Monday, October 31, 2005

America's Company

According to CNN online, Walmart CEO Lee Scott says the government needs to raise the national minimum wage. He says:

"The U.S. minimum wage of $5.15 an hour has not been raised in nearly a decade and we believe it is out of date with the times," Scott said. "We can see first-hand at Wal-Mart how many of our customers are struggling to get by. Our customers simply don't have the money to buy basic necessities between pay checks."

Is he kidding? If he isn’t he is unbelievably out of touch with his own employees. They don’t have the money to buy basic necessities between paychecks themselves.

I worked for Walmart myself a while back. I worked for them more than once. I worked in 4 different stores and at different positions. I worked in the Sporting Goods, Hardware, Automotive, and Electronic departments. I also worked on the overnight cleaning crew and as an overnight grocery stocker. I know what I’m talking about on this one.

Back when I was badly in need of a job, (when I was trying to stay off welfare) I was hired to work at $8.00 an hour. No commissions, no perks, no incentives, except the usual payroll deducted fringe benefits. The insurance was nearly useless. There were more ways for the insurance company to get out of paying for anything than Carter’s has little liver pills. And you couldn’t afford it anyway. The premium is too high.

After the first 3 months, there was a job evaluation, wherein, if you had progressed satisfactorily, you could receive a raise. If you were judged exceptional you could get a 5% raise. If you were above average, a 4% raise. If you were average, you received a 3% raise. You got another evaluation at the six month point, and then after that, once a year, on or near your anniversary date.

I never knew anyone who received a 5% raise. Ever.

Eventually I quit, but soon after I was forced to go back there due to more difficulty finding work. This time I lived in another area of the country so it wasn’t the same Walmart as before. I was hired again at $8.00 an hour. Nevermind that I had previously attained the level of $8.65, I had to start over at $8.00. Once again, I received a raise to $8.32 an hour before I found a better paying job and was able to quit again.

The new job laid me off after about 6 months so I ended up back at Walmart again. Only this time the corporation had brought in consultants while I was gone.

Don’t get me started on Consultants.

My new wage was $6.10 an hour, with a shift differential of $.15 and an additional stipend of $.50 an hour because I had experience. Consultants had decided that the company could make bigger profits if they didn’t pay so much in wages. I didn’t stay long enough to get my first evaluation this time.

I won’t go back.

There are employees there that make a pretty good living actually. Because Walmart is their second job. I myself was working another job when I was there the last time. I had gotten a part time job about the same time I got the job with Walmart. My part time job was less than half the hours I worked at Walmart, but paid double. When I got the opportunity to go full time, I asked Walmart if they would allow me to work only on weekends to accommodate my other job. They refused, so I quit.

So now, Mr Scott thinks that America should increase minimum wage so that the customers who patronize his business can afford to spend more, and, in doing so, will make even more profit for his store, and him. You can bet, that since Walmart already pays more than minimum wage that he won’t insist that his own company increase it’s minimum wage.

Scott also discussed a new health-care package with lower premiums for Wal-Mart workers.
The new "Value option" plan, which will be introduced Jan. 1 2006, offers insurance coverage of $23 a month "and kids covered for less than 50 cents per day ... no matter how many children," Scott said.

I am unfamiliar with this new health care plan he’s talking about but if it is more affordable than the one they have now, it will be less than useless. A co-worker of mine at Walmart has an advanced case of diabetes and Walmart’s health care plan didn’t cover any aspects of it at all. If Walmart holds true to form, the new Health Care plan will be even worse than the present plan.

I don’t shop at Walmart any more than absolutely necessary. I don’t want my money helping them to keep their employees below the poverty level while lining their upper management’s pockets.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

My Good Deed For The Day

Yesterday, my son entered a skateboarding competition. I've mentioned before that he is a pretty good skateboarder. The competition was sponsored by a local church, New Covenant Fellowship Church, who laid out ramps and rails and "boxes" in the side parking lot for the kids to perform their tricks. The prizes ranged from $200.00 for first prize, to $10.00 for anyone that entered.

With the popularity of skateboarding these days, it is a stroke of genius, in my opinion, for the church to start a "Skate Ministry". They reach many young people who otherwise might never darken the door of a church.

My son, John, in action. (Click the picture to enlarge)

My son won second place and was presented with $75.00, which he promptly spent on new skateboarding shoes (Nike) and new wheels. They didn't present the winners with their prizes at the end of the contest, instead they announced that the prizes were to be given away during services on Sunday (today). So my son and I went to a different church today. I thought it was a rather sneaky way of getting people to visit their church, but I'm not complaining. Heaven knows, My son and I both need as much Spiritual help as we can get.

But I'm not going to discuss my son or his prowess on a skateboard today, although I am very proud of him.

Instead I want to talk about another young man who was also there, a very good friend of my son's. His name is A J. He is 14 years old and very short for his age. He is 4'8" tall. (In contrast, my son stands about 6 foot, taller than me by at least 4 inches)

My heart went out to this young man. As I have mentioned before, I was also very small for my age in high school. I was 4' 9" when I entered high school, and grew 11 inches by the time I graduated.

I remember how I was teased and picked on because of my height, and I know, the way kids are these days, that poor little A J must surely get much worse than I did. Not everything about enduring taunts and teasing is bad. You tend to develop a thick skin, which helps you cope with the constant jibes from your peers. But it gets old, and it wears on your self esteem. In addition to a thick skin, you also develop a poor self image, and an overall belief that you aren't as good or accomplished, or even as smart as your peers.

I know. I've been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

When the time came for the kids to sign up for the contest, A J sat down on the chairs provided for the spectators, saying he wasn't going to compete because he wasn't good enough.

I know I should just stay out of these things but I just couldn't. I went over to him and knelt down in front of him, and said, "You should go ahead and compete, the worse you can do is lose, and that isn't so bad, you'll still have fun."

He protested, but I continued, "You never know, maybe the other guys will choke or mess up and you'll end up winning it. Anyway, you'll never know what you can accomplish if you don't try." Then I walked away and left him there to consider what I told him.

A few minutes later, I looked up and noticed that A J was standing by the judges table getting a number pinned on his back. I was as proud as if he were my own child.

A J performed very nicely and acquitted himself well. This morning, in the church service, A J was presented with 6th prize and $10.00. 6th place out of 11. Not bad. Not bad at all.

I hope this little victory will inspire him in the future, and he will rise above self doubt and become everything I know he can.

I only wish I had been encouraged like that when I was his age.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Frightening Local News

The town in which I live, Clear Spring, Maryland, is a small community, with a population of 450. Friday afternoon, soon after school was dismissed, a fight ensued between two students at the High school my son attends, Clear Spring High School.

This fight was not a typical fight between high school students. School administrators were alerted to the fight and found one student physically restraining another student. The fifteen year old who was being restrained was brought into the principals office.

Shortly thereafter, the gun was found in the student's possession.

You can read more about it here.

What the newspaper doesn't say is this:

The student carrying the gun was advancing on another student when he was restrained. The student he was advancing on is Cuban, a close friend of my son's. My son informs me that the student carrying the gun is also a friend. I asked my son what the student with the gun is like.

He said he is racist.

One can only speculate what may have happened had not one student intervened, but I have to believe no one carries a loaded 9mm Glock semi-automatic handgun and an extra clip, without the intention of using it. If he was foolishly bringing it to school for show and tell, so to speak, I don't think it would have been loaded, and most certainly he would not have brought extra ammunition.

The Herald Mail reports: Mowen could not say whether a loaded handgun has been brought to any other school in the past.

"If the need were to arise for there to be increased security measures, there are steps in place for administrators to consider," she said.

I think it is pretty clear that an unthinkable tragedy has been averted.

What I'd like to know is what could have been done to prevent this from happening in the first place? Why should we have to have "increased security measures"?

Was this racially motivated, or was it merely a fight between two high school students that may have potentially turned tragic? We may never know the answer to that question, but somehow I believe that the continual eroding of moral values in our nations schools plays a significant part.

When I was in school, the worst transgressions were chewing gum in class and running in the halls. Occasionally a fight would break out between two students, but they didn't bring guns. We wouldn't have even considered bringing a gun to school.

On a side note, my son tells me he was questioned by an FBI agent about a matter involving tonight's Halloween parade in Hagerstown, about 13 miles from here. Apparently they intercepted reports that there is going to be an "incident" at the parade and someone brought my son's name up.

There has been a rash of burglaries and theft in this tiny village in the last several weeks, including theft from me and my son.

What has happened to our society? And why?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Another Consequence of Miers Withdrawal

Now that Harriet Miers is no longer a nominee to the SCOTUS, all the insiders and outsiders are speculating on who the President will nominate next. We also have heard all manner of explanations as to why the President chose someone so obviously unqualified for the job.

I personally supported her nomination, not because I trust Bush, though I do, but because I trusted the opinions of people who know her personally, and have worked closely with her in the past. If anyone would know her judicial philosophy, they would.

I am not going to speculate on why he chose her, because it doesn't matter now. We will never know how she would have ruled, but her nomination and the subsequent withdrawal of that nomination may have direct repercussions on the current Supreme Court.

We can safely say that Justice Sandra Day-O'Connor was something of a disappointment to the Conservatives. She is often the swing vote on some divisive cases brought before the court. Laws have been both struck down and upheld because of her tie breaking vote in some very volatile issues. The recent Kelo decision for example.

It is Justice O'Connor's seat that President Bush needs to fill with this appointment.

Harriet Miers was awaiting confirmation while her record, such as it was, was being scrutinized, for 25 days. During that time the Supreme Court re-opened and began hearing cases, with new Chief Justice Roberts presiding. Justice O'Connor has agreed to stay on the Court until a replacement has been confirmed.

The sometimes disappointing swing vote is still there, helping to decide cases which may effect everyone in the country. In the case of McCREARY COUNTY, KENTUCKY, et al. v. AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION OF KENTUCKY et al, for example, the court ruled thusly:

Souter, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Stevens, O'Connor, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., joined. O'Connor, J., filed a concurring opinion. Scalia, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and Thomas, J., joined, and in which Kennedy, J., joined as to Parts II and III.

I make that point in order to make this point:

The next nominee has yet to be named, although The President has promised a speedy announcement. After He announces his nominee, there will be a period of time in which the press and the Senate etc, will research as much as they can in order to attempt to determine the nominees judicial philosophy. Then, if the name isn't again withdrawn, The nominee goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee and after that, the Senate itself, for confirmation.

In the meantime, cases are being argued. Cases that may effect our civil liberties.

One of the cases now being heard is the one in which the constitutionality of the state of Oregon's Doctor assisted suicide law is being argued. Depending on how a majority of Justice's rule, People may die.

Because of a possible blunder or a calculated strategy by Bush, Conservatives will now have to wait a little longer for a majority opinion that favors them on the Court.

We can only hope that the next nomination doesn't come too late.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Gruesome Milestone

On Tuesday the 2000th American soldier died from wounds suffered in the war on terror. One news outlet reports it this way:

In New York, Wednesday morning's newspapers headlined the news of U.S. dead with what seemed like macabre glee.

"2,000 Dead: As Iraq Tours Stretch On, a Grim Mark," blared the New York Times front page.

America's best known "Clockwork Orange", Cindy Sheehan, has vowed to chain herself to the Whitehouse fence in protest until President Bush pulls the troops out of Iraq. She had announced plans to do that as soon as the 2000 milestone was reached a while back.

I don't know that I agree with the assertion that the New York Times is gleeful over the news, but it certainly seems to me that Ms Sheehan was almost hoping we would reach the 2000 mark.

The same news outlet mentioned above reports:

In a study released two weeks ago, the Media Research Center noted:

"Network [news] coverage has been overwhelmingly pessimistic. More than half of all stories (848, or 61%) focused on negative topics or presented a pessimistic analysis of the situation, four times as many as featured U.S. or Iraqi achievements or offered an optimistic assessment (just 211 stories, or 15%)."

By its attempts to trash the U.S. war effort, the press betrays its true feelings about America's heroes - and those feelings have little to do with honoring their sacrifices.

Yesterday, I heard a radio talk show host comparing the number of dead in Iraq with the numbers that died in WWII, Vietnam, Gettysburg. There was no comparison. There is absolutely no doubt that there have been much less killed in Iraq than in a comparable amount of time in other wars.

This news disturbs me. All of it. Not just the news that 2000 men have died, although that is disturbing enough. But the news that some are using the tragic deaths of 2000 Americans as a platform to support their own agendas. On both sides.

War is never a good thing, although it is often righteous and often the only option. And death is an unfortunate and tragic result of war. Lets also not forget the men who have been permanently crippled and maimed, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I recall a popular phrase from the 60's:

These are not statistics, nor are they a cause for celebration. They are deaths. They are people. They are Americans. They have families and they had lives. Any death in war is an obscene death.

I see no reason to celebrate or minimize these deaths. I only see a need to grieve. I grieve no less over one death than I do over 2000. Or 4000. Or 8000. This is a war that I believe we need to fight, to finish, to win. But I will not celebrate the deaths of our brave troops and I will not minimize their sacrifice.

I will, however, celebrate their bravery and their commitment to freedom.

The reporting by the media, both Liberal and Conservative regarding this "milestone" is deplorable.

Breaking News:

Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination to the SCOTUS. I will consider this and comment on it later.

In other news: The Houston Astros were defeated in the World series by the Chicago White Sox in a 4 game sweep. A church in Berkley, California that I could not find in a web search has announced the reason for Houston's loss is because "God hates Houston". Really. You can't make this stuff up.

Apparently, according to spokesmen for the church, "The Church Of Peace And Unity" claim that it is because Houston is home to Halliburton, Enron, and an airport called George Bush Airport. And because after God drove the sodomites out of New Orleans, they ran to Houston, who accepted them.

Needless to say, i disagree with the church on this. I think the Astros lost because God is mad at Pastor Tim. (just kidding, Pastor. There's always next year.)

Go 'Stros!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Clear As Mud

"As clear as an unmuddied lake, Sir. As clear as an azure sky of deepest summer. You can rely on me, Sir.” --Alex De Large (Main character and humble narrator of “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess)

Initially, I held off in commenting on the circus involving Judith Miller because it’s all just too confusing. I was waiting for things to become clear before weighing in on it, but it seems that it may never get any more clear.

I realize that I don’t have any legal background. I don’t have a Law degree, but I am pretty certain that there has to be a crime before indictments can be brought.

Plame wasn't even covert, and you have to have been covert within the last five years in order for it to be against the law to reveal an operative‘s identity. There's a six-year period of time we're talking about here between the last time she was covert and when her identity came out.
A covert CIA agent having lunch, in public.

John Podheretz said:

“I hope some day somebody writes all this down, because the whole story is unbelievable. Miller never writes a story about Plamegate, but insists she must keep her sources secret, even though the name of her primary source, Cheney chief of staff Scooter Libby, has long since been a matter of public record -- and has publicly released her from her pledge of anonymity. She decides to go to jail to protect the principle of source anonymity, and is only weeks away from being sprung (because the grand jury she was refusing to talk to will go out of business in October) before she abandons her stand on principle and decides to talk. And all this in relation to a matter that may well not have been a crime to begin with. Weird wacko crazy bananas.”

Miller’s notes contain a reference to a “Valerie Flame” but she says that name did not come from Scooter Libby, and she said the name came from “another source” but she can’t recall who that source could be. A few days later, a variant of Valerie Wilson, --Victoria Wilson-- appears in Miller’s notes. Mrs. Miller had called “other sources” about Mr. Wilson’s wife, but she did not say with whom she spoke.

Miller didn't get a non-covert CIA operative's name from Scooter Libby. She might have gotten it from Karl Rove, but she can't recall. No one knows if she even spoke to Rove. So why did she go to jail again?

Rove and Libby both say they got Plame's name from reporters, But no one can find any indication anywhere that Rove ever mentioned Joe Wilson's wife by name, but that doesn't matter because just mentioning that Wilson's wife works at the CIA is enough to get indicted by the New York Times, if not by a grand jury. Except that outing a CIA employee who is no longer covert isn't illegal.

Whew! Bring in the clowns now, the dog and pony show is over.

Do I have all that straight now? Who knows?

It seems the only thing that we know for sure is the fact that we don’t know anything for sure.

See? Clear as Mud.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Luke 21:12, 17

This space was previously filled by excerpts from the book, "It All Started With Columbus", but an anonymous commentator has objected to my possible copyright infringement. He/she/it said:

"Anonymous said...
Armours book is still under copyright. But your a christian (His/hers/it's grammatical error in non-capitalization) & it's A-OK that you steal it & post it on your blog."

I went to a website for further information on this and found this:

Under the law in effect before 1978, copyright was secured either on the date a work was published with a copyright notice or on the date of registration if the work was registered in unpublished form. In either case, the copyright endured for a first term of 28 years from the date it was secured. During the last (28th) year of the first term, the copyright was eligible for renewal. The Copyright Act of 1976 extended the renewal term from 28 to 47 years for copyrights that were subsisting on January 1, 1978, or for pre-1978 copyrights restored under the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), making these works eligible for a total term of protection of 75 years. Public Law 105-298, enacted on October 27, 1998, further extended the renewal term of copyrights still subsisting on that date by an additional 20 years, providing for a renewal term of 67 years and a total term of protection of 95 years

The edition of which I am in possession of was last published in November 1965. The legalese quoted above is not clear to me, so I may be within my rights or I may not. Regardless, if something I do causes anyone to stumble, I will remove the stumbling block, because I am a Christian.

Thanks, Anonymous, for keeping me honest.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Gospel According to Ann

The Drudge report had a headline that jumped out at me this morning. I clicked on the link and found myself on MSNBC's website, a site I wouldn't have normally visited myself, as it is one of the more liberal leaning news organizations, in my estimation.

But this particular story piqued my interest.

Ann Rice, the famous chronicler of Vampires and the occult, has reportedly been converted to Christianity. According to MSNBC online, In two weeks, Anne Rice, the chronicler of vampires, witches and, under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure, of soft-core S&M encounters, will publish "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt," a novel about the 7-year-old Jesus, narrated by Christ himself. "I promised," she says, "that from now on I would write only for the Lord."

While I rejoice in the encouraging news that Christ has perhaps won another victory against mounting odds, especially since Ms. Rice is certainly not famous for her piety, I must confess, I am skeptical.

This skepticism, on my part, is merely a result of similar news in the past regarding public figures who announced a miraculous conversion and then later showed no evidence that the transformation ever took place. Not that I have any right to judge. I don't. It's just that I would be more likely to believe them if I could see definite changes in their behavior.

For instance, if Larry Flynt had left his multi-million dollar hard core porn industry behind immediately after his so-called conversion, I would be more inclined to believe that his reported conversion was real.

But alas, we know he didn't. And as a matter of fact, not only did he continue publishing hard core pornography, he began to openly ridicule Christ and His teachings and His followers. Maybe Flynt was indeed converted, but I don't consider it non-Christlike to doubt him.

I think I will do something I have never done before. I think I'll buy one of Ann Rice's books. It should be interesting.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Pride and Arrogance

"Pride goeth before destruction,and an haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18

Who can doubt the wisdom of those words? And at the same time, who pays attention to them?

All of us make statements expressing our belief in opinions that we feel strongly about. All of us also have made statements that are wrong. I don't mean statements that others disagree with. I mean statements that are just plain wrong.

I believe the act of admitting when one is wrong reveals the character and/or integrity of a man (or woman). I have noticed that there are many who simply will never admit to being mistaken. About anything.

It is a matter of pride. Or of arrogance.

Some may see admission of fault as a weakness, even a character flaw. I see it as a measure of strength and confidence.

Pride and arrogance are not bad things unless they are stubbornly adhered to regardless of facts to the contrary. Then, one shows oneself to be simply mule-headed and it devalues one's opinion.

The dictionary defines pride as:

1. A sense of one's own proper dignity or value; self-respect.
2. Pleasure or satisfaction taken in an achievement, possession, or association: parental pride.
3. Arrogant or disdainful conduct or treatment; haughtiness.

As you can see, pride is both honorable and dishonorable

The dictionary defines arrogance as:

n : overbearing pride evidenced by a superior manner toward inferiors.

It is frustrating to me when people stubbornly refuse to concede a point of contention when it is pointed out to them that there are flaws in their argument. Or even acknowledge that a good point has been made in a debate.

Take the recent discussion about Fred Phelps for example. Phelps is a man who's tactics, everyone agrees, are wrong. Not just mistaken. Wrong. He knows that few people agree with him, and he no doubt knows, despite what he preaches, that even God disagrees with his tactics. And yet, he persists in spreading a message of hate and bigotry everywhere he goes. Why? Because of arrogance.

You can see examples of arrogance everywhere. Ill. Senator Dick Durbin said some very inflammatory things about the American servicemen guarding prisoners at GITMO. Afterwards, in the ensuing firestorm of outrage, he was forced to recant his statements and apologize. But did he? No. He made a statement that he was sorry some people may have been offended, but that he was still correct in his assessment.

Some would say that President Bush is exhibiting the same arrogance in his resolve to push the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. I myself have stated that I back her nomination. Lately, though, in light of additional information, and the sheer preponderance of opposition, I have begun to have some reservations. I am now of the opinion that we need to wait and see how she fares in the Senate Judiciary hearings.

I made statements recently about the ACLU that were seemingly refuted by hard evidence to the contrary, but I stand by my original statements. So I admit to being arrogant in my own right.

Pride is a good thing when exhibited along with integrity, and as a demonstration of confidence.

I once saw Football great Marcus Allen in person walking out of a mall in Kansas City. The thing that impressed me more than anything else about him was his walk. He walked with confidence. With pride. Greatness exuded from the man. I try to imitate that walk. He didn't impart to me an air of arrogance, although I don't know him and I didn't talk to him. He has never struck me as being particuarly arrogant.

My father walked with pride, and he was indeed a proud man. I remember when I was a child, riding with my mother to pick him up from Boeing Aircraft, where he worked most of his life. Boeing is a huge company, with a large work force, and whenever the final whistle blew at the end of the shift, the mass exodus from every building resembled the rush of lemmings to the sea. Yet in spite of the crowds all rushing to be the first out of there, my father could easily be spotted in the crowd. He was the one walking, his head held high, with a purposeful stride. We recognized his walk of pride.

My father was not arrogant at all. He had rather different ways of expressing his feelings about his kids. In fact I didn't know how he felt about me until the end of his life. He never admitted being proud of any of us, but he most definitely was. My brother told me, years after dad died, that dad believed no great thing you accomplished was of any value unless it made you money. Dad considered himself a failure as a provider. I believe it ate at him that his wife had to work to keep our heads above water. I think it injured his pride.

So pride can be both a good thing and a bad thing. And, in spite of what the dictionary says, arrogance has it's good points as well.

I see myself as a man of conviction, and of principles, which many might see as arrogance.

I see it as pride.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Intelligence vs Education

I've been wanting to post a comment about this subject for quite a long time. The only reason I haven't yet, is because I fear I will disprove the very point I'm trying to make. Maybe if I keep it short I can get away with it.

Those who read my rants reguarly have no doubt noticed that I often refer to myself as "Your humble friend and uneducated blogger." Most of you have chosen to ignore that phrase in your comments, but ER once asked me why I say that.

I answered him at the time but here is the long answer to that query:

First, I borrowed the phrase from Anthony Burgess's novel, "A Clockwork Orange". Alex, as the first person main character, referred to himself as "your humble friend and narrator". I altered it to present myself more accurately.

Second, I was not fortunate enough to finish college, thus, I am uneducated. The reason that I continue to use that phrase is because I seek to disprove the myth that education is synonymous with intelligence.

When I was in Junior High School (Known as Middle School these days), we were not allowed to know the scores of that test we all take in the 8th grade. That one that tells the administrators our IQ. So, we weren't told what our IQ was. I still don't know what mine is. Was. Whatever. However, one teacher, during a conference, let it slip that I had the second highest IQ in the school, and she told me who had the highest. The next year that kid committed suicide.

So many people seem to be under the mistaken impression that one cannot be intelligent without having letters after their name. I myself have fallen into that trap. In a post I made some time back, I ridiculed same celiberals for calling President Bush stupid while they themselves possessed no more than a high school education. So, yes, I have done the same thing.

I consider myself to be highly intelligent. I am not just bragging. My entire family is highly intelligent. My mother, at 85 years old, is still sharp as ever, and she is a mathematical genius. Once, after purchasing a brand new calculator, I attempted to demonstrate how fast it was. My sister vocalized a math problem ,and while I was still punching the numbers in on the keypad, my mother gave the answer. She beat the calculator!

My brother is a musical virtuoso. He can pick up any musical instrument and be playing it like an expert in minutes, even if he never played it before. He is the only one of my brothers that we know for sure is an actual genius. The others may be, I just don't know it for a fact.

None of my family had to go to college to be intelligent. They already were, they just chose to go to college also. I actually did go to college long enough to be considered a bona fide alumnus at Wichita State University, but I didn't finish. Thus, I am uneducated.

Anyway, this same attitude is part of the reason why Harriet Miers is being judged as not qualified by many conservatives. Some have gone so far as to denigrate her because the school she received her law degree from was not an "accepted" Ivy league school. That is patently absurd. She has a law degree. What makes anyone think that because it is not from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or Dartmouth, that it is somehow not adequate? And who can say she isn't more intelligent and better at comprehending the language of the Constitution than those who have degrees from those above named institutions? It is quite possible, in my opinion, that she may not need to have an education at all to be qualified to interpret the Constitution.

I don't have a law degree, but I once represented myself in a lawsuit filed against me by a hospital who wanted to charge me for services they didn't render. I cross examined the witnesses, and concluded my case with a summation that would have made Clarence Darrow proud. I lost the case against the corporate lawyers chiefly because I waited until they brought suit against me to defend myself. In other words, I had never previously objected to the charges, I had simply ignored the bills.

The witnesses I had questioned admitted to me afterwards that I made them nervous because they had no answers to my questions. An opposing lawyer told me afterwards that I did a remarkable job of presenting my case, and if I had been a lawyer, with a law degree, I might possibly have won.

I don't meant to insinuate that a college education is not important. It most certainly is. I know that if I had finished school I would be better off financially than I am now. I know it. I have seen it time and time again that someone who has an education gets preferential treatment, as far as careers, over those who don't. One doesn't even have to have a degree in the particular field in which they are employed to get that job.

One of my brothers has a degree in Graphic Arts, and has a successful career at Boeing Aircraft in a completely unrelated field, but he wouldn't have got that job if he didn't have a degree. Any degree, it would seem, will do. I continually try to pound that message into my son's noggin.

I also don't mean to say that someone who has a degree isn't intelligent. I maintain that one has to have better than average intelligence just to get through college. But education is not a measure of intelligence.

There have been throughout history, literally thousands of great minds who never had a formal education at all. I don't know if Einstein ever received a degree in anything but I know it is well known that he once flunked math.

I have to say, I find it insulting when so-called educated people discount the opinions of those who don't have degrees because of a delusional impression that a lack of education signifies a lack of intelligent thought.

I once worked with a lady who had an degree in education. She wasn't employed at the time as a teacher although she had a valid teaching certificate. She did do substitute teaching when called. But the job she had in my office was as a telemarketer. She had to use multiple lines, with six clearly marked buttons, showing which lines were local and which lines were watts lines. She couldn't grasp the concept.

By the same token I know people who have great intelligence who have never attended college at all.

My father was promoted to the position of engineer at Boeing Military Aircraft because of the sheer amount of knowledge about the product they manufactured. He had no formal training or education as an engineer.

He did have a degree in English.

He once designed an airplane, just for fun, and threw the completed drawing in the trash because he didn't believe that Boeing would even consider the drastic departure from the typical aircraft design of the day.

His design had a remarkable resemblance to an F-16 fighter. This was years before the F-16 was introduced. In fact, jet engines were a brand new innovation at the time.

Anyway, I have made this rant way too long, against my better judgment. So I will conclude it with this statement:

Intelligence and education are not the same thing.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Fred Phelps

Yesterday, I posted a commentary on free speech, and I cited the example of a Neo-Nazi group who exercised their right of free speech in Toledo, Ohio, sparking a root in the process. And I also discussed The Reverend Fred Phelps, of Topeka, Kansas, who is the leader of a small but loyal group of religious fanatics who have become famous for picketing the funerals of homosexuals and of soldiers killed in the war.

For those who don't know, Rev. Phelps has appointed himself the voice of a god who advocates hatred of anyone that Phelps disagrees with.

In the post, I mentioned that Phelps claims to be a Democrat, to which blogger buddy ER quickly demanded I supply proof. I will admit now, that I distinctly remembered reading somewhere that he was Democrat, but didn't remember where, but, to appease ER, I did a Google search and found some interesting facts about Reverend Phelps which were not only interesting but highly disturbing.

By the way, he is a Democrat. In fact, he even ran for Governor of Kansas in some primaries, but thankfully, never won the nomination.

Here is some additional information about Phelps I found on the ADL website:

"Trained as a lawyer, Fred Phelps was disbarred in 1979 by the Kansas Supreme Court, which asserted that he had "little regard for the ethics of his profession." The formal complaint against Phelps charged that he misrepresented the truth in a motion for a new trial in a case he had brought, and that he held the defendant in the case up to "unnecessary public ridicule for which there is no basis in fact." Following his disbarment from Kansas State courts, Phelps continued to practice law in Federal courts. In 1985, nine Federal court judges filed a disciplinary complaint charging him and six of his family members, all attorneys, with making false accusations against them. The Phelpses fought the complaint but lost. In 1989, Fred Phelps agreed to surrender his license to practice law in Federal court in exchange for the Federal judges allowing the other members of his family to continue practicing in Federal court."

Here is what Phelps and his followers have to say about gays, blacks, Jews, etc, in their own words:

"The only true Nazis in this world are fags. They want to force you by law to support their filth, and they want to shut you up by law when they hate what you say. They would be perfectly happy to make it a crime to preach that 'God hates fags' under the guise of 'hate speech legislation.' "

-- "FAQ," WBC "" Web site

"It's NOT OK to be gay. It will damn the soul, destroy the life, and doom any nation that tolerates such evil. God Hates Fags is a profound theological statement, which America needs more than it needs oxygen or bread."

-- "WBC to picket UC (Tar Heels) graduation and Binkley Baptist Church," Westboro Baptist Church "News Release,"
May 3, 1999

Actually, I agree with part of that statement. Homosexuality, in my opinion, does damn the soul, destroy life, and seriously effects the morals of the nation that tolerates and normalizes it. I have always said I find it difficult to believe that all the citizens of both Sodom and Gommorah were depraved, but the ones that weren't tolerated the immorality, and that is why God completely destroyed them, the straight along with the gay.

But Phelps is not God, and he does not speak for God!

About Matthew Shepard... "He lived a Satanic lifestyle. He got himself killed trolling for anonymous homosexual sex in a bar at midnight. Unless he repented in the final hours of his life, he is in hell. He will be in hell for all eternity, 'where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.' Mark 9:44. For each day that passes, he has only eternity to look forward to. All the candlelight vigils, all the tributes, all the acts of Congress, all the rulings by the Supreme Court of the United States, will not shorten his sentence by so much as one day. And all the riches of the world will not buy him one drop of water to cool his tongue."

-- "Perpetual Gospel Memorial to Matthew Shepard," WBC "" Web site

"Filthy sodomites crave legitimacy as dogs eating their own vomit & sows wallowing in their own feces crave unconditional love."

-- "Week 344 of the Great Gage Park Decency Drive," WBC "News Release," January 15, 1998

"All gays & lesbians are liars and murderers at heart, like their father, Satan."

-- "____________. A black dyke! An abomination! Clinton & the Senate made her a U.S. Judge!" WBC "News Release," November 24, 1996.

About Jews:

"Fag Jew Nazis are worse than ordinary Nazis. They've had more experience. Jews stirred up the Romans to butcher 6 million Christians in the catacombs in the 1st century. The First Holocaust was a Jewish Holocaust against Christians. The latest Holocaust is by Topeka Jews against WBC..."

-- "Topeka's Dominant Fag Jew Masters are now agitating for: Same-Sex Fag Jew Marriage!" WBC flier, April 19, 1996

"As Hitler controlled the courts, prosecutors and police (Gestapo) in persecuting German Jews, so do Topeka Jews today in persecuting Baptists. As first century Jews stirred up the Roman tyrants in persecuting the primitive church, so do Topeka Jews today stir up Kansas tyrants in persecuting Westboro Baptists. They whine about the Nazi Holocaust, while they perpetrate the Topeka Holocaust."

-- "Topeka's Baptist Holocaust," WBC flier, March 23, 1996

This is what they say about Blacks:

"Anybody babbling about 'multicultural affairs' and 'celebrating diversity' is a propagandist for the militant sodomite agenda...Westboro Baptists will picket this black obfuscator, in religious protest and warning. Being black won't get you to Heaven. But promoting fags will take you to Hell."

-- "WBC Will Picket ___________________, Ph.D. She's a Multicultural, Diversity-Celebrating Blabbermouth," WBC "News Release," November 13, 1996

"Forget the American Bald Eagle. Since June 23, 1994, the only fitting emblem for the Great Seal of the United States Judiciary is this beast...Just call me: 'Yo Honuh'!!!... Here Come De Judge!!!"

--Text surrounding a racist caricature of an African-American female judge, "The Federal Judiciary: A Menagerie of Demonic, Libidinous, unclean Beasts: A Curse from God Upon an Apostate Nation," WBC flier, November 28, 1996

"Me ______________. Me lots smarter now. Me be Deputy Mayor...This crowd could dumb down the Western Hemisphere."

-- Text surrounding a drawing of a gorilla, "Wagnon's 'Friendlier Topeka,'" WBC flier, June 13, 1997. The named individual is an African-American city council member in Topeka, Kansas

"Black Female Dyke ___________ is a child of the Devil, peddling her satanic father's fag lies...She's dangerous because she plays the race card, the female card, & the poor-little-broken-home-orphan card like a fiddle to gullible fools who give her money."

-- "WBC to Picket Pervert ________, & Her Devil's Angels," WBC "News Release," May 20, 1996

On Christians:

"Most 'Christians' today are Christians by name only, and should be ashamed of themselves. They are cowardly, lukewarm, and ashamed of Christ's Word. They have substituted their own pathetic ideas for God's clear commandments... Don't listen to the money-grubbing heretic who stands at the front of your church. Listen to God."

-- "FAQ," WBC "" Web site

This, too, is not completely inaccurate, however, I wouldn't say "Most Christians". I would say "some", and that "some" would definitely include Reverend Phelps and his Congregation/family. And he is right about listening to God. He should follow his own advice.

"Any church that allows fags to be members in good standing is a fag church... Any church that ordains fags is a fag church...Any church that marries fags is a fag the Southern Baptists and Assembly of God churches are as much to blame as the out of the closet fag churches...Why? Because they have created an atmosphere in this world where people believe the lie that God loves everybody. This soul-damning lie is the reason that fags are so out-spoken today."

-- "Fag Churches," WBC "" Web site

"Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Catholic, Northern and Southern Baptist, Church of Christ, Assembly of God, etc. have all departed from God. Most well-known preachers (Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, etc.) have departed from God, and disassociated themselves with pure Gospel preaching."

-- "Churches," WBC "" Web site

About America:

The reason for the violence that has been erupting in the United States of America in recent years is that GOD HATES AMERICA."

-- "Children are their oppressors,"
WBC "" Web site

"We understand that Iraq is the only Muslim state that allows the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to be freely and openly preached on the streets without fear of arrest and prosecution. Alas, the United States no longer allows the Gospel to be freely and openly preached on the streets, because militant sodomites now control our government, and they violently object to the Bible message...The same majoritarian sodomite tyranny that now guides the Clinton administration's repressive policies toward Gospel preaching on America's streets, is apparently responsible -- at least in part -- for the merciless slaughter by starvation of 400 innocent Iraqi babies each day in your country. If our government and laws will allow it, and at the invitation of your government, we would like to send a delegation from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, to preach the Gospel on the streets of Baghdad for one week in the near future."

-- Fred Phelps, in a letter to Saddam Hussein,
November 30, 1997

As anyone can plainly see, Phelps is about two sandwiches short of a picnic. The lights are on, but nobody's home. In short, Reverend Fred Phelps is not a true Baptist. He is no more Christian than he is a Baptist. He is no more Democrat than he is a Christian. If it is possible to categorize him, his ideology more closely aligns with the principles of the Nazi party than Democrat, Republican or Independent.

He has about as much importance as a wad of filthy ABC gum adhering to the sole of my left shoe. If there is anyone anywhere who should be denied the right of free speech, it is he.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Free Speech

Recently, there have been two stories in the news, neither of which got much attention from the major news outlets. Both involved the free exercise of our first amendment right to free speech, and the methods in which the issue was addressed.

The first incident involved the Reverend Fred Phelps, the so-called Baptist minister who travels the country with a message of hate, proclaiming that "God hates Fags". He and his congregation, which is made up of his family members and possibly one or two fringe nuts, organize protests outside churches where the funerals of homosexuals who have died of AIDs are being held. Recently, he has expanded his protests to include protesting the war in Iraq, by picketing the funerals of soldiers who have been killed in action. His reasoning is that God is punishing America with this war for tolerating Godless homosexual behavior in our society. He claims to be a Democrat. Of course, he also claims to be a Christian.

This is what he and his congregation was doing when he once again made the news. According to the Claremore, Oklahoma Daily Progress:

CHELSEA--God spoke with the roar of revving motorcycle engines during a protest Tuesday by six members of a Kansas church that believes God is punishing the U.S. for protecting homosexuals by killing soldiers overseas.

Chelsea residents, however, believed God spoke on their behalf as the engines of more than 100 Veterans of Foreign Wars motorcycles drowned out the voices of the Westboro Baptist Church members who were allowed to protest from 1-1:30 p.m. before the 2 p.m. funeral services for Staff Sgt. John Glen Doles.

Rev. Phelps was completely within his rights as a citizen of the United States, in his protest. Phelps, who is also an attorney, dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's in preparing his protest. Everything he did was legal. He faxed the city before hand with his plans and procured the necessary permits. The group wasn't allowed to protest during the funeral (they had to end the protest one half hour before the scheduled beginning of the funeral, which they did.) and they had to stay half a block from where the funeral was being held. They complied with all regulations.

Those opposed to Phelps' protest exercised their right to free speech as well. The report isn't completely clear but it seems logical that they positioned their motorcycles in front of the band of protestors and revved their engines up to a level that was effective in drowning out the chants of Rev. Phelps group.

The other incident involved a group of Neo-Nazi's staging a demonstration in a predominantly black section of Toledo, Ohio. They too, had followed the proper procedures and had gotten permission from the city to conduct their demonstration according to the city ordinances and received a police escort as they walked down the sidewalk.

The residents of the neighborhood also decided to react to the offensivee display of racism.

Only their reaction was far more violent than the one in Oklahoma. A riot ensued in which large rocks were thrown at the demonstrators, as well as the police and ambulance crews, stores were looted and burned, and chaos reigned.

These incidents call into question the principles of free speech. Specifically, is there ever a time when we shouldn't be allowed to express ourselves? Does the right of free speech mean we have to endure offensive ideas and speech that incites people to violence? When the right to free speech interferes with others right to life, liberty and property, is it still guaranteed?

Can we indeed shout fire in a crowded theatre when there is no fire and expect to be protected? What is the best way to handle those whose speech is offensive to most of us?

I think the best way to combat these groups is to minimize their effectiveness by simply ignoring them. What they want is attention. If we don't give it to them they will eventually fade away, much like Cindy Sheehan has done since Hurricane Katrina pushed her off the front pages.

Most of my regular readers know that I am very much a proponent of free speech, but lately, when I see stories like these, I sometimes wonder if I should rethink my position.

No, I still believe free speech means exactly that. All of us has a right to say what we want. We also have the right to be stupid.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Supremacy In Diversity

Last night on the Sean Hannity show, Hannity interviewed a white supremacist.(I don't remember his name) I found the interview both interesting and disturbing on many levels.

One thing that disturbed me, surprisingly, was the way in which Hannity attacked the man like a rabid Rottweiler. In my estimation, Hannity sunk to a level somewhat below that of his guest, and that seriously damages the image of the compassionate Conservative in which Hannity takes great pride. He called the man names, and baited him and interrupted him and didn't listen to his guest's arguments.

And quite frankly, the man had some logical points. Or I should say, they sounded logical, on the surface. The interviewee was very articulate and never became flustered. He explained his position calmly and was polite, even though Hannity did his best to rattle him.

The white race is not the only race that has representatives that call for the separation of the races. The night before, Hannity had a black racist on his program, and he treated him with the same disdain with which he treated the white supremist. He made some fairly logical points as well, but he was just as racist.

At one point, in response to Hannity's badgering, the man at last admitted that he thought whites and blacks should be separated, saying, "It would solve a lot of problems".

He is right.

But, before you attack me for being a racist, try to follow me. There is a method to my madness. If whites and blacks were moved to different sections of the country, and allowed to establish separate nations of their own, there would no longer be race baiting, or charges of racism from either side. A lot of problems inherent in the melding of different cultures would certainly be avoided.

As long as we are considering the suggestion of separate nations for the races, we might as well throw the rest of the ethnic and culturally diverse groups into the mix. The Hispanics get their own country. Likewise people of Asian descent. And Arabs, and Irish, and the Polish and of course, Gays. Every race and ethnic group get their own country.

Does anyone see the problems here yet?

One of the first problems with this idea is that the majority of Americans are not pure anything. Yes, there are some who's ancestors never married out of their particular ethnicity. I once had a roomate who was 100% Irish. No one in his family history ever married anyone but other Irish people. But that is rare in America these days.

Who decides what group gets what sections of the country? I wouldn't want to have to live any farther north than I already do. And I'm sure there are some who would prefer not to have to live in areas that frequently get hurricanes. And so on.

Here is something I thought about in the first few minutes after I heard the white supremacist statement:

If we all had our own separate countries, would that inhibit progress? For instance, if an Asian scientist discovered the cure for Aids, is there a possibility that he would not share his discovery with those of the Gay country? Would he be obligated to and would the Asian country negotiate equitable terms for the exchange?

If a Black geneticist isolated a gene that, when altered, could increase memory and/or intelligence in man, do you think he would withhold that knowledge from his white and Hispanic colleagues out of spite for years of repression and discrimination?

What would happen if a white man invented a pill that would suppress violent tendencies in those who have a short fuse? Does there exist a possibility that he would distribute it only to his own race or at best, offer to sell it to the others at grossly inflated prices?

Maybe none of these scenarios would happen, but it illustrates the absurdity of racism. We need each other. We need to learn to get along and to help each other regardless of our color or culture or ethnic differences.

The future of our country depends on it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It All Started With Columbus

I received a book in the mail yesterday. It is an old book, a paperback that is no longer in print. I read it when I was in High School back in Derby, Kansas and my recent post about how George W Bush caused Hurricane Katrina reminded me of it, so I googled the name of it and found a site that had some copies of it, and ordered it. It is called, "It All Started With Columbus" by Richard Armour. This is a book about American history but should never be confused with serious study.

It cost less than the shipping.

Here is an excerpt:


The thrifty English had an unwritten constitution, which saved them a large printing bill. But the Americans decided to write theirs out in order to have something for the Supreme Court to interpret. The Constitution provided for the following:

1. Two houses, a lower and an upper, with a stairway, or escalator clause, between. Bills, which were afterwards to be sent to the taxpayers for collection, would first be thrown in a large hopper and allowed to age. Members of the lower house were to be elected according to population, that is, according to whether enough of the population voted for them. Members of the upper house were to represent the states instead of the people. To get into the upper house, it was necessary to have:

(a) A broad-brimmed hat
(b) A flowing bow tie
(c) A good name
(d) A key or a ladder

2. Congressional immunity: A special health program under which senators were inoculated against lawsuits.

3. A system of checks and balances, which led to the national debt.

4. Committees: Smaller groups which killed bills, tabled proposals, played poker, and generally ran things.


The first flag of the United States was made by Betsy Ross, assisted by Molly Pitcher ( a little woman who had big ears ), Barbara Frietchie, and other members of the Philadelphia Sewing Circle. In the original flag there were thirteen stars, but since many persons were superstitious, more stars were quickly added.


George Washington was the first president. He might have stayed in office for life, but he wanted to get out for some fresh air. He also wanted to get back to the farm. In this, Washington set a precedent. Almost every figure in American public life has expressed a desire to go back to the farm, even when he didn't come from one. Furthermore, he had prepared an eloquent address, which he was impatient to deliver.

He was followed, at a respectful distance, by John Adams. Although Adams was the second president, he was the first vice-president, and that was some consolation.

It even has tests at the end of each section. Here is an example of some test questions:

1. Look into the mirror. Examine the whites of your eyes. What if the redcoats at Bunker Hill had been suffering from pinkeye?

2. Was King George resentful because he was always third?

3. Quote at length

4. Come to some sort of conclusion.

The book includes 72 illustrious illustrations for those who can't read, and if I had a scanner I would add some of the pictures to this post. The only thing I can find is a picture of the book itself.

I'll post more from it later. Maybe.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Would Jesus Blog?

Blogger friend Lores, over at her place, poses an interesting question. Would Jesus blog?

I have to admit, my first impression of that question was the thought, "Of course not", but that was before I gave it the benefit of consideration. The more I think about that question, the more compelling it becomes.

First of all, to me, I would think it to be a very popular blog, with a large readership, not just among the "amen chorus", but also among those that strenuously disagree. And then there would be the occasional troll, and of course, spammers.

I wonder if He would use word verification?

Do you think that He would respond directly to those who argue with Him in His comments, or ignore them, and let other commentators argue for Him? I kind of think that He would blow away any arguments in His first attempt. Then again, would His post alone be so thoroughly convincing that He wouldn't get any argument to begin with?

I first thought Jesus wouldn't garner any objections to His comments at all because they are so completely logical and unassailable. My Bible (I say "my Bible" because it would appear that some of my commentators often appear to refer to a different Bible than the one I read, and I don't mean different translation) tells me that Jesus "spoke as one having authority". But then I remembered that he had more than His fair share of enemies during His 3 year ministry on Earth. Now I believe He would not only have plenty of objections, but there would no doubt be a liberal use of the flag button by those who would seek to silence Him in their anger over His precepts. And I mean "liberal" with a small "l".

Then, there is the question of what He would choose as the subject for His posts. Would He confine His comments to His message of love and salvation? Would he deal with the hypocrisy of religion? Politics? Would He be humorous, judgmental?

ER has questioned whether Jesus is a Liberal. Would He blog from a Liberal viewpoint or Conservative?

Then there's this to consider:

If God had waited until the world attained this level of technology to send His Son to "save the world", we would, as a global community, certainly be in a completely different situation. There would be no Christian Religion as we know it. How much more depraved and immoral would our society be if God had waited this long to send Jesus to save us from ourselves? I started to say there would be no one for the Muslim extremist to hate and carry out murderous attacks upon, but then I remembered. They hate Jews worse than they hate Christians.

I won't delve any deeper into the religious implications other than to say, that the world would definitely be in a much more precarious position, apocolyptically, than it is now, if that is even possible.

So, I am guessing that there are probably a thousand and one other questions and scenarios that could be brought up and discussed at length on this concept, but I will leave it as it lies for now.

I am certain that Pastor Tim has an interesting take on this question. I'd be interested in reading what other's have to say as well. Not just him.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

A Meme and Cool Hand Luke

Tech memed me. I used to like him. I suppose now I'm obligated. These are the meme rules:

1. Delve into your blog 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. Ponder it for meaning, subtext or hidden agendas.
5. Tag five people to do the same.

So here we go:

5th sentence from my 23rd post: Congressional leaders were moved from the Capitol.

Hmmmm. It means a small plane invaded Washington's air space and the Government buildings were evacuated. No subtext. But Boy, if It had a hidden agenda! Hoo Hah!

5 people: (Y'all are gonna hate me.)

1. Tug
2. Francis Lynn (that'll give him something to post about.)
3. Wordsmith
4. Michael Whitt
5. Goat

Go for it. Or not.

Yesterday I posted some great lines from Movies, television shows, and other things. After looking over it I realized I left out some favorite lines that any good post about great lines should have. And they are all from the movie, "Cool Hand Luke:

When asked why he was cutting the heads off parking meters, Luke said:

"You could say I wasn't thinkin' Captain."

Explaining why he went in the army and came out with the same rank after winning medals for bravery:

"Like I was just passin' time, Captain."

Captain: "I can be a good guy, or I can be one mean sumbitch."

More great lines from the movie here:

"Sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand."

"Callin' it your job don't make it right, Boss."

The first time Luke was captured after escaping, the conversation went something like this:

Captain: "You're going to get used to wearin' them chains, Luke, but you never stop listenin' to 'em clinkin'. They're going to remind you of what I've been sayin' for your own good."

Luke: "Wish you'd stop being so good to me, Captain."

Captain: "What we've got here, is failure to communicate."

But the best line in the film came from George Kennedy, as "Dragline": "Anything so innocent and built like that, got to be named Lucille!"

Ok. That's it, except to say I like James Dean, too. Boy, can that guy make sausages!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Great Lines

I have just decided that I have 2 personalities, at least for blogging purposes. One personality is an idiot. The other is a lunatic. I try to alternate day to day. Today I am an idiot.

I am going to talk about favorite lines from movies and TV shows today. There are some lines I have heard throughout the years that I think are priceless and I’m going to tell you some of my favorites. Feel free to comment on some of your favorite lines, too. You don’t even have to confine them to movies and television either. There may be a line or two that you like from books and comic strips etc, too.

My all time favorite line from a movie is this one from the film, Rudy:

Father Cavanaugh said: “Son, in 35 years of religious study, I have only come up with 2 hard incontrovertible facts: there is a God, and I'm not Him.”

My favorite movie is Cyrano De Bergerac, the 1950 version in which the title character is played by Jose Ferrer, who won a best actor Oscar for his performance. Here is a conversation from the film:

The viscount: “Monsieur, Your nose is rather large.”

Cyrano: “Rather.”

Viscount: “Oh, well…”

Cyrano: “Is that all? Oh no, young sir, you are too simple. Why, you might have said a great many things. Why waste your opportunity? For example, thus:

Aggressive! Aye Sir, if that nose were mine, I’d have it amputated on the spot!
Practical. How do you drink with such a nose? You must have had a cup made especially.
Descriptive. ‘Tis a rock, a crag, a cape…a cape? Say rather, a peninsula!
Inquisitive. What is that receptacle? A razor case? Or a portfolio?
Kindly. Oh how you must love the little birds so much, you give them this to perch on!
Cautious. Take care! A weight like that might make you top heavy!
Eloquent. When it blows, the typhoon howls and the clouds darken!
Dramatic. When it bleeds, the Red Sea!
Simple: Uh, When do they unveil the monument?
Military. Beware! A secret weapon!
Enterprising. What a sign for some perfumer!
Respectful. Sir, I recognize in you a man of parts, a man of …hmmm prominence, or,
Literary. Was this the nose that launched a thousand ships?

These, my dear Sir, are things you might have said had you some tinge of letters or of wit to color your discourse. But wit? Not so. You never had an atom! And of letters, we need but three to write you down.
A… S…. S. … ASS!”

I like great lines in TV shows too. Here are some of my favorites:

From Barney Miller. Remember that one?

Detective Fish didn’t receive his paycheck. He called payroll and asked why, then hanged up the phone and looked up at Barney and said, “They say I’m dead.”
To which Barney deadpanned, “Probably just a mistake.”


WKRP in Cincinnati had several great lines. On the show which introduced the character of Venus Flytrap, the black DJ, Venus was introduced to Les Nessman, the station newsman, who said, “I do the sports here and, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but there are a lot of Negroes in sports!”

Johnny Fever, DJ, once announced to his listeners, “We’ll be back with more music and less Nessman!”

And who can forget the Soup Nazi, in Seinfeld?

“No soup for you!”


From my favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut Jr: In Slaughterhouse Five :

“Listen. Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in Time.” And it gets better from there.

Comic strips:

From Pogo, by Walt Kelley, now deceased: “Beware! Friday the 13th comes on Thursday this month!”

Oh, there are so many more great lines. There just isn’t nearly enough room to put them all on here. What are some of your favorites?

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Roar Gets Louder

On Laura Ingrahams show yesterday, Laura presented some new information regarding Harriet Miers. It can be found here. In it, there appears to be some very disturbing evidence that maybe Miers isn’t as qualified as President Bush has suggested. It certainly has made some change their minds. It even makes me begin to question the wisdom of this choice.

One of the main points that they bring up is the fact that Miers isn't a Constitutional scholar, that she hasn't had experience in Constitutional law. But a Supreme Court Justice's job is to read and interpret the Constitution. I submit that one doesn't have to be a Constitutional expert to do that.

For instance, there are some people who argue that the 14th amendment guarantees a right to privacy, and by implication, a right to kill unborn babies. But all one has to do is read that amendment and see that the right to abortion is clearly not in there at all. There is contained in that amendment a right to life, and that tells anyone who has a modicum of common sense that the taking of a life violates that provision. And abortion is the taking of a life.

See? It isn't hard to interpret the Consitution. If I can do it, Harriet Miers can do it.

Ms. Ingraham conducted an informal poll asking her listeners to call in and tell her whether they thought Harriet Miers name should be withdrawn from nomination. The results were overwhelmingly in favor of withdrawing her name. I have to admit I was surprised by that. I was sure she had more support among Conservatives than that.

Here is what I would have said if I had been one of those polled:

Her name doesn’t need to be withdrawn. There is a Senate Judiciary Committee. Once they question her, if they decide that she is qualified, then the Senate will vote on her confirmation, but that is no guarantee that she will be confirmed.

If the Judiciary Committee doesn’t endorse her, she will still be voted on by the Senate but her confirmation would be next to impossible.

So let her go before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Let them do their job.

I agree with Bobby McFerrin. Don’t worry. Be happy.

I still believe that Miers is a good solid choice. I have yet to hear of anyone that has actually worked with her personally or knows her personally that is opposed to her nomination. If there is a problem with her Judicial Philosophy, or her ideology, I am confident that at least one of those people would have gone public with that news. As I have mentioned before, it is only those who don’t know her that seem to object to her nomination.

One doesn’t have to trust only the President on this. We can trust all of the people that really know her.

Enough about Harriet Miers already! We won’t know anything more about her until the hearings. I just wish the Senate would get started and either confirm her or not, so we can get on with things

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Rambling Rambling, Rambling

I literally cannot think of anything to write about today, not because there isn't any news out there worthy of comment but because I just don't see an angle to any of it that isn't already covered by the experts.

I know I've been accused of regurgitating Conservative talking points or, as Bruiser says, "towing the party line". I'm sure he means "toeing" but I'm not going to stoop to correcting spelling. God knows I have my own issues with that. My point is I try very very hard not to comment on issues and news that already has been commented on by pundits.

OK that doesn't sound right.

What I am saying is I usually make my comments on things I hear in the news before I listen to the Conservative talk shows, so I can truthfully say they are my own revelations. I do that on purpose. Often times I have heard a talk show host say the same things I have already said on the same day and sometimes a day or two after.

Case in point: Glenn Beck. I had a run of about 3 days straight recently when I commented on something and then Glenn Beck made the exact same observations exactly one day later. Also, in my area, I don't get Glenn Beck at his usual time, in the morning. I get a delayed broadcast in the afternoon. I post my blog in the mornings. Anyway it's gratifying to know that he and I think alike. Or scary.

Great minds think alike. Or not. Actually, I don't consider myself a great mind, nor do I consider Glenn Beck a great mind.

Well, ok, actually I do consider myself a great mind. Who am I kidding? But I don't consider him a great mind.

Recently, I was also accused of having an "amen chorus" at my place. What the writer meant by that was that the people that comment on my blog always agree with me. Well, I'm sure he didn't mean "always", that was my interpretation.

I'm also equally sure he didn't mean that, after all, anyone that reads my blog and the comments know that I probably have more opposing commentators than those in agreement.

I believe that's because I always allow comments no matter how inane and insane. I talk about issues involving freedom of speech, guaranteed to us by the Constitution, and I think if I censor or delete anyone's comments, than I would be a hypocrite.

Another commentator e-mailed me once telling me that I should delete some particuarly abrasive comments just because they were so mean spirited and didn't really add anything worthy to the discussion. But I see those kinds of comments as proving my point that Liberals are generally mean spirited, hateful, and have no valid points so they engage in name calling.

But an interesting phenomena has occurred of late. Two of my most vicious attackers have made valid, well thought out and lucid arguments. Only one time each, but, hey! It's a start.

Well, that's all I am going to say at this time. I started out with nothing to say and it has evolved into an entire rambling post. Ha!

Wait! I just turned on the TV. There is a movie on starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. I bet the coffee breaks on that set had some interesting conversation. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall when they were making that film.

Oh well, I'm rambling now. Good day.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Intelligent Design Debate

This article appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on September 26:

A Pennsylvania school district sought to add Bible-based creationism to its science curriculum when it imposed a new policy that required the reading of a statement about "intelligent design," according to lawyers representing the plaintiffs in a landmark case that opened in federal court yesterday.

"Board members in starkly religious terms changed the science curriculum to advance a specific religious viewpoint," said Eric Rothschild, a Philadelphia lawyer representing eight families in the Dover Area School District in York County.

Two civil-liberties groups representing the parents sued the school district last year in an effort to halt its policy requiring ninth-grade biology students to hear a statement about "intelligent design" as part of their lesson on evolution.

A school board attorney told the court that the curriculum change was "modest" and that the board's goal was to pursue a "legitimate educational purpose."

This whole debate is over a statement. A statement that simply states that the theory of evolution that is now being taught in schools is not the only theory out there, and that another theory that says the world was a result of "Intelligent design". That's all.

Read that one line again. The one about the civil liberties groups.

Oh yeah, They're all about free speech. As long as the speech doesn't disagree with their Atheistic, Communistic agenda.

So why the animosity against believers in Creation?

Because they (the atheists) know they are wrong and if they concede that point, they will have to admit, finally, that there is a God. Don't we all get upset when we find out we are wrong about something we have been passionate about?

Dr. Stephen J. Gould, recently deceased professor at Harvard University, said once that there have been more than a hundred major debates between evolutionists and creationists. Speaking to his fellow evolutionists, he said, "We should stop debating these people (Creationists)...because we have lost all hundred of those debates."

The reason that we can't get ID taught in schools is because whenever the evidence for creation is set down next to the evidence for evolution, the evolutionists always lose. Evolutionists know this and that is why they go to court.

Even given the opportunity to totally indoctrinate young minds to the theory of evolution as fact, the evolutionists have not been successful. Now, many of them are admitting that the evidence isn't there. But the idea that evolution is based on fact and ID is based on faith is exactly why they keep returning to court.

But is it true? Or is evolution based on faith?

Here is what some of evolution's greatest scholars say:

Professor Louis T. More, University of Cincinnati, said, "The more one studies the paleontological record, the more certain one becomes that evolution is based on faith alone."

D.M.S. Watson who held the position of the Chair of Evolution at the University of London for more than twenty years, made the observation that the theory of evolution itself is universally accepted, "not because it has been observed to occur or can be proved by logical coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative-special creation-is clearly incredible."

Sir Arthur Keith(1866-1955), a British anatomist and anthropologist who wrote 20 books in defense of evolution, said, evolution is "unproved and unprovable" He said, "We believe it because the only alternative is special creation, which is unthinkable."

Professor David Allbrook, Professor of Anatomy at the University of Western Australia, says that evolution is "a time-honored scientific tenet of faith."

Paul LeMoine, French evolutionist: "Evolution is a fairy tale for grownups."

Sir Julian Huxley, the grand nephew of Thomas Huxley, was in his day--probably the worlds most prestigious evolutionists was being interviewed on a National Public Television station. He was asked, "Why do you suppose that so many scientists accepted evolution so quickly?"

This is what he replied: "I suppose the reason we leaped at The Origin Of the Species (Darwin's book)was because the idea of a God interfered with our sexual mores."

I return now to why civil rights organizations are so opposed to ID. Perhaps we can get some insight as to why from Thomas Huxley himself. For those of you who don't know, Thomas Huxley was Darwin's spokesman. It was he that engaged in debates on Darwin's behalf.

"It is clear," said Huxley, "that the doctrine of evolution is directly antagonistic to that of creation. Evolution, if consistently accepted, makes it impossible to believe in the Bible."

Note that schools are not asking that the Bible be taught in shools, only that a statement be read that evolution is not the only theory. And yet the opponents of ID want to suppress that statement. It has nothing to do with the Bible but they know if ID is taught it may cause some students to do research and find the Bible, and that is simply unacceptable to these atheists.

It would seem that their belief that there is no God is tenous at best, and they are perfectly aware of that fact.

That is why the ACLU and others are so anxious to remove it from school curriculum.

And still some people believe they are champions of free speech.

Resources: The Philadelphia Inquirer, via the Pew Forum

"The Resurgence of Creationism" by D. James Kennedy

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Imus Arrogance

I was watching Imus on television this morning and heard him make a statement that it seems obvious that President Bush should watch MSNBC so he'd know what "we" know.


Does Imus seriously expect his listeners to believe that President Bush is uninformed because he doesn't watch the Liberal news networks? And what makes Mr. Imus think he doesn't? Because the President doesn't call press conferences to publically announce his agreement with the all the opinions offered by the network news experts?


President Bush gets his news first hand through daily briefings. His advisors and staff members keep him well informed. On everything. And he gets the actual news, not just what the media wants to report and not biased one way or the other. He gets his news straight from the horses mouth, so to speak.

When we stop to consider who Imus is and what qualifies him to be an expert commentator on anything, it becomes obvious who is really the one who's informed. He gets the news the same way we do. From the news outlets. Granted, he has access to more different news sources than we average citizens do, and he has staffers who hunt down news stories that he deems worthy to report, but I am not so sure he uses all the resources at his disposal.

In the end, his opinions are no better or more informed than anyone else's.

I am still listening to Imus, and he just said his opinion of Harriet Miers is that she should tone down her eye make-up; she looks like a raccoon. That's a good example of MSNBC influenced opinion.

So, I should consider myself well informed about her qualifications now.

They are also commenting about the news that Karl Rove gave Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family information concerning Miers' qualifications that convinced Dobson to support her nomination to the SCOTUS. Dobson says it is something he probably shouldn't know, and he's not telling us what it is.

I don't have a staff of people who's main job is to keep me informed of things happening in the news as Mr. Imus does, but I believe I know what convinced Dobson to endorse Miers. Here is what I think, and why:

James Dobson is a one issue voter. He has said it many times on his radio program. He will never vote for a pro-choice candidate. That is his one issue. He campaigns to make abortions illegal again.

I believe Dobson was told Miers is steadfastly pro-life. That is the only qualification she would need to have that would make him endorse her nomination.

Ideally, a Supreme Court Justice should never legislate from the bench, and if Dobson believes Miers will work tirelessly to overturn Roe vs. Wade, that would be wrong and she should not be confirmed.


But I am pro-life also, and I admit, I would like to see the SCOTUS overturn that decision, too. In fact, That is one decision on which I wish the Justices would legislate from the bench. But realistically, that would be a colossal mistake. We have seen what Judicial activists are capable of, and it isn't pretty.

The country is safe. I am just a humble uneducated blogger and thankfully my opinions don't influence the Senate Judicial Committee.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Exclusive Report: Bush Causes Hurricanes

This is nothing new. It was reported several weeks ago, that "The Martian ice caps are shrinking. As they are made mostly of frozen carbon dioxide, this evaporation could trigger an increase in Mars own greenhouse effect."--Innovations report

However, after some exhaustive research, I have made some astonishing discoveries concerning the Mars polar ice caps. Here is what I have managed to piece together:

In January of 2001, newly ignaugarated President of the United States George W. Bush, clandestinely dispatched a contingent of several multi-millionaire and at least 2 billionaire capitalist industrialists (the exact number is yet to be determined.)including several from Halliburton, to the planet Mars, aboard a secret rocket ship built specifically for this purpose.

Because the passengers were not the typical NASA astronauts trained for space travel, the spaceship they traveled in was equipped with all of the luxuries the space travelers had become familiar with, including state of the art bathroom and kitchen facilities, an exercise room, 2 spas, a hot tub in every cabin, private maids and masseuse's, and of course, personal accountants, etc.

The purpose of this mission only recently became clear with the discovery that the polar ice caps on Mars were melting. According to an unnamed source close to the White House, the men, and at least one woman*, were sent to Mars to build and perfect a high tech machine designed to increase the overall temperature on the planet Mars in order to disrupt weather patterns on Earth and instigate major Global changes.

This explains why the polar ice caps on Mars are melting.

It has been reported, but as yet unconfirmed, that the primary reason for the elaborate weather manipulation is to create Hurricanes, tsunami's, and other wide spread "natural" disasters in order to decrease the population of certain "unwanted and useless drains on the Global economy, specifically brown people, and to decrease crime rates worldwide".

President Bush was overheard by a certain anonymous ex-CBS news anchor to have said, "I hate Black people."

The retired newsman said, "You know me, I wouldn't lie to you."

When told of this amazing discovery, a spokesman for the Democratic party gleefully exclaimed, "I told you, I told you, Nyah Nyah Nyah Nyah Nyah!"

The investigation as yet is incomplete but I will keep you updated as more information comes in.

Update: It has come to my attention that certain right wing bloggers are treating this story as if it is a figment of someone's fertile imagination. Read what My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy has to say here.

* The woman reportedly is Harriet Miers, recently appointed to the SCOTUS as an associate Justice, however it cannot be explained how she got back to Earth while her colleagues are still on Mars.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Eminent Domain Part II

Washington DC is the next city to take advantage of that deplorable SCOTUS ruling we are calling Eminent Domain. The Washington Times reports this:

The District will begin using eminent domain to acquire parcels of land at the site of the Washington Nationals' ballpark by the end of this month, after unsuccessful negotiations with nearly half of the landowners.

The article goes on to say they have $97 million set aside to buy the properties and help landowners relocate. “The city made offers to all 23 landowners on the site last month but received no response from 10...Many property owners on the site said the city's offers are inadequate.”


That’s a lot of money for 23 landowners, isn’t it? That comes out to over 4.2 million apiece. 23 landowners on 21 acres. Not real large properties after you discount the area covered by streets and driveways and houses. It doesn’t sound to me, at 23 landowners on only 21 total acres, that there are millionaires living in those houses.

That kind of makes me wish I was a landowner in Washington DC.

I wonder if those 10 landowners aren’t responding because they don’t want to move. I wonder why they would turn down over 4 million. Could there be more to the story?

(Back in Wichita, there is a large sprawling nursing home on the cities west side that has a quaint little yellow cottage smack dab in the middle of the complex. I thought it was the residence of the manager of the home, but I found out that it was owned by an elderly woman, who simply refused to sell when the care home was buying up all the property in the area in order to build there. So they built the home around her.)

Is there a difference between this case of eminent domain and the one in Riviera Beach, Florida?

I think there is.

In Florida, dozens of poor people are in danger of being displaced so private developers can build a yacht club and condominiums. In DC, they are being offered a hefty sum of money to move so the city can build a new baseball stadium. I haven’t heard how much the city of Riviera Beach is offering the people for their homes.

The difference is in the word “private”. Homes are being taken and handed over to private developers in one instance and landowners will be moved to provide a place for public use in the other.

Private use versus public use.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t what DC is doing constitutional before the Kelo decision?

Now, before you accuse me of being one of those evil Republicans that don’t care about poor people, consider this:

The fact is, the 5th amendment to the Constitution reads thusly:

“No person shall…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;
nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”

The law is clear. This is not, in this case, another Riviera Beach. Now, if a humble, uneducated blogger like me can interpret the constitution, is there any doubt Miss Harriet Miers can?

Ok, maybe it stinks, but as long as due process of law is followed, I think 4.2 million dollars can be considered “just compensation“, therefore this case doesn’t fall under the Kelo decision.