p.s., I forgot to mention this last time. The group was praying when the picture was taken. Sorry about that.
Yesterday I wrote about Leive going to the state capitol building to take part in a pro-family rally. It looks like the reporters I mentioned were from our local paper, the Lexington-Herald Leader. Over the past year I’ve said the Herald-Leader is a poor replacement for the Orlando Sentinel, and that I didn’t think it was suitable even as a birdcage liner. Well today I broke down and bought a copy of the paper, because they got Leive in a group photo on page C-1. Here it is:
Leive is the one in red, on the lower left. As you can see most of her face is covered by the sign she’s holding, but those who know her ought to recognize her anyhow.
Unfortunately the legislature adjourned without considering the bill, but maybe the crowd will persuade them to look at it again, the next time they meet.
The main purpose of this special legislative session was to place a bid with an out-of-state company to build a coal liquification plant in Kentucky, to convert coal into oil. In other news, I heard on the radio today that the county with the lowest unemployment is Woodford County, Lexington’s neighbor to the west, at 4.1%; by comparison, Lexington itself is at 4.5%. The highest unemployment rate is in Jackson County, where it’s 13%. Jackson County is in the eastern mountains; even before I moved here, I knew that was an impoverished, underdeveloped area. Well, if the state lands the coal plant, now I know the best place to build it.
Since I’ve been writing about other things lately, now it’s time to catch everyone up on events at home.
On Wednesday we got rid of the old China cabinet in the dining room, the one we brought up from Florida. The night before, Leive offered it to one of the ladies in the women’s prayer group, and her family came by, took it apart and hauled it away. Previously she had wanted to move it to the basement; now I’ve been spared that task, and we finally have enough room to use the dining room properly.
At church this past weekend the pastor followed up his previous sermon, the one on greed, with a somewhat related topic, the prophecy of Mystery Babylon from Revelation 17 & 18. I feel this refers to our world commerce system, and maybe I’ll write about that in a future entry. He didn’t point to any person or city in particular as being Babylon (except maybe New York, because of the World Trade Center), but I get the feeling his interpretation is not too different from mine. You can see his notes here. However, I disagree with his identification of the empires described in the prophecy, where it says that before the end times, five great kings have fallen, one is, and one is to come. He lists the empires as Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome and the Ottoman Turks. Personally I think Babel qualifies better for the first spot than Egypt; here’s what I said about the Egyptian Empire in my history papers:
According to Sir Alan Gardiner, the “Egyptian empire” was not really an empire in the modern sense of the word–one huge nation containing many peoples, all ruled by a single monarch. It was more like the Soviet Bloc of the twentieth century–a “superpower” nation claiming that the smaller countries around it were independent, when they were in truth satellite states under puppet rulers. We often call Thutmose III “the Napoleon of Egypt,” and his name appears on every list of great kings, since historians tend to like exciting, warlike kings more than dull, peaceful ones. However, for the whole three thousand years of ancient Egyptian history he is a notable exception; most pharaohs were content to stay at home. The important point to make is that the Egyptians never seemed to have a “Napoleon complex” to conquer the known world; their motives for conquest were to give Egypt buffer states for defensive purposes, and to enrich Egypt by gaining control over the major trade routes of the day. It appears that Thutmose drew the line in Syria not so much for logistics reasons, but because he was getting too old to travel any farther. It would not be until the rise of the Assyrians that we see the spirit of Babel restored, with kings devoting themselves to nothing but the grabbing of as much real estate as possible.
And while the Ottoman Empire did try to imitate its Roman predecessor, the sultan didn’t do it as much as France, Germany, Spain, England, or even Russia. I think the Turks are only a good candidate for the empires list if the feet of iron & clay in the statue Nebuchadnezzar dreamed about (Daniel 2) represent Islam as a whole, or if the Beast or the False Prophet in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 come out of the Islamic world.
Before the sermon the pastor introduced a very special guest: an Arab Christian named Isa who runs Christian schools in Ramallah and Bethlehem, with some help from an Ethiopian Jewish congregation in Jerusalem. My, talk about a scary teaching assignment; most of Isa’s students in Ramallah are Moslem! It shows that God is working to reach souls, even among people you would think are unreachable, like the Palestinians.
One lady in the church is politically active, and she invited us to a rally today in Frankfort, to demonstrate in favor of a marriage defense bill. In this case, the University of Kentucky is giving domestic benefits like health insurance to the live-in partners of its employees, whether they’re married or not, and this bill, SB 5, would outlaw that practice. I couldn’t get time off work; let the record show that conservatives show up less frequently at protest marches and rallies than liberals because they’ve got jobs, or are otherwise doing something productive with their time. However, Leive was free to go, and went with a group. They went inside the Capitol building itself, and stood under the rotunda with signs like the one you see here.
This picture was in the Lexington Herald-Leader and came with this caption: Maria Buckles of Lexington gathered with opponents to domestic-partner benefits at a rally Monday in the Capitol in Frankfort. The Family Foundation of Kentucky sponsored the rally in support of legislation designed to prevent universities from offering health insurance coverage to same-sex couples.
A camera crew also photographed Leive and asked for her name; I don’t know if that means she was one of the most enthusiastic participants in the rally (she claims she was), or if they were attracted by the Star of David jewelry she habitually wears, since that’s a sign that family values are not for Christians only. Unfortunately she didn’t catch the name of the newspaper or TV station they’re from, so we didn’t get to see how the pictures turned out.
Finally, it has now been two weeks since we got Brin-Brin the parrot. He’s warming up to Leive, but not to me; it looks like we’ve got another bird that treats Leive as a pet human, the way Chico did two years ago. A few times he said “hello” when we walked into the house, but to him the word seems to be a battle cry, because he’s most likely to say “hello” when attacking his toys. Most of the time he’s good to Leive, but he usually growls at me, and will try to bite if he sees an opportunity. Like yesterday, when he lunged at me, missed and bit Leive’s arm by mistake. I guess more time will tell if we really have a bad-tempered bird.
I can’t believe it took me two whole months, to collect the pictures and compose the fourth page about our house. Sorry about the delay; here’s the tour of our top floor.
I found these two goodies on Boortz.com this week. Seeing that Neal Boortz lives in Atlanta and calls himself names like “Mighty Whitey” and the “Mouth of the South,” he has quite a collection of redneck humor by now.
Two Tennessee Rednecks, Bubba and Jim Bob, are sitting at their favorite bar, drinking beer. Bubba turns to Jim Bob and says, “You know, I’m tired of going through life without an education. Tomorrow I think I’ll go to the Community College, and sign up for some classes.” Jim Bob thinks it’s a good idea, and the two leave.
The next day, Bubba goes down to the college and meets the Dean of Admissions, who signs him up for the four basic classes: Math, English, History, and Logic. “Logic?” Bubba says. “What’s that?”
The dean says, “I’ll show you. Do you own a weedeater?”
“Then logically speaking, because you own a weedeater, I think that you would have a yard.”
“That’s true, I do have a yard.”
“I’m not done,” the dean says. “Because you have a yard, I think logically that you would have a house.”
“Yes, I do have a house.”
“And because you have a house, I think that you might logically have a family.”
“I have a family.”
“I’m not done yet. Because you have a family, then logically you must have a wife.”
“Yes, I do have a wife.”
“And because you have a wife, then logic tells me you must be a heterosexual.”
“I am a heterosexual. That’s amazing, you were able to find out all of that because I have a weedeater!”
Excited to take the class now, Bubba shakes the Dean’s hand and leaves to go meet Jim Bob at the bar. He tells Jim Bob about his classes, how he is signed up for Math, English, History, and Logic. “Logic?” Jim Bob says, “What’s that?”
Bubba says, “I’ll show you. Do you have a weedeater?”
“Then you’re a queer.”
You’ll probably guess that the author of the quote in this newspaper clipping is a redneck. I don’t think Leive is really one, but you ought to see how long she takes to doll up before any shopping trip!
From the start, I told myself I was going to like it here, and my first months in Kentucky were enjoyable because of that attitude. Leive had a harder time adjusting than I did, inasmuch as she arrived at the beginning of winter. She didn’t come around until it warmed up in May. However, it now appears that she is more completely adapted to our new environment. I guess it’s because living in Florida for forty years hard-wired me to that state, to the point that I had trouble imaging that any other place could be as nice to live in. Though I’ve now been here for fourteen months, I still tend to compare every new experience with experiences I had in Florida. For example, a week ago I saw a hot-air balloon around 4 or 5 PM, and I thought that was nice, because on a typical day in Florida, the only safe time to fly balloons is in the early morning, before the rain clouds show up. And today it was rainy and in the 70s. In the summertime in Kentucky, the milder temperatures make me feel like I’m on a vacation, even at work. The rain wasn’t too bad, either, because most of it fell after dark, and the lightning didn’t get too close.
I wonder how long it will take before I feel as Kentuckian as the Kentuckians themselves? Once I heard that over the course of seven years, cell division replaces every cell in the human body, eventually replacing or duplicating us. Is it going to take that long to clear out the influence of the Sunshine State?
We’re definitely now in the summer doldrums, when it comes to news. As I explained it on The Xenophile Historian:
The second worst time of the year for news is late summer. Presumably this is because a lot of us are on vacation in July and August, including the people who make news. The worst time of the year for news is the week between December 25 and January 1; that’s why most of the magazines and newspapers fill their pages with pictures to remind us of what happened during the past twelve months. Nowadays late summer is becoming just as hard to fill with news stories, but unless you’re Jewish or Ethiopian (their calendars begin the year in September), it’s pointless to have an annual recap before Labor Day. Of course the media would go out of business if they ever ran a headline or began a radio/TV program by saying, “Today nothing happened,” so they have to put something in their pages or air time. So if you see an unusual number of offbeat “Man Bites Dog” stories that normally wouldn’t make it in the news, that’s another sign that all’s quiet in the rest of the world.
This may help to explain why dumb celebrities (Neal Boortz calls them “celebutards”) are getting so much attention these days, as I noted in the case with Paris Hilton a few weeks back. Now it’s Lindsay Lohan, for getting caught driving with booze and drugs — again. It may also explain why NFL quarterback Michael Vick was in the headlines last week. In case you haven’t heard, it was discovered that a dogfighting ring was making dogs fight to the death on Vick’s property. I know, a person accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty, but you have to admit it doesn’t look good for Vick. If Vick’s lawyer uses the defense that dogfights are a part of life in today’s inner-city culture, it will confirm something else I suspect: both the inner-city culture and the Islamic culture have a strong dislike of dogs.
I’m talking about all this because in my essay “Satan’s Chosen People?” I speculated on what the characteristics of a dysfunctional, mostly Satanic culture might be. I came up with the following: it would be anti-Christian or anti-Jewish (preferably both), anti-women, anti-intellectual, discourage saving or planning for the future, and encourage paranoia and the use of violence as the first resort. Now that cruelty to animals also apparently qualifies as a characteristic, I have just added the following paragraph:
I would like to add a seventh dysfunctional characteristic to that list–cruelty to animals. You may have heard psychologists say that a person who mistreats animals at an early stage of life is likely to mistreat humans later on. Well, there is plenty of cruelty to animals in areas where Islam is dominant, from the Taliban using dogs for poison gas testing, to Palestinian and Iraqi terrorists using donkeys to deliver explosives. By contrast, Judeo-Christian teaching frequently reminds us to be kind to animals. In the Old Testament, we have laws which say things like “you shall not muzzle the ox that threshes,” “Do not hitch an ox and an ass to the same yoke” (which would give the donkey an unfair burden, in order to keep up with the ox), and “you shall not boil a kid in the milk of its mother.” Likewise, in the New Testament Jesus tell us that it is not a violation of the Sabbath, if an animal of yours falls into a pit on the Sabbath and you help it out. I even know some rabbis who have become vegetarians, because they feel that the way animals are treated in today’s “factory farms” goes against the spirit of the Torah. One could make the case that nowhere are pets and livestock treated better than in the Western nations, and nowhere are they treated worse than in Moslem nations (see also Kathleen Parker’s column, “In Islamic countries, dogs dream of America“). In July 2007 we also learned that dogfighting is becoming popular in urban America (see below), when it was discovered that dogs were incited to fight to the death on the property of Michael Vick, a quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons.
And here is the paragraph after it, to explain why I’m talking about this in a essay concerning the War on Terror:
Germany developed a dysfunctional culture under the Nazis. Communism also embraced several of the above elements, the main difference being that it forced women to work as hard as men, instead of keeping them at home (Mao Zedong once said that “women hold up half of the heavens”). More recently a dysfunctional culture has risen up in America’s inner cities, glamorized by gangsta rap. Besides the dogfighting mentioned above, here we see children brought up in households without fathers, women derided as “bitches” and “hos,” educators serving as babysitters rather than as teachers, and successful students viewed as sellouts; a life of crime is seen as the quickest way to prosperity, and a sudden, violent death is often expected, so there’s little point in investing for tomorrow. Finally, we see the features of a dysfunctional culture in the nations that have embraced radical Islam. We saw them in Afghanistan under the Taliban, we see them in the Palestinian Authority–and we see them in Saudi Arabia.
So be kind to our four-footed and winged friends. If you don’t, you’ll have more than just groups like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to worry about; you’ll have to answer to the Lord, too!
After being here exactly two months, Rezia left today for Las Vegas; I don’t expect to see her again until after the wedding. Gene took her to the airport before I woke up, and the plane is scheduled to take off at 6:40 AM, if I remember correctly. I know the church will be glad to see her again when she returns; last Saturday she led the music for a second time, playing the keyboard for nearly two full hours.
Leive was originally planning to go west and help prepare for the wedding, but now I don’t see it happening. More recently she has complained about being unable to sleep in a car, bus or plane, and that summertime temperatures in las Vegas routinely climb into the triple-digit figures. In other words, the traveling life isn’t for her. Regarding the heat, I responded by saying that’s why they have the Burning Man festival in another part of Nevada, at the end of August. I wonder how she’d do if traveling by train or boat was as common as it used to be? Last year I read a column which said trains are the most civilized form of transportation that has ever been invented.
Today is Tisha b’Av, the 9th of Av, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar. Although it is not an official holiday, Jews observe it because they believe the destruction of the First and Second Temples, the exile of their community from Spain (1492), and several other tragic events all occurred on this date.
In my history papers, I told a story about Napoleon Bonaparte passing a crowded synagogue on the 9th of Av, and he heard the sound of weeping. Asking what was going on, he was told that the Jews were mourning the loss of their country and sanctuary some 1800 years before. Deeply moved, Napoleon observed that “a people which weeps and mourns for the loss of its homeland 1800 years ago and does not forget–such a people will never be destroyed. Such a people can rest assured that its homeland will be returned to it.”
On that note, I got a bit of happy news this morning. This week Christians United For Israel, a group formed last year by San Antonio pastor John Hagee, is holding its second annual pro-Israel conference in Washington, D.C. Among those present are members of a group you don’t normally hear from when Israel is in the news — the American Indians. Anyway, here is the story:
Coming to Washington D.C. to attend the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) summit has been an eye-opener in many ways. While all (except for a few rabbis here and there) are Evangelical Christians, the CUFI delegates hail from all over the country, and from more varied ethnic, racial, and occupational backgrounds than I would have expected. Also, there are a lot of them: apparently, the size of the CUFI Summit has doubled since last year, from about 2500 to 5000.
It is touching to witness this outpouring of love and support for Israel. Today I met Antonio and Vestal Smith, a beautiful young Native American couple from Lapwai, Idaho. Newly married and co-pastors of a church in their town, they are members of the Nez Perce tribe who spoke at length about the kinship they feel with the people of Israel.
They also discussed ways in which media coverage distorts some Americans’ perceptions of Israel.
“As members of a small nation, we know what it is like to stand alone,” Antonio told me. “We want [the people of Israel] to know that even if we aren’t on the front lines, someone supports you, someone loves you, someone believes in you, you are not alone.”
He and others in his tribe identify with Israelis, he said, as “people of the land.”
His wife Vestal weighed in as well, explaining that in her view, the precariousness of Jewish existence as indigenous people in the Middle East is similar to the historical precariousness of Native Americans’ existence in the U.S.
“We can look at the Jewish people and see the similarity—of being a whole people or group, and someone is trying to completely wipe them out,” she said.
As to how she came by her views, Vestal spoke of her father, who told her of Israel, “If the United States will stand by G-d’s people, this country will be blessed, and if we turn our backs from Israel, the blessings will fall away.”
What about the Palestinians?
They have their side of the story, but an accurate understanding depends on where you start telling the story, and how you tell it – something Antonio believes the U.S. and international media do poorly.
“The media is skewed [against Israel]” he says, and doesn’t enhance understanding of the bigger picture. “Just like, if all you did was watch media, you would see us as the poor, pitiful Indians. They don’t realize there are lots of us who are doing just fine.”
Tonight is the “Night to Honor Israel” a banquet at which thousands of CUFI delegates will gather and celebrate.
More from the conference later.
I’ve already mentioned a few of the absurdities our opponents in the War on Terror would have us believe. The latest occurred last week, when Iran captured fourteen squirrels and accused them of being American spies. Do you get the feeling somebody over there is taking anti-squirrel websites like Scary Squirrel World seriously? Here’s a link to a forum discussing the story, with appropriate accompanying media: funny pictures, a streaming audio version of what NPR had to say about it, and a YouTube video of “Secret Squirrel,” the 1960s cartoon.
Now do the Iranians know that a Zionist moose is still on the loose? (LOL)
In today’s news, one of the stories was the latest efforts by a Democrat-controlled Congress to have President Bush impeached or censured. Well, today I also saw an e-mail with an appropriate response to that. Unfortunately, the original author is unknown. If those who are suffering from BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) get what they want, here is the farewell speech I would like to hear. Quote:
Normally, I start these things out by saying “My Fellow Americans.” I’m not doing it this time. If the polls are any indication, I don’t know who more than half of you are anymore. I do know something terrible has happened, and that you’re really not fellow Americans any longer.
I’ll cut right to the chase here: I quit. Now before anyone gets all in a lather about me quitting to avoid impeachment, or to avoid prosecution or something, let me assure you: there’s been no breaking of laws or impeachable offenses in this office. The reason I’m quitting is simple. I’m fed up with you people. I’m fed up because you have no understanding of what’s really going on in the world. Or of what’s going on in this once-great nation of ours. And the majority of you are too damned lazy to do your homework and figure it out.
Let’s start local. You’ve been sold a bill of goods by politicians and the news media. Polls show that the majority of you think the economy is in the tank. And that’s despite record numbers of homeowners including record numbers of MINORITY homeowners. And while we’re mentioning minorities, I’ll point out that minority business ownership is at an all-time high. Our unemployment rate is as low as it ever was during the Clinton Administration. I’ve mentioned all those things before, but it doesn’t seem to have sunk in.
Despite the shock to our economy of 9/11, the stock market has rebounded to record levels and more Americans than ever are participating in these markets. Meanwhile, all you can do is whine about gas prices, and most of you are too damn stupid to realize that gas prices are high because there’s increased demand in other parts of the world, and because a small handful of noisy idiots are more worried about polar bears and beachfront property than your economic security.
We face real threats in the world. Don’t give me this “blood for oil” thing. If I was trading blood for oil I would’ve already seized Iraq ‘s oil fields and let the rest of the country go to hell. And don’t give me this ‘Bush Lied People Died’ crap either. If I was the liar you morons take me for, I could’ve easily had chemical weapons planted in Iraq so they could be ‘discovered.’ Instead, I owned up to the fact that the intelligence was faulty. Let me remind you that the rest of the world thought Saddam had the goods, same as me. Let me also remind you that regime change in Iraq was official US policy before I came into office. Some guy named ‘ Clinton ‘ established that policy. Bet you didn’t know that, did you?
You idiots need to understand that we face a unique enemy. Back during the cold war, there were two major competing political and economic models squaring off. We won that war, but we did so because fundamentally, the Communists wanted to survive, just as we do. We were simply able to outspend and out-tech them. That’s not the case this time. The soldiers of our new enemy don’t care if they survive. In fact, they want to die. That’d be fine, as long as they weren’t also committed to taking as many of you with them as they can. But they are. They want to kill you. And the bastards are all over the globe. You should be grateful that they haven’t gotten any more of us here in the United States since September 11. But you’re not. That’s because you’ve got no idea how hard a small number of intelligence, military, law enforcement and homeland security people have worked to make sure of that. When this whole mess started, I warned you that this would be a long and difficult fight. I’m disappointed how many of you people think a long and difficult fight amounts to a single season of ‘Survivor’.
Instead, you’ve grown impatient. You’re incapable of seeing things through the long lens of history, the way our enemies do. You think that wars should last a few months, a few years, tops.
Making matters worse, you actively support those who help the enemy. Every time you buy the New York Times, every time you send a donation to a cut-and-run Democrat’s political campaign, well, damn it, you might just as well Fedex a grenade launcher to a Jihadist. It amounts to the same thing.
In this day and age, it’s easy enough to find the truth. It’s all over the Internet. It just isn’t on the pages of the New York Times or on NBC News. But even if it were, I doubt you’d be any smarter. Most of you would rather watch American Idol. I could say more about your expectations that the Government will always be there to bail you out, even if you’re too stupid to leave a city that’s below sea level and has a hurricane approaching. I could say more about your insane belief that government, not your own wallet, is where the money comes from. But I’ve come to the conclusion that were I to do so, it would sail right over your heads.
So I quit. I’m going back to Crawford. I’ve got an energy-efficient house down there (Al Gore could only dream) and the capability to be fully self-sufficient. No one ever heard of Crawford before I got elected, and as soon as I’m done here pretty much no one will ever hear of it again. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to die of old age before the last pillars of America fall.
Oh, and by the way, Cheney’s quitting too. That means Pelosi is your new President. You asked for it. Watch what she does carefully, because I still have a glimmer of hope that there’re just enough of you remaining who are smart enough to turn this thing around in 2008.
So that’s it. God bless what’s left of America . Some of you know what I mean.
Unquote: Over the past two decades I have seen both the Bushes and the Clintons promise a “kinder, gentler America,” and are we any friendlier because of it, or more secure as a nation? Maybe the next president ought to promise a “leaner, meaner America” instead.