the comments.
'What have we become?'
I am broken. Y'all have been getting a glimpse of a soul in torment. I am repenting of four years of delusion -- and more years than that of estrangement from fellow Jesus people.
Thank all of you for your "support."
I got exactly what I needed in church today: The spirit of humility and awe and wonder. Weeping. Gnashing of teeth. Rhetorical renting of clothing. Collectively shared SHAME.
And an intellectually honest assessment of how totally screwed up we have allowed this country to become culturally, economically -- and politically.
The prayer of confession:
Lord of Life, we weep with the victims of the hurricane, and we are stunned by the suffering that seems to go unattended. In this dark night of our national soul, our commitment to one another is being tested, and our true character is being revealed. Who are we? What have we become? What must we do to be the people you intended? Help us, we pray, to look into the mirror and not blink. In Christ's name, we pray, Amen.
(BTW, Mark, the next cheap shot at Bitch gets deleted; Frenzied, yes, it helped a teensy bit to see the sooners get beaten, but only after OSU squeaked by with a V; Trixie, thanks for your concern and advice; all y'all, let me borrow a phrase from my A.A. friends and apply it to this blog: "Take what you like and leave the rest."