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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Where's the audacity?

Michael Moore's open letter to President Obama is spot on.

Paul Krugman has a good op/ed piece in the NY Times as usual. The statistics are grim on unemployment and the response by Washington is a huge yawn.
For high school and college graduates it appears the only place they can get a job is in the military. Dying is a hell of a way to make a living!
I know it's only been a year since Obama's been in office and the crazies taking over the repubs have helped stave off a mass defection from the dems, but all the crazies have to do is let the dems do nothing and they win. The huge turn out of young voters that elected Obama are the ones being short shifted by his and a democratically controlled congress lack of action on a jobs program. They may not turn repub, but they will refrain from voting for the ones who have left them starving and freezing and ten years behind on their economic future.

Let me put this in really simple terms. Think I'm explaining this to Tarzan:

Jobs -- Good.
Employed pay taxes.
Government happy.
Workers pay social security.
Grandma and Grandpa happy.
More money -- spend more in stores.
Spend more in stores -- Good for economy
Good economy -- more jobs.
Jobs -- Good.

No jobs -- Bad
No money -- no taxes
No taxes -- government go broke
No money -- stores go broke
Stores go broke -- lay off more workers
Lay off more workers -- no jobs
No jobs -- Bad

Maybe even the nitwits in the Republican Party can understand this!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nice time off

It's been a pleasant five days. Family and friends were over for a number of nice meals, had a couple of good rounds of golf, Dallas and Denver won their games, the roller coaster goes on, but all good things come to an end. Back to work tomorrow. Just a few more weeks and winter break will be here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Damned if you do, Damned if you don't

The ACLU is suing a school in Florida for not allowing students to wear T-shirts that say: Islam is of the Devil. They think this is a first amendment issue.

In my classroom if someone put down another student verbally (calling them stupid, using profanity, sexist, racist terms, etc) I would be fired if I didn't respond. It's called sexual harrassment or a hostile learning environment. The school would be sued for allowing this.
Speech which denigrates, demeans or offends other students is not protected under freedom of speech in the classroom or at the school and it's functions.
The number one right of students at a school is the right to learn, this endangers that right. The number two right of students is the right to safety. These T-shirts legally constitute "fighting words" or saying something so offensive that it can cause a fight. Again if a school allowed this and a fight did break out at the school or against another school at a game and students were harmed the school would be sued.
The school does the legally required precaution of not allowing a hostile learning environment and gets sued for not allowing freedom of speech.
Damned if you do and damned if you don't.
What the ACLU (and I support the ACLU on many of its issues) doesn't figure into this lawsuit is that the money spent on these lawsuits amounts to grand theft from the coffers of the taxpayers who pay to educate their children not enrich lawyers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cowboy Christmas Trees

Ann Littlewolf sent me this picture of what she's making. I really like them.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Take

One hurdle jumped over on health care. The 60 votes were there to let the Senate debate health care. Begs the question, why didn't the dems ever do this when Bushco only had 49 to 51 votes on his ruinous eight years of misrule?

Now it seems there are three other hurdles before a health care reform bill will be passed: Socialism, abortion and boobs (Adele M. Stan at Altnet).
Calling this socialism isn't changing the polling numbers in the party of no's favor, but abortion and rationing (the fuss over mammagrams) seems to be having a few cowardly dems ducking for cover. The fact that the cover is big pharma and health insurer's money bags softens the blow.

I am surprised that it has reached this stage. I thought the fillibuster would end it for this year, so I'm wrong on the timing of this exercise in futility, but I still feel nothing will happen this year, no matter how hard Obama is pushing for it. Public option (a no brainer here, no public option no reform only smoke and mirrors) seems to be a sticking point for Mr. I'm so bitter Lieberman who is threatening to join the party of no in another fillibuster, and then there are the real cowards that won't vote for it if all women are allowed to control their bodies. Arguing about the evils of rationing after the last thirty years of bureaucratic denial by health insurers is almost (I said almost) down right funny.
So, what happens if health care doesn't get passed? 1. With all the members of congress and 1/3 of the senate up for re-election it becomes the hottest button issue for next year. I know the fear is that unemployment will distract from this, but I feel Bush is still blamed more for the economy than Obama and Congress is taking steps to come up with a jobs package to nuetralize this threat. 2. Abortion will for the first time be up to a vote, and if that's the reason why the cowardly dems have voted against health care then bid them goodbye. It has been too long that 25% of the population has held the spot light on this issue without a true national response by the voters. If it comes down to decent and affordable health care for all or a woman's right to choose, pro-life loses hands down. 3. The party of no gets voted out of office. Goodbye and good riddence.
Last years election was a step in the right direction and I haven't been all that pleased with Obama, but concidering the alternative I can still support him and have patience because in many ways he's moving in the right direction, just not as fast as I'd perfer. The 2010 election is going to be the either a return to the anarchy and chaos of Bush misrule or the tipping point for getting this country back to resembling a country worth living in.

Friday, November 20, 2009

No Sense of Shame

Rachel Maddow has an interview with Frank Shaeffer at Altnet.

This is despicable. This is not Christian. This flies directly in the face of John 3:16. God is Love, not death. Shame shame shame on anyone who would do this. Read this and think about how these morons wax eloquent on the "sanctity of life."

Maddow: And then, there‘s this biblical quote making the rounds in anti-Obama circles. As reported this week in the “Christian Science Monitor,” “Pray for President Obama, Psalm 109, verse eight.” What‘s psalm 109 verse eight? Well, it reads, “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.” Let his days be few. It‘s followed immediately by another verse, “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.”

And don‘t forget, that sentiment is now being merchandised on bumper stickers, on mouse pads, on Teddy Bears on aprons, framed tiles—those are nice. Keepsake boxes, t-shirts? “Let his days be few”—cute on a Teddy Bear.

Frank Shaeffer makes a very good point the Christians who deplore the acts and insanity of the fundamentalists need to stop hiding in the shadows and speak up. I'm speaking up!

In 1973 while at college my second room mate was a pole vaulter on the track team. He was from a small town in the panhandle of Texas. That Nov was the tenth anniversary of Kennedy's assassination. Hoyt and I got along and saw eye to eye on just about everything, hard to say when I was from a big city and he was small town. Until I brought up the Kennedy assassination and mentioned that I was once in the front row to hear Kennedy speak when I was nine. I read Manchester's Death of a President in high school and pretty much only knew those who deeply grieved for both Kennedy brothers.

With Hoyt, I've never seen or heard such venom and hatred expressed as what he thought about Kennedy. It took my breath away. It was irrational and he was perfectly rational about just about everything else. We never brought the subject up again. He was not the only person I encountered while exiled to Texas for college that felt this way about Kennedy. As Manchester says in his book Texas took it personally that Kennedy died in their state and somehow it's Kennedy's fault for ruining their state's reputation.

I'm seeing on a really large scale the same kind of irrational thought as I saw in Hoyt. People who are intelligent, hard working, and respectable in other things become completely unhinged by the thought of Obama being President.

I have a dread about what will hit the fan if something does happen to Obama. It is my fervent prayer that nothing does, but the tea baggers and neocons and loony tunes on Faux news are whipping up a whirlwind of hate and advocating violence. This action could cause a catastrophic reaction should something happen. This reaction would make the riots and social unrest that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. look like a picnic.

I'll finish with this: Romans Ch 13 verses 1-7

The apostle Paul wrote this while Rome was ruled by the most evil and corrupt emperor in its history.

1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God ; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority ? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same ; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid ; for it does not bear the sword for nothing ; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7 Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom ; fear to whom fear ; honor to whom honor.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Good Moral Tale

Jim Hightower has an interesting article at Altnet about the leaders of the large banks saying they deserve their huge bonuses and are doing, "God's work." Hightower spoke at a union convention here a few years ago and I read his book Thieves In High Places. It's well worth the read. Anyway here's the quote I really liked from today's article:

Nonetheless, this clueless clique is actually claiming that we commoners should be applauding the return of their multimillion-dollar bonus bonanzas. Why? Because, they aver, the rich payouts allow them to contribute to charity.

Such narcissism reminds me of a story about a selfish, no-good rich man who died and tried to get into heaven. But you can't just walk through the Pearly Gates. An angel reviews your life, then St. Peter decides if you can enter. To counter the angel's negative review, the rich man argued that he had a history of charitable giving. He'd once tossed a nickel into a beggar's cup, he pointed out. Plus, some years later, he had aided a poor woman by giving her a nickel. Then there was the time he put a nickel into the Salvation Army kettle.

Hearing all this, the angel turned to St. Peter and asked, "What in the world should we do with this man?" And St. Peter said, "Give him back his 15 cents, and tell him to go to hell!"

Times I Needed Help

This being a time for thanks and remembrance I've thought about times when someone helped me in a time of need expecting nothing in return.

August 26, 1972, my 19th birthday. Gary, my going to be college room mate and I were driving in his car to Plainview, Tx. He had a '69 Plymouth Sport Fury. It was drizzling all day and had rained all the day before. We'd stopped for lunch in Santa Rosa and were taking the state road down to Fort Sumner. Cruising at around 80mph (speed limit 70) we topped a hill and staring us right in the eyes were the headlights of an 18 wheeler passing a car on the two lane road. All Gary could do was swerve to the right onto the side of the road. The truck whizzed by as he tried to navigate around a culvert and come to a stop. Then we started shaking. Once over the frights when we tried to move we couldn't because we were stuck in the mud. We didn't have time to think about what to do when a pickup truck coming the other way stopped and asked if we needed help. He had a winch on the front of the truck, hooked it up to the front bumper and as pretty as you please pulled us up to the road. When Gary offered to pay him for the help, the man said he was a Christian and only doing God's work. From being run off the road to back on our was was less than five minutes. In New Mexico early 1970's we could have been sitting there (no cell phones) for five hours or more before another vehicle came along. To this day when I think of those headlights I ask myself, "Why are you alive?" And we both are eternally grateful to that kind gentleman who pulled us out of the muck.

June 1976 first wife and I were moving from Plainview, Tx to Fort Worth for Seminary. I loaded up the little 1969 Ford Maverick with as much stuff as it could hold and dropped it off at our student apartment, then turned around to get the rest of the stuff and wife. It was about ten at night raining cats and dogs. I was on the bridge over the lake at Breckenridge when I had a flat tire. Thoroughly soaked I couldn't get the lug nuts off the tire with the little tire iron. A man stopped, pulled out a pipe, placed it over the tire iron to give it leverage and we got the tire changed (back then the cars had actual tires for spares). He wouldn't let me pay him for his help.

February 1993, the school year I refer to as the long bad hair year. I was in the teacher's lounge after a really nasty evaluation by the principle. Sitting across of from Larry Tracy a special ed teacher he could tell I was ready to bite nails. I told him the horse shit the lady in question had said to me.
He looked at me and said, "Remember you're permanent, she's temporary."
We had sat around the lunch table for about a year and most of the other teachers couldn't figure out why we were good friends. He was special ed and I was regular, he was a Mormon bishop and I was a Baptist preacher. What we did was compare notes, he had the same problems with his little Mormon church of squabbles among the members and visiting everyone in the hospital that I'd experienced in the churches where I'd been on staff.
About two weeks after he said those words to me, which really calmed me down, he had a heart attack. He was out of work for six weeks. When he came back it was his turn to throw a temper tantrum in the teacher's lounge. The idiot principle had called him in, said that while he was out his students had run off three substitutes. She wanted him to take a class in effective discipline techniques. He'd been teaching for thirty years the last thing he needed was to learn how to keep control of his classroom. I wasn't the only one in the lounge that day trying to get him to calm down and lower his blood pressure. The next fall end of October he had another heart attack while tending his garden and passed away. Perhaps one of the hardest funerals I've ever attended. His words to me that day are why I'm still teaching.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

On A Roll

Thanks to Yikes, one of her many Sunday cartoons.

Russ over at Private Buffoon is on a roll. Read his numerous articles calling for the termination of Geintner as Treasury Secretary.

It is becoming abundantly clear that Geitner is the lap dog of wall street not the pit bull defending the money of the people employing him. He needs to be replaced immediately.

Russ, it seems like our curmudgeon's meeting has energized you to a new level. Keep it up.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Web Browsers

I have four e-mail accounts. One is through the school and is for work only, wink wink wink. APS uses microsoft's e-mail for this and I hate it.
My other three accounts are through yahoo. When I check those accounts I use a different browser for each account. It's easier than logging off and logging back in on the same server. Here are my likes and dislikes for each server:
Microsoft Explorer -- It has one really nifty feature. At the bottom right hand of the screen there is a magnifying glass and you can resize your screen. Since most stuff on the internet is practically microscopic this is wonderful. It's so nice to read the blog or e-mail without having to squint or put on glasses.
Downloading pictures and videos is a snap. Up pops the box, find your destination (pictures, videos, downloads, etc) choose your file or make one and download. The only hassle is that if you want to switch to a different file you have to go back to desktop pick your destination, find the file and then save. It would be so nice if you could just back space out of the file you are in and either create a new file or go to another file in the same destination. Safari used to let you do it this way, then I made the mistake of upgrading that version to a newer one where they really mucked up everything. I've found Explorer to come up and go to whichever site you want fairly quickly depending on your modem and wi-fi speed.
One feature I wish it had is a spell checker for e-mails and blogging. It's friendlier on manipulating pictures on your blog page.

Google Chrome -- It has a screen which displays your most used sites and all you have to do is click on the screen instead of a tool bar. It looks nice, but sometimes there are other people around and you don't necessarily want them to see the picture of your favorite sites. Try being in a room full of preachers and you're trying to show them something on an overhead and up pops the pictures of your favorite sites with one of them being Playboy Cyber Club. Talk about a whoops moment. It claims to be faster than explorer, but I haven't been able to tell. It asks if you want to have it automatically save your passwords, not the best idea if someone else somehow gets their hands on you computer. Convenience can be costly in some situations. I use this mostly at school. Jumping from screen to screen is helpful here.
If you want to download something, and at school there are all kinds of downloads for various forms and other stuff. A stupid blank screen comes up a big blue arrow drops down and you have to click on the bottom left hand side of the screen that says "download" for it to come up. What's up with this? Explorer just has a screen that asks if you want to open, save or cancel. What's with the stupid screen and arrow? If you want to save it will only save in downloads and you have to move it into the file you want it in. This part of it sucks.
It doesn't have a screen enlarging feature.

Safari -- Apple's browser adapted for PC's. It advertises that it's faster than Explorer, but it's nearly twice as slow. It really has a hard time opening up. It has a nice favorites bar at the top or an option to have the screens like Chrome. You can also manage the favorites bar easier than explorer or chrome, but it does have a nasty habit of closing down suddenly. All of a sudden a screen comes up saying it lost connection. You have click disconnect, another screen comes up you have click on something and then its gone. Then you have to reboot.
Downloading it has the same stupid blank screen and arrow as Chrome, but you can at least save to the file you want instead of just in downloads. It doesn't have a screen enlarging feature like explorer, but it has one really great selling point: A spell checker.
When I'm posting on my blog having a spell checker is a godsend. It doesn't catch everything, no spell checker does, but it drives me crazy if I'm writing in explorer and I want to use a word, but am not sure of the spelling I have to stop and look the word up, pray I spelled it right when I guess or switch to safari. The problem with safari on blogger is that it lets you download pictures, but not move them around.

Anyway that's my take on the browsers. I've also tried Firefox, but didn't think much of it and don't use it.

Solving a world problem

The UK Times had an interesting article on education. It seems we aren't the only ones with a problem. What made the article interesting was that it was written by a teacher. What made it a poor article was that it only defined the arguments and didn't offer any solutions.

Here are my simplistic solutions to solving our education problems:

When the student is ready the teacher will appear. There are no discipline problems with students who are eager and willing to learn. Parents that value education for their children and instill that in their children have a hard time fighting against the peer pressure in public schools and it is understandable they choose a religious or private school that has a culture and climate for a positive educational environment.
So, what can public schools do to create a positive educational environment?

  • Stop bending over backwards to keep students in school that don't want to be there. A fortune every year is spent on "at risk" kids, and the main discipline problems stem from students that are mental drop-outs. The late Al Shanker over twenty years ago wrote an in his NY Times column that the best way to deal with these kids is to let them drop-out, but after they've gone to the school of hard knocks let them drop back in.
  • Get rid of the GED. If you want students to earn a diploma don't give them a second option. If you're going to give them a second option stop counting them as drop-outs.
  • Reverse court decisions that hamstring schools from having sane discipline policies. Schools have resorted to the insanity of zero tolerance because any time a principle wants to have the punishment fit the bad behavior a judge over rules him/her. If a student is constantly disruptive in behavior, attitude, bullying, vandalism, etc they are stealing the education of the other students by wasting valuable time and money. Allow the schools to expel them without having to jump through a million hoops. (If administrators showed common sense in some of their disciplinary decisions we wouldn't be in the fix. Too many times they blamed the victim not the predator)
  • Restore the money that has been siphoned off for the students that don't want to be here and put it back into art, chorus, band, drama, physical education (which needs to be required for all grades). All math and science makes for a really dull school.

Curriculum changes:
  1. Stop cluttering up the elementary grades with advanced math, science and social studies. Do third graders really need to know about plate tectonics? Algebra at the 4th grade level, come on! No wonder they stop progressing in their arithmetic and reading skill at the third grade level.
  2. Let students learn to enjoy reading before you throw technical writing at them. Social studies, science, even sex education turn children off to reading making it drudge work. Let them learn to enjoy reading through literature.
  3. Stop excluding boys from reading. Children's and young adult literature is a closed set with editors of publishing houses. They will not publish anything written for boys. This is not made up. Every publisher and agent for this age group that has spoken at Southwest Writers in the last three year has said this very point. There is nothing being published that would interest an elementary boy or middle school boy. Tom Swift and The Hardy Boys are too dated and schools won't buy them anyway. As a 7th grade teacher I bought at used book stores copies of Robert E. Howard's Conan series (the governator's movie was popular then), Barry Sadler's Casca The Eternal Mercenary series, and the works of Edgar Allen Poe. I had boys who'd brag that they'd never read a book by the end of the year upset if I stopped SSR early and they not only read the books I had them writing a short story. All my classes that year had a 100% completion for writing a short story. Students will read if what they are reading is interesting. Boys don't read at this age because nothing is being published for them.
  4. Physical exercise. Elementary schools are omitting recess, middle schools are cutting back P.E. and inter-school athletics. There was an article in Sports Illustrated when Bobby Fisher beat Boris Spatsky in chess for the world championship (early 70's). Fisher spent more time every day running, playing tennis or basketball than he did playing chess. He said he'd never be able to focus on the chess board for hours if his body could not provide the oxygen needed for that much concentration. We expect our students to spend 6.5 hours a day in hard desks doing nothing but learning grammar (not reading or literature), history, science, math, etc without requiring the physical exercise necessary to pump oxygen to their brains. The Greeks knew that educating the body was just as important as educating the mind. Why have we forsaken this important ingredient in education. Japan has school for 8 hours a day, but only 6.5 of that day is in classrooms (the same as here). The other 1.5 hours in devoted to exercise. They understand this, we used to understand this, why have we gotten away from it. Oh yeah, budget cuts!

This year we shifted from the regular parent/teacher meeting to student led conferences. I was skeptical at first as I have learned to be from all the new/recycled neat ideas. I found it to be a step in the right direction. Given more time, media support, and pressure from society for parents to show up for these meetings this could go a long way towards improving every students educational experience.
Students collected their, transcript, portfolio showing their work, made out a plan for their graduation and post graduate expectations. As the teacher all I did was moderate as the student told their parent(s) how successful they were or not in reaching these goals. I like the idea of students taking ownership of their future this way. The parents who showed up understood this and thought it was much better as well.
We were in class from 7 in the morning to 8 in the evening to accommodate the parents schedule, there is little excuse for the ones who were unable to take fifteen minutes to attend one of these conferences. This was the first year we've done this. I think attendance will improve in the coming years and communication between students, parents and the school will be greatly improved.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Good Time

Russ, Woody, Cornfield, two of his friends from Colorado and I had a really raucus get together at Spin's last night. For being six old (oops, one of the guys from Co isn't 50 yet so he objects to being called old) white men we are rather diverse in background and thoughts, but we're becoming good friends.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

America Junior High

America Junior High

The worst year of my life was 7th grade. My parents didn’t have much money and we lived on the South side of America Junior High. We lived about a half mile from school and I had to walk to and from every day. Walking to school made you a nobody. The kids whose parents were worse off than us lived farther away so they rode the bus to school. They were speds. Not being very bright and having little money they slept in class or threw temper tantrums and were constantly being sent to detention. They did make good jocks and played on the Football and Basketball teams. The girls if they were pretty could catch the eye of the upper classmen and get an older boyfriend who would drive them to school so they didn’t have to ride the bus.

On the North side of school were huge mansions. They were very close to the school, but those students thought it beneath them to walk. They were driven to school by their mothers or chauffer in new shiny cars or limos.

The class that was most horrible that year was Rupert Murdock’s English class. I sat in the center of the room. No matter how hard I worked in that class it was never good enough. Every test and paper came back a D-; just enough to pass, but nothing more. It was hard knowing that the work I turned in was every bit as good as the kids who sat on the right or left of the class and they got A’s. Those of us who sat in the center were lucky if we received a C.

On the left side were the nerds and brains. In the front chairs sat the smartest guy in the class, Barack Obama an African American student who was always friendly, even though he rode the bus he wasn’t a sped. He was the smartest guy in the school; 7th grade class president and everyone knew he’d someday be valedictorian and student body president. He’d talk about trying to improve the school and was real good about defining the problems. There was a girl named Hillary Clinton who was nearly as smart as Barack. Her boyfriend was Bill Clinton, a 9th grader who was student body president. She would smile and act like she was concerned about everyone. If you were in the library studying she’d come by and say hi, maybe help you with your homework, but that wasn’t very often she spent lots of time with her boyfriend.. You could tell she didn’t like Barack as they competed for the highest grade in class and he seemed to always get the better scores. Another guy who sat in the back of the room on the left side was Ralph Nader. He was smart, knew he was smart and disdained anyone who he thought wasn’t as bright as him. He had a few friends that came to class with brief cases, wore pocket protectors and had scientific calculators dangling from their belts.

The right side of the class was dominated by the Queen. Sarah Palin was the prettiest girl in the 7th grade. She didn’t need a boyfriend. All she had to do was bat her pretty eyelashes and someone would buy her lunch or drive her to school or Mr Murdock would give her an A on a paper that didn’t have a single word spelled correctly or even make sense.

Queen Palin kept a court who followed her every move. She hated Hillary Clinton because Hillary could earn a good grade so she had her toadies Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck call Hillary nasty names. Make fun of her weight, laugh at her clothes or hair style. If Queen Palin wanted money for make-up, or clothes or lunch or to have her hair done she’d whisper something to her trolls, Banker, Credit Card, CEO and they’d give it to her. The trolls lived on the North side, came to school in chauffeured limos, always dressed in style, had their hair perfect and nails polished, but if Queen Palin needed money they’d never take it out of their own pocket. They’d roam the halls and take the nobody's lunch money. If you brown bagged it they’d grab your lunch eat the apple or banana in front of you, take a bit out of your bologna sandwich and throw the rest in the trash. They’d always have a couple of jocks with them to beat you up if you resisted their theft, and the school not only didn’t mind but encouraged them, after all their Daddy’s gave generously to the booster club.

One warm sunny fall day during lunch I was with friends and we were running having a good time. The school bully Big Pharma couldn’t stand the fact that a nobody would actually be happy. He ran up to me and kicked me in the groin.. I was in agony rolling on the ground tears streaming down my cheeks as I heard him laugh. I saw Hillary Clinton start walking over to me, but Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly started calling her a bleeding heart, and that only someone who was fat and ugly would be interested in helping the nobody’s that walked to school. Nurse Health Insurance came out, but because Banker and Credit Card had stolen all my lunch money she walked away leaving me to get up and make it back to class with only the consolation that the pain was temporary and Big Pharma hadn’t killed me. As I limped into class I heard Barack say loudly that something needs to be done about the bully’s hurting the nobody’s and speds at the school and that he would ask the student council to pass a resolution on student safety.

Principle George W. Bush then came over the intercom to announce that there were two important games coming up between Iraq and Afhanistan junior highs and that Coaches Petraeus and McChrystal were needing more students to come out for the football and basketball teams. Then he added that the teams would need new uniforms and transportation costs and equipment; money that the school didn’t have so there would be a huge fundraising effort. If you didn’t support our fine brave athletes with your money then you weren’t really a good American Junior High Student. The school councilor Mike Huckabee then followed by leading us all in a prayer that our teams would win and make us all proud.

Queen Palin came in the next day with a fundraising brochure that had all kinds of nice products. It was the only time she ever noticed those of us in the center. She smiled, or at least her lips curled up, the eyes said she wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Banker and CEO were at her side to make sure everyone bought something from the brochure. Credit Card didn’t come to school that day so we all had our lunch money. I bought a tin of popcorn and was told that all the items we ordered would be delivered in three weeks. A week later Principle Bush thanked all of us for contributing and supporting our wonderful football and basketball teams, but that the company we ordered products from had declared bankruptcy and unfortunately none of our orders would be coming in.

Those sitting on the left side of the class naturally had strong words to say about this problem. Ralph Nader, who had refused to buy any of the products denounced all athletics in general and insisted if we’d all become vegetarians that nothing like this would have happened in the first place.

Hillary told everyone not to blame her boyfriend Bill, because the school year was almost over and this was all Principle Bush's fault.

Barack spoke eloquently about how Principle Bush should have known that this company was run by crooks...

Banker started yelling at Barack because his Daddy’s company was the one that went bankrupt. This caused Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck to join in and for the rest of the school year all the todies could do nothing but scream and yell obscenities at Barack and Hillary and Bill and all those who sat on the left side of class.

Mr. Murdock smiled and congratulated the left and right side of the class for making his class have such a lively debate and scowled at us in the center for not having anything to say on the matter, not that he would ever call on us if we did raise our hands to speak.

Principle Bush announced later that in the football game against Iraq we were winning, but that a number of our best athletes had been injured and more speds needed to see coach Petraeus. The Basketball game against Afghanistan was still too close to call and Coach McChrystal was in desperate need of more speds. All of us good American Junior High students still need to support our brave and loyal athletes so we can win these games and in order to do so was doubling the lab fees for the nobody's and speds.

The next year Bill Clinton graduated and was seen no more. Barack and Hillary were elected student body president and class secretary enraging Queen Palin who wanted to be class secretary and John McCain, the guy she could lead around by the nose, to be president. She let loose her toadies Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly to keep calling those on the left every evil thing they could think of. The school walls were plastered with graffiti blaming Barack and Hillary for everything from earthquakes and tornados to Dutch elm disease. Posters were hung showing Hillary being burned as a witch and Barack’s face on a dog. Principle Bush retired and Mr. Murdock became head master. Every day after chief councilor Huckabee gave the morning prayer Principle Murdock would praise Queen Palin, her bullies, toadies and trolls for making the school such an interesting place for our educational experience.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sad News

Former Governor of New Mexico Bruce King passed away at age 85 today.
He has been sorely missed since he left office in 1992. He was the last politician that could cross the aisle and get things done around here.

Another Curmudgeons Meeting

Cornfield, Buffoon, Lamb and a couple of friends along with yours truly are having another meeting of the Curmudgeons tomorrow. We've skipped a couple of months because our schedules were full.
Cornfield will be driving down through a winter storm so we hope all goes well with his trip.
Anyone in the Albuquerque area interested in meeting a bunch of pissed off old men for a beer feel free to e-mail for time and destination.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Brother's news article

Not all Baptist preachers are as bigoted and stupid as Pat Robertson (today he made some really outlandish statements concerning Islam)

NORMAN, Okla. (ABP) -- At least one Baptist leader cautioned against attempts to blame the Nov. 5 Fort Hood massacre on the accused assailant's Islamic faith.

Bruce Prescott

Bruce Prescott, executive director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists, said Nov. 8 that assuming Nidal Hasan, an army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 and wounding 31, acted because of his religion is comparable to judging Christianity by the acts of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

"The problem is with the individual. It's not with the faith," Prescott said on his weekly "Religious Talk" radio program. "We wouldn't paint everyone with the same broad brush within our own faith, and we shouldn't do it with others."

Prescott's guest on the broadcast -- aired on KREF radio and podcast on his personal blog -- was Razi Hashmi, executive director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Hashmi said he hoped reports that Hasan is a devout Muslim would not result in a backlash of

"This is really, really upsetting, because this really violates the tenets and the principles of my faith, and I believe of Islam," Hashmi said. "It is very unfortunate that this happened, but we shouldn't use it as an issue of religion, and it shouldn't be framed in that way. I think it concerns some greater issues, such as mental health and the harmful consequences of war. There are many Muslims that proudly and patriotically serve in the American military."

Bryan Fischer

But a spokesman for one conservative Christian organization said it is time to end the practice of allowing Muslims to serve in the United States military.

"The reason is simple: the more devout a Muslim is, the more of a threat he is to national security," Bryan Fischer, director of issues analysis for the American Family Association, wrote in a blog. "Devout Muslims, who accept the teachings of the Prophet [Muhammad] as divinely inspired, believe it is their duty to kill infidels."

CAIR's national headquarters in Washington issued a statement condemning the Fort Hood attack "in the strongest terms possible."

"No religious or political ideology could ever justify or excuse such wanton and indiscriminate violence," the statement said. "The attack was particularly heinous in that it targeted the all-volunteer army that protects our nation. American Muslims stand with our fellow citizens in offering both prayers for the victims and sincere condolences to the families of those killed or injured."

Fischer, who was recently promoted from executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance, a state affiliate of the AFA, found little comfort in the statement by Muslim leaders.

"Of course, most U.S. Muslims don't shoot up their fellow soldiers," he said. "Fine. As soon as Muslims give us a foolproof way to identify their jihadis from their moderates, we'll go back to allowing them to serve. You tell us who the ones are that we have to worry about, prove you're right, and Muslims can once again serve. Until that day comes, we simply cannot afford the risk. You invent a jihadi-detector that works every time it's used, and we'll welcome you back with open arms."

"This is not Islamophobia," he said. "It is Islamo-realism."

Fischer also said it is time "we all got over the nonsense that all cultures and religions are equally valid or worthy."

"They most certainly are not," he said. "While Christianity is a religion of peace, founded by the Prince of Peace, Islam is a religion of war and violence, founded by a man who routinely chopped the heads off his enemies, had sex with nine-year old girls, and made his wealth plundering merchant caravans."

"And just as Christians are taught to imitate the life of Christ, so Muslims are taught to imitate the Prophet in all things," Fischer continued. He said Hasan "was simply being a good Muslim."

Razi Hashmi

Hashmi, however, said Hasan's alleged actions violate basic tenets of Islam, which he described as a religion of peace.

"There's a verse in the Quran that speaks to this, that if you kill one innocent human being, it's as if you have killed all of humanity," Hashmi said. "Conversely, if you have saved one innocent life, it's as if [you] have saved all of humanity. It shows the sanctity of human life in the Quran, and it mentions this many, many times."

"There's really no call for this, and even the Prophet Muhammad -- peace be upon him -- would never sanction such a thing," Hashmi continued. "This would never be allowed and you would never find the Prophet Muhammad ... ever do anything like this or even advocate something as heinous as this. If Muslims look to their basic teachings of Islam they would not find anything like this."

"When we see violence happening around the world -- whether it be here or abroad -- most of it is really a political motivation, but it's masked with some kind of religious fanaticism," he said. "So what will happen, in instances such as Iraq and Afghanistan, there are many cases where we believe, 'Oh, there's the Sunnis fighting the Shias and whatnot.' There's really no difference between Sunnis and Shias. Ninety-five percent of the basic beliefs are identical. The reason why they are fighting is really just to take control of the land."


Bob Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.

Monday, November 09, 2009

More Random Thoughts

Irina passed the bar exam in New York, a really big accomplishment. A hearty congratulations to the young lady and may her career take off.
Russ's wife had a scare as a complication of her chemo therapy. They are in our prayers.
Michael Manning has a fitting tribute to Steve McQueen on the thirtieth anniversary if his death. Hard to imagine it's been that long.

Random thoughts

  • Mom has a really good post at her site. I know of whom she's referring, but since she wishes to keep it 3rd person I'm not saying.
  • It's a good thing Harry Teague is our state rep in a different district. If he's going to vote like a republican he should call himself one. Our only no vote on health care. He should hang his head in shame. I hope this gets him fired by the voters in his district, at least they'll know what they're voting for.
  • Health care reform did pass the house, narrowly, but women were given short shift by an anti-abortion measure added to it. Why do women need to be treated like children who have to have a husband or daddy make their decisions for them when it comes to their own bodies? Why do women stand for it?
  • It looks to me like health care reform will die in the senate, cross fingers and hope that I'm wrong, what this will do is make the election next year more about health reform than the economy. Damn I really don't like living in interesting times.
  • Today marks 20 years since the Berlin Wall fell. Other than in the news did you hear a big yawn?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Guest Post

This is from my spiritual twin, Anne Littlewolf. I've posted a number of her paintings.

HI friends---
I know I hate mass mailings as much as you do, but something has come to our attention and we wanted to get the word out to as many as possible to act as quickly as possible:
Our area has a unique chance to create more wilderness areas in our mountains. This is a very special and good thing. Allow me to explain:
All National Forest areas are accessible to all citizens for all different types of recreation, you can camp, take you ATV, your mountain bike, motorcycles, etc. and have a grand old time. Ok, I'm good with that, even though there are lots of areas that are currently pretty stressed out from being "loved to death" by visitors.
Wilderness designated areas are more special yet. They are areas bounded by laws that prohibit ANY motorized vehicle (incl. bicycles and paragliders, etc) into these areas. The only thing that can go into a wilderness area is something with a heartbeat. Hence, hikers, dogs, and HORSES can go there. These are some of the most beautiful and rugged areas around. They also are a sort of last sanctuary for the wild creatures who live there. Their homes are reasonably protected from human invasion.
Around here we have a chance to both create and add to existing WILDERNESS areas--and both Deryl and I are all for it. We need to keep motorized anything (incl bicycles--which can really be obnoxious on the trail) OUT of the wilderness. This will protect our wild brothers and sisters, but it also protects some of the last areas where we horse lovers can ride freely, honoring the mountains with our reverent silence when we ride, and with our love.
PLEASE, Please, please check out this website: www.whiteriverwild.org and sign their petition, write a letter to Congressmen, whatever you can do, whatever you feel is right to help save our land. The bikers (both kinds) have plenty of roads, trails and freedoms to go lots of places, and (horse people, you especially know) there have been plenty of arguments about NOT letting horses go places (they poop, you know---creates an environmental disaster--kind of like cows farting--will someone explain to me how that's worse than humans farting??? I don't get it?!). The wilderness is a "last bastion" of equine freedom as well as wildlife freedom.
The proponents of this action are trying to move quickly to save the wilderness and create more. The site mentioned above has some wonderful maps/photos/etc. to show you where they want to add on to existing wilderness and create some new sites. We both think this is an important opportunity to do something VERY proactive for our Mother Earth and our brother/sister animals. Everyone talks green, now we have a chance to do something genuinely GREEN!
Thanks for hearing me out, sure appreciate all the support you can give, not necessary to donate, but it would be great if we could get some more signatures and some more real interest going in this grand effort.
Anne and Deryl
(yeah, even Baby, Sky, Korky and Deuce said to say thanks too. Macy (the dog) thinks it's pretty cool too since she goes with us on all the trails and she says she needs some new places to run and chase the squirrels! The cats have an opinion too, they're in favor of anything that gets us AND the dog out of the house.)
ps: this is also known as the Hidden Gems Project---I know most of these places from being on the trails with the horses and yeah, they are real gems, the kind only a wonderous Creator could make.

Saturday, November 07, 2009


Wade Burleson is theologically much more conservative than I. He was for awhile on a number of the SBC boards. He also blogs and he wrote about problems within the leadership. For which he was treated like any other heretic.
This past summer when we went to the Building Bridges Seminar in Norman, Ok we had the pleasure of hearing him speak. He has an interesting review of this book. You can read his post by clicking here.

Kathryn Joyce and Wade agrees with her assessment that at the root of this movement is patriarchy. The insistence that the man should lead or rule the household and women are to be subservient. In colloquial terms: women should be barefoot and pregnant.

I would take their assessment one step further. The root of all fundamentalism whatever the religion or denomination is patriarchy. When the culture and religion see eye to eye on this there is little tension, but when the secular aspects of society start letting women off the farm, out of the sweatshop, released from brothels, or liberated from the raising children and cleaning house all hell breaks loose.
It's not necessarily men who are at the forefront of keeping women "in their place." There are plenty of women who find not bondage but security raising children and making the man who provides this comfortable and happy. It was women that led the charge to defeat the equal rights amendment. It is women who are vocal against Roe V. Wade. Sarah Palin is not alone in resisting social and economic progress for women (other than herself of course, she's exceptional).

The fundamental takeover of the SBC had at its base two issues: The literal interpretation of the Bible and the women being subject to their husbands. In the year of our Lord 2000 they rewrote the Faith and Mission Statement to include those two anti-Baptist, anti-spiritual, anti-intelligent clauses. It's a totally oxymoronic statement now. In one section they kept the core belief of all Baptists: That baptism is only a symbolic representation of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, but the Bible must be interpreted literally. Maybe it only makes the SBC Bipolar?
The statement about women being subject to the man is a case of reading only half of the thought expressed by the Apostle Paul. The other half is that man is to love and honor the woman, not treat her as a piece of property. She's to help a man meet (help meet) the difficult task of surviving in a hostile world. That would in my view make woman and man partners.
All relationships have a dominant and submissive. Twins, siblings, friends, and married hetero couples and gay couples always settle on who will be alpha and beta. This is determined by force of personality and mutual agreement usually after a test of wills. The stronger the personalities the longer and more tempestuous the test of wills. To replace a natural selection process (most communal animals have this selection process) with an artificial, arbitrary and mandatory system is ludicrous. It's a practice and belief sure to make both partners in a marriage miserable. To say this is God's will is pure blasphemy. Jesus came to give life, not misery.
As the two writers mentioned above point out: taking Quiverfull to it's logical conclusion leads to a hell on earth.