Saturday, January 26, 2013

After the tornadoes: Good Morning! Two takes.

Take one, the original, I think:

Take two, not the original. (But I like Miss Li's enthusiasm):

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tornadoes: happenstance atmospheric confluences, or God punching you in the gut?

Everything is a subject for analysis for me.

Obama's inaugural speech Monday will be analyzed by me. Monday is also Martin Luther King's holiday in the U.S., and his methods have already been analyzed in other posts. I can watch the news on TV and fall into deep analysis. Anything. Practically.

It is hard for me to even read or surf the web or do research for writing without getting sidetracked into a fit of analysis of the few paragraphs I've just read, usually written by some politician or other dolt who thinks freedom of speech means you are obligated to give your asinine wrong opinion on various subjects. I am no exception, I suppose. (In the final analysis.) I seek truth, or at least I think that is my purpose, and that requires a lot of analysis and debate, as well as scorn from other people. Like the OC patient in "As Good as it Gets," one of my main assets is my willingness to be humiliated. Either way, I get at the truth.

Do you find yourself compulsively analyzing as you read, as I do? Ah, the burdens of being gifted, eh?

When I was very young, we were visited by a tornado in our little town. I can remember being taken down to the basement by my mother. My older brother balked but obeyed, his frightened bug-eyed friend came down willingly. I remember standing in the coal bin in the basement looking up through the tiny window at ground level as the elements wreaked their havoc. Soon, my brother lost his false bravado and the friend just stood there, dumbfounded at the creaking of the house above. My mother prayed. My mother always prayed in times of danger, and, when the danger passed, always gave proper credit to God for protecting us from whatever the danger was. The storm lasted what seemed like a long time to a seven year old boy, the torrents of rain blasting against the little window and other loud unidentifiable eerie sounds accompanying my mother's supplications. I can remember just staring up (everything is "up" to a little boy) and just staring at the electrical fuse box on the wall next to the window. I don't remember being afraid. After all, my mom had an "in" with God.

Eventually the storm passed and we went up and out. Amazing to me was the carnage of huge trees lying across the road and telephone lines lying on the ground. I don't remember too much in detail, just bits and pieces. Our house was safe and sound, of course; I had assumed we would be spared. I remember the National Guard and army trucks and their chainsaws and sharp axes and them telling me to get the hell out of the way, but only snippets here and there, like an imperfect movie running in my brain today.

I had an urge to Google the old tornado the other day, to refresh my imperfect childhood memory and see if there were any online pictures of it, and - as always seems to be the case with Google - one thing quickly led to another. It seems our tornado had come a week or two after a much more famous tornado which had struck a larger city about 40 miles away. Soon I forgot about the one I had personally experienced and was in awe at the damage of the bigger one. It seems it was the largest tornado, death-wise, that had ever happened in the U.S., and the record stood until the Joplin, Missouri tornado a couple years ago. That was very interesting Googling for me, especially the old black and white pictures of cars stacked on top of one another and fields full of debris and old newspaper stories of the tragedy and of heroism in the face of danger.

Of course, the next thing I had to do was Google the Joplin tornado. These pictures were in color, of course. They were mostly the same as the old black and white pictures of the earlier tornado, though: debris, death, devastation, pictures of people glumly surveying what used to be their houses. I zeroed in on a picture of a father carrying his daughter down the street in a Joplin neighborhood, past piles of broken lumber and past ruined cars and past (I note all details) two rather befuddled dogs sniffing the piles of debris. I let the actual website load in order to find out what the story of the picture was. The theme of the blog post was not really about the picture, but about "Why does God allow such pain and suffering to happen?" Or some such-like heading. The blog was of some sort of church "ministry" or the like, and they offered a list of reasons why God allowed this stuff to happen..

Analysis by moi ensued.

In my analysis of articles like these, I always am struck by the assumptions made and accepted without proof. The very headline of the post ASSUMED the tornado was a deliberate act of God, to teach his people some lesson or other. Really?

Here are a few reasons the post put forth to it's confused and indignant readership. I paraphrase.

1. God didn't want things like this to happen, but Adam and Eve sinned and rebelled against God in the name of all of us humans. Serves us right. Our own fault that things like this happen.

2. God is testing us. God needs to know that Christians really trust him. Things like tornadoes force us to rely on God.

3. God is punishing us for not giving him credit for the times he protects us.

4. Satan is at work against us. God is forced to shrug and let it happen because we rebelled and chose the way of Satan.

5. It's a mystery. It is all part of God's master plan, and often He does not share these reasons with us. Sometimes we just can't know the reasons these things happen. We must trust that it is all for the best.

I do like to analyze. I seldom take things at face value, especially on the word of "authorities." On the other hand, I am not here to try to tell other people what to believe when it comes to their religion. I'm pretty much aware of how most of the readers of this blog stand on the subject of religion and God, and whether or not you believe in the Jewish/Christian God is not really the issue here, since a belief in a God is not required in order to debate the nature of what such an entity would be. This  post is not even about religion, but rather a post about analysis. It's just that religion, like political beliefs, makes for great debate, even if no one "wins."

I am only now getting to the actual analysis, that which you can debate or give your personal views on, but, as is often the case, I have already overstayed my welcome, length-wise. We may engage in a later post.

Stimulation may ensue.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I think we've been through this before...

"No, you can't secede."

(NEWSER) – White House to Texas: You're staying in America. The Obama administration has officially rejected a petition signed by more than 125,000 people demanding that the Lone Star State be allowed to leave the union, the Houston Chronicle reports. Similar petitions from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, all started within a few days of President Obama's re-election, were also nixed. The White House said the Founding Fathers who created the US "did not provide a right to walk away from it."

"In a nation of 300 million people—each with their own set of deeply-held beliefs—democracy can be noisy and controversial. And that's a good thing," wrote the director of the Office of Public Engagement. "Free and open debate is what makes this country work, and many people around the world risk their lives every day for the liberties we often take for granted." The Obama administration received secession petitions from all 50 states, but only responded to the ones that gained more than 25,000 signatures.

Show me in the Constitution where it says they have to stay after they are admitted into the Union.

But might makes right, as we saw back in 1861.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I stand corrected about violent movies being ok

I bow to Arnold.

You may be sure there is no bias in the below news story.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Arnold Schwarzenegger may be one of the world's biggest action stars but the former governor of California says violence in films is entertainment and should not be linked to tragic events like the Connecticut school shooting in which 20 children died.

The star of films such as "The Terminator," "Predator" and "True Lies" told a press conference before the opening of his new movie, "The Last Stand," on January 18th that "one has to keep (the two) separate."
"(This is) entertainment and the other thing is a tragedy beyond belief. It's really serious and it's the real deal," Schwarzenegger, 65, told reporters.
The actor, who will star in his first leading role in the film since serving as California governor for seven years, said the tragedy in which a gunman killed 20 children and six staff at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, is about more than just guns.
"We have to analyze how we deal with mental illness, how we deal with gun laws, how we deal with parenting," he said.
In "The Last Stand," Schwarzenegger plays a retired Los Angeles policeman who becomes a border town sheriff who must stop a violent drug lord from crossing the border.
The film, with its violent scenes, is the type of movie that National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre recently cited as a contributing factor to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
But Schwarzenegger said that gun laws and mental health guidance need reform, not Hollywood.
"How can we do better with gun laws?" asked Schwarzenegger. "If there are any loopholes, if there's a problem, let's analyze it ... Are we really dealing with the mental problems the right way as a society?"
In terms of parenting, the former politician alluded to the Connecticut killer Adam Lanza's mother, Nancy, who was also shot and killed by her own son on that tragic day.
"Does a mother need to collect guns and take her little kids shooting?" he asked.
"Everything has to be analyzed; no stone unturned," he added. "I think that's what we owe to our people." 

Friday, January 4, 2013

A burning

(NEWSER) - A Connecticut town is getting ready to burn violent video games to protest their "desensitizing" influence on children, the GUARDIAN reports. A group based in Southington, which sits a half-hour from Newtown, is calling on locals to donate their games, DVDs and CDs in exchange for gift certificates "as a token of appreciation for their action of responsible citizenship," the group says. "Violent games turned in will be destroyed" - burned by town workers, according to tech site POLYGON - "and placed in the town dumpster for appropriate permanent disposal."

The town dumpster? How little is this place, anyway?

The group doesn't blame violent video games for the shooting on Dec. 14, it says, but believes such media have "contributed to increasing aggressiveness, fear, anxiety and is desensitizing our children to acts of violence including bullying."

My thoughts? A desperate desire to do SOMETHING, even if it is only a knee-jerk symbolic gesture which will accomplish nothing. It also smacks of book-burning, which I don't encourage. No, what I want to see (my personal opinion only) is for the states to regulate video games sold within their borders. Unfortunately that means interstate commerce regulation, a province of the federal government, and perhaps that is what we need to see happen in this country. More than the federal government is doing now. Horrors. Did I just write that?

Is regulation of free speech a lesser evil than mass shootings?

These things are already regulated and come with age ratings on them. What am I missing? Ah. Enforcement of the law. Such is the failing of any good-intentioned law.


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