The truth is the truth

What would you do if you were told your child was sick, but then heard "from reliable sources" that the only doctor who seemed to know what to do was "unreliable" or a "quack" or worse still dangerous?

What happens when a negative press report comes out about the current administration? Shortly afterward we're warned of a new terror alert that generally ends up being untrue.

In case anyone actually reads my blog, you should check out Olberman's 13 minute YouTube telecast on this subject. It may frighten you; but then it should. You can get to it by simply clicking at the top of this blog where it says "The truth is the truth."



revjmike's blog

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revjmike's blog

revjmike's blog

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Where is the anger and accountability?

There are times when I have thought Dr. Phil, of the "Dr. Phil Show," gives people totally stupid suggestions or makes statements that make no sense. I guess we all do that at times; but he seems to number up there with President Bush on this agenda.

There is one thing that Dr. Phil talks about regularly that not only makes sense, but is a requirement for healthy living: accountability. If I am going to have the best relationship with my spouse, for example, it requires me to be accountable to her and vice versa.

Those times when I refuse to be held accountable produce results that I don't enjoy. She becomes upset, moody, angry, or just sullen for a period of time. She always forgives me; but there is at least a period of time where she is quite angry and upset.

In the current clime in Washington I am totally perplexed about the lack of accountability the American people seem to be expecting of our national leaders, and particularly President Bush.

Ignore the Geneva convention? Why not?
Make up rules that defy congressional laws? Sure. You're the president.
Keep ineffective and sometimes incoherent leadership in his cabinet such as Donald Rumsfeld? People made mistakes, we'd likely hear.

I can understand the conflict people have about being FOR the so-called "war on terror" or against it. I know there are legitimate arguments for and against our unilateral attack on Iraq without direct provocation for the first time in our history. What I do not understand is why congress, our courts, but most especially the American people are not so angry they're spitting nails.

It has seemed, since 9/11, that anything that even smacks of being opposed to the way the executive branch behaves is labeled as unAmerican or unpatriotic. Is that why people don't respond in anger?

Are folk afraid that their response will bring ridicule or other negative response from their friends, neighbors, or coworkers? That's possible; but they're sure selling themselves short if they do.

Perhaps they are afraid that the CIA or other government agency will start a file on them and suddenly they'll lose their job or a family member will end up in jail.

It's difficult to know; but I continue to wonder why Bill Clinton was impeached for lieing about an affair when our current administration isn't even held accountable for the lives of the thousands of mostly kids who have been killed following the lie about Iraq.

It is time to get angry!



What am I doing?

Well, at the moment, I'm entering information on my computer. (At first I said "typing;" but then I realized that I almost never "type" anymore!)

I was really talking about "what am I doing?" in the larger sense: what am I doing with my life?

I spend a great deal of time taking care of my wife, Gay. She lost her sight nearly six years ago, has diabetes but can't do her own blood sugar, and has several other maladies that keep her worn out and me busy and tired. Since I am also the one who does laundry, almost 100% of the home cooking, keeps the apartment clean, does the shopping with her help and sometimes with her in a wheelchair cart, and pays the bills, I never have to "look" for something to do.

What I am particularly talking about, though, is what I am doing for pay. I am turning in my resignation from LabCorp at 1 AM tomorrow morning. It is my two weeks' notice that I have found another place of employment. On April 17th I'll be going through orientation at a local long-term hospital where I'll be assigned to general laboratory duties on the night shift of 7 PM to 7 AM. I'll work three days per week and every other weekend or so. I believe I shall enjoy this work much more because it isn't as "routine" and of such high volume as LabCorp. I shall also appreciate the multiple days off between night shifts. Since I occasionally worked 10 or 12 hour nights at LabCorp, I am sure I can handle the physical strain of this, and with the increase in pay I am getting we'll be better off financially as well.

I have some concerns, though:

  1. Will I like the folk with whom and for whom I am working? My first impression was positive; but what will they be like long term?
  2. Will I be able to handle the volume of a wide assortment of laboratory work taken on over night? Even though this is exactly the kind of work I was doing prior to being in ministry, I haven't had to keep blood bank, chemistry, urinalysis, microbiology, and hematology/coagulation work all going at the same time.
  3. Will their computer system and program be more or less "user friendly" than the one at LabCorp?
  4. Will my skills at drawing blood (phlebotomy) tax my 61-year-old hands even though I don't have a "shake" yet.
  5. Will my regular absenses from the apartment of 12 1/2 to 13 hours be a problem for Gay since she can't check her blood sugar currently for that full amount of time? Will she have other problems needing someone at hand to help her while I'm going?

Even though I am VERY rusty in some of these areas, I believe the skills I have will simply be improved with time; and I'll be more than "OK" in this new place of employment. I know a new "voice" blood glucose machine has become available and for sale at a very reasonable price (under $100). If all goes well I'll get the chance to see her try it; and, if she can, I shall find a way to purchase it.

I also know I'll miss my relationships with several of the folk at LabCorp; and I wonder if my resignation will strain that relationship with some of them during my next 10 work days. There are some very fine people working there; and all of them want to do the best work they can with the best equipment they can get.

But two weeks from today I'll be in a conference room with others discussing my new place of employment, it's benefits and expectations and a much stricter dress code for the future.

I hope for and expect the prayers of many who know me well.


The Politics of Apathy

John Yarmuth for Congress! KY's 3rd Congressional District

The last time I was actively involved in a political campaign was when Louis B. Nunn, former Kentucky governor, was running for Senate. I was in a heavily Democratic County in Kentucky and met a wonderful Republican lawyer who helped me get involved. I attended a meeting/dinner/fund raiser for Governor Nunn; and afterward he had his photo taken with "Senator" Mike Mansfield. (For those who don't know this, Senator Mike Mansfield, Democrat from Montana, was the majority leader of the U. S. Senate for sixteen years. I am proud to share the same name with this patriot.) I still remember the theme song of the Nunn campaign that said in part, "Nixon/Nunn...More than ever..We need Nixon/Nunn where the national theme left Nunn out and said "Nixon NOW." Nunn lost. Nixon won. Watergate occurred. The rest is history including a turn to the very right by the Republican party and a period of learning about world culture, politics, and an experience of going from the "haves" to the "have less" and working toward being among the "have nots."

Except for regularly voting in primary and general elections, I had been more-or-less uninvolved in politics until I learned of John Yarmuth's campaign for Kentucky's Third District congressional seat. Even though I had never been a Louisville Eccentric Observer reader, I spent many Sundays watching John Yarmuth on Wave-3 TV's "Hot Button" where political discussions with a moderator and a Republican were held each week. John Yarmuth was a quick thinker; and I rarely disagreed with him. (When I did disagree it was generally because I am even more vehemently opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, though John is certainly far from the Republican concepts of this war.)

I attended the first meeting of the "John Yarmuth for Congress 10 Club" a couple of weeks ago; and I can remember saying to someone, "I'm pleasantly surprised to see some folk under 40 here." Why? Why was I surprised to see young folk present for a political meeting in 2006?

Because of the increasing way in which large corporations and other large groups have influenced the voting and elections of our national and state elections since the days of Nixon/Nunn, many or maybe even most young folk are just plain apathetic to the election process. Then after seeing Al Gore lose because of a partisan split on the Supreme Court in 2000 and John Kerry lose in an election where he got the most votes they wonder if it is all worth it---especially the multi-million dollar costs of the elections themselves. I guess I was also surprised because John Yarmuth is closer to my age (I am 61. He's 58) than to the ages of the young folk who were present at this meeting.

I likely wouldn't have watched the movie "Election" without the help of my friend, the Reverend Allen Gibson; but I enjoyed it and its message made me think. At the time its main star was Matthew Broderick; but it would likely list Reese Witherspoon above Broderick if it were to be released today. In this "win at all costs" student election it is hard to know if anyone really deserves to win. The fact that the "I don't care" party leads in the polls gives you the idea of the kind of apathy toward the electoral process I am talking about.

So, "Why John Yarmuth"? John Yarmuth has a long public record through LEO and is definitely the brightest person who has entered the process. There is at least the potential he won't get tainted by Washington-style politics because he doesn't need to have this job but really wants to serve his country. He didn't serve in Viet Nam nor Iraq or Afghanistan; but had he voted his heart prior to this most recent war he would have been one of the few who could see the damage this war would do to our reputation as a nation worldwide and even though Saddam might still be running the show there it wouldn't have cost nearly 2,000 American lives and the lives of many other soldiers from countries around the world. It is also likely the people of Iraq wouldn't be involved in their current civil war, or almost civil war. (BTW, as far as I know there were no Iraqis involved in our civil war.) Our "War on Terror" has simply increased the number of terrorists. It would have been one thing to go after the criminals responsible for the deaths on September 11, 2001. That was the correct thing to do; but to create a need for war by manipulation of data is an entirely different thing.

John Yarmuth was against this war before it started. So was I. He wrote about it. So did I. He sees the falling apart of the social structures put in place to help protect those who can't protect themselves, the "little" guys and gals; and he wants it to stop as I do. He sees our freedom of speech, habeas corpus and other freedoms threatened or eliminated by the GOP's use of fear to win elections along with corporate donations, some of them illegal, and illegal spying on American people, etc., etc., etc.

It is time to stop the loss of the freedom for which our forebears fought. It is time to elect an intelligent, creative, caring individual to congress. The possibility that I could play a real part in that process is exciting enough to me that I am staying awake when I should be sleeping to help see that it gets done.

You won't see any apathy in my desire to elect John Yarmuth to congress. I hope all of those at the meetings feel the same way.

For more information about how you can be involved in helping to elect John Yarmuth to congress, go to the following URL:

John Yarmuth for Congress! KY's 3rd Congressional District


Prayer is prayer, or is it?

People who know me know I don't have a whole lot of conservative bones left in me, if any. This is particularly true theologically, sociologically, and politically. While I believe that all people are susceptible to the possibility they might become mass murderers some day in the right circumstances, I also believe there is a goodness in every person waiting to be drawn out and grown through the love and faith and presence of another one and another One. I think it will help you to know "up front" of my progressive or liberal tendencies so you won't be surprised about what I am going to say. (For those of you who are very liberal it won't even be a surprise.)

For the first time in my life a Muslim offered to pray for me and my wife. I didn't ask for the prayers; and I didn't expect the offer. Why didn't I expect the offer? I'm not sure. Perhaps it was the tension that exists between Muslims and Christians and Jews in the area of the world where our military is currently fighting. Perhaps it is my lack of ever having a close, personal relationship with a person of Muslim faith. For whatever reason, though I was surprised by this offer.

Since he said this as I was leaving work, I immediately began to think about the quesions that rise (at least some of them) from this offer:

1. Does God answer the prayers of Muslims?
2. Do Muslims pray in the same way Christians or Jews pray?
3. Do Muslims share faith in the same God as the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jesus?
4. Would most Christians consider my friend, Mohammed (from work) to be a man of "true faith"?
5. Why do I even question the prayers of anyone?
6. What do I do when one of my Buddhist coworkers offers prayer for some reason?

My short answer to all of these questions is this: I am glad Mohammed is going to pray for us. He appears to be a man who has studied the scriptures of Abraham and of Jesus and of Mohammed the prophet. It doesn't matter to me whether he prays the same way I pray or not. The monotheistic faith of Muslims means they MUST believe in ONE God. (The Hebrew scriptures say it this way: "The Lord our God, the Lord is One."

I believe many, if not most Christians would believe Mohammed was a man of "true faith" if they got to know him as a person. His faith is as visible as his dark eyes and ruddy skin. He knows a great deal about the Christian and Hebrew faiths; and he can compare them to you without putting down your faith or building his above yours.

Questioning the prayers of another is like questioning the money someone is offering you. Even if you don't believe it is real, accept it and find out! A gift IS a gift, after all.

The final question is answered in a way you already can figure out. If a Buddhist coworker offers prayer, I will glady accept it. Not only that, I may become proactive about asking those of other faiths to be in prayer for us as I also offer prayers for them in their daily relationships with God and with one another. I pray that the Lord of Love, Jesus Christ in my tradition, will be ever more visible to them and in them.

So thanks, Mohammed, for making this offer. May God bless you as you are in prayer and work and in all of your family life.



revjmike's blog

I don't have time for a "real" blog tonight; but I wanted to say that I am back online as of now. I'll try to say something, whether significant or not, soon.