Werewolves and Our Desires

I recently ran across this great quote from Teddy Roosevelt.

“God save you from the werewolf and from your heart's desire.”

Our heart's desires might be more dangerous because they are not as noticeable as the werewolf.

Nader wants Obama to talk black

I found this article completely dumbfounding. Nader: Obama trying to 'talk white'

Nader wants Obama to talk about the things that Nader cares about - I guess we should know these subjects as "black talk". I would assume that Nader was a black homeless urbanite by this article and feels betrayed by his half-black compatriot abandoning his people and not joining his cause. In trying to make his point, Nader is portrayed as believing white people talk about one thing and black people talk about another, which is a load of horse manure since he is white and wanting to talk about "black things". What a load of racism. Nader, although trying to be helpful, is disparaging to both white and black people. I wonder what the Hispanic or Asian-American issues are. Can they stray from those issues without abandoning their race?

I understand that Nader wants certain issues discussed. Going about it this way just made those issues untouchable. What a political snafu. Those issues should not be defined by the color of our skin or any other arbitrary identification method. In describing them as such, he just put Obama in the "black corner" if he does talk about them.

What are we going to do to help the poor in urban settings? Something needs to be done, and Nader is right that it should be talked about. Nader just insured that the subject will remain on the backburner by making it a color of our skin issue rather than a plight of our neighbor issue.

Nader's opinion that both parties are in the hands of corporations would ring true with many Americans, but he needs to be more careful to not be a racist in the future or his message will be diluted because the media already does not want to give him the time of day.

Next Time, Mr. Nader, don't make an issue into a race issue. It does no good for the conversation.

The Happening - A Movie Dialogue - What is the Happening in M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening?

Spoiler Warning
If my interpretation of the Happening is actually what M. Night Shyamalan intended rather than what everyone is concluding, then the movie is a great social commentary but a lackluster movie. The almost overwhelming internet consensus is that the source of the disease is an attack by the plants on society. That is the overwhelming argument made by people throughout the movie.

But right at the beginning when Mark Wahlberg's character is teaching his high school science class, I leaned over and said that there is no reason for the happening. I came to this conclusion because the discussion in the class debated why the bees were dying off. The conclusion was that some acts of nature are not understandable and that we, humans, will come up with an explanation to explain them whether it is true or not.

Then the movie continued to happen, the disease spread, and everyone started claiming that the plants were the source without any real verifiable evidence - actually with evidence to the contrary: The safest spots seemed to be places that had the most plants.

The movie is a debate of post-modernism, inappropriate application of the scientific method, and the desire of the human mind for conclusion. If that is actually the case, it is a very interesting commentary on our society and a great place to start discussions. If it is the plants just attacking humanity, then it is possibly the most ridiculous movie I have ever seen. I would not have thought it was the latter except for the people I went to see it with concluded that the plants were the source; an investigation of the internet leads to an overwhelming voice that claims the same.

The point that humans desire conclusions and explanations even when there are none might just be manifesting itself in the viewers of this film. The real meaning appears to be that there is actually no known cause of this act of nature but we like to make a cause up to feel comfortable; we need conclusions. The people in the film concluded that it was the plants, so the viewers went right along. Although there were many causes presented throughout the film, most viewers chose the easiest cause to cling to, but in the end the true cause was still unknown. Many viewers were happy with the cause being those vindictive plants because it brought them a conclusion to a movie that purposefully had no conclusion, but this led them to hate the movie because of a silly story about plants attacking. Shyamalan might have just outdone himself and created an inaccessible masterpiece that actually created the desire in humans that the movie was making the point that we should not have. It would be a lackluster movie in that many people did not enjoy it because of their conclusion, but it would be a masterful social commentary.

Entertaining: 3/5
Inspiring: 2/5
Ethical Thinking: 5/5

I will never, ever watch this again. Too many gruesome suicides. But then again, I might show it in a class or make it required viewing outside of class to start a discussion of what is the proper interpretation of past events.

McCain on Abortion - Is he pro-choice or pro-life

This is in response to a comment on a post on a spiritual/theological blog that I wrote. I figured it became too political to continue the discussion there. So here is my response to the comment that McCain is pro-life.

He has voted in support of certain pro-life measures, but he does not appear to be pro-life.

Here is the full article and some excerpts:

"'He spoke five times about not overturning Roe,' said David O'Steen, Executive Director of National Right to Life. 'It was a consistent line for a period of time. This wasn't just misspoken one time.'"

From another site that argues he is pro-life

"I have stated time after time after time that Roe v Wade was a bad decision, that I support a woman — the rights of the unborn — that I have fought for human rights and human dignity throughout my entire political career," McCain said. "To me, it's an issue of human rights and human dignity."

I really have no idea what he is saying there if he does not want to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Another site has a good number of quotes from McCain on the issue:

Here is the question asked to him in a debate by Alan Keyes. I find it interesting that he just would not give a clear answer. Heck, if someone asked me about anyone that I knew contemplating abortion, I would offer to adopt their baby. So if one of my daughters did not want their baby, I would gladly raise it.

KEYES [to McCain]: What you would say if your daughter was ever in a position where she might need an abortion? You answered [earlier today] that the choice would be up to her and then that you’d have a family conference. That displayed a profound lack of understanding of the basic issue of principle involved in abortion. After all, if your daughter said she was contemplating killing her grandmother for the inheritance, you wouldn’t say, “Let’s have a family conference.” You’d look at her and say “Just Say No,“ because that is morally wrong. It is God’s choice that that child is in the womb. And for us to usurp that choice in contradiction of our declaration of principles is just as wrong.

McCAIN: I am proud of my pro-life record in public life, and I will continue to maintain it. I will not draw my children into this discussion. As a leader of a pro-life party with a pro-life position, I will persuade young Americans [to] understand the importance of the preservation of the rights of the unborn.
Source: (X-ref from Keyes) GOP Debate in Manchester NH Jan 26, 2000

McCain said, “I’d love to see a point where Roe vs. Wade is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary. But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe vs. Wade, which would then force women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.” A spokesman said that McCain “has a 17-year voting record of supporting efforts to overturn Roe vs. Wade. He does that currently, and will continue to do that as president.”
Source: Ron Fournier, Associated Press Aug 24, 1999

When I began to research this, I became hopeful that he was pro-life. In the end, I had to conclude that he is not. He is somewhere in the middle (like he is on most issues) between pro-life and the fringe pro-choicers. However, the middle does not make one pro-life, it makes one pro-choice.

Skin Cancer Update

Well, here is the latest.

I went to the surgeon yesterday expecting to get cut on because that is what my doctor told me to expect. The surgeon was a really nice guy, but he was not going to do any cutting yesterday. The process is a little ridiculous. I understand that he would like to see me before cutting, but it is an hour and a half trip one way to see them.

He looked at where he would cut and a few other moles that he wanted to cut out. He is going to cut out a section in between my sideburns and my right eye that will be between 1/2 to 3/4 inch diameter. The stitching will pull my eye back some. He says that it will stretch back in around six to eight weeks. I never thought I would have a disfiguring scar on my face. I guess I never thought a lot of things concerning my mortality. It is sort of strange, but then I remind myself that others have it worse.

The "reassuring" information that he shared is that people that catch the melanoma at this stage have a 90% survival rate. I guess I am a cup half empty sort of guy because it made me think that I have a 10% death rate going. Strange indeed.

He also said that melanoma, the one I had, and pancreatic cancer are the two quickest and deadliest cancers. It was good that I caught mine early, but if it has spread then it will be bad news. They are going to follow up the surgery with an x-ray of my lungs and some liver tests to check if it spread before removal although they do not think that was likely. I guess the survival rate would go down a lot if that was the case.

It's this waiting period that is frustrating. I would like an all clear to go on with life or a put on your fighting armor because this is going to be tough. The slow followups get frustrating. I am still waiting for the doctor to call and schedule an appointment for the surgery.

Our prayer is still that it did not get a chance to spread before being removed or is not somewhere else on my body. It seems difficult to have faith while sitting around and doing nothing. I would much rather have faith when facing a great challenge rather than faith when sitting around.

Until I know more, I will continue to try to be a good student at school, a good worker at work, a good husband and father, and a good friend and neighbor.

Skin Cancer Update

Well, everything is worked out and I will be visiting a plastic surgeon on June 17. It would have been June 10, but I will be in Philadelphia studying in the archives at a library. Hopefully, they say that I am all clear after removing a bigger area around the cancerous mole and any other worrisome moles. I will know about a week or two after the surgery.

My doctor is also considering further testing to see if I have cancer anywhere else in my body.

The posts on this are brief, and other posting has been less frequent because this and another subject which I am not comfortable posting on, are on my mind.

King George III and the American Revolution

In the years before the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress sent requests to the King, Parliament, and the citizens of Great Britain to fix their grievances. King George III refused to respond in words to the colonies, whether he thought it would further their "rebellion" or legitimize their cause is not clear. Maybe he just wanted the colonies to continue to be "slave" labor. If that was the case, he mismanaged the situation. What is clear is that King George would not talk with the colonies. Whenever the Continental Congress or any other colonial organization sent a request to fix their grievances, King George would answer, not with words, dialogue, or a negotiation, but with another act that would cause more grievances. The failure to communicate and compromise caused the crack between the colonies and Great Britain to become a great divide that eventually led to war and caused the British empire to lose its control over the colonies. A situation that seemed easily remedied became a unnegotiable difference due to King George's failure to talk to the Americans in a civilized way. It appears that King George thought the Americans were not civilized enough to warrant discussion.

Here is an excerpt from Pauline Maier's American Scripture:

No one agreed more heartily [that American's eventual request for freedom from Parliament meant Independence from Britain] than George III, who never wavered in supporting the rights of Parliament. The King was stubborn, not especially imaginative, and temperamentally disinclined to think through the careful arguments colonists posed, which he quickly dismissed as the work of a few troublemakers; it was safer, he though, to take a hard line than to make concessions to such nonsense. He also turned a deaf ear to petitions from the colonists' sympathizers in England, particularly from the City of London, urging that the he intervene on behalf of his American subjects. The First Continental Congress's petition to the King met no better fate: as the Declaration on Taking Up Arms complained, it was 'huddled' into Parliament 'amongst a bundle of American papers, and there neglected.' By the time he received that petition, and months before the outbreak of war, the King had already made up his mind. 'The New England Governments,' he wrote Lord North on November 18, 1774, 'are in a state of rebellion,' and 'blows must decide whether they are to be subject to this country or independent' (23).

This was written in 1997, so Maier was not being directly political to the present times in trying to descibe King George as a mirror-image of our own President George. But the parallels are striking, especially in relation President George's actions toward Iran. Bush (or his hopeful predessecor McCain) will not talk with Iran because he feels that they have committed actions that make them unworthy of our commuication. Bush's feeling is that talking with the Iranians will not help resolve the issue. The problem is that no disagreement can be resolved without talking. The question is whether we talk before a lot of people are killed or after, but talking must happen.

Our leaders must not feel our position of negotiation is not too powerful or we would not depend on our weapons as a main taling point. We must "crush" the Iranians prior to negotiating with them, or we must have them behave like they are already "crushed". We should talk first. If talking fails, then those who pound the war drum will have even more ammunition, but let talking have a chance. As Maier pointed out later in her book, "Wars, it [the American Congress] understood, were not won by ships and sailors and arms alone. Words, too had power to serve the cause of victory" (46). If we are to fight wars, which I am personally against, we should insure that we have placed ourselves in a position to win any moral battle because in the end that will make all of the difference. Personally, I think doing the things that will make us have the moral victory in the end will prevent the war.

There should have been no way that the colonies could beat Great Britain because of Great Britain's superior forces, but they did. We are now a nation free from Parliament and the King.

Let us continue to ignore the past. Let's not talk with Iran. History shows that not talking always leads to bad things. Let us follow in those steps. We must go to war with Iran to punish them for disagreeing with us. It worked so well for King George and the British Empire. It will also work for our President George. There is no way that they can beat us. We have the much superior military forces.