January 31, 2004

Robert Lowell

Folks,


I’m reading *Selected Poems* by Robert Lowell. One of his poems -- entitled “No Hearing” -- starts like this:


“Belief in God is an inclination to listen,
but as we grow older and our freedom hardens,
we hardly even want to hear ourselves…
the silent universe our auditor--
I am to myself, and my trouble sings.”


Now, from what I understand, Lowell was not a believer. Yet I find the lines intriguing. I’m not sure what they mean.

What do they mean?

Posted by Rick Penner at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

Top-down uprising?

Folks,


An op-ed article entitled “The Dead Center” by Clinton’s Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich in Thursday’s (1/29/04) New York Times -- tries to unravel the philosophical (or strategic) puzzle: How can the Democratic Party be revived?

The author says winning the 2004 presidential election is NOT contingent on the question of whether the moderates or the leftists take control of the Democratic Party.

Rather….

“The real fight is between those who want only to win back the White House and those who also want to build a new political movement -- one that rivals the conservative movement that has given Republicans their dominant position in American politics….a coherent ideology uniting evangelical Christians, blue-collar whites in the South and West, and big business….”

Reich claims Senator Lieberman represents the “centrist” view that only wants to win back the White House; whereas Senators Kerry and Edwards and Governor Dean hold out the promise of being able to inspire a new liberal political movement…IF they listen to Reich.

Well, at least we can see what Reich is getting at --

The Democratic Party USED to represent a movement that was located in what Reich calls the “giant middle and working class” -- the FDR progressive revolution of the 1930’s and 1940’s that lasted to the time of the Great Society. Then the Democratic Party revitalized itself (so to speak) on the wave of the 1960’s New Left and counter-culture movements -- beginning with George McGovern’s candidacy. But this attempt never realized lasting political victory. In fact, it seems this new version of the party ignored the “giant” class altogether. The Carter presidency was a disaster in this matter; Clinton’s moderate holding-action never resurrected the blue-collars for the Democrats, either.

Reich’s solution is to say to the Democratic Party: it must derive “its durability from the clarity of its convictions. And there's no better way to clarify convictions than to hone them in political combat.”

How so? He says:

“Democrats could have responded [to the conservative movement] with bold plans on jobs, schools, health care and retirement security. They could have delivered a strong message about the responsibility of corporations to help their employees in all these respects, and of wealthy elites not to corrupt politics with money. More recently, the party could have used the threat of terrorism to inspire the same sort of sacrifice and social solidarity as Democrats did in World War II -- including higher taxes on the wealthy to pay for what needs doing. In short, they could have turned themselves into a populist movement to take back democracy from increasingly concentrated wealth and power.”

Amazing!

Reich’s words just can’t hide the concept: he wants MORE bureaucratic government social programs -- using money taken from those who’ve been successful in the private sector (that means higher taxes). What’s new about that?

More importantly, Reich is missing a key thought: you can’t create a populist movement from the top down. Politicians clarifying their policies, holding to their convictions, delivering strong messages -- by themselves -- cannot evoke a movement. Magic phrases will not bring the dead to life.

There has to be a LIVING CONNECTION between the desires, hopes, and fears of blue-collar/middle-class voters -- and the policies of the political party in question. The “movement” has to exist FIRST -- and THEN the party has to be able to comprehend and respond. The Ronald Reagan “revolution” was a case in point.

Blue-collar and middle-class workers want job opportunities and education. The individual action of entering the job or business world, becoming an entrepreneur, starting a business, or developing a skill needed in the market -- are obvious ways workers can advance in our society. It’s CONCRETE. Ordinary people can SEE this.

But big government programs -- though they may help people in time of need -- do not thrust blue-collars into a higher class.

Ordinary Americans in the working/middle classes have -- in the last few decades -- resonated to conservative values and politics because they see these views reflected in the realities of their every-day life. The Democratic Party policies of Reich contribute to the warehousing of the poor AND towards the stimulation of the romanticized “consciousness” of the upper cultured classes. But how does that help the workers?

The current Democratic Party has not brought the dead the life.

Posted by Rick Penner at 10:49 AM | Comments (1)

January 30, 2004

Introduction

Folks,


I’m going to be doing some occasional posting here -- along with some other people -- at the invitation of Joel. I thought I’d introduce myself briefly….

I’m married to one of Joel’s sisters -- Wanda -- and I live in Burbank, California. I’m an evangelical Christian, a moderate conservative, with an interest in politics, literature, religion, music (jazz and classical), and radio (I’m an amateur radio ham and an international shortwave listener).

I’d be interested in any replies you may have to my words.

Posted by Rick Penner at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2004

Another new author

In order to help out with the blog, given my sudden lack of time available, I've added my brother-in-law, Rick Penner, as an author. Welcome aboard, Rick!

Rick is an evangelical Christian who has a different perspective from my own on some social and cultural issues. We agree on important issues of faith however, so I'm hoping that his voice will provide a new perspective to this site.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)

John Stossel fisks popular misconceptions

John Stossel confronts popular misconceptions. Based on the date at the top, I think I missed his show. My loss. John Stossel is a very smart man.

(Link found via Mark Shea)

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

Judicial travesty

Orrin Hatch, chair of The Senate Judicicial Committee, is not standing up for the staffer who alerted the Wall Street Journal to Democrat memos detailing how the judicial process is being politicized by leftist special interest groups. Today's Wall Street Journal stands up for the staffer and tells how the release of the memos was a good thing and was certainly no crime.

Here's an executive summary of the memos from the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)

My Presidential SelectSmart

Your Results:

1. Your ideal theoretical candidate. (100%)
2. Bush, President George W. - Republican (90%)
3. Libertarian Candidate (56%)
4. Kerry, Senator John, MA - Democrat (38%)
5. Phillips, Howard - Constitution (37%)
6. Lieberman, Senator Joe, CT - Democrat (34%)
7. Edwards, Senator John, NC - Democrat (33%)
8. Kucinich, Rep. Dennis, OH - Democrat (26%)
9. Dean, Gov. Howard, VT - Democrat (21%)
10. LaRouche, Lyndon H. Jr. - Democrat (16%)
11. Clark, Retired General Wesley K., AR - Democrat (13%)
12. Sharpton, Reverend Al - Democrat (11%)
13. Socialist Candidate (1%)

Link found thanks to Susan at LilacRose

Like Susan, I'm surprised that Kucinich placed as high as he did, I think the guy is nuts. I'm also surprised at the appearance of Lyndon LaRouche for the same reason. And I'm disappointed that it placed John Kerry higher than Joe Lieberman. I'd vote for Lieberman over any other Democrat, especially given Senator Kerry's activities after his return from Vietnam. My main problems with Senator Lieberman are the same I have with all Democrats - his position on abortion. He couldn't even bring himself to vote for the Partial-Birth Abortion ban.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 12:43 PM | Comments (1)

Back to work!

Take some time off, and my blog disappears, arrgh! Time to set things right.

Rebecca's doing fine, we see cute smiles everyday. She has learned to use our legs or the couch to pull herself into a standing position, then moves around from point A to point B by walking around her support object with her hands holding her up.

She finally enjoys her bath time! She also thinks it's really cool when I open up the vertical blinds in the living room. When she first came home, she screamed at our cats, now she thinks they're interesting, especially when they eat, or fight with each other. General Cat likes her but keeps his distance, as Rebecca cannot simply touch, she has to wave her hands vigourously, and General is a very smart cat. Trixie Cat is smart too, but way too nervous. She is only now willing to be on the same floor as Rebecca.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 12:25 PM | Comments (1)

January 20, 2004

Cute! But why are we at school daddy?

We got to visit a kindergarten/primary school while we in Nanchang. Here's a picture from their front courtyard. Children were very friendly and were all over Rebecca (once we got past security to the classrooms).

View image

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

Blogging disrupted

Blogging has been disrupted by a couple of things. First, there's this matter of priorities. A new one-year-old in the house will keep me off the computer for most of the time. Second, I was gone for so long, I am so out-of-touch! I only used a computer in China about three times, and that was to write one blog entry and send some email. I didn't read any news (except I noted the Cowboys loss - in a different situation that would have been more meaningful, now it's just a statistic).

I'm going to keep the blog up, even though I'm writing less often. Ann Cornelius has an open invitation to continue blogging if she wishes, and I am considering adding some other friends and relatives to the author list so I can devote more time to parenthood.

In the meantime, the house is quiet, must sleep now, before it's too late....

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2004

We're back!

We're back from China, with a brand new American citizen, Rebecca Dong Lan. No problems coming back, except I didn't know that when our bags were cleared after customs, all we had to do was put them back on another conveyor at a special station they had there for domestic connections. We carted our bags over to the next ticket counter, and the agent told us about that, and said now you have to go through security again. Line was about 100 feet long, and our flight was leaving in about an hour, and the xray machine goes down! Service is returned soon, and I'm telling myself over and over "don't fret! you're gonna get home tonight" Sure enough, last night almost exactly at 9:00 pm our plane lands, with our luggage too. Some really great friends from our church (one of whom had also adopted a girl from China about four years ago) are there to meet us, along with Amy's really great mom who gave us a lift home, since we were quite unable to drive. I'll post more later after recovering. We were flying about 24 hours (from Guangzhou to Beijing, then to Los Angeles, then to Philadelphia), but of course with the time zone change, our adjusted watches said the flight only took 12.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 05:41 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2004

BLogging along

I am quite new to this "blogging" and it hasn't been easy finding time to sit down and put my thoughts on the screen. However, the more I read what my cousin Joel has written, the more I realize how much I missed not living near him and having deep, philosophical conversations. This makes me wonder if there are other folks out there (closer to home) with whom I could be conversing about ideas, instead of the weather, the state of the union, or other people. At first I thought blogging was like slogging through the snow. You pushed your way through a few thoughts, slapped them down, and trugged on. Instead it is more like catching snowflakes on your mitten. You see how unique, wonderful and exciting they are, but they are soon gone while another comes. And yet - there it is - the archive! Now, if I ever have "down time" I am going to start searching the archives for the things you other folks have written, and perhaps I too will have some truly new views on life. Thanks. Ann

Posted by Ann Cornelius at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)

A New Arrival

Rebecca Dong Lan became our daughter on Monday afternoon (about 2 am
Monday for you). While you were in Sunday school and church we were in
an airplane flying between Beijing and Nanchang. There was a delay on
Monday morning but soon after 12 noon we saw Rebecca for the first time.

We're in Nanchang doing various things until visas are available, then
it's down to Guangzhou for visas and immigration stuff, then coming
home on the 14th (according to plan so far).

Only complications so far are that our flight from Beijing to Nanchang
was delayed two hours, and there were language difficulties in the
airport resulting in me paying an unnecessary tax (which I got back so no
big deal).

One thing to share: In the Philadelphia airport, the flight was
severely overbooked and we were afraid we might not get a seat. I told the
ticket agent our predicament, and they said they would do their best.
While walking to a bathroom, I prayed that everything would work out. I
felt an answer in my head, almost as clear as if it had been said out
loud "All prayers for your safety and success on this trip have already
been answered - enjoy the trip now!" Got back to the gate, the doors
were closed, and I was thinking we would be late. All of a sudden they
call our name, and we're on the plane, doors opened for us!

This is an e-mail from Amy and Joel that I wanted to share with you. Ann

Posted by Ann Cornelius at 05:38 PM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2004

The Royal Daughter is all glorious within the palace

P1080033.JPG

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 02:32 AM | Comments (0)

Joel and Rebecca

P1080031.JPG

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 02:26 AM | Comments (0)

Amy and Rebecca

P1070023.JPG

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 02:24 AM | Comments (0)

New Parents!

We've done it (except for coming home - small detail there!)

Rebecca Dong Lan became our daughter on Monday afternoon (about 2 am Monday for those in Eastern Time). While our close friends were in Sunday school and church we were in an airplane flying between Beijing and Nanchang. There was a delay on Monday morning but soon after 12 noon (11pm Sunday night for EST) we saw Rebecca for the first time.

We're in Nanchang until Sunday doing various things until visas are available, then it's down to Guangzhou for visas and immigration stuff, then coming home on the 14th (according to plan so far).

Only complications so far are that our flight from Beijing to Nanchang was delayed two hours, and there were language difficulties in the airport resulting in me paying an unnecessary tax (which I got back so no big deal).

One thing to share: In the Philadelphia airport, the flight was severely overbooked and we were afraid we might not get a seat. I told the ticket agent our predicament, and they said they would do their best. While walking to a bathroom, I prayed that everything would work out. I felt an answer in my head, almost as clear as if it had been said out loud "All prayers for your safety and success on this trip have already been answered - enjoy the trip!" Got back to the gate, the doors were closed, and I was beginning to doubt, already wondering if we were destined for a later flight. All of a sudden they call our name, and we're on the plane, doors opened for us!

More reflections on the trip and pictures will be posted after we return, though here is a picture of our daughter given to us before we traveled. Looks just like her now except her hair is a little bit longer now.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 02:14 AM | Comments (4)

January 04, 2004

Clean Slate

Joel and Amy are off to China to get a delightful new daughter. Like the new year offers a clean slate to write your history of 2004, a new child has a clean mind and heart. What we say, how we show our love impresses on them how the world should treat them. Knowing my cousin and his wife the way I do, their little Rebecca will be a loving, generous and happy person in no time at all. She will learn to respect others, to ask questions, to seek truth and not settle for what she sees and hears on t.v. This will be no "Barney Baby," but a unique and precious person.

I am looking forward to a new year full of joy, of writing songs, and performing for people who don't even know the name of Jesus. When we trust a higher power to lead us, the road may not always be easy, but it is always interesting.

Psalm 5:11 Let all those rejoice who put their trust in You
Let them ever shout for joy (shout, shout for joy!)
Because you defend them. Let those who love your Name
Be joyfuyl in you. (shout, shout for joy!)
For you, O Lord, will bless the righteous, surround him with favor as a shield.

May God's favor surround Joel and Amy and Rebecca as they travel -
and may He surround you as a shield. Ann

Posted by Ann Cornelius at 04:48 PM | Comments (0)

Clean Slate

A new year is like a clean slate. You look ahead, and it is so shiny and ready for all sorts of exciting things to happen. I was enthused about getting a new planning calendar - only to discover that I am booked as usual with all the things I've committed to on a monthly basis. Each month has dates already filled with "have to" - and soon I don't have much room for the "want to."

I'm going to take more time for reading my devotional and doing in depth Bible study. Like Joel, I'm going to read through the Word again this year. Each time I do, I discover different things, since I'm looking through a new perspective as the world changes, as my life changes.

With the advent of the new tracking devices to replace the bar code (so everything we purchase can be traced) I am getting more convinced that Revelations is not just a book of the Bible, but an event as close as next day's news. Instead of making me nervous, I think I'll rejoice.

Psalm 5:11 - Let all those rejoice who put their trust in You,
Let them shout for joy,
Shout, shout for joy.
Because you defend them. Let those who love your Name
Be joyful in you.
Shout, shout for joy!
For you, O Lord, will bless the righteous,
Surround him with favor as a shield.

May God's favor surround you this coming year. Ann

Posted by Ann Cornelius at 04:40 PM | Comments (0)