Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Production Week

It's going to be hard to find time to add interesting material to this humble blog this week. I am performing in a concert at New Mexico State University this Friday and Saturday, and this week we have rehearsals every night. Composer David Dickau was commissioned to compose two new works for us. Justin Raines' composition "The Raven" is also going to be featured. I had the honor of conducting the world premier of this piece. My own composition for treble choir "Sea Fever," is feature on the concert, sung by the Gadsden School District Honor Choir.

Performing keeps me busy, but it is what I love to do.

In an Arab Country

This satirical poem was written by the reformist Saudi author and journalist Wajeha Al-Huwaider. I thought it was worth sharing. It was also on this site

"When you cannot find a single garden in your city, but there is a mosque on every corner - you know that you are in an Arab country…

"When you see people living in the past with all the trappings of modernity - do not be surprised, you are in an Arab country.

"When religion has control over science - you can be sure that you are in an Arab country.

"When clerics are referred to as 'scholars' - don't be astonished, you are in an Arab country.

"When you see the ruler transformed into a demigod who never dies or relinquishes his power, and whom nobody is permitted to criticize - do not be too upset, you are in an Arab country.

"When you find that the large majority of people oppose freedom and find joy in slavery - do not be too distressed, you are in an Arab country.

"When you hear the clerics saying that democracy is heresy, but [see them] seizing every opportunity provided by democracy to grab high positions [in the government] - do not be surprised, you are in an Arab country…

"When monarchies turn into theocracies, and republics into hybrids of monarchy and republic - do not be taken aback, you are in an Arab country.

"When you find that the members of parliament are nominated [by the ruler], or else that half of them are nominated and the other half have bought their seats through bribery… - you are in an Arab country…

"When you discover that a woman is worth half of what a man is worth, or less - do not be surprised, you are in an Arab country…

"When you see that the authorities chop off a man's hand for stealing a loaf of bread or a penny, but praise and glorify those who steal billions - do not be too surprised, you are in an Arab country…

"When you are forced to worship the Creator in school and your teachers grade you for it - you can be sure that you are in an Arab country…

"When young women students are publicly flogged merely for exposing their eyes - you are in an Arab country…

"When a boy learns about menstruation and childbirth but not about his own [body] and [the changes] it undergoes in puberty - roll out your prayer mat and beseech Allah to help you deal with your crisis, for you are in an Arab country…

"When land is more important than human beings - you are in an Arab country…

"When covering the woman's head is more important than financial and administrative corruption, embezzlement, and betrayal of the homeland - do not be astonished, you are in an Arab country…

"When minorities are persecuted and oppressed, and if they demand their rights, are accused of being a fifth column or a Trojan horse - be upset, you are in an Arab country…

"When women are [seen as] house ornaments which can be replaced at any time - bemoan your fate, you are in an Arab country.

"When birth control and family planning are perceived as a Western plot - place your trust in Allah, you are in an Arab country…

"When at any time, there can be a knock on your door and you will be dragged off and buried in a dark prison - you are in an Arab country…

"When fear constantly lives in the eyes of the people - you can be certain that you are in an Arab country."

Monday, February 26, 2007

Democrats doing the flip flop again

On October 11, 2002, the Democrats voted to go to war with Iraq. They had been given all the intelligence information available. They knew of Saddam Hussein's continued defiance of the UN resolutions against him and his country. There was a list of 23 reasons to come into conflict with Iraq on the Iraq War Resolution. Nobody fooled them into this. Their words and reasons for choosing to do battle with Iraq are very well documented. Reid, Kerry, Clinton, Schumer, Biden and the rest of the Donkey Crew all were enthusiastic in their support for the war.

Now, leading Democrats are trying to say they did not mean to vote the way they did.

The enemy is still the same and just as fierce (yeah, yeah, Saddam is out of the way) The threat to our nation is still there, and these politicians think they can run away from a war they approved with a few little non binding resolutions, and the threat of pulling out all the purse strings.

What do the Democrats want? Would they be happy to see us lose? Haven't they the foresight to know that if we lose because of their spite for all things Republican, that they will lose even more? Do the Democrats know they might incite another, worse, conflict at their doorstep. The price for such a temporary victory would be people crying "peace, peace when there is no peace".

Sunday, February 25, 2007

My Quandry

This election season is very frustrating for conservatives. I’m disappointed in the choices we have on both sides. It seems the Republicans who are running are really Democrats at heart. Additionally, very few potential candidates have any real experience in statesmanship.

This puts me in the quandary of having to possibly cross party lines to find someone with some experience whom I could trust to do the best for our country. They all say they will, but the only one with the experience necessary to be president is Bill Richardson of New Mexico. As a resident of the state of New Mexico, I’ve seen the progress he’s made in this state in education and economic growth. He has shown he knows how to run a troubled state, and I think he has the skill to run our country.

As a conservative, I know that voting for Richardson will mean a compromise of my social values, but he would do a good job as president while the Republican party finds some real conservative candidates who can communicate well, have proven experience in governance, and who are skilled negotiators who are able to win the trust of those who are of a liberal persuasion.

Should This Be Allowed In a Free Country?

Some disturbing news is coming out of Germany. The UPI reports that a woman who chose not to follow the faith of her parents (who happen to be Muslim) and who helps others who have made the same choice is receiving death threats. According to Shaira law, any Muslim who forsakes their faith is to receive a death sentence. This brave woman, Mina Ahadi, is asking for police protection because of the death threats.

My question is simple:

Should the adherents of a religion who believe that it is right to kill those who forsake their particular faith be allowed to remain in a free country?

The countries of Europe and the United States espouse the freedom of religion. What if the followers of a certain religion choose violent consequences for those who step out of line?

The "honor" killings that have taken place in free countries are an example. Fathers who are also the adherents of a certain religion have become dismayed that their daughters and wives don't want to be as religiously conservative as they are. Their reaction? KILL THEM! And some do!

Nowadays, adherents of a certain religion have become numerous and are emboldened to try to force their ways and laws on the countries in which they reside, demanding special favors....demanding more respect.....and becoming extremely offended when anyone speaks against them.

Should a free country accommodate a faith that aggressively and violently tries to muscle their ways on society?

Personal Update:

This article could lead some to think I am painting with a broad brush, and wish to deport all Muslims from free countries. Nothing could be further from the truth. At the same time, if there is a group that chooses the radicalized side of their faith and choose to act violently in the country which has offered them hospitality, let them be tried to the full extent of the law. Let them be stopped in their tracks and deported if necessary. Free nations cannot show weakness in this.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Still under scrutiny by Kos

The Kos bloggers are not letting go of the Howard Kurtz story, thinking it is an opportunity to bring down a journalist with whom they disagree.

At least this time in quoting me, they are not talking about me in a creepy fashion as they describe my musical specialty. Helping young people get through the voice change during adolescence so they can have a lifetime of singing beautiful music is neither weird nor perverted.

I am of the opinion that you have to do what is best for your blog. If it pleases your readers to focus on small potatoes like Howard Kurtz when there are bigger issues happening - global warming, when the war is going to end, the terrible choices we have for president from both political parties and stuff like that, then I begin to suspect that you are small of mind and heart. I don't care how popular you are on the blog list.

Thanks to Mark of News Corpse for standing up for me

Shortsighted View of History

The Financial Times published an article today titled "History Leaves Bush and Blair Behind".

I don't know if it is because I'm not a 20 something gal, or what, but that title seems awfully shortsighted to me. I believe that ten years from now the worst thing we will have to say about Bush and Blair is that they did too little and too late.

The British would understand the "too little, too late" concept well. Neville Chamberlain did his best to make peace with Hitler and his radical Nazi regime. He even signed a treaty in good faith with Hitler that was supposed to keep Britain out of any conflict with Germany. Didn't do any good.

The Americans have also been bitten even though they tried to isolate themselves from conflict with the radical German Nazi regime. American merchant ships were continually attacked by German Sea Wolf raids, even though the merchant sailors were civillians and America was not at war with Germany. This happened in the 30s years before the official start of WWII. Economic sanctions against the Nazis were tried, but it only gave them more time to perfect their war machine.

Take note that Hitler's "Mein Kampf" is the highest selling book in Iran today under the title "My Jihad". They like it in Egypt, too.

More recently, look at the Vietnamization program under Lyndon Baines Johnson in the late 60s and early 70s during the Vietnam conflict (read "war"). The program was partially successful, but ironically a Republican candidate by the name of Richard Milhouse Nixon won the election in '72 by being the "anti-war" candidate. When Congress finally forced him to keep his campaign promises and pull the troops out of Vietnam, our enemies were immediately emboldened. And not just in Vietnam, either. They learned from us. They learned that if they could make the casualties high enough, and sustain the war long enough, that the Congress would wail like little children and clamor to bring the troops home in order to save their jobs. Sound Familiar?

History will show that there are always consequences for abandoning your allies in the middle of a conflict after you tell them stupid things like "we'll stay the course no matter what."

It is too early to decide that Bush and Blair are on the ash heap of history. The whining children we call our political leaders are reliving history.....again.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A world without America

This site contains a video to counterattack the rise in anti-Americanism. People forget that our country, which is a true superpower, does so much to benefit the world in the realm of foreign aid, research and development, medical advances, the arts, as well as being a defender of democracy and freedom. America is the best country in the world. In a world where we are judged by our wonders, American has produced so many.

18 Doughty Street

Here is another link to the video:

A World Without America

Death of a Power Supply

I find it amazing how we, who blog and use our computers as the storage location of our life's artifacts, are so dependent on these miracle machines that allow us to communicate across the world, learn so many things we never knew, do research in a fraction of the time of what was necessary in the past, and give us so much joy and pleasure (/sarc).

Today I awoke to a startling sight - a black monitor screen! Much perturbed, I tried to switch the computer on to no avail. It did not jump to life with familiar beeping and gentle hum to which I had grown accustomed. It remained deathly silent. Dread crept over me as I considered all that I entrust to this humble grey box, and the possibility that it was lost.......lost forever.

Thankfully, the problem was only a bad power supply which was replaced at no charge since my dear husband purchased the new one less than thirty days ago. My heart is again at rest, but it is now time to implement my plan to back up all my data lest the day of wrath comes and I really lose it all.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It's one of those long days

I managed to finish my trill paper done and turned in. I've finished two rehearsals already and have two more this afternoon - one for my private children's choir and one for church. Then Wednesday night service, and after that I am looking forward to a good night's sleep. I sure need it!

Being a music teacher is hard work but I would not want to do any other type of work (although I am quite skilled in a number of fields) And being a musician is a calling. We tell the students that you only become a music major if you know you would not be happy doing anything else. If a person knows they are a musician, they will do the hard work required to become a professional.

Well, this post is not stellar, but it's a little glimpse into my day.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Why is Richardson Ignored by the Media?

We need a good answer to that question, because it seems that Richardson is the best qualified of the long list of candidates to become President.

People need to take a closer look at him.

Matthew Yglesias has written an informative article in The American Prospect about Richardson:

Fitting the Bill
Why isn't Bill Richardson's presidential candidacy taken seriously?

Astroturf Blogs?

So, now all new bloggers who comment politically are writers of Astroturf blogs?

Does this mean that our views are not important? Does this mean that the things we write are not relevant to the political and social situation in America?

What is an Astroturf blog? Wikipedia's definition is:

In politics and advertising, the term astroturfing describes formal public relations (PR) campaigns that seek to create the impression of being a spontaneous, grassroots behavior. Hence the reference to the "AstroTurf" (artificial grass) is a metaphor to indicate "fake grassroots" support.

I can see cracking down on fake blogs. My blog was quoted with another, probably fake, blog last week in the Washington Post article by Howard Kurtz. The potentially fake blog, "Political Retch", has very little information. At least the creator had the wherewithal to make a second posting - just as inflammatory as the first - to try to legitimize his (Bobby G.'s) place in the blog world. I was not proud to be in the same article with him.

But as for new bloggers like myself, don't brush us off. We see the potential of this medium to reach the millions who wander into cyberspace for up to date information - not really trusting the main stream media. Since we are local entities, our influence may not be national ( unless we get lucky and get national attention like I did). We have strong opinions, and most of us are intelligent and very articulate.

Take heed. New bloggers are real grassroots, not Astroturf.

Monday, February 19, 2007

More Than a Little Presumptuous

An interesting story came across the news wires today. Some top Democratic leaders are already planning a continuing political career for Bill Clinton should his wife, Hillary, become the President of the United States. Paul Begala and Larry Sabato believe Bill would make a wonderful senatorial replacement in New York as Hilary would have to vacate her seat in the middle of a term.

This possibility should raise not a few eyebrows. There are several things to consider:

Isn't this presumptuous of Democratic leadership? What about the will of the people of New York? The governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, is the one who will make the choice - not the DNC or the Clinton machine.

From the article:
So far, speculation about potential successors has focused on New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., whose father once held the same Senate seat.
The other concern is the compromise of the balance of powers in American government. If Hillary is chosen by the American people to be President, and Bill is appointed to finish her Senate term, there will be the appearance of nepotism. Also, will Bill's fellow senators be afraid of working with him because of the power he may wield as the husband of the President? He will never be treated like a freshman Senator. There is no precedent for this type of situation. Additionally, senators who were involved in the impeachment proceedings are still in office in the Senate. What will his relationship with them be like? In the Senate, it is necessary to work out compromises for legislation to be passed. The rules of the Senate foster a spirit of debate. Senators need a sense of collegiality to work together, and it is likely that giving Bill Clinton a Senate seat would stifle the process because of the fear and awe he would inspire. Mostly fear, unfortunately.

I would not be pleased with this situation if it were happening with a Republican presidential hopeful and spouse.

I would love to know what my readers think about this. Please leave a comment.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

When Democrats run as Republicans and Republicans run as Democrats

What would really be political news?

Something most are trying to ignore. Democrats are running on Republican issues to gain votes, and Republicans are running on Democrat issues to gain votes. This causes fusion of the moderates of both political parties, and not a little confusion.

Take the election last November. The Democrats who were successful in taking Republican seats ran on predominately conservative issues - cut taxes, strong on defense, pro-business, and one or two were actually anti-abortion. While Republicans were running on conventional democratic issues - socialized medicine, pro-government entitlements, the raising of the minimum wage and anti-war positions.

Here are two articles from the midterm election season before the election that discuss this:

In Key House Races, Democrats Run to the Right

Republicans Running As Democrats

Who did this benefit? Well, the Democrats, for sure! And it says a lot about Americans in general. Average Americans are neither far right or far left in their political views. They usually vote for someone who is similar to them and who makes them feel safe. They want someone in elected office who is fair and reasonable and able to meet their personal needs.

Now, who in this presidential race is leaning in which direction? Let's look at the major contenders for the 2008 Presidential race:

On the Republican Side: John McCain, Mitt Romney, Rudy Guiliani

On the Democrat Side: Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson

The rest, discounting the possibility of a dark horse candidate, are small potatoes and will probably be eliminated in the primaries - not because they are bad candidates, but simply because they don't have the money or the political organization behind them.

Let's examine the candidate list more closely based on prior political history.

John McCain, who tags himself as a conservative, is, in fact, politically a Democrat. So much so that John Kerry DID ask him to be his vice-presidential running mate during Kerry's failed bid for the presidency. The likely reason McCain turned Kerry down was not that he was not interested, but that he wanted to run for the presidency himself. His pro-tax and spend attitude, and deliberate votes against the Bush tax cuts (while flip-floppingly voting to extend them) speak for themselves.

Mitt Romney was pro-abortion before he was anti-abortion. What is more confusing is his stance for or against gay marriage. This has him at odds with conservative groups all across the country. How else would a Republican be elected as Governor of Massachusetts! Goodness!!!!
Note, the art of flip-flopping has been honed to perfection in that state!

Rudy Guiliani never saw a tax he didn't like, but we should forgive him since he is from New York and can't help it . He is openly pro-choice and very liberal. Despite his left leaning views, he will probably become the Republican nominee and will probably be elected because we like to choose a president to keep us safe, and Guilani has proven himself as a leader in post-9/11 New York. The man is gifted and articulate in speech craft and is a likable human being. (unlike a nameless former presidential candidate that had a "plan" but no answers!)

Now it's time to skewer the Democratic hopefuls.

Hillary Clinton leaned conservatively in several issues but recently has been leaning more to the left to appease the radical elements of her party. She carefully researched and voted for the Iraq war before she decided to change her mind to please the Cindy Sheehan branch of her party. In the early days of her Senate career, she voted very conservatively on immigration.
If she wants the conservative vote, she is going to have to become even more centrist. (Or start praying in a Baptist Church - no, she just has to be seen praying in a Baptist church.)

Barak Obama - Well, what's to say about him? He's good looking and well spoken. If you are a Democrat, you really should vote for this guy. Not only does he totally toe the social-democrat line, but if he gets in office he will change the United States into a leftist socialist utopia that Hugo Chavez would stand up and salute.

John Edwards is the pretty boy in the bunch. Nice teeth, too. Why is he even running? He could not even carry his own state (then again, neither could Gore). And his repetitive "Two Americas" stump campaign is true - His American ,which is super wealthy,......and the rest of us wage slaves. His only advantage is that he holds the keys of the "plan" of the nameless failed presidential candidate!

Then there's Bill Richardson. He is the only Democratic governor that actually cut taxes. He did this for the people of New Mexico before he decided to run for President because he knew it would be best for his state. He was right. Economically, New Mexico is a pro business and pro growth state, and jobs abound here. He's been pro education, the roads are superior, he has used justice and common sense in the Immigration situation, and would have been a tremendous asset if Bush had not been so stubborn concerning a reliable and compassionate guest worker program. Although he will allow abortion to continue as the established law of the land, there is an aggressive pro abstinence program in New Mexico, and funding so women who choose to keep their babies can have reasonable options.

Richardson is very eloquent, and I believe he would decimate Hillary Clinton in open debate based on his personal integrity, experience and character alone. He is the true moderate of all the candidates, and is more conservative than the top Republican contenders for the office of president. He only lacks the money and the political machinery to have a fair contest against Hilary Clinton. This is a David and Goliath story - the Clinton machine being the Goliath. Richardson can win if he can get his message out. Good thing he has name recognition. Many Christian Conservatives, given a choice between left leaning Republicans Guiliani or Romney vs. right leaning Democrat Richardson, would discover, with chagrin, themselves voting Democrat.

We look forward to the upcoming political contest. What we want is a good man or woman to be President, and the American people would like (not that we are going to get) someone that is honest and effective as a leader.

Here is a Blog that will tell you more about this man. Better than I can tell you, any day.

People should take a careful look at Bill Richardson as the next President of the United States because he is the very best Democrat running as a stealth Republican that we have ever seen.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A mild case of writers block

I've had quite a busy day with my family, and now it is late and the words are not flowing the way I want them too. Pity. I have a great idea for an article, too, and that will have to stay in draft mode until tomorrow. See you then!


Friday, February 16, 2007

Christian Bashing and Polarization

An interesting article in today's Opinion Journal - Curse of the Christian Bashers - exposes an underlying problem of the political left, and particularly the Democratic party. The most vocal supporters of the Democratic party are squeaky wheels of the far left. Unfortunately, these people are hardly diplomatic in expressing their opinions about those with whom they disagree - particularly those who carry even the faintest whiff of conservatism, "orthodox" Christian faith, support for the War and/or the President (if only out of respect). The brashness of this part of the Democratic party supporters, as well as their failure to see the benefits of working with those of differing viewpoints to at least find points of agreement has contributed to the polarization of the American political scene.

The current crop of Presidential hopefuls has turned to the blogosphere to get their message out and to hopefully gain support in next year's primary elections. John Edwards made a couple of unfortunate choices in hiring Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan because he did not vet their earlier comments for politically explosive material. In a different article, Bonnie Erbe, writing as a guest columnist for the Seattle Post Intelligencer, addresses the problem as well. Here is part of her article:

"After the Edwards campaign fired and then rehired the bloggers last week, each of the two resigned this week. The whole episode made the campaign look bad. Perhaps worse, it devoured an opportunity to give serious, meaningful consideration to several crucial issues about which the women were writing.

First, let me state for the record the bloggers were woefully out of line to single out Catholics and Christians for attack. Extremists exist in the hierarchy of just about every large scale, organized religious group. Some even claim the right to dictate to followers how to live their lives. It is religious extremists who abuse this power whose behavior should be examined, not the broad swath of all adherents to one particular faith.

But the bloggers allowed themselves to be sidetracked by hurling invectives at all believers, which was unfair not only to those who believe and do not impose their beliefs on others, but also to some of the causes the bloggers espoused."


I hope members of all political parties are are paying attention to this drama, for when we lean to the extremist end of our ideology for support, we lose the middle ground.

Mary Eberstadt is succinct in her analysis in the Opinion Journal:

For what the blogger tempest really illuminates is a fact that could come to haunt the Democrats as they vie for national office: namely, that their past few wilderness years have also been boom years for the church-loathing liberal/left punditry. As a result, anti-Christian invective now graces (or disgraces) many of the books, magazines, Web sites and blogs to which liberals, including the Democratic elite, habitually look for ideas. One motto of this cottage industry is that the most serious threat to the American republic can be found in, no, not those religious fundamentalists, the ones that first leap to mind after 9/11; but, incredibly, certain other believers--our nation's Christians.

Is anybody listening? I hope John Edwards is now. And the other political candidates......?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Boys!

Well, they are not real boys, but we love them just as much. They are Australian Bearded Dragons. Roughy and Feisty are about a year and a half old and live up to their names.

Here is Roughy. He's a magnificent animal, as you can see. Bearded Dragons are so called for this expanding beard. They look tough, but really they are quite tame. All bluff and bluster until you pick them up... then they melt in your hand!

This is our other Dragon, Feisty. He is feisty by name and feisty by nature. I love the fierce look on his face when his beard puffs out.

We never thought we would become so attached to some silly reptile, but these Beardies did win our hearts.

Giving a Damn

My best friend in Kansas sent this to me. We strain at gnats while swallowing camels, don't we:

Swallowing Camels
Sample of Daily Encounter by Dick Innes
I read the following story about how on one Sunday morning a usually long-winded pastor preached his shortest, but one of his most effective sermons ever.
He said, "My sermon this morning has three points.
"First, over three million people in the world today are homeless.
"Second, most of you don't give a d_ _ _.
"And third, it is a shame that more of you are upset by the fact that I said the word, 'd_ _ _', than by the fact that over three-million people are homeless."
I've heard that a well-known preacher did a similar thing when speaking about the tragedy of abortion in this country, only the four-letter word he used was even stronger!
Seriously, I'm not condoning preachers using these words, but how sad it is that so many of us will get considerably more upset over someone using a bad word than we do about people being homeless, about the problem of abortion, human trafficking, not to mention the lost going to hell.
Jesus said, "Woe upon you, Pharisees, and you other religious leaders—hypocrites! For you tithe down to the last mint leaf in your garden, but ignore the important things—justice and mercy and faith. Yes, you should tithe, but you shouldn't leave the more important things undone. Blind guides! You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel" (Matthew 23:23-24, TLB).
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me not to be guilty of straining out gnats and swallowing camels, and help me to be concerned about the things in life that truly matter. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name. Amen."
NOTE: Case in point ... when I sent this article out as a Daily Encounter one subscriber was irate at me over my use of "d_ _ _" used to illustrate the point I was making.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Why the Name Dropping???

Even though I disagree with Hillary Clinton politically, I know she is a formidable presidential candidate. She is highly intelligent, persuasive and influential. My husband and I see her as a shoo-in as the Democratic nominee for the next presidential election. Hillary has so much going for her!

Why does Hillary choose to lean on her husband's name as her campaign is gaining steam? We know Bill Clinton was one of the best in his speech craft and his way of connecting to people.

But Bill has the legacy of being only the second US president in history to be impeached (not threatened with impeachment, but truly impeached) And his impeachment was not for some horrific treasonous act, but for perjury! He lied about his extra-marital affair with that....that.....blue dress wearing dark haired girl!!! (Yes, I know her name!) (If that had been my husband, he would have been out on his ear and I would have gone on with life)

The New York Times has an article about Hillary campaigning in New Hampshire, and all the while mentioning Bill here and there. Does Hillary think Democratic voters will not love her without the fragrance of Bill on her? I think she is strong enough to stand on her own, and so do many others!

Choosing to "Billify" her campaign only confirms my belief that she married him merely to catapult her into political prominence. The Bill perfume she wears may stain what should be a successful campaign for the presidential nomination.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Just a little sore today

We went hiking in the Dripping Springs State Park on Saturday and enjoyably exceeded our technical ability. Now we are incredibly sore, but happy.

Dripping Springs was the location of a Tuberculosis sanatorium in the early part of the 20th century. It's position in the Organ Mountains is superbly beautiful, and the hikes in that area range from very easy to extremely difficult.

Visit there if you can. Here's a good link:

Dripping Springs Natural Area

Sunday, February 11, 2007

What is relevant?

I've been asked several times about how Howard Kurtz found and subsequently published contents my blog, seeing that it is relatively new, fairly eclectic, and slightly opinionated in the political arena. It is the newness of the blog that sparked the debate. Kurtz acted as if my little blog represented the whole of right wing opinion about the Pelosi jet situation. There were much more influential "right wing" blogs he could have chosen to represent that view. Little Green Footballs is a much larger fish in the pond than I am, and they commented on Pelosi.

How about Hot Air's Air Pelosi comments?

Roger Ailes picked up on this discrepancy in his posting Howie Kurtz, G.O.P. Bitch,
as did the Tennesee Guerilla Women.

They even accused Kurtz of creating these blogs to push a point.

It makes my not so boring life a little more interesting.
Maybe Mr. Kurtz can tell me why I was the chosen one..........or maybe the sacrificial blog?

I like to boast about my kids

My oldest son is an excellent computer programmer. He started programming when he was 8 years old, right when we purchased our first IBM computer with 40 (count 'em, 40!) MB of Hard drive space. His father started teaching him Basic and now he's amazingly skilled in this field. Currently he knows about 30+ programming languages, but only uses about 6-10 regularly.

Here is his blog: http://blog.akkit.org/

I got lucky again

First comments from this humble blogger were printed in the Chicago Tribune.

Then Yesterday this humble blog was mentioned in the Washington Post!!!

Strafing the Speaker by Howard Kurtz

What am I? A Media Magnet? Hardly. I just hit a few pertinent news nerves and someone noticed me. But it does make a newish blogger kind of happy, even if the links to the blog come from people who think I'm an idiot.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Great Movies!

We rented two fabulous movies this weekend, movies that we would not be ashamed to recommend to our parents or allow our teenagers to watch.

The first was Flyboys. This film is based on a true story about American Expatriates fighting with the French against the German Army in World War I as combat aviators. It highlighted the dedication and bravery of these men, and showed how they overcame their fear, difficult backgrounds, and racism. They became a highly decorated team of airmen who contributed to the fight against the proto-fascist German regime under Kaiser Wilhelm. This is a film about honor, courage, and fighting for what is right despite the frailties of humanity. No sex scenes, no bad language - only the best of human character values in this film. They were not afraid to show the horrors of war, either. The aerial combat scenes (dogfighting) were highly realistic.

The second movie we viewed was Luther. Although we don't get excited about "religious" movies, this one was different. Splendidly set in the real setting of Wittenburg and Worms and other German locations, the realistic costumes and sets are alone worth watching this film........
Ah, but the story line! Luther is shown as intelligent and sensitive. His compassion is his secret weapon. It went in the hearts and minds of not just the German people, but went toward changing the political mindset that we can think about ourselves, and that we can read the Bible in our own Language and make up our minds for ourselves. The corruption of the church at that time was such that people were manipulated into giving their meager cash and resources under the pretense of gaining heavenly favor, when in truth the money was going to build sumptuous accommodations for the pope and lavish houses of worship in Rome. Watch this film to see how deftly Luther deals with the spiritual and political intrigues that seek to hand his life over to the inquisitors. Note also, the bravery of Prince Frederick of Worms and the courage of the minor princes who stood up to the Holy Roman Emperor in order to transfer political power from the corrupted church officials and give it back to the people.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Democrats take a big black eye!

Husham Al-Husainy has essentially come out publicly as an enemy of America. He rants and raves in a typical Islamo-fascist style of the Orwellian Ministry of Truth - speaking "peace, peace" when, in fact, he means war. He avoids answering simple questions knowing that the clear truth would indict him as an enemy, and justifies himself by screaming that those who seek a direct answer from him are offending God Himself.

What were the Democrats thinking??? I'm going to try to get inside their heads:

I believe that they were trying to present to the world that Americans generally the Muslim faith, and that we are not afraid to engage in dialogue or to call Muslim people our friends. In a spirit of Ecumenical friendship, they were going to reach out and get an imam to pray an opening invocation for their winter meeting. What they got was a LOT more than they ever bargained for!

For years and years, the secular world view in the United States has been that all religions are equal, and (hopefully) benign. That they are to be respected and that they bring intrinsic goodness to society, such as truth, courage, honor, freedom, equality, love, peace, and prosperity. Some of these religions even create net worth to their community far beyond what ever tax breaks they might receive. The last three words, love, peace, and prosperity (the pursuit of happiness) are actually embedded in some fashion in our Constitution, and Americans have a right to pursue these values. Our founding fathers were mostly deists, and granted us exceptional freedom to pursue God in our own way, or to believe in absolutely nothing.

How far have the Democrats fallen from the freedoms given to us by our founding fathers. Democrats are normally freedom loving and encourage greater "freedoms" and rights. By embracing the values of Husham Al-Husainy, whom they received with open arms and whom they publicly defend, they have dealt a blow to themselves which will take much time to heal.

It will take a LONG time to forget the rants of denial bellowed by Imam Husham Al-Husainy

Here are some things Al-Husainy should have been asked before being allowed to pray for a national party:

These are from Debbie Schlussel's site

1) How many of your congregants are from the Hezbollah stronghold of Bint Jbeil?

2) Who paid for your mosque and please provide us documentation for the financing? Was any of it from the Government of Iran?

3) Why did you hold up posters of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini at a protest march in memory of Yasser Arafat? Will you condemn Khomeini?

4) Did you support Yasser Arafat, for whom you led a protest march? Will you condemn Arafat?

5) Will you condemn Arafat's murder of American diplomats Cleo Noel and George Curtis Moore in Sudan?

6) Will you condemn the Iranian kidnapping and holding of Americans as hostages for 444 days by Khomeini and his puppets?

7) Where is the Zakat ["Charity"] money given by your mosque congregants going? Can you provide full documentation for where it is going and that it is not going to terrorists?

Read the rest of the questions here.

Another Article on this topic


More info on Al Husainy

Here is the Democratic party contact information. I have a few things to ask them and so should you.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Call it "Limiting the Carbon Footprint"

With all the fuss about global warming nowadays, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is complaining that she cannot have a huge jet to traipse across the country with her immediate family and political supporters. Does she realize what a huge government jet would cost the taxpayers? Maybe not, and maybe she does not care - who knows?

According to the Washington Times, the Pentagon has limited the jet she can use to a commuter jet that needs to be refueled once to make it from San Francisco to Washington DC. She is not allowed to have a fawning bevy of supporters with her, and family members would have to pay the US treasury to fly on that aircraft. They would be better off going to cheaptickets.com to get their flights arranged, honestly.

While she may accuse the administration of slighting her (she is the third in line to the presidency after all), I would think she would accept this jet as leadership in environmental stewardship and encourage the personal reduction of dependence on oil. This airborne humbling can be an example for all of us to "limit the size of our carbon footprint" in the world.

Does this make me famous???

I was informed by a member of the blogging community that one of my comments on another blog (jammiewearingfool) got published in the Chicago Tribune!

Here is what I said that was printed on the Chicago Tribune Op Ed page :

Sad day for NASA

Usually, NASA astronauts are held to the highest of standards physically as well as emotionally, but [astronaut Lisa] Nowak totally lost control. I guess even the most rigorous training cannot ward one from the effects of the green-eyed monster. My NASA engineer husband will regard this news with much disappointment.

Songbird, Jammiewearingfool.blogspot.com

I'll try not to get too puffed up about this :-D

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

What is a Sequence? What is a Trope?

Now I've got you wondering! A sequence? A trope, eh? Well, don't look at me cow eyed and just listen now, pardner!

Here's a little paper I wrote on the subject. If you choose to use this as a reference, please cite it correctly. Also, please leave a comment to acknowledge your use of my article! Thanks!

The Origin of the Sequence and the Trope

by Ruth Seiler


In the year 862, a young monk arrived at the monastery of St Gall in Switzerland, having left his native Normandy due to troubles there. This young man brought with him a volume of chants to which had been added texts to the long melismas that make up the Jubilus of the alleluias. Notker Balbulus, upon seeing this technique, recognized it as a useful way to help singers remember the long jubilus melodies and used his skill as a poet to fit Latin texts to the melodies. According to Albert Seay, Notker worked “from the principle that the original melismata should be broken down into individual notes and each not thus derived provided with a syllable.” (Seay, pg 50)

The sequence evolved from adding text to a pre-existing melisma to an independent, originally poetic, form. The structure of the sequence remained fairly consistent through its history: After a single introductory line, each melodic line was set syllabically with a versicle and repeated with a different but related versicle, then new melodic material would be introduced with another pair of versicles. This pattern of paired melodic lines would end with a single versicle set to new melodic material again.

Form of Sequence:

X – AA – BB – CC ……. - Y

Sequences were usually sung after the Alleluia in the Mass and kept its “melodic couplet idea, with new musical material for each pair of verses.” (Seay, pg 51) They became very popular and individualistic from one church to another, which caused the Council of Trent to remove most sequences from the Liturgy. The ones that remain are “Victimae paschali laudes,” “Veni sancta spiritus,” “Lauda Sion,” “Dies irae,” and “Sabat Mater,” which was reintroduced in the eighteenth century.


A contemporary and friend of Notker Balbulus at St. Gall – Tuotilo, introduced the trope. A trope was an addition to a preexisting chant. There were three different types of troping: 1) The addition of melodic material. This means adding melismas at the end of a chant phrase. 2) The addition of text to a preexisting melody. For example, text could be added to melismas, or text could be added to a previously added melodic trope. 3) Both new text AND melodic material could be added at once. According to the Harvard Dictionary of Music, the trope texts “served the purpose of amplifying and interpreting the receive texts of the liturgy and making the ancient words relevant to the needs and understand of the contemporary listener – that is, the monastic communities…” (Harvard, pg 876) It is not clear how tropes were performed, but they flourished from the 10th to the 12th centuries. Tropes were not purged from the liturgy during the Council of Trent in the same manner as sequences.

Works Cited

Seay, Albert. Music in the Medieval World. Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: 1965

Randel, Don, editor. The Harvard Dictionary of Music. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts : 1986

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Did I Mention That I Am Proud of Our Military?

I really am. Our fine soldiers in Iraq and around the world are serving us in one of the highest ways they can - by literally laying down their lives for us by giving their time and sometimes their blood.

I also think we should have the will to win any war in which we are involved. Iraq is winnable; the war on terror is winnable; the war on Islamo-fascism is winnable - but it depends on how much we want to win and how much we want to deny the intent of our enemies.

Here is a must see trailer for a movie about our troops:

Outside the Wire

The Creeping Crud

My daughters have the creeping crud. Both of them have sore throats, are stuffed up and have a bit of a fever. Unfortunately, so does about 30% of students at every school in this area and at the University.

As for me, I can't get sick right now. There is too much prep work to do for the recital, and I still have the analysis due tomorrow!

For those of you who do not live in southern New Mexico, we are enjoying temperatures in the 60s this week.

Monday, February 5, 2007

I found it!!

Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 BWV1047,
Allegro Moderato
Performed by the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra on period instruments!

/I breathe a sigh of relief!


The Green-Eyed Monster Strikes

Very sad and disappointing that astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak drove 12 hours straight to Orlando International Airport just to attack the woman who is seeing the astronaut for whom she longs. She is in jail without bail now as the authorities consider her dangerous.

Normally astronauts go through very rigorous training and are expected to have high standards of physical as well as emotional strength. I know love is a powerful force, but I wonder what tipped Nowak's mind toward such violence.

Here is an article by a fellow blogger - jammiewearingfool:

When Astronauts Attack

And the article in the Orlando Sentinel:

Space shuttle astronaut arrested at OIA on attempted kidnapping, battery charges

UPDATE Feb, 6 2006

More information on this sad story:

Astronaut Charged In Apparent Love Triangle Kidnap Attempt

Astronaut Charged With Kidnap Attempt


I have an analysis assignment due on Wednesday, and I cannot find a recording for the music! We are analyzing Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2.

Well, if I cannot find it here or online, I will have to find it at the library.......and tomorrow is another busy day.

Extremist or Mainstream???

This video is rather disturbing for women, and I can't help but wonder where the feminists are. Or anyone who believe in equal rights for all, for that matter!


Can you imagine some preacher standing up here in this country and saying that the only way to deal with certain types of women is to beat her? Think of the outcry! And yet, in predominately Muslim countries, it is normal. Women are oppressed in this way (not to mention at the moment other ways that women are oppressed.) Here is what the Koran says about beating women:

QURAN 4:34 - "Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme."

I would prefer to not live under those types of rules, thank you very much!

We need something like this in New Mexico

I just discovered a web site called Politicopia. This page is set up like the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia, but deals specifically with Utah political issues. The state of New Mexico needs something like this to educate our increasingly web-savvy population on current legislative issues.

Here is the Utah site:


Sunday, February 4, 2007

A True Martyr

This is a story about a true courageous martyr who gave his life to protect his family and community from an evil "martyr" hell bent on killing innocents.


Read this to see the nobility of the human heart unsullied by murderous lies and evil intent.

A successful run

We just finished our run of Hansel and Gretel today. Here is what the Las Cruces Sun News had to say yesterday:

A charming end to a storybook season
By Amanda L. Husson/Sun-News reporter

Doña Ana Lyric Opera closes its "Storybook Season" with the Engelbert Humperdinck's family classic, "Hänsel und Gretel." The opera opens tonight and continues through Sunday at New Mexico State University's Music Center Recital Hall.

Musical director Geraldine Brink, newly appointed choral director at Las Cruces High School, said the lush, Wagnerian-style orchestration really enhances the familiar story, initially told by the Grimm Brothers and reworked by Humperdinck's sister, Adelheid Wette.

"There are a couple of familiar German folk tunes that Humperdinck used that people might recognize," Brink said.

Stage director Philip Christiansen said this show offers certain challenges for the audience: "Having two different young ladies performing a boy role and a tenor singing the female witch is part of the operatic tradition, but will require the audience to use their imagination."

The performances will be in the original German language with English and Spanish supertitles, but Christiansen said the action of the familiar story will be easy to follow, even for audience members who don't speak German.

He said performing operas in the language in which they were written is important for his students.

"One of our goals is to prepare students for the real world of performing," Christiansen said. "We're making them better prepared, both for graduate school and a professional career, if they can perform in different languages."

Bethania Baray will sing Gretel each performance while Sophia Sesha Grieb (Friday and Sunday) and Karline Valentine (Saturday) will split performances as Hänsel. Also contributing to this productions are veterans of DALO Magdalena Garcia, Megan Chavez and Mary-Catherine Roybal with newcomers Steven Huber, Daniel Sandino-Molloy and Ruth Seiler. This production will also feature Orlando-Antonio Jiménez as the Hexe (Witch) and performances by the Doña Ana Youth Choir.

Almost an instant classic, "Hänsel und Gretel" opened in 1893 with Richard Strauss at the podium. Within a year, the opera had been performed in more than fifty German theaters. It has been translated into fifteen languages and has received performances in such places as South Africa, China, and Tunisia. The popularity of "Hänsel und Gretel" has meant it has been associated with many firsts in operatic lore. In 1923, it became the first complete performance broadcast from any opera house in Europe (London's Covent Garden). On Christmas Day, 1931, The Metropolitan Opera initiated its weekly live radio performance with a performance of Humperdinck's most famous piece.

Amanda L. Husson can be reached at ahusson@lcsun-news.com

Saturday, February 3, 2007

I question this action!

The Democratic National Convention winter meeting was opened with a prayer by an imam who apparently is a terror supporter. While I don't have anything against the meeting being opened by a Muslim cleric, the contents of his prayer, had it been prayed by a Christian, would have been cruelly dissected, the cleric castigated, and the political party accused of pandering for political gain to "extremists". Heck, Christians can't even pray publicly for the safety of their children at a local high school football game without the ACLU goons saying we are combining "church and state"....but it's not religion, is it, when a terror supporter prays for the blessing and guidance of the DNC in such blatant terms.

Here is the text of his prayer:

Text and more info:

Video: http://hotair.com/archives/2007/02/02/video-imam-prays-to-stop-oppression-and-occupation-at-dnc-meeting/

In the name of God the most merciful, the most compassionate. We thank you, God, to bless us among your creations. We thank you, God, to make us as a great nation. We thank you God, to send us your messages through our father Abraham and Moses and Jesus and Mohammed. Through you, God, we unite. So guide us to the right path. The path of the people you bless, not the path of the people you doom. Help us God to liberate and fill this earth with justice and peace and love and equality. And help us to stop the war and violence, and oppression and occupation. Ameen.

I certainly hope taxpayer dollars were not used to support this imam in his prayer for the DNC. Obviously certain people in the Democratic party have decided to identify with the values of our enemies abroad and have forgotten that to be a Democrat is to be free in the fullness of humanity and not be forced by DNC sponsored religious intolerance to "submit" to Allah.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Time to Tickle Technorati

Technorati Profile

Hansel and Gretel

Tonight is opening night for the Dona Ana Lyric Opera's production of Hansel and Gretel. If you are in the Las Cruces area, I hope you can come.

Tickets available at the Pan Am Ticket Center (505) 646 1420 and at the door of the NMSU Music Center.

February 2 - 4, 2007

Friday 8 pm Saturday 8 pm Sunday 3 pm

Friday and Sunday Cast:

Hansel: Sophia Sesha Grieb
Gretel: Bethania Baray
Mother: Ruth Seiler (that's me!)
Father: Daniel Sandino-Malloy
Sandman: Meghan Chavez
Dew Fairy: Mary Catherine
Witch: Orlando Antonio Jimenez

Saturday Cast:

Hansel: Karline Valentine
Mother: Maria Magdalena Garcia
Father: Steven Huber
the rest of the cast stays the same

Sons are useful

Yesterday my oldest son created a domain for me: http://radiantstudio.us

Now I'm in the process of adding information to the web page, but I'm not that skilled at web page creation so I'll probably lean hard on my son for help....he's an accomplished computer programmer.

I would like to add sound files to the web page so the students who will be performing in my recital can have access to files for learning the music. It's a great tool for web savvy kids!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

It is a good day

I'm here at my messy desk thinking about what my plans for the next week should be. Thoughts course though my mind like a busy intersection, each going their own direction, but not converging. It's often like that when you are a busy grad student getting everything ready to complete your final project. Add a family to that, and outside responsibilities, and you get people asking you "How do you get it all done?" By the grace of God and by the skin of my teeth to be honest.

This semester I'm pulling together three Middle School Choirs for a joint conducting recital. We started rehearsing the music this week and should be ready for my recital on April 14. Wish me a lot of luck!

This weekend the event that has consumed my thoughts and efforts will occur. Dona Ana Lyric Opera is presenting Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdink. I'm singing the part of the mother. Opening night is Friday Feb. 2 and I'll be performing on the 2nd and the 4th.

After the opera, I'll settle down to a routine of rehearsals with the middle schools, my own rehearsals with University Singers, and a lot of library time. Life is good and I have a lot to be grateful for.