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A Blogging Intermission

November 16, 2014

I walked around the outside of our home a few minutes ago to observe the Christmas decorations and lights we worked on this weekend in preparation for the Holiday Season.   As always at this time of year James makes our Victorian home feel like a Currier and Ives lithograph.  Knowing I was going to be outside for just a couple minutes I did not wear a jacket which only made coming back into the glow of the lights, the warmth of home, and scent of dinner in the oven even more welcoming.  On the seat of a rocker is The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin I started this afternoon.  With a light covering of snow outside and the season taking hold inside makes it easy for the following announcement.

It is never too early to get into the mood for making cookies and planning time with friends and family as the weeks ahead move very quickly.  Therefore until shortly after the start of 2015 I am taking a few week’s respite from the daily blogging that has been underway since July 2013 when I came back after writing my book.

While I will from time to time comment on news events briefly on my Caffeinated Politics Facebook page real blogging on this site is taking a holiday break.  Happy Holidays and see you in the New Year!

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Saturday Night At The Grand Ole Opry With Carson Peters And Ricky Skaggs

November 15, 2014

Letter From Home: “‘Uncle’ Gregory With Twins Lincoln And Leopold” 11/15/14

November 15, 2014

There are those times when all is right with the world.  Such was the case again last weekend when James and I had time to be with great friends.  Add in the mix twin boys who love to eat new foods and explore the ever-widening world around them and it was a real special afternoon.

It does a person good to slow way down and attempt to see the wonder of the world as viewed from the eyes of those who are just starting to figure out all that exists around them.  Across the street from where we sat a large blondish-colored dog ran about and held the eyes of the youngsters.  As soon as it came into view their eyes turned and watched keenly.

When a vacuum cleaner started in another room of their home a look of  uncertainty came over their face and almost the first signs of a cry was about to start.  But with a quick song from my lips and a couple high lifts in the air with Leopold it was soon made clear there was nothing to worry about.

My Mom always sang and hummed when she vacuumed, even in her 7th decade.  As the story goes it all started when her children were young and as the housework needed to done she found that singing and making it all seem like fun calmed anyone who might be frightened by the noise.

For the longest time both boys were absolutely content to be held and rocked about.  The favorite play toy for a time was the sticky “I Voted” sticker from the recent election which I had not removed from my jacket.  One would pull it off–I would press it back on–and little fingers would work again to remove it—only to have it replaced.  The sticky nature of it as it tugged on their fingers seemed so impressive to them.

While other babies always seem eager to touch and smear eye-glasses I never once had to deal with that as they both seemed far more interested in the blue buttons on my sweater.

The world remains with far more questions than answers at my age.  As it does for all of us.  So it is just remarkable to sit and watch young minds start to explore and begin the process of figuring out the things we can get a handle on in this world.

Like colored buttons are more fun than the plain ones.

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Muslim Prayers At Washington National Cathedral A Great Moment In America

November 15, 2014

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A moment America can be proud of for inclusion.  I am most pleased with this development and have faith that these are the types of building stones that lead to unity and better understanding among all people.

Prayer carpets were laid out under the soaring arches of the Washington National Cathedral early Friday for an unprecedented Muslim worship service in one of the best known churches in the United States.

Reverend Gina Campbell welcomed worshippers, declaring the Washington National Cathedral “a place of prayer for all people.”

“Let us stretch our hearts and let us seek to deepen mercy for we worship the same God,” she told the men and women sitting separately in rows, on the floor before her.

In the sermon, or Khutba, Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool praised religious freedom in America and lashed out against extremism, specifically mentioning Islamic militants who have slaughtered Christians in the Middle East.

“If we do not stop them at the monasteries, they will make their way to the mosques,” he said.

Church leaders and their Muslim partners say they hope the Friday Jumaa prayers will send a message of interfaith brotherhood that counters extremists’ use of religion to justify hatred and strife.

St. Peter’s Square Will Have Showers For Homeless Beneath Apostolic Apartments

November 15, 2014

One has to ask if this gives Madison’s Brenda Konkel any ideas?

In his latest bid to ease the suffering of the poor — and upend the expectations of the papacy — Pope Francis plans to build showers for the homeless under the sweeping white colonnade of St. Peter’s Square.

Three showers are to be built into refurbished public restrooms provided for Catholic pilgrims along the marble columns leading into the historic basilica, which was completed in 1626.

The Vatican’s deputy spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said Thursday (Nov. 13) that the project was a joint initiative of the pope and Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner who distributes charity on the pope’s behalf. Construction is due to begin next week (Nov. 17).

It’s an unconventional move, even for a pope who constantly preaches that more should be done to help the poor. It also could rankle traditionalists as the homeless line up to wash beneath the extravagant apostolic apartments that Francis shunned after his election.

Former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne Dies At Age 81

November 14, 2014

I was a teenager and loved listening to Chicago talk radio.  So it comes probably as no surprise that Jane Byrne caught my attention back in central Wisconsin where the news of her bid for mayor made for lots of excitement in the mind of a guy hoping to break free from the rural area and experience the energy of a big city.

In many ways Jane Byrne held for me the power of politics and urban drama all in one person.  She fascinated me.

Her death today is sad to hear about, but the life she lived and the joy she produced for others will not be forgotten.

George Will–”2003 Invasion Of Iraq The Worst Foreign Policy Decision In U.S. History”

November 14, 2014

I do like to read George Will because he is smart.  I do not always agree with him but I always know he writes from an educated point of view.

What he wrote this week is surely a must read for Washington policy-makers.

The last 11 years have been filled with hard learning. The 2003 invasion of Iraq, the worst foreign policy decision in U.S. history, coincided with mission creep (“nation building”) in Afghanistan. Both strengthened what can be called the Republicans’ John Quincy Adams faction: America “goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

Now, however, Americans generally, but Republicans especially, are thinking afresh about the world. Henry Kissinger’s new book, “World Order,” deftly diagnoses America’s bipolar mental condition regarding foreign policy, a condition that is perennial because it is congenital. “The conviction that American principles are universal,” Kissinger says, “has introduced a challenging element into the international system because it implies that governments not practicing them are less than fully legitimate.” This “suggests that a significant portion of the world lives under a kind of unsatisfactory, probationary arrangement, and will one day be redeemed; in the meantime, their relations with the world’s strongest power must have some latent adversarial element to them.”

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