A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Feminism and Femi Nazism

Note: I started this first paragraph long ago, and I can't remember what the original point of the post was going to be, but I made the ending up!

On one of the many standardized tests I took in school, I remember the informational section asked you to list your parents' educational attainments.  For my father, it was easy, I knew he had completed law school, so I carefully filled in the bubble next to "post-graduate degree" with my No. 2 pencil.  For my mother, however, I paused, hovering over the pre-printed circles.  I know she graduated college, I thought to myself, but did she have a post-graduate degree?  Unsure, I filled in "college degree" and resolved to ask her when I got home.  When I did, I discovered that my mom does indeed have a Masters degree in education.

Society still seems to value the important work of motherhood less than other occupations. You don't get social security credit for raising children, or really any of the societal status that comes with working "outside the home."  My mom is a smart woman who I'm sure could have been a great teacher, school superintendent, or anything else she really wanted to be. I was lucky that she choose to waste spend her time with me instead.

I'm all about supporting women who make the choice to be moms. It's a really tough job, and I admire so many of my friends who make that sacrifice (though I don't know if they would term it a sacrifice, and I don't mean anything derogatory by use of that term).  But the important thing to note about this is that it's a choice. Some women who do have children work outside the home. Whether it's out of economic necessity or their own volition, working women don't love their children any less. I work with some pretty amazing women who have chosen to be moms and accountants, and there's nothing wrong with that.

I don't think I've said anything above that hasn't been said before (and better) by others, but the point I want to underscore here is that both stay-at-home moms and working moms are really feminists. Feminism is about making choices and owning those choices - it's about giving women every opportunity to grow and develop in whatever path they choose. Feminism says that if a woman can run a household, she can run a country, and vice versa. There are trade-offs and opportunity costs that come with each road, but feminism is about giving women more roads than one.

Just a side note about one of the worst straw-man arguments against feminism. Feminism is not some kind of femi-nazi cult requiring all women to "be like men" or even to be the same. Feminism is about unlocking the potential greatness of 50% of the world's population, recognizing the talent and abilities of each women, and removing the conscious and unconscious roadblocks to success that hinder the progression of women (and, by extension, hinder the progression of men too!). I'm lucky that my college educated mother read to us, cooked for us, and generally put up with us in the house for 18+ years. I'm grateful she was also a feminist who taught me to think for myself.

I'll end with a clip from the movie "Mona Lisa Smiles" about choosing a "traditional" woman's role.

Scene from "Mona Lisa Smiles," - Julia Roberts and Julia Stiles "You told me I could be anything I wanted"

Friday, November 29, 2013


3 things have recently gotten me thinking about empathy:

1) Nick Kristof's recent column on the demise of empathy. ( http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/11/28/opinion/kristof-where-is-the-love.html?smid=tw-share)

2) A column in the Huffington Post about the hopelessness of being poor in America. (http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4326233)

3) News story about a Mormon bishop who dressed as a homeless man. (http://www.npr.org/2013/11/29/247825783/costumed-as-homeless-mormon-bishop-teaches-a-lesson-in-compassion?ft=1&f=1001&utm_content=socialflow&utm_campaign=nprnews&utm_source=npr&utm_medium=twitter)

These three stories have reminded me that empathy, or seeing ourselves in another's shoes, is fundamentally important in both religion and politics.  Religion brings together people with different experiences.  Politics often forces us to face people who disagree with us.  In both situations, we need the humility born of empathy to see others and understand them.

King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon teaches a powerful lesson about empathy for the poor:

Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just
But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

This scripture reminds me that I too am a beggar, and need to treat others who find themselves in difficult circumstances as I would want to be treated.  We may disagree on steps to help the poor, but I hope we can do so while agreeing on measures to assist those who live without hope.  I believe food stamps and other social safety next programs are vitally important to children and other innocent victims of poverty.

Apologies for the terrible links in this post, my internet isn't working this evening, so I had to resort to an app to post from my phone.  Hope they work!

Thursday, November 28, 2013


I have a hard time being grateful for things I don't like.  Experiences that are hard don't really bring gratitude to mind.  But really, trials make us gratefuller (is that a word?) for the good times.  We also grow in empathy for others through hardship. 

Don't know why I am posting about trials after a perfectly lovely thanksgiving, but I do think I am ultimately grateful for hard times.  This usually happens long after the trial or tribulation, but it usually happens.  It's a hard fought gratitude, and hopefully more worth the earning because of it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Make sure that you, like President Bartlet, call the Butterball Hotline with any questions you may have regarding turkey preparation.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Minority/Majority Report

Late this week, Harry Reid, the U.S. Senate Majority leader invoked what some have termed the "nuclear option." This means that instead of requiring 60 votes to confirm the President's nominees, the Senate will simply need a majority (51). Of course, Democrats currently think this is a great idea, as they hold a majority in the Senate, and President Obama is also a Democrat. As has been rightly pointed out, they will likely feel differently when Republicans control the Senate and there is a Republican president.  

In this situation I don't think there's an absolute moral right here, but it does put a spotlight on the inherent tension between majority and minority rights in our democracy. This conflict is all over our constitution. The Bill of Rights prevents majorities from controlling minorities. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press protects unpopular movements or sentiments - popular opinions don't really need protection. For all our extolling our constitutional forefathers, many of them used "mob rule" as a bogeyman, and feared rule by the uneducated "common man" majority. 

Tension between majority and minority rights is baked into the structure of our government. The House of Representatives, or lower house of Congress, represents the people while the Senate is supposed to be a step removed from the people. Even the President isn't directly elected, instead chosen by electors. The Supreme Court in its isolated perch is the farthest removed from public opinion, supposedly allowing it to protect the rights of unpopular minorities. 

I believe Mormons should be one of the biggest supporters of minority unpopular groups. Early in our history, members of our church were beaten, driven, and in some cases murdered for espousing unpopular opinions. This history should make us defenders of opinions we disagree with. At one time or another, each of us will be part of a minority group, so while we are part of a majority we must protect minority rights. The only way we can make sure our religious freedom is protected is to protect others' freedoms to believe (or not believe). 

The debate about the nuclear option shows the power of a minority. Democrats have pointed out that of all the filibusters of nominees in the history of America, over half of them have been on Obama's nominees. See the graph below showing the number of filibusters over time. Mitch McConnell, minority leader in the Senate, has really used the power of the filibuster to block Obama's choices to head agencies, or even delay confirming nominees (the statistics show that the average Obama nominee waits 100 days longer than George W. Bush's nominees). Democrats rightly argued that Republicans were using the filibuster and other delaying tactics to oppose even non-controversial nominees. Minorities can abuse their power just as much as majorities can.
I think both parties have used the filibuster to do stupid things. However, blaming the filibuster is blaming the symptom of the problem, not the actual problem. The actual problem is a refusal to compromise and work together. The dysfunction in our government is present because of stubborn pig-headed-ness on each side of the aisle. It's a refusal to work with or hear the other side's arguments. Democrats were driven to it by obstructionism on the other side, but I think they would have been just as obstructionist in the current climate if they had been in the minority. I think this needed to happen simply to get some of the machinery of government working again, but it's sad that it needed to happen.

Better Late Than, You Know, Never. Or Something.

I think this happens every NaBloPoMo - I reach a point where I just don't have anything to say but I keep going nonetheless.  Today's news is that I made chili, with lamb and black beans.  It is (a) the first time I have made chili, and (b) the first time I've cooked anything with lamb in it. I think it turned out okay on both counts, so I'm counting that as success even if I didn't win the ward chili cookoff.

It's still Saturday in California...

"California Girls," Beach Boys

Friday, November 22, 2013

Wouldn't it be Nice?

The first concert I ever went to was a Beach Boys concert (yeah I'm that cool). One of their best songs, in my opinion, "Wouldn't it be nice?" I think about that a lot when I think about politics. Wouldn't it be nice if we all just got a long.  Today is a reminder that we don't all get along - JFK's assassination is a reminder of terrible evil that exists in the world.  Wouldn't it be nice if we all (Democrat and Republican) lived his words and asked "What can I do for my country?"

United, there is little we cannot do, but divided...I don't want us to be divided.

John F. Kennedy, "Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You," Inaugural Address

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Don't know why, but couldn't come up with a good political post tonight. However, this song was on my mind, so I thought I'd share.

"Smile," Glee Cast

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Three Thankfuls

Today, I am thankful for:

1. Dryers - see, most people say washing machines, but let me tell you, dryers are glorious!!!  I lived without one for my entire mission (considered myself lucky to have a ridiculous washing machine), and as I took my laundry out of the dryer tonight, I realized how grateful I am to have TWO dryers in my life.

2. Zone out action adventure movies.  Over the past three days I've hacked my old roommate's Netflix account and watched "Captain America" and "Avengers."  These movies are not deep, but they are fun.  "Thor" is going to be given a chance to turn my brain to mush next.

3. Friends who see the good in me.  If I believed in reincarnation I would say that I must have done something REALLY great in a previous life to deserve having these people in my life.  I must have done something good:

"Something Good," Julie Andrews & Christopher Plummer

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thank a Teacher!

One day, when I was on time (aka early) to early morning Seminary, my very conservative teacher asked me what I would do if I was elected President. By this time, I think he had probably realized I was a crazy liberal. Without much thought, I responded that I would defund the Defense Department and put all the money into Head Start. For those of you not familiar with Head Start, it's a program to help educate low income children before kindergarten.

Now that I've had a lot more time to reflect on my answer, I think the principles remains the same. Most of America's discretionary spending is devoted to the machinery of warfare and destruction. Wouldn't it be great if we spent that money instead on educating children and investing in their future? Don't misunderstand, I'm not saying we should stop spending any money on defense or national security, merely that we spend too much on these things. We could reduce the amount spent on defense and use that money to provide good schools to every child, not just the children who live in rich areas with good public schools.

Right now, public education is a very unequal system because it gives a really good education to the few, a moderately useful education to some, and a really bad education to too many. Part of the reason for this has to do with taxes. Property taxes are a big source of funding for local and state government spending on education. This means that areas where rich people live, which have high property values, have more money to spend on education, while poor areas with low property values become part of a reinforcing cycle of poverty. Money isn't the only factor determining education outcomes, but spent wisely I think it can certainly have an impact.

If we had a nationalized school system, we could even out some of the disparities in spending and help low income students achieve better. Ideally, public education can be (and should be!) the great equalizer - it can teach children how to read and how to love learning. In high school I took a calculus course. Now I can't remember any calculus, but I think that class and other well taught classes taught me how to learn, and I can apply those skills to learn the things I want to as an adult. Today I had to read through some IRS guidance to get an answer for a client and I think that part of the reason I'm able to do that is thanks to the work of good public servants who taught me to read and process information.

So, to quote a bumper sticker, if you can read this, thank a teacher! And for no other reason than that I once watched this in school, here's a great Schoolhouse Rock video:

"Conjunction Junction," Schoolhouse Rock

Monday, November 18, 2013


Someday I will have time to write an amazing blog post that will knock your socks off.  As you may have guessed, that day is not today.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


I got a few reminders of the importance of love today.  The first was a spiritual thought in one of the meetings I was in.  It's from President Uchtdorf's 2009 conference talk, "The Love of God:"

God does not look on the outward appearance. I believe that He doesn’t care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely.

He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.

This was just so exactly what I needed to hear.  Loved it.  Then my dad introduced me to a new hymn this evening.  It's a Shaker melody and there's a great version sung by BYU Concert Choir, which of course isn't available for free online, but here's a version sung by a church choir that I found on YouTube:

Here are the lyrics to the song:

Love is little, love is low
Love will make our spirits grow
Grow in peace, grow in light
Love will do the thing that's right

Some versions have additional verses, I like them too:

Love is tender Love is best
In thy arms of holy rest
Keep me safe keep me still
Always open to thy will

Love thy neighbor, heal thy friend
Tender mercies now descend
Full of hope full of grace
As I gaze into thy face

Love surrounds me makes me whole
Love eternal fills my soul
Free from sin free from pain
When our Savior comes to reign

So, free advice for your week - share the love.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Movies like Jagger?

Sorry, my posts have been really lame of late.  I am hoping to write a nice long one tomorrow.  For now, I saw two movies today.  1) The book thief, and 2) Gravity.  Book thief was better, but the special effects of Gravity were pretty sweet.  That is all, over and out.

Friday, November 15, 2013


In search of an easy blog post, I Googled political protest songs and found this one.  Change will come, and hopefully for the better.

Sam Cook, "A Change is Gonna Come"

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mormon Jokes

I can't remember if I've shared this before or not, but here is one of my favorite Mormon jokes.  Post your favorites in the comments - I always like a good Mormon joke!

A women walks into Sacrament meeting and all of a sudden, she realizes that her son, who was right behind her, is gone.  She searches everywhere she can think of in the building, and then heads outside.  She finds her son under a tree, defiant.  "Son, you really need to come inside."

He petulantly kicks a rock and says, "nobody in there likes me!"

She responds, "Now I'm sure that's not true."

He shakes his head.

The mother sighs, "Son, you've got to come in, you're the bishop."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thievery of Books

As a child in primary (LDS Sunday School for kids) we played some version of the newlywed game.  I have no idea or remembrance of why this was a thing, but I swear it was.  They would ask us questions that they had also asked our parents and see if we answered the same way.  I remember playing it and being asked what my favorite hobby was.  No idea how old I was at the time, but probably 8 or 9.  Having (somewhat) outgrown dolls at this point, my not-very-decisive answer was, "Softball?"  I still remember the adult leading the game responding, "While you're playing softball, apparently you like to...read!"  Yeah didn't get that question right, but on further reflection it's pretty accurate to suggest that reading was my favorite childhood activity.

As an adult I have far less time for free reading than I would like, which makes me sad.  But, I did finally start reading The Book Thief, which numerous people have recommended to me.  I like the way it uses language in unexpected ways.  Its narrator is Death, which is an interesting viewpoint.  Reading a book like that makes me realize that while I enjoy writing, I don't have that gift of language that great writers seem to possess and hone into a beautiful craft.  I love reading a book and being so enchanted or horrified or enthralled in the book world that the author has created that I have no idea of the passage of time.  Tearing myself away from a good book is very hard.  Books seem to steal the time away, like thieves in the night.

While this isn't maybe the best way to introduce the topic, I'm a big fan of public education.  Public education created my love of reading and nourished it into a lifelong hobby.  Tomorrow I'll talk a bit more about my views on public education, but for now, I think I'm going to force myself NOT to read the remaining half of The Book Thief tonight.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Give oh Give

Sometimes it takes a really really large typhoon to remind you of what you are grateful for.  Super Typhoon Haiyan recently hit the Philippines, tearing families apart and destroying homes.  I'm grateful to have a warm and secure home tonight, and that my loved ones are safe.  Here's a link to a list of resources to assist those affected by Haiyan: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1659#.UoLtvfkqiSo

Be generous, and even if you don't have the means to be generous, be grateful and prayerful. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank You Thank You

A veteran's day post seemed appropriate.  This video's silent tribute moved me:

President Obama, Wreath Laying, Arlington National Cementary, Today

But I think this video expresses my prayer for the brave men and women serving in battles all over the world - not just the military ones, but the battles against sin, against ignorance, against disease, and against despair.

"The Lord Bless You and Keep You," John Rutter Arrangement

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Prayer & Schools

Let's get one thing straight.  I hate Country Music.  Sorry, y'all, but even though I was raised in the (nominal) south, the twanginess irks my soul.  Admittedly, there are few songs that remind me of hilarious times with former roommates but I don't enjoy the actual sound of the songs so much as the memories they invoke. But, sometimes I can bear listening to the local bluegrass station if it doesn't get too twangy - it's mellower than country somehow. This morning I listened to a song that basically said the country was going to rot because we could burn flags but we couldn't pray in schools (actually, the song specifically said we were headed towards communism, but I'll save my loathing of that particular straw man argument for another time).

Now, I went to 13 years of public school, and I was never told I couldn't pray.  I must have missed this particular memo, because I do remember praying in school - before tests, during periods of social isolation and general awkwardness (aka Middle School), and any time I choose.  Just because I didn't recite a formulaic prayer that some bureaucrat wrote didn't mean that I didn't pray.  Nothing that I have found prevents you from praying in school, or anyplace else for that matter.  Recently, many of my most meaningful prayers occur in my car.

I've never had a problem with the Supreme Court decision which barred mandatory prayer in public schools. These decisions are still deeply unpopular in the U.S., as many people seem to view them as an affront to their religious beliefs.  However, if you're Mormon, would you want to recite a Lutheran prayer or have that endorsed by the state?  If you're Catholic, would you feel comfortable having your children read a Muslim prayer?  If you're Hindu, do you want your children to have to pray about Jesus?  Any prayer general enough to please everybody would end up pleasing nobody.

Which brings me to my point: formal prayer in public schools would have to be so watered down in our pluralistic society that it would become meaningless form.  And I believe religion should be personal and integral in our lives, not just a token prayer at school, but a communion with the divine.  Government should give everyone's beliefs respect and protection of law, but it should not force belief on people - to do so corrupts government and religion.

To close, here's my favorite hymn that's also a prayer - it has a lot of meaning to me personally, so I hope you enjoy this beautiful arrangement courtesy of the internet:

"I Need Thee Every Hour," Sam Robson

Saturday, November 9, 2013

This Is My Jam

Ah, I'm not even 1/3 of the way through NaBloPoMo and I am already failing to come up with post ideas. It's been a long day, so I'm going to leave you with "my jam" - which is a Disney song, because I'm hard core like that.  I like this song, even though I have no idea which Disney movie it's from.

"I'll Try"

You're So Right, You're Wrong

This was going to be a longer post, but it's already late.  So, the long and the short of it is, sometimes people who I agree with annoy the crap out of me.  Especially one liberal Mormon facebook group which shall not be named - they are such whiners and can't see the good in *any* Republicans.  Ugh, good night, nurse.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Here's to the Hippies

I really like the LDS Church's recent statement on the environment, so I'm just going to reproduce it here:

God created the earth to provide a place for the human family to learn, progress and improve. God first created the earth and all living things spiritually, and all living things have great worth in His eyes.

The earth and all things on it should be used responsibly to sustain the human family. However, all are stewards — not owners — over this earth and its bounty and will be accountable before God for what they do with His creations.

Approaches to the environment must be prudent, realistic, balanced and consistent with the needs of the earth and of current and future generations, rather than pursuing the immediate vindication of personal desires or avowed rights. The earth and all life upon it are much more than items to be consumed or conserved. God intends His creations to be aesthetically pleasing to enliven the mind and spirit, and some portions are to be preserved. Making the earth ugly offends Him.

The state of the human soul and the environment are interconnected, with each affecting and influencing the other. The earth, all living things and the expanse of the universe all eloquently witness of God.

"I Speak for the Trees," From Dr. Seuss's The Lorax

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Stop N' Not Go

I don't know why I haven't been aware of New York City's "Stop and Frisk" policy until recently.  It probably has a lot to do with me not being black or Latino and not living in NYC.  If you don't know what this program is, you can read the Wikipedia article about it here.

This program is appalling.  The idea that it's okay to stop people on the street just on suspicion that they're doing something wrong is a violation of the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Apparently the Supreme Court disagrees with me and says that this is constitutional, but I don't care.  If a disproportionate number of people of color are being stopped, there's something really really wrong here. This program is not being applied fairly and even if it was, it's still an unreasonable search of someone. Where are all the Republicans who are complaining about Obamacare being a violation of liberty while this is going on?

So, I say to this program: Do not Pass Go, Do Not Collect Taxpayer Dollars.  Hopefully the new mayor will put an end to this program, because I think it's wrong.

The Daily Show, "Frisky Business"

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


NaBloPoMo is about quantity, not quality.  In case you haven't already figured that out, let this post be a revelation to you.

Monday, November 4, 2013


Poll - aways the same
Anti Anti Anti - no acclaim!
Now, who is to blame?

Every election season, I'm reminded of how singularly uninformative modern political campaigns are. Watching political ads provides me with no information to help me make a wise decision about for whom to vote.  This is nothing new, I'm sure there wasn't a whole lot of high-minded debate in the election days of Jefferson and Washington (there was, however, considerably more whiskey involved). Even if it's not a new phenomenon, it's an irksome one.

Campaigns from both sides race all over themselves to be against the other side. I wouldn't be surprised to turn on the TV and see "Candidate A wants to kill puppies, but Candidate B supports those loyal, true, middle-class American canines.  Elect Candidate B to keep America's kennels safe and secure! (Followed by, "I'm Candidate B, and I approve this message because I love Dogs. And America)"

The positive ads are no better at providing useful information.  "I'm Candidate A, and I'll work with both parties to create jobs and grow our economy." (Roll footage of Candidate A and a very telegenic family walking down a typical American street, and/or footage of Candidate A talking with furrowed brow to a multi-racial group of Ordinary Americans).

I think it's easy to blame the candidates, but really they are just doing what works. Negative advertising is used every election cycle, and the positive pablum that is served up is easily condensed into thirty second sound bites.  It's easy to blame voters, but who else are we to vote for?  If every candidate is using the same techniques, we can't really vote for the substantive candidate.  I can easily choose to blame the media, but they are just providing what the public wants.  Who can we blame?  But more importantly, how do we fix it? There's always this suggestion:

One thing I'm sometimes in favor of at this time of year is a shorter election season. If we can't fix the tone of the debate, maybe we can shorten it?  On the other hand, that favors those who already have name recognition rather than ordinary Joes. All I know is that I am anti-anti - I'm against all the negative campaign ads.  I don't know how to get rid of them, other than to never watch TV or listen to the radio while there's an election going on.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


It's sad that it's only the third day of this and I'm already running out of political ideas.  So, Charlotte Bronte, pretty awesome, eh?  Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels of all time and I recently started re-reading it. This time I read the introductions she wrote for the various editions of the novel.  In one of them, she addresses her critics after thanking those who have assisted her in getting the novel published:

Having thus acknowledged what I owe those who have aided and approved me, I turn to another class; a small one, so far as I know, but not, therefore, to be overlooked. I mean the timorous or carping few who doubt the tendency of such books as “Jane Eyre:” in whose eyes whatever is unusual is wrong; whose ears detect in each protest against bigotry—that parent of crime—an insult to piety, that regent of God on earth. I would suggest to such doubters certain obvious distinctions; I would remind them of certain simple truths.

Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns.

These things and deeds are diametrically opposed: they are as distinct as is vice from virtue. Men too often confound them: they should not be confounded: appearance should not be mistaken for truth; narrow human doctrines, that only tend to elate and magnify a few, should not be substituted for the world-redeeming creed of Christ. There is – I repeat it – a difference; and it is a good, and not a bad action to mark broadly and clearly the line of separation between them.

The world may not like to see these ideas dissevered, for it has been accustomed to blend them; finding it convenient to make external show pass for sterling worth—to let white-washed walls vouch for clean shrines. It may hate him who dares to scrutinise and expose — to rase the gilding, and show base metal under it — to penetrate the sepulchre, and reveal charnel relics: but hate as it will, it is indebted to him.

I just liked this thought - that conventionality is not religion, and we should not mistake it as such.

A fun flirting scene from a recent adaptation of Jane Eyre:

Jane Eyre, 2006 Version, Money Matters & Flirting

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Halloween just passed, so I thought I'd post a political song about a ghost.  Specifically, the ghost of Tom Joad.  This song takes its theme from Grapes of Wrath, one of my all time favorite books and a great narrative - you should read it.

Elvis Costello & Mumford & Sons, "Ghost of Tom Joad"

Friday, November 1, 2013

Short and Sour

It's time for one mo' NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). Basically it's an excuse to blog every day. This year I think I'm going to blog on a different political topic every day. I'll try to pick topics I haven't covered (or covered in depth), but if you have any ideas, that would be great - I daresay I will run out of ideas before the month ends!

In the spirit of keeping the posts short(er), I am going to attempt to do some of the posts as haiku, and maybe throw in a limerick here or there. The first one is about money and politics.

Unlimited money!
Boo Citizens United.
Bribe - not so funny.

I think there should be limits on money in politics - it's basically legalized bribery and ensures that those with money have more say in elections than the underprivileged. In short, it sours the whole political process with inequality.

Happy NaBloPoMo!  If you are participating, let me know, I'd love to follow your blog.