New Buffalo

We’re off to New Buffalo, Michigan for the weekend. Two weeks in a row spent on the Lake Michigan lake shore. Hopefully the weather will be as phenomenal as last weekend. I want to get a lot more pictures and check out some of the unique shops in the New Buffalo region.

We hope to see jazz singer Jenna Mammina, either in Three Oaks, Michigan on Saturday night or in Dowagiac, Michigan on Sunday night. She’s appearing in both places over the weekend and we’ll be in the region. We’re not big fans, but do like what we’ve heard from her, and think it would be a nice experience to see and hear her if we get the chance.

I hope to have some photos to post next week from our weekend jaunt.

Saugatuck 2


Another shot from Saugatuck. Not definitive of the town, but a shot I like a lot. Maybe not really a travel photo, but I think it tends toward the artsy side of the scale and Saugatuck is all about the artsy.

Saugatuck


We just returned from Saugatuck, Michigan where we spent the weekend. Well, there, Holland, and Douglas, Michigan that is. Once again Saugatuck was fantastic. The weather was great, and all in all it was a good time.

This is a photo I took in Saugatuck that I really like. I’m not sure why, but I do really like it. I’m busy batch converting all the RAW shots I took with my Canon 350D and will add some more photos when I have them ready to post.

Candidates and faith

This is just a short commentary on the recent appearance of Barack Obama and John McCain at Rick Warren’s church to be questioned on issues and articles of faith. Agree with me or not, these are my opinions.

Why would a presidential candidate want to be seen dignifying such a staged, ridiculous event? Are both candidates so weak in their political convictions that they must grovel at the feet of a charlatan like Rick Warren?

I want a candidate who is strong and decisive, and who knows how to lead. There is nothing weaker upon which to base one’s convictions than faith. If a candidate were to say, “We don’t need health care in this country. We just need more faith,” he or she would be marginalized into the kook category. If they were to say, “I have faith that Israelis and Palestinians will find a common ground and stop killing one another,” we would be confused as to what their policy is or might become.

To have faith is to believe without empirical evidence. It may even be to believe without any evidence at all if one feels that their faith is based upon revelation rather than more objective criteria.

I don’t want a President who believes something. I want a President who knows what to do, what to say, what vision to follow, or whatever, based on what he or she knows, not on what they feel.

I say to these candidates, show us, tell us, lead us, but do not immerse us in your faith. I for one really don’t care what you believe by faith when it comes to your personal religion, or lack thereof. I want to know what you believe empirically and pragmatically and how you intend to lead the nation and the world into an era of new opportunities and challanges. I want to know how you’re going to create jobs, how you’re going to wage peace, not war. If you’re going to do all of this and more from a position of faith, then I want off the bus right now because I think it’s headed down the wrong way on a one way street.

Staley


This is my first photo of our new baby ferret, Staley. She’s eight weeks old and has way more energy and curiosity than is good for me. This shows a short moment in time when she was stationary, sunning herself on the back of the couch.

SENSES

The sound I do not hear
the sight I do not see,
the man still in shackles
keeps me from being free.
The touch I do not feel,
the aroma I do not smell,
those I do not help
imprison me in my own hell.
The taste I do not savor,
the things I do not know,
are all parts of a world
into which I dare not go.
The hill I do not climb,
the glade I don’t explore,
make me often wonder
what my life is really for.
The senses I don’t use,
opportunities pushed aside,
the things I don’t feel,
leave me nowhere to hide.
There is no other chance,
should I die this very day.
no trail that is left
for me to mark my way.
Whatever songs unsung,
Whatever deeds undone,
Days spent in shadow,
Hiding from the sun,
These things and more,
Behind the cloister door,
In a heap, asunder
Will fall upon the floor.

Souder has to go

Mark Souder, U.S. Representative from my district, Indiana’s 3rd, has been an embarrassment and disappointment to any thinking person who follows politics. He lied to the voters about term limits, as a starter. He was for them when running for Congress initially, but when he reached the number of terms that he promised to limit himself to, he ran again anyway. And he continues to run.

In his Congressional career he has had to apologize to the people of Kentucky and Mexico for having made disparaging public remarks about the denizens of these two locales. He repeatedly sticks his foot in his mouth and makes residents of his district seem like buffoons by mere association.

These are reasons enough to put an end to his Congressional career, but recently I was looking over a list of some of his votes in Congress. These are the real reasons he needs to be replaced by a forward-looking, intelligent challenger.

This is a small list of some of his votes with which I disagree.

Souder voted

• NO on tax incentives for renewable energy. (Feb 2008)
• NO on investing in homegrown biofuel. (Aug 2007)
• NO on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Jan 2007)
• NO on allowing human embryonic stem cell research. (May 2005)
• NO on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation. (Nov 2007)
• YES on replacing illegal export tax breaks with $140B in new breaks. (Jun 2004)
• NO on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects. (Nov 2007)
• YES on implementing CAFTA, Central America Free Trade. (Jul 2005)
• YES on implementing free trade agreement with Chile. (Jul 2003)
• YES on promoting free trade with Peru. (Nov 2007)
• NO on protecting whistleblowers from employer recrimination. (Mar 2007)
• YES on restricting independent grassroots political committees. (Apr 2006)
• NO on campaign finance reform banning soft-money contributions. (Feb 2002)
• NO on banning soft money donations to national political parties. (Jul 2001)
• NO on banning soft money and issue ads. (Sep 1999)
• NO on adding 2 to 4 million children to SCHIP eligibility. (Oct 2007)
• NO on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D. (Jan 2007)
• NO on requiring FISA warrants for wiretaps in US. (Mar 2008)
• NO on Veto override: Congressional oversight of CIA interrogations. (Mar 2008)
• NO on restricting no-bid defense contracts. (Mar 2007)
• YES on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant. (Sep 2006)
• YES on continuing intelligence gathering without civil oversight. (Apr 2006)
• NO on restricting employer interference in union organizing. (Mar 2007)
• NO on increasing minimum wage to $7.25. (Jan 2007)
• YES on retroactive immunity for telecoms’ warrantless surveillance. (Jun 2008)