Saturday, January 17, 2009

Martin Luther King Celebration

Today is the first of the Martin Luther King Celebrations in the area. This one is this morning at 10:00. It will be held at the First Christian Church. Dr. John Tidwell of KU, an English professor, will speak. There will be cookies and coffee served afterward at a reception.

Marilyn and Bob and I will go in at 9:15 and get the reception set up.

I have not heard Dr. Tidwell since I did not attend last year here. I had a part in the Independence, Kansas, service last year.

This year we will attend both services. The one in Independence is Sunday evening. The speaker there is Dr. Timothy Jackson, who is a preacher from Bartlesville. He is a dynamic preacher. I heard him here two years ago and three years ago and recommended we get him for the Independence service. It will be held at the Church of the Brethren. So, we should get a lot of church this weekend.

I preside at our church Sunday morning and my daughter speaks. It is also our budget business meeting. We did not have a simple majority last week so we postponed it. This week, we will have the meeting even if we do not have a simple majority. Everyone has been notified of the meeting well in advance so we will proceed.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Slinky's Accident

While I was gone to Tulsa this week, Bob was in charge of Slinky. Bob went up to Red Cross and took First Aid and CPR again. While he was gone, Slinky got quite desperate about having to go to the bathroom and it was 7 degrees outside so Bob had left him barricaded in the kitchen. He must have had to go pretty badly so he knocked over the barricade and went into the living room where he had diarrhea on the living room carpet.

Bob got home at 11:30 and found it. He spent a couple of hours trying to get it out of Berber carpet. Finally, he called a carpet cleaner and they came at 9:30 yesterday morning and cleaned it for us...for $60. long as it's very cold, one of us will have to stay home with Slinky and see to it that he gets out to do his duty.

I was all prepared to buy new carpet. But it looks pretty good today and it is apparently dry now.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Minister's Week Results

Minister's Week was a tremendous success. Rita Nakashima Brock spoke eloquently yesterday morning and afternoon on her new book, Saving Paradise, and was a huge success too. Then last night and today we heard Dr. James Forbes speak and he was fantastic. He preached last night on the topic "Celebrating the Day of the Lord's Favor". I can see why Newsweek magazine named him one of the twelve best preachers in America.

We had a question and answer session this morning before lunch with him and I got to ask an important question. It was important to me and evidently to others there too. He brought up politics so I took that opportunity to ask him what he though should be done about Cheney and Rumsfeld. Should they be prosecuted for war crimes or allowed to go their way peacefully following this administration.

He said their crimes should be publicly exposed and then they should be censored by Congress so the whole world would realize the American people did not approve of their behavior.

They have been indicted in Europe by the International Court so if they travel abroad, they run the risk of being arrested and tried as war criminals.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Minister's Week

Yesterday, Marilyn, Howard and I attended Minister's Week in Tulsa at the Seminary for the Disciples of Christ (Christian Church, Phillips Theological Seminary). We really went to hear The Reverend Doctor Rita Nakashima Brock speak. She has been a featured scholar on the "Living the Questions" videos we discuss on Sunday evenings twice a month. We will go back this morning for the last two days. Rita will speak again this morning and then we will have a sermon by Dr. James Forbes, another of those scholars. Dr. Forbes is well known as the preacher's preacher for his charismatic style. In 1996, he was recognized by Newsweek magazine as one of the 12 most effective speakers in the English speaking world.

Today I will buy her latest book, a collaboration between her and Rebecca Parker called "Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of this World for Crucifixion and Empire". The lectures are taken from it. The lectures ground justice and peace for humanity in love for the earth and emphasize how Christianity can be renewed through a theology of redemptive beauty.

I am interested in hearing both of them. We will stay overnight in Tulsa for this last two days.

Bob will be left in charge of Slinky. Poor Slinky. When Bob takes out his hearing aids, he is totally deaf and Slinky wakes me up at 5:00 AM to be let out to do his duty by barking.

It will be an interesting week in Tulsa as well as Coffeyville.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sixty Minutes

I hope you saw the 60 Minutes segment on Sunday evening about the reason for the oil price spike that we all suffered last year.

Last year when oil prices spiked to nearly $150 a barrel and then, in a period of just three months, crashed along with the stock market, it was extrememly suspicious..

I told my husband at the time that there was some kind of artificial reason why that happened. It was too drastic to be a matter of supply and demand. I suspected the government was manipulating the market since the oil companies had gained so much from this administration with their multi-billion dollar profits. Instead, according to 60 Minutes investigation, it appears that it had more to do with traders and speculators on Wall Street than with oil company executives or sheiks in Saudi Arabia. This invasion was by a new breed of investor. According to Kkroft, of 60 Minutes, approximately 60 to 70 percent of the oil contracts in the futures markets are now held by speculative entities. Not by companies that need oil, not by the airlines, not by the oil companies. But by investors that are looking to make money from their speculative positions,

In a five year period the amount of money institutional investors, hedge funds, and the big Wall Street banks had placed in the commodities markets went from $13 billion to $300 billion.

According to the 60 Minutes investigation, for years stock speculators bought oil on commodity futures. And of course, much regulation has been eliminated so guess who paid the price? That's right! The consumer....the American public.

Yet when Congress began holding hearings last summer and asked Wall Street banker Lawrence Eagles of J.P. Morgan what role excessive speculation played in rising oil prices, the answer was "little to none" . "We believe that high energy prices are fundamentally a result of supply and demand," he said in his testimony.

That's baloney and now we know it was baloney.

If anyone had any doubts, they were dispelled a few days after that hearing when the price of oil jumped $25 in a single day. That day was Sept. 22.

Michael Greenberger, a former director of trading for the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the federal agency that oversees oil futures, who was interviewed on 60 Minutes, says there were no supply disruptions that could have justified such a big increase.

Masters believes the investor demand for commodities, and oil futures in particular, was created on Wall Street by hedge funds and the big Wall Street investment banks like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Barclays, and J.P. Morgan, who made billions investing hundreds of billions of dollars of their clients’ money.

Guess which company was the biggest winner in this game for many years? Enron...with the president's buddy, Kenny boy Lay, at it's head. Then, it became the biggest loser when it collapsed.

I am looking forward to a new administration in this country. I am hoping for more honesty and forthrightness, as well as new regulation from the Obama administration. Deregulation and a free market is fine when everyone is playing with a level deck but when greed prevails, regulation is the only way to prevent abuse.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Usual Sunday

We had our usual Sunday today except that we did not have a quorum to have our congregation's budget business meeting so we will try again next week.

I had made my famous coffee cake for the light breakfast. We took chocolate milk and juice too.

After church, we went with our daughter and her husband and our brother-in-law to eat at El Publito, a Mexican restaurant here. The food was good but too filling. I brought some of mine back to Slinky.

Then I spent a couple of hours doing my usual notes. I am going to do by e-mail those who have e-mail and just send out notes to those who have no e-mail. That should save some postage.

We will stay home tonight and watch 60 Minutes. It will be nice and warm here. It's plenty chilly today.