Friday, February 29, 2008

René Descartes

René Descartes was born on March 31, 1596 in La Haye,
Touraine. He was the son of a minor nobleman, and belonged
to an intellectual family. His mother died of tuberculosis
a few days after he was born. He inherited the disease from
her, and was continually sick throughout his infancy. The
only one who cared for him was his nurse, who gave him
warmth and nourishment from her body.(Durant pg.456
,Philosophy) He eventually came back to life, and perhaps
that is why he was named Rene, which means Renatus,

His early education began at the Jesuit school of La
Fleche in Anjou. Roman Catholicism was a strong influence
in his life. Upon graduating from school, he studied law at
the University of Poitiers, graduating in 1616. However, he
never practiced law, and in 1618 he entered the army of
Prince Maurice of Nassau at Breda in the Netherlands. His
intention was t have a military career. Here he had a
vision that encouraged him to focuses on a life of
learning, education and intellect. Descartes served in a
few armies, but his attention quickly turned to mathematics
and philosophy, to which he devoted the rest of his life.

Descartes lived in France for four years where he studied
philosophy and optics, and returned back to the
Netherlands. It was during his first year back in the
Netherlands that he wrote his first major work, Essais
Philosophiques. The work contained four parts: an essay on
geometry, one on optics, a third on meteors, and a fourth
titled Discors de la Methode, which described his
philosophical speculations. His other works include
Meditations on First Philosophy 1641, and The Principles of
Philosophy 1644, which was dedicated to Princess Elizabeth
Stuart of Bohemia., with whom Descartes had formed a deep
friendship. (Durant pg.456 Philosophy) In 1649 Descartes
was invited to the court of Queen Christina of Sweden in
Stockholm, to join an elite circle of intellectuals which
would instruct the queen in philosophy. Descartes died on
February 1, 1650 of pneumonia, which was caused by the
rigors of the Northern Swedish climate, and the rigorous
schedule demanded by the queen.(Durant pg. 398

Descartes has been labeled the father of modern
philosophy.(Barrett pg. 53) He is classified as a dualist
because he claimed that the world consisted of two sorts of
basic substance- matter and spirit. Matter is the physical
universe, which our bodies are part of . Spirit is the
human mind, which interacts with the body, but can, in
principle, exist without it. Descartes theories were called
and refered to as Occasionalism. Descartes believed matter
could be understood through certain concepts that he
borrowed from geometry and his theories of motion.
Descartes invented the Cartesian Coordinate System, and
analytic geometry both of which are the fore ground for
more complex physics and math. In Descartes view, the whole
world, including it's laws and even the truths of
mathematics, was created by God. He believed that
everything functioned according to God. Descartes thought
of God as resembling the mind in that both God and the mind
think but have no physical being. But he believed God is
unlike the mind in that God is infinite and does not depend
on his existence from some other creator. This problem of
whether mental entities are different in nature from
physical entities continues to be a primary concern of
philosophers and phycologists. (Bell pg. 51)

In Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes first
considered the strongest reasons that might be used to show
that he could never be certain of anything. These so called
"skeptical" arguments included the idea that perhaps he
might be dreaming, so that nothing he seemed to perceive
would be real. In another argument, Descartes reflected
that perhaps God or some evil spirit was constantly
tricking his mind, causing him to believe what was false.
Descartes responded to these arguments by saying that even
if he were dreaming, or constantly deceived, he could at
least be certain that he had thoughts, and therefore
existed as a thinking being. This, he wrote, was a "clear
and distinct" perception of the mind. Nothing could make
him doubt it. From this Descartes created the famous Latin
phrase "cogito ergo sum", which means "I think therefore I
am". Descartes then argued that he could also clearly and
distinctly perceive that an infinitely powerful and good
God exists. This God would not let Descartes be deceived.
According to Descartes, one cannot be certain of one's
reasoning unless one is certain good exists. To Descartes
this is why the physical world existed. Descartes also
believed that self evident truths could not be found
through the senses, they were innate. This is called
rationalism. Rationalism, as stated by Webster, is the
formation of opinions by relying upon reason alone.
(Randall pg.45)

In Descartes Discours on Method, I found two particularly
interesting quotes. The first one was; "For to be possessed
of a vigorous mind is not enough; the prime requisite is
rightly to apply it". (Descartes Discours on Method pg.2)
This makes perfect sense to me. Just to be smart is not
enough, you must constantly be using your knowledge, and
always striving to gain more. If people state that they're
knowledgeable Descartes would responded by saying; "O.K.,
prove it." This quote showed Descartes in a more realistic,
human-like picture. The second quote in Descartes Discours
on Method is:

For it occurred to me that I should find much more truth in
the reasoning of each individual with reference to the
affairs in which he is personally interested, and the
issues of which must presently punish him if he has judged
amiss, than those conducted by a man of letters in his
study, regarding speculative matters that are of no
practical moment, and followed by no consequences to
himself.( Barrett pg.14)

One thing this quote tells me is that you learn more by
doing and experiencing then just by being lectured or
reading out of a book, especially if it is something you
are interested in. I also feel that this quote means that
you should study things that are practical and have
relevance to you. Of course there are things we all must
study, but why should an arts major have to sit through a
class of chemistry. For one to have great knowledge there
must be a strong desire of relevance to that knowledge.

Before his time, philosophy had been dominated by the
method of Scholasticism, which was entirely based on
comparing and contrasting the views of recognized
intellectuals. Rejecting this method, Descartes stated, "In
our search for the direct road to truth, we should busy
ourselves with no object about which we cannot attain a
certitude equal to that of the demonstration of arithmetic
and geometry." (Bell pg. 67)

Clear connections can be drawn between the philosophies of
Descartes and Socrates. Descartes clearly follows the
Socratic tradition. Both believe that our senses are not
good indicators of truth and reason. They lie to us, and
conceal the truth. Our senses cannot confirm empirical
data. Descartes believed that just by thinking we are
confirming what our senses tell us. Socrates and Descartes
both believed that we should find our truths and reasons in
other things. Descartes believed we could find them in
geometry and math, not our senses. Just by thinking we are
attaining the highest knowledge possible.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Abraham of Chaldea

The following is a narrative description on the life and times of one of
the most powerful characters in the Old Testament. Abraham was indeed a
man of God in a time where few men believed in the One true God. Through
many triumphs and errors, he always

returned to God to lead him back to his calling. His dedication resulted
in great promises from God that were eventually fulfilled and affect each
of our lives today. His story is our story.

Abraham was a native of Chaldea, and a ninth generation descendant of
Shem, the son of Noah. He was born on the southern tip of the Tigris and
Uuphrates rivers in the city of Ur around 2161BC.1 Before his name was
changed to Abraham, his name was Abram.

When Abram was about seventy years of age he moved with his family to
live in Haran. The reason he moved was because "The God of glory appeared
to our father Abram when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,
and said to him, "Depart from your
country and your relatives, and come into the land that I will show you."

While in Haran, Abram's father died and God spoke to him again saying, "Go
forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's
house, to the land which I will show you." 3 He obeyed and left Haran with
his brother Nahor's family and his Nephew Lot without really knowing where
he was going. At this time, God did not reveal to him he was going to
Canaan. God only told him "the land which I will show you." 4 When he did
arrive in Canaan, he camped in the plains of Moreh, between the mountains
of Ebal and Cerizim. It was here he was given the second promise from God
that his seed would possess this land. Abram built "an altar there to the
Lord who had appeared to him" 5 He then moved to the mountainous district
between Bethel and Ai. Here, he built another altar to Jehovah.

Throughout the story of Abram, he consistently went back to Bethel to make
amends with God. All of God's children should have a similar alter they
should go to when praising God. This could be the front of your church,
but should be in public. 6 Archeology has since proved that Bethel is the
modern village of Baytin. 7 When in this area, a famine struck forcing
Abram to move southward toward Egypt. God talked to Abram on the mountain
East of Bethel where he built an alter unto the Lord. Each person should
have their own personal alter to go before God, this should also be done
in public.

When he did get to Egypt, Abram told his first recorded lie. Because his
wife Sarah was beautiful, he feared she would lusted by after the
Egyptians and endanger his life. He also knew the Pharaoh was also
concerned of Abram's presence along with other Hyksos in the region. 8
Abram persuaded Sarah to pass herself off as his sister. This lie could
probably be considered a lighter shade of gray considering Sarah was his
half sister, having the same father but a different mother. 9 When the
Egyptians saw how beautiful she was, they took her to Pharaoh's harem. As
a consequence, God plagued Pharaoh & his house. When the Pharaoh found
out Sarah was Abram's wife, he sent him and his clan out of Egypt to fend
for themselves in the famished land. Because

Abram told this lie, God allowed this to happen. Abram went out of Egypt
and returned to Bethel the second time to call on the name of the Lord.
While in Bethel, both Lot's and Abram's livestock could not be supported
by the land, and strife began between their herdsmen. Abram gave Lot his
first choice of where he wanted to settle. Instead of choosing the
unknown territory toward Canaan, Lot chose the easy way out and went East
to Jordan near the populated city of Sodom. The motif of scripture for
this story is simple. Abram gave more than he took. He let Lot take what
he wanted and left it to God to bless him with what was left. Lot's
mistake was he stopped growing in God's faith and stagnated. He soon
found out that everything is not as it seems. If one only takes, but does
not give, it soon gets them into trouble. On the other hand, Abram was
rewarded with a third blessing for his faith. God reiterated His promise
to give him the land of Canaan and a posterity as numerous as the dust of
the earth. So Abram moved his clan and camped near Hebron where he built
another altar to Jehovah.

In the mean time, Lot got himself in the middle of a war between rivaling
Babylonian kings in the area. As a result, the kings of Sodom and
Gomorrah fell and their cities were spoiled. Lot and his goods were also
carried off. When Abram heard of this, he immediately armed his
dependents, 318 men, and some of his neighbors. They overtook and
defeated the kings at Dan, near the springs of Jordan. To accomplish
this, Abram must have been a military genius. After Abram freed Lot, you
would think he would have learnt his lesson, but he returned with his
family to live in Sodom.

When Abram was returning, the king of Sodom came out to meet him at the
King's Valley along with Melchizedek, king of Salem and "priest of the
most high God." 10 Melchizedek brought him bread and wine, and blessed him
by saying, "Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and
earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine
enemies into thy hand." 11 Hebrew tradition says that Melchizedek was
Shem, son of Noah and survivor of the flood This tradition believes he was
still alive at the time and the earth's oldest living man. Others think
that Melchizedek was an Angel or the Messiah himself. 12 In return, Abram
presented Melchizedek a tenth of all he had. This is the first mention of
tithing, and is still used as a guideline today. The king of Sodom
attempted to give Abram the spoils of the war, but he refused. Abram told
the king, "I have sworn to the Lord God Most High, maker of heaven and
earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal-thong or your, lest you
should say, "I have made Abram rich." I will take nothing but what the
young men have eaten." 13

After this episode, The Lord rewarded Abram for his faithfulness and came
to him in a vision. God said, "Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield, and thy
exceeding great reward." 14 In response, Abram asked how this could be
since he did not have any children.

God proceeded to encourage Abram through a distinct and detailed
repetition of former promises He had made and by a solemn covenant
contracted between himself and God. God told him his seed should be as
numerous as the stars of heaven, that his posterity should grow up into a
nation under foreign bondage, and that after four hundred years they
should come up and possess the land in which he sojourned.

After living in Canaan for ten years, Sarai went to Abram and said, " The
Lord has prevented me from bearing children." 15 As she was seventy-five
years of age, she followed contemporary custom and allowed Abram to
impregnate Hagar, 16 her Egyptian handm

aid. After this, Sarai got jealous of Hargar and told Abram that Hargar
was looking at her with contempt. Abram told Sarai that Hargar was under
her authority, and she could to with her as she pleased. Sarai
subsequently dealt so harshly with Hagar tha t she fled. But an angel of
the Lord appeared to her in the wilderness and convinced her to return to
Sarai and submit herself to her. The angel told her she was pregnant and
would give birth to a son who would greatly multiply her descendants. The
ang el told her to call the name of this child Ishmael.

Thirteen years later, when Abram was 99 years old, God appeared to him and
changed his name from Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah. In a token to
consummate the covenant, God commanded that Abraham, all males of his
tribe and male descendants of his be circumcised. God also renewed his
covenant to Abraham through the angles by assured him that Sarah, then
ninety years old, would bear a child from his loins. Abraham laughed at
this and questioned how an old man like himself could impregnate a 90 year

old woman. Abraham said, "O that Ishmael might live in thy sight!" 17 God
assured him Ishmael would make him fruitful also and make a great nation
of him. But God told him that Sarah would indeed bear him a son and he
should call his name Isaac. God said he would establish a covenant with
Isaac and all his descendants. After this meeting with conversation with
God, Abraham obeyed him and all males were circumcised.

After this covenant, Abraham was visited by three travelers. One of these
travelers was the "Angel of Jehovah" and two others were attending angels.
18 These angels proceeded to reiterate to Abraham the promise of a son by
Sarah. Sarah was listening at the tent door and laughed to herself
thinking of how preposterous it was for a woman and man of their age to
actually have sex, let alone for her to conceive a child. The angels knew
of this laughter and asked why she had done so. Sarah denied it, but the
Lord said through the angels "No, but you did laugh." 19 These angels then
left and set out toward Sodom. As Abraham was walking with them for a
part of the way, God chose to disclose to him the destruction he had in
mind for Sodom and Gomorrah. At this time, God allowed Abraham to
negotiated with Him over destroying the cities if any righteous people
were found living their. As it was, no righteous people lived in these
cities, not even Lot and his family. The next morning, Abraham got up
early in the morning and saw the fate of the cities as smoke rose "up as
the smoke of a furnace. 20 When Abraham was one hundred years old, and
Sarah ninety, Isaac was born. Abraham circumcised Isaac when he was eight
days old as commanded. Subsequently, during a feast on the day Isaac was
weaned, Sarah saw Ishmael and Hagar mocking her. This infuriated her so
much that she insisted to Abraham they be sent away. Abraham reluctantly
consented after God told him that not only would his descendants be
numerous through Isaac, but also Ishmael. Abraham gave Hagar bread and
water and sent her off. God subsequently kept Hagar from leaving Ishmael
to die when all food and water was gone. An angel of God called to her
from heaven and told her a great nation would rise from Ishmael. This
great nation would be the Arabs. God opened her eyes and she saw a well
of water and gave her son a drink. Ishmael eventually grew up in the
wilderness of Paran, and became an expert archer. The dispute of who
received the promise of Canaan, Isaac or Ishmael, still broils the hatred
between the Jews and Arabs today.

The Jews believe Isaac was given the promise of Canaan, and the Arabs
believe Ishmael inherited this promise.

After this, God tested Abraham by commanding him to go to Mt. Moriah and
offer up Isaac as a sacrifice. This was a great test of Abraham's faith,
because Isaac's death would nullify all the promises God gave to Abraham
concerning Isaac. Abraham probably decided to obey, because "he
considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead." 21 Abraham
rose early in the morning, cut wood for the burnt offering, and set off
for the mountains near Moriah with two of his servants and Isaac. On the
third day of their journey, Abraham saw the place God told him to go to.
He told his servants he and his son would go on without them to worship
and then return. When Isaac asked Abraham where was the lamb for the
burnt offering, Abraham told him that God would provide the lamb Himself.
Abraham proceeded to build the altar and secured on top of it. As he was
about to slay Isaac with a knife, the angel of the Lord called to him from
heaven and said, " Abraham! Abraham! Do not lay your hand on the lad, for
now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son from
me." 22 Abraham stopped, looked up, and saw a ram caught in a thicket by
his horns. He took the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering instead
of his son. This test of Abraham 's faith is a Type of Christ. This is
because Abraham can be considered like God when he was willing to
sacrificed his only son on the cross. Also, Isaac was a young man as was
Jesus and adult Ram was offered in Isaac's place. Abraham called the name
o f this sacrificial place "The Lord Will Provide." 23 After this, the
angel of the Lord called Abraham a second time and said, "Because you have
done this, I will indeed bless you. I will Multiply you descendants as
the stars of heaven and as the sand o n the seashore. They shall possess
the gate of their enemies, and all the nations of the earth shall be
blessed by them, because you have obeyed my voice.". After this event,
Abraham returned to his servants and with them went to Beer-sheba where
Abraham dwelt. 24

The next event recorded in Abraham's life is the death of Sarah at 127
years of age. She died near Hebron in the land of Canaan. Abraham buried
her in a cave he cleverly purchased from the Hittites n the field of

The next significant act of Abraham was to procure a suitable wife for
Isaac. He commanded his eldest servant to go to Haran, where Abraham's
brother Nahor lived to get Isaac's wife. The servant went to Haran with
many camels and gifts. When he got to Haran, he made the camels kneel
down by a well during the evening. He did
this because he knew the women of the city would come out at that time to
get water from the well. He then prayed to the Lord, "O Lord, God of my
master Abraham, grant me success today, I pray thee, and show steadfast
love to my master, I am standing by
the spring, and the daughters of the city are coming out to draw water.
Let the maiden to whom I shall say, "Pray let down your jar that I may
drink, "and who shall say, "Drink, and I will water your camels"--let her
be the one whom thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac". 25 Before he
had finished this prayer, Rebekah, a beautiful virgin, and granddaughter
of Nahor, came out with her water jar upon her shoulder. When she had
filled her jar with water, the servant ran to meet her and asked her for a
drink. Rebekah quickly let down her jar and told him she would draw water
for his camels also. After the camels finished drinking, the servant gave
her gold ring and two bracele ts and asked her who her father was. Rebekah
said she was the daughter of Nahor and ran to show her family the jewelry.
After some convincing by the servant who told the family it was God's will
for Rebekah to return with him, they let her go. She retur ned with the
servant and married Isaac.

Abraham died when he was 175 years old and was buried by Isaac and Ishmael
in the cave of Machpelah around 1986 BC with his wife Sarah. After
Abraham's death, God blessed Isaac as promised.


Abraham was truly a man of God. Although he still had his human
frailties, he ultimately trusted in God and always came back to Him for
forgiveness and guidance. His spiritual experience with God was
indicative of four specific areas in which his faith

was tested. First, he gave up his country and kindred; second, he broke
off with his nephew, Lot; thirdly, he abandoned his plans for Ishmael to
be his hope for his ultimate heritage, and fourth, he was willing to
sacrifice his son Isaac. 26 In the end,

God rewarded Abraham by fulfilling the four great promises He made to
him: 1) Great nations would come from him. 2) God would bless and
prosper him. 3) Sarah would give him a child named Isaac. 4) His
generations would produce the savior of the world, Jesus Christ.

Praise God for the lessons he has given us through the life of Abraham. I
stand in awe thinking that not only will I be able to meet Abraham in
heaven, but also our Lord who guided him throughout.


* J. A. Thompson, The Bible and Archaeology (Wm. B. Eerdmands Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan)

* Henry H. Halley, Bible Handbook, 1951

* National Geographic Society, Everyday Life in Bible Times

* Samuel J. Schultz, The Old Testament Speaks (Harper & Row, Publishers)

* John H. Tullock, The Old Testament Story (Prentice-Hall, Inc.)

* The Reader's Digest Bible Illustrated Edition (Reader's Digest Associated Limited)

* The Holy Bible, King James Version (The World Publishing Company)

* The New Ungers's Bible Dictionary (Moody Press)
1 Ungers, pg. 12
2 King James, Acts 7:2-3
3 King James, Gen. 12:1
4 King James, Gen. 12:1
5 King James, Gen. 12:6-7
6 Class Lecture, Jon Randles
7 Everyday life in Bible Times, pg. 89
8 Class Lecture, Jon Randles
9 King James, Gen. 20:12
10 King James, Gen. 14:17
11 King James, Gen. 14:19-20
12 Halley, pg. 95
13 Reader's Digest Bible, pg. 35
14 King James, 15:1
15 Reader's Digest Bible, pg. 35
16 Unger's, pg. 13
17 Reader's Digest Bible, pg. 36
18 Unger's, pg. 13
19 Reader's Digest Bible, pg. 37
20 King James, Gen. 19:28
21 Heb. 11:19
22 Reader's Digest Bible, pg. 40
23 Unger's, pg. 14
24 Reader's Digest Bible, pg. 40
25 Reader's Digest Bible, pg. 40-41
26 Ungers's, pg. 14

The Advantages of Stupidity

Most people say being stupid will lead no where. They
claim that it is the worst possible condition in which to
spend one's life, and if possible, it should be completely
avoided. They would even suggest if the symptoms of
stupidity are caught in the early stages, it could easily be
treated by a surgeon. The most effective method used to do
this is the chainsaw technique, later described in volume
two. Yet, perhaps if people took a closer look at some
of the advantages stupidity had to offer, they wouldn't have
such a negative attitude toward it. After reading this
paper, one will understand the advantages of stupidity.

Admittedly, stupidity has certain disadvantages. Life isn't
a bowl of cherries. And being stupid doesn't make it any
fruitier. Being stupid can annoy even the most sensitive
people. If one acts stupid, and does it in the wrong crowd,
like a group of adults, it will seem more immature than
funny. If one is forced to act stupid while dealing with
lower life forms, for example, high school teachers, one may
encounter barriers such as cruelty and insensitivity, with
the utterance of statements like, "Think with your head
straight!" or, "You have a brain, use it." Yet these are
all true, there are still many advantages to stupidity.

The first advantage is very easy to understand. Stupid
people are never asked to do a lot. Many have noticed that
people tend to steer away from someone they feel may be
stupid. This is for a very good reason. The stupidity
which they posses makes a name for themselves, a name which
can be very difficult to shake. Possibly, it is a word
which describes the working habits of the person, such as
"crappy". Yet, this creates a positive situation for the
stupid person. They will have a lot of free time on their
hands for more of lifes truly meaningful pleasures. Some of
these activities are combing facial hair, and counting the
pixels on a Sony TV. Now, there has been a rumour going
around that suggests that stupid people have low
expectations. This is true. They are so stupid that they
don't realize great from O.K. They could have a Sanyo
cordless phone, but would probably choose instead a Pierre
Cardin alarm clock telephone, because it comes free with
their sensamatic folding bed. And someone with the
"advantage" of stupidity might have a hard time doing
certain tasks, or setting things up. Yet this isn't all
bad. For example, if a stupid person leaves the chore, and
comes back to it later, no one will be able to understand
it. Would they get fired from their job? No. For the very
simple reason that no one would understand their work except
for them. The job would have to be given back to the stupid
person, perhaps with a higher salary, or someone would do it
for them, leaving them with even more free time!

Free time is great for brainstorming (Admittedly this seems
to be a bad choice of words!). Yet the ideas stupid people
create tend to be original. For example, when was the last
time someone stupid said something, and made one think about
it? It seems that people are always talking about someone
elses dumb idea. An example of such an idea would be, "How
many stories will that english teacher drop before having a
stroke?" This would suggest that stupid people may have the
upper hand when it comes to thinking up original ideas. In
fact, the next time someone wants an original idea for
something, they should try talking to their local, community
stupid person. The reason for this is that while a stupid
person thinks with his head, he does not do so an organized
manner. This is why they have so much creativity. By
thinking in this fashion, their ideas have a natural
tendency to flow more easily, without the interruptions
which occur from the editing of thoughts that logical people
would have normally. Thus if someone else should say to
one, "That was a stupid idea!" one should merely look that
person straight in the eye, and say, "Thank-you!" This also
means that the claim, "Stupid minds think alike." is not
true. All stupid minds have different ideas, each idea
being original.

One of the final advantages of stupidity is that stupid
people are always remembered, even after graduation day. It
has been noticed how a quiet person is always hard to
detect, and often remains anonymous. There is a very good
reason for this. The mind has a hard time keeping quiet
people in its memory track. But it is much easier and
pleasing for the mind to remember someone really stupid.
Anyways, when was the last time one laughed at an idiot in
ones grade 12 class? When was the last time one laughed at
the little kid at the back of the room? The evidence here
proves how stupid people last longer in someones thoughts.
The largest advantage which arises from stupidity is that it
takes up 2/3 of DNA storage space, which is excellent for
keeping stupidity in the family.

Thus, stupidity clearly has many advantages, as long as
someone is smart enough to use them! It is important to
understand that stupid people are like all other humans
physically. Yet, because of the difference between smart
and stupid people, smart human beings should give them some
breathing space. Teachers can learn that someone graced
with stupidity, deserves more respect. After all, they are

Death of an Innocent

I went to a party mom, I remembered what you said.
You told me not to drink, Mom, so I drank soda instead.

I really felt proud inside, Mom, the way you said I would.
I didn't drink and drive, Mom, even though the others said I should.

I know I did the right thing, Mom, I know you were always right.
Now the party is finally ending, Mom ,as everyone is driving out of

As I got into my car, Mom, but as I pulled out into the road
the other car didn't see me, Mom, and now I'm the one who will pay.

I'm lying here dying, Mom. I wish you'd get here soon.
How cold this happen to me, Mom? My life just burst like a balloon.

There is blood all around me, Mom, and most of it is mine.
I hear the medic say, Mom, I'll die in a short time.

I just wanted to tell you, Mom, I swear I didn't drink.
It was the others, Mom. The others didn't think.

He was probably as the same party as I.
The only difference is he drank and I will die.

Why do people drink, Mom? It can ruin your whole life.
I'm feeling sharp pains now. Pains just like a knife.

The guy who hit me is walking, Mom, and I don't think it's fair.
I'm lying here dying and all he can do is stare.

Tell my brother not to cry, Mom. Tell Daddy to be brave.
And when I go to heaven, Mom, put "Daddy's Girl" on my grave.

Someone should have told him, Mom, not to drink and drive.
If only they had told him, Mom, I would still be alive.

My breath is getting shorter, Mom, I'm becoming very scared.
Please don't cry for me, Mom.When I needed you, you were always there.

I have one last question, Mom, before I say good-bye.
I didn't drink and drive, so why am I the one to die?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Barack Obama Biography (1961-)

Born: August 4, 1961 (Hawaii)
Lives in: Chicago, Illinois
Zodiac Sign: Leo
Height: 6' 1" (1.87m)
Family: Married wife Michelle in 1992, 2 daughters Malia and Sasha
Parents: Barack Obama, Sr. (from Kenya) and Ann Dunham (from Kansas)
Religion: United Church of Christ
Drives a: Ford Escape hybrid, Chrysler 300C
- Graduated: Columbia University (1983) - Major: Political Science
- Law Degree from Harvard (1991) - Major: J.D. - Magna Cum Laude
- Attended: Occidental College
Career: U.S. Senator from Illinois sworn in January 4, 2005
Government Committees:
- Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
- Foreign Relations Committee
- Veterans Affairs Committee
- 2005 and 2006: served on the Environment and Public Works Committee
- Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (1995)
- The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (2006)
- It Takes a Nation: How Strangers Became Family in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina (2006)

Barack Obama is the junior U.S. Senator from Illinois and a Democratic candidate for president in 2008.

Barack Hussein Obama was born Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father, Barack Obama, Sr., was born of Luo ethnicity in Nyanza Province, Kenya. He grew up herding goats with his own father, who was a domestic servant to the British. Although reared among Muslims, Obama, Sr., became an atheist at some point.

Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, grew up in Wichita, Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs during the Depression. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he signed up for service in World War II and marched across Europe in Patton's army. Dunham's mother went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the G.I. Bill, bought a house through the Federal Housing Program, and moved to Hawaii.

1995 Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
2006 The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
2006 It Takes a Nation: How Strangers Became Family in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina

Kim Novak Biography (1933– )

Marilyn Pauline Novak

Film actress, born in Chicago, Illinois, USA. She made her screen debut in The French Line (1954), then starred in The Pushover (1954), and soon became a leading box-office attraction of the 1950s - perhaps the last of the ‘sex goddesses’ produced by the Hollywood star system. Her films include The Man With The Golden Arm (1955), Pal Joey (1957), Vertigo (1958), The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders (1965), and The Mirror Crack'd (1980). She was largely absent from the screen in the 1980s, following her marriage, but still takes occasional roles, as in Liebestraum (1991).

Eileen Farrell Biography (1920–2002 )

Soprano, born in Willimantic, Connecticut, USA. Her rich, hearty voice made her a popular radio performer in the early 1940s, and from there she moved on to serious recitals. From 1958 she sang with the San Francisco Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and in the 1960s with the Metropolitan Opera. Later she taught at colleges in Indiana and Maine. She approved her distinction as one of the few serious opera singers who also enjoyed success singing and recording popular and jazz music. Her autobiography, Can't Help Singing appeared in 1999.

Stockard Channing Biography (1944-)

Actress. Born Susan Williams Antonia Stockard on February 13, 1944 in New York City. The daughter of a shipping magnate, Channing's acting career has been marked by incredible highs and lows. She attended Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she majored in American history and literature and graduated summa cum laude in 1965. After graduation, she joined Boston's experimental Theater Company. Her first break came in a starring role in a Los Angeles production of Two Gentlemen of Verona, but true recognition didn't arrive until 1985 when she won a Tony for her Broadway performance in A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.
In 1971, Channing made her feature film debut in The Hospital. Her first major film role came two years later when she starred in The Fortune with Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty. And in 1978, she landed the memorable supporting role of Rizzo, one of the Pink Ladies in the film adaptation of the musical Grease. Throughout the 1970s, she continued to make appearances on television, and even starred in two short-lived sitcoms: Stockard Channing in Just Friends and The Stockard Channing Show.

By 1980, with her film career at a standstill, Channing turned her energies once again to theater. But she made her comeback in 1993 when she was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her performance as a formidable Upper East Side matron in Six Degrees of Separation; she also won a Tony nomination when she performed the role on stage. Throughout the 1990s she continued working on stage and film, and joined the cast of NBC's political drama The West Wing in 1999. Her portrayal of First Lady Abby Bartlett earned her an Emmy award in 2002. That same year, she won an Emmy for her supporting role in the television movie The Matthew Shepard Story.

Channing has been married and divorced four times: to business executive Walter Channing Jr. from 1963 to 1967; to actor Paul Schmidt from 1970 to 1976; to screenwriter David Debin from 1976 to 1980; and to businessman David Rawle from 1980 to 1988. She is currently seeing gaffer and director of photography Daniel Gillham.

Abraham Lincoln Biography (1809–65)

US statesman and 16th president (1861–5), born near Hodgenville, Kentucky, USA. Born in a log cabin to a modest farm family, he moved early with his family to Indiana. His mother died in 1818 and his stepmother, Sarah Bush Johnston, provided a fine model who inspired the ambitious but unschooled boy to discipline and educate himself. The Lincolns moved to Illinois (1830) and, after twice sailing a flatboat to New Orleans, he settled in New Salem, IL where he pursued workaday jobs while studying law on his own. In the 1832 Black Hawk War he served as a volunteer but saw no action. In 1835 he entered the Illinois state legislature as a Whig, and after unremarkable service he left the legislature (1841). In 1837 he began a law practice in Springfield, IL, and in 1842 married Mary Todd of a prominent Springfield family. His position as a prominent Whig in Illinois took him to the US House of Representatives (1847–9), where he again had a lacklustre record despite his opposition to the war in Mexico.
Back in Springfield, he gradually began to prosper as a lawyer, often representing business interests, but his eloquently stated if moderate anti-slavery views gained him increasing attention. This came to a head during his unsuccessful race (1858) for the US Senate against Stephen A Douglas, who led the Democratic accommodation to slave interests. The historic debates between the two men secured Lincoln a national following, which led to his becoming the presidential nominee of the new anti-slavery Republican Party in 1860. Although he received only 40% of the popular vote, due to a split in the Democratic Party, Lincoln won a majority of the Electoral College votes. Although he had stated his willingness to tolerate slavery where it currently existed, his election precipitated the secession of Southern states and the formation of the Confederacy.

In the years of civil war that followed, the inxperienced Lincoln proved to be one of the most extraordinary leaders, both political and moral, the USA has ever seen. First defining the war as being fought over secession rather than slavery, he oversaw the creation of the Union army. When the political time was right he announced the Emancipation Proclamation (Sep 1862), thereby interpreting the war as a crusade against slavery, and later oversaw the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment (1865) which legally ended slavery. With his immortal Gettysburg Address (Nov 1863), he further defined the war as the struggle for preservation of the democratic idea which he called ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’.

Meanwhile, he took a direct interest in the conduct of the war, hiring and firing generals, getting daily reports from the battlefields, and visiting the troops in the front lines. All this time he had also to mediate between the pressures of radical and conservative elements of the North, using an astute combination of suppression and conciliation, and barely surviving the election in 1864. Having seen the victory of the Union forces (Apr 1865), he was beginning to plan a generous reconstruction policy when he was shot by Southern fanatic John Wilkes Booth. He died the next day and his body was taken by train from Washington to be buried in Springfield, IL, as the nation he had refounded mourned their ‘Father Abraham’. Master of both a Biblical eloquence and a homespun vernacular, a natural at combining practical politics with moral principles, in only four years as president he had established why he is one of the few Americans who truly ‘belong to the ages’.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

George Stephanopoulos Biography

George Stephanopoulos Biography (1961-)

Former presidential advisor. Born February 10, 1961, in Fall River, Massachusetts. The son of first-generation Greek American parents, Stephanopoulos grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended Columbia University and in 1983 won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, where he received a master's degree in theology.
Stephanopoulos began his career in Washington, DC as an aide to Ohio Congressman Ed Feighan. He later served as Feighan's chief of staff before leaving to work on the doomed 1988 presidential campaign of a fellow Greek-American liberal Democrat, Michael Dukakis. He returned to Washington in 1989 and landed a job as the executive floor assistant to then-House majority leader Dick Gephardt. In 1991, Stephanopoulos signed on with the Democratic presidential campaign of Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, as Clinton's deputy campaign manager for communications. After Clinton's victory in 1992, Stephanopoulos became one of the new president's most trusted aides; during Clinton's first term, Stephanopoulos served as the senior advisor to the president for policy andstrategy. He was involved in the development of majorpolicy initiatives during Clinton's first term, most notably crime legislation, affirmative action, and the notoriously unsuccessful health care plan spearheaded by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Shortly after Clinton's reelection in 1996, Stephanopoulos resigned from Clinton's team, citing stress, fatigue, and depression. After his resignation, Stephanopoulos moved to New York City, where he works as a professor of government at Columbia University and a politicalcommentator and analyst for ABC News. In 1999, he published a book about his experience working with Clinton, entitled All Too Human: A Political Education.

In November 2001, Stephanopoulos married actress Alexandra Wentworth. Their daughter, Elliott Anastasia Wentworth Stephanopoulos, was born on September 9, 2002.