Syria: Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Once again the United States is poised to take military action in the middle east. The quick rush to a conclusion before the evidence has been gathered and analyzed by the Obama administation is troubling on many levels. Not the least of which is that we really have no idea, based on media reports, who actually used the chemical weapons. But the gears of the United States war machine are in motion. And as we saw in 2003, once in motion they are hard to stop. I fear the Obama administration is about to make a terrible mistake.

I certainly don’t want to see the Syrian people terrorized by chemical weapons…or any weapons for that matter. But before we let slip the dogs of war, we best make sure they unleashed at the coreect people for the correct reason.

I pray that cooler head will prevail in Washington over the next few days and that the cool, thoughtful, idealist President that was elected five years ago will show up.

Oh…so it is okay for a B-List star to be blatantly racist now…as long as they’re black.

I’ve watched Saturday Night Live since I was thirteen years old. I won’t say I’ve seen every episode, but I have certainly seen most. There have been good seasons and there have been bad seasons. A common refrain I often hear is that SNL isn’t “good anymore.” I’ve decided that SNL is always best two seasons ago.

The comedy on SNL is often biting and cutting edge. But this week’s monologue by Jamie Foxx took a new turn into the blatantly racist and hateful.

It started with his monologue. Jamie Foxx started by giving examples of how “Black is the new white” and ending each example with the phrase “How black is that?”

The topic turned to his new movie “DJango Unchained” where he says his character is “a slave. How black is that?”

But then the monologue took a sinister turn when he said “I get to kill all the white people. How great is that?!?”

So that’s where we’re at in 2012? This the progress that racial relations have made? That is is now okay to celebrate the killing of a person based on the color of there skin?

I love comedy. I love free speech. But there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed, and that line is hateful speech. Jamie Foxx crossed that line on SNL.

When Michael Richards had his rant to a relatively small crowd calling a black person a “nigger” and making a reference to a lynching, the media and the public went nuts. There were multiple mea culpas, meetings with Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton, and Richard’s final self-imposed exile from the public eye.

Yet here we have a bigger star saying how great it is to kill “all the white people” on a show broadcast live from shore-to-shore and the media is silent and there is nary an apology or explanation forthcoming. Jamie Foxx owes, at the minimum, a public apology for these comments.

I guess the big difference in the situations is the color of Richards and Foxx’s skin.

How racist (and hypocritical) is that?

Getting tired of the news being dominated by the Middle East…

I listen to NPR quite a bit and every hour they have the news headlines.  Over the past five years both the news and the coverage have increasingly and disproportionately been dedicated to events, topics, and stories about the Middle East.

I understand there is a lot going on over there, and has been for a while.  And I am sensitive to the volatility of the region and its importance to the United States and the world as a whole.  But the coverage seems to be disproportionate.  A prime example is on the morning after Election day here, they had a report from Gaza and how the Palestinians were reacting to the election results. 

Seriously?  That’s what’s news worthy: How another country is reacting to our election?  I’m far more interested in how WE are reacting to the election in our own country.

I don’t imagine there was a whole lot of hand-wringing in Egypt about what we thought of their election.  Nor France.  Or Greece.  Or Russia.

I listen to NPR to have a more well-rounded world view.  I guess my complain is that the domination of the Middle Eastern news is blocking out all the rest of the news that deserves coverage too.

Europe needs more coverage.  They are our biggest trading partner and are going through a major crisis.  China is hugely important to the U.S.  More coverage is needed about them.   Mexico is increasingly an important trading partner and little is ever discussed about them.  How about South America?  Harly know they even exist based on the news coverage….

And it isn’t just NPR.  All the major news outlets seem focused almost solely on the U.S, and the Middle East…the rest of the world be damnned!

This is a very disturbing trend and one I hope changes soon.

Military spending needs to be cut. NOW!

Q: When is enough defense spending enough?
A: When you spend so much money defending something that you can no longer afford to upkeep it.

That is the point we have reached.

The military – It’s big enough…we can stop now. We spend 41% of the world’s military budget. That’s more in percentage and real dollars than the next 14 countries combined. And that is each and every year. It’s time to stop. It’s time to either stop spending a good chunk of that all together or spend it on something domestically like roads or healthcare or education or, well, just about anything else. (Or maybe we can go ahead and enact the Farm Act of 2012 and even leave in the Food Stamps for the poor here in America…golly, what a concept…making sure Americans have food to eat.)

This amount of money spent on “defense” is obscene.  But it is far more than just the money, it’s the mindset.  I often hear people complain that we shouldn’t be the world’s policeman and questioning why we keep getting involved in these insane wars with no end in sight.  It’s because (I believe) we have been so convinced that that is our role in the world that we base our policies and budgets on it.

And the more research I do on this subject, the more I am convinced that the military industrial complex needs us to to think like this.  I know it sounds very wingnut-ish, but they absolutely need us to keep risking lives and treasure so we can keep spending money on them.  It’s a vicious cycle that needs to end.

How much more effective would it be to shore up our internal defenses and anti-terrorism policies and practices here at home than to spend the $4,000,000 on a single predator drone that may or may not kill and enemy and may or may not kill innocents (and thus encourage people to help the terrorist we are fighting or even breed more terrorism itself.)   Isn’t the random killing of civilians by a bunch of nutballs what got this started in the first place?  How is our doing the same “winning hearts and minds”?

We are not Rome.  We are not built on military strength, but the strength of our ideals and our freedoms.  Our defense comes first by holding true to those ideals and freedoms and the belief that they are as true for us in the States as they are for others in other countries.  We lead by example, not by force.

And while I’m pretty certain Jesus wasn’t speaking about government spending, I think his words still hold true in this instance: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34)

Where, then, is our nation’s heart?

Shooting at Sikh Temple in Oak Creek Wisconsin

I just wanted to let the folks at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek Wisconsin that, although they will probably never see this, my thoughts and prayer are with them.  Through this horrific tragedy, I was encouraged and uplifted by their example at this time of personal suffering and tragedy.   While it may be of little consequence to you now, I hope someday your folks know what a great example you are of people of faith.

And to those, like the shooter, that spread hate, I pray for you too.  The one part you missed in the Master’s teachings was to love one another.  I pray that you mediate on that and let go of the hate.

All you need is love….