Monday, October 29, 2007

Red Sox discover the secret to winning - a good team

"After all those years of watching the Boston Red Sox lose the way Troy lost at war, it's become apparent the problem wasn't the Curse of the Bambino or bad karma or any of the other paranormal forces Boston fans blamed.
Now that we've seen a good team, it's something of a revelation. I mean, who knew what it meant to have a legitimate ace in Josh Beckett and quality starters behind him; who knew what it meant to have a reliable set-up man in Hideki Okajima and a lights-out closer in Jonathan Papelbon; and who knew what it meant to have role players like Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury who might not hit 30 bombs but could contribute in other ways.

I mean, who knew it could be this easy. I just wonder why it took over 80 years to figure it out."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The roof, the roof, the roof is on the cabin...

Yesterday the roof went on the camp...

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Brand New Day

Well the Red Sox played incredible baseball this weekend and are headed to the World Series. The Indians will have to wait another year. Now I want to see the BoSox pummel those up-start "Rockies."

At camp we are waiting on the roof trusses. Those should be delivered this week and the roof should be on by next week. (Hopefully.)

And I am incredibly blessed.

At work I have spent the better part of three weeks doing something that I dislike immensely and it is almost over.

Yesterday, I had a few hours to sit and reflect - in the late autumn sunlight - on how truly blessed I am in all aspects of my life. I was sitting with a friend beside a lake and at first I begrudged the fact that I had another difficult week ahead. And as the minutes slid by I gradually gave myself over to the moment. Gave myself over to simply being in that time and space and not worrying about tomorrow or the rest of the week - just allowing myself to be nourished by a friend and by the beautiful setting that we were in.

Gratitude began to emerge and then full fledged thankfulness and ultimately it all gave way to forgiveness.

That is how it goes for me... If I let myself just be for a bit...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Life has been crazy...

Life has been crazy at work for the last few weeks. I have been traveling and doing the kinds of work that an HR professional does when a company is in a retrenching mode. It is a busy time. The economy continues to be the big question mark. Consumer confidence is very low and the housing market has a glut of homes and no one is moving until the Fed gives a nod as to the direction it is going. A nod would be a second consecutive reduction in the rates.
On a lighter note, the Indians have managed to beat the Yankees and now have a 2 to 1 lead over the Red Sox. This is where I am torn. I love Boston and the Sox. I love the Indians and Cleveland. I am wearing my cap with both the Indians and the Red Sox logos. I hope it goes to seven games and continues to be a great series.

Things at the camp continue to progress. They are starting on the second floor and hope to have it under roof by the end of next week. I will be glad to get the place sealed up against the weather. Winter is around the corner.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Nation of Christians Is Not a Christian Nation

October 7, 2007

By Op-Ed Contributor - JON MEACHAM

JOHN McCAIN was not on the campus of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University last year for very long — the senator, who once referred to Mr. Falwell and Pat Robertson as “agents of intolerance,” was there to receive an honorary degree — but he seems to have picked up some theology along with his academic hood. In an interview with last weekend, Mr. McCain repeated what is an article of faith among many American evangelicals: “the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation.”

According to Scripture, however, believers are to be wary of all mortal powers. Their home is the kingdom of God, which transcends all earthly things, not any particular nation-state. The Psalmist advises believers to “put not your trust in princes.” The author of Job says that the Lord “shows no partiality to princes nor regards the rich above the poor, for they are all the work of his hands.” Before Pilate, Jesus says, “My kingdom is not of this world.” And if, as Paul writes in Galatians, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” then it is difficult to see how there could be a distinction in God’s eyes between, say, an American and an Australian. In fact, there is no distinction if you believe Peter’s words in the Acts of the Apostles: “I most certainly believe now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears him and does what is right is welcome to him.”

The kingdom Jesus preached was radical. Not only are nations irrelevant, but families are, too: he instructs those who would be his disciples to give up all they have and all those they know to follow him.

The only acknowledgment of God in the original Constitution is a utilitarian one: the document is dated “in the year of our Lord 1787.” Even the religion clause of the First Amendment is framed dryly and without reference to any particular faith. The Connecticut ratifying convention debated rewriting the preamble to take note of God’s authority, but the effort failed.

A pseudonymous opponent of the Connecticut proposal had some fun with the notion of a deity who would, in a sense, be checking the index for his name: “A low mind may imagine that God, like a foolish old man, will think himself slighted and dishonored if he is not complimented with a seat or a prologue of recognition in the Constitution.” Instead, the framers, the opponent wrote in The American Mercury, “come to us in the plain language of common sense and propose to our understanding a system of government as the invention of mere human wisdom; no deity comes down to dictate it, not a God appears in a dream to propose any part of it.”

While many states maintained established churches and religious tests for office — Massachusetts was the last to disestablish, in 1833 — the federal framers, in their refusal to link civil rights to religious observance or adherence, helped create a culture of religious liberty that ultimately carried the day.

Thomas Jefferson said that his bill for religious liberty in Virginia was “meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mahometan, the Hindu, and infidel of every denomination.” When George Washington was inaugurated in New York in April 1789, Gershom Seixas, the hazan of Shearith Israel, was listed among the city’s clergymen (there were 14 in New York at the time) — a sign of acceptance and respect.

The next year, Washington wrote the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, R.I., saying, “happily the government of the United States ... gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance. ... Everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

Andrew Jackson resisted bids in the 1820s to form a “Christian party in politics.” Abraham Lincoln buried a proposed “Christian amendment” to the Constitution to declare the nation’s fealty to Jesus. Theodore Roosevelt defended William Howard Taft, a Unitarian, from religious attacks by supporters of William Jennings Bryan.

The founders were not anti-religion. Many of them were faithful in their personal lives, and in their public language they evoked God. They grounded the founding principle of the nation — that all men are created equal — in the divine. But they wanted faith to be one thread in the country’s tapestry, not the whole tapestry.

In the 1790s, in the waters off Tripoli, pirates were making sport of American shipping near the Barbary Coast. Toward the end of his second term, Washington sent Joel Barlow, the diplomat-poet, to Tripoli to settle matters, and the resulting treaty, finished after Washington left office, bought a few years of peace. Article 11 of this long-ago document says that “as the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,” there should be no cause for conflict over differences of “religious opinion” between countries.

The treaty passed the Senate unanimously. Mr. McCain is not the only American who would find it useful reading.

--From the NYT

Friday, October 05, 2007

Bush's Veto Lies

To say that George W. Bush spends money like a drunken sailor is to insult every gin-soaked patron of every dockside dive in every dubious port of call. If Bush gets his way, the cost of his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will soon reach a mind-blowing $600 billion. Despite turning a budget surplus into a huge deficit, the man still hasn't met a tax cut he doesn't like. And when the Republicans were in charge of Congress, Bush might as well have signed their pork-stuffed spending bills with a one-word rubber stamp: "Whatever."

So for Bush to get religion on fiscal responsibility at this late date is, well, a joke. And for him to make his stand on a measure that would have provided health insurance to needy children is a punch line that hasn't left many Republicans laughing.

Bush's veto Wednesday of a bipartisan bill reauthorizing the State Children's Health Insurance Program was infuriatingly bad policy. An estimated 9 million children in this country are not covered by health insurance -- a circumstance that should shock the consciences of every American. Democrats and Republicans worked together to craft an expansion of an existing state-run program that would have provided coverage for about 4 million children who currently don't have it.

It was one of those art-of-the-possible compromises designed to advance the ball toward what has become a national goal. Health care is arguably the biggest domestic issue in the presidential contest and, while the candidates and the country may be all over the map in terms of comprehensive solutions, there's a pretty broad consensus that some way has to be found to ensure that children, at least, are covered.

Make that an extremely broad consensus: According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released this week, 72 percent of Americans supported the bill Bush vetoed.

The program Congress voted to expand provides health insurance for children who fall into a perilous gap: Their families make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but don't make enough to afford health insurance. The cost of covering an additional 4 million children was estimated at around $35 billion over five years. That's a lot of money. But in the context of a $13 trillion economy -- and set against Bush's history of devil-may-care, "buy the house another round" spending -- it's chump change.

Bush's stated reasons for vetoing the SCHIP bill left even reliable congressional allies -- such as Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Charles Grassley of Iowa, both of whom supported the legislation -- sputtering in incomprehension. As for me, I don't know what to call the president's rationale but a pack of flat-out lies.

The president said Congress was trying to "federalize health care," even though the program in question is run by the states. The president said that "I don't want the federal government making decisions for doctors and customers," even though the vetoed bill authorizes no such decisions -- the program enrolls children in private, I repeat, private, health insurance plans.
And here's my favorite: "This program expands coverage, federal coverage, up to families earning $83,000 a year. That doesn't sound poor to me." But the bill he vetoed prohibits states from using the program to aid families who make more than three times the federal poverty limit, or about $60,000 a year for a family of four. Most of the aid would go to families earning substantially less.

Bush's spurious $83,000 figure comes from a request by New York state to use the program for some families earning four times the poverty limit. That request was denied by the Bush administration last month -- and that upper limit is not in the bill Bush vetoed. End of story. If New York or any other state were to ask again to be able to raise the income limits, the administration could simply say no.

Bush seems to be upset that Congress didn't adopt his pet idea to tackle the health insurance issue through -- guess what? -- tax breaks. None of the major players on Capitol Hill thought this would work. When the White House persisted, Congress moved ahead on its own.

Hatch said he believed Bush had been given bad advice by his staff. He didn't take the next step and draw what seems to me the obvious conclusion: Either Bush didn't understand the bill he vetoed or he's just being petulant -- with the health of 4 million children at stake.

"I hope the folks at home raise Cain," Hatch said. Oh, I think they will.

By Eugene Robinson Friday, October 5, 2007

Monday, October 01, 2007


We are making some progress on the camp. The garage floor is finally ready to be poured this week. and then the garage part of the structure can go up. There will be radiant heat in the garage floor - that's what the orange tubing is.