Wednesday, January 19, 2011

American Hero Sargent Shriver Dies

Sargent Shriver -- November 1915 - January 2011

Sargent Shriver passed away Tuesday, January 18, 2011. As a political force behind the scenes, former Ambassador to France, and Founder of the Peace Corps, calling him heroic is an understatement.


Whether one supports Shriver's politics or not, it is impossible not to acknowledge the profound contribution to the world this patriarch of the Shriver-Kennedy family made.

Sergeant Shriver started the Peace Corps, which provides talented youth a chance to give something to the underprivileged around the world. In addition, among his many contributions to the less advantaged, the more well known are the Job Corps,

Los Angeles Job Corps

Head Start, VISTA and Upward Bound. He served tirelessly to improve the situations of people of color--African Americans and Native Americans, especially.

He married into the famous and political Kennedy family, contributing his clout and influence significantly to the election campaigns of the Kennedys.

His wife was the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver (sister to Jack, Bobby and Ted; mother of Maria Shriver), who started the Special Olympics.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver

He is also known because his daughter Maria Shriver married Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former body builder-action hero and former governor of California. The Republican governor complimented his father-in-law's great contributions in a testament to the respect carried across party lines.

Schwarzenegger vor Terminator-3-Premiere

Sadly, he contracted Alzheimer's in the 1990s, but his phenomenal legacy remains for posterity. He changed American life and impacted the world.

He will be missed by family, friends and the countless nameless citizens of the world whose lives he profoundly affected by his generosity of spirit and high moral character.

May Sargent Shriver rest in peace, alongside his wife of over fifty years who passed away two years earlier. May those loved ones who suffer the loss of this great American hero be comforted.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Twitter Hoax Proclaims Death of Statesman

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela is the latest to be 'killed off' by a fast spreading rumor inaccurately told and re-tweeted by uninformed tweeters.

The truth? Nelson Mandela is alive and fit as is reported by

Stopping the viral nature of tweeting such items is a bit like spitting into the wind. It blows in your face and is difficult to combat.

It does beg the question about the caliber of retweets. Do people think before retweeting? Even if a best friend tweets something, does it automatically make it true?

Do we as bloggers and tweeters bear any responsibility for accuracy in our tweets?

The Internet has opened the door for all of us to be journalists. This is a good thing. News can be instant and fresh. Our information updated within seconds of an event offers real time knowledge to the world.

newspaper clippings shelftop (detail)

But good journalists we've admired and followed over the years such as Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow, Woodward and Bernstein demonstrated the difference in reporting a balanced view.

... Walter Cronkite

The skewed view often relayed in the news of today's networks vying for top spot on the TV viewing polls reeks of slanted propaganda--depending which side of the political world you prefer.

So, do we as tweeters wish to follow in the inflammatory and inaccurate portrayal or do we want to hold ourselves to a higher standard?


When I tweet, I seek at least two corroborating sources of repute, not some nameless RT source.

I love to tweet as much as little as the next person, but I vow to keep integrity in my tweets.

Now, I follow people whose views I disagree with. But I want to hear the opposite perspective from the horse's mouth, as it were. It doesn't threaten me to listen to someone with different views.

It offers balance.

Tweet this if you want your tweets to have integrity and honesty. Follow me if you want balance in reporting. I listen to both sides of the issue. I'll report both.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

NASA Notes DIBs in Triangulum Galaxy 3 Million Light Years Away

NASA snaps a photo of the Triangulum Galaxy, which is approximately 3 million light years away from earth. It’s about as far as our ‘observable’ tools can take us.
The Triangulum
They recorded DIBs or Diffuse Interstellar Bands which have been a mystery since 1922 when Mary Lea Heger discovered the absorption features that did not fit the known patterns.

They are much “broader than the normal absorption lines seen in stellar spectra” among the ultraviolet, visible and infrared wavelengths.
In Distant Galaxies, New Clues to Century-Old Molecule Mystery
While the mystery continues, nearly 100 years later, new clues related to the discovery of Carbon 60 (C60) brings some hope for identifying the mystery molecules.
Check out Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry, Sir Harry Kroto, on the relationship of C60 to explaining DIBs.

If you really want to delve into the astronomical study of DIBs take an hour plus seminar with Dr. Farid Salama of NASA Ames and see how the study of these molecules can help us understand the origins of life and the universe. He suggests that there are more carrier molecules than one type (C60) and the debate goes on.

Why is this important? Because it's there. No, seriously, every time scientists discover something that doesn't 'fit' the normal patterns, we learn a little more about who we are and how God brought us into being. God created the Big Bang, but expects us to study creation so we have a clue how much greater God is than we are.

The Creator, who stumps us, time and again, with infinitesimal particles and the infinite expansion of the universe, wants us to know that we are loved and cared for. We can rest in the good hands of One, who hangs the stars in the sky--the Old Testament simplistic explanation of the Big Bang. If God manages the universe, or multiverse, as it may be, and we can't fully understand it, how much easier is it to help us in our every day life?

NASA and improved technology help science narrow the possibilities even as it expands its capabilities of observation.

As a P.S. I loved reading about Mary Lea Heger Shane, the founder of the Lick Observatory, who did her doctorate in 1924...a leader of woman going quietly about her business transforming the world through diligent work.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lebanon’s Government Falls as Hezbollah Walks Out

Electronics on Canvas: Les Années Lumière by Ayah Bdeir, 2008 / Eyebeam Open Studios Fall 2009 / 20091023.10D.55585.P1.CC / SML

The Lebanese government under the leadership of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the son of the assassinated Rafik Hariri, lost its coalition as the Hezbollah walked out. The latter fear the U. N. Tribunal will name names from the Iranian and Syrian backed Hezbollah, even though no indictments have been made.

Rafiq Hariri's Tomb, Mohammed al-Amin Mosque, Downtown Beirut, Lebanon

Lebanon, with its two mountain ranges,

lebanon mountain range and coast 1

Cedars of Lebanon, verdant valleys and exquisite Mediterranean beaches,

Beirut beach 1965

is populated with a mix of Sunni, Shia and Christian (anyone non-Muslim).

Two Religions.

It struggles to regain stability after a civil war (1975-1990) and Syrian control (1976-2005) undermined its ability to become the shining star of the Middle East it could be.


After the Syrians left, the assassination of Hariri--a Sunni, who found support from the Christians in his attempts to reduce the Syrian influence in their country--stunned the country. Accused of being behind the assassination, Syria has denied culpability, though the prevailing opinion has supported the claim of its being responsible for the leader’s mysterious suicide bombing death.

Hezbollah, Baalbek, Lebanon

The walk-out of the Hezbollah, today, smacks of a temper tantrum and the desire to cripple the fragile peace in Lebanon.

united nations, geneva, switzerland

With the U.N. tribunal having investigated the death of Hariri and nearing the time to release their findings, this preemptive strike on the part of Hezbollah is a way to unsettle the country before their community is shown to have orchestrated the killing of Lebanon’s cherished minister.


Lebanon deserves a chance to be its own power, untainted by the Syrian and Iranian influences. For centuries, the Lebanese have demonstrated political savvy and attracted businesses to invest in their country.

relevant symbols

Since the civil war, the travel and tourist trade had been increasing, despite the political issues which are fueled by a few who would see Lebanon undermined instead of becoming a strong country with a diversity of people.

Sidon (Saida), Lebanon

Pray for their leaders. Keep them safe from harm’s way. May God guide them to do right. Pray for the U.N. Tribunal that they might discern the truth and not give in to pressures by interest groups. Pray for the Middle East.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What Values Does the US Celebrate?

In the wake of the assassination attempt of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the killing of six and the wounding of eight others, I ask, what are our country's (USA) values?

The sides come out trying to affix blame. Liberals point to Palin's encouragement of her followers to 'reload' in the face of the tea party candidate's defeat in the election. The right wing distances themselves from the shooting by finding ways to show the accused gunman is not one of them.

The reality? The gunman was an American. He's one of us all. A product of our country where a severely disturbed man cannot get the kind of treatment he needs in health care, but has no difficulty getting guns to shoot another human being. So what are our values?

Caduceus 9801 (Silver Spring, MD)

This is our country. We make the laws by voting for the people to legislate our beliefs. Even though we are polarized to the extremes and a great many people fall somewhere in the middle, we must all own responsibility in the blame for not taking care of our own. So what are our values?

In Christian Scriptures (I Corinthians 12), it speaks of being one body in Christ. Within that body full of extremely different parts it states "If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?" (King James Version used for copyright purposes, more contemporary link above.)

I submit we are one country. One nation under God (just because it doesn't say it anymore doesn't make it not true), indivisible, i.e. one body.

one nation under God indivisible

I stand accountable. I grieve for the loved ones of the six who lost their lives.

John Roll, 63 years old, who was a federal district court judge. Gabriel Zimmerman, 30 years old, who was Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' director of community outreach.
Christina Green, 9 years old, who had just been elected to Student council at Mesa Verde Elementary. Dorwan Stoddard, 76 years old, a pastor at Mountain Ave. Church of Christ. Dorothy Morris, 76 years old and Phyllis Schneck, 79 years old. Their photos can be seen here at

I pray for the full and what will, no doubt, have to be a miraculous recovery of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The question I pose to myself and others. What can you and I do to make a difference? How do we stop mentally ill people from running loose on the streets and gaining access to guns? What must be done to change the way the US manages its priorities?

US Flag

Or do we think that since it doesn't happen very often and only to a few, we don't have to change? Is one life worth it? A thousand? One hundred thousand?

As a Christian, my standing orders are: a good shepherd leaves the safe and secured 99 sheep and goes after the one in danger.

On all sides of the political scene, let's stop pointing the fingers and investigate what we can do to make a difference.

Stand up for the value of a single human life. Let it not matter whether from this country or across the world, whether following my beliefs or something else, whether sick or well, whether murdered by the drug cartels in Mexico or shot by the Taliban or a sick young man on the streets of the United States of America.

Let our value of each human life celebrate our decency and respect of God's creation. Let's make our values stand up and be counted.

Thanks to flickr friends who share their beautiful photos.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Happy Epiphany Sunday

Today we celebrate Epiphany. For some the word conjures confusion. What is the point of it? The moment the light bulb of understanding hits, one has an epiphany.

For Christians around the world, Epiphany celebrates the recognition of the Christ child by Simeon and Anna in the temple and the visit of the Magi.

Simeon receives Jesus in the Temple

The revelation that Jesus, even though a baby, was the son of God and the king, by people of great importance--spiritual leaders, the wise scientists of the east and feared by Herod. He knew Jesus posed no simple threat. His scholars and wise men confirmed the visit of the Magi and he slaughtered all children under two years of age out of the real fear.

The irony of Christ's humble beginnings stirring such awareness in his parents, the temple leaders, the scientists of the age and the government, cannot be lost. When was the last time a child of no apparent importance drew the attention of the religious leaders, the scientific community on the cutting edge and the highest echelons of government? All recognized in the "infant" something so powerful that the prophet Simeon spoke the immortal words from Luke 2: (King James is used for copyright reasons. Check here for easier translation.)

29Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
30For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Simeon had an epiphany.

Anna, a widow, who served and worshiped in the temple, also had an epiphany.

Luke 2: 38And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

The Magi had an epiphany. They packed up and traveled hundreds of miles by caravan through ancient paths that didn't have a convenience store or hotel in sight. Yet, they persisted, having recognized the scientific findings were valid. Science and faith at work.

Herod had an epiphany. He called for his minions, his wise men, his scholars, his cabinet--as it were--to identify who this child was. The results of their findings sent him into a panic. Governments were not of the people, by the people, and for the people. He knew this infant child put his government at risk. He did a terrible thing and slaughtered the infants.

flight to egypt

Violence reigns in hearts that fear.

Peace comes from Christ, who casts out fear.

Love comes from God who accepts us as we are, warts and all, filled with grace to cover our inadequacies.

Blessed be this New Year.

Thanks for photos: to wiki creative commons, LawrenceOP, Mararie at Great work.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Creation's Big Bang in Art - An Epiphany

Does art come before reality? Or does reality inspire art? The old chicken and the egg question raised to high brow status. Sometimes art reveals the artistic side within reality. The Big Bang of Creation brings art and reality into sharp focus.

The following YouTube short combines the beauty of art with the function of science and the faith of religion in one exquisite production. Judy Rey Wasserman's brilliant piece speaks for itself.

Listen to the music, read the words, follow the path she paints and be prepared for the Epiphany.

Her paintings move the spirit, her words touch the soul, and the music unites the heart.

Happy Sabbath / Glorious Sunday. May this be an Epiphany for you.

God loves us. So, in the beginning, God created. God sends the Messiah to save us. Believe and we are saved.