RJ's Corner

God Is ….

God I really don’t know how it happened that God became this old guy with flowing white hair and beard laying on the clouds and watching everything we do and getting involved in every aspect of our lives. I don’t know if Michelangelo’s Sistene chapel was the first depiction of that persona or if he was just mirroring someone else. But it seemed to catch on and go from there.  For many God is now a father figure who looks out for our every need.

I was pretty deeply involved in theology for more than a decade devouring perhaps a hundred books on the subject. As a result I have come to some personal conclusions  about God (but who am I to even do that?).  Since this is the week that I start on my 7th decade on this earth it is about time I penned my feelings in this arena.  If not now when?

It is pretty clear that most  theologians who gave us the biblical text perceived God as not a person. To most of them he was a spirit. It is more like God is a presence that is all around us than an actual person somewhere above us.  The conceptual thing that makes the most sense to me is that he is life. In that vain he is not really a “he”or a she. Most of the messages attributed to God in the Christian Bible, and for that matter the Jewish Bible and the Koran, God’s messages are about getting along with one another and appreciating the life that God has given us. Don’t Kill, don’t be jealous, love God, don’t adore/love stuff, and the rest. They are all about setting the right priorities in your life and simply living in peace and love with everyone else in God’s creation.

God just seems to be all about life.

Personally I have come to see God as the keeper of life. In science we have progressed eons beyond where they were two-thousand years ago.  Almost everything that surrounds us today would have been considered a miracle in those times.  The past century alone has brought us out of the dark ages of medicine. We have now mapped DNA and that will probably bring even more knowledge beyond our current imagination in the coming years.

But one thing we have been unable to do is to create life where there was none before. To me, that is God’s domain. He is the keeper of life.  The Star Wars movies, of which I am a big fan called it the “force”. To me the force is the essence of life that comes only from God.

I don’t expect or even want any of you to agree with me on this.  I made this study and the resulting conclusions for my own benefit. I needed to more fully understand my perception and relationship with my creator. Did I get it right? I pretty much doubt it but I don’t think anyone else has it right to any degree either.  The concept of God is just too complex for our puny human minds.

Next Sunday I will delve into what I see being the keeper of life means…. and maybe more importantly what it doesn’t mean.



Banner Ed CartoonsI don’t know any parent in his right mind that would now allow their kids to trick or treat a house they didn’t intimately know the people behind the door.  It wouldn’t totally surprise me to see this scenario being played out…

West Baden Springs…

French LickThe West Baden Springs Hotel is a historic landmark hotel in the town of West Baden Springs in Orange County, Indiana, United States, known for its vast domed atrium. It is currently part of the French Lick Resort. Prior to the completion of the Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1955, the building had the largest free-spanning dome in the United States and was the largest in the world from 1902 to 1913. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, became a National Historic Landmark in 1987, and is a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. The West Baden Springs Hotel is recognized as one of the Historic Hotels of America by the National Trust of Historic Preservation.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Baden_Springs_Hotel

ISOA BannerBeing that I was born and have spent most of my life in Indiana I will readily admit that Indiana is a rather boring place. While it is not “a cornfield with lights” as some say it just doesn’t have the geological or cultural diversity of many other place I have visited.  But one exception to the boredom is French Lick/West Baden Springs in my region of the State.

French Lick and West Baden Springs has quite a history including having mineral springs. It is supposedly the place where FDR planned is initial presidential campaign strategy. Mineral springs, which is basically sulfur bubbling through water (just stinky stuff if you ask me) were believed to have a medicinal values. But that is just a small part of the history of this place.  I would encourage you to click on the source above to learn more about it.

My latest visit to this are was a few weeks ago. I had been there a couple of times before but this was the first visit after the massive restoration of the buildings. As seems to be common with this type of thing building a casino there is what prompted the restoration.  The domed atrium is indeed a wonder of the world. At least the old world prior to the superdomes… :)

I can imagine that my wife and I will spend a few days there in the coming years.

Below are some pictures of the area. Click on any picture to see a larger gallery view.

The 25%….

While 80 percent of mainline Protestant pastors see Pope Francis as a true Christian, only 58 percent of evangelical preachers agree.

Source: Do Pastors Trust Pope Francis on Theology? New Survey Reveals How Preachers Responded When Asked if the Pontiff Is a True Christian | TheBlaze.com

I am going to use the polling above as an example for this post but not its focus.  There just seems to be about 25% of the population on the extreme right fringes in the U.S. that are pretty much distrustful of everything and everyone else. It seems that they almost hate the other 75%.  Maybe they are just so stricken with fear that everyone is suspect of something they deem bad. They hate the change that is happening around them daily, especially when more potential adversaries are allowed to invade “their” country. I wonder just how many of this 25% are the same people in all the various scenarios? I imagine that the core is pretty high.

In poll shown above from evangelical pastors about 25% of them don’t think the Pope is a genuine Christian. They view him as either the anti-Christ or hopefully something a little less hateful. I know that there are several christian denominations who despise the leader of the Catholic church no matter who he is. I’m sure a large part of this negative response is from those particular groups.

What can we do to help this 25% of our population get over their fear of change and  almost everything else? That seems to be the fundamental question at hand.

  • Is there a way to convince them that change is not their bitter enemy?
  • Is there a way to show them that their “good old days” were not as good as they now imagine?
  • Is there a way to get them to love their neighbors, even those who might not be like them?
  • Is there a way to convince them that the money they pay in taxes is necessary in order to maintain an orderly and civil society?
  • Is there a way to get them to see that the income inequality occurring today is hurting our country?
  • Is there a way to get them to see a brighter future?
  • Is there a way to get the religious among them to see that their version is not totally right and all the others totally wrong?
  • Finally, is there a way to get them to be less fearful of almost everything?

This is a serious list of issues that plague too many in our country and will likely take years to even begin to improve. Until that time it is up to the rest of us to not allow this relatively small minority to take us down with their negative beliefs.  We need to understand and even empathize with their fears no matter how unreal they are but not be overcome by them.

I am That Wise Guy

TWiG 1

Obama’s Neocon Critics…

It’s an incantation repeated among Obama’s neocon critics: the Iraq surge worked; things were going swimmingly until we withdrew; the same thing will happen in Afghanistan if we pull out completely.

Let’s assume it’s true, that we could keep peace and order in these countries if we kept tens of thousands of troops (or more) on the ground.

Here’s my question: Why on Earth would we do such a thing? How does it serve American interests to spend vast quantities of blood and treasure serving as a national police force for countries on the other side of the globe with no end in sight?

These are the questions that we must keep in mind as we assess Obama’s foreign policy.

It’s easy to say we should have done “something” in Syria three years ago. That “something” usually means helping supposedly moderate rebels to overthrow Assad and form a decent, democratic government. Sounds lovely. Except for the fact that everything we’ve learned since 2001 tells us that it wouldn’t have gone like that at all.

Overthrow Assad and the place will tear itself apart even more thoroughly than it already has.

Source: Putin isn’t humiliating Obama in Syria. He’s doing the U.S. a favor.

MyScans167I am very much a peacenik. I think war is absolutely the last thing we should try in tackling almost every problem.  So, when I hear the latest version of neocons wanting to race to yet another war as a solution for everything it turns my stomach.  I agree with my Quaker friends War is Not the Answer. Especially when we have no idea of what to do after we have defeated the bad guys. Most often than not they are just replaced by other bad guys who are sometimes even worse.  The answer in Syria, like it should have been in Iraq and most other middle eastern countries, is to just let it work its own way out. Don’t butt in with our great wisdom when we obviously don’t have any. There has not been a war in my lifetime that had even a remote semblence of what we thought would come out of it.

When Biden suggested that if we MUST invade Iraq we should then turn it into three different countries: Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish.  That might not have totally solved the problem but we certainly would have been better off if we had taken Joe’s advice than to rush in with our unbaked ideas of forming a democracy in that part of the world that has no conception of what a democracy is.

These new neocons seem to be ready to jump into war as a solution to everything. They never see a conflict that they don’t want to take over or a military budget that they don’t want to increase. Is this what the USA is all about now or is this just another fringe wing-nut group asserting themselves on the rest of us? I just don’t know.

Simply stated we just don’t need to be the policemen of the world. We are just not very good at it in the first place.

Ben Carson is ready for the coming American apocalypse

Carson has also suggested in the past that there might not be an election at all in 2016, because by then Barack Obama would have sent America spiraling downward into anarchy.

He was hardly alone — for years, it was common on the right to hear that Obama would seize permanent power in some kind of coup and cancel the election. You’ll often hear Carson drop references to Saul Alinsky into his talks — Alinsky was a radical theorist who supposedly laid out the blueprint for socialist revolution that Barack Obama is following — and he also regularly tells audiences to read the work of W. Cleon Skousen, a Cold War-era conspiracy theorist even many conservatives consider a loon.

Source: Ben Carson is ready for the coming American apocalypse

Ben Carson, even more so than Donald Trump is a mystery to most of us. I know that he is a noted neurosurgeon but that is about all.  I wasn’t aware of his ready acceptance of conspiracy theories including this one. Obama  canceling the 2016 elections, taking over the world and sending America spiraling to anarchy.  That’s a good one. I think maybe Ben is confusing Putin for Obama but even that is a stretch.

They say that during Reagan’s last term in office that Nancy made most of the decisions after consulting with her astrologist. So, I guess we could survive a conspiracy theorist in the White House but I certainly hope we don’t have to test that assumption. How about a Trump/Carson ticket for you GOPers?

It seems like I have allowed myself to wallow in politics for too long a stretch here at RJ’sCorner so I will be moving onto some other topics now.

uRV And Lake Patoka…

I have talked several times about my micro-RV (uRV) that I spent three years fabricating.  This post will be the first pictures of it. These were taken on the third shakedown trip to Lake Patoka in southern Indiana.  The cap on the back was purchased when I had my custom furniture making business. It was used to deliver my creations throughout the Midwest. It sat on a concrete pad for five years after the business was closed and then resurrected to give me something to do during my boredom times.

I was inspired to make uRV by the John Steinbeck book Travels with Charley: In Search of America . Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors and in the early 1960s he took a similar vehicle called Rocinante on a road trip around the U.S.  I have always dreamed of doing that in at least a limited way.

The inside (pictures of that later) is a cozy 35 square foot floor and has a 67 inch height which is just right for my now shrunken frame. I was once 5’10” but compression fractures and osteoporosis lessened that height considerably. But that is a story for another time. The night was chilly (lower 40s) but the small portable heater was more than enough to keep the inside comfy.

Below are some outside pictures of uRV showing all the stickers I have collected to date.  The back is my “attitude” wall where I give opinions about life.  The sides are about  inspiring saying and places I have visited over the years (but not necessarily in uRV).

Lake Patoka is primarily a fishing lake that looks kind of like a spider with many legs. It has a huge campground that is mostly empty this time of year.  RV camping is a new thing for me but even after my third time I am getting hooked on it. My three trips to date have  been overnighters but hopefully next Spring I will be spending a few multi-day trips in Indiana and surrounding States. My wife is not a camper so I do this by myself; it is the “alone” time that all of us need once in a while.

Here are the pictures. Click on any one of them to see the larger gallery:


When You Are Not Running Again…

“Which makes you wonder, why are all these Republican politicians so down on America?” Obama said, drawing laughs. “I mean, I know it’s political season, but listening to them is kind of depressing.”

He accused Republicans of hearkening back to 2008, as if things were better before he took office in the midst of the Great Recession. “To hear them tell it, those were the good old days, the golden years, and then me and Patty — we messed it up!”

Obama mocked Republicans for denial of climate change, saying if 99 percent of doctors told you you had diabetes, “You wouldn’t call it a hoax.”

“And you’ve got the chair of the Energy and Environment Committee in the Senate holding up a snowball during winter and saying, ‘See — it isn’t happening,’ ” he said. “No, it’s a problem — you guys are laughing.”

Source: Obama raises cash in Seattle, says GOP is ‘down on America’ | The Seattle Times

It’s ironic how politicians seems to speak their minds when they are no longer running for a political office. That is just what President Obama did in the words above.  He can finally speak his mind without the fear of offending a political donor.  That is refreshing, too bad we don’t have one-term limits for all our political offices. Maybe something would finally get accomplished if they didn’t have to be constantly begging for money to win the next election.

If we go back to our founding, term limits kind of make sense.  To our founders being a politician was never meant to be a lifelong occupation.  You were supposed to serve your country  for a period of time and then go back to your regular job.

In a year or so Mr. Obama will move off into his post-presidential life. No, he won’t sit around and endlessly watch baseball as the previous president seems to be doing. Instead he will, similar to most of the Democrat Oval Office holders, find a cause to help make the world a better place.  It is funny how without exception for the last 50 years Democrats continue to give back while Republican seem to care little or nothing for philanthropy after the presidency. That fact should tell us a very basic difference between those who choose one party over another.


Listen Up….

2015-10-11_18-45-05Many organized faith groups are wringing their hands over the growing category of “nones” and wondering how to attract young people, especially, back to the fold. What words of wisdom would you give them?

Listen, listen, listen. Listen again. Don’t think that stuff like beer nights and church meeting in a coffee shop and pastors in flannel and skinny jeans is going to be enough: it’s not, and many people see right through it. Meet people where they arrive rather than drawing a line and expecting them to cross it. Be present to people’s doubts and questions in honest ways. People want to do good for the world even if they’re not part of your faith tradition. Trust in that.

Source: There’s A Revolution Going On In Religion. Faith Groups Better Listen Up.

These are some of the wisest words I have come across lately concerning the increasing number of “nones” when it comes to religious membership.  I see myself as a very spiritual person. I want to do good for the world and have, at least in the past, believed that religious establishments were some of those places to be able to do that. But I, like so many others, was driven out of a religious organization because I asked too many questions and therefore threatened the perceived peace of a congregation.

I see the statistics almost everyday of the declining numbers in churches in the U.S. Even the mega-churches are starting to shrink in numbers.  From personal experiences I know that the “you jump through the right hoops and we will let you join us” mentality is very prevalent in today’s churches especially for those churches that take the bible to be literal. For them you seem to have to check your intelligence at the door and accept things that you pretty well much know is wrong in order to join.

I think the beer nights and coffee shop references above were about the mega-churches who are also in decline now. Even that could not keep them coming. Most people are looking for spiritual support, not a clubhouse, or certainly not to be told that they are nothing but worthless pieces of snot who can’t do anything as some approach it. To me one of the biggest problems with so many of today’s chruches are that they just want to hunker down in the “big bad world” instead of going out and to  the Lord’s business.

I think the magic words  in the source above are Be present to people’s doubts and questions in honest ways.  If only more of them did that.  If Pope Francis is true to his word I think that if he lives long enough he just might turn the Catholic church more  in that direction and maybe some of the others will follow.  Wouldn’t that be something??

I think God is up to all the questions we might ask and no the answer can’t always be that it is a mystery that we simply have to accept….

Unrealized Dreams…

Creativity BannerAre unrealized dreams a joy or a pain?  The answer to that question is based on your perception2015-10-04_09-43-33s of life.  Many would say that unrealized dreams create agony in that they get our hopes up and then dash them on the rocks.  If you take the attitude of “It’s not the destination but the journey” seriously then the pleasure of the process of dreaming should be joyful onto itself.

I have always been a  dreamer, both at night and day but my favorite time is sitting in the dark looking at the stars above me.  There is just something about that scene that increases the magnitude of the dreams. My wife is someone who just likes to let things happen as she says. I, like most everything about us, am the opposite especially when it come to vacations. I like to thoroughly research where we will be going so that I am prepared to enjoy the new experiences I will be having.  No I don’t have to plan every moment and therefore miss some serendipity times but I like to be prepared.

Just dreaming about what I will see and how I will enjoy it, is almost as good as the events themselves. Of course the old saying “things are never as bad as you imagined or as good as you hope” so sometimes the dreaming part actually exceeds reality.  And then there are times when I dream about things that I know I will never realize. Just dreaming about how it might be is for me a joy in itself.

One of those things has been a trip to Disney World.  It is one of the few things on my bucket list and my wife has adamantly refused that possibility.  She is not a dreamer as I am so sees that place as something for kids, not old people.  That is until recently. When I once again mentioned a trip to Disney world she finally said “ok, let’s do that.”  Yeah I too see Disney World is for kids but who says kids can’t be in their 70s?

I just want to go to a place where it is the normal to dream. A place where I can leave the rest of the world behind and just dream for a few days. I see Disney World as that place. So, here I am in the “trip planning dream mode”. I want to make sure I take in the whole place during my visit.  We were there thirteen years ago but only for a short day at Epcot. I want to do the whole thing this time around. I will probably spend weeks just trying to decide which resort to stay at.  As often is the case the dreams are often greater than reality but that is ok. The dreams and the trip itself is for me part of the same destination.

So, now I have something to help me get through  this dreary upcoming winter season where I hunker down and wait for Spring.  For those of us whose glass is half full dreaming fills it to the brim. :)

Anybody but Hillary? 

Then there are Biden’s recent statements staking out a more conflicted position on abortion than one expects to hear from such a prominent Democrat. This places him far closer to the consensus position on the issue than most leading members of his party and may indicate that he would cultivate more of a working-class, middle-American sensibility than we’ve seen from a Democratic presidential candidate…

Biden should only jump into the race if he can persuade Warren to change her mind and take the leap with him, forming a complete ticket before the first votes are cast this winter, with the senator from Massachusetts serving as a running mate and senior domestic policy adviser in waiting. Take Biden’s everyman charisma, foreign policy chops, and extensive experience as a senator and vice president, and combine it with Warren’s firey, whip-smart, left-liberal populism on domestic policy and you’d have a hell of a ticket. It would be one straight out of Hillary Clinton’s nightmares — and one perfectly poised to poach support from Sanders with the message, “I get why Bernie appeals to you, but we will do it better — and we can win this thing.”

Source: Anybody but Hillary? The case for Biden-Warren 2016

A Biden/Warren ticket!!  Wow wouldn’t that be something.  I must admit that Biden has never excited me much but he is probably more a “real” person than all those others seeking that office and maybe that is what we need in the White House right now.  Lord knows that none of those folks for president in the GOP are “real”. There is just too much pandering to their bases by all of them.   I suspect if Biden were to be president he would be known as “President Joe” to most of us now and into perpetuity.

I am almost sure that I will be voting on the Democratic side this time and personally I would like to be offered an alternative to Hillary.  Yes, if she can keep the hounds off her she would probably get some important things done but she just seems to have a sense of entitlement now that kind of turns me off.  Would I be saying the same thing if she were a man?  I don’t know..  We in this country had a revolution centered around our disdain for a monarch and that is kind of like how I see this Clinton/Bush thing now.

Lets put Joe in the Oval Office with a promise to only have one term in office.  Doing that he could actually get some things done as he wouldn’t have to worry about gathering up the billions needed for a second run. He is so old it will probably happen anyway. Elizabeth Warren says she is not ready for the presidency but with four years under her belt as vice-president she should be more than ready for 2020. Maybe by that time we will have driven all the “anti” nuts out of congress so she could actually get something done.  In my mind she would definitely be a people’s president.

I try, at least in my later years, to be an optimist about things…. Go Biden/Warren….

Being The Adult….

McConnell said that this year, Democrats objected to spending bills drafted under existing tight budget caps — known as sequestration — because they want more spending for domestic programs. Republicans are seeking more defense spending than the current caps allow….

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday  “I would expect that in the weeks ahead we’ll have more of a discussion about how Democrats and Republicans in Congress can work together to make sure that we adequately fund both our national security and economic priorities, while of course taking the necessary steps to prevent a government shutdown in an unnecessary injection of volatility into the national economy.”

Source: Congress gears up for major budget talks with White House

I’m going to put on my fiscal conservative hat here.  I don’t like to wear the “C” cap very often but  it is necessary. Fiscal conservatism used to be the job of the GOP but since they are now in the “anti-” mode someone has to be the adult and talk about our spending.   It seems that both parties want to pile on more spending year over year. One for the safety net for our citizens and one for  expanding an already over bloated war machine so that we can get even more involved in all the conflicts around the world.

Instead of constantly increasing our spending someone needs to look at what we spend our current budgets on and eliminate those items that are no longer useful.  Some one needs to be the adult here.  Let’s start with the military.  We spend more on our war machine than the rest of the world combined and we are only 5% of the world’s population.  I say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. You hear almost every day about the next “$1000 toilet seat”. I’m sure there is at least 25% of that budget that no longer serves any purpose. Why can’t we root that out and get rid of it instead of just piling on more money? One of the answers is that if someone tries to cut military cost someone else will scream “you are making our soldiers less safe!!” But someone has to be the adult and do it anyway as the vast majority that wasteful spending it has nothing to do with the safety of our soldiers.

One the domestic side I personally have seen several people who are on disability payments who when no one is watching work just as hard as the rest of us. It is just too easy to get a government payment. I know I sound like a card carrying member of the GOP here. But, I am not saying that most, or even many, are in that mode but there are sufficient numbers who do game the system that if we took a closer look could substantially reduce our safety net costs.  I”m sure there are  many other examples of where we could reign in spending if we just put our mind to it.

I have been on a fixed budget for over 15 years now. Yes, some things change for instance the ever increasing cost of healthcare. Medicare pays for 80% of my medical costs for about $100 a month and that hasn’t changed dramatically but to cover the other 20% has increased from about $100 to over $250 and for my wife over $350.  In order to pay those bills we have had to cut back other places. Why can’t the government do the same?

The Gospel of Bernie…

2015-09-30_09-54-47Win or lose, Sanders seeks to transform his party and redeem American politics through an epic battle against some of the wealthiest powers in human history. “A lot of people have given up on the political process, and I want to get them involved in it,” he tells TIME. “In this fight we are going to take on the greed of the billionaire class. And they are very, very powerful, and they’re going to fight back furiously. The only way to succeed is when millions of people stand up and decide to engage.”…

It’s all about the movement, Sanders admonishes in the deep bass voice that he reserves for one-on-ones. What President Obama didn’t understand when he took office is that you have to keep your movement alive. “Barack Obama ran one of the great campaigns in American history. The biggest mistake he made is that the day after the election, in so many words, he said, ‘Thank you very much, but I will take it from here,’” Sanders says.

Then he paints one of his word pictures. Imagine President Sanders facing a vote in Congress on free college tuition paid for by a tax hike on the wealthy. He’d have to persuade Speaker of the House John Boehner to help him pass the bill. That’s where his army of activists comes in. “How do I convince John? Is my personality that much better than Barack Obama’s?” Sanders says. “The answer is to say, ‘Hey, John, take a look out your window. Because there are a million young people there that are in support of the legislation. They are voting. They know what’s going on. If you refuse to make college affordable, they’re going to vote your people out of office.’ That’s the offer you can’t refuse.”

Source: The Gospel of Bernie | TIME

I like the way Bernie Sanders thinks. He is definitely a forward looker whereas most in the other party are primarily looking backwards. But I guess that is the primary difference between the two parties.  One is conservative and wants to keep everything like it is or maybe was in the past.  They fear change will disrupt things and cause it all to collapse.  The other party is progressive. That is they think that we must always be moving forward to better future.  One party looks forward and the other looks backward.

Bernie, being from Vermont, is all about town halls and power to the people. That is the history of that area of the country.  I traveled through Vermont on a couple of occasions but never spent enough time there to get the feel of the people. But I know from my history lessons that they practiced a very basic form of democracy where each person had a say in things.  That seems to be the way Bernie sees it.  I like his bolded quote above about Barack Obama.  His “I’ll take it from here” attitude is where he got it wrong. He simply did not keep that gigantic coalition active enough.  Bernie says he will.

Being a realist I know that the odds of the country quickly turning to socialistic principles is a long shot but maybe Bernie’s presence on the national political stage will at least nudge us a little closer to every citizen having power in our society.

Just Too Sensible….

It’s too bad America doesn’t have a queen. If we did, maybe she could summon the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties in the House to her palace and order them — in the national interest — to form a coalition to lead the House of Representatives and end the dysfunction that’s taken over Washington. How would a Republican-Democratic coalition work? By enlisting Democrats to help the more-mainstream Republicans in the House elect the new leadership. In exchange for Democratic votes, the new leaders would promise that any legislation that had the support of a majority of the House (including Republicans and Democrats) could be considered on the floor…

The tea partiers have put ideological purity above the interests of the nation. They reject compromise not only with Obama and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi but with the relatively moderate members of their own party, whom they dismiss as Republicans in name only, or RINOs.

Source: It’s time for a Republican-Democratic coalition in the House – MarketWatch

The above words just make too much sense to be implemented by those disoriented yahoos in the House. They would much rather fight among themselves than do anything that had an air of common good.  I am kind of pessimistic about the above suggestion happening as I don’t see anyone on the GOP side who is enough of a leader to make it happen. With twenty different people running for the GOP presidential nomination that think they are the leader then it seems obvious that no one is the leader.  There is a total lack of anyone being in charge on that side of the aisle.

I think maybe what we need is a third, or even fourth party in our political system. That, like in the UK, necessitates a coalition government and right now that seems the only way out of this totally self-inflicted partisan situation we are in. Push the Tea Party off into their own party. That’s where they belong. Split the lefties from the Democratic party and let all four of them vie for as many votes as they can.  But this idea is too logical a solution and that is something that is a rare commodity inside the beltway.

The simplest way out of this quicksand is for both parties to simply shed their extreme members and look for a coalition among moderates no matter the party. The vast majority of us citizens just want them to get along and get things done.  Surely some of them can put country before party?  But that takes courage and it doesn’t appear anyone in the House has an ounce of it right now.  If they can’t, or more appropriately won’t, form a coalition congress then it is our duty as voters to remove them from office.

Here is one simple piece of advice for both parties, for the good of the country quit catering to your wingnuts,  and work together. It is as simple as that…

Will the GOP have the courage to attack this problem head on or will they just continue to kick the partisan can down the road….



Coalition Government….

2015-10-10_09-26-20”In order to pass any bill around this place, everybody knows we need to assemble a bipartisan coalition,” Dent told reporters after McCarthy bailed out. “I suspect at some point, if we can’t get 218 Republicans to vote for a speaker candidate, we’ll have to assemble a bipartisan coalition to elect a speaker.” Conservatives in the GOP caucus would adamantly oppose such an arrangement, and it would spark a serious rift in the Republican Party. But it may open the way for Congress to start getting more work done.

And Dent isn’t the only Republican to be fed up with colleagues who have proven willing to shut down the government if they can’t win their battles to defund Obamacare or yank federal funding from Planned Parenthood. “We have to do whatever it takes to elect a speaker,” said Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.). It’s not that lawmakers on King’s side of the aisle would prefer forming what amounts to an American version of a coalition government. But even those who think it’s a bad idea admit it could happen.

Source: Republicans Fear They May Need Dems To Solve Their Speaker Crisis

I don’t understand why those radical right wingnuts in the GOP are so against forming coalitions, some call it bipartisanship,  for the common good.  I guess to them it is “my way or the highway”. They want it all and to hell with anyone who might even see is slightly differently.  And what they seem to want is a total shutdown of the federal government except for our war machine.

The best thing the moderates who hopefully make up the majority of the GOP could do is to quarantine these guys off on their own.  Put them in a room with rubber walls.  Maybe if they are ignored long enough they will eventually get the message that not everyone is the enemy or another scenario is maybe those who voted for them will send them packing in thirteen months but I’m not sure we can wait that long.

I know I do and I think most others except maybe those low-info voters just want congress to go about doing the people’s business regardless of which party they claim affiliation to. It should be country first and party second. Our current way we do business is more like a boxing match, whoever can bloody their opponent the most wins.  That is no way to do business. I just pray that the sane one in the GOP, if they exist and have a backbone, listen to the will of the people and not to fear that radical fringe element that makes so much noise.

I guess we will learn in the next few days who rules in the nuthouse we call the House of Representatives.


The Greatest Sin…

2015-09-25_11-56-55One of the most striking verses in the Christian bible for me was found in Mathew 12. I won’t quote the verse here but it basically says there is one sin that will NEVER be forgiven and that is “blasphemy against the Spirit”. Since I have come to understand that Christianity is all about forgiveness this verse was very loud to my ears. Let’s study the concept of blasphemy.

What is blasphemy? Here is a common definition:

blas⋅phe⋅my /blæsfəmi:/   — noun

expressing disrespect for God or for something sacred

That is a pretty plain one but I believe gets to the heart of the matter. The question is disrespect but whose version of God and just what is disrespect?

Blasphemy has come to have hundreds of different interpretations over the centuries.

  • Some believe that just saying the words “God D**m” is blasphemy and anyone saying those words can never get into heaven. If that is the case then only a very small minority of us will see the pearly gates.  I don’t curse as a regular thing but I do have my rare outbursts as most everyone does. But I personally don’t believe that God will damn us to an eternity of agony just for using a cuss word.
  • Some believe it is accusing Jesus Christ of being demon-possessed instead of Spirit-filled. I think this one is pretty much related to the times and not so much today.
  • Some  today  believe that blasphemy would be attributing a miracle of a redeemed person’s changed life to Satan’s power rather than to the effects of the indwelling Holy Spirit. I surprisingly have been personally exposed to this one in that when I said I believed the Holy Spirit reached me, the first thing a clergy said was “How do you know it wasn’t the devil”.  I was utterly dumbstruck by those words.
  • Others say just not believing in Jesus is blasphemy.

Since these biblical words are so vague there are hundreds of different interpretations starting from the early Christians all the way up to the current day theologians. Einstein was quoting Occam’s Razor when he said the simplest answer if usually the correct answer.  I recently came across an Amish interpretation and that is blasphemy against the Spirit that seems to be as simple as it can get.  This particular Amish person said

“blasphemy is speaking for God”.

In my mind that means putting words in God’s mouth that were never there in the first place. Could it really be that simple? Could God be saying he wants his presence to be individually felt by each of us by looking into our own hearts and not just listening to others opinions about him.

It doesn’t take a serious theologian to understand that speaking for God is how the majority of current religious doctrine has been formed. One person expanding/explaining what he thinks God means.  I don’t know the simple answer to what blasphemy of the Holy Spirit means so I will kind of discount these particular words as not being a major part of my personal belief system.  To me God will remain all about of  hope and forgiveness…

You Can’t Blame Him…


Banner Ed CartoonsWho in their right mind would want to try to control the wild-eyed fanatics in the “Freedom Caucus” when their primary goal is to shut down the governing process through gridlock.  If Paul Ryan is smart he will let the current GOP implode and then be around to pick up the pieces.  He is a relatively young man by political standards so he just might be able to resurrect the party after the meltdown.  If the current GOP can’t control the 15% fringe then they don’t deserve to be in power….

Conservative Ideology…


Banner Ed CartoonsJesus has been re-configured into thousands of different versions, sadly this is one of them.

About Feedly…


I thought I would tell you a little about Feedly in this post.  I am probably cheating several of my blogging buddies out of view counts by using Feedly but it sure does make my daily views easier. Right now I have about 18 blogs that I always read the new posts.  Some, like me blog daily, some only once a week or so.  I don’t have to keep up with when they blog or go through my emails to discover that.  I just click on the Feedly button on my browser homepage bar. That  brings up a snapshot of all my unread posts from the list and if I want to comment I just click on the View Website button to do that.

As mentioned above the problem with Feedly is that if I don’t physically go to the website my view is probably not included in their statistics. I know I say I really don’t care what my stats are but even so I find myself frequently checking them out. It is just nice to see that xx number of people appreciate what I write. I guess I am vain in that regard but I kind of think I am not the only one. :)

If you decide to use Feedly to browse my posts I won’t hold it against you. But I would appreciate clicking on my website once in a while to let me know what you think.

Puttin Up Hay…

2015-09-28_10-21-28RJs Autobiography BannerIts been a while since I did a bio thing so I thought I would give you a little history lesson and  tell you about my time in rural America and specifically about putting up hay.  I know most people who have any idea of hay think of those big six-foot diameter bales that strewn around the countryside but in my day hay bails were smaller, much smaller. The picture at the right show how it was done in my day.  When the wagon behind the baler was full it was unhitched and taken to the barn and an empty one attached.

The bails were about 2x2x4 feet and weighed around 80 lbs. I spent one summer on a bailing crew. The boss of that crew owned all the equipment needed to make the bails and  he went around from farm to farm with his crew putting up their hay fields. As I remember I got paid $0.75 an hour to work in the top of 100+ degree barns.

2015-09-28_10-40-55Lets do another history lesson here.  Most of the old-time barns have now disappeared from the landscape. Almost all of them contained hay lofts where bails of hay were stacked to protect them from wet weather and to feed the livestock on the ground level. When I say stacked they were actually stuffed. Wherever there was a space big enough for a bale of hay it was used. That meant someone had to craw around in the very peak of the barn to put those last bails in place. In my crew that someone was me. I was the littlest guy on the crew at about 120 lbs.2015-09-28_10-41-20

My face would get as red as a beet in those upper reaches of the barns but I kept going anyway. Now I know that a heart anomaly was the reason for that redness. I thank the Lord that those days did not kill me as the potential was definitely there. 

My days as a farm laborer were limited to my junior and senior high school years but I for the most part remember them fondly and even at 75 cents an hour they helped pay for my first year at Purdue University.


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