Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: November 2006 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Technology for the techno-challenged: Part One

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Put Up or Shut Up

I read an article today that gives new meaning to the term class warfare. While I’ve always asserted that the poor are disproportionately represented in the military, this article points out a disturbing statistic.
In 1956, half the graduating class of Princeton served in the military. Now less than one third of one percent of the Ivy League serves.

All this talk of supporting the troops and fighting the war on terror, and the bulk of those doing the fighting and dying, in a country we have no business in, come from the lower levels of the economic spectrum.

In World War II, a war we believed in, virtually every able-bodied male at least tried to enlist to fight. Nowadays, there’s a lot of patriotic rhetoric, but no one’s willing to enlist. Instead, upper and middle class folks put magnetic ribbons on their SUVs and label anyone who criticizes the war as a “terrorist enabler”.

How many of our high-level CEOs and elected officials have children fighting in Iraq? Very few compared to previous wars. In Vietnam, parents wanted their kids to fight for their country, while the kids could see through the smoke and mirrors to see that war was unjustified. Now, those kids have kids of their own, and the parents aren’t pushing them to enlist, while today’s kids see that we don’t belong in Iraq and aren’t willing to give their lives for an illegal war.

If this war is so just, why aren’t the Bush twins on the front line? If our president feels so strongly about the need to neutralize the threat in Iraq, why isn’t he insisting that his own flesh and blood join the fight? Instead, his offspring are partying it up in South America; some even suggest that they’re paving the way for an administration exile once the American public wises up and decides to call Bush on his policies.

Interestingly, the Bush twins are being asked to leave Argentina, either because they’re a security risk (apparently the Secret Service has abandoned them), or because twinmania is upstaging the arrival of the newly appointed ambassador. Either way, Jenna and Barbara are persona non grata by the American embassy in Argentina.

But I digress. The point is, the wealthy no longer support the war effort through the blood of their loins – only through rhetoric. It’s time for the hypocricy to stop, and for the elite of America to either send their sons and daughters to fight this fight, or support the cause of peace.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

What, me turkey? Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 13, 2006

A wolf in sheep's clothing

By now, everyone has heard about the Reverend Ted Haggard, who publicly disdains the homosexual lifestyle, and yet privately embraces it, along with the drug use that obviously goes with it. Gay sex and drugs - all that’s missing is Rock & Roll to complete the '70s mantra.

Pastor Ted was the leader of the largest Evangelical church in the nation, and was president of a national association of evangelicals that had some 30 million members. Unfortunately, none of those 30 million would give him the pleasure that a gay masseuse could, and provide the meth that he needed in order to achieve the spiritual high that he craved. The only thing missing is the depraved Rock & Roll that would complete the picture.

Now, thanks to Amanda, we find out that Rock & Roll fits into the picture quite nicely, and in doing so, it explains much about the mindset of the fundamentalist movement, and how it attempts to fit the cult of personality into the culture of promiscuity.

Apparently, there’s a pastor out there that tries to put the Hip into shooting-from-the-hip. He says that it’s the wife’s fault that the man strays from the straight and narrow. If the man succumbs to the gay, it’s the wife’s fault for letting herself go. That explains it all - women who don’t maintain their Tammy Faye Baker persona are causing their pastor husbands to stray from the fold, and play birds and bees with anything that shakes its tail feathers.

It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.

Apparently, this guy, Mark Dricoll, has had numerous floozies flaunt themselves before him, and he’s been forced to shut off all contact with the outside world in order to maintain his piety.

Pastors should have their office at the church and their study at home. There is no reason a pastor should be sitting alone at the church at odd hours (e.g., early morning and late evening) to study when anyone can drop in for any reason and have access to him. Instead, a pastor should come into the office for scheduled meetings and work from home on tasks such as emails, planning, studying, sermon preparation, etc. I spend the vast majority of my time working from home. Some years ago when I did not, I found that lonely people, some of them hurting single moms wanting a strong man to speak into their life, would show up to hang out and catch time with me. It was shortly thereafter that I brought my books home and purchased a laptop and cell phone so that I was not tied to the church office.

So this guy couldn’t handle the temptation of single women wanting his advice, so he shunned their evil attempts to request counsel from their pastor, and took the Godly path of shielding himself from their stalking ways, and sequestered himself from the public.

Isn’t this contrary to what a Pastor is supposed to be? I thought a Pastor devoted his life to providing counsel to those in need of enlightenment.

He goes on to expose more paranoid delusions:

Pastors need to carefully protect their cell phone number. If that private number gets out, too many of the wrong people have access to the pastor. Not only should the cell phone number of a pastor be given out to only a few people, he should also consider eliminating his voicemail and simply have calls forwarded to his assistant. In this way people will not become too informal with the pastor and if the pastor knows someone is trouble (e.g., a flirtatious woman), he can see that on his caller ID and simply refuse to answer the call or have to deal with a voicemail.

And so, Pastor Driscoll provides a primer on how supposed men of God can provide sustenance to their flock - avoid them at all cost, shun their attempts at communication, and have your underlings deal with their concerns. Sounds like a plan to me. Never mind that they need your guidance, or that they joined your religion with the hope that someone would care about their plight. As long as your church grows, and you continue to reap donations, it doesn’t matter that the congregation is still suffering. After all, suffering works for your fundraising efforts.

And how, again, does this mesh with the teachings of Jesus?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Dawning of a New Day

Well, it only took two years, but the world has finally shifted back on its axis to achieve its proper balance. The sun seems to be shining a little brighter this week. Maybe it’s the absence of the dark cloud that’s been hanging over our country for so long.

With the democratic retaking of the House and Senate, no longer is all power in the hands of one political party. Sure, Republicans still control the executive and judicial branches of the U.S. government, but the legislative branch is safely in the hands of Democrats. The days of one-party rule are over; at least for the time being.

Now let’s see what the Dems can do with it. They had the majority for several decades up until 1994, when Republicans wrestled it away from them with a platform that promised to clean up corruption and instill values into our legislation. Twelve short years later, it’s apparent that they were incapable of keeping their promise; they proved to become just as corrupt, if not more so, than their predecessors, and in a far shorter time. This seems to lend credence to the adage that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Soon-to-be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi promises to work with Republicans, including the president, to achieve great things. She had better, otherwise those who bailed on the Republican Party will go right back where they came from in 2008. It’s important to remember that those who shifted loyalties did not really vote for Democrats, they voted against Republicans. Although it reinforces my belief that voters are fickle, it also shows that the lemmings are capable of not voting a straight-party ticket. I’ll wager, though, that there were a lot of down-ballot races that didn’t get as many votes, as I also am confident that the majority of voters do not research candidates, but instead rely on name recognition, attack ads, and sound bites for their political education.

In any event, the Democrats have two years to prove themselves. Not an easy task, considering how little has been accomplished in the past six. They’ve been slapped down by the Republican majority, and had to fight back using filibusters and other legislative maneuvers. Now that non-Republicans have the majority, we can only hope that they won’t slap down the Repubs so much that the same tactics get utilized.

I’m not gonna gloat, or flame the losers. Instead, I’m going to ask the newly elected legislators to get it together, and start moving this country forward. We’ve been going backward for too long now. Get together, figure out a way to win this war quickly to get our servicemen and servicewomen home safely. Use diplomacy, rather than stubborn arrogance, to solve the problems we’re having with Iran, Syria and North Korea. Get the economy back in the hands of the middle class, and help the poor become part of that middle class. Oh, and deflate that windbag in the White House a little more so he can’t do more damage in the two years he has left.

Is that too much to ask