Monday, August 31, 2009

Swine Flu... (everyone panic)

Fear mongering.
Swine flu.
Pharmaceutical companies.
Campaign donations.

They're all interconnected.

Question everything.

I'm encouraged...

If I disregard certain people's recent comments, I've been encouraged lately by some other people's comments--not here, on my blog, but in person.

A couple of weeks ago, I read this letter to the editor in our local paper:

"We must stand up to Obama’s health plan
Published: August 20, 2009
The big government takeover has to stop. Ever since liberals claimed power, it’s been one bureaucratic scheme after another. Their newest target, health care, is the most dangerous intervention yet. Politicians, special interests and central planners should not come between patients and their doctors.

We shouldn’t have to wait for Washington to tell us if we can have the treatment we need. We shouldn’t have to wait in long lines because hospitals are overrun and doctors are in short supply. But that is what could happen if the Obama/Pelosi health care plan is allowed to go forward. Patients must come together now to make sure that our voice is part of the process, before we are forever silenced in the halls of power in Washington.

Frank St. Charles

Bowling Green"

I find letters of this sort to be typical of a lot of op-ed sections. There's no real facts or good rhetoric--just buzz words and misinformation.

So I responded with this short reply:

"Health care debate should focus on facts, not opinions
Published: August 22, 2009
This letter is in response to Frank St. Charles’ letter Thursday, “We must stand up to Obama’s health plan.” You, sir, obviously have a strong distrust for our government. I don’t blame you. But you’ve got to get beyond the lies and misinformation being spewed by the talking heads on Fox News.

Millions and millions of hardworking Americans are denied proper health care daily because of a broken system. The government is simply trying to provide for the general welfare, as Article 1: Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution says.Have you read the health care reform bill? You won’t have to change anything about your current health care coverage if you don’t want to. This bill is simply an attempt to provide proper health care for all U.S. citizens. The proposed public option is open to those who choose it – it’s not some part of a “big government takeover” scheme that will force all Americans into a system of socialized medicine.

Check the facts. Listen to more than one media outlet. Read the proposed bill. This can’t continue to be a “liberal vs. conservative” argument. This should be a chance for all Americans to talk openly, honestly, calmly and rationally about the best way to provide health care to everyone.

John David Ryan
Bowling Green"

Since then, I've been quite surprised by the kind words people have shared about how much they appreciated seeing a letter with this content in our local paper. Several people have stopped by my office and I've received emails expressing gratitude for someone writing in such a letter to the editor.

Then Mr. Frank St. Charles responded with this letter on the 27th:

"Health care plan is simply not a good idea
Published: August 27, 2009
To John David Ryan’s letter Saturday, “Health care debate should focus on facts, not opinions,” and those who agree with him about allowing government to control health care, I simply have some brief comments. If we allow the government to control our health care, they will have control of our lives. Improving health care does not require controlling it. Can we really trust bureaucrats and politicians to do what they say, without changes or to run anything efficiently or effectively? Once they have control of the system, we are at their mercy and don’t believe that it won’t be used and abused by special interests and fall victim to incompetency and excess.

Frank St. Charles
Bowling Green"

I responded yesterday. I'm sure they'll print it. I'll post the link when they do.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thomas Paine on torture...

In his 1795 essay entitled Dissertations on First Principles of Government, Thomas Paine wrote this as his last paragraph:

"An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."

I guess this was Paine's way of saying: you reap what you sow.
(HT: Salon)

He's alive!

Since he died, I've been saying that Michael Jackson isn't really dead. I think he faked his death. Well, I should say that I think there's a good chance he could have faked his death. (The wording in that sentence is VERY important.)

If he was smart, he would have faked his death.


To get out of the limelight. To get away from the debt. To stay away from the haters. To stay away from the fans. To have some peace.

If I were him, I would have faked my death a long time ago. He obviously hasn't been right in the head for some time, though. Anyway, this video surfaced today. I laughed when I saw it. It in no way confirms the aliveness or deadness of The King of Pop, but its still worth posting to encourage the rumor spreading.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


It gets better every year.

I am thankful for this life.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Reason #47 Why I Love Barney Frank:

Unreasonable people deserve to be addressed in an unreasonable manner. Name-calling and hysteria-spreading need to stop so this health care reform discussion can move forward.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Faith For Health

(copied and pasted from the petition I just signed):

"Our health care system is broken. It’s clear we need a change, but special interests, some claiming to speak for people of faith, are trying to block reform with distortions and distractions.

I just joined “40 Days for Health Reform,” a campaign from the faith community to take back the debate and move real reform forward.

Over the next 40 days, people of faith will run a national TV ad campaign, sign petitions, conduct in-district public meetings reaching over 100 Members of Congress, and even host a national webcast and call to action with President Barack Obama!

You can visit and sign the petition to join the campaign and stay up to date with all these exciting activities."

I'm actually looking forward to the webcast/conference call tomorrow afternoon with the President. I love what this group is doing. On their website, they have a "Learn More" tab that includes documents which break down health care reform and explain the major issues and what people are so worked up about. Its quite informative and worth a few minutes of your time. Go sign the petition.

"Be the change you want to see in the world." - Gandhi

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Its a daily thing.

I'm probably not who you think I am.

Probably not.

Because I'm still trying to figure that out. It keeps me up at night. I wrestle with it. I toss it around. Its rather unsettling. But there are questions I gotta answer. I'd rather fight this fight and come out a stronger me on the other side than never ask the tough questions.

Does it bother you, too?

Do you ask yourself all those questions you're afraid to answer? Afraid you already know? Afraid you know all the darkness that lies beneath your skin? Afraid of being who you want because you may get hurt? Afraid of being honest because others may not understand? Afraid of trying to take the big leaps because you could fall hard? Afraid because everyone already knows about your propensity to make mistakes and bad choices?

There are simple things in life to enjoy. But I don't wanna miss out on the complexities because I'm scared.

Thanks for listening, by the way.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Video of the Week:

It happens to include the Quote of the Week as well:

Oh, Sarah (part 2)

I guess I need to explain further:

My problem with Sarah Palin doesn't end with the fact she's a moron.

I certainly have problems with her spreading lies. She makes stuff up. She spreads it around. People believe it. (By the way, fact check. Don't take anything a politician says as truth. Well, don't take what any public figure says as truth at first--pastors, politicians, teachers, etc. Fact check. Research. Find out for yourself.)

That's certainly a big problem. But that's not my biggest problem with the current national issues and what I last posted about. The biggest problem is that in spreading lies and getting people to believe them, she's trying to shoot down health care reform. She's trying to stop the government from doing something about America's health care woes. That's my big problem with her and with others like her who are doing the same things.

Listen, I don't think the government taking things over is the BEST solution. But I don't see any other solution. For too long now, big business and our government have been sleeping together... and both are getting away with whatever they want because of their relationship. Health care is way out of control. Insurance companies and big pharmaceutical companies are taking advantage of millions of people. On top of that, there are millions who don't have any health care because they don't have or can't afford insurance. Something has to be done. Something has to change. I don't know what other options we have. Privatized health care is a scam.

Personally, I think the reason a lot of people in government are fighting against health care reform is because insurance/pharmaceutical companies have paid off a lot of politicians. They are trying to keep this from happening because health insurance companies are scared. They know that if the government is offering an all-inclusive plan that's cheaper than what they're offering, then they're screwed. And they have no one to blame but themselves. How long did they think they could get away with what they're doing to the American people? Did they think it would last forever? Taking millions of dollars and denying millions proper care.

Like I said, something has to change. I don't know what the best solution is, but privatized health care is not it. At this point, how else do we provide everyone in the nation with health care without the government stepping in?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oh, Sarah. Oh, Sarah.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Sarah Palin is a moron--truly and undoubtedly a moron.

The fact that John McCain selected her as a running mate in the last presidential election should offend every American woman. Yet, somehow, she seems to maintain an audience. Last week, on Facebook, Palin posted a bunch of lies and nonsense about health care reform. Read it here.

I thought most of her comments were laughable. Its simply fear mongering at its best--and that's what I think she wants to do. She, like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, has convinced people that she has a viewpoint worth listening to and (for some reason) has coherent, logical ideas and comments on matters of national concern.

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why people would support her as a politician. And worser still, cannot figure out why there is buzz going around about her running for presidential office in 2012.

Can anyone argue with these two points?:
1-We need to reform our health care system in America.
2-We need to make sure every person in America receives proper health care.

Are those two points outlandish? Liberal? Crazy? NO! They're extremely reasonable ideas. I would hope that every American feels like that. Sure, I have concerns about a government run health care system. But that the same time, I certainly don't trust privatized health care providers to fix themselves. They, along with the pharmaceutical drug manufacturers, are making too much money off of the American people. They don't want to change anything. They are taking advantage of millions of people and buying off as many politicians as they can to keep it that way.

Something has got to change. And people like Sarah Palin are only making it harder for change to occur when they use their platforms to spread lies and fear.

Oh, the the ways in which power and money corrupt. Its sad. Really sad.

I love Keith Olbermann's response this week (addressing the American people): "Think. Please, think before something horrible happens."

Friday, August 7, 2009

Happy is so incredibly insufficient.

Its my wife's birthday. She's turning 24. That seems so different from the 16 she had just celebrated before we met.

(8 years? I've been lucky enough to have her by my side for 8 years? We're getting old fast.)

Nonetheless, we plan on celebrating this weekend in the best ways possible. I won't divulge all of our plans, but will throw some buzz words your way: Chinese take-out, Hugh Grant, Cheesecake Factory...

Happy Birthday, baby. Here's to another great year.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Not welcome on the ranch.

Mainline/Evangelical Christianity is an interesting behemoth of a club.

One of the major shifts that I see taking place in people moving from a "modernist" to "post-modernist" mindset is one's concern with propositional and absolute truths. In this transition, it becomes less about who's right vs. who's wrong, and more about grace. To put it simply: it becomes about inclusion vs. exclusion.

Cults don't typically hold a generous orthodoxy, though. For a cult to be effective, absolute control must be maintained. One of the most efficient ways of accomplishing that is through doctrinal control. If a leader or leaders set up a group's belief set and don't allow any variations on it, then their mission is complete. If you question a leader or a belief, then you question the integrity of the entire group. More than likely, you would be kicked out of the cult and removed from the compound.

You would not be welcome on the ranch.

Sadly enough, this is all too common in Christian churches. Pastors and leaders encourage groupthink--a set of beliefs and ideas are decided upon and everyone is expected to think, believe and act just like everyone else. If you were to (God forbid) use your brain, logic and reasoning to come up with ideas that were outside of their predetermined beliefs, then you aren't welcome on the compound anymore.

(What an alarming similarity.)

Christians need to make a remarkable turn to grace--a return to unbounded love, giving hearts, and intelligent conversation. We should be working to reverse the atrocities committed by the Church. We should be working to reverse the mindsets of so many people who see Christians as close-minded, homophobic, hypocritical and judgmental. Instead, I hear stories about people being kicked off the ranch.

God gave us brains. Let us use them!

Think for yourselves. Question. Voice your doubts. Embrace opposing viewpoints.

Live freely.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


my hands can't keep up with my brain tonight
i wish this could be longer
and more profound
than i'm sure it will be
i used to write a lot
and think a lot
and talk a lot
about the ways of the world
and our future path
and love and life and freedom and choice
about change
and hope
and making a difference
then i got a job and things changed
it lots of ways
my energy went into my career
and, in this case, that's not necessarily a bad thing
but in some ways
it is
if i look back to two years ago
put myself in that place
and ask myself what i'd be doing in two years
i have no clue what my answer would be
but it wouldn't be what i'm doing now
and, in this case, that's not necessarily a bad thing
but in some ways
it is
i could be asking myself,
in two years from today,
what will i be?, where will i be?, what will i be doing?, how will i be doing it?
but i'm not
tonight i'm asking myself:
who the hell am i?
what the hell am i doing?
why the hell am i doing it here?.
and, in this case, that's not necessarily a bad thing
but in some ways
it is


“What is the future of organized religion? Whatever it is, I hope that we will have the courage to stop rewarding and confirming peoples egos and calling it morality, ministry or church. I hope that we will have lower expectations of leadership and the institution and therefore less need to rebel against it or unnecessarily depend upon it. True leadership is quite rare in my experience and cannot be “ordained” or created by title, office, or costume. Many people are upset with the Church because they expected too much from it. Accept it for what it is and for what it isn’t.

More than anything else I hope that the future church can be a people who have entered into Mercy and allow others to enter too. I once saw God’s mercy as patient, benevolent tolerance, a form of grudging forgiveness. Now it is apparent to me that Mercy is a divine understanding, a loving allowing, a willing “breaking of the rules” by the One who made the rules, a loving wink and smile, a firm and joyful taking of our hand—while we waste time clutching at our sins and gazing at God in desire and disbelief.”

–Richard Rohr, Radical Grace

(HT: Zach Lind)