Friday, November 7, 2008

From Jeff to Nadine

Hi Nadine,
Been struggling to keep up here in the rain. WRT the leaves, it gets so wet here and the lawn is in shadow, if I were to take the mower to them, we’d have a swamp. I do enjoy the exercise and that day was a good day to get out as the rain has been pouring down ever since, I just wish I’d gotten around to pruning the lavender as they look sad with the summer’s blooms turned brown and weepy.

Oddly enough, I collect old encyclopedias. I just love reading about what people used to think was true.

The trick with cutting and pasting a website url is clicking to highlight it (do you have a Mac or PC?) then press Ctrl and C at the same time to copy, then Ctrl and V to paste it wherever you want to put it.

Ahmadinejad is in many ways like American politicians. He has to get elected so has to appeal to the electorate, his base, if you will. Iran is surrounded by US troops, 150,000 plus contractors in Iraq, 40,000 plus international forces in Afghanistan, look at this map:

How do you think we’d feel if Russia (or any country) had that many troops in Canada and Mexico. By peppering his speeches with anti-American rhetoric he’s playing off his countrymen’s fears, not entirely unfounded fears imo, that the US is a threat. The most viable alternative is the North Korea defense, put together a bomb and tell people to back off, it’s worked for Kim Jong Il. I’m not saying it’s right, just considering circumstances if you put people in a weak defensive position they are going to resort to whatever means to make themselves safe.

Ahmadinejad is something like an Iranian Rudy Giuliani, if Rudy were, say, the Speaker of the House. Ex-Mayor of a big city (Ahmadinejad was Tehran’s mayor) with a mouthpiece and a semblance of power, he influences opinion, but can’t alone pass legislation or dictate policy. At least that’s my simplistic take on it.

Now, about Obama, did you see his press conference:

He’s a breath of fresh air and I think if you give him a chance you’ll see he’s a good guy with all our interests at heart and the skills to make a difference.

I think this is the Rasmussen poll you reference:

“As the presidential campaign comes to a close, a majority of voters (51%) say most reporters have tried to help Barack Obama win the presidency. Just seven percent (7%) think they tried to help John McCain.

Thirty-one percent (31%) say reporters have offered unbiased coverage, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Ten percent (10%) are undecided."

As you can see 7% think they tried to help Mccain, not that they thought the press were “fair and positive” as you said. Two very different things. These are polls, and you must take the polls with a grain of salt, what’s more they’re polls about perceptions of media coverage. It’s like trying to staple numbers to a cloud.

In any case, it’s over now and now we just need to get to work and fix things. I, for one, don’t believe these are the “end days” and I certainly don’t think it could be “proven” if we were in the end days, honestly it would be very hard for me to get anything done otherwise (ahem). Some of the most memorable words from the Catholic mass (besides my personal favorites, “The mass has ended, go in peace.”) are from the Gloria:
Glory be to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

“World without end” – that still means something to me.

Check out the Long Now for a different take on the matter:

I’ve been fascinated by this end days thinking for years (in fact I’ve written a novel about it), and I can’t see how thinking we are in the end days does anyone any good. If we don’t have hope that things can get better in this world for us now and for our children, seven generations if you want to go back to Nathan’s reference to the Law of the Iroquois Confederacy, then, well, we’re running in mud.

I have no intention to get preachy, I’m no saint myself, there are stories I could tell which would curl your toes, but I do believe things can get better and not in some next life I can’t see, but in this life right here, right now.

I envy you your faith, Nadine, a long time ago I had the purity of faith stripped from me. Perhaps my life would be easier if I could put aside the complexities of the world and find peace in the idea I’ll be rewarded in heaven. On reflection, though, I wouldn’t want to have lived my life any other way. The most valuable lesson the priests taught me was that churches, regardless of their origins, are human constructs, and as such are fundamentally flawed. Hence trying to find communion with a higher being, a god, if you will, through such entities also holds flaws.

I’ve rambled on again. I thought I’d be able to say everything I wanted to say in response to your emails, (I didn’t even get to talk about your son, Eric). The clock keeps on ticking and duty calls, I’m off again with Jude to martial arts (always did sound like a contradiction in terms to me, like jumbo shrimp).

Anyway, I wish you the best. have a good weekend!


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