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Philip Larkin MCMXIV

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Friling (springtime)

Friling, family name
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Jan Baez

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Summer in the rainforest was experience of a lifetime

Amplify’d from hometownargus.com
Summer in the rainforest was experience of a lifetime
Kalinda Kolek is flanked by her father Cary Kolek and stepmother Christine, as they posed in front of a Buddhist temple in Indonesia.

If Kalinda Kolek was assigned to write an essay about what she did this past summer for her English class, she would probably have enough information and photos to produce an in-depth travel piece.

By Charlie Warner
Argus News Editor
If Kalinda Kolek was assigned to write an essay about what she did this past summer for her English class, she would probably have enough information and photos to produce an in-depth travel piece.

While most 15-year-olds might write about a trip to the Black Hills or spending several weeks at summer camp, the Caledonia High School sophomore’s summer vacation was much more extensive and exciting than that.

Kalinda, the daughter of Becky Holzwarth of Caledonia, spent 10 weeks touring the Far East and living with her father and step-mother in the mountainous rain forest of Indonesia.

Kalinda’s father Cary Kolek landed a job at the world’s largest copper mine near Tembagapura, Indonesia. Tembagapura is on the large island of New Guinea, about 500 miles north of Australia.

“My initial reaction when Dad asked me last Christmas if I wanted to spend the summer with him and Christine in Indonesia was ‘NO!’” Kalinda said. “I couldn’t imagine being away from my family and friends in Caledonia for 10 weeks. It took me a long time to agree to go. And I still had second thoughts when I arrived.”

Kalinda’s step mother sent her a detailed map of the Far East with an itinerary of where they would be going. She also provided the information regarding the various shots that would be required to enter the countries they would be touring. Kalinda was subjected to a series of three shots and an oral vaccination.

“When you’re living in the middle of a rainforest, you just don’t know what you might catch, so she had all those to be on the safe side,” Becky noted.

“My friends weren’t surprised when I told them I was going to spend most of my summer half way around the world. I think they would have been more surprised if I would have told them I wasn’t going,” Kalinda said.

The idea of sending a 15-year-old halfway around the world is more than a little daunting. But Becky pointed out Kalinda’s step mother would be meeting her in Los Angeles for the 14-hour trip across the Pacific to Taipei, Taiwan.

“Kalinda’s step mother is a wonderful lady. We get along well with her and I didn’t have any qualms about that,” Becky added.

Kalinda left the second week in June and flew the four hours to LA by herself. In LA she hooked up with Christine and landed in Taiwan 14 hours later, then flew four more hours to Denpasar, Bali, which is part of Indonesia. There they met Cary and spent June 11 and 12 resting up from the long trip and toured the island city.

For the next two weeks Cary and Christine showed Kalinda the many historic temples and sights of Indonesia. They toured Jakarta, which is the nation’s capitol, then returned to Bali for a week of touring and exploring.

“The Buddhist and Muslim temples are just incredible,” Kalinda said, as she called up photo after photo on her laptop during the interview. Kalinda had more than 1,000 images of her summer odyssey on memory sticks.

Kalinda, Cary and Christine then flew 1,500 miles to Timika, which is on the Indonesian side of New Guinea. From there they took a helicopter to the mountain town of Tembagapura, situated 6,000 feet above sea level in the New Guinea rain forest.

While the sights and sounds Kalinda experienced in the larger cities of Indonesia were eye openers, the mountain community of Tembagapura was a cultural shock.

“All the roads were rock roads,” Kalinda began,” and I don’t mean gravel roads. These were rock roads, made out of rocks this big,” she said, holding up both her hands. “There was one grocery store in the town, about half the size of Quillin’s, a small department store that had everything from Tupperware to shirts to all the necessities you couldn’t bring with you when you flew in. There was one restaurant called The Loop and there was a school for kids up to eighth grade. That school was for both the native kids and those of the expatriots who worked in the mines.”

When asked if she got bored during her four-week stay on “the mountain,” as she referred to it, Kalinda replied, “oh yes. There wasn’t a lot for the women to do. The men would head off to the mines and the women might go to the pool or the gym and maybe hang out at The Loop. That was about it.”

The mining town did have limited Internet service and Kalinda spent much of her time communicating with her friends back home. “The Internet service was real slow, but it was better than not having service.”

They were also able to view satellite TV, although there were only about a half dozen English channels.

“It rained every day. You just got used to bringing an umbrella with you everywhere you went. If you wanted to see the sun, you had to get up real early. By mid-morning it would cloud up and rain all day. We hardly ever saw the stars. It was usually cloudy at night.”

Towards the end of July, Kalinda admitted she was counting the days and then the hours, as her departure date neared. The day she and Christine were to fly off the mountain and begin the long trip back to the States, they got up at 5:30 a.m. only to be greeted by a thick fog. There would be no helicopter service that day.

The fog lifted, however and Kalinda and her step mother were able to begin the trip home.

The trip home took them through Singapore, which Kalinda described as the cleanest place she had ever been.

“They call Singapore ‘the fine city’ because you can get fined for just about anything. They won’t even allow chewing gum because of the littering issues. And as we approached Singapore on the airplane, a message came over the speaker system that drug smuggling wasn’t tolerated in Singapore. They handle it there with the death penalty.”

While she had second thoughts about embarking on the trip in June, she was very glad she decided to go and recommended a trip like this to everyone.

“I had the chance to see all those beautiful temples, hand-feed a wild monkey in the rain forest, swim with dolphins in Bali and see the world’s tallest buildings in Malaysia. I got to learn about cultures that were very different than our culture here in Caledonia.

“It definitely was a learning experience and an opportunity of a lifetime.”

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You can contact Charlie Warner at
charlie.warner@ecm-inc.comRead more at hometownargus.com

September 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Denise MacColeman Daily on Twitter

You have to see this. Create you own newspaper using followers stories.

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(VIDEO) Zegota Saved 50000 Jews From Holocaust | Israel Muse Portal

part 2
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September 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

(VIDEO) Zegota Saved 50000 Jews From Holocaust | Israel Muse Portal

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Welcome to the DREAM Act Portal | DREAM Act Portal

Welcome to the DREAM Act Portal | DREAM Act Portal.

September 21, 2010 Posted by | immigration, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Common Word “Peace”

Muslims and Christians have not always shaken hands in friendship; their relations have sometimes been tense, even characterized by outright hostility. Since Jesus Christ says, “First take the log out your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye” (Matthew 7:5), we want to begin by acknowledging that in the past (e.g. in the Crusades) and in the present (e.g. in excesses of the “war on terror”) many Christians have been guilty of sinning against our Muslim neighbors. Before we “shake your hand” in responding to your letter, we ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One and of the Muslim community around the world.

Religious Peace—World Peace
“Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of the world’s population. Without peace and justice between these two religious communities, there can be no meaningful peace in the world.” We share the sentiment of the Muslim signatories expressed in these opening lines of their open letter. Peaceful relations between Muslims and Christians stand as one of the central challenges of this century, and perhaps of the whole present epoch. Though tensions, conflicts, and even wars in which Christians and Muslims stand against each other are not primarily religious in character, they possess an undeniable religious dimension. If we can achieve religious peace between these two religious communities, peace in the world will clearly be easier to attain. It is therefore no exaggeration to say, as you have in A Common Word Between Us and You, that “the future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.”

Common Ground
What is so extraordinary about A Common Word Between Us and You is not that its signatories recognize the critical character of the present moment in relations between Muslims and Christians. It is rather a deep insight and courage with which they have identified the common ground between the Muslim and Christian religious communities. What is common between us lies not in something marginal nor in something merely important to each. It lies, rather, in something absolutely central to both: love of God and loveof neighbor. Surprisingly for many Christians, your letter considers the dual command of love to be the foundational principle not just of the Christian faith, but of Islam as well. That so much common ground exist– common ground in some of the fundamentals of faith – gives hope that undeniable differences and even the very real external pressures that bear down upon us can not overshadow the common ground upon which we stand together. That this common ground consists in love of God and ofneighbor gives hope that deep cooperation between us can be a hallmark of the relations between our two communities.

Love of God
We applaud that A Common Word Between Us and You stresses so insistently the unique devotion to one God, indeed the love of God, as the primary duty of every believer. God alone rightly commands our ultimate allegiance. When anyone or anything besides God commands our ultimate allegiance – a ruler, a nation, economic progress, or anything else –we end up serving idols and inevitably get mired in deep and deadly conflicts.

We find it equally heartening that the God whom we should love above all things is described as being Love. In the Muslim tradition, God, “the Lord of the worlds,” is “The Infinitely Good and All-Merciful.” And the New Testament states clearly that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Since God’s goodness is infinite and not bound by anything, God “makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous,” according to the words of Jesus Christ recorded in the Gospel (Matthew 5:45).  

For Christians, humanity’s love of God and God’s love of humanity are intimately linked. As we read in the New Testament: “We love because he [God] first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Our love of God springs from and is nourished by God’s love for us. It cannot be otherwise, since the Creator who has power over all things is infinitely good.

Love of Neighbor
We find deep affinities with our own Christian faith when A Common Word Between Us and You insists that love is the pinnacle of our duties toward our neighbors. “None of you has faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself,” the Prophet Muhammad said. In the New Testament we similarly read, “whoever does not love [the neighbor] does not know God” (1 John 4:8) and “whoever does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). God is love, and our highest calling as human beings is to imitate the One whom we worship.

We applaud when you state that “justice and freedom of religion are a crucial part” of the love of neighbor. When justice is lacking, neither love of God nor love of the neighbor can be present. When freedom to worship God according to one’s conscience is curtailed, God is dishonored, the neighbor oppressed, and neither God nor neighbor is loved.

Since Muslims seek to love their Christian neighbors, they are not against them, the document encouragingly states. Instead, Muslims are with them. As Christians we resonate deeply with this sentiment. Our faith teaches that we must be with our neighbors – indeed, that we must act in their favor – even when our neighbors turn out to be our enemies. “But I say unto you,” says Jesus Christ, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good” (Matthew 5:44-45). Our love, Jesus Christ says, must imitate the love of the infinitely good Creator; our love must be as unconditional as is God’s—extending to brothers, sisters, neighbors, and even enemies. At the end of his life, Jesus Christ himself prayed for his enemies: “Forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

The Prophet Muhammad did similarly when he was violently rejected and stoned by the people of Ta’if. He is known to have said, “The most virtuous behavior is to engage those who sever relations, to give to those who withhold from you, and to forgive those who wrong you.” (It is perhaps significant that after the Prophet Muhammad was driven out of Ta’if, it was the Christian slave ‘Addas who went out to Muhammad, brought him food, kissed him, and embraced him.)

The Task Before Us
“Let this common ground” – the dual common ground of love of God and of neighbor – “be the basis of all future interfaith dialogue between us,” your courageous letter urges. Indeed, in the generosity with which the letter is written you embody what you call for. We most heartily agree. Abandoning all “hatred and strife,” we must engage in interfaith dialogue as those who seek each other’s good, for the one God unceasingly seeks our good. Indeed, together with you we believe that we need to move beyond “a polite ecumenical dialogue between selected religious leaders” and work diligently together to reshape relations between our communities and our nations so that they genuinely reflect our common love for God and for one another.

Given the deep fissures in the relations between Christians and Muslims today, the task before us is daunting. And the stakes are great. The future of the world depends on our ability as Christians and Muslims to live together in peace. If we fail to make every effort to make peace and come together in harmony you correctly remind us that “our eternal souls” are at stake as well.

We are persuaded that our next step should be for our leaders at every level to meet together and begin the earnest work of determining how God would have us fulfill the requirement that we love God and one another. It is with humility and hope that we receive your generous letter, and we commit ourselves to labor together in heart, soul, mind and strength for the objectives you so appropriately propose.

http://www.yale.edu/faith/acw/acw.htm

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

What Are D.C. Police Doing Enforcing Shariah Law?

The Islamic Center, housed in a magnificent building in Washington, D.C., has been around for over a half-century, but it is seldom in the news. Unless you drive by (on Embassy Row) you would not know that it there. Because it is supposed to be a peaceful place of worship, we would not expect local police to enter.

Yet last March they did. Three D.C. Metropolitan police officers entered the center, at the direction of an imam, and removed six Muslim women. Their crime? They were worshiping peacefully in the main prayer hall after the imam announced that women were forbidden to enter that area.

What happened in Washington, D.C., should remind us of the peaceful sit-ins of the 1960s. The courts found that the police action removing people from private businesses violated the Equal Protection Clause.

In a series of cases the lower federal courts and the Supreme Court reversed convictions of black and white civil protestors who were convicted under state criminal trespass or disturbing the peace laws when they sat in the “white-only” section of various lunch counters and restaurants and refused to move after having been ordered to do so by the agent of the establishment.

Neither state nor federal laws at the time required the restaurants to serve blacks, but the courts found “state action” that violated Equal Protection. In Garner v. Louisiana (1961), for example, the Supreme Court reversed the convictions (under a state disturbing the peace statute) of those who had engaged in a sit-in, because the record was “totally devoid of evidentiary support” that petitioners caused any disturbance of the peace. They sat there quietly.

Peterson v. Greenville (1963) reversed the trespass conviction of blacks who had engaged in a lunch counter sit-in. The store manager asked the blacks to leave because integrated service was “contrary to local customs” and a local ordinance.  The Supreme Court held that “these convictions cannot stand,” whether or not a local ordinance supported the store manager.  In Lombard v. Louisiana (1963), decided the same day, the Court reversed the trespass convictions of three blacks and one white who had sat in a privately owned restaurant that served only whites. The case involved no statutes or ordinances, but the police did say that “no additional sit-in demonstrations … will be permitted.” Justice Douglas, concurring, argued that there was state action when the state judiciary “put criminal sanctions behind racial discrimination in public places.”

There are precious little differences between the sit-in cases of the 1960s and the Muslim sit-in cases. We knew, in the 1960s, that the Equal Protection Clause forbids discrimination based on color. We know now that the Equal Protection Clause forbids discrimination based on gender. We know that the lunch counters were open to anyone who wanted to eat, except blacks, or blacks had to sit at a special section. We know that the mosque is open to anyone who wants to worship God, except that women must sit at special places — sort of like “back of the bus.”

And we know that the discrimination based on race or sex could not exist without the help of the local police. The question is why the D.C. police — who have real crime to worry about –  are spending their time and taxpayer dollars to enforce sharia law.

Our First Amendment protects the right of people to believe whatever they want to believe. But there are limits to how they can act on their beliefs. For example, a religion may believe that racial segregation is God’s way. They can believe that, but the state cannot aid that belief by, for example, giving federally subsidized loans to colleges that discriminate on the basis of race. The people of Washington, D.C., should not be enforcing shariah law.

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment