Friday, October 15, 2010

Oh Lord, Help!


~St. Augustine

Of Note: Since Liu Xiaobo has won the Nobel Peace Prize, it would appear that the Chinese government has been in a quandary. Word had it that the country was ever so slowly moving in the direction of reform. After all, last August Premier Wen Jiabao gave a speech in which he said: "Without the safeguard of political reform, the fruits of economic reform would be lost and the goal of modernization would not materialize." However, the Nobel Prize committee upped the ante, and the government's initial response as been to place Liu's wife under house arrest and harass his friends. Now a letter by 23 Chinese Communist elders dated October 1st and released last Monday has further stoked the debate. The timely letter demanded that the "invisible black hand" of censorship be abolished in favor of the freedoms enshrined in the 1982 constitution. It said unequivocally: "The Internet is an important platform of exchanging information and opinions. Internet regulators shouldn't arbitrarily delete online posts and comments." Amazingly it went on to say: "The freedom of speech and of the press we now enjoy is inferior even to that of Hong Kong before its return to Chinese sovereignty, to that entrusted to the residents of the colony." Some predict that the letter in conjunction with the controversial Peace Prize will fuel a debate that may be unstoppable. Could be that the more harshly the Chinese government responds, the greater will be the counter response from the Chinese themselves. Never underestimate the power which accompanies the promise of freedom as it is part of our divine heritage.

Today's Weather Report: Yesterday's clouds and chill were just a glitch on the radar. Today we are back to fair and partly cloudy in the 60's Fahrenheit. Perfect to get a few tasks accomplished like taking a broken piece off the tractor for repair. I wouldn't mind too much except it is part of the fuel line and gets anything in its path wet with gasoline. No getting around it. One thing that did not happen this summer was the erection of a promised cell tower. That was a real disappointment as we still have no cell phone reception at home....or text messaging or the use of apps and the like. My Mom, who was visiting from Dallas and is totally connected to her iPhone, feels like her arm has been cut off when she is here. A recent report states that teenagers send and receive on average 3,339 texts a month (!) while adults ages 45 to 54 send and receive 323. Either way, that's a lot of messages we are NOT sending and receiving. I wonder where we would find the time.