Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Let's Talk Turkey

It’s a Thanksgiving day tradition where we sit around the table with friends and family, say a prayer, give thanks for many things, then devour a poor little animal that was cruelly raised, abused, pumped full of chemicals, shackled upside down, then unceremoniously slaughtered so that we can gorge ourselves on its flesh.

I enjoy nature. Nothing makes me happier then watching a covey of quail come to my backyard feeder, or seeing a family of deer as they wander through the neighborhood. When it comes to wiping out nature, I’m all for its protection.

As much as I love the natural world around me, there is another side of me that has a functioning brain. God, or nature, designed our bodies to be omnivorous. This means that we are biologically created to eat both meat and plants. Now I understand that some folks don’t have a firm grasp on this concept, or merely choose to ignore it, but regardless of your feelings for little critters, they are below us on the food chain.

Some people take the eating of animals too seriously. They see the family pet and think how could anybody eat another little defenseless animal. The reality of life is that we eat animals. We eat fish, cattle, chicken, and a variety of other Earthly fauna. It’s what we were meant to do. It is how we were engineered. More importantly, it is how we survive on this planet.

Seeing how animals are raised for slaughter is not a pretty sight. These visions are brought to you by those who feel that the poor turkeys are not given the opportunity to live happy full family lives out in a green field in utopia U.S.A. The hard cold fact is that for the amount of animals that we consume yearly there isn’t enough room, or at the least it would be cost prohibitive, to give them all their own acre of land to live on.

Animals that are raised strictly for food do lead crummy lives. I imagine it sucks royally to be raised for food, but it’s their purpose for living. They are bred, so that we can survive. Sort of all comes back once again to the whole survival of the fittest argument. On the food chain of life, turkeys will be eaten. If we do not consume them, then a whole variety of other animals will line up at the banquet table in our place.

There is a reason that calling someone a turkey is insulting. Being a turkey is not something to be proud of. You exist so that others can eat you. Pigs have the same social issue. It saddens me to see slaughterhouses, and to see what animals that are being raised for food must endure. In the end, I realize that it is being done this way for a purpose. The purpose of feeding us humans, after all as I have stated before, we are near the top of the food chain.

This Thanksgiving why not say a special thank you to the turkey you are about to eat. Native Americans always thank the animal they are going to eat, for giving up its life to sustain theirs. If it sort of bothers you to eat animals, then try giving some recognition to the animals’ plight. Thank them for being a part of your celebration, and let them know that their death is appreciated.

Thanks!

Imagine living in a crude log home. The winter is coming soon, and you have no food to get you through. You look at your neighbor and wonder how long you could get by if you cooked him. But your neighbor is getting just as thin as you are, and you realize there isn’t enough meat on his bones to feed you and your family for long. Enduring many months on a ship to make it to your new home where you are free from religious oppression, and now it seems that you will all die.

As all of these terrible thoughts are going through your head, you see a movement in the bushes on the other side of the clearing. The native people of this new land have seen your plight and have come to help feed you, and to show you how to make a living off the land of your chosen new home. This one act of friendship, and caring, will mean the destruction of these same natives.

We celebrate Thanksgiving and fondly remember the kind Native-Americans who provided the necessary food for our forefathers to survive on this continent. Without them, things may have been a lot different in the world. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Native-Americans would have survived no matter who first claimed North America.

The sad truth is, if it weren’t for one group of white men it would be another. England, Spain, France and others were all poised to try and claim North America for their own. The downfall of the Native-Americans was that they were too nice. They were the unfortunate casualty of progress in the modern world.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, let’s remember the Native-Americans, the African-Americans, the Irish-Americans, and all of the other hyphenated Americans and emigrants that helped to build this country up to what it is today. Many different cultures poured a lot of sweat and blood into this country, and many more have gave their lives defending that way of life even today.

There will be a lot of articles that will talk about the men and women that are now serving this country at home and overseas. This is just another one of those articles. I’d like to think that the quantity of these types of articles show that Americans do understand what is at stake, and just who is to thank for their ability to eat turkey until they have to undo their pants and sit on the couch to watch football.

Our military are on every continent, and just about in every country on this planet. Every one of them is there for one purpose and one purpose only. To ensure that those of us that are living back here in the United States have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.

Many of our military will spend the holiday season eating sand and walking around with targets painted on their backs so that they draw the attention, and the war, away from their families and friends in this country.

The attack on 9-1-1 was horrendous. Not simply because we were being attacked on our own soil, but for who was attacked. Thousands of innocent people were slaughtered with no remorse of the action. Historically an enemy would focus their attacks on military targets. That is what the military does. Its purpose is to place itself in harms way so that the people they represent don’t have to. Almost every country believes this, and follows this unspoken rule; until recently.

The enemy we now face is the worst form of coward I have ever known. They sneak around blowing up innocent non-combatant civilians. For some bizarre reason they think that their war involves anyone who does not think as they do. They are like a cancer on this planet, and they spread their vile filth to the minds of their children. Never mind the fact that their twisted sense of war has not worked throughout the history of this planet, and will never work or allow them to ever achieve their goals.

This is why the rest of the world views them for what they are, spineless, cowardly, murderers of innocent people. Nice religion folks. I would really love to see some sort of goals based on their beliefs. Do they honestly think they can kill every living soul who does not believe as they do? Do they honestly think that this will attract more people over to their way of thinking?

It’s easy to brainwash idiotic citizens when you prevent them from learning and to thrive with freedom. Once the communication doors are open, and freedom takes hold in a country, it’s hard to put the genie back in the bottle. The Soviet Union attempted this a while back and it didn’t go very far at all. Free people will not be oppressed again. They will fight to remain free!

This Thanksgiving we all have a lot to be thankful for. Top on the list is our freedom. A close second is the ability to bring freedom to others who have known only fear and hatred. Terrorist will eventually run out of steam, and supporters. The eyes of the Earth are being pried open slowly. Soon, there will be very few people left who are in the dark.

I am thankful for the men and women, both past and present, which have fought for the freedom that we now enjoy. I am thankful for a strong president that was able to stand up against the weaker of our nation and lead the fight a little further to rid this world of evil. And I am thankful that I live in a country where I am free to write down my views and share with you all my thoughts whether they are a popular position or not.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2003

Push Me, Shove You

Lately it seems more and more like the terrorists are on the offensive. Daily we are seeing news that something else has been blown up. English targets were hit recently to coincide with our Presidents visit to England. Has the free world bitten off more then they can chew this time?

It’s a sad world we live in where people have to die for a cause. Whether that cause is freedom, democracy, or religion, people should not have to die to defend their views. Yet this is what is happening all around us, and it’s the same process which has molded the world throughout its history. If you don’t live the way we want you to, we’ll attack you until you do.

You know what’s really nuts? As terrible as that sounds, by not attacking we leave ourselves open to being attacked and taken over by others.

There is no handholding “Kum Ba Yah” answers to world relations.

It all rolls back to the “survival of the fittest” rule that I tend to lean on with many explanations. It’s not how right your view is, or even if your view is correct. It comes down to whomever has the largest pair to enforce that their view will be dominant.

We hear that we are fighting for the cause of freedom for all people, but isn’t the point that we are fighting for “our” brand of freedom for all people?

Those that we are fighting believe just as strongly that their religion, as oppressive as it seems to us, is the only true path. The sad part is that their religion, like most organized religions, is terrible. To rule an entire region of the world by one group’s narrow-minded religious views is crazy. THAT, my friends, is what we are fighting for.

The fact that we have opened up a hornet’s nest should not concern us. This mess in the world has gone on too long, and the only way to eventually remove the problem is to keep at it until it is, well, suppressed. I believe that from this day forth we will have terrorist attacks for a long time to come. We must meet this challenge head on, and root out the little bastards wherever they fester. Killing innocent people to try to make your point has never been acceptable in a civilized society. Just like children these folks need to finally be taught some manners.

The world community has looked the other way while countries commit atrocities against their populations. The United States has done this as well. On the defense of those countries, it’s difficult to make the decision to go into another country and slap them around for acting like thugs. It’s an extremely brave decision to finally say enough is enough.

I don’t think any leader wants to be the one to risk his population just to straighten out the sleaze in another country, but I for one am proud that G.W. had the strength to make that decision for us. Even if it did take 9-1-1 to make us realize that the time has come to open up a can of whup-ass.

Change is a hard thing to take, and we are in the process of not only moving the cheese of another country, but we’re trying to change the way of life they have lived since the beginning of history. That’s a huge movement, of cheese that is…

We cannot turn tail and run because a few of them are blowing things up and killing folks. The end result of that move would be a complete and total disaster for the world. The only course of action is to stay in the fight no matter how long it takes. Believe me when I say, this fight is going to take a long time and span the terms of multiple presidents.

For as long as we are dedicated to this cause we will be under attack, both on our home soil, and in other countries. I believe that if we stick to the fight, and if all other freedom-loving countries stick to it as well, we will prevail! We will never please everyone, but we can certainly defuse many of the runaway evil empires that have surfaced in this world.

Another disaster would be if other countries left us to fight this fight alone. It would take down our strength and start to wear on our resolve. We would be forced to pull back to a smaller front. This would send a terrible message to terrorists and evil countries all over the world. For this reason England, and all other countries that are in this fight with us should be praised for taking a stand for freedom.

Just as there will always be idiots that commit heinous crimes against people in this country, the same will be true worldwide. The goal is to make this the exception, not the rule. In our country people kill others, but it’s on a manageable level. It will be a long process, but I think the world community can reach this level of civilized behavior. Sure it’s a lofty goal, and some weaker people in our society can’t even fathom a world where terrorists are a small problem.

From my viewpoint, protesting the extermination of terrorism is showing us where the weakness in our society truly is. The folks who believe that if we just all hold hands and sing songs, the big bad people will leave us alone is borderline crazy. That line of reasoning went down with the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

Terrorists have slapped us in the face with their gauntlet; we cannot afford to cower now, or ever!

Thursday, November 20, 2003

A COLUMN FOR SOPHIE, THE TOBACCO BUSTER

[The following article is reprinted with permission from Bob Lonsberry. More great articles by Bob can be found at his website at www.lonsberry.com Thanks Bob!]

This column is for my daughter Sophie.

She is 10, a fifth-grader, and a Tobacco Buster. That's what her T-shirt said yesterday. Tobacco Buster. She and some others wore them as they trouped from classroom to classroom in the elementary school, making a presentation about smoking.

She's learned about smoking in school and is very serious about it. I remember how that is. When I was her age, and younger, I was very serious about it myself.

I remember being about 7 and getting a lesson in school about the dangers of smoking and the number of years it would take off one's life. I went home afterward and made some calculations and took them to my mother.

I told her when she would die, and how old I would be, and how afraid that made me, and how I wished she would stop smoking.

She laughed and told me not to worry and kept on smoking.

Then and for years to follow. After the nodes came and her voice went raspy and the hacking, phlegmy, nearly passing-out coughing fits took hold of her and she had to lift the nasal canula out of the way to light her cigarettes.

She's out on Greenwood Street now, a little lichen-scarred stone between her third and fourth husbands.

She's grama-in-the-picture-frame. An 8-by-10 smiling face unknown to or barely remembered by her grandchildren. Just like her father is a fleeting memory to me, a wheezing emphysemic with a cigarette and a cough, dead long before I was old enough to even know what a grandfather was.

My people drown in their own fluids, with blackened cancerous lungs and the stench of burnt tobacco in their hair.

My grandfather and my mother and my uncle and another uncle sick now and my brother with a canula of his own.

This column is for my daughter Sophie.

She is a Tobacco Buster and she takes it seriously. She is learning in the classroom what I hope she never has to see in person, the agony and terror of people who can't breathe, and the hurt of lives they leave empty by their absence.

Today is the Great American Smoke-out, or something like that. That gimmicky thing they do each year for people who have lost the instinct of self-preservation. A little plea to smokers to try for one day to suspend the slow suicide of their habit.

I admit I've kind of lost interest in it.

I've kind of given up hope. You can cry and plead and beg and argue and none of it does the slightest bit of good. They nod their heads and mouth platitudes about how they know it's bad for them but they just can't stop or they like it or how their grandfather smoked two packs a day and lived to be 92.

Blah-blah, blah blah blah.

Different person, same tired nonsense.

I've kind of given up hope.

But I am touched by Sophie's enthusiasm and faith. She and the others went from classroom to classroom with a simple and obvious message - don't touch the stove, it's hot. Don't do that, it will hurt. Don't smoke, you'll die.

And maybe the children listened.

Or maybe they went home and feared for their parents.

And maybe your heart is too shrouded by selfishness and cowardice for that to sink in. And maybe I don't care. Because if you don't give a damn about yourself, why should I?

Smoke and die for all I care. Better people than you have done it and the rest of us have gone on fine. We don't need you, we don't feel sorry for you, you're bringing it on yourself.

Screw you and your cigarettes.

If only you'd have the good graces to go off on an island somewhere and fight for breath alone, out of our earshot, where your slow-motion death isn't played out for your family to watch and cry over, a last token of your incomprehensible selfishness.

It's your life you end, but it's other people's lives you ruin. The ones whose misfortune it is to love a smoking idiot like you. You will put them through hell and leave them prematurely bereft and denied the birthright of family because you're too spineless to put down that freaking cigarette.

I don't pity you, I hold you in contempt.

And so, eventually, will your loved ones. When they realize what your smoking did to them and their children. We would hate someone who killed our parent, so what should we feel for parents who kill themselves?

Who become grama-in-the-picture-frame, a smiling 8-by-10 reminder that she loved cigarettes more than family, nicotine more than blood, habit more than home.

This column is for my daughter Sophie.

The one who is very serious about tobacco.

The one who is the spitting image of the grandmother she never knew.

- by Bob Lonsberry (c) 2003

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Stupid Is, As Stupid Does

This morning while driving to work I was almost broadsided. Does anyone know what the little red upside down triangular traffic sign with the word “Yield” on it means?

Further along my extremely short journey to work I saw a pedestrian just about run over by the woman in front of me as they were strolling across the street while staring at the steady red, open-palm, facing them. Can someone tell me what that sign means? Now let’s not always see the same hands.

Is it my imagination, or is the world populated by idiots? Weren’t we all supposed to learn as children to read signs, look both ways before crossing the street, and oh yes, cross in a crosswalk and not 15 feet back up the street from the crosswalk. How many times have you seen people darting across a very busy street with a perfectly good crosswalk, and light-controlled intersection, just a few yards away?

As an added benefit at night, these walking fence posts dress all in dark colors, just in case there might be a chance of actually seeing them. I especially like the addition of bicycles so that it enhances their speed as they plunge across unlighted streets.

Here’s a little scenario that I see frequently as well. You’re driving down the freeway, cruising along on a nice sunny day, radio blasting out some soothing rock ‘n roll, you check your mirror, everything looks normal. Suddenly, you catch movement out of the corner of your eye in the same mirror you just checked and here comes some dip-zweeby on a motorcycle going 95 MPH wearing nothing but a pair of shorts and sandals, weaving in and out of the lanes like some Mario video game. Does anyone else wonder why motorcycle riders die easier then those of us in cars?

When I was living in Colorado, I was stunned to learn that when a left-turn light turns red, that means that at least six more cars can proceed to turn left in front of the on-coming traffic. People talk about the driving in California, but in Colorado they tend to mix a little dangerous in with their fast. All the sand on the streets during the winter just adds a touch of excitement as you glide around corners like you’re driving on marbles.

Have you ever looked at warnings on various items and wondered why they sounded so dumb? The reason that warning is there is that some grey-matter lacking gonzo tried to do what they are warning you about. Here are just a few examples.

"Caution: The contents of this bottle should not be fed to fish." -- On a bottle of shampoo for dogs.

"For external use only!" -- On a curling iron.

"Warning: This product can burn eyes." -- On a curling iron.

"Do not use in shower." -- On a hair dryer.

"Do not use while sleeping." -- On a hair dryer.

"Do not drive with sunshield in place." -- On a cardboard sunshield that keeps the sun off the dashboard.

"Do not eat toner." -- On a toner cartridge for a laser printer.

"Do not use for drying pets." -- In the manual for a microwave oven.

"Do not use as ear plugs." -- On a package of silly putty.

"Warning: has been found to cause cancer in laboratory mice." -- On a box of rat poison.

"Caution: Remove infant before folding for storage." -- On a portable stroller.

"Do not iron clothes on body." -- On packaging for a Rowenta iron.

"Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly." -- On a child sized Superman costume.

"Not for human consumption." -- On a package of dice.

"Do not dangle the mouse by its cable or throw the mouse at co-workers." -- From a manual for an SGI computer.

"This product not intended for use as a dental drill." -- On an electric rotary tool.

Well I think you get the basic idea. People are so sue happy these days that anytime some ninny does something completely unexpected, and for what the product was never intended, the manufacturer must then warn others to not attempt the same maneuver.

Personally, I say don’t warn these folks. Let’s get them out of the gene pool so that they don’t continue to breed. Sometimes it seems that attempting to save the cerebrally-challenged among us can only lead to further generations of people who just might use a garden hose internally.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Ice Cream Headache

Some of you may know that I am an active member of the local Water Rescue Team. Today we had a training dive. Almost all of the dive team members wear dry suits, which means water rarely touches their skin. Inside the dry suit they can wear long underwear, or anything else that will keep them toasty. Being new to cold water diving (all of our lakes in Utah were geothermally heated), I still wear a 7mm wetsuit.

Diving with the rescue team is not your typical scuba diving experience. Most of the dives are in fairly cold water, poor visibility, and shorter then your average sightseeing dive.

Today would not disappoint me by breaking any of the above factors.

The air temperature was a balmy 41-degrees Fahrenheit, and the water was warmer at 44-degrees. In addition to the lovely temperatures, it was raining on us as well. Great weather for the snow skiers because the mountains were getting dumped on. For scuba diving, it was a great day to be under water.

Since I’m still one of the new guys on the team, some of the others planned to bring me into a scenario instantly. One of the more seasoned rescue divers was working a search pattern with one of our support people while I was suited up and sitting on the dock as the safety diver.

Suddenly, I see multiple tugs on the line heading to the rope tender, which indicates the diver was in trouble. Everyone alerted the nearby team members as I placed my mask on my faced and tried to pull the strap over my head. Since I rarely dive with as thick of a hood then what I had on, the mask strap would not go over, and as a safety diver you need to get into the water ASAP.

I yanked my hood back off my head, pulled the mask on and jumped in the water immediately heading down the rope toward the distressed diver. As I descended I was glad to discover that the psuedophed I had taken was working, and I could drop rapidly. I’m one of the lucky ones that hardly ever have any ear troubles while diving. I can normally freefall as deep as I need to and as quickly as I need to at any given moment.

My ears were not an issue during the descent, but the temperature of the water woke me right up. Ever have an ice-cream headache? Picture one of those surrounding your entire head and ears and coming on instantaneously. My adrenaline had fortunately kicked in as well and I focused on the task at hand, determining the cause of the divers problem and performing a rescue.

Visibility was about 6 feet today so as I approached the diver I could see him lying on the bottom with his regulator still in his mouth, and with him apparently still breathing. He was wearing a dry suit, so I tapped his inflator and made him a little more buoyant. He was still a tad heavy, and I didn’t want to ditch his weight belt before trying one last thing. A few taps on his buoyancy compensator (BC) was all it took to get him and me heading to the surface.

Once we broke the surface I flipped him on his back, inflated his BC all the way to keep his mouth out of the water, and headed for shore. At the shore the support personnel were waiting to help remove him from the water and to provide additional aide if necessary.

This was only a drill, but since I was not in on the plan it felt like it was a real rescue until we were at shore. I will admit that I suspected it was just an exercise, since he was very experienced, was only down for a short time, fairly shallow, and was breathing through his regulator when I approached him. Knowing that it was an exercise did not change any of the actions that were performed however.

After the rescue it was my turn to perform the search pattern, and practice scouring the nasty, muddy, thickly weeded, bottom for evidence of the made up crime. You can’t imagine all of the junk at the bottom of a lake, especially near a dock or popular spot on shore.

Why would anyone jump into 40-degree water willingly you may wonder? Well, I love to dive, and I have always wanted to be on a search and rescue (SAR) team. I was starting the process of joining the Rocky Mountain SAR team but was soon transferred by the Air Force to Alaska. The local scuba SAR in Colorado had to be an employee of the ambulance service to cover liability.

In everything I do I seem to require a purpose. I love writing computer programs, but only do so when I have a need of a particular program. Scuba diving isn’t any different. If I lived near a gorgeous reef I may do more diving for fun. Until that happens, looks like my reason to dive here will be for SAR missions. One day I will become a scuba diving instructor, and perhaps my purpose may shift then.

Diving on the Water Rescue Team not only gives me a reason to dive into cold lakes, but also allows me to use a rare skill up here in the Pacific Northwest to help others and to contribute something to the community in the process. You don’t realize how great a hot shower feels until you’ve been swimming in 40-degree water.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Jessica Lynch

Okay, so I watched the Diane Sawyer interview of Jessica Lynch tonight. Did you really think I would not have an opinion to share with you all? Here’s my take on some things that came to mind while watching the interview.

You know what I find sad? Hearing people ask why Jessica Lynch is getting all of the attention and they are not. One thing that helps me cope with this nonsense though, is that it seems that these comments are coming from the relatives of the military members, and not the military members themselves.

Luckily, Jessica Lynch sounds like she is doing well while trying to deal with her injuries, and her popularity. She has the support of the Army, as well as a very loving community and family. If you saw the interview, I’m sure you don’t need me to rehash the heartwarming parts, and are anxious to read some of my more critical thoughts on the subject.

At one point, Diane leads Jessica into commenting on the fact that her rescue was filmed by the military. Jessica seemed to be of the opinion that her rescue should not have been filmed. My thought is, why not? A daring rescue, or what was thought to be a daring rescue, should be filmed. When a country is at war why not do a little PR work and film what was hopefully going to be a fantastic rescue?

We find out from Jessica, and upon hindsight, that the hospital was not really defended at all, and was basically just a hospital. Comments were made that the military went in using maximum force, and perhaps too much force was used.

When you’re at war, how much force is too much force? If I were a person asked to organize the rescue of a P.O.W., I would most certainly assume that this P.O.W. was heavily guarded because it was a fairly rare thing for the Iraqi’s to actually have a prisoner. How could you even think that resistance would be minimal? It’s easy to armchair quarterback this type of situation, but I think the military approached the rescue in the absolute correct manner.

If there were even minor resistance, and the rescue force was ill prepared and all killed, what sort of story would that have made? Better to be over prepared then taken by surprise. This isn’t football, it’s a war!

Let’s not forget about the Iraqi doctor’s and nurses who helped save Jessica, and cared for her while she was in their charge. I realize that many people have some harsh views on Iraq, and Muslims in general since 9-1-1, but I also realize that an entire society is not to be blamed for the sins of a few of its members.

Perhaps I’m an optimist, but I feel there is good in all people, and that an entire race should not be condemned for the actions of a few. Don’t get me wrong, we should be fighting with full force during this war on terrorists, but as we have learned throughout history, our beef is not with every single Muslim, but with those who use their religion to try and justify their actions. You bet your butt I’m taking an extra cautious look at any Muslim looking individual I see in this country, but I am not automatically condemning their entire race in the process. In this country, I still believe that you are innocent until given a reason to suspect otherwise.

One story I have been hearing is that Jessica Lynch is getting more disability pay then Shoshana Johnson. If they both had similar circumstances, why is Shoshana getting less then Jessica? I have read story after story adding fuel to Jesse Jackson and his typical idiotic, narrow-minded view of life as he thinks he sees things. The fact is, that it’s very obvious that Jesse Jackson, and the multitude of reporters who write things that they have no clue about, are all confused.

Disability percentages are based on the amount of injuries or medical issues you have, not by your skin color or how loud a family whines. There are many blacks, Hispanics and other races who receive disability pay equal to or greater then Jessica Lynch. There are also a large number of white folks that are receiving smaller disability percentages then Jessica.

Should everyone injured in Iraq receive 100% disability just because? Should they just toss out how disability percentages are figured out because Jesse Jackson has once again opened his mouth wide enough to drive a truck through, then shoved his foot into it all the way up to his ankle? As far as I can tell, it’s Shoshana’s family, and not Shoshana, who have brought this mess up. All I have to say to them and Jesse is… Whaaaaaa!

On a happier note, it’s nice to see the media go over to Iraq looking for the poor GI stories, and come back instead with stories of many soldiers that believe we should be over there, and that we are doing a good thing. There are many successes, and a lot of proof that we are on the right path.

There are still news stories of the terrible things we are doing over in Iraq. There are stories about the war that is being fought for oil, or the poor soldiers that have been injured during this conflict. Even with all of this negative reporting, I feel that the American people know the truth, and sometimes these claims just seem so silly I can’t believe that some people believe them.

A recent claim was that the war was created by our current administration for political reasons. Do people really think that anybody, much less our president, would do such a thing for just a political means to an end? Just because past presidents seemed to have wagged the dog for political gains, I have not seen, or heard, one shred of evidence to even come close to support these fairly tales.

I have one question for you on closing.

What did you and your family do to honor the veterans today?

If your answer was nothing, remember them in your prayers and at your table on Thanksgiving. You can honor them daily, or at any time. When you see a person in uniform, thank them for their service. Next veterans’ day, try a little harder to remember those who have fallen, and became injured, so that we can live as free as we do.

A special thank you to all who have served, and who are currently serving, this country.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

The American Way

The word politics used to bring to mind the dream of going to Washington D.C. and representing the will of the people. It once was a noble idea to champion a cause, and try to make a difference. This government claims to be run by the people, and for the people. After seeing some of the things coming out of various governments, whether local or federal, sometimes it feels like it’s just a political system run by career politicians with their own personal agendas.

It’s easy to look at government, and politicians, and just want to give up. Many people I have heard that don’t vote think that it doesn’t make any difference; things will go the way they are going to go with or without them. I too used to feel that way, but not any more and I’ll tell you why.

Several things have happened recently that gives me hope for America and democracy. Four examples where people stood up to the few idiots and made their voices heard. It seems like Americans are tired of taking crap from people of any kind. Foreign countries, governments, courts, and even television networks have been put on notice just recently.

Thanks to a strong president, the United States is once again commanding respect from the world community. I always feel a since of pride when we, as a country, don’t take any crap from anyone else. The people of this country have relayed their thoughts on terrorism to the top of this country, and they have responded. I’m all for diplomacy, but there always comes a time when it’s time to stop talking and start standing up for what you have been talking about. Afghanistan, and now Iraq have learned this, and other countries are taking notice. If G.W. gets re-elected, I think the rest of the nasty nations will fall into line as well.

What can we do to help? Stop paying any attention to any whiney-butts who say we need to pull out of Iraq. Regardless if you personally think we should have gone in or not, the fact is that we did and the only intelligent thing to do is to stay until Iraq can police themselves. Stop listening to the media, and a few ignorant folks who you call friends. The truth is if we leave Iraq now, all of those military folks have lost their lives for nothing.

We ARE making a difference over there, and if you think we aren’t, I’d love to hear your plan. Don’t just cry and say it’s all for the oil, or some anti-Bush B.S. unless you have exact examples and proof of your comments. The mass graves they have found with hundreds of thousands of people in them from the previous regime are strong proof that we have done a good thing by removing a sadistic leader.

The politicians tried to slap the people of California in the face and prevent them from taking back control of where they live. A legal attempt was tried to block the will of the Californian people, but they slapped back. It was such an overwhelming pressure that was building that the courts grabbed their heads firmly and pulled. After their cranialectomy, they supported the recall of the worthless governor. Hopefully, Arnold will work hard for the people. He does have a long road ahead with all of the fire damage on top of all of the past governors damage, but I believe he’ll go the distance for the people of California.

The people once again rose to the occasion by showing a judge that he is not all powerful, and he cannot bring his own bias into a government building by making him remove his Ten Commandments monument. I’m shocked at his continued attempt to fight this fight. It shows me that this judge does not understand his impartiality at all, and proves that our court system is prone to the bias of others. The scary thing is that every one of you has seen this type of bias from bosses and companies, and sometimes even neighborhoods where you live. Not just religious, but race, sex, and even interests. The last thing we need is a strong bias in our courtrooms. It’s nice to see the people win one every once in a while.

Finally, there is CBS, and their foiled attempt at delivering a mini-series about Ronald Reagan that was very unflattering, and mostly slanderous. This attempt at making Reagan out to be some sort of monster president was first excused by saying that it was only a fictional mini-series, and not a documentary. How silly is that?

CBS knew that fiction or not, if they had made Reagan say things in that mini-series, many people are dumb enough to believe that is how Reagan really was. The only reason to do something like this, and coming into an election year where the current president is very Reagan-like, was to try and bring down the current president.

Under extreme pressure from the people, they have decided not to air the show on CBS. It may surface on Showtime, but who cares about Showtime. The mini-series has been exposed for what it was, and a Showtime airing may just turn out to have the lowest watched audience in the history of the channel.

This last incident reminds me of the story the L.A. Times broke about Arnold groping women something like twenty years ago. It’s amazing how bringing out the story a week before the recall didn’t seem unusual for the paper. How stupid do the media really think we are?

Seeing the people finally stand up to the media for things like this Reagan mini-series, the Arnold story, judges for the California recall block attempt, the Ten Commandments monument, and finally to countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, makes me feel good to be American once again. If you are against all of these recent victories for freedom, perhaps it’s time to take a long look into the mirror and ask yourself what exactly you do support.

Once again, I’m proud to be an American!

Monday, November 03, 2003

Bye Bye Baby

I don’t know of any more debated subject then that of abortion. It’s a difficult topic, with emotions running high on both sides of the issue. Oh sure, each camp has a pile of information as to why they are correct. The major flaw with each position is that they come from a narrow minded viewpoint.

Does this mean my opinion is any less flawed? Hardly. This topic has been running through my mind for years. Every time I hear about it in the news, I start thinking about what I believe should be the right choice. The truth is, I have been waffling between both sides, and I’m probably still not sure what the best course of action is. I’m always up for a challenge though, so it’s time for me to climb down off the fence and tackle this subject head on.

Please don’t get the wrong idea when reading this article. I don’t pretend to have all of the answers, nor would I presume to tell you how you must believe this problem be resolved. In fact, after reading my views you may come out of this even more confused then you went in. So let’s get going and see where this takes us.

While contemplating this subject for the umpteenth time, I tried to get a feeling for how it could be broken down. Many complicated things can usually be broken down into more simplistic parts. After the simple parts are analyzed and understood, then they can be reassembled and hopefully we can then gain a better insight and conclusion for what we were so confused about in the first place.

The act of simplifying the various components of abortion is not meant to trivialize the subject in any way. This is not a flippant attempt to gain some sort of following on my way of thinking. I am not a leader of any cause, and I am certainly not a follower of any special interests. My goal is to try and come to grips with a battle that has divided the world, and try to see if I could help myself to better understand what was at stake in the answers.

I’d like to begin by answering the question of where life begins. After giving this only a brief moment of thought it was very apparent to me that life begins at the fertilization of an egg by the sperm. Isn’t it obvious to anyone that from that moment on there is a new life in the making? I’d really be curious to hear from anyone who does not agree with this view.

Just because the life is not physically recognizable as a baby, does not make it any less viable. The fact remains, that once fertilization has occurred, the new life is on an express ride to being a human being. Therefore, any termination of that life should be classified as killing that life.

It sickens me to think that people are trying to measure the amount a life has grown and judging at which stage it is considered a human. I’m sorry, but this seemed extremely basic to me, yet at times in the past I found myself listening to the other side of the argument like there was some scientific explanation at when a life was a life. In the end, no complicated smoke and mirrors are needed. Any person with a basic understanding of how babies are made can tell you when they become a life.

Now that we have the foundation of when life begins for a human being, lets move on to the actual act of when aborting that life is acceptable. While we’re at it, let’s remove the term abortion, and just call it what it is, murder.

Is murder too strong of a word for you? It even feels weird to write it, but if we accept the previous facts of when a life begins, then the ending of that life on purpose must be called murder. The term abortion seems like an attempt to make it sound like it’s a medical procedure rather then purposely killing a human being.

Keeping with the process of breaking things down to their simplest components, let’s say that there are two occasions when the murder of a fetus can take place as an abortion. These I like to call the “Oops”, and the “Uh-oh”.

The “Oops” thought process for the murder is for those occasions when a baby was not planned. This can be from a one-night stand, kids that are not yet adults, or even legally married people that accidentally slipped one past the goalie. Whatever the circumstances, these babies began life without their parents being able to foretell their coming.

Oops babies should never be murdered under any circumstance. No matter the embarrassment to religious circles from unwed mothers, the difficulties raising a child by a child, or the financial strain it might place on a family to have another child. In these cases, the fact is, you made the decision to have sex, and it’s time to take responsibility for that decision.

Sure an Oops baby can cause strain, be hard work to raise, or make stupid people talk about it behind your back. So what? Would these be grounds for murder? Gee, should we allow the killing of children if a family has to file for bankruptcy? Thin the herd so the rest of the family survives? Of course not, so why should we allow it early on?

If a family or mother truly cannot support, or mentally deal with, a new baby, then they should still have to carry it to term, look it in its helpless little eyes, then give it up for adoption if they still feel the need. There should be no question in these cases.

Now “Uh-oh” babies are a different story. This is where I am a little fuzzy on when an uh-oh baby comes along. I have heard that there are medical reasons that murdering the fetus is required, maybe to save the life of the mother, or that there is something seriously wrong with the fetus, like it will be born without a brain. To me, it sounds perfectly plausible that there are cases that must be treated medically for sound medical reasons. The same reasons that doctors make all of their decisions, to save a life or to prevent unnecessary suffering.

If you’re a regular reader of my articles, you probably are aware that I am a big fan of freedom. Although freedom is a great thing, it also comes at a price. Some people mistake the term freedom as meaning that they have the power to do anything they want, to whomever they want, and whenever they decide. This is not true. Freedom should be something that is granted as long as the granting of that freedom does not harm another human being. In the case of murdering unborn babies, you are not free to choose who lives and who dies.

Women in our country have incredible amounts of freedom. In fact, I’d say that the United States of America is probably one of the few countries that allow women almost any freedom they desire. Women can use birth control, vote, and pretty much pursue any career of their choosing. Sorry ladies, but I would be the first to stand in the way for the freedom for you to murder unborn babies.

I will concede that in some areas women still have difficult times, but they should realize that we all have trouble in some form or another in our society. Minority races, women, and even the proverbial white male all have areas where who they are can limit their access. Perfection will always be fleeting, but we continue to try.

So, should we look down upon women who have had abortions in the past as murderers? Certainly not! This subject has been so confusing for so long that I can’t even imagine having to make such a choice. I do think as a society we need to focus on treating it for what it is, and educating the masses as to why it is murder.

There is no freedom of choice issue, there is no religious versus atheism, or anything else here. We do not allow people to murder other people for any reason in this country, so the time has come to take a firm stand on this one. Of course, there is the death penalty, but let’s save that one for another time.

Finally, the old argument that women will just go into dark alleys to have it done is a lame one. People will also buy drugs, and murder people, this does not mean we legalize drugs and murder so it can be done in a more civilized manner. No matter how you slice it, abortions are murder. I’d love to hear an opposite opinion.