BLOG is by Tom today.
Your pain at the pump is going to be nothing compared with what is coming! Sixty dollar a barrel oil and $3.00 a gallon gasoline are just the beginning. Consider what higher energy prices are going to do to the already beleaguered airline industry. Ask yourself how the food you buy finds its way from the farm to the supermarket, and I think you will begin to see a small part of the problem.
Hello inflation. Long time no see. Well, actually, stagflation is more likely. Stagflation occurs when your wages stay the same, but everything you have to buy costs more. We had a jolt of it during the last oil price shock in the 1970's. There is no reason to believe we won't be hit again.
Only now things are much worse. Back then, interstate natural gas prices were capped at unbelievably low levels. Now, they are hovering around $6.50 per thousand cubic feet. Has anyone noticed that his summer electric costs are higher this year than last? Don't worry, they will seem low before too long.
It seems to me that Mr. Greenspan's puzzlement may at last correct itself. The Federal Reserve Chief, among others, could not understand why long term interest rates were not rising with short term rates. There are two possible reasons. The first is that the market expects short term rates to decline. I don't put much store in that, but it is a possible reason. The second possibility is that there is so much demand for our long term bonds that interest rates are not rising.
Bonds are very simple, but they sometimes confuse people. For simplicity's sake, assume you want to buy a bond with a par value of $1,000 that pays a 5% interest rate. That means your $1,000 will return $50 per year and you get the $1,000 back when the bond matures. Under normal circumstances, the price of the bond will fluctuate from $1,000 so that the $50 a year that the bond pays will represent a higher or lower interest rate. Thus, if other bonds in the market are paying 10%, the price of our bond will have to drop to $500 so that they $50 it pays will equal the 10% of the purchase.
But, because the outside world is ashore with our dollars, and because they don't want to use all those dollars to buy our products and services, they use them to buy bonds. When crude oil prices moved from $40 a barrel to $60 a barrel, we flooded the exporters with an additional $75 billion. Much of that money is going to the Treasury in exchange for bonds. The demand is so strong that yields are out of balance. As cost rises, it is probable that U.S. bond buyers will look for better returns and U.S. bond interest rates will have to rise. That means we will have to sell more bonds to realize the same amount of money.
At the same time, we are having to use more and more of our tax dollars to make the interest payments. That means less money is available for schools, construction projects, projects that provide jobs.
Unfortunately, the Energy Bills that the House and the Senate have passed will do absolutely nothing to help us out of this problem. They could have, but they didn't. Increasing efficiency requirements for fleet vehicles would have lowered per mile cost of driving, for the newer, more efficient cars.
Tom on the blog
Thursday, June 30, 2005
BLOG is by Tom today.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
In the nation of Texas we do things differently. Yes, you finally figured me out. I think we should secede from the Union and I will volunteer to write the new constitutional document. Unlike the paramilitary organizations who sneak around in the piney woods of East Texas on week-ends because the "wife" wants them out of the house and out from under foot while she makes a blackberry cobbler, I want to secede for a very simple reason. That reason, the death penalty. Yep. I want to make sure that our citizens always retain that option in crimes of unspeakable evil.
Last time I checked, we executed a total of 345 individuals since 1982. Back in that year, we took care of Charlie Brooks, Jr. He was convicted of kidnapping a mechanic, binding him with coat hangers and duct tape and shooting him in the head.
We do not take our time in bringing a guilty verdict once the facts of the case have been presented. Robert Morrow received his verdict after only 13 minutes of deliberation by the jury. He abducted a 21 year old female, beat her, slashed her throat and left her floating in the Trinity River.
Neither do we shy away from our women in Texas. Who can forget Karla Tucker? She helped hack two victims to death with a pickax. The ax, found embedded in the female victim's chest by the police. Ms. Tucker claimed religion as she got closer to eternity. That is good. We sent her on her way with about the same remorse she showed after the killings. Testimony showed that she bragged about the gratifying feeling she got each time she swung the axe.
Pseudo-widow Betty Beets got her just dues on Feb. 24, 2000. Interestingly, she lived in Gun Barrel City, Texas. She shot husbands no. 4 and 5, burying the fourth man under the storage shed and the last one in a wishing well on the property. Every single man in Gun Barrel City is safer today, because of our actions.
So Kansas, which does not have the death penalty, will now pay to house, feed and clothe the BTK serial murderer, Dennis Rader. This sick bastard took one of his earliest victims, an eleven year old girl, and hung her upside down in the basement..... and then probably made himself a sandwich on the way out the door. A psychiatrist who needs an "idiot consult" stated that poor Mr. Rader probably had something very bad happen in his own childhood to make him place bags over women's heads and strangle them. In Texas, we would make something very bad happen to Mr. Rader and that would be the death penalty.
Some crimes are so odious and evil in nature that the requirements of societal justice can only be met with a death penalty judgement. Extradite Dennis Rader to the nation of Texas. We will take care of it for the victims and their families.
Editors note: I am not a genetically inbred ogre. I made a pan of brownies for my family yesterday. I took my child swimming. And I would juice up the intravenous fluid of Dennis Rader down in the Huntsville unit if the call for volunteerism arose. God Bless Texas!
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Just watched the Commander in Chief at Ft. Bragg giving his speech to the troops. The synopsis of his message?
WE DON'T TAKE ORDERS FROM PEOPLE WHOSE SKILL SET IS TO RAM AIRCRAFT INTO OUR BUILDINGS, MAKE IED'S AND SAW OFF CIVILIAN HEADS !!
Big dog on the porch barking tonight. I am barking on the blog. Woof!
The civil disobedience of Chief Justice Moore undoubtedly played a part in the rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court today regarding allowing the display of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas state capitol, but not inside Kentucky courtrooms. This was the first time in a quarter-century that our jurists of the highest court of the land have weighed in on this topic. As an American, I appreciate the guidance that came from the rulings today.
Now I already made religious conservatives angry with my dissenting view in a letter to the Irving News on 31 August 03. It presented a truncated view of my belief regarding the tempest in a teapot in Alabama. Let me walk us through that shameful scenario again and flesh out why I swung the pendulum against Chief Justice Moore.
Chief Justice Moore took it upon himself to place a Ten Commandments monument in his place of employment. After a federal judge mandated the removal of his trophy, Chief Moore refused to play by the rules of engagement. Like "Chicken Little" he whipped up a religious furor that the sky was falling, as opposed to admitting that it just made him mad that he didn't get his own way.
Chief Moore played by the rules until he exhausted his appeals. But when the verdict did not go in his favor and he refused to obey a lawful order, he entered into civil disobedience. Should a judge who has taken an oath to uphold the law, then be allowed to break the law? Is a judge above the law? The same God who gave the Ten Commandments to Moses gave other rules for the governance of society. One of the laws of Christianity is to obey those who have the rule over you, as those who "watch for your souls". (This, in the New Testament) An unjust outcome does not give a Christian the right to disregard the rule of law. The Christian, makes final appeal to a just God, who vindicates in His own way, in His own time.
Our government is not inherently "against religion". Our government guards against religious excess in the public venue. Please note that the police did not shut down the Billy Graham crusade the other day! Our government is merely saying that religion should not always "hands down" trump all the other cards or the players in the societal structure. Religion does has a place in our free society. But we are not a theocracy and I do not wish us to become such a society. In America, we have tremendous freedom of religion. But religion, must not be overarching of secular business and establishments. This balance, keeps the "righteous" from ruling over the "sinner", which in the wrong hands, can lead to a harsh governmental order.
Here is how America according to Chief Justice Moore would work. Does Johnny want to read the Bible in class when he has been told to read his Shakespeare assignment? Want to arrange a gospel quartet to sing in the corporate cafeteria without seeking permission? Want to wear a turban and flip flops to work when the dress code requires a suit, tie and close-toed shoes? The possibilities are endless! The religious expression of the individual in a free society must be broadly allowed, but with some necessary sidebars. The ruling for Chief Justice Moore to remove a monument which he set up, without permission, was not oppressive in nature. It was just good common sense!
I do support religious activities, nativity scenes at Christmas, Hannukah displays, singing carolers, etc. if they are seasonally appropriate and permission has been sought from an employer or the owner of the business or property to engage such activities on their premise. I do not support grandstanding such as that of Chief Justice Moore. If he feels so strongly about this whole thing, let him set up the monument in his living room. I bet his wife would have a thing or two to say about it!
Break the law if you choose. It is your right. But do not whine and cry when you fall under the penalty of the law. Chief Justice Moore caused an absolute stink when there was need for none. Americans remain very much free to attend their houses of worship, "pray by the pole" of schools, witness regarding their faith or lack thereof. I believe the rulings set forth today brought a balance of opinion regarding religion in America.
Monday, June 27, 2005
Coming home from my drill weekend, as I changed out of my Khaki uniform and into more comfortable shorts and blouse, I was very much aware of the ambush and attack that killed several of our female service members and injured almost a dozen more. Removing my collar devices and performing the ritual of placing the national defense ribbon in its box, hanging the belt, securing the cover in its place, my thoughts turned to Iraq. And my thoughts turned to the families who will receive home their dead women in that private way in which most Americans mourn the return of the slain.
There will be the usual questions asked as to whether women should serve in the armed forces of the United States. The armchair experts will banter their opinions back and forth. But missing from many of these discussions, will be the opinion of the actual women who serve. As such, let me weigh in on this discussion.
There are greater questions that must be asked. Do we believe that each human, regardless of gender, should be allowed to reach their full potential? Do we believe that the passion one has for life should be afforded an outlet by society, as much as society has the means? Do we believe that each person should be allowed to chart their course and live with the outcome of their actions? Do we believe in free choice? I believe that as Americans, the answer to all of the above is a resounding "Yes!"
Love runs deep. Yes, love runs deep for the women with whom I am honored to serve alongside. We love our husbands and our children. We love our parents and siblings. We love our community. But most of all, we love our nation. We sit and talk about our hopes and dreams. We wish for our children, freedom and safety. We hope that in some small measure what we offer the military will bring benefit to the whole of our nation. We worry about receiving orders that will pull us up by the roots, leave our children without a mother. We contemplate things the average suburban Mom will never even think about in a million years. We play "what if" scenarios. And we belong to a league of women, bonding into a very strong sisterhood. The rituals and traditions we share, the fears both spoken and unspoken, form a tightly woven tapestry which can only be touched, only felt, by those who have taken the oath. Our love runs deep. And it shows every single time we put on the cloth of the nation.
I am extremely grateful for a nation that allows its women to pursue all avenues of excellence. And the military experience has far exceeded my expectations in what is achievable in the human experience. The military has afforded me training and opportunity beyond anything that could ever be offered by corporate America. I have been forced to grow, to grasp the bar of success, by the oath which I took in May 1994.
Psalm 15 speaks of those who deal in an excellent manner. The fourth verse brings great comfort to me today. It speaks of those "who keep their oath, even when it hurts". So to the women of our military, serving all over the world, you have my respect. You have chosen to walk the harder path, the fate of your lives sealed with an oath. My love, runs deep for you this day.
LCDR Tammy Swofford, USNR, NC
Friday, June 24, 2005
I keep looking for any little snippet of news on the suicide bombing that is purported to have killed three female Marines. Now the news is slowly trickling out. Eleven of the thirteen wounded were women. This convoy of women, targeted for ambush.
And what were these women doing? They were being sent to checkpoints to provide the service of being "culturally sensitive" to the local Iraqi population; a culture that demands a woman not be searched by a male counterpart.
I just ate dinner. Unfortunately, I am now physically ill. Really. If you have not read the blog on "Scholars and Peasants" regarding suicide bombing, please do so.
This is pain on the page now. We take the oath, we take the risk. I will move out tomorrow on orders if the call comes. The Navy will not have to track me down in Canada. But I believe we retain greater honor. Our troops, do not target convoys of women. A man who kills women, a coward don't you think?
Do we really stop and think? Make yourself stop and think. Think about our troops. Think about the women who will come home as cargo in flag-draped coffins. They left the soil they love because of an oath. They return to the soil, for the same reason. The price is very high. The price, paid in blood.
The uniform we wear, a target for every cut-throat terrorist who would really like to get his hands on you. We become the magnet, so that you can be safe.
Pray for the families that will be receiving this news. This is a sad day for America.
LCDR Tammy Swofford
Just reading the news out of Iraq. Latest word is that three female Marines were among the casualties of the latest suicide bombing.
We take the same oath. Sometimes, we pay the same cost as the men. We understand and accept the risk. I have several female friends who are Naval officers serving in the theater of operation today. They are approximately half way through their deployment. They will return in six to seven months. My thoughts, with these women, my friends, today.
LCDR Tammy Swofford, USNR, NC
I followed somewhat "at a distance" the trial of former Klansman Edgar Ray Killen. The jury brought a guilty verdict with a sixty year term for the death of three civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964. Mr. Killen was the mastermind of this senseless slaughter. A 38 year old Baptist minister at the time of the crime, he allowed hate to stain the cloth of the church.
It bothers me to look at pictures of black men hanging from trees. What bothers me more, the look of nonchalance on the faces of the mobs who lynched and then surrounded the hanging, lifeless corpses. These crowds included women. Makes me physically ill to think of James Byrd Jr. who was chained and dragged behind a truck along a country road by White Supremecist thugs in Jasper, Texas.
I pulled up the home page of the KKK today. I could not get beyond the initial motto. It read: "Bringing a message of hope and deliverance to the White Christians in America. A message of Love NOT Hate."
Just the use of the word "deliverance" speaks of an oppressor. And that oppressor is the black person, brought here on slave ships, sold on auction blocks, husbands and children separated from wives and mothers? That oppressor, an immigrant population of forced labor until the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863? That oppressor, men we refused to teach to read, men we refused to employ? That oppressor, people thwarted from the vote and interracial mixing in public schools for many years? That oppressor, forbidden to drink from the same water fountain as a "White Christian" for fear their oral secretions might mix with our own?
Who oppressed whom here? It is time for the KKK to take a hike from America. Americans everywhere display the bracelet, "What would Jesus do?" I'll tell you what He would do! He would kick their butts. Sure He would. He kicked butts in the temple in Jerusalem for lesser stupidity. Made himself not too popular with the merchants and Pharisees, but He showed some spunk on that day. Maybe it is time to show a little spunk on the streets of America. We do not need such a hate-mongering organization in our nation. If they show their faces in your neighborhood, tell them what you think but also check you own heart. Hate is a horrible thing.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
There have been two separate tremors in the world of "Ya get what you deserve" from the Justice Department in the past week. First, Kozlowski and Swartz were convicted on 22 of 23 counts, including securities fraud and grand larceny. (Former Tyco executives) Not petty thieves, these two men. They were accused of pocketing about $150 million in unauthorized compensation. Of course with a wife like that of Dennis Kozlowski, one does incur major expenses. That fancy Michaelangelo's David ice sculpture urinating vodka poolside, for Mrs. K's birthday party in Sardinia, probably cost a bundle. And to think that most of us are proud to lease those little chocolate fountains for our piddly parties. Who would have ever thought of the open bar concept interfaced with genuine art?
Then we have the dynamic duo, John Rigas and his son Timothy getting their just reward on 20 June, 2005. Mr. Rigas was the founder of Adelphia Communications and his son, the (former) chief financial officer. They received fifteen and twenty year prison terms respectively for running the company like their own personal slot machine. They took the company to the tune of $50 million dollars. The elder Mr. Rigas is eighty years old. He will be eligible for parole when he is almost ninety three years old. Ask me if I care.
But because I am "common folk" it would be nice to see punishment meted out that would remind these affluent thieves of how the average American must live and earn a wage. Let them work during the day, sleep in the penitentiary at night.
Wouldn't it be great to pull up to the local 7-11 and have Mr. Swartz say, "Would you like mustard on that hot dog?" Our local store has a nice immigrant man that looks older than dirt. His brown gnarled hands snake across the counter to hand you the change from your purchase. Showing a smile with a couple of missing teeth he lisps, "Have a nice day". Common folk. Decent people.
I would like to see Dennis Kozlowski working the drive-through window at McDonalds on Friday night during football season in Texas. My first two years of college were subsidized by the minimum wage earnings of managing that window. It would also do him good to clean the men's urinals and dump the grease traps at one a.m. I did it dozens of times. No six thousand dollar shower curtain for me. I was barely able to put gas in my car from week to week.
And how about John and Timothy? Could we put them to work cleaning hotel rooms? I see those poor women bending over the tubs, pushing those carts down the hallways, changing those sheets and I know their shoulders ache at the end of the day. I always leave them a tip. And I always thank them for their hands that diligently serve.
I am not against wealth rightfully earned. But it leaves a very bad taste in my mouth to know that for some, million dollar salaries, multi-million dollar stock options and hefty retirement funds are not enough. Punish them by making them live like common folks. Maybe, they will regain their self-respect. Common folks sometimes have what money can't buy.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Had a reader today comment on my tobacco blog. Hmmm? I can't even remember when that one posted? She requested I post a link; a "virtual protest" is brewing for tomorrow. I am not able to do other than a cursory look at the site, as I am at work. Neither can I recommend the organization. But in the spirit of free speech, take a look. And if any of my educated readership has a "heads up" on this organization shoot an e mail or post on comments. I do follow this issue and know I have readers interested in such things.
Here is the link:
Posted by tammyswofford at 8:23 AM
Christianity teaches that "In the beginning, God made the heavens and the earth..." Islam, teaches that Allah made the pen first. It was ordered to write, and write it did... It wrote down the destiny of men, all that was to occur until the Day of Resurrection. I can only hope, the pen wrote of the scholars who cleverly lead the ignorant Islamic peasants down the path of suicide bombings that cause not only their own deaths but the death of the innocent who surround them.
Reading al-Battar, the writings of many scholars, one is able to see the class distinction in this whole mess. The bright brains save their own skins to send the lesser lights down the road to perdition. Thus we have the stupidity today with al-Qaedah posting on a web site this following statement: "In response to God's decree, and the heavy insistence of the (Iraqi) brothers and their longing for paradise, the Ansar platoon from the land of Iraq has been formed..... Dozens hurried to register their names to meet their God." Undoubtedly, dozens of peasants.
Make no mistake! This engine is being oiled by a snakepit of scholars who subvert their own scripture in the strategem of war. Islam does indeed give strategy for battle. Much of it is excellent. But while the concept of a "shaheed" or martyr is allowed, I have yet to find reference to allowance for taking the lives of the innocent in a land that has been subjugated.
Islam allows the right of self-protection. It allows for killing in combat and all combatants are to be killed and POW's not taken until the land is subdued. That is good strategy. Fighting is not allowed in the precincts of the mosque. This is correlary to our international rules of armed conflict which forbid destroying religious edifices, orphanages, museums, places of worship. This remains good strategy. Fighting is prohibited in the Sacred Month. A little cease-fire can be good. (Though the Vietnamese took advantage of American troops when we instituted a cease-fire to observe their lunar New Year! Think the Tet offensive.) Fighting is to continue until the end of hostilities and disorder and a new government is in place. Islam allowed for peace treaties even in its nacent state.
Qur'an 2:195 states to not throw yourself into destruction with your own hands. Qur'an 4:29 states "And do not kill yourselves, for Allah is indeed merciful to you." These ayah (or verses) are in tandem with Sunnah (or sayings and actions) of the Prophet Muhammed, who forbid anyone killing himself with a knife.
So it is interesting to read some of the scholarly writings. Puzzling to read al-Battar, which is the military publication of the mujahideen of the Arabian Peninsula. The seventh edition from March 2004 has an interesting article titled "Beautiful Words" which gives a somewhat romanticized view of martyrdom. It is written by Hamad Al-Aslami. In it he enumerates seven things attained by martyrdom. He ends with a rather beautiful recitation for the women in heaven who await the arriving martyr. One could only hope to so captivate a mortal man on this earth.
Now do not get me wrong. We have our "scholar and peasant" community in America. It would be the Pentagon and the young soldier. Strategy at the top is executed by the man in the field. Military doctrine dictates the operational battlespace and execution of war. Our young, are also the casualties of combat. But where we differ, is how we view the value of the warrior. We train in such a way as to preserve our soldier, for the next battle, and to hopefully return him to his home, just as Odysseus finally returned to his wife and son.
The twisting of martyrdom, from where one gives their life in battle at the hand of an enemy, as opposed to taking ones own life, which is NOT allowed, shows a weakness and vulnerability that has crept into the strategem of war of Islam. Under Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, there was a mighty warrior named Khalid bin Walid. He was a tremendous military strategist and engaged the battle more than a dozen times with success. He is credited with one of the battle cries of jihad which was issued to the Persian Commander Humuz, prior to his resounding defeat. He said, "I come to you with a people who love death more than your people love life." I understand the statement. At the point of battle, there must be a firmness and resoluteness of spirit that faces the possibility of death at the hand of an enemy. One must not cling heavily to the earth. The face must be turned to the battle and the thoughts not be overshadowed with what remains at home. The battle must be engaged with single focus. That focus, to win, to see the sunrise of a new day.
But now, Islam engages the battle with its enemies with a convoluted message that shows not the heart of a warrior, but the weakness of strategy in a defeatist environment. Waving the "reward card" in front of the poor peasants, the shaheed not only takes his own life, he murders his own innocent brothers. Even Khalid bin Walid did not allow for the murder of civilians. So where is this message coming from today?
The pen of Islam must write a new message. If I am reading the writings wrong, I stand open to correction. But as of yet, I see no justification for suicide bombings. It is just damn bad strategy.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Democracy is a system under which the people get the government they deserve. That is not entirely true. The people have to know what they have got, and that information is being withheld.
So far this year we have the so-called Downing Street Memo that said that Mr. Bush was determined to go to war and was fixing intelligence reports to support the decision. Thus, we have the Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld telling the world he knew where Saddam Husssein's weapons of mass destruction were while the National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice, wanted to make sure the smoking gun did not turn into a mushroom cloud. The President himself was telling us that there was a link between the extremely worldly Saddam Hussein and the ultra religious al-Qaeda, and that Hussein could send chemical and biological weapons against Israel in ten minutes of the decision being made. Not only were none of these things true, but the nation's intelligence apparatus told the administration that they weren't true before the administration starting saying them.
This, of course, is not the only instance in which the facts have been fixed to support President Bush's wishes. Two weeks ago we learned that Philip A. Cooney, chief of staff for the White House Council of Environmental Quality, edited, as in completely changed, the meaning of several reports on climate change so they comported with the beliefs of Mr. Lee Raymond, chairman of the ExxonMobil board of directors. When the news got out, Mr. Cooney took a job with, wait for it, ExxonMobil. Not since Frank Perdu walked onto the floor of the Texas Legislature and starting out $10,000 campaign contributions to the people that voted for his issue has there been a more blatant case of bought and paid for public policy.
Then, last week, the Bush administration got its chance to repay the ranchers for their support. Another White House editor changed a report on the environmental impact of grazing over 160 million acres of public land to the short-term benefit of the ranchers. What the ranchers, and those of us who eat beef, will do when the topsoil that supports the grass blows off into the Gulf of Mexico is unexplained. Who cares? By the time that happens, Mr. Bush will be out of office.
Today, we find out that the Justice Department threatened to remove one of its witnesses unless he eased up on Big Tobacco. Prof. Max H. Bazerman told the Washington Post that unless he testified that appointing a monitor to consider removing senior management would likely be inappropriate under certain circumstances, he would not be called to testify.
At the same time, the Justice Department dropped the amount it wanted the tobacco industry to pay for the smoking cessation programs from 130 billion to 10 billion.
Then, there are the Bush appointments. Mr. Bush does not like regulations. They hinder the powerful and only protect those who cannot protect themselves. His way of dealing with regulatory organizations is to gut them by appointing completely inappropriate people. Consider Harvey Pitt, his first appointment to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Pitt had to leave when he was found to have ex parte meetings with his former law clients who had cases before the commission. Now, Mr. Bush wants to appoint Rep. Chris Cox (R. Orange County, CA) whose contributions to orderly markets so far include a measure to make it harder for screwed investors to sue the people who screwed them, the directors, lawyers and accountants of public companies. He also seems to have been involved and to have profited from a securities fraud scam involving the sale of nonexistent mutual funds. Just the guy you want as the investors advocate.
Then there is Steve Johnson, the new EPA administrator. Mr. Johnson, a biologist who has spent most of his career at EPA in the pesticide office, thought it was a great idea to pay poor people to spray pesticides on their kids so the EPA could find out what happened to them. This was a project funded at least in part by the people who make the pesticides. Mr. Johnson got through the Senate confirmation only after he agreed to stop the project which enjoyed the acronym of CHEERS.
What can be said about John Bolton, Mr. Bush's favorite for UN Ambassador? He has the personality of a sneaky dog. Licks the hand of those who can't hurt him and bites the hell out of those who can't defend themselves. He, in keeping with the Bush tradition, also likes to falsify records. Mr. Bolton was opposed to Iraq's joining the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and had the person responsible for the program fired ebcause the OPWC would show that Iraq did not have the weapons the administration said they did.
BLOG today by "Tom in Dallas"....
Monday, June 20, 2005
If you are new to the blog, please read the May 27 post, "Guns and Tongues" which give the rules of engagement for blog participation. They are broad of scope, as I believe free speech invigorates the body of society just as a blood transfusion invigorates the body of a human. Blog comments are not deleted by "moi" and I respond to all criticism.
I receive comments to my e mail and also articles and suggestions as to blog content. I welcome all discourse. My readership has helped me to grow in the craft and stretched the boundaries of my thinking, caused me to reflect and at times to even adjust my own perceptions. For that I remain grateful.
"Tom in Dallas" remains one of my most ardent critics. He is a Democrat and I am somewhat of a "freelance Republican". We happen to disagree on most every subject. But I do not wish this blog to become one full of native canal swimmers, as some of our national magazines. The free stream of thought must flow so that the waters do not become stagnant. So tomorrow, Tom is on the blog. He covers many things, such as screwed investors, children sprayed with pesticides, cattle ranching and sneaky dogs.... all in one blog! So remember, read intelligently and read with a filter. Is Tom accurate in his portrayal? Is this just old party line laundry list against Bush? Is Tom a conspiracy theorist? Feel free to post a comment of either agreement or disagreement. This blog.... a free speech zone!
Long live America! Long live free speech!
Following is "The Will" by John Donne. (1572-1631) Those who have read the blog for awhile know what this really means. I just worked too darn hard yesterday to have any neurosynaptic pathways left. The drunks made it home from the bars before I came off twenty-four hours call in the PACU! Recovered seven from general anesthesia and am now recovering myself! Enjoy the work of a great man of literature. His poetry is lovely.
Before I sigh my last gasp, let me breathe,
Great Love, some legacies; I here bequeath
Mine eyes to Argus, if mine eyes can see;
If they be blind, then, Love, I give them thee;
My tongue to Fame; to ambassadors mine ears;
To women, or the sea, my tears;
Thou, Love, hast taught me heretofore
By making me serve her who had twenty more,
That I should give to none, but such as had too much before.
My constancy I to the planets give;
My truth to them who at the court do live;
My ingenuity and openness,
To Jesuits; to buffoons my pensiveness;
My silence to any, who abroad hath been;
My money to a Capuchin:
Thou, Love, taught'st me, by appointing me
To love there, where no love received can be,
Only to give to such as have an incapacity.
My faith I give to Roman Catholics;
All my good works unto the Schismatics
Of Amsterdam; my best civility
And courtship to a University;
My modesty I give to soldiers bare;
My patience let gamesters share:
Thou, Love, taught'st me, by making me
Love her that holds my love disparity,
Only to give to those that count my gifts indignity.
I give my reputation to those
Which were my friends; mine industry to foes;
To schoolmen I bequeath my doubtfulness;
My sickness to physicians, or excess;
To nature all that I in rhyme have writ;
And to my company my wit:
Thou, Love, by making me adore,
Her, who begot this love in me before,
Taught'st me to make, as though I gave, when I do but restore.
To him for whom the passing-bell next tolls,
I give my physic books; my written rolls
Of moral counsels I to Bedlam give;
My brazen medals unto them which live
In want of bread; to them which pass among
All foreigners, mine English tongue:
Though, Love, by making me love one
Who thinks her friendship a fit portion
For younger lovers, dost my gifts thus disproportion.
Therefore I'll give no more, but I'll undo
The world by dying, because love dies too.
Then all your beauties will be no more worth
Than gold in mines, where none doth draw it forth;
And all your graces no more use shall have,
Than a sun-dial in a grave:
Thou, Love, taught'st me by making me
Love her who doth neglect both me and thee,
To invent, and practice this one way, to annihilate all three.
by John Donne
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Naturally, the verdict rendered in the Michael Jackson trial was what one would expect from our habitually recessed gene pool that sits in the jury boxes of America. Now don't get me wrong! I believe in the jury system. It works fairly well when sensible people occupy the domain of that small space in the courtroom. But I have had blog readers contact me and ask me why I have not tackled the topic of the Jackson verdict. I mainly chose to ignore it, because there are probably thousands of blogs out there that have given their opinions anyway. But since pedophiles are societal bacteria just like the e coli which we flush down the toilet every day, let me flush the toilet one more time.
Pedophiles love children. Hear me say it again! They LOVE your children. And as such, you the parent, will feel their love also. They volunteer for children's activities at church and school. They sign up to take the kiddies to Washington, D.C. They coach soccer. And they "love" to mentor children. Right!
Had a single friend once who had a nice man not really interested in anything but a platonic relationship with her. But she was thrilled because he took a special interest in her son. Why, he would take that boy on overnight camping trips and give her a little time to herself. Flashing red light here! The possibilities are endless! Hand that woman an "I am stupid" certificate to hang on the wall.
Then there is the forty-something mother who cried to me on the day she found out that her live-in boyfriend had been helping himself to a double dip treat for some time. When she was not around, he was banging the thirteen year old daughter. Hey! He sleeps with you. Like mother, like daughter. He saw the opportunity for a 2-for-1 sale. What makes you think this man has a moral compass? He waltzed into your home with his suitcase and no commitment. And now he is dancing the tango with your daughter? Time to hand out another certificate.
Then there are the crazy old men that like to hand out stuffed animals by the dozens, have the kids stop off for a little snack on the way home from school. The police just picked up that old man who was busy buying ice cream for the neighborhood boys and found lists by the thousands as to his sexual conquests and degradation of small children. Load the shotgun. I will pull the trigger. The number is so astronomical that one has to believe that a vast majority of it is fantasy. But one has to worry about the real number of victims.
And what about a couple who takes a special interest in your child? These scenarios also exist. People with such evil proclivities somehow manage to find each other and grouping together is easier and easier with internet access. And they also use the internet to access you child! Does your child have access to the internet? Monitor their cyber travels! It is your parental right.
Now I do not really believe most people deserve a "stupid certificate". If your child has been victimized, so have you. It is a betrayal of the worst kind. And parents who have very carefully covered all the bases, worked so hard to protect their kids still wake up to find their child has been sexually assaulted.
So we must remember this one thing. We can work hard but a pedophile will work harder. So it is important that at the youngest possible age you instruct your children as to what is inappropriate touching, inappropriate behavior, not only from an adult, but from other children. You must instruct them that inappropriate touching includes the near relatives in the family. Family members are not exempt from these rules! Make sure your child understands these rules and can verbalize them back to you. Review the rules from time to time and keep your radar active. Unlike the e coli in the toilet, these societal bacteria do not have a stench. They will smell like cologne, hamburgers on the grill and free trips to the amusement park to your children!
Thursday, June 16, 2005
A couple years ago I went to Africa as part of a medical arm of the West African Training Cruise. WATC is a seafaring venture in which our Fleet travels around the Horn of Africa with those homeless Marines on board, making ports of call along the way. I ended up on orders as part of the advance party to Ghana, W. Africa and had an absolute blast! Spent three weeks in that nice hot malarial belt with termites bigger than the cockroaches in Texas.
Navy is full of pomp and tradition. As such, we formed up with the Ghanaian military to practice for a "closing ceremony" between our two nations. The first dry run, all the American sailors were formed up in ranks, standing at attention, when a hapless military recruit from the Ghana detachment sauntered out with our flag over his arm, dragging it like a sheet heading for the clothesline instead of a flag heading for the pole. There was a perceptible change in the breathing pattern of all in rank, as we watched this unfold. When at "attention" one cannot speak in formed ranks. So breathing hard was all we could manage. Naturally, the military recruit was later taught proper flag etiquette by one of our own, and the final ceremony at the end of our tour went off without a hitch.
So as our elected representatives grapple again with an amendment to protect our flag from burning, spitting, urination and all manner of evil, I watch from afar very much aware of what the flag represents to me. The House of Representatives votes on this amendment next week. They have voted and passed an amendment six times previously. The Senate has always been the holdout on this issue. But in 2000 the Senate was only four votes shy of making an amendment to protect our flag the new "law of the land".
In the spirit of Mark Twain, I have written Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist with my own modification to the bill. I believe we should allow flag burning and desecration. Yep, I really do! But I think that the law should demand that the offending party also be required to carry the flag of the country which they believe is superior to America. And then I believe that our tax dollars should pay to ship that miserable excuse of an American in an overnight crate to the country of their choice.
So to educate the blog readership, here are my three top choices of destinations for the flag-burning idiots.
BOTSWANA: Flag is blue with white, black and white bands in the middle
This is a relatively stable S. African nation with a democratic form of government. Malaria is only prevalent in the north so make your home in the southern regions. Roads are good in the urban areas but watch out for free range domestic animals on the roads at night. Medical care is slow-on-the-go so pack a nice first aid kit and a few choices of antibiotics.
LAOS: Flag is three horizontal bands of red, blue and red, with a white disc in the middle
This nation is an authoritarian Communist party state ruled by the Laos People's Revolutionary Party. You have no right to change your government. That is good, you know. It makes for stability. Anyway, 85 percent of the population relies on subsistence agriculture to survive. The mean annual wage is three hundred dollars. Forty percent of the children are not in school.
HONDURAS: Flag is a blue/white/blue triband with five blue, five point stars in an "X" pattern
This nation borders both the beautiful Carribean Sea and the Gulf of Fonseca. But take your own drinking water because mining activities are steadily polluting Lago de Yojoa, the country's largest source of fresh water, with heavy metals. Unemployment is a mere 28.5 percent and corruption is a bit of a problem. This is a transshipment region for drugs. A career consideration is money laundering. It is thriving in Honduras.
Anyway, I think you get the picture. Next time you see someone desecrate a flag, ask them where they would rather live. Make them tell you why. Ask them about the economic structure of the nation they profess to love. Ask them about GNP, healthcare, form of government and the country's record on human rights. Chances are , that flag-desecrating fool will know very little. Offer to pay their way to the nation of their choosing. I will call Federal Express to make the pick-up and delivery arrangements. And could someone hand a flag and some matches to Michael Moore?
Remember, this blog is a free speech zone. Hit the comments and charge the e mail!
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Last week a dear professional friend in journalism died suddenly. Attending the viewing at the funeral home one night, and the funeral the next day was so very difficult for me. This week, taking a day off to be with the widow. Her frame is weakened and I must offer my support. We will visit in the morning and I will take her to lunch. It is what my humanity requires. It is also what religion requires for those of us who hold to faith.
Christianity teaches that pure religion and undefiled, is to care for widows and orphans in their time of distress. (James 1:27) There are some criteria for the care of widows by the church. They must be of good reputation and shown to have good works. Younger widows, encouraged to remarry and establish their identity anew, alongside a mate. But Christianity teaches care for the widow community.
Islam also gives instruction regarding widows . The Qur'an in Surah al-Baqarah speaks of the status of widows. Qur'an 2:34, 35 requires a waiting period for remarriage of four months and ten days for a widow. The widow is allowed to receive a marriage proposal during that period of time if it is an honorable one. But the marriage must delay until the prescribed time. Widows are also to receive a year of financial sustenance and not to be cast from their homes for that length of time. (Qur'an 2:240) The Prophet Muhammad married widows of Muslim warriors killed in battle as an example to his community, according to Islamic historical accounts. The marriage to widows is also a means of provision for fatherless children.
The Old Testament history of the Jewish people contains stories of widows who received special care from God himself and from the natural family. The widow of Zarephath from the town of Sidon received miraculous provision from the Prophet Elijah. This miracle sustained her through the time of famine. And who can forget the story of the Biblical Ruth, a Moabite widow, who cared for her own widowed mother-in-law Naomi? Doing hard labor gleaning grain in the fields of others, she cared for the physical needs of an elderly woman who had nothing to give in return. These two women, each with their own unique strengths, bring a story of hope to women who have lost their own mate.
Many churches in America are beginning to reach out to the widows in the community. Our own church is starting such a project. My husband has volunteered to provide transportation for widows. Others will provide yard care, home repairs and car maintenance. Churches across America are beginning to provide an umbrella of protection. Today, many children no longer live near their parents. It falls to members of the local community to reach out and meet the needs of this unique strata of our society. I am very pleased with a growing grassroots movement of non-governmental intervention on behalf of these women.
For my part, I will grieve alongside a widow this week. It is my gift to the friendship. And in the days to come, I hope to honor the memory of my friend in my actions toward his wife. Look around your neighborhood. Lend a helping hand. It is good, to love others in practical ways!
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
As a young teen I read the book "Run, Baby, Run" by Nicky Cruz. It told the story of the violent life of a young man caught up into the gang activity of the infamous "Mau Mau's" of New York City. Initiated into the gang by a brutal beating by other members, this man rose in the ranks of this organized crime syndicate. Drug use, killings and betrayal played out on the pages of this book. I distinctly remember visiting friends in New York a few months later and being afraid to venture out on the sidewalk! Since that time, I have laughed at my childish fear. I am not laughing now.
Central and South American gangs are now dotting the landscape of our nation and they are active in the Dallas area. Their criminal activities are increasingly showing up on the law enforcement radar. The Dallas Morning News ran an article in the 20 May edition under the title "Vicious gang's growth feared". Allow me to quote a couple of passages:
"The arrests of several suspected gang members of a vicious Central American gang have heightened fears among Dallas-area law enforcement officials about the growing influence and might of MS-13 in North Texas."
"Most of them have a violent criminal history, everything from sexual assault of a child, theft, burglary, homicide, aggravated assault with a weapon," said Thomas Homan, assistant special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Dallas.
Law enforcement officials have identified approximately 140 MS-13 members in North Texas in the last couple of months. Throw in all of the unknowns, such as female gang members and recruited children who support the structure and who knows the true number? MS-13 members have killed one teen and also shot a 14 year old in the face in recent weeks in the Dallas area. And the good news? The leaders and most members are illegal immigrants who have crossed through our porous borders, squat on our land to do us harm and thumb their noses at due process and legal requirements of citizenship! All the while, raping, pillaging and killing without remorse.
The best and most current commentary on this problem is in the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs. If you have not read this investigative report by Ana Arana, it is well worth your time.
"In the past few years, as Washington has focused it's attention on the Middle East, it has virtually ignored a dangerous phenomenon close to home. Ultraviolent youth gangs, spawned in the ghettos of Los Angeles and other U.S. cities, have slowly migrated south to Central America, where they have transformed themselves into powerful, cross-border crime networks. With the United States preoccupied elsewhere, the gangs have grown in power and numbers; today, local officials estimate their size at 70,000 to 100,000 members."
Basically it comes down to the following in my little brain. Our government has the will to act abroad, thousands of miles away. But where is the will to act on the domestic front and secure our borders along Texas, Arizona, California, etc? The laws are in place. But the enforcement is not great. Law without enforcement is like a guard dog without teeth. We've got the shotgun on the front porch but we are deploying a slingshot off the back porch. As such, the perimeters are not being secured in the same manner domestically as internationally. There is not the will to act domestically, to make the tough decisions that while infuriating our neighbors to the south, may produce a more stable peace for the citizens of our nation.
The gangs of Central and South America that have set up shop on our sovereign soil must be uprooted, crushed and destroyed. This is not about "rights violations" of poor immigrants. This is about crime and punishment. No mercy must be shown. They show no mercy to their victims.
Friday, June 10, 2005
At times one must activate the dormant brain cells a bit. To accomplish that goal, last Saturday I attended the 4th Regional Conference of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists at SMU. John Esposito, from Georgetown University, was the keynote speaker. Remembering the Biblical admonition that it is better to keep one's mouth shut and have people wonder if you are a fool rather than open your mouth and confirm it, I managed to look pleasant and hopefully, moderately intelligent. The conference was "Islamic Medieval Scholars and Their Impact on the West." Of course, "scholar" is my middle name....
The conference included several speakers from all over the USA. Most had degrees that included most of the letters of the alphabet. You know the types... a name followed by B.A., M.A., PhD, D.Sc. There were experts in fields such as Nuclear Medicine, Psychiatry, and various disciplines of medicine and the sciences. A former Pakistani Ambassador was in attendance. In attendance, a scholar with legal jurisdiction to render Fatwa, unlike some of the dial-a-fatwa issued by people like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or some of the outlandish jihadi boards and internet Islamic sites run by Qur'anic-bending evangelistic terror spouts.
Throw in a nice lunch and a nifty handout and it made for a nice venture into the intellectual realm. Being duly satisfied, I can now go back to my dull little suburban existence. But one thing that saddened me was there were very few Anglo Americans in attendance. I sat in a sea of brown faces. Americans from Turkey, India, Pakistan, etc. I felt like I needed to wear a sign that at least said "intruder" or "alien". Not that I was treated with anything but respect. And when in actuality, this conference was advertised to educate those of us outside Islam, regarding Islam. Dallas Morning News did send a reporter, but other than that media organization I did not see any other media present. The conference was only ten dollars. Heck. We spend almost that much to see a new movie release. And we all know how well those endeavors stimulate intellectual activity.
So let me throw one Islamic scholar on the page to stimulate your own brains cells today.
Now I picked a scholar with an easy name. Here in the West we do first, middle and last names, unless you are a Redneck and then you may end up with a name like "Billy Joe Bob Johnson". But in Arabic, the naming system is extremely sophisticated because it includes lineage, titles of honor, possibly includes your birthplace or a honorific title to let people know you made pilgrimmage, or the Haj. But not to confuse you, lets get on with the scholar with an easy name: Jabir Ibn Haiyan.
This information is from the brochure I received at the conference. So if you disagree, you are disagreeing with a parrot.
For Islamists, Jabir Ibn Haiyan, the alchemist Geber of the middle ages, is the Father of Chemisty. He was the son of a druggist and while the exact date of his birth is not known, he died in 803 A.D. He studied both under the Ummayed prince Khalid Ibn Yazid and practiced medicine under the patronage of Haroon al-Rashid of the Abbasid Caliphate.
He introduced experimental investigation into alchemy and worked to perfect scientific techniques in crystallization, distillation, sublimation, and evaporation. Chemistry flourished as a distinct branch of science during this time and the name chemistry derives from the Arabic word al-Kimya. Ibn Haiyan developed a number of applied chemisty processes. He experimented with metals, dying of cloth, tanning of leathers and use of manganese dioxide in glass-making, oxidation and developed aqua regia distillation.
Based on his tedious attention to detail and stress for accuracy in scientific endeavor he analyzed properties and described three distinct types of substances. Spirits ( those which vaporize on heating, such as camphor and ammonium choloride), metals such as gold, silver, lead, copper and iron, and compounds which can be converted to powders. He laid the groundwork for the later classification system of metals, non-metals and volatile substances.
His books, Kitab-al-Kimya and Kitab-al-Sab'een were translated into Latin and various European languages. He was placed under house arrest due to the political unrest of his day and died in Kufa in 803 A.D.
Hope you enjoyed the blog today. The conference was wonderful.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
It's a funny thing about sin. It goes all the way down, right to the very core of our being. It makes us who we are, and that's why we fear deliverance. To be offered freedom from sin is to be offered freedom from ourselves. Jesus invites us to leave the kingdom of eternal death and join him in the kingdom of eternal life, and we are afraid to do it because we know to escape death we must die and, in dying, we will cease to be what we were, will cease to be what we are, will become something new.
Sin is nourished by our self-love. That is why Jesus describes the new life as a crucifixion, why he tells us that to live we must hate our life, must die with him, why he insists that we be born again or born from above.
Christianity, because it is the first step in the triumph over this thing we call sin, is the next stage in our evolution. Christ in his death and resurrection ushered in the eighth day of creation.
Editors note: In visiting with Mike's widow she stated very simply, "His sins were forgiven".
Mike Carter made safe passage on 5 June 2005.
In Loving Memory,
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Loss of friendship has come to me in two forms in less than a month. The first, from unforgiveness. The second, by a physical death. Both losses, painful. And I know the Creator left a deficiency in the human race to deal with such things. These things are never easy. We cope and that is about the best we can do for awhile. So when facing the loss of a friend the second time around, the passage is not necessarily easier, rather the journey more familiar. The ache no less acute, rather the pain a bit more raw. I was not prepared for the death of my friend. It caught me totally unprepared.
Dr. Ben M. Carter received his PhD from the University of Edinburg in Scotland. But his friends knew him as "Mike". He was a Christian apologist, journalist and poet. As a writer of newspaper commentary, reviews and a contributor to scholarly journals, his love for the written word, the power of communication was well-known. He was one of those rare combinations of both sharp intellect and warmth of heart. I knew him as a friend. And a marvelous capacity for friendship is what he possessed.
He died June 5, 2005 doing what he loved. At 5:30 a.m. his wife found him curled up in the recliner with a book on his lap. She had left him reading four hours earlier. When she found him, she e mailed me and I had the news about an hour after she found him. I was at their home by ten a.m. The walls were covered with his poetry, pictures with his wife Salma. By the front door, his running shoes. The previous night I had put an email in his box inviting him and Salma over to dinner. We had a growing friendship and immense respect. On Sunday morning, an email from Salma saying he was gone. She was in shock. Her e mail hit me like an electric current. I was in shock also. Death, is only a heartbeat away. Mike was only fifty-five.
Because death is only a heartbeat away, what manner of people should we be?
Be slow to anger!
Above all else, keep a soft heart. Remember that today may be the last one you possess to make things right with another. It may be your last day to visit family or do a charitable act. We have no guarantee of the future. We fly too quickly to the eternal. Once we die, it is merely our reflection that remains. This gift of time, is only held in our hands for but a moment and then it is gone.
Tomorrow I will attend the funeral of my friend, Mike Carter. I will miss his daily e mails of encouragement to me concerning this blog. The constancy and faithfulness of the relationship remained to the end of his life. For that I honour him. I honour Salma for her position as his wife. The Wednesday blog will be dedicated to posting a passage from his novel, "The Door". The post will highlight his vibrant Christian faith. My gift to our friendship; his reflection on this page one last time. I shall miss him immensely. If I could bottle my tears.....
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
The Darfur region of the Sudan has been big news for months. I have followed the news extensively and have no desire to regurgitate old facts and opinions. Read it for yourself. But Nicholas Kristof had an article in The New York Times yesterday (may 31) bemoaning the fact that President Bush has not mentioned Darfur in 141 days. Trumpeting his trip to the region with Kofi Annan, Mr. Nicholas told of the plight of one woman who suffered rape at the hand of the janjaweed. The janjaweed are Arabic people who appear hell-bent on genocide against some of the black tribesmen.
Then throw in the news today that the government in Khartoum has arrested a second aid worker from Medecins Sans Frontieres and I now enter the fray. So what were these workers doing to incur government wrath? Were they stealing medicines and supplies? Were they fomenting the local tribesmen to unrest? Nope. They were merely reporting that hundreds of women were being raped in the Darfur region. Paul Foreman, country head of MSF Holland was arrested first and charged with spying, publishing false reports and undermining Sudanese society. Vince Hoedt, the Darfur coordinator for MSF Holland is now also under arrest and being escorted to Khartoum. I imagine there will not be a mint on his pillow, when he arrives.
I have talked extensively with two men who just returned from Darfur. They entered the IDP (internally displaced persons) camps and interviewed the civilian refugees, including some who had suffered rape. One little girl of age eight, told of her rape as she fled her village. What was said to her as she was being raped is of such an inflammatory nature that I dare not put it into print. But believe me, it turns the stomach of a decent person.
A U.N. appointed commission found evidence of mass rape in the Darfur region. And when rape is happening on a mass scale, society is being decimated and teetering on a precipice of disaster. Mass rape happens when government has either sanctioned it (think Bosnia and the rape and killing of Muslim women), or has lost the ability to effectively govern.
So while Mr. Kristof makes an appeal to President Bush, I prefer to turn my appeal to the Sudanese government. Sudan is a country of Islamic (shari'a) law. As such, those holding power are judged by their own law. And their law, is the standard by which they will be judged. They ultimately retain the ability to turn this situation around or to ignore it.
The Qur'an says over four dozen times the phrase "believe and do good works". It proclaims Islam to be the model for nations. (Al-Qur'an 2:143) It forbids female infanticide, and the rape of its women. It requires 100 lashes for rape. It makes provision for widows. Provision is made for orphans. Raped and murdered mothers leave.... orphans. The theology is in place, but where is the compassion and the will to act? Maybe that little raped tribeswoman was illiterate and had never traveled beyond a five mile radius of her village. Maybe she owned one good cooking pot and had never put on a pair of shoes. But she has much worth in my eyes. But I admit it, I care a whole bunch about a lot of things. That is why I lie awake at night and stare at the ceiling.
So the burden of this tragedy lies squarely on the shoulders of the government in Khartoum. Yes, applying international pressure is good. Offering assistance to stabilize the region is good. But what is best, is for leadership in the Sudan to show the world that the continued out of control rape of its women will not be tolerated. Can the reach of Shari'a extend far enough to protect its weaker citizens, the women? Is there the will to act on this issue, along with the many other pressing issues of this region?
I viewed some beautiful and touching photographs of Sudanese women living in the refugee camps. Pictures of Sudanese mothers holding their young were especially touching to me. I have one such picture taped to the inside of my kitchen cupboard to remind me of their plight. They deserve safety, respect, a roof over their heads and to be free from fear. Good government, extends all those things to its women.
Maybe it does not make you shed a tear to think of these things. If not, I am afraid of you. Because to care about the whole world, means that you will care for the one. To care for the women of Darfur, means you will never think of bringing harm to the woman that lives next door to you. See what I mean?
I love America for the protection afforded its women. I just drove home from late night call at the hospital without fear. I do not have to pick up firewood outside a refugee camp fearing I will be raped. I have not fled my home packing children and belongings on my back. Darfur is a fearful kind of place for its women. Think about it.