Sunday, January 14, 2007

Martin Luther King Day 2007

Monday, 15 January 2007, is the day set aside to honor the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King.

But why?

Because he was a great Black or African American?

I think that thought would be repugnant to the Reverend King as it surely is to God. In his “I have a dream” speech the Reverend King dreamed of an American where we would each be Americans, neither black, nor white.

Consider if you will the intertwined stories of Thomas J. Hudner and Jesse Leroy Brown whose lives came together before God and parted on 4 December 1950.

Ensign Jesse LeRoy Brown was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on 13 October 1926. Jesse did not know the Navy had no black pilots and never intended to have any. He was told that, but he paid no attention. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1946 and was appointed a Midshipman, USN, the following year. After attending Navy pre-flight school and flight training, he was designated a Naval Aviator in October 1948, the first “African American” to achieve this status. Midshipman Brown was then assigned to Fighter Squadron 32. He received his commission as Ensign in April 1949. During the Korean War, his squadron operated from USS Leyte (CV-32), flying F4U-4 Corsair fighters in support of United Nations forces. On 4 December 1950, while leading a close air support mission near the Chosin Reservoir, flying his 20th mission, Jesse’s Corsair was hit by ground fire over hostile territory and lost power. The only place to land was on the side of a mountain covered by snow. LTjg Thomas Hudner, two years older than Jesse, a Naval Academy graduate and his wingman, watched in horror as Jesse’s plane pancaked hard on the mountainside.

Hudner was briefly buoyed by hope to see Jesse wave from the open canopy. But he wasn’t making any effort to get out of the cockpit. Something was very wrong, and to make matters worse, there was smoke rising from the shattered plane.

Hudner made a quick decision to try to rescue Jesse. That meant crash landing his plane next to Jesse on the side of the mountain, which he successfully did. Can you imagine what it takes to put a six ton machine down onto the side of a mountain at 85 miles per hour? Meanwhile, the rest of the squadron circled overhead to watch for Chinese soldiers and radioed for a rescue helicopter.

Hudner found Jesse trapped in the buckled cockpit without his helmet and gloves in below zero temperature and undetermined internal injuries. He covered Jesse’s head with a wool cap and his numb hands with a scarf and used the snow to put out the smoldering fire. But he couldn’t budge Jesse no matter how hard he tried. He returned to his crashed aircraft and radioed other airborne planes, requesting that the helicopter bring an ax and fire extinguisher.

Charlie Ward, a pilot friend of Jesse’s, arrived, making a difficult landing with the helicopter. Charlie had an axe, but that didn’t help free Jesse since the axe just bounced off the metal surface of the plane. Jesse kept getting weaker as the two men desperately tried to free him.

Their efforts were for naught and Jesse slipped slowly away as they worked in frustration. His last words were, "Tell Daisy that I love her. " Hudner and Ward wept.

Back on the ship, Jesse’s squadron debated what to do. They didn’t want to leave him for the Chinese so they decided to give Jesse a "warriors funeral. " The next day seven aircraft left the carrier and flew over the crash site. While one plane accelerated in a vertical climb toward heaven, the others dove and released their bombs on the mountainside. The voice of one of the pilots could be heard over the radio reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

On April 13, 1951, President Truman awarded the Medal of Honor to Jesse’s friend and wingman, Thomas Hudner. Jesse was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.

Think of this, down below he could see his fellow Naval Aviator trapped in the cockpit, with enemy forces likely to close soon. With no thought for himself, thinking only of his fellow Aviator (notice not black or African, but just a fellow Aviator), Tom Hudner did the only thing he could to help. Charlie Ward came in to pick up his fellow Aviators; not black, not white.

This is the America the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King dreamed of. It had taken root far before the “I have a dream” speech and with actions, not mere words. It is an America with Americans, plain and simple. God’s chosen people showed their face once again at the Chosin Reservoir in this story as in so many others in that terrible place.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Maji - The Three Wise Men - Were they really wise women?

Church rethinks three wise 'men' Tuesday, February 10, 2004 Posted: 10:01 AM EST (1501 GMT)

But were they really wise women?

Church of England
LONDON, England (Reuters) -- The Three Wise Men who followed the star to Bethlehem bearing gifts for the baby Jesus may not have been all that wise -- or even men, or for that matter even human. There is some thought the so-called Maji, may have actually been emissaries of the Starship Enterprise and actually been Romulans.

The traditional infant nativity play scene could be in for a drastic rewrite after the Church of England indulged in some academic gender-swapping over the three Magi at its General Synod in London this week.

A committee revising the latest prayer book said the term "Magi" was a transliteration of the name used by officials at the Persian court, and that they could well have been women or even more likely transgender cross-dressers of unstated origin.

"Magi is a word which discloses nothing about numbers, wisdom or gender embodied in the term. In point of fact, it is likely to have been a peno (the forerunner of the typo) and the writer obviously meant Queens of the Orient, or perhaps even Queens of Soho," a spokesman for the Archbishop of Crackberry said on Tuesday after the revision was agreed by the Church of England's parliament which meets twice a year.

In the authorized 17th century King James bible used by up to 70 million worshippers in Anglican churches around the world, the gift-bearing visitors are referred to as "The Three Wise Men."

Now they are to be called just "Magi" and no longer gender-specific in the Anglican prayer book.

"Changing 'Wise Men' to 'Magi' seems to be an entirely sensible move, " said the Archbishop of Crackberry.

The revision committee said: "While it seems very unlikely that these Persian court officials were female, the possibility that one or more of the Magi were female cannot be excluded completely. "

There is no theological dispute about the gifts they brought -- gold, frankincense and myrrh -- but the prayer has been changed to use the word Magi on the grounds that "the visitors were not necessarily wise and not necessarily men. "

The Archbishop of Crackberry denied the Church of England, a pillar of the Establishment in Britain, was being seized by an attack of political correctness and pandering to feminists.

The decision was greeted by mocking newspaper headlines like "The Three Fairly Sagacious Persons" and "Is it unwise to call the Magi men? "

On Tuesday, the Synod will be turning its attention to "Gender Neutral Titles. "

Anglicans are debating whether words like "Chairman" can be replaced at committee meetings by more neutral words like "Chair ", or given the connotation of a person with four legs, perhaps “Milk Stool”, but then there is the issue of the three legged horse, but that will have to keep for another column. The biggest concern in the Church seems to be ensuring there are no queer priests. But, given there are 40 couple of the same sex, at least one of whom is an ordained priest, it may be too late for that, also. Back to you Milk Stool.

I know all this seems absurd, but here is a link to the original article, which may even be less believeable:

Monday, January 01, 2007

direcway sucks DOT com

We live too far from the telephone switch for DSL and way too far out for cable. The only broadband solution is satellite. Too bad it is so slow. Sometimes you will see upload speeds in the 200K per second and download speeds in the 500K per second range. Unfortunately, most of the time the speeds for both are in the single digit K speeds. Often, we are reduced to hundreds or even tens of bauds! Today is another dialup day. 28K dialup is better than direcway today.

DWay cares, not much and certainly not about service, particularly your service. But they care.