Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Morning Rant 161

Mark Hemmingway has an article this morning in the Washington Examiner which is enough to make any blogger’s blood run cold. The essence of the tale is a report from Philadelphia that they are imposing a “business privilege license” on websites generated within their confines.

The article is unclear about whether that would be an annual assessment or a one time start up tax. We would guess, given the rapacious nature of city governments, it would be annually. We, in our tiny blog adventure, would be, if we lived there, subject to an annual tax of $900 to operate our three blogs. The remote ISP’s, all satellite driven, would add an additional annual cost of nearly $1800. It was not indicated if our equipment outlay would be deductible from that onerous levy. We added a lap-top to our computer family about a year ago for $650. We did so with no expectation of return on investment but rather to have more complete resources to stay current with events and the ability to do remote postings.

It is also unclear how this levy would not contribute to an abridgement of free speech as provided by the US Constitution. It also sounds eerily familiar to the assessment on the lemonade stand for the 11 year old girl in the news recently.

Since we have had a total income of $300 over the three plus years of our existence we are reluctant to view it as a big money-maker. Even that cash was used to support the trip to the 9/11 March on DC last year. The contributions were never solicited on the blog but rather came from some kind and supportive readers who were aware in advance of our financial restrictions. Although we were extremely grateful to them; we in no way consider their support as indicative of a plan of personal enrichment.

One does question who in city government thinks up these things to harass ordinary people in their pursuit of truth and informing their fellow citizens.

Religion and Privacy

I have a huge respect for Charles Krauthammer. I respect his intellect, his ability as a wordsmith, his tolerance of his disability, and his seriousness. Also, I feel he is man enough to be equally respectful if I choose to disagree with him.

This is provoked by an article he wrote for National Review on August 20.  In that piece, he makes an argument for Obama’s right to enjoy privacy in his religious preference. I am not familiar with every religion but I do have a pretty good grip on Christianity and the need for witness. It would also appear that Islam is none too secretive about the foundation and furtherance of their religion either. These are the two religions which fuel the fires of the current discussion about Obama’s faith. Neither religion seems at all shy about publicizing the tenets of their faith or the actions of their principal figures.

Inasmuch as I have better knowledge of Christianity and Obama claims it as his faith, I would suggest that no where in the Bible do I remember any advice from any author or Christ himself begging the believer to conceal his ardor for the Savior. We have a specific injunction not to “hide our light under a bushel.” We are advised to share “the good news” and cry it from the house tops.

In fact, common weekly features of many Christian churches are mid-week meetings. In these, the emphasis is on prayer and testimony. Testimony in this case refers to a specific experience which individual members have had with the various manifestations of God. Be it answered prayer for healing or any issue which seemed so hopeless for individual solution that it necessitated the intervention of a higher Power. Upon a successful conclusion of the problem, the faithful are urged to share the details with others to further reinforce their belief and is a regular feature of these meetings. Even the prayers seeking this divine intervention are not always private and part of a dedicated service. These “success” stories are a foundational part of many faiths.

If the supplicants suspect that the use of actual names and circumstances might cause harm or embarrassment to another individual involved, prayer requests are made as “Unspoken.” God, after all, knows our heart and the petty details as well as we do and He is probably not much impressed with our personal oratory skills. He is our Creator and as such really does know our every need.

I find it difficult to remember a service in any Christian Church I have recently attended which at some point did not remind the congregation that we are the “only Bible” some people will ever experience. If those who we contact have even the least curiosity, upon viewing our attitudes and behavior, are stimulated to ask themselves why they had a pleasant and fair encounter, we have performed a “witness.” If we are reluctant to share our joy because of privacy concerns, it shall remain a secret. This is definitely NOT what Christianity is all about. We are constantly reminded to present a suitable example and share our faith.

When all is said and done, Dr. Krauthammer, I disagree to the extent that I believe that Obama has other more sinister motives to conceal his religious faith. It is a testament to Krauthammer’s sense of fairness that he is even willing to entertain the thought.

It’s For the Birds

Those of us (that would be Granny and your host) who have had little experience with hummingbirds and their feeders stand amazed. First, a four cup feeder filled with 3 to 1 water-sugar is gone in under 48 hours. They gather in a mass assault in numbers up to 7 birds. Granny stepped out to the feeder on Friday and up to 5 birds came and went and fed and totally ignored her presence about 18”s away. It’s the store brand sugar and nothing really special.

Although the gold finches are not as brazen at their seed feeder, they have increased their consumption exponentially. Granted, they waste a lot on the ground, but they are also in the 48 hour category for a liter bottle. I don’t dare add up what it’s costing us to maintain these devices but it has to be a bunch. It is possible, I suppose, that they are simply enjoying a level of increased chutzpah. It certainly puts the lie to that old expression: “they just eat like a bird” to signify a slight appetite. Their ravenous consumption might be better compared to vultures. The presence of cats doesn’t seem to bother either category.

It’s now been a month since the last measurable rainfall and that may be a factor. If you happen to see any, (rain, that is) kindly shoo it our way. I went 70 miles west to Miami, OK for church and noted that they are getting plenty. About half of my prayers are centered on that subject.

Speaking of Prayer

For those looking for a suitable prayer for Obama, we would suggest Psalm 109:8: “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.” (KJV)

And finally,

As stated above, we continue our drought and the well continues to function but on tight water restrictions for personal and garden use. With the next five days predicted to be a continuation of the last few weeks we shall anxiously regard the skies and pray for relief. We do wish that Al Gore would get busy and get this climate thing under control. So far it seems to be an exercise in feast or famine.

In His abiding love,
Cecil Moon

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