Monday, August 31, 2009

Bipolar Weekend!

If weekends could suffer personality disorders, this weekend would certainly be diagnosed with bipolar disorder! Saturday was absolutely lovely! The sun shone, the breezes were warm but pleasant. I waited to see what the predictions were for the weekend before making plans. The weatherman got it right!

Saturday was lovely and a great day to do some work outside in the yard. Saga and I took a nice, long walk in the park, we even went to that evil place (the dog wash) to torture her (give her a bath) before giving he a treat… we went to a local drive-in restaurant where they have cookies for dogs that allow their people to drive around in the car with them. Saga even begged a second cookie!

Sunday, not so great! I awoke to overcast and threatening skies. A light drizzle fell in the morning and Saga wanted nothing to do with the park. The day, overall was pretty cool and better spent inside. So that is what I did. I spent the day doing housework and some maintenance on my photo library.

Who knows what today will hold, it is still too dark out for me to be able to tell much. The weather was cool and the sky a bit overcast as Saga and I went for our walk this morning… she didn't want to venture too far into the park. I am not sure if she could sense the coyotes nearby. I couldn't see or hear them, but then Saga often sees things I can’t. Some of them are even there.

But I guess I should get this posted and get to the office… it is shaping-up to be a busy week!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you'll have a great week!

Don Bergquist – August 31, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my friend Sam

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Fitting Memorial

Over the past few days, coverage of the life and death of Senator Edward Kennedy have been moving. Of all the things that have been said, one of the most moving, in my opinion, are the repeated references to my favorite Robert Frost poem.

I have heard a number of commentators miss-attribute the lines to The Road Not Taken, a good poem, but not the one that was often quoted by Senator Kennedy in his stump speeches. The lines "I have promises to keep; and miles to go before I sleep" Come not from The Road Not Taken but from Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening.

How fitting that a man with such an ingrained sense of duty to family, country, and humanity should choose these lines to close his speeches. How fitting also that the poem should be brought-up in the middle of the summer. The world is a bit darker and colder without Senator Kennedy in it. My wishes for comfort and solace go out to his family!

Wherever you are today, I wish you peace and happiness!

Don Bergquist - August 29, 2009 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
By Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost
New Hampshire
1923

Happy birthday to my friend Beckie

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Does This Sound Familiar?

Hey! I’ve come up with a connection...

In honor of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, I want to share with you a realization I have just had! The following quote from John Sebastian was offered as a dedication for a song he was playing. To be fair, when he was giving this dedication, he was reportedly high on acid. Does this sound familiar to anyone else?
“I’d like to sing you a song, actually, I’d like to dedicate it to . . . there’s a cat, and I really don’t know his name, but I remember that Chip said that uh, that uh, his old lady’s just had a baby. And that made me think, Wow! It really is a city here! But this is for you and your old lady, man. And uh. Whew! That kid’s gonna be far-out!”
To me this sounds list like just the random arrangement of thoughts that are characteristic of a certain ex-governor (who although she is no quitter, recently resigned her post as governor) of Alaska. Perhaps that is the problem, she’s not unprepared or an idiot, she’s tripping!

Wherever you are today, I hope you’ll remember:
"To get back to the warning that I received. You may take it with however many grains of salt that you wish. That the brown acid that is circulating around us isn't too good. It is suggested that you stay away from that. Of course it's your own trip. So be my guest, but please be advised that there is a warning on that one, ok?"
Don Bergquist – August 18, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my friend Barbara

Monday, August 17, 2009

Setting The Record Straight

I keep hearing as a part of the "healthcare debate" that the U.S. has the best healthcare system in the world. Uh… not as such. Sorry.

According to most independent observations, we have about the fourth or fifth best healthcare system in the world. We spend more money per-capita on healthcare and still do not deliver the best care… how is this a good thing?

A lot of negative things have been said about the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom. Other than my initial brush with it (in June of 2006) which I played-up for editorial reasons, I really can see very little to complain about. Other than that the NHS system does assign you a doctor (to more equitably balance the load and to make sure everyone has access to one) I had no qualm with the care I received in the time I was living over in the UK.

Sure, I had to sit for three hours that first day when I went to the Casualty Department for my allergies, but the fact that they saw me at all and at no charge was amazing! At the time I was not yet actually on the UK's healthcare roles, so I was impressed that I paid nothing for my consultation and I paid less than five pounds (about ten bucks at the time) for the prescriptions.

When I was actually on the NHS, the two times I saw my doctor, I paid nothing for the office visit, and next to nothing for the prescriptions I was given (I think it was £2 for the lot).

And let's face it! What we have now in America is a system by which the working poor, homeless and other uninsured are going without until their ailments get bad enough that they sit in an emergency room. By that point, something that may have been easy to prevent becomes life-threatening and expensive and hard to cure. We've shifted the cost of preventive care to the cost of emergency treatment. And with the law being that a hospital cannot turn away a patient because they are indigent or otherwise unable to pay, we all pay for the uninsured by the hospital raising the rates so that they do not lose money on treatment of the poor.

Instead of paying a de facto premium on healthcare, why not take the best of both worlds. Reform healthcare so that we can contain the costs within a reasonable zone, provide healthcare to all, maintain freedom of choice, and finally make all the boasting you hear these days about us having the best healthcare in the world finally true!?

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're well and your needs are being seen to.

Don Bergquist – August 17, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weekly Wrap

It is heartening to see that the town hall meetings the president has taken part in seem to have been of a more constructive bent than those that received coverage at the early part of the week. Perhaps people have decided that the whole "disrupt the proceedings" strategy is doing more harm than good. It is really too early to deploy such a vitriolic approach anyway. There is no single bill to get so riled-up against anyway. We still don't know what the plan will be so how can you be so worked-up about it.

On the "talking heads" shows this morning I heard a number of the republican spokespeople trying to play-down the protests by pointing out that the left had also been calling for people to attend these town hall meetings. While that may be true, there is a huge difference between getting your base motivated to turn-out at a town hall meeting and having to bus people from venue-to-venue.

There has also been coverage this week about the upsurge in these self-styled militias all over the country. What is up with that? When the left opposes you they demonstrate, they protest, they organize to turn-out the vote. When the right opposes you they arm themselves and form covert paramilitary organizations. Has anyone ever heard of a liberal militia? Though politically a centrist I have to say that of the two styles of dissent, I prefer the left!

I do not want to let this one slip by, it is worth a note. This week, a right-wing web rag called The Investor Business Daily was called to task for a slight misstatement:

People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.

Many papers around the country made a point of correcting this by pointing out that Dr. Hawking was born and raised in Oxford (last time I was there, I do not remember having left the UK to get there) and teaches at Cambridge (which is also located in the UK). For his part, upon hearing of the report, Dr. Hawking reportedly answered that without the NHS he would not be alive to day; the way I read this it is not only a repudiation of the Investor Business Daily report, but a rather clear statement that the opposite of what they reported was true.

By the time I had located the article on their website they had issued a "correction" to the affect that they had removed any reference of Dr. Hawking from the article (as well as negative coverage of the UK's NHS) and added a the following editor's note:

This version corrects the original editorial which implied that physicist Stephen Hawking, a professor at the University of Cambridge, did not live in the UK.

Ah! Nice clarification! A "correction" worthy of Glenn Beck!

Wherever you are today, I hope you're having a great weekend!

Don Bergquist – August 16, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my friend Ginger

Saturday, August 15, 2009

!!! BREAKING NEWS !!!

…and the “local” news does not escape my scorn either.

This week, the local morning news broke into itself (or at least introduced the following story as somehow more important than the rest of the news) to tell us about a fire in Indiana which had disrupted local traffic for their rush hour.

I found myself wondering why this was more important to me than the accident on one of the local expressways that was going to directly impact my commute that came on a few minutes later. There is so much going on locally, why is it that the “local” news needs to break into itself to cover things that can in no way impact the local audience?

This is not to say that there isn’t important news that I need to know about that is not local, but with only seven minutes of content (repeated ad nauseum) over the entire two-hours of the local news cast, why talk about trivial things? The other day one of the local stations broke into their evening news to cover a car chase in Atlanta. It was bad enough when I was working in Los Angeles to discover that the local TV stations all broke into their regular scheduled programs to cover the local police chases. It was worse yet to see the amount of manpower that was being devoted to it. (Every local station tracks the chases using their news helicopters.) But it was mind-boggling to discover that the ratings numbers during these chases tend to be ungodly high.

That being the case, the fact that our local stations are now breaking into programming to cover police chases in other states is completely unbelievable! What has become of the news industry? How bad will news have to get before people start demanding better news?

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will speak-up, demand more news in your local newscasts!

Don Bergquist – August 15, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my brother Denis

Happy birthday to my cousin Nathan

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fair And Balanced

…which is not to say that the media other than Faux News are any paragon of virtue.

Another certain news channel who (in the interest of fairness) will also remain nameless (…but who’s name is comprised of three consonants) seems to have confused news with sensationalism. In the past, the news network in question presented actual news as opposed to reading emails and presenting them as news.

If you’re not going to report fact, but are going to read opinion from Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, then call yourself an opinion network. (Though, if you change your initials to reflect you’re now an opinion network, the name becomes unflattering, now, doesn’t it?)

The other day I was watching the “news” network in question and besides the continuing question of the Michael Jackson saga, (Newsflash: Michael Jackson is still dead – the fight over his estate is still raging…) I saw email opinion of who should care for the Jackson Children, and Twitter updates on what to do about healthcare.

It is getting so that to get ten minutes worth of news, one has to watch three hours of newscasts on a variety of sources and strip-out the chaff from the wheat. Which is what I tend to do and have done for years, but these days, I have to watch a lot more newscasts to get any actual news. No wonder the populace as a whole is uninformed. It is actual work to become informed!

I can only hope that some day the pendulum swings back the other way and we get news in our newscasts again.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will make the effort to become informed.

Don Bergquist – August 14, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy anniversary to Tim & Stephanie

Thursday, August 13, 2009

We Distort - You Divide

For much of the last eight years one specific right-wing media mouthpiece company that will remain nameless (thought it rhymes with "pox") has been crying crocodile tears over the loss of civility in the political discourse appalling. When one disagreed with the president and his plans to start an ill-planned war, the "pox" network called them un-American. When a few protestors got through the security screening process and were actually allowed into the town hall meetings that the last administration orchestrated for friend-laden crowds, the "pox" network bemoaned the death of civility, calling the protestors un-American.

"Pox" news (their word, not mine…) called every incident where a protestor shouted down a speaker or disrupted a meeting scandalous. Which would make such a better story if they weren't now backing, or at least heavily promoting the same behavior and calling it "debate." Apparently, if you act appallingly and you agree with the "pox" network you're debating… if you disagree you're anti-American and a troublemaker.

Now, I'm not saying that the people disrupting meetings with their ranting don’t have rights to be protesting what is going on. They do and I defend it. (Though I would prefer, as I have said before, a bit of decorum.)

John Stewart put together a montage the other night that is worth seeing. In the first part of the montage, the commentators from the "pox" news morning program provide an interesting and telling description of the healthcare "debate."

The anchors sit there talking about the "orderly, and respectful," average Americans who are just "showing-up" at these town hall meetings to ask questions and have their voices heard. One gores so far as to say that she has seen no ill-behaved people at these town hall meetings.

These were also interspersed with cuts of protestors frothing-at-the mouth in their frenzy to shut-down the meetings. One particularly apoplectic man yells at the speaker that he (the congressman holding the town hall meeting) is uninformed as to what is in the bill being discussed and he (again the congressman) should watch Glenn Beck. (The speaker suggests if the protestor wants to learn more, he should turn off the TV when Glenn Beck comes on.)

The piece goes on to defend the "pox" news coverage by reminding us all how they have always been pro-freedom-of-speech. This comment is then juxtaposed by cuts of the "pox" news anchors complaining about the "radical left" (by which I assume they mean the 52% of us who opposed the idea of attacking Iraq when our enemy was in Afghanistan) being vitriolic, angry, and obviously being organized. (If that isn’t the pot calling the grass "dope…")

So what do we have? We have a radical right-wing network that is (and always has been) nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Republican Party. We have a clearly manufactured protest being backed by a news outlet that dismisses their opposition as being manufactured vitriol; a "news" network that complains about the vitriol of their opposition but is not above creating and promoting vitriol against their enemies.

What did you expect? Fair and Balanced? It is no wonder that there a number of studies showing that "pox" news watchers are the worst informed on current affairs. (One study I read said that over fifty percent of the people who say this network is their primary news source believe we found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.)

Wherever you are today, I hope you will think for yourself today. Take my advice: don't take my word for it… don't take anyone's word for it… go out and form your own opinion.

Don Bergquist – August 13, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my cousin Greg

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nazi's? Really!?

This weekend during the "Talking Heads" programs every program I watched showed some right-wing wacko talk show referring to the current administration and comparing them to the Nazi party.

Really!? The Nazi Party!? You really want to go there?

Okay, let's talk about the Nazi party and see. Opposition to the Nazi point of view was disallowed during their regime. According to the reports I have read, any point of view that was presented in any public venue that disagreed with the party line was shouted down. It was later that this tactic was reinforced by the strategic employment of violence. (Is this not unlike the "grass roots opposition" who bus protestors to town hall meetings to shout down the speaker and prevent the healthcare plan from being discussed just because they oppose it?)

The Nazi part to which these commentators are referring were the minority of the German population. While there was anti-foreign (and probably anti-Jewish) sentiment among the population as a whole at the time, which the Nazi party pandered to in order to come to power; it is unlikely that if the full scope of what the Nazis (Hitler in specific) wanted to do had been known, he would have been elected. Hmmm. An unpopular party in the minority with unpopular views (which are also supported by a minority of the populace) skewing their real ideals to try and garner support… why does that seem familiar?

The opposition is really stretching to make this analogy. This is just more scare tactics in order to try and touch a cord in the populace and try and return to power. I hope that the populace is not stupid enough to believe the effluent that issues forth from the misdirection machine that the opposition has deployed.

Wherever you are today, I hope you will have an excellent day and that you will make the extra effort to think for yourself.

Don Bergquist – August 12, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Grass Roots Movement

grass roots [gras-roots, -roots, grahs-]

–noun (used with a singular or plural verb)
1. the common or ordinary people, esp. as contrasted with the leadership or elite of a political party, social organization, etc.; the rank and file.
2. the agricultural and rural areas of a country.
3. the people inhabiting these areas, esp. as a political, social, or economic group.
4. the origin or basis of something; the basic or primary concept, rule, part, or the like.

Origin:
1910–15 Americanism for def. 1

–adjective
of, pertaining to, or involving the common people, esp. as contrasted with or separable from an elite: a grass-roots movement for nuclear disarmament.

Origin:
1910–15

According to the media, there is a grass roots movement developing against the healthcare reform bills being discussed in Washington. Really!? Has the meaning of this phrase changed at some point? Is this some strange, new usage I was previously unaware of? Has this phrase come to mean "manufactured and rude opposition created and supported by established media groups and funded by lobbyists?" How times change!

The opposition says that they don't want the government to impose a bureaucrat between the patient and the doctor. They say that they don't want healthcare rationing. But that is exactly what we have now. It is profitable to the healthcare industry as they impose artificial barriers between people and the healthcare they need; there is an insurance company bureaucrat sitting there and passing decisions on what you can and cannot get in the way of healthcare. They impose limits on what they will pay for thus imposing limits on the care you can receive; they price coverage and treatment so cost-prohibitively that we have de facto healthcare rationing.

They say that there is a grass-roots movement that is against the proposed plan. This may be true, but very few grass-roots movements have to be whipped into a frenzy by the opposition-controlled media and industry lobby. Very few grass-roots movements have to be bussed between the various town hall meetings to disrupt them. Very few grass-roots movements are spouting verbatim the talking points they have heard on the opposition-friendly radio commentator's shows.

I had heard on the local radio station while driving to work that a cadre of protestors were riding in a bus chartered by one of the opposition groups between the venues. "Surely not!" I thought to myself. Who would do something so obviously manufactured and call it a "grass-roots movement?"

But then last evening on the local news there was coverage in the coverage of the local town hall meetings which had been disrupted by protest, it was eerie how similar the talking points being shouted were. And if you had a DVR, as I do, and could zip back and watch the confusion again, you would have seen what I saw. Three people in the crowd were at all the covered disruptions. One of them even yelled at the speaker the same protest lines at two different meetings. Seems a bit scripted to me but… If this is a grass-roots movement the meaning of that phrase has vastly changed since I learned it. If this is a grass roots movement, I am Mr. Universe!

Two lines that really makes me cracked-up that these "grass-roots" people keep yelling really crack me up because of their delicious dissonance. Their clear opposite underlying premises are mutually exclusive but they keep getting chanted as if they were natural partnered ideas.

"Keep your hands off my Medicare!" and "I don’t want the government involved in my health care!" Uh, what is Medicare except for a government-run healthcare program? Perhaps the opposition expects us to conveniently forget that fact.

Wherever you are today, I hope you will have a pleasant and politically aware day!

Don Bergquist – August 11, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Editor's Note:

This was originally part of a much longer screed to be published on Sunday but as I decided the issues were really two-different issues, I have split it into two postings. Please see Sunday's posting for the other issue which had been a part of this posting.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Life Goes On

You have to gain a healthy respect for life when you see how it refuses to give-up regardless of what gets thrown at it. This morning as I was outside with Saga waiting for her to sniff every blade of grass on the way to the park and the way back I was contemplating my poor aspens. They have taken quite a beating over the past few weeks.
Four times over the past couple months they have been bashed, battered, and ripped to shreds by hailstones. The noteworthy golf ball-sized hail of two weeks ago, a couple pea-sized hail storms and one with marble-sized hail have been a terror to the trees. Many times this summer, most recently Thursday when I arrived home from work during a mid-afternoon thunderstorm that produced the most recent hail this summer, I have wondered if the trees were too badly damaged to make it through the summer let alone coming winter.

And then I see this…


Beautiful new leaves, clean, green, and pristine are sprouting out all over the poor battered aspen trees. And to think that I was recently told aspens "didn't do well in Colorado."

We have about a month left of the summer. Perhaps the storms will abate and allow these newly sprung leaves to grow to maturity. Perhaps not. Whatever happens, right now I know that live goes on and that there is a chance I will see this again in April after the winter has passed.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you have experienced to lift your soul.

Don Bergquist – August 10, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my friend Gary

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Decorum

de⋅co⋅rum [di-kawr-uhm, -kohr-]

–noun
1. dignified propriety of behavior, speech, dress, etc.
2. the quality or state of being decorous; orderliness; regularity.
3. Usually, decorums. an observance or requirement of polite society.
Origin:
1560–70; < L decōrum, n. use of neut. of decōrus decorous

Synonyms:
1. politeness, manners, dignity. See etiquette.

I am all for a healthy debate. You have the right (as I have said before) to espouse any opinion that strikes your fancy. The US Constitution guarantees you the right to spout any idea that pops into your head. Now, laws for public safety have been established to prevent you from creating a clear and present danger to others; you can't walk into a crowded theater and yell 'fire' because of the clear and present danger of causing a stampede where people could get hurt or killed. (But you're welcome to walk into a firehouse and yell 'movie' if you feel so inclined, but I digress…)

But this right to speak your mind does not relieve you of the obligation to practice a little decorum. Yes, I said "obligation!" Manners are an obligation, not an option. The only way a society can work is if the members of the society show some respect for each other or at least present their disagreement with or disapproval of the other members in a decorous manner. What would society degrade to if everyone felt the right to walk up to someone being anti-social and smack them around? Or if it were acceptable to walk up to whoever you wanted to and insult or degrade them with impunity?

The reason for this rant is the constant news coverage of the ongoing town hall debate on the proposed health care reform. Well, they are called in the media debates, when I was in debate classes we were taught that debate was formal, structured, and followed certain rules of decorum and ethics that are clearly lacking from what is going on at these meetings.

These are not debates, there is no structure of decorum or ethics involved. This is a pack of ill-mannered dissenters who feel the need to disrupt proceedings to voice their dissent. There is a difference between standing when called upon and clearly and succinctly stating your opposition, or asking questions to clarify the points you may or may not understand, and frothing at the mouth from shouting down your elected officials and disrupting the meeting so that those of us there to learn what the plan is can do so.

Granted there are questions to be asked and answers to be given, but disrupting the meetings to yell a specific set of opposition talking points is disruptive and not constructive. Everybody should be able to agree that the healthcare system we have now is fundamentally unfair and unworkable, but the boisterous bloviating of the opposition is disruptive not constructive.


Ah, well! That is enough of a screed for today. I suppose any more would be kicking a dead horse… or elephant… or donkey… All I can say as a parting word is please, people, if you have dissent, which is your right, please go to these meetings and voice your opinions but do so with some decorum. Let everybody have their say. These meetings are for the community, they are not your personal soapbox!

Wherever you are today, I hope you will have a good decorous day where you and everyone you interact with follows the rules of polite society.

Don Bergquist – August 09, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado

Editor's Note:

Don had originally written a much longer entry for this morning but realized that he had ventured into a completely separate topic and so I have decided to serialize it and print the second part on another day. Look for that rant to be posted Tuesday.

Happy birthday to my friend Michael

Nagasaki Day

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Personhood

!!! WARNING !!!

The following blog entry may offend some readers. It is not intended to offend (well, maybe it is, a bit), but as is the point of the Ray Bradbury book, Fahrenheit 451, everything will offend someone. So if you hold strongly to a personal belief system that you are not willing to contemplate may possibly be open to interpretation or if you're just easily offended, you may want to give this entry a pass.

!!! YOU'VE BEEN WARNED !!!

Those of you lucky enough to be living in this lovely state of Colorado, have you heard the news? The Colorado For Equal Rights group is at it again. The seemingly innocuous name of the group belies its true purpose. Equal Rights sounds like a good thing, right? (Though every time I hear that phrase I am reminded of the old Saturday Night Live sketch with Gilda Radner playing Miss Emily Litella: "Eagle Right? What's so special about eagles that they deserve rights? If you're going to give rights to the birds at least give them to the parrots. At least they can talk." – But I digress…)

Hiding under this seemingly innocent name is a bunch of religious zealots who are trying to impose their personal religious beliefs on us. They supported the 2008 Personhood Amendment ballot initiative. For those of you not lucky enough to live here, the initiative was on the 2008 general elections ballot and was an attempt to codify religious beliefs. It basically said that in the State of Colorado, the law will recognize any "person" equally and that in the eyes of the law, any unborn person will be given the same rights. The law essentially defined a zygote (a fertilized egg) as a person with full rights and protections under the law.

Now, as a religious belief, or as a part of a personal ethos, I have no problem with this concept. I don't personally believe it, as I know that there is a physiological difference between a cell and a human. There are reasons that some cultures frown about even talking with friends about being pregnant in the first trimester. The problem is that these are cultural, religious, social, and personal beliefs.

Well, now this group has gotten it into their heads that the reason their amendment was soundly defeated was not that it was a bad idea with little support, but because they were not clear enough in how they tried to explain that a fertilized egg should be able to get security clearance from the government.

So, coming to the 2010 ballot thanks to Colorado For Equal Rights, a "new and improved" attempt at getting their personal and religious beliefs into the Colorado constitution. They now want to convince the public that "Personhood begins at the start of the biological process of a human life."

Oh! That's clear! Much clearer! Thanks!

The problem is that that is even less clear! Oh what fun this will be! What is the "beginning of the biological process?" Is it when the egg gets fertilized? Is it when the man ejaculates or the woman ovulates? Is it when the couple looks at each other across a crowded room and that chemistry clicks?

If this passes, what's next? The Monty Python Amendment?
"Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is great.
If a sperm gets wasted,
God gets quite irate!
"

Come-on these are all arbitrary lines anyway. The one that is currently in force, that the fetus becomes a person when it is birthed, makes perfect sense. The one I have heard of as being in force in places, that a fetus becomes a person when it could viably live outside the womb, makes sense.

The problem, as Douglas Adams put it in The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy is that nobody has ever come up with an empirical definition of life. One definition may run something like this: "Life is that quality which a person may lose as a result of falling from a cold and mysterious cave suspended one mile above an alien planet. This is however not a very good definition, as it could equally well apply to glasses should the subject be wearing any."

We all know that what this group really wants to do is define a fetus regardless of its viability as a person so that the can define abortion as murder. And when you come down to it, this is a personal decision. It is either your personal religious or moral belief that it is wrong, or it is your personal conviction that a woman has a right to make her own medical decisions. Either way, you have no right to impose your personal beliefs on anyone else.

You have every right to share and discuss your personal beliefs under the first amendment to the constitution (that is if you are a citizen or resident of the USA, you have this right) but that right does not include the right to enforce those beliefs on someone else.

Well, that is my personal rant for the day. I saw that this group was at it again and just had to vent. This is me, stepping off the soapbox. (Damn! I wish my friends hadn't convinced me not to set-up a box at speaker's corner while I was in London!) That could have been fun!

Wherever you are today, I hope you have the right to speak your mind. I also hope you will take the opportunity to exercise that right!

Don Bergquist – August 06, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Hiroshima Day

Happy birthday to my brother-in-law Corey

Monday, August 03, 2009

A Quiet Weekend

Well, the summer has finally started! The temps were up in the nineties, the sun shone, the breezes blew, there was not a sign of hail, cold winds, or the frigid downpours of last week. In short, it was a lovely weekend.

Saga and I hung-out in her park. She sniffed, and scratched at whatever she could find; I read. Saturday afternoon, I went to the pool party for my homeowner's association. It was cool getting to see my neighbors again. It has been a while.

Sunday, with another hot day in store, I made the morning dash to get all my housework done and then packed the car with some treats for Saga, water for both of us and the iPod stocked with music and we headed into the hills for the day.

What a lovely day! We walked along the trails up in the foothills and had a picnic. But all good things come to an end! This morning is cold and dark. I know that it will be a hot one today, but right now it is in the high fifties, I am sitting bundled at the computer and about to head out with Saga for our morning exploration.

Wherever you are today, I hope you have had a lovely weekend and will have a great week ahead of you!

Don Bergquist – August 03, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Saturday, August 01, 2009