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Oyarsa's Observances

This blog is created for my random thoughts and opinions. Conflicting opinions are always welcome, but comments or remarks left in a disrespectful or distasteful manner (to be determined by myself) will be either ignored or deleted. This blog has a zero-tolerance policy for spammers. Don't waste your time, spammers, go elsewhere.


"Oyarsa" for those who don't know, is the name of an archangel (or "god" with a little 'g') in C. S. Lewis's Space Trilogy. I liked the character, so I stole the name. Who am I? I am a library science student in Illinois who has a variety of interests--too many to list! I have worked in libraries for five years and counting.

Are you a good person?

Monday, May 30, 2005

Dedicated to my Great-Grandfather John on Memorial Day

I'd like to take a moment to honor my Great grandfather John, who died before I was born.

He was born, lived and died in the same town I live in, the son of first generation immigrants to America. Worked in the family hotel carrying heavy trunks during his youth. He enlisted in World War I and returned a Lieutenant. I wish I knew the circumstances of his promotions up the ranks.

He married my great grandmother, had three children--a daughter, a son, and a second daughter who died in infancy.

As was true of many German-Americans, my grandfather showered his son with love and affection, but neglected to enforce responsibility and principle as proportionately as he lavished his love. Thus, he lived to see his much loved (and somewhat spoiled) son become irresponsible and unprincipled, a grief to his aging father.

His third daughter and oldest child had long vied for his affection. Realizing the error of his excessive devotion to his son, which had blinded him to my great-uncle's character flaws until they had become a cemented part of his character, he began assisting my grandmother, whose husband had walked out on her for another woman; leaving her with two young sons.

Great Grandfather would fix their lunches and taught them responsibility. A common phrase was "police up this room (or mess)". He also taught them discipline. My grandfather never used a stick or switch to discipline my uncle or father---his strong hands were enough for a powerful application to his grandsons' seats of understanding. My great-grand father became the father figure for my own father and uncle in their early years; both would later develop into strong men of character in part because of his teaching and discipline.

He died six years before I was born, and my father and uncle were two of his pallbearers.

Thank you, Grandfather, for all you sacrificed and for all you've done.


Monday, May 16, 2005

Thanks a lot, Newsweek....

The death of everyone killed at the hands of those Muslims is on the head of those who fabricated that article. *frown*

May the victims of those Muslims rest in peace.

To the Muslims, I am sorry that one of our magazines was so quick to publish unverified (and falsified) information.


Newsweek says Koran desecration report is wrong

May 15, 8:29 PM (ET)

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Newsweek magazine said on Sunday it erred in a May 9 report that U.S. interrogators desecrated the Koran at Guantanamo Bay, and apologized to the victims of deadly Muslim protests sparked by the article.

Editor Mark Whitaker said the magazine inaccurately reported that U.S. military investigators had confirmed that personnel at the detention facility in Cuba had flushed the Muslim holy book down the toilet.

The report sparked angry and violent protests across the Muslim world from Afghanistan, where 16 were killed and more than 100 injured, to Pakistan to Indonesia to Gaza. In the past week it was condemned in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Malaysia and by the Arab League.

On Sunday, Afghan Muslim clerics threatened to call for a holy war against the United States.

"We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst," Whitaker wrote in the magazine's latest issue, due to appear on U.S. newsstands on Monday.

The weekly news magazine said in its May 23 edition that the information had come from a "knowledgeable government source" who told Newsweek that a military report on abuse at Guantanamo Bay said interrogators flushed at least one copy of the Koran down a toilet in a bid to make detainees talk.

But Newsweek said the source later told the magazine he could not be certain he had seen an account of the Koran incident in the military report and that it might have been in other investigative documents or drafts.

Whitaker told Reuters that Newsweek did not know if the reported toilet incident involving the Koran ever occurred. "As to whether anything like this happened, we just don't know," he said in an interview. "We're not saying it absolutely happened but we can't say that it absolutely didn't happen either."


The acknowledgment by the magazine came amid heightened scrutiny of the U.S. media, which has seen a rash of news organizations fire reporters and admit that stories were fabricated or plagiarized.

The Pentagon told the magazine the report was wrong last Friday, saying it had investigated earlier allegations of Koran desecration from detainees and found them "not credible."

Newsweek reported that Pentagon spokesman Lawrence DiRita reacted angrily when the magazine asked about the source's continued assertion that he had read about the Koran incident in an investigative report. "People are dead because of what this son of a bitch said. How could he be credible now?" DiRita told Newsweek.

The May 9 report, which appeared as a brief item by Michael Isikoff and John Barry in the magazine's "Periscope" section, had a huge international impact, sparking the protests from Muslims who consider the Koran the literal word of God and treat each book with deep reverence.

Desecration of the Koran is punishable by death in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Newsweek, which said opponents of the Afghan government including remnants of the Taliban had used its report to fan unrest in the country, said it was not contemplating disciplinary action against staff.

"This was reported very carefully, with great sensitivity and concern, and we'll continue to report on it," said Newsweek Managing Editor Jon Meacham. "We have tried to be transparent about exactly what happened, and we leave it to the readers to judge us."

U.S. officials opened an investigation but maintained that members of the Guantanamo security force were sensitive to the religious beliefs and practices of the detainees in U.S. custody.

U.S. national security adviser Stephen Hadley earlier on Sunday stressed the report had not been confirmed. "If it turns out to be true, obviously we will take action against those responsible," Hadley said on CNN's "Late Edition."

Newsweek's Whitaker said that when the magazine first heard of the Koran allegation from its source, staff approached two Defense Department officials. One declined to comment, while the other challenged a different aspect of the May 9 story but did not dispute the Koran charge.

The magazine said other news organizations had already aired charges of Koran desecration based "only on the testimony of detainees."

"We believed our story was newsworthy because a U.S. official said government investigators turned up this evidence. So we published the item," Whitaker said.

"Our original source later said he couldn't be certain about reading of the alleged Koran incident in the report we cited," he wrote.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

A bit old; but worth the read

To view the remainder of his last column, go to Ben Stein's Last Column


Ben Stein's Last Column by ( 02/10/2005 )

Ben Stein is an economist, author, actor, commentator...and obviously much more.
For many years Ben Stein has written a biweekly column for the on line Website called "Monday Night At Morton's." (Morton's is a famous chain of Steakhouses known to be frequented by movie stars and famous people from around the globe.) Now, Ben is terminating the column to move on to other things in his life. Reading his final column will be worth a few minutes of your time.

Ben Stein's Last Column
How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?

I have been doing this column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end. It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and the world's change have overtaken it.

I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to. How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a "star" we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model?

Welcome to Oyarsa's Observances!

This is where I'll be posting my thoughts, the thoughts of others which I have found interesting or with which I agree, as well as serving as my "personal" blog.

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