Schmit Family
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28 April 2004 9:06 pm

News Headlines

As reported by Wired, the California Voting Commission finally recommended that Diebold's electronic voting machines be decertified. In addition, the Attorney General of California may file civil or criminal charges against the company. I don't find the recommendation itself surprising, but I'm amazed that others do. The problems with Diebold aren't new.

The Michigan House passed House Bill 5006 which allows "a health care provider may object as a matter of conscience to providing or participating in a health care service on ethical, moral, or religious grounds." Muslim? No stitches for you. Gay? Set your own broken arm. Embezzling CEO? Get your triple bypass somewhere else. Hasn't anyone heard of the Hippocratic Oath?

In my last entry, I encouraged everyone to display their patriotism without disrespecting the flag. I didn't provide any examples of how to do so. So, if you are looking for an output for your patriotic energies, check out, originally founded to "move-on" after the Clinton impeachment fiasco, and Democracy for America, the successor of the Dean for America organization. We all have a lot to do before November, and these organizations can help us focus our energies.

Posted by geoff at 21:06 in /politics

28 April 2004 8:22 pm


   a continuous function,
   without limits,
   or asymptotes.

   an integrable function,
   the virtuous area above the axis;
   the malicious below.

   an oscillating function,
   with elated maxims,
   and depressed minims.

   an implicit function,
   with an inverse curve,
   and their common point -- death.

   a continuous function,
   that after its intersection,
   deviates beyond the Cartesian plane.

Middlebury, Vermont

This is another poem written at the New England Young Writers Conference at the Bread Loaf Campus. This poem is an example of what can happen when a philosophical teenage poet is a little too excited about calculus.

Posted by geoff at 20:22 in /poetry

8 April 2004 7:22 pm

It Has Begun

The seven bowls of His fury
      are poured upon the earth
      to commence the Apocalypse.
It has begun.

The first,
      that kindles caustic sores,
      is the cancer of ultra-violet rays.
The second,
      transmuting the sea to blood,
      is the red tide of prolific microbes.
The third,
      that poisons the rivers,
      contaminates with toxic chemicals.
The fourth,
      that annuls the shelter from the burning sun,
      fracture the ozone shield.
The fifth,
      enveloping the world in darkness,
      is the blanket of cities' smog.
The sixth,
      that parches the Euphrates,
      is the searing greenhouse.
The seventh,
      that ignites the lightning,
      thunders from the ocean's ominous clouds.

The seven bowls of His fury
      are poured upon the earth
      to commence the Apocalypse.
It has begun.

Middlebury, Vermont and Fenner, New York

I began this poem, inspired by the book of Revelations at the New England Young Writers Conference at the Bread Loaf Campus. Over ten years have passed since I wrote it, and, unfortunately, the environment is even more damaged and at even greater risk than it was then.

Posted by geoff at 19:22 in /poetry

7 April 2004 6:23 am

Our Flag

While it may be hard to believe, today I won't be extolling some liberal ideology when I climb up on my soapbox. Yesterday, I instructed my local Scout troop how to respect the flag of the United States of America. We usually meet in the basement of a church that doesn't have a flag pole; so, we don't have the opportunity to raise and lower the flag. Yesterday, we took advantage of the extra daylight and walked across the street to the elementary school and used their flag pole to practice. Afterward, we went back to the basement and discussed the various guidelines for hoisting, lowering, carrying, displaying, and saluting the flag. We then discussed one topic which often seems to surprise people: behaviors that are disrespectful of the flag.

The U.S. Flag Code (Title 36, Chapter 10, Section 176 of the United States Code) enumerates these behaviors:

(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.


(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.

(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

After presenting these disrespectful behaviors, one of the Scouters asked why so many companies sold clothing that bears the likeness of the flag. One of the Scouts volunteered that companies are more than willing to take advantage of our patriotism to make money. I couldn't have said it any better. Although, it's not just for-profit corporations exploiting our new-found patriotism, it is the U.S. Postal Service as well.

So, this year when Old Navy starts selling their 2004 U.S. flag shirts, just leave them on the shelf. Please do display your patriotism, but don't disrespect the flag.

Posted by geoff at 06:23 in /rants and raves