Here is Mr. McEachin's main website:
This is the link to "Old Glory".
Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
-Saul Alinsky: Rules for Radicals (13)
Capital is therefore not only personal; it is a social power.
Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party 1848
Barack is Bill, Bill is Barack. Take your pick... I don’t care.
Who’s in charge? Bill? Or Barack? Does Hillary pull the strings as she did during the “co-presidency”? We’ll possibly never know, even though “Second Lady” Jill Biden spilled the beans that Gaffe-happy Joe “had his choice” of either VP or Secretary of State.
One thing we do know: Clintonian tactics, along with a healthy dose of the Clinton staff, are alive and well in the White House (and believe me they avoid small planes). What we don’t know is whether the Clintons orchestrate the new crowd or if the new guard has just learned the ropes and wants a fresher face with less baggage. Perhaps the left is learning, ever so slowly, that ideas are more important than the man. You wouldn’t know from the messianic hype, considering that you can now get “Pocket Obama”.
Still, the Obama administration has opted for the Clintons’ favorite tactic: the duel. Apparently talk radio is the only remaining obstacle between “fear” and “hope” (hope being the complete socialization of the United States Government). Who is the head of that serpent?
When a national Chief Executive lied, denying an American citizen (Paula Jones) her day in court, it became Clinton vs. the evil Ken Starr. Remember “rush to judgment”? Lanny Davis? Gregg Craig? When thong thumping was running interference for Fort Marcy Park, The Lippo Group, Loral, and the Clinton’s contributions to a modern Chinese police state, Obama was learning how to flex his muscle as a Harvard Law Student interested in social change.
Today, President Barack Obama is concerned that something, or someone, may interfere with passage of his massive “economic stimulus” package. Congressional Republicans have been reduced to a manageable number. Many that remain do not fall very far from his world view. As with the initial bailout of 2008, they don’t quantifiably need Republican support at all to enact and enforce their agenda. So why the assault on conservatives? Should we look to the strangely emphatic call for "bipartisanship" of the initial bailout bill, though Republicans were not needed?
So he takes on the man behind the golden EIB microphone. Was he not neutered? Was not the story coming out of the election of 2008 that talk radio is dead? Isn't Limbaugh inconsequential and/or irrelevant?
On January 26, President Obama scolded Congressional Republicans, "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done,". Whether by design or by error, the war began. My impression is that the latter is impossible, since from his own writings we know Mr. Obama chooses his words very carefully. More to the point, Mr. Obama rarely engages in such an endeavor without allies. The infamously radical Moveon.org began running ads today asking “Are you with Obama or Rush?”. Damn the merits of nationalizing banks, “stimulating” the economy through birth control (or not), and overcoming the traditional democratic opposition to “spending” (this equals tax cuts when Republicans rule) your way out of peril. Debt is fine when the right people are in charge, right?
With that we are back to the art of the campaign substituting for governance. Boil it down to two men dueling for popularity. Bring the media, bring the pundits, bring one and all. Limbaugh flourishes in the realm of the once-dying A.M. radio band. They’ve tried to kill him off many times. Some on this blog hold a strong disdain for him and his “style”, though I think should the President win out they will wish differently.
One arm, tied behind his back. Limbaugh lives each day claiming that’s “just to make it fair.” This is either a case of the left hoping they are storming the final ramparts of the right, or it is a bold attempt to marginalize the most-visible of their remaining foes.
Cowabunga! Governor Rod Blagojevich is “The Terminator” when exhibiting his ruthless tracking skills with a media target in mind. Whilst his impeachment trial moves along without him, Governor Blagojevich managed to give sixteen interviews in 48 hours.
ABC’s “The View” and “Good Morning America” readily opened their arms, as did Fox and cable networks. His interview with Geraldo Rivera shows the desperation of a man who is comfortable in a Wall Street pin stripe but dreads a prison stripe. To me, an interview with Geraldo is scraping the bottom of the journalistic barrel. If I die and open my eyes to Geraldo holding a mike, I will know that my ticket was punched for Hell. Ole' Rod showed his angst with this one. Remember, Geraldo is the journalist with the distinction of vacating his coveted assignment covering the ground war in Iraq after getting his ass kicked by the Pentagon for loose lips on sensitive operations.
But "The Rod Show" only gets better. Comparing himself to FDR, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. the guy is just an out of control machine gun. There seems to be no discernible bulls-eye with his media blitz. He just cocks his mouth, and off he goes. The absolute stupidity of comparing the feelings he had when arrested as comparable to the terror of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor amazes me. The arrest of any man for any reason cannot be compared to the tremendous loss suffered by our nation on that day. Beyond that, the man was not even alive during that time. How would he know? Truly, only those whose eyes gazed on that day can draw a comparison. But the comparisons do not end with his insult to our veterans. Governor Blagojevich also appeals to the common man. To suddenly commiserate with the many Americans who have lost their jobs is ridiculous. Americans losing their jobs are innocent of wrongdoing. If the governor is impeached, he will have lost his paycheck fair and square.
Now while the Governor has “feelings”, it puts the bile in the back of my throat to see how power affords media privilege. On the one hand, it is newsworthy that a U.S. governor is in danger of impeachment. But am I the only one who thinks enough is enough? The media creates a national jury pool of viewers and in allowing Governor Blagojevich sixteen interviews in two days, an unfairly balanced media “trial” proceeds. Yet on any given day, media will ignore the story of a common man who may be facing an identical predicament: Loss of a lifestyle and a stint in the Crossbars Hotel. The media has performed in their usual stellar manner: buzzards, all of them.
So as we continue to follow the impeachment proceedings we must remember one thing: Facts count and feelings should have little bearing in this case. Corrupt government is bad for America.
In following the media blitz orchestrated by Governor Rod Blagojevich this week it is good to remember that comic "bologna" can provide a good backdrop for our thoughts on the blog. And who is better than Carol Burnett, to sing "Feelings" as the backdrop for the next blog? Coming shortly.....
Governor Blagojevich: Because Corrupt Bastards Have Feelings Too!
Feelings clip with Carol Burnett
Whoa, Whoa, Whoa! Enjoy!
The starved young dog stalks the enemy pack, who is devouring a carcass. He hunches forward, with his belly as close to the ground as he can get it. When challenged by the alpha dogs, he shares the secret code: I am like you. His throat remains intact. For now. The pack lets him feed at will. When the young male begins to take the lion's share and oversteps his bounds in other ways, the pack makes a meal of him. -Blackfoot
For the first time in American history, our president directly addressed "the Muslim world" in his inaugural address to our nation. This followed newly-elected President Obama's statement in his address that America has a "patchwork heritage ... of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers." The imbalance of his statements barely had time to sink in, when he gave an interview on the following Tuesday to Hisham Melhem of Al Arabiya TV. Listening to Obama's words, it seems his view of our nation is now: "a country of Muslims, Jews, Christians, non-believers." If he gives a statement regarding his political pet project next Tuesday, I'm wondering if he will mention Christians at all. I don't suspect this is as much an issue of our president trying to rearrange the hierarchy of which religion should be mentioned first, as I think it is Obama pandering to what he thinks Muslim nations want to hear. As such, these nations should be insulted, as should Americans of every faith.
"It is less necessary to be anxious about the weak than the strong in our world. The strong take care of the weak in one hundred ways. They are fed, they are clothed and provided with either no effort on their part or at most only so much as they are able to make. But who takes care of the strong? No one. It is considered that they must be able to care for themselves and they manage it in one way or another because they must, because they know they have only themselves upon whom to depend. If they were given a tenth of the aid, sympathy, compassion, which are given as a matter of course to the weak, the helpless, the ineffectual, they might be more gentle, more compassionate, too, and the world be better for it. For my part I pity the strong. I am anxious concerning the brilliant, the quick, the able. It is more important that they grow to their full height without bitterness than it is for some dullard or sloth to be fed or clothed. For the human race strides forward upon the feet of the strong, it is the strong who bear the world's burden.... those who plan and carry out, not those who stand idle for a lifetime."
Pearl S. Buck
In digging through my personal library for some small scrawled note, misplaced as usual, a scrap of paper penned in different hand floated out of one of my literary classics. It is the note above, attributed to Pearl S. Buck.
For several days, her words have been in the back of my mind. The words "dullard" and "sloth" are not politically correct terms to use regarding the human condition. And just as drunks are now alcoholics and a hobo is a homeless person, our intentional erasure of words from the lexicon of human expression no longer allows us to look with piercing gaze on what plagues America.
For beyond the bail out and the collapse of the financial and housing markets lie greater ills. We have become a nation of panhandlers. Will American government continue to care for the dullards and sloths who burden our nation, years without end? Will the strong be required to continue to shoulder the burden of those who stand idle for a lifetime?
Let's see what President Barack Obama accomplishes during the first one hundred days of his administration regarding this issue.
It was less than a decade between the draft of the Sykes-Picot Agreement , the Balfour Treaty and the draft by Sir Herbert Samuel known as the Churchill Memorandum, or more familiar to most, The Churchill White Paper of June 1922. Exploring the difficulties which would be encountered in establishing a new Jewish state it is evident from the reading; concerns were already in existence.
Moving back on the timeline, the first century attack on the fortress of Masada closed a chapter on Jewish history with a battle which was not lost by the Jews through conventional means, rather the mass death pact of the occupants of the mountainous fortress. Josephus recorded the history, based on the story of two women who hid with their children in a cistern to preserve their generations. Modern Israel will never again lose a battle in such manner.
Many a chapter and historical page was then written across the landscape of a land known as Palestine between the years of 70 A.D. and the year 1948, when the realization of a modern Jewish state was finally made possible. The Churchill White Paper of 1922 was just the beginning of many successive official and quasi-official documents offered up to resolve the complexities surrounding the re-establishment of Israel, closely configured along her former boundaries. To this day, human wisdom evaporates before a dung heap of mutual hatred which defies solution. When looking at family fights, the one between the descendents of the sons of Abraham remains the longest standing brawl in history.
The latest pounding which Hamas received from Israel will not be the final chapter of the ongoing conflict between Israel and her surrounding neighbors. Hamas and HizbAllah exist like solid bookends to the sides of Israel’s territorial boundaries to assure that the Jewish nation never reside with a sense of security. The birthright of all nations is written with quill dipped in blood. Plenty was spilled on all sides in the quest for possession of the most sentimentally costly piece of real estate on the face of the planet. The Holocaust brought the plight of the Jewish diaspora to the forefront and on the bloody heel of the Nazi boot, the State of Israel was born. The Jews gained a state, the Muslims gained the delightful prospect of a historically hated enemy plopped right down within their collective midst, and the rest of us gained an eternal political headache.
The underground nerve center for Hamas remains intact in a post-attack environment in Gaza. (So I am told....) What is also known for sure is that arms smugglers will continue to line up to sell their hardware. These are the guys who will sell their own mothers for the right price. The profit margin for their black market craft makes them more cunning than the best drug cartel jefe in Mexico.
The ramp to Masada was stone and beaten earth, crafted by Roman stoop labor. The modern ramps into Israel are not merely the underground ramps known as “tunnels” which reside like interconnected catacombs under the homes of Gaza. Modern ramps are based on lanes of commerce, communication technology which is hard to jam and state-of-the-art hardware shipped from the “friendlies” in Iran, or other national hawkers of wares. Modern ramps are trans-national treaties which cannot control financial flow of legitimately acquired monies put to illegimate use. While it would be nice to imagine that port fees and other means of resources available to Hamas are building schools instead of purchasing rockets, such is not always the case. In my mind, each rocket fired off at Israel means a few more kids go hungry in Gaza. Gaza cannot sustain a military industrial complex by any other means than through active denial of basic goods and services to their own population.
In a part of the world where perpetual home ownership is a culturally-ingrained aspect of the current conflict we can continue to delude ourselves with Nobel Peace Prize winners, shuttle diplomacy and time-consuming, money-sucking peace summits. And just as the inhabitants of the former Roman garrison were a splinter group of Zealots, so also Hamas, a splinter group of Palestinians. Israel certainly retains their hardline splinter . Another four years of American diplomacy, and Arab intervention will bring.... nothing. The story of the quest to take ownership of a piece of real estate is still psychologically entrenched. Both sides, with warriors facing off with the dirt of the earth underneath their nails, will live to fight another day.
Israel will survive with their backs to the wall, if necessary. They have managed quite marvelously for over one half of a century now. There will never again be a mass display of a bitter yet conclusive end, such as seen at Masada. The fight between Fatah and Hamas will continue as Hamas seeks for total political control of Gaza. Mahmoud Abbas has been weakened. What we are unsure of, is how quickly the reconstitution of both leadership and military acquisitions will occur. Hamas, because they are Hamas, will return for the sequel. They are building the next new ramp.
Statehood of Israel
*What you have read is initial musings for what I am currently writing for a geopolitical brief. The section on Hamas and HizbAllah is at the beginning stages of thought. Take this blog as such manner of writing.
Please read the following link. Yes, this is a short homework assignment.
The Churchill White Paper
*Drafted by Sir Herbert Samuel, first High Commissioner of Palestine.
Caliph Umar ibn Al-Khattab took possession of Jerusalem in 638 C.E. Except for a period of eighty-eight years during the Crusades, the land known as Palestine remained under Muslim rule. A transitionary period of thirty years (1918-1948) placed the area under British rule, until the establishment of the State of Israel and as such, governance moved into new hands. The "Six Day War" gave Israel access to the city of Jerusalem again.
Let's discuss Hamas on Monday.
Yesterday, President Barack Obama extended a taxpayer-funded gift to poor third-world women. Having spent my childhood in one of the poorest states in southern Mexico, I am distinctly aware of the burden of poverty and how it plays out in the life of women.
My parents were missionaries in Oaxaca. When I was twelve years old we lived along a creek bank and slept in a tent. During the daytime our family endured the elements and except for the refuge of a small tar paper kitchen which had a kerosene stove, small kitchen table, and couple of chairs, our days were spent outdoors. During the rainy season the storm clouds would boil over the Sierra Madre in the late afternoons and we would huddle in the tent for the 2-3 hours of daily rainfall and then move back into the outdoor space. My mother and I either slapped our clothes on the rocks with the other native women or would use an old-fashioned rub board in a large metal tin to wash our laundry. We loved the people and assimilated into their culture.
My mother ran her own mini-nutrition center. There was one particular woman whom she loved, living in a small cane hut. When her infant daughter was born my mother and I would take daily treks down a beaten dirt path to deliver food so that she could better nourish her child. Later, when my parents acquired a modest home, one bedroom doubled as a birthing clinic for a poor village woman to give birth on a clean bed. At home, she would have squatted on a small stool with a village midwife assisting.
My heart is soft for women and children. I have a distinct fondness for babies and the fragile manner in which they make their appearance in the world, moving immediately into a quest for survival. This quest is aided by poor mothers across the world.
Once we visited a village tucked high within the mountains of Oaxaca. As a mother deftly heated her tortillas on the comal in her small kitchen, the cold mountain air whistled past the woolen blanket strung across the door. Nearby, her newborn of less than a week of age was nestled in a broken crate, bare-chested, lightly draped with a small blanket and learning the art of withstanding the cold. Thank God little Mexican babies are born with full heads of thick hair!
While in Ghana, West Africa with Fleet Hospital Dallas, I visited a woman who had given birth to her baby less than one hour prior to the arrival of our medical team. In exhausted state inside a small, unventilated room this new mother looked weak. She looked vulnerable. Reaching into my cargo pocket I fished around for my largest bill. Pressing it into her hand I leaned and whispered in her ear, “Do not show this to your husband. This is for you. Buy cheese, eat meat in the marketplace. This will help you make milk for your baby.”
So what gift did President Obama extend to poor third world women everywhere? Did he sign an executive order to release funds for birthing clinics and infant nutrition centers? Was the order for funding to provide prenatal vitamins and supplemental nourishment for new mothers? No, he provided the lasting gift of abortion. We can't tank and drown the poor in the third world. But we can curb birth rates. Yeah. Another free gift from the American people. Abortion.
The Mexico City Policy
"I happen temporarily to occupy this big White House. I am living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father's child has.”
-Abraham Lincoln (April 22, 1864)
Corn chowder. That's an interesting choice. You do know that cellulite is one of the main ingredients in corn chowder.
-Nigel (Stanley Tucci) in The Devil Wears Prada, 2006
Sunday afternoons in mid-January are brutal. A severely reduced quantity of scheduled NFL games leaves a man vulnerable to slip-ups in the rules of remote management. In a weak moment I let my guard down and, for this lack of discipline, earned a commercial-laden cable TV viewing of “The Devil Wears Prada”. For some reason I have been unable to get the following scene out of my head during the buildup to this year's historic inauguration of President Barack Obama:
Andy Sachs: She hates me, Nigel.
Nigel: And that's my problem because... Oh, wait. No, it's not my problem.
Andy Sachs: I don't know what else I can do because if I do something right, it's unacknowledged. She doesn't even say thank you. But if I do something wrong, she is vicious.
Nigel: So quit.
Andy Sachs: What?
Andy Sachs: Quit?
Nigel: I can get another girl to take your job in five minutes... one who really wants it.
Andy Sachs: No, I don't want to quit. That's not fair. But, I, you know, I'm just saying that I would just like a little credit... for the fact that I'm killing myself trying.
Nigel: Andy, be serious. You are not trying. You are whining. What is it that you want me to say to you, huh? Do you want me to say, "Poor you. Miranda's picking on you. Poor you. Poor Andy"? Hmm? Wake up, six. She's just doing her job. Don't you know that you are working at the place that published some of the greatest artists of the century? Halston, Lagerfeld, de la Renta. And what they did, what they created was greater than art because you live your life in it. Well, not you, obviously, but some people. You think this is just a magazine, hmm? This is not just a magazine. This is a shining beacon of hope for... oh, I don't know... let's say a young boy growing up in Rhode Island with six brothers pretending to go to soccer practice when he was really going to sewing class and reading Runway under the covers at night with a flashlight. You have no idea how many legends have walked these halls. And what's worse, you don't care. Because this place, where so many people would die to work you only deign to work. And you want to know why she doesn't kiss you on the forehead and give you a gold star on your homework at the end of the day. Wake up, sweetheart.
So why write about a decreasingly fashionable demographic as a Meryl Streep character? In both cases the message actually has nothing to do with the most prominent characters in the story: the villains. In the above clip, Nigel applies some “tough love” to set Andy straight and teach her what he has been modeling from the beginning. One understands his character has sacrificed much to realize his dream while adding value to the magazine and industry he loves. Some trivial and fluffy stuff compared to Iraq, Gitmo and $3 trillion in welfare payments, but trust me…there’s a point.
In “Prada”, the main character changes and evolves because someone cares enough to challenge her to change from within and cast off her bitterness. He forces her to see that she lacks a dedication and/or love for what really matters. I see no "comparison" Nigel in the second scenario to similarly inspire the millions of “Andy’s” still caught in the mental state of resentment. From the new President’s inaugural speech to poems and commentary, unsavory and divisive messages signal that it will be business as usual on the blame front going forward.
It would seem to be more a “liberal” than racial component, but then to many cultural leaders one’s political persuasions are prerequisites to being authentic enough for inclusion. Take for instance Michael Eric Dyson’s “Three Modalities of Blackness”. Search and study it to make your own conclusions, but what strikes me is that to achieve (the assumedly-desired) “intentionally black” acceptance one must embrace virtually all tenets of American leftist dogma. How does collectivism and socialism inspire one to realize his or her truly unique talents and limitations? Are Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell "included"? Perhaps I missed something.
With the installation of the nation’s first minority Commander-in-Chief, there is a great deal said, and much inferred, about who and what he replaced. That being said, Barack Obama has earned his place in the executive leadership of our national government. You can always quickly differentiate the candidate who wants to DO something as president from one who merely WANTS to BE president. Will his actions and words inspire millions to follow just "him"? Or will our new American President challenge the millions to love their country regardless of who the next President happens to be? Can patriotism be conditional? We already are seeing signs of a shift from eight years where it is patriotic to "dissent".
I wish him, and us, well. I am hopeful that the obviously inspirational nature of his presidency does more for individuals who identify with him than with the power groups who seek to contain them as subjects.
Relief swept over me this morning as I listened to talk radio. The topic was the inaugural poem, “Praise Song for the Day” by Elizabeth Alexander. Many Texans weighed in and the vast majority of the listeners hated the poem, albeit not quite able to put into words why the poem did not move them. I pulled off the freeway and picked up my phone to also respond. Calling the whole thing a piece of hyphenated-Haiku and too much of an existentialistic work, my words were based on hearing the spoken word on Inauguration Day. Coming home, I pulled up the text.
Disappointment found residence in my heart. It crept in slowly as I read the words again and again.
“Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.”
This is not a “praise song” but unresolved bitterness. Even the monotone delivery during the inauguration had the quality of a funeral dirge. On a day when all Americans wanted to stand shoulder to shoulder in proud manner, we were reminded again, of the sins of our forefathers. Our history of slavery is a specter that was allowed to cast a pall over what for most of us was a joyous celebration: the affirmation that the American Dream is still attainable. America showed her true spirit in the election of Barack Obama. Surely, our first Black American President read and approved the words of this poem, words divisive and exploitive of feelings of external guilt. Yes, my generation has carried the guilt of actions from decades gone by when our national landscape was much different. Speak of your wound. A collective wound was salted on January 20th.
A praise song? I imagine birds in flight soaring across mountain peaks, of cellos and violas with faint echo of piccolo. Hearts leap and melodies stir, children dance and yet emotions can also become as tranquil as an emerald green sea with a true song of praise. Praise uplifts, encourages, and cheers on with courageous shout. At other times it moves gently, as hand outstretched to needy heart.
“Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each other's eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise.”
May I with gentle voice and kindness remind us of a greater truth in America today?
All around us, is peace.
Breaking News: American President takes the Oath of Office
What a headline! That's historic! It is always historic when we inaugurate a new President, though, isn't it? Now, it has not escaped my attention that this President is a little darker-skinned than his predecessors. How could it, when that was one of the main focuses of American politics during the 2008 election season. What I am relieved to find out about myself over the course of these past two years is that I do not have any racist tendencies whatsoever. Whew! I'm sure my non-white ancestors would be happy to hear that statement.
While watching the Inauguration on Tuesday, I was happy for all of the attendees whose gleaming faces radiated the pride and hope they felt, because for the first time in U.S. history our country has a mixed-race leader and an African-American First Lady. For the first time, a different segment of our population can see themselves in the First Family. For the first time, while we still have some work to do, our black citizens can know that their skin color does not, in itself, preclude them from being elected to the highest office in our land.
What is more of a concern to me than President Obama's appearance is his character. We know he is a skilled speech giver, and can work those teleprompters better than anyone. But he can't keep giving campaign pep rally speeches for the next four years. Tomorrow the disco balls go back into storage, the confetti and garbage will be swept away, and millions of admirers will leave his new hometown for their own. While his family is settling into their new routines, Mr. Obama will be in meetings and briefings, which will hopefully prepare him for meeting with those foreign leaders who didn't buy the commemorative plate.
The million-watt smile and twinkle in his eye may be replaced by pursed lips and a furrowed brow for a while. At least, I hope so. Mr. Obama asked for, and was granted, the privilege of serving our nation in a capacity that will require unlimited sacrifice on his part. The Oval Office is a headquarters in which the phantom of every wrong decision America has ever made can haunt its current occupant. There is a weight that is passed from one set of shoulders to the next. All men are flawed, and we all make mistakes. President Clinton handed down a hornets' nest of terrorism to President Bush, but a stable economy. President Bush is handing down an economic tangled ball of fishing line to President Obama, but a safer country.
President Obama knows he has a long road ahead. The very evening he was confirmed to be the election victor, the tone of his speeches changed. He began telling us that which some of us already knew. Miracles do not happen overnight, nor are they likely in the first 100 days. The four living ex-Presidents can tell him that great strides may sometimes not happen in 4 years, but that we can perhaps inch forward a few paces. The Oval Office spectres can tell him that some troubles lay dormant for a while, before surfacing to besiege us again. But we citizens shoulder some of the blame for our economy sliding so far down the slippery credit slope. I'm afraid we will be shouldering the burden for getting back on track again, some taxpayers more than others. What will be Mr. Obama's legacy? If it is that he was the "First President of Color", then he will have failed miserably.
Welcome to the next four years of our lives, Mr. President. Your decision-making is utmost in our thoughts. Please keep us safe. You and your family are in our prayers. Please keep us in yours.
This week our nation welcomes a new Commander-in-Chief and President of the United States. I believe the State of the Union will remain strong. Americans possess a resiliency which has stood the test of time. Looking back at my own generations I see national treasure.
On the maternal side, immigrants of hardy Italian and artsy French stock. This is the gentle and peaceable side of my gene pool. Teachers and ministers, farmers and housewives occupy this space. There is also one unfortunate male relative who met his end with his scalp taken off by the axe of an Indian Chief. As for my maternal grandmother, she traveled in a covered wagon as a small child. My own mother, survived a portion of World War II living in a converted chicken shack with her parents and sibling.
On the paternal side of my family tree resides the stock from which my personality finds dominance. Most of the colorful stories involve the women. There is the female horse thief of ill-repute and the great-great grandmother who held the F.B.I. off by brandishing a shotgun from the front porch. The "doubly great" grandfather was busy darting into the woods to escape the grasp of the men who wanted to shut down his whiskey production. The intentional burning of coffee grounds on the stove at night kept down the smell of the sour mash for awhile, but then the neighbors caught a whiff of it. My beloved grandmother was Cherokee and it showed in her countenance and the way she shoveled snow off the porch at age 89. Grandpa was a railroad man who retired with the gold watch and a decent pension. He stumbled off into the Montana snow in his eighties and died a few days later after sustaining a stroke.
The media has placed a tremendous amount of spin on the inauguration of a junior Senator from Illinois. Most of us did not recognize his name four years ago. Powerful hands have aided his ascent from political neophyte to the Oval Office and these same hands will now begin to demand their pound of political flesh. It does not matter. The State of the Union will remain strong because I am America.
The State of the Union is dependent on the strength of our generations. One lone American does not make for the durability of our Union. Each one of us and our forefathers represent a combined strength: E Pluribus Unum.
America is the dairy farmers who awaken before sun rises from her cradle curling her pink fingers across the sky as she peeks at the renewed face of the earth. America is a late shift waitress pouring that next cup of coffee for the fatigued eighteen-wheel driver at the local truck stop. America is the bomb technician who gave his life in Oregon and the police officer who handed you that speeding ticket yesterday. America is the school teacher who prays for Spring Break and the minister who prays for the teacher. She is the west Texas cook and the cowboy who eats the vittles. America is the nurse at the bedside and the janitor who is cleaning your room; the lawyer driving the Lexus and the mechanic who replaces his brake pads.
So as we welcome our new President let us all stand up with a shout and proclaim in joyful chorus: I AM AMERICA.
Please honor this special week of national festivities in the comments section. Who are your ancestors who have made the State of the Union incredibly strong?
Tammy Swofford, American!
So many people talk about guns and gun safety and claim to be experts on guns. We have national organizations that are put together to both control and un-control the ownership of a gun. We have a 2nd amendment which was put into place by our founding fathers and the meaning of that amendment is still debated today. Guns are a tremendous source of friction in our society.
Suzy Gratia-Hupp, DC, is a colleague of mine who I respect tremendously and who is a former member of the Texas Legislature. She was elected in 1994, at the same time George W. Bush was elected to be governor. She is a proponent of safe gun use and a proponent of 2nd amendment rights. However, few people really know why she is such a proponent of these rights. It was not that she got up one day and said, “I am going to get a gun so I can kill something.” Suzy is quite the opposite. She doesn’t hunt and never has. She wanted a gun to protect herself. Her story is one of the most gut-wrenching stories you will ever hear. The fact that she is alive today is a miracle. The fact that she lived to serve in the Texas legislature is part of the reason that we have a concealed handgun law to this day. She tells her story much better than I ever could. Suzy is an expert on the effects of the need for the right to protect one’s self from a madman.
Link to Suzy's public testimony
Jeff Cunningham, D.C.
Tom Gordon and I trekked out to Preston Hollow today to check out the home which George and Laura Bush have chosen for their Dallas residence. The home is on a cul-de-sac which will soon be gated and inaccesible to losers, such as Tom and me. smile The neighborhood association had also purchased "Welcome Home" yard signs for the lawns. One entrepeneur (probably a reader of "The Huffington Post") was seated on a chair in his front yard with signs stacked up to sell. There is always a buck to be made if an American president decides to visit or live in a specific locale.
And yes, this is beautiful Texas weather in January. We were clad in light jackets and armed with our Starbucks coffee cups. It was a great day to do a bit of snooping. smile Tom is doing great. He has just moved into a job with greater responsibility which gives little time for blogging.
Tammy Swofford (and Bush-basher, Tom Gordon)
I have been reading poetry of Sa’di-i-Shirazi today. One of his poems is titled “Gulistan” which means “The Rose Garden”. From this work, the following is inscribed at the United Nation’s Hall of Nations:
Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain.
The poem "Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost is a better choice for describing the human condition:
Some say the world will end in fire;
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if I had to perish twice
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction
Ice is also great
And would suffice.
Does the world truly benefit from the efforts of the U.N. anymore? Would we miss "them" if this species of diplomat becomes extinct?
Thanks to God, Alaskans' prayers for a reprieve from the cold snap didn't fall to the ground like [YouTube] children's frozen bubbles. As we exported our Arctic blast to the southeast, the SW warm front that had been held at bay came in with a vengeance on Wednesday. If your guess is that Alaskans would be happy to have temperatures above freezing in January, you'd be wrong. Let me tell you what happens when you have a [wikipedia] Chinook come through, and the temperatures rise from -20° to +50°F in a day's time.
If you've watched the national weather over the past couple of days, or if you live in the northern U.S., you have seen or are experiencing the remnants of a record cold snap, which Alaska experienced for about a month. Our natural gas meters were flipping through numbers faster than H.G. Wells's "Time Machine". As I told Tammy, alot of money is spent keeping warm in the winter here. She countered that her bill goes up in the summer air-conditioning season. Frankly, I prefer my end of the trade-off. Our economy and productivity are hardly ever affected by the weather. Our children have no idea what you mean by a "snow day". Snow removal is a lucrative business, as are snowmachine sales, anything to do with skiing, and a number of other cold weather supplies. Sure, some days your car won't start; there are times when we slide into each other out there on the roads; and we have to bring our dogs inside until the cold snap passes. But we are Alaskans. We go to work, whether the roads have been plowed and sanded or not.
I've noticed that weather is hardly ever a topic of conversation here, the way it is in the Lower 48. Part of the reason is that we have learned, individually and in our communities, to prepare ourselves for the Arctic weather. We put studded tires on our cars and install engine block heaters; we send our kids to the bus stop in layers of clothing; and we make an extra donation to the homeless shelters. No matter what, we don't complain about the climate in which we choose to live. That might not be the case, if we were to be cut off from our fuel supply. We would talk every day over the water cooler (or water heater?) about how cold it is. We would keep our kids home from school, to help chop wood. We would bring our dogs inside, not for their protection, but to help keep us warm: the true definition of a "Three Dog Night".
This winter, Russia and Ukraine are in a dispute over natural gas and the distribution of it. When I say "Russia" I really mean "Vladimir Putin". He managed to parlay his presidential term limits into the position of prime minister, and his political connections and influence remain stronger than President Dimitry Medvedev's. Think about when John McCain said he had met with Putin and he "saw KGB". Putin's not a man on whose wrong side you want to find yourself. International economic troubles have not bypassed Russia. They were on a 10-year crest until last summer. Their stock market was at an all-time high last year, and has since dropped more than 70%. Russia's oil, its top export and 10% of its GDP, has dropped from $147 to $40 a barrel since July. So, you would think they would bend over backwards to get their product to market, right?
Russia and Ukraine are playing a blame game regarding why Russia's gas isn't getting through Ukraine's pipelines to consumers in 18 European nations. Russia claims to have no choice after Ukraine refused their proposed new contract. A contract which would raise Ukraine's buying price to $418 per 1,000 cubic meters. (They currently charge the Czech Republic $350 for a better quality product.) Russia claims to have taken an $800 million loss and to have had to close 100 oil wells since January 1, when it shut off gas supplies going through Ukraine. In May 2008, Russia's Gazprom was the world's 3rd largest firm, worth $350 billion. They say they are doing their part, that they have shipped gas to Ukraine, but Ukraine is the holdup. Keep in mind that Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller worked in the St. Petersburg mayor's office with Putin, and was deputy energy minister in Putin's administration before Putin appointed him CEO of Gazprom.
Ukraine says its debts to Russia are paid up, and Russia is demanding $1 billion which isn't due until January 25. They say that the gas isn't going through because there isn't enough pressure built up in the lines, and some is needed to keep fueling stations and compressors going. Russia is not willing to provide this "technical gas" on their dime and threatens to cut Ukraine's supplies if they siphon off any for this purpose. Russia wants to send gas through a pipeline bypass that would require Ukraine to shut off supplies to the eastern part of its country. Ukraine officials have said the whole dispute is political and Russia won't be satisfied until President Viktor Yushchenko steps down from office.
As is often the case, I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. Russia is most likely not having to close down oil wells, and Ukraine probably has enough pressure in the lines to push the product through. At the end of the day, I see this as a backlash against America and NATO. Russia is willing to wage war against its former nations, in the hopes of retaining a loyalty through fear. Georgia and Ukraine are seeing the benefits of Western society, and the Kremlin can't stand it. In this modern day "Cold War" Russia hopes to cast a bad light on U.S. relations with any of its former countries. Last month, Condoleezza Rice and Ukraine's Volodymyr Ogryzko signed a [state.gov] Strategic Partnership Charter, which among other things, enhances cooperation between our two countries, including issues of energy and trade.
It is criminal that 18 European countries are affected by this power struggle. Greece buys 82% of its natural gas from Russia, but mostly uses oil for home heating. France gets 24% of its gas from Russia, but 80% of its electricity is nuclear. Other countries are having a harder time of it. Some are drawing on reserves or importing fuel through other means. Moldava's reserves lasted 2 days. Poland is cutting gas supplies to industrial clients. Macedonia's steel production has been put on hold. [fiancialtimes.com] Bulgaria and Bosnia-Herzegovina are without power, with temperatures hovering around or below zero degrees. Serbia, who gets 87% of their gas from Russia, is now having to close hospitals and clinics. Alternately, Slovakia (pop. 5.4 million) will restart a nuclear power station, which it shut down in 2008 to comply with an EU accession agreement.
Russia tried this before. It raised its prices for [USA Today] Ukraine in 2006, and ended up cutting their supply. Ukraine has enough domestic fuel production and reserves to get them through this winter, and does not have to give in to the obscene rates Russia wants to charge them for gas. But whenever you go against the Russian Bear, there is always the chance that she'll invade your territory. You don't think the Georgia conflict was solely about South Ossetia, do you? Russia cannot rule the world by withholding its fuel sources or by unreasonably elevating its prices. Only if Putin finds a way to build a "Time Macine" and can dial us all back (or God forbid forward) to caveman days, might that strategy work for him. Only then could he be the tribal chief who controls when the fire is lit, how big the fire should be, and who can take a spark back to their caves.
The right to peaceful assembly and public protest falls under my core belief that freedom of expression is what lends dignity to the human experience. Many years ago I boarded a bus headed to Austin, Texas as part of a statewide initiative to protest Roe v. Wade. Waving my homemade sign and chanting along with fellow Texans gave a weird sense of empowerment. Being older and wiser, I prefer to engage political process on different levels than through the mechanism of the lowly street march. Demonstrations in the public square can produce beautiful moments of human solidarity. At the end of the day each person goes home with a sense of satisfaction and a nifty little story to recount around the dinner table. Such was my experience with my trip to Austin.
Central to my belief regarding whether to engage public protest is a simple verse in the book of Proverbs: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” This saying of King Lemuel (Proverbs 31:8) sums up who I am and what I believe regarding life. I do not practice Darwinism, but believe that a loving Creator wishes for the strong to protect the weak. And who are weaker than those who have no voice? So while I protest against abortion because the fetus lacks vocalization and expressive function others protest whale hunting or the destruction of voiceless but "hand-clapping" timber by the logging industry. Public demonstration gives voice to issues we find compelling.
Do you lose sleep at night struggling with your thoughts? It happens to me a lot. The last couple of days I have viewed hundreds of photos of Israel v. Hamas. It is urban warfare in a street-by-street military movement to knock out both Hamas leadership and their missile capabilities. I can handle “the usual fare” when it comes to war photography. But what has been difficult, is to view the photos of children mixed in with anti-Israeli protest groups, whether in Belgium, Spain or Indonesia. I am seeing a fairly new phenomenon and this unsettles me on several levels.
View the photos. There are children holding bloody dolls or standing with bloody tears painted on their own faces. One picture showed a small girl setting fire to a paper depiction of an Israeli flag. Another scene showed children lying on the pavement in a mock depiction. Children are using expressive function to lend voice to adult issues. Children without fully formed identities are being thrust into complex issues.
Should children be carted along and mixed in with swelling crowds of protestors who may suddenly become volatile as zeal and rising passions supercede common sense? Any entry level psychology course teaches basic elements of herd mentality. Since more than one shop was trashed in Belgium and vehicles have been burned, is a street protest the place to take the kids? All of us have seen the photo of the man who inadvertently torched himself while torching the American flag. Undoubtedly the flag had been dipped in an accelerant. But should it concern us that a small girl is being allowed to create a flash of fire within a tightly condensed population grouping?
What happens if a crowd becomes a rampaging mass and children are trampled? What if the police need to restore order while moving into the surge with riot gear in full opertion? I pray. I pray when I see pictures depicting conflict. I fall to my knees when I see children with real blood on their faces, our President burned in effigy in Pakistan and Israeli soldiers huddled around fires. I pray when I see a photo of a shell-shocked little girl in Israel or a picture of an old man salvaging pages of a Qur’an from a mosque in Gaza. I pray for resolution. But I don’t pray for fools.
“We don’t speak Mexican here.”
-Actor hired by ABC, (unattributed quote on www.abcnews.go.com/whatwouldyoudo)
"It's the kind of insightful television that makes you think, the water-cooler stuff you talk about the next morning,"
-Anchor (?) John Quinones
Hybrid automobiles are all the rage these days. The combining of electric and gas-powered engines have, it seems, improved the industry. Hybrid grains and plants have increased crop yields and fed millions. There are likely many other positive examples, but then there was the “moped”. It was a motorized bicycle. Alien vs. Predator was an awful idea for a movie. Somewhere, someone thought “let’s play football inside an arena with bouncy nets.”, and then there was “Bennifer” .
Tuesday evening I forced myself to sit through an hour of “What Would You Do” on ABC. Associated Press writer David Bauder writes in a January 7 article that WWYD is a “news-reality hybrid that’s gotten traction on ABC”. This is a show branded with the “ABC News” logo that uses candid camera tactics and contrived scenarios to observe and evaluate unsuspecting bystanders (and viewers) placed into ethical dilemmas. One of many problems I observed with the show itself was that both the “dilemmas” themselves and their conclusive messages are assumptively in-line with the most progressive of societal views.
The January 7 episode’s first and second segments found "anchor" John Quinones’ crew hiding out while three actors, hired by ABC News, played out a racial confrontation in a New Jersey eating establishment in which one actor played an evil and confrontational business owner loudly refusing to serve two other actors portraying hispanic, non-english speaking customers. The scripting assumed the "owner" charged they were illegal immigrants and unworthy of service. The segment's goal was to see what customers would do when observing racism, and apparently to confront anyone who they thought agreed with any aspect of the actor/owner's points. I wonder how frustrated they were when their first victim was an African-American Male. Interesting, but this is “news”? Absolutely not. It's indoctrination. Furthermore, Mr. Quinones’ racist owner utilizes the worst strawman character vehicle to marginalize anyone not emotionally connecting with the fake victims. The scenario’s assumptive generalizations include the owner “knowing” they are illegals because of their speech and appearance, and attempt to appeal the generalization that opposition to illegal immigration equals hating hispanics.
In a second storyline, called “The Ugly Americans”, ABC News takes an acting couple to Paris, France and pays them to dress like idiot hicks from Texas. Clad in boots and cowboy hats, printed gaudy “Paris, Texas” white t-shirts, with “Bush 08” on the back, they proceeded to obnoxiously and loudly hit-and-offend as many people as possible at all of the finest tourist stops and famous Parisian locations. No instruction here. ABC News just wanted to inform us, I guess, how “the world” sees us thanks to George Bush. Once again, the strawman.
The logical fallacies employed to engender their desired “takeaway” messages are too numerous to mention. Watch a segment or two. You'll see what I mean. If you’ve ever watched “To Catch A Predator”, just consider WWYD to be a slightly less-seedy but equally self-aggrandizing cousin.
Today I stumbled across an intriguing 2001 article written by Matt Nisbet for a website called “The Committee For Skeptical Inquiry” . Entitled “That’s Infotainment!” , it eloquently assailed “soft journalism” and predicted that “The continued embrace of soft journalism will ultimately lead to the end of journalism.” I see nothing from “What Would You Do”, or last years campaign coverage for that matter, that would cause me to doubt Mr. Nesbit’s assertions.
Generally, institutions with serious credibility issues hit some point on their way down where the cost of obstinacy forces someone to seek transformation and a new opportunity for growth. The media has yet to take notice. In a survey released exactly one year ago, Sacred Heart University found that just 19.6 percent of respondents said they could believe all or most of media reporting. This was a drop from 27.4 percent in 2003. 87.6 percent agreed, either somewhat or strongly, that news media attempts to influence public opinion.
In light of the public's increasing skepticism of the news media, one would think this kind of psuedo-journalism wouldn't make primetime television. Then again, they're feeling pretty strong about now.
Jolly good show.
“Where is such a principled journalistic force today?” Bob Miller posed this question in Tammany II: Tiger by the Tail. Bob focused on aspects of how news is delivered, the ethical responsibility of the reporter and how journalistic principles can be either secured or compromised. The bottom line is a desire to print the truth no matter the cost, is the requirement of principled journalism.
Among those of us who seek factual journalism the gaze must also be cast upward to the top of the chain of command, the publisher. A principle has been expressed on this site that bears repeating. All explosive or detrimental organizational transactions have immediate and ultimate responsibility. The immediate responsibility belongs to the individual who created the stir. But the ultimate responsibility belongs to the individual retaining positional authority over the employee demographic. This includes journalism.
We have experienced the cloddish journalism allowed by reputable publishers of news print and books throughout the years. Books and articles are not properly vetted by editorial staff. Yet when half-truths and all encompassing lies are discovered, too many editors merely pull the remains of the day from the view of the public domain. Things are swept into a corner with a small chirp of mea culpa and the expectation is that forgiveness includes a tabula rasa mechanism which conveniently forgets the cheap trick.
Now maybe you are willing to believe that a small girl trekked across Europe to escape the horrors of Nazi Germany and that she hid among packs of vegetarian wolves but, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”.
But flipping the coin, there is also editorial responsibility to be the wall of defense for staff when commentaries, reports or even political cartoons produce visceral reaction by the intended target. Dallas Morning News ran a political cartoon by staff cartoonist Bill DeOre several years ago. It was about “Smoky Joe Barton”. The cartoonist and editors who later commented about the cartoon on the DMN editorial blog? Well.... Let me just reiterate that the wall of defense can fail. It shouldn’t.
As we move into a new year the Swofford Team is excited to seek out a standard of journalistic excellence. Considering that each of us have busy lives, it is our love for freedom of expression which spurs us on to sacrifice time to keep the blog afloat. I am grateful to each team member who values this endeavor.
We also ask that you consider entering the comments section more frequently. We can be ferocious on the page, but it is our goal to also engage you in the comments. Otherwise, it feels like we are just talking across the fence with each other. smile
As just a final note, I will be entering the intellectual battlespace in the next few weeks, writing my fourth brief on geopolitical Islam. So the "best of the blog" will certainly be put on the page by the other bloggers on the masthead, as I focus my attention on a more serious writing style. Again, the support in the comments is our only "paycheck". Hope to see you join us!
Journalism and political pressure
Front page news in Alaska, if you can believe it, is the story that Sarah Palin's future son-in-law, Levi Johnston, 18, has stepped down from his North Slope job as an oil field roustabout. The reason he is leaving the position he has held for four months? He does not yet have his high school diploma, a set-in-stone federal requirement. When a local anti-Palin columnist wrote an article that brought this fact to light, Johnston resigned. Give the kid credit, though, he has been working on his diploma through correspondence classes, instead of going for the faster and easier GED. The new young father will, surely, immediately find employment locally and will, undoubtedly, reapply at ASRC or another corporation when he has his diploma. Johnston and his father Keith, an ASRC construction engineer, knew the rules. The employer probably overlooked his lack of a diploma, as a favor to Levi's dad. Nepotism in highly-sought jobs like these is not unheard of. But the mistake is Levi's and the corporation's alone.
So what happens when a Senator-elect arrives in Washington, hoping to be sworn in on the opening day of Congress? Well, if he does not have the proper credentials, he is turned away. Kudos to the Senate for abiding by the rules on their end, and gently turning away the 71-year-old hopeful, so they could get down to business. Harry Reid was gracious in his statements on the floor. Unless and until Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White certifies the appointment, the piece of paper in Burris's brief case is not official. So why doesn't White want to sign the document? Maybe he personally knows something about the rumblings that are now surfacing about Burris's time as Illinois Attorney General. Reportedly, half of the outside legal contracts were awarded to campaign contributors. Sound familiar? Well, we are talking about Chicago Politics. In 2004, Governor Blagojevich awarded Burris's company a $150,000 state contract, to help companies learn how to win state contracts. (Maybe advice such as: "Be sure to make lucrative connections through political donations...") Even after the Tony Rezko conviction, which involved Governor Blagojevich, Burris continued to make contributions to Blago's campaign coffers and to attend his fundraisers.
Roland Burris is a man of immense ego. Although, I have to admit I find it kind of amusing that George Foreman's five sons are all named George; Roland Burris has two kids: Roland and Rolanda. He seems to be a man that is "above the law". When he sponsored a program to get guns off the streets in Chicago, he later admitted he kept his own. He was Chairman on the governor's State Pensions Commission, which was and is one of the worst in the nation. Do you think he took a cut in his retirement? If he gets into the Senate, his salary starts at around $170,000. Now, if he just serves out the term, I'm not sure what kind of pension he'll receive, but it's probably a nice little amount for the rest of his life. I've never known Congress to shortchange themselves.
Burris opposed the appointment of Clarence Thomas, because he thought it would be a detriment to black people. Well, just what in the hell does his camp think accusing the Senate of keeping him out "because of his race" is doing? Do they think there's a big party on Capitol Hill, because they finally managed to get Barack Obama out of the Senate? You've heard that Burris built a family crypt, with his life's accomplishments already carved into his stone. I will bet it doesn't include his unsuccessful bids for Mayor of Chicago, Illinois Governor (he lost 3 gubernatorial elections), and for the U.S. Senate. He couldn't get in through the front door, through the approval of his state's voters, so he's going to take this back-scratching favor from his good buddy Blago and go in through the back door.
I would have more respect for Burris if he had stepped down until the dust settled, like Bill Richardson; had waited until the Certification of Appointment was validated, like Al Franken; or had shown the maturity to return home after admitting his mistake, like young Levi Johnston. Instead, there is a lawsuit against Jesse White, and a Burris camp speculation that they may file a complaint in Federal District Court, if negotiations with the Senate leadership fall through, citing [historycentral.com] Marbury v. Madison, a case that challenged whether a federal law was Constitutional. If your teens have a government class paper due, here's a topic for them. I think we're all about to get a lesson or two.
Chicago Tribune link to Roland Burris Complaint for Mandamus - pdf
The topic is a tough one. While unable to confirm that Jett Travolta was off his anti-seizure medication when he died, the issue of a non-medicated status for a manageable, and for the most part, treatable symptom will be an issue when the autopsy results are there for public view. There are two rumors regarding the death of this minor. The first is that he had been taken off Depakote for seizure activity because it was not working. The second rumor, is that Jett died from a seizure.
Two things must be considered:
*Medical management of seizures can involve more than one medication, a combination of medications, or even an occasional change in medical regimen. My own brother has experienced this path in being prescribed a variety of medicines over the years to control the seizure activity associated with a malignant brain tumor. Click on this link to view the many medications available.
*John Travolta and Kelly Preston practice Scientology.
If Jett Travolta was in a non-medicated status when he died it will be interesting to see how Child Protective Services intervenes in a high profile case involving members of the highly visible Scientology group residing in the film industry. It is always easy for media to ding the Christian homeschooling family who seeks prayer over intervention. As of yet, I have not heard a peep about CPS involvement with this family. Possibly it is not politically correct to touch the untouchables of the Scientology class? Does a powerful couple get a free skate?
I have mixed emotions when it comes to the dilemma of parental rights and non-intervention. These concerns range all the way from parents who choose not to vaccinate their children to the ones who refuse chemotherapy for children. But children present a special case in that possibly there may be a need for legal representation if they are in imminent danger of health risk minus intervention.
I have always said, "Even faith healers go to the emergency room with a good case of appendicitis!" Many times those professing faith have never had a walloping pain in the gut or a good round of bloody emesis to make them appreciate the other healing arts.... those practiced by physicians and nurses.
The bereavement will be difficult for the Travolta family. I cannot imagine their pain. But questions need to be asked. Was a child endangered with lack of treatment?
Scientology and Medicine