Saturday, September 21, 2013

budget blues

Budgets are moral documents.  Jesus put it this way - "where your treasure is,  there is your heart."  The converse is the same, where your heart is, there is where you put your money.  I am appalled at the budget passed by the US House this week, cutting aid to millions of poor folk and defunding the ACA which provides health insurance for millions more.  And these actions by those who call themselves pro family and pro life.  They are neither.  If this budget shows us where their hearts are, it is clearly on the side of the rich and powerful at the expense of those on the margins.  As an American,  and even more importantly as a person of faith and a follower of Jesus who always stood with those on the margins, I am disgusted by these actions.  This bill is immoral and clearly at odds with anything taught by any religious tradition.

Unfortunately,  or fortunately,  my representative voted against this travesty.  So, I cannot vote against a representative who so offends anything I value or that I think represents my faith or my understanding of what we stand for a as a nation.  I will give to candidates running against those incumbents who so voted and I will call again and again for those who are my friends and acquaintances to put those people out of office.  Their immoral visions do not represent any version of America I hold  dear.

If you live in a district served by someone who voted for this immoral document, write, call, or email them, telling them that you cannot support a candidate who votes against the needs of the poorest and neediest.  Then vote them out.  If you vote for them, then you have forfeited your right to call yourself moral and certainly cannot claim to follow any religious tradition that is worth embracing.

Sojourners published a list of the representatives who voted for this immoral budget both by state and by last name.

Here they are ordered by last name.  VOTE THEM OUT!

Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.)
Rodney Alexander (R-La.)
Justin Amash (R-Mich.)
Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) 
Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)
Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.)
Lou Barletta (R-Pa.)
Andy Barr (R-Ky.)
Joe Barton (R-Texas)
Dan Benishek (R-Mich.)
Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich)
Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.)
Rob Bishop (R-Utah)
Diane Black (R-Tenn.)
Marsha Blackburn (T-Tenn.)
John Boehner (R-Ohio)
Charles Boustany (R-La.)
Kevin Brady (R-Texas)
Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.)
Mo Brooks (R-Ala.)
Susan W. Brooks (R-Indiana)
Paul Broun (R-Ga.)
Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.)
Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.)
Michael C. Burgess (R-Texas)
Ken Calvert (R-Calif.)
Dave Camp (R-Mich.)
John Campbell (R-Calif.)
Eric Cantor (R-Va.)
John Carter (R-Texas)
William Cassidy (R-La.)
Steve Chabot (R-Ohio)
Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah)
Howard Coble (R-N.C.)
Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) 
Tom Cole (R-Okla.)
Doug Collins (R-Ga.)
Chris Collins (R-N.Y.)
Michael K. Conaway (R-Texas)
Paul Cook (R-Calif.)
Tom Cotton (R-Ark.)
Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.)
Rick Crawford (R-Ark.)
Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.)
John Culberson (R-Texas)
Steve Daines (R-Mont.)
Rodney Davis (R-Ill.)
Jeff Denham (R-Calif.)
Charles W. Dent (R-Pa.)
Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.)
Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.)
Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.)
Sean P. Duffy (R-Wis.)
Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.)
John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.)
Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.)
Blake Farenthold (R-Texas)
Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.)
Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.)
John Fleming (R-La.)
Bill Flores (R-Texas) 
Randy J. Forbes (R-Va.)
Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.)
Trent Franks (R-Ariz.)
Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.)
Cory Gardner (R-Colo.)
Scott Garrett (R-N.J.)
Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.)
Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio)
Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.)
Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)
Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)
Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.)
Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.)
Kay Granger (R-Texas)
Tom Graves (R-Ga.)
Sam Graves (R-Mo.)
Tim Griffin (R-Ark.)
Morgan Griffith (R-Va.)
Brett S. Guthrie (R-Ky.)
Ralph M. Hall (R-Texas)
Gregg Harper (R-Miss.)
Andy Harris (R-Md.)
Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.)
Doc Hastings (R-Wash.)
Joe Heck (R-Nev.)
Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas)
George Holding (R-N.C.)
Richard Hudson (R-N.C.)
Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.)
Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.)
Randy Hultgren (R-Ill)
Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.)
Robert Hurt (R-Va.)
Darrell Issa (R-Calif)
Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.)
Bill Johnson (R-Ohio)
Sam Johnson (R-Texas)
Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)
David Joyce (R-Ohio)
Mike Kelly (R-Pa.)
Steve King (R-Iowa)
Jack Kingston (R-Ga.)
Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)
John Kline (R-Minn.)
Raul R. Labrador (R-Idaho)
Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.)
Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.)
Leonard Lance (R.-N.J.)
James Lankford (R-Okla.)
Tom Latham (R-Iowa)
Robert E. Latta (R-Ohio)
Billy Long (R-Mo.)
Frank Lucas (R-Okla.)
Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.)
Cynthia M. Lummis (R-Wyo.)
Kenny Marchant (R-Texas)
Tom Marino (R-Pa.)
Thomas Massie (R-Ky.)
Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
Michael T. McCaul (R-Texas)
Tom McClintock (R-Calif.)
Patrick T. McHenry (R-N.C.)
Buck McKeon (R-Calif.)
David McKinley (R-W.Va.)
Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.)
Mark Meadows (R-N.C.)
Luke Messer (R-Ind.)
John Mica (R-Fla.)
Jeff Miller (R-Fla.)
Candice Miller (R-Mich.)
Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.)
Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.)
Tim Murphy (R-Pa.)
Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas)
Kristi Noem (R-S.D.)
Richard Nugent (R-Fla.)
Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)
Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.)
Pete Olson (R-Texas)
Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.)
Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.)
Steve Pearce (R-N.M.)
Scott Perry (R-Pa.)
Thomas Petri (R-Wis.)
Robert Pittenger (R-N.C.)
Joseph R. Pitts (R-Pa.)
Ted Poe (R-Texas)
Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.)
Bill Posey (R-Fla.)
Tom Price (R-Ga.)
Trey Radel (R-Fla.)
Tom Reed (R-N.Y.)
David G. Reichert (R-Wash.)
Jim Renacci (R-Ohio)
Reid Ribble (R-Wis.)
Tom Rice (R-S.C.)
Scott Rigell (R-Va.)
Martha Roby (R-Ala.)
Phil Roe (R-Tenn.)
Mike Rogers (R-Ala.)
Harold Rogers (R-Ky.)
Mike Rogers (R-Mich.)
Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.)
Todd Rokita (R-Ind.)
Tom Rooney (R-Fla.)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)
Peter J. Roskam (R-Ill.)
Dennis Ross (R-Fla.)
Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.)
Ed Royce (R-Calif.)
Jon Runyan (R-N.J.)
Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)
Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.)
Mark Sanford (R-S.C.)
Steve Scalise (R-La.)
Aaron Schock (R-Ill.)
David Schweikert (R-Ariz.)
Austin Scott (R-Ga.)
James F. Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.)
Pete Sessions (R-Texas)
John Shimkus (R-Ill.)
Bill Shuster (R-Pa.)
Mike Simpson (R-Idaho)
Jason Smith (R-Mo.)
Adrian Smith (R-Neb.)
Lamar Smith (R-Texas)
Steve Southerland (R-Fla.)
Chris Stewart (R-Utah)
Steve Stivers (R-Ohio)
Steve Stockman (R-Texas)
Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.)
Lee Terry (R-Neb.)
Glenn W. Thompson (R-Pa.)
Mac Thornberry (R-Texas)
Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio)
Scott Tipton (R-Colo.)
Michael Turner (R-Ohio)
Fred Upton (R-Mich.)
Ann Wagner (R-Mo.)
Tim Walberg (R-Mich.)
Greg Walden (R-Ore.)
Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.)
Randy Weber (R-Texas)
Daniel Webster (R-Fla.)
Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio)
Lynn A. Westmoreland (R-Ga.)
Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.)
Roger Williams (R-Texas)
Joe Wilson (R-S.C.)
Robert J. Wittman (R-Va.)
Steve Womack (R-Ark.)
Robert Woodall (R-Ark.)
Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.)
Ted Yoho (R-Fla.)
C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.)
Todd Young (R-Ind.)

Monday, September 16, 2013

two weeks

Two weeks ago, Corwin Alexander Busby mad his debut into the world.   A week ago, I met him for the first time and have gotten to spend the last week with him, my daughter, and my son-in-law.  Someone recently told me that the love between a grandparent and a grandchild is the purest form of love.  I don't know whether that is accurate or not but I understand the idea.  As a grandparent I approach the child with only one agenda... to enjoy his presence.  And I do... how I do...

I told Corwin that he is my favorite person in the entire world.  He responded by filling his diaper... "How do you like me now?"  I was excited!  I got to change his diaper again.  I am truly and absolutely in love.

I don't have many photos of him awake... it seems that most of the time he is not sleeping, he is eating...  so, here is one.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013


I hear the drumbeat and we are marching ever closer to war again.  Like the last time, it is based on limited information, has no realistic goal, and has virtually no chance of ending in a positive way.  Simply, it feels to me like we are planning to throw missiles that will kill hundreds of innocent people and accomplish little because our leaders cannot imagine something else to do in the face of horrendous atrocities.  Or maybe they can imagine other paths but those paths are just too difficult.  Throwing missiles is easy.  It feels good.  It feeds the myth of redemptive violence that is so central to our culture.  The problem is that redemptive violence is a myth in the non-technical sense of the word.  Violence does not solve the problem and only causes more suffering and pain for the innocent.

I refuse to believe that violence is the only path available or that it is the most effective path.  There are diplomatic paths.  Russia and China must be engaged.  They must be convinced that cutting off arms to the Assad regime is in the best interest of the entire world.   We must not stop pushing them until they agree.  If it takes years or decades, so be it.  The US must begin building positive relationships with Muslims throughout the middle east.  If we spent 1/2 the resources we put into military interventions into schools, hospitals, and infrastructure, we would have an entire region that loved us.  We don't have to teach the children in a way that is offensive to rather conservative Islamists.  We could teach them in a way that presents a possibility for making the world a better place other than through suicide bombing.  We could work with Assad's allies to isolate him.  Convince them that this war is not in their best interest either.  It isn't.   We could "smother" those in Syria who reflect some of the values we'd like to see reinforced with food, medical supplies, other resources... heck we could even give those things to our "enemies" and work to turn them into friends.   Instead of threatening bombs and military interventions, we could work to actually make peace.   I'm sure there are other tactics as well.  Yes... they're all difficult but we haven't really tried them and to the degree we have, we haven't exhausted them.  Will they work?  Who knows.  We haven't tried.  Does military intervention work?  Look at Iraq and Afghanistan and answer that one for me.

There is an aphorism that says "When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail."  The only tool we have is military.  We need a bigger tool box.  We need leaders who can imagine other possibilities.  We need a national commitment to philosophize and strategize other ways to solve problems.  We need to be proactive to make the world a better place rather than reactive "police" who go in to punish wrong-doers.  I am astounded at the number of colleges and other institutions in the US devoted to training military leaders and working to make war more effectively...  There is nothing like that devoted to peacemaking and no university level programs sponsored by our government aimed at peace studies.  Indeed, I could only find 10 colleges in the country that even offer a major in Peace Studies. There are more military high schools - 21 that I could find - than that.  And they all get funding from the federal government to train boys to make war.  Why not train a few to make peace?

As a nation we have serious work to do... or we could take the easy way out, spend huge amounts of money while starving our own domestic needs, kill many more innocent people, make more enemies, and accomplish little to nothing of positive value.  Yeah... that sounds like a good idea.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

It is Not My World

Most of the time life moves along like a river - smoothly, quietly, consistently.  While you can never stick your foot in the same river twice, in large degree, just looking you'd never know that.  One day blends into the next.  Time goes by like an ever flowing stream.  The artificial breaks of months and years are just that.  Every now and then, though, something happens that is a big marker, separating one chapter of life from the previous one and it is obvious that nothing will ever be the same again.

Getting married is one of those jarring changes for many people.  It wasn't so for me.  I'm not sure whether that had to do with my lack of maturity or what, but I didn't feel as if things were particularly different afterwards.  The birth of my daughter and the adoption of my son were big deals.  In both cases, I knew that the world had changed.  When I was diagnosed with familial hyperlipidemia was another and I first really faced my own mortality.  In 2006 both of my parents died (two weeks apart).  That was a huge one as I realized that I was then in the oldest generation of my family.  I wasn't the son, I was the old man.

Yesterday another huge one happened.  At 7:15pm in Berkeley, CA, Corwin Alexander Busby arrived in the world.  We knew he was coming.  For 9 months, we've been getting ready both physically and emotionally.  His mother and father, Alexis and Christian have been full of dreams and anxieties.  I've been thinking about that day for months and realized that he brought with him a message of critical import.  The world is not mine.  Yes, I knew that some day I would die and that there would be people who followed after me who would never even hear my name let alone forget it.  Still, seeing yet another new generation begin reminded me in a life changing way that I am only visiting here for a short while.  Indeed the only thing that I leave behind are the relationships that have formed people who will form people who will form people for who knows how many generations.

It is sobering.  It is wonderful.  It is exciting.  It reminds me of what is real and important.  I can't wait to get that little boy in my arms and embrace a future that I will not live to see but which will go on none the less.