2008
03.31

Bad, bad domain names

I couldn’t stop laughing after I read this on my friend Kimberly’s facebook…

All of these are companies that didn’t spend quite enough time considering how their online names might appear – and be misread…

Who Represents is where you can find the name of the agent that represents any celebrity. Their Web site is
www.whorepresents.com/

Experts Exchange is a knowledge base where programmers can exchange Advice and views at
www.expertsexchange.com/

Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at
www.penisland.net/

Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at
www.therapistfinder.com/

There’s the Italian Power Generator company,
www.powergenitalia.com/

And don’t forget the Mole Station Native Nursery in New South Wales,
www.molestationnursery.com/

If you’re looking for IP computer software, there’s always
www.ipanywhere.com/

And the designers at Speed of Art await you at their wacky Web site,
www.speedofart.com/

2008
03.31

Pastoral installation

 

Charlotte’s gallery of pictures from the pastoral installation

It was a quite a moving day for me. I’ve been serving as the Minister of Peace and Justice at Joy since I think September 2007, but we actually had the installation ceremony today for myself and our new pastor. (our congregation also called Moses & Sadie, our recently retired pastors to be our new “Ministers of Mission”)

Our Associate Conference Minister came out to perform the installation, but the surprise came when members of our congregation gave Norman and myself stoles to wear (and had Moses wear the stole he was given at his retirement party a few months back). Norman’s stole was purple which was said to represent pentiance and leadership, while mine was green which was said to represent growth. — It was really touching. Mennonite ministers generally do not wear stoles or ministerial vestaments, but I did some reading on Wikipedia about the history of the stole and here’s what it says…

More popular is the theory that the stole originated from a kind of liturgical napkin called an orarium (cf. orarion) very similar to the sudarium. In fact, in many places the stole is called the orarium. Therefore it is linked to the napkin used by Christ in washing the feet of his disciples, and is a fitting symbol of the yoke of Christ, the yoke of service.

I like that, and it is a good fit for the kind of ministry that our church has called me to do (for me it’s largely working with GI’s who need help to get discharged).

There’s a lot on my mind right now, I think the biggie being how much is my work done in faith and how much of it is just my own striving. There’s no doubt that God calls us to work hard in our vocations, but being a minister is also about knowing that we can not do it all on our own and that we need that connection with the divine to power us and to guide us. Right now I feel like too often I don’t seek out and nurture that connection. I really want that to change.

I guess more than anything I feel encouraged by the congregation’s trust in me, but I also I feel the weight of knowing what they have called me to. Strangely enough, my calling is to minister to the military, not as a chaplain baptizing the evils of war and calling it good, but rather as a counselor (both in matters spiritual and legal). I definitely will be praying that I can live up to this calling.

2008
03.29

My linux experience thus far

Some of y’all know I’ve been wrestling with computer problems a lot lately. My old Gateway laptop’s hard drive crashed on me (after only owning it a little over a year), which was a big headache as my backup procedures were not as good as they should have been.

So I ordered a restore disk from Gateway and in the meantime bought a cheap Compaq laptop (for around $450). It ran great for a couple of weeks and then the touchpad and keyboard quit working on me. I did everything imaginable to try to fix it without luck (I can use it with a usb mouse and keyboard), but thankfully I have the protection plan on it so hopefully I can get it fixed or replaced asap.

Meanwhile I bought what I thought was the right hard drive to put back in the Gateway (I had to replace the crashed HD before trying to restore the OS) but I got a stupid SATA hard drive instead of an ultra ATA hard drive. So I went back and turned it back in for store credit, and then bought another hard drive online but they goofed up and sent me a 3.5″ HD instead of a 2.5″ HD (in other words, a desktop HD instead of a laptop HD). Fun times.

So while waiting for all of this, I started messing around with web-based desktop suites and later with linux (to run on my Gateway while waiting to get a HD).

After trying 4 different Linux versions and a bunch of different web-based desktop suites, I ended up with what I think is a pretty sweet situation.

For the OS, I’m using Puppy Linux. It is pretty barebones (similar to DSL – Damn Small Linux) but has most of what I need and runs great right out of the box. I tried some bigger Linux versions (fedora and ubuntu) but they frankly were more buggy and harder to configure. For storage, I’m using 2 flash drives – one for the OS and applications, the other for data.

By the way here are some pretty slick screen shots from Puppy linux users.

As for the desktop suite, I wanted something that would store all of my critical files (so that I would always have an off-site backup) but also would allow me to ideally work on my files from any computer. And I wanted to have basic office functions — calendar, task lists, etc. I tried several different packages that have try to do it all (the best I found was Desktoptwo, but in the end I combined several things together.

What I’m using is IGoogle.com (google’s personalized widget-based homepage). On my front tab, I have Gmail, Google calendars, a task list, and widget for Box.net. I then use Box.net for my file storage (which is much better than google docs, as I can upload entire folders at once). As for working with the files, I can either use Open Office or MS Word on whatever computer I’m at, or I can work with the files on Google documents and then load them back into Box.net.

So far, so good. I suspect I’ll still probably use Windows Vista once I get all of my compter problems worked out, but I gotta say that Linux is looking pretty good right now.

2008
03.29

This afternoon I was thinking, wouldn’t it be cool if there was a super-small linux-based computer that used flash memory instead of a hard drive. Sorta a hybrid between a laptop computer and a PDA.

And as it turns out, Target beat to the punch with what I thought was a brilliant idea.

2008
03.29

This is an update to an earlier JMBzine post.

NewsOK.com: Your views, March 29, 2008

The good news is that they ran my friend Rachel Jackson’s LTE on the subject. The bad news is that they edited out a pretty important part. Here’s what they left out (this would have went at the end of what went in the paper)…

Your paper could more accurately associate them and their actions with the position taken by Representative Sally Kerns than with those of us working to bring a peaceful and just end to this war.

2008
03.29

Updated to provide correct link to original content on April 14, 2008:

Thanks to We live in Interesting times for this link.

2008
03.29

I got this forwarded to me. It is pretty stunning and shows where some supporters of Kern stand. The parts in bold below are what I thought were particularly problematic…

From: “charliemeadows@peoplepc.com”
To: Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee
Date: Fri, 28 Mar 2008 00:23:07 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: OCPAC e-mail

Members and friends of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC)

SALLY KERN UPDATE
LOONEY TUNE STATEMENTS, KATHY TAYLOR & BURNS HARGIS

SALLY KERN UPDATE

ATTENTION !!! For the first time in our 17 plus year existence we are going to do something different for our weekly meeting. For next Wednesday only we will NOT be meeting at our regular restaurant for our meeting. We are going to meet at the State Capitol to participate in the “Rally for Sally.” The rally to support Represent Sally Kern will be held on the first floor rotunda and will begin at 12 noon. However, because of the security checks at the doors, you are urged to be to the Capitol no later than 11:30 a.m., a little earlier if possible. Following the rally (about 20 minutes) as many as can, please go to Italiano’s (about 4900 North Lincoln, on the West side of Lincoln) for lunch and some discussion about the rally. This is a restaurant I have been considering for some time switch to for our weekly meetings.

Thursday a few liberal clergy (I prefer to call them false prophets) showed up at Representative Kern’s office with tape recorder in hand. Of course they were wanting Kern to apologize for her statements. The phoney clergy claimed Kern’s remarks were hurtful. Folks this is a bunch of BS (blue smoke). These people aren’t hurt by Kern’s statements, they want to destroy anyone who speaks out about the perversion of homosexuality. They want to destroy Representative Kern and make an example of her. They want to send a message that anyone who would dare to speak out about their political agenda or lifestyle would get the “Kern treatment.”

Representative Kern had been asked to speak to the College Republicans at UCO on Thursday night. The homosexual supporters were there to harass her. One report I received, a couple of hours ago, by some Kern supporters who were present was that Sally took the high ground as she always does, didn’t back down and simply spoke truth in love. The local NBC affiliate (channel 4) covered the event and allowed Kern to correct a couple of the vicious lies that the homosexuals have spread about Sally and her family. To their credit, channel 4 indicated they had never reported the false allegations in any of their previous reports.

It is obvious the agenda of the homosexual community and their liberal friends is to make life hell for Sally Kern, it is becoming the
definition of harassment. This is getting ready to backfire upon the homosexuals as this is Oklahoma, not a homosexual infested liberal enclave like some parts of the United States.

The Christians in Oklahoma are beginning to be awakened to the hatred of the homosexual community and I predict the good and decent people of Oklahoma will turn out at the ballot box this November to send a strong message for decency. If they do, Sally will be re-elected by a landslide (she drew a Democrat opponent this week). We will also see defeats for Jim Roth, the radical homosexual Corporation Commissioner (also a Democrat and recently appointed by Democrat Governor Henry) and the ultra liberal Democrat State Senator Andrew Rice who is running against Republican U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe.

Rice is not a homosexual, but he is expected to receive a good deal of support from that community, probably because he produced a documentary on the tragedy of the homosexual disease AIDS. This is a disease that used to be called GRIDS (Gay Related Imuno Deficiency Syndrome) before political correctness set in and they changed the name to AIDS.

Representative Sally Kern deserves the support from the decent people of Oklahoma for her truthfulness and bravery in the face of such an onslaught of hate and death threats. I hope everyone will make your best effort to attend the “Rally for Sally.”
(snip)

First, I like Jim Roth but he is not a “radical.” He is homosexual but who cares. The last time I checked, one’s orientation has nothing to do with the work of the Corporation Commission. (and he is such a bonafide budget hawk, he has had quite a bit of support from Republicans because of his record as the previous Oklahoma County Commissioner)

Second, AIDS is not a “homosexual disease.” I can’t even begin to say how utterly stupid and ignorant this is, but let me assure you that most people with AIDS today are not gay.

Third, despite what Charlie Meadows says here, I don’t hate Sally Kern. I know some people do (based on the comments and emails of some), but I don’t. I do think though that she has behaved in a horrible manner and should resign. End of story. If she wants to be a bigot she has the right to be one, but I don’t want her in a public office as a bigot. Sure she has had some folks express hate to her, but most people are just expressing anger and dismay to her, which is our right to do. If Sally can’t take some honest criticism of her bigotry, then she should resign. I’m glad that folks are speaking out against her and asking pointed questions like they did at UCO.

2008
03.28

This is an update to an earlier post that was cross-posted at Dailykos diary and at OpEdNews.com

After talking to many people both on website comments and on email, I’ve changed my mind on the issue of defunding the Chereokee Nation of Oklahoma.

I still strongly believe that CNO did wrong by voting to exclude the Freedmen, but I also can understand that at least some of the voters didn’t do so because of racism but because they feel strongly about the need for blood ties in the nation. I myself don’t agree with this perspective as I think culture is more important than blood — as a brother of 3 adopted siblings and 2 natural-born siblings, I think my adopted siblings are just as much kin as the natural-born ones are. To me the Freedmen are adopted Cherokee and should be treated as such.

That said, the issue of threatening to defund the CNO will be seen as a threat to the survival and continued existence of the nation by many, and will I think force folks into a corner in trying to defend a bad policy. I also think it isn’t fair, as other tribes have also excluded their Freedmen so to single out only the CNO isn’t right.

It seems like a better approach is to take the defunding issue off the table and to return to the negotiating table. There are lots of possible solutions if folks are creative enough. And I think in the long run the CNO (and other tribes) will have a richer and fuller culture if they accept the Freedmen as their adopted kin. But I think this has to be a matter of persuasion not coercion.

2008
03.28

UPDATED 10:38 p.m., March 27, 2008: I have removed the name of the soldier mentioned in the news article as he requested me to do so in the comments.

MSNBC: ‘Congratulations, son — I’m proud of you’ — Father in Iraq surprises, touches son by giving Guard oath via video link

This story concerns me on many levels, but I’m not going to talk about any of that. Instead I’m hoping and praying that either **** or one of his family members will google his name and find this post. I’m going to write the rest of this post as an open letter to ****, but it is really written for any 17 year old young man or women who might have second thoughts about joining but feel obligated because they took an oath.


****, I don’t know you and you don’t know me, but I have had the pleasure of knowing many young men and women who are your age, or a year or two older. The young men and women I have known are servicemembers who have called me (I’m an attorney who helps soldiers with military discharges) because they want to get out of the military.

I know you probably won’t believe me until you’re there, but the military is hard, hard place to be. You’re dad is an officer, but you will be enlisted, and believe me it sucks, bad. You will be treated like you are lower than pond scum by your drill sergeants and you have already been lied to by your recruiter and others.

But worst of all, you are signing up to participate in a war with no meaning and purpose. Even if you only serve stateside, you will still be participating in the machine and playing a part in a system that has over 4000 American GI’s so far, and over 100,000 Iraqi civilians.

I don’t say all of this to make you feel guilty, but I do want you to know all of the ramifications of your decision. If you decide to continue on and stay in the military, then do it, but do it in a thoughtful manner.

And if you change your mind, you can still change your mind. The news story doesn’t tell this, but I’m guessing that you are going into the split option program (where you go to basic training this summer, go back to high school for one more year, and then do you advanced training in the summer after that).

Under the regs, before you go to Basic training, you can request that your basic training seat be canceled, and the recruiting command HAS to honor your request. Here’s what the regs say… “(1) Enlisted members in the DTP status may request to have their training reservations canceled based on personal reasons or the unit may request that a soldier’s reservation be canceled.
See USAREC 601-95, section 3-3(a)(1) – PDF download

And if you do go to Basic training but decide to get out before advance training, you have the right to do that, and the military has to give you a discharge. see AR 630-10, section 5-2

I know you might feel guilty about “breaking your oath,” but you shouldn’t. You have a right under the law request a discharge under these circumstances. You did make a commitment to the military, but the military has an obligation to you as well. If you decide to go to college, get a job, or do something else besides joining the military, that is your right. Your life is precious and important. If you decide you don’t want to be in the military, know that you are not alone and that many would be there supporting you.

Best wishes,
James

P.S. If you need help with anything or have any questions about the procedures of seeking a discharge, contact the GI Rights Hotline. They are good folks who can help you work your way through the red tape.

2008
03.27

Tulsa World: Sally Kern’s son denies reports he is gay

Quite a few folks (both in comments on this blog and on other websites -also here) have stated that Jesse Kern (Sally Kern’s son) is gay. In fairness I thought it was appropriate to post a link this story in which he tells his side of the story.

I also though thought it was interesting that Jesse, while denying the allegation that he was gay, made it pretty clear that he doesn’t agree with his mother on this issue…

Kern’s views differ from those of his mother, although he applauds her for standing up for what she believes, and thanks his parents for his good upbringing. His father is a Baptist minister in Oklahoma City.

He said the purpose of sex is reproduction, and it is the function of the animal body.

“But we are more than animals, and we can use sex for a tool of deep relationship with another person.”

Kern added that what is more important than whether it be a relationship with someone of the same sex, is that there “needs to be honor in any relationship whether it is a straight or gay relationship.”

I would have to agree with Jesse in that last sentence. That is the real issue for me too.