It’s not often that one can blend stupidity from three distinct areas of regular silliness. It turns out that politics, food and religion have, indeed joined forces. Gefilte fish is one of those nasty traditional Jewish foods that very few actually like. Take some nasty fish, debone it, and then grind it up with some onions, eggs and matzoh. Squish it into loaves and poach it with carrots and more onions. Take these poached loaves and dump them in a jar full of translucent slime that is the consistency of runny snot. Serve at family meals. Ugh.
Apparently, it’s now a matter of highest concern for our Department of State. Seems as though the Hildabeest is taking on a trade dispute with Israel as a highest level mission.
Make of this what you will. Egypt is freaking out and slaughtering all of the pigs that exist in the country. It is driven by outright fear of the H1N1 virus thing. The current H1N1 is a glom of avian, swine and human influenza. Just like the glom of reaction, which is fueled by fear, ignorance, politics, religion…
What Egypt is doing will certainly not have much of an impact. The folks doing the clean up are certainly going to be readily exposed if there is a pig vector. (Perhaps nobody really gives a flip about the Coptics?) And if the logic was sound, why aren’t all the birds or people being killed?
Does it really come as a surprise to anyone that Hamas is again firing rockets into Israel from Gaza? This happened twice while negotitations for a truce were taking place in Egypt. Great show of sincerity. This comes after the United Nations suspended all aid shipments to the Palestinians in Gaza because the silly Hamas leaders kept stealing it. Is this really about a homeland for somebody? Is it about Jews versus Arabs? Or is it really about control? It appears to me that no amount of negotiation, posturing, papering or truce will instilleven a modicum of peace in the region. As my friend, a very much simmering cauldron of directed ager, pointed out: Israel played this superbly and the Palestinians fell into an elegant trap. Israel has been trading blows with the Palestinians since day one. They launched an all out offensive and turned most of Gaza into a dusty rubble pile. Then they pulled out and said “let’s make a lasting peace; no more rockets”. In one fell swoop, Israel set the table to own the high moral ground, illustrate what comes next if a peace does not exist, and establish simple terms for that peace. The Palestinians then demonstrated their own corruption, willingness to steal from themselves, and a lack of ability to negotiate in good faith. Good show. Even the Arab world is growing weary of the whiny brat.
Please do not take this the wrong way. I’m forming my own religion. I’m not doing it to denigrate or deride any other religion. I’ve got no personal beef with God or Jesus or Mohammed or any other spiritual leader. I don’t currently “belong” to any traditional organized religious group, but I do consider myself a spiritual and moral person. Right and wrong is an important foundational concept for me and my family. Also, giving to the community that has allowed me to prosper is an important thing. That is why I am forming my own religion. Bear with me.
The Federal laws prohibiting job discrimination are:
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces all of these laws. EEOC also provides oversight and coordination of all federal equal employment opportunity regulations, practices, and policies.
Other federal laws, not enforced by EEOC, also prohibit discrimination and reprisal against federal employees and applicants. The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) contains a number of prohibitions, known as prohibited personnel practices, which are designed to promote overall fairness in federal personnel actions. 5 U.S.C. 2302. The CSRA prohibits any employee who has authority to take certain personnel actions from discriminating for or against employees or applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability. It also provides that certain personnel actions can not be based on attributes or conduct that do not adversely affect employee performance, such as marital status and political affiliation. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has interpreted the prohibition of discrimination based on conduct to include discrimination based on sexual orientation. The CSRA also prohibits reprisal against federal employees or applicants for whistle-blowing, or for exercising an appeal, complaint, or grievance right. The CSRA is enforced by both the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).
What am I going off about now? The short answer is: discrimination. Our government has gone to great lengths to define what is and is not discrimination in the workplace. There’s a lot of fuss going on right now about the Obama/Biden administration’s questionnaire that prospective employees must fill out. There’s over nine pages of questions. The answers, one would presume, will be used to decide who gets and does not get a job. An employer absolutely has a right to use objective criteria to decide who they want to employ. The Federal Government, who is the employer in this case, basically cannot make choices based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability. Everything else is, technically, fair game.
Take number 6. “If you or your spouse have performed work for, received payments from and/or made any payments to any foreign government, business, non-profit organization or individual, please describe the circumstances, and identify the source and amount. Also please specify if you or your spouse have ever been registered as an agent for a foreign principal.” I have donated directly to several foreign non-profits and I have donated my personal time and energy to many domestic non-profit endeavors that might be deemed “activist”. Do you think I will be held in greater or lesser light than Ms. Clinton, whose hubby most certainly earns a tidy living from foreign sources?
Number 13 wants to know if you’ve ever sent an embarrassing email or text message. Who hasn’t? Number 14 wants to know if you keep a diary. What skeletons be in there? The financial section wants a copy of your brokerage statements, a net worth statement, a list of all loans made to you or your spouse in excess of $10k, information on all the trusts you may be involved with, all your mortgage terms, and any gift that you or your spouse ever received that is worth more than $50 that wasn’t given by relatives or close and longstanding friends. Yikes.
33-41 ask for all kinds of tax information. I was under the impression that this stuff was confidential.
44 is pretty interesting. It wants to know if you or your spouse have been involved with any insolvency or bankruptcy proceedings… as a debtor, creditor, claimant or defendant. I received a $1.44 cent bankruptcy settlement check from MCI many years ago. How does that have bearing on suitability for a job in government?
I get the parts about asking whether you, your spouse or other family members have been involved in any type of criminal or proceedural issues. I’m a little fuzzy on the administration wanting to know about any malpractice claim made against you, formally or informally, and the resolution of the matter. Presumably, every OB/GYN doctor in the US will fall under extra scrutiny since it is almost a certainty that he/she has been involved in at least one case, legit or not. I also am quite okay with asking if you were stupid enough to hire an illegal alien as domestic help. Not so sure about how just having or not having domestic help is a determining factor.
Number 57 wants a list of all your cohabitants for the past 10 years. Number 58 wants to know about all websites (must provide the URL) that feature you in either a personal or professional capacity (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, etc.). 59 wants to know if you or any members of your family own a gun, any registration information about the gun, who uses the gun and how, and whether or not said gun(s) have been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage. 60 wants to know if you’ve had a physical in the last year and the general state of your health. 62 wants to know if any group will take steps to criticize your nomination. I guess that group will include every Democrat… and every Republican…
You’ll also be giving the Obama Transition Foundation the ability to run a consumer/credit report on you through ChoicePoint WorkPlace Solutions, Inc. (a company based, primarily in Europe, BTW…).
Ostensibly, the Obama Transition Foundation is going to use all this information that you provide to make decisions to fill vacancies. What if you believe that you lost out on the job of your dreams because a co-worker gave you a $60 espresso machine at a holiday gift exchange at the office last year (times were good and there was a $100 limit)? What if you put down that your college son is on the Olympic shooting team and was injured by an errant ricochet and needed stitches to sew up the wound? How many live-ins are too many? Well, you deserve to have recourse.
My religion will have as its foundation a whole list of things that are considered sacraments. These sacraments will pretty much cover all the questions in this list. If you don’t get the job, make sure that you are a member of my religion. You’ll be able to file a federal charge of employment discrimination based on religion. I just want to give back.
Much of religion is based upon faith. The religious believe that something is real or important and thus it has meaning and validity in their minds. The ritual, ceremony, and bureaucracy that has evolved around such intangibles is monumental in scope. How about confessional? A Catholic person may believe that there is a need to go tell a person about the naughty things that they did. They go to a fancy box and reveal their transgressions to a mere mortal with some training that says he knows how to dole out appropriate pennance. The believer goes home, does the “time” and feels better about themselves. The transgression was still done (be it against Gor or fellow man), yet a demonstration of sincerity is enough to appease and salve.
Unless the priest taking confession is not a priest. Yep. A fake priest was caught taking confessions in the holy of holies, St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. He was caught and stopped (he’d done it before, too). The people who gave their secret confessions to this priest did not know he was a fake. They did their pennance believing their transgressions would be absolved based upon faith. The faith did not change. The confessioners sincerity was not changed. An offering was probably made and a candle was probably lit. The only thing that was different was that the secret dude wasn’t really a Catholic priest. Does it matter?
As it turns out, there may be more truth to that sobriquet about religion than we actually thought. New studies have indicated that the burning of ceremonial incense, such as in the picture above, has a psychoactive effect on the human brain. Congratulations to the Catholics. It’s not about faith or diddling little boys… It’s about being a stoner!
I’m trying to figure out if I am pissed off or just disgusted this morning. What is a patriot? Do you get to be a patriot by serving in the military? Or is it something more. Does wearing a uniform get you a free pass? What about the uniform of a religious leader? Does that infer some kind of immunity from stupidity? I’m all riled up, but it’s pointed in so many directions. There’s two things that are driving my discomfiture this morning.
First, I wanted to buy an American flag for my house. The current one is looking a bit worn and needs to be retired. I have great respect for the flag. I have several, including the one that draped my father-in-law’s casket. It’s an important symbol to me. So I went online to find a nice one. The first 5 hits on my Google search were all for imported flags. It just strikes me as a little weird.
Second, I see all the crap that Obama’s “ex” preacher is dealing with. Some are questioning the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s patriotism. I can see how that may be. I’ve heard the snippet where he’s preaching the fire of “god bless America? Oh no, God DAMN America!” That sounds pretty unpatriotic to me. But he says that one cannot judge the snippet unless one heard the whole sermon. And that “I served six years in the military.” “Does that make me patriotic? How many years did (Vice President Dick) Cheney serve?”. I dunno. I know a lot of folks that have served in the military that are most certainly not patriotic. They joined the military for the monetary benefits and then were kinda dumbstruck when military action popped up. But I also know lot’s of folks that have served and are regular civilians who have committed selfless acts that demonstrate a love for their country. Yep, those are patriots.
There is supposed to be a separation between church and state. Granted, religion and politics are taking the same form: blind faith in the unseen and expectations of the unreal. I’m not a real patriot because I don’t think I have committed one of those selfless acts for the US. I may be patriotic, but I’m not a patriot. I fly the flag, I vote, I serve my jury duty… And I’m not religious. I’d like to think that there was something more to this existence than just decomposition when it’s all over. The spiritual part of the dynamic works for me, but I doubt you’ll ever see me, at this point, preaching from the pulpit. I will not speak poorly of your religion, though.
What we do is a much more important measure of what we are than what we say. Take, for instance, my oldest daughter. She’s got the learners permit driving license. The other day, she was being tail-gated by one of the GeekSquad vans that’s always zipping around our neighborhood. This guy has been doing that a lot. But this, time, my daughter had turned a corner with the guy on her rear bumper and there was a parked car in front of her. She had to stop because there was an oncoming vehicle coming in the other direction. GeekSquad boy decides to punch it and swerves out from behind my daughter, cuts off the oncoming vehicle and dives back in front of my daughter. Trust me, everyone was shaking. I waited a day before I “reacted” to this. I went down to the Best Buy store (where the GeekSquad is located) and had a private conversation with the store manager. The situation is being handled directly. My daughter was surprised that I “had her back” like that. It didn’t make me a better dad. I was doing what I was supposed to do. No superhero status. But maybe if I had done that for somebody that I didn’t know… maybe that would have qualified me for special status. Sort of like being a patriot versus being patriotic.