drown out the truth?

November 1st, 2012

So, are you tired of being yelled at?

I prefer the gently assertive, formal,  exchange of thoughtful information that doesn’t seem possible anymore.  What is with that?  Why is everyone yelling?  All this yelling and no one is listening.

There is also the fear of the unknown that is driven into our minds by the media, which is paid by speculators and gamblers.  I won’t even get in to the religious zealots that feed their line of garbage that plays on faith.  They are yelling, because if they yell loud enough people can’t hear the truth.

Meantime, 19 year olds are aiming bullets at each others heads in some sandy venue in the name of religious zealots, media hype, speculators, gamblers and that coveted Kardashian lifestyle.

Step away from the yellers and reflect in silence.  Listen to your heart and mind and seek truth.

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Rush to judgement

March 5th, 2012

Ronald Reagan quoted movies and he loved his wife.  GOP/ Religious right folks love quotes and the appearance of monogamy.  No one really cares if you love your wife or if you are faithful.  Many men who say grace before dinner have or at least intend to have sex with a women who is not their wife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Women are sluts if they have sex and don’t intend to have children.  I guess we should just get used to the word because almost every woman I know has used birth control in order to have sex without the desire to have children.  I’m so grateful to live in modern times.  Women can give birth without intense pain thanks to epidurals.  Women can decide not to get pregnant by taking birth control.  What a wonderful world!  I’m guessing most men agree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It is disingenuously misleading for the Catholic Exchange to claim that Obama’s Healthcare package mandates birth control for all women.  What it does state is that all insurance companies and employers need to allow birth control for women who want it.  This is “Huge Caroline”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A huge difference that is.  The GOP is so opposed to our president they are shooting themselves in the foot with this one.

If the catholic church or any church for that matter wants to instill the doctrine of the church within the laws of the United States, doesn’t that go against the constitution?  Shouldn’t they pay taxes if they are so involved in healthcare law and its policies?  Isn’t the provision of birth control for women who want it a good thing for America?

I wonder if Nancy used birth control?

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Wars of the Waters

December 15th, 2010

There are about 18 million Florida residents who directly or indirectly make their living from the visits of the 50 million tourists who come here every year.  Why do you think they come here?  This place is beautiful and  magical–  the critters, the flowers, the waters, the Everglades, the history it is all absolutely enchanting.  What is disenchanting is the runaway sprawl and the devastation to our swamp and it’s water quality and the resultant effects on lives.

The  coastal areas of Florida are beige on a satellite view.  When you zoom in a bit more you’ll see the ant-like cars moving slowly in traffic.  Within these beige areas along the coasts there are towns that can be redone, rebuilt, restored.  Prosperity and development can live on without devouring any more of the everglades and its endowments to us.  We just need to insist.  

nodogsnobikesnoswim

In the middle of Florida just south of Lake Okeechobee is a huge dike that stops the flow of water that created the Everglades.  This area is beige on a satellite view as well.  This dike was built and canals were dug to enhance development and sugar plantations and cattle ranching.  The run off and phosphorus is killing the Everglades.  Why should we care?  The river of grass, the  panthers, the wild orchids, and the fact that its slow flow into the estuaries of the tip of Florida serves as fish nurseries and it sits on top of the aquifer that gives us drinking water and there is no other place on earth like it and if we can’t save it then it is a message to the world that we failed.

Well–other than that you must at least care about the otters.  The happy resourceful otters are disappearing.  Otters play just for the sake of playing. (like us)  What is bad for them is bad for us.  So while your crawling along in traffic think about the otters.  When is the last time you saw one?

The enormous growth of metropolitan Atlanta, and the resulting increase in water withdrawals from the Chattahoochee river have an effect on the oysters in the Apalachicola Bay in Northern Florida.  The oysters depend on the brackish water mixture of river and ocean water.  “Water transfers” also occur prior to reaching Apalachicola Bay.  Water is withdrawn from the Chattahoochee, then discharged as treated sewage water into another river, such as the Oconee River, which flows to the Atlantic Seaboard. The Congress of the United States has been asked to intervene in the fight between Georgia, Florida, and Alabama over rights to the river water. The lawsuit is now in court, and that may take quite a few years to resolve.

Why should you care?  You don’t like oysters? You may be interested to know that each oyster individually filters 50 gallons of water per day.  Oysters are to bays and estuaries as our kidneys are to us, we die without them.

James Cain, Apalachicola Bay Oyster-man

Florida has a strong and powerful nature conservancy, Audubon Society and Ocean Conservancy. It also has powerful developers, ranchers and plantation owners who employ the masses (as well as immigrants).  A constant war is ongoing.  A war that has never been won by either side, but, much has been lost.  I look at the empty concrete strip malls that have been a result of too much too fast and the swamp land that was filled between dredged canals.  Another CVS replaces the eagle nest, a banyan tree that ended its 50 year life to a blockbuster store that is now defunct, another mangrove island (fish nursery) losing its life to another development.  I think some just love the fight no matter the devastation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Apalachicola Bay is one of the most productive estuarine systems in the Northern hemisphere as a result of the overall good water quality.
  • Apalachicola Bay is an exceptionally important nursery area for the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Over 95% of all species harvested commercially and 85% of all species harvested recreationally in the open Gulf have to spend a portion of their life in estuarine waters. Blue crabs, for example, migrate as much as 300 miles to spawn in Apalachicola Bay.
  • Apalachicola Bay is a major forage area for such offshore fish species as gag grouper and gray snapper.
  • The area is a major forage area for migratory birds, in particular for trans-gulf migrants in the spring.

 

 

 

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    jabmyeyes Thank you Sharon Anonymous That's what I was afraid of, that it is supplemental programs that are being eliminated. It is absolutely shameful … jabmyeyes Florida legislators are rejecting the Federal Clean Water Act, they are rejecting the money set aside for Everglades restoration, and … Anonymous Hi Jo, If it makes you feel any better. Federal law prevents a state from setting water standards higher than … tonybordonaro great post Jo....hope Rick Scott reads jabmyeyes...
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Food sovereignty vs Monsanto

May 22nd, 2010
If we’re not careful our water will be made by Monsanto


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Did you know that Monsanto (the same company that brought us agent orange) together with Syngenta, Dupont and Bayer controls almost all agriculture in the World?  They are like drug suppliers except they are in the seed business.  Ever wonder why the fruits and vegetables at grocery stores are so big and plump and colorful compared to the fruits and veggies at farmers markets?  Monsanto adds stuff, pesticides and they have created hybrid seeds that the farmers have to buy.  They have a contract. Small farmers have been successfully sued by Monsanto when they violate any terms of the contract.  Drug suppliers send out heavies that break your arms and Monsanto sends out heavies in the form of lawyers that break your family.

Independently owned farms are actually corporate farms as long as they use Monsanto seeds.  This is a fact of life in the US and we have grown accustomed to our giant red and yellow produce. Literature tells us to eat colorful food to be healthy.  Many Americans are wising up and going to farmers markets and food co-ops to avoid the pesticides and antibiotics and fungicides like Thiram that are added to Monsanto seeds to make stuff look better.  We have hospitals full of antibiotic resistant diseases and cancer.  Do you think there is any relation?

“Yes” magazine states…  “Monsanto has donated to Haiti some of their hybrid corn seeds.  These seeds are treated with the fungicide Maxim XO, and the calypso tomato seeds are treated with thiram.  Thiram belongs to a highly toxic class of chemicals called ethylene bisdithiocarbamates (EBDCs).  Results of tests of EBDCs on mice and rats caused concern to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which then ordered a special review. The EPA determined that EBDC-treated plants are so dangerous to agricultural workers that they must wear special protective clothing when handling them. The EPA also ruled that pesticides containing thiram must contain a special warning label. The EPA also barred marketing of the chemicals for many home garden products, based on the assumption that most gardeners do not have adequately protective clothing”. Dress like an astronaut to do your gardening?

“The concern of Haitian social movements is not just about chemical dangers and the possibility of future GMO imports. They claim that the future of Haiti depends on local production with local seeds for local consumption—otherwise known as food sovereignty. Monsanto’s arrival in Haiti, they say, is a further threat to such a future”.

Vía Campesina, “the world’s largest confederation of farmers with member organizations in more than 60 countries, has called Monsanto one of the “principal enemies of peasant sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty for all peoples.” They claim that as Monsanto and other multinationals control an ever larger share of land and agriculture, they force small farmers out of their land and jobs”.

In the United States –>”The Center for Food Safety has led a four-year legal challenge against Monsanto that has just made it to the U.S. Supreme Court. After successful litigation against Monsanto and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for illegal promotion of Roundup Ready Alfalfa, the court heard the Center for Food Safety’s case on April 27 3010. The Supreme Court lifted a nationwide ban on the planting of genetically engineered alfalfa seeds, despite claims they might harm the environment”.  The United States Supreme Court continues to back Monsanto rather than the American people.

Go to

http://www.yesmagazine.org/blogs/beverly-bell-in-haiti/haitian-farmers-refuse-monsanto-hybrid-seeds

and

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/food-for-everyone/food-rebellions-7-steps-to-solving-the-food-crisis

and this entry by Jr Deputy Accountant where I stole this picture from

http://www.jrdeputyaccountant.com/2010/06/psst-any-victory-for-frankenscience.html

watch this long and very informative video…   http://youtu.be/6VEZYQF9WlE

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    Fred Jo, It is encouraging to see that people are becoming aware of the food monopolies, and doing something about it. Farmers are … JJ Hi Jo! Thanks for the interesting (and frightening) update on Monsanto. I was aware of much of it but hadn't …
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    Fred Jo, It is encouraging to see that people are becoming aware of the food monopolies, and doing something about it. Farmers are … JJ Hi Jo! Thanks for the interesting (and frightening) update on Monsanto. I was aware of much of it but hadn't …

Stop!

April 21st, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you think otherworldly influences try to message us?   Earthquakes, Tsunami’s, Hurricanes and volcanoes have been so frequent and intense lately.  Religious extremists say that bad things happen because of our heathen ways and disregard for our maker.  Scientists disagree about the causes of these anomalies according to what corporation is paying them to say what.  George Carlin said the earth is going to shake us off like a bad case of fleas.  I look at this photo of the Iceland Volcano that disrupted air traffic for weeks.   That is one pissed off volcano wreaking havoc and causing millions to just stop.  Maybe the message is  —   we need to stop –  for awhile and hang out on cots and talk about stuff with strangers in large rooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While millions lamented their misfortune a few military families were able to keep Dad home a few more days because of the volcanic ash and flight cancellations.

   It can be a wonderfully mysterious world eh?
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Faith

October 19th, 2009

dinosaur extinction finally explained

The thoughts of this person are worth sharing.  There is a book called The Case for God by Karen Armstrong.  Ms Armstrong spent seven years as a nun in a Roman Catholic order.  The italicized commentary is from a person known as “Johannes”.

Johannes says:

October 6, 2009

There’s a tendency to disparage people who believe in God as weak, groveling sheep. Kindness is often equated to weakness. It’s easy to debunk evangelical Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Quakers, Gnostic tradition or Episcopalians. But let us not forget that Western mathematicians Goedel, Newton, Gauss or scholars like Emerson, Kierkegaard, and more had their own particular way of discovering what God meant to them. Kierkegaard was an affluent depressed Danish philosopher who wrote some very interesting papers on faith. He loved his woman so much that he didn’t marry her.  He didn’t want her to have to deal with his depression.  He wrote that faith can only exist where there is doubt. You don’t have to have faith in a table because you can see it and feel it and put stuff on it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson lost his memory in later years and it embarrassed him.  I once read that fish have no memory and that is why it is OK for them to live in a bowl.  Every time they swim to the other side of the bowl there is a whole fascinating and undiscovered world.  I had a betta fish in a bowl on my desk here. I was so sad when he died.  I used to put a mirror next to his bowl sometimes and he would try to fight his reflection.  No one taught him to fight it was just innately in him to do so.  I think some people are like that.

I’m getting off track.

 Christianity is more complex and God was often viewed as aphotic (dark, nebulous, somber)  than  as a paternal deliverer of goodness to your prayers.   One of her main points indeed is that both logic and myth have their place in thought, just as reason and emotion have their place in humanity. otherwise we’d be conformist robots.  We’d run around killing and pillaging those who don’t think like us. I think they call that religious wars.

If you ever studied advanced mathematics (beyond the standard calculus or linear algebra), there are places where “logic” becomes less insightful — Russell’s paradox is an example or invoking Zorn’s lemma just to create something as basic as counting (natural) numbers. What does it mean to the mind that there are different sizes of “infinity”? Yet Cantor, who formalized set theoretic foundations of all modern mathematics, proved that indeed we do have different orders of infinity. when you look up Bertrand Russell, Max Zorn, and Georg Cantor you read some pretty heady stuff.  Brilliance and depression seemed to hang out together.   Most of us can be glad we’re not that brilliant.

Blanket rejection of faith in such a smug, strident attitude is rather sad and unappreciative of the beauty of a free mind engaging in something fully outside the limited realms of “self.” I think Johannes is trying to tell us to “step outside our own box”;  But, do we then step into the box of someone else?

Yes, there is doubt, but faith without doubt is mere credulity as Kierkegaard posits. Faith is not to simply overcome doubt, but it, like love, transcends rationality. Religion ought to be more than just a set of logical beliefs, as music is more than just notes on a page and dry theory or mere vibrations or life is more than books, theories, and philosophers. The theory came after the experience, to explain and justify and to share. I love what Johannes says here. Love is something you can’t see or prove, the color yellow is something you can’t describe to a blind person, yet they exist.

Religion is embodied in practice, in action, in process with something greater than yourself. The existence of God is not so much a falsifiable hypothesis, and the semantics of language obfuscate much communication. Religious zealots, the oil industry and the GMO industry hire lobbyists who do an incredible job of obfuscation. Show me where “love” exists. Show me where “music” exists. Show me where “beauty” is. There are many things outside the faculty of logic and language. Be humble and grateful that there is more. I am

 


I’m glad there are scientists and philosophers busy trying to find out why a pear smells like a pear or why the beautiful colors represented in this photograph happen.  I guess it all fits in the periodic table somewhere.

My point is Faith should not be mocked because it is based on doubt.  Faith is the driver for scientists and activists and incredible discoveries that people have made through all the recorded eras.  Faith and prayer saved my son.  I believe in the incredible power of faith.

http://knopfdoubleday.com/2009/09/22/the-case-for-god-by-karen-armstrong/

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Good planets are hard to find

April 4th, 2014

Justices Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy led a 5-4 majority to decide in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. Why does this piss me off? Because of this ruling individuals can give up to $5.9 million to political campaigns. (It was about $123,000)

trickle trends

Why do I care? Environmental damage is quite often caused by corporations.  US citizens become responsible for cleaning it up. Democracy is our only way of having a voice; of saying you made the mess you clean it up. Those 5 justices have shoved another sock in our mouths.

So who is McCutcheon? Shaun McCutcheon sells equipment to coal extractors. Americans are starting to realize that coal is not good. McCutcheon knows that and needs to control how elections go to continue to plague us. Other large corporations are doing a happy dance today.

 

coal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Hopefully their black choking cloud of joy won’t shut us up or shut us down.

Black-cloud

 

the Navy is deploying advanced biofuels to power ships, planes and vehicles to reduce its dependence on foreign oil and strengthen its energy security. – See more at: http://www.pewenvironment.org/news-room/video-library/us-navys-dennis-mcginn-on-advanced-biofuels-85899540773#sthash.ukxhLr6q.dpuf
the Navy is deploying advanced biofuels to power ships, planes and vehicles to reduce its dependence on foreign oil and strengthen its energy security. – See more at: http://www.pewenvironment.org/news-room/video-library/us-navys-dennis-mcginn-on-advanced-biofuels-85899540773#sthash.ukxhLr6q.dpuf
the Navy is deploying advanced biofuels to power ships, planes and vehicles to reduce its dependence on foreign oil and strengthen its energy security. – See more at: http://www.pewenvironment.org/news-room/video-library/us-navys-dennis-mcginn-on-advanced-biofuels-85899540773#sthash.ukxhLr6q.dpuf
the Navy is deploying advanced biofuels to power ships, planes and vehicles to reduce its dependence on foreign oil and strengthen its energy security. – See more at: http://www.pewenvironment.org/news-room/video-library/us-navys-dennis-mcginn-on-advanced-biofuels-85899540773#sthash.ukxhLr6q.dpuf
the Navy is deploying advanced biofuels to power ships, planes and vehicles to reduce its dependence on foreign oil and strengthen its energy security. – See more at: http://www.pewenvironment.org/news-room/video-library/us-navys-dennis-mcginn-on-advanced-biofuels-85899540773#sthash.ukxhLr6q.dpuf

 

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2013

March 27th, 2014

What comes first to your mind when you think of 2013?

pope-francis-smiles

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mario Jorge Bergoglio became Pope Francis.  He is the first Jesuit pope.  Why is that meaningful you might ask?   To sum it up as briefly as possible –>Jesuits were developed to rally Catholics during the reformation around the middle 1500′s.   They were quite successful and subsequently went in to China and introduced science and astronomy.  The Jesuit doctrine is “to conquer oneself and to regulate one’s life in such a way that no decision is made under the influence of any inordinate attachment.”   (inordinate attachment = extortionate connection=corrupt association)  Ah,  words and their subtleties.   There are probably some corrupt associations that aren’t so crazy about the power this guy wields from his message of love and acceptance.

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USA gay marriage

 

 

 

 

 

 

A good thing for the United States is –>The rapid progression of our society.  Boggled as some may be, the Supreme Court reckoned same sex marriage as a “basic matter of equality”. Us inhabitants of the new world have family members,  friends, co-workers, dance partners, cable gals and hairdressers who are gay.  It is on the far side of compassion for any value system that doesn’t accept love and commitment.  We need to notice these tipping points where the good guys win

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CAIRO-SNOW

 

 

 

 

 

It snowed in Cairo, and who can forget Miles Scott? the kid with leukemia.  The make a wish foundation and the city of San Francisco joined to make his dream come true of being bat kid and saving Gotham City.

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Batkid-Thousands-cheer-on-pint-size-superhero-4985651.php

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Bad happenings of hate –> bombs at the Boston Marathon, Kenyan shopping Mall attack,  Syrian civil war,

Bad happenings of nature –>Philippine typhoon, A meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk,  Flash floods and land slides in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, tornado hit Moore Oklahoma,

Bad happenings as a result of bad policies –> Africa’s Western Back Rhino became officially extinct in 2013

rhino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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senseless mass shootings –> Washington Navy Yard, Hialeah, Albuquerque, Santa Monica and more.

more than 30 school shootings in the US in 2013

school shootings in  2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nelson Mandela died after a very long and eventful life

1990 South Africa


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Vulcano Blu is very very Blue

September 21st, 2013

From Cefalu we took the train to Milazzo and then a taxi brought us to the Ferry Port.  It was about 10 or 15 Euros for the taxi to the port and the driver explained to use Siramar.  “Go to  Siramar, not Ustica”.  We appreciated the hint.  With Ustica you pay more to get on the same ferry as was later explained to us by Francesco De Pasquale at Vulcano Blu Residence, where we stayed for 2 nights. 

The train (Trenitalia) is very easy to use.  At first we always waited in line to have a person help us buy the right ticket for the right train to the right destination.  There are machines that are actually very easy to use and they give you the English option.  If there are people waiting in line behind you to use the ticket machine (biglietteria automatica) you want to know what you are doing or they will snatch your credito carte and put it in properly.  A bit unnerving but you learn.

The train from Cefalu to Milazzo took about an hour with lots of stops in between.  I was amazed at the amount of solar panels, not only on roof tops but also they are used to cover huge green houses full of produce.  These greens apparently  need to be protected from the relentless Sicilian sun in summer and kept warm in winter;  all the while collecting energy — ingenious really.  The homes are stunning with gates, flowers and tiled carports.  The towns have futbol fields and plantations of fruits and vegetables.  The sea can be glimpsed often as the train rides along the northern coast of Sicily from town to town.  I slowly but surely started to fall in love with Sicily on that train.

while taking the train to Milazzo to grab the ferry for Vulcano, There were many gorgeous sea side homes like this one.

while taking the train to Milazzo to grab the ferry for Vulcano, There were many gorgeous sea side homes like this one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I was happy to find out Vulcano was the first island stop.  I’ve decided I don’t like ferries.  I didn’t like ferrying around Lake Como and I wasn’t too fond of this ferry either.  I much prefer trains, taxis, horseback, burros, scooters  and cars.  Airline travel is my least favorite form of transportation, but, I like the speed. 

I promised Tony that we would rest for one full day while in Vulcano.  We would shop and eat and swim.  He was very happy to hear that after walking from one end of Palermo to the other and up to La Rocca in Cefalu.  Shortly after arrival to Vulcano we found out you could go up to the rim of  the crater and peer in to it.  It hadn’t blown since the 1800′s so it must be safe.  A bucket list item that just couldn’t be missed.  It would take a good 12 hours to convince Tony to climb up the Volcano with me.  The best mealyet at Vincenzinos helped as did a delicious sleep, and a homemade breakfast of strong (albeit instant) coffee, fresh fruit, yogurt with granola for Tony and Granola with milk for me.  By mid morning we were trekking up the side of the Volcano.  My shoes were exceptionally inappropriate.  (I came down barefoot)

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1175189_10152159477398238_1113619296_n 1185273_10152159473398238_1514711853_n 1185935_10152159474693238_1441685059_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1269953_10152159481173238_30275686_o

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So, so very glad we made the climb and carried on to the rim.  It was imposing, gave you that “empress of the universe” feeling once you got there.   We enjoyed some fresh squeezed orange juice near the bottom where a lady sold us water before the climb and looked at my shoes and shook her head then pointed to some walking sticks stating “necessario per voi, gratis”  meaning –> necessary for you, free.  I was really really glad I had those sticks.  She was a smart lady and me — not so smart.  I wish only smart people were rich.  If I become rich I will find that lady and give her lots of money.

We walked back in to town and had a wonderful salad and brushetta at a tiny pizzeria.  There was one other young couple, obviously in love enjoying their gigantic sandwiches.  So much love everywhere we go, how can you not be enchanted in such a place?  Then we wandered past the hot mud.  Tony wanted to go in but I wanted nothing to do with it.  It smelled of sulfur and as Francesco explained on the way in to town.  Thousands of people for hundreds of years have been sitting in that mud, the idea is just unsanitary.  We did go to the sea and find some fumaroles.  They are areas in the sea where the Vulcano’s bubbling hot water escapes in to the sea.  The water is crystal clear and the island is very proud of its water and its purity.   Some of the mud bathers would rinse off in the sea which is frowned upon. 

Vulcano Blu Residence

Vulcano Blu Residence

German ship

Giant ship slipping in to port while we swam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I was trying to find a place for a manicure and pedicure, but the place I found was booked up, as was the next place before we knew it we were almost back to Vulcano Blu.  We just walked and found our ambrosial pool and watched the giant ship come in from some far away place.  Francesco explained that the ship companies have to pay and wait their turn to come to the Vulcano port.  Not all ships are allowed due to the stringent rules that maintain the purity of the waters around the Aeolian islands.  The water is strikingly clear;  a teal blue with areas of azure blue.  Inconceivably beautiful water as we found out the next day while kayaking.

Rosario

Rosario

We kayaked

We kayaked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eugenio we found while wandering the grounds of Vulcano Blu.  He made you feel like you just ran in to a long lost relative.  He was warm and delightful and gave us an intense but short class on kayaking in the sea.  he owns the Sea Kayaking outpost on Vulcano and belongs to the Sports Association Canoe and Kayak Club of the Aeolian Islands based in Messina.  He recently had surgery on his lumbar spine and the doctor told him to stay out of the water for a month.  So his very capable friend Rosario who didn’t speak a word of English took us out for our 4 hour kayak around the base of the Island of Volcano.  They gave us appropriate water shoes to wear and loaned me a surfer shirt so I wouldn’t burn.  What a fabulous day!  So glad we didn’t miss this opportunity before catching our ferry back to Milazzo and looking for our rental car.  Let the photos speak for themselves…

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goats

goats

Grotto Blu -- wonder how it got it's name?

Grotto Blu — wonder how it got it’s name?

just can't capture

just can’t capture the beauty and clarity of this water with a camera

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Cefalu

September 21st, 2013
another view of Cefalu's beach town

Cefalu’s beach town

Cefalu beach

Cefalu beach

 

 

 

 

leg massage on Cefalu beach

leg massage on Cefalu beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After Palermo, we hopped a train to Cefalu.  What an enchanting town with a cool history and fabulous location.  Italians love to come here for beach vacations and warmth.  Cefalu (pronounced Chafe a loo) is full of young couples in love and has a lively night life with shopping and dining.  Very touristy especially in comparison to Palermo, but, not so touristy that you want to run screaming from the town.  It is charming and it’s history is interesting.  Of course the towns people of 300 BC, who were reportedly of Greek origin, had to scramble up the mountain to escape the barbarous activities of the Romans and the heavy taxes they burdened the people with. 

So the Greeks moved up to the top (La Rocca) and built their community, and churches, and cisterns and raised their livestock and planted vegetables.  It wasn’t easy to climb up there,  but after you were there you could feel how safe they must have felt.

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this is why

Alessandra said “it’s easy”.  It wasn’t easy.

I see why the ancients loved being up here keeping an eye on the barbarians below

I see why the ancients loved being up here keeping an eye on the barbarians below

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 We went to a place in town where the ancients used to wash their clothes in a laundry mat (if you will)  The cold clean water streamed down from La Rocca.  they fashioned sinks in the rocks.  It was fun because there were a bunch of urban oriental yuppies down there as well and a guy playing Italian music on an accordion.  I didn’t see any goats in Cefalu, but, I’m sure they are there.  Sicily has goats everywhere.

Climb up to La Rocca, worth the climb

Climb up to La Rocca, worth the climb

La Rocca in Cefalu

La Rocca in Cefalu

View from la Rocca.  Wish you feel the breeze, smell the sea air, and hear the futbol game going on in the town below.

View from la Rocca.  I wish you could feel the breeze, smell the sea air, and hear the futbol game going on in the town below.

lovely Alessandra

lovely Alessandra preparing our breakfast.  This town and Alessandra and her Scirocco B&B is good place for peace, exhilaration, and calming your soul.

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My advice for Palermo

September 19th, 2013

We recently (September of 2013)  took a two week trip to Sicily.  We had a marvelous time and I would highly recommend the island to all ages and all interests.  There is something for everyone.  Adventure lovers, peaceful beach walkers, history buffs, cliff climbers, horse riders, and fabulous vista viewers.  If you are a fashionista you may be bored; I fit right in. 

I read some books prior to going and they helped to prepare me for what I was in for.  One was called Sicily is not Quite Tuscany by a fellow named Shamus Sillar.  The other was The Leopard a novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.   If you go to Sicily The Leopard is a must read so you understand the names of streets and the history of the country.  The other is a fun and witty read that made me look for some of the same places the author Sillar sought while his wife worked.  I have to go back because I never got to eat Milza in Palermo.

Vincenzo

Vincenzo

Vincenzo picked us up at the airport.  It was wonderful to see him and his tall handsome self and smiling face carrying a sign saying Bordonaro.    He explained his love of Palermo during our drive and how all the young people are leaving it, but, he hopes to stay and continue to be a part of the city he loves becoming prosperous.  He asked us what we thought of Obama and told us that most Sicilians like our President Obama.  He had visited Miami and California and liked them both.

lunch in Palermo at Ferro di Cavallo

lunch in Palermo at Ferro di Cavallo

We met Luca the owner of Ai Vicere B&B where we stayed.  It was a suitable location but I wouldn’t recommend it for luxury or large showers.  They did serve eggs at breakfast and they did pick us up from the airport as promised and free Wifi in the rooms is not available at most places but it worked well here.  Luca is earning a Doctorate in History and is a bit preoccupied with that endeavor I would imagine.  The B&B helps to pay for his schooling.  His family is in the Historical painting and artifact business.  He recommended this little restaurant on a typical Palermo street.  The food was good, the service was lousy, the people watching was excellent.

market in Palermo

market in Palermo

This is a typical market street in Palermo.  I called it the Sicilian Walmart.  Wish we could have bought things but our flight on Easy Jet only allowed one carry on unless you paid $40 euros for baggage.   Kind of a problem for the vendors here.  Also wanted to buy some of the fresh fish and vegetables and fruit and have someone cook it up for us.  At night there were restaurants all over the streets that cooked out doors and you sat in the street at small tables.  It was fun to watch and wander.  Other than the very first night, we felt safe and comfortable.  See my review of Ai Vicere to get a feel of our first night in Palermo.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g187890-d2436218-r177233361-Ai_Vicere-Palermo_Province_of_Palermo_Sicily.html

I was sad the whole while because of news of my friend Andrea’s death.  My stomach was in knots and I cried a lot.  Wish I could go again and enjoy this flavorful town with a happier mood.  I think some jet lag also played a part.  Tony was a gem as usual but he didn’t feel any sense of belonging while wandering Palermo which is where his grandfather was from.

these little Mother Mary shrines

these little Mother Mary shrines could be found everywhere

 

 

 

bombed building

This building was bombed in WWII.  Never rebuilt it is a reminder of how dumb war is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taxi to Tonnara Bordonaro

Taxi to Tonnara Bordonaro from downtown Palermo cost 20 euros.  Talked him down from 40 euros.  Never except the original price of anything in Sicily

 

 

Sea glass beach

Sea glass beach near Tonnara Bordonaro on Via Bordonaro, next to Piazza Bordonaro and a great restaurant called La Mattanza.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So we strolled Via Vittorio Emanuele, We found the Quattro Canti, we found Vino and Co in Piazza Marina where you can fill a 5 liter jug with wine from their wine vats.  Didn’t eat Milza from a street vendor which I read is a must to experience in Palermo.  We toured the Palazzo Reale with its mix of Norman, Gothic, Spanish, and Napolitan styles, not interested in seeing the catacombs, couldn’t find the puppet theater, and our B&B was right next to the Teatro Massimo (a gorgeous building). 

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If I were to give advice to Palermo, it would be for the Carabinieri to come out of their immaculate buildings, and get in with the people to help them clean up the trash, scrub off the graffiti, enforce traffic codes and pedestrian crossings to make the city safer and join the young people who love their city in making it prosperous and attractive to tourism.

popped in for a shave at Mario Cardinale's barber shop.  A total man facial for 5 euros.

popped in for a shave at Mario Cardinale’s barber shop. A total man facial for 5 euros.

vegetable oil collection site on via Bordonaro

vegetable oil collection site on via Bordonaro.  Just thought it was interesting

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Theology vs Science

May 28th, 2013

 

 

within one generationThis is a legitimate theory in my mind because no Buddhist has ever started a war.   TJ and the gang had written some stuff about God, religion, and spirituality that I’ve been collecting.  Here are a few…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.”  (<– I love that line) and “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”
-Thomas Jefferson 
I refer to him as “TJ”

 

We have already compared the benefits of theology and science.  When the theologian governed the world, it was covered with huts and hovels for the many, palaces and cathedrals for the few.  To nearly all the children of men, reading and writing were unknown arts.  The poor were clad in rags and skins — they devoured crusts, and gnawed bones.  The day of Science dawned, and the luxuries of a century ago are the necessities of today.  Men in the middle ranks of life have more of the conveniences and elegances than the princes and kings of the theological times.  Above and over all this, is the development of the mind.  There is more value in the brain of an average man of today — of a master-mechanic, of a chemist, of a naturalist, of an inventor, than there was in the brain of the world four hundred years ago.  These blessings did not fall from the skies.  These benefits did not drop from the outstretched hands of priests.  They were not found in cathedrals or behind altars –  neither were they searched for with holy candles.  They were not discovered by the closed eyes of prayer, nor did they come in answer to superstitious supplication.  They are the children of freedom, the gifts of reason, observation and experience — and for them all, man is indebted to man.

Robert Green Ingersoll, “God In The Constitution

Faith

Churches are becoming political organizations…     It probably will not be long until the churches will divide as sharply upon political, as upon theological questions; and when that day comes, if there are not liberals enough to hold the balance of power, this Government will be destroyed.  The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church. Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave.  All laws for the purpose of making man worship God, are born of the same spirit that kindled the fires of the auto da fe, and lovingly built the dungeons of the inquisition.  All laws defining and punishing blasphemy — making it a crime to give your honest ideas about the Bible, or to laugh at the ignorance of the  ancient Jews, or to enjoy yourself on the Sabbath, or to give your opinion of Jehovah, were passed by impudent bigots, and should be at once repealed by honest men.  An infinite God ought to be able to protect himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures.    Robert Green Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses, Section III, “The Politicians,” in Works, Dresden Edition, Volume 2

Our civilization is not Christian.  It does not come from the skies.  It is not a result of “inspiration.”  it is the child of invention, of discovery, of applied knowledge — that is to say, of science.  When man becomes great and grand enough to admit that all have equal rights; when thought is untrammeled; when worship shall consist in doing useful things; when religion means the discharge of obligations to our fellow-men, then, and not until then, will the world be civilized.

Robert Green Ingersoll, “Reply To The Indianapolis Clergy” The Iconoclast, Indianapolis, Indiana (1882)

human experience

“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as some day, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”
J. D. Salinger 

A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.  A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master…”
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)

not a bad life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m not thinking I’m going to meet my spiritual master until I leave this life.  I listen to the theories and observe the actions of others while I’m here.  The power of a strong faith or good karma seem to be as useful and real and tangent as scientific theories.   Jo

your beliefs

 

 
 



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Arkansas oil spill

April 4th, 2013

Wondering how things are going with the Arkansas oil spill?  You can find whatever information you want according to what news source you go to.  How can we trust our news sources when one station states“a couple of dead ducks and 10 live oily birds were found after an ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured last week…to date, we have no indication that there’s a health impact on the community...”Crude oil is crude oil, None of it is real good to touch.“ 

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/04/02/oily-ducks-found-after-thousands-gallons-oil-spill-in-arkansas/#ixzz2PY7jGT3l

 Another news source really wasn’t too informative telling us what we already knew… “a 2- or 3-inch gash in the underground Pegasus pipeline, began spewing crude Friday…This incident has damaged private property and Arkansas’s natural resources. Homeowners have been forced from their homes as a result of this spill,”

http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/03/us/arkansas-oil-spill/

 

ABC seemed to have a better grasp on the environmental impact, but they didn’t confront ExxonMobile.  They were careful.  “Attorney General Dustin McDaniel toured the black, oily ditches plaguing the city’s landscape and said the neighborhood looked “like a scene from the Walking Dead…Clean-up crews have recovered more than 12,000 barrels…” he also stated…”After seeing the source of the leak, I have more questions than answers…”There’s no such thing as an overreaction by a homeowner. Selling a house in that neighborhood will be very different now and the fault of that shouldn’t be with the homeowners.”

http://abcnews.go.com/US/exxon-mobil-pay-arkansas-oil-spill/story?id=18873237#.UV4vfjfAHTo

So if you peer in to news that is off the mainstream grid they find out things like“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has had a ‘no fly zone’ in place in Mayflower, Arkansas since April 1 at 2:12 PM and will be in place ‘until further notice,’ according to the FAA website and it’s being overseen by ExxonMobil itself.”

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette revealed that the FAA site noted earlier today that “only relief aircraft operations under direction of Tom Suhrhoff” were allowed within the designated no fly zone.  Suhrhoff is not an FAA employee: he works for ExxonMobil.

http://www.salon.com/2013/04/04/exxon_controls_skies_over_arkansas_oil_spill/

So we can’t know how many dead birds or displaced persons or contaminated wells and watersheds have been affected.  We only know what is going on above ground.  What is going on below?  Lets hope little investigative pit bull reporters will be finding this stuff out.   A myriad of anomalies have  resulted from this spill that we need to learn from.  ExxonMobile has control of the information.  Does that scare you?  It scares hell out of me.

 

 

 


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who wants to make it harder to vote in Florida?

November 14th, 2012

Florida is the same state that brought you the 2000 voting debacle and the Republican dominated politics of the current  state embrace the benefits of that mess.  Jeb Bush fixed the mess with two weeks of early voting and Charlie Crist kept it fixed.  The Republicans in Florida liked the results of the mess so they re-created it and ran with the ball…

 

Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton) was just voted in as the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections and he is quoted as saying –> “People in Africa walk two and three hundred miles to vote…this should not be easy”. 

 

 

Miguel Diaz De La Portilla (R-Dade county) is a lawyer and lobbyist for FP&L and is one of three brothers heavily involved in the Republican Party in Miami.  As each election cycle has gone by, the number of voters casting early votes was increasing.   This increase was not good for Republicans because statistically (so far) more democrats vote early than Republicans.  De La Portilla made it so the early voting decreased from two weeks to one week.  He just made it so.

David Rivera (R-Miami)  advocated for a decrease in early voting but an increase in absentee balloting.  Republicans like to use the ballot for 18 year old children and spouses that may not choose to vote and fill it in for them.  Miami-Dade Public Corruption detectives and two FBI agents are investigating Rivera’s  involvement in financing a losing Democratic opponent, Justin Sternad.

Rick Scott (R-Governor of Florida)  claimed 182,000 voters were fraudulent.  After investigation by the Department of Justice (which he also unsuccessfully tried to squash) it was found that 58% of the 182,000 voters were black or Hispanic.  Only 196 were found to actually have been fraudulent voters.  When the long voting lines were obvious, he refused to extend the early voting.

Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala)  admitted there was little to no voter fraud in Florida, but, he sponsored a bill that protected citizens from “mishap and mischief”.  His bill and the reduction of early voting days combined to make it more difficult for minorities and poor to vote.

Carlos Gimenez (R-Mayor of Miami) closed the doors on voters during early voting despite the supervisor of elections in Miami allowing a 4 hour extension.  Miami was the bard of the Nation (again) when citizens endured 6 hour waits to vote on election day and many just didn’t.  I think the “just didnt’s” were the hope of Carlos and his GOP buddies.

 

 

 

 

 

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What makes an American good?

June 24th, 2012

Can a Muslim be a good American

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A conversation with a co-worker led to this inquiry.  This response from a regular American who happens to be Muslim explained plenty.  I apologize that I don’t have her name.

A Muslim can be a good American, as are most Muslims that I know and interact with.  Let me give you a general overview…
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) began preaching Islam in Makkah — there, he and his followers lived in Makkah, where most of the people where idol worshippers. later, he was pushed out of Makkah and went to Madinah, where he and his followers lived, in peace, amidst huge amounts of Jewish tribes.  Moreover, when he finally was able to go back to Makkah, it was a bloodless conquest… despite the fact that he and his followers were tortured and thrown out of Makkah by the people therein, and despite the fact that now, years later, the Prophet had power and people and could take revenge and killed the people who tortured them in Makkah, the opening of Makkah was a bloodless conquest. any Islamic history book will document this fact, and that alone proves that a Muslims can coexist with non muslims and be a good citizen of those respective countries. now… on to your points.
Theologically, Muslim allegiance is to Allah (as Christian allegiance is to Jesus) — but that doesn’t stop me from being a good citizen. I obey Allah, and worship Him and adhere to His words in the same exact way that a devout Christian or Jew would adhere to their books and beliefs. This doesn’t make the Christian or Jew unable to be a good American, and likewise with the Muslim — our allegiance is to Allah, which means we obey His rules — we pray, we fast, we help the needy and poor, we don’t commit adultery, we don’t drink alcohol, we don’t steal, and we don’t kill innocent people and so on — none of these things go against being a good American.
Religiously – even if Islam is the only accepted religion in the eyes of Allah, that doesn’t mean that we as Muslims have the right to judge others. ask a devout Christian about Christianity — he’ll tell you that Jesus Christ’s way is the only way. likewise, Muslims will tell you that Islam is the only way — that doesn’t mean that we’re going to judge non Muslims as going to Hell, because no one knows the future and no one knows, even a great enemy to Islam might become a Muslim and we have to embrace him as our brother the next day. Judging is left to God, so its not for us to judge; thus, this doesn’t affect us being good Muslims.
Scriptually – I can follow the 5 Pillers of Islam (belief in God, praying my 5 prayers, fasting Ramadan, paying my charity (zakah), doing Hajj once in a lifetime), along with following the rules in the Quran (not stealing, not killing innocent people, doing good things, etc) without affecting me being a good American.  A Muslim who adheres to God’s rules IS a good American because he treats others with kindness even when treated poorly by others.

Socially – the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to interact normally with the non Muslims of Makkah and Madinah — there’s nothing that prevents a Muslim from interacting and being nice to people around them – in fact, if a Muslim doesn’t do that, how is he going to spread his religion? The spreading of religion comes by others seeing the way we act in accordance to our religion, thus they see the beauty of it and accept it.

Politically – Muslim allegiance is to God.  America is not Satan, neither is Israel — there are people in America and Israel (especially in the government) who want the destruction and demise of Islam and Muslims, but that doesn’t mean the general populace of these countries also want that, that any people should be destroyed.  Our job as Muslims is to follow the teachings of the true Islam, after which people will see the beauty of our religion. When people see the beauty of Islam, many people will accept it. the problem today is that there are some extremists (terrorists exist in all religions) who do things in the name of Islam, and people have come to associate their actions with the actions of every Muslim. Over 20% of the world’s population is Muslim, and those terrorists do not even make up 1% of the number of Muslims — it is ridiculous to generalize about 1.3+ billion people based on what 200 terrorists do or say.

Domestically – Do you know why it was allowed for men to marry 4 women?  How many people do you know have married four women? You may hear of “Muslims with 4 wives” – and you change it to “he is instructed to marry 4 women” — that’s not the case (wait, i am coming to the beating part, patience) — a man *can* marry 4 women under very strict situations and circumstances which basically are very hard to fulfill these days.  Most men do not marry more than one woman. It is not an instruction or an order in any way.  When you look into the reason behind it, maybe you’ll understand why it is allowed.

Regarding the beating part – the problem is, you are taking an English translation out of context (the same thing with the bible).  I advise you to look at the verse’s translation in an Arabic Tafseer book where it will be explained. suffice it to say that the Prophet, who is the example for all mankind, never hit his wives, and whenever he did, he hit them with a straw. yes, a straw. its not meant as beating.  (perhaps we need to let the terrorists know this.  Spare the rod spoil the child types and stoning folks for misdoings)

I would also like to point out that Islam is the first religion to give rights to women. (this might be a stretch)  the Prophet implemented this in his time – he opened the first Islamic hospital and put a woman in charge of it to cure both men and women – some of the greatest teachers of Islam were women. the Prophet even took advice in crucial matters from his wives. Don’t be afraid to learn the teachings of Islam rather than take things that you hear without looking them through.

Intellectually – the Bible is the book of God. We believe it has been altered, but nothing in the constitution goes against my day to day religious practices or beliefs. notice it says “in God we trust” – “one nation under God” – these statements don’t go against Islam in any way. if it had said “in Jesus we trust” or “one nation under Jesus,” then maybe you’d be right, but it doesn’t.

 Philosophically – Islam is the first democracy.  (really?!) As a matter of fact, to the extent of the fact that if one person complained about a person the Prophet or one of the caliph’s put in charge, even if that person was a liar, they had the person replaced with someone that everyone consented and agreed with. Islam brought democracy, long before the idea ever was brought by western civilization. The prophet took the opinion and expression of his companions, even women.

Christians and Muslims worship the same God.  Christians believe that Jesus is part of that God and the Holy Spirit is part of that God. We believe that God is 1, not in a trinity.  Allah not referred to as loving and kind? as a matter of fact, the first verse of the Quran says “in the name of God, the Beneficient, the Merciful” — the very FIRST verse. in every chapter, God talks about His mercy and kindness.

My views are not liberal; they are the views of any mainstream Muslim. I’ve lived in this country, I’ve helped this country (by contributing my knowledge, ideas, time and effort to its schools, universities, corporate environments, and volunteer environments) – as have the majority of other Muslims.

 

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