Sunday Morning with Almost-90 President Carter

July 20, 2014

President Carter Says China is Headed Toward Having the World’s Largest Christian  Population

Carter - Plains 3  015

  As usual, when he is there, the Maranatha Baptist  Church at Plains, Georgia was packed Sunday morning.  A new friend who formerly lived in South Dakota, Bill Harlan, had said that he and his wife Marjorie, would like to attend one of President Jimmy Carter’s Sunday school classes.  So Carol and Don Nahley, Sidney and Ed Wilson, the Harlan’s, and Julie Bray and I motored to Plains.  It was a delightful experience.  

On October first, President Carter will be 90.  You would  never know it by the way he conducts his Sunday school class.  He is still not only intellectually impressive and witty,  but does not move like a man who has been around that long.  He was on his feet and in motion for the entire lesson, which lasted almost an hour.

The main point of his talk was that all Christians are missionaries, that Christ himself was a missionary. After normalizing relations with China in 1979, he tried to get missionaries back into the country. He asked for three things: Freedom of religion,  the printing of bibles, and allowing missionaries back into China. He got two of them. China agreed to allow freedom of religion and the printing of bibles, but it wouldn’t allow missionaries to return.  Now, President Carter said, China is on its way to having the  world’s largest Christian population. Sometimes it only takes one person to get the job done and, it seems, one missionary to China, President Jimmy Carter, was the man to do it.   

 

Having a Drink with the Duke

July 14, 2014

As I read the news about John Wayne’s estate engaging in a legal battle with Duke University over the use of  the name Duke, it reminded me of  the time I had a drink with the Duke.

The estate wants to put the name “Duke” on the label of bottles of Kentucky bourbon. Duke University reportedly opposes that idea. From personal experience, I know that Wayne did like bourbon.

He had just finished shooting some scenes for The Green Berets, a film about the Vietnam War at Fort  Benning.   Meeting him on location the night before, I had so upset him when I asked if he was making a propaganda movie that he cut the interview short and stormed off, saying, “You’re just trying to provoke me. I’m  trying to make an entertaining  movie.”

The next morning his publicist called me to say that Duke felt bad about the episode with me, that he had been upset by something else and that he would give me another interview if I wanted it. The publicist and I met him at his apartment after that day’s filming.  He gave me his famous smile and a hardy handshake,  explained that he had been in a bad mood the night before because of problems he was having with one of his actors who had a drinking problem,  said he understood I was just doing my job and I could ask  him anything I wished.  I responded by honestly telling him I was a fan and had really enjoyed his latest movie in the theaters, The War Wagon. He invited me to join him at the apartment’s  kitchen table to do the interview.  He also asked me if I would like to have a bourbon and water with him.  Usually, I didn’t drink on the job, but there was no way I was going to  not have a drink with John Wayne.

I interviewed him for an hour.  He gave me a lot of interesting inside stories about such things as the mafia’s influence in Hollywood. I sent both the short interview from the  night before and the hour interview to  CBS.  They only used the one with the verbal fireworks from the night before.

 

Let There be Rotary Light

July 7, 2014
Alexa, Luke, and Ryan Clements performing the unity clap to close Rotary Club of Columbus President Clements acceptance speech.  Of them,  he said, They're my daily reminders of why it's importan to go  the extra mile each and every day to  help make our community and world a better place for all people." (Photo by Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Alexa, Luke, and Ryan Clements performing the unity clap to close Rotary Club of Columbus President Clements acceptance speech. Of them, he said,”They’re my daily reminders of why it’s important to go the extra mile each and every day to help make our community and world a better place for all people.” (Photo by Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Rotary International’s theme this year is Light Up Rotary, and carrying the torch for that effort in Columbus is Ryan Clements.  He just became president of the Rotary Club of Columbus.  Greg Camp, last year’s president, passed the torch to Ryan at Wednesday’s meeting.

President Ryan - local Rotarians stick to first names –  said, “This is an exciting theme for  me because it encourages all of us to tell the Rotary story and to invite our family and friends to celebrate Rotary with us.”  I can’t go into all of the Rotary story in this short space, but I can tell you that a major  part of it is supporting the Rotary Foundation, which raises hundreds of millions of dollars to help  people in parts of the world who. as Ryan says. “would otherwise go without basic necessities such as clean water, proper sanitation, and fundamental  nutrition.”

Vice-President Greg, who is an executive at the National infanrty Museum, said that the drive for  Rotary Foundation Funds during his term as president exceeded its goal.  In order to keep that ball rolling and hopefully raise impressive funds for Rotary’s “greatest cause, the eradication of polio,” President Ryan, who is in the construction consulting business,  will lead the club in reviving the 1983 Run to the Sea, a relay race of 275 miles from Columbus to Jekyll Island.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed to match funds for polio eradication 2 to 1 up to  $35 million a year through 2018.

When you add this effort to all of the other services Rotary offers the Columbus community,  local Rotarians should have no  problem at all Lighting Up Rotary by spreading the word on how remarkable the Rotary experience can be.

 

Happy 238th Birthday, America!

July 4, 2014

240px-Fourth_of_July_fireworks_behind_the_Washington_Monument,_1986

And, a belated Happy Resolution of Independence Day.  July 2nd, 1776 was the day that the Continental Congress passed the Resolution of Independence.  The Declaration of Independence was signed and dated on July 4th, 1776.  Bet you didn’t know that. Neither did It until I looked up Independence Day on Wikipedia.

 

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A Blogger’s Free and Responsible Search for Truth and Meaning

June 29, 2014

Being a UU, I know that Unitarian Universalists do not have a creed, but UU communities affirm and promote Seven Principles. The Fourth one, “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning,” is the one that concerns us for this post. I am examining how that principle applies to the body of work that I have produced for this blog, which is a Personal blog. WordPress, which hosts more than 60 million websites including this one, says Personal “is the broadest category and includes blogs about personal topics like politics, music, family, travel, health, you name it.”

Since I started this blog in 2008, there have been 690 posts. There is no way we can examine each one, so let’s take a look at the one that has gotten and continues to get the most hits. The August 19, 2009 post AN EMOTIONAL WILLIAM CALLEY SAYS HE IS SORRY not only continues to get a lot of hits, but continues to get comments from readers.

Former Army Lt. William Calley, the only person convicted of participating in the massacre of hundreds of Vietnamese civilians during the Vietnam War, including a lot of  women and children,  used the occasion of speaking to the Kiwanis Club of Greater Columbus (Georgia), to apologize for his  role in the war crime.  My report was picked up by the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, carried by all McClatchey newspapers , and fed by the L-E to the Associated Press,  causing it to be reported around the world.

I can’t speak  for others, so I’ll just concentrate on what I  see to be true in the report.  One significant truth to me is that some human beings of any nationallity are capable of unspeakable acts. Another one is that not only are some people incapaable of that, but they will actively oppose those who are.    

 What’s the meaning of the story?  For one thing, to me, it again raises the point that  war is an insane way for nations to resolve conflicts.  For another,  it shows that political leaders can get a lot of people killed unnecessarily and can be disingenuous about justifying their lethal actions.    

I realize that it may have an entirely different truth and meaning for you. Please feel  free to click on the comment button and let me know how you feel about the subject.  I do request that comments be civil, not too profane, and sans name calling. 

 

We Said This on This Blog a Year Ago. It still Applies.

June 23, 2014

We Need Legislators Who Support Public Education

HERE’S MORE EVIDENCE THAT TOO MANY DON’T

It is very disheartening to see what those who control the Georgia Legislature are doing to our state’s public school system. The evidence became even more abundant when I learned about the tentative Muscogee County School District’s 2014 budget.

The state is cutting MCSD $21 million in funding for the year. That brings to #141 million cut by the state over the past 12 years. How can we believe lawmakers who say they support public education when they do this?

 

Tanks in the National Infantry Museum

June 16, 2014

My stepson Ken Champion and a group of men and boys from his church in the Kennesaw area recently came to Columbus to see the new IMAX documentary, D-Day, at the Patriot Park IMAX and tour the museum.  I gladly joined  them to  see the movie again because it’s one that you can enjoy more than once. 

When we toured the museum, I was very pleased to see an exhibit I  hadn’t seen before, the relatively new Gallery of the Armor and Cavalry.

Armor 007

Before there were tanks, trucks, and jeeps,  there were horses, and that’s represented in the gallery.

Armor 002

Tanks came on the scene during World War I.  That’s repesented by a WW I French Renault that was unearthed in Afghanistan.

Armor 004

You can learn all about how that happened and see other tanks and artifacts that show the evolution of the U.S. Army’s Armor branch.  Since Fort Benning is  now the home of not only the Infantry School, but also the Armor School, which moved from Frot Knox to Fort Benning in 2011, the National Infanttry Museum added this gallery which will display armor artifacts until money can be raised for a seperate building for the National Armor Museum.

The Writing Compulsion

June 8, 2014

Why do you write?

Lummus CHapel, Linwood Cemetery, Columbus, GA

Lummus Chapel, Linwood Cemetery, Columbus, GA

After participating in he Chattahoochee Valley Writers, Inc. “Write-on Columbus 2014″ at Linwood Cemetery,  I had to reflect on the compulsion that some people, including me,  have to write.  Why did our group spend a Saturday morning walking around the cemetery, writing about something we saw, then reading our work to each other in Lummus Chapel? That, of course, raises the question,  why anyone has a compulsion to write? 

Usually, the first answer you get from pros is the money.   I’ve been paid for a lot of what I have written, especially for radio and television news, but I don’t write just  for the money.  This blog is living proof of that.  And, I have a lot of company. Millions and millions of people write blogs for no pay.   

I think that many of us simply have a desire to communicate, to connect  with other people through our writing. Just think of the millions who do that on Facebook. There is also the impulse to entertain. Of course, many write to try to influence other people, and some do that quite well.

Well, how about you? Why do you like to write?   

 

 

The Price of Ignoring the Lessons of History

June 2, 2014

As I read Doris Kerns Goodwin’s latest historical opus,  The Bully Pulpit,  I become more and more astounded by the parallels between the Gilded Age and now. It’s perhaps a prime example of how history repeats itself.

I just read how President Theodore Roosevelt was blamed by Wall Street for the “Roosevelt Panic of 1907.”  Th big money men said President Theodore Roosevelt’s “crusade against business” caused the crash, arguing that “his excessive regulation had paralyzed the economy.”  The actual cause of the crash was the same thing that caused the Great Recession of 2008.  A very large  investment bank in  New York had abandoned sound banking practices to gamble with customer’s deposits. That caused public confidence in financial institutions to fail, and “customers rushed to retrieve money.” The banks had to be bailed out by, “in the absence of a  central banking system,”  seventy-year old J.P. Morgan, who served as a “one-man Federal Reserve,” and the federal government.  Does that sound familiar?

That’s just one example of the parallels to now.  The book has quite a few more,  including a “do nothing” Congress that wouldn’t pass hardly any bills a progressive president wanted during the last two years of his presidency.

The full title of the book, by the way is, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.  .

I Didn’t Know it was There

May 27, 2014
Green Mansion Restaurant

Green Manor  Restaurant

One thing you can usually count on when you take a  Columbus  Academy of Lifelong Learning, or  CALL,  trip is a locally owned, not-a-chain  restaurant.  While we didn’t eat lunch at a chain restaurant, we got a good  look at the home office of one. On our way to Atlanta to take a tour of the  Chick-fil-A Home Office, we stopped for lunch at the Green Manor Restaurant in Union City.

It’s not called Green Manor because of the ample greenery surrounding it, but because it’s named after the man who bought it in 1917, Dr. Albert Green.  His descendents still own it.  It’s a grand old mansion with 10 fireplaces, and things  like stained glass windows and doors.  The lunch buffet featured quite good Southern cooking, which you eat in style at tables with cloth table cloths.  All  in all it, was a satisfying dining experience. 

CHick-fil-A Home Office Atrium

Chick-fil-A Home Office Atrium

 The tour of the Chick-fil-A Home Office  turned out to  be a lot more interesting than I thought it would be.   The main building is a show place, with an atrium lobby that reminds me of the big, fancy Atlanta hotels. It also has an antique auto museum,  and two 1946 Fords, because Chil-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy started the chain in 1946 with a small diner called the Dwarf Grill, which was close to the now-closed Ford assembly plant under construction in Hapeville.  The plant opened and started putting Fords together in 1947.

1946 Ford

1946 Ford

You can read all about the Backstage Tour at the Chick-fil-A website.

 

 


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