Monday, January 17, 2011


Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent.

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

A man who won't die for something is not fit to live.

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

I submit that an individual who breaks the law that conscience tells him is unjust and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law.

"A religion true to its nature must also be concerned about man's social conditions....Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them is a dry-as-dust religion."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Tonight is the night that Oregon plays Auburn for the NCAA football championship. Needless to say, I am pretty pumped up about it!

I don’t know what to expect.

Auburn’s Heisman Trophy award winning quarterback Cam Newton is a bigger, faster and more talented version of Ohio State’s quarterback Terell Pryor, who beat the Ducks in the Rose Bowl last year. Newton runs well, and they have running back Michael Dyer, who averages nearly six yards per carry. Newton throws well too; he has an extremely high quarterback rating at 188.2, he completes 67% of his passes, and has thrown for 28 touchdowns while only throwing six interceptions. At 6’6” and 247 pounds, to say Newton is imposing is an understatement. He does it all! The Tigers’ defense is led by defensive lineman Nick Fairley, who has a reputation as a “quarterback eater”.

Oregon’s LaMichael James finished the season sixth in the nation in rushing with 1,578 yards and was a Heisman Trophy finalist. Auburn’s Newton was not all that far behind with 1,238 yards. Oregon QB Darron Thomas completed 60.7% of his passes, threw for 28 touchdowns, was intercepted just seven times, and ran for 421 yards.

Oregon has allowed 18.4 points per game this season, and led the nation in scoring at 49.3 points per game. Auburn allowed 24.5 and scored 42.7. The Ducks allowed their opponents 331 yards per game, while Auburn allowed 362. The Duck defense picked off 20 passes this year, while Auburn had 10. Statistically, the Ducks would seem to be a slight favorite.

A number of things will have to line up in order for Oregon to win tonight, though:

1) The Ducks’ defense will have to give a complete effort to contain Newton and Dyer.
2) Oregon’s offensive line will have to step it up in order to protect Thomas and to get the running game going.
3) Oregon’s offense needs to hang on to the football, not fumble it away.
4) The Ducks’ defense needs to force turnovers.
5) The Ducks need to cut down on penalties.
6) Oregon’s coaching staff will need to successfully make adjustments on the fly, as they have done all year, on both offense and defense.

I trust that item 6 will happen. I do not trust that 3 and 5 will happen. On items 1, 2, 4 and 5… I’m hoping!!

What I predict will happen:

Auburn takes an early lead 14-0, Oregon gets a field goal to cut it to 14-3, Auburn scores again to take a 21-3 lead after one quarter. Duck haters will be clapping their hands and cheering with delight.

The Ducks come back with a score and go for the two-point conversion and get it, to cut the lead to 21-11. Auburn gets a field goal to go up 24-11, but Oregon comes back with a touchdown and extra point to make it 24-18. Another field goal for Auburn, then another touchdown for Oregon makes it 27-25 Auburn at halftime.

They trade touchdowns again in the third quarter, and the score is 34-32 Auburn when the Ducks take the lead 35-34 on a field goal. The Ducks score again to go up 42-34 after three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, Auburn’s defense is tired. Their offense musters a field goal to make the score 42-37 Ducks, but then Oregon gets a touchdown (with another two point conversion) and a field goal to go ahead 53-37. Auburn gets a meaningless touchdown in the final minutes to make the final score 53-44 Oregon.

In typical Oregon fashion, the Ducks get behind early and then win the game in the second half, in this case outscoring the opponent 50-23 after falling behind 21-3.

That 53-44 score is what I actually saw on a scoreboard in a DREAM a couple of nights ago, so I had to figure out a way for the teams to arrive at that score… thus the elaborate prediction!

But anything can happen. Auburn could beat the Ducks horribly by something like 56-19, or Oregon could romp by a score like 56-21. But I doubt either team will really be able to stop the other’s offense.

Look for a high-scoring game! And look for the Oregon Duck mascot to be doing a lot of push-ups!

And win or lose, I am proud of the Ducks for even getting this far. Go Oregon!!!

Sunday, January 09, 2011


The events of yesterday have left me a bit shaken. I thought America had advanced past things like assassination attempts on political figures. Guess I was wrong, eh. And from the tenor of a number of influential talkers and political figures, my guess now is that we may be in for more of this kind of thing. I hope I'm wrong this time, too...

A friend commented about how much it bothered her that in the wake of the assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, the new House suspended business for a week in order to focus on getting more money to protect themselfs.

Sadly, I think that is what most of these people are about... themselves. It seems a shame that the higher a person gets on the political food chain, the more they seem to be all about preserving and consolidating their power, getting re-elected, and grabbing goodies. The only way they seem able to preserve these things is to lie, manipulate and use fear-mongering to get votes. It's like they prey on the American people.

I have serious doubts that very many of these "tea party" candidates are any more honest or more willing to promote "government of the people, by the people, for the people" and keep it from "perish(ing) from the earth" than any of their predecessors were. Lincoln said those things in the Gettysburg Address... lately, I have thought that maybe he was the last great Republican, and that was almost 150 years ago. And if FDR was the last great Democrat, that has been well over over half a century ago. I believe American politics has gradually devolved to the point where greatness is no longer something we can expect.

If these new House members are really serious about doing anything besides things that are only symbolic, they will need to play well with others. I have my doubts about that too, because that seemed to be a campaign promise many of them made... to not get along. Well, they will need lots of luck getting re-elected in 2012 if they don't bend. They are in a lose-lose situation; none of their radical proposals will make it to the President's desk for his veto, because none of it will get past the Senate. If they don't work across the aisle and don't accomplish anything, the angry voters who put them in office will be angry with them. If they do work across the aisle, they will be violating the trust of their angry supporters by doing what they said they wouldn't do... try to get along.

Either way, they will accomplish nothing that will appease their base. And with anti-incumbency the new fashion, a bunch of perceived "do-nothings" won't have much chance. I would say the odds are looking very good for centrist candidates in 2012. Obama is now wisely positioning himself that way. If the Republicans had any smarts at all, they might be doing the same thing.

Apparently Gabrielle Giffords is one of the rare politicians who can listen to others, and who doesn't view those who disagree with her as "the enemy". I hope she can make a complete recovery for herself personally and for her family. And, maybe also because I suspect the country needs her. From most indications, she sounds like the kind of politician the country needs more of.

Sunday, January 02, 2011


I did the list of CDs a few days back, now it's time for a list of my favorite songs of the past year.

1. Neil Young - Sign Of Love

2. Beach House - Walk In The Park

3. School Of Seven Bells - I L U

4. Arcade Fire - Ready To Start

5. Deerhunter - Desire Lines

6. Arcade Fire - Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

7. Neil Young - Peaceful Valley Boulevard

8. Superchunk - Everything At Once

9. Tame Impala - Sundown Syndrome

10. Deerhunter - Memory Boy

11. The Black Angels - Telephone

12. The National - Bloodbuzz (Ohio)

13. Dr. Dog - Later

14. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Running Man's Bible

15. Ben Folds - Clare's Ninth

16. Teenage Fanclub - Sometimes I Don't Need To Believe In Anything

17. Broken Bells - The High Road

18. Kings Of Leon - Beach Side

19. Yeasayer - Madder Red

20. The National - Afraid Of Everyone


While some of you might disagree, I view this as a growing national crisis:

Those who would transform our country into a theocracy are attempting to convert our military into a religiously fundamentalist military. What better way to make sure that once the right politicians are all in office, the military will be there to help keep the country in line? I believe they can accomplish this over the next 15-20 years if we are not vigilant and careful.

Those who are pushing religious fundamentalism on our military need to have their feet held to the fire. Would our Supreme Court, in its current configuration, do anything to stop this? I believe they should. These elements in our military are actively working to promote a particular religion, and even a particular variety of that religion. Needless to say, this is unconstitutional. And once these people got the power of the military behind their religious fundamentalism, the outcome would be anything but good for America and for the world.

(Sorry about the link not being active. For what it's worth, I tried using "edit html" and "compose" functions when creating this post, and neither would let the link come up as active. Help on that would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!)