Saturday, September 19, 2009

Introduction from Engineer of Knowledge

Hello All,
I have been invited to become part of the team here on “Man With the Muck-Rake’s” blog. I want to take this time to say how honored I am to be included with the fine intellectual writings of this group.

Good Luck to us all with our future endeavors of keeping this country on course per our Founding Father’s visions.

Not the Mad Hatter's Tea Party

update below

Lewis Carrol wrote in the chapter "A Mad Tea Party", the Mad Hatter's famous riddle: "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" When Alice cannot solve it, the Hatter admits he does not have an answer himself.

Enter the 2009 characters of 'A Mad Tea Party.' They may have appeared at a town hall meeting or at a venue in your location this past summer. They were in costume, often carrying their props. They had memorized their lines, too. Quite the medieval-esque troupe, looking to entertain the townsfolk. The only difference between the modern jesters and the 14th century version is bathing regularly.

"The Hatter admits he does not have an answer himself."

A key phrase. Madness for madness sake.

He has no answer.

They have no answer.

Ask any one of them, if you dare, "What's the answer?"

You'll likely walk away in a stupor with a riddle rattling around in your head.

A riddle with no answer.

Today, just before noon, I will be at a non-tea party in downtown Toledo. No birthers. No deathers. No 'I hate Obama-ers.'

A rally of normal people who are concerned with the lack of affordable health care in this nation. A group of people worried about middle class joblessness. A gathering of folks who believe in Jobs with Justice. Citizens with a purpose, not a quixotic riddle. Americans who believe that the right to affordable health care is a right of citizenship.

I'll report back later today on what went on. Stay tuned...


About 100 souls gathered in the parking lot of Maritime Square on the Maumee River to be encouraged to continue the fight for a public option. The U.S. Representative from the 5th Ohio district, Marcy Kaptur [D] was one of the speakers as were local politicians, but not the current mayor of Toledo. Two citizens told their health care nightmare stories and a Protestant minister and a Muslim doctor cited passages from their Holy Books regarding the need [demand] to care for one another. The minister noted that most of Jesus's life was spent ministering to the sick and dying.

The Muslim doctor chided the tea-baggers for throwing around the words, 'Socialist and Communist,' in referencing Obama. "I know communism!" he said. I was born in one of the Muslim states of the former Soviet Union. "It is ignorant to suggest that affordable health care is somehow socialism or communism," he said. "They have no idea what communism is!"

Many of the participants are long-time advocates for peace and justice and we had met on other venues for similar issues at former times. Pax Christi, Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition and the Gray Panthers were represented along with Jobs for Justice, Interfaith Worker Justice Coalition and several trade unions.

Here are some photos of today's event:

Lord, Save Us From Your Followers

Lord, Save Us From Your Followers is a new film by director Dan Merchant who is on a quest to understand why Christians have such a hard time following the simplistic message of Jesus. Like a Michael More film, this " is a fast-paced, highly engaging documentary that explores the collision of faith and culture in America."

Why does it 'divide America' so greatly? asks the director. Why, indeed? And I might add, why such a inane question, especially about this nation, this experiment in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Why in this nation which was carefully set up by the Founding fathers NOT to be a religious state?

A quirk in fate, for certain, that this carefully formed and crafted new nation is now 'torn apart' by religion.

I just returned from a 2-week stay in Europe and visited monasteries and churches which were destroyed or taken over by competing Christian faiths, often in a bloody coup. Entire villages wiped out, burned to the ground because they 'believed' in something deigned 'heretical' by another Christian faith. During the Thirty Years War, the present German state of W├╝rttemberg lost three-quarters of its population.

Today, one of the less-serious results of this religious war is that entire villages in W├╝rttemberg are of a single faith. The small Schwartzwald town of my relatives is totally Catholic while the neighboring village, 3 km away, is Protestant. They like it that way.

Men like Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Jay, Madison, and Hamilton knew their European history. They understood what religious bigotry and hate had done to that continent. They longed for a new nation, free of religious intolerance, free from the deadly grip of religious fanaticism.

Yet, here we are some 230 years later, and the 'religious theme' permeates the politics and government of this nation. Stains it. Defiles it.

Rolling over in their graves.


Microdot reacts to the new cover of Time Magazine with Glenn Beck, who has reminded us that he is no Edward R. Murrow. I was going to publish the May 8, 1954 Time magazine Cover that featured Senator Joe McCarthy, but I always try to look to the future.

Glenn Beck Speading the Lies

The Huffington Post published a fascinating article by Jim Wallis on Glenn Beck. The title: "Pray for Glenn Beck." It seems the master showman, Beck, has again invoked the tear-jerking story of his handicapped daughter in order to further the lies about Obama's intentions with health care reform.

They [the government] will say exactly what doctors said about my 21-year-old daughter: "She may not really have a quality of life. She may not walk or talk or feed herself. But then again miracles happen." The "then again, miracles happen" part of that will be left out of the conversation. And I will not be able to see my daughter's 21st birthday, where I can reflect with her how miracles do happen. Because really, as I was told at the beginning of her life: Well, what kind of quality of life is she going to really have? I don't know, but that's for God to decide, not the government.

All this, obviously preys on the fears of people taken in by talk of "death panels" and other nonsense. Nothing in the proposed bill says anything about euthanasia. "All of the reform proposals being debated include provisions to cap out-of-pocket expenses, end exclusions for pre-existing conditions, and eliminate limits like our friends' annual $250,000 cap on coverage."

The last time I heard Glenn Beck talking about his daughter it was in the context of the gun debate. At that time I thought he was a bully. Now, after a bit more exposure to him, I still think he's a bully. What's your opinion?

Do you find the behaviour of Glenn Beck is morally reprehensible? Or, do you think he's sincere in what he says? I think that's the key question. If he does this just for the ratings, he's a moral criminal, in my opinion. If he's sincere, on the other hand, he's just another misguided person who happens to have a huge audience.

Please let us know what you think?

Friday, September 18, 2009

New Contributor

I'm honored to have been invited to be a contributor to this blog. I'm not really sure what's expected of me, so any comments about that or input from the other contributors would be greatly appreciated.

Florida school officials in prayer case could get jail time

(CNN) -- Two Florida school administrators were due to appear in federal court Thursday to face contempt charges for saying a prayer at a school luncheon.

Frank Lay, principal of Pace High School in Pace, Florida, and school athletic director Robert Freeman are accused of violating a consent decree banning employees of Santa Rosa County schools from endorsing religion.


Prayer in public school promoted by the principal. Were this Afghanistan, Iran or Saudi Arabia there would be no issue at all. Of course the 'principals' of those Taliban/Muslim nations would lead the children in prayers. Why not?

No doubt the odd American religious right have their panties all in knots over this issue in Pace High School. The oh-so righteous fundamentalists 'believe' that ours is a Christian nation and, as such, Christian prayers are not only permissible in school, but necessary.

Odd stuff. Odd people. But, you already know this.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dopey Republicans Decry Scrapping of Missile Defense Shield

I can just hear them now. Those dopey Republicans and their moronic right-wing radio jocks maligning Obama for scrapping the Bush missile defense plans. No doubt Limbaugh will be at near-stroke blood pressure levels as he vomits his garbage to his eager, mindless dolt listeners.

The right-wing doesn't want health care for everyone, but wants billions spent on an iffy defense shield. Go figure! What is the greater chance, for example, of a person in Dubuque Iowa dying from an insurance-denied medical procedure or being hit by a missile from 'the enemy'?

I could laugh at the idiocy of it all if it weren't for the millions of Americans who actually will suffer that fate or bankruptcy because of the quid-pro-quo of the insurance companies and the politicians.

We need a defense shield against the insurance industry rather than from 'the enemy.'

Conclusion of the European Seminar- Highways

As I write at this early time of the morning, my body believes it is nearly mid-day, European time. Let me not dilly-dally and get directly to the point- Europe is a socialist state. At least Switzerland, Germany and France. Very much socialists.

During my two-week trip abroad, I was not in contact with the daily rants here in the states. The Stuttgarter Zeitung, the Strasbourg Dernieres Nouvelles d'Alsace, and the Zurich, Die Weltwoche allotted little space to American news. Perhaps they know that their readers are little interested in the daily outrages of this dysfunctional nation of ours.

And so I return to the mess I left. The insurance industry still squeezes the nuts of the senators, racism continues to fester, and the ever-volatile voice of right-wing radio continues to corrode the brains of the listeners.

Why would the average German, Swiss or Frenchman care much about such a colonial society as ours? We truly are the odd, backwards distant cousin- the ignorant, hillbilly relative who bungles through life but gets nowhere. The relative that you hope doesn't make a surprise visit.

As an example of the effects of socialism, I note a comparison of the roads: the ones I travelled are as smooth as a baby's butt. German highways, town streets and the Autobahn were all in excellent condition as were those in Alsace and central Switzerland. As a stark and harsh comparison, the expressway from DTW to Toledo is a joke, especially in Michigan. Its condition would not be proper for an alley in Europe. The crumbling streets of Toledo are, at minimum, an embarrassment.

But our taxes are lower.

Exactly that.

Our taxes are lower.

Therefore, as one wise man once noted, you get what you pay for.

Our stuffy European ancestors understand that principle well and have concluded, after experimenting with 'low taxes' and resultant low services, that they would rather enjoy proper services and pay a little more in taxes to enrich their lives on a day-to-day basis. Thus the man who works in Mercedes in Stuttgart expects the roads he travels each morning and afternoon to be smooth, safe and well-designated. And they are.

One might question whether a 'road' ought to be deigned as a proper indicator of the level of civility, maturity and accomplishment of a society. Indeed, one might question such an index.

Ask the Romans.

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