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Vol. 5 No.8
Online Edition
February 14, 2005

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There can be no doubt about what the majority of Iraqi citizens want, the electorate has spoken. Despite years of tyranny and oppression, despite the threats from the minions of the forces of darkness, the citizens of Iraq turned out and voted. Countrywide, voter turnout was about what we get here in the US for general elections. But we in the US don't have a death threat upon us when we vote. Truly, voting in Iraq was an act of courage and hope. I doubt I'll ever think about anything else every time I see an ink-stained finger.

Only a few days before the Iraqi election President Bush gave his Inaugural Address. It was criticized by some of the President's faithful, most notably Peggy Noonan. It has also been applauded by a broad spectrum of national figures. Only time will tell.

Soon after the election in Iraq, President Bush followed up with the annual State of the Union address to Congress. Some commentators have been comparing his speech to those of Woodrow Wilson, another American President who urged the spread of Democracy as the essential means to assure our own democratic survival. Yes, 10 years vigilance is needed; it should be considered nothing short of miraculous if that is all it takes in Iraq.

Way back in the '60 there was espoused a so-called "domino" theory. At that time it was thought that if we didn't halt the spread of communism in Viet Nam that all of SE Asia would topple, like a line of dominoes standing on their ends. What strikes the most fear in the hearts of the radical Islamists is the though that a successful, democratic Iraq will illuminate the darkness of the despotic regimes in the region. They must be very worried that their line of dominoes are toppling, first in Afghanistan and now in Iraq.

The Islamists flavor of evil depends on the oppressive yoke of tyranny , repression and hopelessness to fan it's flames of hatred. But where oppression and tyranny have been driven out and where renewed hope has been kindled the hatred and despair of their vision becomes evident to those who live under it's cloud. It is in the clarity of reason and hope that their vision has been rejected, in Iraq and Afganistan, by predominantly Muslin populations.

Can there be any doubt that the "shouting and shooting" of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, which is coming more frequently and hysterically, is but the anguished screaming of a failure in it's early death-throes? Still lethally dangerous, to be sure, but terminally ill nonetheless, killed by the end of a purple-stained digit.

Sometime in May, if all goes well, the Space Shuttle will fly again. For the time being it is our workhorse heavy-lift freighter that will enable mankind to maintain a permanently manned presence in space. Exploration is both risky and costly and has always been so, even so, it will nice to be flying the shuttle again. Let's hope we can do so safely until the ISS is finished and we have some other, reliable and safe means to gain access to space. Oh yes, and cheap too. Right now all we have are concepts with no firm plan or budget in place.

Pope John Paul II is old and frail. Parkinson's disease is a difficult infirmity, slow and excruciating in it's etiology. It has been a remarkable and long Papacy for him, one which has seen great progress towards human freedoms and dignity throughout the world during his reign. His Christian practices of inclusiveness and love for all his fellow humans is a living example for us all, as is the dignity in which he bears his pain, suffering and frailty. May his faith continue to sustain him even as his corporal flesh fails him.

Howard Dean has been picked to lead the Democratic party out of it's ruinous 2004 election. Make no mistake, Mr. Dean's organization learned to turn the power of the Internet into a fundraising behemoth. Since money is the lifeblood of politics expect a new infusion of life into the Democratic party. Time will tell if the party has learned from the licking it took and will learn how to appeal to mainstream Americans again. This should get interesting, so sit back and enjoy the show!

The Federal Reserve will continue to nick up interest rates as long as the economy is going well. Over the long-term these Fed funds rates will rise to their historically average levels as the economy gets better. Worldwide demand for raw materials remains high and the world economy is quite hot. Prices continue their rise, in some cases spiking sharply. Some chemical feedstocks remain in short supply creating a supply-demand imbalance. Here in the United States deficit spending and the National Debt are genuine concerns but in both a soft economy and a war economy they are appropriate behaviors for governments.

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A big shot attorney had to spend a couple of days in the hospital. He was a royal pain to the nurses because he bossed them around just like he did his staff. None of the hospital staff wanted to have anything to do with him.

The head nurse was the only one who could stand up to him. She came into his room and announced, "I have to take your temperature." After complaining for several minutes, he finally settled down, crossed his arms and opened his mouth. "No, I'm sorry, the nurse stated, "but for this reading, I can't use an oral thermometer."

This started another round of complaining, but eventually he rolled over and bared his behind. After feeling the nurse insert the thermometer, he heard her announce, "I have to get something. Now you stay JUST LIKE THAT until I get back!"

She leaves the door to his room open on her way out.

He curses under his breath as he hears people walking past his door, laughing. After a half hour, the man's doctor comes into the room. "What's going on here?" asked the doctor.

Angrily, the man answers, "What's the matter, Doc? Haven't you ever seen someone having their temperature taken?"

After a pause, the doctor confesses, "Not with a carnation."


A three-year-old little boy was examining his testicles while taking a bath.

Mama," he asked, "Are these my brains?"

Mama answered, "Not yet."




Happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous.

Greek Historian (c.455 - c.400 BC)


As the great ocean has but one taste, that of salt, so has this Dharma and Discipline but one taste, the taste of freedom.

Pali Troprtaka
Anguttara-nikaya [Gradual Sayings] pt. 4, p. 203
Buddhist Sacred Texts (c. 2nd century BC)


Freedom and not servitude is the cure for anarchy; as religion, and not atheism, is the true remedy for superstition.

Edmund Burke
(1729 - 1797)


The enemies of freedom do not argue, they shout and shoot.

William Ralph Inge
English Writer (1860 - 1954)


Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.

Reinhold Niebuhr
American Theologian (1892 - 1971)


I'm interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos, especially activity that appears to have no meaning. It seems to be the road toward freedom.

Jim Morrison, rock poet,
Time, 24 January 1968


We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,
head of the Al Qaeda in Iraq
23 January 2005


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