Friday, November 30, 2007

Electric Company Turns Off Power, Family of Four Dies in Fire

This has to be one of the most cruel and insensitive stories I have read. A giant power corporation, Toledo Edison, part of FirstEnergy Corporation, turned off the electricity to a home only days after the family moved in. To keep warm, candles were lit and a fire killed the mother and three children.

Toledo Edison shut off power to the home hours before the fire started because the family — who moved in last month — failed to set up an account. Power was expected to be restored yesterday morning, but at the time of the blaze the family was without heat or electricity.

'Failed to set up an account' is the reason for the shut-off. How shameful. How business-centered.

The Blade reports: Firefighters found the children in an upstairs bedroom in the back of the house. Yaniela and Ivan were lying next to each another on a bed; Victoria was found under a window. Ms. Crawford was in the living room. After Mr. Diaz awoke, he said he immediately began breaking windows with his fist to clear the thick smoke from the home. He began gagging, ran out the back door, and continued yelling for his children.“I knew they were up there,” Mr. Diaz said while tearfully recounting the events.Within minutes, he returned inside and tried to rescue the children from the second floor. Mr. Diaz ran up three steps, but said the heavy smoke and intense heat kept him from going any further.“I could see the top of the stairs,” he said. “I couldn’t make it.

Greed. Corporate greed. Three children and their mother dead for profits. Welcome to America.
I wonder, this morning, how FirstEnergy CEO Anthony J. Alexander is feeling? No doubt he slept well last night in his high-class residence. After all, profits in the last quarter for FirstEnergy were $ 1,254,000,000 with assets of $31 billion. This Fortune 500 Corporation saw a 45% increase in profits from last year to this.

And it turned off the power to a family of five because they had not yet set up an account. A good lesson to other customers? Who would doubt that thinking in this era of greed?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

By Far the Worst President Ever

He makes the families of Buchanan, Grant, Harding and Hoover happy; they are no longer the bottom four. He makes the rest of us sick to our stomachs.

Seven years of sheer madness: economic and political disasters. Stuck in Iraq at billions per day and now the housing/mortgage crisis. Where is his economic advisor? Resigned. No kidding, he had to jump the sinking ship.

Today we read the headline: October foreclosure filings surge: More than 50,000 lost their homes in October. And it isn't over: foreclosure rates expected to rise in 2008 as adjustable-rate mortgages reset.

I also read that the median income in America is $1000 less than it was when Bush took office in 2001.

What a complete failure and bumbler the man is. I can proudly say that I was never in the least tempted to vote for the fellow. A fratboy prankster who drank away most of his adult life has no business running a nation. As we all now know.

Hell Discovered: Nearby on Venus

Fire and brimstone. Terrible flames of Hell! Burning for eternity! Sinners: repent!

That surely scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. Though an Eskimo or Inuit kid might think that the place might not be all that bad. I recall a classmate asking sister, "How can a person burn forever? Fire usually burns everything to cinders." Her answer was cold and calculated: 'God keeps you alive to suffer every minute of eternity because you were bad little boys!" We all quickly took out hands out of our pockets at that statement.

Another question perennially asked: where is Hell? 'Down there,' was the common answer given during the flat-earth time. Of course, Heaven was 'up there,' pointing. Opposites, naturally. When the roundness of Earth was finally recognized by church leaders, both locations became more nebulous. Their locations were ' a mystery' that would be revealed to us at the moment of death.

Now, however, it looks like scientists have found the location of Hell: it is, strangely ironic on Venus, the goddess of love. The 2nd brightest object in the nightly sky. "Venus May Be Earth's Hellish Twin" is the name of an article which begins, "while Earth is a haven for life, Venus is typically described as hellish, with a crushing atmosphere holding choking clouds of sulfuric acid over a rocky desert surface hot enough to melt lead.

The image of Venezuelan President Chavez sniffing the air at the U.N., smelling sulphur and saying, "El Diablo!" referring to George Bush's appearance at that very podium, comes to mind. For some reason, sulphur has a bad rap. Sulphur, also known as brimstone, has been associated with Hell and that unpleasant afterlife. In the New Testament, Hell is described as a "lake that burns with fire and brimstone".

Indeed. Sorry, goddess of love, you and that Roman god of war ought to have traded names.

God Spoke to Roberts and Speaks Through the GOP Candidates as Well

Richard Roberts, son of Oral Roberts, told students at Oral Roberts University that he did not want to resign as president of the scandal-plagued school, but God insisted. At the university's chapel Wednesday, Roberts said God told him on Thanksgiving that he should resign the next day. Roberts said he prayed over the decision with his wife and his father before announcing his resignation last Friday. Richard Roberts spoke for only a few minutes and was applauded and cheered by students. A lawsuit accuses him of misusing university funds to support a lavish lifestyle.

God spoke to him and told him to resign? God works in mysterious ways, so the saying goes. I wonder if Rev. Roberts condemned the lawyers of the plaintiff as 'Satanists'? Surely the folks who brought the law suit were 'working for the Devil.' [insert here your favorite Bible quote]

Did you hear the GOP debate last evening? That YouTube question about 'believing every word of the Bible' was surely important to determining who will run this nation. Naturally, all eight men nodded approvingly. As Republicans they truly enjoy that OT theme of 'smiting thy enemy.' Except for Ron Paul, but then, he's just a token Republican. He got booed for his anti-war talk.

These eight Christian men went on to show just how Christian they were. They [7] thought the preemptive war in Iraq was just dandy. Jesus preached love of neighbor. They surely hated those [Mexicans] illegal immigrants. Jesus was surrounded by quite the odd assortment of humanity most of the time. They loved the tax cuts for the rich. Jesus, in an odd act of violence, threw the money changers from the temple. They embraced private insurance coverage for the citizens even though Jesus cured the sick for free. Naturally, they despised the gay and lesbian communities, playing to the intolerant fundamentalist voters. Jesus embraced people of all walks of life, even adulterers and prostitutes. At least Rudy is off the hook on this one.

On issue after issue, these GOP candidates slashed and burned the pages of the Gospels which spoke of love, forgiveness, turning the other cheek, and love of neighbor as self.

Lest we forget, however, they are all good Christian men.

Lutheran Pastor Chides Toledo Bishop on Homosexuality

Rev. Martin Zimmann, in a letter to the editor of The Blade, questioned a statement that Toledo Bishop Leonard Blair wrote in a letter two weeks ago that the bishop mandated be read to all Catholics. Zimmann said:

"The following quote from Bishop Blair is both intriguing and alarming: "Not only religious faith, but also human reason, tell us that the way to move our community forward is to strengthen the institution of marriage, not weaken it by giving legal standing to lifestyles that are not in keeping with the God-given meaning and purpose of marriage."

Rev. Zimmann's perspective on this: " I will say this - faith and human reason show me that we strengthen a community if we are willing to welcome people into it. If we choose to define our community by whom we exclude from it, we run the risk of shunning talents and resources that we cannot afford to lose."

Many Catholics in the diocese were equally offended by the bishop's letter as well. Several have said that they have finally been driven from the church by the attitude of this bishop; it was their last straw. Here is the original post on the letter.

Further on Rev. Zimmann states, "The church would be better off if it encouraged people to ask pertinent questions." Indeed it would, but then, wouldn't this open the proverbial Pandora's Box? Wouldn't that open the debate, for example, of why the Catholic Church continues to ban women from ministry in the church? And why there is a need for a hierarchal structure to maintain a tight-fisted control over the laity?

No, Reverend Zimmann, the Catholic Church does not want questions from the congregation. They want blind loyalty to their authority and, of course, the money.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Karl Rove: "Congress Pushed Bush to War in Iraq Prematurely"

Karl Rove. The meisterspinner said this on the Charlie Rose Show last evening. Yes, it's what he said, as if we al are dopes.

Surely there is that constant bloc of 30% of Americans who will tell the rest of us, "See, THEY did it, not the president!"


Monday, November 26, 2007

Overlooked Family Values: A Minister's Point of View

Oliver "Buzz" Thomas penned an op ed for USA today called, Overlooked Family Values. He is a minister, lawyer and author of 10 Things Your Minister Wants to Tell You (But Can't Because He Needs the Job).

"As "values voters" parse the politicians, I'd like them to remember this. Paying our debts is a family value." In fact, Thomas says this about the acruing debt caused by this war and the so-called voodoo economics of Reagan and Bush junior:

"As a minister, I'm going to call it something else: Sin. That's not a word that gets used a lot in our politically correct culture, but spending money that we don't have and leaving the bills for the grandkids isn't going to earn us one of God's gold stars."

Beyond God, gold stars, voodoo economics and sin, what is currently happening to our nation's economic structure is worse than all of that. It is ruining our nation. Simply that.

Lott's Departure an Open Door for Former Attorney General Mike Moore

Good old boy Trent [I love Strom Thurman] Lott is leaving the Senate before the end of the year. Good old boy Governor Haley Barbour will name a replacement from the far right GOP list supplied to him. Everything will go on as usual and Mississippi will remain #49 or #50 in most rankings of the states. Black citizens will, of course, have no voice in their state government, mimicking their lives under segregation.

The only hope for them and for the state in general will be if former Attorney General Mike Moore gets in the race. Moore, you may recall, helped the state win a $3 billion law suit against the big tobacco companies. Naturally, he will have to fight big business interests who will pour large amounts of dollars into his opponent's campaign.

Perhaps UptheFlag can help us understand more about this issue as he frequently talks to Mr. Moore and has, in the past, urged him to run for the senate seat.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who fought against the American Revolution?

This line is from an article, If Conservatism Is The Ideology of Freedom, I’m The Queen of England by David Michael Green on his blog, The Regressive Antidote.

Back to, "If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who fought against the American Revolution?" Yeh, why! After all, it was the colonialists known as Torries who supported the King; today they are called conservative Republicans.

Don't you wonder what their 'spin' was? How did they spin the 'joy' of living under a monarhy? Too bad they didn't have Karl Rove back then.

Green also asks, "If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always trying to take that freedom away from us, especially women and minorities? Why did they fight against the effort to end slavery, or to give women and minorities the vote, or to protect them from discrimination? Why are they still supporting efforts to disenfranchise minorities?"

Green, in fact has a long list of questions beginning with, If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come...

• how come they’re the ones who bitterly opposed the New Deal

• how come they’re the ones who are always propping up foreign dictators, like Saddam, Musharraf, Mubarak, Marcos, Pinochet, the Shah, Batista, the House of Saud and apartheid South Africa?

• how come they’re the ones who are always trying to control other people’s sexuality?

• how come they’re the ones who are always trying to make sure that the state takes control of women’s bodies

• how come they’re the ones who are always trying to tell us who we can marry?

• how come they’re the ones who are always blocking the environmental regulations?

• how come they’re the ones who refuse to allow us to die with dignity?

• how come they’re the ones who are so anxious to take away our civil liberties?

He ends with this: So whattaya think? Ain’t conservative freedom great?
Next time you hear a conservative ranting about the wonder and joys of freedom, tell them: “Yeah, no kidding, freedom is a really good thing. You’d like it even better if you actually tried it out some time”.

New Australian PM Cleans up After Howard: Are you Listening Mr. Bush?

John Howard, the elder clone of George W. Bush, went down to miserable defeat on Saturday. Howard was another 'yes man' to Mr. Bush, joining that silly coalition of the willing, keeping Australian troops in Iraq to placate the naive governor. Howard also refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol Treaty.

The new PM Kevin Rudd said he would overturn a number of his predecessor's policies and sign the Kyoto Protocol and pull Australian troops out of Iraq. He also promised to attend next month's UN climate change summit in Bali.

The hapless Mr. Bush called Rudd and said that 'he looks forward to working with him.'

Well, Mr. Bush, not much to work with down under; not much to work with back in jolly old England either since the poodle left 10 Downing.

What a miserable 13 months Mr. Bush has ahead of him. Hopefully, he can get back to the booze and just mellow out during that time, rather than becoming all vengeful and drop bombs on his enemies list.

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