About Me

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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Friday, December 26, 2008

"Out of Many, We are One"

Photo Mosaic Poster by Anne Savage

I ordered two of these for myself and my wife Cat. You can order one for $20 at this at Revolutionary Views

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Right now the "Green-LaFlamme" household is in "nursing mode." My wife, Cat, had hip surgery to repair some torn "cushion" in her hip socket and to straighten out a thign bone that had become curved over the years.

The doctors hope that this way Cat can avoid hip replacement surgery.

So far, she's doing well, doing her therapy exercises, using her walker. (She says it reminds her of that scene in the Mel Brookes musical The Producers where all the little old ladies do a chorus line dance with their walkers.

I get to place nurse, which has its own joys. I get to be important to her and build up "Brownie points" for later redemption.

Hope you are enjoying the love of your own family in whatever form that may take in your case.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Worship Leader Remarks at Mayflower Church

"A Candle in Hope" by Juntos

I have not been posting in quite a while. Frankly, for some reason I did not feel much like writing, but I hope now to begin once again. Here are the remarks I made at Mayflower Congregational Church on Christmas Sunday as the lay Worship Leader.

For those of us living in Oklahoma who believe passionately in social justice, 2008 has been “the best of times” and “the worst of times,” a real “Dickens” of a time. Sorry, but I’ve been saving that pun for a while now.

At this time, how appropriate it is that we gather here on the winter solstice when our part of the world goes through its longest darkness. We gather to celebrate the birth of Hope, which first came during one of the very darkest of times. In a time of terror and fear, a man of questionable birth brought us Hope and taught us to live lives of Hope by revealing to us the Life of Grace: God’s enabling power which helps us to realize our true potential.

And that’s what I love about you. You live such gracious lives. You recognize that you have received Grace. And having received Grace, you know you must show grace to others by helping them to enjoy all the wonderful possibilities that God wants all of us to realize in her creation.
You make Hope live in our world by being God’s Agents of Grace

Thank you for living graciously. For without people like you, we would be facing a “season of Darkness” without the prospect of “the spring of hope."

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Election Map Provided by the Associated Press
Oklahoma has the distinction of being the reddest state in this last election. Not only did Oklahoma give John McCain's campaign its largest margin of victory, we were the only state in the nation where President-elect Barack Obama lost every single country. That may change but it may take some time. We have often been a "lag state" when it comes to matters of politics and social justice.

The GOP is presently a regional party, not a national one. You might notice that it's presence is limited to Appalachia, the Deep South, the Plains States, and some of the Inter-Mountain West. The Democratic Party has all of New England, the Upper Midwest, the Mid-Atlantic, some of the border South, the rest of the Inter-Mountain West, and all the West Coast. Oklahoma is at the crossroads of the Deep South and the Plains State. The Democrats are starting to make enroads into the Plains and South. GOP demographics are heavily weighed on the side of the elderly, rural Americans, and blue collar Whites, not exactly an expanding demographics. Democrats are gaining among the young, the college educated, and they are gaining in the suburbs. Democrats have gained Latino voters due to the GOP's radical anti-Latino agenda. Oklahoma is looking more and more like yesterday's America, and not a model for the rest of the country. We will see how long the Republicans are able to maintain the redoubt they have in Oklahoma.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Early Voting Ancedote

My pastor told me a story that came from the time he did his early voting. He and his wife went to vote on Friday. They stood in line with a elderly black woman who had to walk with the aid of a cane. They were in line for an hour and a half before they could cast their ballots.

My pastor, of course, talked with this woman at lengt while in line. After she finally was able to cast her ballot, he asked her what this moment, being able to vote for an African-American candidate, meant to her.

She said, "Well, preacher, the way I see it is that Rosa Parks sat down. . .

so that Martin Luther King, Jr. could walk. . .

so that Barack Obama could run. . .

so that our children can fly."

Saturday, November 01, 2008

First Rule of Rhetoric: Know Who Your Audience Is

from Talking Points Memo. Com

A reader in TPM sent in this story which shows a great deal about the McCain organization:
Interesting anecdote and probably a testament to ground organization. I have no idea what this means. Friday night (which happens to be the start of our Sabbath) my wife answered the phone to hear a man stating he was from the McCain-Palin campaign. He asked who she was supporting. She replied that we will vote for Obama. He replied with "but he's a f-----g n---er!". Before I get to my wife's response I'll first have to say that I understand desperation and I also understand that this pitch may actually work for a few people. I also understand that there are people who are whack-jobs phone-banking for both sides. But here are some facts:
My wife and I are Black. Citing the fact that Obama is a f----g n---er as a way to sway our vote may not be a great idea. My wife and I live in Maryland... Baltimore, MD.... One of the most African American areas of Baltimore Maryland. How on earth did our phone numbers get on to a McCain volunteers phone bank list of potential voters to be calling at this stage in the game? We have never received a call from the Obama campaign.

Just weird. Not sure what to make of it... but that's not a good sign of organization. If it did anything it made us want to donate more. BTW, the rest of the call went downhill from there. My wife prayed for forgiveness after the call.

Cat and I Early Voted Today

Early voting line at the Oklahoma County Election Board on Tuesday. Photograph from The Oklahoman web site.

Cat and I went to vote early today at the Oklahoma County Election Board. We had heard that the average voting time on Friday, the first day of early voting in Oklahoma, was about 3 hours. So we were prepared for a long wait.

Still it was amazing and wonderful to see the line to the polling place stretch out some 6 or 7 blocks out from the Election Board and down the street in front of the site. We ended up waiting 4 hours to vote, but was well worth it.

Over 5000 people voted on Friday when the polls were open from 8-6. Today, they closed at 1pm, but I expect the total voting will approach yesterday's total.

The crowd seemed to be overwhelmingly pro-Obama and Democratic Party. I did not see one person wearning campaign material for McCain or any Republican. I saw many wearing buttons and shirts supporting Obama and other Democrats, including moi.

I wore my "Super Obama" t-shirt that I got from StylinOnline.com.

It caused a great reaction, as you might imagine. I had several people ask to take my picture. There was even a camera crew of students from OU doing a documentary about the presidential race who saw the shirt and asked for an interview.

We had a great time, and it did not seem like it took 4 hours, till we got finished and realized that our legs were very sore from standing around on the parking lot surface for so long. Still it was a small price to pay to be able to take part in history!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Doing the Lord's Work II: Door-to-Door Visitation

This morning I went out to visit voters door-to-door for Donnie Lewis who is running for Oklahoma House District 101.
Donnie Lewis
Donnie has a great campaign narrative. He is 25 year old, an elementary school teacher, and an Iraq War vet. He is running against an incumbent in a conservative district, but it is also populated by Tinker Air Force Base soldiers and workers, so I am really hoping that he can win the election.

Door-to-door campaigning is much more fun for me than phone banking. I really enjoy talking to people. When you see people face to face, they tend to be very polite, even rather happy to seem someone actively involved in campaigning.

I was with my friend, Jesse Isbell, a fellow union member, and the families we visited had union ties. That made it even easier.

Politics can be quite enjoyable if you are willing to take the plunge. We only have 10 days till the election. Many elections are won and lost in the last week, so I encourage you to get off the sidelines and get in the game.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Doing the Lord's Work

Phone Banking
Last night, I did a couple of hours of phone banking for Dana Orwig, who is running for the Oklahoma state legislature. This was a part of the Oklahoma City-American of Federation of Teachers' effort to elect public school friendly legislators. I belong to the OKC-AFT, Local 2309.
Dana Orwig for OK House, District 87
Phone banking is one of the least popular yet most effective forms of volunteer campaigning. What I was doing was calling fellow AFT members to identify them as pro-Dana, negative or undecided. This is one of the easiest forms of phone banking, made all the more easy because Dana has been a very hard working candidate. Many of those I contacted have met Dana personally and plan to vote for her. A couple have been active in her campaign.

Still, you contact the occasional "grump" who doesn't want to talk, or lets you know that it is NOYDB who they are voting for. You wish these folks would give you credit for being an active citizen, but there is nothing you can do about them.

I'm not trying to brag on myself (okay, maybe just a little), but I do wonder why more of us don't do something to show we are serious about this thing we call citizenship.

I don't know how many Americans do volunteer work in campaigns. Someone, somewhere must know the percentage, but I guess that it must be less than 5% who do.

I'm of a religious frame of mind, so when I tell those I am working with that we are "Doing the Lord's work." And by that I mean that anything that we do in the cause of justice for all must be advancing us towards that day when we realize "justice for all" as being something more than words mumbled when we do the Pledge of Allegiance.

With all the campaigns going on, there is far more need than there are workers to do them. So, I'd encourage everyone to "Do the Lord's Work" in whatever capacity suits you.

No matter what you do, You'll feel like you're a "Real American."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell Endorses Obama

This is a major development. First, it absolutely ends the "pals around with terrorist" slime that Palin has been slinging around. Second, it vettes Obama in the one area McCain has had a slight advantage: foreign policy. Third, it insures that Obama will be able to hold on to the headlines for the next 3 or 4 days. This is time that McCain desperately needs to shift the momentum of the race. Finally, it trumps the Lieberman endorsement of McCain. Lieberman has no standing in the Democratic Party since he went Independent. I fully expect him to be dismissed from the Democratic caucus if the Democrats fall short of getting to the magic 60 in the election (or if they can get it without him). Powell, on the other hand, is still respected by many moderate Republicans and most Independents. We could see the "Obamamentum" become a tsunami. At least, I hope so.
CNN story

Saturday, October 18, 2008

How Low Can They Go?

In the Sewer?
from Politico

Cindy McCain lawyer invokes Obama drug use

John Dowd, Cindy McCain's attorney, complained in a letter to New York Times executive editor Bill Keller earlier this month that the paper had scrutinized the GOP nominee's wife but not investigated matters surrounding Barack Obama including his youthful drug use.

"You have not tried to find Barack Obama's drug dealer that he wrote about in his book, Dreams of My Father," Dowd wrote in a two-page letter sent to Keller while the paper was reporting a piece about Cindy McCain.

The McCain campaign released the missive late Friday night in response to that story, to be published in the paper's Saturday edition. It's the first time anybody so closely associated with McCain has raised the issue.

A common tactic of trying to deflect your own guilt is to try to push attention to someone else. That way you don't have to deal with the wrong you have done.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rest in Peace, Jake

Jake before his illness
It's a sad day for our house. I had have my cat, my friend, Jake euthanized. I brought Jake into our marriage from my former household. I got him about a year before I met Cat, and we have had him all during the 6 plus years we have been a couple.

Jake was an alpha male, but a considerate one. When Jeremy, my twenty-five year old Persian mix, started declining, Jake always let Jeremy get to the food bowl first, but he insisted being next.

Cat and I noticed that Jake limping around the house. Just a little at first, but it became worse each month. He had developed a shoulder tumor that evently crippled him. It finally got to the place where he had to be helped to get to his food and get to the litter box. Finally, I knew keeping him alive was cruelty, so I did the right thing by him and had his life mercifully ended.

A few weeks ago, Cat and I adopted another cat we call "Dakota" from the city shelter. Like Jeremey, he is a gray, Persian mix. Life goes on, but it's good to remember all the things that bring us joy along the way.

Goodbye, my gentle friend.

Halloween Won't Be Very Good This Year

Obama/Biden Go 4-4

So much for whipping Obama's, er, tukas.

Monday, October 13, 2008

How Much Are We At Risk for a New McCain Stunt

Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com has unveiled this new McCain Stunt Alert Level system ...

Economists Say "Obama Has Better Grasp of Economics"

In a telling survey, the journal The Economist, survey 142 members of the Bureau of Economic Research, America’s premier association of applied academic economics, on their analysis of the proposed economic policies and overall grasp of economic principles.
The detailed responses are bad news for Mr McCain (the full data are available here). Eighty per cent of respondents and no fewer than 71% of those who do not cleave to either main party say Mr Obama has a better grasp of economics. Even among Republicans Mr Obama has the edge: 46% versus 23% say Mr Obama has the better grasp of the subject. “I take McCain’s word on this one,” comments James Harrigan at the University of Virginia, a reference to Mr McCain’s infamous confession that he does not know as much about economics as he should. In fairness, Mr McCain’s lower grade may in part reflect greater candour about his weaknesses. Mr Obama’s more tightly managed image leaves fewer opportunities for such unvarnished introspection.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

McCain rids his campaign of a racist

From Fox News-[Yes, I do read Fox News]

Republican presidential candidate John McCain's campaign has ousted a prominent Virginia GOP figure who wrote a newspaper column mocking a potential Barack Obama administration.

A McCain spokeswoman said Bobby May was dropped this week from his job as McCain's Buchanan County campaign chairman.

May wrote in his column, "The (clarified) platform of Barack Hussein Obama," that if the Democratic senator were elected he would hire rapper Ludacris to paint the White House black and change the national anthem to the "Black National Anthem." [see my Oct. 6 post: "Virginia GOP Leader Writes Anti-Obama Racist Screed "]
The column originally appeared in The Voice, a local newspaper.

May has worked on dozens of state Republican campaigns.

I give Sen. McCain credit for doing the right thing here. Perhaps we can conduct the last 3 weeks of this campaign on the issues, not on ad hominem attacks.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Is the Anger Seen at McCain/Palin Rallies Racist?

When John McCain and Sarah Palin began their personally attacks against Obama, they unleashed a torrent of invective that surprised even them. They have tried, not always successfully, to reign in their audiences.

My question is how much of the visceral invective at these events is motivated by racism and the fear of having America's first black president elected in a little over 3 weeks. I bring in evidence the following photoshopped picture which appeared on the right wing online message board "The Free Republic."
Caption: Shoeshine Boy
The picture appears among the subscribers reaction to a discussion on the possibility of McCain getting some post in an Obama administration. The picture is accompanied with the text, "Back at ya, Obama. Palin has a job for you as well when she is in the white house:". The poster goes by the name "spodefly," and while his posting privileges seem to have been revoked, The Free Republic has yet to take down this piece of racist garbage as of this writing.

Other postings on the web site a full of lies and smears that seem to be creeping into McCain and Palin's rhetoric and advertisements.

I do not believe that Sen. John McCain or Sarah Palin are racists, but they bear some responsibility for feeding the hatred of racists who support them.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Let's See Them Put Lipstick on This

Note: The legislative committee was made up of 10 Republicans and 4 Democrats.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A legislative committee investigating Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has found she unlawfully abused her authority in firing the state's public safety commissioner.

The investigative report concludes that a family grudge wasn't the sole reason for firing Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan but says it likely was a contributing factor.

I think this sinks the McCain campaign.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Frank Keating Tries to Slime Obama

Frank Keating never should have been governor of Oklahoma for one term let alone two. He would have never won in 1994 if there had not been a strong third party candidate in the race who took away votes from traditionally Democratic southeastern Oklahoma. The Murrah Bombing kept him in office for another term. Once out of office, he has been floundering around to get back in. Bush turned him down as a possible Attorney General when it was revealed Keating had been given a $250,000 "scholarship" from a donor who wanted to promote a scheme to drug prisoners.

Later his wife and son were defeated in their Republican primaries when they ran for Congress and the Oklahoma legislature respectively.

Keating now is a flunkie for the McCain campaign. Recently, he reflected McCain desperate attempt to tear down Obama's character with the following interview with Dennis Miller, comedian and conservative radio talk show host:
"He ought to admit, ‘You know, I've got to be honest with you. I was a guy of the street. I was way to the left. I used cocaine. I voted liberally, but I'm back at the center,'" Keating, a co-chair of McCain’s campaign, said Obama should tell voters. "I mean, I understand the big picture of America. But he hasn't done that."

"Man of the street"? Frank, don't talk in codes to us. Go ahead and admit that you want to remind us that Barack is black.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Who is Concerned Most About the Middle Class?

According to the New York Times, in the 3 debates held thus far, Obama and Biden have used the phrase "middle class" a total of 21 times. McCain/Palin have used it twice.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Keating Five Now and Then

John McCain may now try to claim being officially reprimanded for his part in the infamous "Keating Five" was motivated by politics, but he didn't always think this way. Here is what McCain has said in the past about his actions and judgement:

I created the appearance of impropriety so it was my -- I was guilty, and therefore did not represent the people of my state in the manner which they expected of me. [CNN, Larry King, 10/12/02]

The biggest mistake that I made in my life was attending a meeting with four other senators and four regulators because of the appearance of impropriety, and it is something that will always be a mark on my record, and something that people will judge me for the rest of my life. [GOP Presidential Primary Debate, 1/7/00]

Despite my recovery, the Keating Five experience was not one that I have walked away from as easily as I have other bad times. Twelve years after its conclusion, I still wince thinking about it and find that if I do not repress the memory, its recollection still provokes a vague but real feeling that I had lost something very important, something that was sacrificed in the pursuit of gratifying ambitions, my own and others', and that I might never possess again as assuredly as I once had. [McCain, Worth the Fighting For Page 204]

Daily Kos

Virginia GOP Leader Writes Anti-Obama Racist Screed

One test of character involves how one behaves when the going gets tough. By that measure, Bobby May, the McCain campaign chair in Buchanan County, Virginia and correspondence secretary for the Buchanan County Republican Party, has failed his test of character. Virginia may quite possibly gives its 13 Electoral Votes the Democratic nominee for president for the first time since 1964. May reacted to this possibility by publishing the following racist commentary in The Voice, a local newspaper:
"FREEDOM OF RELIGION: Mandatory Black Liberation Theology classes taught in all churches - raise taxes to pay for this mandate. Put Rev. Jeremiah Wright in charge...."

"DRUG CRISIS: Raise taxes to pay for free drugs for Obama’s inner-city political base...."

"2ND AMENDMENT: Under Obama will only apply to gang-bangers, illegal aliens,
Islamo-Fascist terrorists, and Senator Jim Webb’s aide...."

"FOREIGN RELATIONS: Appoint Rev. Al Sharpton as Secretary of State, Jesse Jackson as UN Representative, and let Bill Clinton handle all other "foreign relations" ... As long as Hillary doesn't find out...!"

"THE WHITE HOUSE: Hire rapper Ludacris to “paint it black.” Taxes to be increased to buy enough paint for the job plus spray-paint forgraffiti...."

"THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES: Raise taxes to send $845 billion, most of it to Africa so the Obama family there can skim off enough for them to free their goats and live the American Dream...."

"NATIONAL ANTHEM: Change to the "Black National Anthem" by James Weldon Johnson...."

"US CURRENCY: Update photos to reflect US diversity; include pictures of "great Americans" such as Oprah Winfrey, Ludacris, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Paris Hilton, and
Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson (Obama's new Secretary of the Treasury - 50 Cent refused position after learning that he would lose his crazy check if he accepted the nomination)...."

"US FLAG: Replace 50 stars with a star and crescent logo; red stripes changed to green to represent Obama’s tree-hugging radical environmentalism and his lack of experience. Flag lapel pins, having become a substitute for “real patriotism,” will henceforth be banned...."

There are times when attacking someone else's character, reveals more about your own lack of character. I hope that Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin take a lesson from this. They should at the very least condemn and censure Mr. May for this vile attack.
Source: TPM: Cafe Talk

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Poll Finds VP Debate Moves Voters Toward Obama/Biden

WASHINGTON — Undecided voters who watched Thursday's vice presidential debate really like Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin but they're not certain she's ready to lead the country, according to the findings of a new Ipsos/McClatchy online poll.

If they had to vote immediately after watching the debate between Republican Palin and the Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, 52 percent of the 456 undecided voters who were surveyed would vote the Obama/Biden ticket, the poll found.

It also found that Palin's performance in the debate did nothing to clinch undecided votes for her running mate, Arizona Sen. John McCain. Before the debate, those same undecided voters were leaning 56 percent to 44 percent for McCain. The day after the debate, the numbers tilted 52 percent to 48 percent for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.
McClatchy Newspapers: "Poll: Palin more likeable, but Obama/Biden gets the votes" by Erika Bolstad

Election Trains

from The Daily Kos

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Palin Lied About McCain's Position on Bankruptcy Policy

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
Sarah Palin's main strategy was to stick to her set of "talking points" even when they had no relevance to the questions she was asked. It's a common, if deplorable, tactic that allows the responder to stay off areas where she doesn't have a clue.

It can get you into trouble, though, if your attempt to turn the discussion gets you caught in a lie, which is what happened when the topic turned to federal bankruptcy laws. Biden stated that he believed that homeowners facing foreclosures on their first homes should have the right to petition for relief from the principals they owe. He stated:
"[W]e should be allowing bankruptcy courts to be able to re-adjust not just the interest rate you're paying on your mortgage to be able to stay in your home, but be able to adjust the principal that you owe, the principal that you owe," said Biden. "That would keep people in their homes, actually help banks by keeping it from going under.

"But John McCain, as I understand it," he continued, "I'm not sure of this, but I believe John McCain and the governor don't support that. There are ways to help people now. And there -- ways that we're offering are not being supported by -- by the Bush administration nor do I believe by John McCain and Governor Palin."

PBS' Gwen Ifill turned to Palin and asked, "Governor Palin, is that so?"

"That is not so," said Palin, "but because that's just a quick answer."

The Alaska governor then quickly changed the subject to energy. (source: ABC News)

So, Governor Palin, in her haste to get away from a topic she was either unpreped to answer or just didn't want to answer, made a false statement about her campaigns position. When ABC asked the McCain campaign if the governor was right, they had to that Palin "misstated" McCain's position.

Occasionally, I would be caught in a position where I didn't want to get blamed for something I did. I would say whatever parents would want to hear to get me ought of trouble. Later, when the truth came out, my mother's term for my "misstatement" was "Lying."

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Biden's Best Moment in the Debate

Palin tried to protray herself as somehow more in touch with average working families than Biden. His response really turned the debate in his favor.

David McKiernan v. George McClellan

I will comment on the Biden-Palin debate later, but I was interested in one thing Gov. Palin said. I know it was a minor gaffe, but it was still amusing. She called the NATO Commander in Afghanistan, General McClellan. He is in fact, General David McKiernan.

Just so there will be no confusion between the two generals, I have included their pictures.
General David D. McKiernan
General George B. McClellan
Let us hope that Gen. McKiernan has more success in Afghanistan than Gen. McClellan had with the Army of the Potomac.

Barack Obama: Job Loss is Un-American

It's time we had a president who has walked a picket line.

Vote Obama/Biden Nov. 4.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sarah Palin Took Gifts Got Special Considerations as Mayor

The former home of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Wasilla Lake in Wasilla, Alaska, is seen Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008. Two months before Palin's tenure as mayor ended in 2002, she asked city planning officials to forgive zoning violations so she could sell the house.
(AP Photo/Al Grillo)

from the Associated Press

Though Sarah Palin depicts herself as a pit bull fighting good-old-boy politics, in her years as mayor she and her friends received special benefits more typical of small-town politics as usual, an Associated Press investigation shows.

When Palin needed to sell her house during her last year as Wasilla mayor, she got the city to sign off on a special zoning exception — and did so without keeping a promise to remove a potential fire hazard.

She gladly accepted gifts from merchants: A free "awesome facial" she raved about in a thank-you note to a spa. The "absolutely gorgeous flowers" she received from a welding supply store. Even fresh salmon to take home.

Highlights from Robin's Sermon 28.09.08

Jesus driving the money men from the Temple
Here are some highlights from the Sunday service at Mayflower Congregational Church-UCC. "Where head and heart are equal partners in faith."

The Prayer of Confession:
Lord of Life, we pause in the midst of high anxiety about our country's financial future to remember the wisdom of the church about wealth and the life of the spirit. Once again, as we struggle to recover from an era of greed and corruption, we are driven back to words that are older than any political party or media spin: "The love of money is the root of all evil." Teach us, we pray, to heed the wisdom of the ages, not the seductions of idolatry. In the name of Jesus our Teacher and Lord we pray, Amen.

Special Music: "Simple Gifts" Shaker hymn, arranged by Mark Hayes

Scripture Reading: Mark 10:17-25 (The story of the rich man told by Jesus to "sell all you have and give to the poor.")

Next to the kingdom of God, Jesus' most freguent topic was money.

When Jesus attacked the Temple money changers during Passion Week, he sealed his doom.

Talking about greed is suddenly in in our world. We are reminded of the scene in the movie Wall Street where Michael Douglas' character states that "Greed is good."

We need to be reminded that the First Commandment is, "Do not make an idol for yourself out of anything."

Jesus said, "You cannot serve God and Wealth."

"The love of money is the root of all evil."

One commentator said, "Why do we borrow money from China so that we can buy oil from Saudi Arabia which in turn is poisoning our planet?"

Prosperity theology, the preaching that God will help us become rich, is the final and complete perversion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Louis Brandeis once said, "We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."

The church of Jesus must challenge the present social/economic system in the nation, not merely endorse it.

Proverbs 19:17--"He who gives to the poor, lends to God." This is a much safers investiment than any bank.

The responsibility of the church in this economic crisis is the same that it has been throughout the ages. We must seek to help those harmed by these events and confront those who have caused it with the Word of Truth.

We need in these times to rediscover the joys of simplicity. In the words of the Shaker hymn:
It's a gift to be simple.
It's a gift to be free.
It's a gift to come down where we ought to be.
And when we come around to the place that's right,
We will be in the valley of love and delight.

Obama Emerging as the Clear Winner of 1st Debate

from MediaCurves.com
Note How Well Obama Does with Independents
This should surprise many Republicans

Saturday, September 27, 2008

John McCain vs. John McCain

The First Debate

from "The Daily Kos"
To be honest, I couldn't watch the first debate. When I want someone to win so much, I have a hard time watching because I get so nervous. I have always been that way. Can't explain it.

However, from the reaction I have seen in the reviews of the event, Obama did well. He was fighting on McCain's ground since the debate's topic was "Foreign Policy," and at the very least, Obama stood even with McCain.

That in itself is a victory for Barack Obama.

In addition to this, two polls suggest that those who did watch the debate felt that Obama was the clear winner. A CBS poll of undecided voters showed that 39% felt Obama won while 24% felt McCain won. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp of those who watched the debat found that 51% of those polled thought Obama did the better job in Friday night's debate, while 38% said John McCain did better. However, CNN noted that more Democrats than Republicans watched the debate. (Perhaps Republicans felt as I do about the debates.)

In any case, McCain is trailing in the polls, and he needed something to shift the momentum. It appears that he failed in this mission.

One other thing that has to be noted is the fact that McCain flip-flopped on his vow not to attend the debates until the negotiations on bail out deal had been resolved. McCain wanted to appear to be some type of major player in their resolution. He failed on that mission also, and had to go renege on his vow.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Is McCain Becoming The Issue In This Race?

Does Obama have the cooler head?
A truism of politics is that when a candidate becomes "the issue" in race, in other words, when a candidate's personality or credibility comes into question, then the race is over, and the candidate has lost.

John McCain is perilously close to becoming a major issue in this campaign due to his recent antics in regards to our country's financial crisis. By his seemingly impetutous decision to suspend his campaign and insert himself into the negotiations between the White House and congressional leaders, he has raised questions regarding his judgment and his temperment. This quote fairly sums up my impression of what McCain has demonstrated about himself:
"It just proves his campaign is governed by tactics and not ideology. In the end, he blinked and Obama did not. The 'steady hand in a storm' argument looks now to more favor Obama, not McCain... My guess is that plasma units are rushing to the McCain campaign as we speak to replace the blood flowing there from the fights among the staff."
-- Former McCain adviser Craig Shirley, quoted by the Huffington Post.

The question the American people need to be asking is, which person has demonstrated a cool head and steady nerves during this crisis? Who would they want to have at the helm of this country during those inevitable times when it seems that all hell has broken loose? Obama is the man for me.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

McCain Didn't Even Read Treasury Proposal

from Wire Services
Though Sen. John McCain says the nation's current financial crisis requires "all hands on deck" because "the whole future of the American economy is in danger," he admitted in an interview in Cleveland on Tuesday that he hadn't even read the Bush administration's proposed rescue plan that was unveiled over the weekend.

American Prayer

American Prayer (Barack Obama Video)from You Tube

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

2008 Republican Party Platform Opposes Bailouts

New GOP Logo?
from VoteFromAbroad.Org

"The Republican Party platform adopted 3 weeks ago explicitly opposes government bailouts of private companies. Here is the exact quote (from the section "Rebuilding Homeownership"):
We do not support government bailouts of private institutions. Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself. We believe in the free market as the best tool to sustained prosperity and opportunity for all.

"This plank in the GOP platform is not controversial within the party. Republicans have always believed that when companies make bad business decisions the market will punish them and this is the deterrence for future companies to think through their decisions carefully. The problem now is the utter hypocrisy of throwing overboard a principle Republicans have held dear for a century. If (big) companies lose the fear of bankruptcy because they expect the government to bail them out, they will take unconscionable risks in the future. Maybe somebody should send Henry Paulson a copy of the Republican platform."
The GOP is being hoisted on its own petard.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thanks to my friend Shauna Struby

I sent out my questions I posted yesterday to my friends, and Shauna saying she had heard it this way:
They Privitize the Profits and Socialize the Losses.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Why do businesses want the government to leave them alone until they get themselves into so much trouble they come running for help?

Why are individual citizens on welfare irresponsible, but businesses on welfare are victims of a bad economy?

Why is it Socialistic for the government to take over the failing health industry, but not for the government to take over the failing banking industry?

Someone explain this to me.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Obama and McCain Tax Plans Compared

from VotefromAbroad.Org

Each of the candidates has a tax plan, but they differ quite a bit. Here is a chart showing the plans. McCain's plan focuses tax cuts on upper-income taxpayers. Obama's focuses them on lower-income taxpayers. However, with the government about to spend something like $1 trillion to buy nonperforming mortgages, it is unlikely the new President will have a lot of budget room left for tax cuts of any magnitude unless they are offset by tax increases of the same magnitude. In that respect, Obama's plan might be doable since it is budgetarily neutral, raising taxes on the rich by as much as it cuts taxes for the middle class. McCain's plan cuts taxes for everyone and thus reduces federal revenue and increases the budget deficit.
from The Washington Post
Read the entire Washington Post article here.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Community Organizers vs Governors

"Wasn't Jesus a Community Organizer and Pilate a Governor?"--e-mail response on NPR's "Diane Rehm Show" to Palin's acceptance speech at the RNC in which she praised governors and mocked community organizers.
1st Century Community Organizer
First Century Governor

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Jim Roth Catches a Hit and Run Suspect

Jim Roth, Corporation Commissoner and crime fighter
Jim Roth, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, helped to apprehend a driver after the man allegedly fled the scene of an accident he caused. Roth told reporters that he saw a man rear end a car driven by a woman while Roth was traveling on NW 23rd Street near Ollie Ave. The woman's car then rear ended another vehicle. The man causing the accident tried to drive away, but Roth followed and caught up with him. Roth then blocked the fleeing driver's car. Roth then called 911 and the police

For a complete story use the following link from the NewsOK.com web site

Jim is running in a special election for a full term on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. The Commission is charged with regulating utiliites and consumer rates in Oklahoma. Gov. Henry appointed Roth to replace Denise Bode who resigned from the Commission in 2007. Prior to his appointment, Roth served as one of Oklahoma County's Commissioners.

Lil' Obama Supporter

Jaida Ship
Last night, I went to our Oklahoma Centennial Bison football game against a team from Empire, Oklahoma. Attending the game was Jaida Shipp and her mother Crystal Shipp. I asked Crystal for permission to take a picture of Jaida wearing a Barrack Obama basketball jersey. Crystal graciously gave me permission.
As you can tell Jaida is an eager poser.

BTW, Centennial won the game 44-20!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin attacks McCain?

In her speech at the RNC, Palin attacked the "Washington elite." I guess she had in mind the man who is running at the head of her ticket. I mean, really, who is the "elitist" in the presidential race this fall? A man raised by a single, working mother and her family who succeeded by his own talents and intelligence? Or is it the man who divorced a wife who remained faithful to him during his long absence and married into money? A man who owns more homes than he can remember? A man who believes that someone making $5 million a year is merely "middle class?" Come on. It's time that we realize who is a member of the "elite" and which party has been looking out for the elite for the past 8 years.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Sarah's Palin Husband, Todd, Long Time Member of Alaska Independence Party

The "Alaska Independence Party" advocates that Alaska ought to succeed from the United States and become an independent nation. There has been a rumor that Gov. Palin at one time was a member of the party, but that doesn't seem to be the case. She does have ties to the party through her husband, Todd who once belonged to the party for several years but is not registered as "independent" or "undeclared."
Todd Palin, Longtime Former AIP Member

Meet Sarah "Pork Barrel" Palin

More reports are coming in about Sarah Palin's past political activities. One of the more interesting ones is the fact that as mayor of a town of only 6,700 souls, she managed to get over $27 million from the Federal government. This dispite the her present claim that she abhors "Pork Barrel" spending by the Feds.

From the Washington Post:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin employed a lobbying firm to secure almost $27 million in federal earmarks for a town of 6,700 residents while she was its mayor, according to an analysis by an independent government watchdog group.

There was $500,000 for a youth shelter, $1.9 million for a transportation hub, $900,000 for sewer repairs, and $15 million for a rail project -- all intended to benefit Palin's town, Wasilla, located about 45 miles north of Anchorage.

According to MSNBC:
As mayor of Wasilla, however, Palin oversaw the hiring of Robertson, Monagle & Eastaugh, an Anchorage-based law firm with close ties to Alaska's most senior Republicans: Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens, who was indicted in July on charges of accepting illegal gifts. The Wasilla account was handled by the former chief of staff to Stevens, Steven W. Silver, who is a partner in the firm.

Of course, in politics, if I get it, its "needed funding for the good of the community." If you get it, it's "Pork Barrel Politics."

Monday, September 01, 2008

Working with Gustav Evacuees in OKC

About 9:30 this morning, my friend Barbara Royce called and asked if Cat and I could help with the effort to shelter people coming up from Louisianna ahead of Hurricane Gustav. Barbara is the United Way, Labor Liaison. We told her that we could, so we went down to the old abandoned Lucent plant on the west side of the city where about 1800 evacuees arrived by bus and by car.

Cat ended up on the serving line, and I mostly stood around and helped to answer whatever questions I could. Ramona, Cat's sister who is staying with us for a while, came also to help serve.
Car from Louisianna drives into the Lucent parking lot.
Evacuees line up to be served food.
Cat works in the serving line.