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Congress Passes Scaled Down 9/11 Health Care Bill

 The bill was scaled back, and then passed by unanimous consent.  The new version provides $4.3 billion over five years for health coverage to the 9/11 workers, instead of the original $7.4 billion over eight years. There are nearly 60,000 people enrolled in health-monitoring and treatment programs related to the 9/11 attacks.
See The Article in the NY Times

This is Insane! Senate votes down the Zadroga Bill and Guess the News Network Covering it?

Senate does not approve the Zadroga Bill denying funding to treat 9/11 first responders' health problems caused by breathing dust at ground zero. Dust they breathed while selflessly volunteering to heal a national scar. I can't stand these guys. More material for John Daily. See videos on down.

12 Ridiculous Book Titles from 2010 Best Sellers


1. A BOLD FRESH PIECE OF HUMANITY by Bill O'Reilly

I have to wonder if Bill O'Reilly is human considering the offhanded way he cannibalizes the humanity of his guests. I enjoy eating a piece of steak or a piece of candy but I think I'll pass on a piece of Bill O'Reilly's fresh humanity. It's sad that you have to claim you have something as basic and essential as humanity. It makes me wonder.

2. LIFE by Keith Richards

He's got his rock n roll fantasy, stacks of money, he's on the road all the time, probably no family to tell him when he's full of himself, he's high so often he needs regular blood transfusions...he's about as insulated from life as you can be without being dead or crazy. Maybe much of that's in the past and he's discovered something that's been lurking on the edge of his consciousness all this time and it's life.

3. KARDASHIAN KONFIDENTIAL by Kim Kardashian

Selling a book to the public when you're so young with "Konfidential" in the title? Obviously privacy and confidences have no chance with these ladies. Behold - reality stretched thin as Graphene. No one thought life could exist in this form. Get your own sheet of "reality" star graphene here.

4. ASSHOLES FINISH FIRST by Tucker Max

A book about an Asshole (his term of self description) named Tucker Max that's supposed to be funny. But it's not funny when there are so many "assholes" who want control without responsibility of everything from congress on down. How can something so ubiquitous and painful be funny? He could have titled his book SPLINTERS IN YOUR FINGERS or DIOXIN IN YOUR WATER and it would not have detracted from how "funny" this book appears to be.

5. MEDIUM RAW: A BLOODY VALENTINE TO THE WORLD OF FOOD AND THE PEOPLE WHO COOK by Anthony Bourdain

Maybe this started as a poem Anthony Bourdain wrote sitting in a quaint exotic restaurant after eating too much steak and drinking one too many bottles of wine. The next morning he looked at the thing and thought, "Hmmmm. Not a very good poem but maybe I could use it as a book title!" I like his show but am not surprised he would come up with a title sounding so long and important. 

6. YOU HAD ME AT WOOF; HOW DOGS TAUGHT ME THE SECRETS OF HAPPINESS by Julie Klam

As I write this my dogs are in the backyard barking at something; probably squirrels. Nothing gets them more excited except my neighbor's lawnmower going back and forth - back and forth - on the other side of the fence. Arf Arf Arf Arf!

7. BLINK: THE POWER OF THINKING WITHOUT THINKING by Malcolm Gladwell

...and understand everything! That's probably what got us in this financial crisis in the first place. The person who invented derivatives based on credit default swaps, claims to understand them, says they make sense for our economy, used this method to evaluate them. Didn't understand that last overly long sentence? Try the power of blinking! Duh. Didn't you read the title?

8. THE ART OF NON-CONFORMITY; SET YOUR OWN RULES, LIVE THE LIFE YOU WANT, AND CHANGE THE WORLD by Chris Guillebeau

...and shoot lightning bolts out of your arse. Sounds like it was written by someone who is bi-polar during a manic phase. I'm sure of it.

9. WHAT EVERY BODY IS SAYING; AN EX-FBI AGENT'S GUIDE TO SPEED-READING PEOPLE by Joe Navarro

Probably will be purchased by poker players who want to determine if their opponents are bluffing. They will continue losing their money but enjoy the "advantage" of believing they're smarter than everyone at the table.

10. MOJO: HOW TO GET IT, HOW TO KEEP IT, HOW TO GET IT BACK IF YOU LOSE IT by Marshall Goldsmith

The subtitle reads, "I'm the author who will really teach you how to shoot lightning bolts from your arse! The other guy is an impostor and his ideas are ridiculous and unworkable."

11. MIND PERFORMANCE HACKS; TIPS; TOOLS FOR OVERCLOCKING YOUR BRAIN by Ron Hale-Evans

Maybe these kinds of books are popular because many feel success in the electronic information age is beyond what they're really capable of, and need a special trick to keep up. If so, it's a sad commentary. People who believe this are the same people who will line up to have computer chips implanted in their brains.

12. EAT THAT FROG!: 21 GREAT WAYS TO STOP PROCRASTINATING AND GET MORE DONE IN LESS TIME by Brian Tracy

This author must have known about my list and made a ridiculous title to be added here! By the way, my wife loves frogs and is not opposed to eating them; their legs anyway. She's a Mississippi country girl. What do you expect?

Disclaimer - I have not read any of these books and I don't know any of the authors personally. These are just my impressions based on their titles I personally consider silly.

Joseph

Early Merry Christmas Linda!

Here is a picture video of some photos we have of Joseph. I hope you enjoy it. It has audio so you might want to pause the web site music at the bottom of the page before clicking on the video to avoid having two different things playing at once. The music is longer than the video so it ends abruptly when the video ends.

Click here for Joseph's Youtube Picture Video

Pearl S. Buck



I have to add her to my list of authors to read. I saw a quote from her on my Google page I liked so I researched her life and work. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for "The Good Earth" and won the Noble Prize in Literature in 1938 "for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces."

Leslie Nielsen - Rest In Peace

Leslie Nielsen passed away today. He appeared in over one hundred films and 1,500 television programs over the span of his career, portraying over 220 characters. Though his later comedies, beginning with Airplane, were panned by the critics, his movies were well received by his fans. My son liked "Bad Golf My Way." Here is one of my favorite scenes.

Ambrose Bierce



Here are some quotes attributed to Ambrose Bierce.

Politics: The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.

Vote: The instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

Alliance: In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other's pocket that they cannot separately plunder a third.

Peace: In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.

Search Amazon.com for ambrose bierce

Racing Between Education and Catastrophe



I saw two quotes by Herbert George (H. G.) Wells today. He lived from 09/21/1866 - 08/13/1946. He was an English author. According to Wikipedia, he is known best known for his work in science fiction. However, he was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books.

This one caught my eye first and made me laugh.
The uglier a man's legs are, the better he plays golf - it's almost a law.
His next quote is more serious and provides an interesting perspective.
Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.
How are we doing?

It's scary to me when I see people picking and choosing their favorite scientific truths and ascribing political bias on scientists who's research doesn't profit them. Scientists are less political than many imagine.

For one thing, everything they publish faces peer review from smart people in their field. You don't go around shooting off your mouth unless you are prepared to produce data to back up your statements; data that your colleagues will try to reproduce in their own experiments, and if they can't, you're evidence isn't worth a hill of beans and you leave a lot of people scratching their heads wondering why you're publishing crap.

Yes, you can interpret some things different ways - for awhile - until more and better experiments clarify the uncertainties of earlier experiments. This is why scientific controversy is not settled in the political arena; it's settled by more and better peer reviewed science.

I know there are religious individuals who don't respect this process. Perhaps, they are responding to the arrogance of early scientists which may have been more arrogant than today. Perhaps they hold that faith and thought can't coexist. I disagree. Thoughtless indoctrination and and being reactionary can really hold you back. Many physicists believe in God. Science, doesn't disprove God or tell you how to worship him.

Here is a Bible verse that supports scientific endeavor.
Proverbs 20:12 - The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.
God made our eyes and ears so we would use them. Science is the discipline of using our senses to understand sense perceived truth. Seeking knowledge is a good character trait.
Proverbs 15:14 - The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.
I ran across this quote attributed to Galileo Galilei:


I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forget their use.
I have to say I agree.

I heard someone tell me God put fossils on earth to test our faith concerning the biblical age of the earth. I wouldn't bring this up except the guy who told me this was a respectable research associate at a prestigious institution.
James 1:13 says, Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
God's creation is not filled with traps to test our faith. It is simply his creation. Instead of worrying about how God is trying to trick us, lets glorify God for the awesomeness of his creation as we learn more about it.

I believe Christ is for scientists too and the Church needs to respect what they do in their profession. I would like to see more people in every profession come to believe in Christ. There is no quicker way to turn someone off from Christ and the Church than by offending them through irrational craziness. Sometimes you can't help it. I heard one man say when revival comes, the fringe of lunacy widens as the needy, broken, and unstable come to Christ and know of nothing more than him.

I also believe the Church needs to respect the work scientists do so she can embrace knowledge essential for our survival and bring moral dialog to the responsible use of the power that science brings us.

One area of dialog might be in the area of in vitro fertilization. Why do we ignore the fate of unused embryos created for potential in vitro fertilization implants? Even staunch pro life individuals who believe life starts at conception, and oppose abortion at any stage, are all too happy to ignore this inconvenient truth when trying to have children. We know there will be extra unused embryos and their deaths are inevitable unless we freeze them forever, and how unlikely is that? Lets bring clear thinking to action by coming up with rational and consistent public policy. I know I digressed here a little but it's interesting how people view willful ignorance as an option.

Our senses are limited though. Only God can satisfy our spiritual hunger and God exists beyond the domain of our senses.
Ecclesiastes 1:8 - All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
Search Amazon.com for h. g wells

We Humans Need to Better Define Ourselves

I would like to see us human beings define ourselves better. I believe a powerful way to do this is in how we treat animals. We need to treat animals we use for food with respect. I don't like the idea of cutting off chickens' legs while they're still alive along a conveyor because it's efficient. I don't like cows crowded in filth and chickens stuffed together never seeing the light of day.

The Words in Red

I've been reading through the gospels recently. I started in Matthew and am almost finished with Luke. I confess, that I have looked at the gospels as the grade school of Christianity. Christ's words are wonderful things to teach children.

Thinking of Our Veterans

When politicians say, "Support our troops" or "Honor our troops," it sounds bossy, hypocritical, and self serving to me. The more I listen to politicians, the more I realize that they are obsessed with power and their careers. To get power and secure a long career, they avoid standing alone, so they bury themselves in their political party and its agenda. Then, money and support from their political party pours in.

When I hear politicians talk about our troops, I get the feeling they are alluding to our soldiers as belonging to their political party. The honorable solder I envision is of neither political party. That soldier embraces ideals that are higher and transcend petty politics. His or her values and character must stand up against life and death struggles.

When I think of our veterans in a positive way: that is, when a politician is not in my face using our military forces as a propaganda tool, I think of an individual soldier; that soldier's sacrifices; the parents, spouse, and children s/he had to leave behind. I see that soldier following orders with unquestioning and unwavering obedience. S/he is asked to risk his or her life and to kill.

S/he is required to be courageous. REQUIRED! That's the minimum required of every solder and it is a high standard. I also picture that soldier as being good and making good decisions, representing the United States with honor. By "good," I mean possessing character s/he manages to cling to through adversity while looking outside self to do good under the circumstances; disabling the enemy, supporting each other, and honoring innocent life.

When that solder returns home s/he is wasted and tired inside. S/he has faced life and death fear. S/he has lost friends. S/he may have lost body parts. S/he may have enjoyed killing the enemy and s/he cannot express that and it has no context here at home. S/he needs time to decompress and reorient. S/he needs time to appreciate and adopt civilian peacetime values.

We were not generous in giving that soldier armor while they were abroad in the fight: body armor or an armored vehicle. When s/he returns home, we are not generous with giving the veteran time or support to regain peacetime mental health. That soldier pushes on without complaining the best they can as they always have. Some soldiers adapt to civilian life and some don't.

Why politicians don't support our troops and veterans more than they do, while talking so much about it, escapes my comprehension.

Thank God for the good and honorable soldier. Here is my prayer for you from the Book of Common Prayer:
Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

They Want Us


Samuel wrote a poem on how he feels about our political climate and thought I would share it here with you.


Healthiest Food Oils

What are the healthiest oils for your diet? It depends on whether you are using the oil cold or cooking with it. It also depends on how old it is. Chlorophyll in extra-virgin olive oil may cause it to go rancid over time.

Dr. Mercola has a good article about food oils. He believes coconut oil is good for cooking. Olive oil is good used cold but spoils and may break down in an unhealthy way when heated. Common oils from corn, canola, soy, sunflower, etc... may also be susceptible to heat damage. I think he has some good points to consider.

12 Year Old Break Up

Joseph and his mom
From Joseph

My twelve year old step son's girlfriend broke up with him recently. As I understand it, the conversation went something like this:

Girl:     I'm breaking up with you.

Joseph:    Why?

Girl:     There's not enough sparks.

Joseph:   (gaining his composure) Well, I just forgot to bring to bring my matches.

Things I Heard At *** Tire Pros

"C" is a old mechanic washing his hands like crazy at the end of the day.

Dan:   Your wife must hate dirty hands.

C:      No. I hate having dirty hands. My wife loves it when my hands are dirty though. It's money to her.

Who Owns Congress? A Campaign Cash Seating Chart | Mother Jones

Just sharing something from the "Economist" I found interesting. The money political candidates receive may be more telling than their party affiliations on how they stand on the issues. If you want to prevent bills from passing, you only need to control the Senate. You have fewer congressmen to influence and you need only one branch of congress to prevent a bill from passing.

Things I Learn From Working

In 2004, I moved from San Diego to Mississippi to operate several coffee shops with my brother the doctor. He struck up a conversation with a couple of local business owners one day and before you know it, we were their first franchisees. I didn't look into their financials like I should have. I took my brother at his word that this was a good opportunity. I ended up selling the last coffee shop in February 2010. I'm surprised we lasted that long considering all the businesses that failed in our area including several Starbucks.

Gillian Welch: Orphan Girl

One of my favorite songs. I can't listen to this song without tears finding their way into my eye sockets. I hope you like it.

This is Fox News

Has anyone else noticed how Fox News constantly publishes poles as if to tell us what we're thinking? Or, are they telling us how we should be thinking? Then, they spend another chunk of time telling us how "great" they are by bragging about their ratings. I've never heard this before from a news organization.

John Hiatt

John Hiatt is a singer songwriter whose voice grew on me after I appreciated his lyrics and music. I agree with the fan who said, "Very few people paint a picture with words as well as John Hiatt." "Dust Down a Country Road" is one of my favorites.



Could not get to sleep
It was on my wedding night
I was tangled in the sheets
And I was dreaming of a light
Pouring from her window
Coming up through the floor
Lifting up the darkness
Crashing through my kitchen door

Down to that old oak table
I went to take a look
And my whole life flashed before me
Just like a story book
She used to make me breakfast
Or sit around and talk
Have another cup of coffee
Or maybe take a little walk

CHORUS:
Dust down a country road
Blowing in the wind
Behind an old truck load
Up before the rooster crowed
There's an old dog staring
At the dust down a country road

And that truck is going somewhere
I just can't be sure
When tomorrow's just the day
After all that's gone before
And I always thought of leaving
I never could stay too long
Now her memory's catching up
And our sweet dreams are all gone

CHORUS

If I had a bullet I'd put it in this gun
And I'd catch that old dog napping
And I'd shoot him before he runs
Cause he ain't much good for nothin'
Except staring at the dust
Lord I wonder what he's looking at
Sneaking up on us

CHORUS

My Day: Work is Fine and Walmart is Dysfunctional

I have a good day at work. I come home and start doing my laundry and discover we're out of laundry detergent.

I go to Walmart to get some laundry detergent and decide to buy some salad fixings for dinner and other misc groceries while I'm here. First, I hit the produce section and pick up a bag of unpriced pine nuts. I ask the guy putting away grapes how much they are. He says, "I don't know." He stands there just looking at me

The Secret Big-Money Takeover of America

Robert Reich in the Huffington Post wrote,

"Not only is income and wealth in America more concentrated in fewer hands than it's been in 80 years, but those hands are buying our democracy as never before -- and they're doing it behind closed doors."

What we're seeing on TV and hearing on radio are political adds purchased with money from the wealthiest Americans telling us how they want us to vote. It's good for them but against the interests of the poor and middle class.
From DAN CHASING TIME

The sick need God and Miracles

My brother is a doctor and probably a good one. However, when I mentioned I hoped for a cure for my mother's ulcerative colitis, he simply said, "There was no cure and I might as well stop hoping for one. She just needs to learn to live with it."

Profiles in Timidity: Our Government in Action

Such is the title of a New York Times editorial that succinctly puts into perspective our current state of government. The Republicans are obstructionists who oppose anything Obama supports even if they previously supported it. Take the welfare-to-work initiatives they once supported. They hate it when Obama has anything to do with it.

The Democrats lack the courage of their convictions or maybe lack convictions altogether. They refuse to vote or debate on allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire except for the upper 2% of wage earners. They would rather wait until after the November elections when they can blame the Republicans for it not passing than standing up to the Republicans now which is the only time they have a chance of getting it passed.

Here is an allegory of our government in action. It's very accurate I might add. They don't get much done but they're very busy. John Cleese is the Republican and Michael Palin is the poor Democrat who doesn't know how government should be run so he willingly pays to get verbally abused, then goes through a round of contradiction with John Cleese, finally Michael Palin repeatedly gets hit over the head. He does all this willingly with an expectation that he'll start liking it soon. Hey Democrats! Do you like getting hit over the head yet? If not, then stop playing games with the Republicans and start governing our country.

I'm changing the name of Changing "Dan Wasting Time" to "Dan Chasing Time."

This is a new blog so I'm still making changes. The latest is I'm changing the name from "Dan Wasting Time" to "Dan Chasing Time." I don't feel this blog is a waste of time and chasing time reflects the desire to live life to the fullest. I like that better.

New Fronts on the War Against Harmful Bacteria

I find bacteria interesting. They can be our enemies or our friends. The Los Angeles Times article titled, New ways to fight bacteria, provides a brief overview on our war against harmful bacteria. Bacteria are constantly evolving resistance to our arsenal of antibiotics. We constantly develop new antibiotics while bacteria constantly evolve ways around them. To gain the upper hand in this frustrating war, scientists are currently looking at:

Where The Soul Is

While the Internet is rushing toward specialization, my goal is to express a variety of topics. That's because I believe the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts. That's where the soul is.

Monty Python - Silly Job Interview

The Good Guys on Fox: Episode: Vacation



The Good Guys on Fox is the funniest television series ever. Linda and I laughed so hard from start to finish watching Friday's episode. The "Good Guys" link takes you to Fox where you can watch the full "Vacation" episode.

Scottish Poet McTeagle

Let's take a moment to honor the great Scottish Poet Ewan McTeagle. Monty Python may have been making fun of William McGonagall who many believe wrote the worst poetry ever written in the English language. The Tay Bridge Disaster may be McTeagle's best.

Two Economic Poles

Many things pair in extremes. The earth has a north and south pole. An electrical circuit has a positive and negative. Someone with a bipolar condition vacillates between manic states and depression.

Our economy has two poles.

Bill Abel from Clarksdale Mississippi

Bill played in our coffee house in Madison, MS around 2005. He sold some of his pottery there and I bought a giant plate. I lent him my old damaged hohner guitar. It sounded just fine when he played it. I have not found any videos of him here that do him justice. He's a great person and musician. He told me he thought about quitting when he had his daughter. Glad he's still playing. Hope he and his family are doing well.

Chemicals in the Kitchen

I used to only think about getting enough vitamins when considering a healthy diet. Today, I'm more concerned about things I don't want to eat.

I try to avoid food:

The Christian Three Act Play

After I accepted Christ, I began reading the Bible meditatively every day. That helped me see the Bible as a book to apply to myself rather than to others. Romans 5:1-2 was the first passage that came alive to me.

1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

This passage gives a sweeping view of our relationship and walk with God. It's like a three act play. Scene one. We are justified by faith. It is a past tense event that brings peace to our lives. Scene two. We have help in our daily walk. We have access to God's grace. To stand in grace is to stand. Scene three. We look to the future. God not only justified and supports us. He will share his glory with us. Past, present, and future. Our Christian walk.


Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible,
New International Version®, NIV®.
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™
Used by permission of Zondervan.
All rights reserved worldwide.
www.zondervan.com

Double Talk

I heard we could quickly eliminate the deficit if we simply allowed the Bush tax cuts to expire. Wealthy republicans will have none of that. Why? Ask yourself, "what would greed do?"
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

Concrete Glass and Steel

Photo

Photo

Photo

Photo
Price Center

Library


I found these photos of some of the unique buildings at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) where I got a B.S. in molecular biology. The students are spread out and the school lacks a feeling of social cohesiveness. I learned about a plan by Roger Revelle to build student dorms, shopping, dining, and other things necessary and desirable for college students. UCSD rejected the idea and sold the land that would have been used for the project and used the money to build more and better buildings. I wrote part of this poem around that time and finished this version recently.


Undergraduate Choosing a Major

Where we mingle-mangle wisdom with our lust
-in a world that doesn't feel-
Each building rises with its own thrust.
-concrete, glass, and steel-

I sit and ponder on these voices
and on an absence of a whole.
This trinity vies to earn my choices
-concrete, glass, and steel-
In a world without a soul.

-Dan Owens




Corn Refiners Association to FDA: Please let us use a sneaky alias for High Fructose Corn Syrup

On September 14, 2010, the CRA petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to allow manufacturers the option of using corn sugar as an alternative name for high fructose corn syrup. They said this will help clarify the labeling of food products for consumers. Hummmm. Reminds me of a criminal on the lam assuming a new identity. What's next? A fake ID?

I read the Wikipedia article referenced below. Then, I read the fact sheet by the Corn Refiners Association (CRA). The first article is very detailed. The second article appears to be written to naive and trusting kindergarteners.


CRA says high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) "has no artificial or synthetic ingredients."

According to Wikipedia, HFCS is made by:

1. Milling corn to produce corn starch. (OK so far)

2. Treating corn starch with an enzyme called alpha-amylase to produce shorter chains of sugars called oligosaccharides. (We are mimicking a natural process but is it natural in our hands?)

3. Using an enzyme called Glucoamylase, derived from a fungus, to break down the oligosaccharides further to get glucose. (Again, mimicking a natural process)

4. Using an enzyme called glucose isomerase to convert glucose to about 42% fructose, 51% glucose, along with other various sugars. (Again, mimicking a natural process. However, if nature doesn't use these three enzyme processes in this order, how can we call this process natural?)

5. The 42% fructose solution is enriched to 90% using liquid chromatography; a technique used in many chemistry and biology laboratories.

6. The 90% fructose is back-blended with 42% fructose to yield a final product containing either 55% or 45% fructose.

7. Most manufacturers use carbon to remove impurities. (Impurities? I didn't read about impurities in CRA's article. However, if they get the impurities out, are we're supposed to ignore that they were ever there? Is this an industry saying "Trust us?" I think we can trust a big profit oriented company to remove impurities from our diet as far as we can trust a big oil company not to spill oil in the Gulf of Mexico. By the way, someone did test a sample of HFCS and found mercury in it. Oops!)

I know I went into a lot of detail outlining the process of making HFCS but it's important to show that synthetic and artificial is part of the process of making HFCS. Even though the intended product is pure HFCS, the truth is, artificial and synthetic stuff gets in there accidentally because of impurities and the chemicals involved in the process of making it.

The CRA says, "High fructose corn syrup is sugar made from corn." (Yes that's true, but is it reassuring when you know how they make HFCS from corn?)

The CRA says, "High fructose corn syrup or corn sugar contains the same two simple sugars as table sugar (glucose and fructose)." (That's a half truth. Table sugar is glucose and fructose chemically bonded together to form a disaccharide called sucrose. This chemical bond forms a new compound. There is more to sucrose than just fructose and glucose.)

The CRA says, HFCS "is handled the same by the body as table sugar." (This is not true because sucrose contains a glycosidic bond linking fructose and glucose. Our body produces the enzyme, glycoside hydrolase, that converts sucrose in the stomach to the monosaccharides glucose and fructose.)

CRA quotes the American Dietetic Association, “once they (HFCS and sucrose) are absorbed into the bloodstream, the two sweeteners are indistinguishable. (That's true because our body does not absorb sucrose. Our body breaks sucrose down to fructose and glucose before it is absorbed into the bloodstream by the small intestine.)

The last section in the CRA article is titled, "Putting the Consumer First." I know I'm just a living, breathing, walking wallet to them. If I have a wallet, I'm intact, and they can stay in business.

To see a list of health problems associated with HFCS, see Ivan Royster's Facebook page. The link's below.

God bless. Christ is all and in all.

Wikipedia | High-fructose corn syrup

Wikipedia | Sucrose

Corn Refiners Association | Corn Sugar Fact Sheet

Organic Connections | The Impact of One Man’s Outrage

Ivan Royster's Facebook page is a good source for links to information on high fructose corn syrup.

Ivan Royster's Facebook Page | The Ban of High Fructose Corn Syrup in the U.S.

Philosophy of Personal Faith

Believe what you believe
     with all your heart
          in all humility.

Then, speak of those things
     rather than the things you don't believe in
          or how wrong they are who don't believe what you believe
               or things you're ignorant of.

Dr. Garland and the Benefits of Vitamin D

Frank C. Garland passed away recently. He and his brother Cedric published one of the first papers leading to our new understanding of the importance of vitamin D. They found that cancer mortality rates were highest in places where populations were exposed to the least amounts of natural light including major cities and rural areas at high latitudes. That was just the beginning!

see Frank C. Garland, 60, Who Connected Vitamin D Deficiency and Cancer, Dies

We've known for a long time that vitamin D helps maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus and that vitamin D aids the absorption of calcium to give us strong bones. We've also known that vitamin D deficiency in children causes rickets leading to skeletal deformities and that vitamin D deficiency in adults causes osteomalacia leading to muscular weakness and fragile bones. That was roughly all we knew.

We get most of our vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. We absorb the sun’s ultraviolet-B rays through our skin where we convert it to Previtamin D. 10% - 15% of Previtamin D is converted to Vitamin D3. Then, our liver converts Vitamin D3 to 25-hydroxyvitamin D which is the primary form of Vitamin D circulating in our bloodstream. Finally, our kidneys and monocyte-macrophages (immune cells) convert 25-hydroxyvitamin D into its biologically active form; 
1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (also known as vitamin D hormone). We have four organs dedicated to producing vitamin D; our skin, liver, kidneys, and immune system. Evolving such an elaborate cascading system for producing various forms of Vitamin D implies its importance!

see Vitamin D


What's new?

Following the Garlands' research, scientists went on to unearth a tome of new information on how this vitamin helps us. They discovered that vitamin D works on a genetic level supporting the regulation of thousands of genes. It may be a co-factor in nearly 200 important metabolic processes. It appears to regulate blood pressure and glucose levels. It regulates and boosts
 the immune system. It may also protect nerve cells, promote protective hormonal activity in the brain, and increase levels of antioxidants in the brain that reduce the buildup of toxic chemicals known as free radicals. Amazing!

Cancer and Autoimmune Disease

Many of the genes that vitamin D helps regulate are associated with autoimmune disease and cancer. Such autoimmune diseases include type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. In addition to colon cancer, vitamin D deficiency is linked with breast and prostrate cancer.

see Vitamin D affects autoimmune diseases and cancer genes
see Do sunlight and vitamin D reduce the likelihood of colon cancer?

Heart Disease

Scientists are also learning that vitamin D may help the heart by regulating blood pressure, inflammation and glucose control. A study looking at patients' vitamin D levels found those with the lowest vitamin D levels were 77% more likely to die of heart failure after surviving a first heart attack, 78% more likely to have a stroke, and 45% more likely to develop coronary artery disease than those with normal levels of vitamin D.

see Vitamin D Shows Heart Benefits in Study

Parkinson's Disease and Dementia

Vitamin D may also help memory and information processing. 
Research published in January 2009 suggested high levels of vitamin D may help stave off mental decline associated with aging. Another study tracking individuals for over 30 years found individuals with low levels of vitamin D may be three times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than individuals with normal levels. Vitamin D may help us mentally by protecting nerve cells, promoting protective hormonal activity in the brain, and increasing levels of antioxidants in the brain that reduce the buildup of toxic chemicals known as free radicals.

see Low vitamin D levels 'linked to Parkinson's disease'
see Vitamin D 'key to healthy brain'

Cold and Flu

In yet another recent study, people deficient in vitamin D were 36 % more likely to get respiratory infections than those with sufficient levels; people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and vitamin D deficiency were 200% more likely to get respiratory infections than their non-deficient counterparts; and, asthmatics with vitamin D 
deficiency were 500% more likely to get respiratory infections than their non-deficient counterparts. Vitamin D is associated with the production of an antimicrobial peptide that works with the immune-system to kill pathogens. People deficient in vitamin D make less of this peptide.

See
Vitamin D deficiency linked to more colds and flu


Athletic Performance


There is strong evidence that getting adequate amounts of vitamin D may improve athletic performance. This is helpful to know because more athletes are deficient than you would expect. One study found several long distance runners to have low vitamin D levels.

see Can Vitamin D Improve Your Athletic Performance?

Current Recommendations

Recent studies on Vitamin D give hope for a simple and inexpensive solution to many serious health problems. However, scientists still need to perform more studies to clarify their initial correlations. In addition, researchers don't yet know what level is optimal or at what point vitamin D becomes toxic. Symptoms of vitamin D toxicity include nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness and weight loss, as well as dangerously increased calcium levels that can result in kidney stones, confusion and abnormal heart rhythms.

The best way to get vitamin D is through exposure to sunlight. After that, you can obtain vitamin D from fortified milk, cheese, fish oil, eggs, and meat. However, it's unlikely you'll get enough from diet alone. Those at risk for vitamin D deficiency not only include those with limited exposure to sunlight. The elderly, obese, and exclusively breastfed infants also may be deficient. In addition, those with malabsorption syndromes (e.g., cystic fibrosis) or inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., Crohn's disease) are at risk.

The Institute of Medicine has historically recommended dosages of 200 I.U. a day to age 50 (including pregnant women); 400 I.U. for adults 50-70; and 600 I.U. for those older than 70. However, the Institute of Medicine currently considers these recommendations low and are deciding how much to ramp them up. Currently, doctors recommend between 1,000 to 2,000 I.U. for those who don't get enough sunlight, pregnant and lactating women, and adults older than 50. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving breast-fed infants 400 I.U. of vitamin D per day until they are weaned and consuming a quart or more of fortified milk or formula a day.



see What Do You Lack? Probably Vitamin D
see Vitamin D - Mayo Clinic

Mind - Research Upends Traditional Thinking on Study Habits - NYTimes.com

Great article in the New York Times on how to get the most out of your precious little study time. Basically what it's saying is:
  • You will retain more information if you study the same thing at different locations instead of studying at the same place all the time. 
  • Study different but related concepts in one sitting instead of just focusing on a single thing. 
  • Space out your study times instead of cramming. For instance, if you want to study for three hours, you will retain more by studying an hour a day three days than cramming for three hours in one sitting. 
  • Practice tests are an effective study tool and they work best if you wait a day to take the test instead of right after you study.
The details are interesting and the article is well worth reading.

Sanctity of Work

I visited the dentist yesterday. I hadn't seen a dentist for nearly four years so I wasn't sure how the teeth cleaning would go. As the dental hygienist started scraping, I began to notice how accurate she was. She didn't clumsily hit spots she wasn't aiming for. She never seemed to use more pressure than necessary. She was patient, worked at the same pace, with the same concentration from beginning to end, and never waited too long to use the suction thing. I became aware of all the details involved in cleaning someone else's teeth and noticed she was attentive to every detail. I left with really clean teeth and an appreciation for everyone who does excellent work. So much so, I want to express my appreciation in a concrete way by recommending Melissa Hinton, Dental Hygienist. She works in Dr. Lance D. Dillon's office located at 927 Highway 51, Madison, MS  39110. 601-898-3000.

She never talked about religion, church, or Christ but how she worked made me think of this verse.

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Mini Word Study - Knowledge

This subject, like many in the Christian Bible, has a tension built into it. Knowledge is always good, but not always what we need most. We get in trouble when we exalt knowledge above another quality such as love; or, exalt "knowledge" over humility when it turns out we really didn't know anything to begin with (see, Job 42:3). The Bible's reference to "knowledge" isn't merely referring to the amount of "facts" we know, but rather, the assimilation of truth in our lives. One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 22:12 - "The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge." God doesn't just watch over us and the sparrow, he watches over knowledge.

LIMITATIONS OF KNOWLEDGE

Job 42:3 - You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.

Ecclesiastes 1:18 - For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.

1 Corinthians 8:1 - Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

1 Corinthians 13:8 - Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

IMPORTANCE OF KNOWLEDGE

Proverbs 1:7 - The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Proverbs 2:10 - For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

Proverbs 8:10 - Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold,

Proverbs 15:14 - The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.

Proverbs 19:2 - It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.

Proverbs 19:27 - Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.

Proverbs 22:12 - The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge, but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful.

Isaiah 53:11 - After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

2 Peter 1:2 - Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.


Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible,
New International Version®, NIV®.
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™
Used by permission of Zondervan.
All rights reserved worldwide.
www.zondervan.com

New York Jets Organization to Muzzle Players' Testosterone. Losing season certainty will ensue.

TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz wore sexy clothing while interviewing the NY Jets football team and reportedly was pestered with goofy on-field antics and locker-room catcalls. Anyone surprised? I know the rhetorical question posed by those coming to her defense. "Does she deserve that?" I don't think "deserve" enters into it. She simply dressed provocatively and provoked a response.

I think of it like this. A writer writes to a particular audience. Style isn't generic. A woman has a vast variety of styles and dress to choose from. She picks the style she wants and dresses for a particular audience. Testosterone is an audience. There is trailer park testosterone, Wall Street testosterone, country testosterone, and professional athlete testosterone. Some women dress for it. You know it when you see it. They use various packaging to show the same beautiful things. I'm all for it. I'm saying that and I don't plan on cheating on my wife. I can't let my testosterone take me there.

"Sexy" is allowed to express itself through dress and style. Testosterone should also be allowed it's appropriate expression. Since women express their femininity through dress, they might think that men should express their testosterone through dress also. No. That's your medium ladies. Testosterone expresses itself in less sophisticated ways. Just because a woman is uncomfortable with these less sophisticated forms of expression, does that make such expression wrong or violent by definition? No. Innocent and non-violent expressions of testosterone might be the appropriate response for certain modes of dress.

I consider it double talk, muddled thinking, denial and hypocrisy for a woman to dress for a particular audience then act surprised that her audience noticed and responded in their own language. Ladies, get real. I'm not talking about inappropriate touching or physical gestures. We're talking about cat calls by professional athletes in their own locker room.

I don't think Ines Sainz complained or condemned anyone all that much. She's probably a good sport who enjoys life. However, feminist fury is so quickly ignited in our country that the Jets organization panicked like little boys apologizing to everyone and is passing out testosterone muzzles to their players even as I write. I don't know what a testosterone muzzle looks like. However, I don't blame the Jets organization for resorting to such austere measures.

Something about a certain tone and pitch that makes my bones feel like they're going to explode. I'll do almost anything to make it stop. "You must be right Ma'am. I am wrong by simply by being born a man with testosterone. Your elegant refinement obviously nullifies an entire dimension of my personality." Sports was supposed to be the last place where we didn't have to say that. They've invaded our locker room. There's nothing left.

America is all of us men and women.

Here is a real story on Yahoo Sports where Clinton Portis literally muzzles himself with tape after being beaten down for suggesting a gray area in the Ines Sainz buzz rather than the certified correct "black and white" perspective.

Clinton Portis muzzles himself on Ines Sainz discussions

10 1/2 hour days

I've been working 10 1/2 hour days lately. Haven't had any time to waste lately. It's hard to share anything interesting when I'm tired. God bless.


From Natchez Trace Trecks

Joy and Sadness

Ridgeland 7th grade football team had just scored a touchdown to tie the game. Right after that, the other team scored again to win.


Rich to the Poor: Things Will Get Worse If You Change Anything

David Brooks in the NYT

Current GOP rhetoric would have us believe, "Every small new government program puts us on the slippery slope toward a smothering nanny state."

"The fact is, the American story is not just the story of limited government; it is the story of limited but energetic governments that used aggressive federal power to promote growth and social mobility." Then, he gives examples from George Washington, the Whig Party, Abraham Lincoln, and FDR where they used an energized government to do things leading to modern America's prosperity.

"Conservatism is supposed to be nonideological and context-driven. If all government action is automatically dismissed as quasi socialist, then there is no need to think. A pall of dogmatism will settle over the right."

Dan's 2 cents

Why is the Republican party so dogmatic and ideological these days? I don't have an answer for that yet but I believe our government is something in between a corporate entity and a real person that is necessary to keep us civilized and drive progress when things get stuck.


Bob Herbert in the NYT

He quotes from Robert Reich's book, "Aftershock," "we did not learn the larger lesson of the 1930's: that when the distribution of income gets too far out of whack, the economy needs to be reorganized so the broad middle class has enough buying power to rejuvenate the economy over the longer term."

Income at the top

Robert Reich points out: There has been growth, but it has been increasingly disproportional. In the 1970's the top 1% of earners earned between 8 and 9 percent of total income. In the 1980's, the share of the top 1% rose to between 10 and 14 percent. In the late 1990's, it was between 15 and 19 percent. In 2005, it topped 21 percent. The last year this information was reported, the top 1% of wage earners earned more than 23% of all income. The richest 1/10 of 1%, representing just 13,000 households, took in more than 11 percent of total income in 2007.

Income in the middle

Bob points out, "A male worker earning the median wage in 2007 earned less than the median wage, adjusted for inflation, of a male working 30 years earlier."

Dan's 2 cents

I bet most of these people in the top 1% are not entrepreneurs, but rather, corporate executives and bankers who were handed someone else's achievements. I don't believe they earned their income through values and hard work. Many are simply pirates plundering the personal achievements of others for their private consumption. These are the people who oppose estate taxes while our country is in debt. They have the ability to spend money on political advertising getting us to oppose  "death taxes" and we are stupid enough to go along with it. It's clear there are a lot of things that are good for the top 1% that are not good for the middle class or America. America is all of us.

Madeleine Peyroux

I only heard Madeleine Peyroux for the first time this weekend. What a sweet, playful, sultry, seductive voice. Thank you Asem for bringing her to my attention.



Here are the lyrics.

Instead of feeling bad
Be glad you got somewhere to go
Instead of feeling sad
Be happy you're not on your own
Instead of feelin' low
Get high on everything you love
Instead of wastin' time
Feel good 'bout what you're dreaming of

Instead of trying to win something you never understood
Play the game you know eventually you'll love her good

It's silly to pretend to have something you don't own
Just let her be a woman and you'll be her man

Instead of feelin' broke
Buck up and get yourself in the black
Instead of losing hope
Touch up the things that feel out of whack
Instead of being old
Be young because you know you are
Instead of feeling cold
Let sunshine into your heart

Instead of acting crazy chasing things that make you mad
Keep your heart ahead, it'll lead you back to what you have
With every step you are closer to the place you need to be

It's up to you to let her love you sweetly

Instead of feeling bad
Be glad you got someone to love
Instead of feeling sad
Be happy about the stars above
Instead of feeling low
Remember your love never on your own
Instead of feeling sad
Be happy she's there waiting at home
Just right by the telephone
Remember that she's all you own.

Madeleine Peyroux singing "Smile"

Quid Quo Pro Constitutionality

Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase meaning "something for something." It indicates a more-or-less equal exchange or substitution of goods or services. It comes to my attention that some people think people different from them should sometimes have to negotiate for their rights in the court of public opinion. Consider the situation where a group wants to build a mosque at a location that's offensive to some. With quid quo pro constitutionality, the offended person could invoke the "public opinion clause" through blogs and news outlets. The talking heads would apply the rule of rigid associations in their analysis and associate Islam with oppressive non-democracies in the middle east. Then, they would ask, "If we wanted to build a church near a holy shrine in their country, would they let us?" If the answer is no, they would conclude, "Then, why should we let them build something near ground zero? Your request for constitutional protections is denied." What they're saying is, "Constitution or no constitution, if you don't scratch my back, I won't scratch yours.

I know building a mosque or a Muslim community center near ground zero is offensive to some. But, the constitution does not protect us from being offended. Some people are accusing the group building Cordoba House of aggressive and insincere motives. I don't know about their motives, but I do know motives are not part of real constitutional analysis. So, bickering about motives does not enter into the discussion of someone's constitutional rights. John Adams said, "We are a nation of laws, not of men." If we are permitted to negotiate away the constitutional protections for others in the court of public opinion, we erode constitutional protections for everyone. Is America AMERICA without the constitution? One WWII American Veteran I know answered, "America is the constitution." America is all of us.

Pastor Terry Jones: American Extremist

The Ballad of Terry Jones


The church bulletin from the Dove World Outreach Center last Sunday might have read, "Please join us this Saturday on the Church front lawn for the first annual 'International Burn a Koran Day,'" just after the prayer list and above the announcement for the mens' prayer breakfast and the bake sale. The Dove World Outreach Center is a small non-denominational charismatic church of about 50 members located in Gainesville Florida. Though his congregation is small, that doesn't stop Terry Jones from having big aspirations. See Wikipedia - Dove World Outreach Center. Terry became pastor of the church there in 2001. He formed a little school where students work in the church's vintage furniture business for almost nothing. Students there are discouraged from contacting their families even to attend weddings or funerals.


In 2009 Terry began his anti-Islam sign campaign on the church lawn. He painted his first sign with big red letters, "Islam is of the devil." See Gainesville Sun - sign 1. Next, quoting from the Koran, he wrote, "Koran 9:5 Kill the disbelievers wherever you find them." See Gainesville Sun - sign 2. He concluded the church lawn sign campaign with a sign picturing a Muslim man hanging a Christian. Just when the people of Gainesville thought he was finished, he had church members send their children to school wearing t-shirts with, "Islam is of the Devil" written on the back. See Gainesville Sun - t-shirts. In 2010, he published a book titled, you guessed it, "Islam is of the Devil." He sold it at www.islamisofthedevil.com for awhile and had a blog until those sites stopped working. His Facebook page titled, "International Burn a Koran Day" is still up and running.


Before pastoring the Dove World Outreach Center, Terry Jones founded and "pastored" a congregation in Cologne Germany. That ended badly when the congregation ousted him amid allegations of financial irregularities and personality clashes. Niels Sorrells from Berlin Germany wrote that members accused Terry Jones of being violent and fanatical. They said he ran the Cologne church like a sect and used psychological pressure on members to subordinate their activities to his will. Someone else described Terry Jones as someone who didn't project Christian values and always made himself the center of everything. See  Pastor's former German Church denounces him. He continues to set himself front and center. He is the real center of his planned Koran burning. Terry, please step out of the way. I can't see Christ.


And then there's Gainesville


The Dove World Outreach Center is located in Gainesville Florida. I'm sure Gainesville isn't perfect but it does have a lot of things going for it. It's home to Florida University, one of the largest universities in the country and considered a public ivy school. Gainesville has a population of 258,555 according to 2008 Census Bureau estimates but may have contracted recently. It was ranked as one of the "best places to live and play" in 2007 by National Geographic Adventure.


When Terry Jones made signs telling us who to hate and be afraid of, religions leaders of all faiths in the Gainesville area founded the Gainesville Interfaith Forum to "demonstrate the strength of a shared community acoss faith groups." They plan to present regular programs to the community in the hope of increasing "understanding and appreciation of each other and build bridges between our communities of respect and friendship." See Gainesville Interfaith Forum. The first meeting is scheduled to take place at Congregation B'nai Israel. Think of that. The first meeting is being hosted in a Jewish synagogue in response to fanatical hatred against Muslims and the Koran.


Gainesville represents a more accurate portrait of America than Terry Jones or the Dove World Outreach Center. It's a place where you can get a quality education, enjoy nature, raise a family, and choose among many churches that don't preach hate. Sadly, many Muslims overseas won't see that. The Gainesville Interfaith Forum is an inspiring example of leadership in response to home grown extremism. They won't hear much about that either. Come to think of it, why don't I hear more about that than the obsessed narcissistic hate spewing man? Please stop stirring him up. He won't go away but maybe we can look at Gainesville and see something of who we are. That might make it easier to ignore the noise.

My time in a Sect

After my first year at Rhema Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow Oklahoma in 1980, I got involved in a church with a charismatic leader who had a "special" revelation. He was inspiring to listen to. He had a school that I attended. He discouraged his students from contacting their families even for weddings and funerals. He was as controlling as Koran burning Terry Jones.

I was 19. My faith had seemed to lead me there somehow and I went along with everything. My healthy middle class family had just accepted my choice to attend Rhema. They were even less prepared to mentally process my involvement with "The Church at Tulsa." Gradually, I felt more uncomfortable and increasingly isolated from my family. " Finally, I even felt isolated from others in the congregation. Others felt the same way. I remember a day when a fear seemed to descend on our congregation and roll over everyone like waves. After that, a large number of members left. The fear and isolation grew worse for the ones who stayed. I also left after two years there. It goes to show you there are others out there in the mold of Terry Jones. It's difficult to understand how someone can influence a whole congregation like that. It's hard to leave and they can do you a lot of harm.

In my opinion, people like Terry Jones are an even greater threat to us than the violence of fringe Muslims because they have the power to distort minds. Second to them, I fear the fringe Muslim extremists who only have the power to harm our bodies. I'm at peace in the Episcopal Church now after a long journey. Do I hate Christians because of what happened to me? No. Do I hate the Muslims next door for what fringe Muslim extremists did to us on 9/11/2001? No, I don't hate them either.

Rules of Rigid Association

There are some in the press who make rules of rigid association. At least that's what I call it. It's like someone associating 9/11 with fear, fighting the terrorists, the Koran, and Muslims. They make rigid associations that don't necessarily go together. Most of the terrorists were Muslims who read the Koran. However, there are millions of Muslims reading the Koran who don't pursue a path of radical hatred. Therefore, associating 9/11 with Muslims and the Koran is not a necessary association.

Associating 9/11 with radical extremism would be more accurate and productive. However, they hold their unnecessary associations to be self evident. If you don't see life through their associations you are not on their side, the side of America, the side of the troops, or the side of freedom. They are rule-making rigidonians. Neanderthals who like action more than thinking and don't associate the two very closely.

For another example. You associate "666" with an evil number representing the Antichrist. Is that association so rigid that you can't sing hymn 666 in the hymnal or can't read page 666 in your Bible? If so, your association is too rigid. Someone might make a rule that if you do sing hymn 666, you are a friend of the Antichrist. Rules of rigid associations may someday be known as the O'Reilly Factor.

Tomorrow is my nephew's birthday. That's right. He was born on 9/11. He's five and a lot of fun. I'm going to have to associate 9/11 with the joy of his birth from now on and not just with tragedy. I guess that's moving on. Will I forget 9/11? No, but I will let something else in today. We can't always live by rules of rigid association. Life keeps happening.

Illegal Immigration is Illegal Labor

I've been thinking about immigration recently since its been in the news a lot. It occurs to me that many entities that benefit from illegal immigration sit silently watching the debate along with us as if they're mere observers. They are silent in the public debate because their lobbyists will continue to influence and make deals with our congressional representatives behind the scenes.

They are the companies that provide the incentive for illegal immigrants to cross the border in the first place by rewarding them with jobs after they get here. These companies do not act out of generosity. They want an illegal, non-citizen, workforce they can exploit by paying less than the legal minimum wage, offer little or no benefits, and avoid providing safe and sanitary working conditions. If the illegal immigrants ever organize or speak up for legal wages or better conditions, the company they work for can have them deported.

Companies want an illegal workforce to increase their profits and competitiveness in the global economy (have you noticed how buzzwords make arguments more compelling). Are we so afraid of not making a profit, we feel compelled to sacrifice our principles to do so? Historically, the answer has often been "yes." Some sacrificed their principles to defend slavery and some sacrificed their principles to defend child labor. Now, here is another way to increase profits by exploiting the poor, desperate, and vulnerable and businesses are lining up to cash in.

They argue, "But they want jobs Americans aren't willing to perform." Would you be willing to take a job paying less than minimum wage? That's an insult. You wouldn't think too highly of the person who offered you the job. We shouldn't think too highly of the CEOs who endorse these policies either. "We have to pay below the minimum wage in some jobs to remain competitive." Let's set up fair rules and then make every company compete by those rules. Industry continued after slavery and child labor. Industry will continue after companies stop exploiting illegal immigrants. "Illegal immigrants provide cheap labor that keeps prices down. Consumers don't want to pay prices that reflect the minimum wage." I would if it meant I wouldn't have to live in a country that authorized exploiting the vulnerable.

These companies and businesses have lobbyists before congress incessantly persuading them to favor their agenda. In this case, exploiting illegal immigrants. Consequently, the federal government isn't rigorous in enforcing it's immigration laws already on the books. The influence of business on congress is so strong, congress even continued its policy of lax and economical (on-the-cheap) border management after 9/11. See Editorial - Forced Labor - NYTimes.com

Am I a conspiracy theorist? I'm not paranoid but I think "conspiracy" might be a good description here. "Conspiracy" is the very goal of business lobbyists. They are seeking agreements with our representatives in congress that we know nothing about that may defraud third parties of their constitutional rights or deprive that representative's constituency fair representation in congress. This is pretty close to the common law's description of a civil conspiracy. Although this cause of action is normally applied to business litigation, it might be appropriately applied here. See Conspiracy (civil).

You know Mexico is going to encourage the United States to continue our policy of not adequately protecting our border because illegal immigrants send billions of dollars to Mexico every year.

Another thing I find troubling about having an illegal workforce is it adds a tier to our class system of privileged verses not-privileged classes except this new class distinction is sickeningly clear. If they start speaking up for safe working conditions or fair wages, we can ship them back home. It reminds me of India's caste system except less religious. I think the rich elite already think in terms of classes, whether they openly discuss it or not, and are conditioned to easily accept the benefits of a vulnerable and exploitable workforce.

Wherever our federal immigration policy comes from, it has resulted in a massive illegal work force in America. This illegal work force is comprised of people with families and children we allowed to sneak in because we wanted them here. We can't morally use them and ship them off when they're politically inconvenient.

We need to find a path for allowing those we have permitted to come here to stay as U.S. Citizens. If they don't want to become citizens, then, they should leave. At the same time, we need to start enforcing our immigration laws to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States.

The government has a moral role to play here. After all, the government is not a corporation that is only accountable to shareholders who only care about the bottom line. It's not a person either. It's something in between that helps us stay civilized and it's accountable to the citizenry. I still wish we had our own lobbyists so our representatives wouldn't forget us after they get elected and run off to college [sic], oops, I mean Washington.

For a good overview on the recent discussion on immigration see Select Editorials on Immigration - The New York Times.

Mobius Trip

I turned around and left a place I said had never been.
How can it be I walked away and passed that place again?


- Dan Owens

Alan Lomax Videos

Here are some videos recorded by Alan Lomax; a famous folklorist and ethnomusicologist. You can learn more about Alan Lomax in this Wikipedia article Alan Lomax.


You can find the next two videos at Media-Generation. R.L. Burnside appears in the first one.


Mississippi Hill Country (One Chord) Blues

R.L Burnside is Mississippi Hill Country Blues. His style of blues is also called one chord blues because many songs are played with just one chord. You might think this would sound monotonous. However, this characteristic challenges the artist to come up with new ways to add variety besides changing chords. R.L. Burnside does this by varying, melody, rhythm, texture. The intensity he generates is gut grabbing. As he grew older, R.L. Burnside associated with younger musicians including his nephew Cedric Burnside and stylized a type of music mingling Mississippi Hill Country Blues with Electronica. It's its own style of driving music with no particular name I'm aware of. I love both the early acoustic Burnside and the later electrified Burnside. I know some people think he messed up his earlier songs by playing them that way but that's crazy. Those older versions didn't go away just because he played them different. He just gave us more music we would have never heard.



"She asked me why. I just went on and told her."