cowardly u.s. senate

I will say right off the bat that I am very very angry at the u.s. senate. their cowardice is beyond belief! this the first and last time i will say anything  on this since the fight is over over sensible gun control. the nra owns the country so there is no chance of anything changing, except of course when they start forcing people to buy guns; and i am sure that will happen. amd i dare the nra to try and enforce it on me. if i am force to buy a gun, i will get one and then throw it in the street. to those senators who showed no guts for political expediency, the blood is on YOUR hands. I was hoping that the nra would act as adults and discuss the issue, but i was wrong. they are sticking to their credo of it is a gun owners constitutional right to shoot someone. any other mode of death is murder. by guns, it is their right. Congratulations nra, you win. I still have no respect for you, but by god, you bought the senate fair and square.

What I do not understand, is why the nra is not even willing to talk about expanded background checks? did anyone say anything about taking guns away? no. banning sales of guns? no. just background checks of which 88% of the public supports. nope. was a power play by the nra pure and simple and the senate fell right into their pockets.

Advertisements

A Question Regarding Henry VIII and His Reasons for Dumping Katherine of Aragon

Ed's Life Blog

This will be a short and sweet blog. I am currently reading “The Six Wives of Henry the VIII” by Alison Weir. I have always found the Renaissance/Tudor periods fascinating, and Henry and his six wives are, quite frankly, a ripping good story. The plotting, intrigues, and conspiracies that went on in his court are things that in no way could Hollywood think of. The political and religious repercussions from his marraiges are still felt today. History is so much better than fiction.

In brief, what happened is this. Katherine of Aragon was originally married to Henry’s brother Arthur. Apparently, according to Katherine and members of her and Arthur’s retinue, on the wedding night, (November 14(1501) the young prince had some problems with his, royal sceptre, as it were. Despite Arthur’s  bragging the following day, it seems as if what went on was not Coitus Interruptus, but more like “come-on-and-interrupt-us…

View original post 784 more words

A Question Regarding Henry VIII and His Reasons for Dumping Katherine of Aragon

This will be a short and sweet blog. I am currently reading “The Six Wives of Henry the VIII” by Alison Weir. I have always found the Renaissance/Tudor periods fascinating, and Henry and his six wives are, quite frankly, a ripping good story. The plotting, intrigues, and conspiracies that went on in his court are things that in no way could Hollywood think of. The political and religious repercussions from his marraiges are still felt today. History is so much better than fiction.

In brief, what happened is this. Katherine of Aragon was originally married to Henry’s brother Arthur. Apparently, according to Katherine and members of her and Arthur’s retinue, on the wedding night, (November 14(1501) the young prince had some problems with his, royal sceptre, as it were. Despite Arthur’s  bragging the following day, it seems as if what went on was not Coitus Interruptus, but more like “come-on-and-interrupt-us, for nothing is happening tonight”.  Shortly thereafter, on April 2, 1502, Prince Arthur died from TB.

It was afterwards arranged that Henry marry the widow. However there was some concern among statesmen and church authorities that this marriage would be invalid because parts of the Bible prohibited a marriage between and widow and her deceased husband’s brother. It was considered incestuous. (Leviticus 20:21) But at the same time parts of the Bible said it was ok. (Deuteronomy 20:5).  The idea of this marriage was appealing to Henry’s father, Henry VII, because this marriage would form a strong alliance between England and Spain, and help strengthen Henry’s claim to the throne of England.

After much debate and discussion, it all hinged on if Arthur and Katherine had sex their wedding night. Based her swearing that nothing went on, a Papal Dispensation was issued allowing the marriage to proceed. Still, there were some who were uneasy about the whole thing, even with the Papal A-OK. Even, in the back of his mind, did Henry. But still, at that point in his life, he was genuinely fond of her and duty called, so marry her he did.

Later in life, though, he got tired of her; she was getting older, and she had not produced a son for him. At the same time, he got the hots for one of Katherine’s Ladies in Waiting, Anne Boleyn. Now, and this is a key point, he had previously had a torrid affair with her sister Mary.

Now, Anne was a genius at playing hard to get. For the first time, a lady actually refused to hop in the sack Henry at his command, and the more she played hard to get, the more out of control his hormones became. He finally decided to dump Katherine, and used the pretext of the marriage being invalid because she was his brothers wife, even though the truth is he was just plain tired of her.

Long story short, after 7 years of inaction on the part of Pope Clemet, Henry took matters into his own hands; he renounced the Catholic Church, formed the Church of England with he and future monarchs as it’s head, formally annulled his marriage to Katherine and essentially sent her into domestic exile until her death 1536.

We all know what happened after that. He married Anne, still got no sons (except a stillborn), realized that Anne was a detriment to his throne, got tired of her, and for political and other reasons, wound up lopping off her dome.

My question is this; the church authorities were concerned about not marrying his brothers wife. If that is the case, wouldn’t the same standards apply in this case with Anne; ie; thou shalt not marry the sister of your one-time sex toy or put another way, thou cannot have a fling with your wife’s sister? Seems like it is the same logic of prohibiting a marriage between a widow and her husbands brother. From what i could find, it appears that the Bible does indeed prohibit this.(though is specifically states wives and sisters, not mistresses and sisters)  So why was there no opposition to the King marrying Anne based on these grounds? (and there was opposition; Anne was very unpopular amongst members of the court and the general population) These could have been argued during that 7 year period when they were all waiting to hear from the Pope.

My guess; First, no one wanted to anger the King. If someone had mentioned that he had had an affair with Anne’s sister, it would have humiliated Henry and probably cost him a spell in the Tower and/or an appointment with the Ax. Secondly, there was a double standard at this time. The king could not marry a brothers widow, it would have been unclean, But it would be perfectly ok for the king to marry the sister of a sexual plaything, because after all, they were just women, and not even married.

I have been wondering just exactly would have happened if someone had the guts to bring up this point. For sure there would have been more public opposition to Anne, who was already considered a harlot and worse, and maybe strengthened the internal opposition. But the end result would most likely have been the same, for Henry was such a strong and dynamic personality that he made sure he got what he wanted. But there is always that tantalizing “what if” scenario.. would Spain declare war on England? Would France join Spain?  Anyway, like I mentioned before it probably would have all turned out the same, if just not more difficult. But is is fun to speculate!

Repeal of Presidentail Two Term Limits

The other day i was listening to the radio and heard an ad that said that “Obama and his cronies” were planning on destroying the constitution by throwing out the 22nd amendment, limiting presidents to two terms. My immediate reaction was “oh god, here they go again”. Couldn’t accept the the fact that he was re-elected and now they are deathly afraid that he is all set to start a dictatorship.

I did a little research and lo and behold, to my surprise there actually IS a joint house resolution proposing an amendment to abolish presidential term limits.

This bill was introduced by Representative Jose Serrano (D NY-15) on January 4, 2013 and was sent to the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, which has jurisdiction on constitutional amendments.  This subcommittee is headed by Representative Trent Franks (R AZ-08) and consists of 12 members, 7 Republicans and 5 Democrats.  The current make up is shown below.

What is interesting is that this is not the first time this type of bill has been introduced, and not even the first time by this particular Representative. Representative Serrano has introduced this resolution during every session of congress since 1997. What is more interesting is that this has been during the tenure of presidents from both parties. Every time he has introduced this resolution, it has never made it passed the committee stage to reach a floor vote. I went to his website to see if he stated why is is so fascinated by repealing term limits for presidents but i could not find anything on this topic. I even searched for the resolution number in his site, and it came up with nothing.

According to Govtrack.us, the first legislation submitted to remove the term limits was sponsored by Rep. Guy Vander Jagt (R MI) in 1986 that would have allowd President Regan to run for a third term. He sponsored similar resolutions in 1987, 1989, and 1991. Other congressmen did the same as well. A history of legislation repealing the 22nd amendment is listed below.

As can be seen, both parties of guilty of trying to “create dictatorships”. Why do they do this? I wish I knew.but my guess is that it may be their way of a pat on the back for a president the individual congressman (or senator) happens to particularly like or it may just be something to pad their “look what i have sponsored” list to his constituents. I mean, I took a look at Rep Serrano’s list of sponsorships, and found among others, a bill to allow members fo congress to administer the oath of allegiance to immigrants, a General Slocum Memorial Study Act, ( come on, this was a steamboat that blew up) I don’t mean to single him out, but he is the one who is sponsoring this these bills. I’m sure others are doing the same thing. The point is, though, is that this isn’t a first time attempt to repeal this amendment. So when these panic merchants come out with that Obama and his cronies are attempting to create a dictatorship, look at the number of times “dictatorships” have been attempted to be created, and how successful they have been, It is just part of a normal pattern of bills submitted. The 22nd amendment is still in force.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, since this legislation is to repeal and add an amendment to the constitution, the president would not sign the bill, even if it passed both houses. It would be submitted to the states for approval; a very difficult task. Secondly, this current bill is in a subcommittee controlled by Republicans. What are the chances of a bill that would be advantageous to arguably the most vilified (by his enemies) president in the history of the country, getting through this committee? Zilch.

The prognosis for this bill is obviously not good. According again to Govtrack.us, In 2011-2013 12 % of joint resolutions made it past committee and of that only 5% were enacted or passed from the period 2011-2013. It’s prognosis for this legislation is 0% getting through the committee and 0% being enacted or passed.

How do I feel about it personally? I am against repealing the 22nd. Two terms is enough for anybody. it’s good to get some fresh blood in there periodically.

I’m just convinced now that these people who are screeching and howling “coup de tat”, and a fascist is in office, a dictatorship is coming, etc are just telling the world that for whatever reason, they couldn’t (and can’t) accept the fact that Obama is president. To be against Obama is fine, but don’t question the legitimacy of his presidency.

SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE CONSTITUTION AND CIVIL JUSTICE

Mr. Chabot (R OH) Mr. Nadler (D NY)
Mr. Forbes (R VA) Mr. Conyers (D MI)
Mr. King (R IA) Mr. Scott (D VA)
Mr. Gohmert (R TX) Mr. Cohen (D TN)
Mr. DeSantis(R FL) Mr. Deutch (D FL)

HISTORY OF LEGISLATION TO REPEAL 22nd AMENDMENT

HOUSE

Sponsor: Rep. Guy Vander Jagt (R-MI)

1986 (99th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/99/hjres687(Pres. Ronald Reagan (R))

1987 (100th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/100/hjres156(Pres. Ronald Reagan (R))

1989 (101st Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/101/hr404(Pres. George H. W. Bush (R))

1989 (101st Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/101/hjres84(Pres. George H. W. Bush (R))

1991 (102nd Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/102/hjres61(Pres. George H. W. Bush (R))

Sponsor: Rep. Michael McNulty (D-NY)

1993 (103rd Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/103/hjres107(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

1995 (104th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/104/hjres71(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

1997 (105th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/105/hjres39(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

Sponsor: Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)

1995 (104th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/104/hjres68(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

1997 (105th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/105/hjres38(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

1999 (106th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/106/hjres24(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

Sponsor: Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

1997 (105th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/105/hjres88(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

2005 (109th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/109/hjres24(Pres. George W. Bush (R))

Sponsor: Rep. David Dreier (R-CA)

1997 (105th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/105/hjres51(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

Sponsor: Rep. José Serrano (D-NY)

1997 (105th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/105/hjres19(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

1999 (106th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/106/hjres17(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

2001 (107th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/107/hjres4(Pres. George W. Bush (R))

2003 (108th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/108/hjres11(Pres. George W. Bush (R))

2005 (109th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/109/hjres9(Pres. George W. Bush (R))

2007 (110th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/110/hjres8(Pres. George W. Bush (R))

2009 (111th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/111/hjres5(Pres. Barack Obama (D))

2011 (112th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hjres17(Pres. Barack Obama (D))

2013 (113th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hjres15(Pres. Barack Obama (D))

SENATE

Sponsor: Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)

1989 (101st Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/101/sjres36(Pres. George H. W. Bush (R))

Sponsor: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

1995 (104th Congress): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/104/sjres23(Pres. Bill Clinton (D))

My Paranormal Interest and Experience

ImageOne of my favorite pastimes is the reading and watching articles and programs about the paranormal. I think it’s fun to look into the possibility about what happens after death. I follow the “news from the spirit world” on WordPress, plus New England Ghost Chronicles and Jeff Belanger’s Ghost Village newsletter, just to name a few. On TV, I watch Ghost Adventures on a regular basis, and used to watch Haunted Highways. Whenever the History Channel has a “haunted xxxx” on, I watch that too. I also used to watch “Most Haunted” from England. I really like these shows because not only was the Paranormal elements interesting and visible both visually and aurally, but the always go to interesting places so I also look at them as travelogues. I also watch “Dead Files” but I am becoming less convinced of the validity of that show because it seems like every episode something new weird happens that I’ve never seen on other shows or blogs, such as shape shifting, an entity putting together things to create a poltergeist, etc. Maybe it is me, but it just is starting to sound too far fetched for me. I also used to watch Ghost Hunters and it’s cousin, Ghost Hunters International. However, it became clear to me that I wasn’t hearing or seeing what the hosts and team said they were hearing or saying. In fact, it seems to me that it has come the point where they tell their clients and the viewers what to hear and see. I’m sorry, but during the reveals, when they are playing the EVPs, all I hear most of the time is static. Then the hosts say “doesn’t it sound like they are saying <xxx>? ” The client, of course agrees. Same with visual reveals. In my opinion, they suggest to the client and viewers what they want them to see. Am I missing something? Maybe. But that is what I get from that show.

Anyway, one day awhile ago, the family was out of town so i decided to got take some pictures at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in (you got it) Hollywood, Ca. Now, not only is this cemetery just downright beautiful, but it is the story of Hollywood and the motion picture industry. All the early people and later power players are resting there. Florence Lawrence,(The Biograph Girl) is there, along with Rudolph Valentino, C, B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Jr., Bugsy Siegel, and a whole slew of others. It is truly a trip back in time.

So there I was, doing my thing, taking pictures with my cell phone camera, and at one point I happen to stumble on the grave of Anna Maria De Carrascosa, the “Lady in Black” who dropImageped off flowers annually at Valentino’s crypt. I decided to take a picture of the headstone, just for the heck of it. When I snapped the picture, the phone went completely dead. Nothing. I came in with a full charge and even had it on Airplane Mode until I got to the cemetery, so the battery couldn’t have been the problem. And it wasn’t. I was able to turn the phone back on and have it boot up. As soon as it did this, I tried to take another picture of the headstone. Same thing. Power went completely dead. Turned the phone back on, no problem, it rebooted and the battery was still at full charge. Tried a picture again. Once more, the power went off. Turned it back on, tried to take a picture once more. Again, the power went off. So this time, I turned the phone back on and waited for it to boot up. Once it did this, I turned around (at the grave) and took a picture of the other side of the park. The picture came out perfectly. So then I turned around and tried to take the picture of the headstone, and -BAM- out went the power. It really seemed that Anna was determined to prevent me from taking a picture of her headstone. I don’t know why, I wasn’t doing any harm to it or anything. I didn’t even touch it But at that point I was getting really frustrated so I  just looked at the headstone and said ” Listen Anna, I’m here to take pictures, and pictures are what I am going to get. We can do this the easy way or the hard way. The easy way is if you let me have the two seconds I need to take the picture, after which I promise I will go away and not bother you anymore. The hard way is for me to stay here and keep trying to take the pictures until I either get one or the park closes and they kick me out. You obviously don’t want me here, so what would you rather have? Me here for just a few more seconds, or eight more hours? And don’t think I’m bluffing about the eight hours; I have nothing else to do today. So which is it? The ball is in your court.”  I waited a few seconds, turned on the phone, let it boot up, and tried once more to take the picture. Lo and Behold! The picture came out beautifully. So I faced the headstone and said ” Thank you Anna, I sincerely appreciate it”. And then I kept my word and left her, went to another section of the park and never even came close to her section the rest of the day.

Was this a paranormal experience? I like to think it is. Given the number of times the phone went dead, then worked when i wasn’t pointing it at Anna, then fails again, then works when I have a talk with her, makes me feel that this was more than just a series of coincidences
. Again, it sure seemed like Anna didn’t want any pictures taken. But I am thankful to her for listening to my what was frankly, a threat, not reasoning(let’s be honest here) and letting me get the picture. And I have kept my word to her. Whenever I have gone back there, I have left her alone to be in peace.

So there you have it. I had a previous experience while in college, but I think this one is the most interesting. Again, if you can, go visit the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I am sure that Anna is not the only ghost there.

Image

The New Pope and his Immediate International Dilema

I truly feel sorry for the new Pope Francis. He is hardly into his reign when he is being immediately confronted by an international crisis that he cannot possibly win either way. I am talking about the Falkland Islands, the archipelago east of Patagonia, Argentina which is claimed by that nation to be their territory, but is actually under British rule.

The rhetoric between Argentina and the UK has been heating up of late. The Argentinian olympic team filmed an ad there and said that “to compete on british soil we practice on argentine soil”. In January Argentine president Christina Kirchner sent an open letter to the UN and British Prime Minister David Cameron calling on the UK to hand the Islands back.

Both Cameron and the Foreign Office flatly rejected those claims, saying that it should be left up to the Islanders. And, they decided. They had the referendum, and only 3 votes were cast that said they should not be British.

What is going to happen, i am afraid, is that the new pope will be caught between his motherland and keeping diplomatic relations with England on an even keel. When the white smoke first started puffing out, I could see a situation where the Argentine government would start putting pressure on the pope to use his influence to get what they want. And sure enough, today, March 18, Kirchner became the first head of state to meet with the pope, and she raised the issue with him.

Last week, Cameron raised the fact that as Cardinal, the pope had frequently claimed that the Falklands did belong to Argentina. And in fact,  at a mass last year, the future pope did say in front of  Argentine veterans of the 1982 war that they were there to “reclaim what is theirs”, and that the UK had usurped the islands. In the same breath, Cameron pointed out that the referendum was pretty clear as to the desires of the population.

Now, this may or may not mean that the pope will automatically side the Argentina. As Cardinal Bergoglio, he and Kirchner had clashes, primarily over gay marriage and gay adoptions. But who is to say that his previously documented attitudes towards the Falklands may change?

Now, it is obvious that things have not always been fine between the Vatican and the UK ever since Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church and founded the Church of England. Diplomatic relations were established to the Ambassadorial level only in 1982, ironically, the year of the Falklands war.  Any outward signs of favoritism towards Argentina in this issue will only harm the Vatican diplomatic standing to the Court of St James. In my opinion, this issue and where he goes with it could very well undo the legacy of reconcilliation with the UK that John Paul II’s visit accomplished.

Either way, he is going to feel it from both sides. And there is just no way he can come out a winner on this. If he sides with the UK, Argentina will undoubtedly brand him a traitor,  and if he sides with Argentina, he will alienate not only the government of the UK, but the Catholics residing there as well.  This pressure will not be going anywhere soon, what with the level of rhetoric being what it currently is.

I wonder if the Cardinals in the conclave that elected him had this controversy in mind. They have heard and read the news; i guess they just chose to ignore it. Well, whatever. They elected this pope, and they cant undo it. Either way, the potential for damage to the church is very real. This pope, I am sure, realizes that there is going to be one very unhappy group of people out  there, and he will have to be very skillful at damage control to repair the hurt feelings that are sure to arise from this global issue.

Podcasts! Podcasts! Podcasts!

podcastsBoy, do I ever like podcasts! I originally got my Ipod to listen to music and videos, but I use it more now to listen to podcasts. There is so much information out there to listen to, from news and sports to culture to hobbies and even many lectures from universities are now in podcast form. I am finding myself watching less TV and listening more to the ipod. It is almost like the days before TV, when families gathered ’round the radio.

I have so many that i just dont have time to listen to all of them. I sometimes takes a couple of months for me to get around to all of them. At last count, I subscribe to 30 podcasts, and have several episodes of each on my ipod. If I categorize them, I would have a couple on coffee, several on the paranormal, at least two on history, (including a great on on the history of WWII)  a couple from c-span to cover the days’ happenings in Washington, plus various ones on different topics such as watches, folk music etc.

Most of the ‘casts i subscribe too, though are from the BBC, with a grand total of 9, ranging from talk shows, to documentaries, history to politics; even my favorite Sunday night activity, Prime Ministers Questions. The BBC has podcasts on just about every topic. They have taken the format of podcasting to best advantage. The Atlantic Monthly used to have pretty good ones, but I cant find them anymore. Bob Edwards from NPR had a great interview podcast, but he stopped those, which is a real shame.

For me podcasts offer an infinite world of knowledge, information and entertainment. The range of topics is unlimited,you can lean and improve yourself in so many ways, and the best part is that all of mine have been free! Just get Itunes or other sites on the web, and there you go! It’s just like having Mark Twain read one his stories to you in person. God help me, but how I do love podcasts!