Parliament Of Owls

An eclectic discussion of Life, Science, Politics, Religion, and the occasional Bad Pun.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Owl Wakes Up...

...and the Owl is most unhappy.

As King Theoden mused, "How did it come to this?"

How did this great country get to this point, where we're so screwed up that many of us believe that light is dark, up is down, black is white?

Once upon a time, we could put a man on the moon. Now, most of us need help just to reconcile our checkbook.

One of the basic things that made our country great was our self-reliance. Now, we are forced to rely on the government for far too much.

Our unborn have fewer rights than terrorists who want to kill us, illegal aliens, and even animals.

As the late Israel Kamakawiwo`ole sang, "E Ala E!" ... Arise! Wake up, Americans. It's time - indeed, it's past time - to put this country back on track.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone...


Friday, June 22, 2007

Hypocrites or Infidels?

The ACLU has made its living by, among other things, harassing government entities large and small over the slightest suspicion of church-state intermingling. Just one close-to-home example: they sued (successfully, unfortunately) to keep a crèche off-display in Pittsburgh.

Now comes the story of footwashing basins at the University of Michigan's Dearborn campus, paid for by public funds. They're relatively cheap, some $25,000, but it's public funding nonetheless. According to the Council for American-Islamic Relations, the basins allow Muslims to prepare for prayers.

The ACLU, however, has no quarrel with this, claiming it is a "reasonable accommodation" to a problem.

The basins serve exactly one purpose - part of the Muslim prayer ritual. That's fine, I have no objections to this, nobody gets hurt, everyone's happy. The problem arises in the ACLU's treatment of the use of public funds. Islam-state interaction: good; Christian-state interaction: bad.

So, apparently the ACLU is apparently an organization of hypocrites, claiming to fight for church-state separation... as long as it's the right (or wrong) church, and giving a pass for others.

Or perhaps... just maybe... the ACLU is claiming that Islam is not a religion at all, hence there is no issue with public funds being used for its rituals.

If there is some simple, honest alternative that I've missed, then I'd be interested to hear it. But if I hear any defense at all, I'd wager it'll be some of the most tortured logic I've seen.

Barring alternatives, the ACLU are either hypocrites, or infidels.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Politicians and Problem Solving

I had an epiphany recently.

Slow on the uptake perhaps, but this realization puts some things into a very simple, yet accurate, perspective.

Politicians don't solve problems.

Statesmen solve problems, but politicians do not.

Politicians need problems because as long as there are problems, politicians wield the power to solve them; power that is all too often misused.

Want proof? Shamnesty. Congress has the power to secure our borders, yet misuses said power to grant amnesty for millions of people who in all likelihood will place a major burden on our economic infrastructure.

Want more proof? The tax code. A consumption-based tax would be a great benefit economically (if I recall my basic economics properly), yet Congress keeps this unwieldy beast of a tax code around, tweaking it to their advantage and our detriment.

Politicians also do not solve some problems for fear of repercussions.

Want proof? Social Security reform. This Ponzi scheme is going to eventually bankrupt the country. It cannot continue doling out the level of money that it does to every retiree indefinitely, even if the government taxed us at a 100% rate. Eventually, the money will dry up.
Yet, Congress fears to do any significant change to the program.

We need to find Statesmen, people who are actually committed to solving the problems this country faces, rather than quisling politicians who are more interested in lining their pocketbooks (or freezers).


Monday, June 11, 2007

Paris vs. Sally

I had a few hours to kill last Friday while waiting for my flight out of Memphis. My friend Bill Harris (great fellow, look him up if you're at Medgar Evers College) and I were lamenting the content on the TV at the gate (CNN's non-stop coverage of Paris Hilton).

We came up with an idea for a simple poll:

Who do girls look up to more as a role model?
(a) Paris Hilton
(b) Sally Ride
(c) Sally Who?

I know which answer my money's on.

As I said, there was plenty of time to kill Friday; between computer glitches and weather issues, the plane was five hours late getting to Memphis. As I told Bill, it could've been worse: we could have had the clowns up on Capitol Hill trying to rebook all of us.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Greater Love Hath No Man...

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for a friend.
-- John 15:13

While we're all enjoying this day of parades and barbecues and family and friends, let us take a few moments and give thanks to the men and women who have given their all to let the rest of us sit around.

There's more to be said, but another time is more appropriate.

A large thanks to all of you who have served or are serving in our Armed Forces; you're the best of the best.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Loss of a friend

It's never easy to deal with the loss of a colleage; even harder to deal with the loss of a friend.

My friend, colleague, and chair, Dr. Karen Duda, passed away on May 6, after a long battle with cancer.

She was a special person; she gave much of herself to bring out the best in all of us. From coming in at the crack of dawn to bring her children to school, to encouraging students and colleagues to "take it to the next level," to guiding the department forward in many respects, she was tireless in her efforts to make us all better, both academically and professionally.

Even in her final days, Karen still made the department a high priority. I got a laugh out of her the last time we met, in her hospital room. She asked about the summer enrollment figures; I just knew she'd ask, so I looked them up just before I left the house to visit her. She laughed when I told her I anticipated her question.

It was sad to watch her health slowly failing. She didn't have to say anything; you could see the pain in her face, and hear it in her voice.

Despite the sadness, there have been two things in Karen's life story that I find solace in. One of those is her spirit. She remained optimistic until the very end; she didn't give up, choosing instead to live life as fully as she could. I am thankful that her spirit no longer suffers, trapped in a failing body.

The other is the love and devotion that Karen's husband Joe showed toward her. As her health failed, I would see Joe at her side, sometimes carrying books or papers, and sometimes just being there with her. With all of the negative examples we see of couples these days, it was refreshing to see him there for her. May we all find the inner strength to do likewise for our loved ones.

Keep her family in your prayers.


Monday, November 14, 2005


Quarterback takes the snap... receives the handoff on the reverse... and catches the touchdown pass.

You'd think the QB had a busy day, running a couple of gadget plays... except that this was all on the same play.

Sounds like a 1960s sitcom using a split screen to show the actor on-screen twice simultaneously (various episodes of Gilligan's Island and Bewitched come to mind).

What teams occasionally forget about (to the Browns' detriment last night) is that the Steelers have a (relatively short) history of recruiting college QBs and turning them into wide receivers. In the 1990s, they had Kordell "Slash" Stewart. Antwaan Randle El and Hines Ward are the current editions of quarterback-turned-wideout that the Steelers employ.

So the (QB) Maddox-to-(RB) Staley-to-(QB) Randle El-to-(QB) Ward play last night shouldn't come as much of a surprise. It was certainly entertaining (at least to us Steelers fans ;) ). The only thing that would have made it better would be to listen to Myron Cope comment on it.

Kudos also to Hines Ward, who broke John Stallworth's reception record in the game. Maybe I'm biased, being a Steelers fan and all, but Ward's a class act, and you couldn't ask for a better person to break the record of another class act. I can certainly think of worse candidates (a certain loudmouthed suspended Eagle comes to mind).

Here we go, Steelers...