Monday, September 30, 2013

Geography Lesson: DC

The online news magazine, Slate.com ran a piece today about the congressional showdown over the potential government shutdown. Headlining the piece was an image with a "sunset" over Washington D.C. The only problem is, it couldn't have been a photo of a sunset.




On the left of this map (west), is the Washington Monument, and to the right (east) is the Capitol building. If the photographer were facing west in order to capture the setting sun, then they would have to have been to the east of the capitol building in order to capture both it and the Washington Monument. That is clearly the dome of the US Capitol building, no other building in DC has a dome like that and is positioned in a way to be able to capture it, the monument and the setting sun in the same photo. 

But the image above suggests that the photographer is facing east, and positioned west of the monument. Basic understanding of perspective illustrates the position of the photographer as being west of the monument and facing east. Therefore, it's impossible for the photographer to be capturing an image of a sunset, unless along with the government, the GOP has also shutdown the laws of nature.

The content of the article is quite well done, however.

Overheard

"Giving to the church has remained at the same levels since 2009. But costs of operation have increased, so each dollar given is not going as far as it once did."

Not mentioned: salaries have remained stagnant for middle class families for 6 years. Earnings have not kept up with increases in costs or inflation. Essentially, families are bringing home less money now than they did before the recession. Yet, earnings for the upper class have grown faster than they ever have.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

We got a Piano!

Because of some awesome people in our church, we now have a piano. I spent the day vacuuming and dusting, cleaning and polishing it. We rented a trailer and loaded it up under the cover of darkness.

Now it's all ready to go! Just need a tuning and 2 keys looked at.

Soon enough we'll be a 4 person jam band!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Oklahoma? We're just OK...

Everyone wants to highlight their accomplishments. Oklahoma state leadership is no exception. The governor has been on a media blitz talking up the state economy and jobs numbers. We boast one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, and a solid economic foundation due to oil and gas production and exploration. Low corporate income tax rates and other tax breaks and incentives for industries that relocate to OK sweeten the jobs numbers. These are all good signs in Oklahoma, especially if you're an owner of or a management-level employee of a corporation that happens to deal in stuff that comes out of the ground.

But for other Oklahomans, the outlook isn't so bright. The Tulsa World reports on a study done by the Violence Policy Center that ranks OK as 3rd in the nation on women being murdered by men. Numbers 2 and 1? Alaska and South Carolina, respectively.

More bad news for Oklahoma women, the state ranks 48th for women's health overall, with only 1 OB-GYN for every 18,713 women. To top it off, OK has the 3rd highest maternal mortality rate.

Ranked 48th in nursing home care...

Ranked among worst 5 in education for decades...

Ranked 38th in Congressional influence... (wait, that might be a good thing, we elected some weirdos)

So what all this leads to of course, is that we're really focused on private business people making more money off the backs of middle and lower-class workers; and that we don't care about the health problems of women, and that we don't care about educating our kids. After all, we're gonna need more oil drill operators and semi-truck drivers to do the heavy lifting for the out-of-state, Harvard educated, hydro-fracking engineers.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Oh, SNAP!

The following is a letter I wrote to U.S. Representative James Lankford concerning the bill in the House of Representatives that would de-fund SNAP, the food assistance program for those in poverty. 



Dear Representative Lankford,

I am writing to encourage you to reconsider voting for a reduction in SNAP funding. As one who has studied the New Testament scriptures in depth like I have, I know you are aware of the teachings of Jesus to feed the hungry and poor. I am also confident that the faith in God that has led you to public service has not retreated from you, but rather has remained an influential voice in matters of policy decision-making. 

(read more after the jump)

Monday, September 16, 2013

DC Navy Yard

As news broke today of the mass shooting in DC, the 6th of the year, I remembered this image I saw recently. It's a distinct reminder of a way to live life, even in the midst of turmoil and chaos.

I'm always deeply troubled when these kind if tragedies happen. It's the type of incident that rattles my comfort cage because it's so spontaneous. We cannot prepare for these events. We can only make good on our calling as Christians to seek God's justice, love with kindness and to walk in humility with God.

Pray for peace.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Taking Syria Seriously

As the war drums beat faster and louder, elected officials in Congress are taking sides and planning for debate on possible military action in Syria. And while I have confidence that the administration, military leaders and strategists, and intelligence officials have scoured through nearly every possible approach and potential outcome, I fear that some ideals are being given more influence than perhaps they should.

If military involvement in Syria is solely about maintaining the credibility of the United States as a global military power, then the focus of the attacks are equal to that of a schoolyard bully. We'd be picking on an easy target in order to flex our muscles to show other would-be bullies who is boss. Is this the mission and goal of US diplomacy these days?

If military involvement in Syria is solely about punishing the regime for alleged use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians, then any civilian casualties (a certainty, in any situation) as a result of the punitive attacks cannot be justified under any circumstance. We cannot morally punish a dictator for killing Syrian civilians while incidentally killing more Syrian civilians ourselves by errant rockets and bombs.

If military involvement in Syria is solely about sending a message to other 'hot bed" nations in possession of chemical weapons, then we have already committed resources to future US military involvement. Any time a dictator, despot or military regime acts out of fear, the US will be looked upon to act in response.

I mention these scenarios because they seem to be the leading reasons given for justifying military strikes. But as I've demonstrated, they're also easiest to poke holes in.

Perhaps Congress will come up with better, more reasonable and thoughtful justifications for bombing Syria. I'm not holding my breath.

House Cleaning & Typos


I do a lot of my blogging from my iPhone. It's handy. Many of the pictures and images I post are stored on it. I can edit photos on the phone without having to transfer them to my computer. One drawback to writing and posting from the phone is my propensity to not proof-read. So I end up typing things like "Kawkeye Pierce" instead of "Hawkeye Pierce". Or, "middle attacks" instead of "missile attacks". I could blame it on the auto-correct function on the phone, but that'd be too easy. I need to take responsibility for my typos - and when I find them - correct them.

So I've gone through and made a few quick edits. Thanks for not noticing / caring about the typos.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Carry on


I'm not interested in hari-kari (or Hairy Kerry, for that matter) or asking anyone else to do it either. But, yeah this is reason #17 that Hawkeye Pierce is awesome.

Rush time in a college town

You know it's rush week at UCO when things like this start appearing:

That's a giant foam & bubbles explosion coming forth from the landscaped water feature in front of the hospital.

Crazy frat kids doing crazy frat pranks!!

*secretly wish I'd thought of it first*

I wonder how many bottles of Dawn they dumped in there? That's pretty impressive.