Sunday, June 28, 2015

New flags and Old flags.

FROG HOSPITAL – June 28, 2015 – unsubscribe anytime

It Happened in a Church

By Fred Owens

President Obama got it right when he spoke about grace on Friday. The killings were about race, but it happened in a church. Obama did not give a speech, he gave a sermon. A Christian message of grace was coming down the road and it fell to Obama to deliver it. It was all or nothing and Obama gave all. Grace for the killer, and grace for all of us, unearned.  Such a prayer has not been heard from a President in recent memory.

The Confederate Flag. Obama called for the flag to come down from the South Carolina state capitol. I pondered this flag and what means it to me. I came up with three parts. The first part is a message of white supremacy and the history of slavery and segregation. This is what we abhor.  The second part is a symbol of Southern tradition, which for me is about literature, from Thomas Jefferson to Truman Capote, William Faulkner,  Harper Lee, Flannery O’Conner and so many others.  Tradition is the good part, and it is joined intimately with the bad part of racist brutality. How to separate Jefferson the writer from Jefferson the slaveholder?

But the third part came to me only yesterday. The Confederate flag represents sheer cussedness. Obstinance. Defiance. Rebellion. To hell with you. Take this job and shove it. This cussedness adds an abrasive texture to our American life.  To smooth it over with a bland corporate message from Amazon and Wal-Mart – this is not a good thing.

Those are the three parts.  You sort it out, I cannot.  

The Supremes, Nino and Ruth. Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are unlikely friends, yet they have been “seeing each other” after work, having dinner together and going to concerts together. Of course it’s not a date, but isn’t it cute? I admire them both for being able to leave their differences at work. For Ruth and Nino the personal is not political.

It’s hard to hate Scalia knowing that Ruth is friends with him. He lost on Obamacare and he lost on same sex marriage, but as he said on his way home, “Don’t worry about me. I have nine children. In the long run, I win.”

Tanning for Tunisia. Sunbathing European tourists were slaughtered by an Islamic terrorist at a beach resort in Tunisia, 38 in number. It was an assault on civilization and decency. Being so far away from us, we barely took notice, but this is a very frightening situation. The people and the government of Tunisia have made such a good effort to develop a more modern society and they have welcomed Europeans to their country to relax and to see the sights. This crime is just too savage.

Would it be brave or foolish to take a vacation in Tunisia? You will get a good price at hotels by the beach. Lying on the beach with a rum and coke could be an act of heroic resistance….. Call It Tanning for Tunisia. Book your flight today...... Probably no one will go to Tunisia for years and that is very sad. I hear it is a beautiful country.

Avocado, a drought-stricken crop in Santa Barbara. Last year Santa Barbara farmers grew 26,000 tons of avocados on 7,300 acres for a market value of $59,000,000. That’s a lot of guacamole..But the harvest will be reduced this year. I can give you more numbers but the forecast is easy – scant rainfall and sky-rocketing water bills means fewer avocados.
 Local growers are searching for stingier watering techniques and looking for alternate crops on their hillside acres. It’s a tough situation. Growers can’t raise the price to reflect their costs, because shoppers will easily switch to Mexican avocados.

It’s a tough problem. Not that I feel sorry for farmers -- I don’t.  When was it ever easy?
The long-term forecast calls for substantial rain in November thanks to El Nino. Let us hope.

Amen. In the spirit of President Obama’s sermon, let us accept the grace God gives us. Join me in singing this old gospel tune:

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty
If your cup is full may it be again
Let it be known there is a fountain
That was not made by the hands of men

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