The Calf Path
One day, through the primeval wood,
A calf walked home, as good calves should;
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail as all calves do.
Since then two hundred years have fled,
And, I infer, the calf is dead.
But still he left behind his trail,
And thereby hangs my moral tale.
The trail was taken up next day
By a lone dog that passed that way;
And then a wise bell-wether sheep
Pursued the trail o'er vale and steep,
And drew the flock behind him too,
As good bell-wethers always do.
And from that day, o'er hill and glade,
Through those old woods a path was made;
And many men wound in and out,
And dodged, and turned, and bent about
And uttered words of righteous wrath
Because 'twas such a crooked path.
But still they followed -- do not laugh
The first migrations of that calf,
And through this winding wood-way stalked,
Because he wobbled when he walked.
This forest path became a lane,
That bent, and turned, and turned again;
This crooked lane became a road,
Where many a poor horse with his load
Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.
And thus a century and a half
They trod the footsteps of that calf.
The years passed on in swiftness fleet,
The road became a village street;
And this, before men were aware,
A city's crowded thoroughfare;
And soon the central street was this
Of a renowned metropolis;
And men two centuries and a half
Trod in the footsteps of that calf.
Each day a hundred thousand rout
Followed the zigzag calf about;
And o'er his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.
A hundred thousand men were led
By one calf near three centuries dead.
They followed still his crooked way,
And lost one hundred years a day;
For thus such reverence is lent
To well-established precedent.
A moral lesson this might teach
Were I ordained and called to preach;
For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind
And work away from sun to sun
To do what other men have done.
They follow in the beaten track
And out and in, and forth and back,
And still their devious course pursue,
To keep the path that others do.
But how the wise old wood-gods laugh,
Who saw the first primeval calf!
Ah! many things this tale might teach --
But I am not ordained to preach.
Sam Walter Foss (1858 - 1911)
Women perform two-thirds of all labor and produce more than half of the world's food. Yet, women own only about one percent of the world's assets, and represent 70 percent of those living in absolute poverty. Numerous studies have demonstrated that educating women and girls is the single most effective strategy to ensure the well-being and health of children, and the long-term success of developing economies.
Especially in the developing world, early and numerous pregnancies damage the health of mothers. Large families tend to be of lower economic standing. Often the children are put to work, which only tends to perpetuate the poverty by interfering with their education. The overall result is to lessen the educational and economic status of nations. In many nations the population is growing at such a rate as to make economic progress virtually impossible. This also leads to excessive environmental damage. Earth’s population reached six billion in 1999 and is expected to pass seven billion in 2011.
All things being equal, women are the most vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases. Women bear the brunt of the cost of developing the coming generation. Lack of reproductive freedom is a major cause of birth defects and child abandonment. Until and unless the leaders of the world’s religions cease to prohibit contraception, regardless of the theological arguments used, they will be obstacles to progress in regard to many important societal problems. Planning for the future of the human family is wise and spiritual.
It is likely that most people would like to see the number of abortions minimized. Similarly, many likely favor, or at least don’t oppose, prohibiting abortion after the first trimester. This is as it should be, and putting a child up for adoption should be the preferred course of action whenever the parent(s) feel unable to properly care for the child. Concerning abortion in the first trimester, please consider these facts:
People have differing beliefs concerning abortion, especially in cases of rape, incest, or a fetus known to have a genetic defect.
Many women have to take full responsibility for contraception, yet find it difficult or impossible to do so. Some factors in this regard are restrictive laws, lack of access to contraceptive measures, societal pressure, lack of information, rape, and marital opposition.
Women bear most of the burden of pregnancy and often, of childrearing. In addition, they too often bear the stigma of being a single mother. In addition, a single mother is often unable to earn enough to properly care for her child(ren). There is even a tendency in many societies to further victimize the victims of rape.
In normal reproduction, only 25% of fertilized ova develop into a fetus in the womb.
A fetus is not viable outside the womb in the first trimester.
Pregnancy is not apparent in the first trimester.
Privacy is a human right.
For the above-mentioned reasons, I believe government should discourage but not prohibit early abortions. One of the best ways to reduce the number of abortions is through education. A key factor in this is strongly condemning the practice of aborting fetuses based on gender. This is one of the unfortunate consequences of an obligatory “one-child policy”. Nevertheless, the motives of the mother (and father, if applicable) are their business and certainly no one should be punished based on mere supposition. Some governments unfortunately foster abortion and increase maternal mortality by effectively promoting ignorance concerning reproduction. An “abstinence-only” approach to education ignores the realities of life and leads to increases in unwanted pregnancies. Government and society should strongly discourage the marriage, under most circumstances, of anyone under 18 years of age. Society should be aware that the healthiest children are born to women in their 20’s. Government should ensure access to sterilization procedures and other relatively safe contraceptive measures. Mortality is greatest for both mother and child when pregnancy is unplanned, especially when the mother has not had sufficient time to recuperate from her last pregnancy. Unwanted children are too often malnourished, or victims of abuse and even human trafficking. Unwanted children are at increased risk of becoming criminals. (According to History Channel, Saddam Hussein was the product of an unwanted pregnancy.) Safe-haven laws and streamlined adoption procedures are needed globally. While no abortion is without risks, many women die each year when resorting to illegal, unregulated and unsafe methods out of dire necessity. Too often, the height of injustice is in evidence; males legislate how females are to deal with what is often a great crisis. Government interference in personal and religious matters is unwise and will not necessarily lead to fewer lives being sacrificed.
Women require public restrooms that are at least twice the size of men’s restrooms. This is a reality of biology, childrearing and common courtesy. It should be a matter of common knowledge to those in the construction industry.
Anti-Semitism was nurtured by Christians in Europe for centuries, facilitating the development of both Zionism and Naziism. At least 20 years before the Holocaust, Great Britain took it upon itself to facilitate the establishment of a Jewish state. Zionism was greatly strengthened by the horrors perpetrated by Nazi anti-Semites. Jews were the main victims of the Nazi Holocaust. In further laying the groundwork for the impending Middle East conflict, Adolf Hitler infected the Mustaf of Jerusalem with his anti-Semitism. Zionism can be considered a branch of Judaism, having political and religious rationale. It is clear that those opposing Zionism or Israeli government policies do so for a variety of reasons, not necessarily related to anti-Semitism. We may oppose the actions of any individual or group without being motivated by the least bit of racism.
The World Zionist Organization was founded in 1897 by Theodor Herzl in Basel, Switzerland. At that time, there were likely about half a million Arabs living in Palestine, although their population in the city of Jerusalem was by then less than the Jewish population. (All population figures given in this article are estimates and are in dispute.) Arab immigration into Palestine continued until the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. Many of these were likely families returning to Palestine; many Palestinians had migrated to neighboring countries to find work in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. (Palestine was a rural, agrarian society.) By 1925 the Jewish population in Palestine had reached 120,000. "Arab revolts" in Palestine against Jewish immigration began in 1936. Plans were formulated beginning in the 1930’s to ethnically cleanse Palestine and establish a Jewish state. Terrorism was employed to help secure the establishment of a “Jewish homeland.” Of course, political reality prevented full implementation of this plan for several years. Once Britain decided in early 1947 to vacate Palestine, ethnic cleansing began while the British observed. The abuse and eviction of the population continued until late in 1948. At least half a million Palestinian refugees were created by this campaign. (The common figure is 750,000 refugees.) Tens, if not hundreds of thousands of these were forced onto ships and fled for their lives to various destinations. To deny this “Palestinian catastrophe” is equally deplorable to denying the much larger European Holocaust. Of course, Palestinian-on-Jewish violence occurred as well. The expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Arab countries was not solely the result of anti-Semitism. In part it was an anti-Zionist backlash against the forced Palestinian exodus.
The Israeli government has long sought to instill fear of Arabs in the public mind. The goal is to unite the Jewish population and bolster a strong military stance. In a twist of irony, perhaps the main concerns that have been emphasized are that the Jews would be “forced into the sea” or victimized by terrorism at Arab hands. Of course, these fears are not unfounded, but the Palestinians see the issue as one of self-defense and an uprising against foreign invaders. Undoubtedly the desire for revenge plays a role.
Wars were fought between Arabs and Israel in 1967 and 1973. Eventually Egypt and Israel made peace and the Sinai was returned to Egypt. Egypt refused to take back the Gaza Strip. Israel later determined that it was no longer interested in physically occupying Gaza; however, it remains under effective Israeli blockade. As for the occupied West Bank, Israel has built a wall (often well inside occupied territory) to “protect itself from terrorism.” The plan may well be to unilaterally annex all land west of the wall to Israel, as they did earlier with East Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as their capital. There are at present about half a million Israelis living as “settlers” in the West Bank. Many of these consider all of the West Bank to “belong” to Israel, and are unlikely to ever leave peacefully. Settlements continue to expand, and many on both sides of the conflict feel that peace will never be possible.
Voices in Iran and Libya have called for something along the lines of a one-state solution with coexistence. There are at least two possible scenarios for a one-state solution. One is a democracy with equal rights for all citizens, Jews, Arabs, etc. Many in Israel desire only a Jewish state, so they may never accept anything of this sort. Even now, non-Jews outnumber Jews in Israel and her occupied territories. Another possibility is a sort of Bosnia-type government with the whole of “Isratine” divided into ethnic enclaves in a federation with a shared presidency. The Palestinians want the right of return to their lands within Israel’s borders. After 60 years, the refugee population, with their descendents, has increased- possibly to over two million. It seems unlikely that Israel would ever accept this repatriation either. There are several million Arabs with historic roots in Palestine living in other nations, especially Jordan and Syria. Doubtless many of these descend from people who left Palestine long before the birth of modern Israel.
As for a two-state solution, the only hope appears to be something approximating the 1967 borders. Israel has perhaps 25 times the number of settlers in the West Bank as were living in Gaza, and extracting them from Gaza wasn’t easy. Nor does Gaza hold the historical and emotional appeal to Israelis that the lands of the West Bank do. Trying to expel the West Bank settlers could cause civil war in Israel. It may be that the only hope of a “just and peaceful” future lies in some sort of UN occupation force for some decades. At least there could be disengagement of Israeli troops from the occupied territories and somewhat of a normalization of movement and daily life there. (Normal life is impossible at present for Palestinians in the West Bank; in a territory about the size of the US state of Delaware, there are hundreds of Israeli military roadblocks.) There must also be a “truth and reconciliation” mechanism including compensation for those who unjustly lost property when Israel was established and during occupation. Everyone who can help in some way should do their part to solve this dangerous stand-off. The longer a solution is delayed, the greater the likelihood of a major conflict, perhaps involving nuclear weapons. A just solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict would be a major blow to global terrorism. To quote Woodrow Wilson, “We should not only use all the brains we have but all that we can borrow.”
The Infant Mortality Rate is over three times as high in the Palestinian Territories as in Israel.
"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all." Dale Carnegie
What if there’s hope you never dreamed of hoping for?
What if the arms that catch you, catch you by surprise?
(from an unknown song)
“Justice!”- the one word prayer – Ziggy Marley
"Let there be no compulsion in religion"– The Quran
"The most important things in life aren’t things."- Yassir Fazaga
“Terrorism is not the monopoly of any religion.”
-Dr. Zakir Naik, President, Islamic Research Foundation
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." -T.S. Eliot
An American is now arrested for violating cannabis laws every 38 seconds.
At first, Adam was complete in himself. Eve was already within him, so to speak, and after she was formed from him, he found his complement in her. Here is a picture of Christ and His complement, the ecclesia- His Body. We were in Him before the disruption of the world. We will be His complement in completing the all in all of 1Cor. 15:28. Eph. 1:23. Then all will be reconciled, made immortal and constituted just. The language of 1Timothy 4:10 is precise and worthy of all welcome: “We rely on the living God, Who is the Savior of all mankind, especially of believers.”
"Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted,
the indifference of those who should have known better,
the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most,
that has made it possible for evil to triumph."
- H.M. Haile Selassie I
True religion is always worth dying for,
but never worth killing for.
We’re colored people and they call us the human race.
-from a song
Winston Churchill: “The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious, and the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.”
“I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”
"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
"Americans always do the right thing after they've exhausted every other alternative."
E. F. Schumacher: “Our ordinary mind always tries to persuade us that we are nothing but acorns and that our greatest happiness will be to become bigger, fatter, shinier acorns; but that is of interest only to pigs. Our faith gives us knowledge of something better: that we can become oak trees.”
If not you, who? If not now, when? Bobby Cox, Jr.
You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do.
Together we can do great things. Mother Teresa
Turkey’s obstacles to European Union membership
include restrictions on free speech.
The government strictly enforces a ban on head-coverings in the universities.
Other governments, both inside the EU and out, have seen fit to mandate
whether a woman must or must not cover her head.
This is oppression.
The zero-sum theory seldom applies;
wise people learn through practice how to create multiple winners.
The interior of our earth is hot like a melting pot.
Will the poles reverse?
Factors to consider when choosing a place
to visit or live in USA
How friendly is the place for pedestrians, bicyclists and public transit?
Housing & Transportation Affordability Index: http://htaindex.cnt.org/
natural disasters http://www.usgs.gov/hazards/
The following general locations seem to be some of the safest in the country for overall risk of hurricane, tornado, earthquake, hail, flood, volcano and wildfire.
There are no major cities in any of these areas.
Michigan- Eastern third of Upper Peninsula and upper fourth of Lower Peninsula. Both* are considered vacation areas. (Traverse City is supposed to be a pretty good place to retire. Has public transit and hospitals. Prone to heavy snowfall and tends to be cloudy, especially in winter and fall. Beautiful summers. Great for nature lovers.)
Utah- Eastern half that is south of I-70. Vacation area and great for nature lovers. Garfield County has good air quality- the best in any of these areas. It's hard to find better air quality in the United States. Escalante- January 13/40F - 54/88 July, with 26 inches of snow annually. Elevation is 5,760 feet.
* - According to the ACLU, full Constitutional protection is not currently afforded by the US Government in parts of these areas. http://www.aclu.org/privacy/spying/areyoulivinginaconstitutionfreezone.html
The following are among the safest larger cities in the U.S. as far as natural disasters are concerned:
Las Vegas, NV* (Dangerous for pedestrians)
(*Poor air quality)
The following are among the safest smaller cities in the U.S. as far as natural disasters are concerned:
Sault Ste. Marie, MI*
Barre / Montpelier, VT*
Presque Isle, ME*
Coeur d'Alene, ID*