rearranging deck chairs, cont.

internal combustion engine… photo by Joe

President Biden laid out his plan for dealing with rising inflation today. And while some of it seemed measured and well thought out, a significant portion of it was akin to: rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Biden, for one, alluded to supply chain problems. And he said that this needed to be streamlined again, so, as an example, we could ramp up the much needed building of new homes. Using, of course, lumber that is depleting rain forests, are yet more energy sinks, and, through urban sprawl, are eating away at valuable farmland through the now ‘cancer’ of urban sprawl. (Deck chair #1.) Our administration would suggest a moratorium on new builds, while concurrently promoting retro-fitting current structures for house sharing, and such. If global warming is real, I mean, why add more fuel to the fire, so to speak? And speaking of fire, Biden is talking about releasing more oil from America’s strategic reserves so the price of gas might come down, at least in the short term. Yeah, right. In the face of catastrophic climate change that’s looming like a Doomsday Scenario above us, let’s get those prices down so we can all drive more. (Deck chair #2.) It’s time we start to: “question internal combustion.”

a cleaner world and a cleaner soul

e-bikes… photo by Joe

Okay, if (some) of the scientists/meteorologists are right, global warming looms like a scary doomsday scenario. First World lifestyle changes would, indeed, be good, whether the threat is, ultimately, real, or not. Stay with me on this… To curb CO2 emissions, we need to, as an example, bicycle, and walk, way more than we currently are. This will entail some “sacrifice” for many. Sacrifice is what the Catholic Church calls “mortification.” And mortification, in turn, is good for the soul. So, ultimately, we end up with a cleaner world, and cleaner souls. It’s a win/win.

MAMA… Make America Moral Again photo

Weighing in on the “Roe” controversy, following the Supreme Court leak yesterday… The science: A full genetic code is infused at the time of conception. “Life” begins at conception. It wouldn’t take an anatomy professor at Dartmouth to figure that out. In turn, killing the baby at any point after that is murder (this is what the Catholic Church unequivocally teaches). And speaking of the ‘spiritual’: Abortion opens a wide door to the demonic, with people participating in it on any level (including even voting for pro-choice politicians). Extrapolated out, the more people being demonically manipulated in a country, the darker, spiritually, the country becomes. That’s “Spirituality 101” in Christian moral theology circles. And, frankly, all you have to do is take even a somewhat objective look at how sinful America has become in recent years. Biden said a “Roe” reversal would be a “slippery slope,” putting other things like gay marriage, etc., in jeopardy. If I were president, my paradigm would be, yes, this could, indeed, be the beginning of a “slippery slope” — toward Making America Moral Again (“MAMA”). Which brings us back to, well, mothers (and fathers), children, and how God intended for this thing to be all along.

Ukraine / War / Abortion / a green horse

American “Chinook 47” helicopter readies for takeoff. Vietnam, 1965. (provided photo)

I just interviewed a local Vietnam Vet who weighed in on the War in Ukraine. He was a helicopter flight mechanic near the front lines during the war. This veteran said he sees the Ukraine War paradigm, basically, the way the Vietnam War was framed. That is, “containment” of Soviet Union (now Russia) style communism. The atrocities taking place in Ukraine at present are, indeed, absolutely horrific. And the ‘communism containment of today and yesteryear’ is, very much, an apt corollary — on one level. But, and here’s a corollary that’s not being made (yet), abortion has been legal in Ukraine for decades, and Zelensky, as an example, is a strong proponent of “choice.” What happens in an abortion is absolutely horrific as well. What’s more, abortion is now legal in almost every country worldwide. Do we think God is just going to stand by and allow this Holocaust to continue unabated? What we are looking at in the Ukraine, I believe, may be just one of the opening salvos of World War III — where God merely takes His hand off the world, and mankind reaps the grave consequences for abortion, (and other) grave sins. In fact, we may well be seeing the “pale green horse” of the Book of Revelation ‘coming around the first turn,’ so to speak.

…good stewards of God’s creation

Church Community Garden

I just did a newspaper article about a local Mennonite Church Community Garden. As you can see from the photo, these people take gardening seriously. The garden coordinator told me this used to just be a big patch of grass south of the church, until 2013. That’s when one of the Sunday School classes decided to make the land a lot more productive. They sub-divided it into 16 rather large plots, added a good deal of compost to the soil, and have turned it all into a rather thriving thing. Mennonites believe we are to be good stewards of God’s creation. And what’s more, they believe they are to help those less fortunate. So, a lot of this produce every season finds its way to several local food banks and soup kitchens.

More power at a local level

photo by Joe

I regularly cover village council meetings in small communities throughout the area. And the issues that come up are tremendously varied. For instance, one of the towns is doing a water tower rehab project this summer. The Village Administrator for this town also recently outlined a multiple road asphalt repaving project slated for this summer, in tandem with a municipal pool painting project. While, okay, not seemingly momentous on the face of it, these projects, these council decisions, do, indeed, impact the local populace in significant ways. In fact, our campaign calls for much more power to be put in the hands of these local officials who, ultimately, and intimately, know their towns’ specific needs.

The ultimate sacrifice

photo by Joe

A Bluffton police officer was killed in the line of duty this week. I spent part of the week reporting on the story. The officer, Dominic Francis, was putting up “stop sticks” on I-75 to stop a vehicle that was being pursued southbound out of Toledo. It was traveling at speeds up to 130 mph. Officer Francis was struck by the car and pronounced dead at the scene. Officer Francis, 41, was with the Bluffton Police nine years and left behind a wife and two children. Besides being a husband and father, he was a substitute teacher, a high school football and softball coach, a volunteer firefighter, and was even a school bus driver. Everything about him spelled: “service.” At a prayer vigil the evening after his death, one of the village pastors said Jesus laid down his life for us. And following that example, Officer Dominic (and all police) are willing to lay down their life for their neighbor/community. Note: I was interviewed by one of the Ohio TV news channels and conveyed to the reporter that while some circles clamor for “defunding the police,” conversely, these police are willing to pay the “ultimate price.” See our position on crime (and the police)…

Is earth a ‘strange planet’?

strange planet…

I recently interviewed a local librarian who is the youth reading coordinator. She doe story time sessions at the library and at an elementary school (using books like the one pictured here). She has a master’s degree in Library Science. She noted that in this modern age of screen videos, and such, reading among youth is becoming more and more out of vogue. This can, indeed, be detrimental. That is, reading books, for instance, is akin to aerobics for the brain. One has to actively picture the plot line, the characters, the background scenes… With a video, well, the imagery, what the characters look like, etc., is all right there in front of your face. In adopting all this new technology, cart blanche, have we, indeed, made a mistake? An important question. Note: I also recently interviewed a local sociology professor who posited that technology actually drives culture in recent centuries, not the other way around. And he used the example of the Industrial Revolution. Steam power was initially harnessed, factories went up, mass production started happening… and people moved from the country to around these plants (which became “urban areas”). And many people traded a small farm, agrarian-based existence, for a much more fast-paced, crowded, polluted… existence. The professor said that unlike the Amish, who go through prayerful, studied discernment in regard to adopting a new technology, mainstream America usually just accepts the newest technology — and labels it: “progress.”

Gas prices on the rise… good!

photo by Joe

Gas prices are climbing amidst the Ukrainian War and subsequent sanctions. Many in America are bemoaning the higher prices, but our administration wouldn’t be. The higher the gas prices, the more motorist conservation measures (driving slower, inflating tires properly, bicycling, walking…) will be taken. Global warming gasses will decrease in kind, with new and better habits being developed in motorists. What’s more, this will make the country a lot more receptive to the sweeping change we promote in our position paper on transportation.

Conservation in the ‘balance’

Nov. 2018 edition

Just finished reading the cover article… Excerpt: “Western lands have been a subject of intense dispute ever since the U.S. Government seized them from native tribes.” Who took over were homesteaders, railroads, livestock barons, ranchers, mining syndicates… with little thought of conservation/land- management. The “common good” eventually became a thing “…and the notion of public lands, managed in perpetuity by the federal government for the good of the nation” became more than just a concept when President Grant, in 1872, signed a bill creating Yellowstone National Park — the world’s first. The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management eventually evolved for forests, grasslands, deserts… And the federal government, at present, owns 575 million acres across the west. Now… On the front end, we should have never initially “seized” (broken treaties, et Al) the land from the native tribes. And, frankly, we should give some of it back. Secondly, our administration would lean, considerably, toward preserving as much land as possible in its natural state, while not caving to financial interests that would want otherwise. We would place a premium on being good environmental stewardship. Note: During our research, we stopped in Rawlins, Wyoming, where we met with someone who worked for the Bureau of Land Management there. Part of that interview is inserted in our position paper on the environment. (*See section 13.)