Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Monday, December 25, 2006
I recently ran across this video while watching one of my iTunes podcasts. It is from 20/20 In Touch (ABC News). I was in moral shock. I can tell you which individual involved in this story should have had life in prison, I can tell you which one now deserves it, and I can tell you which didn't but got life. I was absolutely sickened.
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Friday, December 22, 2006
Here is a video we took tonight at my son Christian's Tae Kwon Do award ceremony, as he completed his testing and has been promoted to a Yellow Belt. At all of the awards ceremonies it is traditional in this Dojang for the students to break a board. "Sir", the instructor, keeps the boards appropriate for their level, but if the child wants to try a tougher board he or she may. Tonight, all of the yellow belts tried to break the tougher board. This is a video of my son trying to break this board and then breaking the board appropriate for his level. The tougher board proved to be difficult for many of the higher belts as well. What is remarkable about this video is my son's actions when the board won't break. We were all in hysterics, so pardon the videography during that section. By the way, my son is seven, going on eight.
Christian Has Reached His Yellow Belt
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Thursday, December 21, 2006
I am of the belief that the only way we can loose the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is if we quit. Militarily we would be nearly impossible to defeat in both of these arenas. I think that if we continue to screw around as we are doing now, we will be at it forever. If we do what we were supposed to do in the beginning, bulk up, go over there, and fight a war, than the war would most probably come to a quick close. It is my opinion that our biggest wrong-doing in this entire war was going into it half-ass, which in many respects would fall under the heading of "under-estimating your opponent" or even "not doing your homework before class".
As silly as it sounds I often find myself remembering something my mother told me numerous times as a child. This phrase comes back to me every time I think about our progress in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Stop playing with your food and just eat!"
Food for thought: The new Secretary of Defense used the occasion to state that "failure in Iraq at this juncture would be a calamity that would haunt our nation, impair our credibility and endanger Americans for decades to come." He added that "the next two years will determine whether Iraq, Afghanistan and other nations at a crossroads will pursue paths of gradual progress towards sustainable governments which are allies in the global war on terrorism or whether the forces of extremism and chaos will become ascendant."
Sunday, December 17, 2006
There are many different things that get blamed when children become a menace to society. People, primarily the main-stream media, have blamed video games, rock music, television programming, poverty and divorce just to name a few. In my opinion, none of these things are the real problem. Any of these factors can contribute to the over all problem, but it doesn't change that the real problem lies in poor parenting skills. If parents took a more active role in their children's lives, whether they be single parents, or a couple, we wouldn't see nearly as many troubles in society involving criminal children. Whenever I see a news story outlining a recent tragic event involving children as the perpetrators, I always find myself asking, "where were the parents and why weren't they doing their job?"
For example, in June of 2003 an 18 year old boy is charged with the muder of two Fayette police officers and a civilian police worker. He was being apprehended for allegedly stealing a car, and after taking one of the officer's guns he shot and killed all three individuals. The 18 year old Moore is quoted as having said "life is a video game, everybody has to die sometime". On the 11th of August 2005 Moore was found guilty despite his claim that he was not guilty by reason of mental defect arising from hours spent playing GTA and years of abuse as a child.
This story probably points out what was wrong with Moore's up bringing. The alleged abuse as a child explains where his parents probably were and the role they played. In this particular case, the absence of "proper" parenting is more to blame than the video game Grand Theft Auto. It sickens me to read stories like this one because of the tragedy involved, but it is even more disgusting to watch those who commit the atrocities blame industries as an attempt to not take responsibility for their own actions. If Moore's parents had been doing their job properly to begin with, then this more than likely wouldn't have been an issue.
In a story published in a The Craig Daily Press (Wyoming) on December 2, 2006, Michael Blonigen, a district attorney, charged four Craig teenagers, Daniel Merwin, 16, James Gore, 17, Steven Liljedahl, 15, and Johnathan Milligan, 16, with conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, armed robbery, concealing property and conspiracy to commit murder. Milligan is also charged with five additional counts of attempted murder. There is no mention of the parents in this story, or of the blame being put onto any of the major industries commonly blammed, however, it is stated that "Moffat County High School officials reported that none of the juveniles are enrolled with the high school this school year. They have been students in the past". That they had been students in the past, and are all of school age, but not currently enrolled, tells me that the parents aren't keeping a close eye on their children. This story is yet another example of what has become a recurring theme.
Over the years I have heard Ozzy Osborne criticized for leading children to satanic worship, I have heard that television shows such as The Simpson's and Married with Children, are the reason that children have become disrespectful, and I have heard some say that poverty creates problems because the "have nots" want what everyone else has. While I will not disagree that there are definite flaws in all of the things listed above, as a mother I will not blame them. It is my job to make sure that I police what my son watches on TV, and know what he is listening to on the radio, and even to know what video games he plays at home, or at his friend's house. While I don't think that these things should be taken from every child, I do think that the parent has to "know" their child. Parents must be active in knowing when their children are developing behavior that is not healthy. Once they have noted the change in behavior they must take an active role in curbing the behavior by any means possible.
Things that I try to remember, and learned first hand from my parents were, when watching television or movies, always do so with your child, and always be ready to explain what is make-believe, and what is right and what is wrong. Be open to their questions, and ready to answer them. If you think your child may ask a question about an event in the movie that you are not ready or comfortable answering, then they probably shouldn't be watching that particular movie until you are. If they want the latest Snoop Dogg CD, but you aren't sure they understand what is wrong with the lyrics, or even worse, they see nothing wrong with the lyrics, then it is time to start a dialog with your child and evaluate why your child feels what is being sung about is OK. If you have to work two jobs, and have little time at home with your kids, don't leave them on their own. Take them to a safe place that holds the same values you do. A place that can teach them and answer their questions when you aren't there. Lastly, whatever you do, no matter how busy you are, always make time for them, and remind them that they are important, and keep communication open. In my mind these are basic family values.
This doesn't mean that "Ted Bundy's" won't surface, but if more parents took responsibility for their children and a more active role as parents, I feel that a great deal of the juvenile crime rate would not exist.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
If you are atheist, say "Happy Holidays". If you are Jewish "Happy Hanukkah" will be your choice of warm wishes. If you celebrate Kwanzaa then you will have yet something different to say. I am sure the list can go on.
What bothers me, is that so many become so angry if you say one of these phrases and they don't believe in that faith. It bothers me even more when retail establishment owners have to over look their beliefs to appease the masses.
I am Christian. I say Merry Christmas. If I said Happy Hanukkah then it wouldn't mean nearly as much coming from my lips, as I probably don't know all of the nuances taught in the Jewish religion about this particular religious holiday. If I say Happy Holiday's it feels too generic. It doesn't carry the warm currents that Merry Christmas does for me, and the feelings I wish to share.
The reason I am saying all of this is to make my next statement more understandable (I hope).
If someone who celebrated Hanukkah wished me a Happy Hanukkah, I would answer them with a "Thank you. Merry Christmas!" I would be thanking them for wishing me their warmest feelings during this season, and I would be extending my own. Not correcting them, or telling them that I am not Jewish, or trying to force my beliefs on them. I would truly be touched that they would take what is important to them and wish to share that with me. I wouldn't want them to say Merry Christmas to me, as it would be a relatively empty phrase as they aren't followers of the same faith I am. They would only be saying it, to be polite, and not because they meant it. If I went into a Jewish market and saw a Merry Christmas sign, I would be taken aback as they would only say that to appeal to others instead of sharing what they believe and all of the emotion and caring available in their own faith and it's traditions.
We should be who we are, and not be afraid to show what we believe. We should not be offended by what is different, but take things as they are meant. If you don't believe in the story behind the Christmas holiday, and I say Merry Christmas to you, please understand that I am not trying to convert you, only share the feelings that the holiday brings me. It is the feeling behind the words, not the words that are important.
Monday, December 11, 2006
I recently read an article on-line that caused me to worry a great deal. The article was published by CQ Homeland Security on the 8th of December.
The article is written by Jeff Stein, who spends some time with Silvestre Reyes who is the incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, as chosen by Nancy Pelosi (I may talk more on her later, as I have a distinct dislike for her, and absolutely no faith in her abilities). Stein posed a few questions that even I knew the answer to. But to my surprise, and possibly to Stein's as well, Reyes did not. Here is an excerpt from the article.
"The dialogue went like this:
Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?
“Al Qaeda, they have both,” Reyes said. “You’re talking about predominately?”
“Sure,” I said, not knowing what else to say.
“Predominantly — probably Shiite,” he ventured.
He couldn’t have been more wrong.
Al Qaeda is profoundly Sunni. If a Shiite showed up at an al Qaeda club house, they’d slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball.
That’s because the extremist Sunnis who make up al Qaeda consider all Shiites to be heretics.
Al Qaeda’s Sunni roots account for its very existence. Osama bin Laden and his followers believe the Saudi Royal family besmirched the true faith through their corruption and alliance with the United States, particularly allowing U.S. troops on Saudi soil.
It’s been five years since these Muslim extremists flew hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center.
Is it too much to ask that our intelligence overseers know who they are?"
Is it too much to ask? Well, I certainly don't think so. The lack of knowledge present in one side of this conversation makes me very nervous. Reyes is supposed to be the man who will oversee the executive branch in matters of intelligence (ok, so I know there is a lot more to it than I just made it seem). He should know what the subject matter will be shouldn't he? If he doesn't, how does he know what he is overseeing? How can he second guess executive decisions?
When asked about Hezbollah his response was:
"Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah...” and then "Why do you ask me these questions at five o’clock? Can I answer in Spanish? Do you speak Spanish?”
Can he answer in Spanish? First, what is wrong with English? Second, will that help you suddenly know what, or rather who, Hezbollah is? Thirdly, does your IQ really drop that much as the day wears on? To top that all off, how long have both Al Qaeda and Hezbollah been on the news? Can you just see how many times I have rolled my eyes and groaned yet?
According to the article, which still manages kindness towards Reyes even with his lack of knowledge, members of the intelligence committee are paid $165,200 a year to know more than me about our foes. I am really in the wrong line of work.
I also have this overwhelming desire to sarcastically thank Nancy Pelosi.
You can find the entire article at: http://public.cq.com/public/20061211_homeland.html
Sunday, December 10, 2006
I have always found Fetishes a strange topic. After scanning some newspaper articles I have decided that there are some that are even more strange than I could have ever thought possible.
"In October, airline baggage courier Rodney Petersen, 30, pleaded guilty in Melbourne, Australia, to stealing hairs (head and pubic) from clothing or hairbrushes in women's luggage. At his home, police found 80 plastic bags containing hairs, labeled with each owner's name." [Agence France-Presse, 10-20-06]
After reading that I had to try and hold my lunch down. That is just disgusting! Why would anyone collect and catalog the hair of complete strangers?
Another strange one:
"England's Liverpool Magistrates Court granted police a temporary "sexual offenses prevention order" in October against Akinwale Arobieke, 45, who had been jailed for pestering people with requests to feel their muscles. Arobieke is prohibited from touching, feeling or measuring muscles or asking people to do squat exercises." [The Guardian (London), 10-26-06]
That one was strange, but not disgusting. Just plain funny. I wondered how many actually let Arobieke measure, and feel their muscles. Do you think any one actually did the squat exercises Arobieke requested?
"'I've always had the desire to play (the cello) naked,' said Ms. Jesse Hale, a music major at Austin Peay State University (Clarksville, Tenn.) and member of the CJ Boyd Sexxxtet of nude cellists who play their experimental, chant-like songs in concert around the country. Hale, who says she's been playing naked since sixth grade, explained to Austin Peay's newspaper in September that cellists 'make full body contact with (their) instrument,' and their legs even 'wrap' around it so that '(i)t just feels natural.'" [The All State, 9-6-06]
What do you think the gender make-up in her audiences is?
Monday, December 4, 2006
I was watching and listening to my pod casts today, and came across one that was very disturbing. Please watch the following video. It is found in the "20/20 In Touch" pod cast that is offered on iTunes for free.
As I watched it I was just beside myself. There are so many things that are wrong with what happened to this poor girl. Could the people she worked for be any more dumb? Could the manager's fiancé possibly be a bigger pervert? I guess he could claim that he was only following orders from what he thought was a cop, but he seemed to be enjoying it far too much for me to buy into that story.
That aside, did it ever occur to anyone (but the maintenance man), that there isn't a decent cop alive who would be having members of the general population conduct this portion of the investigation while he directed them over the phone?
I just couldn't believe how far this went before someone had a red flag go up. It never occurred to anyone to say "officer, maybe you should just come down here, provide us with some ID, and then conduct this portion of your investigation at the station." Personally, the maintenance man should be promoted to manger. He evidently has more common sense than everyone else he is working with and for.
I really very bad for the poor girl that was subjected to this, and I know that some of the players in this game have been dealt with, but others have yet to be caught. I hope that they are caught and that they get what is coming to them.
After watching the video you can also read the full story at: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2684890
Posted By:Sunni Kay
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Saturday, December 2, 2006
I recently read an article that documented parts of a recent speech given by former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. The speech was given at an awards ceremony in New Hampshire. The awards ceremony was for those that had made a stand to protect people's first amendment rights, one of which being freedom of speech. In Mr. Gingrich's speech it is said that "free speech may have to be curtailed in order to fight terrorism". Is there anyone else out there that finds this particular comment not only frighteningly disturbing, but also the exact opposite of what the awards ceremony was being held to celebrate and acknowledge? (You can read the article I read at: http://www.nysun.com/article/44302)
Part of me feels like our country is changing, but in the wrong ways. We are now living in a society where the potential for domestic spying is present, and the former Speaker of the House is orating on possibly limiting our freedoms of speech. We can't even fly from Reno to Portland without being harassed by the TSA or having to buy shampoo at our destination. What's next? Are we going to have a great internet firewall surrounding our country like China? All of this is being done in the name of security.
Please don't misunderstand. I am all for national security. I want to be secure, and unafraid just as everyone else. I have concerns though. How much freedom will have to be sacrificed in order for us to be safe? Is the taking of our freedoms (not matter how small and trivial they seem at this time) a slap in the face to all those who fought to grant them to us and protect our ability to exercise them? Is the sacrifice worth the reward? These are just some of the questions that we should all be asking ourselves. I have not yet made a decision on most of them myself. A great deal more thought will need to be put into it before I can say exactly which way I will answer any of them. Even so, recent events (and a very smart man) have reminded me of a quote credited to Benjamin Franklin. He is believed to have said "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
One last comment before I try to sleep, but fail miserably as I ponder the above. Looking at history I see a possible resemblance between past and current events. Hitler's Ermächtigungsgesetz (Enabling Act) has been compared to the Patriot Act by some. I do not think the Patriot Act has gone as far as Hitler's Enabling Act, but I do see a few distressing similarities that should cause all of us to keep a close eye on the workings around it, and it's uses.
Like the Patriot Act, many were opposed to the passing of the Enabling Act in Nazi Germany. It was thought by many of that time to take away democracy in Germany and establish a dictatorship under Adolf Hitler (sound familiar?). To squelch the opposition Nazi's manufactured events that would cause confusion and fear, and blamed it on foreign terrorism (no, I do not think 9-11 was manufactured). The Enabling Act would of course protect the people of Germany (much as the Patriot Act was billed). To further protect the people of Germany, certain rights were taken away. German's lost their freedom of the press, free expression of opinion (Newt Gingrich?), individual property rights, right of assembly and association, right to privacy (domestic spying maybe?) of postal communications, and the German states lost their rights of self-government, and protection against unlawful searches and seizures. Once passed Hitler started arresting people with little or no cause. We all know what happened next.
As I said, the Patriot Act has not gone as far as the Enabling Act, and I have faith in the American people to stop it before it does, but even the few similarities between the two that are present paint an eerie picture.
Now that I have that off my chest, I am off to enjoy my self-inflicted nightmares.