2007
05.28

RealLivePreacher.com: A New Abraham and a New Earth

2007
05.28

Overpowering grief

MSNBC Photoblog: Photograph of a young woman grieving at her fiance’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery

I know my regular readers will think I’ve been pretty bleak lately, but frankly I feel pretty bleak. There is a war going on and no one seems to care, or at least just a few. I’m getting calls and emails every day from soldiers who are either in Iraq, or who have been to Iraq or who will be going to Iraq, and for them the war is a daily brutal reality that never goes away.

Right now I can’t escape it’s reality either. On good days I can help my clients and then put it out of my mind but other days it seems like it is the only thing that is real and it never ends. I guess mostly I wish that our society, our community, would at least have an awareness of what is going on, to know the sacrifice that we are asking our young men and women to make. Whether you are pro-war or anti-war, we all need to be real about what it is that is happening. It is hell. It is brutality. It is something that no human being should ever have to face, and yet it is the daily reality of so many.

I’m sorry, I’ll shut up now. I’m just a big overwhelmed right now and more than a bit guilty than I do so little to end this horror.

2007
05.28

Book burning

 

CNN: Bookstore owner burns books in protest

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — Tom Wayne has amassed thousands of books in a warehouse during the 10 years he has run his used book store, Prospero’s Books.

His collection ranges from best sellers, such as Tom Clancy’s “The Hunt for Red October” and Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities,” to obscure titles, like a bound report from the Fourth Pan-American Conference held in Buenos Aires in 1910. But when he wanted to thin out the collection, he found he couldn’t even give away books to libraries or thrift shops; they said they were full.

So on Sunday, Wayne began burning his books in protest of what he sees as society’s diminishing support for the printed word.

“This is the funeral pyre for thought in America today,” Wayne told spectators outside his bookstore as he lit the first batch of books.

. . . Mike Bechtel paid $10 for a stack of books, including an antique collection of children’s literature, which he said he’d save for his 4-year-old son.

“I think, given the fact it is a protest of people not reading books, it’s the best way to do it,” Bechtel said. “(Wayne has) made the point that not reading a book is as good as burning it.”

That last sentence sounds like it straight out of Fahrenheit 451.

2007
05.26

Quotes for today

These quotes were previously posted on this blog on March 4, 2004.

To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius.

There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion.

God will not have his work made manifest by cowards.

Trust thyself: every heart vibtates to that iron string.

– From Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson

2007
05.25

PTSD

 

CNN: Iraq vet— ‘My brain will not let go’

This story haunted me because I’m working with quite a few other soldiers from Fort Campbell. I hope to goodness the Army treats this soldier better than the folks I’ve worked with. From what I’ve seen, Fort Campbell treats their soldiers like **** and is criminally incompetent in providing mental health care to soldiers in need.

NPR.org: Gaps in Mental Care Persist for Fort Carson Soldiers

Another story that rings home for me, as this story highlights what the Army does all of the time. The Army gives their bull**** stories about providing the “best mental health care out there” but in reality the Army ignores soldiers in need until things get bad, then they punish the soldiers for acting out.

Maybe I’ve seen too many sad stories lately, but this is the reality for many soldiers. These soldiers I know with PTSD and othe rissues are good people but the Army has ****ed with their heads bad. It is not right that this is happening yet except for a few rare press mentions, the public has no way to know that our government treats soldiers like ****.

2007
05.17

MSNBC: Love on a Shoestring: Our $150 Wedding — With a lot of love and a little cash, my husband and I had the marriage ceremony of our dreams.

2007
05.17

I haven’t been able to keep up with the blog much lately but did want to post a quick note to let friends know I’m still alive. Work has been ferociously busy but good. Starting my law practice has been both easier and harder than I thought it would be. Easier in that clients have not been hard to find (everyone wants out of the army right now), but harder in that it is much more work than I would have expected to not only take care of my clients but also to do a good job with the administrative side of things (i.e. billing, keeping tax records, advertising, etc.) I am hiring a friend to help a few hours a week starting next week though so hopefully things will get better.

My work pace right now is that I go to Ft. Sill at 1-3 times a week to either take clients to turn themselves in (who were AWOL but are trying to get things straighted out in the best way possible) or to do other things. I am kicking around the idea of eventually moving to Lawton (where Sill is at) but I also would really miss my church and friends here in OKC so it is probably more likely that I’ll eventually have a little garage apartment down there or find a peace-friendly person to rent me a spare room. For now though, I sometimes stay at a hotel in Lawton when i need to be there for a couple of days (the Ramada is relatively cheap, nice and clean and has free-wifi, I’ve also stayed at some of the sketchy motels on Cache Road but I’m afraid when you pay less than $30 a night you get what you pay for).

I’m also working with lots of clients by phone and email throughout the week. Some are local but most are from all over. Almost entirely Army or Army National Guard, as I’m trying to refer folks from other branches.

Besides work stuff, I have a bought a new bike (a sweet folding bike that I’ll have to post pics of soon) and am hoping to finally get my garden planted soon. Lots of other stuff in my personal life going on too but not really anything blogworthy to write about.

Anyway that’s the news.

2007
05.11

 

CNN: Executed man’s last request honored — pizza for homeless – by Ashley Fantz

(CNN) — Hundreds of homeless people in Nashville, Tennessee, ate well Wednesday evening — all in the name of a man who the state put to death just hours earlier.

Philip Workman, 53, requested that his final meal be a vegetarian pizza donated to any homeless person located near Riverbend Maximum Security Institution.

He was executed there at 2 a.m. ET Wednesday. (Watch witnesses describe his last moments Video)

But prison officials refused to honor his request, saying that they do not donate to charities.

That apparently upset a few people willing to pay for and deliver a lot of pies themselves.

Homeless shelters across Nashville were inundated with donated pizzas all Wednesday. . .

2007
05.10

OKGazette: Cherokee Freedmen file for injunction – by Ben Fenwick

The freedmen were removed from the Cherokee tribe in March by a vote in which only 3 percent of the tribe voted. Velie told OklahomaGazette that Principal Chief Chad Smith removed the freedmen because he believed they would vote against him in elections.

(emphasis added is my own)

Also this story makes some very interesting connections between disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramhoff and Smith.

2007
05.10

 

Oklahoma Secretary of State: Signed copy of racist anti-Hispanic law (aka 1804) (PDF download)

Here’s one excerpt from the law . . .

It shall be unlawful for any person to conceal, harbor, or shelter from detection any alien in any place within the state of Oklahoma, including any building or means of transportation, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that the alien has come to, entered, or remained in the United States in violation of law.

And guess what. . . . if someone committed this “crime” they have commited a felony that is punishable by at least one year of prison and/or a fine of at least $1000!

Think about this for a second. If a church provides housing for a battered woman who happens to be undocumented, they’ve committed a crime. If a good Samaritan gives a ride to an elderly person who needs a ride to the doctor (who happens to be undocumented), they’ve committed a felony. What kind of fascist state are we living in when the works of mercy become crimes?!

NewsOK.com: Immigration bill OK’d

NewsOK.com: Law sends ‘a loud message’

Hispanic leaders vowed Tuesday to challenge the state’s new immigration law in court and to punish the lawmakers who enacted it at the polls.

“We will do everything within our constitutional means to defeat the intent of this law,” Ed Romo, a vice president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said at a hastily called news conference Tuesday night.

The bill would punish employers for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants and prevent illegal immigrants from receiving state benefits, among other measures. The signing sends a message that Hispanics are not welcome in Oklahoma, Romo said.

“This is a loud message that we’re not really welcome.”

Juanita Vasquez-Sykes, president of Oklahoma City LULAC, said the league will push voter registration and encourage new Hispanic voters to remember this day.

“We will remember the people who voted for 1804 and make that show in the polls,” she said.

The bill makes it illegal to knowingly harbor or transport an illegal immigrant, which could place churches that serve the immigrant community in danger of criminal charges, said Mauro Yanez, Spanish editor for the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

“I don’t want to see my people afraid to go to church,” Yanez said. “As a Catholic guy, I don’t want to see our priest tomorrow accused of harboring,” he said.

I agree with LULAC. This law must be resisted but I think it is time to go a step further. I will be asking my church to issue a statement of intent to defy this law and I hope many more churches will do the same. Certainly the law should be respected but not when it violates the higher laws of God. Jesus to love your neighbor and to take care of those who need help. He didn’t say to check their immigration status first.

I also think that those state legislators (like my own State Senator Andrew Rice) who voted for this bill as supposedly a means to water down otherwise bad legislation need to come out and say so publicly. I understand that legislative compromises are sometimes necessary but when it comes to straight up racist legislation that sends a message of hate, I think at the very least they can explain themselves publicly and better yet apologize to the people for giving into the haters.