Category Archives: News

In the News

A man was arrested at the airport in Los Angeles for having 15 lizards strapped to his chest.  I can’t help wondering what the felt like–the lizards wiggling around in his money belt, not the arrest.

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A Congressman wants people to stop complaining about problems in our country.  He has introduced a bill to make the Wednesday before Thanksgiving a complaint-free holiday.  Isn’t it our right to complain, and isn’t it his duty to listen?  What’s next–Congress enacting a “Stop Picking On Us” holiday?

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From limiting speech to limiting the press. . .the U. S. Army first prohibited the media from attending an appearance by Sarah Palin at Fort Brag, then they allowed some media personnel, and now they have opened the event to the media.

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The Postal Service first cancelled a program that answers letters to Santa Claus, but has now reinstated it.  You know, as the Army found out with this Fort Brag silliness, it’s better to the right thing first than have to reverse a stupid decision.

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What do you think about any or all of these stories?

Dead People Matter More Than Word Choice

     At the FOX News website they are conducting an opinion poll.  The question is wheher the shooting at Fort Hood was an “act of terror” or a “horrific cime.”

     Wasn’t it both?

     It’s just like the term “hate crime.”  What crime isn’t a hate crime?   There aren’t love crimes are there?

     Meanwhile, some of the victims are dead and others are recovering from wounds.  I would say that they were sufficiently terrified to justify calling the incident an act of terror.  I would also say that I am sufficiently horrified by it to justify calling it a horrific crime.

     How about you?  Do you see some substantial difference between terror and horror?  Do you see an important difference between an act of terror and a crime? 

     What they meant, I suppose, is whether the perpetrator committed the crime as a way to uphold his religious beliefs and to support his co-religionists or whether he was simply an individual killing people fo his own idiosyncratic reasons.  Why can’t they just say it that way?  Well, not exactly that way, but they could say, “Did he do it to uphold his religious beliefs or for some other reason?”

     How would anyone know the answer to that question anyway?  We still have insufficient information to make such a determination, although the reported facts do seem to suggest that he was just on more devout Muslim bent on fighting against the “infidels.”  Shame on FOX for sensationalizing a very sad event.

     Meanwhile, the murdered people are dead.  What we call the incident does not change that fact.  Their families are suffering incredible pain.  Who cares if you call it terror or horror?  Who cares if the man was a jihadist or just a nut?  It doesn’t make his victims either more dead or less dead.

How Did I Know?

     When the news started coming out about the shooting at Fort Hood I was a bit frustrated.  There were so many false reports at first–from established media.  I think that they really do everyone a disservice when they give out unconfirmed information.  They misreported how many shooters there were, how many victims there were, and the status of the shooter.  First he was on the loose, then he was dead, then he was alive and in the hospital.  At least I think that is how it went.

     One thing that I was sure of was that he was a Muslim.  How did I know?  It wasn’t because I think all crazed gunmen are Muslim; it’s because the media were working overtime NOT to report his name or his religion.  Even after his affiliation with Islam was known, many media outlets were falling all over themselves to come up with other reasons for his rampage–he had been harrassed, he had gotten a poor evaluation, he had been depolyed too many times (he never has been, actually), etc., etc.  The fact that they did not come out and reveal that he was a devout Muslim who did not agree with out actions in Afghanistan and Iraq was the one thing that many news sources could simply not accept or report–right away.

     Come on, people.  We don’t want to jump to conclusions, I agree.  We don’t want to be prejudiced and think badly of all Muslims.  However, when a Muslim is actually involved in a violent crime, it is unhelpful and dishonest to avoid reporting it.  As much as somebody might hope that another violent act was not perpetrated by a Muslim, you can’t change reality by avoiding it.

     I know, I know, I’m a bigot.  If you think so, you did not read carefully.  For all I knew, the shooter might have been a blond-haired, blue-eyed Protestant.  The reason I guessed, correctly, that he wasn’t, was that the media would have just said so.  They might even have called him a right-wing religious fanatic.  Am I wrong?

What’s Next, Sainthood?

     I know I will get into big trouble over this post, but I have to write it.

     President Barack Obama does not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. 

     What has he done?   He has made speeches.

     He has ended no wars.  He has negotiated no treaties.  He has not even withdrawn our military from Iraq or closed the prison at Guantanamo Bay, as he promised to do.

     Lest I be called a racist, I want to say that Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu completely deserved the prize, but Al Gore did not.

     Lest I be accused of hating President Obama, let me say that I love lots of people who do not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, including my wife, my children, and my parents.  In fact there are billions of people, including myself, who do not deserve it, and I hate none of them.

Michael Jackson: Which Is It?

     So, I have heard a few people comment recently that Michael Jackson was a victim of arrested development who thought as a child, and thus was no danger to children when they spent the night with him.  Interesting!  I remember that argument coming up years ago.

     If that is the case, then why was he legally permitted to raise three chidlren alone.  Don’t we usually expect people who raise children to be mature, responsible adults?  Why did none of his loyal friends and family members launch an investigation as to whether the grown-up boy was a fit parent?

     I have also heard people comment that Michael Jackson was an excellent parent.  Would an excellent parent approve of children sleeping in a bed with an adult man who is not related to them? 

     Makes you think, no?

Mayhem at the Holocaust Museum

     Back in the days when the Holocaust Museum was being planned, I gave a donation to support the building of it.  We need it to remind ourselves and to remind the world of the horror of the Holocaust.  We need it to celebrate the lives of the people who would otherwise lapse into oblivion.  We need it to honor the brave men and women who opposed the Nazis and who aided the Jewish people in Europe during that dark time.

     Today a man has turned what should be a place of peace into a place of violence.  He went in and started shooting, injuring a security guard in the process.  That guard, Stephen T. Johns, later died.  Please pray for his family and friends as they mourn the senseless loss.

     I do not want to say much about the killer, who was also shot during the incident.  I do not want to give him any glory.  May justice be done.

     I do want to quote President Obama, who said in reaction to the incident, “”This outrageous act reminds us that we must remain vigilant against anti-Semitism and prejudice in all its forms. No American institution is more important to this effort than the Holocaust Museum, and no act of violence will diminish our determination to honor those who were lost by building a more peaceful and tolerant world.”

     Amen.

Not Right

     Dr. George Tiller was murdered in his church in Wichita, Kansas.  I hope and pray that the murderer is brought to justice.  The police have a suspect in custody already.

     I want to state unequivocally that what the murderer did was immoral, unethical, unbiblical, ungodly, and thoroughly and completely wrong.  Even if you believe that abortion is the moral equivalent of murder, you do not fight it by murdering.  If our country’s laws were humane and civil, we would already have outlawed the practice of Dr. Tiller, and he either would not have engaged in it or he would have been the one headed to prison.

     What Tiller did was wrong.  Make no mistake.  He was not providing emergency care to rape or incest victims.  He was not treating sick women with appropriate medical procedures.  He was performing late-term abortions, which means that he was destroying fetuses that might have survived outside the womb.  In other words, he was killing babies.  Many of his victims were at the exact same stage of development as thousands of people who were born early–often by Cesarean section–and who have gone on to live successful, meaningful lives.  Had the mothers chosen the harder course, the hospital would have been registering it as a birth rather than as an elective abortion.

     It is true that many of his victims were ill or deformed.  What they needed was treatment, not destruction.  If they were beyond treatment, then they needed a natural, dignified passing.  Is that too much to ask for any human being?

     It is also true that many of the mothers were at risk themselves.  In such cases, I would side with protecting the mother’s life.  However, why choose?  Why not deliver the baby early and give it a fighting chance?  If he or she dies anyway, both the doctor and the mother can live at peace with the knowledge that they tried.  I really cannot think of a situation where such an abortion must be performed.

     Nevertheless, nobody had the right to murder Tiller.  It is the job of the civil government to prosecute and punish lawbreakers, and in our country Tiller was breaking no laws.  What a shame!  Whoever killed him might have mistakenly thought that he was serving God in so doing or that he was avenging the deaths of all those babies.  It’s also possible that the killer was mentally ill and not fully responsible for the horrible act.  We’ll have to wait and see.

     In the meantime, all the pro-life people need to stand up and denounce the act as completely and thoroughly wrong.  We cannot claim to be pro-life and then murder somebody.  We cannot claim to be law-abiding citizens and then live by vigilanteism.  We cannot claim to follow Christ and falsely claim the right to judge others and exact vengeance on them.

California Constitution

     The justices of the California Supreme Court have made the right decision, at least in terms of the constitutional amendment created by Proposition 8.  Like it or not, the constitution is whatever it is.  The job of the state supreme court is to rule on whether a legal matter conforms to the constitution, and by definition a part of the constitution must conform to the constitution. 

     It would be like the United States Supreme Court ruling on whether an 18-year-old citizen has the privilege of voting.  Amendment XXVI gives 18-year-olds that privilege; therefore, they would have to rule in favor of the plaintiff or plaintiffs.

     The justices in California have shown that we are stll a country governed by law rather than by the whim of an elite.  They obviously are not against same-sex marriage themselves, as they had earlier ruled that state law violated the rights of homosexuals by not allowing it.  They ruled based on the written text of their founding document, which is as it should be.

     The rememdy for those who do not like the ruling (who do not like the amendment, rather) is to re-amend the constitution.  That’s how it works by the mutual agreement of the people of California when the state was founded.

     I do not express my approval because I am against same-sex marriage.  If the amendment had been in support of same-sex marriage, then I contend that the Court would have had to rule the other way.  That’s what their job is–to test laws and actions by their conformity or noncomformity to the constitution.

     On the other question–what to do about those already married to a person of the same sex–I’m not sure what I think.  Logically they could have gone either way.  If same-sex marriages are not legal in the state, then how could the thousands of people who had same-sex marriages have a legal marriage?  On the other hand, since it was legal when they were registered as married, then how they now be legally unregistered.  Of course, there are already reasons that a marriage can be invalidated, such as if one or both parties was already married or the marriage took place under some other false pretenses.  Therefore, I do not see that there is any legal reason that the existing same-sex marriages could not have been nullified.

     What do you think?  Please actually write what you think about the ruling from a legal standpoint.  Don’t just tell me how hateful I am.  I already stored that accusation in my memory bank. 

     Please tell legal reasons that the ruling is right or wrong.  Don’t just write based on what you wish had happened or what you wish would happen now.  That’s no basis for law, whether you are a redneck fundamentalist or an urban ultra-progressive.

Wikipedia Prank Really Bugs Me

     I think Wikipedia is one of the best sites on the World Wide Web.  I have used it many times to look up things that I am interested in and even to get important and helpful information.  I have contributed about 30 articles myself and have edited about 200 others.  I have allowed my students to use it as an intial source when beginning research.  Often it is the only easy-to-find and easy-to-use source online for particular topics.

     Many of the articles on Wikipedia are thorough and accurate with links to primary sources and citations for verificaiton of the accuracy of the material.  However, silly things slip in.  Most silly things are detected and deleted fairly quickly, but apparently some things still slip in unnoticed.

     An Irish student named Shane Fitzgerald perpetrated a hoax by putting a fictitious quotation into a Wikipedia article on Maurice Jarre.  He was apparently running a little experiment to see who would repeat the quotation without checking its authenticity. 

     I find the hoax annoying.  Wikipedia itself is an experiment to see if volunteers working collaboratively can build a useful, reliable encyclopedia.  A 21-year-old coming along and playing a prank just to show that he can do it and to challenge the validity of the experiment is awfully rude, to say the least.  He is like a person who would join a community orchestra and then ruin the concert by playing the wrong notes on purpose.  Shame on him.

What a Dog!

     I know that I already wrote about Bo, the new puppy at the White House, but an article about him caught my eye.

     It seems he is the perfect dog.  Apparently he is better than any presidential pet before him.  He is even better than Queen Elizabeth II!

     Sigh.  Is there no limit to the fawning of the media when it comes to this president?

     Why doesn’t he just go to the Vatican right now so that the Pope can crown him Holy Roman Emperor.  Better yet, he should go to Jerusalem in order to be certified as the Messiah. 

     I’m not saying anything about him.  I’m just flabbergasted that, according to our media elite, everything about him (including his pet) is absolutely good and right, while everything about the former president was absolutely evil and wrong. 

     Don’t these “journalists” want to have some respect?  Don’t they have any integrity?