Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008, Another Down, How Many More?

What a year! We complete 2008 today, and we won't soon forget it. My family and I had a great burger at the Comfort Cafe on the Square in Blairsville today, and my son and I will watch his team (Georgia Tech) play LSU tonight in the Chik-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta. That will finish it for us, and good riddance!

As I grow older and watch the years pass quickly, I think more of my mortality and wonder how many more? Sometimes I see something such as the next Olympics scheduled for the future and wonder if I will see it. That is my pessimism, or at least that's what my wife calls it. I call it realism.

Let us hope this new year brings optimism to us all. Optimism for a better economy and a more positive leader in the White House. A leader, who will throw aside the veil of secrecy, intrigue, and downright illegality and un-American thinking that has hovered over the presidency for the last eight years.

I wish all of my readers a healthy and positive year. I especially want to remember Diane of "A Stellarlife," who has had a difficult health issue recently. I hope to see her back blogging again soon.

Monday, December 29, 2008

War to the "Bitter End"

Israel has promised war to the bitter end in its quest to defeat Hamas in Gaza. Our lame duck administration is, of course, doing little to convince the Israelis that war to the bitter end may not be the solution to their problem. It seems that each attack does little more than to stiffen the Arab resolve to destroy Israel.

The Bush Regime always does very little in trying to restrain Israel. This time it has asked Israel to try to minimize civilian casualties. Actually, there is little Bush can do. The Arabs do not trust him, and Israel has so little respect for the hand that continues to feed them, that they will turn a deaf ear. All they know is to attack and destroy. Obviously, they have to respond to the rocket attacks, but, as usual, they destroy everything in sight, assuming I suppose that the United States will eventually spend billions to rebuild. It is time that they foot the bill for their destruction, using their own funds, not our aid.

The Bush Regime supported free elections in Palestine, but refused to respect the will of the Palestinian people, when they voted in Hamas. Instead, Bush cut off aid, leaving the Palestinians to fend for themselves and giving Hamas an even greater stake in Palestine's fate. As the old saying goes, "you can't have your cake and eat it too."

Now the mess has gotten worse, and the United States is impotent, with no desire to control Israel and absolutely no way of dealing with Hamas. The Middle East continues to be a powder keg with Israel as the primary target. Each time Israel kills more Arabs indiscriminately, the hatred intensifies.

If the Arabs ever unite against the Israelis, one has to wonder what the outcome will be and which side the U.S. will take. The Israelis, after all, have no oil and for all practical purposes, we owe them nothing. Yet, they do not have the resources to defeat all of the Arab world, unless we assist, or they use their nuclear power. Lord help us all, if that happens.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

“Barack the Magic Negro”

The Republican party continues to show that it is totally out of touch with anyone except it's extreme right wing base. Chip Saltsman, candidate for chairman of the RNC distributed a CD containing the cut, “Barack the Magic Negro,” to members of the RNC as part of his campaign. The CD was produced by Paul Shanklin, who produced the material for the Rush Limbaugh show a couple of years ago.

You can listen to the song here and make your own decision as to its worth as good political parody. To me, good political parody should be a good laugh at the expense of the person or issue. This one does neither for me. I didn't laugh and I usually do if the joke is good, no matter who it is about. The CD's title, "We Hate the USA," speaks volumes as to it's content.

Whether this CD is funny or not, Saltsman used poor judgment in sending it out as he did. I suppose he thought that his peers on the RNC would keep the CD to themselves, and it would be their little secret. However, he forgot that he might have opposition. He was "outed" by current chairman, Mike Duncan.

If I were a member of the RNC, I would have real trouble electing this guy to any office. He might be capable of pulling anything out of his bag of tricks and bringing great embarrassment to my party at a time when this is the last thing that it needs. Racism has long been a problem for Republicans. This episode doesn't help that image at all, and Saltsman has shown that he has no sensitivity to the issue.

For many years I worked with a man, whose rule about such things was to think about what it will look like in tomorrow's paper, when you make a decision to take an action. Mr. Saltsman and his fellow Republicans need to heed this advice, although I can't imagine them doing so. Over the course of the next four years, they will be doing everything they can to gain some ground on Obama and the Democrats and many, like Saltsman, and his apparent mentor, Comedian Limbaugh, will do anything for attention. Name calling and false accusations are their specialty, and, despite what leaders like Colin Powell and even John McCain have said, it will continue unabated, until someone throws these people out with the dishwater.

Update: I just found this article by Peter Yarrow, co-author of "Puff the Magic Dragon" in response to "Barack the Magic Negro." The "song's" lyrics were written to the tune of "Puff..."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Freedom of Religion Not an Issue If Christianity Isn't Involved?

In an earlier post I discussed the Massachusetts Bay Colony, separation of church and state and freedom of religion. At the time of that post a story that concerns the latter topic was unfolding in Georgia. In my home state court policies apparently prohibit the wearing of headgear in the courtroom, supposedly for security reasons. A young Muslim woman was refused entrance to a courtroom because of her hijab.

She apparently never tried to forcibly enter the courtroom, but spoke an expletive, when told she had to remove her headgear. She was handcuffed and taken in front of the judge, who sentenced her to ten days in jail for contempt. Although she was strip searched and jailed, she was released before the day was over. Exactly, why she was arrested and held in contempt is unclear. If I had to guess, it would be because she was black and a Muslim.

This isn't the first time this type of incident has happened in Georgia and it hasn't happened only to Muslims, but also to Jews. The ACLU is looking at it. Bob Barr the Republican, turned Libertarian has also spoken out. It is a freedom of religion issue, but I haven't heard a single outcry from the "War on Christmas" folks.

If the judge had told a Christian that crosses weren't allowed to be worn, because they could be used as a weapon, the cry of foul would have echoed across the land like thunder. Comedians O'Reilly, Hannity, and Limbaugh would have been incensed. Christian groups would be protesting at the Capitol. Every fundamentalist pulpit would be ranting this morning. The "secular progressive" devils (liberals) would be behind it all, and the world would be coming to an end any day now.

Not a peep. All is quiet and all is well, except of course, for the all important and continuing "war" on Christmas. I suppose that freedom of religion isn't really an issue in this country after all, unless, of course, it involves Christians.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Obama and Rick Stevens

I guess I am pretty out of touch, but I didn't really have a clue about Rick Stevens, until his name came to the forefront these last couple of days. I had heard of his book, by virtue of the Brian Nichols murder case in Atlanta and the young woman, whom he kidnapped, who said she had read the book. Recently, I had also recently read a post about one of his wacky ideas. Now I am in the know.

There is a major outcry from the left about his selection to take part in the inauguration. This country is not the United States of the Left nor the United States of the Right. It is the United States of America. The President is supposed to represent all, not just one side or the other. Partisanship was one of the issues that came to the front during the recent election. Obama hasn't strayed from what he believes and has talked about throughout his campaign. He also talked about reaching out to those who disagree with him.

We elected Obama because he talked about change. Not just a change from right to left, but a change in the way the presidency does business on every front. Obama chose Stevens because he represents a large segment of the American public. He may not agree with all of what that group believes, but he is their president also. On the other hand, you can bet that the followers of Stevens do not agree with much of what Joseph Lowery espouses, yet he is also on the program.

Obama is making an attempt to show that he will try to represent everyone. I have no problem with that, and I hope that he is able to bring people together, at least in the spirit of cooperation. That is the only way we will move forward as a people. Otherwise, we are going to drift farther and farther apart. The farther we drift apart, the better the chance for something much worse than the Bush Administration to rise over us. Divide and conquer is not an idle phrase.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Massachusetts Bay Colony, Poster Boy for the Separation of Church and State

Each year at this time the annual "war on Christmas" is forced upon us by the right wing pundits, who never let the truth get in the way of a good ratings score, and the fundamentalist preachers, who have in recent years launched themselves into a battle to replace the republic with a theocracy. The argument usually centers around a Christian religious display that has been placed on government property or paid for by some misguided government agency, both actions intent upon forcing a showdown and bringing attention to the cause of forcing religion into government.

The argument is always that there is a secularization of society and that government is the cause. The government, they say, is intent upon making the Christian religion illegal, while giving other religions preference. These days, the Islamic religion is brought to the forefront, since it is capturing world-wide attention. It's kind of like professional wrestling used to be. In the 40's and 50's German and Japanese wrestlers were the "bad guys." By the 60's they were being replaced by Russian "bad guy" wrestlers. These wrestlers were always cheaters, who used illegal holds and caused free for all brawls. So it goes with Islam and Christianity, and the fight over government sponsored religion.

During the recent election, the religious right often singled out President-elect Obama's Islamic roots and his middle name as reasons to vote against him. They referred to him as a terrorist, a Muslim, and the anti-Christ. Some end timers prophesied that his election would be the signal that the end of the world is near. Over the past thirty years, these same people have repeatedly tried to force religion into government and have succeeded in bringing it into the electoral process from the local to the national level. However, these efforts were somewhat marginalized on November 4.

The battle for separation of church and state has been going on since early in the colonization of this country. The first amendment to the Constitution states that "government shall make no laws respecting religion." This statement was not placed there on a whim. The founding fathers were much closer to the abuse of human rights, which theocratic rule brings, than we are today. Although, all we have to do is look to the Middle East and we see what happens when religion forces itself on the people.

As secondary school students, we were taught that the Pilgrims and other religious groups emigrated to this country because they weren't able to practice their religion in freedom, which is eminently true. Freedom of religion, we were told, is one of the cornerstones of the founding of the country, which is also very true. We were also taught that George Washington chopped down a cherry tree, and, because he couldn't tell a lie, he admitted it to his father. Incidentally, I wonder how many people know that the Washington legend, along with the coin toss over the Potomac and other Washington fables were created by a minister, Parson Mason Weems. Parson Weems was a "revisionist historian," I suppose. But I digress...

There were many groups who came, seeking religious freedom, but the Puritans were the most populous and, probably the most zealous. They had long felt that the Church of England was moving away from its traditions. It was, they said, on the brink of "popery" as it gave more credence to rituals and the power of the bishops. The Archbishop of Canterbury was intent upon rooting out those who did not conform, and the Puritans fell into that category. They had separated themselves from the Church of England, and, thus, became known as Separatists.

When the Puritans arrived on these shores, they were seeking a place to practice their religion in freedom. While freedom of religion was important to them, tolerance of other Christian or non-Christian sects, along with the separation of church and state were not cornerstones of their beliefs. They neither recognized or approved of tolerance. Once they had established themselves, they became as zealous as the Church of England in rooting out heretics.

Between 1629 and 1642, some 20,000 settlers arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the seat of Puritanism in the New World. From there Puritanism was to spread throughout the colonies to one degree or another. These zealots believed that all of the answers, civil and religious, could be found in the Bible. Thus, they, set up a holy commonwealth which they were determined to keep free of outside influences. They defended their beliefs and rooted out non-conformity in a zealous manner not unlike the Spanish Inquisition. Although democracy would one day spring from the loins of these movements, it was usually strongly opposed by the leaders of the Bay Colony.

In 1631, with a theocracy now firmly established, the General Court of the Colony decided that "no man shall be admitted to the freedom of this body politic, but such as are members of some of the churches within the same." To become a member one had to give proof of a blameless life and make a statement that he had experienced a sense of his personal salvation. Therefore, church membership became a condition of being made a freeman and only a freeman had the right to vote and participate in the government.

As hard as they worked to keep the colony "pure" and free of heretics, they couldn't keep such perverse individuals away. In 1631, the Rev. Roger Williams arrived in the colony. He would prove to be a thorn in the side of the clergy, and, thus, the government. Williams accused the clergy of compounding corruption because they claimed to still be associated with the Church of England. He further irritated them by complaining that they threatened the freedom of individual congregations, a tenet of Puritanism. He became even more of a problem, when he opposed the taking of land from the Indians. As a result of his actions he was sentenced to banishment in 1635, and was given six weeks to prepare. However, when the powers learned that he was recruiting for a settlement of his own, he was immediately banished in the dead of winter and had to move to the protection of a local Indian settlement.

Williams wasn't the only thorn in the side. Anne Hutchinson and Jonathan Wheelwright were found guilty of heresy and banished from the colony because of differing theological views. Even worse were the Quakers, who invaded the Colony in 1656. The first, two women, Mary Fisher and Anne Austin, were stripped naked and their bodies carefully examined on the pretext of searching for signs of witchcraft. They were then thrown into prison for five weeks before being shipped back to Barbados, from whence they had come. Shortly afterward it was made a crime for ships to bring Quakers into the colony. In 1658 the General Court ordered the death penalty for Quakers who returned after banishment.

One old man, a Quaker, William Brend was so terribly punished that the citizens of Boston protested. His head and heels had been locked together for 16 hours and then was given 117 lashes with a tarred rope until he was unconscious. The public was informed that this was the will of God and that justice had been done. When two Quakers could not pay fines the Court was more merciful. Their children were sold into bondage and shipped away. In this way they could make money and be rid of this pestilence. On one occasion three Quakers, including a woman named Mary Dyer, were sentenced to hang. At the last minute Dyer's sentence was commuted to banishment. However, after seeing her companions hanged, she later felt a sense of duty and martyrdom and returned to the Colony. She was quickly hanged upon arrival.

Over time, change was inevitable. The Colony was forced to accept others, as the colonies grew and more and more people arrived and brought diverse views. Although the other colonies had experienced similar periods of religious domination, none was as zealous as the Bay Colony. By the time of the American Revolution, religion was still a mainstay, and the dangers of religious domination of government was still very real as the founding fathers began to frame the Constitution. Thus, their concerns about the separation of church and state and true freedom of religion for their countrymen.

Today's Christians, who are so concerned about the secularism of society, have in my opinion, little to worry about. As I have stated so many times before, there are churches on every corner and new ones cropping up in storefronts and homes all over the country. There are more Christians than ever before. The U.S. Government and State and Local Governments are saturated with Christians. The U.S. government has made no move, whatsoever, to curtail any one's freedom to worship at home, at church, in a field, on a trail, in a car, or with a permit or a paid rental, on government property.

The protests over the Ten Commandments in government buildings or nativities put up by government on government property are simply windmill fights to call attention to a particular group or person. These people are the local pastors and power brokers or they are the national radio and TV pundits, who are looking for votes, ratings, power, money or all of the above.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony is a perfect example of the danger of religious domination of government. Anyone who is a religious zealot, so fundamental, that they are driven by their own narrow minded beliefs is a danger to us all. If a theocracy were established here, we would be one small step away from another Bay Colony where man interprets God's word for his own, almost maniacal, purposes. All we have to do is look at the Middle East and the fundamentalist Muslims, who dominate governments and we can see the dangers of church rule.

Yet, there are those who would blindly follow the likes of Mike Huckabee, who has advocated amending the U.S. Constitution to be more in line with the Bible. They think no further than the present, not considering the consequences of their actions, and not realizing that they might well be the future heretics and find the end of a rope or feel the sting of the whip. Many of them are prejudiced toward Catholics, yet demographics say that Latinos will be in the majority in less than 40 years. If a theocracy were created today, the nation would be forced into Catholicism in a short period. I'm sure Huckabee's zealots would be horrified.

History has a habit of repeating itself, if we forget it. The founding fathers were intimately aware of the dangers of religious rule. They wrote about it and they put controls in the Constitution to guard against it. We must be vigilant today to ensure that we do not return to those times when religious beliefs bred intolerance and freedom was a dirty word.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bush, Open to Suggestions About What to do After the Presidency

As a rather shallow person, our President, apparently, doesn't know what to do with himself after he leaves Washington in January. He has no causes, nothing that he can do for his country or the world. I don't suppose there are very many who would want his help. I guess he just wants to watch his oil money rush in. See this article. Let's make a list. What do you think he should do with himself?

The defendant's seat in a courtroom in the World Court alongside his buddy Cheney would be a nice change for him.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blagojevich, Has He Done Anything Illegal?

This article makes some interesting points. Has this nutcase actually committed a crime? This same scenario takes place in politicians offices from the White House to the county courthouse. It isn't something we like to think about, but aren't most politicians looking for something in return for a vote or an appointment?

Many of the high level people, who endorsed Obama or McCain or worked hard in their campaigns, were counting upon some kind of payment, whether it be an appointment or an endorsement of legislation, etc. Blago talked about selling the seat for some kind of return, but, if he didn't actually complete the transaction, has he committed a crime? In my mind it should be criminal, but maybe it isn't. Is there enough evidence?

We don't have the facts, but it makes what the Governor is doing now make a little more sense. He's basically doing a G.W. Bush and saying, "bring it on." He may be convinced that they don't have a case and is willing to stick it out. Of course, impeachment could end that little scenario, unless he can fight it. This is going to be interesting, because this little man is so impertinent and "in your face" corrupt.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cheney Has No Regrets About Waterboarding

He also says Guantanamo shouldn't be closed. This man is not going out of office soon enough. Read this article.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The "War" on Christmas Saga and Its Sorry Beginnings

Max Blumenthal has done a bit of research on the origins of the mythical "war" on Christmas. His conclusions are quite interesting. Basically, it originated with bigoted white supremacists and was picked up by (who else?) FOX News and the fundamentalist Christians, who needed a new windmill to fight. Read about it here:

Sec. of State Salary Cut

Congress has quietly cut the salary of the Sec of State in accordance with the Constitutional requirement that no member of Congress can serve in a cabinet position if that position's salary was raised during the time the member served. This is not the first time this has happened.

It takes another Worldnet Daily accusation out of play. The lunatic fringe has been screaming about this "unconstitutional" appointment. Of course few thinking people have actually heard the whining.

Obama Is An Immigrant?

Worldnet Daily, the best political supermarket tabloid on the Net, is still trying to convince its following that P-e Obama is not natural born. There is an article by someone named Janet Porter that exposes the President-elect as an "immigrant." It is an improptu interview in Spanish with Gov. Bill Richardson in which he actually says that Obama is a Democrat. This is a great example of the typical right wing method of creating a controversy when one doesn't exist. This one is really out of "right" field.

I had to listen to this clip several times before I understood what Ms. Porter was trying to say. I kept hearing the translator say "Democrat." Finally, I figured it out. If you concentrate hard enough, let your imagination run wild, and want to hear the word "immigrant" instead of "Democrat" you can sort of make it sound that way. Check it out:

Robin Williams on the Election

You must take the time to watch Robin Williams' routine in England after the election. Great stuff, as always!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Rod Blagojevich Saga, Totally Corrupt

When the FBI phoned Rod Blagojevich (hereafter referred to as RB) to tell him a squad was on the way to arrest him, he asked if the call was a joke. The only joke is RB, himself. This man is so totally corrupt that he thinks he has fooled everyone. It is amazing that someone in his position could actually try to sell a senate seat and think he could do it without being caught.

It remains to be seen how many people will go down with RB. It appears that President-elect Obama has distanced himself from this hack. However, as we all know, the right has a way of trying to use such issues to bring down their enemies. I expect the next few weeks to be a firestorm of hate politics. Hopefully, there will be no direct ties, but only time will tell.

If Obama has a part in this mess, then he will have to pay the piper and millions will be disappointed. Unlike the right, I am not going to make excuses, if it is proved that he is directly involved. The bottom line will be that in four years, neither party will be credible enough to be trusted by the electorate. That time will be a turning point for this country, and it will be ripe for the picking.

As I write this, I know the response that I will get from the religious right. It will be fun to see what they come up with. By the way, speaking of the religious right. I highly recommend today's post by "Right Wing Dumbth" on the Bible, homosexuality, and slavery. Great post.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Liberals Clinically Mad

If you are looking for your laugh for the day, go to the following link on Worldnet Daily, an internet political tabloid, equivalent to the National Enquirer. This article is based on the work of an "eminent" psychologist:

Where you are finished reading, go to the homepage for the Daily and peruse the headlines. They are better than any you see at the supermarket checkout lane.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Real Bill Ayers

Bill Ayers, as we know, wasn't and isn't a confidant of P-e Obama. He is barely acquainted with him, unlike the amazing stories fabricated by McCain and his lady-friend, Palin. The NY Times has an op-ed piece by Ayers in which he discusses his becoming an issue in the recent campaign:

Amy Poehler as Hillary on SNL

Lest We Forget

Please take a moment to read this article as we remember the horrible event that took place 67 years ago this morning.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The "War" on Christmas

Each year at this time, the contrived "War on Christmas" is brought up, usually by some pundit or by a religious group looking for fuel for their fire. This year Bill O'Reilly brought up the fact that an atheist group got a permit from the State of Washington to put up a sign that had negative connotations to Christians. The sign was put up near a nativity scene that had also been erected by permit. O'Reilly and his misguided fans took this act as part of the "war" being waged by government.

Of course the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech. Most government agencies that have places for public forums have a permitting process in order to maintain some semblance of order. For many years agencies would set aside a first amendment area where people could express their opinions. Recent court rulings have basically said that designating areas is too restrictive.

Because we have freedom of speech, government agencies cannot restrict how people express themselves as long as no laws are broken. In the case of Washington State, it couldn't say no to the atheists or the Christians and it, of course, issued the permits. The fact that the two were together means nothing. Both groups are exercising their right to free speech.

If O'Reilly and his minions don't like it, then maybe they should try living in a country where free speech isn't allowed. I don't think it would be very long before they would be barking up a different tree. They would decide that atheists expressing opinions isn't so bad after all.

In addition to the pundits "outrage," which I might add doesn't hurt their ratings and the millions that they happily deposit in their bank accounts each year, there will always be groups or individuals that seek attention to their "cause." They do this by erecting some sort of illegal display. Their act almost always brings a law suit, which is, of course, what they want. The rest of the year they complain about high taxes, keeping quiet about the fact that their frivolous act cost their local government hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

I am always amused by these acts and the "war on Christmas." There is no "war." There are nativity scenes and other symbols of Christmas everywhere you look. Church's have live nativity scenes, fake nativity scene, stars, candles, lights, etc. Individuals do likewise as do commercial establishments. Even city and county governments put up lights and other decorations. However, governments should not endorse one religion or the other by placing religious displays on government land and should, "make no laws, respecting religion."

There is a fine line that must be maintained. There was a reason the founding fathers addressed the religious issue. They were much closer to the issue than we are today, although, if we look around the world, especially at some of our adversaries, we can plainly see the terrible results of the meshing of government and religion. In my next post I will address some of the issues that influenced the founding fathers' thinking and made it very clear to these men, that government and religion should not mix.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Bible Lesson

This goes around the Internet occasionally. It is funny, but it also gives one pause when Christian and Muslim fundamentalism come to mind.

Why Can't I Own a Canadian?October 2002

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted fan,


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Chambliss Wins In Georgia, How Embarrassing!

Once again I'm sorry to say that I am from Georgia. This man, who never served in the military defamed a Georgia hero and won six years ago. Since then, he has been a hawk, eager to send men and women to their deaths as a shill for the Bush Regime. He stooped low enough to bring in the Wasilla Hillbilly to campaign for him.

I simply cannot see how Republicans can continue to send men like Chambliss and Paul Broun to serve in Congress, and even seem to consider running the Alaskan Bimbo for president in 2012. There are many good Republicans, somewhere, I know, who are not yes men and women, and who will stand up for what is right and ethical, regardless of what the party says. People, for example, like Richard Lugar and Everett Dirkson. I once thought John McCain was one of those. Now, it is clear that he isn't much better than Chambliss, Boun, and, yes, Palin.

Unfortunately, we have to put up with Chambliss for six years before something can be done. I guess I will have to continue writing him letters, only to get a party line, arrogant response. At least our other Republican senator, Isaakson, seems to be a good man.

Careless Gun Violence Continues

It remains so amazing to me that people, who own guns and fight "windmills" about having them taken away, keep killing their family members and shooting themselves "accidentally." The most recent was Plaxico Burress, a pro football player, who shot himself in the leg in a Manhattan night club. How he managed that is a mystery to me. Maybe he felt the need to feel the cold steel in his hand and forgot to keep his hand off the trigger. Who knows?

At a Massachusetts gun show recently, an eight year old boy was killed while shooting an Uzi machine gun. The gun recoiled, of course, and the muzzle was left pointing at his head in time for the next round to kill him. He was firing with the permission of his father, and supposedly under the supervision of a trained instructor. Just exactly why a father would give permission for an eight year old to fire an automatic weapon remains a mystery to me. The "trained" instructor wasn't very well trained, obviously, or he would not have taken part in such a travesty.

Then there was the man unloading his .45 semi-automatic a month or so ago, who managed to shoot a 10 year old girl in the stomach. Carelessness, but not accidental, in my mind. There is no excuse for that. There is no excuse for anyone to shoot someone, while cleaning a gun as well, but that is often the excuse. Just exactly how you clean a loaded gun has never been explained to me.

These scenarios repeat themselves time after time, day after day throughout each year. Thousands of adults and children are killed and maimed each year because of the careless handling of guns. Yet, again this year, the NRA has run a major fear campaign, stirring up its base with the lies that President-elect Obama will take their guns from their "cold, dead, hands." Of course he has only advocated control over assault weapons, enforcing laws against illegal gun sales, and continuing background checks on purchasers. He has always said that he will uphold the second amendment.

The NRA is one of the most irresponsible organizations around today. It's leaders harp continuously about the government taking away gun rights, and it has all of the right wing fear mongers on its side. It is a gold star for a politician to claim that he/she has been endorsed by the NRA. If I were running, I would not want to be associated with an organization that gives gun safety lip service, but keeps very quiet about these tragedies caused by "law abiding " gun owners.

As usual, let me say, that I am a gun owner, and I believe in the right to own guns. I don't see hobgoblins sneaking around the corner to take by weapons away. I see no need for anyone to own an AK-47 or any of its many brothers in chaos. I also have no problem with background checks and waiting periods. Unless someone wants to kill really badly, he/she can wait a few days before taking possession of that new rifle, pistol, or shotgun. If a someone needs a rifle or shotgun to go hunting tomorrow, then he/she needs to plan better. It's that simple.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Terrorism in India

Now that the dust is clearing from the terrorist attack in Mumbai, it is time to start analyzing the who's and the whys. There will be much speculation and some will insist that it had to be connected to Al Quaida. There may even be something published on Worldnet Daily ascribing it to Obama's election and the story that he once visited Pakistan and had friends from there. Before it is over, he will probably have planned the attack. Heck, he may have even slipped away from the Secret Service long enough to have taken part in some way. Seriously...

This attack has to have caused much concern in both the Bush Regime and the President-elect's prospective national defense team. It is sure to muddy the always shaky relations between Pakistan and India. India is a somewhat stable democracy in an area of increasing instability. Pakistan is just the opposite. It is a struggling democracy that is increasingly being pressured by militant, fundamentalist Islamics. We need Pakistan's support in order to continue the fight against Bin Laden's people as well as the Taliban. The worst part of this entire incident is the fact that both countries are in possession of nuclear weapons.

This fight has been going on since 1947, when Pakistan was partitioned from India. It is incumbent on the Bush Administration to begin, and the Obama Administration continue, a major diplomacy effort to maintain peace between these two countries. This isn't a time for "cowboy talk." The two countries must come together to talk and to work together to stamp out this and other terrorist groups. The Prime Minister of Pakistan has said that he will work with India to stamp out the group responsible and wants India to share its information. India must be encouraged to build upon this gesture and work with, not against Pakistan.

Let's hope the Bush Administration can handle peaceful negotiations, even this late in the game. During the last eight years, Bush and his people have shown little interest in negotiating. This time they can't take one side and condemn the other. The U.S. needs both of these countries as Allies in that volatile part of the world. More importantly the U.S. can't stand by and allow India and Pakistan to fall into open confrontation. A military confrontation might lead to the world's worst fear, the use of nuclear weapons.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

In today's world, it isn't uncommon for me to encounter someone, who makes a snide remark when I use the word "Christmas." They will say something like, "are you sure you don't mean the holidays?" They are of course referring to what some call the secularization of Christmas. In reality the practice of some commercial businesses using "holidays" instead of Christmas is their concern that they continue to appeal to someone of the Jewish faith or the other faiths, which do not celebrate Christmas. After all, the demographics of this country are changing and there is no state Christian religion in this country.

Some 20 years ago I was the manager of New Echota Historic Site near Calhoun, Ga. One year we began a tradition of holding a Christmas program in the restored home of Samuel A. Worcester, a New England missionary. The Rev. Worcester was a Congregationalist. I began doing some further research into Christmas in the Cherokee Nation, but could find no reference to Christmas in Worcester's diary. Since the Moravian missionaries, who also resided in the Cherokee Nation, kept extensive diaries, I moved to them to see what I could find. They wrote frequently during December of their Christmas preparations and celebrations.

It was then that I recalled a book I had read in graduate school, "Paul Revere and the World He Lived In" by Esther Forbes. On page 31 of that book Forbes writes, "...Paul found a way to make money for himself out of another church. Christ was Episcopal, a denomination that smelt a little to the Congregationalist of idolatry and brimstone, but even more sweetly (as other small Puritans remembered) of Christmas greens. Christmas was carefully not observed in such churches as Cockerel, but the Congregationalist children loved to sneak off to the Episcopal churches at Christmas-time and smell the greens." Cockerel was the Revere family church and, obviously, Congregational. Thus, the reason the Congregationalist, Worcester, made no reference to Christmas.

The staunch Puritan, Presbyterian, and Congregationalists of the time would have a major hissey-fit (southern for temper tantrum, usually by a female) if they could see today's world and what Christmas has become both to the secular and the Christian world. It is interesting that in their past they had seen Christmas celebrated in many ways, much like it is today, with much revelry. They felt that it was far too secular and refused to take part in such a celebration. What is that expression? History repeats itself?

Now, today, when we have much revelry and a major emphasis on gifts and the economy of Christmas, many people, especially those of the more conservative churches, decry the failure to refer to Christmas, when discussing this holiday. Instead of following the lead of the Congregationalists and backing away from a celebration, as they have done with Halloween, these folks seem to embrace the secular, celebratory and economic aspects of the holiday and demand that it be referred to as Christmas. At the same time they express concern for the over-secularization of it.

I have, for many years, wished my friends and co-workers "happy holidays" or to "have a safe holiday season," referring, of course, to both Christmas and New Year's. People raise their eyebrows at me, when I do this. I mean nothing derogatory. It's just easier than saying "merry Christmas and a happy New Year," over and over.

Since people are critical of my "heathen" behavior, it makes me even more likely to continue it. I don't like people reading too much into what I say. One of my blog readers, or maybe former blog readers, (I think she has given up on me, since she couldn't convert me to an Anti-Obama-ite.) is always reading much more into what I have written than she should. I am usually pretty blunt, and there is nothing more between the lines. So, with Christmas. I frequently refer to Christmas, but I might also refer to the "holidays." Please do not read something that isn't there.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More on the Anti-Obamites and the Birth Certificate

Check out this hilarious column in Worldnet Daily. The writer claims that a computer "expert" has "certified" that the document posted online by the Obama campaign is a forgery. Even funner is the video that masks his face to hide his identity because of threats. Helllooo, you gave his name!

While you are there, be sure to sign the petition calling for Obama to release his "real" birth certificate. You will be joining the groundswell of opposition (76,000). Also, write a letter to the Supreme Court to "lobby" the justices to hear the case before them. The Supreme Court is supposed to rule on the basis of law not a letter writing effort.

These folks get nuttier every minute.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Obama Born in Kenya?

There are several pending cases in various states, trying to hold up the Electoral College completion of the election of President-elect Obama. There is one case in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. All are based on nebulous, undocumented information presented by those, who, for various reasons can't accept the fact that Obama, a mixed race man, was elected by the voters of this country.

One complainant is Phillip Berg, a Democrat (This is supposed to mean something.) and former Attorney General of PA. Mr. Berg claims to have a recording of Obama's paternal grandmother, stating her claim that Obama was born in Kenya. She isn't his biological grandmother. Apparently, his grandfather had more than one wife. According to Berg, the grandmother in this supposed tape, taken from a phone call, says that she was present in the "delivery room" in Kenya, when Obama was born. One has to wonder how many children were born in delivery rooms in Kenya in 1961, especially in this family, given its current status. On October 23, Berg said he would be releasing the "tape" in a few days. So far, that hasn't happened. He has a website, where he presents his argument and has a forum for comments. So far, there are just over 20 comments. There is video on the website of Berg addressing a "rally" held in front of the Supreme Court after his delivery of a Writ of Certiorari to the Court. Interestingly, the 30 minute video only shows Berg addressing someone without amplification. When the "crowd" responds with applause, there are at least three or four people clapping. Questions posed come from one or two different voices. A groundswell of support.

Another complainant is Alan Keyes, a former opponent of Obama's in Illinois, and a former presidential candidate. Keyes is a right-wing Christian fundamentalist and former member of the Reagan Administration. He and his VP Candidate from the American Independent Party have filed suit in California to invalidate the election there and prohibit the casting of the Electoral Votes from that state.

Yet another suit has been filed in New Jersey by a gentleman named, Leo C. Donofrio. Donofrio also includes McCain and Roger Calero, the VP candidate from the Socialist Workers Party. McCain's birth in Panama is questioned along with Obama's. Donofrio uses Berg's arguments against the Obama birth. His suit has been placed on the U.S. Supreme Court's conference list for December 5, having already been turned down once by Justice Souter.

There is even a book on this subject by a fellow named Jerome Corsi. It sells these days on Worldnet Daily for an "amazing" 4.95, down from its original price of 27.95. It appears that you can find this one at your local book sale benefit, if anyone has actually purchased it. Corsi claims to have visited Kenya and interviewed all concerned. He claims that Obama's mother visited Kenya shortly before his birth, and because her time was so short, she wasn't allowed to travel back to Hawaii until after the birth. According to Corsi, the birth was registered in Hawaii after her return as the law at that time allowed. Corsi also notes that Obama's sister has identified a different hospital of birth than that given by Obama. I might note here that someone researched the Hawaii newspapers and found a birth announcement about Obama's birth.

Then there is the fact that Obama's mother took him to Indonesia, when she remarried. The claim here is that he enrolled in school, which. it is claimed, was difficult at that time for non-citizens. The inferral is that he became an Indonesian citizen, and, therefore, relinquished his American citizenship. As a result, these people say that Obama is no longer a "natural born" American. Actually, under U.S. law he would still be an American citizen. Then there is his school record, which someone found, which lists him as a "hated" Muslim. He was enrolled by his stepfather under the name of Barry Soetoro. Obama was probably six or seven years old at that time. At the age of 10 he returned to Hawaii to be raised by his grandparents. According to some, his Muslim ties would affect his loyalty today. Exactly how being enrolled as a Muslim in a school at six years old would affect his loyalty forty years later isn't explained by these people.

Much of this seemingly contrived controversy appears to be a result of the fact that today's privacy laws do not allow the release of personal medical information. The privacy laws have allowed these people to develop a sense of mystery surrounding the refusal of the State of Hawaii and the local hospital there to release Obama's birth information. Since the records haven't been released, it follows that there is a cover-up being undertaken by the Obama group. Comedian Rush Limbaugh stated his opinion that Obama went to Hawaii, not to see his dying grandmother, but to work on the cover-up. Some have even suggested that the grandmother died "conveniently" before she could be called to testify. This brings to mind accused "assassins" Bill and Hillary Clinton, whom some of these same people were involved in slandering over the suicide of an associate.

In response to these questions the Obama campaign posted a copy of Obama's birth certificate on line. Since it is only a certified copy, confirming the birth and not a copy of the hospital certificate of live birth, it has been used to fuel the mystery. The mystery writers claim that the hospital certificate should be posted. Since that didn't happen, they claim there isn't one. One investigator claimed he was turned away from the hospital by armed guards. Of course he wouldn't have gotten any information had there been no guards, but that wouldn't add to the mystery. My guess is that hospital security asked him to leave after he became a problem, while insisting upon the release of private information.

When Al Gore was "beaten" by Katherine Harris and the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000, the Republicans laughed and made remarks about the Democrats "getting over it." Now, in 2008, the extreme right wing of the party can't seem to accept that Obama has won. They continue to try to manufacture excuses to discredit him. It appears to be the fundamentalist Christian and extremist racist wings of the party, who are pushing this birth issue. They raise red flags about the impending Constitutional crisis that the U.S. faces as soon as the courts rule in their favor.

Since I am not a lawyer I won't pretend to address legal issues. However, I can't believe the U.S. Supreme Court or any other court will allow these suits to progress very much further. I haven't seen a shred of admissible evidence to support their claims. A telephone recorded tape of someone claiming to be a grandmother isn't viable. The fact that the State of Hawaii won't release Obama's hospital birth certificate to the public due to privacy laws isn't a viable reason to hear a case.

Obama's mother was an American citizen. No matter where he was born, he would still be an American citizen. If he had been born in Kenya, he would have held dual citizenship, but his British, Kenyan citizenship would have eventually expired. As far as I am concerned, this issue died several months ago, but it is the only hope that these fringe elements have to hold onto. They tried to drag the American people into the mud with them, but they didn't succeed. Now, they hope to use the courts and waste taxpayers money to try to stay in the public eye. In truth the fact that Obama doesn't portray himself as a fundamentalist Christian and is part African-American is eating away at them. The hate continues to fester and will not dry up.

American politics have changed, and abortion, gay marriage, and race suddenly have taken a far back seat to ethics, economics, diplomacy, and the Constitution. The far right has found itself marginalized by the American voter. When a mad dog is cornered, he lashes out. The right is lashing out in the only way it knows, by manufacturing issues, and pushing a hateful agenda. Fortunately, the American voter has seen through it all.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas Time's A-Comin'

It isn't Thanksgiving yet and stores have their Christmas decorations up. The Home Depot in my town has had Christmas decorations out for sale for about a month. I even saw a house yesterday that already has a nativity scene and Santa and his reindeer out. Now that's a bit too soon.

Nevertheless, downtown Blairsville, my home town, has been planning our "Christmas on the Square" for a few weeks now. The Downtown Development Authority Promotional Committee, of which I am a member at least for those events involving the Union County Historical Society, is working hard to bring another extravaganza to our citizens. We will begin on Friday night, December 5, with a Christmas concert in the old courthouse by the North Georgia Chamber Orchestra. Saturday will bring the annual Christmas parade, presented by the Chamber of Commerce. On Sunday the old courthouse will be the scene of the Historical Society's annual Christmas concert made of of the groups, who have performed over the course of our concert season.

The Historical Society will present Santa Claus in the Old Courthouse courtroom for pictures with his young Christmas eve clients. We will take them with a digital camera, download them to a printer and give the families their quality picture on the spot...we hope. Children will also have fun with cookies, cider, Christmas "tatoos" and other equally exciting activities.

I am the chairman of the Society's parade float committee this year. The theme is "sounds of Christmas." We have a reputation for winning parade awards, but Christmas was not one of our strong suits last year. We put a 100+ year old wagon on a trailer, decorated it with live garland, and my wife and I, dressed in period clothes, strung popcorn as we rode along. That float was planned and put together in a couple of days. It was a crowd pleaser, but not a winner. We don't do it to win, we just like to participate.

This year we may put another of our wagons, more brightly painted in green, on the trailer and fill it with bagpipers and fiddlers doing Christmas music in the Scottish tradition. It will be fun, if I don't dump them somewhere along the route. It will also be fun if it is warmer than today's upper 30's with a 15-20 mph wind.

Holidays in small towns are such fun. Everyone turns out for the parades, and businesses and organizations get involved in the fun and holiday cheer. The floats, antique cars, horses, and who knows what are creative and the result of so many people working together. This year we will also be collecting items for the Mayor's Motorcade, a Georgia tradition for providing patients in the state's mental institutions with some Christmas fun. We will also continue to collect for the less fortunate families and for the area food pantry. We cannot keep the pantry stocked these days and there are more and more families, who are unable to provide for themselves.

At the end of the day, we will have the annual Christmas tree lighting on the town square. At the same time all of the businesses and the street decorations will be lighted. Our town will take on the warmth of Christmas, this year, at a time when so many are in need of cheer. At least for a few hours, everyone can forget their personal difficulties and join together for fun and fellowship.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The End of an Era?

Today the Senate committee sent the Big 3 Automaker CEO's back to Michigan empty-handed. Unless something happens soon, these last vestiges of American manufacturing may be disappearing. Some, Republicans in particular, say that they should be forced into bankruptcy to make them reorganize into more efficient operations and create more fuel efficient vehicles. To them this is the absolute answer. No government bailout.

There is a danger in this route. First and foremost is the ripple effect it may have on the U.S. economy. Untold numbers of businesses and jobs may very well be lost, sending the already major economic mess into a deepening spiral. There there is the ultimate disgrace. In their restructuring the Big 3 may very well decide to sell. Who is licking its chops waiting for the opportunity? China. China desperately needs the technology to produce better vehicles, and where best to get it, but from the good old U.S. of A. They already hold billions in outstanding debt paper, so they might very well be able to pull it off.

Then, of course, the Japanese produce vehicles in this country only because they can't compete as well, if they only produce them in Japan. If the Big 3 go under or are gobbled up by the Chinese, there is nothing left to keep the Japanese plants here. Like the Chinese, Mexico is circling the campfire waiting for it to burn down so they can come in and lap up those Japanese plants.

If this scenario takes place, this country will have taken a big step toward further denigration of its world economic status. As it is right now, the world no longer sees us in the same light it did 3O years ago. We are no longer a world leader in so many areas. The last eight years under the Bush Regime has seen our status as a world diplomatic leader tank. Just as the English world empire faded into the past, the U.S. as a true world leader may very well become a shadow of its former self much faster than anyone imagined.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Do We Need to Determine It to Get Along?

"The SBC is standing against today's culture in ways that upset liberals. We will find out in eternity who is wrong, but in the present time it seems like Satan is having a hey day stirring up folks against their brothers and sisters in Christ. That takes time away from presenting the gospel to a lost world. If we wish to compromise and get along in the world, it becomes difficult to determine who belongs to the Lord."

This is a comment about my recent post about the SBC and its determined effort to outlaw women pastors. Everyone has an opinion and certainly the right to voice that opinion. What bothers me most about this comment is the last sentence. "If we wish to compromise and get along in the world, it becomes difficult to determine who belongs to the Lord." I have known a number of pastors, who could get a good sermon out of that sentence.

Is it up to us to have to determine who belongs to the Lord before we interact with them? Isn't that His job, not ours? Are Christians supposed to "get along" and "compromise" only with Christians? If I spent my days worrying about whether the person I am working or dealing with "belongs to the Lord," I probably wouldn't be able to function.

I once worked with a young man, who became a slave to a fundamentalist church. At meetings he would eat alone. He never smiled at a joke. He would rarely interact with his fellow workers, socially, because his church told him that he should not be friends with "non-believers," i.e. non church members. He and his family lived a miserable life for a period, until they finally broke away. After much therapy he is now a happy man and a great friend to his co-workers, who stood by him even in his dark times, when he rejected them. He and his family are now active members of a Baptist church in his community.

As this person says, we will only find out in eternity who "belongs to the Lord." That is between each person and his God. As the Bible says, judge not... I often make comments about people who seem to hate so much, yet they profess to be Christians. Jesus taught us to love our fellow man. He put his arms around those who were different. He didn't run from them or push them away.

The emails that I have received over the last few months spewing lies and outright hatred against the President elect, came in several instances from professed Christians. I haven't judged them, but I have sure asked exactly how it is that they speak of prayer and thanksgiving out of one side of their mouth, while spewing hatred and lies out of the other.

Focus on the Family, the Morman Church and other Christian organizations spent millions to effect the defeat of Proposition 8 in California. Focus on the Family spent so much, they are having to lay off employees. My community food bank could sure have used some of that money. Our local drug counseling organizations could have used it to fight the meth problem in our area. So many people are hurting right now and that church money went to a political campaign. Tax free, I might add.

All of this sure makes me wonder... As the comment says, we will find out in eternity.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

California's Prop 8

I guess I am considered pretty mixed up by some folks, but I can't for the life of me see why the Mormon Church would spend millions to defeat the gay marriage proposition in California. I know what the Bible says about homosexuality, but I have also known many gay Americans. I can't for the life of me, understand the hatred and bigotry directed toward them by people who are supposed to love their neighbors. I also know that no one does the institution of marriage any more damage than heterosexuals, who are determined to run from it every chance they get. They also find many, many ways to subvert it.

This country faces so many issues right now, not the least of which are people going hungry, losing their homes and jobs, and dumping their children. Yet, the Mormon Church, and I'm sure many other churches, found time to spend millions and energize hundreds to stump for votes, when they could have directed their energies toward doing something really Christ-like. They could have put their arms around their fellow man and helped him get his mule out the ditch.

Instead, they spent precious time and money to help him push his mule farther into the ditch. I continue to be amazed at the hatred that spews from the mouths of those, who purport to be Christian. I think my thought for the week from Gandhi says it all: "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

SNL Does Biden

Friday, November 14, 2008

Once Again McCain Pushes Aside His Principles...Or Does He?

When John McCain ran a tawdry campaign of innuendo and trash talk against President-elect Obama and employed those, who had run such a campaign against him in 2000, it was clear that he had thrown his principles to the wind. He gave up those ideals that he had fought for all of his political life to sell his soul to the far right and, hopefully, get elected. It didn't work, of course, so his image was tainted to say the least. His concession speech led some, including myself, to think that maybe he might return to his days of doing the right thing and being (oh how I hate to write this) a "maverick."

When Georgia Republican Saxeby Chambliss ran against Max Cleland for Cleland's Senate seat six years ago, he ran a typical right wing Republican campaign, smearing Cleland right and left. He pictured him with Bin Laden. He questioned his war record. At the time John McCain said, "I'd never seen anything like that ad. Putting pictures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden next to the picture of a man who left three limbs on the battlefield -- it's worse than disgraceful. It's reprehensible."

So where has John McCain been this week? Throwing away his principles once again to try to get a Republican re-elected. He has been campaigning in Georgia for the man he called "reprehensible" and the man we call Saxeby "Shameless." "Shameless is involved in a heated runoff campaign with Jim Martin, another Vietnam veteran. So far, "Shameless" hasn't questioned Martin's Vietnam war record, although I wouldn't be surprised, if in desperation it doesn't come up. By the way, "Shameless" never served, but that doesn't keep him from questioning real veterans' records and easily voting to send more to their death in Iraq.

Next week John McCain will be meeting with President-elect Obama. I hope that the President-elect has someone to watch his back. The McCain that we see now is only a shadow of his former self. It appears that he no longer stands for any real principles. I don't think the country can trust him any longer, and I sure hope Obama takes anything he says with a grain of salt.

Then again...maybe John McCain never had any principles. Maybe his entire political career has been a lie. It certainly appears that way. Given his actions of the last two years, he is simply another guiltless politician, who will say anything and support anything to get elected.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Southern Baptist Convention a Fundamentalist's Dream

My father was a Southern Baptist. He was a member of Old Union Baptist Church in Young Harris, GA. He lead singing and was, at one time, Sunday school superintendent. He was not, however, a fundamentalist. If he were alive today, I don't expect that he would be at all enthusiastic as he read the newspaper articles and blogs that I have read today. In many ways he was quite tolerant, but not tolerant enough to accept the dictatorial attitude of today's Southern Baptist Convention. The Southern Baptist Church has been hijacked by a hoard of religious tyrants pent upon turning that organization into a haven of fundamentalism.

Today, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution published an article about the SBC's disciplining of the First Baptist Church of Decatur, GA, a 2700 member congregation, led by the Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell. I would not have been surprised if the SBC had singled out the church because its pastor has a hyphenated name. But no, it is much worse than that. The Rev. Pennington-Russell is a woman. There is no place in the SBC for a female pastor.

The Convention has stated that it will not accept donations from the Decatur church because it is not in line with SBC beliefs. The church will lose its voting status in the convention and cannot contribute to missions and other programs. The Decatur First Baptist has been a member of the Convention since 1862 and has contributed millions to its various programs.

So who is the loser here? It appears to me that the SBC is the loser. It will be losing a major source of revenue at a time when money for missions and other programs of assistance can't be bringing in as much as in the past. In addition the Convention is showing itself to be out of sync with many of its followers. There are other actions taking place in other states within the SBC as it clamps down on others who disagree with Convention policies. The message being sent is that anyone who fails to toe the fundamentalist interpretation will be dealt with swiftly and severely.

Maybe the SBC should have done something more in line with its beliefs as punishment to Decatur First Baptist. Since it is returning to the dark days of the church, perhaps the SBC should consider burning the Rev. Pennington-Russell at the stake.

Correction: I must correct myself. This church was disciplined by the Georgia Baptist Convention not the SBC. However, the GBC was simply following the lead of the SBC.

Monday, November 10, 2008

It Never Stops & More Embarrassment for GA

Does anyone remember what happened to the Dixie Chicks? Talk about Un-American. This guy's district isn't that far away from my home. Even with all of George Bush's faults, I have never called him a Fascist, or a NAZI. Broun should be impeached. He cannot be emailed from his web page unless you are in his district. I have tried my address with a zip code from his district and that did not work. This man is pandering to the low lifes who continue to try to disrupt the political process through baseless lies.

From the Atlanta Journal:

Ga. congressman calls Obama Marxist, warns of dictatorship

The Associated Press
Monday, November 10, 2008

WASHINGTON — A Republican congressman from Georgia is calling President-elect Obama a Marxist and warning that he might be planning to form a Gestapo-like security force so he can rule as a dictator.

Two-term Rep. Paul Broun of Athens cited a July speech that has circulated on the Internet in which Obama called for a civilian force to take some of the national security burden off the military.

Broun said he was not fear mongering but wants to warn people that the nation could be going down that path.

His comments came in a Monday telephone interview with The Associated Press after he called Obama a Marxist at a Rotary Club meeting in his district over the weekend.

Update: Guess What?

Paul Broun now says he didn't mean to call Obama a Marxist and say that he was going to create a dictatorship. He "misspoke" and the press misquoted him. Riiiiight. When will politicians learn that they can say one thing, then claim that they either didn't say it, they were misquoted, or they simply "misspoke?" This is the day of the electronic media. It is everywhere. Everyone is listening, recording, and filming. Basically, Broun is lying. He said it, he meant it, and he can't take it back. At least he did apologize, sort of. He said, "I regret saying it that way. Yes, I do. I apologize to anybody that’s taken offense at that." That's kind of an apology, kinda, sort of, maybe...but not really. He meant to say what he said. He just didn't think he would get caught in a Rotary Club speech, but everyone in that Rotary Club wasn't an extremist Republican, thankfully.

Update 2: It seems that the Bush Administration already has a Civilian Force already in the works. Rep. Broun refuses to comment on that little tidbit. Just like the rest of the Republican party, he knows little more than to prey upon the fears of his shrinking base. At this point most Republicans that are clinging the little bit of party that they have left are those who continue to cater to the unthinking, uneducated, narrow minded, shills who follow them.

"Evangelist" Steve Foss Piles the Garbage Higher

Below are excerpts from an email I received today from a fundamentalist Christian person, who is, apparently, a fan of someone named Steve Foss. Please note the date on the "message." I suppose Foss did this to convince his followers that he is, indeed, a prophet. However, he gives himself away, when he refers to the election in past and present tenses in a few places.

I find it interesting that people, such as Foss, interpret the exposure of Sarah Palin's activities and the fact that Joe the "Plumber" isn't really a plumber as "hatred." I suppose these folks have to interpret life in terms of their own feelings. Those of us who have criticized Palin and Wertzelbach don't "hate" them. We don't particularly care for the way they conducted themselves during the campaign, but hatred doesn't describe the attitude toward them.

There are many other "visions" reported in this email, which is, of course, designed to stir up the faithful and keep those checks rolling in. I checked this fellow's website and found that there had been so many online hits on his video about this message, that it had to be removed. However, for only $75 you can get your own copy, and the Rev. Foss will make about $73 profit. Quite a bargain for him.

The Rev. Foss is much more scary than anything that President-elect Obama can throw at us. His description of "a spirit of violence" coming from Obama as he spoke about peace and unity is particularly amazing. Take a deep breath, count to ten, then read this mess:

"A Prophetic Warning from Pastor Steve Foss Sat, 25 Oct 2008

...God spoke to me that after George W. Bush, America would elect its most ungodly president ever! I say, again! God said, after W. Bush, comes its most ungodly president ever.

The elections are history,--this prophecy has come to pass! Shame on American "Christians"!

In 2006 I asked the Lord, "Is that guaranteed to happen in 2008?" Very clearly, He said, "It depends on the Christians."!

See what happened? Shame on American "Christians"!

I had a vision earlier this year. I saw Barack Obama , speaking to a large crowd and being broadcast on television. He was speaking incredible words of unity, peace, and bringing all sides together; the words were elegant, the words were comforting, and the words were inspiring. But while he was speaking I saw a powerful spirit of violence coming out of his spirit feeding into the spirits of those that were hearing him. That spirit of violence was directed at anybody who opposed what he was saying. Those who heard his words and received it had the spirit of violence being implanted inside of them. It was a rage like I have not seen before.

It was the rage that would be unleashed against those who oppose and stand in the way of Barack Obama's agenda. We are already seeing the beginnings of this spirit manifested here in America . The vicious attacks against Sarah Palin have been unlike anything we have ever seen before. The sheer hate for this woman from people who knew nothing about her, and who claim to stand up and protect the little people, and women, has been shocking.

We now see it with Joe the plumber. These people who are under the influence of this demon spirit of rage desire to completely destroy this man because he dared to question Barack Obama. In fact it wasn't just the question; it was because Barack Obama revealed his true agenda that Joe the plumber became a threat. So the supporters of Barack Obama who had been fed and affected by the spirit of violence went into full swing to destroy a fellow citizen; the very kind of person that Barack Obama has been speaking about in his eloquent speeches, saying how he is the only candidate fighting for them.

I want to put this deep in your spirit. I am speaking as a prophet. The words I'm about to tell you are "thus saith the Lord". Now that Obama is elected, the attacks against free speech, against those who believe differently than he does, and the systematic use of the government and laws to silence the voice of fundamental Christians will be unlike anything ever seen in this nation before. I have talked to many Christians, including pastors, here in the U. S., & around the world, who strongly supported Obama. Many are angry with the Republicans, understandably so. Others were inspired by the thought of electing America 's first African American president, while others believe Barack Obama to be a Christian who is very concerned with the poor and needy. I am not going to address any of the many concerns about Barack Obama and his form of Christianity. I am only speaking the words of thus saith the Lord, and you have to decide what you're going to do with it.

...You ask, "Are you saying that Barack Obama is America 's most ungodly president ever?" Yes!MANY people wanted an ungodly president. That's their choice.

I have watched throughout the world, "Christians" who support political leaders who are blatantly ungodly. So again, this is the people's choice! I believe if these "Christians" will pray, repent, and hear the voice of God, a miracle can happen on any day! This nation lies in the hands of the Christians. Will we humble ourselves before God and pray for His kingdom to come and His will to be done? To our shame, not enough did !

Too many allowed our emotions, feelings, angers, greed, race, fears & the media, to dictate to us and affect who we voted for!...

...In the future, when the true end time financial collapse takes place, it will be very easy for the nations of the world and the peoples of those nations to allow a new worldwide governing body to come to the rescue. Understand that everything that is happening has a significant spiritual purpose. So don't panic by what you see happening today, but take this as a spiritual warning from God. Prepare yourself. Get out of debt. Hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in regards to how you handle money. Let God position you to handle the future complete economic collapse and the overtaking of the world's economic system. Please pray for America . May God have mercy on us all.

Your friend, Steve Foss"

Friday, November 7, 2008

Joe the "Plumber" Was Right

President-elect Obama has chosen as his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, a devoted Jew, and one of his best friends. Yes, Obama is devoted to the destruction of Israel, just like world political expert Joe "the non-plumber, welfare recipient, i.e. wealth spreader, tax delinquent, no idea of owning a business, chosen one of the McCain campaign" Wertzelbach stated so eloquently.

This appointment proves that Obama is a closet Muslim. Only a devoted Muslim fundamentalist, intent on turning the United States over to Iran and destroying Israel, would have a devout Jewish man as one of his closest friends and confidants. This plot as described by Fixed News, Worldnet Daily, and countless fundamentalist Christians is becoming more clear as each day goes by. Only Allah knows what the President-elect will reveal to us next!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Newsweek Delves Into Palin's Buying Spree

This is a quote from a new Newsweek story on Sarah Palin's buying habits:

NEWSWEEK has also learned that Palin's shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While publicly supporting Palin, McCain's top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family—clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.

It will be interesting to learn more of the details of this scandal. I'm sure that Palin will look worse as the days go by. Newsweek also reported that Palin wanted to speak last night at McCain's concession gathering, but McCain's campaign strategist vetoed it. Also included in the article is a report that she once greeted two McCain campaign strategists wearing nothing but a towel. She advised them to talk to her husband, while they waited. I wonder if Alaskans will want to re-elect her should she run in 2010. Then again, they appear to have re-elected a convicted criminal.

Update: FOX News (shudder) is now reporting that aides say that Palin did not know that Africa is a continent and thought that South Africa was a region of the country of Africa. She refused coaching before the Katy Couric interview, then pitched tantrums when the resulting press was bad. We dodged a bullet, when McCain was defeated. It appears that she isn't even qualified to be governor of Alaska. I almost feel sorry for her. She had it pretty good, hidden away up in Alaska stealing the electorate blind. Now the world AND Alaska know her for what she really is, an ignorant, essentially corrupt, politician. Hopefully, the fundamentalist Christian element will let her go and this is the last we will hear from her. Furthermore, I hope this is my last post related to her.

I Love it!

This is absolutely priceless. Check out Betty's No Sin Zone.

It's Finally Over

After two long years of looking toward the day when we would choose someone to replace the awful Bush regime in Washington, we have finally reached the finish line. Fortunately, we have a man who will try to end the mess in Iraq, fight the real war in Afghanistan, and begin to try to restore our standing in the world. I believe that the simple act of choosing Obama went a long way toward the latter.

I know that at this moment there are millions who are bemoaning the election of the first African-American president and who are already planning for the worst. The right-wing pundits are rubbing their hands together in anticipation of the trash talk and false accusations that lie ahead. (There are also millions of dollars for them to put in their bank accounts as a result.) The right wing evangelists are already writing their sermons for this Sunday, accusing Obama of being a wolf in sheep's clothing, who will ramp up the baby killing at federal expense and make Islam the national religion. What better way to keep yourself in the good graces of your congregation and get the big raises? The lies of the campaign will not end, they will simply become the norm.

Both the acceptance and concession speeches last night were statesmanlike. McCain appears to know how to lose gracefully. We will find out if he does, indeed, reach across the aisle to help fix what is wrong with the country. I, personally, believe that he will. I feel that he may well return to being the old McCain. At the same time, we will also find out if Obama tries to be every one's president. I was chagrined that McCain's supporters could not put their hatred aside long enough to at least act civilized for a moment, booing every time Obama's name was mentioned. At least Obama's supporters in Chicago, showed grace and good will, when McCain's name was mentioned. There may have been some boos, but they were not evident.

It was sad to see most of the states of the old Confederacy be the nucleus of McCain's support. That fact shows much of what this election was all about. The Republican party's base is now primarily in the South, such a complete turnabout from 1860. What would Lincoln say about that? Besides those long time Republicans, the party is now in the home of extremist racists, and right wing fundamentalist Christians. The only issues they seemed to be concerned about were abortion and Obama's color. The sad thing is that there are so many of them.

The Republican party is in shambles at the moment. There is a vacuum waiting to be filled, and we can hope that the extremists in the party will become marginalized as a result of this election, when the party is so out of touch with so many. I keep hearing Sarah Palin's name bantered about as the next leader, and I can't help but wonder what Republicans are thinking. Surely, they aren't serious. You can't take the albatross who helped bring you to your knees and make it the beacon of the future. I suppose if you are the fundamentalist Christian element which has only one or two issues, you might follow her blindly. However, when so many leaders and former leaders left to vote for Obama and stated that one of their major reasons was McCain's selection of Palin, one has to wonder where the party will go from here.

The Democrats should not take this election too lightly. Many voters stepped across the aisle to vote for Obama. Many young people, who were voting for the first time, chose to vote Democratic. This is not the time for the Democrats to step too far to the left. They must turn toward the center, just as the Republicans must reverse their race to the far right. Young people and others who are taken with Obama will be easily disillusioned, if he is unable to follow through on his policies.

Despite what the right wing says, Obama is not that liberal. He has some pretty strong opinions on family, hard work, and hand outs. He worked hard and his grandparents worked hard to get him where he is today, and he doesn't think others should be any different. He has stated that over and over. Turn off the TV, raise your kids right. Be involved in their lives. Work hard for what you want. Those are some of his values. I hope he is given the chance to put his ideas and policies in place. If that is the case, the country will have to be better off, four years from now than it is today.

Monday, November 3, 2008

What Will Comedian Rush Limbaugh Say Now?

When Barrack Obama visited his ailing grandmother in Hawaii recently, Rush Simplebaugh opined that there was no sick grandma. Instead, Limpbaugh tried to re-ignite an already dead issue. Obama, he said, was visiting Hawaii because of his "fake" birth certificate.

I wonder what Lemmingbaug will say now. I suppose there was never a grandmother and he will say that the casket will be empty. After all, will we ever see a picture of Ms. Dunham in repose? Of course not, she never existed. Those pictures of Obama and his grandparents are fakes. He was really born in Kenya and somehow, came to the United States as part of a Muslim sleeper cell, where he waits to take over the country tomorrow and deliver it to Iran in January. Pray people, pray!

It must be a really difficult and bittersweet time for Mr. Obama. How difficult it must be to have to spend the last day of a campaign trying to win the presidency and having to mourn for one who has been such an integral part of what you are today. I was glad to hear that McCain had stepped out of the mud long enough to send his and his wife's condolences. There is a small bit of decency left, although there was no acknowledgement, when Obama went to visit his grandmother two weeks ago.

Rest in peace, Ms Dunham. Thank you for raising your grandson right.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why Don't The Rabid Anti-Obamites Just Tell it Like it Is?

Over the course of the last two years as Barrack Obama has moved to the forefront of American politics, we have seen an increasing number of attempts to discredit him in some way. All are obvious as to their goal. Those who would advance these ideas are trying, of course, to influence the vote in favor of John McCain...or are they? Could it be that they really don't care who the next president is, as long as it isn't Obama?

There is the "fake" birth certificate, which, according to those who have compared it to other Hawaiian birth certificates, is identical to all others. Then there is the "Obama is a terrorist" label. I saw a car yesterday festooned with a dozen or so stickers, one of which read "Vote Obama Bin Laden." Along with terrorist we then add "Muslim." It is a given that if you are a Muslim, then it would follow that you are a terrorist. These labels are very easy to attribute to Obama because of his name and because his father was born Muslim.

Many groups including the Republican party and the McCain campaign are of course guilty of using these slanderous labels in a sly way to describe Obama. I have asked myself many times, why are they working so hard? Why do they seem to hate this man so much? Some, like the man in line in PA with his monkey, named Obama, are open and obvious. Others cover up their real reason with Muslim, terrorist, communist or the fake birth certificate. They are too "nice" to say what they really mean.

When you hear these Anti-Obamites say that this is the scariest election in the history of the United States, they mean one thing and only one thing. Barrack Obama is BLACK . They aren't scared of his policies. They know that what he says makes sense. It is obvious to them that this man is intelligent and well organized. Many of them claim to be Christians. Of course, the southern slave owners claimed to be Christians as well. They simply do not want the president of the United States to be an African-American. For them it is the end of life as they have known it. For the first time in our history there will be a man of a different race in charge, and they are simply scared out of their wits. I'm sure that somewhere in the book of Revelations, someone can point to a verse that says that the United States is forever to be a "white" nation.

The Republicans are playing this racist fear of Obama to the hilt. They are using all the right words and phrases to attract these people and to get their votes. They know what they are doing, and they know that racism is at the heart of so much of the anti-Obama sentiment. The bottom line is the simple fact the McCain and the Republican party are so pent upon retaining the power that they have had for the last forty years and particularly the last eight years, that they will do or say anything to get the vote. They will prey upon every fear they can muster.

On The Daily Show last night Obama handled this issue with class and humor. When asked by Jon Stewart if because he is half white, half African is he torn when he goes into the voting booth, Obama replied that "it is a problem, I'm going through therapy to make sure that I vote correctly." It would appear that there are many millions in this country who need that therapy. They need to learn that this country has changed. We, the Caucasian population, are soon to be in the minority. We can work with other ethic groups to make the transition smooth and peaceful or we can be Neanderthals and fight it. We can fight it, but we can't win it. The train is at full speed and we can't stop it. As the modern saying goes, "deal with it," and get on with life.