Thursday, May 25, 2006

Stop the Bleeding at the Border

That should be the goal of our "secure the border" policy and it also should be the goal of our immigration policy.

First and foremost should be “building a wall or fence.” For those who say “that won’t stop them, and so it will be just a waste of our money”, I say, “Would it be fair to say that keeping your garage door down helps prevent people from stealing things from your garage?” Some would also say, “If they want in bad enough, then they are not going to let a closed door or fence stop them.”

But, obviously if it makes it harder, then it should be done. Anyone can see that if everyone in a neighborhood leaves up their garage door, then they are inviting people to do the wrong thing. If we leave the borders unfenced we are inviting them in, especially when we don’t enforce the current law and send them home. If a “virtual fence” works, then lets take down the fence around the White House and have a virtual fence there. Does anyone really think that having a virtual fence around the White House would be just as effective?

Here is the thinking that really gets me….”We either have to send them all home or let them all become citizens.” Says who?

Why not let the ones here get a “Resident Alien” card that allows them to become legal, but not say anything about becoming a citizen. Let them figure that out and go through that process just like anyone else that wants to become a U.S. citizen. No need to even mention "citizen" in the law, just "legal resident."

Sending them home is impractical and would be too disruptive, both to the families of those here and the economy. So, just keep anymore from coming in illegally by building a fence and then let the others stay after paying a significant penalty, but don’t put them on a path to become a citizen, just make them “Resident Aliens” who can stay as long as they can find the work.

The fence solves the terrorist problem and at the same time stops the bleeding of illegal aliens entering the country to find work without getting the proper ID cards.

For those who like open boarders, I ask..."What if a Billion Chinese just wandered in, would that be acceptable?" "Would they pressure the Congress to become citizens?" That's a large voting block that they might not be able to ignore.

"Would that be a good thing for us black, brown and white folks?"

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Da Vinci Code - Fact or Fiction?

The Da Vinci Code.

The effects of the book and movie are pointing out one of the problems that is associated with our current method of teaching students in our school systems,

They teach “information” instead of “how to think critically about information”, meaning we are teaching them “what to think” instead of “how to think.”

Notice the kinds of “lack of” critical thinking that people are using when asking about the “information” in the movie and book….

1. Do you believe Jesus was married?
2. Do you believe the Catholic Church is hiding documents?
3. Do you believe the Nag Hammadi Texts contain truths that have been hidden from us?
4. Do you believe Jesus has descendants in Europe alive today?

Notice that the kinds of questions that are being asked are about “belief” instead of asking about any historical “facts” that may be available to collaborate the claims in the book and movie.

Also, notice that Leonardo was never known as “da Vinci.” He was known as a name and a town similar to others in early history, Names like “Jesus” of Nazareth. He was known as Leonardo, “of Vinci”, a little town in the heart of Tuscany, Italy.

Mr. Brown’s book has too many errors and lies to mention here, but I will name a few:

1. On page 234, he tries to say that the Nag Hammadi codices that Brown mistakenly calls the “Coptic Scrolls” were suppressed by the Catholic Church so that they would not be released. There is no proof of this statement that I am aware of. He claims that he has a cache of “secret documents”, but that does not prove they are ancient or if they are forgeries. If they are readily available to Brown, why are they not available to others? A reference to these supposed documents from outside the collection would be needed to authenticate them.
2. On page 245, he tries to say that the “Dead Sea Scrolls” are the “earliest Christian records.” They are practically the only surviving Christian records from before the first Century, but they are not the earliest documents. A mistake or a Lie?
3. On page 234, he says the Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered in the 1950’s. They were first discovered in 1947. A mistake or Lie?
4. On page 248, he says Mary Magdalene was from “the House of Benjamin.” I am not aware of any other claim like this. What is his source for this claim?
5. On page 231, he says that more than eighty gospel accounts were “considered for the New Testament” by the early church. Nobody else makes this claim. He himself calls his book a work of fiction.
6. On page 233, he says Jesus was not considered divine but was “viewed by his followers as a mortal prophet..” This statement conflicts with all known accounts of Jesus that I am aware of, including the four Gospels.

These “statements” are never shown with references to back up his claim and in fact, many of his claims are refuted by historical external documents, such as the secular book by Flavius Josephus written in the First Century. Josephus was commissioned by the Romans to write about history and to include the account of the life of Christ. Josephus was a Jew who did not believe in Jesus and yet gives a very good account that is important in understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Jewish history. See Wikipedia under Flavius Josephus.

Discrimination or Individualism?

Is Discrimination always a four-letter word? Whenever we make a choice, we are discriminating. When a teacher gives us a letter grade they are discriminating. If we get an “A” and someone else gets a “B” there is discrimination involved. And so it should be.

We cannot be a nation of freedom loving people if our goal is “equality” in every sense of the word. As individuals we are striving to NOT be like everyone else. There are those in the world who want “equality for all” at the expense of individualism. We should strive for “equal opportunity for all” and not try to “force” equality, by punishing individualism.

The striking down of the “exit-exam” in our high schools is going to water down the significance of getting a high school diploma. If they hand them out to everyone, then they are of no significance. We might as well admit that everyone will get one whether they can read and write or not. I know, let's just give everyone a College Degree, maybe even give everyone a P.H.D., then there would be no discrimination. No need to work for it, after all, we wouldn't want to discriminate!

Those who complain that the test was discriminatory are correct. But, they are wrong to say it as if "discrimination" is always wrong. It is meant to encourage everyone to meet a standard. If you cannot meet the standard, then you keep trying until you can. You seek help with special instruction until you can perform.

These kids that are given a free pass are only being hurt by the act of not helping them see the need to perform in a society that rewards excellence and abhors failure. This is the way it was meant to be because in order to help others we need those who can provide for others to be rewarded for their efforts.

We need to allow people to express their opposition to things that they see are detrimental to society without fear of repercussions. For example, if someone says that stealing is wrong, we currently allow for that point of view without fear of being fired, but if we say that “sodomy” is wrong, we are labeled a “homophobe” or bigot and often get fired for expressing our opinion about certian behavior even when it is aimed at the behavior and not at an individual. Only by allowing peaceful dissent on all forms of questionable behavior without making it a personal attack, “hate the sin, not the sinner”, will we be able to help keep society from sinking to the lowest common denominator of behavior.

If we say that the exit-exam should continue to be used, we should not be labeled as being people who like to "discriminate" as if it is always some "four-letter" word.