On Chasing the Mis- and Uninformed

I haven’t written about the intersection of science and religion in a few weeks, but as the Categories on the right sidebar indicates, I have more than just a passing interest in the topic.  Interestingly enough, the current candidates for the Republican presidential nomination are providing some fodder to ponder.

Michelle Bachmann recently mentioned that God used the east coast’s earthquake and hurricane to get Washington’s attention about Washington spending. Although she is known to proclaim her theological beliefs and interpretations, she is now passing the comment off as humor. If her intent was humor, she exercised a poor choice of words. If she intended to proclaim a theological belief, she not only does not speak for all Christians, her theology does not represent the majority of Christians. After all, God did not cause of drought in Texas to warn the nation against Governor Rick Perry!

Shortly after announcing his candidacy not all that long ago, Governor Perry made an interesting statement about evolution – so I took some time to read the Texas science standards for high school. Although I can make the argument that Governor Perry’s statements about what educators teach in Texas is false, I acknowledge that cracks exist in the standards that could allow religious points of view into the science classroom – a notion that the US Supreme Court ruled against in Edwards vs. Aguillard (1987).

I know that Governor Perry does not stand for the same theology and science that I do, but reading the comments from readers after the articles about his statement was more disturbing to me than what he said. Although I disagree with some of the comments, but too many comments contained numerous misconceptions and misinformation about science, evolution, religion, and the interchange between them that reinforce my notion that too many people are either misinformed or not informed about the topic. I write about this topic because of the misinformed and the not informed.

Although I have not officially crunched the numerous myself (at least not yet), membership in Christian denominations supporting science and evolution easily outnumbers membership to the contrary. It would not surprise me if the split is at least 60/40, and maybe more – thus a larger gap than polling suggests. Then again, I also believe those numbers would support my notion that many churches are not teaching their flock about this issue – thus contributing to the misinformed.

Meanwhile, Governor Perry and Michelle Bachmann continue to rely on engaging the emotions of a misinformed public through their bamboozling rhetoric and their personal theological view. I tagged this video a few months ago waiting for the right time as the comments in this video also support the divide and the notion of the malinformed – yet giving promise & hope of the informed.

On Ringing in Monday

Hope everyone had a good weekend, and special considerations to those living in the east as they dealt with the effects of Irene’s wind and rain.

Monday will be our handbell choir’s first rehearsal of the upcoming playing year. I don’t know what music we will encounter, but our leaders have promised us another good year and one to expand our horizons.

In honor of the upcoming season and to start your week, here’s a less-than-a-minute music treat from the Sonos Handbell Ensemble, a select choir from the San Francisco Bay area. Now these people can play, so enjoy the short treat titled Hummingbird. Have a good week.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 110

On the Arab Uprisings
I appreciated these three lines from Washington Post columnist David Ignatius:
On favoring the term “Arab Transition” over “Arab Spring” because it conveys the essential truth that nobody can predict just where this upheaval is heading.

The Arab Transition needs to embrace the tolerance of secular societies rather than the intolerance of theocracy.

Sometimes the right side of American interests and values conflict, thus requiring difficult choices.

Too bad Baghdad Bob wasn’t reporting from Tripoli this week. (This one is mine)

On Politics
A political conundrum: What if a GOP moderate won the presidency and the obstinate controlled Capitol Hill?

Politicians using statistics is a perfect example of taking a stance, then finding the numbers supporting the point.

I imagine some political pundits see Sarah Palin as the elephant in the room. Well, she has a similar constituency as Michelle Bachmann, and she has a higher disapproval rating than most. On the other hand, running increases her media attention, speaking requests, and book sales.

Although the Tea Party makes me cringe, Rep Maxine Waters’ (R-Ca) comment was unnecessary. As commentator John Avlon says, The cycle of incitement must stop.

“There are many reasons to vote against Rick Perry. His fatuous stance on the teaching of evolution in schools is perhaps not the first reason that springs to mind. However, maybe it is the most telling litmus test of the other reasons, and it seems to apply not just to him but, lamentably, to all the likely contenders for the Republican nomination.” (Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins)

I remind Speaker Boehner that it is Week 33 of the Boehner-led House without a jobs bill. To quote Speaker Boehner, “Where are the jobs?”

Interesting Reads
Interesting Items from the Dick Cheney book
An Uncertain Arab Transition (David Ignatius)

Interesting Headlines I Saw this Week on The Onion
New Study Explains why Comic Sans Font so Hilarious
Kamikaze Swimmers Finally Reach Pearl Harbor
Pirate Written-Up for Dress Code Violation
New Apple CEO Tim Cook, “I see printers.”
McDonald’s Unveils New Senior Citizen Play Place

On Potpourri
Calling the recent Kardashian wedding The American Royal Wedding is a sad commentary on American society

Although I seldom use Bing.com, I enjoy the daily image on their home page.

Call me old fashion, but I believe and practice greeting co-workers in the morning. Sadly, it seems to be a lost practice.

Adam Richmond, host of (Travel Channel), was in Cincinnati this week taping a show scheduled for October 12th.

In the words of Garrison Keillor: Be well, do good works, and stay in touch.

On the Weakening Independent Votes

Knowing the importance of capturing independents in an election, a good friend of mine (a loyal Democrat) is troubled by the polls showing President Obama’s weakening support among independents, so he asked me to write a post on this topic. I may take a take a beating on this one, but such is life in publishing.

Before starting, not only are most independents not aligned with a party, independents also position themselves in their own right-to-left spectrum. Since I lean left on some issues and right on others, I view myself as a pragmatic centrist – or a mirror of what many say that the US is a center-right nation that has many fiscally conservative, socially liberal voters.

I realize that both the right and the left want our votes and money, but not our views. In the spirit of objectivity and not partisan talking points, below are 10 shorts points (in no particular order) about why independent support for President Obama has weakened.

1) Independents are hungry for one who unites, and felt President Obama would fill that task. He spent a lot of political capital on two early legislative bills: the stimulus and health care. Whether or not the Democrats shutout the Republicans or the GOP was unwilling to play, independents were not happy with the process and outcome because of the appearance of party dominance, thus business as usual.

2) The Stimulus Bill had several issues tied to it: too much pork and failure to sell it for what it was – aid to state and local governments. President Obama passed on this good opportunity for a veto to set a tone of expected political cooperation. Meanwhile, the public remains misinformed about this act because leadership did not clearly explain it.

3) Regarding health care, if one is going to have a nationalized statue whose due process leads it directly to federal court, tort reform was a common sense addition that did not make it into the bill. Besides, the bill is too cumbersome, thus could have been accomplished with much fewer pages.

4) Many independents are socially liberal, but fiscally conservative. In other words, through efficient, prudent fiscal management, social programs are viable. Although efficient and prudent are not good adjectives of the government, this oxymoron remains a noble aim and one that this administration yet to embrace.

5) Independents see the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 as an inept attempt to regulate financial activity that was not permissible a short time ago. Instead of adding more regulations, why not return to the Glass-Steagall Act of 1932 that controlled the financial industry for more than a half of century. Nope, the administration followed their health care legislation model of something bigger than it needs to be.

6) No matter the president or their party affiliation, independents want a president to challenge his own party by throwing down a challenge or embracing an idea from the other party. Although the Democratic left currently has a feeling of abandonment, independents have not seen the political gauntlet.

7) Independents realize that the previous administration left this administration many situations that were out of their control. On the other hand, a time comes when it when one must accept a degree of ownership and responsibility – and that is simply a fault for most, if not all, of Washington continues to elude.

8] The federal budget, including its deficit, debt, and related items, is an important national issue – not a special-interest play toy fronted by politics. Address the issues requires difficult decisions, and independents seek meaningful solutions beyond short-term tinkering based on political dogma and aspirations. This creates an opportunity for President Obama to regain the confidence of independents.

9) Yes, President Obama has much on his plate. As he now claims to pivot to focus on the economy, that statement in itself identities a problem – he lost sight of the economy as the top issue. Nonetheless, given a global economy with many US companies continuing to place jobs outside of here, this is a monumental task for anyone.

10) Independents want to see a vision with a plan and action toward that vision for solving important national problems. Unfortunately, independents see President Obama as more reactive than proactive – more pondering than deciding, continued blame shifting, and following the Washington pattern of business as usual.

However, there is also good news. Weak support by independents for President Obama does not directly translate into a positive vote for the GOP candidate. The craziness factor among the current GOP field actually works in President Obama’s favor. Even as we hear about Republicans not being happy with their field, independents are even less enamored.

President Obama also has several personal intangibles that are positive that can translate into votes – he is bright, honorable, likeable, and unlike Republicans, independents want to see him succeed. Other positives exist, but this post aims to give a friend something to think about for when we get together.

Bottom line is simple: Although independents may be seeking an alternative to President Obama, much can happen between today and November 2012. Support may be weakened, but it is not broken. On the other hand, independents would rather have their support for President Obama strengthened by his actions instead of the Republican Party and candidate that we cannot support pushing us toward President Obama. Keep in mind that a sensible GOP nominee could shift the playing field – but the question remains, does one exist?

On a Falling Chuckle

Have you ever wonder what your life would be like if you simply did one thing different? All of us know that fife is full of different chains of events. Let alone the overall changes that one event can cause. After all, life is like a serious of dominoes as one event leads to another.

No, this is not a serious video to start the week. But just a thought provoker out in front of another odd human event. Best wishes for a good week to all!

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 109

On Politics
After realizing Ohio voters will likely repeal his collective bargaining bill for public employees, my governor, John Kasich (R-OH), is now willing to renegotiate the bill if the repeal if organizers remove item from the ballot. Sorry Governor Kasich, you chose to ram it through, so I favor negotiations after the repeal. Of course, your excuse of saving money is a bunch of crap because it is political.

The White House reaction to the situation in Syria was long overdue.

Governor Perry has been in the race for almost a week, and how many times stupid comments did he make?

Unbelievably, the Republicans are lining up against spending to upgrade the infrastructure.

More proof (his Tweet) that Jon Huntsman is too normal: “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy,”

Christine O’Donnell is back in the news promoting her book. OMG – help us all.

I remind Speaker Boehner that it is Week 32 of the Boehner-led House without a jobs bill. To quote Speaker Boehner, “Where are the jobs?”

Interesting Reads

Interesting Headlines I Saw this Week on The Onion

  • Supreme Court Rules First Amendment does not Apply to Annoying Man
  • FDA Approves Sales of Prescription Placebo
  • Crackling Warren Buffet Burns Entire Fortune in Front of Nation
  • Boy Scout Won’t Do Anything Unless there is a Merit Badge Involved
  • Local Toddler Shows Signs of Becoming Ugly like his Parents
  • Scientists Say Newly Discovered Earth-like Planet Could Support Robust Economy

On Potpourri
Hope for the human race – In Japan, citizens have returned over $46 million that have been found following the tsunami.

Hope you see Captain America in the theaters. It starts a little slow, but we enjoyed it.

Looking for reasons to celebrate? Here ya go: Bad Poetry Day (Aug 18), Aviation Day (Aug 19), National Radio Day (Aug 20), Senior Citizen’s Day (Aug 21), Be an Angel Day and National Tooth Fairy Day (Aug 22), Ride the Day (Aug 23), Vesuvius Day (Aug 24), and Kiss and Make Up Day (Aug 25)

In the words of Garrison Keillor: Be well, do good works, and stay in touch.

On a Chopped Dinner

Years ago, we were one of four couples assigned together as a church function to meet once in each of our homes over the course of a year. We had such a good time, we decided to keep going, and this past weekend we completed our 60-something meeting. The bottom line is the host sets the theme, provides the entrée, and assigns the other courses.

This past weekend, we hosted an evening based on Food Network’s Chopped – which also means I dressed in jeans, a bright shirt and tie, dress jacket, and tennis shoes.

It started several weeks ago when we announced the theme and asked each couple to donate one item to each of the four baskets: appetizer, soup/salad, entrée, and dessert. After receiving each list of items, we placed them in a basket, assigned the courses, and sent the electronic baskets to the participants. Of course using other ingredients are fine, but the basket items are the featured taste/ingredient.

Saturday was quite the evening as we ate well and consumed our share of good wine. Even some honey bourbon made it into the evening. Below are the list of ingredients, the description of the creation, and a picture. We are very proud of this group. Enjoy.

Appetizer
Basket: Shrimp, dried cranberries, kiwi, and pretzels

Chef DD Result: Kiwi-dried cranberry-jalapeno salad served with a shrimp conquistador dipping sauce and pretzel chips.

Comment: A little zip to start the evening.

Salad
Basket: Dairy case crescent rolls, green grapes, tomatillos, and pork rinds.

Chef DP Result: Avocado-tomato salad served on a bed of lettuce with a green grape-tomatillo dressing and two bread strips encrusted with pork rinds and asiago cheese.

Comment: The creators took much time to determine the right balance of these two diverse tastes.

Entrée
Basket: Orange juice concentrate, beer, red wine, and ham hocks

Chef FK Result: Oven-baked, beer-marinated pork chops topped with a red wine, ham hock reduction sauce and ham hock bits, served with fresh green beans topped with orange-ground coriander vinaigrette accompanied with beer bread.

Comment: Reduction sauce is time consuming, but tasty.

Dessert

Basket: Egg white, walnuts, frozen waffles, and hominy

Chef BR Result: Hominy with essence of banana ice cream topped with walnuts and served with two Eggo cookies dipped in egg whites and chocolate.

Comment: The toughest challenge of the night, and surprisingly yummy.