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Showing posts from May, 2008

Leaving Church

On a day when the DNC rules committee met to come up with a solomonic solution to the Michigan/Florida debacle, word came out that Barack and Michelle Obama had decided to leave Trinity UCC, the church they had been members of for some 16 years, a church in which they had been married and their children baptized. I'm sure this is an agonizing decision, but sometimes a relationship becomes untenable. In many ways the Obama's membership not only hurt him, but hurt the church. They're own ministry was limited by the constant scrutiny. The recent unfortunate remarks mocking Hillary Clinton by Fr. Michael Pfleger didn't help. Pfleger has been essentially silenced by his bishop -- told to stay out of politics, and Obama was once again forced to dissacociate himself from the comments of a controversial pastor. The decision, coming as it does now, may calm the waters some, but probably not completely. It will be interesting to see where they land church wise. Perhaps o…

More on Lost and Jeremy Bentham

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The character Jeremy Bentham, whose identity was revealed last night as another name for John Locke, lies in a coffin at the end of the show -- see my earlier posting. The question that has been puzzling me is what to make of this revelation. Since John Locke's name sake is a late 17th century/early 18th century Moral Philosopher and Jeremy Bentham was a Moral Philosopher of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, this must not be coincidental. I don't think this is simply a made up name with no meaning.

Bentham, like Locke, put a great premium on reason, but as a moral philosopher he was much more radical than Locke. So what should we make of it.

In looking at the various dimensions of Bentham's possible relationship to the Island on Lost, the possibility was that it is a Panopticon, a sort of prison where the denizens are observed, but cannot tell that they're being observed. They may know and understand that they're being observed, they just don't know when an…

The Politics of the GI Bill

Patriotic Americans are, we are told, to support the troops. By many accounts, to support the troops means supporting George Bush's view of the Iraq War. To disagree with either the handling of the war, or the war in general, is seen as being unsupportive. I disagree, of course. There is a difference between those who are members of the military, and as such, have chosen to serve the country, and the policies set by the civilians who set the agenda/mission. When it comes to supporting the troops, the Iraq War has uncovered the dark side of American policy regarding both its troops and its veterans. Just mention Walter Reed Hospital, and images of malpractice and mistreatment of veterans should circle about in your minds. So, here we have a new controversy. James Webb and Chuck Hagel, both Vietnam vets and anti-war Senators, have put together a new GI Bill that would provide financial support for college tuition to those who serve in the military for 3 years. GW and John M…

LOST -- the Rise and Fall of Jeremy Bentham

Yes, I'm a big LOST fan! I've followed its twists and turns, wondering where it will all lead. This past year has been fascinating for clearing up some of the confusion of past years. We have learned more about the island and its purpose. In the past we were treated to flashbacks, but this year the writers introduced flash forwards -- and in doing so, we have learned that the founders of the island have learned to control the space/time continuum. Ah, yes, we learned much about this in Star Trek -- and I'm a big Trek fan as well. Last night's 2 hour conclusion was brilliant, both for drawing to a close a significant part of the story and setting us on course for the final 2 years. In the end two things have been revealed. Six members of the Oceanic flight make it off the island -- Jack, Kate, Sun, Hugo, Said, and Aaron. Desmond and Frank also make it off, but they weren't on the flight, so their story goes in a different direction. We learn why Sawyer does…

Contrasting Campaigns re. the DNC

On Saturday the DNC rules committee will gather to determine the fate of the delegates from Michigan and Florida. Back before Super Tuesday, Hillary Clinton reiterated her position that the votes in Michigan and Florida would not be counted and the fact that her name being on the Michigan ballot was meaningless. But, once it became clear that she couldn't win or even come close, without those states being used in a way that would favor her in a way that would completely undermine the rules, she changed her tune. When the committee gathers on Saturday, the Clinton backers will be gathering both inside and outside hoping to influence the decision. Clinton has encouraged her supporters to lobby the members, and have done so often in unsavory ways. The Obama campaign, which has always said it would abide by the decisions of the DNC, but has been painted by Clinton and her supporters as being undemocratic and obstructionist and even anti-women, is encouraging his supporters to not stag…

Religion and Other Animals -- Sightings

In the Judeo-Christian traditions, there has been a distinction made between humans and other creatures. Little thought is given in the Scriptures to the religiousness of animals. But other traditions, especially Eastern ones do have a different understanding. The reality is, we simply don't know. But today, in Sightings, Paul Waldau explores the possibilities.
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Sightings 5/29/08


Religion and Other Animals
-- Paul Waldau


A March 2008 news item from the BBC, "'Praying' dog at Japanese temple," opened with the lines, "Attendance at a Buddhist temple in Japan has increased since the temple's pet, a two-year-old dog, has joined in the daily prayers. Conan, a Chihuahua, sits on his hind legs, raises his paws and puts them together at the tip of his nose." That the dog's actions might not have involved praying of the human kind, as it were, is signaled by the quotation marks around "praying," and by quotes from various pe…

Gay Marriage in California -- Theolog

My brief essay on the recent California Supreme Court decision concerning Gay Marriage has appeared at the Christian Century Blog -- Theolog. In it I explore some of the ramficiations of the decision. I'm going to post the beginning paragraphs and then invite you to continue over to Theolog to read the rest! ********* Gay marriage in California
By Bob Cornwall

The California Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision to strike down a voter-approved state statute limiting marriage to a man and a woman (heterosexual monogamy) has sent shockwaves through the nation. Thirty days after that decision, California may once again issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Of course an effort is already underway to place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would ban same-sex marriage. Governor Schwarzenegger says he will uphold the court decision and won’t support an amendment, meaning that the initiative will go to the voters without his support. Will such an amendment pass? To…

Looking to November

It's hard to believe that we're having this argument as to who should be the nominee in November. Even if the DNC Rules committee gives Hillary everything she wants, and that's doubtful, she still couldn't catch Barack in the delegate race. So, her argument has to do with electability, and to prove her point, she points to charts and maps that suggest right now she's better able to beat John McCain than Obama is. But a lot can change once the election hits full throttle. For one thing, Hillary won't be there (hopefully) undermining Obama's credibility. Another reason why things will likely change is that Democrats will no longer be forced to consider two scenarios. There will be one candidate and so they'll have to decide -- Barack or McCain. If you're a woman, are you going to support McCain when he has pledged to appoint supreme court justices along the line of Alito, Roberts, and Scalia? If you want the rights of women protected, do yo…

Bill Clinton's Selective Memory

Bill Clinton is at it again -- whining about how every body's picking on Hillary -- in his mind she should be the nominee and certain people -- don't know who they are -- are trying to take away her prize. His latest gambit is suggesting that never before have either campaigns or the media suggested that a campaign is over before it's over. Actually, Bill, Mike Huckabee might disagree with you.

But the fact is, in 1992, by mid-April, Clinton's own nomination was being trumpeted. Tim Russert declared that mathematically Jerry Brown had no shot. At this point, even if the majority of delegates were to go to her from the two disputed states, she'd not get close enough to overturn the nomination. As she, had said on numerous occasions, it will be the super delegates who decide this. By and large, they are turning to him, not her. I don't think the trend is going to change.

But if Bill doesn't believe me, let him see this -- from 1992.


Women and the Presidency

I regularly read and hear women, especially women over 50 bemoan the ending of Hillary Clinton's campaign for presidency. I think one of the reasons she has been able to sustain her campaign is that there is a legion of women who won't let go of the dream of a woman as president. Many apparently fear that if Hillary can't do it, no one can -- read this article by Dahlia Lithwick in Slate: One-Hit Wondering, for some thoughts on this issue. As a white man, I obviously am in a different position than women or minorities. White males like me -- even ones with beards -- have been running this country from day one. If John McCain wins in November, that chain will remain unbroken. But this year we have seen two people, one a white woman and the other a black man end up as the final two candidates for the Democratic nomination. So, either way come November the Democrats will offer America a unique opportunity. As for the question whether this is a once in a life time opportunity f…

Turn off that engine!

I'm amazed at what I see on my morning walks around the neighborhood. I'm amazed at how many times I see someone in a car waiting to pick someone up just sitting there with the engine going. Or, I see a mother with the SUV going, getting her toddler out of the car seat to take into the baby sitter. Or, sometimes it seems that the person is just warming up the car. He's out tending to the windows, and there the car or truck -- and more often than not the SUV is idling away, exhaust spewing out the back. Why? It's surely not because it's cold -- this is Santa Barbara after all. At $4.00 plus a gallon, that's a lot of dough down the drain. This morning I read a short essay in Slate that speaks to this very situation. It asks the question of if it's more efficient to leave the car running than turn it off? Too many of us started driving in the dark old days of the carburetor, when every time you turned on the car a lot of gas got used. With fuel…

The Final Week

We're studying Revelation tonight at the Bible study, but references to the final week doesn't have any apocalyptic meaning (at least I hope not). No, this is the final week of the 2008 primary season (unless of course the DNC rules committee decides to hold re-votes in Michigan and Florida -- which I doubt since there is neither time nor money to pull it off). On Saturday the Rules committee will meet and I'm assuming will come up with a compromise solution that will seat the two renegade delegates but not in a way that would reward Hillary Clinton with anything other than few extra delegates. On Sunday Puerto Rico will vote -- electing 55 delegates (I'm not sure why a Commonwealth that can't vote in November has more delegates than quite a number of states that do). From what I'm hearing Hillary will win in this locale that knows the Clinton brand better than the Obama one. Then a week from today the last two states will vote -- South Dakota and Mont…

A Memorial Day Prayer

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I'm reposting this prayer from Chalice Worship. I shared it in worship yesterday and believe it speaks to our need to stop and consider those who have died in service to the country and the need to pursue peace in our world -- so that more do not die in this way.

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Memories are joyful and painful, by we cannot live without them.
Let us pray that we may never forget.

For leaders who send young men and women to war,
that their judgments may be sound
and their motives be pure,
we pray.

For soldiers who lay down their lives for others,
that the love which inspires their sacrifice
be fulfilled in the love of Christ,
we pray.

For soldiers who have been maimed or brutalized by war,
that our love for them may make their scars less hurtful
and make their brutality yield to the tenderness of returning love,
we pray.

For those who have been left behind,
that they may live on the strength of the love that they knew,
we pray.

For those who suffer most from war,
that the homeless, the orphaned, the hungry, an…

Differentism -- Sightings

We live at a time when some in our midst are taking increasingly polarized views of other faith traditions. For instance, is the inendiary rhetoric of a Rod Parsley who calls for the destruction of Islam (by America), all that different from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Both call for the destruction of the other. Then there are those who seek to insulate themselves from conversation with those who are different. Finally, there are those who seek to cross lines -- though this group can be divided into several categories, or at least along a continuum. Martin Marty looks at two women, one Jewish and the other Muslim, who received advanced degrees from Chicago's Catholic Theological Union. Both sought to explore faith in the context of an institution of another faith. One need not be indifferent to explore faith in a broader context, as Marty details in this brief essay.
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Sightings 5/26/08

Differentism
-- Martin E. Marty

"Women Blaze an Interfaith Trail: Two …

Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull

Enjoy more info!

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull -- a report

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Cheryl and I took in the new Indiana Jones movie. Like many our age, this was sort of a pilgrimage. After all, Raiders of the Lost Ark came out when we were in our early 20s -- even before we met. So, even if this isn't Raiders, it's still an Indiana Jones movie.

I won't offer a critical review, but I'll give a sense of the movie. In someways it's a bit of an Indiana Jones meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It has all the action and the mystery of an Indiana Jones movie, with just enough space alien stuff to mess with the plot. The return of Karen Allen as Marian is a good addition. We'll see if Shia LaBeouf can carry the franchise -- as the new Junior.
There's plenty of action, and Harrison Ford does his job, though he does show a bit of age here. Nonetheless, the wit is still there.
As for the villian -- Cate Blanchett does a nice job as the Stalinist Russian agent seeking to find the crystal skull. Being that the movie pushes the story line into the…

Remembering those who came before us

Faith in the Public Square
Lompoc Record
May 25, 2008


Each Sunday when my congregation gathers for worship, we celebrate the Lord's Supper. In observing this ancient rite, we hear the words of Jesus: “Do this in remembrance of me.” These words spoken over bread and cup, symbols of a life given for others, invite us to share in the life and ministry of Jesus. In this act of remembrance we honor and acknowledge the one who has laid claim on our lives.
What my church does at the table, we all do in one form or another - we participate in rituals that cause us to remember those people and events that impact and form our lives. There are religious rites, and there are national and cultural ones. For instance, it is with parades and fireworks that we mark the birth of our nation. This weekend, and more specifically Monday (the last Monday of May), we stop to remember and honor those who have died - especially those who have died in the defense of the nation. Although Memorial Day, as we know…

My Space to Sacred Space -- Review

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MYSPACE TO SACRED SPACE: God for a New Generation. By Christian Piatt and Amy Piatt. St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2007. 167 pp.

Young adults, that group of Americans under the age of forty, have become an increasingly difficult target for churches to reach. The cultural, social, and generational differences of this cohort are striking when compared with the cohorts that have come before them. Christian and Amy Piatt write from within this generational matrix about issues of faith and culture, offering words of warning and of hope.
Christian is a writer and consultant, while his wife, Amy, is founding pastor of a Disciples of Christ congregation in Pueblo, Colorado. They bring to this book years of working with youth and young adults, and their own experiences inhabiting this generation. They make use of statistics and stories to bring to life the spiritual realities of those adults under forty. Unlike the book, UnChristian, Christian and Amy are sympathetic to the life choices and concer…

What if Michigan had voted in the rules?

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That's the question Andrew Sullivan raised and then pointed me to the Fivethirtyeight.com site. This site analyzes the electoral process. So, as a future Michigan resident -- about 5 weeks to go -- I wonder how things would have been different in a contested primary?
This is important because Hillary Clinton apparently is arguing that Obama should be credited with no delegates -- even though she only won about 54% of the vote in an uncontested election. Just imagine, you're essentially the only candidate on the ballot -- no Obama or Edwards or Richardson or Biden and you can only muster a 10 point spread. She's arguing that if she doesn't get her way the Michigan voters would be disenfranchised, but note than only about 7.8% of Michigan voters went to the polls.
Well this web site calculates what might have happened using similar districts in neighboring states. With that in mind, the likelihood is that given similar voting rates, Obama would have won by about 4% points …

Uttering the Unspeakable

A week back, while at the NRA convention, former GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee made a stupid remark. After hearing a loud noise off stage, he joked that it was Barack Obama falling off a chair -- because someone had pointed a gun at him and he dove to the floor. It was a poorly crafted joke that didn't go over at the convention or nationwide. Huckabee apologized, noting that it was offensive. Yesterday, Hillary Clinton in an interview with a South Dakota paper defended her continued run for the White House, despite the steep odds, in part because in the past Democratic nominations didn't get wrapped up until June, and pointed to the fact that Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June. That analogy has caused a firestorm of protest. The Obama campaign's official responses have been muted, but outside the official channels there has been strong protest. Now, I don't believe that Hillary was inviting someone to do Barack Obama in. But it does suggest the desp…

Validation at Last? Gay Marriage Question

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Penny Patterson, a young woman who writes a column for the Santa Barbara Independent, on issues facing the LGBT Community, offers a moving testimony to what the recent California Supreme Court decision means to her as a lesbian in a committed relationship. I met Penny at a showing of the documentary For the Bible Tells Me So. Penny writes of her own struggles coming to terms with her sexuality and the response of her very religious family. She shares in this piece of her own faith and what that means as a gay woman. The evening of the decision a vigil was held her in Santa Barbara, which I wasn't able to attend, but as Penny shares, my friend and colleague, Mark Asman, the pastor Trinity Episcopal Church, and a gay man, spoke to the gathered crowd about faith, marriage, and homosexuality. As Penny recounts it, Mark pointed out that not all religious people stand as opponents of gays and lesbians. She writes: I am a Christian who finds strength in the revolutionary aspect of …

There Will Be Blood -- DVD Review

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I was looking forward to seeing Oscar nominated There Will Be Blood. The premise of this movie -- starring Oscar winner Daniel Day Lewis and based on Upton Sinclair's novel Oil! -- seems to be two-fold: first, oil is intoxicating, and second religion is itself demented. Lewis plays a California oil baron named Daniel Plainview who strikes it rich after numerous difficulties. Plainview's big strike comes after he's enticed to check out land that seems to be in the western edges of the San Joaquin Valley. The location is unclear because wherever it is the movie first locates about 100 miles from Santa Paula (near Ventura), but when building his pipeline west to the coast San Luis Obispo, the 1oo mile figure is again mentioned, and its quite a ways further north. Wherever this site is to be found, Plainview decides to buy up land and build a pipeline because he's losing his profits on a big strike in payments to the rail company.

The second part of the story relates to hi…

10 Favorite Movies Meme

Favorite movies as a meme is back in vogue. Danny Bradfield tagged me and suggested I write mine. So, here goes -- in no particular order:

1. About Schmidt -- wonderful piece with Jack Nicholson.

2. Field of Dreams -- "Build it and he will come." Indeed -- one of Costner's best (along with Bull Durham)

3. Star Wars -- Episode IV -- The special effects may have improved, but this was the original!

4. Elephant Man -- the story of a man thought to be a monster and an imbecile, simply because of his looks, but underneath was a man of tender intellect.

5. Star Trek IV: Voyage Home -- you can't beat Spock on a San Francisco trolley.

6. Star Trek: First Contact -- How the Earth was saved from the Borg and itself

7. Casablanca -- Play it again Sam!

8. Hotel Rwanda -- heroism amidst violent and dehumanizing tribalism

9. Gold Finger -- Bond, James Bond -- the Bond series never died!

10 Raiders of the Lost Ark -- On the weekend that Indiana Jones returns, we must celebra…

Father Virgil Dies

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Having lived these past ten years in Santa Barbara I quickly came to know the name Fr. Virgil Cordano. Father Virgil is almost the patron saint of the community -- a living one at that. He was closely identified with the annual Fiesta, which is one of Santa Barbara's primary events. He appeared at any number of forums and functions and was beloved for his warm and inclusive views. He passed away last night of cancer at the age of 89. Whether you'd met him or not, you had to admire his spirit and his impact on the community.
I first met Fr. Virgil early in my ministry here. I was invited to participate in the blessing of the boats at the harbor. I joined a couple of other clergy in this venture, including Fr. Virgil. Over time I would work with him in several other ventures -- especially during my time working with the ADL's interfaith committee.
Fr. Virgil's witness to inclusion will be missed. Hopefully others will pick up that message in the years to come.

Rejecting "Agents of Intolerance"

In 2000 John McCain spoke out against agents of intolerance, that is, leaders of the Religious Right that sought to divide Americans along social/cultural lines. In 2008, needing their support, he began by mending fences with the original target of his critique -- Jerry Falwell -- by accepting an opportunity to speak at Liberty University. More recently he sought the support/endorsement of two of the most virile proponents of intolerance -- John Hagee and Rod Parsley. These guys make Falwell and Dobson look like leftists. Both preach an end times theology that appears to support Israel, but only for selfish purposes. They need conflict in the middle east so their end times scenario can take occur. Hagee's comments about Catholics has become well publicized, but only recently have we heard his bizarre theories about God using Hitler to push Jews to Palestine. Does McCain buy into these ideas? I doubt it. But by pursuing an endorsement without checking into his views, it ap…

John McCain, Rod Parsely, and Anti-Islam sentiment

Much has been made about Barack Obama's membership in Jeremiah Wright's church -- and Wright's rhetoric. Although not a member of Rod Parsley's church, McCain, seeking connections to the Conservative Christian movement -- Religious Right more particularly -- sought out an endorsement from Rod Parsley. He has broken with John Hagee because of statements about Hitler and the Jews, but so far has said nothing about Parsley's very troubling anti-Islamic rhetoric.

Here is a video that links McCain and Parsley. I post this, though I was troubled by the postings about Wright, because Parsley poses a danger to our nation. Don't think that this stuff doesn't find its way into the Middle East. If uttered by an imam about America, people here would have a fit. Is this not the same thing and isn't it much worse than anything Jeremiah Wright said?

Note too that McCain speaks of him as a spiritual guide and a moral compass for America. Has John listened to Parsley?


Hat …

My Son the Radical

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My son, a senior at Santa Barbara High School, came home today to tell me that he'd participated in a little civil disobedience. About 100 students sat in the main hallway for two hours to protest a school decision not to allow the showing of a documentary about the Iraq War and Arlington West produced by Veteran's for Peace. Students participating in this effort, of course, will be marked as truants.
It's his first brush with radical politics. Back when I was his age, of course, I was a good Gerry Ford Republican, and we didn't do sit ins. How times have changed!



Here's a brief run down.

Hillary's Hypocrisy

Hillary Clinton signed off on the DNC rules that she now thinks are oppressive and that her battle to count the Michigan votes (in her favor) is akin to the abolitionist effort and more is the height of hypocrisy. If she wanted to seat the delegations she would agree to a compromise that's fair to all and would stop the rhetoric. She's made this an issue because she's behind and it's her only hope -- though even there she's likely wrong. If she were ahead it's doubtful she'd be leading the charge.

Listen to her statement about Michigan not counting:




Remember that essentially all the other candidates pulled their names off, and she still only took about 54% of the vote. In essence she beat noncommitted by about 10%. If Barack Obama had been on the ballot, wouldn't he have pushed that margin?

Give it up Hillary.

Hagee--McCain break up

John McCain's attempts to connect with a religious group he once called them agents of religious intolerance, but in 2008 he has sought to rebuild the bridges he once seemed to burn. Besides courting Jerry Falwell, he went after other right wing voices including Rod Parsley and John Hagee. Hagee's embrace has become a liability of late, first as word of his anti-Catholic tirades became known. Now excerpts of sermons suggesting that God used Hitler and the Holocaust to push Jews to Palestine -- so that the foundations of the second coming of Christ could be put in place -- have become public. Today word comes that not only has McCain broken with Hagee, but Hagee has withdrawn his endorsement. McCain suggests that his relationship with Hagee is different from that of Barack Obama with Jeremiah Wright. This is true, Hagee wasn't McCain's pastor, but McCain did seek his support, probably because of Hagee's Christian Zionism made him seem like a supporter of Isra…

When Prosecutors Grapple with Prayer -- Sightings

Could reliance on prayer rather than medicine lead to charges of child abuse, neglect, and even manslaughter? Or, does the First Amendment shield parents from prosecution when reliance on prayer rather than doctors leads to illness, injury, or death? Shawn Peters of the University of Wisconsin takes that question up in today's edition of Sightings. It is an intriguing set of questions, one that calls for us to balance religious freedom with the protection of children's health and civil rights. ****************************


Sightings 5/22/08



When Prosecutors Grapple with Prayer
-- Shawn F. Peters


In recent months, prosecutors in both Oregon and Wisconsin have been confronted with a complex problem: Should parents who choose to treat their children's illnesses with prayer rather than medicine be charged with abuse, neglect, or even manslaughter when their children die? As these cases begin to play out in the courts, it has become apparent that their task in answering that q…

Recycling Energy -- what an idea

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If you've been filling up at the service station you may have noticed rising prices. The reports of energy price increases and the possibility of global warming is getting us to focus on alternative energy sources. This morning, on my morning walk (during which I saw a guy walking his dog from his SUV) I listened to a piece from NPR about an entrepreneur who has found ways of recycling energy. Inspired by that Nuclear plant cooling tours that release steam into the air on the Simpsons, Tom Kasten (sp?) got an idea -- why not reuse all that steam to create power. Indeed, he says that for every 3 units used by industry, 2 are wasted -- sent up the stacks into the air. All told, if we recycled energy we could produce something like 200,000 megawatts of energy. That sounds very promising! Why waste energy and create greenhouse gases when we can find ways of reusing energy. What's even more interesting is that current laws make it impossible for most industries to recapture energy f…

Future Deficits -- of the Bushian kind

GW and JM along with Joltin' Joe Lieberman and Rudy are blasting Obama for talking about talking with our non-friends. Tom Friedman, yes I like Tom (thanks to the NY Times I can again read him), writes today that the issue isn't to whom we might talk, but whether anyone really cares to talk to us. As bad as Iraq is, Iraq isn't the biggest contributor to our problems. Our biggest challenge is the lack of an energy policy -- as Friedman points out, Bush begging the Saudis for relief isn't a policy. Because we don't have a policy that will free us from dependency on foreign oil, we're sending money to places like Iran, Venezuela, Russia, and elsewhere. At $200 a barrel they'll be hauling in money -- to such an extent that they'll be able to buy American companies -- with a couple months revenues. In other words, GW has so badly bungled our energy policy and our foreign policy that we've become essentially irrelevant in the world. We may have …

Israel and Syria -- Talking!

John McCain may not want to talk with Syria, but apparently the Israeli's are, with the help of Turkey. Now these talks may not go anywhere, but if Syria can be pried loose from Iran - -a nation with whom they have major disagreements on the role of religion, etc, that could be a boon for peace and a limit on Iran's power in the region. Of course the issues here revolve around land and water, but if resolved, the result could have major ramifications for places like Lebanon and even the Palestinian territories. Whether Israel can sustain these talks is unknown, but we'll have to pray that they proceed to a just and fair conclusion.

Day After Election Post Mortem

What should we make of last night's two primaries? Here are my thoughts: 1. Barack Obama has all but sewn up the nomination. All that remains now is for the remaining super delegates to put him over the top. Hillary Clinton's math simply doesn't add up -- she'd like to count Michigan and Florida in ways that giver her huge vote totals, while excluding caucus states won by Obama. 2. Race has played a significant role in the last few contests. That 20% of voters in WV and KY would admit that race played a factor in their votes for Clinton suggests that the numbers were much higher. This reminds us that racism is still a problem in this nation, and especially in places like this. As David Gergen said last night on CNN, Hillary probably needs to come out and say that if you're voting for me because you don't like blacks, then I'd rather not have your vote. 3. The huge wins by Clinton were fed by Obama's decision to not contest either state. My sense …