Monday, February 27, 2006

If You Haven't Got Your Health...

"If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything." Remember that quote from the movie The Princess Bride? You haven't seen that movie, yet? Go rent it! That is probably my most favorite movie of all time, which likely explains a lot about me.

A British article about the flu and how it's transmitted mostly from kids to the rest of the population is very fitting nowadays, with people getting hit with late winter flus in the US and the bird flu showing its ugly head in France. If you don't have good hand washing habits, its never too late to start! Set a good example for yourself and for those around you to wash hands frequently, especially after coughing or sneezing, and when you use a tissue. And for gosh sakes, cover your coughs and sneezes!

Make sure that you speak with the school your children attend and ask if they are taking advantage of the programs the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta have put together to help kids understand the importance of good hygiene. These programs are helpful to keep kids and schools healthy, and are really a vital way to keep the flu and other viruses at bay. Develop your children into Germ-stoppers! (Or Germbusters!)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

O'Reilly Says Let's Cut and Run--Oh, Really?!

Bill O'Reilly, host of the O'Reilly Factor on Fox News Channel, claimed in his radio show that Iraq is full of nuts and "the only solution to this is to hand over everything to the Iraqis as fast as humanly possible. Because we just can't control these crazy people." Oh, Really?!! When'd ya figure that out?

So, what happened to the pep rally that this is a war we must win??? Mid-term elections starting to knaw at you? Or are you just going crazy?

I will stand by my previous statements that if we are truly there to liberate the Iraqis, then this is a war for the Iraqi people to win. This is not a victory the United States should be flaunting.

Oh, well, we are a land of arrogant people, aren't we. Calling the Iraqis crazy and gettin' the heck out of Dodge, or Baghda--Fallujadad, as fast as we can, well that is just a funny way of saying "cut and run." Funny, isn't it?!

A Little Wine With Your Port?

"Bush Defends Port Deal" reports the VOA. "This deal would not go forward if we were concerned about the security for the United States of America," stated President Bush. So, does that mean that President Bush is not concerned about the security here? The president notes that he will quickly veto anything that will delay or disrupt this port deal with the United Arab Emirates. So, why is this deal to hand over major US ports to UAE so vital to President Bush? Things that make you go... hmmmmm.

In the Forbes article on "Senator Challenges Ports Deal Procedure" they quote President Bush saying, "The more people learn about the transaction that has been scrutinized and approved by my government," Bush said, "the more they'll be comforted that our ports will be secure." Umm... Since when did this country go from our government to your government, President Bush? Semantics, I know.

It seems that the last time something major changed hands, within a couple of months devastating events happened. Let's see here... Let me look into my crystal ball and see... Oh, my. April and May look to be active months. The beginning two weeks of each month seems to show major events happening. Oh, dear. It's clouding over now. It's turning blue. Is it Windows 2000 for crystal balls acting up again? Oh, it's turning red now. This isn't good. Is this thing even on the right year?

Determining Value of Life

Let me preface this post by saying that I believe that certain events, though unrelated, happen because they are trying to tell us something. They are signs.

"A long way from the gallow"as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle about the ethical issues surrounding postponement of Michael Morales' execution.

"S. Dakota targets abortion ruling" reported by Indianapolis Star regarding South Dakota's passing a law banning virtual all abortions, with the exception to save the mother's life. This story basically kicked yesterday's story about the ban on partial-birth abortion into dead news space. Although, they are, in a way, similar and both tie in with the death penalty issue.

I believe these two unrelated news stories are really related in a factually abstract way. "Fabstractually" if you will. No, wait. "Factstractually." There's a difference. Fabstractually, would be an abstract fabrication, something George W. Bush would say if he were talking about WMDs in pre-war Iraq.

The death penalty and abortion issues are about the value of life. These issues will be the proving ground for George W. Bush's stance on life. Whose existence is worth continuing? Whether it be a fetus in the womb, a brain-dead woman on life support, an Iraqi insurgent, a combat soldier, or a man convicted of murder on death row, there are philosophical and ethical questions about the value of life that we as a society must face and solidify in our thinking and in our laws.

When does an individual existing become a true, bonafide human? When does an individual's existence cease? Those are existence issues. Sure, a fetus exists. But, when does it achieve rights and responsibilities of a human existence? How do we define a human? When a fetus completely exits the mother's womb? When the fetus is viable outside the womb? When the fetus takes its first breath?

Then, when it takes its first breath, how do we as a society value that life through the years? What is the true value of its life? How do we define the value of a life? How do we react and respond to that life? We do place value on the lives of others daily in our own lives by the way we react and respond to the lives around us.

We devalue people when we offer devaluing comments to them, do mean and spiteful acts against others, and ignore those who most need our attention. In a way, our devaluing is a way to kill the value of another's life and we are extinguishing a bit of that life by every act or negligence we place on that individual.

Does devaluing others' lives by the act of murder, devalue the life of the murderer as well? To the point that the murderer's life is no longer valued by society? That is how our society views it today. Should those who devalued the murderer before he committed his crime be held to be devalued in society as well? Our society places great value in those who can strategically manipulate and devalue others while being able to assert and persuade that they are doing the right thing.

Life as we know it has various levels of value or worth. Many of us see our worth in our paychecks and/or benefit plans at our places of work. Some of us see our worth in our families and how they appreciate our existence and contributions that we make as a member of the family. Some of us see our worth in other social or working groups that make us feel our existence is valued and in some ways justified. In most cases it is what we do that gives us our personal sense of worth, and also a social sense of worth, as well. (And in my case, my true worth far exceeds the amount of my paycheck, as many others could also claim, too.)

Some lives find value, satisfaction, and justification by devaluing other lives. Should we continue to value that individual, even if they devalue us?

When a devaluing person is punished for a crime, what is cruel and unusual punishment for any crime? Is confining a criminal in jail cruel? Is detaining someone without judgment unusual? Is execution by injection cruel? What did they mean when they wrote cruel and unusual punishment in the Constitution?

Then, we have other circumstances where a human life has declined by physical or mental decay. These lives may continue to bring value to others, even if they do nothing but exist. But when do we say that life fails to provide value or worth and should not truly exist?

When should ideals and ideology trump life itself? What is worth losing a life? What is worth taking a life? Is life really worth living?

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When does life take a back seat to liberty or the pursuit of happiness? These are the tough questions.

We think it is the courts, and especially the Supreme Court that should answer these questions. No, these are definitions that need to be answered by our legislators both at the state and Federal level. These are definitions that we need to answer to our legislators so they can do their jobs and write (or rewrite) legislation according to our definitions of life that can be applied, enforced, judged and upheld.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Headlines: What is this World Coming To?

"Blast destroys dome of Shiite shrine in Iraq", says the headline from MSNBC. Revenge, thy name is apparently Muslim, as many protesters shout "Rise up Shiites! Shiites take revenge!" I guess they don't want to listen to clerics who are asking their Shiite and Sunni followers NOT to follow up with violent attacks and protests. But this hit a raw nerve in the Muslim world. How raw? Just look at raw backwards... Civil war come to mind? (Speaking of civil war, isn't that an oxymoron? What's so civil about any war, anyway?)

"3 Charged with Planning to Attack Troups," declares Forbes. But read on, and find out that these suspects are just ordinary U.S./Jordanian citizens. One man was attending college to learn how to be a computer guru, another was a car salesman, and the third liked to play with his children in his yard. But the headline says they allegedly were planning an attack on our troups. I know, a paradox of sorts, and so is the article, too. Because after the first paragraph, there's no mention of attacking troups. The list of charges are a bit interesting, and could possibly be innocently explained away. Let me try. 1) They went to a shooting range together regularly and tried to get government funding for their training. Easy, they have had several incidents with car/deer accidents on the road and know the dangers posed by deer overpopulation, so they wanted to get people to train and be able to hunt deer better. 2) They were apparently distributing information on how to make a bomb out of household items. Uh, well, not really a bomb, per se... do you know what Meth is? 3) Suicide bomb vest? Oh, no, that was his Simplicity pattern he was converting to make a computer techie vest out of. 4) One man is accused of wanting to kill President Bush... I can't explain away that one. Another surprising tidbit from the article is that after police officials ransacked their places, they found money, two pieces of paper and a paintball gun. That's hard evidence for ya. The only piece of evidence that I think might convict them (not necessarily of the current charges): "Whenever he goes out at night, he always calls my mom to let her know where he's at and what he's doing," a 14-year-old sister of one of the accused said. Sounds like someone paranoid about getting taken out.

"Brosnan sympathy for new Bond", says RTE Entertainment. When I first read this, I thought the new Bond, Daniel Craig, died. Maybe Brosnan will come back?? But, nopers. The new James Bond got banged up pretty bad in a stunt scene, loosing a few teeth in the process. Hey, what's wrong with the new Bond looking like a hockey player? In actuality, the article was more a plug for what the old Bond is up to nowadays. A bit of a distasteful publicity stunt. Shame on Brosnan's PR people. By the way, Pierce Brosnan, are you looking for a better PR staff?

"Make your own Mardi Gras", encourages Mercury News. Yes, Lent is just around the corner and we are less than a week from Fat Tuesday, the Super Bowl of overindulgence. Who's going to win this year's overindulgence feast? Probably not New Orleans. Hey, that means your community could step up and take over for New Orleans. Just rename your town Newer Orleans and ham it up!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Urban Cowboy?

Well, the secret's out of the saddle bag... Some cowboys are gay. Dale Evans? Probably not. John Wayne? Definitely.... well... uh... you'd think not. Who knows...

Oh, that just blows the whole masculine, virile cowboy stud image out of the water, doesn't it?! Willie Nelson, what are you thinking??

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day! Or Please Don't Send Me Chocolates!

Nothing says "I Love You" to the chronic dieter love of your life like chocolates. If you do buy your sweetie chocolates for Valentines, then just don't tell her about her enormous rear-end ever again because now its really your fault.

If you love your significant other enough to care about their health, give them a membership to a workout club that they would enjoy and stick to it (like Curves--they need a club like that for men...) or take them out to eat some fresh fish which is good for the heart.

Flowers are, of course, a nice way to brighten the day, but to really surprise her/him give the gift that keeps giving with a plant that will make a wonderful addition to their cluttered desktop, or better yet, one that can be planted in the garden in the spring. That's one way to keep love blooming.

Head Spinnin' Headlines

"The White House Was Clearly in the Fog" says ABC News, regarding the response to Hurricane Katrina. So, did the National Weather Service issue a fog watch for this severe fog? Was this fog also hovering heavily in Crawford, Texas where the president was vacationing at the time? You know, if the White House would have said, hey, we're stuck here in a thick blanket of fog, we just can't help right now, maybe people wouldn't be so upset.

"Shark Attacks Fall in 2005 as Humans Fight Back" says Reuters. In the beginning of the 1980s we had songs that said "I'm a lover, not a fighter..." and "Don't fight it.." but thank goodness for Twisted Sister who clamored "We're not gonna take it..." If it weren't for the big hair metal bands, where would we be now? Probably short a few humans who declared to the impending shark attack "I'm a lover."

"Suit filed to get tricolored blackbird on endangered list" according to an AP wire story. First of all, make up your mind first about the poor bird: is it tricolored or black? Secondly, why are you filing the suit when you should be putting the black suit on the bird? Maybe it's because the bird is a tricolored blackbird that it is becoming extinct... you think? It just doesn't fit in with the rest of the blackbirds at the old bird pond, and then there's that pecking order issue.

In a semi-related story:
"Ready to Test Their Wings? U.S. Plans to Remove Bald Eagles from the List of Threatened Species" reports the Washington Post. I wonder what cure for bald eagles worked? Transplants? Wigs? Comb-overs? Rogaine? Propecia? Hair Club for (the) Birds?

How Embarrassing?!

Why does the press corp always ask some of the most inane questions? Like why did it take almost a day for VP Dick Cheney to admit he made a mistake and shot a fellow hunter? Duh. Doesn't it take you a while to fess up to a boo-boo out of embarrassment sometimes? There you have it. At least give the VP some slack there.

Here's the questions I have:
What was Cheney doing shooting quail with buckshot? Doesn't he know that too much iron in your diet is not good?

If his hunting buddy was retrieving a shot bird, why didn't the rest of the group wait until their buddy was in a safe area before resuming fire?

Aren't they afraid of getting the bird flu?

Andy why didn't he have a $7 hunting credential? What do his aids do all day?

Friday, February 10, 2006

Your Child Taking Drugs ... for ADHD?

If you have a child that has any indication of cardiovascular or heart issues, and he/she is on drugs for behavioral issues, you may want to speak with your doctor and get them off the drug as soon as possible. You may just want to speak with a doctor or psychologist anyway if your child is taking or has been suggested to take drugs to ward off ADD or ADHD.

Even though the drug companies say their ADHD drugs are safe, sometimes they may not have researched every possible complication or effect of their drug.

In this case, ADHD drugs like ritalin can have a negative effect on the cardiovascular system, leading to heart arrhythmia, strokes, heart attacks, and death. Wonderful, huh?

Now the rant: Teachers are selfish imps that should be stripped of their teaching licenses if they demand your child take drugs for behavioral issues, without a thorough psychological evaluation with a competent psychologist and medical doctor. There are many other physical and mental issues that could be the underlying issue for your child's behavior, and treating the symptoms with drugs instead of researching the underlying causes may do more damage than good.

The teacher needs to be able to establish rapport with her students, be able to control child who are unruly, and work with children who need additional guidance. There's a significant amount of work entailed in such teaching endeavors, so thank goodness they get summers off, they deserve it.

When I went to school, doing drugs were bad, and the government spent a significant amount of money to keep kids from doing drugs (remember Nancy Reagan's Just Say No campaign?). Now, an ever increasing amount of kids are forced to do drugs by schools. And these aren't just another type of Tylenol, these are major drugs! Say no to cocaine, but here's some Ritalin (which has very similar components and affects the same areas in the brain).

What's the message here?

(In child behavioral cases where drugs were the first I really need to preface this? Oh, yeah, the same people I am talking about here get terribly offended, too. Good grief.) Teachers are lazy, parents are ignorant, and society will suffer because we are drugging our kids. This is the new drug revolution and if it continues, we are doomed.

Is legislation needed to make sure teachers and parents are assessing our children that show signs of behavioral issues with the appropriate psychological and medical evaluations, and using non-drug treatments as the first resort, exhausting all non-drug measures, before falling back on what ought to be the last resort: drugs? Maybe. This is our future we are talking about.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Is the White House Coming Clean?

Imagine the scene: The House Intelligence Committee's confessional. A slightly beleaguered White House senior staffer (name withheld--c'mon this is a confessional--it's private--it's secret).

WH Staffer: Forgive me, representative, for I have not strictly followed the FISA guidelines. It's been five years since my last confession.

House Representative: That's a long time... Please confess your transgressions.

Staffer: Ummm. Well. (Confessor starts to fidget.) Well, it first started out when, um, well Dick was pushing me to find out what the oil countries, er... um...

Rep: Go on.

Staffer: He wanted me to get some more intel on countries that were threatening the United States. At first it sounded innocent and all.

Rep: When did this begin?

Staffer: Oh, this was in the spring of 2001. I remember the cherry trees in bloom. It was all before the changes happened.

Rep: What changes?

Staffer: You know. The changes. I thought that when all this was happening that it was just everyone getting adjusted to being in the White House. The changes were affecting people differently. I just thought I'll just do my job. I listened to Dick. He had grand ideas, but just coming from a large corporation like Halliburton, it seemed right. Even the president came with his ideas. But they needed intel so they could implement their ideas. So, we were to gather it. Our intel didn't support their ideas. So, we were back on the hunt.

Rep: Then what?

Staffer: History changed. Everything changed. That Tuesday in September. I knew something was amiss that day. I knew it before the day began. That whole month was surreal. It was like a whirlwind caught us and everything we saw was blurred in the wind. We did things we would never have done had we really known. There were things we thought were needed at the time that really went beyond all innocent intentions. But we did what we had to do. We had a job to do and we did it.

Rep: Uh huh.

Staffer: Then, there was more and more pressure to get more and more intel. Intel for this. Intel for that. And for all that intel, it seemed we continued to get more and more flack. But we weren't getting any help, either. We said we needed more organization. We didn't get organization. They wanted more, but we couldn't do it that way. At least my conscience wasn't letting me. They worked on making it easier to do, but it didn't pass by the hill. They told us to do it, anyway. There's a lot of stuff that happened between then and now, but I'd hate to bore you with the details.

Rep: Oh, please go on.

Staffer: We just kind of made up our minds to do it, making up our own rules as we went. I admit we might have gone too far. But we were encouraged, because they told us the hill agreed. We thought that we were again in the right, but now I think we might have been wrong.

Rep: It is difficult to confess, I know. I and my fellow representatives thank you for your honest effort of confession. For your penance, say the "Pledge of Allegiance" five times in the next week, and come speak and ask for mercy from the House Intelligence Committee at our House Cleaning Meeting next Wednesday. We'd love to be bored from the details.

No Reasoning

"There is no reasoning with unreasonable people," a Danish ambassador mentioned to me last night. Wise words.


I just thought that this article struck me kind of odd. The last quote, especially so.

When reading this piece, in the back of my mind I'm thinking of the many violent things Muslims have done in the name of Muhammad. Like killing foreigners before and after 9/11, and of course, the events of 9/11 done with significant Islamic overtones. They are representing their religion when they kill, mame and destroy in the name of Muhammad. They are representing Muhammad and his beliefs to the rest of the world when they commit atrocities in his name, right? I think so.

“It’s forbidden to create a hate programme to show that the Prophet is a terrorist while he’s not. Don’t ask us to try to make people understand that this is not a campaign of hate.”

Now, who are they talking about here? Who's doing the campaign of hate now?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

"I Have A Dream..."

I don't think there is any tribute that could match the courage of Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, his family or followers. As Coretta Scott King is honored during her funeral today, it is a time to look back, and look forward.

Martin Luther King Jr. had a great dream. A dream that freedom rings across the United States to all its citizens. MLK was a great advocate of peaceful protest. We all have much to learn and much to gain from his stance.

When I grew up in a very colorless part of the country, I still felt that people of color were still God's children, even if I seldom encountered one. They still have feelings. They still have been given gifts and talents by their Creator. And they are still precious in God's eyes. They are like me. They should be free, indeed.

Violence and unrest continue to destroy that preciousness that lies in each of God's creations on this earth. Materialism and ideologies have seemingly conquered over the preciousness of life and the sacredness of freedom.

Even in our daily lives, we allow other things to strip us of our freedoms. We quietly follow someone, even if we don't agree, just to be in the "in" crowd. We do things that go against our inner sense of reason. We don't do things we ought or long to do, because either a mental, cultural, societal or physical roadblock has been placed in our way. We can break the roadblocks. We can challenge the challenges that lie before us.

Freedom is sacred. Freedom is full of responsibility and obligation and reverence. Freedom is accessible and a challenge. It is work. It is conditioning the heart, mind and soul to peacefully seek freedom. It is to define a peaceful freedom for all, and to honor others' freedom so that your freedom does not hinder anothers' freedom. It is to work, play and rest peacefully with our brothers and sisters on this earth. It is peace and freedom walking hand in hand.

And someday, we will all sing together, "free at last."

Friday, February 03, 2006

US Press Ignores Danish Cartoon Freedom Issues

Did you notice? No one major media outlet in the US is touching the whole controversial Danish cartoon story. Not even with a ten-foot pole.

Even on the satire news outlets. Jon Stewart--nothing. Stephen Colbert--nada. (Ok, ok...update: so they are now reporting about it, but very carefully, as if walking on glass with bare feet.)


Well, right click on the title link and read that article. Is it fear? Fear of retalliation? I thought we were fighting so we would be free, and so would Iraq and Afganistan.

I think it is culture clash. I'm sure that the hit "Rock the Casbah" from the 80s rock band The Clash is offensive to Islam, too. But then again, we had Ronald Reagan in the White House, who scared the living daylights out of anyone who dared to harm us with his iron clad phrases like:

Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have.
Ronald Reagan

It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history.... [It is] the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism- Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.
Ronald Reagan (Replace Soviet Union with current "evils")

Coersion, after all, merely captures man. Freedom captivates him.
Ronald Reagan

I don't believe in a government that protects us from ourselves.
Ronald Reagan

It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history.... [It is] the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism- Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.
Ronald Reagan (Replace Soviet Union with current "evils")

History teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.
Ronald Reagan

You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream -- the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order -- or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, "The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits."
Ronald Reagan

The ultimate determinant in the struggle now going on for the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas-a trial of spiritual resolve: the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish and the ideals to which we are dedicated.
Ronald Reagan (Boy, isn't that the truth!)

If you want to read more quotes from Ronald Reagan, check out one of my favorite sites: Wikipedia's Wikiquote!

Don't be surprised when you read these quotes that your head starts to shake from side to side. It seems just about all great leaders contradict themselves or their political party's beliefs at one time or another.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Another Perspective of Danish Cartoons Gone Awry

Sigh. Now how many posts have I done on these sour Danish cartoons? Good grief.

I want to present to you this link that gives a different perspective on the situation from a Danish muslim.

In so many ways, the profound remark President Bush said in his State of the Union speech, applies here, too.

"America is a great force for freedom and prosperity. Yet our greatness is not measured in power or luxuries, but by who we are and how we treat one another. So we strive to be a compassionate, decent, hopeful society."

Yes, it is in how we treat one another that sets us apart.

The Danish cartoons were done in response to how they were perceiving treatment from Muslims. However, the manner of conveying that has been distorted in that Muslims are upset about any image of Muhammad.

Muslims should feel upset and they should stand up for their religion. However, they should also remember that they are known by how they treat one another, as well, which is why the cartoons were done. Do you see the tangled web that is being weaved here?

This is indeed a public relations issue for all involved here. We'll see who comes out with the least mud on their face.

Damn Freedom!

Who knew that a series of cartoons in a Danish paper would have such an effect on the Muslim community... and even the rest of the world.

This is Denmark, for pete's sake! Denmark, people. You know that small sliver of land that sits on top of Germany? That's Denmark. Small, itty-bitty country.

Let's just overlook that for a moment.

After a Danish paper published cartoons in September that satirized Muhammad, a prophet of Islam, papers in Germany and France have recently followed suit and ran their own cartoons along with republishing the ones from the Danish paper.

Pssst! Muslims apparently don't have a sense of humor for this.

I mean, Muslims are really riled up about this. Really.

Can you image if Christians and Jews got this upset about some cartoons portraying God in a controversial way? Hmmmmm.... ah.... yikes. I don't think editors would get fired for portraying a controversial God.

But, they are getting fired for publishing the Muhammad cartoons. Is this all in a vain attempt to appease a group of people who really just want to be angry and nothing you say or do will make them happy? Hmmmm.

Muslims are demanding apologies from the governments of Denmark, Norway, Germany, and even France. Why? The governments did not publish the cartoons. The governments didn't do anything wrong. So, then, why? For allowing freedom of press.

Damn freedom!

It's amazing how a small wave from Denmark could get so huge when it hits the Middle East. Did I mention how small and inconsequential Denmark really is?

This is Freedom, Muslims

Hey, Muslims, this is what freedom is all about. That's the message the Danish paper, Jylland Posten, and many others are now saying, as they defend freedom of the press.

Newspapers in France and Germany are republishing the cartoons from the Danish paper in support of freedom of press.

This is what Muslims fear, too. And that is why insurgents fight so hard in Iraq. Islam does not apparently fair well with this type of freedom.

Feel Good State of the Union

So, do you feel good, again? As usual, the state of the union speech given by President Bush was a pep rally for his administration, his congress, and now his Supreme Court.

But, if you listened carefully to the first couple of paragraphs of his speech. Errr, how about after the first one, where he lauded Coretta Scott King, who passed away that day. Did you hear what he said? Did you??

The second paragraph and the first half of the third paragraph sounded like it was coming from a president that was saying his last State of the Union speech. Then, at the end of the third paragraph, in between the lines, he is saying please don't impeach me. Did you hear that?

No? Think of it this way. It's just like jilted love affair when the spouse is ready to divorce the other. The other says, but we can do so many great things together. Then, goes on to say what wonderful things could be accomplished if they'd just stick together.

The frustrated spouse just sits there shaking his/her head from side to side as he/she thinks about how the past hasn't panned out so well.

"In this decisive year, you and I will make choices that determine both the future and the character of our country," remarked President Bush.

This was how the fourth paragraph starts for the State of the Union. It may sound bland and inspecific, and could be applied to any president and any year in the history of the United States. But no, this is the here and now. Going back to the analogy, the other spouse is saying that we both will be doing things that will determine our future. In a sense, the other spouse is trying to make the frustrated spouse feel empowered in the relationship and able to have a say in the future of the relationship.

However, the frustrated spouse continues to shake his/her head from side to side.

The pep rally continues. The other spouse is looking into the future, saying that all the things they will do will prove his love. In this case, the president is saying that he will prove that he upholds freedom.

The other spouse, seeing that his spouse is still not convinced, tries to explain away his agressive and harmful actions, saying that they are needed because he loves her and that is how he shows his love. In the State of the Union speech, the president goes on to say how we need to take the fight outside of our borders, so that we will not have to deal with it on our land. The president is building freedom in other lands, and we should rally behind that, regardless what the other lands really want.

The head continues to shake from side to side, and the eyes start to roll.

The other spouse then goes on to say how he is helping his buddy with marital issues, and how that marriage is surviving. But the frustrated spouse knows better. He/she's heard the other side of that marital situation, too.

Just like the president's remarks on the battle in Iraq. He says we will win this battle and gain victory. Whoa, wait... Whose country is this, where the battle is raging? Iraq's or the United States? Ok, then. Let Iraq win. Let the citizens of Iraq take the victory. Victory in Iraq is for Iraqis, not for us. Let's not get pompous here.

But, the other spouse loves being pompous and prideful. They love to boast of things they themselves have no personal stake in and really shouldn't be sticking their nose in someone else's business. Although, the frustrated spouse knows about the bet the other spouse made with his buddy at the bar to fudge a bit about "goings-on" after hours.

"America is a great force for freedom and prosperity. Yet our greatness is not measured in power or luxuries, but by who we are and how we treat one another. So we strive to be a compassionate, decent, hopeful society."

Probably the most profound remark of the whole night, yet the president received no applause for this one. Maybe everyone was too busy thinking about that one. Now, are we supposed to be compassionate, decent, and hopeful to the whole world? Or just for President Bush? Mabye we were too busy shaking our heads from side to side to think about it.

The pep rally continues. And the other spouse makes rallying points to make his side look good against his opponent, not knowing who the true opponent really is, and not realizing that this opponent just might be himself.

Upholding Free Speech in Denmark

Denmark's in hot water, again. No, it's not because of global warming. It's because a Danish paper, the Jylland Posten, published about a dozen cartoons with images of Islam's Muhammad. It was in an attempt of political satire regarding the Muslim religion and the current jihad that certain Muslim radical sects have instigated against Western countries and cultures.

Let's make one matter clear here before we go on: With its free speech laws, Danish law does not forbid such publicized caricatures. Got that? Okay. Then, let's move on...

Some would say this is a poor and distasteful way to sell newspapers. There are even some Middle Eastern countries that are completely aghast at the publication of these Danish cartoons. The Jylland Posten has made a full front page apology to Muslims, but that's not apparently going to cut it with these Muslim countries that are so offended that they have banned Danish imports. Some countries, like Saudi Arabia and Lybia, have either vacated their Danish embassies or have closed them entirely. These are some very upset people.

And, they are demanding an apology from Denmark's prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The Danish prime minister is declining to apologize because the Danish government has not done anything wrong and the newspaper did not break any Danish law. Doing so would only negate the power of law and free speech in Denmark. Bravo, Prime Minister Rasmussen.

But, where does the problem lie in this situation?

Sure, the Danish newspaper, the Jylland-Posten, was irresponsible in soliciting and publishing such inappropriate cartoon material. For that, the editors of the Jylland-Posten get a tap of the golden ruler from Sister Jen. And, a scolding, that according to the teachings of the Danish National Church (Lutheran), you should love your neighbor--including Muslims--and such cartoons aren't very loving, even if they depict something that seems to be true. There are probably more gentle ways to tell Muslims that bombs and mass killings aren't the answer.

Then there are the angry Muslims. Angry not as much at the Danish newspaper, as much as they are just angry. And now Denmark is the recipient country of their anger. Congratulations, Denmark. Your laws and culture are now completely offensive to Muslims.

Reflecting the reaction from Muslim nations, irresponsible Danish free speech is apparently evil. I guess it's okay for Muslims to burn flags and photos of leaders, and to kill other people, but for someone to draw an image of Muhammad in response to their political jihad is bad. Very bad. Hmmmm. Wonder when these Muslim countries will get over it.

You know, if I were a Muslim country and wanted my Muhammad portrayed as something holy and sacred, and battle the war loving images depicted in those cartoons, I'd hire Karl Rove to do some propaganda waging for me. And then, I'd make sure that my country showed Muhammad and our peace-loving Muslim religion just as such: Peace-loving. Call it silly, but you know sometimes water puts out fires better than more fire.

I'm glad that Jewish people don't overreact to all of Christianity's writing God's name as G O D and not G - D. Now, that would be an interesting battle.

Thinking of that, it's amazing that Christians don't do anything about cartoons showing God and Jesus as less than holy and sacred. Maybe Christians know that God is more powerful than any jovial jab in the funny pages.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Sigh. An Expression from a Resigned American

Resigned? Nah. Retired? If only I had a nest egg. Maybe I'm just taking sabatical for a while.

My frustrated brain cells are becoming increasingly disinterested in current events. Maybe its all the head rolling at the headlines every day.

Sadly, I googled "resigned american" and found this goofy website that had an interview with some Democratic senator thinking Bill Clinton should resign. It proved several things to my resigned thinking...

1. Democrats are wimpy.
2. Democrats think that a president should consider resigning if they don't correct any mis-statements, inaccuracies, or false statements, and apologize to the country, as long as (1) such statements had no negative implication to the immediate vitality of the country, (2) the president is a democrat....
3. Democrats are wimpy.
4. Apparently, democrats can't see forest through the trees.
5. Democrats are wimpy.
6. Democrats need political glasses so they can see the forest, along with small hot fires that dot the forest, that if left alone, will cause a major forest fire and possibly decimate the whole forest and then some.
7. Democrats are wimpy.
8. Even if democrats got some balls on them, would they know how to use them? Oh, right. That whole Howard Dean thing.
9. Democrats are wimpy.
10. Sigh. The same thing that makes certain democratic values altruistic and benefit of the doubt giving, also makes them very wimpy. And we, as a society, don't want wimpy, wimpy, wimpy. We want hefty, hefty, hefty.


Confidence. Peer loyalty. The hallmark of the Republican Party. And the challenge for the Democratic Party.