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Archive for January, 2010

The president will give his first State of the Union address tonight at 9:00 Eastern time, 6:00 Pacific time. I believe it’s important enough to use this blog tonight for live access. Here’s the access:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/modules/wh_multimedia/EOP_OVP_player.swf


Message from David Axelrod
Senior Advisor to the President

Good afternoon,

At 9 p.m. EST tonight, President Obama will deliver his first State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. Here’s what you can expect:

The President will clearly articulate the steps we need to take to continue to rebuild our economy and jumpstart private sector job creation. He’ll talk directly to you about restoring security for middle class families after a lost decade of declining household income, eroding retirement security and escalating health and tuition costs. And he’ll detail his efforts not only to better protect you and the American people at large, but also to restore America’s alliances and standing in the world.

Right after the President’s address, we’ll be open for questions on WhiteHouse.gov. So watch the President live at WhiteHouse.gov and stay tuned for a live chat immediately following with some of the President’s top policy officials.

Join the Discussion

As you know, when the President took office a year ago, he faced an array of historic challenges: an economy in freefall; job losses averaging almost 700,000 a month; a middle class under assault; two wars and badly frayed global alliances; and a staggering $1.3 trillion budget deficit.

Tonight, the President will address the progress we’ve made to rescue the economy, rebuild the middle class, and restore our standing and leadership around the world. In addition, he’ll outline what’s needed to create a new foundation for prosperity and deliver on the change you and all Americans expect and deserve.

Tune in to WhiteHouse.gov tonight at 9 p.m. EST to watch the President’s State of the Union address, then stick around to chat with some of his top policy officials.

Thank you,

David Axelrod
Senior Advisor to the President

Visit WhiteHouse.gov

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I just have to share this with you today. Thank you, Ms. Kitty, for the wonderful beginning to my morning. Couldn’t help but smile!!!!

Ms. Kitty’s Saloon and Road Show

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In my last blog entry, “Who Would Jesus Shoot?” I shared a blog found on the Sojourner’s website about an American arms company, Trijicon, that adds Bible verse references to their guns. Although my blog received no comments, when I posted it to another forum I WAS a member of, you would have thought I’d called for the end of the world or something. Yes, the blog engendered some good conversation, but it also resulted in some quite nasty personal attacks. Rather than respond in kind, I chose to just leave that forum, deciding that it wasn’t the place for honest opinions and even perhaps a little serious thought.

Anyway, that said, here is an update from the Washington Post. It includes the original commentary by columnist David Waters as well as the news that “Trijicon announced Thursday that it will stop putting biblical references on weapon scopes and other products made for the U.S. military and is sending the Pentagon kits to remove the references from weaponry already in the hands of American troops.

The Washington Post Update

I also found another article about the situation from The Christian Science Monitor

It’s heartening to realize that sometimes honest opinions and questions really do make a difference. Perhaps it’s the venue in which they’re offered that needs to be changed.

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Who Would Jesus Shoot?

Tonight I was going to write a blog about all the wonderful educational sites available online, but that will wait until tomorrow. I’ve been in kind of a crummy mood today, mainly because of the weather and feeling lonely, and this short editorial from one of my favorite websites, Sojourners, really hit me hard. Who Would Jesus Shoot?

I’m not going to blunt my feelings or comments with small talk about war being sometimes necessary, because I don’t believe it is. In fact, I once wrote a 25- page research paper about Just War Theory. I refuse to believe that killing is ever justified.

I studied and trained to be a Unitarian Universalist minister, but have more and more become part of the missional, emerging church movement, attempting to take church out of its buildings and out to the people, to the world, with a focus on the works of Jesus with his emphasis on love and compassion. War and killing had no part in his life.

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My new Canadian friend David and I spent three days at the Bluegrass Festival here in Blythe, enjoying all the wonderful American bands. So, to make things a little more even, he’s now introduced me to some of his favorite Canadian music-makers, among them The Good Brothers and Valdy. So, I’d like to share a little with you on this very rainy day in the Southern California desert.

Here’s a YouTube clip of one of my favorite songs performed by The Good Brothers, Don’t Pet the Dog.

Another favorite is Alberta Bound.

As Valdy stated in this memorable song, Play Me a Rock and Roll Song, “This is a song of mass rejection.”

Here he sings Ordinary Man:


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Sure do wish I could play the mandolin or the stand-up bass or the banjo because I absolutely love bluegrass music! I’ve had this love affair ever since seeing the movie “Deliverance” so long ago and hearing Eric Weissburg and Steve Mandel play “Dueling Banjos.”

Last year two friends and I went to the Blythe Bluegrass Festival for one day, Saturday, and had a wonderful time. The weather was hot, and so was the music. We listened all day long, interspersing that with food and browsing the many booths. But, one day just wasn’t enough.

So this year, I paid for a three-day pass and so far we’ve attended Friday and Saturday. Great stuff. Weather is not too hot, not too cold. Just perfect for listening and having fun.

Lots of bands: Audie Blaylock and Redline, winners of the 2007 Instrumental Group of the Year Award from the 18th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards Show; the excellent Headline Bluegrass Band, newcomers based out of Phoenix, Arizona; High Plains Tradition, who’ll play tomorrow; Junior Sisk and Rambler’s Choice from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia; The Larry Stephenson Band from Nashville, TN; Lonesome Otis, a newly-formed band based in Southern California; Midnight Flight from the Ozarks; Spring Creek, an award-winning band from Colorado; Whistle Stop, a family band consisting of Mom, Dad, two daughters, and a banjo-player; and Williams and Clark Expedition, led by 3-time SPBGMA “Entertainer of the Year Blake Williams.

Junior Sisk and Rambler’s Choice

Spring Creek

I can’t remember the name of this band, but they were excellent.

But, you can’t survive a Bluegrass Festival with music alone. So, they add good food as well. Here are a few of the many food booths.

Yesterday I bought an Onion Flower but was disappointed. It looked pretty, but I’ve had better. This one was barely cooked.

So, today I made up for it with a delicious cheeseburger, a bag of Kettle Corn, and a butter-pecan swirled ice cream. We started the day with a $7 all-you-can-eat breakfast by the CWA, California Women for Agriculture. Scrambled eggs, link sausage, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, orange juice, coffee, and tea. So good!

While in that building for breakfast, I wandered through the quilt show. Not as many quilts on display as last year, but I saw some beautiful ones, including one with many, many tiny squares, all hand quilted.

Some music:

Audie Blaylock and Redline. The banjo player and fiddle player are both only 21 years old. Wonderful entertainers.

All in all, a fun two days, with one more day to come tomorrow.

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Yesterday I posted a blog by minister James Ford with a list of aid resources for victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. This morning I received a number of comments basically stating we should concentrate our aid efforts here in the United states instead. Although I understand the thoughts behind those comments, I DO NOT AGREE.

I posted this short note to Facebook just now:

Here are some organizations listed by Bread for the World.

http://www.bread.org/learn/global-hunger-issues/how-to-help-in-haiti.html?utm_source=otheremail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=haiti

Although I understand and wholeheartedly agree that we have to focus on devastating problems in our own country, I also feel it is very short-sighted and nationally arrogant to use that argument against doing whatever we can possibly do for PEOPLE in other countries, especially those countries as poor as Haiti. Quoting from the above article,

“As the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, Haiti has the highest rates of mortality for mothers, infants, and children under 5. Sixty percent of the population lacks access to basic health-care services. Most Haitians survive on less than $2 a day and depend on remittances from relatives in other countries to meet their basic needs — remittances that have plummeted with the global recession. Even in the capital of Port-au-Prince, impoverished communities have few resources to cope with the acute impacts of this disaster.”

The United States is the wealthiest nation in the world. IMHO, there is absolutely no reason, other than political and economic short-sightedness and greed, that there is such a wide gap between the rich and the poor here. But, we rest in our comfort, assured that SOMEONE ELSE will take care of things. I could go on and on, but the soapbox is too small for what I would say.

In the meantime, more than 100,000 people have died in Haiti and over 3 million people, more than a third of the population, has been affected in some way.

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