Michael Vick "Should Have Been Executed"

Last night, on Sean Hannity's program, Tucker Carlson, a conservative commentator, suggested the Michael Vick "should have been executed" for his dog-fighting and cruel killing of dogs.  Well, why not?  According to evolutionary mythology, humans are just animals.  Dogs are animals.  We execute humans for killing other human-animals, why not execute humans for killing dog-animals?  Some dogs (most?) are a whole lot more likeable and useful than most humans anyway.  Carlson's idea sounds pretty good to me.  Stick Vick's head under water and hold him down till he drowns--just like he did to dogs.

Now, I'm being totally facetious here, except for the evolutionary mythology, the biggest crock on nonsense ever foisted upon humanity.  What Michael Vick did is utterly disgusting, revolting, and inexcusable.  But he spent 18 months in prison, and since he has been released, he has made efforts to change his behavior.  Sincere or not, I don't know, that's between Vick and God.  But he has been volunteering at the Humane Society, talking to school and community groups about the evils of dog-fighting, and wants to adopt a "homeless" dog.  The Christian religion teaches that a person can, and should, repent of their evil--not just in word, but in deed, and I think Michael Vick is doing just about everything he can in that regard.  He'll never be able to undo the wrong he did, but then, none of us will.  Carlson's comment was way over the top.

What he said was in response to President Obama commending the Philadelphia Eagles for giving Vick another chance.  I don't like much of what Obama says, of course (I have agreed with him a few times), because most of the time he is wrong because his whole philosophical presuppositions about life are wrong.  But I think he has a valid point about Vick; in most instances, people deserve a second chance, and Michael Vick is, at least in appearance, trying to make good with his.  Too often, conservatives simply make a knee-jerk negative response to anything a liberal says (the same is true the other way as well), and that is no doubt what Tucker Carlson was doing--Obama said it, so it must be wrong.  Not a good way to convince people of your own sincerity, wisdom, or merit in being heard.

I'm not especially a fan of Michael Vick because I don't particularly like the Philadelphia Eagles.  But if he is sincere and keeps doing what he's doing, then I'll back him 100%.

Six Months in Korea

As of this weekend, I will have been in South Korea for six months.  The time seems to be going slowly, but that's simply a matter of perspective, I suppose.  I would rather be in the states, but this beats starving and there have been enjoyable moments.

The latter (enjoyable moments) have especially been with the students.   I have nothing but the greatest admiration and affection for them.  And it shows in their response to me.  I've even had fellow teachers here at English Village tell me, "Mark, those kids just love you."   Yesterday, when this week's college students left, there was an awful lot of hugging and picture-taking (and that's common every week), as, even in the few short days they are here, special bonds are built in ways that never happens in America.  Or rarely so.  This is simply the nature of these people, especially young people.  They are far more "innocent" than American kids are.  The kids here are sweet, thoughtful, and family-oriented.  The Koreans aren't perfect, of course, and sometimes they try my patience (at least the little ones do), and their politicians can be just as corrupt, prideful, and incompetent as any in the world.  But that isn't what I've experienced in the first six months I've been here.

It's just in my nature, I suppose, to care.  Nearly all of the students come to English Village by bus, and when they leave on Friday (or Thursday, as in the case of yesterday), I'm always down at the gate to see them off.  And I'm usually the only teacher who does so.  Indeed, I had one Korean teacher comment on it (a middle-school teacher who had come to help take the children home).  She said, "You are down here and all the other teachers are not here."  When one of my co-workers made the comment I noted above ("Mark, those kids just love you"), she also asked, "How do you do it?"  I didn't have the heart to tell her, "Well, where are you when the kids get on their buses and go home on Friday?"  I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, though it may sound like I'm doing so.  I simply don't know any other way to teach or act.  Frankly, it probably isn't helping my depression any, to get attached to people who are leaving soon and who I'll probably never see again.  But again, I don't know any other way to be.

As I said, I'd rather be in America, simply because my family is there and I'd feel a little better with being able to communicate in situations where that might be necessary (doctor's appointments, for example).  But I'm where I am at the moment for reasons only the Lord knows; I'll do the best I can for these folks until He sees fit to send me someplace else.  My contract here ends in six months; it can be extended upon mutual agreement.  Whether that will happen or not, I do not know.  I only know that, all things considered, I could do a whole lot worse than I'm doing here, at least, job-wise.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and the best of holiday seasons.

Current Event Ramblings, December 23

The Koreans don't do much Christmas, though they are playing seasonal music over the loud speakers here at the village.  Or at least, that's what it's supposed to be, I guess.  It sounds more like something coming out of an African jungle than the Christmas carols I'm used to.  You know the kind of music I'm talking about.  The kind where the singer has to run every note up and down the scale, and then screech for two or three minutes near the end of the song.  Utterly revolting.  But be that as it may, I'm working tomorrow (the 24th) and Monday (the 27th).  Saturday and Sunday are my regular days off, so there's really no "holiday" here, and it will be the same over New Years.  We had college students this week and they were enjoyable (they left today).  If I have to stay in Korea for an extended period of time, I hope to get on with a college/university here.  But I would prefer a college in the states.

Our Bible study is continuing.  It's been very cold here and we've had some sickness that's affected our numbers, but we are still going strong.  Last night, a Muslim fellow attended and we had a pretty good discussion.  I don't think he'd ever come face-to-face before with pure New Testament Christianity.  But, for that matter, very few people have.  I also touched a bit on the topic of worship/instrumental music, so while our study at the moment is on Genesis, it opens opportunities to talk about other subjects as well.  To God be the glory.

There is nothing more frustrating than impenetrable stupidity, and the United States' Republican Party is full of it.  They clearly and decisively won the election last month and have done nothing since but give Barack Obama victory after victory after victory.  The "tax cut" bill was a farce, the START treaty has the Russians laughing at us, and the moral disintegration of America continues full tilt with the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" homosexual military policy--any of which the Republicans could have stopped.  Winston Churchill did say, "In victory, magnanimity," but he didn't say, "in victory, stupidity."  It's one thing to be magnanimous; but if, as in the case with Obama, the magnanimity allows bad policy, then there is no victory at all--the opponents have gotten what they wanted all along.  The Republican Party simply does not know how to govern.  The Democrats know how, but unfortunately, everything they believe and practice is wrong and detrimental to any moral, economic, defensive, or social progress of the country. 

As was the case with Rome, and every other strong and great empire, the United States will never be conquered from without until it first decays from within.  When the foundations of a civilization or nation are destroyed, that civilization or nation will soon cease to exist, or, at best, be nothing more than a shell, or the barest reflection of its former glory.  The Democratic Party is doing everything it can, as rapidly as possible, to undermine the foundations upon which the United States were built and which made the country strong.  And the Republicans are either too stupid to see it, or too gutless to do anything about it. 

Or, heaven forbid, they've come to agree with the Democrats.

Not much war talk going on over here at the moment.  The North Koreans blinked earlier in the week by backing down on their threat to respond forcefully to the South Korean military exercises, and the South is shoving it up their noses by putting up Christmas decorations on the border where North Korean border towns can see them--something the South hasn't done for several years.  It's interesting being here during all of this tension; I'm not sure I'd feel the same way, though, if a war broke out.
If I don't write again for a few days, then Merry Christmas everyone.

Current Event Ramblings, December 18

Today's stuff while I'm waiting for my clothes to finish washing....

Another half-inch of global warming fell on Paju Thursday night.

The "tax cut bill" passed Congress and is being touted as a victory for Obama.  It wasn't, it was a victory for the Tea Party (and rest of the American people) who forced Obama to give up his plan to nix the current (Bush) tax rates.  And remember, this wasn't a "tax cut"; except for one minor payroll tax (used to "fund" Social Security), there was no lessening of taxes.  This was simply a retention of the lower tax rates the Republicans passed under Bush several years ago.  But this is the way liberals, Congress, and the media spin things:  a lessening of anticipated tax or spending hikes is called a "cut."  For example, Congress announces that, for the next fiscal year, they are going to increase the funding of project X by $5 billion.  But then, deals are made and Project X only gets $2 billion more.  Congress has thus made a "cut" (I'm not lying, that's what they do).  In this present case, since the Bush tax rates were to end this December, and since Congress decided to extend them, taxes were "cut."  There are a lot of people stupid enough to believe that.  But there are a lot of people who aren't, too.

Incidentally, Obama and leading Democrats (like Dick Durbin) are now arguing that raising taxes in a recession is bad economic policy.  If they had admitted that two years ago and cut taxes, as they should have, instead of wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on "stimulus" packages that didn't work, and sending anti-business signals every time they spoke, then the recession would be over by now.  It shouldn't have lasted more than three or four months anyway, and wouldn't have if the brainless politicians (on both sides of the aisle) had left it alone.  Obama is setting himself up for a win-win here, and the "mainstream" media is playing along with him, of course.  If the economy improves over the next two years, he can claim that it was his tax bill that caused it.  If the economy doesn't improve (which it probably won't), he can announce that tax cuts don't help economic growth.  What you must keep in mind is that this bill does NOT cut taxes; it keeps the current rates in place.  These rates have been operative since long Obama came to office and were insufficient to spur economic growth, thus there is no reason to expect massive economic growth in the near future.  A real cut, i.e., a lowering of the rates across the board and a relaxation of regulations on business are what are truly needed.  A flat tax of about 5% on all Americans would be where I would put it.  And then an elimination of all useless, unconstitutional government spending, i.e., about 99% of it.  But I'm dreaming, of course.

North Korea announced yesterday that if the South went ahead with some planned military activites in the next few days on the disputed Yeonpyeong Island (the one the North bombed last month), that it would retaliate more strongly than it did on November 23.  Still huffing and puffing.  Yeonpyeong Island is about 50 miles from Paju.

Noon update:  The South Korean government has made it known that they will proceed with the military drills on Yeonpyeong Island, regardless of the North's threat.  The drills will probably be held Tuesday.  This could get interesting because the North has flat said they will retalitate for any South Korean military activity on the island, which is right on the border between the two countries.  Not that they might retaliate, but that they will

We'll see who blinks this time--if anybody.

Current Event Ramblings, December 15

It was 10 degrees in Seoul when I got up this morning (about 7:45), with a wind chill of -2.  We are in the mountains about an hour north of Seoul, so it's probably close to zero here, with a wind chill far below that.  The U.S. Midwest is wallowing in snow, and West Palm Beach, Florida had a record low the other night.  More evidence of global warming.

It is clear here, however, and there is no prediction of any precipitation in the near future, and it's supposed to warm up into the 40s by the end of the week.  I've always liked cold weather; it will be interesting to see if I'm still singing that tune after 4 months of this stuff, which is the minimum of how long it will last.  Or so I'm told.

I need to go so I can turn the heat on in the classrooms.  Nobody else does it....frankly, folks, this place is amateurish.  But I do like working with the adults, which is what I'm doing this week.

Current Event Ramblings, December 11

This is a dry time of the year, news-wise, as everybody prepares for the holiday season.  However, there are a few things going on worth a word or two, mainly the curren tax debate going on in the USA.  It's not a good deal, because even though it keeps current tax rates at the same level, the Democrats are loading the bill with all kinds of pork, which will only continue to bloat the federal budget and hasten an economic catastrophe.  Plus, tax rates should not be kept the same, they should be cut.  And federal spending should follow suit.  I think I've posted the following quote before, but it's relevant here:  "To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father's has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association--the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it."  That's Jefferson.  The Democratic Party is obsessed with a "soak the rich" mentality.  It's theft, that's all it is.  If I put a gun to someone's head and demand their money, we all know that is wrong; it's taking something that I have not earned from someone who has.  But, in a socialistic, or quasi-socialistic society such as we have today, if I vote for a Congressman, who puts a gun to someone's head (called the IRS), takes his money, and gives it to me, that suddenly becomes acceptable because it is done "democratically."  I'm sorry, folks, but culpable homicide is still homicide, and culpable theft is still theft.  The Bible did not say, "Thou shalt not steal--unless a majority in Congress vote for it."  The Republican Party will do little or nothing to try to get a better bill than the current one, and don't expect them to push for greater tax cuts in the near future or significant cuts in the federal budget.  Federal spending needs to be slashed, not cut.  But then, all the current politicians are hoping they will be dead when the reckoning finally comes.  That may or may not happen.

The war talk between North and South Korea has cooled, but not ceased.  The public doesn't know what's going on behind the scenes--it never does until the volcano explodes.  We had some Defense Security people here this week, and I asked one of them what he thought about the possibility of war.  He didn't think there would be one, but emphasized that such was just his opinion.  The fact that the government allowed some defense personnel to come to English Village is perhaps significant.  Or perhaps not.  Who knows what goes on in the minds of government leaders?  Except, usually, nothing good.

Not surprisingly, Harry Reid threw a fit when the "don't ask, don't tell" queer policy for the military wasn't overturned by the Senate.  He claimed it was an equal rights issue, which it's not, it's a moral one.  Good for the Republicans that they were able to kill the bill.  However, the vote was 57-40 in favor of it (it needed 60 votes), so that still tells us a lot about the current moral mindset of the "leaders" of this country.  Well, since they are thieves, why not support homosexuality?

Current Event Ramblings, December 4

Not a lot to report today except that I've finished River Bend, cowboy story number 5, and I'll get it posted soon.  It takes awhile to get those things blogged, but I hope to have it done by Monday, at the latest.  I also have a post on Luke today, and want to do more of that soon as well.  Some might wonder why I've been able to write westerns but haven't been doing much Bible posting lately.  Well, it has to do with work, depression, trying to escape how I feel; it's hard to explain to those who've never experienced bipolar 2 depression.  But I get by, and I'm in a lot better shape than a lot of folks, and for that I'm thankful.  I've been working on River Bend for several months now, so it's not like that's all the writing I've done.  It is pretty long, though.

We've got a run of adults coming this month, so I won't be quite so worn out at the end of each day.  And it's a little more intellectually challenging.  This coming week some people from the Korean defense ministry will be here.  These English Villages--and there are several scattered around Korea--are well respected and draw from the upper echelons of society, including judges, lawyers, civil servants, teachers, etc.  So this is not a podunk place.  It's just on the backside of nowhere.  It's a good job, though.

Current Event Ramblings, December 3

A couple of quick matters before I go to work:

The House yesterday voted to extend the Bush "middle class tax rates" but not those for the "rich."  Hold it.  All we heard, for seven or eight years, is how Bush cut taxes "for the rich"; now, all of a sudden, the Bush "middle class tax rates" are extended.  Oh, but the media isn't biased in its reporting.  Never....

And this jewel from our "brilliant" White House:  not extending unemployment benefits will cost jobs.  Think about it.

There's nothing new over here on the North Korea/South Korea situation.  War talk has cooled, but let me remind us of history.  It was June 28, 1914, when Archduke Ferdinand of the Austria-Hungary Empire was assassinated by Serbian nationalists, but the first of August before World War I broke out.  Give the politicians and diplomats and few more weeks to screw thngs up before we issue a sigh of relief that war is not going to happen on the Korean peninsula.

A Tribute To Some Wonderful Christian People

Nobody will ever convince me that there are better people on this earth than true Christians.  Yes, there are many, many hypocrites, and a multitude of false versions of "Christianity" which the devil has used to poison the minds of many against the one, true religion of the Author of the heavens and the earth.  But when you find those who truly strive to live according to the Bible, you will never find better people.  That's to be expected, of course, because they live by the highest moral standard in existence.  If America has any chance of survival, any chance at all, it rests solely in a return to the Bible, to the pure, undiluted doctrines of Chrisitanity.  I challenge anyone to point to any problem that America--or the world--has that cannot be solved by a proper application of the teachings of Jesus Christ.  It isn't the true Chrisitans who are raping, robbing, committing murder, spreading vile and filthy sexual diseases, and plaguing mankind with drugs, alcohol, pornography, divorce, terrorism, feminism, and any other scourge our planet faces today.  True Christianity, universally applied, will eliminate every one of those, and no other religion or philosophy can say that.

I write these words, number one, because they are true, and they are manifest every day of the year.  But I also am writing because I want to say a few words about some wonderful, loving, thoughful Christian people.  The church of Christ in Wartburg, Tennessee, has since I've been in Korea, sent me three "care boxes" full of items that I simply cannot get here, or are very expensive.  I never asked them to send me anything; they volunteered, wanting to know the things I needed--but also wanted.  I received two of those packages today filled with various things I have use for; but the most touching contents of the boxes were 11 Christmas cards from various members of the church there.  Wartburg is a small congregation, so 11 cards represents most of the people/families in that church.  And some may think that a card isn't much; but it's the time and the thoughtfulness behind the card that means so much.  It's heart-stirring, much more than I could ever put into words.

And then, of course, there is the time and expense of purchasing and mailing the goods in the packages.  I want to publicly thank Rick and Julie Comer for spearheading this.  They are one of the bedrock couples in that congregation; finer people neither inhabit this globe, nor will inherit glory. Rick has kept in contact with me ever since I left Tennessee, and he'll never know how much it means to me to hear from him.  Another member there, a widow lady named Necie Martin, also sends me emails--sometimes inspiring, sometimes funny, always appreciated.  As I mentioned, the Wartburg church of Christ is a small church, maybe 40 or 50 people in attendance on a good Sunday morning.  But the Lord doesn't need huge number to do good.  And world evangelism, as important as it is, is not the sum total of the religion of Jesus Christ.  He watched a widow throw two mites, less than a penny, into the treasury, and to Him, it was great thing.  The people in Wartburg may not think they are doing a "great thing".  But I think they are, and I'll bet the Lord does, too.

If only...if only, only, only...this world had more people like those brethren in Tennessee.