Monday, October 30, 2006

Moline High School Annual Powder Puff Football Game

In the annual Moline High School Powder Puff football game at Browning field the Senior girls beat the Junior girls 27 to 18. In the half-time tug-of-war the Sophomore girls out-pulled the Freshmen.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Beautiful weather for a bike ride

It was perfect weather for a bike ride this afternoon in the Quad Cities. It was in the upper 60s, a light wind, low humidity and not a cloud in the sky. I stopped several times along the way to take pictures of the beautiful Sylvan Slough section of the Mississippi River between downtown Moline and downtown Rock Island.

It was also a beautiful day for paddling a canoe in Sylvan Slough.
(Click on pictures to see them full size.)

It was also perfect weather for fishing.

Four year old Matty and her father Brian preparing their fishing gear.

Did Rush Limbaugh just give the Senate to the Democrats?

This morning on ABC’s "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" George interviewed Michael J. Fox about his efforts to help elect candidates who support embryonic stem-cell research. Michael explained that the medication he takes for his Parkinson’s disease involves trade-offs. Larger doses allow him to move more freely and speak more normally and with more normal facial expressiveness, but also cause the involuntary motions which are so noticeable in his recent television appearances. If he took less medication there would be fewer or no involuntary motions but his face would be an expressionless mask and he would not be able to speak very easily or persuasively. He explained that he would look and act like Muhammad Ali does when he appears in public if he reduced his medication enough to avoid the involuntary movements.

Rush Limbaugh refers to Michael’s explanation of this difficult trade-off as a confession that he deliberately over-doses on his medication to cause the involuntary motions. Rush Limbaugh also seems to believe that Michael J. Fox is doing this because he hates and wants to hurt Republicans.

Later in the show during the "This Week" Roundtable the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne said that Rush Limbaugh, by asking the public to choose between him and Michael J. Fox, may have just handed control of the Senate to the Democrats.

We can certainly hope so.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

ABC News criticizes Democrats for ads they have not yet created

Cross posted from Media Matters
In a report on how recent campaigns advertisements are "getting ugly," ABC News, unable to point to a single instance of "nasty" attacks from Democratic candidates or their supporters, suggested it is only a matter of time before "the left" begins to "unleash its garbage as well." ABC News offered no evidence to back up its allegation that Democrats might soon resort to distasteful, negative advertising.

ABC News had no problem documenting ads, currently airing in campaign across the country, attacking Democrats, including one from the Republican National Committee about Democratic Tennessee Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. In it, an actress playing a ditzy blonde bimbo says: "I met Harold at the Playboy party. ... Harold, call me." Critics, including one prominent Republican, have called the ad borderline racist.

At the conclusion of its report on attack ads, ABC News insisted that "Democrats aren't necessarily running clean campaigns." Unable to cite any examples, ABC News reported, "As the races tighten in the next couple of weeks, the left will likely unleash its garbage as well."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

You cannot say that we were not warned

Now that even the president has dropped "Stay the course" and just about everyone admits that the Iraq invasion and occupation has been an unmitigated disaster I have a question for those Americans who supported the invasion. There were people who were knowledgeable about the region and its history telling you before the invasion that what was going to emerge after an invasion and "regime change" was much more likely to be civil war and an Iran-style Islamic dictatorship than a stable democracy. Why did you not believe them? I have a follow-up question. Billions of dollars have been wasted and thousands of lives lost (some estimates are hundreds of thousands of lives lost). Do you feel that you need to change something about how you decide who to trust and what to believe now that you see the disastrous results of not listening to the experts?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Update on uninsured Moline woman needing surgery

Connie Barrett of Casa Guanajuato has issued the following update on the appeal that Casa issued for help for Maria Hernadez.
I called General Surgery Assoc. to tell them that we were raising the funds and to make an appointment with them. They got back to me and told me that the billing office and the doctors had met on this, and the price was now $3,800, and they need the whole amount up front before they would schedule any surgery!

Thanks to the intervention of Stella Schneekloth and Rose and Dr. David Udehn, Maria was referred to Dr. Baner, an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist in Moline . He saw her right away, and scheduled surgery for Monday, October 30th. The cost is still $2,600, however, he will work with us. The important thing is to get the surgery done and relieve Maria of her suffering.

People have responded very generously and so far, we have $1,036. Maria is very grateful to everyone. Dr. Baner was so kind and reassuring as he explained the surgery to Maria, endearingly using his limited knowledge of Spanish to make her smile. I will be taking her for some lab tests on Wednesday, and Friday they will give her pre-surgery instructions for surgery on Monday.

We wish to thank everyone for the outpouring of support and concern. Thank you for spreading the word about Maria’s plight. We will continue to update you on her condition and the fundraising progress on her behalf.

Casa Guanajuato has set up a special account to accept donations for Maria’s medical expenses. Donations can be sent to Casa Guanajuato, 133 – 4th Ave. , Moline , IL 61265 or you can contribute online with a credit card by going to and clicking the PayPal button. Casa Guanajuato is a non-profit organization, and donations are tax deductible. Make sure we have your address so we can send you a receipt.

We have received very few donations using the online donation button I set up and none from self-identified compassionate conservates. Although Maria now has a surgeon who is not demanding his entire fee before scheduling the surgery it would be good to raise enough money so that Maria and her family do not have the worry of a medical bill in addition to their worries about Maria's condition and her upcoming surgery. The PayPal button to donate online is to the right, just below my profile.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

You can now donate for Maria's surgery online

In my previous blog entry I passed on an urgent appeal from Casa Guanajuato in Moline for donations to pay for surgery for
Maria Hernadez, a wife and mother of four who has lived in Moline for 11 years, who is having increasing difficulty swallowing.

Almost immediately people started asking me how they could donate online. In response to all these appeals (actually just one) I have set up an email and PayPal account -- -- to receive donations to pay for Maria Hernadez's surgery. Click on the button to the right, just below my profile, to donate online using a credit card or your PayPal account.

UPDATE: I am wondering if we will get more contributions from self-identified Conservatives, Moderates or Liberals. If you would like me to figure out which group is more compassionate mention your political leanings when you make your contribution. If you make your contribution through PayPal just type it in the space for item being purchased.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Are you a compassionate Conservative, Moderate or Liberal?

A Moline, Illinois organization that provides assistance and services to immigrants has sent out an urgent appeal for help. A Moline woman desperately needs surgery for a goiter which is making it difficult for her to swallow.
Maria Hernandez is an unemployed, 36 year old mother of four. Her husband works for a temp agency. They have lived in Moline for 11 years. Maria has a progressively enlarging goiter in her throat that is painful and makes it increasingly difficult for her to swallow. She was referred to a surgeon who recommended that she have it surgically removed. They have no health insurance and because she is not a US citizen, Maria is not eligible for a Medical Card.

Trinity Hospital has approved Maria for their financial aid program. There is no problem with getting her into the hospital. However, General Surgery Associates is insisting that she pay the total amount $2,600 up front before they will do the surgery. Even though the Hernandez family has paid their doctor bills so far, the doctor’s office will not accept a payment plan for the surgery.

At this point, we are asking the community for help. Each day that passes, Maria is in increasing discomfort. We understand that doctors should be paid for their work, and we appreciate the vital, life saving work they do. But as a caring community, we cannot stand heartlessly by watching while Maria suffers and chokes on her own spit.

Please help and donate what you can, so that Maria can have the surgery. If everyone who reads this or is told about this family’s plight sends a little bit, together we can raise the funds to help. Send your donations to the Casa Guanajuato Cultural Center (for Maria Hernandez), 133 – 4th Ave., Moline, IL 61265 or call Connie Barrett at 309-235-1160 or Stella Schneekloth at 309-558-9449.

I can personally guarantee that every penny donated to this fund will be used for Maria's medical expenses.

UPDATE: I have set up an email account and PayPal account so that donations can be made online - If you want to make a donation online click the "PayPal Payment" button on the right side of the screen, just below my profile. I am wondering if we will get more contributions from self-identified Conservatives, Moderates or Liberals. If you would like me to figure out which group is more compassionate mention your political leanings when you make your contribution. If you make your contribution through PayPal just type it in the space for item being purchased.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

If the Amish are not entitled to revenge, then who is?

If the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania are not entitled to revenge then who is? It was one of the most despicable crimes imaginable. The victims were apparently selected simply because they were the most defenseless and vulnerable people the killer could think of – no phone or police nearby. Ten young girls were bound and then shot execution style.

Based the way many humans have reacted to such atrocities throughout history one could imagine the Amish demanding revenge and hating the family and descendents of the killer and people who shared his religion or ethnicity for generations. Instead, the Amish asked for nothing. When asked what people who wanted to help could do the Amish suggested that people could pray for them. When given money to help with the medical care of the injured and to pay funeral expenses the Amish gave some of it to the killer’s family. After all, they were hurting also

Every Christian knows that Jesus called on them to respond to hate with love. When slapped on one cheek turn the other. When people who consider themselves Christian demand revenge for wrongs done to them are asked if they are responding as a Christian should they sometimes say, "If I am not entitled to revenge, then who is?" I can imagine the Amish responding, "Indeed, who is?"

Imagine if the United States had reacted like the Amish to the tragedy of 9/11? Instead we have 3000 additional American dead in Iraq and who knows how many Iraqi deaths – the estimates range between 40,000 and 600,000. An eye for an eye and the whole world is blind.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Before You Enlist

This is a 15 minute video that you should watch if you or someone close to you is considering enlisting. Don't believe everything you hear in those recruiting pitches.

Click the arrow in the center of the screen to watch the video.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Colorful Kayaks in Slyvan Slough

Every time I go down by the river perfect pictures present themselves.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Pictures from my bike ride

I took these pictures during my bike ride this morning on the bike path along the Sylvan Slough section of the Mississippi River between downtown Moline and downtown Rock Island.

An egret sitting in a tree. The egrets seem to be particularly numerous in the Slough this year.

Fishing from boats in the Slough. The power dams just upstream from here create a particularly high concentration of fish in this spot.

Foley debate reveals psychopaths

Of all the reactions to the controversy over the Republican House Leadership’s cover-up of the presence of a sexual predator in their midst the argument I find most fascinating is that offered by Rush Limbaugh, Pat Buchanan and others. Their argument is that the House Leadership could take no action to stop Mark Foley from preying on underage pages because to do so they would have to "out" Foley as a homosexual. Limbaugh, Buchanan and the others who say this seem to think that this is a winning argument, presumably because they have heard their political opponents express sympathy and concern for the feelings of homosexuals who have been hurt by being "outed".

To me, and I suspect to all people who care about the feelings of others, this argument is amazingly wrong-headed. How could someone be concerned about Foley’s feelings but not be more concerned about Foley’s victims – the powerless and defenseless underage pages. The only answer I can come up with is that the people who advance this argument, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Buchanan and others, must not actually have any sympathy, empathy or concern for the feelings of others and are only pretending to in order to advance their political agenda.
How could someone who has no empathy or sympathy for others advance an argument based on their supposed concern? Here is how Wikipedia defines psychopath:
A psychopath is defined as having no concern for the feelings of others & a complete disregard for any sense of social obligation. They seem egocentric and lacking insight and any sense of responsibility or consequence. Their emotions are thought to be superficial and shallow, if they exist at all. They are considered callous, manipulative and incapable of forming lasting relationships, let alone of any kind of love. It is thought that any emotions which the true psychopath exhibits are the fruits of watching and mimicking other people's emotions. They show poor impulse control and a low tolerance for frustration and aggression. They have no empathy, remorse, anxiety or guilt in relation to their behavior. In short, they truly are devoid of conscience.

Note that psychopaths watch and mimic other people’s emotions. But since they are mimicking behavior without the underlying basis of that behavior they will occasionally get it wrong and betray themselves, as they have here.