Saturday, December 30, 2006

Park Service No Longer Able To Speak The Truth About The Grand Canyon

The story that broke a couple of days ago about the Parks Department at the Grand Canyon not being able to tell visitors the age of the park really got me. The Bush administration has discouraged them from doing so because it might offend fundamentalists who believe the world is no older than 6000 years. OK, sounds like the home-school crowd is starting to affect the overall IQ of the country!

The availability of a book saying the Grand Canyon was a byproduct of Noah’s Flood at the canyon gift shop says it all. We have let a group of fringe fanatics force their wacko opinions down our throats as "alternative theories" long enough. Ask any geologist what he or she thinks about this theory and they will stare at you dumfounded. It is not a theory, it is a bad interpretation of scripture, and is both bad theology and bad science.

These backwoods bumpkins used to be laughed at. That was a good thing too, it often would teach them that they needed to get some real "book learnin" and join the 21st century. I respect other people’s faith, but there is a place for it and it’s not as official policy of the National Parks. Noah, Adam, Eve and the rest belong in a church. The problem with this kind of flimsy faith is that it would be more at home in the "Little Book of Bible Stories" than a real theological discussion. If your faith has not matured beyond the Bible story level, I suspect you live a pretty unexamined life. Adults should have a developed adult theology to guide them, not a bunch of bumper sticker phrases and charming fables.

So to the fundamentalists who may be offended by scientific fact, tough! Time to examine your whole faith journey and really give it some thought. A faith that is not based on any effort on your part is destined to fail you in a crisis. Read, learn, grow, use the wonderful mind God gifted you with. You will find many more blessings in your life that way.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Ford Criticizes Bush From The Grave

Now he tells us! Gerald Ford’s interview with Bob Woodward was held until his death, and that is a very unfortunate thing. Ford was highly critical of the Iraq war and the Bush administration in general. His views, those of a moderate conservative, would have gone a long way towards waking the sleeping majority of Americans who reelected Bush in 2004. It is tragic that Ford chose to hide his opinions until now, and more tragic that he is not alive to answer a few more questions.

I am sure more will come out about this historic interview, but it is all too late. What a poor legacy this will leave. Ford, willing to criticize the administration only after he is beyond the reach of any repercussions. A voice from the grave and from history now merely a feeble "I told you so."

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bush Ranked Villain By 1/4 Americans

How the mighty have fallen! George W. Bush, once seen as a hero by the majority of the country is now seen as the World’s Number One Villain by one in every four Americans. This mean’s he beats Saddam and Osama in some people’s books. Pretty durn sad, especially since I am one of those folks.

Only 13% of people polled voted Bush a hero. So much for his political capital. The AP/AOL poll ranked Bush as the #1 Bad Guy by a landslide. And I have to wonder why the Democrats will not impeach him and put him out of his misery?

New Year - No Good News

As the New Year approaches, I find myself thinking as a nation we are in somewhat better shape than last year, but still in mortal peril. Not from terrorists, though they pose a threat, but from a delusional President who continues to march our young soldiers into an unwinnable war he started.

As General Abizaid calls 3500 troops into "call forward" status, I feel a sense of dread. Looks like Bush has already used the Iraq Study Group report as kindling for his Yule log, and now wants to throw gasoline on the fires in Iraq. Adding more troops to an already muddled situation will achieve only more chaos and resentment from Iraqis and more death for our troops.

The other problem with Bush’s "surge" idea is that it will only delay the Iraqis from taking responsibility for their own security. Of course that is a tenuous thing itself. Every day more bombings and death squad reports hit the press. Iraq may be hopelessly broken and it falls at the feet of Bush and his cronies. There is no easy answer, and in my opinion there is no winning this thing. I am reminded of the "Pottery Barn" analogy put forth at the war’s start. So, how do you reassemble a broken pot? Well you use glue and patience and what you end up with is a pot that never looks as good as it did before. That’s what we have in Iraq, a country that as far as quality of life will never be as good as it was before. Did I like Saddam? Hell no, but there were other less lethal ways of removing him than to have an all out assault on the country.

What to do now? Well, investigations and perhaps impeachment of Bush and Cheney for a start. Even though the Democrats seem reluctant to do it, it needs to be done. Meanwhile we need to begin drawing down troops in Iraq and finding ways to deal with our allies and enemies in the Middle East in more effective ways. That is why the present administration must go, they will never understand that.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Of Polar Bears, Gerald Ford & Castro

As the arctic sea ice melts away the habitat of the polar bear is reduced, and finally the Bush administration has admitted it may be a problem. A source within the Interior Department leaked the information that the polar bear may soon be under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. They spoke under condition of anonymity, since the Bush folks don’t want to appear as though they are admitting the global warming may be a reality. Remember they create their own realities!

As Coca-Cola watches it’s most recognizable spokesbear disappear from the face of the earth, I suspect they may be considering ways to jump on the ecology friendly bandwagon. I suspect we will see Coke ads soon that encourage recycling and fuel economy. And while you’re at it, share a Coke and a smile!

Then there is the passing of another endangered creature, an ex-president of the US. Gerald Ford died last night. He will be fondly remembered as the man who ended the Republican Party’s long nightmare by pardoning Nixon. As the country’s only unelected president he held a unique position. His wife, Betty became a hero of many recovering addicts by publicly admitting her addiction and later starting the renowned Betty Ford Clinic. For that, so many American’s are grateful. Betty Ford made the subject of addiction an acceptable topic and brining it out of the closet led thousands to recovery.

Finally there is Fidel Castro. As he lingers in what has been described as a "near-death" state, he reaches another milestone. He has outlived yet another US president and defiantly maintained the sovereignty of Cuba in the face of the most vociferous detractors. Though I am no great fan of Communism, I have to admit that Fidel has held on to power much longer than I expected. My only hope is that once he passes, our country will come to its senses and begin normal relations with Cuba. I really miss the cigars.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

James Brown Dead At 73 - His Music Lives On Forever

Soul Music legend James Brown died today. God rest the "Godfather of Soul", the hardest working man in show business. It is hard to imagine my life without his songs ringing in my head. "I feel good, like I knew that I would , now!" It only takes those few words to conjure up his image, dancing and sweating onstage while his band pounded out the tightest sound in soul.

Holiday Wishes And A Healthy New Year!

Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanza and Happy Chanukah! Let’s hope next year is a better one for the entire world. My personal holiday wish is that all Americans will have affordable health care in the coming new year. It’s not as big a wish as world peace, and that’s always on my list, but it is something I think the new Congress could and should take up.

I have to say that I am ashamed that our prosperous and remarkable country is one of the only industrialized nations in the world that has no national health care system. Why can a country with as many political and economic problems as Mexico have a state run health system and we have none? Why, according to the Center for American Progress, do 45 million Americans lack health insurance today. millions more are struggling to pay premiums that are growing five times faster than wages, even as their benefits shrink.

What does this say about us as Americans? Having had a period of my life when I had no health insurance and little money to pay for health care I can tell you. It means you get sick and you suffer and with luck you get well on your own. If you get seriously sick, you end up in the county emergency room and you hope that the medication they prescribe is cheap enough that you can afford it. It means that if you do not have enough money for experimental treatments for rare diseases, you just suffer or die.

It all comes down to money. The rich get the medicine and health care they need and the poor get the leftovers and sometimes nothing at all. I can tell you from experience, I lived in fear of getting sick. A day sick meant a day without the ability to work and that meant falling further and further in debt.

Today, I am grateful that that has changed. I have expensive health insurance, but it covers most of what might happen. There is no excuse that millions of Americans should live in constant fear of getting sick through no fault of their own. It is a shame on our national identity. We must demand that the new Congress do something about it.

Here's an interesting plan that the Center for American Progress has proposed. There are others equally as novel and the point is it must be discussed and something MUST be done.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Island Vanishes In Rising Sea Levels - Dramatic Evidence Of Global Warming

Still denying Global Warming? Talk to the former residents of Lohachara in the bay of Bengal. This inhabited island has now vanished under the seas. Once home to 10,000 people the island is no longer above sea level. The rising sea levels will cause more such problem as the ice caps melt. It's time to do something if it isn't too late. Write your congressman and demand that the US reduce carbon emissions, buy a hybrid car, use less energy, take action now.