Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What Peak Oil Means for World Peace

"Peak Oil" refers to the fact that worldwide, per capita petroleum production peaked in 1979. Owing to population growth, even though we continue to pump more actual barrels of oil per day, the amount of oil pumped per person continues to drop.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Why Illegal Immigrants Come

A great article about the United States' lack of accommodation for new parents and my recent trip to Mexico have given me an insight about why illegal immigrants come here. It just suddenly added up, like a column of numbers. The clouds opened up, and the curtain parted, and I finally understood why all those people come here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Israeli Irony: Darfur

Israel says it will no longer accept refugees from the Sudan who sneak across the border into that country from Egypt. The refugees will be returned to Egypt. The Israelis claim that country has agreed not to deport them, but Egypt says it will deport the refugees to the Sudan. The refugees in question are fleeing Darfur, and deporting them to the Sudan is a death sentence.

Friday, August 10, 2007

An Eerie Parallel. . .

Back in 1938, the German people were sick and tired of being sick and tired. They had had their traditional monarchical government forcibly removed and replaced with what appeared to them to be an impractical, inefficient, and cumbersome joke: the Weimar Republic. They had endured the Great Depression and economically stifling war reparations payments. They had also listened for years to the rhetoric of politicians who pledged to end the republic and bring back the glory days of Germany.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

It's About the Coffins

I am sick and tired of hearing about illegal immigrants. Not that there is no problem; there are millions of people in this country who don't belong here. Unfortunately, someone has spread the vicious rumor that most of them are of Hispanic extraction. The real problem is not illegal immigrants; it's dead Americans.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

An Alternate Path for Iraq

Two recent editorials in the Washington Post explored alternative roles for the United States in Iraq. Both Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Julia Taft made important points in their desire for a change in U.S. policy.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Joe Lieberman's Criminal Irresponsibility

An article in the Jerusalem Post states that U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) is calling for the United States to attack Iran immediately. According to the Post, in an interview with CBS, Lieberman said that "Military action will accomplish two goals: The destruction of Iran's nuclear plans and an end to terror attacks against US soldiers in Iraq."

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Get Yer Illegal T-shirts Heah! is selling a shirt that has been outlawed in several states, including Oklahoma and Arizona. The shirt is an anti-war protest that contains the names of over three thousand fallen service men and women who have given their lives in the so-called War on Terror. Such laws are bald-faced attempts to curb the First Amendment right of free speech. Because I believe that obedience to such laws gives the government permission to revoke my right of free speech, I ordered one of these shirts today, and will cheerfully go to jail for wearing it, if need be.

At any rate, for those of you who wish to voice your support of our remaining troops by bringing them home alive, I thought I'd give you a heads-up.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Forgiveness, Fallwell, and Me

My reading today in A Course in Miracles tells me that I need to understand that forgiveness is not overlooking someone's sin, but rather acknowledging the fact that if God created a world as perfect as He is, nothing in that world is out of place. The reading advises me to try to understand that things that seem to need forgiving are really as they should be, and the problem I'm having with them is mine.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Disabled Child has no Right to Life Support

Here is one of those questions I'll have to put in the "Glad I don't have to answer it" column, but I can't get it off my mind for other reasons.

Emilio Gonzalez is a terminally ill 17-month-old boy who "lives" on a hospital ward in Austin, Texas. There is no chance that Emilio will ever get well. His court appointed attorney/guardian ad litem has filed a legal brief in which he asserts that "there is no constitutional right to medical treatment and Emilio does not have a fundamental right to life-sustaining treatment."

Monday, May 07, 2007

Irked by Iraq

I hate this war.

I thought at first it was a knee-jerk reaction because I was a teenager during the worst of the Viet Nam tragedy. It's not. I hate this war.

I hate it because from the very beginning, I was branded and labeled for opposing it. Before the first soldier set foot in Iraq, people were flipping me the bird because I had an anti-war bumper sticker on my car. Every time I spoke out against the war, I was told that I was unpatriotic, inappropriate, or hateful. My pastor refused to pray for peace during Sunday services, even though there is a perfectly good prayer for peace in our prayerbook. My relationship with the church was the first casualty of the war for me.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Geek Proves It

Having bragged that I can name 20 English cognates of the Latin verb that means "to send" (i.e. mitto, mittere, missi, missum) I feel obligated to do so. If you know any I missed, transmit me a missive, and I will correct my omission and be eternally grateful.

1. admit
2. admission
3. permit
4. permission

Confessions of a Word Geek

There's smart and then there's me. I'm smart--sort of.

I don't know the right thing to say at a party. I don't do social situations. I couldn't read a social cue to save my life, and the number in my circle of friends shows it.

I also flunked out of engineering school. Well, that's not exactly true, I left before they could kick me out, but the hand was writing on the wall, and the kind of smart I am can read.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Looking for the Answer Where It Isn't

On Friday, in Houston, a 60-year-old engineer carried a gun into NASA, took two co-workers hostage, and ended up killing one along with himself. Doug Peterson, a spokesman for NASA said that "any organization would take a good, hard look at the kind of review process we have with people," as though somehow the problem was with NASA for hiring the worker in the first place.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Speaking to Alienation

There are times when I identify with people I'd rather not identify with, for example the VA Tech shooter. I know very little about him, and I have avoided the news purposely, because all this carnage is painful, and watching the victims' mothers weep will not heal what is wrong with any of us. But this act of evil is the direct result of a deep alienation that, combined with some mental illness blossomed into a tragedy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Taking the Fifth on the War

I have a little, teensy problem with the Religious Right. And like a pebble in one’s shoe, the irritation compounds over time.

While talking to my Latin students about the movie, 300, about the Trojan war, one youngster wanted to make sure I knew that the Spartans were burning for their sinfulness, which included leaving weak babies out in the elements to die and teaching children skills needed by soldiers, like deception, stealth, and thievery.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Orange Blossom Special

There is an orange tree in my backyard. A fairly rare occurrence this far north, I enjoy it as much for its rarity as for its beauty.

I sprouted the seeds from a grocery-store orange on my kitchen windowsill in Smithville, Texas sometime between 1988 and 1992. I brought a fairly large and thorny houseplant with me when I moved here in 1993. Finally, the tree became too big and stickery to move into and out of the house with the seasons, and we chose a sheltered location on the south side of our house and hoped for the best that it would survive on its own.

About Me

I love my country, that is why I criticize its absurdities; I love my freedom, that is why I do it publicly.