December 25, 2005

Christmas Day

Thoughts on Xmas Day and the so-called "War on Xmas"
A day originally to celebrate the birth of Christ and what that means to people today -- but especially what it does not mean to so many who have manufactured a
false "war" on Christmas -  maybe because "war" is a word which holds much attraction for them, almost as much as "win."

The original story starts with 3 men bearing gifts for a newborn in Bethehem.  Note they didn't run around finding gifts for one another;  the focus was on what this birth meant to them and they were paying their respects, as it were.

Many years later, and we hear the adult voice of Jesus.  Speaking words that unsettled many in his own time - and certainly would today.  What would the pollers find?
What was he advocating?
. Feeding others who are hungry (because in feeding them
  one would be feeding him).
. Clothing those without clothes.
. Giving shelter to those without shelter.
. What you do for the least of us, you do it for him, he said.
 You know what would happen to him if we encountered his speeches today?
   "Bleeding liberal!   Wimp!   Far-left wingnut!   Pinko commie!"

So much for "celebrating Christmas" ...
Maybe some unhappy with 'liberals' might go back and read more carefully what were reported to be Jesus' words and actions.
(Recommended: Matthew 25: 35-36 ... Luke 3: 11)
"Conservatives" (conserving things as they are, no big changes) often prefer here a 'spiritual' interpretation of the teachings (there's less to give up!), but that interpretation rests on the soundness of the physical basis.

 He was not a really peaceful guy, all in all (very upset with moneychangers using the 'temple' to do their changing), a man who felt very strongly about what he felt we owe one another.

As presented, a real radical, then and now.
They crucified him.  What would we do?

December 04, 2005

Bypass voice menus to get to a live person

Guardian story about Paul English's terrific IVR Cheat Sheet.
    English's info page and press galore since Nov '05.

Vanity Fair on Arianna Huffington

Candid article on the blogosphere presence with more influence today than most politicians or writers, due to a razor-sharp mind, cutting sense of humor and a real passion for acquiring and using power to make positive changes.   In her new blog-empire commentaries, Arianna Huffington highlights with virtual laser beams what is really happening here, Mr. Jones :-)

December 03, 2005

Planting and paying for Good News in Iraq

NY Times story re admission that news articles written by American troops had been placed as paid advertisements in the Iraqi news media and not always properly identified.

What was involved in that facial transplant

Amazing story (NY Times), including reconstruction of donor's face with a silicon prosthesis before the funeral.

December 02, 2005

Alito's hidden quest to mitigate and eventually overule Roe vs Wade

Update 12/1/05 - Alito's credibility seriously in question now after he failed to cite a case for which he submitted a 17-page abortion-strategy memo.

    "What can be made of this opportunity to advance the goals of bringing about the eventual overruling of Roe v. Wade and, in the meantime, of mitigating its effects?" he asked in the memo concerning a Pennsylvania case before the Supreme Court, Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Gallup poll shows most oppose overturning Roe vs Wade
  --"If it becomes clear Alito would vote to reverse the abortion ruling Roe v. Wade, Americans would not want the Senate to confirm him, by 53% to 37%."
Judge Alito on Wives as Children
  Justice O'Connor's strong reply to Alito's dissenting opinion in "Casey."
Boston Globe on Alito's conflict of interest
  "Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. ruled in a 2002 case in favor of the Vanguard mutual fund company at a time when he owned more than $390,000 in Vanguard funds and later complained about an effort to remove him from the case, court records show -- despite an earlier promise to recuse himself from cases involving the company."
    Update 11/8/05 - The Washington Post reports that Alito is telling senators he is conservative about overturning precedent for decisions that have been repeatedly upheld.  Will this upset the anti-abortion groups and/or is he just telling pro-choice senators what they want to hear?
    Update - 11/14/05 - Alito's primary pro late-abortion ruling was a requirement rather than his choice though reporters usually fail to mention this, citing it instead as indication he would be flexible where he could make the standard rather than have to follow it.
       In his concurring opinion re Planned Parenthood NJ vs Farmer (Yr 2000), given in place of joining the majority, Alito said, "I do not join Judge Barry's opinion, which was never necessary and is now obsolete.  That opinion fails to discuss the one authority that dictates the result in this appeal, namely, the Supreme Court's decision in Stenberg v. Carhart, 2000 WL 825889 (U.S. June 28, 2000).  Our responsibility as a lower court is to follow and apply controlling Supreme Court precedent."
        Note that this should not be used to indicate how he will rule if on the Supreme Court, which does not have to respect precedent and Can overturn previous rulings.
    Update - 11/14/05 - Alito wrote that the Constitution does not protect the right to an abortion (Yr 1985).
        " has been an honor and a source of personal satisfaction to me serve ... and to help to advance legal positions in which I believe very strongly. I am particularly proud of my contributions in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect the right to an abortion."