Archive for October, 2006

the illegal immigration solution, part 1

October 17, 2006

I am torn in my heart over the issue of illegal immigration.  There have been strong cases presented for the strengthening of our security at the borders and repelling would be illegal entrants and/or the relaxing of our laws to accommodate them.  What is the right thing to do? 

Yesterday, Oct. 14th, was the 46 year anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s first public mention of the Peace Corps.  A month later he made a formal announcement of his intention to initiate the Corps should he be elected president, which he was and did in 1961.  I think America’s outlook on the world was different then.  We were embroiled in the cold war and needed a propaganda machine to help put us in a favorable light against the evils of communism.  Not that the Peace Corps was a bad idea, on the contrary… it helped open America’s eyes to the sufferings and injustices of people world wide and offered working solutions to over come adversity.  Volunteers learned valuable skills that helped them to become successful and heightened their awareness of a world in need of help.   It was probably one of Kennedy’s proudest achievements.

Four years later, President Johnson signed the new Immigration Bill that was supported strongly by Senator Ted Kennedy.  At that time there was a social change coming due largely because of the civil rights movement.  America’s view of those suffering social injustice and poverty was one of compassion.  We were the undisputed champions of the world (following WWII) .  Other countries looked to us to guide them to the successes that we enjoyed,  which we gladly did for the sake of Democracy.  We were the envy of the free world… 

But now there are laws in place that need to be enforced and guidelines that should to be followed.  History has shown us that our welcoming embrace has been taken advantage of.  Now we face a dilemma unprecedented in modern society, millions of illegal immigrants demanding to be allowed to stay despite the fact that laws have been violated and procedures ignored. 

I don’t blame people for wanting a better life,  that is what our country was founded upon, relief from oppression and the freedom to govern ourselves.  Our founding fathers wanted a better life free from tyranny.   From the very begining people wanted freedom to pursue their dreams in the land of opportunity.  Soon laws were created guaranteeing that we all would have equal access to the means of realizing those dreams.  The bounty of this new world seemed endless 200 years ago, but what about now?

To be continued…

  

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this just in from way out there…

October 15, 2006

I had an conversation with a friend of mine the other day debating the taste of margarine over real butter.  Margarine, of course is a synthetic concoction made up of chemicals that is designed to have the look, texture and taste of real butter.  Now I gotta ask…  which could be better for you?  Something natural or man made? If we are truly what we eat, where is the logic of consuming an un-natural  product that is made to try to replace the real thing?  Why not eat the real thing and be done with it? 

Oh, I know there are the reports of trans fat and cholesterol, too many calories and stuff like that, but can eating something that is just a step or two removed from being a plastic actually be better for us?  Why not just eat the wax fruit and those little Styrofoam packing pieces that always end up in a candy tray as a joke if Mother Nature has had it in for us all this time?  It makes me wonder how all those generations before us managed to survive on nothing more than the products of the garden and fruit of the vine?  The life expectancy of a grown man several centuries ago was about 45 years, maybe it was due to the lack of plastic in his diet?  Shucks, it would have been better than chewing on bark ‘n’ berries (a cool name for a breakfast cereal) and would have probably tasted better, too.  History may have recorded it something like this, (if History would have had a recorder):

Garth: “Hey Zeke!  Lookin’ a little under the weather, how’s your synthetic intake?”

Zeke: “Synthetic intake?  What ya’ll talkin’ about?  Combustible engines won’t be invented for another 100 years!”

On top of that, I just read a report that decaffeinated coffee actually has caffeine in it!  Talk about a misrepresentation.  Imagine all those millions of people drinking at Starbucks who now can sue.

I don’t understand our food industry or the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) allowing these things to go on in our society!  And another thing!  I found out recently that chocolate may actually be good for you!  What?  All these years of being told it is “sinfully” delicious and a “guilty pleasure” and now we find we have been duped into eating something we thought was bad only to now discover it is good?  Weird! I’ll never touch another M&M… (and don’t even get me started on those peanuts)

 Oh and guess what?  Equal can cause migraine headaches.  That and corn syrup (which has been linked to obesity) is supposed to be better for you than sugar?  

So now here it is, we are being told that margarine is good (a synthetic) and butter (ala naturale’) is bad.  I think,  (unless you are a  mannequin) natural substances should win out, but that is just me.  Would I rather live to be healthy and robust 45 year old as opposed to an 80 year old who has been pumped full of preservatives?  I don’t know…

…but have you seen those hot babes in the mall shop windows lately?

irrefutably 44th avenue south

October 13, 2006

I wish I were a songwriter… 

I think the world needs an outstanding one right about now.  Not that there aren’t any good  writers out there (because there are), but I mean we need a troubadour and we need one badly.  The times definitely could use some changin’.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could take the qualities of some of the great ones both past and present then roll them into one for the new millennium?  I mean,  lets face it… the 2000’s have been kinda bland as far as someone coming along stirring up social change, and it is not because it isn’t warranted… we just need a push in the right direction.

If it were up to me I’d make him have the convictions of John Lennon,  (see the blog  #9  for more on that subject)  the humility of George Harrison,  (see the blog  I Still Miss George ) the political savvy and poetic license of Bob Dylan and the smooth,  melancholic tenderness of Jesse Winchester.  I know it wouldn’t be easy for him because the world (Americans in particular) has become so apathetic.  We might over look his message because of its forthrightness and sincerity.  We are not used to being directed in the ways of wisdom, political integrity and compassion, but we need to be.

If we had a time machine and went back 40 years or so and witnessed the social conscience of the public,  we would be amazed…  and if they could jump ahead to our time I think they’d be appalled.  Their question might be,  “Did we give up or did we just stop trying?”  Was the world not listening or did they just refuse to hear?  Words like…

“Come gather ’round people where ever you roam… and admit that the waters around you have grown and accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone.  If your time to you is worth savin’… then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone,  for the times they are a-changin’  ”   Bob Dylan

“I’m just sittin’ here watchin’ the wheels go ’round and ’round, I really love to watch them roll… no longer ridin’ on the merry-go-round,  I just had to let it go…”   John Lennon

“Sunrise doesn’t last all morning, a cloud burst doesn’t last all day… seems my love has up and left you without warning, but it’s not always going to be this grey.  All things must pass…  all things must pass away.”  George Harrison

“It’s true we live in a great big tear but the world above will never harm us here.  Oh, I… I just wonder where would I be without the tears I cry… unless you’re from another star,  tears are part of what we are. ”  Jesse Winchester

In my little neighborhood on 44th avenue south people would hear the minstrel’s songs and be touched, they would yearn for social equality and be moved, they would realize that in this big, bad, beautiful world of ours… we all want the same things.

Life is just too short for some folks, for other folks it just drags on.  Some folks like the taste of smoky whiskey, others figure tea is too strong.  Well, I’m the type of guy who likes it right in the middle, I don’t like this bouncin’ back and forth.  Me… I want to live with my feet in Dixie and my head in the cool, blue North.”  Jesse Winchester

“I look at the world and I notice it’s turning, while my guitar gently weeps.  With every mistake we must surely be learning, still my guitar gently weeps.”  George Harrison

“There’s room at the top they are telling you still, but first you must learn how to smile as you kill.  If you want to be like the folks on the hill.  A working class hero is somethin’ to be…”  John Lennon

“And if my thought-dreams could be seen, they’d probably put my head in a guillitine.  But it’s alright, ma, it’s life and life only.”  Bob Dylan

Big shoes to fill,  but just a little footprint forward…  a generation awaits, another needs awakened…  all we need is a step in the right direction.  I think we are ready… how ’bout you?

 

Casting the First Stone (… in defense of Mark Foley)

October 7, 2006

Oh boy, I’d love to jump on the bandwagon here… but I’m not going to.   As the fallout continues over the IM’s and e-mails of Mr. Foley, one can’t help wonder how a person becomes so emboldened in the first place.  Especially if the allegations are true and if there has been a history of chastisement by the Republican party.  Now the House speaker and the 43rd President of the United States are being dragged into a “cover-up” charge by the Democrats and the November elections appear to be undermined.  New accusations say this “scandal” was timed to put the Republican re-election bids in chaos and bolster the Democratic minority.   One party tries to defuse the situation while the other scrambles for matches.  To tell the truth… the American people should be smarter than this.

Mark Foley did do some good in his tenure of public service, addressing things such as access to pornography on the Internet by young children and prescribing laws to curtail it.  He partnered up with John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted to aid in the fight against the abuse and exploitation of children.  Lest we forget this fact, he has been openly gay for quite sometime and has been re-elected several times…(which means he must have done something right)   Foley never tried to hide who or what he was… (though he didn’t publicly announce he was gay until recently)   People just turned a blind eye to it.  

Personally I never liked the idea of proclaiming ones sexual orientation like some football fan pledging his allegiance to a certain team.  To me it has always been a private matter that would manifest itself over due course and time.  I don’t need to tell new acquaintances, “I am a heterosexual” like so much water cooler, armchair quarterbacking Monday morning small talk… it is no one else’s business.  It is also no one else’s business what I watch, listen to, dream about or one day hope to be or aspire to become unless I choose to tell them.  Mark Foley has the same privilege.  I don’t agree with his methods, tastes or choosings of young pages to troll about, but I’ll bet his is not an isolated case.  Maybe just the tip of the iceberg…

I guess what really irks people is that the Republicans come off as being so pious, so in tune with the religious right, so much holier than thou…  God’s sole instrument here on Earth.  So much so that when a member of that party is singled out and criticized for being no better than the rest of us mere mortals… it tarnishes them.  They set a standard they could not live up to.   Which should be a lesson for us,  no one is infallible.  Not Republicans, not Democrats, not you or me.  We all make mistakes… which ensures our identity as part of the human race… because we are all imperfect.

I hate to watch the news these days, I know there are more important issues out there than what has transpired over the past week with Mark Foley.  Each person has to conclude that they are voting for a person and not a party or it’s lofty, unrealistic ideals.  Maybe when we think we have someone in office that could be more moral than we ourselves can be we just feel better, like we’ve done our part for the good of society.  When that person fails to uphold what we probably couldn’t do either, we feel cheated or misled.  But really, folks… can any political protegee make atonement for our sins?  I don’t think so.  We reap what we sow…

I am reminded of the security camera that caught an attempted break in.  The perpetrator picked up a brick and hurled it at the plate glass window of a street side store only to have it bounce off and strike him in the head, rendering him unconscious.  The moral of the story?  If you are going to throw stones… duck! they may come right back at you.

Mark Foley was a fruit in a garden of weeds that should be tilled under, the entire ground is polluted.  He was permitted to do what he has done for the sake of politics, and that is what is so sad…

Is there no moral backbone in government…   or only empty speech alluding to it?

42

October 2, 2006

The Ultimate Answer posted by the super computer Deep Thought after 7 1/2 million years of contemplation.  The Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything is 42.  Simple.  Ofcourse, the characters of the series, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams set out to find the Ultimate Question to match the Ultimate Answer.

Maybe there are things out there that are too complex to understand.  Perhaps the creed; Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness is all we need.  Free to be…  you and me.  Conceivably we could have just popped up like Orville Redenbacher’s fabulous concoction, or were we set into motion by intelligent, creative design?  Arguably there may be cases for both sides but I think that as in most scenarios the idea that the simpliest answer is usually the best one applies here… and the simple answer is:  42.

Probably the most perplexing question ever posed by man has been simply, why?  Why are we here?  Who are we?  What are we doing?  Where are we going?  How did we get here?  Is love really all you need?  and …Why? …Why? …Why?  To which I reply, why ask why?  You know, why spelled backwards is yhw…  you.  So why you and not me?  It is simple:  the answer is 42.

Many people have tried to decipher the meaning behind the number 42.  Douglas Adams reason for using such a number has been pondered mathematically and philosophically over and over again for nearly 30  years.  Adams spoke later about the number 42.  He said he came up with it after viewing a skit involving John Cleese from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.  That in itself is an irony, the Circus poked fun at English  society’s  faux pas.  The Ultimate Answer 42 was based on a comedic look at the unknown universe and in itself  influenced by a comedy!  No wonder we can’t figure it out! 

In his book, “Happy Crickets” author Keith Woerner (personal friend of mine) states that the reason man exists on the Earth is to use up all the oil.  His unique point of view simply put is that as the Earth grew to fruitation (like an apple),  humans came into existence.  Now as the Earth over-ripens; mold, fungus and/or worms (we the people) begin to  cover it’s surface thus drawing out the impurities.  So before the oil erupts due to internal pressure and pollutes the surface of the Earth;  parasitic man draws it out, burns it off into the atmosphere and thus preserves his host.  (feel free to contact me for more information on this book)

So sometimes things just work out that way.  If you look up “yhw” on the web you will find it is the abbreviated form of the ancient name for God, Yahweh.  Is it conceivable that God would put such a mystery as the meaning of life before us without an answer as simple as 42?  Maybe we are too  concerned about the answer and need to re-think the question.

Ask not,  “Why am I here?” better to say, “I am here!” and get on with it.  Look for the good and praise it,  you will find God.  Who knows?  Maybe He has a sense of humor, too.   Look for the good in yourself and you will garnish praise because of it.  Besides, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree…  we are not the leaves, nor are we the fruit but we do aid in the proliferation of the seed. 

42…  it is enough.