Monday, September 5, 2011

The Milk of Human Kindness

I work on the phone. Sometimes I get into long conversations with the people on the phone.  This happened last week, with an older woman who, like me, has family members in both the military and law enforcement. We talked about whether or not there are people in the world who have absolutely no good in them. I commented that I don't think so-even the most depraved people have some good in them, though it is buried beneath so much garbage that it can't be seen. She responded, "I can tell  you are a Christian." I honestly didn't know what to say. Obviously I couldn't say much, being in a work setting. But I wonder, as I have for years, where the notion comes from that to have a kind outlook on humankind comes from Christianity. I can point to so much evidence of Christians who definitely do not have a kind attitude toward their fellow man, and I know many non-theists who do. In fact, atheists sometimes refer to themselves as "humanist," and for most of the atheists I know, ethics is very important...after all, this world is all we believe we have, and how we treat each other is of high importance. 

There have been some articles recently about the "Christian Dominion" movement on the right wing fringes. This idea that fundamentalist Christians should run the world isn't anything new. The "K-Street" apartment house, at which some of the sleazier politicians who've been caught with their pants down, so to speak, is a part of this movement. They believe that it is okay for some politicians to screw around on their wives because King David did and God allegedly said David was "a man after my own heart." The thing they forget is that Christianity is supposed to be based on the NEW Testament, and King David was an Old Testament king. Nor was he allowed, by God, according to the myth, to build the temple because he committed adultery and murder. Nor was Moses allowed to enter the promised land with the Jews because he had committed murder. So the whole dominion movement is just a bunch of creeps who cheat on their wives and want to rationalize that their bad behavior qualifies them for leadership. Not only is every bit of this movement ridiculous, it is wrong headed in its alleged adherence to biblical values. It is also scary as hell and needs to be kept on the fringe. 

Speaking of politicians who've been caught with their pants down, I think it is noteworthy that none of them were wearing skirts. 

One legend about St. Patrick says that he used a clover, the three-leaved variety, to explain to the Celts about the trinity-three from one. So why is the four leaf clover considered to be good luck? 

In the last week or so I've heard several pundits referring to the Tea Party movement as "patriotic anarchists." Funny thing, on July 23rd, in my blog post entitled "Demagogue Is Not a Verb," question number 7 went this way, "7. Do the anti-government right-wingers realize that people who hate the government and wish to dismantle it are called "anarchists?" Anarchists used to be considered left wing. Does anyone but me see the irony in that? Anarchy in the USA!! Brought to you by Sarah Palin." So, can I get a little credit for pointing this out first? In fact, if you are going to read my blog and steal my ideas, please become a follower. I need more followers. 

So all this talk about the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution being a rationale for ending anything the federal government wants to do that they don't like. Candidate/Governor Rick Perry, of my state, Texas, likes to call on "State's Rights." He does it all the time. When the state of New York approved of allowing marriage equality, he said that it was fine for New York to do that-in his opinion that day, he said it was a matter to be decided by individual states. But yesterday, August 26, 2011, it was announced that he had signed a pledge to a marriage inequality group that he would support a new amendment to the constitution stating that marriage in the United States under a Rick Perry presidency would be that it is only between one man and one woman. Just one example of how conveniently the Grand Ole Party uses and rejects the Big Tenth Amendment. Which simply says nothing more than, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." That's it. Which demonstrates why it is so easy to find so many different interpretations.  And why its multiple uses must be carefully considered before it is used to reject every proposition from the federal government that any particular governor or candidate might like or dislike at any given moment. (Or in front of any particular interest group or donor!) I do remember a line from the Bush administration, quoting Reagan claiming that "government is not the solution, government is the problem." It was said that the second Bush administration believed that government is the problem, and then spent their whole time in government proving it. 

So, speaking of tea, there is an entire shelf now at the grocery store from which shoppers can buy gallons of tea in the ubiquitous plastic jug. Why would anyone pay from $2.95 to $4.29 for a gallon of premade tea? It doesn't make good economic sense. I pay a bit over $2.00 for a box of 100 teabags, and that makes 20 gallons of tea. Have we become that lazy? Nevermind. Except that lazy doesn't even do it for this one-it takes less energy to put some water in a kettle, boil it, add the bags and let them steep, then top off the jug with water and slip it in the fridge than to drive to the store, shop, maneuver around the aisle hogs, find where it's kept, put it in your basket, take it to the register, wait in line, pay, walk to the car, drive back home, carry in all your bags, put away all the groceries you just bought, etc. Make your own damned tea! We don't need all that many more plastic jugs in the landfills, on top of your soda and water bottles. And don't insist you recycle them; only about three-percent of Americans recycle their recyclables, and there have been billions and billions of plastic bottles placed in landfills in the last fifty years. We don't need unnecessary tea jugs on top of them. 

Since when is "nevermind" not a word? I just had to add it to my dictionary-as far as I know, nevermind is just as much a word as "alot." Which my computers keep lining in red as if they are not part of the English language. Where do they come up with this crap?

Has anyone noticed the evolution of the Exxon-Mobil commercials? First it was just that they are spending lots of money on R & D to find more eco-friendly ways to produce energy. Now they are talking about trying to frac without damaging ground water supplies. And there is one in which the spokesperson actually talks about the tar sands program in Canada, and he honestly says, "We can access this energy with about the same emissions as other forms of energy." WWWHHHHHHAAAAATTTTTTT???? The wording of commercials can be very instructive, and it is quite clear that it takes so much energy to remove the oil from tar sands that it is much worse for the environment than traditional oil production. Interestingly, I heard the Canadian CEO of the company building the tar sands pipeline say that all the protests in the US will only hurt us by sending 25,000 jobs to Canada, and that the oil will be produced anyway. And we always carry on about how "nice" Canadians are-now we are being held hostage by the guys who beat baby seals on the head with clubs. 

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