Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 71

Let us start the Rant today with what I consider some the very best news I have seen come out of the Middle East in years. According to an ABC news report, the new Iraqi government has legitimized Christmas by declaring it a legal holiday. The decision affects only about 1% of the country’s 26 million citizens but stands out as an accommodation within the nation of a faith other than Islam. Many Christians had been reduced to living in isolated ghettos well away from large population centers and public worship services had been spotty at best.

I am excited because it demonstrates yet one more step in the maturation of the new powers that be in Iraq. The cornerstone of every working democracy needs be tolerance of people of all faiths to worship as they please without government intervention. As an ever increasing accumulation of rights is granted to the people they then have opportunity for growth within the legitimate framework of nations. I applaud ABC for bringing it to our attention and recognize it for the groundbreaking event that it is.

Christmas Aftermath

Christmas 2008 has now been relegated to history and we are now left with only the memories. Depending on what largesse you were expecting to receive, you may now either be disappointed or elated. If you are either, you didn’t understand the holiday. I am reminded of that venerable football ritual just as the game begins. The captains and the referees gather at mid-field, toss a coin, and determine who shall kick off and who shall receive. Substitute “give” for “kick off” and the analogy becomes clear The designated receivers are overjoyed to have the first possession and often, the advantage.

Unlike the football game, life is not necessarily a “zero sum” game. Often we find the longer lasting joy of the gift interchange to be on the side of the giver. Long after the gift is broken and cast aside, he still has the memory of the elation the receiver showed upon receipt. He remembers the kiss on the cheek, the pat on the back, or the tear in the eye of the one who found his/her heart’s desire in the package. He has the joy of sharing.

When I returned from Germany in 1955, my duffle bag was packed with items I had picked up for relatives and friends at home. Among them was a 3” replica of a Mercedes-Benz sedan in chrome, with wire wheels, full steering and a wind-up key. It was a gift for my brother who was thirteen at the time. Throughout the years, this handsome toy car occupied a place of prominence in his home and finally on his desk.. Fifty-three years later, upon his death last January, his widow graciously sent it home with me. I keep it on a prominent place on my desk as the same constant reminder of our mutual respect and love.

I cite this only as a reminder of how long lasting a caring gift may be. I have no memory of having made a great sacrifice obtaining the gift but I take consolation in having provided a gift which reflected thought on his heart’s desire; all of this from a toy car.

Plan B?

Like it or not, the congress of the United States seems bent on throwing your money down the rat hole which the US auto industry has become. Oh yes, they are planning on revisiting the on-going problem on the 31st of March and re-evaluating this issue. I’d certainly bet they will do little other than determine that the auto makers require yet more money with little restructuring of their business model.

About the only bright side of this matter is a priceless quote which was printed on the opinion page of the New York Times. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader (ed.--of the senate), warned on Thursday that “a government big enough to give us everything we want is a government big enough to take everything we have.”

Obama baby boom?

Given the exuberance of the victors in the recent election it was posited that a possible “baby boom” might ensue. It was reasoned that the Obama enthusiasts might carry their political joys into their bedrooms and carry on their celebration there. Mark Hemmingway, who was questioned on the matter at National Review, had these remarks in response:

"Well, once again we have a reporter who flunked statistics:

Because variances in birth rate are an ordinary phenomenon, spikes in the number of births will occasionally coincide with a newsworthy event that took place three-quarters of a year earlier. Those who cling to the belief in blackout babies fail to accept that the same communities they point to as proof of the theory saw even greater leaps in number of births in years that weren't preceded by memorable events. Blackouts, snowstorms, and the like are more usually followed by perfectly ordinary birth rates nine months afterwards, but because human nature is what it is, we tend to remember only the events that fit the pattern we're determined to see and unconsciously discard all the rest, Thus, we'll recall that the Great Storm of 1983 was followed by a deluge of babies in the Fall of 1984, but we'll completely forget that the Great Storm of 1987 was followed by a perfectly ordinary turnout at the maternity hospitals in the Fall of 1988, or that the Great Baby Boom at the end of 1999 wasn't presaged by anything unusual that occurred in the Spring of 1999.

Such a query does; however, seem to confirm that no one was more turned on by Obama's victory than the media.”

And finally

We seem to have seen some resolutions to problems which have plagued our little paradise here in the Ozarks. I’m feeling better, the internet connection is feeling better, my bride is feeling better and the dogs are unaware that anything was wrong in the first place. The cats are manning the most favorable positions at my desk, looking out the windows at the bird feeders and salivating. The temperature has increased to the point that golf is a strong possibility today. Life is good and more importantly; God is good. He has set a high standard but I really do believe it is worth pursuing.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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