Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

In honor of Memorial Day I wanted to share the article below.

Former Lt. Col. Oliver North, USMC, wrote of Memorial Day "As a crowd of high-school students offloaded from the tour bus for a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial aka 'The Wall,' he yelled, 'There are no good wars!' ... He held a sheet of cardboard, hand-inscribed with the words 'I'm the 99 percent' on one side and 'Help me, I'm Homeless' on the other. ... "'The Wall' is like that. The V-shaped black granite panels with 58,282 names inscribed upon them attract visitors like no other place in our nation's capital. ... "[T]his year, our countrymen who pause from travel, shopping, sporting events and auto races on the last Monday in May will see a very different observance: the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam War. "For the 2.7 million Americans who fought for our nation in Southeast Asia, the Gold Star families who lost loved ones there and those who still yearn to know what happened to the 1,350 who still are unaccounted for, Monday's ceremony is a long-awaited requital for unacknowledged sacrifice. It's an overdue but welcome event. "What is less certain is whether this commemoration finally can bring closure to the most polarizing armed conflict for Americans since the Civil War. Will it end the false mythology of the Vietnam vet as a pothead marauder, a homeless, unemployed dropout who couldn't fit in after coming home? "The Occupy protester I confronted on my way to 'The Wall' this week probably won't be convinced by this single ceremony. It's unlikely he ever will grasp the innate decency, unstinting perseverance, quiet courage and true humility of those whose names are engraved on those black granite panels. There are no good wars. But there are good warriors. ... "Like most Vietnam War veterans, they still are giving more than they ever asked in return. They aren't dropouts. They are American heroes -- and I'm blessed to call them friends."

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sage on the Stage?

The below is from the Patriot Post. I found the PC insanity amusing enough that I had to share. Talk about tollerent.

A North Carolina teacher has been suspended with pay after she flew off the handle when, during a discussion about Mitt Romney's alleged high-school bullying, a student pointed out that Barack Obama had admitted to bullying someone in high school, too. Telling the student that he "will not disrespect the president of the United States in this classroom," the teacher launched into an angry diatribe, going so far as to claim that people were arrested for criticizing President George W. Bush. (If that were the case, undoubtedly the vast majority of the media would have mug shots on file.) In response, the student accurately noted that criticism alone isn't grounds for arrest. We're not sure what's worse: that a social studies teacher understands constitutional liberties less than her student; that the teacher spun high tales of arrested Bush-era discontents; or that the taxpayers of North Carolina are still paying her salary.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Power of Braille

This outstanding article sums up well my thoughts on Braille and its importance.

Being the Tech God I am (Drop Box and Hey Tell not withstanding) I still believe that Braille is vital to be literate and involved in today's society. Spelling and formatting errors do not add to a positive image of blind people.

I only hope that with falling prices for Braille displays (Perkins is doing a bang up job on this with their displays) this tool for literacy will become more widely available.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Prayer Requests

Please pray for the below requests from VOM.

"Prayer is the pulse of life; by it the doctor can tell what is the condition of the heart. The sin of prayerlessness is a proof for the ordinary Christian or minister that the life of God in the soul is in deadly sickness and weakness." - Andrew Murray"praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints" - Ephesians 6:18 VOM-USA Prayer Update for May 11, 2012 On Thu. May 10 2012 at 08:10 AM Moderator wrote: Mauritania --Muslims Demand Investigation of ChristiansSource: VOM Contacts Psalm 36:10-12 Muslim protesters in Mauritania have called on the government to investigate all Christians in the country, claiming that Christians were involved in the burning of a Quran after Islamic prayers on Friday, April 27. The protesters said other Islamic books were burned on the same day and that many copies of the gospel were distributed, insinuating that Christians had some part in what they consider one of the worst offenses possible. The protesters called on the government to investigate Christians to determine their part in the event and, if found guilty, to punish them. Desecrating a Quran is punishable by life in prison or even death in some Islamic countries. Our VOM contact in Mauritania asks that we pray for Christians there. Pakistan --Families Turn to Christ Through Evangelist’s WitnessSource: VOM Contacts Acts 16:30-31 A VOM-supported evangelist in Pakistan has requested prayer for several people who have recently shown interest in the gospel. The evangelist, “Sam,” had been praying for his good friend Hadi for many months, but they had never spoken about Christ. A few days ago, Hadi asked for a copy of the New Testament. He has been reading it, and Sam asks that we pray for Hadi’s salvation. Recently, Sam was invited to pray for a girl who has chronic kidney pain. After Sam prayed for her in her home, the pain suddenly left. Her whole family was amazed and asked how this was possible. Sam told them, “Everything is possible in the Lord Jesus Christ.” The whole family decided to become followers of Jesus. Several Sundays ago, Sam preached in a church service. Afterward a man confessed to him that he was feeling suicidal. His family was pressuring him to divorce his wife because they had no children. After talking with Sam and praying with his family, the whole family gave their lives to Jesus Christ. Pray for the two families that have turned to Christ, and pray that Hadi will also come to know him. Nigeria --Worshipers Killed in Three AttacksSources: VOM Contacts, AFP, Release International 2 Corinthians 5:18 About 30 Christians were killed last week when suspected Islamic extremists attacked three church services in two states. Attackers armed with guns and bombs opened fire on two church services at a Nigerian university on Sunday, April 29. Worshipers reportedly were gunned down as they fled, and at least 26 people were killed. Meanwhile, in Forno state, gunmen attacked and killed Rev. Albert Naga and three church elders during a Communion service at the Church in Christ in Nigeria, in Simari. Although no group has claimed responsibility, the attacks are similar to previous attacks by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Pray for Christians in northern Nigeria. In the last few months, attacks on churches, Christian neighborhoods and villages have been relentless. Pray for a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation. Philippines VOM ProjectPray for those involved in the production, printing and distribution of Hearts of Fire in the Cebuano language. Pray also that the pastors, leaders and Christians who receive the book will be encouraged to be bold in their faith.*************•

Thursday, May 10, 2012

From the Mouths of Babes

How true. LITTLEGIRL ON A PLANE An atheist was seated next to a little girl on an airplane and he turned to her and said, "Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with yourfellow passenger." The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total stranger, "What would you want to talk about?" "Oh, I don't know," said the atheist. "How about why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death?" as he smiled smugly. "OK," she said. "Those could beinteresting topics but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff - grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?" The atheist, visibly surprised by the little girl's intelligence, thinks about it and says, "Hmmm, I have no idea." To which the little girl replies, "Do you really feel qualified to discuss why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death, when you don't know shit?" And then she went back to reading her book.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Life of Julia

From the Patriot Post. The general outline of the life of Julia is depressing in general, and all too true for the blind in particular. Oh to be taken off the government tit and be a useful member of society.

Obama's 'The Life of Julia' "Barack Obama has a new composite girlfriend, and her name is Julia. Her story is told in an interactive feature titled 'The Life of Julia' on the Obama campaign website. ... As a toddler, she's in a head-start program. Skip ahead to 17, and she's enrolled at a Race to the Top high school. Her 20s are very active: She gets surgery and free birth control through ObamaCare regulations, files a lawsuit under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and pays off her student loans at a low interest rate. We get updates at age 31, 37 and 42 -- and then the narrative skips ahead 23 years when she enrolls in Medicare. Two years later, she's on Social Security, at which point she can die at any time. ... [N]othing happens to Julia between 42 and 65. That period includes the typical peak earning years -- the time at which, assuming Julia is gainfully employed, she will be paying the biggest price for 'Obama's' generosity. ... The most shocking bit of the Obama story is that Julia apparently never marries. She simply 'decides' to have a baby, and Obama uses other people's money to help her take care of it. ... In 1999 Lionel Tiger coined the word 'bureaugamy' to refer to the relationship between officially impoverished mothers of illegitimate children and the government. 'The Life of Julia' is an insidious attack on the institution of the family, an endorsement of bureaugamy even for middle-class women." --Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto "Alas, Team Obama has omitted a few milestones from the life of Julia." --National Review's Kevin D. Williamson, who has them covered here . What do you think the "life of Julia" should really look like? For the Record "I don't know what's creepier. The idea that Julia owes her entire life to government beneficence -- or that Barack Obama is an integral part Julia's life from the time she's a small child until at least age 42. ... And then there are the inconvenient facts. Like the fact that Head Start has demonstrated no useful improvement in a child's educational future. The fact that our public schools have become an international embarrassment. The fact that Obamacare may be declared un-Constitutional, or the fact that this administration has a miserable record of job creation -- or the fact that funds underwriting Julia's retirement and medical expenses won't be there because the trajectory of the Obama administration's current spending habits leads inexorably to national bankruptcy. ...

Friday, May 4, 2012

Weekly Prayer Update

Please pray for the requests below. "Prayer is the pulse of life; by it the doctor can tell what is the condition of the heart. The sin of prayerlessness is a proof for the ordinary Christian or minister that the life of God in the soul is in deadly sickness and weakness." - Andrew Murray"praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints" - Ephesians 6:18 VOM-USA Prayer Update for May 4, 2012 On Wed. May 02 2012 at 02:03 PM Moderator wrote: Sudan --Muslims Destroy Evangelical ChurchSources: VOM Contacts, Reuters 1 Peter 3:14 Muslims ransacked a church in Khartoum on Saturday, April 21, in another signal that the northern government intends to eliminate both Christians and ethnic Africans from the country. About 500 Muslims from a nearby mosque attacked and destroyed the Presbyterian Evangelical Church after a Muslim cleric preached an inflammatory sermon calling for jihad against Christians. The attackers ransacked buildings, knocked down walls and burned Bibles while security police looked on. Christians from Ethiopia, Eritrea, India, South Sudan and Sudan worshiped at the church, which has filed suit against the attackers. The church compound also included a Bible school and student housing. “It seems no one cares about us here in Sudan after the independence of South Sudan,” a VOM contact wrote. “What I know is that the church will remain and continue to operate, though there will continue to be challenges.” Algeria --Kabyle Bible Reaches New ReadersSources: VOM Contacts Psalm 119:169 A new Bible translation in the Kabyle language is enabling many more people to read God’s Word in Algeria, according to a VOM contact there. Our Algerian contact had been using French translations for a Bible study he led, but many of the older believers didn’t speak French. Since Kabyle is the area’s native language, the VOM contact began using the new Kabyle translation when it was published last year with VOM support. “We prayed for a long time that one day God would provide the Bible in Kabyle,” he said. More people are now attending the Bible study, and more understand God’s message of hope. Algerians who read Kabyle can now read the Bible for themselves and share its content with others. “We want to thank you, because God heard our prayers,” the VOM contact said. Thank God that his Word is now accessible to more people in Algeria. Azerbaijan --Update: Judge Rules to Liquidate Protestant ChurchSources: VOM Contacts, Forum 18 News 1 Corinthians 15:23–24 In the first known case of a church closure under Azerbaijan’s new religion law, a judge in Baku ruled on Wednesday, April 25, to liquidate Greater Grace Protestant church. Under terms of the ruling, religious activity by the church or its members is illegal and is subject to punishment. The church intends to appeal the ruling. Although Greater Grace registered with the state in 1993, it did not re-register in 2009 when the new religion law passed because leaders believed the church was already registered. Hundreds of churches that re-registered in 2009 are still waiting for the State Committee to respond to their applications. In some cases, churches were denied registration because of unspecified errors in their applications. Christians fear that the ruling against Greater Grace sets a dangerous precedent for other churches in the country. Indonesia VOM ProjectPray for those training 50 pastors to share the gospel with Muslims.*************•

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Useful or Useless?

This article talks about a developing technology that may one day allow some of the blind to see.

Although I find the concept interesting my concern is that it will have a negative impact in the interim on those having trouble dealing with their blindness. The societal norm towards the hierarchy of sight is problematic enough. From my own experience I know that before I got a handle on my blindness through the positive philosophy of the NFB I would have neglected much needed alternitive techniques in favor of dreaming of full sight.

A friend of mine who is blind (she calls herself night blind) refuses to use a cane and insists on relying on her children and husband to assist her in various situations. When I have spoken to her about blindness skills and their importance she has stated that her family doesn't mind assisting her and one day her vision will be correctable so blindness skills don't matter. Apart from the diminutive impact this line of thinking must have on her sense of self worth (not to mention the tention this must create with her family) her level of independence is lessened by belief in a technology that at this point is in an infancy stage at best. Articles like the one above only increase my friend's belief that blindness is horrible and can only be mitigated by restoration of sight. In the meantime she dreams about "useable vision," misses out on life, and causes unneeded tention with her family.

I also must point out that "useful" vision is a subjective term. Being able to see dark shapes on a white background is hardly useful. I prefer Dr. Kenneth Jernigan's definition of blindness- if you have to change a substantial amount of daily activities in order to function because your vision is poor then you are blind. With this definition the patients in the above article are still functionally blind. Why rely on scanty amounts of vision to complete a task when you can do so more quickly without? When I was in high school I insisted on useing a CCTV as opposed to useing Braille. My work was slower and even painful as I tried to squeeze every drop of useable vision I had out of a set of increasingly nonfunctioning vision. I should also add it was somewhat sad to read of the latter patient's thrill at having colored dreams again. Do I object to his joy? Hardly, I merely think it a sign of a deeper problem- notably clinging to the hierarchy of sight.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Spiking the Football

I read the below article from the Patriot Post, and thought I would share. "We must take human nature as we find it, perfection falls not to the share of mortals." --George Washington Editorial Exegesis Have you heard? Obama killed Osama! "'You know, we don't trot out this stuff as trophies,' Obama said last May 4. 'Americans and people around the world are glad that [Osama bin Laden] is gone. But we don't need to spike the football.' Two days earlier, the notorious terrorist and backer of the 9/11 attacks had been killed in a raid for which Obama had given the thumbs-up. ... With his chances at a second term increasingly uncertain, Obama's campaign has begun hyping the bin Laden raid. The most overt instance is its release of an ad extolling Obama's decision, with Bill Clinton as narrator and featuring multiple pensive images of the commander in chief. The ad employs an out-of-context quote ... to question whether presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney would have shown the same gutsy leadership if the same opportunity had arisen and he was president. 'Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?' the ad asks. ... It is almost as though the president's campaign has forgotten the famous '3 a.m.' ad from the 2008 presidential campaign, in which Hillary Clinton tried to sow doubts about Obama's leadership and aptitude. Obama's spokesman, Bill Burton, responded indignantly, comparing Mrs. Clinton to the occupant of the White House at the time, George W. Bush: 'It's ironic that she would borrow the president's tactics in her own campaign and invoke bin Laden to score political points,' Burton said. 'We already have a president who plays the politics of fear, and we don't need another.' No, but it looks like we got one after all."