Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Critique of Banquet’s Chicken Nuggets and Fries

It was a slow Thursday night and I found myself looking in the fridge for something to eat. I was hungry, but then again, I’m always hungry. I wanted to make something hot, filling and most important, it had to be fast and easy (just like my women). A true American end-of-the-day cuisine for those of us who can’t cook and who love beer...which is most of us. (Hey! It's a male thing).

As I perused the freezer, my wandering eyes were attracted to a pile of TV dinners I had purchased a few days earlier. Now, even though I’m on a sub par fixed (meaning zero) income, I still maintain enough personal essence to purchase only the best in frozen entrees. In this case, it was a Banquet Chicken Nuggets and Fries dinner. Banquet is a household name all across the world, isn’t it?

So anyway, the picture on the package was pretty enticing. As you can see, some sumptuous chicken nuggets nestled next to a pile of French fires. Wow! Looks like more food than I could eat all by myself! (In all fairness, the cost of this feast was a mere .77¢ which should have warned me not to expect too much). With my mouth, now watering, I opened the box….

Hmm, seems there might be a problem here Houston! The tray was so small. Not a meal at all. It didn’t look much like the picture, but OK, I decided to soldier on. Into the microwave it went after first stripping off the cellophane film cover as per instructions. One minute on high, and then I stirred the contents with a fork prior to another minute of nuking. While this was going on, I hummed the Star Spangled Banner...twice!

After removal from the oven, I tried to arrange the contents as closely as possible to what I saw on the box. This was futile as it turned out. As I attempted to move the chicken nuggets, I noticed they felt a bit soft (like my head). I had the feeling there was more breading than meat. (It turned out, I was right on that score). The fries were also a little more mushy than firm. (Reminded me of an old man’s penis. Not that I have a problem in that area mind you)!

I ate this stuff anyway. After all, I had paid almost a buck for it! As I ate, I took a look at the nutritional panel. (As you might have guessed, I don’t have a lot to do). I quickly gathered that, for such a small meal, it sure packed a lot of calories and salt. At just a 142 grams in total weight, I was still getting slammed with about 280 calories not to mention 560 milligrams of sodium. Wow. Kind of a kick in the groin for anyone trying to diet or maintain a low salt diet.

But, for all that. It tasted OK and I promised to make up for this dietary transgression on the morrow by eating a salad. Well, maybe.

So who's still advertising on Beck? March 8 edition...

According to Media Matters, back in March 2010, at least 80 advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred for white people." Really? And what or who was your source of information. The local crapper?

In my opinion, Media Matters should concede that they lied and are, in fact run, by a group of elite Socialists Aliens who want to see America toppled. They are in fact a group of genetic throwbacks, hairballs and losers that can't make money honestly so they go after hard working men and women. Well, listen up dweebs....

Glenn Beck and the Fox Network currently capture the lion share of the media market for their time slot. I would be proud to advertise with these folks. You folks at Media Matters, on the other hand, are still up there with the sewer rats and social psychopaths that make up the majority of your subscribers. That's my opinion anyway.

Democrats and mainstream media now resorting to emotional appeals!

As the senate races in key states begins to heat up, it's amazing to watch the spectacle that the Democratic and Mainstream media are making of themselves as they are throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, at candidates they are either running against or don’t like.

Republican senatorial candidates Linda McMahon in Connecticut and Christine O'Donnell in Delaware have been the targets of increasingly accusatory comments by both far left zealots and by media outlets such as the Washington Post and the New York Times. Failing the ability to discuss actual issues (the Democrat's well has run dry on that score), they have resorted to comments like ‘loon’ (Washington Post) and ‘seedy’ (New York Times) when referring to these two female candidates. Surprisingly, few voters seem to be paying much attention to either as time winds down to Election Day.

The Democratic Party has suffered what many now feel is a mortal wound and could well fade from the political scene over the next few years. The extremist media is already fading as more and more voters are looking for the truth and not hype when it comes to who will be placed in positions of leadership. My thought. 'Bout time!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

But Wait! If you order now...

How many times have you heard those words on what has quaintly (but also accurately) been referred to as the boob tube? OK, listen up all you rubes out there. Anytime you hear 'But Wait', I want you to jot the information down and then go directly to to do a little investigative research of your own. If the product is on the up and up, meaning there are few complaints, then by all means order them. (You might just get lucky and order something that actually works).

Following are a few of my favorites along with some typical complaints;

“On Friday March 25 I ordered the Emery Cat board and accidentally hit a#ordered (2), when I got to the billing I realized what I had done and the s&h was $31 with a total order if over $90. I telephoned the company and was told they couldn't help me until Monday. So Monday I telephoned and spoke to a Todd and he informed me there was nothing I could do as the order had already been shipped by FEDEX and the only thing I could do is send it back when I receive it minus the shipping and handling, So if I send it back I am still out $31...”

“Thursday, 8/19/10: I ordered 2 sets of iRenew bracelets online. It did not give me the opportunity to review my order before giving me a confirmation that 3 sets were ordered at $19. 99 each, plus a shipping charge of $52. 65 was added onto that. I immediately called the number listed (203) 306-5764 and spoke with a customer service rep that could not find my online order...”

“never received my ez water jet. I have had several conversations with the 800 number to no avail!!!I have faxed all the info including my copy of my charges on my credit card to a heather!!! On June 28-2010 i again talked to a Janelle who assured me her supervisor would call me back immediately with an answer...”

Remember the trigger phrases are ‘But Wait’ and ‘Free’. Anytime you see one of these in a commercial, turn up your bullshit meter a notch or two.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It Really Sucks to Be Me!

Say what you will about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. That he’s crazy. That he is a closet Hitler or even that he’s simply delusional. (Charges which may or may not be true). What is certain is that this man is no dummy.

His recent trip to New York City to address the United Nations was not so much about what he said. It was the fact that, for an hour or so, he took the world stage and in so doing gained credibility in his home country. You see, Ahmadinejad needs credibility right now. Lots of it.

It is no secret that factions within the Iranian leadership are having their problems socio-economically and politically. You can only lie to your people for so long before they begin to figure things out. When this happens, it’s time for a sacrificial lamb and rumor has it that Ahmadinejad’s number may be up. (After all, what better way to abruptly change political course than to kill off the current president). Moral here; Keep the citizenry guessing and you might live another day.

I will be watching with great interest to see just how much longer this, would be, tyrant has left on planet earth. I fear that soon he may be dining at the table with Allah and that, at least, should make him happy. Could someone please pass the Lamb and Beef Kubideh!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Does Socialism Really Work?

One day last year a Texas Political Science Professor was teaching his class about the failures of Socialism in world governments. A bright young student arose to challenge the Professor and insisted that Socialism does work in certain areas of the world and indeed is working now in the good ole US of A as well!

The Professor said "OK class if you all agree we will conduct a live experiment in the merits of Socialism, but you must all agree to accept the results of this experiment". The class all agreed, they were very eager to precipitate in the Professor's experiment; which was:

1. Quiz on Wednesday, Test on Friday, the grade will be on an average.

 If the average score in the class was an A then everyone gets an A.
 If the average score in the class was a B then everyone gets a B.
 If the average score in the class was a C then everyone gets a C.
 If the average score in the class was a D then everyone gets a D.
 If the average score in the class was an F then everyone gets a F

2. This experiment in Socialism would last for one month.

The first grade on the Quiz was a B, so everyone in the class got a B. Some of the A students were complaining, but the C students were happy to get a B. The A students started to study less and complain more.

The results of the Test on Friday was a C, now the A students were really complaining to the other students about studying and they were trying to encourage the C students to bring up their grades, but the C students did not respond.

The next week the grades were a C and D, the former A students lost interest and did not bother to study because now there was no incentive for them to excel and the former C students were mad at the A students for not helping the C students with their studies, so the C students just quit studying.

The result was that at the end of the month the whole class got a F. The Texas Professor said, "This is perfect example of how Socialism does not work and why Socialism fails people as a whole!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity Oct 30th

Daily Show host Jon Stewart is planning a rally for us moderates on October the 30th, the weekend right before the elections. Mr. Stewart is holding this rally because he sees that the voice of moderates is being drowned out by hyperpartisan ‘Wingnuts’. (I actually prefer the term ‘nutjobs’).

The rally is being billed as the ‘Rally to Restore Sanity’ and will be dedicated to the vast group of hard working men and women whose voices have been drowned out by a minority with personal agendas.

I would encourage everyone to check this deal out.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Christine O'Donnell gets my vote!

OK, so she was a witch! So Christine O’Donnell was behind on her rent! So she has little experience in Washington! So what? Here’s the deal everyone. The things that look like black marks are also the very things that the voters of Delaware and elsewhere should be looking for in a fresh face for the New Washington.

I think that most of the public, whether they are Democrats, Republicans, Tea Baggers (or idiots like myself) must have suspected for some time now things are not all that great in the good old USA. If you watch any news at all, you become very quickly aware that Washington smells more like the Delaware River than it does a Lilly white shirt. It’s fishy and like house guests that have stayed too long, needs to be shown the door. That means anyone who has been in office should be dumped ASAP. Sitting Democrat or Republican, you’re out. Newbie’s, you’re in! This is the message that needs to be sent to President Obama and the rest of his socialist elite. Only by cleaning out what has become a biblical den of corruption can some of the ills of this nation be healed.  The coming election in November is not really about parties or who will or will not be elected. It is about the survival of our country and as capitalistic and free nation under God.

So, Christine, even though I am not a resident of the fine State of Delaware, my imaginary vote goes out to you. I perceive you as a real human being, full of all the flaws and faults the rest of us share. I realize also, that though you may fumble about as a fledgling Senator, you will be standing in that Hall working for the people of your state and not some special interest. I know you will do your best to shrink government and further the cause of this Republic as opposed Coons, a self-declared Marxist, who would like to see it dissolved.

My name is Dan Owen and I approved this message. You can bet your ass I do! I'm a center line Independent voter, and along with many of my fellow American's, Democratic ass is just what I'll be kicking on November the 2nd.

The coming crisis over water!

This poem penned by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was written back in 1797, but is truer than ever today. Everything and everyone alive on the face of this planet depends on the availability of fresh water for survival. (Even fish that live in the sea need to filter the salty brine via specialized ‘chloride cells’ on their gills). But, with ever increasing population levels and the increasing use of technologies that require large amounts of fresh water, the question becomes, ‘are we on a collision course?’ Specifically, will America, land of plenty, come under increasing scrutiny as other parts of the world dry up?

For a planet that is mostly covered with water to a depth of miles, it might seem somewhat of a joke to be talking about a pending lack of it. The key term here is fresh as in drinkable, as opposed to most of the water in the oceans which would require expensive technologies to clean it to the point where it would be considered potable. Of all the water that is present, only about 1 to 2.5% is fit to drink.

Water Use in the United States

In order to keep one person not only watered, but fed, copious amounts of H2O and other resources must be used daily in the States. Among these is the growing of produce in the form of grains, vegetable and fruit. Poultry, swine and other livestock all require food and water in order to be brought to market. In the US alone we grow and slaughter over nine billion animals each year. As a matter of fact, food and agriculture are the largest consumers of water, requiring well over one hundred times more than we use for personal needs. Up to 70 % of the water we take from rivers and groundwater goes into irrigation, about 10% is used in domestic applications and 20% in industry. Currently, about 3600 km3 of freshwater are withdrawn for human use. Of these, roughly half is really consumed as a result of evaporation, incorporation into crops and transpiration from crops. The other half recharges groundwater or surface flows or is lost in unproductive evaporation. So, while much of this water is returned to the earth, it is returned in the form of wastewater that is not fit to drink. The sad truth is that we can still afford to be wasteful here in the US. In other countries, fresh water availability is already becoming much scarcer! Take China for instance. Most of her major rivers are now choked with runoff pollution. In one study it was reported that the Yangtze River (China’s longest) absorbed about 25 billion tons of waste water last year. This river system has now been deemed ‘cancerous’ by some scientists.

While Americans currently luxuriate in the copious use of fresh water (estimates run into the hundreds of gallons per day) much of the rest of the world subsists on 25 gallons per day. That situation will become only worst as the population of the rest of the world sky rockets in coming decades. For every person born, more and more water resources must be tapped. (In just the space of time that it took you to read this far, about four hundred new babies arrived in a world that is supporting over seven billion). Just as we have all experienced a wake up call on oil reserves, we need also to look to the future of how water can be effectively managed here at home and elsewhere. The question that remains is what will happen when shortages become severe in other parts of the globe. Unlike food which can be cut back on in lean times, water availability is crucial and immediate. A sudden shortfall anywhere in the world will result in the instant and dire relocation of large populations with dire results probable for the location they move to. It’s very possible that the next major World War will not be fought over oil after all, but rather a substance that almost covers the earth.

Update: 2018 - Iran citizens were rioting over the lack of clean water. Also see this 2019 article.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Will eggs now spike in cost?

With the recent recall of millions of eggs now receding from the collective consciousness, is there still trouble brewing in chicken city? Click here for my somewhat controversial blog entry.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pigs, the Flu, MRSA and you!

As fall now swiftly approaches, I’m wondering about the flu and how severe it might become over the coming winter months. Last year, thankfully, the pandemic strain known as H1N1 fizzled out before it caused too many deaths. It still pays to remember that even on a ‘good’ year the common forms of the flu can and does kill thousands. Anyone, but especially the very young and the old can become very sick. This also includes a person at any age that is suffering from an impaired immune system.

My focus for this blog is on the mega-sized hog farms that are spread out all over the US. Smithfield Foods, the largest and most profitable of these, killed 27 million hogs last year. Now that's a lot of hogs and it’s not so much the meat I’m concerned about as the shear amount of feces produced. For instance, the 500,000 pigs at a single Smithfield subsidiary in Utah generate more fecal matter each year than the 1.5 million inhabitants of Manhattan. The best estimates put Smithfield's total waste discharge at 26 million tons a year. That would fill four Yankee Stadiums. Even when divided among the many small pig production units that surround the company's slaughterhouses that is not an easily containable amount. Many of its contractors allow great volumes of waste to run out of their slope-floored barns and sit blithely in the open, untreated, where the elements break it down and gravity pulls it into groundwater and river systems. Smithfield's holding ponds -- the company calls them lagoons -- cover as much as 120,000 square feet. The area around a single slaughterhouse can contain hundreds of lagoons, some of which run thirty feet deep. The liquid in them is not brown. The interactions between the bacteria and blood and afterbirths and stillborn piglets and urine and excrement and chemicals and drugs turn the lagoons pink.

Even light rains can cause lagoons to overflow; major floods have transformed entire counties into pig-shit bayous. To alleviate swelling lagoons, workers sometimes pump the shit out of them and spray the waste on surrounding fields, which results in what the industry daintily refers to as "over-application." This can turn hundreds of acres -- thousands of football fields -- into shallow mud puddles of pig shit. Tree branches drip with pig shit.

Some pig-farm lagoons have polyethylene liners, which can be punctured by rocks in the ground, allowing shit to seep beneath the liners and spread and ferment. Gases from the fermentation can inflate the liner like a hot-air balloon and rise in an expanding, accelerating bubble, forcing thousands of tons of feces out of the lagoon in all directions.

The lagoons themselves are so viscous and venomous that if someone falls in it is foolish to try to save him. A few years ago, a truck driver in Oklahoma was transferring pig shit to a lagoon when he and his truck went over the side. It took almost three weeks to recover his body. In 1992, when a worker making repairs to a lagoon in Minnesota began to choke to death on the fumes, another worker dived in after him, and they died the same death. In another instance, a worker who was repairing a lagoon in Michigan was overcome by the fumes and fell in. His fifteen-year-old nephew dived in to save him but was overcome, the worker's cousin went in to save the teenager but was overcome, the worker's older brother dived in to save them but was overcome, and then the worker's father dived in. They all died in pig shit.

Add to this, the routine manner in which millions of tons of antibiotics are fed to the pigs to stimulate growth, much of which is later excreted into the lagoons, and you have yourself one very interesting scenario. While most of the bacteria are killed by the antibiotics, a few survive. These tend to be resistant to antibiotics very similar to those given to people. Among the more dangerous bacteria, we find Staphylococcus aureus subtype 398 (MRSA), which has recently found itself a new niche to live in the swine population worldwide. This bacteria is methicillin resistant and is dangerous if it colonizes a human being, especially a human with a compromised immune system.

So, this microbe along with a host of other microbes sit in these vats of shit doing what they do best. That is evolving and exchanging genetic information via different pathways. Oh, did I forget to mention that the H1N1 flu virus is present there also? (Honestly, you just cannot make this stuff up). So, what you end up with in all those fields and in all those vats of pig shit are very large and leaky Petri dishes. An informal science experiment that goes on year in and year out. It should be interesting to see how it all works out.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Iran's actual location in the world at large!

After an extensive search in Google Maps, I have determined that Iran is not where I thought it was all these years. Seriously!

No, after seeing how the government mistreats its citizenry and I then considered the hatred, bigotry and outright lunacy of the leadership, I’ve determined that Iran is actually an infected pimple on the butt of an otherwise decent world.

This pimple has been around for some time and I expect that if left to its own devices, may eventually become an abscess that would threaten healthy tissues around it.

As one who plays doctor in his mind, I would recommend lancing the pus filled pain in the ass before other little pimples, close to it, get some ideas of their own.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


In the coming months, after the November midterm elections, the citizens of the United States will face the harsh reality of atoning for a government bureaucracy that is out of control. Someone will be tasked to come up with a solution and a plan to reverse the orgy of spending that has gripped this nation since the Democratic Party came into power over eighteen months ago.

With a daily interest bill of 1.2 billion dollars, our government must now resort to printing money with absolutely nothing to back it. They’re also running out of pockets to move funds from and to.

Foreign nations that have been floating the US a line of credit to the tune of over three trillion dollars have finally begun to wise up. Countries like Japan are becoming increasingly reluctant to hold our currency as they face problems of their own. The result may likely bring increasing pressure on President Obama to find some relief through increased taxation at all levels of our economy. This may take the form of taxes being raised on certain via a VAT or Value Added Tax. Other taxes being considered are a Gas Tax, an increase in cigarette taxes, the so-called Obesity tax on soda, capital gains taxes and well, you get the idea. Every day, new tax codes and regulations are being added daily to the current Federal Tax Codes which encompasses over 71,684 pages. As I speak, the Feds have already passed a tax increase on tanning Spas which amount to 10% per customer per visit. Get ready America, the shit is about to hit the fan!

While the future of America is looking grim, Capitol Hill doesn’t look the least predisposed to change things. Even when almost every expert on the economy has agreed on one point. That the US Governments spending must be slashed by at least twenty percent if we are ever to get out of the hole we find ourselves in. And this would BE IN ADDITION to massive cuts in entitlement benefits such as Social Security, Medicare and Union pensions. There will be very few citizens who will not have to make some large sacrifices and let me add that the process will be painful. The real issue right now is that these drastic actions must happen soon, as the clock is ticking on the massive 13 trillion dollar debt each and every day.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Iran cancels release of Sarah!

Evidently, Iran has canceled the planned release of Sarah Shourd, a detained US woman, because it says the legal procedure needed to secure her freedom has not been completed.

"Because the legal procedure on her case is not finished, her release is canceled," the ILNA news agency quoted Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, a Tehran prosecutor, as saying on Friday.

This cat and mouse game by a group of demented sick and sadists over the release of US citizens and others has got to stop. I can only hope and pray that some country (hint hint) out there with enough cojones (definitely not the US) give this den of snakes a last chance to release all its foreign nationals. Also, they should demand Armadadickwad's head on a pole. For these acts, they will then promise not to bomb the country back into the Stone Age, but rather only Dark Ages (a time they might actually like).

I'm sorry to sound so immature, but Iran's government really does need to go. They are a sore on the butt of a world that will only get worst the longer we endure the pain of their continued existence.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

On November 3rd the job picture may improve.

It is no secret that perhaps a trillion or two is currently being held by companies all across America for fear of increased corporate taxes and the uncertainty that has been so much a part of a democratic majority in both houses.

I have to wonder, then on what positive effect might be had if and when on November the 2nd, the American people change the balance of power when elections sweep many new Republicans into office. This just might open the flood gates and begin to turn, what has been a nightmare around.

But, don’t misunderstand me. I am not a large fan of the Republican Party by any stretch. It’s just that right now I can see the benefit to moving the countries political profile a little over to the right. Such a move, however, will do nothing to cure the horrendous amount of corruption that exists on Capitol Hill.

I would encourage any thoughtful voter to forget about party allegiance this one time and vote only for first time Republican candidates. We need to purge the system of the crap that currently is plugging everything up. We need some fresh blood and with that transfusion, we need effective legislation to provide for term limits, a smaller federal government and a return of sovereignty to the states.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Invasion of the winged ticks! Part 1

Part One – A chance encounter

I’m not sure of the exact date I first noticed the tiny bugs flitting around my room. I remember thinking they were some kind of weird fly. They were way too small to be a regular fly. My mind then went on to more important topics. Like where to find a job! I do recall that they were much smaller than the ones that normally invade homes here in southwest Missouri and then went on to other things. Little did I realize that in a sense, I was probably one of the first to lay eyes on what was soon to become a nightmare plague that would cripple the world.

Five years ago, when I moved from a small apartment in Chicago (the windy city that I felt actually got its name more from the politicians than from Lake Michigan), I finally landed in a small Midwestern town named Birch that supported a population of just under two thousand. After looking around in vain for a job, I soon discovered that most of the people living there worked in various trade jobs such as construction, roofing and the like. Positions I was ill suited to fill. A few of the places I sought work at mentioned the National Research Institute that occupied the far north edge of town as a potential candidate. NRI as it was known by the locals was very clandestine but occasionally they were known to post a help wanted sign by the road that ran by the min entrance. No one, including myself, really had much of an idea what went on in the small cluster of nondescript concrete buildings. We could see that the parking lot there was most always full from 7AM until late into the evening. And, there were rumors, of course. Some said they tortured animals while others hinted at even darker experiments. A friend of mine confided to me that NRI was actually involved in genetic research. Turned out he was the closest guesser of the group.

I really didn’t care much what they did and never went over to apply for work. Interestingly enough, I also never ran into anyone who worked there in the town proper. Even on the weekends while shopping at the local grocery, there was no evidence of strangers in my mist. (I would have remembered seeing the blue coverall’s that NRI employees were required to wear). Maybe they all did their shopping late at night or maybe they shopped in the next town? Strange behavior, but not illegal. So, it was with some shock that a chance encounter at the mart one weekend made me aware that things were not all that perfect in the little town of Birch Missouri.

On that day, a Saturday early in the springtime, I was at the mart looking for the section that held insect repellent. After wandering around for a while, I spotted a friend standing at the far end of an isle. He evidently was also looking for repellant as he was holding a can of what appeared to be Off. “Hey Ted” I announced as I walked up to his side. “That’s just what I was looking for. The damn bugs are absolutely thick this year and its not even summer yet!” I commented sagely as I picked up a can at random. It announced ‘Insect Away’ in big blue lettering and was evidently on sale.

Ted looked over at me and scowled. “Hey DanO! No, don’t get that junk. It don’t work buddy.” He grinned and pointed to his left leg. “See those red spots?” I could just make out a cluster of tiny red marks on his calf. “That happened after I had applied the Insect Away crap! Just a short walk in the woods yesterday and BAM it get clobbered good” He then pointed to the can of Off in his right hand. “This here is the real McCoy according to the store manager. He said that while it costs more, it’s worth it because it works!”

As I eyed the cost difference, I had internal doubts. If the guy Ted was referring to was someone named Mark Billings, then all bets were off. Old Mark barely got himself through High School a few years back when he landed a job at the mart. He actually was a stock boy, but told his friends he was the manager. Nice enough kid but certainly not much in the way of an expert on bugs. Personally, I have been long convinced that most of what you pay for these days is hype and not actual product. But, I was willing to part with a little extra on the basis of Ted’s glowing endorsement. I replaced the Insect Away and grabbed a can of Off and headed for the check out counter waving adieu over my back to Ted as I went. That was the last time I saw Ted alive.

End of part one….

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Glenn Beck's thought on the plan to burn the Koran

I’m on vacation and trying to unplug but the news can make that hard. I just read the story about the Florida church planning to burn copies of the Koran.

What is wrong with us? It’s just like the Ground Zero mosque plan. Does this church have the right? Yes. Should they? No. And not because of the potential backlash or violence. Simply because it is wrong. The more I reflect on what happened on 8/28 the more I realize the amazing power of GOOD.

We must be the better person. We must be bigger than our problems. Bigger than the times in which we live. Burning the Koran is like burning the flag or the Bible. You can do it, but whose heart will you change by doing it? You will only harden the hearts of those who could be moved. None of those who are thinking about killing us will be affected, but our good Muslim friends and neighbors will be saddened. It makes the battle that they face inside their own communities even harder.

Let us rise above the current levels and elevate ourselves and our country. The only thing this act would prove is that you CAN burn a Koran. I didn’t know America was in doubt on that fact. Let’s prove to each other that while there are many things we can do, there are maybe many more things that we choose not to do.

Friday, September 3, 2010

We've Come a Long Way Baby!

In looking back. Way back, to a time when the North American Continent was mostly empty of human life forms. When America was occupied by scattered Indian tribes. Tribes who were nomadic by nature and who moved with the herds of bison. Animals that supplied most of their needs and which are now a novelty. When America was a virginal country full of pristine forests and fields. When a man could drink long and hard from a stream that would quench his very soul. When… Well, I’m sometimes a little shocked to see just how far backwards we have moved in two hundred short years.

To say that America is rapidly becoming an armpit would be perhaps to be too kind. Homo sapiens should really be shortened to Homo saps and it's way past time we woke up.

Today, drinking untreated water from any source can be a deathtrap. (Really fresh water comes in little bottles at $2 a pop). Our forests are dwindling and the animals that dwell within are under constant pressure of extinction. Even the air we breathe has become routinely tainted with hydrocarbons and filth. (If you want to see the difference, hop a plane to Canada). All the while, we continue to reproduce like rabbits in numbers that would not be permitted by any other sane species. Yes, America is fast becoming a true cesspool and one that literally stinks. The saddest cut, however, is that we still look like a pretty good place to live when compared to most other countries!

While our government continues to wrangle over which party will be in power next term and where best they can spend money we no longer have, we have somehow squandered all that is really important. Faith in God has been replaced with faith in machines. Friends that used to gather around a fireplace, now sit hunkered in front of a computer screen. They text each other now and if they really like you they put a smiley face at the end of a sentence. Churches have become ever more a commercial interest and not a house of God. That is for those that actually attend church. The rest of us Godless wonders sit slack jawed watching the nightly news while we plot on how to screw our neighbor. Yeah, we’ve come a long way.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Overton Window by Glenn Beck

On an impulse, I recently purchased a book published by Glenn Beck which was titled ‘The Overton Window’. I bought it with the expectation that it would be an extension of the kinds of things Glenn does on his afternoon program which airs on the Fox News. I was wrong.

The book is both eye opening and highly readable. I think it also does a credible job in explaining some of the machinations that are at work behind the scenes in American government. It paints a graphic example of what happens when true leaders of that country, its citizens, abdicate their power to a small group of corrupt power brokers who play one side against the other in order to forward their personal agendas. This power struggle has been going on in all governments for as long as men have sought a way to band together. America’s system, while imperfect, was and is one of the better experiments in freedom. However, as the book points out, corruption, once it gains a foothold, can spread like a burning cancer throughout the length and width of the system. A system managed by power hungry despots who imagine themselves ordained to take care of the flock, even at that flocks expense in personal liberties.

I would encourage everyone to buy a copy or failing that, get your friends at church to pool their money so that books can be purchased and then shared. I do not think you will be disappointed.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

MSNBC - a clueless and sad footnote to news commentary in America.

Whenever I need a shot of indignation or if I just want a cheap laugh, I tune into the MSNBC Comedy Hour (which is every hour). No matter when I tune in, the message is always the same; Obama against the rest of the world or Glenn Beck is a liar and crazy person or my ever favorite, our current financial meltdown is due solely to Bush. That pretty much covers the mainstream focus of a group of people who should really know better.

Here’s a good exercise for any future budding journalistic majors that may be out there. Take notes for an hour while watching this media outlet and then go and verify what they say. Gosh! What an eye opening exercise! Access to facts via the Internet must make commentators like Rachael Maddow cringe. But, somehow they move on anyhow…

But, you know what! If you tell a lie often enough, people like me and you will begin to believe the drivel they peddle anyway. They are also great at reporting snippets of news out of context. The piece was factually correct, but when not heard in context can carry a completely different meaning than what was meant. When I stated, a while ago, that ‘Maddow should be shot’ it would help if you knew that I was referring to rabies shots. Whatever happened to competent and verified news sourcing? Has MSNBC even heard of these terms?  Do they even care?

Here is my challenge to all the media outlets. From now on, when you make a report that is controversial, also make sure to post links on your webpage to back up the facts you are reporting. Now that would make for a lot of fun in my view.

That was one fast end to the oil spill!

Just weeks after the oil spill was stopped, so too did coverage by the major media outlets. I’ve observed just a few from time to time now. The latest was on Fox News when they briefly discussed efforts being readied to remove the BOP so it can be inspected. Little or no coverage concerning what happened to the estimated 4.5 million barrels of oil that gushed into the sensitive Gulf region. Likewise very sparse coverage as to how the clean up is proceeding.

The best information I’ve come across is the chart pictured here that addresses what is thought to have happened to all that black crude. It would seem that most of it has either disappeared or has been eaten by hungry bacteria. (So, what’s happened to all those bacteria)?

Well, perhaps Mother Nature in the form of a hurricane will once again launch everything back into perspective. Tropical Depression Nine, now just off the coast of Africa (and which will be named Gaston if it strengthens) could easily become a player as it is already south of three previous storms (Danielle, Earl and Fiona). It would both tragic and amusing if it hits New Orleans. I can just picture President Obama, in my mind, strutting up and down a Gulf beach with hands on hips and looking presidential. All the while, with dark clouds billowing on the horizon. Oh no! It’s Katrina II the sequel.

Plastic shopping bags need to go.

After a lot of heated debate, California lawmakers caved in on a bill that would have made them the first State in the Union to ban plastic shopping bags. While I rarely applaud anything this progressively run state does, I have to give them one atta-boy for at least trying to do the right thing.

Plastic bags that are used once and then tossed in the nearest landfill by the hundreds of millions constitute a growing problem for the environment. They represent just a tip of an iceberg of junk that is thrown away each day by Americans. While some cities have made great strides in recycling, they are still more the exception rather than the rule. And, while I’m vehemently against any more growth in the Federal government, I would like to see state and local agencies take a better look at a problem that just keeps getting worst.

There is no reason that I can see why more of us can’t start bringing our own grocery totes along to the store. Most don’t because the current system of ‘paper or plastic’ is just too convenient and because there is no real incentive to change.

Ordinarily, I would like to see the Federal government challenged to come up with meaningful legislation in this arena, but fear they will take that to mean ‘gain more control’ and then use it as an excuse to add another layer to the old  onion.. No, I feel this issue must be addressed on a local level in such a way that the public will have an incentive to change the way in which they lug their vittles home each week.

Perhaps we could push for the creation of a new department in each state legislature whose job it would be to oversee the recovery of as much recyclables as is possible. Statewide, this could add new jobs while also being profitable in the long term….

Opps, my bad! I actually had a common sense idea there for a minute.