Saturday, March 31, 2012

Can Musikfest Win?

What would happen if Musikfest announced a line up like this?

On the Sands Main Stage

Friday – Madonna kicks off her world tour – opening act is Nikki Minaj

Saturday – Tim McGraw & Faith Hill

Sunday – Mumford and Sons

Monday – Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight & Patty Labelle

Tuesday – Pink and Kelly Clarkson

Wednesday – Rhianna & Drake

Thursday – Prince with The Roots

Friday – Rolling Stones with Bele Fleck opening

Saturday – Springsteen

Sunday – U2

Vesper Concert Series

Friday – Audra McDonald

Saturday – Josh Groban

Sunday – Yo Yo Ma

Monday – Casey Stratton

Tuesday – Joshua Bell

Wednesday – Kate Bush

Thursday – Jessye Norman & Kathleen Battle

Friday – Sutton & Hunter Foster

Saturday – Bette Midler

Sunday – Renee Fleming

Musikfest could announce a line up like this and people would still complain.

Two Marines

I read this on line this morning.

The night before the burial of her husband 2nd Lt. James Cathey of the United States Marine Corps, killed in Iraq, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of “Cat”, and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. “I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it” she said. “I think that’s what he would have wanted”.

Yesterday I was walking into an unnamed big box store to get a prescription filled for $4. Standing at the entrance was a member of a local VFW. I was just going throw a buck into his jar and walk on but he gave me a shopping list of things the troops needed in Afghanistan. The list included bath soap, toilet paper, candy, Chap Stick, sun screen, tooth paste and other useful products. It also included Beanie Babies to set of roadside bombs, balloons to protect guns from sand and Silly String to locate bomb wires. Who knew?

I put the list in my back pocket and went to the pharmacy.

It was going to take about an hour to get my prescription filled so after I whined to the clerk about this I huffed off. I reached into my back pocket and pulled out the list and began to read it again. Before I knew it was wiping away a tear and I thought. “Forchristsake Flad you are standing here being a petulant little bastard while the men and women who make it possible to behave this way are in need some really basic things because the government and taxpayers who sent them to war cannot or will not provide them.” (I actually do talk to myself this way a lot)

I grabbed a basket and started to fill it up. As I left the store I handed the man about 5 bags of stuff. This tough old ex marine with a quiver in his voice blessed me, shook my hand and could not thank me enough. I usually take my sun glasses off when I speak to people but this time I left them on, I didn’t want him to see my tears.

Thank you Marine Thomas Hayden of VFW Post #294!

There was a phone number on the bottom of the shopping list 1-800-456-2322 in case you want to help out.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Lord's Resistance Army

Late last year the President ordered a small contingent of military advisers to Uganda and other central African countries to help local officials find and destroy a group that calls itself The Lord's Resistance Army.

Many conservative leaders used this to prove that President Obama was declaring war on Christians thus proving their point that he was a closet Muslim and Arab Terrorist. After all The Lord's Resistance Army was fighting Muslims in the Sudan and other counties.

The leader of the Republican Party (Rush Limbaugh) said this about the Presidents decision;

Lord's Resistance Army are Christians. It means God. I was only kidding. Lord's Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them. That's what the lingo means, "to help regional forces remove from the battlefield," meaning capture or kill.

So that's a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda, and -- (interruption) no, I'm not kidding. Jacob Tapper just reported it. Now, are we gonna help the Egyptians wipe out the Christians? Wouldn't you say that we are? I mean the Coptic Christians are being wiped out, but it wasn't just Obama that supported that. The conservative intelligentsia thought it was an outbreak of democracy. Now they've done a 180 on that, but they forgot that they supported it in the first place. Now they're criticizing it.

Lord's Resistance Army objectives. I have them here. "To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people." Now, again Lord's Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops to help nations wipe out. The objectives of the Lord's Resistance Army, what they're trying to accomplish with their military action in these countries is the following: "To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people; to fight for the immediate restoration of the competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda; to see an end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans; to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, to ensure unity, sovereignty, and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, and to bring to an end the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization of groups of people who may not agree with the LRA ideology." Those are the objectives of the group that we are fighting, or who are being fought and we are joining in the effort to remove them from the battlefield.

The Lord's Resistance Army actually does the following"
  • Kidnaps young girls and forces them into sexual slavery
  • Kidnaps young boys and turns them into to child soldiers
  • They force these young boys to rape the women in their families, torture and murder their own fathers and perform other acts of violence and terror against their own villages and people
  • They pillage and burn the villages that offers up any resistance to their efforts. They are thieves, pretty criminals and brutal thugs
They do all this in the name of The Prince of Peace and promise to govern the lands they occupy via their understanding of the Ten Commandments.

These terrorist are not by any stretch of the imagination Christian but the American right wing jumped to their defense in their blind and irrational hatred of anything and everything Barack Obama does. To be fair when they were told by their assistants about the true nature of The Lord's Resistance Army many quickly back tracked. They didn't apologize the just said "never mind"

To learn more about The Lord's Resistance Army click onto the link below

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Keeping My Wallet Closed

Campaign fundraising season has hit its full stride.

In the last three weeks I have received invitations to Democratic Party fundraisers in support of the Easton City Party, the Bethlehem City Party and the Northampton County Party.

I was tempted by the Bethlehem fundraiser but I am sticking by my previous commitment to end my involvement in party politics.

I am willing to give to individual candidates but not the party.

I may be supporting a Congressional Candidate this spring. I know I know but politics is the only thing that has been able to keep my interest for more than a few weeks.

OK, maybe not the ONLY thing but the only thing I am willing to write about on this blog. Perhaps I should contact my pal Penny and write a short story for her readers.

All This Talk of War

Why are Republicans beating the drums of war again and not just one war but two?

Is this a Déjà Vue of the last decade? Have these old men forgotten their decade old march of folly? (Apologies to the great Barbara Tuchman) Do they think starting a war will ensure their victory in the fall? Do they think this talk of bombing Syria and Iran will embarrass the President and make him look weak? Are they trying to foment crisis in the Middle East to raise the price of oil and thus the price of gas here in this country in order to stifle the economy and improve their chances in November?

The answer to all of those is yes. Each war monger has his own motive and some of them have multiple motives but trust me none of them are pure and none of them have the best interest of this country truly at heart.

There are some Republican war mongers who claim that we should attack Iran to protect Israel and accuse the President of abandoning Israel. Think about how many of these war mongers are also conservative Christians who believe that only the anointed ones will get into heaven during the end times. Israel plays a key part in the end time story as the savior of the world will lead his battle to install the kingdom of heaven on earth via Israel. They neglect to tell the rest of the story; the Jews will all go to hell when the Prince of Peace comes back to do battle with Satan but until then Israel (the Jewish homeland) is very useful to them.

There is a theory that wars are started by old men who are in the twilight of their lives and resentful of the youthful vitality of the younger generation. These old men start wars so they can send the young off to die and they get to keep their power a little longer and remove the obstacle to younger women. John McCain & Joe Lieberman come quickly to mind here.

Three of the four remaining GOP candidates for President fall into this category:

Chicken Hawk – As defined by Wikipedia

Chickenhawk (also chicken hawk and chicken-hawk) is a political epithet used in the United States to criticize a politician, bureaucrat, or commentator who strongly supports a war or other military action (i.e., a War Hawk), yet who actively avoided military service when of age.

Newt Gingrich – Never served in the military and requested more than 1 deferment

Rick Santorum – Never did anything other than politics

Ron Paul – Served

Mitt Romney – Received a couple of deferments so he could fulfill in Mormon missionary requirement in Paris France not Texas. In 2008 when reminded of his pro-Vietnam war activities as a young man and pro-Iraq and Afghanistan war as a current candidate he was asked if any of his sons have served their country in the military. He responded that his sons were serving their country by working to elect him President.

Barack Obama - never served and neither did Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton but they understand that this nation does not go to war or use its mighty military force unless it is attacked, or in our role as the indispensable nation without the support of the community of nations.