2006
11.28

 

Crummychurchsigns.com (thanks to Diary of an Arts Pastor for this link)

Here are a couple of my favorites…

Come get your freak on for Jesus

I’m Everybodys Homey – God

For all you do, His blood’s for you

God sent his Son to earth. Where is He sending you?

Parking for church business only. Violators will be baptized.

My favorite local church sign (which seems to show up several places periodically) — “Your choice for eternity? Smoking or not smoking”

Seriously though, do churches really believe that the masses are going to find their cliche-ridden innane (and often judgmental) signs appealling?

2006
11.25

I should have saw this coming

 

BCClarkJingle.com

(Thanks to Dustbury for this link)

2006
11.25

 

I’m a little bit late blogging about it, but I just wanted to give a shoutout to 16 brave women and men who were arrested at this year’s protest outside the US Military’s School of Assasins (click here for more information on the SOA and the history of the annual protests there)

Those arrested for either going over the fence or through a hole in the fence at Ft. Benning this year were…

From: SOAW.org

Margaret Bryant-Ganer, 38, Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia
Tina Busch-Nema, 48, Kirkwood, Missouri
Rev. Don Coleman, 69, a co-pastor at the University of Chicago from Chicago, Illinois
Valerie Fillenwarth, 64, a homemaker from Indianapolis, Indiana
Philip Gates, 70, a retired school teacher from Prescott, Arizona
Alice Gerard, 50, a freelance journalist from Grand Island, New York
Joshua Harris, 30, from San Diego is a graduate student at Claremont University
Melissa Helman, 23, a student from Ashland, Wisconsin
Martina Leforce, 22, Berea, Kentucky
Julienne Oldfield, 69, Syracuse, New York
(Katherine) Whitney Ray, a 17 year old college student from Indianapolis, Indiana
Sheila Salmon, 71, Sebastian, Florida
Nathan Slater, 23, Berea / Edmonton, Kentucky
Mike Vosburg-Casey, a 32 year old piano tuner and chicken farmer from Atlanta, Georgia
Grayman Ward, 20, a fitness equipment specialist from Raleigh, North Carolina
Cathy Webster, 61, a peace activist and grandmother from Chico, California

Also to see pictures of some of the folks going through the fence watch this slide show from Ledger-Enquirer.com and fast forward to 2:18

2006
11.25

 

NY Times: Gates Advocated Air Strikes on Nicaragua

WASHINGTON (AP) — In 1984, Robert Gates, then the No. 2 CIA official, advocated U.S. airstrikes against Nicaragua’s pro-Cuban government to reverse what he described as an ineffective U.S. strategy to deal with communist advances in Central America, previously classified documents say.

Gates, President Bush’s nominee to be defense secretary, said the United States could no longer justify what he described as ”halfhearted” attempts to contain Nicaragua’s Sandinista government, according to documents released Friday by the National Security Archive, a private research group. . .

Yikes, I’m amazed that Bush would nominate this man. I sure hope the Democratic-led Congress does its job and shoots down this horrible nomination. (I’m not holding my breath)

2006
11.23

 

USAWeekend.com: The $10,000 Turkey — iMuy delicioso! Find out why our judges awarded this bird the huge grand prize — and how you can make it, too. Plus, check out recipes from four runners-up.

Since I volunteered to cook the turkey for this year’s family gathering (we’re celebrating the holiday on Friday), I think I’m going to try this recipe I stumbled across. It definitely sounds like a neat twist on the old favorite.

Also for some more Turkey cooking tips, it might be worth tuning in tomorrow to NPR to listen to The Splendid Table for their show “Turkey Confidential” (10 a.m.-12 Central time)

2006
11.23

 

NewsOK: Oklahoma law students are setting benchmarks

Would-be lawyers in Oklahoma pass the bar exam at a nearly unparalleled rate, but no one really knows why.

Some point to the caliber of students admitted into law school these days, while others note schools have shifted their focus toward preparing students for the bar exam.

Whatever the reason, those who have taken the test during the past couple of years have not been having much trouble.

Eight-two percent of the 519 test-takers passed Oklahoma’s bar exam in 2005, putting the state behind only four others nationwide, according to statistics from the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

During the most-recent session, in July, 88 percent of the 380 people who took the exam earned the right to practice law in Oklahoma, according to the Oklahoma Bar Association. . .

I’m not sure what the deal is. I think one big factor is that there is more of an emphasis in the law schools of passing the bar exam from the get go (this is certainly the case at my alma mater, OCU Law School).

That said, I’m not convinced that the bar exam is that helpful of a tool in measuring the abilities of future lawyers. I know some really sharp, hardworking law school grads who have flunked the exam multiple times, while I know some absolute deadbeats who passed on the first try. Half of passing the exam is knowledge-based, but the other half is test-taking technique and pschology.

I will say what I will not credit with the high bar passage rates is BARBRI. BARBRI is a joke and is waste of money and time. I guess it is almost impossible to tackle a bohemoth like that outfit, but I really wish there was a competing provider in Oklahoma of bar exam prep. Most of our lectures were poorly recorded video-tape presentations, and a good part of the time the “teachers” (I use that term loosely for some of the clowns we had presenting the material) used sexist and offensive hypotheticals I guess to make us laugh, but I wasn’t laughing.

Anyway thank God those days are over.

2006
11.22

 

Reuters:Gardeners cultivate hope in battered New Orleans

2006
11.20

 

FreeCamilo.com

Plenty of changes are coming in the near future. Check back here for a soon-to-be added blog column and news on Camilo’s upcoming book.

This is very exciting news. I’m really looking forward to seeing Camilo’s blog and his book. Also for those of you are unfamiliar with Camilo’s story, here’s a good article about his release from prison written by my friend local bloggist Rena Blaiz

2006
11.20

 

Wikipedia: Samantha Smith

Samantha Reed Smith (June 29, 1972 – August 25, 1985) was an American schoolgirl from Manchester, Maine who was called “America’s Youngest Ambassador” in the United States and the “Goodwill Ambassador” in the Soviet Union during her lifetime. She became famous in these two countries and well-known worldwide after writing a letter to the Soviet Communist Party General Secretary Yuri Andropov during the Cold War, and receiving a reply from Andropov which included a personal invitation to visit the Soviet Union, which Smith accepted. Assisted by extensive mass media attention in both countries, she participated in peacemaking activities in Japan [1] after her visit to the Soviet Union, wrote a book and co-starred in a television series before her death in an airplane crash.

SamanthaSmith.info – a really neat tribute site dedicated to her life

PeaceAbbey.org: The Samantha Smith Project

I’m not sure why my memory was jogged, but tonight I did a google search on hazy memory from my childhood and found that I remembered right. (WARNING- Long rambling walk down memory lane ahead)

I think I was about 9, maybe 10 years old when I first read about her (I think maybe in 1985/6-ish). My family was traveling in Colorado (a combination business trip for my dad and family vacation) when were in Vail. While there, my Mom and brothers had some time to kill one afternoon while my Dad was in a meeting so we stopped at the public library, and in the library I remember reading in a kid’s magazine (I wish I remembered the name of it) about Samantha Smith.

To say the least I was inspired by her (and definitely rather smitten too), that she had the self-confidence to write a letter to the President of the USSR like that, and because of that got to visit the country and see for herself what things were like, but then at the end of the article I read how that she had died in a plane crash and was crushed.

Anyway, that memory is interesting to me now. You have to remember that this was at the height of the Cold War and as a kid I thought Ronald Reagan was the greatest thing since sliced bread. You would think that I wouldn’t have been taken so much by a young peacemaker like Samantha, but I was. In fact to my young heart and mind, it seemed like her question was the most logical thing in the world to ask.

I of course was immersed in another reality, the belief in the ever present threat of the Soviet Union and in the goodness of the USA and its cause against Communism; as a result I didn’t let Samantha’s question really incubate like it should have. Yet, the fact that the question and her life sparked my imagination on that summer afternoon in Colorado to me is a confirmation that what I believe now about peace is something that was always in my heart and I just needed to right space to let it out.

I think also her example inspired me in that it showed the power of empowerment. As a kid, I tended to escape into the realms of imagination to deal with an otherwise pretty oppressive school environment, but she acted in bold ways in the real world. I think as a 10 year old kid, that this really moved me.

2006
11.20

 

Nasa.gov: Orbit simulation of Asteroid 3147 Samantha — This website is too much fun, as you can see where the planets (and one asteroid) are at different points in history (from 1600-2200 C.E.) and even watch the objects move.