Ye Olde Swimming Hole

current, insightful, yet nostalgic

Friday, April 28, 2006

Another Terrorist Video News Release

It's been just a few days since I wrote about the media running with terrorist video news releases and today, they're running with another one.

Look closely at this CNN story. Do you see any counter point that questions or challenges this terrorist's statements? Would CNN write a story like this from a public official? Heavens no! Then why are they giving terrorists open access to all the "earned" unedited exposure they want.

Our media is the most powerful weapon in the Al Queda's arsenal.

Flight 93

The movie about United Flight 93 opens this weekend to much controversy. Many people are saying it's just too early to see that horrible day depicted on the big screen or any screen. The film has lots of support from many of the families of the brave people who died on that flight, but others strongly object.

I don't plan to see the movie, but I don't think it's "too early" to show it. When would it not be too early? The fact is it's difficult to see how much harm to individuals and our country a few bad people can inflict.

I recently watched a History Channel special on the conspiracy theories surrounding the murder of JFK. The documentary concluded there was no conspiracy and explained how people latch on to conspiracy theories when the truth is just to simple and painful to except. I think a similar thing is happening here. It's difficult to realize just how vulnerable we really are, but we do need to remind ourselves of that to prepare for and hopefully mitigate future attacks in the future.

It's also important to recognize and honor the brave men and women who died on that plan to save others and to protect our country from further harm.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Nuclear Waste "No Way Day"

The folks in Utah are facing an impending decision by the BLM that will determine whether nuclear waste is stored just a stone's throw away from beautiful and vibrant Salt Lake City. A nuclear waste storage company is hoping to make a ton of money on the project.

A while back I wrote about a NY Times editorial on this subject that illustrated how some view Utah and the west as a perfect dumping ground for their nuclear waste. The fact is, this project is a very bad idea and it must not happen.

The Salt Lake Chamber has a good backgrounder on the situation. More on Senator Hatch's site here. Other bloggers are writing about it here and here.

If you would like to voice your concerns on the proposal, please contact the BLM:

Pam Schuller
U.S. Bureau of Land Management
Salt Lake Field Office
2370 South 2300 West
Salt Lake City, Utah 84119

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Media Run With Terrorist Audio and Video News Releases

News organizations like to profess their disdain for public relations and any news that is canned. During the past couple of months, there's been discussion about the ethics behind running VNRs. The journalism profession looks down on media outlets that run with press releases and VNRs without showing the other side. Being skeptical is probably a good thing for the news media, but they need to be consistent.

I bring this up because this week the media has run with two audio news releases extensively without even questioning the ethics or harm to America in doing it. First it was Osama bin Ladin's latest audio news release and then that rat in Iraq issued his latest video news release. Isn't it interesting that when our government or reputable organizations provide information to the press it is sliced, diced, discredited and we're left with skimpy sound bites. But if a terrorist wants to deliver a message to the world, the media runs with it like a flock of sheep.

If the media really wants to protect society, as it claims to do, it should be wiser about whom it makes famous and whom it gives a megaphone to the world to. The message so for is, if you do terrible things, that will give you the prominence that will make you worthy for us to take your message to the world.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Natural Disasters

This past week marked the 100th anniversary of the great San Francisco quake, which killed thousands. News reports marking the anniversary explained how another major quake in that city is imminent and would killed thousands more still as well as make hundreds of thousands homeless.

The rate at which we are experiencing natural disasters seems to be accelerating. Becoming a global society also causes us to experience every major disaster around the world almost first hand through the media.

It's an interesting contrast to see how we are making major advances through science and engineering, but still able to quickly be brought to our knees by the power of nature.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Polar Trouble

I watched a story on CNN's Web site this morning about global warming and the trouble it is causing in the Artic. They interviewed a polar bear expert who said bears are skinnier than he has ever seen them and they are drowning. He said he's never seen polar bears drown before.

The reason why they are drowning is because they are trying to swim extremely long distances while searching for food. They're having trouble finding food because the seals they feed on are also changing their migration and living habits.

If the majority of scientist are correct, there's no question the world climate is changing and changing very rapidly. I'm hopeful that some of the changes with actually be beneficial. That may seem like an absurd comment, but I believe we will find ways to adapt and take advantage of the new circumstances.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Oil Price High

Oil prices reached a new high today at over $70 per barrel. The threat of Iran becoming a nuclear country is one of the factors driving them up, but there are many other factors as well. China's booming economy is driving a thirst for oil there and turmoil in Africa is cutting off the supply of oil there.

There's no question we are in for changes in the near future with regards to energy. Either we will have to begin using alternative sources or get used to paying a lot more for oil, which will likely lead to our cutting back on consumption. Rises oil prices will likely lead to inflation and a slowing economy. It could get interesting.

A Scary Government

After yet another terrible suicide bombing in Israel, the new Palestinian government (Hamas) said it was in support of the bombings. Things are very scary right now in the Middle East. Things have been bad there for a long time, but it almost seems like any day it's going to hit a breaking point. It's frightening though when a government comes out in support of these criminals.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Day For the Immigrants

Thousands in cities all over the country held rallies today to try to influence lawmakers to draft new legislation that will allow immigrants to become citizens. It's very interesting how this once quiet group is suddenly at the forefront of things.

I personally believe immigrants are crucial to our society, yet also believe they need to do things legally. I hope both objectives can be met and we can live together in peace and without prejudice.

Tonight as I was walking home from work, I passed a hispanic family who apparently were on their way to a demonstration. Wanting to be friendly, I smiled and said "hi." The father responded by yelling at the top of his lungs, "Si se puede!" (yes we can!), which has become the slogan for the demonstration. It was a rude response to my attempt to extend a hand of friendship. I hope and don't think that represents the attitude of most immigrants. We all need to lose our sense of entitlement and replace it with understanding.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

How We Undermine Our Creator

Debates about religion and evolution are raging and will surely continue to do so for the forseeable future. This week scientists discovered a fossil they claim is the missing link that explains how life moved from the sea to land. While the discovery is no doubt interesting it is just one piece of the puzzle of the history of the world.

The debate is not just one of physical scientific evidence, but also spiritual evidence as we saw in the debate last week over the recent study out on prayer.

Because I love to look at and ponder the heavens, this week I bought a book called "What's Out There." I'm still waiting for it, but the reviews suggest its images and text are amazing. One of the reviews in the book grabbed my attention and highlighted how differently those who believe in God view the world compared to those who do not:

This close-up look at the workings of the cosmos makes me feel almost euphoric. No offense to religionists, but there's wonder enough in these purely physical phenomena--no creator required. What's Out There does a magnificent job of capturing that wonder in both picture and word. (Fred DuBose)
Mr. DuBose was sensitive enough pardon if he gave any offense, which he did not, but I marvel at his perspective. For me, pondering what is in the universe, with all its magesty and wonder, does not negate the need for a creator, but in fact necessitates the need for a creator.

I believe this debate will never end, until the end. There is room for people who see things both ways, but we will all eventually know there is a Creator and our future is grand.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Scientist Sign Seekers

News reports were buzzing yesterday about a new study that claims praying for those who undergo surgery does not help them and in fact could hurt them. Here are just a few of the news reports: London Times, Washington Post, New York Times. Of course bloggers are talking about it as well.

I first saw this story on the CBS Early Show and nearly choked on my breakfast when the "expert" analyst, Emily Senay, they interviewed said, "Of course, this is not the last word on prayer." Really!? Thanks for the reassurance.

Those who strive to know God and understand the true purpose of prayer know this is all very ridiculous because it violates and principle taught again and again in the scriptures: don't seek for signs. This is nothing more than sign seeking.

Let's look at the intent of those responsible for the prayers and I'm not talking about those who actually prayed, I'm talking about the researchers. Their intent was not to help the people undergoing surgery, their intent was to test God. Their methods we're equally suspect. They told the congregants the exact words to say and those who prayed had no idea who they were praying for and they knew they would never know if those they prayed for were healed. So basically it took no faith to pray because they knew they would be ignorant as to whether those prayers were effectively.

Let's go back to the point about the scientists telling the congregants exactly what to say. Let's look at it from God's perspective. He hears these prayers, which are all the same (vain repetitions), and He knows the only reason these people are praying is to help scientists try to prove or disprove His power. Do you really think God will submit to a sign-seeking scientist's wishes?

The bottom line is that God cannot be proved or disproved through science. Those who pray know it works and understand the major problems of this study. Let's just hope few or none put any stock in it when they consider praying.

This definition of prayer may help some.