Sunday, August 27, 2006

No One Is So Blind. . .

Three incidents of the last week give me pause – much reflection – some frustration.

Shortly after I returned from camp I answered the phone to kindly voice; it conjured the picture as a sweat faced, elderly woman. After establishing who I was, she told me she was the daughter of ________ and asked if I knew who _____ was. I said I knew him well, but before I could finish my thought, she interrupted to say, “Well, your father did.” Since I could not deny my father knew ______ better than I, I did not contradict her. She continued, “I hear you tell a very funny story about my father shaving a hippy.” I knew the story she meant at once, but I thought sadly – it is not about her father at all, though I do mention his name at the very beginning of the story as someone who once offered me a job. I was thinking she perhaps wanted to hear the story or to get a copy of it and was trying to think of a way to tell her that unfortunately the story was about someone else, when she launched into a vindictive. She accused me of hurting the feelings of _____’s numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren by making light of his alcoholism. She then demanded I stop telling the story. I was flabbergasted. I assured her that I made no such implication about her father, that the story was about someone else entirely and that I only mentioned _______ in an absolutely true and benign reference to someone who once tried to help me. She would not believe me. Her voice was never raised, but she assured me that she knew the truth – that I was saying hurtful things about her father. She said she had been told this by people she believed and insisted that I stop using his name. Then she hung up. I couldn’t recall her name. I had no way of getting her back to tell the story and give evidence of her father’s totally innocent role in it. So she is left believing that thousands of people have heard her father defamed, and I am left to contemplate ______’s hither to unknown drinking problem and his daughter’s determined ignorance.

I intended to finish Ann Coulter’s book *Godless* sometime over the summer, but never had time to read. I did lend the book to one of my staff. After much reminding, he finally returned it to me the day he left for home. It was warped and growing mold. He assured me he had read it and that it was all “bunk”. Last week I picked up reading where I had left off in the spring. To my surprise Coulter spends the last several chapters of her book debunking Darwin. For years I have been a staunch supporter of Darwin. With great affection I recall Carl Sagan’s calm and quirky voice assuring us that evolution is not a theory – but a fact – that the mechanism of evolution is Natural Selection as put forward by Charles Darwin. I read and reread *Origin of the Species* years ago – and it seemed utterly reasonable, and piled on top of it were the text book pictures of spotted English moths and “The Cosmos” series reenactment of the “growing amino acids in a flask” experiment. From the same PBS program there were all those cute little line drawings that “evolved” in forty seconds from a bunch of squiggled molecules to Eve standing at the foot of the tree of life. I have directed the play *Inherit the Wind* twice at our high school. It seemed so logical; who could challenge it? For years the “brothers across the road” have tried by sending over their photocopied articles and issues of the “Ensign” to dissuade me. But there was never any answer in their harangue, never any challenge in their contentions. Then came Ann Coulter and there went Darwin. Friday, I lent my moldy copy of *Godless* to the Principal of the Seminary. I am left to contemplate the shallowness of my long held positions, marvel at the power of truth, and wonder if there is still another page to turn.

Thursday, in a very hot classroom full of cranky and resentful sophomores, I tried to stir an argument. Somewhere along the line to the idea of “Absolute Truth that exists but cannot be known,” one student blurted out, “Why do you keep attacking Saudi Arabia?”

“Don’t you mean, why do WE keep attacking Saudi Arabia?”

“No you!” – he replied bitterly.

“Why would we attack Saudi Arabia? They are our ally in the war on terror.” I ventured.

“Then why did we blow up Saddam Hussein?”

“We didn’t blow up Saddam Hussein, we arrested him, besides, Saddam is not from Saudi Arabia, he is from Iraq.”

“No he’s not” the student insisted, “He’s from Arabia.”

“Well, maybe his ancestors, but he was the dictator of Iraq,” I ventured.

“No he wasn’t. Why should we believe you? You could just be telling us anything.”

This was a perfect segue into the quote on the board, the same one that is on the masthead of the Agora, and I took advantage of it to move the discussion that direction. At the end of class I called the student forward, hoping to seek together the origins of Saddam Hussein, and perhaps learn something on which to reason. But he replied, as he stalked toward the door; “I’ve got things to do!” I was left alone, in the stuffy heat, to contemplate how difficult it is to get the blind to see.

My father’s words came to me, “No one is so blind as he [or she] who will not see!”

Saturday, August 19, 2006

From Heaven to Earth

It has been difficult to leave Paradise and I am still a little empty with the separation, but I must admit; there is one think I have been looking forward to back here in the real world. That is to check up on our Anonymous’ predictions of stories in the summer
NEWS. It has proved as pleasant as I had hoped. Here are Anonymous’ predictions with the truth of the summer NEWS to contrast:

“Let me give you some of the headlines you will miss while we will be gone this summer Liesis:ROVE INDICTED! Cultrure of Corruption Runs Deep in White House
***The TRUTH – Rove was acquitted and the culture of corruption has died as a Democrat talking point as the REAL crimes of Democrat politicians are revealed daily.

Iraq Civil War Broadens; Bush Signals Cut & Run
***The TRUTH – The war on terror in Iraq continues – it is painful, but the increasing abilities of the Free Iraqi army every day takes on more and more of the burden of the war. Rather than running Bush has proved himself right!

Bush Approval At All Time Low (To be run weekly until your too soon return)
***The TRUTH – Bush’s Approval rating of 37% - 40% is higher than in the Spring and continues to rise as the elections near. Go figure!!!!

Debt Ceiling Raised; Spending Deficit Projected To Grow
***The TRUTH is that the deficit has been cut in half after only two years of the Bush plan – this in spite of War and disaster. Bush predicted it would take ten years to cut the deficit in half. He’s so humble!!! Reaganomics still works. Anonymous – needs a new crystal ball.

Trade Deficit Still Out of Control
***The TRUTH: U.S. Economy: Trade Deficit Narrows as Exports Rise (Update1)
Aug. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in June as exports rose to a record, helped by a pickup in economic growth abroad and a weaker dollar.
Imports exceeded exports by $64.8 billion, following a $65 billion shortfall in May that was larger than previously reported, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. American imports of cars and consumer goods such as televisions and clothes also rose.

Cheney Continues To Say Deficits Do Not Matter - President Agrees
***The TRUTH – A lot of people agree with this statement, but I can’t find any quote from Cheney.

Dollar Continues To Fall (Down 7% last week alone - that was a true headline from last week as investors decided the Republican majority is not serious about deficit control.)
***TRUTH – the dollar is mixed in it’s relations to the Yen and Euro – but the economic consequences Anonymous predicts have been proven as specious as the rest of his predictions.

Cheney STILL Insists Iraq Has WMD, Calls For Nuking Anbar To Be Sure Of Their Destruction ***TRUTH – I love this one!!! as Iraqi WMD possession has been proven this summer. Of course you had to trust to Silver Lining to get the truth. We also now know that Saddam was spending billions on bribes and preparing to launch a nuclear build up that would make Iran’s and North Korea's look like a joke. One will look hard in the liberal biased media for these truths – but then, they were too eagerly hoping that Anonymous would be proven right. Wrong again Anonymous!!!

Cheney Demands U.S. Nuke (insert country or Blue State here)
***TRUTH – this never happened, but the democrats dropped their own bomb on a “blue state” by turning Lieberman into a sure win independent and a sure loss of a seat in the Senate for the Democrats.

No One Held Accountable In White House
***TRUTH – The person that is being held accountable here is Anonymous – for his silly predictions and his sad dreams for the destruction of his own country.

Oil Prices Record High, America Still Addicted To Oil -
***Truth: CRUDE oil prices slumped overnight to levels last seen in June, amid signs of an economic slowdown in the United States and a lowering of tensions in the Middle East, dealers said.
New York's main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in September, closed down $US1.83 at $US70.06 a barrel.
It had tumbled as low as $US70 in earlier trading, hitting its lowest point since June 21.
In London, Brent North Sea crude for October delivery settled down $US1.25 at $US71.58 after earlier dipping to $US71.31, its lowest level since June 28.
Crude futures have shed around $US4 over the course of the week

Bush Continues Erosion Of Democracy At Home
***TRUTH – Thanks to George Bush Democracy is safer than ever in America and spreading throughout the world. Go George GO!!!!

Taliban Resurgent In Afghanistan As Coalition Forces Struggle To Keep Up Pressure With Limited Resources (that was a headline last week too, maybe you saw the General in charge of Asian ops give that press conference.)
***TRUTH – NATO has taken over the war against the Taliban and is mopping them up in southern Afghanistan. Sadly the war on Terror goes on, on all fronts – encouraged by the nay-sayers like Anonymous, but the Taliban victory Anonymous is hoping for will not happen!!!

Former White House Officials Call Bush "Twit"
***TRUTH – Can’t find this quote in the NEWS either. How about you Anonymous?

Bin Laden On The Loose; Al Queada Still Plotting
***TRUTH – Bin Laden and his Al Queda were foiled again in Britain just over a week ago. What a great victory for the West - Yesterday one of Bin Laden’s closest confidants was caught in Pakistan. Can Bin Laden’s demise be far behind? Many hope he will be gone soon – but of course Anonymous is rooting for him!

-It's a shame I won't be able to tune in here every week and read your ridiculous apologizing and rationalizing about how all of this news is actually great and not the sign of some of the worst leadership this country has yet endured. But it isn't that big of a shame. We still got six months of ridiculous Republican control to hear the same stupid type of things being said in the news almost every day.
***TRUTH – America continues to benefit from the courageous leadership of President Bush. In the weeks to come we will see how well it (The US) follows that leadership. Anonymous – would you care to make some predictions on the November elections? That should give us something to look forward to on November 8th. As for “not being able to tune in every week” Well now you can give us a try!