Sunday, June 29, 2008

Back to the Moon

Here is a link to a clip from Space dot com that that demonstrates NASA's current plan to return to the moon by 2020. Actually I think if we really put our nation to it, we could do it in half that time and would be a much needed boost to our nation's morale. Please note that you will see an ad first.

Here is an older and shorter version of the same thing from You Tube.

I have stated before that I think we can and should do it before 2020.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Dark Feeling That Grows Like a Tumor

When Star Wars, The Return of the Jedi, was released I was in the midst of a spiritual crisis. A person I cared for very much had become addicted to cocaine and I hated the pusher that got her on it. I spent every waking moment hating that person. It troubled me in another way because I knew that any hatred for any person, even a justified hatred, was poison to the soul and my hatred for that person had poisoned my soul. When Luke Skywalker confronted Palpatine he had to struggle to defeat him without hating him, (and it is more obvious in the book than it was in the movie) because Luke understood that when he gave into hate he would take the first step toward becoming a fallen Jedi, just like his father. I understood completely.

Eventually I had to forgive that dealer, not for his sake, but for my own. The well justified hatred I had for that person was not benefiting anyone, least of all myself. That is part of the reason that Jesus emphasized forgiveness so much, because retained anger becomes hatred and hatred is a cancer that grows until it consumes you.

A justified hatred starts out as anger over a wrong-doing or dramatic failure that hurts you or a loved one. If there is no satisfaction found and forgiveness the anger grows until it consumes more and more of your thoughts. Soon you reach the point where it is infecting other thoughts and you become obsessed with it. You become angry at those who don't share your anger because they "obviously don't care." Soon the anger becomes the primary driver of your life and once it dominates all of your thoughts, you and your anger become one and the same.

There was a guy I used to work with who was a decent, likable guy. I forget what led up to it but he became a union fanatic and when the union failed to deliver he got angry. He hated management and he soon came to hate those who didn't hate management. He shouted obscenities at those who didn't vote the way the union instructed us to. By the time he left I could no longer call him a decent, likable guy; he was a bundle of anger and hatred and little more.

I have seen it at both ends of the political spectrum when hatred supplants reasoned discussion. It's normal to disagree with a politician, even to dislike them, but when anger turns to obsessed anger, which turns to hatred, no good will come of it. You read it at Daily Kos where leftists are unhinged with their hatred and anger. There are also a few conservative bloggers who burn with anger at anyone who does not share their out of control rage at the GOP for not nominating a real conservative. Such a person is a threat to their own spiritual well-being.

Forgiveness is hard. I know it is. But it is for the benefit of the forgiver as much as for the forgivee. Letting go of anger is hard. Letting go of hate is hard. But if you don't you will become very much like what you hate.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The City of Nyx

While I am quite a ways into the book I am attempting to write, The City of Nyx, here is a Rough Draft of the first chapter. I do not intend to post the entire book.

Chapter One

The Two Strangers

It was Midsummer in the city. The great city. The city that was old for America, but not so old for the rest of the world. The sky was clear. It was hot and being midday, it was the hottest part of a hot, humid day.

The city had its streets. Some were narrow and some were very broad. Some were as straight as a ruler and others couldn't go a hundred yards without curving around something. Some were shaded by ancient trees that had been there since the horse and buggy and others were dead surrounded by sidewalks of dead cement, yet the dead sidewalks were alive with the human throng.

The people were much like the streets. Some were as cruel as demons and some were saintly. Some barely survived day to day and others wallowed in wealth, while vast majority got by with just a little to spare. Some were dressed in flashy clothes that shouted "Look at me!" while others were dressed to say "I'm not here!" There were those who were young and looked forward to endless tomorrows while others were elderly and faced the final hour of their lives.

The buildings were varied as well. Some were but a single story tall while others reached for the stars. Some were long abandoned and forgotten except by those who needed a place to hide, while others were alive with the present. Blight and prosperity stood side by side in all places.

Down the streets walked Enos Walker. He was dressed to say "Don't bother!" as he walked with his hands in his pockets and his eyes on the cold cement that passed beneath his moving feet. He knew where he going yet because he had no idea of where he really wanted to be, he was moving with only a vague thought of where he was going . One place in the great city was just like another. The people were so different on the outside and yet so much alike. The same could be seen of the buildings and streets. Even as he passed places he had never been before he felt the cold sameness of another day, another place and another street, another everything that was all the same.

Anyone who bothered to look into his eyes would be met by an inner hunger and a continuous sense of discontent of one who was seeking but had no clue of what, The world is full of travelers, those who are not at home on earth or any place on it, but feel an eternal disconnect with the world around them. He had been that way since he was a child. Sometimes, out of the corner of his eyes, especially at night when the city was lit by a countless beautiful but empty lights, he would see the light dance on the waters or against a mirror or pane of glass, he would see something and would know that he had found what he was looking for, but when he looked right at it it had vanished. For him the entire world would never be enough.

His stomach growled with hunger. He paused and thought for a second. Money was really not an issue as he had enough and really time was no issue either as it seemed at times that all he had was time, yet just as often he would have given anything for one more minute in a given day or hour. This day he had plenty of time.

The restaurant said Jane's and it looked fairly bright but as he went inside it he could see that it was like a thousand other eateries across the mighty city. Booths and tables were things differed from other such places only by their colors. He sat down in the booth closest to the window. The waitress was pretty but no different than a thousand others as she approached and handed him a menu and smiled with an almost genuine sweetness as she said "How are you today sir?"

"I'm about as good as expect to be?"

She responded automatically "Something to drink?"

"Water and a diet."

She left to get his drink while he examined the menu. It was virtually identical to a thousand others that he had seen in his day. It seemed that there were maybe four or five menus in existence and every watering hole in the city used one of those of five. He briefly wondered if there was a cartel of some sort that owned every restaurant menu in existence. He could have almost ordered from his memory of other menus and known exactly what he was going to get. And surprises were generally very unpleasant.

When in doubt order a hamburger!

No restaurant can mess up a hamburger. He safely ordered a quarter-pound hamburger with a few condiments and waited quietly, watching out the window as he did so. It had started to drizzle a little bit which was curious because the sun had been shining when he went in and no rain had been predicted that day. He hoped it wouldn't last as he was unprepared to be out in a rainy day.

It was almost amusing to watch the people in the street scatter as it suddenly turned into a downpour. Several people came into the restaurant and sat down. The waitress that had waited on him, as well as the one other waitress were soon taking orders for drinks as more and more soaked people entered the building.

Strange! I don't recall a prediction for rain today.

Enos almost jumped out of his chair when a thunder and lightning suddenly came up. The crowd gave a start as well with several exclamations. The closeness of the flash and sound revealed just how close the lightning strike was. Shortly after he was brought his meal another crash sounded and the lights went out. There were the usual comments but there was enough light coming in the window that Enos could eat as he looked on the now abandoned street. The street had become a virtual channel as water rushed down it toward the river which was several blocks away. He noticed that across the street the lights were still on.

He smiled to himself. I guess I picked the wrong side of the street to eat on.

Inside the eatery the frequent flashes of lightning irregularly lit up the interior with an almost ghostly light. One could see outside in the clouded light but inside was dark unless lightning flashed. In the ephemeral light one looked almost unmoving and non-human. It struck him that he was seeing, not people, but mannequins that moved during the dark intervals but were unmoving when the light struck them. He felt alone in a roomful of automatons until the waitress spoke to him and jarred him back to reality.

"Sir? Are you doing alright?"

"Fine thank you! . . . I certainly didn't expect this."

"Kinda weird huh?"

"Just an ordinary rain, but they weren't predicting thunderstorms today. At least I didn't hear of it."

"Me either . . . well let me know if you need anything."

Enos smiled and said "A little more light perhaps."

"Can't help you there."

The waitress faded into the darkness and Enos gazed back out onto the street. The rain was hitting hard enough now that it sounded like a freight train as it was crashing into the window and nature was giving a pyro-technique display as lightning was almost unnaturally continuous. The lights across the street flickered a couple of times and then went out as well.

Looks like they're out of luck as well!

A masculine voice spoke to him. "Sir! Do you mind if I join you?"

Enos looked and in the intermittent light he could make out a man in early maturity, probably late thirties. His clothing was non-descript but his face looked angular, almost as if it had been carved into wood with an oversized chisel. There was something about him, but Enos could not tell if it was benevolent or malevolent. Enos was unsure of him as he looked, but the restaurant was now obviously full and he was taking up a booth by himself.

"Of course I don't mind, Have a seat."

"Thank you."

The stranger sat down and looked right at him. "Your name is Enos Walker I believe."

"Huh? Have we met?"

"Not formally no, but we have met."

"Where? When? I don't remember you"

"The name is Malachi, Malachi Orr. It doesn't really matter where we met, but we have."

He did not look the least bit familiar to Enos. But as he studied his face he began to have an air of familiarity about him and it was a disturbing air. It was as if he was half-remembering a half-forgotten nightmare. Yet there was nothing, absolutely nothing in the man's demeanor to suggest anything extremely malevolent or evil. Perhaps Enos had met him but not consciously remembered him.

"Where are you headed Enos?"

"To the University Museum. There is an exhibit of local artifacts that don't fit into any known history."

"Ah yes! The Darken Collection. I've heard of it. Dated for over a thousand years ago, European in style but no known exact cultural match, and were apparently here several hundred years before the first European walked anywhere near what is now our fair city. Quite an enigma indeed isn't it."

"If the description is correct, they shouldn't exist."

"But they apparently do."

"Yes but . . . maybe the description is wrong . . . or the dating is all wrong."

"Why do you assume something is wrong?"

"Because they cannot be as described."

"And where were they found?"

"Not far away at all. In fact they were found in a new tunnel that they were digging for the new underground circuit."

"But they weren't exactly buried either were they?"

"No they were found in a small cavern with no exits of any sort . . . really a bubble of air six or seven feet across in a mass of almost solid rock."

"It is odd, isn't it?"

"I will be examining them after this accursed rain stops and I can continue to the exhibit."

An idea occurred to Enos. "Did we meet in school? I met a lot of people there, most of whom I have forgotten. I must confess that I forgotten you . . . uh Malachi I believe you said your name was."

"Actually, Enos, we met long before then."

"High School then, or perhaps when I was in the Army."

"Before the Army. But I don't know if you met me for the first time while you were in High School. But it could have been."

"So you don't remember either?"

Malachi paused for a minute and then answered. "No, now that you mention it, I don't remember either. But we have met."

"Well if you don't remember exactly where or when we met, I guess I shouldn't be embarrassed about not remembering you."

"Oh one meets thousands of people in a lifetime. It would be quite remarkable to remember everyone. "

Enos smiled faintly and nodded. "Yes it would be quite remarkable. All to often I can't remember people I'd met and spoken to an hour before."

"So what do you do for a living Enos?"

"Currently unemployed but I am a computer builder and repairman. I was self-employed but I just lost interest. Call it lack of discipline on my part. What do you do Malachi?"

"Me, I guess I'm sort of a scholar."

"Really? What kind of scholar?"

"I guess you would say the occult."

"What? Ghosts or magic?"

"Neither really. Other realities. Other dimensions if you will."

"Really? How can you study them beyond mere guesswork?"

"You would surprised how often different worlds overlap."

"I would need to see proof."

"I believe the artifacts in the Darken Collection may well be from another world.:

"Why would you say that?"

"They are very old yet do not fit into our history at all. They follow a similar style of our world but the distinct markings and forms do not exactly fit any known traditions. Plus the fact that they were found where no one has ever been. It's all kind of suspicious to me."

"Oh, someone had been in that air pocket before. We just don't know how"

"Someone had been in a cave that had no entrance. How? Magic?"

"It's as likely as them coming from another reality."

"And what is your interest in them Enos?"

"Pure intellectual curiosity. I'd like to see them for myself. It seems so simple but is inexplicable and I would like to look them over a bit. Maybe just to say I did it."

Enos stared at the slowing rain and thought for a few minutes.

"So tell me, how does one tell if he is near a point where two realities overlap?"

"It happens for more than you realize. There are various mystery spots all over the world where weird things are rumored to happen. Then there are also Ghosts."


"Yes ghosts! A haunted house is nothing more than a house that exists simultaneously in two different realities and the contents overlap in time and space. A ghost is nothing more than leakage between two realities, one of which is on a different time frame than the other."

"So all of this is an overlap between two completely separate realities?"

"Yes indeed. As are flying saucers, many mysterious creatures, and aliens. In fact what we call the Bermuda Triangle has a huge overlap area within it, or several smaller ones, I really don't know.

"No Malachi, I don't think you do know."

"So Enos has became the skeptic?"

"Extraordinary claims need extraordinary proof, or so they say."

"They also say 'Blessed are those who believe without seeing.'"

"That is for something you know in your heart is true, but extreme claims need to be proven."

"Ah yes! The heart! The ultimate moral authority! Can the heart really be trusted to determine what is and isn't true?"

"There are things we know by instinct."

"Ah yes! Instinct! That which reduces us to mere breeding animals is the same thing that tells us the deepest secrets of the universe. Strange what we believe isn't it."

Enos was gazing out the window where he could see a thoroughly drenched man about his own age, though moving with more vigor, struggling to walk toward the diner that he was sitting in. "Instinct also gives us the sense to come out of the rain!" he said as he pointed out the approaching man.

Malachi looked and sighed. "Him!"

"You know him?"

"Sort of. His name is Adam. Strange man to say the least."

Enos considered Malachi as he said this. A man who believed in doorways to other worlds should call another strange struck him as a bit odd. But then what would he consider strange. It was hard to say.

"You seem to know a lot of people Malachi!"

"Sometimes it seems like I know everyone, and other times I know no one."

"Is everything an enigma with you?".

"Only the things that matter."

Enos chuckled as he watched the stranger named Adam enter the eatery. As Adam entered the building the lights came back on. He muttered to his companion "Odd coincidence."

"If it is one." Malachi responded. "Like I said, 'he is a strange man.'"

Adam gazed around the dining room and his eyes fell on Malachi. A strange hard glint of disdain appeared in his sky blue eyes as he looked at him, but he started toward the table. Malachi watched him approach with a mild annoyance showing in his face while Enos watched them both with curiosity. As Adam approached Enos looked him over. He was dressed in Jeans and a dark blue tee shirt with a simple design of three white stars across the front with a white line circling the shirt benearth them. Underneat that shirt Enos could not help but see that, though thin and wirely, Adam was very strong as there seemed to be not one bit of fat on his body. His head was shaved and his face was hairless.

Malachi greeted his acquaintance with a less than friendly nod saying, "Well Adam looks like you missed the darkness . . . again."

Adam grinned, almost evilly and said, "What a shame. I never seem to be in the dark do I?"

He then looked at Enos and smiled in an almost friendly way, "Is ol' Malachi trying to recruit you for one of his lunatic schemes?"

"Now Adam, You know I am no lunatic."

Adam considered Malachi for a few seconds with an air of dislike and disdain, simply said, "No you're not, but your schemes are those that any sane person would take to be those of a madman. It would be so much simpler for all if you were just plain mad."

Malachi chuckled loudly and replied, "Maybe, Adam, it is you who are the madman."

Adam's gaze shifted back to Enos. His eyes seemed to flash with a mysterious blue lightning as he seemed to be looking inside of him instead of simply at him. "So Malachi . . . Who is your friend of the hour?"

"His name is Enos."

"Enos huh?" muttered Adam as he thoughtfully stroked his smooth chin.

Malachi continued, "and I would hardly call him a friend. His is simply a courteous man who allowed me to sit with him while the lights were out."

Adam looked at Enos and said, "Malachi is not insane, but he can be very dangerous in some surprising ways. I would suggest you be very careful, especially with your thoughts and feelings when around this one."

Enos spoke. "I know neither one of you so I cannot judge who is and is not sane, but I do not expect a life-long relationship to be starting today. Though he does seem to know me though I couldn't tell you how he would. To my knowledge we have never met."

Adam nodded and said, "He has ways of knowing people that would surprise you to no end." His eyes flashing with menace, his gaze shifted to Malachi who was staring blankly at the ceiling.

Adam shifted his gaze back to Enos and asked. "So what did he plan to do with you today?"

"We were just going to go look at those wierd artifacts at university meuseum."

"Ah yes! The Darken Artifacts. I kind of thought he would be horribly obsessed with those as they are in his field of interest."

"You knew that he'd be interested in those?"

"Of course! They are right up his proverbial alley."

"And what do you say they are?"

"What did he tell you they were?"

"Can't you simply answer me?"

"Sometimes questions contain their own answer. What did he tell you they were?"

"He said they were artifacts from a parallel universe that intersects with ours."

Enos looked over at Malachi who was staring impassively ahead.

Adam looked at both men for a second and then said, "Perhaps they are but what if it is so?"

"Are you suggesting he's telling me the truth?"

"I told you Enos, the man is not a lunatic but his schemes are those of a madman."

Adam leaned toward Enos. "I would strongly suggest you avoid him. Knowledge is a good thing provided it is gained along with proper insight. Some knowledge is dangerous to those who lack the wisdom to properly handle it and this is such knowledge. It is knowledge that can damage you in every way, body, mind and soul. If you must gaze upon the artifacts, do so without him around you. Those things are dangerous in every way imaginable."

Enos felt incredulous. "How can those things be dangerous."

Adam said, "There is knowledge and then there is knowledge. One kind benefits while the other kind does not. All truth is useful but there are truths that don't fit into the human worldview and, if you are not mentally prepared, can almost literally blow your mind."

"And this is such knowledge?"

"It is!"

"So you are saying things I am not meant to know or things that mankind is not meant to know?"

"There are things that you need to understand before you can truly learn other things. Knowledge without proper context is often more dangerous than outright ignorance because, even though you have the facts, you come to a wrong and dangerous conclusion and it is harder to refute because you have the facts on your side."

"And the Darken Artifacts are dangerous?"

"To those who see them as mere curiousities they are relatively harmless. It is those who seek their meaning without understanding the whole background who are endangered by them."

"Endangered to the body, mind and soul"

"That is correct."

Malachi laughed mirthlessly with his eyes closed as he shook his head while lightly rubbing his forehead.

"There you go Adam! Scaring people into cowering before the unknown instead of seeking it out and conquering it!"

Adam simply looked at him for a second and then said, "Those who charge heedlessly into the unknown often become a great story with a sad ending. The unknown should be entered with extreme caution, learning all you can before you even try to enter. It's not about not entering the unknown but not being reckless about it."

"So I am reckless am I?"

"You always have been. As long as I've known you. That and your arrogance are your downfall."

Malachi laughed. "My arrogance you say. I wonder about yours."

"I always consider my own arrogance. It is always a concern when I am evaluating things or deciding on an action. The wise always consider the possibility that they are mistaken, especially if there are things that are not known."

Malachi guffawed and said, "Oh so you're a wise man because you know that you are arrogant."

"Sometimes Malachi, wisdom seems to be beyond you."

"Ah . . . but you know that isn't true Adam."

"Oh do I?"

"Indeed. If I may say so myself, I have my own brand of wisdom."

Enos was gazing out the window as he tried to ignore the discussion by his two new aquaintances. The rain had stopped and the air was becoming heavy as the rain water evaporated bringing the humidity back up while the hot sun reflected off some of the windows across the street from them. The rain had not cooled things down at all, but had only made the day even muggier than it was. Rain does that sometimes.

"Well gentlemen," Enos said, "it has been most interesting talking to you, but I have finished my meal and the rain has stopped, so I can go on to see these artifacts for myself and make my own judgments."

He got up with his bill and took it to the cashier. In spite of his feigned disinterest the possibility of other worlds, even just a theoretical possibility, had caught his imagination. He somewhat resented both men has they had awakened in him fresh imaginings of a much more interesting existence. He was barely aware of how much he was paying the waitress and how much change he was getting. He left a tip without giving it a thought and then tuned to the other two men.

"Gentlemen, I thank you for the interesting dinner conversation, but now I must be off to see these items for myself. I would be really surprised if there is anything truly out of the ordinary about them, but I will look at them and see what I can make of them. So farewell."

Malachi grinned with a strange smile that could have been either predatory or friendly and said, "I will accompany you. I can answer many of the questions that I know will pop into your head."

Friday, June 20, 2008

Where Will It End

I have no question about where it started.

My main concern about legalizing euthanasia for humans was not a lack of regard for suffering but I knew deep down that the time would come when the state would first encourage people to take that option, then would do it to those who are comatose, and then would finally mandate it. Well it hasn't reached the mandate stage yet but the first stage has been reached.

Barbara Wagner
of Oregon has lung cancer and the drug she needed would not be covered by the state medical plan, but she was given word that she would receive comfort treatment including, possibly, physician assisted suicide (which the state assured her it would pay for.) Fortunately the big bad drug company, the big awful business, is going to give her a years supply of the medication.

I understand that the state has limited resources and that sometimes they have to say no. That's just how the world is and it won't change as long as mere humans run things. (And some would reasonably argue that the state shouldn't be in this business at all.) Even so, listing suicide as an option is just plain mean-spirited to put it mildly. "We can't afford to help you so one of my suggestions is that you might consider killing yourself."

My beliefs here? A patient, or their family, may choose to reject extreme treatments, taking only medication to end the pain, and die naturally but when you let the state push them over the edge you open things up to abuse.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Armed Citizen Foils Robbery

I wonder what the anti-gun nuts think of this. A gas station owner standing in line at a bank discovers a man is attempting to rob it and pulls a gun on the would-be bank robber, foiling his attempt to rob the bank.

Thank you, Mr Nabil Fawzi, (yes, I notice the name is Middle-eastern, but we have many good, solid citizens from that part of the world) for stopping a crime and proving yourself a true citizen.

What would happen to crime in this country if one citizen in five was armed at any given time?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Here in Michigan - Frankenmuth

I'm still not much in the mood to talk about current events etc but I do want to talk about a community that exists not far from where I live. It's a town whose Bavarian roots are still proudly displayed in such a manner that it attracts over two million tourists a year.

It's called Frankenmuth, and while it's not a city that one would drive across the country to visit, if one is in mid-Michigan and has the time to spare, it's worth a visit.

I went there with my family for Mother's Day and also spent part of Saturday there with my brother who lives in Florida.

First off is my favorite place there. Bronner's Christmas Wonderland is a store that you could put a couple of football stadiums inside of that is dedicated mostly (99%) to Christmas but also includes other Holidays, Christian literature and merchandise, and Michigan college memorabilia. I like to say that Frankenmuth is a town where it's Christmas all the time and that store is why I say it. It's a store and just about everything there is for sale, but it has the feel of a Christmas oriented theme park.

What else is there?

Restaurants for starters. Now they vary considerably and in some of them you pay a lot for great atmosphere and mediocre food. The best known one is The Bavarian Inn which is seen on billboards clear through the state. It's not a bad restaurant but I don't think it's the best. On Mother's Day we took Mom to the Black Forest Brew Haus and Grill and the food was excellent, to put it mildly; it was a buffet that was limited in content but not so limited in quality as traditional German and American food were served side by side, cooked to perfection. A couple of weeks ago we ate at Zehnder's which is probably the second best known and is quite famous for its chicken dinners prepared a multitude of ways, though since someone else was insisting on buying, I went a bit conservative with my choice.

The Bavarian Inn is also noted for its Glockenspiel which is a clockwork that tells the story of the Pied Piper of Hamlin through slowly moving statues. It's interesting, but it seems to need a bit of repair work, as one of it's tracks didn't run.

There are also museums, craftsmen with old style shops (though my old favorite, a wood carver, has been closed.) You can watch cheese and chocolate makers at work (though their craft takes a while so you won't see the product from start to finish) and this stuff is made the old fashioned way.

Oh, and if you like beer, Frankenmuth has several a couple of festivals for that as well.

It is admittedly commercial and mostly stores, but it is an interesting place to visit, see and eat if you just happen to be in that neck of the woods.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

ID is Right On (Again)

What more is there to say?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Europe Too?

It seems that oil and gas prices are not just American problems. It seems that Europe is also having its share of difficulties.

It's even causing problems for France's military.

My only comment is this. I guess those American gas and oil companies need to quit gouging the Europeans of their hard-earned money.

It's not an American problem, but a world-wide problem that will only be broken when OPEC's stranglehold is broken. Supposedly OPEC is far from monolithic, but it seems that they are co-operating quite well in keeping prices up.

We'll have to see what the Saudi Kingdom has in mind about easing the problem (if that is indeed what they plan.)

Freedom of Expression?

what exactly is protected by the First Amendment

1) The right to question our war effort?
2) The right to call homosexual behavior a sin?
3) The right to say that the CIA created the HIV virus?
4) The right to say that the moonlanding was faked?
5) The right to say that Mohammad was a liar and false prophet?

The fact is that the First Amendment gives one the right to tell the truth and state honestly held opinions, regardless of what the government or society wants to hear. If the statement interferes with what the state wants people to believe, then the state cannot suppress the opinion, but must answer it and prove it wrong. All of the above statements are protected by the first amendment provided the person who says them genuinely believes them to be true and no government agency may censor them; it may answer them and try to prove them wrong but cannot censor them. (For the record I agree with two of the statements, find one to be understandable but wrong, and find two of them to be ludicrous.)

Now we go to another question of free speech and freedom of the press.

Some would argue that there are no limits and that areas such as kiddie porn or bestiality are permitted. Would the same people allow "snuff films" or such things since there should be no limits. Sadly the right to make pornography sometimes seems to be more valiantly protected then the right to tell the truth and state honestly held opinions.

Others believe in freedom of speech for me but no for thee.

Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately) there is no line in the Constitution that guarantees the right to never be offended.

Of course there are limits but some of them are hard to define. You don't have the right to knowingly lie about someone and you don't have the right to reveal military secrets during a time of war. You don't have the right to call for someone to be killed (though you do have the right to say someone deserves to die - - which is not a subtle difference.)

What brought this up? Freedom of Speech and the Press is restricted in Canada due to excessive hate-crime legislation.

We need to be vigilant.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


I know I've been lax in blogging and visiting blogs and I hope to correct that soon.

Not this weekend though as it is taken up in its entirety.

They just changed our schedule to 10 hour days which is a trade-off. More money. Less time.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Allergies and Responsibility

I am allergic to a couple of things.

Penicillin could theoretically kill me as could a tetanus shot. Those are two drugs I cannot receive.

I cannot wear clothes washed in Cheer detergent (though I have no idea why I break out in a rash when I do.)

That's pretty much it as far as my allergies go, except that I am one of the people who can safely handle poison ivy and not react to it (as I learned when I was a teenager - - and a couple of exposures since - - but I don't press my luck.)

If I carry something that warns people not to give me Penicillin and cannot respond myself and they do anyway, it's their fault, but if I don't carry a warning and I am given some and have a bad reaction, it's my own fault.

I certainly don't have the right to tell people not to use Cheer laundry detergent simply because I am miserable in clothes washed in it (unless it's been rinsed out multiple times.)

If you are allergic to a food, you simply don't ingest it. End of story.

You don't sue the airline because they served peanuts and you don't demand that they not serve peanuts on your flight. If it is impossible to function under their normal services then you don't fly with them.

This woman's demands were unreasonable as is her lawsuit. You adjust to the allergy but you cannot demand society change unless

1) you are willing to pay for the special consideration.

2) you absolutely need the service and cannot function with the allergen nearby.

Actually the American Airlines policy of advising flyers to be responsible for their own health is not a bad idea.

The attorney that is representing Tehmina Haque (the mother in question) has a history of frivolous lawsuits. Perhaps this lawyer and others is where the real problem lies.

Furthermore, no harm came to her son.