DOGGONE EVERYTHING (In Search of Something)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Comment- Clooney at UN -in The Guardian

Sorry George Clooney, but the last thing Darfur needs is western troops The rebels, not Khartoum, scuppered this year's peace deal - the solution has to be an expanded African Union force

Jonathan Steele Tuesday September 19, 2006
The Guardian
"An air of unreality, if not cant, surrounds the latest upsurge of calls for UN troops to go into Sudan's western region of Darfur. The actor George Clooney takes to the stage at the UN security council, pleading for action. Tony Blair seizes on the issue to write letters to fellow EU leaders. In cities around the world protesters hold a "global day for Darfur" to warn of looming genocide. Is it really possible that western governments, in spite of being burned by their interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, would use force against another Muslim state? "

See the rest:,,1875502,00.html#article_continue

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George Clooney and Darfur

Has George thrown in a few million of his own for the cause? Maybe he has. I didn't find that reported anywhere, however. Celebrities should put their money on the table if they want to be politicians. I think it best if they stay in their movie star role. But, yes, he does have the right to speak his mind. However, no 'average person' living in small town America would ever be able to address the UN. Only movie stars are given that opportunity. I don't really want a movie star speaking for America. We may see him as speaking only his own opinion (and we may agree with him), but others will associate him with all of North America. It is already thought in many places of the world that Hollywood = America..
Watch Clooney on videoclip:

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Joan Didion

This Blog spot could run on for days. Didion is one of the best essay writers around. I happen to be revisiting Slouching Towards Bethlehem (N.Y.: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1968, 2nd print), and I am zipping through this collection with rapture. I usually do not read quickly unless I love the prose. If I don't love a book, it will just sit around and I'll leaf through it now and then, or it will continue to be ignored until I finally just shelve it somewhere with the thought that maybe in the future I will be interested. My reading is very much based on mood and level of tolerance. (An ex: I tried to read Secret Life of Bees, and I could not finish it. The symbols kept jumping off the page and beating me with a stick. Symbols shouldn't do that. They should arise from the prose without the author shouting to the reader, "Here's a symbol!" Alas, I have shelved it for now, and will try again another time.) Granted, I am talking about fiction now, and I started out with nonfiction.
Start over.
I love Didion's philosophical comments and her intelligence that even is present when she's writing about L.A.; in particular, Hollywood. Somehow she infuses intelligence and insight into the most shallow topics. Even when writing about John Wayne, she rises above the movie star magazine language. She talks about a picture where Wayne says to the girl he would build her a house at the bend in the river where the cottonwoods grow. She writes, "As it happened I did not grow up to be the kind of woman who is the heroine in a Western, and although the men I have known have had many virtues and have taken me to live in many places I have come to love, they have never been John Wayne, and they have never taken me to that bend in the river where the cottonwoods grow. Deep in that part of my heart where the artificial rain forever falls, that is still the line I wait to hear" (30).

New Museum in Berlin

Check out this! An interesting article about a new museum to 'remember' the past. I suppose there's a reason to do so.

East Germany is gone, but the kitsch lives on
A new museum in Berlin takes a nostalgic look at everyday communist-bloc life, in all its scarcity and bureaucracy.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Richard Cohen - Take 1

I sometimes agree with Mr. Cohen; for ex, his January 19, 2006 column "Corporate Repression in China," He's a talented writer, without a doubt. However, lately, I have not agreed with him, esp. not his Sept. 12, 2006 column, "Bin Laden's Victory." The column was most disturbing for its negativity concerning America. Geeze. We need a little boost here.

The New York Times-Take 2

Who and what is this writer for exactly? Does he (I'll assume the masculine pronoun here)have an anti-Catholic bias perhaps? Is he an apologist for Muslims and their inability to speak out and DO something against extremist factions and violence. The Pope is speaking and trying to make change because others won't. The Pope is doing more than any of the characters put together that he mentions. No, communication can not happen on the Vatican's terms only, but I don't believe that 'terms' were proposed and/or drawn up, were they? Remember, the Pope also had words for the West (Europe, mainly). Perhaps the NY Times editorial writer was not bright enough to understand what the Pope's message was in the first place!
September 20, 2006
The Pope’s Act of Contrition
Now that Pope Benedict XVI has expressed regret for offending Muslims in remarks he made last week, we hope Catholics and Muslims alike will put aside the pontiff’s ill-considered comments and move forward in a conciliatory spirit.

Muslim leaders need to condemn the specific acts of violence that followed the pope’s speech. Even more important, they must work against the nurturing of grievance that magnifies and politicizes insults, giving them a destructive dynamic.

There are hopeful examples of such leadership. Muhammad Habash, head of the center for Islamic studies in Damascus, acknowledged Muslims’ shock at the pope’s remarks but said that now “it is our turn to call for calming the situation.” The top Islamic cleric in Turkey, Ali Bardakoglu, who had sharply criticized the pope, accepted the apology. He said Benedict’s “expression of sadness is a sign that he would work for world peace.”

The pope and the Vatican can also do more. For the past two years, Benedict has been a no-show at interfaith gatherings in Assisi, begun 20 years ago by his predecessor, John Paul II. Last year, he issued an edict revoking the autonomy of Assisi’s Franciscan monks, a move that was seen as a reaction against the monks’ interfaith activism. On the occasion of this year’s gathering, he issued a statement about religion and peace that was read by an envoy, but his absence spoke louder than his words.

The pope also recently reassigned the Vatican’s former head of interreligious dialogue, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, an expert on Arab affairs, to a diplomatic post in Egypt. According to a report in The Times by Ian Fisher, the move was interpreted by some church experts as reflecting Benedict’s skepticism of dialogue with Muslims. As his unfortunate comments show, the pope needs high-level experts on Islam to help guide him.

In offering his regrets, the pope said that in its totality, his speech was intended as “an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect.” In living up to that, he and other top Vatican officials will have to accept that genuine communication cannot occur on their terms only.

The New York Times--Take 1

The Pope owes no apology. I agree with a friend of mine who sent me this editorial. Our ridiculous PC country is out of hand (namely, leftist non-thinkers who are squelching everyone’s Freedom of Speech; that is, only those who agree with this writer are allowed Free Speech.) Since when are public figures, especially the Pope, not allowed to say whatever they damn well please? Americans are not so stupid that they can’t decide for themselves whether or not they agree with The Pope. That’s what this writer is saying: Americans are too dumb to analyze the Pope’s comments, so the Pope better apologize. Ridiculous. “A doctrinal conservative, his greatest fear appears to be the loss of a uniform Catholic identity.” DUH! That’s exactly right! His business IS the Catholic Church. What’s wrong with that? (and, no, I am not Catholic; thus, I have no personal interest in promoting the Catholic church, but I do think the Pope can speak his mind.. Should he have said nothing at all? Are all public figures just going to remain silent from now on for fear of offending one group or another?)
September 16, 2006
The Pope’s Words
There is more than enough religious anger in the world. So it is particularly disturbing that Pope Benedict XVI has insulted Muslims, quoting a 14th-century description of Islam as “evil and inhuman.”

In the most provocative part of a speech this week on “faith and reason,” the pontiff recounted a conversation between an “erudite” Byzantine Christian emperor and a “learned” Muslim Persian circa 1391. The pope quoted the emperor saying, “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

Muslim leaders the world over have demanded apologies and threatened to recall their ambassadors from the Vatican, warning that the pope’s words dangerously reinforce a false and biased view of Islam. For many Muslims, holy war — jihad — is a spiritual struggle, and not a call to violence. And they denounce its perversion by extremists, who use jihad to justify murder and terrorism.

The Vatican issued a statement saying that Benedict meant no offense and in fact desired dialogue. But this is not the first time the pope has fomented discord between Christians and Muslims.

In 2004 when he was still the Vatican’s top theologian, he spoke out against Turkey’s joining the European Union, because Turkey, as a Muslim country was “in permanent contrast to Europe.”

A doctrinal conservative, his greatest fear appears to be the loss of a uniform Catholic identity, not exactly the best jumping-off point for tolerance or interfaith dialogue.
The world listens carefully to the words of any pope. And it is tragic and dangerous when one sows pain, either deliberately or carelessly. He needs to offer a deep and persuasive apology, demonstrating that words can also heal.

NEED WE SAY MORE? BRAVO for Kathleen,1,129736.column?coll=chi-opinionfront-hed

Kathleen Parker
Translating the pope
Published September 20, 2006

In non-news today, Muslims are outraged. Also, the sun rose at its usual time, and the Earth continued to turn on its axis in the customary fashion.

As the sentient know, extremist Muslims have found another excuse to bloody the streets, this time over a quotation from a lecture Pope Benedict XVI delivered last week at the University of Regensburg in Germany. My guess is that not many of the outraged Muslims have actually read the lecture--it's not the sort of thing one lightly skims between effigy-burnings.

To understand what the pope actually said, one would have to stop and think, which is a colossal waste of time when there are infidels to kill. Thus far, people who claim to be fervent disciples of the religion of peace have demolished Christian holy sites in the West Bank and Gaza and may be responsible for the shooting of a missionary nun in Somalia.

All this just because the pope had the audacity to suggest that some Islamists tend to prefer violence to reason. Whatever gave him that idea?

The single line extracted from the pope's lecture to inflame the highly flammable is an excerpt from a 14th Century dialogue between the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and "an educated Persian" about Christianity and Islam. Said the emperor:

"Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

This one-sentence quotation was part of a wide-ranging discussion about the intersection of faith and reason, as well as the contradictory nature of religion and violence. Pope Benedict's key point was that faith through violence is unreasonable and, therefore, incompatible with the nature of God.

"The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature," he said.

Think fast: Who wants to spread faith with violence? Not missionary nuns in Somalia. Who wants to slit the throats of infidels? Not the Southern Baptist Convention.

Contrary to what fanatics have insisted, the pope was as critical of the West as of Islam, if not more so. While Islam suffers from faith without reason, he said that Western culture suffers from reason without faith.

His point was that the two cultures cannot enter into a productive dialogue unless they both recognize that faith and reason are inextricably bound. Islam has to drop its sword and the West has to make room for the divine.

Pope Benedict's view is that by ignoring faith, the West--but especially Europe--is ill-equipped to engage a culture that is so firmly entrenched in faith.

"A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures," he said. Likewise, a faith-based culture that abhors reason cannot engage in civilized discourse or advance the goal of harmony.

In a nutshell, those are the central points of the pope's lecture. How interesting that the emperor and the Persian could debate these issues several centuries ago, but 21st Century man is driven mad by ideas that challenge him.

Now, one can decide that the pope is full of business, or that he's lacking in diplomatic skills. Or, one could conclude that he is the bravest man on Earth.

By speaking truth to madness, he has invited the wrath of both worlds and--if Islamist jihadists are to be believed--placed his life on the line. Monday, the same chap who called for the murders of Danish cartoonists for drawing the Prophet Muhammad called for the pope's execution.

In Iraq, Al Qaeda warned Pope Benedict that its war on the West will continue until Islam takes over the world. Iran's supreme leader called for more protests. Egypt's religious affairs minister wrote in a newspaper column: "The pope's words have caused a deep wound in the hearts of Muslims that won't heal for a long time, and then only after a clear apology to Muslims."

Pope Benedict did apologize for offending Muslims, but he stopped short of apologizing for his message. He apparently said what he meant to say.

Thus far the Muslim world has responded only by proving the pope's point. Where is the educated Persian to debate him?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dog Care

Yikes! A dog does not like lying around all day. Dogs need attention, challenge, and exercise. Watch Cesar Millan's show, The Dog Whisperer or get his latest book. Or, read any of The Monks of New Skete books, such as How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend. I am always saddened by people who get dogs and they have no idea how much work they are. Some 'owners' get a dog and they are gone for over eight hours a day! It's better if they took the dog to a puppy day care where the dog could socialize (very important!). However, if you take your dog to day care everyday (which is not healthy either), why do you have a dog? To play with him or her on the weekends? Dogs are not toys. Please, don't be selfish. THINK of everything before getting a dog, or the dog will suffer.

Monday, September 18, 2006


Lucy is the resident mascot for this Blog. She shares the honor begrudgingly with two cats. Here she is as a pup with her favorite toy that was long ago chewed up and replaced with one after another favorite toy.