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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Commercials on TV

As a reasonably well-educated man who has lived and observed life for several decades, I am puzzled. What puzzles me is the thinking behind many of today's television commercials. The ones that annoy me the most are those that tell some alleged memorable or supposedly amusing story but that have little or no relation to the product they are selling. Even if I get or appreciate the vignette or story, what makes the creators of these commercials think I will transfer those warm and fuzzy feelings to their product? Or that I will even mentally connect the point of the commercial to their product,their company? "Ah yes, I just love that commercial about the dancing squirrels. But what are they selling?"

Monday, December 5, 2011

Analogies to describe Republican schemes

For various reasons I have taken most of this past semester off from Blogging. I'm not positive I want to dive back into the deep end of the pool. But we'll dabble a little during this "downtime" and see how it goes.
I've been puzzled by the way the media and the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress have avoided challenging Republicans on some rather outlandish demands they have made every since they retook the House of Representatives a year ago and retain their stranglehold on the Senate by using Senate rules to insist on super majorities in that chamber. It got me thinking if I could find analogies that would highlight this in different ways. Here's the first effort.
1. Analogy: for those who signed onto Grover Norquist’s “Pledge”.
It’s like the Republican football team takes the field and at the coin toss declares to the referees (media?) that they will only play if everyone agrees that their end of the field, from the 30 yr. line, through the “Red Zone” and their goal line and end zone are all off-limits. They wish to play only from the 30 yr. line to the other end of the field. On any occasion where play penetrates their imaginary new goal, even though it’s not the actual goalline, they will leave the playing field (mostly by invoking Senate filibusters and “super-majority” requirements) until the situation is rectified.
What’s incredible is that the opposing team (Democrats) would agree to continue playing, to give in to these demands.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Geographic Cure?

At the conclusion of this unending burning summer, I'm tempted to consider relocating to the Pacific Northwest. Such a move would solve Global Warming's impact on us, plus put some distance between us and Rick Perry. Where's the down side in this?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Congressional Debt Crisis vs State-sponsored Gambling

Will anyone else note the odd juxtaposition of tonight's "60 Minutes" segment on state-sponsored gambling the very weekend Congress is imploding? We citizens have the budget crisis that we do because we choose to. We throw away resources on gambling, legal and not, state-sponsored and not, because we choose to. We don't pay the cost of having a 21st century government -- but instead borrow up to 40% of those costs -- because we choose to. We could tax ourselves adequately to pay for everything, as we proved in 1998-1999, if we wanted to. But we just don't want to. We want to hit the big payout. We'd like to fund gov't with OPM - (Other People's Money).

Monday, July 18, 2011


So, where's the wall-to-wall coverage of Rebekah Brooks and Rupert Murdoch? Why aren't FOX and Nancy Grace (CNN) all over this?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

NPR Covers "Carmageddon"

I am only occasionally annoyed by news coverage on our local NPR station. But today's coverage of this weekend's "Carmageddon" in Los Angelas was definitely one of those rare occasions. They spent too much of their valuable air time on a nothing story - the anticipated traffic gridlock that will occur when the 405 is closed for a couple of days while DOT widens a lane or adds some space to make traffic flow more smoothly. The way overblown reaction of southern Californians would be amusing if there weren't so many more deserving stories that NPR could have been covering. I don't even feel the need to offer examples. Anything would have been better than this tripe.
The NPR people even referenced the moniker poorly. They declared that the name came from a modern day video game or movie. Here's what the NPR story actually said:
"DEL BARCO: Yes, Carmageddon, a name taken from a graphically violent video game inspired by the cult movie "Death Race 2000." L.A. County supervisor Zev Yarovsavsky coined the term for what essentially will be a widening of the road."
Are we to believe that NPR thought this was indeed the origin of the term? Are they totally unaware of "Armageddon" from the Book of Revelation in the New Testament as an example of the ultimate battle, the worst possible conflict?
And what makes the narcissistic people of southern California think that the other 300 million people in America or the 6.5 billion inhabitants of the earth care that a few thousand cars might be stuck in slow traffic this weekend if they ignore warnings. WE DON'T CARE !! Give it a rest!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


It took today's jury verdict in the Casey Anthony case to roust me out of my summer doldrums (and create this Blog posting). The disclaimers have to be legion. Nobody rejoices when a precious child dies needlessly, regardless of who is responsible.
Justice in our judicial system sometimes produces results the public finds abhorrent. But it is still justice. Jurors are too often underestimated and too often pigeon-holed and unfairly characterized.
1. After it's all over, the "reasonable doubt" bar is a high one, but necessary for capital murder cases. What's surprising to me is that the prosecution believed they had cleared this bar even though they couldn't tell how the toddler was killed or when or where.
2. The media is raring to tear apart the jurors for their unexpected verdict. And they are foaming at the mouth over the seemingly wise initial decision by jurors to avoid the media lynching at this time.
3. Pundits "convicted" Casey almost solely on the basis of her immature, inappropriate behavior during the weeks and months following the Caylee's disappearance. She did not behave the way an innocent mother should.
4. When it was first announced this morning that a verdict had been reached, the media jumped to the wrong conclusion and began declaring that it had to mean guilty on the most severe charge and was speculating on capital punishment. Imagine their chagrine when the 3 most severe charges were all returned as "Not guilty".
5. The defense attorney in his statement to the press following the verdict provided a clear analysis of how capital punishment ends up distorting "justice" in some murder cases, like this one.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Separation of Church and State

I don't ususally place here items that I wrote years ago. However, in rereading this essay, I find it still reflects my positions and has not been rendered inapplicable or inaccurate in the intervening ten years since I first jotted it down. And though not many people actually follow my blog (due to my laziness in not writing very much) I decided to repost this here so I could access it more easily in the future.

(First posted May 20, 2001)

Our new president wants to channel some social service resources through faith-based organizations. His rationale is that churches and religious organizations, which are supposedly predisposed to serving "the needy," should be empowered to do so on an equitable, competitive basis with secular social service entities.
Bush seems to be asking why churches and church members should be forced to pay taxes to help the less fortunate and then be expected to devote scarce church money to similar or competing social service ministries.
The president stands behind polls that show Joe Citizen trusts the church down the street to provide high-quality, waste-free soup kitchens or clothing pantries or after-school child care. Those polled supposedly prefer such FBO services to similar government-run service providers. And a big part of this preference is grounded in the widely held belief that all government agencies are rife with waste and bureaucratic inefficiency.
So is this a "win-win" proposition as touted by President Bush? Can churches, whose effectiveness is hampered by oppressive tax burdens on their members, effectively use the deep pockets of Uncle Sam? Can they accomplish their mission and keep separate their efforts to perform social and religious ministries?
Can the government see its goals accomplished with no downside? Are FBOs 100-percent effective and efficient when compared to Uncle Sam's direct efforts?
These questions give rise to other questions. Why do churches need tax revenue resources to accomplish their perceived social service goals? Is God not sufficient to provide? Is it correct to assume that God intended to provide through the auspices of Caesar?
What church would not have enough resources to minister within its neighborhood and vision if church members followed their church's own teachings regarding tithes and offerings? What church would not have enough resources if its members devoted their personal "vice" money (liquor, tobacco, gambling, etc.) to ministry uses?
Why and how did governments ever get involved in social service ministries in the first place? Governments initially functioned to maintain peace, enforce laws and build roads. The U.S. Constitution does not mention feeding the hungry, housing the homeless and caring for orphans. These obligations didn't arise until it was determined churches and families failed to meet those needs. But the failure of churches cannot be laid at the feet of high tax rates and too much government regulation. Prior to government intervention, churches and preachers were talking the talk, but not walking the walk.
So what would change in 2001? How would interested churches better meet the needs of their communities than current secular service organizations?
How can institutions that preside over the most racially segregated hour of the week hope to form a loving, multiracial, self-sufficient community?
How long would it be before "60 Minutes" exposed churches that have taken tax money earmarked for social services to build fancy gymnasiums for affluent congregations and staffs? Who can guarantee that no church would accept social services funds and subsequently purchase luxury mini-vans for their youth programs?
Who believes that government money would not come with government strings attached? Would faith-based organizations be expected, forced, required to compromise on how they tolerate or condone sinful lifestyles because of federal "equal opportunity/equal access" requirements?
Maybe Jesus knew what he was talking about. It seems to me that "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's" is still a valid approach today. Faith-based organizations should continue encouraging followers to minister in their communities - but not with tax revenue. On the other hand, governments should continue meeting the needs of the unserved.
This need not be a case of "either/or." Both efforts are appropriate and worthwhile. Each entity, though, needs the integrity and legitimacy afforded by maintaining the historical separation of church and state.
Dennis Nave is postmaster for the U.S. Post Office in Canyon.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mark Twain and Roger Miller

This first week of 2011 has seen interesting national self-analysis, headlined by the reactions to the senseless shootings in Tucson AZ. Also in the news we have had reports of possible self-censureship from advocates of modifying Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn by replacing the word "nigger" with the word "slave" everywhere it appears. Stated reason for this was to circumvent those who had successully censured the classic from America's classrooms since "nigger" might prove too high a barrier for some to read and appreciate it.
I will set aside consideration of the merits of both sides of this debate. I am admittedly not qualified to discuss or explore how or why a person who is hurt by racially pejorative comments or words might react.
But I wish to posit my perspectve as an alternative for consideration. I believe the entire nation would profit from rehearing, restudying, seeing a Broadway musical from the early 1980s. I would offer as valuable and instructive Roger Miller's BIG RIVER, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. One fascinating aspect of this is that I believe none of the 17 musical numbers in the play contains either the word "nigger" or "slave". What? Didn't Miller realize that the well-known story centers around Huck's friendship with and assistance to Jim and the efforts by bad guys to enslave Jim solely due to race? No matter. The story is clearly told without the specific words that might otherwise keep this artistic work outside the awareness area of 13% of our population.
But I would suggest that the House, instead of doing a fluffy dog and pony show rendition of the Constitution, censured and edited as it was, that they should join together and learn and sing "Worlds Apart". If that doesn't bring genuine tears to Boehner's eyes, then the rest of his time crying on demand is indeed fake.