Desert Cat's Paradise
"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." - Proverbs 27:12.
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
No Clapping, Dancing at Mass, Vatican to WarnComments
This is another reason why the Roman Catholic church is no longer the vibrant center of Christ's church on this planet. They have gone the way of the Pharisee, more interested in tradition and form over substance, formularies of rules and law over Spirit, religion instead of relationship, the dignity of ritual in preference to allowing for the possibility of a life-changing encounter with the Savior.
And they wonder why they're losing ground in Latin America...
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:57 PM | permalink
Monday, September 22, 2003
National Review Cover Story, July 1, 1996Comments
Another Buckley reference in re: the drug war.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:29 PM | permalink
Selections from William F. Buckley at conservativeforum.org: "It is widely assumed by the other side on the drug question that to decriminalize drugs would be to register a social assent to drug consumption. [I] ... stress the contrary. The initial problem is to make clear that to license an activity is not to approve it. We license the publication of Hustler magazine even as we gag at the knowledge of what goes on within its covers."Comments
Another interesting quote from Buckley. The link is worth reading as well.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:15 PM | permalink
What in tarnation is a "Conservative Evangelical" doin' rantin' 'gainst th' drug war, Mabel?!!Comments
Now that I seem to be getting a trickle of readers through the link on Pete Guither's site, I want to iterate where I stand politically.
To some people, it might seem odd for someone espousing a conservative perspective on most political issues, and more startlingly a Christian perspective, to also espouse what has traditionally been considered to be a liberal perspective in regards to the drug war. Up until a couple years ago or so, I would have thought it odd, as well.
Up until recently, I would have considered myself to be more of a social conservative, because I am both conservative and an evangelical Christian. I am no less an evangelical now as ever, but I have been giving considerable thought to the implications of many of the positions of the "religious right" in regards to both my core conservative beliefs, as well as my beliefs as a Christian. An article by William F. Buckley, Jr., the esteemed conservative thinker, who is also a Roman Catholic, began my journey of thought. His well-articulated position against the drug war almost seemed to give me "permission" to question it as well. Up until then, I was willing to overlook any of the excesses of the drug war as a necessary evil, toward the establishment of an orderly society where moral good is encouraged and moral evil is discouraged.
However, what should become clear to any Christian who studies both the Bible, and the history of the early church, is that the Christian life does not depend upon one's living in a "christian" society. In fact even today, Christianity tends to be found at it's most vibrant where Christians are a persecuted minority. Therefore to a true follower of Christ, the focus should not be so much on society in general, but on the individual persons in your sphere of influence who might be persuaded to the truth of the gospel. Morality in society follows as a result of a change of heart in the individuals that make up society. It cannot truly be imposed from without, (although I give a nod of acknowledgement to the argument that societal sanction tends to encourage favorable moral choices).
Now this is not to say that I agree with the axiom that "you can't legislate morality", as you most certainly may. Our society makes moral judgements all the time. Murder is immoral and therefore is made illegal. Likewise theft, bribery, extortion, fraud, rape, incest and a whole host of other moral evils are made illegal and punishable by law in our society. The question is not one of whether morality can be legislated, but *what* moral evils are properly the place of government to legislate against, and what ought to remain in the realm of one's personal conscience or the moral suasion of society, or the significant persons in one's life.
As I consider that question, I find myself slowly drifting away from some of the positions of the social conservatives, and in the direction of the conservative libertarians. I am coming to the conclusion that the cause of Christ is best furthered in a relatively permissive society, where the moral choice in favor of following Jesus is more clear-cut. A society in which one is virtually presumed to be born a christian and will live a christian life, based on the allegedly christian strictures in place in society, is not a society conducive to the kind of life-changing encounter with the Savior that "true Christianity" requires.
This brings me to the drug war. At least in the case of marijuana, I am unable to fathom any rational basis for the persecution of this substance. Certainly it seems to be more benign than either tobacco or alcohol, both of which are legal and the use of which is primarily a matter of personal moral, aesthetic, or health choices. Further it seems less likely to create the types of situations that alcohol or tobacco may cause in terms of harm to non-users who come into contact with the user of alcohol or tobacco. Therefore use of this substance at least, seems to me to fall clearly in the realm of personal conscience and/or moral suasion. When information about the violation of civil liberties that have been sanctioned in pursuit of eradication of cannabis usage are added to the equation, the answer becomes most emphatic. The cost of marijuana prohibition is much too high.
From a Christian perspective as far as it may relate to personal use, a couple of things come to mind. First of all we are instructed to "obey the authorities, because they are placed in power by God for our benefit". That would argue pretty clearly against use of any substance that is currently illegal. However it says nothing about our rights as citizens to petition our government for redress of grievances, which in this case would be our opposition to the drug war. Secondly, there is the admonition to "be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit". This would tend to argue against the use of any intoxicating substance. However it is clear also from the writings of Paul, that the consumption of wine was certainly not prohibited in the early church, although some Christian thinkers do continue to take it that way. Some translations of that verse add "wherein is excess" after the first clause. That would be a key to understanding, in my estimation. It would then clearly read as first, an admonition against abuse and overconsumption of any substance, and second, an admonition to prefer the joy and intoxication of the Holy Spirit in favor of intoxication by any other physical substance. My take on this is that in the absence of legal sanction against usage, moderate consumption, whether of alcohol or any other legal substance, would not place one outside the parameters of Christian morality, unless one were to find that consumption was interfering with one's more important relationship to Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
On that topic I find more that is instructive. "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable", states Paul. That would tend to say that though I may be permitted to consume anything, it may not be to my best spiritual interests to do so. That, I believe, is a question that each individual believer would have to answer for him or herself. Elsewhere Paul notes that, if a believer is convinced that what he is doing is a sin, for him it becomes a sin. For a more mature believer, who understands his freedom in Christ, it may not be a sin. Yet for him to do what he knows is not sinful in a manner which leads a weaker Christian to do what he believes is sinful, is to dishonor the weaker Christian. From this I draw the conclusion that were I to choose to consume that which I am convinced is not sinful, I must do so in a manner that does not lead a weaker Christian into sin. In the case of marijuana, if it were to be legalized, and I chose to partake of it, I would choose to do so privately or not at all, to avoid leading those who have not become convinced of their freedom in Christ into what would be sin for them. This stricture I place on myself also applies to those currently legal substances I do use, such as wine or beer, or Salvia divinorum.
The bottom line for me personally is I am an unafraid Christian. I "put no confidence in the flesh", but I do put a great deal of confidence in my relationship with Jesus. I am ready to trust Him to make it clear to me if I am approaching something that may be harmful to me spiritually, and I endeavor to remain spiritually aware of his guidance to keep me from harm. "Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil". That part of the Lord's Prayer has to mean something, and this is what it means to me.
The bottom line for me politically is, though I am an evangelical Christian, I do not believe the laws of society need extend any further than what is minimally necessary to establish an orderly society under the rule of law, (as opposed to the "law of the jungle"). To that end I believe many of the current efforts under the banner of the "war on drugs" actually undercut that goal. The drug war, at least in the case of cannabis, makes a matter of legal sanction, what properly belongs in the realm of personal moral choices and possibly public health. This contributes to high rates of drug "crime" and actual crime.
Hope that explains it. I welcome questions and/or comments.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:42 PM | permalink
Sunday, September 21, 2003
I paid a visit to Summerhaven this afternoon. The devastation wrought by the Aspen Fire is wrenching to behold firsthand. I walked down the road to the site of the Living Rainbow Gift Shop, and I had to choke back tears as I stood near the place where I took a photo the previous summer. But next door, the Cookies and Cabins business is being rebuilt, with the frame of a new log cabin already set up on the lot. From all up and down the hillsides came the sounds of construction and debris-clearing activity. The Mt. Lemmon Cafe was open for business, with temporary shade structures erected over the patio where the original shade was burned.Comments
At the same time, it is not quite as bad as I had envisioned on the rest of the mountain. There are areas that were scorched to cinders, but by and large it appears that this fire burned lower than the Bullock Fire last year. There are significant stands of forest that were largely unaffected, and much more that only experienced scorching of the lower branches and needles.
Except for the top of the ski lift, Ski Valley was untouched by the fire. We enjoyed a couple of good German beers and danced to polka music at the Ski Valley Oktoberfest.
Afterward we hiked a short way down to the Butterfly Trail from Mt. Bigelow. We passed through an area burned by the Aspen Fire and into an area burned by the Bullock fire. At least in this area, the Bullock fire was much more devastating. I predict that within five years it will be hard to tell that the Aspen fire happened, but the area affected by the Bullock fire will just be starting to heal.
I took photos, and I will add some of them here when I get them downloaded.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:29 PM | permalink
Monday, September 15, 2003
Desert Cat, not lab rat!Comments
The Potential Dangers of Sucralose 12/3/00
I am habitually suspicious of the granola left and most of their hyperventilating claims about toxic foods. However reading some of the letters at the bottom of the linked page (above), I was struck by how disturbingly similar several of the accounts were to my own experiences over the last two years, and particularly the last 6 months.
I have been suffering from mild emotional disturbances, and more acutely over the last couple of months, that have no basis in the external circumstances of my life. Particularly unsettling are the feelings of anxiety and "doom" that regularly afflict me. When I spent a week and a half in Peru back in June, the symptoms dissapeared. I thought it might have been because I was in the middle of an adventure. But looking back I realized that I did not have any sucralose during that time. I drank "Inca-cola" and Diet Coke. Since then I have found some relief with a combination of SAM-e, dl-Phenylalanine and l-Glutamine. However something (God?) told me I should look into the possible side effects of sucralose (Splenda).
How interesting that sucralose (Splenda) does not appear to be the benign substitute for Aspartame that it first appeared! I have been drinking Diet RC for about five years now, almost since it first appeared with sucralose (Splenda) sweetener. I liked it because it had no sugar and was not sweetened by the somewhat dangerous Aspartame. Now I find out that there were NO human studies done on sucralose before marketing it.
So I appear to be cast into the role of a lab rat. My bad. I suppose I could have found this out before consuming upwards of about 4 liters of Diet RC a day for five years! I will be going back to sugar or aspartame sweetened drinks now, or to tea or coffee sweetened with Stevia, for a trial period. I will most certainly follow up with a report if my symptoms dissapear.
EDIT: Referring back to my opening statement, the rest of this site has got it's share of hyperventilating nonsense.
Witness the following:
Q: Does chlorine occur naturally?
A: Typically chlorine does not normally occur in the environment except as a yellow gas on rare occasions. It's a manufactured substance produced through an industrial process. An electrical current is passed through salt water producing chlorine and caustic soda.
That is flat-out false! He's trying to confuse his readers, equating chlorine gas with various chlorinated compounds, including common household bleach and table salt! Chlorine is one of the most abundant elements on the face of the earth. It is the chloride half of sodium chloride - table salt. It is one of the most abundant chemicals in the ocean - part of what makes it "salty". There's chlorine in that isotonic contact lens solution you put in your eyes this morning. Oh horrors! Do you know what "isotonic" means? It means having the same sodium chloride balance as your own tissues. Yes, that's right. Sodium chloride is an abundant chemical in your very own body, and a "natural" one at that!
Now that is not to say that there are not a number of chlorinated compounds that do exhibit various levels of toxicity, dioxin being one of the most famous. But to castigate the poor lowly chlorine molecule for all this mischief is equivalent to saying that trees are evil because some of them are made into baseball bats, and some of those are used to bash people's heads in. Absurd, of course!
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:53 AM | permalink
Sunday, September 14, 2003
The following is copied from a portion of Freenet's philosophy page (link below). I am certain it was not intended this way, but the points noted below are quite an indictment against many aspects of the drug war. The idea of the information feedback loop is of particular interest as it relates to the censorship of information presented to juries in drug trials.Comments
The Freenet Project - Philosophy:
"3. The importance of the Free flow of information
Freedom of speech, in most western cultures, is generally considered to be one of the most important rights any individual might have. Why is the freedom to share ideas and opinions so important? There are several ways to answer this question.
3.1 Communication is what makes us human
One of the most obvious differences between mankind and the rest of the animal kingdom is our ability to communicate sophisticated and abstract concepts. While we constantly discover that animal's communication ability is more sophisticated than previously assumed, it is unlikely that any other animal approaches our own level of ability in this area.
3.2 Knowledge is good
Most people, given the option of knowing something and not knowing something, will choose to have more information rather than less. Wars have been won and lost over who was better-informed. This is because being better-informed allows us to make better decisions, and generally improve our ability to survive and be successful.
3.3 Democracy assumes a well informed population
Many people today live under democratic governments, and those who don't, probably want to. Democracy is an answer to the question of how to create leaders, while preventing them from abusing that power. It achieves this by giving the population the power to regulate their government through voting, yet the ability to vote does not necessarily mean that you live in a democratic country. For a population to regulate their government effectively it must know what their government is doing, they must be well informed. It is a feedback loop, but this loop can be broken if the government has the power to control the information the population has access to.
4. Censorship and freedom
Everyone values their freedom, in fact, many consider it so important that they will die for it. People like to think that they are free to form and hold whatever opinions they like, particularly in western countries. Consider now that someone had the ability to control the information you have access to. This would give them the ability to manipulate your opinions by hiding some facts from you, by presenting you with lies and censoring anything that contradicted those lies. This is not some Orwellian fiction, it is standard practice for most western governments to lie to their populations, so much so, that people now take it for granted, despite the fact that this undermines the very democratic principles which justify the government's existence in the first place.
5. The solution
The only way to ensure that a democracy will remain effective is to ensure that the government cannot control its population's ability to share information, to communicate. So long as everything we see and hear is filtered, we are not truly free. Freenet's aim is to allow two or more people who wish to share information, to do so."
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:15 PM | permalink
Friday, September 12, 2003
I feel truly marvelous at the moment!Comments
My morning dose of SAM-e and "beCalmed" has not quite worn off, I recently woke from a short noontime nap, and the expansive beauty and light of a fantastic Salvia trip last night is still glowing in me.
Wow. I wouldn't mind camping here the rest of my life...
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:02 AM | permalink
Thursday, September 11, 2003
Alex has another gem here: GIRL: a page by alex "If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it."Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:21 PM | permalink
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Erowid Experience Vaults: Salvia divinorum: "If LSD or psilocybin provide a gradual, staged loss of ego, salvia is a rapid ego-ectomy with no anesthesia."Comments
That about sums it up. It's awful. But hard medicine can be good medicine sometimes.
I think I'll go unbecome.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:25 PM | permalink
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
Rebuilding Food Pyramid to Slim U.S. Waistline: "'We've got to do something to get a behavioral change,' said Eric Hentges, director of U.S. Agriculture Department's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. The USDA and the Health and Human Services are responsible for federal nutrition policy."Comments
Oh really? Since when is it the federal government's business to tell me what to eat, let alone "get a behavior change"? I see a fat bureaucracy with too much money and time on it's hands, badly in need of a fiscal crash diet.
This is the same government bureaucracy that would try to tell me that my "Atkins Diet" food choices are unhealthy and likely to lead to obesity, heart disease, and early death (Uh huh. That's after I lost 40 lbs, my blood sugar levels stabilized, and I shaved 25 points off my blood pressure numbers).
Butt out, and give me that portion of my tax bill back!
See, a populace that is willing to tolerate this level of government intrusion into their very personal lives, is a populace that is more than willing to avert their eyes to the excesses of the drug war. If it's okay for the government to "tut tut" and harass us about that french fry or oreo cookie, most certainly it is okay for them to do everything possible to stop those horrific illegal drugs. Whatever happens to the lives of the people caught is a small price to pay, because, after all, it's "for the children", right? What's all that about founding principles and liberty? Will these "principles" help me pick up my kids at soccer practice on time? Will this "liberty" help me pay the visa bill at the end of the month?
The drug war is merely a symptom of the wider problem of the "nanny state". "We simply cannot allow people to hurt themselves with that Dorito or that Oreo, or that reefer!" Why not? Who made you mama? Don't give us that hooey about "societal costs". If the government didn't make it their business to meddle in the first place, they wouldn't be "societal", but merely personal costs. That's why the proposition of government-run universal health care is so ominous. It presages the government making a valid claim to control over the most intimate details of your personal life, on the basis that it will be bearing the costs of your (allegedly bad) decisions. Hooey! I say...
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:14 PM | permalink
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:43 PM | permalink
Thursday, September 04, 2003
"I am neither.Comments
I am a Dancing Moon Creature..."
No longer locked in a prison. I am fighting with the jailkeeper, and that is not a good thing. She should not fight, but just accept. I am stretching my wings a bit, and I find that they are quite broad and keep knocking holes in the walls. Good. We need a bit more fresh night air in here, not to mention the space to spread out.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:30 PM | permalink
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
Activity Page: "Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg H.S."Comments
Speaking of Martha (now that I am in a nostalgic mood again), it looks like she is involved with the speech and drama departments at this high school as an "activity contact" (Martha Prekker is her married name). It doesn't look like she is listed on staff at the school, which is a disappointment. I always expected she would end up as a teacher. When I knew her, she wanted to be a writer, and wanted nothing to do with teaching.
I was in both speech and drama during my last two years of high school. I was also a debater. She was in speech as well, although I don't recall if she was involved in drama back then. We didn't meet through our involvement in speech, but rather it was through our mutual interest in computers and J.R.R. Tolkien.
Back then there was a statewide computer network called MECC. My username was Gandalf, and hers was Bilbo. It started friendly and fun (blowing "smoke rings" and all...), then deep and serious, and in the end I got badly burned. She was a "butterfly" she told me, flitting from flower to flower. Concordia College beckoned and she flew away.
That piece in the archives entitled "Listening to the Echo" was about her.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:49 PM | permalink
Asylum: PROFITABLE VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN: "The other day my son and I were watching TV and happened to see an advertisement for a new comedy film coming out. I don't remember what film but I will never forget what my son said about a scene where a man was kicked in the balls: 'Mommy, why is that funny?'Comments
After a long discussion about sub-standard, sophomoric physical comedy versus intellectual humor that is presented not only in a way that makes you laugh, but also makes you think (yes, he and I have these discussions), he said simply, 'Still, they never joke about girls getting kicked there. They never joke about women getting hurt.'"
Crazy Tracy, she calls herself. All I can add is "AMEN!" Go read the whole post.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:18 PM | permalink
It appears that photocountry.com has gone >>KABLOOIE<< !!Comments
Now I'll have to upload images manually to my web space. If anything doesn't show up properly, particularly in the archives, I apologize. I'll fix what I can when I can.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:01 PM | permalink
All original material and original images are copyright (c) 2003-2013, desertcat.blogspot.com, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been pre-authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, social, art, media, and cultural issues. The 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material that may exist on this site is provided for under U.S. Copyright Law. In accordance with U.S. Code Title 17, Section 107, material on this site is distributed without profit to persons interested in such information for research and educational purposes. If you want to use any copyrighted material that may exist on this site for purposes that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Disclaimer: Any stories, accounts of events or statements of fact herein, may be a fictionalized account of actual events or be entirely fictional. Nothing written herein is intended to be interpreted as factual or true. "Desert Cat", "Daisycat", "Momcat", and "Dadcat" are fictitious names and fictional characters and may not bear any resemblance to real persons. The use of these names is copyrighted (c) 2003-2013, desertcat.blogspot.com, and all rights are reserved.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: You are responsible for your own life. All data and information provided on this site is For Informational Purposes Only. The owner of this weblog make no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, suitability or the validity of any information on this site. The owner of this weblog will not be liable for any errors, omissions or delays in this information; nor for any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use. All information provided is OPINION, and is to be used at you own risk.
COMMENT POLICY: All comments left on this weblog become the property of the blog proprietor and are subject to editing or deletion. This blog has a zero tolerance policy for comment spam. All efforts in all forms to utilize the comment section for SEO or commercial promotion purposes will be expunged and contact information will be blacklisted with Disqus. Comments that exceed stupidity limits (arbitrarily defined in the sole determination of the blog proprietor) shall be subject to editing or deletion at the sole discretion of the blog proprietor. This is not a free speech zone. If you object to any portion of this policy, your only recourse is to refrain from commenting.