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2007 April 23 — Why Now?
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Flagging Support

When I went to the post office last week the flag was at half staff. We have a lot of flags flying down here, but that was the only one at half-staff, so I wondered who had died. I looked in Google and discovered that the Shrubbery had ordered flags at Federal facilities lowered to half-staff until this past Saturday to honor the people who died at Virginia Tech.

I know he jumped on the tragedy immediately, after all this was a disaster that wasn’t his fault, a rare thing indeed, but then I had another thought – this wasn’t really a national tragedy. This was a tragedy in Virginia, not the nation. This didn’t involve Federal employees or a Federal facility. Why was the Federal government intruding?

Then I had another thought, but it is better expressed by a member of the armed forces serving in Afghanistan – Soldier: Why half-staff for Va. Tech, not troops?

Why, indeed? Members of the nation’s military killed on active duty in combat ordered by the Federal government, but that government avoids honoring them in any way. Their bodies are shipped back to the US in the dead of night, and no pictures of the flag draped coffins are permitted, but there is the “Commander in Chief” of the US military flying in for a memorial service for people who were murdered on a college campus, and then he orders the the flags at half-staff, even at military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I don’t guess the 9 members of the military killed in a single incident in Iraq today are worth the trouble of showing a little respect. This is how he supports the troops.

April 23, 2007   10 Comments

No Atheists in Foxholes?

Reading the ignorant attacks on atheists over memorials at Virginia Tech reminded me of the old comment about foxholes. If you check the Veterans Administration listing of Available Emblems of Belief for Placement on Government Headstones and Markers you will see the atheist “atom” at number 16 and the Humanist “H” at number 32. No atheists in foxholes – hell, that’s where a lot of them are created.

As Melissa noted Wicca is now on the list at number 37. Pretty quick work for the VA.

There is no single answer for grief, everyone deals with in their own way, and no one really knows how anyone else feels, even if they experience the same type of loss. The best you can do is give people the support and space they need to deal with it. If they want to talk, listen. If they don’t, respect their wishes. Give them time, but don’t lose touch.

April 23, 2007   6 Comments

RIP Boris Yeltsin 1931-2007

Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin [Борис Николаевич Ельцин], first President of the Russian Federation [1991-1999] has died, apparently from heart problems.

He was what he was, a hard drinking construction worker who made it big in politics of the same Communist Party that had thrown his father into the gulag for anti-Communist views.

The BBC obituary is polite about it.

April 23, 2007   4 Comments

Saint George’s Day

Cross of St. George

Saint George is the patron saint of England, Georgia [the country], Bulgaria, Portugal, Catalonia, and the city of Moscow. Orthodox countries tend to celebrate George on November 23rd.

PETA condemns George for his senseless slaughter of dragons. The YWCA condemns the condemnation and wants to know when PETA is going to volunteer to be DragonChow™

Mustang Bobby reminded me that it is also the birth and death day of Billy the Bard, who was a great writer in desperate need of a spell checker.

Master Shakespeare gave all of the best lines to villains supplying low humor to those who have read the Folio, e.g. Arlen Specter quoting Iago, reputedly in support of Clarence Thomas.

April 23, 2007   10 Comments