On Terror and Peace through Music

I enjoy sharing my journey with our handbell choir, and this weekend will be our final contribution before breaking for the summer. Interestingly, Song of Peace was originally written for the 2001 CORD Handbell Festival held in a place realizing both terror and peace – Oklahoma City.

To better understand the piece, read the following from composer Arnold B. Sherman, and then enjoy the St. Olaf College rendition of this powerful selection about society.

Song of Peace is a reflection of the way the world has treated peace almost from the beginning of time. The gentle round DONA NOBIS PACEM is given a rather harsh, angular treatment, representing the needless violence and senseless acts of terrorism that plague the world almost on a daily basis. An original, lament-like melody is interspersed with the round, echoing the psalmist’s cry, “How long, O Lord, how long?”

The dissonance builds and rises, and finally stops. Out of the cacophony comes the round once again, this time in a much more harmonious setting, signifying our eternal hope that peace will come on day for all of humankind.

PS: The joint choirs at our festival this past March played  Song of Peace. To me, the highlight was the audience of 110 singing the round at the end, which (unfortunately) this version doesn’t.

We still have the occasional rough spot in rehearsal, but hopefully we’ll get it right this weekend. Enjoy Song of Peace.

On Sotomayor: The First Wave

This isn’t what I had planned for today, but it just had to be done.

This past Tuesday morning President Obama publically nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor for a position on the highest court in the land. Since then, the political pundits on both sides have set the stage for the battle that could be.

Personally, Rush’s quick negative decree acts more as an endorsement. Newt chimes in, and then I get a phone call from a pro-life activist group. As many conservatives proclaim the appointment of an activist judge as act of the Devil, yet their acts of seeking to overturn Roe v. Wade isn’t activism? Sorry RNC, I don’t buy into your code word.

Whether our senators reinforce why the public has low respect for politicians and why Congress has a low approval rating is yet to be seen, Judge Sotomayor should be vetted and not rubberstamped – but not as a political football.

I submit these readings.

  • Ed Rollins, a senior political contributor for CNN, plus an experienced, well-respected Republican, writes this meaningful column.
  • As part of his segment, CNN’s Jack Cafferty asked a question about the effect of quick-to-react critics as Gingrich and Limbaugh on the GOP. Reading the comments from people is interesting.
  • Although not solely about the recent nomination, Kelly at the Eclectic Quill has an outstanding post about the Christian Right, a group that has hijacked the Republican Party to fund and promote its agenda.
  • American Heartland Bar and Grill provides links to several worthwhile articles.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 25

On a Conservative Poll
Of the over 2000 people taking the Web poll at ConservativeHQ.com during the May 12-19 period, President Obama’s political philosophy received the following labels” Socialist (46%), Marxist (24%), Communist (11%), Fascist (10%), Liberal (5%), Progressive (2%), Moderate (1%), and the remaining 1% was divided between Other, Populist, and Conservative. FYI: Of those taking the poll, how did they describe themselves: 63% Republicans, 71% Conservatives, but no Fascists or Communists.

Meanwhile, Pat Buchanan is praising Dick Cheney for showing Republicans the way.

On the Supreme Court Nominee
Now that President Obama has nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the high court, Republicans can concentrate their opposition on her instead of other potential nominees. They may even try a filibuster. As for me, I’m not crazy about a sixth Roman Catholic on the court, but Rush’s quick criticism tells me that this nomination is worth considering. I simply hope for a fair, nonpartisan vetting process.

On Bipartisanship
Two longtime friends, conservative columnist Cal Thomas and liberal Democratic strategist Bob Beckel, write an every-other-week column for USA Today that I find interesting, thus add them to my Resources. They also co-wrote a book, Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War that is Destroying America.

On Roland Burris
With the latest information about Roland Burris, I hope the senator does the right thing – resigns. If not, I times for the Democratic leadership to step up to the plate and move to get him out. The American Heartland Bar and Grill said it well (as they usually do).

Democrats.  Get this guy out of office.  Ignore those who wish to play race politics and remove Burris.  He is the poster child of the often incestuous relationship between political contributions and political patronage.  He should never have been nominated in the first place.  He should never have been seated as a U.S. Senator.

Senate Democrats.  Show us how committed you are to ‘change.’  We’ve seen Nancy Pelosi’s commitment to change, that’s why John Murtha isn’t being investigated for his involvement in the PMA scandal.  Here’s your chance to show the country that you have high standards and principles by erasing the mistake of allowing Roland Burris to sit in the Senate in the first place.  Some of your supporters won’t like this.  But it’s best for the country that a man who openly lobbied for the seat and at the very least, made it clear he wanted to ‘help’ Gov. Blagojevich, not grace the hallowed halls of the Senate any more.

Do the right thing.  Remove Burris now.

Oh and Nancy, do the right thing- investigate John Murtha’s role in PMA.

On Cell Phones while Driving
A few weeks ago a person told me that more women hold and talk on a cell phone while driving than men. Ever since then, I started taking notice and lo & behold, it seems to be correct (although I didn’t keep statistics). Can someone please tell me the deal on this one?

On a State of Play
State of Play, Russell Crowe’s latest movie has been out for a while, but it still may be in some theaters. As a movie we enjoyed this thriller, but as a blogger I found a lot going on here.

  • Political intrigue in Washington
  • The struggling newspaper industry
  • The effect of the emergence of electronic communications on newspapers
  • The importance of investigative journalism, thus making sure many dots are connected before publishing (as opposed to posting as immediate news as you go)

On Rick Steves
Many who enjoy travel are fans of Rick Steves and his wonderful shows on PBS. I recently saw this short article interviewing him, plus to pay tribute to his great work, I’ve added his blog to the Potpourri links.

On Competing Colors
The recent NCAA lacrosse championship game featured the battle of two colors: Orange vs. the Big Red. I wonder when the last time that happened in any sport?

On the New York Football Yankees
In the sidebar to the right I provide links to many interesting writers, and here’s a plug for one of them: 3rd Stone from the Sun. I had no idea about the history of the New York Yankees – the football version. This post is well researched and a great read. Well done 3rd Stone!

On a Trilogy
Something we reach down into our soul for a post, but to discover it only got a few reads. Well, that happened to me recently so I encourage others to read a trilogy I wrote about a personal experience. Start here, then the post will direct you to the next part.

On Torture Shorts

Torture and Guantanamo continue to be in the news. Here are some random thoughts on the latest.

On Congress
Seems Republican Leader John Boehner is questioning the handling of Speaker Pelosi’s knowledge of torture issues. Beware Mr. Boehner, as a leader I also have same questions for you regarding torture during the previous administration: What did you know? When did you know it? As I’ve noted before, I want to know who in Congress knew … that’s Democrats and Republicans!

Specifically on Speaker Pelosi, sure the meeting was classified, but there are ways to question. Madam Speaker, it seems that you blew it.

Meanwhile Republicans lost their bid for a bipartisan probe about Pelosi (252-172). Let me off a suggestion to everyone in Washington that also saves time and money. Just publish a list of all members of Congress who were briefed, and then it’s up to the citizens.

On Media Reports
Recently columnist Leonard Pitts used a Sergeant Schultz reference regarding Speaker Pelosi. Hmmm, wish I would have thought of that anology.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich called for Speaker Pelosi’s resignation if she knew. Hmmm, wish I would have thought of that too. The difference being that I mentioned it first and he’s already changed his mind.

As the Democratic left continues to be upset on this issue (Newsweek), hats off to the President for working with the center. There’s something I really like about having the left and the right upset at the same time.

As former VP Dick Cheney continues promoting himself, columnists David Brooks and David Broder provide an interesting twist to ongoing barbs about national security.

If the current Obama policy is more like Bush-Rice than Bush-Cheney, does that mean some Republicans are currently against what they were previously for and some Democrats are now supporting what they previously opposed? The phrase from legendary Yankee announcer Mel Allen is fitting: “And how about that!”

On Hubble

The astronaut crew of the space shuttle Atlantis has safely returned home after what appears to be a successful restoration of the Hubble Space Telescope (Hubble). Designed in the 1970s and launched in 1990, Hubble should continue to deliver information for about another 5-10 years. Thank you Atlantis crew!

Without Earth’s atmosphere interfering, Hubble has taken us to the edge of the visible universe, while showing us that the universe is an ever-changing place – or as someone described – a cosmic dance; thus what a grand creation.

Many people may be like me – knowing of both Hubble’s existence and its successes, but only in the broad sense because I admit that my space science knowledge is weak. Nonetheless, I still marvel at the images.

Beside this link to NASA’s Hubble home, here’s a music video with images from Hubble. For those wanting more, the second video (10 minutes) tells the story of the top 10 Hubble images selected by astronauts several years ago.

Top 10 Hubble Images Selected by Astronauts