Mouth control

June 14, 2017

Let’s see, we have a re-worked version of Julius Caesar, with the simulation of an assassination involving an actor looking a great deal like the President.

We have a “comic” posing with what is intended to be the decapitated head of the President.

We have a has-been pop singer claiming she has thought about blowing up the White House, where the President lives.

And now we have a shooter, who’d apparently threatened to “destroy Trump & Company”, trying to kill as many Republican representatives as possible.

Is there a correlation?

What about causation?

Perhaps it’s all just an incredibly improbable and extremely sad coincidence.  Sure.

Some will try to score political points by using this latest tragedy to push gun control.

Perhaps we should learn to practice mouth control first.

 

 

 


Kathy Griffin

June 2, 2017

I didn’t know who Kathy Griffin was before I saw the posed shot with her ostensibly holding a bloodied and severed head of President Donald Trump.

She is now attempting to pose as a victim…

 


Venezuela

May 5, 2017

I was born in Venezuela, and still hold citizenship there.

For those promoting the Utopian dream of broadly based socialism, check out Venezuela.

It is a sight to behold.


Ann Coulter & UC Berkeley: Linguistic Totalitarianism?

April 26, 2017

Totalitarianism is a strong word.  Worth looking up.  It’s as sad as it is dangerous.

Ann Coulter has been invited to speak at the University of California, Berkeley, and the threats against her, along with the event, have come rolling in.

Such is the state of play in too many colleges and American centers of higher learning.  The commonplace, thankfully not universal mantra is: scream, destroy, and avoid debate.

Ann Coulter is highly articulate.  That might be an inconvenient truth, but its veracity remains.  That’s why the insecure must attempt to shout her down.

Coulter is an erudite elocutionist, and if educated individuals in pursuit of intellectual advancement cannot hear her views without melting down and mashing free speech, it highlights a much deeper problem.

Setting fires, breaking glass, and rioting as an extra-curricular activity, is the image UC/Berkeley seems hell-bent on putting out to the world.

Really?  Is that OK with the Trustees and wider student body population, not to mention the parents paying dearly to foot the bill?

Some in that institution may shrug and laugh off the antics of those they deem part of the “lunatic fringe”.

But, if my degree had the imprimatur of that institution emblazoned across the top, I’d be very disappointed.

At best.

 

 


Good & Evil

April 2, 2017

Long, long time ago, it was written:  The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;  but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

This verse in the Book of Genesis may be the most profound exposition of the human predicament ever set down with ink upon paper.  Yes, the increase of knowledge brings with it dynamics of good and evil.

Apparently, knowledge, by itself, is not an automatic happy meal.

Indeed, with increasing automation and artificial intelligence, what will we do when many jobs can easily be done by robots, with humans only required to do, what?

The day is soon coming when our burgeoning intelligence will leave us squarely facing the challenge of remunerating, and also finding a role, for those that smart machines will surely replace.

In other words, our amazing intellect will leave us with an ethical and economic question fundamentally more difficult than any society has ever had the luxury of encountering before.

Simply put, “What if we don’t need to do anything, because, by our increase in knowledge, the need to do something has been eclipsed by the emerging ability to do nothing at all?”

Can we happily sustain a society in which sophisticated computers will rule, without relegating some people to some kind of redundant slag-heap?

I have great confidence in our future, but I am also convinced that finding our future will not be an easy task.  It will be a struggle of ideals, more than technology.

The machines our knowledge has developed will force us to find a good way we can relate to one another as a community of people beyond the laws and principles of commerce.

Thus, while robots make some things easy, with that factor, other enormous challenges may well emerge.


Age of Aquarius

March 3, 2017

NASA’s Spitzer telescope has discovered a “solar system” related to a star in the constellation we call Aquarius, only 40 light-years from Earth.  Within this system, a few of these so-called “exo-planets” orbit inside the “Goldilocks zone” – a region where it is considered neither too hot or too cold to sustain life.  Thus, with liberal use of the words “could”, “might”, “possibly”, and “perhaps”, the prospect of extraterrestrial being is tendered once again.

For scientists, and actually, for anyone, even the discovery of fossilized bacteria beyond earth would warrant enormous headlines.  To date, outside of terra-firma, not a single cell of such material has been discovered, even on Mars.  This is informative because, relative to our Sun, Mars is well within a radius where an adaptable Goldilocks might choose to enjoy her porridge.

Astronomically speaking, our Martian cousin is incredibly close to our teeming abode.  Yet, to the best of our first hand, long-term, on-site, rover-based knowledge, Mars is stone dead.  Like a door nail.

What this demonstrates anew is that even within a vast Creation, where untold numbers of planets exist, many factors have to be in sync before bacteria can emerge.  Thus, the best scientific awareness we have shows that even the presence of simple microbes cannot be assumed, anywhere.

More profoundly, it means that sentient beings under the stars, who can read and ruminate on missives like this one, may be the rarest thing of all.

Isn’t it funny that some doubt the existence of God, when the real question is, why should God’s existence be any less likely than our own?

Fact is, apart from faith, there’s nothing in the known Universe that says we must be here at all.  Yet, we are.  And we take so much for granted.

What with ISIS, al-Qaida, riots and ghastly acts of war being reported on a daily basis, many of us take a dim view of the human state.  Still, even in its worst expression, humanity may well be the most sophisticated and wonderful thing the Universe has witnessed in 14 billion years.

You want a miracle?  You’re it.  So is your neighbor with the noisy dog and smelly cigars.

Space exploration tops my list of our most important planetary pursuits.  Yet, it’s amazing how in our search for what exists in far distant places, we look straight past the miraculous bounty resting at arm’s length.

God came all the way to us, bringing life in Jesus Christ.

Perhaps there is a dawning of consciousness in Aquarius.  Hopefully that awakening will continue to occur right here at home.

 


Immigration

February 3, 2017

“Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt…”  — Matthew 2:13

We are a nation of immigrants.  Hailing from Italy and Ireland, my great-grandparents persevered through a rather stringent vetting process on Ellis Island.  In time, my dad would be born in Cuba and I would arrive in Venezuela, where I still hold citizenship.

As it happens, Jesus Christ was also an immigrant.  Considering the classic doctrine, coming from Heaven, He was truly an alien as no other has been, and indeed His parents were caused to flee the little town of Bethlehem to find refuge elsewhere.

Once again, the immigration debate is raging in our country, though, in reality, deportation raids were taking place well before our most recent Presidential election.  It is noteworthy that the last administration made it easier to import Cuban cigars, while turning Cuban refugees away, even if they’ve risked their lives to reach landfall in the United States.

My eldest daughter is intimately familiar with the young lives of those whose parents hail from Mexico, and the fact that many come here to escape a horribly inhumane existence.  Her students believe in us, even when it may not seem we believe in them.  Just last Memorial Day weekend, a gentleman in San Antonio told me if he was to visit his original hometown of Mexico City by car, he’d likely be kidnapped along the way and held for ransom.

So, I am left to consider these questions…

What if we were to treat Mexican immigrants as refugees, with all the reasonable vetting attached to that designation?

Does it make sense to have any immigration law, reformed or not, if we do not have secure borders?

How much has each one of us economically benefited from those who have stepped outside the law to enter our country?

What about the many upstanding foreign nationals legally here in the United States for years, who own homes, pay taxes, have American children, yet they cannot get Green Cards to afford them a permanent stay?

Today, the UN claims there are 60 million refugees world-wide, and, while each one is a beloved child of God, no one nation can harbor and give safe-haven for all.  How do we decide who we are capable of welcoming, and who we must turn away?

The dynamic of migration is as old as the Scriptures and as new as the latest headlines on FOX or CNN.  There are many sides to this ethical polygon, and it does us no good in this country to call names or denigrate the character of those with whom we may disagree.  This national tendency will hopefully not become a permanent habit.

In a sense, as complicated as it is, the immigration challenge is a good one for us to face.  It means people deeply want to come to the United States, and the Unites States continues to represent a heartfelt and abiding respect for all good people.  In these areas, I don’t believe anything has fundamentally changed at all.

In the Church, with Christ as our guide, we can neither be personally callous or politically naive.  No one can lay claim to an easy answer, and a great nation need not take comfort in the absence of facing real challenge.  In our community, with diversity as a gift, I believe each of us needs to continue modeling, wherever we can, what it means to be a faithful person, and thereby, a good American.