Afgan women and terror

According to an AP report by Amir Shah and Heidi Vogt, an Afghan woman was murdered by her husband apparently because she bore him second daughter instead of a son. The subjugation of women within Afghanistan by men of Muslim faith have been escalating. Reports of a girl, fifteen years old, being tortured and enslaved in prostitution by her in-laws, a rape victim being imprisoned for adultery are just a few examples.

Photo by SunSeven
Although women of Afghanistan have stepped into the 21st century by holding office jobs, going to school, and being able to voice opinions, these are the exceptions rather than the rule of female oppression by a male dominated society. When we hear stories of young women with mutilated faces because of disobedience to their husbands, and being murdered by their own brothers because one of their friends or a member of their family raped them we think, "Oh, how horrible! What a barbaric society that would allow that to happen!"

Think again.

It is estimated that more than one million children and adolescents are raped by a friend of the family or a family member. This kind of abuse is insidious, spreading malevolence throughout society. The subculture of pornography of pedophilia is growing into a billion dollar industry.  Thank goodness psychologists and psychiatrists are spreading the word that this is not a question of rehabilitation but is an epidemic of sickness with no known cure. Too bad, they do not recognize Jesus as the Great Physician. Is society becoming more barbaric and insensitive to atrocities?

Would that the people of Afghan as well as Christians would embrace the Great Healer for their societal wounds.

There is a woman governor in Afghan, there are women entrepreneurs, teachers, girls' schools which is truly no different than 1,400 years ago when Islam was first penned by Mohammad. When the U.S. pulls out will women fall back into bondage?

We can only hope and pray, I'm thinking. An article on Afghanistan Online states:

On March 6 and 7, a bevy of prominent Afghan women gathered in Kabul. They included such high-profile figures as the head of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission, Sima Samar; the president of the Afghan Red Crescent, Fatima Gailani; and former State Minister for Women’s Affairs Mahbuba Hoquqmal. While their privileged station in life is far removed from those of their rural counterparts, they have spearheaded the campaign to bring qualitative improvements to the lives of Afghan women through legislation, and more importantly, by initiating a change in prevailing mindsets among men.
March 8, 2010
By Tanya Goudsouzian, Helena Malikyar Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 

A Marine killed in action in Iraq said that we had to teach these people how to live free. WE can hope that the ideal of freedom can be instilled within the hearts of men and women alike. One can't help but wonder what Afghanistan would be like if the people would catch on fire for Jesus. With that kind of passion aimed toward saving souls, the world would be so different.

Obama and the Take Over of America

“The executive branch also needs to change. Too often, it’s inefficient, outdated and remote. That’s why I’ve asked this Congress to grant me the authority to consolidate the federal bureaucracy so that our Government is leaner, quicker, and more responsive to the needs of the American people.”

 What a frightening quote from the State of the Union address.

The astonishing fact is that most Americans do not recognize the empirical resonance of this especially since Obama's Administration has been steadily making the government heavier, fatter, and less responsive to the needs of the American people. He acts as if those who have earned their millions with blood, sweat, tears and brain power are not Americans, but enemies of the state. How can anyone be so blind? How can anyone not know the history of capitalism and understand how it has been the backbone of the United States?

Outcries of how unfair it is for some people to pay 30% of their income in taxes compared to other people only paying 12% on their income in taxes. Why is that more fair? I don't get it. Can someone explain to me (without meaningless rhetoric) how this is fair?

Fair is fair, right? Poverty for everyone!

Excerpts of the State of the Union speech released early this afternoon have some yawns because of the SOS=same ole same... "endangered American dream...income inequality...We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same set of rules," the president said.

The trouble with this "agenda" of his is that he just shot down an excellent opportunity to stimulate the economy, generate an excellent energy independence (or at least potential of it) by saying no to the Keystone pipeline project. All I can say is "What an idiot!" The only reason I can see why he would veto it is because he can't get his fat, government hands into that particularly sweet pie. 

Obama (photo by George)
I particularly like what Gov. Mitch Daniels (Indiana) said about him: "pro-poverty with divisive tactics." According to an AP report on Daniels excerpts before the speech this evening Daniels said, "No feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others." 

That about sums it up for me, too. I have seen watching a most inept president trying desperately to act like Robin Hood taking from the rich to give to the poor. The only problem is when you give to the poor, whom Jesus said would always be with us, they keep asking for more and more. I'm not talking about the rich poor, those people who do not consider themselves poor and who have work ethics of the highest standards. I'm talking about the poor who call their welfare checks their salary and who feel entitled to freeload on the backs of hardworking Americans. 

He opened and closed his speech with "his capture" of Osama Bin Laden. This is as if the CIA, the Military and NSA were doing their dead levelest to find OBL since 2001! Then he took more power into his own hands than any other president before him. He ordered OBL shot and killed. This was not in battle, it was more like a hit and murder than a police action. The founding fathers never had an inkling thought about taking another person's life whether private citizen or public enemy #1 without some judiciary action. It was never an Executive decision to gun down Bonnie and Clyde, it was a police action against criminals who fired shots first. We are not in a one world government with one world police force and a one world judicial system with one man to decide whether a criminal lives or dies without a trial.

Does anyone but me see the dangerous trend this president is usurping for himself?

Free speech or piracy

Stop Online Piracy Act -- the link takes you to the full text of the bill. I invite all protestors of this bill to please read the full text before having the panic attack I'm seeing all over the net. Here are a few things the bill covers...

Sec. 201. Streaming of copyrighted works in violation of criminal law.
Sec. 202. Trafficking in inherently dangerous goods or services.
Sec. 203. Protecting U.S. businesses from foreign and economic espionage.
Sec. 204. Amendments to sentencing guidelines.
Sec. 205. Defending intellectual property rights abroad.

Digital Art
The Constitution (1st Amendment in this case) automatically regulates the constitutionality of any bill. I am wondering if the uproar is truly about freedom of speech, or if it is more about saving piracy.

In contrast, there are some "demands" by  the "official" Anonymous twitter feed which linked to the group's list of demands last Wednesday (Blackout Day).

Being an artist, being an author, among other creative things, I recognize the necessity of copyright, I also respect others' copyrights. For a group of people to "demand" the exclusive ownership rights after buying a product so they can adjust, twist, fiddle with, juggle with devices or other products purchased. I have seen my own stories reprinted as another person's creativity. It stings when that happens. Is it right for someone to benefit from my own (or your own) creativity? I think not. But, I'm open to your own reasons why I might be wrong...

Another "demand" is to reduce copyrights to reasonable lengths (2-5 years). Would this mean that anyone could rewrite "Gone With The Wind" and benefit from Margaret Mitchell's genius? How fair is that I wonder. Akin to that is the demand for broadening "fair use". So anyone can just remix, translate, adjust colors, and [gasp] make parodies of any work without having to pay the creator any kind of royalty.

Obviously this Anonymous group has never actually created something of their own which they have literally sold for profit; and their creation has never been stolen to profit another's pocket. Apparently, they haven't had to work fingers to the bone to promote their own work. They must have the Jolly Roger flying from their car antennae, mores the pity. Ahoy, maties, blow me down! 

Unemployment down?

According to an AP story written by Christopher Rugaber and published all over the web (check out the story here) the number of new unemployment claims "plummeted" to 352,000 last week. This figure has been "seasonally adjusted", meaning all the layoffs from temporary employment have been adjusted. How they do that accurately remains to be explained.

We are supposed to understand that since this is the fewest new claims since April, 2008, we are to take this as an upturn in our economy. Add to this the record sales at the end of year in 2011 and the big Ah Ha! is that we're suddenly out of the recession. I disagree with this surmise.

With gasoline prices still well more than $3 a gallon, and diesel prices closer to $4 per gallon, our economy is sadly sagging. Grocery prices are still steadily rising and no one seems to be able to tell us how many people are not on unemployment any longer because their benefits ran out.  Americans are still eating Pie In The Sky.

This reminds me sharply of the days of Jeremiah when Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, who was from Gibeon, spoke t in the house of the LORD in the presence of the priests and of all the people, saying, "Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying: 'I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon." It was a lie, of course, and Jeremiah quickly refuted it, but the priests and the king wanted words that tickled their ears so they rejected Jeremiah's words and held onto Hananiah's words. People back then wondered why God was turning His face from shining upon Jerusalem. They rejected the words of Isaiah and Jeremiah giving lip service to God but harboring within their hearts the foulest of attitudes and intentions completely forgetting that God searches the hearts of men.

The people of that time were oblivious to what God was pleading for. They rejected the things that God would have them do, and sought out their own pleasures. Is that any different than what Christians are doing today? We hide our heads when foul things come out of Hollywood... we embrace in secret pornographic things that come into our living room... we look the other way when women seek to abort innocent lives... we shut our mouths when we know someone desperately needs the Lord Jesus... we go the church every week but keep our wallets locked... we want to reduce our military into a namby-pamby mulch when the Evil in our world is growing stronger.

That doesn't even scratch the surface of how America is failing God. We have been blessed greatly. We are known as a Christian nation, thereby we are His people called by His name, but we do not bend our knees to Him seeking out our own pleasures rather than trying to please Him. If we do not turn from our wicked ways back to Him then we will suffer the same fate that Judah faced from Nebuchadnezzer, and the same fate Babylon faced after the hand writing on the wall.

SOPA gets a Sock It To Me

If you are old enough to recognize an old Laugh In line, then you are old enough to remember when the first movie ratings went into play. The old R rating was like PG13 is now. All kinds of hullabaloo was raised back then with out cries of "Censorship!" The bald fact was the moral rightness of labeling warnings about adult content. Now the outcry is again "Censorship!"

Wikipedia is blacked out, as I'm sure you've already heard, and Google has placed a black bar across their logo in protest of the Stop Piracy Online Act. It is always interesting to me to see who protests certain things and to what lengths people will go to make their point. When an information repository (regardless of how accurate it may be) makes a statement along the lines of advocacy it goes beyond an editorial piece and teeters over the edge of neutrality. Once over the edge, it is a slippery slope down into full opinion with little adherence to facts.

The fact is, Wikipedia is not well known for accuracy nor does it have a great wealth of references that, when clicked on, actually take you to the material which backs up the claims made within the article. Any college professor will hand you your paper back in neatly stacked shreds if you dare use Wikipedia as a reference. It just doesn't have a good reputation even though it does try to get good information by asking for more citations and reliable sources. The explanation of why it was blacking out for 24 hours states that
 "Wikipedians have chosen to black out the English Wikipedia for the first time ever, because we are concerned that SOPA and PIPA will severely inhibit people's access to online information. This is not a problem that will solely affect people in the United States: it will affect everyone around the world."

Yet, actually some editors have resigned over their consternation. The founder, Jimmy Wales, says the site can remain neutral while taking a public stand. How does that work?

Actually, the real reason behind the blackout seems to be something buried in the fourth paragraph of the QandA. "They put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites."

Why is it so horrible for owners of website to police user contributions? If a person has to jump through some hoops in order to be a contributor, all the better. That is what lends even more credibility to any site or group or information repository. Credibility is the key here, and therefore WikiCommons should be more concerned with that than with piracy. I think they just jumped to some conclusions about these bills without reading the whole.

We should want to keep shoplifting down and prosecution of it up because that is what will keep consumer prices down. Whenever someone steals a movie or music or any other creative content it isn't just copyright infringement; it is taking money from our pockets to the tune of billions of dollars every year. For example, the year Bill Clinton renewed China as Most Favored Nation, China criminals had black marketed numerous blockbuster movies costing the industry billions of dollars,  and North Korean counterfeiters had dumped millions of counterfeit U.S. dollars in foreign markets.

We are paying the price of someone else's freeloading. Our DVD prices increase. Our CD prices increase. Just like retailers pass along the high cost of shoplifting on to we the consumers. I hope the bills pass. I hope prices can be stabilized. I'm not holding my breath, though.

Proud of Haley Barbour

What better time to discuss the pardon of murderers than Sanctity of Life month?

If you heard Barbour's explanation of his pardoning of the prisoner trustee's, you'll know why I say I'm proud of him. I also can readily see the Democrats at work against a Republican... again.

I think the problem Republicans are having is they don't explain themselves (in triplicate, double-spaced, novel-form explanations, proofed by their college English professor) before doing something or saying something in public. If Barbour had released a statement along with the pardons there wouldn't have been a hullabaloo like happened this past week. Then, of course, there wouldn't have been all the publicity and reporters asking so many questions and so much TV news time. Ah, well... Barbour did an excellent job of explaining why he granted those particular pardons besides tradition. The fact he trusts his grandchildren with those trustees, and the fact he never pardoned anyone on death row seems to be the 1-2 punch TKO, don't you think?

I loved the way he said "most of the people from Mississippi are Christians", and that Christians believe in forgiveness, and second chances. That is true. We believe it, but why don't we practice it? Why do so many Christians (professing Christians) have such a death grip on things like anger, bitterness, revenge, and stiff-necked unforgiveness? Setting aside the fact that too often those are the feelings felt initially when someone slams that knife in our backs and twists it until we scream, Christians are supposed to rise above those feelings and embrace the Christ-like responses of forgiveness, and big-heartedness, and don't forget "turning the other cheek" stuff. So why can't victims of violence do that? I mean, Christian receivers of violence, of course.

It would seem that would be a goal to strive toward so that we could show the world the Mind of Christ, however the major question is: How long?

"For what?" I can see you say.

How long does a Christian have to forgive, or overcome, something horrible? Twenty years? A year? A week?

Barbour said something so striking when talking about the murderers he pardoned. "These men have accepted responsibility for their sin. They have spent time in prison for it and worked hard to earn  the title, Trustee. They have asked forgiveness for their sin."

Astounding statement when one reads something from Luke along side it: Luke 17:4  And if seven times of the day he sins against you, and seven times of the day turns to you saying, I repent, you shall forgive him.

That isn't a suggestion, or a policy. It is a command. Jesus is quite adamant about it, and to bring it all into focus, Matthew 6:15  But if you will not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. How about Matthew 18:34  And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35  "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."

Then when He says, "But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also." Matthew 5:39 Notice He doesn't say, "Give him your second child to murder also", or "Offer him your head to shoot as well as your chest". That isn't the kernel from this particular verse. When a person returns good for evil it disarms the evil. It also takes an extraordinarily strong will to be able to follow through with this command to forgive, and to embrace non-violent responses. (This is why we sometimes find ourselves speechless against some dastardly, back-stabbing act of a co-worker or supposed friend. God sometimes stops up our mouth before we can pour fuel on the smoldering flame when the problem happens within the church body. I do not know why He holds us silent sometimes and other times not, I just know it happens.)

Jesus is directing each Christian's responses within the scope of the Family of God, not from the scope of government response to criminal action. Perhaps when we react with kindness and forgiveness to nonChristians it is a testimony far beyond what any words could convey, and  resembles something more like Christ hanging on the cross in perfect sacrifice.

I pray I have that strength of will to bend to God's will of forgiveness and kindness putting to good use the Fruit of the Spirit: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23.

Two brains... did you know this?

My friend Russ Upton sent me this. I find it most enlightening and wish to share this wisdom with you.

Executive and Judicial branches making laws now

In high school civics I learned there are three branches of government -- Executive, Judicial, and Legislative. Our founding fathers did this on purpose for something called Checks and Balances. The balancing scale has just tipped too far to the left in my opinion when Obama announced the Administration was changing the definition of rape.

Make no mistake, I truly think this is a very good thing that oral, and device penetration and men should all be added to the definition of the heinous crime!

Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot
The problem, as I see it, is the gross misuse of authority on the administration's part, along with the judicial system making laws which has been allowed to happen too long and too often in the past two decades. The earthquakes in the Northeast are our forefathers rolling in their graves! Why do we sit by and allow things like this to happen? Doesn't anyone understand that these are just the baby steps to dictatorship? If our legislators allow the judicial system to make laws, and the president to write laws, then our Checks and Balances have been destroyed and we won't have a voice any longer in our government.

Think about it for a moment. Losing our voice means no representation and that gives dictatorship two sturdy legs.

If we discontinue the Electoral College, then the voices of those in rural counties, and small town America will be silenced. Want to take a guess at exactly how many conservatives live outside major metropolitan areas? We'll have the blind leading the blind, if that isn't happening already. Ooops! Look out for that ditch!

Barbour pardons killers

 Lame duck pardons aren't so lame. Gov. Haley Barbour has pardoned 4 murderers as he leaves office. It's a tradition, but this isn't one of tradition's highest moments.
The inmates are David Gatlin, convicted of killing his estranged wife in 1993; Joseph Ozment, convicted in 1994 of killing a man during a robbery; Anthony McCray, convicted in 2001 of killing his wife; Charles Hooker, sentenced to life in 1992 for murder; and Nathan Kern, sentenced to life in 1982 for burglary after at least two prior convictions.

The pardons outraged victims' relatives as well as Democratic lawmakers, who called for an end to the custom of governors' issuing such end-of-tenure pardons.

Democrats have pounced on the pardon.
Barbour frequently refers to Mississippi as "the safest state in America for an unborn child."

"So much for being pro-life when you pardon people who take other people's lives," Presley, the public service commissioner, said in an interview. "In one case, the lady had a 6-month-old baby in her arms when she was murdered."
APNewsBreak: Miss. Gov. Barbour pardons 4 killers

Books that have taught me about life and people

A question asked by Mike Duran over on his blog deCompose  about books that have influenced me led me to search out a post I wrote ages ago. I'm reposting here and will probably post there as well.

I said at the end of this post that my answers might change in a year, but actually they have not changed at all. It is interesting to note that fact because I thought reading so many books that surely I'd run across some that would rise above these mentioned here, but these are still excellent examples even 5 years later.

I would like to note here that one book which has influenced me all my life has been The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I read it when I was fifteen and it deeply impacted my understanding of how Satan works in Christians' lives. I think this book should be required reading for every Bible student.

There is One book that literally answers every one of these and that is my beloved Bible. I cannot go a day without reading it because I get so much from it that my soul overflows. But, in the spirit of this thing, I shall congitate on this and give you some books that I have truly enjoyed and that have taught me so much about life and people and character.

1. One book that changed your life -- My Bible

2. One book you've read more than once--The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Jane Aiken
It is a children's book and I read it about 7 or 8 times when I was 8 or 9 years old, then I read it a couple of more times when I was 10 then I read it again when I was an adult. I enjoyed it as much when I was an adult as when I was a kid. This book taught me lots of wonderful words and that I could do anything that I set my mind to do. It is about two children who were badly abused by a distant cousin who stole their inheritance after they learned their parents had died in an accident. They were sold, escaped, traversed many trials to finally return home. I think every child should read it.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island -- My Bible

4. One book that made you laugh -- All Creatures Great and Small and All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriott. This series is just about the best written books that I have read. Classic! Witty, full of life lessons and outstanding insight into human nature. Great books! I can hardly wait to dive into Every Living Thing -- But THE book that made my cheeks hurt and tears run down and my sides hurt from laughing is -- I'll Trade You An Elk by Charles Goodrum. This book is the true story of how the Wichita Zoo began, and is so good that it could be a TV series. Young Charles is faced with a father who is laid off during the depression but wrangles the job with the city as the "developer". He gets the brilliant idea to revamp the local zoo and it is one mishap and adventure after another. I do not think it is still in print, but you may find it on someone's old book list. It was printed back in 1959 or 60 I think.

5. One book that made you cry -- The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas and Though None Go With Me by Jerry Jenkins. Taught me two things... you can't run from God and it is absolutely the best thing in the world to remain within God's will. Both were made into movies which badly mauled the stories, in my opinion. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee made me laugh and cry, and the movie was almost exactly like the book [insert shocked look].

6. One book you wish had been written -- Life After The Beast by Nebchadnezzer

7. One book you wish had never been written -- Anything by Jackie Collins or Elizabeth Lowell

8. One book you're currently reading-- the books by Georgette Heyer again in alphabetical order.

9. One book you've been meaning to read -- The Revelation Record by Dr. Henry Morris

10. The most interesting non-fiction book (besides the Bible) was Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed Ameria by John Barry. Please note the documentary shown on the History Channel did not follow this book although it did feature John Barry. I am becoming more and more chary of things published on the History Channel for I have found many false thing presented. (Although, I'll Trade You An Elk, and the books by James Harriot are both true and extremely interesting.)