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Nuclear Fear

I have been in couple of debates about the unreasonable amount of fear when it came to nuclear power with some of my friends and relatives. This came about because of what happened at Fukushima. My argument was that, yeah, it’s not a good thing, but people were getting hysterical about it. That the hysteria would probably end up costing more lives than anything from Fukushima. That Fukushima is not Chernobyl – heck even Chernobyl is not Chernobyl as it has been popularly portrayed.

Well, lo and behold, there have been photographers who have journeyed into the Chernobyl exclusion zone. One sample report that you can see here. Now if you read that report and look at the pictures, what you will not see are 150 foot, fire-breathing lizards fighting giants moths, but instead flourishing wild-life. Some which have not been seen in decades. The exclusion zone around Chernobyl has become Europe’s biggest nature preserve.

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Exodus

I am reading a survey on the Old Testament and when it came to the book of Exodus, it pointed out something interesting about the golden bull incident.

You know, I always thought that when the Israelites created the golden bull, during their stay near Mt Sinai, that they were setting up an idol of Baal or some other deity from their Canaanite neighbors. Rather, what they were doing was saying that the golden bull was God, Yahweh. They were trying to make an idol of God to worship. The second commandment states that it is forbidden to create a graven image or any likeness of things in Heaven and clearly the Israelites were in violation of that. I especially like Aaron’s response when Moses reprimanded him. He basically says: Hey, I just threw the gold into the fire and viola, out came this bull. It was a miracle!

There is a lesson there for us. We hypostatize God into something that fits our goals and causes. Saying that God is such and such (love, just, peace, etc) so that whatever this cause that I am doing, or thing that I am passionate about, or something I have a vested interest in, contains God. We might even convince ourselves that there was a miraculous event – a calling perhaps – that precipitated it all.

We need to have a healthy fear of God, a large dose of humility and a spirit of obedience. I am convinced that God placed things in the Bible to test that. Things that may seem backwards, strange or bewildering to the world.

A Fear

I am not sure if there are any commentaries about this, but I fear that another 9/11 type of attack will happen in the not too distant future – say in three to four years. In the years before 9/11, there were series of attacks on American interests around the world: Khobar Towers, embassy bombings in Africa, the first world trade center bombings, USS Cole attacks, etc. There were safe havens in Afghanistan and other places for terrorist groups. Now we have terrorist groups running around in Mali, Libya and other places. We have daring, well planned attacks against American/Western targets in Benghazi, in Algeria, in Turkey as well as this general feeling that America is in retreat (again).

I certainly hope it is just stupid nonsense and nothing comes of it, but still….

Amadeus

Not sure if anyone remembers the movie ‘Amadeus’. I enjoyed it and on youtube, there are some videos of the extras that you get on the dvd.

I did not know this, but the movie was filmed in Prague in 1983. In other words, behind the iron curtain, in communist Czechoslovakia, during the height of the cold war, using Czechs as extras. It ended up that they were filming an opera performance scene on the 4th of July. During the filming, all of a sudden a huge American flag was unfurled and six hundred Czechs stood up and sang (or hummed) the American  national anthem – all except the secret police sprinkled among them. I thought it was an extraordinary event, and brave in a very real sense. These Czechs risked being jailed (and possibly tortured – them and their families) to demonstrate their solidarity to America and to freedom. It shows that despite decades of indoctrination, why communism fell so suddenly and completely and how powerful were the ideals that America represented to the Czechs.

I wonder if something like that could happen now….especially since the elites in media, entertainment, academia, heck, even the president of the US – those that are the very pinnacle of the representatives of our culture, at best, thinks that America is just another special nation among a group of special nations and not THE indispensable nation. I don’t know.

 

Walker

Well, seems that Gov Scott Walker survived his recall vote in Wisconsin. He faced a recall mainly because he took on the public sector unions: Curtailing some of their collective bargaining and having them contribute more toward their retirement and benefits. My take: As far as public unions are concerned, it really did not matter if Walker won or not, their benefits and pensions would have been reformed anyway. The reason being that these public pension are woefully bankrupt and benefits were promised using unrealistically rosy projections. Heck, I believe CALPERS projected that by this time the Dow would be at around 29,000. We are barely at 12,000 with another recession knocking on our doors. So sure, if Walker was defeated, they could have gone back to their merry ways, but eventually reality would have reared its head and changes would be forced upon them, but with an additional heaping helping of pain.

Hence, the more appropriate question is do you want these reforms be gradual and orderly or drastic and sudden. The sooner that state and local government gets around to it, the more likely that the reforms will not cause dramatic disruptions. Everyone knows this – it’s common sense, but you run into another all to human desire of getting as much as you can now. I hope that the defeat of this recall means that citizens and adults are willing to accept the necessary steps required to make these things be on a more sound financial footing. This is of course true of such programs as medicaid, medicare and social security. Like what happened in Wisconsin, I am hoping that, nationally, we will be willing to support candidates looking to pro-actively reform these programs instead of ignoring what is obvious to everyone, thus having events dictate to us the terms we must abide by.

Sarah

I was reading this and I came across something that I looked over my entire life. I have a son named Isaac and that name means ‘laughter’. Some people say that the meaning came from the fact that Sarah laughed when she heard the Lord state that within a year she would be with a son. Now, I always thought she laughed because she found the idea of having a baby at her advanced age to be ridiculous. However, it is not quite that. Here is what it really said in Genesis 18:12 (King James):

Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

More contemporaneously: Hey, you’re telling me that old Abe will ring my bell? I don’t think he can even get it up!

Of course, our Lord, being the supreme marriage counselor diverted that statement and changed the subject somewhat in verse 13.

Anyway, thought this was interesting and fun. It is among some of the things that I like about the Bible. The feelings of the people in it seems so real, authentic and timeless. I can totally see the wife of an old couple saying something like that to herself and laughing about it. I can also imagine God smiling and laughing too as He inspired Moses to write that passage down. In fact, I feel that there are many passages in the Bible that God meant for us to read with a sense of humor.

Valentines

For you lovebirds out there, here are two interesting articles on marriage and love from the land of my birth. Here and here.

At the very least, I learned where we got the term: yobo.