After nearly a year, no one is particularly surprised when Donald Trump demonstrates just how stupid he is, but it is sometimes jarring to see how proud he is of it. And on Thursday night Trump provided a perfect example of both his painfully weak grasp of common knowledge, along with a massive dose of callous insensitivity toward the needless suffering of others. This example came in the form of a thoughtless tweet that served no purpose other than to belittle sincere advocates for the health of the planet and its inhabitants. Trump tweeted: “In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up” By wishing for “a little bit of that good old Global Warming,” Trump is in effect wishing that millions of people suffer and die. He clearly doesn’t have even the slightest understanding of Climate Change, and thinks it’s cute to pray for more of it. Let’s be clear, the record cold temperatures that are blanketing much of the Northeast and Midwest are, in fact, the result of Climate Change. Higher temperatures in arctic regions and oceans push frigid weather patterns farther south than they ordinarily go. And that’s why people from Maine to Minnesota will be shivering and many will be in mortal peril. Trump and his science-denying ilk still don’t understand that aberrant weather patterns are a product of Climate Change (which is why scientists don’t call it global warming). He... read more
ALMOST NORMAL! It’s been about 5.5 weeks since my total knee replacement December 4 and I will see the surgeon on Monday for a post-op appointment. I have some expectations and hopes for that visit. The primary issue is will I get permission to get back into our hot tub? We purchased an inflatable hot tub almost two years ago. We discovered how helpful sitting in the hot tub could be back in 2007 when Graham was on sabbatical in Pueblo, Colorado and the apartment complex had a hot tub next to the pool. We learned that the heat eased sore muscles and joints and improved nighttime relaxation and better sleeping. Although we were in Colorado from January 1 through June 30, the hot tub was available, even in the winter when the pool was closed. It was about 200 yards from our apartment door. We’d get into our bathing suits, put on our terry cloth bathrobes and some slippers and walk over. Chilly, but bearable. Getting out and back into the warm apartment after the soak was more of a challenge. I discovered that there seemed to be an envelope of warm air around my body for a very short time when I exited the hot tub. Getting the bathrobe on during that time was mandatory! Then put the cover back on the hot tub and high-tail it back home. Our apartment was in the building on the right side, so not too far, except when it was five degrees. The photo viewpoint is from the kitchen door, so you see how much shorter the after-tub commute became. We... read more
When we were kids in Louisville, Kentucky, we played all kinds of games: hide and seek, kick the can (on Bayly Avenue), jump rope, “Peggy” (with a bat and ball), basketball (with any kind of ball available), stick ball (usually with a tennis ball), to say nothing of neighborhood struggles in football (both touch and tackle). I was later to discover these games were pretty simple, compared to those that had been played in the past in Eastern Kentucky and in other parts of Appalachia. Traditional games here took many forms: games for large groups and small, games indoors or outdoors, boy’s or girl’s (or both) games for different age groups, noisy or quiet games, games that were slow or vigorous, mentally or physically challenging games, and a game for nearly every occasion and mood. The names of the games could be as imaginative as the games themselves: Ante Over, Old Granny Hum Bum, Fox and Geese, Hull Gull, and Mumble Peg. The equipment was usually minimal, often simply reflecting what was available. A ball could be “store boughten” or homemade from tightly wound yarn. A bat was often a straight stick. “Make do or do without” was the universal rule. The rules of the games could vary from place to place or even from day to day. Improvisation was the key here, too. Most older folks remember Ante (“Annie”) Over as one of the most universally played games. A low building and a ball were all that was required. The ball was tossed over, or bounced on, the roof to a team waiting on the other side. If... read more
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When Republicans find themselves in hot water, they dredge up an old Clinton scandal. For months we heard nothing but Benghazi. Since it was determined that Hillary Clinton couldn’t have prevented the Benghazi tragedy and the Republicans won the 2016 election, Benghazi became a dead issue. As the Trump-Russia scandal gains momentum and indictments (also arrests) have been issued by the Mueller Investigation, the Republicans have turned to an old Clinton “scandal” that really isn’t a scandal at all I’m talking about the Uranium One deal, which we’ll be hearing about ad nauseam in the coming months. On Nov. 14, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions “raised the possibility that a special counsel may be appointed to investigate potential wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation, specifically suggestions that a U.S. government panel approved the sale of a large uranium firm to Russian interests in exchange for donations to the foundation.” This is the issue. Recently, as the Mueller investigation gains momentum, conservative media and President Donald Trump have focused on the Uranium One deal to divert attention. Briefly, the deal concerns the sale of a Canadian company, Uranium One, which has uranium holdings int he U.S., to Russia’s nuclear energy agency, Rosatom. The transaction took place in several states “beginning in 2009 when Rosatom purchased a minority stake in Uranium One” (remember it’s a Canadian company). Then, in 2010, Rosatom obtained 51 percent share of the company, and in 2013, a third purchase gave full ownership of Uranium One to Rosatom. The controversy revolves around the State Department signing off on Rosatom’s purchase and the fact that several of Uranium One’s... read more
In some ways, faith is a simple concept; in others, it’s a rather complicated, obscure word, especially for Bible translators. The most famous quotation regarding “faith” comes from Hebrews 11:1 (New International Version): “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Then, it is translated in the New American Standard Version: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” The second version is closer to the King James Version. In the KJV, “faith” is not “being sure” or “assurance,” but it is the “substance of things hoped for” and “the evidence of things not seen.” The word “substance” (in English) most generally refers to things that are real and solid. Today, most believers do not get this deeply invested in a word like “faith.” One says, “What is your faith” meaning, what particular religious persuasion do you follow? If you say “Presbyterian,” for example, the one who asks the question can make the immediate assumption that you believe, to some degree, in predestination. If you say “Assembly of God,” for example, they might immediately assume that you are more charismatic and may, for example, practice glossolalia. If you respond “Baptist,” then it is generally assumed you do not believe in infant baptism and are heavily invested in missionary efforts (of the Baptist variety). The American journalist and satirist H. L. Mencken, one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the early 20th century once said, “Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the... read more
Husbands, ask your wives if they have ever been sexually harassed in the workplace. You may be both surprised and angered. I asked my wife, and here’s the story. According to my wife, many years ago when she was a young teacher in a Pulaski County, Virginia school system, it appeared that the administration wanted “to get rid of her.” They ran into a problem doing so because they had absolutely no documentation that she had done anything worthy of dismissal. She was called into her principal’s office, apparently for an interview. While she was there, the principal put his feet up on his desk, and as she relayed it, in full view “started pulling at a string in his crotch.” My wife said she thought it was strange behavior, but she didn’t recognize it as a sexual overture. In her words, “I was clueless!” I couldn’t imagine a man doing that in the presence of a young lady without it being a power play, sexual harassment and/or intimidation. The fact that my wife was clueless is immaterial to the principal’s behavior. She thought he was simply being “rude.” This raises a question in my mind about the number of young women who are subjected to inappropriate behavior while not having a clue about what is going on. I recall taking a job with a church (incidentally, also in Virginia) where rumors had circulated that the church secretary I inherited had an “untoward” relationship with the former pastor. Of course, some wag told me about this pronto lest I fall into her clutches. I laughed about it; but, shortly... read more