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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Don't Doubt it. Global Warming Causes Everything!

Number Watch is a site that was first brought to my attention last summer by Rush Limbaugh. It is an interesting website run by a rather eccentric (I mean that as a compliment) Professor John Brignell. On the first page we are told the purpose of the site without apology or attempts to hide an agenda.

WELCOME TO NUMBER WATCH

All about the scares, scams, junk, panics, and flummery cooked up by the media, politicians, bureaucrats, so-called scientists and others who try to confuse you with wrong numbers.

This site is devoted to the monitoring of the misleading numbers that rain down on us via the media. Whether they are generated by Single Issue Fanatics (SIFs), politicians, bureaucrats, quasi-scientists (junk, pseudo- or just bad), such numbers swamp the media, generating unnecessary alarm and panic. They are seized upon by media, hungry for eye-catching stories. There is a growing band of people whose livelihoods depend on creating and maintaining panic. There are also some who are trying to keep numbers away from your notice and others who hope that you will not make comparisons. Their stock in trade is the gratuitous lie. The aim here is to nail just a few of them.


The index lists such tempting morsels as “March of the Zealots,” “In Praise of Carbon,” and “Global Warming as Religion.” But, the item that Rush mentioned and has brought fame, if not fortune, to Prof. Bignell is his list of things reported in the news as caused by global warming. The list begins with

Acne, asthma, agricultural land increase, Africa devastated, African aid threatened, air pressure changes, Alaska reshaped, allergies increase, Alps melting, Amazon a desert, American dream end, amphibians breeding earlier (or not), anaphylactic reactions to bee stings, ancient forests dramatically changed, animals head for the hills, Antarctic grass flourishes, Antarctic ice grows, Antarctic ice shrinks, Antarctic sea life at risk, anxiety treatment, algal blooms, archaeological sites threatened, Arctic bogs melt, Arctic in bloom, Arctic ice free, Arctic lakes disappear, Arctic tundra to burn, Atlantic less salty, Atlantic more salty, atmospheric circulation modified, attack of the killer jellyfish, avalanches reduced, avalanches increased…
These items are in alphabetical order. Note that this partial list is only from the items beginning with A. All of the items are linked to the press report that mentions that particular devastation. In all there are nearly 500 such claims, some few being plausible, many absurd, and most hilarious.
You’ll note that global warming can be blamed for most everything. If it’s unseasonably hot, it’s global warming. Too cold? Blame global warming. Earth spinning faster, global warming. Earth slowing down, yep, that’s global warming, too. The Atlantic more salty, global warming. Atlantic less salty, same. You get the point. This is only for the open-minded. If you are a true believer of man-made global catastrophe, I doubt you'll be amused.


Unbelievable Cruelty as Art

A Yale art student used bloody vaginal discharge for her senior project, claiming that it was tissue from self-induced “miscarriages.” (see stories here, here and here) At least some of the Religious Left are claiming that it is her body and what she does with it is nobody’s business.

LifeSiteNews.com has this follow-up today:

Yale Student Insists Abortion "Art Project" NOT a Hoax
By Hilary White

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut, April 18, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - News outlets exploded yesterday with the story that a graduate art student at Yale University had deliberately impregnated herself multiple times and then used chemical abortifacients as an art project. Shvarts had said that the blood from the 'project' would be displayed along with video recordings of the "forced miscarriages". LifeSiteNews reported the development.
[…[
'For the past year, I performed repeated self-induced miscarriages,' Shvarts wrote in the column. 'Using a needleless syringe, I would inject the sperm near my cervix within 30 minutes of its collection, so as to insure the possibility of fertilization.'
'On the 28th day of my cycle, I would ingest an abortifacient, after which I would experience cramps and heavy bleeding....Because the miscarriages coincide with the expected date of menstruation (the 28th day of my cycle), it remains ambiguous whether the there (sic) was ever a fertilized ovum or not.

I don’t think there is much I can say about this grotesque display of ignorance and cruelty. Ms. Shvarts is getting the attention she craves, and society has descended a little further into the abyss. God help us.


EXPELLED Panned by Critics! Surprised?

The reviews are coming in and we have a dichotomy of opinion on just what Ben Stein’s documentary has to say and how convincingly he says it. Well, there is no surprise in the fact that the MSM and the atheist blogs are all panning the film as unscientific, biased, sleazy, exasperating(Entertainment Weekly), "… a conspiracy-theory rant masquerading as investigative inquiry." (New York Times), an “insulting propaganda piece …" (TV Guide), "Bizarre and hysterical." (Village Voice).


It is interesting that with the opening of “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore’s ridiculous attempt to play a scientist, every one of these same reviewers had nothing but praise and “gratitude” for The Goracle’s efforts.

The film received a positive reaction from critics. It garnered a 'certified fresh' 93% rating at Rotten Tomatoes (as of May 21, 2007), with a 94% rating from the 'Cream of the Crop' reviewers. Film critics Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper gave the film 'two thumbs up'. Ebert wrote: 'In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to.’ (quoted from Wikipedia)

But when actual scientists spoke about the movie we heard an entirely different point of view. Richard Lindzen, as MIT professor of meteorology, Roy Spencer (Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.), Timothy Ball (retired professor of climatology, University of Winnipeg) were some of the more vocal critics. William Gray , Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University (CSU), wrote after viewing the movie, ‘We're brainwashing our children. They're going to the Gore movie An Inconvenient Truth and being fed all this. It's ridiculous…This is slick propaganda.’ Following the remarks by actual scientists even the NYT had to backpedal a little reporting that many scientists "argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous." Really? What are the chances the MSM critics have it wrong again?

The fact that the MSM and the atheist blogs are so defensive and visceral in their condemnation of “EXPELLED” might be further evidence of the very point that Stein attempts to make in his film. Ben Stein will be vilified, mocked, intimidated and rejected for his audacity in asking the forbidden question. The Religious Left finds its prime doctrine threatened and reacts predictably.

David Berg has written his review on National Review on-line. He sees the film not so much about the debate on evolution or even Intelligent Design, but about intellectual freedom:

The film’s endeavor is to respond to one simple question: “Were we designed, or are we simply the end result of an ancient mud puddle struck by lightning?”

Big science doesn’t like that question because they can’t answer it. Underneath their antagonism toward explanations that suggest an intelligent cause, lies a fundamental egoism. Science wants to deny any evidence of a supreme being precisely because it wants to be a supreme being. Moreover, representatives of big science in the film are unsettlingly snippy, suggesting that they feel threatened by rival opinions, rather than assured of their own.

[...]

“In the end, the film isn’t really about intelligent design as much as about a relentless attack on an authentically free inquiry. As Ben Stein points out, “Freedom of inquiry has been greatly compromised, and this is not only anti-American, it’s anti-science. It’s anti-the whole concept of learning.”


NewsBusted 4/18/2008


Back in the Saddle

I'm back from a couple of weeks vacation and lots of traveling.

It was really nice, not watching or reading too much news, and not being quite as bothered by liberal silliness.

I feel refreshed, rested and ready to rock and roll for the remainder of this election year.


A papal message about academic freedom

BY STAR PARKER
FOUNDER & PRESIDENT
COALITION ON URBAN RENEWAL & EDUCATION

I became my own story last week when I got word that a large Catholic University in Minnesota, University of Saint Thomas, denied permission for me to speak there as part of my college speaking tour.

How could this be happening? A Catholic university, which has played host to talks from left wing Al Franken and a transgendered woman named Debra Davis, nixes a presentation on abortion from a conservative black woman?

Conservative blogs were soon aflame. Then stories in print. Plenty of flak started reaching the university and soon a representative was on the phone to put me back on their calendar.

I'm glad things worked out, regardless of why.

I've been speaking on university campuses for years. Over 150 of them. I know firsthand their left-leaning bent and what a conservative has to deal with walking into the belly of the liberal beast.

But this incident had a more bitter tinge than usual. This was a Catholic university and my topic was abortion.

Plus, the rejection came just as Pope Benedict XVI, who has called abortion "today's greatest injustice," was scheduled to arrive in the United States for his "teaching" visit.

How could I not feel irony when, shortly after receiving the call to reschedule my presentation, a few miles from me, at Catholic University in Washington, D.C,. the Pope was talking about the importance of Catholic universities aligning themselves with church doctrine?

Pope Benedict XVI has talked about the "dictatorship of relativism." This accurately captures what we're dealing with on our campuses.

The Randolph Foundation funded a survey a few years ago of university professors' political leanings. The work was done by professors from George Mason University, Smith College, and the University of Toronto.

Seventy two percent of American university professors identified themselves as liberals and 15 percent conservative. Fifty percent self-identified as Democrats and 11 percent Republican.

In a recent column, Michael Barone of US News & World Report, analyzing Democratic primary voting patterns, noted that Barack Obama's support has been particularly strong in university towns.

And, not surprisingly, our youth is becoming ever more firmly planted on the left. According to the Pew Research Center, 58 percent of 17-29 year olds call themselves liberals and 76 percent identify as Democrats.

Recent Gallup polling shows that in a match-up between Barack Obama and John McCain, Obama wins by 20 points among 18-29 years olds.

Young people are naturally inclined to be open, to experiment, to try anything once.

But there is a world of difference in openness in the pursuit of truth and openness in a world in which there is no truth.

The Pope, in his remarks at Catholic University, noted his appreciation for the importance of academic freedom. However, he points out that there is no inconsistency between faith and academic freedom.

Key here is his observation that "in a world without truth, freedom loses its foundation."

Too often what we now call academic freedom is in fact the politicization of our campuses. Openness with no truth becomes politics and the exercise of power. What, or who, becomes the arbiter of what is wisdom?

Not surprisingly, the Randolph Foundation study found that where truth is the most subtle professors are most consistently on the left. Eighty-one percent of humanities professors identify themselves as liberal and 75 percent of those in social sciences do.

To state the obvious, our youth is our future. There are 42 million Americans in the 18-29 age bracket. Many will move from the left as the experience of life gives them the dose of truth that they are not getting in their formal education. But how many and at what cost?

Have abortion, divorce, and sexually transmitted diseases become our primary educational tools for learning about the sanctity of life, of family, and the meaning of love?

As stated by the wise Pope who now graces us with his visit and teaching, our materialism leads us "to lose sight of our dependence on others as well as the responsibilities we bear towards them."

And that "freedom is not only a gift but also a summons to personal responsibility."

---------------------------------


Star Parker is president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal & Education and author of the new book White Ghetto: How Middle Class America Reflects Inner City Decay.

Prior to her involvement in social activism, Star Parker was a single welfare mother in Los Angeles, California. After receiving Christ, Star returned to college, received a BS degree in marketing and launched an urban Christian magazine. The 1992 Los Angeles riots destroyed her business, yet served as a springboard for her focus on faith and market-based alternatives to empower the lives of the poor.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Costs of Family Fragmentation

The Institute for American Values has published a report on the cost to Americans for the deterioration of the traditional family. Since 1970 the percent of children living with married parents went from 85% to 68% (2005). Today one-third of all births are to mothers out of wedlock. Potential risks to these children include poverty, higher infant mortality, mental illness, physical illness, drug abuse, juvenile delinquency, criminality, failure to complete high-school education, and behavior disorders. It is estimated in this report that marriage could reduce the incidence of many of these problems by as much as 80%.

The disintegration and fragmentation of the family is a sociological problem whose genesis is multifactorial. Loss of respect for the sanctity of marriage, no-fault divorce, abortion, changing roles of men and women, welfare programs that reward and encourage single motherhood and discourage the involvement of men in the raising of children and an economy that nearly requires two breadwinners just to survive and necessitates that we hire strangers to care for infants and pre-schoolers. These, and others, are underlying causes of the decline of the family (and society).

The report from IAV goes further to estimate a dollar cost of this phenomenon. “[W]e estimate that family fragmentation costs U.S. Taxpayers at least $112 billion each and every year.” The report breaks these costs down by state. Of course, states with major metropolitan areas shoulder more of the burden than states that are more rural in their demographics. In any case, the costs are staggering, both in dollars and in destroyed lives. The question is , will we ever have the courage and resolve to implement solutions to this problem?

UPDATE: A case in point.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

DNA frees man who spent almost 23 years in prison for rape

DNA frees man who spent almost 23 years in prison for rape


By JEFF CARLTON, Associated Press Writer Wed Apr 16, 8:13 PM ET

DALLAS - After spending nearly 23 years in prison for a rape he did not commit, Thomas Clifford McGowan on Wednesday heard the words that set him free.

"Words cannot express how sorry I am for the last 23 years," said state District Judge Susan Hawk, moments after overturning his convictions. "I believe you can walk out of here a free man."

McGowan, 49, won his freedom after a DNA test this month proved what he had always professed: that he did not rape a Dallas-area woman in 1985 and then burglarize her apartment. He was convicted of both crimes in separate trials in 1985 and 1986 and sentenced to life each time. The primary evidence against him turned out to be misidentification by the rape victim.

To read the rest of the article, go to Yahoo News!

How did an innocent man get past law enforcement, prosecutor, jury and judge? The better question is how did 17 innocent men in the same county just since 2001 get past what should be checks and balances? It is a question that needs to be answered!


Israel Honors Dutch Christians Who Saved Jews

HAARLEM, The Netherlands, April 16 /Christian Newswire/ -- Israeli Ambassador to the Netherlands Harry Kney-Tal today presented members of the Netherlands' ten Boom family with a certificate posthumously honoring two of its members for saving nearly 800 Jewish lives during the Holocaust.

At a solemn ceremony here, Israel's Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, Yad Vashem, bestowed the title of Righteous Among the Nations on Casper ten Boom and his daughter, Elisabeth (Betsy), for their wartime heroism.

As devout Christians, the ten Boom family participated in the resistance against the Nazis and willingly sheltered those seeking refuge, both Jews and non- Jews. By the time the entire ten Boom family was arrested in February 1944, they had managed to save almost 800 Jews.

They were sent first to Scheveningen Prison in Holland, where 84-year-old Casper ten Boom died soon after being captured. Elisabeth and her younger sister, Cornelia (Corrie), were then sent to the notorious Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany in September 1944, where Betsie died. Corrie survived only because she was released - due to a clerical error - in December 1944.

At the time of the family's arrest, the Gestapo carefully searched the ten Boom's house, but could not find any fugitives. They did not discover that two Jewish men, two Jewish women, and two members of the Dutch underground were safely hidden behind a false wall in Corrie's bedroom. From this "hiding place" (the title of Corrie ten Boom's book about the period) the Resistance freed the fugitives nearly two days later. They were the last of an estimated 800 Jews, and many Dutch underground workers, saved by the ten Booms.

According to witnesses, when Casper ten Boom was asked by his captors if he knew he could die for helping Jews, he replied, "It would be an honor to give my life for God's ancient people."

Dr. Michael D. Evans, founder and chairman of the board of the Corrie ten Boom House Foundation, spoke of the revival of the century-old ten Boom tradition of praying for the peace of Jerusalem. Begun in the Netherlands by the Christian Zionist family in 1844, the weekly prayers for Jerusalem continued until they were brutally halted when the Nazis sent family members to their deaths.

The Jerusalem Prayer Team, headed by Evans, renewed the tradition of the ten Boom family and has spread it throughout the world, where millions of Christian Zionists pray for the peace of Jerusalem each week in some 200 countries.

After the war, Corrie ten Boom began a world-wide ministry which took her to more than 60 countries over the next 33 years. She was the first ten Boom to be honored by Yad Vashem and lived until 1983, when she died at the age of 91. The heritage of the ten Boom family is lovingly preserved at the Corrie ten Boom Museum in Haarlem. Corrie's book, The Hiding Place (1971), was made into a film by World Wide Pictures in 1975.


Prayer Rally for Virginia Supreme Court

Supporters Rally for Parental Rights and Traditional Marriage

WASHINGTON, April 16 /Christian Newswire/ -- On Thursday, April 17, the Virginia Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Lisa Miller custody case. Concerned Women for America (CWA) and our supporters will be present to rally for prayer outside the capitol courthouse.

    Event Details ---

    What: Rally for Parental Rights and Traditional Marriage

    When: Thursday, April 17, 8:00 a.m.

    Where: The Old Bell Tower, SW Corner of Capitol Square at 9th and Franklin, Richmond, Virginia

    Press Conference to follow immediately at 10 a.m.

Lisa Miller is a born again Christian who is faithfully working to raise her child according to Biblical principles. Janet Jenkins, Lisa's former partner from a previous homosexual relationship, has diligently worked to destroy this bond and undermine Lisa's faith. Jenkins, who is neither an adoptive nor biological parent, filed papers to gain full custody of Isabella Miller, Lisa's daughter. Since then, both Virginia and Vermont courts have ruled in the case.

The Virginia Supreme Court must decide whether it will respect the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Virginia's own constitution or allow Vermont to redefine marriage and family in the Commonwealth. In 2006, Virginia decisively passed (with 57 percent of the vote) a constitutional amendment which was designed to protect families against just such an attack. The amendment specifies that Virginia "shall not create or recognize" "civil unions" or "same-sex marriages" from other states, nor can it recognize rulings which stem from such "unions" (like Vermont's custody ruling).

Matt Barber, CWA's Policy Director for Cultural Issues, said, "This case is of paramount national importance. Not only is a little girl's spiritual, emotional and physical well-being at stake, the Virginia Supreme Court will essentially be signaling whether states like Vermont and Massachusetts get to radically redefine marriage and family for the rest of the country."

CWA of Virginia State Director Janet Robey said, "We're asking for people to join us in praying that the Virginia Supreme Court will protect little Isabella, her mother Lisa and the bedrock institutions of legitimate marriage and family. We're also asking for people to join in praying, as little Isabella has requested, 'that Janet Jenkins would ask Jesus into her heart,' and then with God's help, deliverance from homosexuality is possible."

Concerned Women for America is the nation's largest public policy women's organization.


"EXPELLED" Opens Friday.



Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed will be released in theaters throughout the country Friday. Many of us have been anxiously awaiting this film, which is hosted and narrated by Ben Stein, humorist, authur, speaker and actor. We all remember him as the teacher in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” “Anyone? Anyone?”

This is a film that examines the wide-spread practice of discriminating against scholars and teachers who don’t subscribe to Darwinist doctrine completely. Any deviation by a teacher, professor or researcher often leads to loss of respect, loss of tenure, loss of job and loss of funding.

It is commonly asserted by evolutionsits that any evidence contrary to Darwin's theory can be dismissed because such research doesn’t pass through the usual peer review system and publication in “respected” science journals. Ben Stein presents a case of Dr. Richard Sternberg, a prestigious scientist with impeccable credentials and two PhDs in evolutionary science who found his career, his reputation and his employment threatened because he dared to cross that line that “scientists” have arbitrarily set. As editor of a scientific journal he decided to publish a review article by another researcher that raised questions about complexity, the genetic code and design.

I’ll let Mr. Stein tell the rest of the story, but please don’t be turned-off by all the “science talk,” reviews are very positive and the film is said to be fascinating, straigt-forward and even funny. You do not have to be a biologist to understand and enjoy “Expelled.” The fact that this film has liberal academia and anti-theist groups in a tizzy is reason enough for me to be one of the first in line for Friday's opening.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

NewsBusted Conservative Comedy 157




Topics in today's show:



--Should President Bush boycott the Olympic ceremony?



--CBS rumored to be buying its news content from CNN



--Obama proposes "diplomatic surge" with Iran


Why Do American Businesses Do Business in the Axis of Evil?


Monday, April 14, 2008

The Birth of Freedom Trailer

I'm at a location with a broadband connection tonight, so I'm catching up a little.

This vide is a trailer from the Acton Institute, and features a moving coming out this summer on freedom.

It not only looks at the origins of the American ideas of freedom--ideals which were and still are revolutionary--but examines the lie that faith values should be kept out of the public square:

Abolitionists should have kept their faith out of the struggle against slavery?

Martin Luther King should have kept his faith out of the struggle for civil rights?

People who fought against the terrible crimes committed in the name of eugenics (does "Margaret Sanger" come to mind?) should have kept their faith out of politics?

I'll be watching for this film.



About the video:

The American founders said that all men are created equal and are endowed with certain unalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They called this a self evident truth. 87 years later, Abraham Lincoln reaffirmed this idea on the Civil War battlefield of Gettysburg. And in 1963 these same words echoed from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as Martin Luther King, Jr. urged America to fulfill the promise of its founding.

But humans are separated by enormous differences in talent and circumstance. Why would anyone believe that all men are created equal? That all should be free? That all deserve a voice in choosing their leaders? Why would any nation consider this a self-evident truth?

For the millions around the world who have never tasted liberty the question cries for an answer.

How is freedom born?


MSM Asks Historians To Predict History

U.S. News and World Report has the following report on-line:

The First Draft of History Looks a Bit Rough on Bush
By Kenneth T. Walsh
Posted April 11, 2008


President Bush often argues that history will vindicate him. So he can't be pleased with an informal survey of 109 professional historians conducted by the History News Network. It found that 98 percent of them believe that Bush's presidency has been a failure, while only about 2 percent see it as a success. Not only that, more than 61 percent of the historians say the current presidency is the worst in American history...Among the reasons given for his low ratings: invading Iraq [and] "tax breaks for the rich."



Historians think the Bush presidency the "worst in history?" Do they think that Carter's ineptness, particularly in regards to the Iran hostage crisis, historically will be viewed as the lost last chance we had to stem the rise of Islamic fascism that now threatens the peace of the world? And "tax cuts for the rich?" Clearly these "historians" have a grasp of economics second only to their understanding of history. If taxes are cut, who do they think will get the best break? Those who pay little or no taxes?

We can safely disregard such surveys and the responses as politically motivated and another example of the "objectivity" of the MSM.


Carter Snubbed by Israelis

Continuing embarassment and former president Jimmy Carter defended his plan to meet with Khaled Meshaal, the top leader of Hamas regarding the fate of Israel, saying "I think there's no doubt in anyone's mind that, if Israel is ever going to find peace with justice concerning the relationship with their next-door neighbors, the Palestinians, that Hamas will have to be included in the process." This is the equivalent of claiming that equal rights for blacks can be accomplished only by acknowledging and involving the Klu Klux Klan in the discussion. It is patently absurd.

So is it any wonder that Israel has decided to snub Carter during his visit to Israel on his way to Syria for talks with Hamas?


Memories of a great friend who has disappeared

By Gordon Garnos

PRELUDE: As the legislative session is now history, I would like to tell you about a friend of mine who has simply has disappeared? No. Not lost track of. Disappeared! This friendship wasn’t one of those created by buddy systems created in the military primarily among the enlisted. This guy was an officer. I wasn’t, just a very young, enlisted airman like hundreds of others a long time ago on the small supply depot of Sealand RAF Station near Chester, England. The friend, Gentry, Robert J., Chaplain, Captain, USAF.

IT IS ABOUT THIS TIME every year I think of Chaplain Bob Gentry, for it was about this time of year when he vanished, disappeared. It was also about now when I last saw this great friend.

Apparently, I was sort of adopted by Chaplain Gentry and his family way back then. Their home on the base was my second home, of course, never forgetting my roots back home in South Dakota. For nearly three years I probably had as many meals with my adopted family as I did in the chow hall.

I remember most was that during those nearly three years, the chaplain collected old books, mostly religious and philosophy, nothing newer than the 17th century. Also, over that time he collected from a nearby “seconds” store of Wedgewood China a near-perfect dinner set of 12. Both were worth fortunes.

WHILE HIS MINISTRY was important to Chaplain Gentry, his greater interest was in helping people with serious problems. Besides his clergy degrees, Bob had also picked up a master¹s in clinical psychology, but he wanted his doctorate as well. He resigned his Air Force commission and went after his doctorate at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

A few years passed before seeing the family again. I had an opportunity to attend a conference in Tulsa where we met up again. It was a great reunion seeing his wife, Clair, their daughter, Anita, and the boys, Jon and Sean. In between, there were the usual Christmas cards, a rare telephone conversation and a more rare letter between us. But they, too, also started to fade until one day a British bloke, a common friend of the chaplain and myself, called on the phone looking for the Gentrys, but they were no longer in the Tulsa area. The Englishman was coming to this country for a wedding of a niece and he wanted to stop off and see the Gentrys, but they were gone, gone, gone.

This perked my newspaperman’s curiosity, so I joined the search. First, I contacted the chaplain’s former psych department. At first, a secretary had no idea where this doctoral candidate had moved to. Tight lipped as I have ever met. But as we visited, and as I gained her confidence, her lips loosened with a most bizarre description of what had taken place.

CHAPLAIN GENTRY went home one late afternoon from school, to discover his home cleaned out and his family no where to be found. His books, gone. That Wedgewood dinner set, gone. All attempts to contact his wife and kids failed. Days went by with nothing, until divorce papers arrived by courier. They were from a nameless commune in Oklahoma City. Then the demands for alimony started and that was when he started his running from this commune’s and his wife’s attorney and, I suspect, from the law. The secretary at the psych department said she was sworn to secrecy of his next stop. But as in the World War II poster, loose lips sink ships.

He had found a counseling job at a mental health center in Tennessee, until that attorney, and maybe the law, started closing in on him. Again, with my curiosity, I found the center and who had been his secretary there.

“He doesn’t work here anymore. I believe he has gone fishing in Florida,” she finally told me. That story was fishy from the start.

So, in response I urged her, if he ever called back to the center, to have him give me a call here in Watertown.

IT WASN’T THREE DAYS later when the phone rang. It was Bob, calling from Council Bluffs, Iowa. He was again running, but this time it was going to be right through Watertown and he wanted to stop for a while to rest. The next day about noon he pulled into the Spies Super Market parking lot, with another man, an old pickup, and an overloaded trailer. They were headed for British Columbia to look for their pot of gold and to get away from that attorney and all the woes that had befallen him over the past few years. He had given up.

He had lost his family, his profession, his self. Even his beloved books and china dinner set. He was tired of running and British Columbia, he thought, was his best answer, to pan for gold, but not a dime, ever, would go to his wife, or the commune she substituted in place of their marriage and their future lives together.

After a couple of days’ rest at my cabin on Lake Kampeska, the duo departed for Canada, never to be heard from again. When they were leaving, I asked, “Bob, can you let me know where you¹re at when you finally settle?”

“No,” was his retort, fearing that commune, or that attorney would somehow find him. “But I will always know where you are.”

That was a long time ago, but the memories of that guy still hang on....


Gordon Garnos was long-time editor of the Watertown Public Opinion and recently retired after 39 years with that newspaper. Garnos, a lifelong resident of South Dakota except for his military service in the U.S. Air Force, was born and raised in Presho.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

It Seems the Rules Only Count for Some: The Jimmy Carter Story

by Carrie K. Hutchens

Once again, the former president seems to think he is on a mission that only he can accomplish. Heck with the rules. He is Jimmy Carter after all. Those rules aren't meant to apply to him. He is special. He is all knowing. He should get his way, when he decides he wants to do something. Heck with the government. Heck with the rules. Heck with how bad results can be long lasting and affect millions of people beyond his little self-centered world.

According to the Associated Press...
By CALVIN WOODWARD (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
April 13, 2008 12:34 PM EDT

WASHINGTON - Former President Carter said he feels "quite at ease" about meeting Hamas militants over the objections of Washington because the Palestinian group is essential to a future peace with Israel.

The article goes on to say,
"The position of the government is that Hamas is a terrorist organization and we don't negotiate with terrorists. We think that's a very important principle to maintain," Hadley said. "The State Department made clear we think it's not useful for people to be running to Hamas at this point and having meetings."

Carter demurred.

"I feel quite at ease in doing this," he said. "I think there's no doubt in anyone's mind that, if Israel is ever going to find peace with justice concerning the relationship with their next-door neighbors, the Palestinians, that Hamas will have to be included in the process."

Although he said the meeting would not be a negotiation, he outlined distinct goals.

"I think that it's very important that at least someone meet with the Hamas leaders to express their views, to ascertain what flexibility they have, to try to induce them to stop all attacks against innocent civilians in Israel and to cooperate with the Fatah as a group that unites the Palestinians, maybe to get them to agree to a cease-fire - things of this kind," he said.

Does he now? Well, good for him. Except that he isn't the sitting president. Who does he think he is to treat Washington (our government) as though they have no say in the matter and so defiantly over-ride their rules and effort?

Woodward further reports,

"The State Department says it advised Carter twice against meeting representatives of Hamas, which Washington considers a terrorist organization."

People are not allowed to give money or aid to terrorists, but Carter may give aid to them by giving them credibility? He can openly show defiance against a sitting president and the United States of America? Oh what a good impression that makes. If a former president doesn't respect the rules, this country, the government, the presidency, why should any of the countries that hope to bring democracy down? They won't. Instead, it gives them reason to mock us more. Oh what a benefit that is to the citizens of the USA.

Jimmy Carter may be a private citizen, but he isn't a regular citizen. That he was once president can be used to make what he does and says as far more important than what it is. He can be said to be speaking for us or even the government. It won't matter that he really isn't. Appearance can fuel the fire and destroy any progress made thus far.

One of the things this brings to mind is a parent correcting a child for wrong-doing and the other parent coming home and telling the child to disregard, thereby effectively undermining the authority of the first parent. It further tells the child that the second parent does not respect the first, so why should the child? How many children are going to realize (or care about) the inappropriateness of this situation and instead side with the parent holding them to proper behavior?

I don't understand why Jimmy Carter thinks he has some special privilege to decide he doesn't like how the government is handling a matter, so he is going to do it his way regardless of the appropriateness of it all. Who is he to over-ride the government's decisions? He doesn't even have all the inside information. How does he know he wouldn't agree if he did? Regardless, if he had issue with the decision regarding Hamas, then he should have gone in private and talked with the appropriate officials -- not openly disregard those officials, rules and handling of the matter. He is telling the world that one does not have to respect anyone but him. I find that inappropriate and unacceptable.

It doesn't matter whether one likes President Bush or not. This isn't about him beyond the fact that he happens to be the sitting president at the moment. This is about Carter thinking that he has some special right to do things his way regardless, and continue to act as our president when we didn't even vote him in a second term. Someone needs to make sure he understands what the word "former" means and explain to him that his turn to make the decisions ended in 1981.

We may not like how things are going or the decisions made, but we need to be realistic and comprehend how dangerous it is to have someone undermining the decision-makers, especially when dealing with terrorists -- especially with people who take that type of behavior to mean weakness in their enemies. Carter's visit with Hamas is blatantly undermining our government's decision. It is making fools of us. And why should Hamas worry about changing inappropriate behavior, when Carter goes over there, and by his presence, tells them they don't have to pay attention to our government officials -- he doesn't.


Carrie Hutchens is a former law enforcement officer and a freelance writer who is active in fighting against the death culture movement and the injustices within the judicial and law enforcement systems.


 
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