Friday, October 30, 2009

Music





I’d like to write this morning about music. All music. Music is an expression of the soul. It is the melody of the spirit as experienced in the mind of creation and shared by the sensitivity of sound.

Classical music generally is in financial trouble. It needs help, not only from the cities that encourage it, but also from the unions and managements, but also especially from people who appreciate the healing qualities of music and who see the sharing benefit that a concert brings to a community.

Music is a reminder of our harmonic connection to grace, to nature, to each other and to the infinite melodies of the universe. A symphony is a visual and audible link between the spirit of a community and the Divine.

Modern music as delineated as Pop, Rock, Country, Alternative, New Age and even Acid is a connection in appreciation to a deeper part of one’s being. Only the young usually appreciate new expressions of sound for they are new to this earthly density and form and are attuned to the higher vibrations of precipitated creations.

All compositions, both those of the great masters, as well as modern lyricists and composters, calm the turmoil of the heart and body and soothe the worries and pains of daily life for they transport us to another place. A place of peace and wonder and sometimes a place away from a place that we don’t want to be.

Music cultivates the intellect, echo’s the longing of the heart and embraces the sustaining spirit of wonder  into a synergy with the sacred and through its vibration a new understanding of the glories of life emerge.

Appreciation from an audience is the gift you give back to the artist. Purchasing product and ticket attendance support is a gift you give the gifted and the future. It is an essential modality for a civic soul and a young spirit to expand and someday they blend into ONE.

No one can live without music and no one should.



Thursday, October 29, 2009

May I have some more, Please?

                              Ok, here is what I learned yesterday on a number of news outlets.
 
General Motors Co. by the end of the week will outline plans to draw down more U.S. government money it will use to aid Delphi Automotive LLP and also give an update on a closely watched escrow account of its bailout funds, according to several people familiar with the matter.

GM's additional borrowing will mostly be limited to Delphi's funding needs and is expected to be north of $2.5 billion, based on prior announcements.”

Delphi was formerly owned by GM and is a key GM supplier.


GM is promoting this to happen. It’s obvious. If Delphi goes belly up so does GM.
So GM goes to Uncle Sam for billions more.


While you think about that; perhaps you watched the World Series game last night and noticed that Chevrolet, a GM product, was sponsoring part of the telecast of the game.


It’s a guess, but some limited research suggests that a thirty second commercial would run just over $400-thousand on network television.


Here’s my question. If GM is going to the government for billions more of taxpayer  money why are they spending that kind of capitol to co-sponsor a game? I understand they need to advertise, but at that cost?


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lighten Up!




When I started writing these sometimes quasi and often direct commentaries I decided that I would try to offer an alternative way of looking at issues, events, situations, and happenings.

It was important to me that I did not always attack, but that I could find a common ground, a dispassionate place in between verbal critique and passive tolerance in which all of us could dwell for discussion, dissemination and positive direction.

Sometimes I found it, most often not, but the understanding is in the attempt, not necessarily in the success.

A couple of items came across my desk this week, which both try my understanding and my tolerance. Let me present them to you for your consideration.

Item # 1:

A bus driver in Illinois was suspended from his job because he wore a pink necktie to show support for his sister and grandmother who both battled breast cancer. Officials of the bus company said any deviation out of uniform must be approved in advance.

Come on bus company executives! Where is your common sense? You should be delighted this guy is participating in a public cause and is community minded enough to encourage others to support the cause to fight breast cancer.

This is a case of AUTHORITY gone amok.

Item # 2:

I say at the outset that the Hispanic culture is noble and honorable and worthy of its inherent grace, but sometimes, as is the case with all cultures, races and religions, some people are so super sensitive that they can’t see the light through the light.

Halloween is this Friday. Recently three big companies who sell costumes pulled one outfit from their shelves. It was a costume called, “illegal alien.”

It had a space-alien mask and a green card attacked.

A Latino organization objected saying, “it mocks hard working individuals trying to make a better life…” their objection didn’t mention the word, “Latino,” though that clearly was the reference.

I am hard pressed to see where it might offend some, and like the missing common sense of the bus executives, these overly sensitive people and organizations need to lighten up and enjoy life in all its forms. I do understand there are some phrases and actions that offend. I don't think this is one of them.

Characterization will never diminish character. Humor, by its inherent nature, brings authority to the low and that is often a good thing for too often we take ourselves too seriously and make our organizations, instead of our hearts, the arbiter of what is right.





Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Holiday

Good Morning,

I've declared today a holiday for me. It doesn't mean I'm not thinking about a blog. It means, I'm thinking about just being. Not becoming! Not anything before. Just BEING.

Join me and I'll see you later in the NOW of the moment.

RGS

btw:  Thank you for tuning in from time to time.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Poetry Reprise




Some thoughts on poetry.

Poetry is my avocation, my passion.

You might rightfully ask what inspires a semi-retired broadcast journalist to dwell in a poetic world. The quick answer is a balance to the daily tragedy of life. The long answer involves acknowledging the heart, spirit, and nature and the peace that comes from that awareness.

Each day contains many of the sorrowful and tragic stories of life. Emphasis is placed on information that separates our unique, yet interconnected, human nature into undesirable parts. We label them as hate, prejudice, violence, intolerance, and greed.

Poetry, whether it's rap or metered verse, quatrains or sonnets, laughs and cries, clarifies and condemns and brings the intellectual and emotional senses into a radiating body of meaningful words.

Poetry holds, sometimes forever, an emotion long past, a desire forgotten, a wish remembered or a splendor that’s vanished in the illusion of time. It is also a minute connection to the elegance of verbal choice, to the beauty of form and to the emotion of words put fitly together on the palate of the mind.

Poetry is both raw and sophisticated art available to the reader and listener as a subjective creation similar to the appreciation found in images created in oil or marble.

To me poetic word creations in whatever form they take, is love at its purist verbal level.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Bail Out Compensation

Here was the story on CNN.

"NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Washington launched its biggest offensive yet against runaway Wall Street pay practices Thursday, taking aim at everyone from senior executives to high-flying traders of complex securities.

Leading the charge was the White House, which outline a series of drastic pay cuts for top executives at the nation's biggest bailed-out companies, including AIG, Citigroup and Bank of America."

Note: These guys got millions in taxpayer bailout money, but have yet to pay a cent back.

Here’s my question and probably the question of all taxpayers who bailed out these guys last year.  Did they really think they could get away with this?

Something is terribly wrong with their personal ethics and corporate missions when these allegedly intelligent bankers, traders and brokers think our money is free and because it comes from the largess of government they can pay themselves exorbitant salaries, bonuses and financial perks.

Hey…WALL STREET, get a life.

There is not a single average wage earner in America today that thinks like your ego. Your audacity degrades the free enterprise system and you should bow your heads in permanent disgrace as a recompense for your arrogance.

Perhaps we should bring back the colonial pillory and place it next to the bull on Wall Street where the tossed rotten tomatoes of greed can cover your shame.

Believe it or not WALL STREET you are not that good at what you do.

Some suggest that an unintended consequence of a government finance czar cutting salaries and bonuses is that the top earners will go elsewhere. GO!

Most of you were at the helm when your companies had to be bailed out. Put that in your resume.

I am tired of both you and congress for swindling the taxpayer and getting away with it. YES, you too congress. Look at your perks, your earmarks to spending bills, and your junkets. Come on! In the next election I am voting for anyone who’s never been there.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bill Of Rights




Bill Of Rights
© 2009  Rolland G Smith

I looked upon a bill today
And I was taken by surprise.
It had no stamp to mark as paid,
And never will and that is wise.

The items were of noble thought.
Ten items all and in a row,
And numbered in the Roman way
From I to X in even flow.

The first one was about some things,
We rarely give a thought about.
The right to faith and gathered groups
And saying things by speaking out.

Protection was next on the list
And barring arms, if so you choose.
It talked about militias too
So no one’s freedom is abused.

The third one had to do with force.
Of soldiers living in your space.
It could not be without consent
Unless the law does grant the grace.

The fourth one had to do with search
Of you, your home and papers too
Unless there is a reasoned cause
That law and man can’t misconstrue.

The fifth one was a longer one
Dealing with one’s self-conviction.
All have the right to talk or not
When accused of malediction.

The next one dealt with one's arrest
And a quick and speedy trial.
The right to counsel was there too
To tell the court of one’s denial.

The seventh was a master one.
In all the suits of common law
Your peers decide your truth or not.
No court can change what juries saw.

The eighth is one of great import
To keep us from excessive fines,
Or cruel unusual punishment
If we’re convicted of a crime.

The ninth is all about the rights
Set in the Constitution’s list.
But even rights not listed there
Are equal and both coexist.

Ten talks about THE DOCUMENT
And if the wording is not there
The states and people keep the rights
So that there is a balance fair.

No money pays this sacred bill
The rights are free and can’t be bought
They’re guarantees for one and all
Paid by the blood from those who fought.



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Borders Poem in Performance

The Rule of Law


A few years ago I sat in a lecture hall at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law listening and watching.

The place was energized with the shared synapses of profound thought. You could feel it touch your mind. The space was sanctified by the clear memory and eloquent presentations of Nuremberg prosecutors, Ben Ferenz, Henry King and Whitney Harris. They were there for one purpose, to debate the lessons and discuss the legacy of the Nuremberg trials.

I watched the old and the young come together to remember and to preserve the legacy of a profound achievement sired by trials at Nuremberg -- the birth of the rule of law in a global society.

The rule of law, however, has been broken and bent over the decades by perpetrators of ethnic cleansing and genocide. Milosevic, Pinochet, Hussein are some to name only a few.

The mission of the conference was to reflect on the trials’ significance and their affect on contemporary visions of international justice.

As I sat there, I sensed that this gathering was a reaffirmation of an absolute that Nuremberg was not open to interpretation.

It was a sacred lesson that affirmed not only the insanity of hate and evil, but the crimes of indifference and silence that allowed the leaders of Nazi Germany, and later Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur the freedom to massively slaughter innocent men, women and children.

If there was one central truth to this conference it was that all individuals have the right and the responsibility to “speak reason and truth to power”.

I wish you could have been there.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What Happened?


In the beginning there was radio.

It was squeaky and scratchy. It’s tinny sound mesmerized, politicized and homogenized the disparate culture of the mind. People went from reading to listening.

There was Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, Burns and Allen, and Amos and Andy. There were Radio City Concerts, soap operas, Fireside Chats and Here It Now.

Then from the electric void where science and intellect meet came the light of electrons stacked and packed together into black and white pictures. The images and sound came from tiny rounded screens with propeller test patterns, high–pitched tones and monochromatic snow that fell into channeled images and they called it television. And people went from listening to watching.

Radio was the royal patron, but television was the Columbus to discover the new world of entertainment and information.

The black and white universe flourished and grew on the foundations of Milton Berle, Ed Sullivan and Jackie Gleason. Television news grew too. Edward R. Murrow continued to set a standard few embrace today. The solid bricks of entertainment flourished with the laughter of I Love Lucy and the story lines of Gunsmoke and Dragnet.

By the early 1960’s the pictures got better and the audiences got bigger. Color screens were the new kids on the viewing block and all across America families gathered around the tribal fire of television to wonder at the sights and sounds from far away places.

Television was both our mirror and our window to us and to the world. It brought us wars and riots. It brought us into space and under the oceans.

And then new technology brought us into the six hundred-channel cable universe and mostly junk.

What the hell happened? We were doing so well!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Snow and Spirit


It snowed here yesterday. I can’t remember a time when it snowed this early in the season. It did not accumulate on the ground where I live, but I’m sure it did on the nearby mountaintops.

I love the winter scape, but not all the attendant conditions. Cold, dirty roadside snow, blizzards, and ice storms are the negatives of winter, but the rest of its white softness I like.

In many ways I think winter is a reminder to our physical personalities and to our spiritual nature that life as we experience it in this day to day density and pressure is relatively short and life as it really is is much more profound and eternal.

Winter ends the green of life created in the short spring and summer seasons of growth. In winter we can’t see the life below the protecting barks or within the seedling sheaths, but we know it’s there. It’s alive, dormant and ready for time and warmth to regenerate its perennial life cycle of growth. I think human life and lives are similar.

It makes no sense to me that we are here one time around and in those seemingly random allotted years, whether they be long or short ones, we are expected to attain the divine awareness of profound grace, spiritual grandeur and angelic gratitude.

So many of us don’t and can’t get it right the first time. What makes us think we can hone our divinity to acceptable living in just one lifetime? Some of us do a good job at living and some of us do a bad job.

I think those who attain and demonstrate a life of good are fine examples, but they have been around a few times and their spirit, their essence has learned how to do it correctly. When they attain the individuation of the Divine indivisible, they move on to other mansions in the heavenly house.

The others of us, who mess up, screw up, hurt and harm often by inattention rather than attention, get to do it again and again and again until we, by free will choice, get it right.

The way I figure it is that the All That Is loves us unconditionally, therefore there is no judgment of our choices in life, there is only the consequence of the choices we make and at some point in our eternal existence there must be a balancing of effect. Balancing is not a question of if, it is only when.

There are three things I know.

Life is a force of infinite love, finitely expressed.
Unconditional love is unencumbered with emotion.
Belief is the unknown and knowing is the grace of experience.




Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rants, Raves and Whys


Good Morning, some rants and raves and whys on life on this fine, cold, frosty morning in the northeast.

Let me start with the whys. Why does the railing on an escalator move slightly faster than the stairs?

Why is gasoline cheaper or more expensive at stations that are no more than a mile or so apart?

Why is the same college course more expensive at one college and cheaper at another even though you get the same information and the same college credit for completing it?

Why do train passengers try to get on the train before people trying to get off can do so? It boggles the mind.

Why do men sit and woman stand on the subway? Is chivalry dead?

Rants:

How come airplane passengers don’t read the signs and carry-on more stuff than the overhead compartments can hold? I saw a lampshade carried on board during my last trip. It would not fit.

How come the airlines don’t stop the stuff at the gate? With twenty dollars extra per bag these days, of course people are going to try to bring more stuff onto the aircraft. Isn’t that a dahhhh moment for the airlines?

Why do coach passengers try to store their carry-ons in the first over-head place they see and then walk back to their seats?

How come tractor-trailer trucks try passing in the left lane when going up a hill and then keep a line of cars at a slower pace for miles? Is this a driver initiation into a "delay club" or what?

Raves:

The full moon last week was wonderful. It lit the night land with a vibrant low glow that comforted and cuddled the mind into the colors of the fall.

Ever watch the autumn wind prune the yellowing oaks and crimson maples? A leaf here, a leaf there, til all are gone. It is a seasonal experience that must be observed to appreciate. Poet Robert Frost did!

October

By Robert Frost

1874-1963

O hushed October morning mild,

Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;

To-morrow's wind, if it be wild,

Should waste them all.

The crows above the forest call;

To-morrow they may form and go.

O hushed October morning mild,

Begin the hours of this day slow,

Make the day seem to us less brief.

Hearts not averse to being beguiled,

Beguile us in the way you know;

Release one leaf at break of day;

At noon release another leaf;

One from our trees, one far away;

Retard the sun with gentle mist;

Enchant the land with amethyst.

Slow, slow!

For the grapes' sake, if they were all,

Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,

Whose clustered fruit must else be lost--

For the grapes' sake along the wall.


Ever hear or read a phrase and have it resonate with your being? i.e. “Writing is the sound of silence” or “My life has so many beginnings, how do I choose where to start?”

Ever know beyond a doubt that there is more to your life than you’ve taken time to think about? Doesn’t wonder and awe result?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Teenage Twins


I’ve just spent 72-hours with my twin 13 year old granddaughters. It was both a delightful experience and an eye-opener into the youth culture of today.


Besides confirming what I already knew that twins are no more alike than beans and corn, these two siblings are smiling spirits of the same womb, but that’s where the similarity ends, except both are beautiful teen-age girls. Really! Not Grandfather really, but really.


One delightful child is a touch laconic, but not always. She tends to hold things in, but when she lets loose she is as vibrant as a rainbow and as comfortable as a teddy bear. She goes about her day with reasonable analysis, and technological savvy and she loves the outdoors and is a sports fanatic.


We all went on a canoe and kayaking trip and she handled the canoe like a pro. It was something she learned at summer camp.


Over heard on the canoe trip: Quote: Twin one, "Please help me with the canoe. Pick it up by the gunnels." Twin two, " I would if knew what they were."


Twin two is gregarious, thoughtful, smart and direct. Both know all the words to every song and dance move, but this twin can be infectious in her enthusiasm, demonstrative, festively happy and very loquacious. She is fluent in two languages, but her English is peppered with the teen idiom of “like.” The word “like” is inserted several times into every sentence.


Example: “Like Pop, you know, like you need hearing aids.”


Since there is some truth to her statement, I did offer to get hearing aids, if she could go an entire day without using the word, “like.” She said she could do 15-minutes, but that was it.


I learned that one is messy and one is neat. I learned that they don’t always like the same songs at the same time, but they do share and genuinely love each other to a point.


I learned all about the local 8th grade gossip, the names of their friends and that there are clicks that sometimes cross-pollinate, but not always.


I learned what makes them laugh, get angry, get pee-ode and that most boys are dumb, particularly (name deleted). (That will change in less than a year, I figure.) I also learned what teachers they like and which ones they think don’t like them and why.


I learned they are smarter in math than I ever was. Just watching them work equations with calculators and graph paper, finding x and y and angle degrees and just seeing the amount of homework they have to do is staggering.


I am glad I am not a teenager today. There are 54 important years of experience between us. I’ve already had my first kiss, my first heart brake, and my first adult sorrow and they will soon enough.


I can’t remember much about my early experiences of the heart and I might not hear it if somebody who did remember told me.


I’ll probably go and get those damn hearing aids.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hopes and Wishes


The Make A Wish Foundation grants special requests to terminally ill children.



Many years ago a 17 year old from Minnesota was dying of a brain tumor. His wish was to hunt a Kodiak bear in Alaska, and it caused a controversy. Animal Rights groups asked the boy to think about the significance of taking a life as part of a dying wish.



Within a moral framework, there isn’t anything a parent would not do for a dying child. Hunting was part of the boy's family culture, so for them the only issue is fulfilling his wish.



There was a time in my life, long ago, when I was a hunter, but an experience in the woods changed me. I had stopped to rest and a flock of chickadees landed in the trees around me. One flew to my shoulder and as I turned to look at her, she never moved, but whistled as we starred at one another, then she flew to the top of my head, whistled again and flew off.


For one brief special moment I was in harmony with all nature. I walked out of the woods, never to hunt again.



I don't remember what happened to the young boy or even if his wish was granted. I remember the story and my wish for him at the time was that he might have a similar experience for there is a profound peace in the acknowledgment of the oneness of all life.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Who Was He?


Some have tried to prove he was a Spaniard, others thought he might be Greek, but serious scholars, through years of research, are firmly convinced he was an Italian.


Much has been written about this man and he is known throughout the world. In a few countries they even have a special day to celebrate his accomplishment, but not too many know really know about him.


He had little or no formal education and spoke a native dialect that was never a written language. When later in life he did learn to write; it was not in Italian, but Castilian, then a dialect of Spanish, but now the main spoken language of Spain.


He worked in his father trade as a master weaver and even as a wine buyer for a little shop his father operated. In his early 20's he started to make trips to sea, to nearby lands, perhaps to buy the wool and wine for his father.


His brother was a mapmaker and for awhile he learned a little of that trade too. Once, as a deck hand on a voyage to England, French pirates sunk his ship and he used an oar as a life raft and made his way to Portugal. That turned out to be a fortunate event, for Portugal at the time was a center for overseas exploration and the young shipwrecked man learned navigation and hydrography.


Sixteen years later he did something that changed the course of history.


Who was he?

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Common Man


The common man. What happened to him? Where did he go? Is he only in Steinbeck novels or Copeland fanfares. Is he relegated to fictional characters and musical compositions? Was O. E. Rolvaag wrong in the epistolary tale of, “Giants of the Earth” where the common man was sacred and personified in stories of immigrant’s survival and success?


We have forgotten, in our modern technological agglutinations to honor, to praise and to emulate the common man. Somehow we’ve been conditioned to only respect and elect the specialist.


Where did the common man go? Did he disappear within the Utopian future we are always seeking, but never achieve? Is he only alive in fictional characters elevated to real-life greatness by the imagination of fine authors?


Have the entitlement mores of our current social and political structure diminished the values, ethic, and desire for the return of the American common man?


I don’t have the answers to all my questions, but I do have some thoughts.


Our Congress used to be peopled by common folk, but when elitism, effete intellectualism and professional politicians rejected common sense and embraced partisan bickering, the common man disappeared into history and was replaced by special interests, and power seekers.


When was the last time you talked to your Representative or Senator and sensed that he or she didn’t feel they belonged in Congress because they were special, experienced, and the only one who could do the job? That’s not a common person, that’s a professional politician. The common man says anyone can do it and invites you to participate in your democracy.


If you have not lost the commonality of what is right, just and fair and still maintain the value of polite rhetoric and courteous compromise, I’ve got news for you. You could do the job, probably better than most in congress right now.


Most of us are not looking to sustain our position in life, as re-election requires of our representatives. We are looking to sustain our lives as best we can in an economy and political condition over which we have lost control.


We have given up our intellectual rights to shouting pundits and argumentative talk-show hosts. When was the last time you really checked out a derogatory email before you forwarded it to your friends?


Another problem in this great country is that we have become a society of expectant receivers, rather than relying on personal responsibility, ingenuity, innovation and hard work for our individual welfare.


A majority of the men who pledged their fortunes and lives to envision a United States of America were farmers, merchants and tradesmen. They were the common man. They were the visionaries of America. Find me a few of these in Congress today and I’ll support them with shouts of praise and adorn them with accolades and ribbons.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Change Within and Without


I’ve been sensing a change in almost everything these days! Not just the change of seasons, but that could be the catalyst. The change is primarily within, but I see it too in climate, attitudes, demeanors, courtesies, politics and nature.


Perhaps I should eliminate politics from my observation for it seems to be an infectious and contentious topic.


Have you noticed if you are having a discussion or debate or even a gentle political conversation lately that no matter how many salient facts you bring to the verbal table that validate your argument, the other person or persons use what is called, “contorted logic” to defuse the factual truth and dismiss its compelling conclusion?


Climate change? I am not a scientific person, but I am an observant soul and I have noticed over the last few years distinct changes in my weather environment. I don’t know how to interpret the things I’ve noticed, but the patterns are different. More rain than usual. More snowfall than normal. Colder than normal. Hotter that it’s supposed to be. Something has changed.


Even the seasonal change this year with the trees losing their leaves is different from previous years. The colors are different. I’ve watched the same trees every year for the last decade and this year there is a difference. Right now some of our trees are barren while others still have their green leaves. In the past it was different.


I’ve also noticed more anger from mobile strangers than I used to observe. Drivers are quicker to yell at you, give the proverbial finger or cut you off more than they once did. Courtesy and protocol seem to have gone by the way side of life.


The change within me is the most profound. I sense a searching within myself that is more pronounced than it used to be. It is almost an urgency to find the simplicity in complex things knowing there is an understanding there and it would be beneficial to humankind for a resonance of knowing would be and is endemic. It is also an abandoned willingness to let go of what was and embrace whatever is.


I am observing less interest in television, in newspapers, in organized religions and more interest in the practice of personal spirituality. Being spiritual is acknowledging a conscious, loving, presence as part of our being and knowing it is in harmonic resonance with all things.


Religion is the process, the belief system, by which we choose to express some of that spirituality. In my view, religions have forgotten much of their spirituality and what they think they do remember of it they confuse with dogma.


There is really no conclusion to this missive. It’s only random observations and free-floating conjecture. I wonder if you feel these things in a similar way?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

War Coffins


My former profession is guilty again of limited interest and giving short shrift to an on-going story of emotional import and national honor.


You may recall a number of years ago the images of coffins from the war were banned from our nightly television screens by the Bush administration. For their own reasons the Bush administration did not allow any pictures of American coffins returning from the war zone.


Granted, flag draped coffins are a negative image and that’s why all administrations involved in war try to keep images of these kind from an emotional public.


In Vietnam, I covered the war and the coffins coming home. I’ve seen the dead in Croatia and I’ve reported on the mortality count in numerous wars and conflicts since the sixties.


I acknowledge the fact that the Obama administration lifted the ban on taking photos of returning coffins as long as the families did not object.


What happened then? Dozens of news organizations rushed to Dover Air Force Base to photograph the coffins coming home. The media interest lasted only a few weeks and now only the Associated Press continues to cover the story. Shame, shame on my media.


What government did and the media is doing today is failing to acknowledge that once a warrior is dead, politics end and honor begins.


The dignity of saying a warrior's name in public is important to the validity of service, not only to the family, but also to the social and patriotic permanence to our society.


Heroes are honored, not hidden. We may not like this or any war, but our government sent these young men and women into harms way and they should be honored appropriately.


From my thinking politics be hanged and selective news judgment be harangued, for these are our war dead. These warriors served by choice and honor. They died by circumstance and the hatred of another. Let us acknowledge their remains with images and names and bugle calls in public. Do not let them come home to be buried in silence and tears!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Death Penalty


They murdered and because of that heinous choice, they were scheduled to forfeit their lives. Lawrence Reynolds Jr. and Darryl Durr are scheduled to die in Ohio, but Governor Strickland issued a stay of execution until next April at the earliest, because of a failed attempt to execute another prisoner months ago with the lethal injection procedure.


I understand that the death penalty for certain crimes is the law. I also understand there is another constitutional law against cruel and unusual punishment.


The legal manipulations in the various courts of law, not only in Ohio, but in many of the states that have the death penalty, seem to me to be cruel and unusual punishment.


If you have been sentenced to die for your crime or crimes and then a legal maneuver delays your death day for either hours or days or months, that to me is cruel and unusual punishment. Put yourself in that position.


On the other side of “thought” you have the emotion of the families and friends of the victim. They must once again face their sorrow and see if an execution and perhaps the witness of it, will ease their pain. I suspect there will always be an emptiness of mind, and a piece of their hearts they cannot mend will always bleed and suffer and we should do what we can to comfort them.


It’s unlikely there will ever be a consensus on the efficacy of the death penalty. There is no way to satisfactorily compile statistics as to whether or not death is a deterrent to murder. The destiny of agreement in this case may be nothing other than a perennial debate.


Perhaps the question we should ask ourselves, before and after every execution, is not whether the person deserved to die, the law decides that, but how do we individually react to it.


In the vastness of attempted understanding there are many valid emotions: tears, anger, fear, detachment and even relief. Vengeance, however, is one active emotion to which we must give prayerful thought before we choose to embrace it, for it is consuming and eternally unsatisfying.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Affairs


I don’t know about you, but I don’t care about David Letterman’s affairs or about the affairs of any Congressman or even the President of the United States as long as those affairs do not infringe, influence, or impinge upon the security of our country or that they are not coerced by authority either directly or indirectly.

Politicians' affairs and Letterman’s kind of liaisons have been happening since time immoral.

What I do care about is lying, obfuscation, extortion, and denial when confronted with abundant evidence.

Bravo to David letterman. He did what he had to do to stop an extortionist. The rest of it is none of our business.

Hypothetically, if caught in a romantic or prurient assignation, admit it. Let it go. You did it. It happened. People do and have done these things even though our puritanical and dogmatic backgrounds preach that it’s socially, morally and spiritually wrong.

To some it is not wrong. It’s a consensual relationship between two people and it is nobody else’s business. There are, however, the “other’s” who see all non-married sexual situations as sinful and unless it is legally consummated it needs to be publically exposed.

Letterman made jokes though-out the years about politicians’ who fooled around and even politicians have cast aspersions and indignations on their colleagues who were caught and vilified in the proverbial media, only to be caught themselves in their moments of indiscretion.

When caught, red faced as it were, public repentance is one usual result, finding divinity and asking for forgiveness is another and resignation from office or position is a third.

I prefer the refreshing acknowledgment of honesty and let the rest of us adhere to the biblical admonition of “cast the first stone.”

I don’t think the “Source,” “The All That Is,” The “Oneness,” the One God we call by many sacred names really cares much about our love making, but only that we love unconditionally and that even though unconditional love may have no judgment, it does have a consequence; choice always does.

Ask Elliot Spitzer the former New York State Governor, Senator John Ensign of Nevada, John Edwards, former candidate for President, Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina. Ask resigned congressman Mark Foley or his successor Tim Mahoney about affairs and consequence. Ask any number of Hollywood stars, business leaders and religious leaders if they agree that sex and sound judgment are inimical components of life.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Tsunami's and Earthquakes


Some thoughts on the earthquake in Indonesia and the Tsunami in American Samoa, Samoa and Tonga.


Rich, poor, tourists, residents of cities and seaside ports surprised by a wrenching earth and walls of water. Such loss of life and still counting. All of mankind feels that kind of pain. There is nothing we can do to change it.


So many died so quickly. Grief is a personal hurt. Sorrow and sympathy are more universal and the world is responding with compassion and service. Gifts of food, clothing, tents, equipment, medicines, all needed, all appreciated.


Now comes the after-pain. Like the earthquake aftershocks, the after-pain is also a killer, but not nearly as fast. There is no quick end to despair. No easy answers to questions of why and no relief when cries have run out of tears.


It is not possible for us to hold a hand or hug someone in need in Indonesia or in the islands tonight. All we can do, in this human family, is be aware and to care. There is an energy that comes from that expression of compassion and it's powerful and it's healing.

 
Free Blog CounterEnglish German Translation