It's extraordinary to me that the United States can find $700 billion to save Wall Street and the entire G8 can't find $25 billion dollars to saved 25,000 children who die every day from preventable diseases.
I saw some "before and after" pictures today on ABC's website that are mind-blowing. These were taken in an area called the Bolivar Peninsula (Texans have weird ways of pronouncing things. It of course should be pronounced "BOH-lee-var" but in Texas, it's pronounced like it rhymes with Oliver) which is just northwest of Galveston, and is connected to Galveston by a free ferry that (used to) run back and forth all day long. I spent a morning biking along the peninsula a year ago. It is completely unprotected from the elements and thus was completely devastated by Ike. Here is the "before" picture taken 3 days before the hurricane hit:
And here is the "After" shot:
A couple houses standing, sand everywhere. This tells me a few things. First is that Ike didn't get as much press coverage as Katrina because there weren't as many lives lost, and it appears that the government did a better job of helping people get to safety, etc. But because there's less press coverage, there is less likely to be an outpouring of support as we experienced with Katrina. These pictures also tell me that the seawall that was built after Galveston was decimated by a hurricane in 1900 has done its job. The house my mom and stepdad are rehabbing in Galveston, which is about 3 blocks from the ocean, was spared, as were most of the homes built near the wall.
Here's hoping the good folks of Texas can help one another rebuild. And let us know what we can do to help.
Just thought I'd put the significance of what Carlos Zambrano did just a while ago into context. For the uninitiated, Carlos Zambrano, a starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, threw a "no-hitter" tonight, meaning that none of the batters he faced in all nine innings reached base safely as a result of hitting the ball. He did walk one, and hit one batter. The Cubs won 5-0. This happens maybe two or three times per season (out of a possible 2430 games per season) and the last time a Cubs player did this was in 1972, about 5800 Cubs games ago.
Some more interesting facts: this was the first no-hitter ever thrown at a neutral site (not surprising), and I think it's a more impressive feat that it was a National League pitcher who did it, because it means he had to bat AND pitch, not just pitch, as the American League pitchers do. In fact, Zambrano even got a base hit and scored a run, hustling all the way around from first to score on a double by Derrek Lee earlier in the game. It's also important that there is still a "pennant race" going on, the Cubs hadn't been playing particularly well, and the Astros had been red hot, so it was an important win for a lot of reasons.
The Astros have to feel like they got robbed (and expressed as much), having to fly to Milwaukee to play a home game. They wanted a more neutral site, but from a business standpoint, they'll make somewhere around a million dollars from these two games...courtesy of Cubs fans. And in baseball, the home-field advantage is primarly about getting to bat last, which they got to do. So quit your whining. After a pretty forgettable Bears game today, that was something I will truly never forget.
No, I'm not ranting about the "new Facebook" (although I did like the old one better, but I'm sure I'll just get used to the new one eventually) and I'm not ranting about how much of a time-waster Facebook is (although it certainly is that). My rant has to do with getting friended by people that I haven't seen or talked to, or in some cases, even thought about in almost 20 years, and there's no message at all. Just "Roger Daltrey added you as a friend on Facebook." (Good old Roger-- I need to catch up with him).
You can't just do that. It would be like bumping into someone you haven't seen for 20 years at the mall, smiling and saying, "Hello," and then you just keep walking. It's a drive-by friending. I don't like that-- there needs to be some sort of acknowledgement of the fact that we're long lost friends. Don't you agree? Bad Facebook etiquette. I mean, if we're going to be Facebook friends, that has to mean something.
We're starting a "medium-sized" gathering tomorrow night at Christ Church called Upper Room. There will be dinner, discussion, and worship, and it runs from 6:30 till 8:30. If you're maybe one of those former SHYG-ites living in the area that didn't know about it, come check it out. It will run the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the months of September through November, with the exception of Thanksgiving weekend.
A few weeks ago, Heidi was reading a book entitled Easter Surprise to Grace, who will be four in a month. It's a children's book that explains the Easter story to kids. At the conclusion, Heidi said to Grace: "Isn't Jesus good?", a semi-rhetorical response. Grace's response: "I don't like Jesus." Why? "Because he made spiders and bees." What? Why is she questioning this? I feel like I was probably 18 before I put together the connection between the existence of evil and how it affects the concept of the goodness of God. Anyway, after a brief pause to collect herself, Heidi tried to convince her that God was indeed good.
Fast forward to yesterday in the car. Heidi was bringing Grace home from her first day at preschool, and it sounds like something that happened there brought on the same refrain from before: "God isn't good," she said as they were talking. "He made spiders and bees." She really doesn't like spiders and bees. So Heidi again tried to assure Grace that God is indeed good. "But he made you and me, and we're good. And when things go wrong, he heals us." "He PEELS US?!?!?!" she replied in horror. "WHY DOES HE PEEL US?!!!!!!" Heidi quickly reassured her that God does not peel us. "He takes care of us when things are difficult," she said.
Apparently, that worked. When Heidi got home and got her out of the car, Grace had a big smile on her face and said confidently: "Mommy, Jesus is TAGILLION good." (Tagillion being her made up word for "very.")
Today, I was in the car and Heidi asked Grace if she remembered that Jesus was tagillion good. Grace said: "Yeah, remember when I thought God would rip our skin off?"
I can only imagine the image in her little head of God holding us up like a banana and peeling our skin off of us. Hopefully these deep theological struggles won't haunt her her whole life. Maybe she can work through a few of them at three, and take care of it early, you know?
I've got a lot of things to blog about related to the political campaign, but I thought I'd start it off with this really cool electoral map put out by the LA times that allows you to imagine all of the ways one candidate or another could get to the needed 270 electoral votes. Have fun!