Monthly Archives: April 2007

Time to make a choice

This past year has brought two useful suggestions for preventing the spread of colds.
One suggestion is that when you sneeze, do not cover your sneeze with your hand. Rather, sneeze into your elbow. This will prevent your getting cold germs on your hands and transferring them to objects that other people handle, like papers, door knobs, handrails, etc.
The other suggestion is that when you have a cold and you need to shake hands with someone, do as the ancient Romans did. Each person reached out his weapon hand and clasped just below the elbow of the other. The Roman arm clasp prevents germs on one person’s hands from getting onto the other person’s hands.
I don’t think we are there yet.


In a free market economy, if you can’t afford it you can’t have it. Oh, if you are on the margin, you can easily find a predatory lender who will give you an opportunity to mortgage yourself six feet under, but that won’t mean you have anything. That means you will never have anything. The market-driven corporate economy draws the bottom line. It applies to everything in the current right-wing conservative mindset except children. You have to have children — because life belongs to God. Unfortunately, health care belongs to the insurance companies, and that is why government can’t step in with any regulation or, their God forbid, a national health care system.
That is why we are reading this story in The New York Times today by Erik Echolm:

In Turnabout, Infant Deaths Climb in South
HOLLANDALE, Miss. ? For decades, Mississippi and neighboring states with large black populations and expanses of enduring poverty made steady progress in reducing infant death. But, in what health experts call an ominous portent, progress has stalled and in recent years the death rate has risen in Mississippi and several other states.
The setbacks have raised questions about the impact of cuts in welfare and Medicaid and of poor access to doctors, and, many doctors say, the growing epidemics of obesity, diabetes and hypertension among potential mothers, some of whom tip the scales here at 300 to 400 pounds….
To the shock of Mississippi officials, who in 2004 had seen the infant mortality rate ? defined as deaths by the age of 1 year per thousand live births ? fall to 9.7, the rate jumped sharply in 2005, to 11.4. The national average in 2003, the last year for which data have been compiled, was 6.9. Smaller rises also occurred in 2005 in Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee. Louisiana and South Carolina saw rises in 2004 and have not yet reported on 2005.

The article notes that481 babies died in 2005, 65 more than in 2004.
There is more to being supportive of human life than just denying women elective abortions. Somewhere we have to find the means to take care of human beings who are already breathing.
The Neocon bubble-heads have subverted the American Dream of doing well to a corporate economy none of us wanted. Currently wealth distribution in the United States has the profile of a despotic third world country, not a civilized society in which life is actually valued.
Now if you are ready to say, “Well, if those people would just exercise more and eat less, they would be more healthy and their children would live,” take a walk through a grocery store and price your market basket with fresh produce, lean meat, and low-glycemic Ezekiel bread. Poor people can’t eat right, can’t afford a health club, and don’t have a doctor. Most of the poor don’t have lawns and gardens to tend for exercise. We don’t keep poor rural or urban neighborhoods safe for evening walks or jogging the way we do gated communities. So if you are ready to say “Well, if those people …” first wake up and take a look around you.
Pro-life for my money is pro national health care, pro safe neighborhoods, pro public education, and against saying “those people.”

Don’t look now

The Bush administration still has a few months to make headway in the neocon agenda, and under cover of the Iraq war the cultural initiative to return American women to the dark ages is scoring clear victories. Two came out in the past week, both attacks on women’s equality and women’s health.
The first is an announcement without any notice or discussion, a “clarification” of policy by the so-called Department of Education (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, as Glen says).
Surveys can be used to show Title IX compliance, a USA TODAY story by Kathy Kiely states:

New federal guidelines for compliance with Title IX, the law that has helped get more women involved in sports, permit schools to avoid adding more athletic opportunities for students if an Internet survey indicates they are not interested.
Critics say the guidelines, issued Friday with no public fanfare by the Department of Education, represent a significant weakening of the 33-year-old law banning sex discrimination at schools receiving federal funds.
“They’re finding a way to weaken Title IX,” said Neena Chaudhry, senior counsel of the National Women’s Law Center. “This allows schools the easy way out.”
Education Department officials adamantly denied the charge, termed “bogus” by spokesman Susan Aspey.
“This is simply an additional clarification. This is not a new way of doing business,” said James Manning of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. “We’re trying to help schools.”

Over at is a good analysis of another assault on women?s health Supreme Court upholds ban on “partial-birth” abortion By Lynn Harris:

Reproductive rights advocates say the ruling is more than just another attempt to “chip away” at Roe v. Wade. “It took just a year for the new court to overturn three decades of established constitutional law. It’s a stunning assault on women’s health and the expertise of doctors who care for them,” said Nancy Northrup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. She offered this paraphrase of the decision: “‘We don’t take precedent seriously. This is a new day. Bring it on.'”
Indeed, many who oppose this ruling consider the decision a golden ticket for even more states to pass outright abortion bans. “This ruling is an invitation to further laws banning abortion, procedure by procedure,” says Planned Parenthood Federation of American attorney Eve Gartner, who argued Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood. “The court’s failure to adhere to past precedent is a signal that it’s willing to reconsider other precedents in this area and perhaps even Roe. There’s no doubt that legislatures around the country will be passing more and more restrictions as a result and the court in not too long will probably be forced to consider the question of whether Roe is the law of the land.”

The military surge is not having the desired effect in Iraq, but the surge in radical right appointments is working fine here at home.

Our ignorance is beginning to show ?

Over at CNN this morning in a story named ?Jesus Sells? presented by Susan Hendricks and narrated by Delia Galligher, both commentators call Jesus a prophet ? so, it is cute, ?profit from a prophet,? but in the current christianist spirit of the times I imagine there will be Easter eggs thrown at them.
The relevant text is in Matthew 16:13-18, where the divinity of Jesus is stated by Peter and confirmed by Jesus. Jesus further states that His divine nature has not been revealed by earthly witnesses, but that it was revealed to Peter by God Himself. This scripture contains the absolute statement that Jesus is not a prophet. Matthew 16:18 is the foundational scripture of Christianity, the reason St. Peter?s Basilica in Rome is called St. Peter?s, and the establishing scripture of the Catholic church.
Now, over in islamist tradition and scripture, Jesus is recognized as a prophet, but he is a lesser prophet than Mohammed. And because of the declaration in Matthew 16:16, the islamists call Christians polytheists ? since we obviously have at least two gods, Jesus and His Father.
Personally at Easter I am for the chocolate bunny and the jellybeans, coloring the boiled eggs for the kiddies, and looking at the spring flowers. I have been out of the theological discussion so long that I don?t even know whether to call the misstatement at CNN apostasy or heresy, but I know it is one of those. Could be it is both. Or maybe you can?t be apostate or a heretic just because you are ignorant. Go ask a theologian.
However, let?s be clear about this. Christians aren?t profiting from a prophet. In the terms of their own liturgy, when they sell the little WWJD trinkets and the horseshoe nails on a bead chain they are profiting from the ?Christ, the Son of the Living God.? (Matt. 16:16, KJV)