The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Free Of Me

I stood on top of that hill and watched. It was ice cold and the wind blew strong in my face through the whole day.  Yet I stood still and looked, till the sun set in the west one more time.  As night came on, the last thing my eyes saw through their weak tears was that my hands had turned blue, and I found that my legs ached and were stiff with frost.

She had not come back, nor would she, this time.  Filled with gloom and with a shirk of grief I tried to turn and walk back to my "home", which had been turned by me to a real hell.  But I tripped, and fell, and bled.  I fell hard, like a tree that falls to the dread ax, but I was cut by my own ax; I had made it wide and I had honed it so sharp, that once it turned back to meet my roots, I knew that I could stand no more.  I beat my wife once too much and now, in her strength, she was gone.

Laid on the hard rock ground, bared to the now black sky of doom, with no one who should think of me or care for me or save me, I could but wait to die.  I knew that she would soon be free of me.  My one last vain hope was that in death, I, would be free of me.

Did you notice the pattern in this story?  The challenge today was to write something using only one syllable words.

By the way...MILLERWRITES copy is COPYRIGHTED. Why cut and paste when you can simply copy the link?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Regarding Rachel Maddow's Rant; Part II

In the previous post on MILLERWRITES, I went through the first 10 of the 18 statements Rachel Maddow made, as given below.  This copy is how it came to me, and this is enough material for me to address without getting too much of a headache; though I have since seen the video where RM goes on from here with a  longer, and continually disjointed speech in which her undying loyalty to Barack Obama's presidency is unwavering.

I will start here with the eleventh statement. 

"And nobody is taking away anyone's guns."
But is it not clear that liberals/progressives/Democrats want to take away everyone's guns?  Of course they do.  That's what "gun control" is all about, and only so far, has that intent been stymied.  To point out that it is not happening now, as if that means nobody wants such controls to be enforced, is simply dishonest.

"And taxes have not gone up."
Again Rachel.  Are you suggesting that taxes are not about to rise through the roof?  Now that the election is over, and what people in the know are calling "Taxmageddon" is just around the corner, and Obamacare is soon to be implemented (Such a coincidence that its staggering costs will only become apparent to the masses after the election!), taxes will be going up and up and up.  I gave RM a "TRUE" here, but I also have to give her a "DISHONEST" for the amazing two-sided falsehood she includes.  On one hand, she implies that she believes taxes not going up is a good thing (otherwise, the claim would not be listed here as a reassurance), and on the other hand she knows full well this supposed positive state will not last long.  A truthful dishonesty is a lie.

Yipes!  I just went back to the picture above and noticed that I skipped one of RM's "facts".  Sorry about that folks.  Here it is, albeit out of its proper order.

"And Climate Change is real."
Not sure why the words are capitalized in the picture, as if "Climate Change" deserved the same respect as a proper proper noun, but that was probably some transcriber's idea, not RM's.

Yes Rachel, climates do change.  That is true.  I remember when global cooling was feared by our best meteorologists.  They tried to teach us that we all would soon be freezing to death.  Too bad they were not smart enough to attach any and all weather phenomenon to their fear mongering as our modern marketers
scientists have done today.  If we had listened to them, perhaps we would have turned up the smokestacks and reduced auto engine efficiency so that the green house effect would save the planet from the looming ice age.

Back to the point.  Is "man made" climate change real?  We know that man made political posturing is real, and man made scientific peer pressure is real, and that man made attempts at economic control are real, but has anyone proven that the minuscule temperature change observed is man caused?  NO.  Average temperatures have gone up and down in cycles for many decades.  The same scientists alarming us now (with political incentive) tell us the earth has been through multiple ice ages.  What caused those many back and forth shifts in climate?  Did someone simply forget to blame mankind for those variations?

Yes, "climate change is real" but just put your coat on or take it off, and you'll be OK.  Don't let them get you with the old "bandwagon fallacy".

"And the deficit is dropping, actually."
I don't know what she is talking about here except for the small blip on the graph, but I'm impressed with the ending qualifier; "actually".  That's like the "actually" a fifth grade liar tacks on to his lie about whether he did his homework.  He thinks it makes the blatancy of his claim more credible, but it just draws attention.

Again RM suggests that she believes lowering the deficit is a good thing, but would she not advocate for everything "worthwhile" like Big Bird being federally funded, even IF he (she?) effected the deficit upward?
If in fact the deficit is dropping (and how in fact can it be measured since the country has been working without a budget to measure it by?), isn't that only accomplished by raising the national debt?  Actually?

[Another point:  If the small drop in the deficit is reassuring enough that we can continue with our present economic leadership's policies, then why turn the world upside down over the minor changes we see in the climate?]

"And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction."
You can not prove a negative.  Such WMDs were not found when we searched Iraq, this is true.  But much evidence remains that they were there. Ask the poisoned Kurds what they think.  One Iraqi General testified that they were transferred to Syria just before our invasion.

Even so, I would call RM's reference to this subject very childish.  Are there people using Saddam's WMDs as evidence that Obama did not win Ohio?  What is the connection here?

"And the Moon landing was real."
Again with the capital!  Oh well.
And again with the weird reference.  Is she seriously associating the kooks who suggest the moon landing was a fake with those many world wide intelligence services who concluded that Iraq had WMDs?  I wish I were more up on identifying logical fallacies, but even though I don't know all their names, I do recognize their faces, and this type of argument is in the fallacy of relevance family.

"And FEMA is not building concentration camps."
If I were to give this one a TRUE I would be violating my own stated principle that one can not prove a negative.  But, FEMA is probably not building concentration camps anyway (If they were, they would probably be unsafe!).

This is still another fallacy of relevance that RM is using to control the reaction of her audience.  This type of ad hominem attack on all who are not her backers should be shunned as divisive and bullying.

"And UN election observers are not taking over Texas."
And I would wish them luck if they did try some kind of actual military type "take over", as RM is reprehensibly suggesting is the topic.  When noting that the UN did actually send observers to watch polls, did someone say they were "taking over Texas"?  I don't think so.  And if such a phrase was used, did it not simply mean that the UN was confronting the state's (and the country's) sovereignty in an unprecedented and offensive manner?  And that none of us should abide such actions?

If so, then isn't RM denying, or seeming to deny the validity of such objections?  I would rather hear someone discuss the facts and reveal his/her stand, than see them leave such uncomfortable implications on the table.

"And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as communism."
But Rachel, though I give you credit for making a TRUE statement, you must give me credit for recognizing the straw man nature of the statement.  You use the word "moderate" as if that were the same word we would all use to describe new regulations imposed by this administration.  It is not.  You set up a moderate straw man, so that you can knock it down in public, but others are trying to address the very liberal, and yes, communistic (overreaching, unreasonable, government controlled) regulations that take too much management authority away from individuals.  Your tone is derisive and dismissive of real concerns held by people who would rather discuss real time effects of overblown regulations, but it seems you would rather shut them up by misrepresenting their concerns.  If I may be so bold, I would say, that's not very nice.

Thanks for wading through all this with me.
To all who hold to the idea that Rachel Maddow is like the Queen of intelligent argument, and that her views are unassailable, I don't get it.  She is likely convinced of her own positions because of such fallacious thinking as is represented here, but I suggest that we should be able to identify such weaknesses and find a better path to a better discussion.

By the way...MILLERWRITES copy is COPYRIGHTED. Why cut and paste when you can simply copy the link?

About Rachel Maddow's Careless Rant

A friend of mine recently reposted the following statement by Rachel Maddow on her Facebook page and I, as is my wont, had to chime in on its legitimacy.  Not that Rachel can't say anything she wants to, legitimately, but that this list was given over as "Rachel Rocks the Facts".  A legitimate list of "facts", it is not.  Rather than go back and forth bothering a FB friend about something she was so excited about (She deserves to be happy that the candidate she fought for won the election!), I thought I would generalize my views to a larger audience (?) and get specific about Rachel Maddow's "facts" here, on MILLERWRITES.

"Ohio really did go to President Obama last night. And he really did win."
Perhaps she is alluding to the way Karl Rove embarrassed himself on Fox News by second-guessing the decision desk at Fox.  They gave the Ohio race, and thereby the national victory, to Obama when only 75% of the votes in that vital state were reported, and Rove made a point of arguing they may have jumped the gun.  Fox decision desk was right.  Ohio went for Obama, and so he held the Presidency.

"And he really was born in Hawaii."
Only a few kooky people think this is a big issue.  Instead of being careful who she paints this kooky color, RM is using a broad brush to paint as many political opponents as possible with a tinge of absurd.  That is weak, and certainly unfair.

"And he really is legitimately president of the United States again."
Of course, if someone was not born in the US, as the Constitution requires, he would not be a "legitimate" president right?  Let's be careful that we don't ignore or dismiss that legal test in the future.  Or, let's change the Constitutional guidelines so that whatever new guidelines we deem appropriate are in place and enforced.

"And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month."
Nor did they this month, when it went back up a tenth, to make it higher than it was when Obama took office.  (What exactly did he do well for us, again?  And how will his policies be different/better this time around?)

"And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy."
What is the point of picking the view of one source to reference, Rachel?  Why not instead try to refute the specific evidence in history, when it has been done?  JFK cut taxes, and Federal revenues multiplied.  Ronald Reagan, did the same thing and had the same result.  Citing a negative ("...can find no evidence that...") is meaningless.

"And the polls were not skewed to over sample Democrats."
As I understand it, many polls did over sample Democrats, on the assumption that an overabundance of Democrats would turn out to vote again in 2012.  Most conservative analysts thought THAT was the critical "skew" that would surprise the pollsters when the results came in.  SURPRISE!  The pollsters guessed correctly and the conservative/hopeful/optimistic pundits were wrong.

"And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad.  Nate Silver was doing math."
I do not have any knowledge of Nate Silver or of what was said about him, nor about his math skills.  I would surmise, however, that this relates to number 6 above.  Yes, conservatives (mostly) got projections and predictions all wrong.

"And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes"
Todd Akin's foolish comment was obviously foolish to all (except him, even when confronted by the absurdity of his idea and challenged to withdraw by every conservative who could get his ear).  If he did have to say something about rape and abortion in this campaign season which was actually focused on the fiscal cliff that is looming, he might have been better off to stick with more solid facts.  For example: A pregnancy represents an independent life.  The little person's conception circumstance does nothing to change his or her right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Romney's pandering notwithstanding, children conceived and born, even through rape, should be allowed to live.

"And evolution is a thing."
(And I saw many comments left by people who are in awe of RM's great intelligence!!)
Who could disavow this profound claim?  Yes, evolution IS a thing.  But what is it Rachel?  I do think I know what it actually is.  It is a theory.
Perhaps you meant to suggest that evolution is an absolute, set in stone, scientifically proven fact of life.  Perhaps you meant that, but I don't want to insult your intelligence.  It's still just a theory.  And as time passes, its proponents are weakening and its detractors are gaining a larger thoughtful support.  Ask yourself this question:  Can I name ONE thing about the theory of evolution that has been scientifically established as an absolute fact?  (Not, "what one thing is asserted or claimed or surmised")

"And Benghazi was an attack on us, it was not a scandal by us."
This one makes my blood boil!
Thank you RM, for correcting the President.  He claimed repeatedly that this was not a terrorist attack on us on 9/11, but stated that it was a simple protest in the street by some people who were upset about a movie trailer that had been online for months!  And you are right again.  The terrorist attack on the consulate and the CIA annex were NOT "a scandal by us."  If you want to parse words, fine.
But now that you are on a roll, you might pause to describe the administration's decisions BEFORE, DURING and AFTER the attack as being rife with scandal!
Only a determined ideologue, and not an intelligent, unbiased journalist, could refuse to acknowledge this truth.  But a good journalist will go on to seek answers no matter which vested interest they impugn. Will your admirers remember your trite belittling of these events when the questions do get answered?

Well, there are eight more "facts" in this list to be addressed, but this post is getting long so I will break my answers into two blog posts.  The rest seem to be made up of simple insinuations of the type that would offend any one trying to carry on a reasonable argument, and should betray only weakness of position.
Like if you were just about to prove that your Father's car has more doors than my Father's, and I said "But your Mother wears army boots!"  But I will look closer at those later.

Thanks for coming by MILLERWRITES.  I hope you leave a comment.

By the way...MILLERWRITES copy is COPYRIGHTED. Why cut and paste when you can simply copy the link?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

About the Coming Black Exodus from the Democratic Party

Should a penguin give up his tuxedo to come to your casual party?
Would you have a leopard remove his spots if they clashed with your furniture?
Could you expect a tree to exchange its leaves for feathers, under mere pressure to conform?

Should a Christian give up his Bible to support your political party?
Would you have a believer leave his doctrine at the door because you deemed it intolerant?
Could you expect a marriage to exchange its defining attribute for meaninglessness, under mere pressure to conform?

This is my simplistic attempt to rephrase the amazingly powerful statements of EW Jackson, on why Christians of all colors, shapes and sizes should leave the Democratic party "en mass".  I hope you watch this for yourself, and see why Christians and Jews, especially African Americans, should not tolerate what that party has done to them.

By the way...MILLERWRITES copy is COPYRIGHTED. Why cut and paste when you can simply copy the link?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Stretching Question Five...of FIVE!

Every day in the shipyard workers gather in manageable groups of a few dozen, generally separated according to the various trades, and "stretch". Along with dozens of other fitters, and a contingent of invading welders, I stand outside in whatever weather is beholden and go through a series of ligament warming, muscle waking and bone bending exercises designed to prepare our bodies for a safe and productive day.

During this grind, one of the leaders begins to ask us some of the FOUR questions we should ask ourselves throughout the day.  A QUESTION FIVE always comes to my mind on these occasions.  Finally, I am now getting around to expounding on this question.

Please read about QUESTIONS ONE ,TWOTHREE, and FOUR before going on.


"How can I do whatever I do today for the glory of God?"

This question is based on an important Bible verse found in First Corinthians chapter 10.  Verse 31 says:

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the                                 glory of God.

Yes, the shipyard's FOUR QUESTIONS are all important, and worth thinking about during the work day, but one might argue that they (and many others) are wrapped up and covered by my QUESTION FIVE.  How could I mistakenly hurt myself or my partner or our equipment or waste time, if I am deliberately working to honor my God all day long?  

This reminds me of the fact that the further people move from God's simplest instruction to "love your neighbor as yourself", or even away from His basic 10 commandments, the more detailed and picayune our self regulating rules must become.  In the wake of the Sandusky abuse case, Penn State just came out with new rules for the whole collegiate staff.  Now, each member is officially required (contractually!) to be sensitive and care about others!    And Florida now legally requires allegations to be reported to authorities instead of a school staff trying to deal with them in house. Oh good! (Perhaps the authorities will actually make a difference instead of as the courts did in Brookfield Wi. where a man actually violated a restraining order and killed his wife and two other women in a day spa.)

If only Mike McQueary or Joe Paterno or Graham Spanier had my QUESTION FIVE in hand, or, God's verse 31 above in mind, when deciding what to do about what was going on in the locker room.  Not to mention the self control possibly gained by Sandusky himself if he were committed to following Paul's teaching to the Corinthians.

But should I, for consistency sake, convert QUESTION FIVE to the same negative format used in the other questions?  Something like:  "How can I do everything I do today without ever considering God's foundational role and vital importance in my life?  Yes, I think I should.  For consistency sake (if not for brevity), and to make it much easier to demonstrate how we typically and actively disdain God's rightful place, or apathetically ignore His relevance every day.

So while you are stretching out that spine to one side and then the other, ask yourself QUESTION FIVE today.

"How can I do everything I do today without ever considering God's foundational role and vital importance in my life?

I could be planning how to spend my paycheck instead of noticing that the crane is swinging a load over my head.
I could think about my coming sandwich while my partner's pant leg bursts into flame.
I could let my grinder fall and break another $10.00 wheel. 
I could be thinking about where I'm going to hide until break time today.

I could stand and listen, even though I can tell the joke being told is about to go raunchy.
I could turn and walk away, even though a guy just mentioned his looming divorce.
I could ignore the guy eating his lunch all alone, again.
I could be ashamed of the Gospel, pretending that my life as a believer makes no difference.
I could complain about the long day, the weather, the boss, management and/or my wife.
I could decry Mondays and celebrate only "hump days" and Fridays.

I could make sure Saturdays and Sundays are all about me.
I could focus on myself for the rest of my life, and still hope to commune with God comfortably for eternity.

[Ouch.  It was way too easy to come up with these answers to QUESTION FIVE!]

What does "glory" mean anyway?  Not bright lights and angels singing.  Glory means weight.  To give God glory means to recognize and proclaim that He is IMPORTANT.  That His existence has MATTER, or does MATTER.  

I check my various pockets in a little patting routine before I leave the house every day:  Cell phone? Pat; Wallet? Pat; Keys? Pat.  And I perform a conscious survey of the rest of my VITAL requirements:, boots, proper clothes, LUNCH BOX.  These are all weighty considerations, because I can't get to, get into, or perform my work if one of these is missing.  But most importantly, do I have the right attitude ready?  Instead of being anxious, am I trusting God?  Am I dreading another day of hard work, or looking for opportunities to serve and minister to people God loves?  Will I come home worn and selfish, or ready to bless my family with grace?  Will "whatever I do" be an affront to my God, or lift up His name?


By the way...MILLERWRITES copy is COPYRIGHTED. Why cut and paste when you can simply copy the link?