In the spirit of Walden 

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Who wants to buy your vote?



Whether you are a liberal or conservative, Democrat, Republican, or independent, I think there is one thing we can all agree on. We have had enough of the political ads!

If you live in a political battleground state as I do, you know how saturated the TV time has been with mostly negative ads for one presidential candidate or the other. I live in Ohio which many feel is the key state for determining the fate of the election. An NBC analysis showed more money spent on political ads in Ohio than anywhere else with $181 million so far, which is about one-fifth of the national total of $883 million. NBC is predicting the number will reach $1 billion dollars before the election is over.

In my hometown of Columbus, the capital and center of the state, we have been privileged to see 6,647 ads this month alone, or 333 a day! However, our friends in Cleveland are suffering even more as they are ranked as the No. 2 market in the state and Columbus is only No. 9.

Obama ads have been more plentiful but Romney isn’t far behind. During September the president and his supporters bought more than 800 spots in both Cleveland and Columbus markets according to the Wesleyan analysis. Since the beginning of October Obama’s campaign has spent more than $2.5 million with Columbus’s four main broadcast stations where Romney has spent less than $1 million; but the super PACs, American Crossroads and Restore Our Future, bought $800,000 in ads according to Federal Communications Commission data.

Negative ads saturate the airwaves

We have been inundated with ads all summer. Overall, there have been more than 915,000 presidential ads on broadcast and cable TV and radio since June. It seems that most of the ads are negative and the stats back this up with 91% of Romney’s ads negative compared to 85% for Obama. The Wesleyan study says that the tone of these ads is more negative than any other presidential cycle. It found that more than 60% of the ads were attack ads that appealed to anger, fear and even sadness more than enthusiasm and pride. Experts explain that polarization in this country has become so intense between the two parties that the candidates truly believe it is dangerous for the country if the other side wins and they feel they must point this out.

Results of Citizens United ruling

We have the Supreme Court and the Citizens United decision of 2010 to thank for this. Citizens United was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. This decision has been credited with creating the super PACs, political action committees, which make no contributions to candidates or parties and so can accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations, and unions.

However, it took another decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, v. Federal Election Commission, to actually authorize the creation of super PACs. In March 2010, the D.C. Circuit ruled that individuals could make unlimited contributions to Super PACs, which supported individual candidates. This opened the door to massive donations for advertising campaigns essentially funded by single individuals but shielded in anonymity behind hastily drawn up corporations.

During this current presidential campaign, the first presidential election held after the Citizens United ruling, we are seeing the results of this ruling. Jack Gillum of the Associated Press reports that $5 million has been donated by a mysterious company to FreedomWorks for America to support conservative candidates for federal office. Tennessee business records show that Specialty Group filed its incorporation papers less than a week before its sizable donation to FreedomWorks. The Specialty Group has no website or listed products or services. The address given is that of a suburban Knoxville home. If you think this doesn’t concern you, think about it. Someone in another state is spending MILLIONS to influence your vote, whether it is for a local or national office.

Citizens United opens a second floodgate

The Citizens United ruling opened another floodgate of which you may not be aware. The decision also lifted the ban on employers advising employees on how to vote. Just after the ruling the Yale Law Journal said this case could let employers “Hold political captive audience workplace meetings with their employees,” and may even be able to “compel their employees to listen” to their political views at those meetings “on pain of termination.”

This is exactly what happened in Ohio with the Murray Energy coal miners. Murray Chief Operating Officer Robert Moore explained to WWVA radio that they were forced to show up at the mine owned by Murray Energy, a big donor to Republican causes. The mine was then closed that day for supposed safety and security reasons on the day Romney visited the mine, then they were docked a day’s pay after being ordered to show up. Moore said, “You figure it out: Attendance was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend the event.”

Company owner Robert Murray told the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Nobody was ordered to attend.” But he added, “Barack Obama is destroying their lives, their livelihoods. These people are scared, and they came out in droves to see Mitt Romney, and that’s what it was all about.”

Georgia-Pacific, which employees 45,000 people, is distributing an employee packet about civic voter information with a letter from the chief operating officer warning: “If we elect candidates who want to spend hundreds of billions in borrowed money on costly new subsidies for a few favored cronies, put unprecedented regulatory burdens on businesses, prevent or delay important new construction projects, and excessively hinder free trade, then many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills.”

However, not to appear too prejudicial, they added: voting decisions are “yours and yours alone.” Georgia-Pacific is owned by the billionaire Koch brothers. They have been funneling much of their own money and others and spending hundreds of millions of dollars to defeat Obama.

It is reported that many other businesses, large and small, are sending similar letters to their employees. A guest blogger for the Hill, which covers Capitol Hill, said that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (which is closely tied to the Republican party) is encouraging campaigns to put political ads in employees’ pay envelopes. Romney has encouraged employers to “make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming election.”

It is good to know that in Ohio and some other states employers are not allowed to predict that “if any particular candidate is elected…work in the establishment will cease in whole or in part.”

Can Karl Rove and 17 angry white men buy the election?

Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, said, “My concern is that Karl Rove and 17 angry old white men are trying to buy the election. And that’s the truth,” Reid told the Review Journal. “You have Adelson (Las Vegas Sands casino billionaire), the Koch brothers (billionaires David and Charles). You have Simmons (billionaire) of Texas. They are literally trying to buy the election. Think about this. The day after the election, Karl Rove sits down and talks to…the 17 angry old white guys and says, ‘Hey listen guys, we just bought America. And we’re still rich.’ That’s the concern that we all have.”

All the above men are heavy contributors to super PACs supporting Romeny. Since the Citizens United ruling, individuals, corporations and unions are able to spend unlimited money attempting to influence the elections. This election alone they have spent $650 million.

Money equals speech

The Supreme Court said: “in our political system, money equals speech.” This appears to be the beginning of a very slippery slope where those with money can outright “buy” the election. It is up to us, the citizens, to trace the money trails and see who is trying to influence us and buy our vote. I don’t know about you but I consider myself an independent thinker and I look for the hidden agendas behind all the noise and slick advertisements. Study all the issues and candidates carefully before you enter the sanctity of the polling booth. Voting is a sacred right we Americans have so exercise your right and don’t let anyone buy your vote.,0,4157647.story




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Movie Review–Argo is an Oscar contender


Ben Affleck has gone from the Hollywood playboy linked to several prominent starlets, most famously with Jennifer Lopez, to a respected actor, director, husband, and father. Affleck’s latest project, Argo, will certainly add to his credibility.

Argo is a movie about a fake movie that was used as a cover to bring six Americans home who were hiding in the Canadian ambassador’s residence after the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. These Americans were employees of the embassy and managed to escape out a back door when the embassy was overrun by a crowd angered over the U.S. support of the deposed Shah.

Even though this event occurred over 30 years ago and we all know the outcome, the movie keeps you on the edge of the seat until the very end. This is a tribute to Affleck who not only stars in Argo but is also the director.

Argo is filled with action, tension, political games, and a bit of comedy to liven the mood. Veteran actors John Goodman and Alan Arkin remind you of Laurel and Hardy thrown in the midst of a James Bond thriller. Goodman and Arkin play the fake film producers putting together a sci-fi picture similar to the recent block-buster Star Wars. They take their jobs seriously and see to every detail from advance PR to storyboards.

Ben Affleck’s character, CIA agent Tony Mendez, poses as the director of the fake movie Argo and tours exotic locations with his team of movie personnel (the escaped Americans). They must drive through crowds in narrow streets and walk through the local bazaar in order to maintain their cover of scouting a location for the movie. Every moment they are outside the Canadian embassy walls you feel their cover might be blown. They have many close calls including showing up at the airport where their tickets have not been approved and receiving the OK only at the last minute.

We went to the movies after a very busy and exhausting weekend and I said to my husband, “This movie better be good or I’ll fall asleep.” Let me tell you that there was no snoring in the movie theatre, in fact, the audience actually cheered and clapped.

Expect to see Argo nominated for best movie, Ben Affleck for best director, Alan Arkin for best supporting actor, and perhaps several other nominations. Argo is a real winner and I give it an A.


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Autumn appeals to all the senses


Autumn can best be described as a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and smells. It is nature’s last hurrah before she climbs into bed covered with a white blanket of downy snow.

Autumn is an array of colors in Mother Nature’s pallet of paints from the palest pinks to intense fiery oranges and reds. It is the faint rustle of leaves and the excited cheers of football fans. It is the smell of pumpkin pies and campfire smoke. It is the smoky taste of hot dogs and marshmallows toasted over a bonfire at a hayride. It is the sight of bright orange pumpkins and gleaming red apples at a roadside farm stand. It is hot cider and donuts. It is candy apples and candy corn. It is witches, brooms, black cats, and Halloween costumes. It is warm sunny days and cold frosty nights.

Here in Ohio the farmers are busy harvesting the corn and soy beans and getting their king size pumpkins ready for the Circleville Pumpkin Festival. The houses are decorated for Halloween and if you look closely you might see a witch flying across the face of the moon.


Yes, autumn is many things but it is also a very short season so get off the couch, shut off the computer and video games and come outside to play. Hurry before this beautiful parade passes you by.

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Movie Review: The Master showcases masterful performances

The Master starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams is a character study of a drifter after World War II. All three actors give superb performances which could result in many award nominations.

The story revolves around Joaquin Phoenix’s character, Freddie Quell, a social misfit and alcoholic trying to adjust after the war and suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome. In a drunken stupor, he goes aboard a yacht one night and crawls into a berth to sleep while everyone is partying on the deck above. Here he meets Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman) leader of a quasi religious and philosophical movement known as The Cause.

Dodd decides to keep the stowaway because he likes him and because he enjoys his stash of homemade booze. He welcomes Freddy into the movement and subjects him to a series of exercises known as Processing during which Freddy must undergo psychological questioning and various other exercises.

Freddie, the constant misfit, responds to any negative criticism about himself, Dodd or the movement with physical fights. A key scene in the movie is when Freddie confronts Dodd’s son Val, played by Jesse Plemons (Landry from Friday Night Lights), for lack of enthusiasm over his father’s teachings.  Dodd’s son responds by saying his father is a fraud and is making up his teachings as he goes along.

There has been a lot of buzz about this movie since its inception due to its comparisons to Scientology. However, it is neither a biography of L. Ron Hubbard nor a documentary of Scientology. There are many comparisons between L. Ron Hubbard and Lancaster Dodd including their physical appearance, Navy background, and charismatic personality; but, writer/director and producer Paul Thomas Anderson said he also included deleted scenes from There Will Be Blood, tales of Jason Robards’ Navy days, and stories of the life of John Steinbeck.

What this movie is, is a study in mind control and the clash of strong personalities. We see the inner workings of a cult and how people can be broken down and remolded into a follower of a strong personality who promises them love and acceptance.

Lancaster Dodd’s wife (Amy Adams) doesn’t have as much screen time as the other two main characters but we know she is a powerful character behind the scenes. You might say she is a strong passive/aggressive person.

This movie is not what I expected and is a little dark at times. I should have known it is not a typical Hollywood movie since it is not playing at any of the many multiplexes around this big metropolitan area but can be found only at the single art-house movie theatre in the city.

The Master is powerful, informative, and well done and will probably produce many candidates for awards including best actor for Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The Master is not for everyone. Some scenes are dark and various people may find them questionable but the outstanding acting balances out the negatives of the movie. I give The Master a B+.

The Master – Official Trailer (2012) [HD] – YouTube.htm





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Ohio State establishes new NCAA guidelines

  To avoid any future “tattoo-gate” which endangered OSU’s standing with the NCAA, Ohio State revealed its new compliance plan today. The new plan addresses every issue that created problems for it in the past, according to Bleacher (

If you have been living under a rock the last several years or wish to refresh your memory of how OSU got into trouble please see the links below. I wrote extensively about the troubles at the time and in What now for Ohio State? (June 2, 2011; I outlined several steps I felt should be taken to remedy the situation. I am glad to see that most of the steps have been taken and hopefully Ohio State can become the example of how to come back after NCAA sanctions.

Ohio State got into trouble for the players selling their memorabilia and autographed jerseys and equipment. To address this problem, the players will be required to sign a statement saying they have not sold any of their bowl gifts or rings and the school may conduct random audits. Also, the items will be kept in storage and will be given to the players only after graduation.

New rules for charity events

The second round of violations occurred when several football players attended a fundraiser banquet in the Cleveland area where people paid $5,000 to be able to dine with the athletes. Now the new rules for charity requests include:

• Athletes can’t go to an event as a celebrity figure. They have to actively do something.

• Athletes can’t go to an event more than 30 miles from campus.

• For men’s basketball and football players, an OSU staff member has to go along to keep tabs on things.

• Charities have to get prior approval.

In addition, the new rules include areas addressing the social media, buying cars, giving out tickets, and educating players and boosters. Also, a compliance person in the football building itself has been added.

My score card on the OSU situation

On June 2, 2011 I suggested six steps I felt OSU should take to make itself a leader in rules reform. Below are the six steps and an evaluation of whether or not they have been taken:

  1. Resignation of Coach Tressel—this occurred in the very beginning of the investigation. He “resigned” under pressure.
  2. Lengthy investigation into the school, the athletic department, and the players involved—this was done by the school and the NCAA.
  3. The coach, school administrators, and players should acknowledge their part…and publicly apologize—the players and coach admitted their wrong-doing and apologized but I’m not sure the administration has. Some people are upset that AD Gene Smith is still on staff.
  4. Take all punishments and sanctions without whining—I am happy to say that the players and most of the fans have graciously accepted their punishment.
  5. Clean house…to rid the campus of guilty and unsavory characters. Start with a clean slate—Terrell Pryor and his entourage left campus under pressure. Also, with the new coach most of the old coaching staff is gone. The slate appears pretty clean.
  6. Institute and oversee stricter rules for all players in all sports. It is not a right but a privilege to wear the Ohio State uniform—looking at the new rules above it seems this has been done.

Congratulations to Ohio State and its fans for taking its punishment without complaining and taking positive steps to avoid such problems in the future.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, JIM TRESSEL? Published on March 11, 2011 by Sheila Dobbie in Current Events

Adios Jim Tressel Published on May 31, 2011 by Sheila Dobbie in Current Events

Good Bye and Good Riddance, TP Published on June 11, 2011 by Sheila Dobbie in Current Events

Football Offers Many Lessons Published on August 17, 2011 by Sheila Dobbie in Current Events

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Nature vs. Natural Resources—The Case For and Against Fracking

Genesis 1:1-31  

        God made the heavens and the earth and it was good.


Genesis 2:15  

        Humans are commanded to care for God’s creation.


Natural gas, hydraulic fracturing, fracking, foreign oil dependency, shale gas, Utica Shale, Marcellus Shale, energy independence—these are all words that have been in the news a lot lately.

Whether you know it or not these topics are also entering the presidential and senatorial campaigns. All of these terms relate to the relatively young natural gas industry in our country. An abundance of natural gas is hidden in the Utica and Marcellus Shale predominantly found in the eastern part of the United States, the Appalachian mountains, and in the eastern part of Ohio. How this industry develops will have a huge impact on our country, state, and local towns in many ways whether environmentally, financially, or politically. Many people with deep, deep pockets behind the scenes stand to gain a lot with the development of this industry and they are counting on the general population to remain ignorant about the topic.

Hydraulic Fracturing Panel Discussion Oct. 1—Franciscan University

Fortunately, if you live near the Steubenville, Ohio area you will have an opportunity to review the topic and ask questions of those involved in the industry. Students for a Fair Society will host a two-person panel on the costs and benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing, Monday, October 1 at 6 pm in the Tony and Nina Gentile Gallery of the J.C. Williams Center at the Franciscan University.

Panelists include Dr. Yuri Gorby; Howard A. Blitman, Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York; and Father Neil Pezzulo, of Glenmary Home Missioners in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Panelists will touch on the industry’s benefits, both short and long term, to the economy – its costs, with a special focus on the poor and vulnerable – and to our health and the environment, helping the audience come to their own conclusions.

Students for a Fair Society is a group dedicated to upholding the teaching of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church in its fullness. Concerning ourselves with matters of life, solidarity, and justice….

The event is free and open to the public.

My introduction to fracking

I first became aware of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” as it is commonly called, through the documentary Gasland. The documentary paints a scary picture of an environmental disaster created by this new industry. It is filled with images of dead and dying animals, people with unexplained illnesses, and water faucets that spew fire when a flame is held next to the running water.

What happened to the EPA?

As a citizen I was outraged that these things should be allowed to happen. How could it happen when we have the EPA and the Clean Air and Water Act? As a journalist my instincts led me to research. I found that the Clean Air and Water Act does not apply to the fracking industry because of the infamous Bush/Cheney Act of 2005. Then Vice President Dick Cheney was successful in inserting an exclusion that exempted disclosure of the chemicals used in the fracking process claiming it disclosed proprietary formulas. Cheney is the former CEO of Halliburton which is one of the largest companies providing hydraulic fracturing services to gas companies.

What is in these chemicals? Why don’t the companies want to reveal them?

From citizen to crusader

The crusader in me then turned to my keyboard to inform my readers of what I see as impending doom—especially since our own state is blindly pushing ahead so it can reap its portion of the buried treasurer. Some estimates say Ohio alone has enough oil and gas below our surface to equal the size of Saudi Arabia. I wrote extensively about fracking (see the listings below) but I was haunted by the feeling that I still wasn’t finding the heart of the topic. Or, at least, I hadn’t yet defined it in my own heart.

Slowly I realized my repulsion for this new industry is because I view it as an attack on Mother Nature. It is not just because of the gallons of unknown chemicals that are forced underground but what these chemicals are doing to our environment. The oil companies claim their process is safe and the chemicals are encased in steel and concrete and there is no way it can seep into our water supply. Yes, and that is the same explanation that was given before the BP oil spill in the Gulf a few years ago.

Also, millions of gallons of water are needed to frack a well. To frack a well, chemicals mixed with sand and water are forced into the well under pressure which then breaks apart the layers of shale and releases the gas trapped between the layers. The mixture that comes to the surface, known as  brine, contains unknown chemicals, sand and water and must be disposed of safely. Since it is a toxic soup it cannot be discarded into streams or flushed into the local wastewater system which goes through the sewage plant. Experts say the only safe way of discarding the brine is to put it in underground abandoned wells and mines. However, this is less than ideal because they are finding the underground storage is causing earthquakes.

Where does the water come from for the process? We are talking about massive amounts of water. The companies are taking it from the local lakes, rivers, and streams. Are we sacrificing one natural resource for another?

Gas and oil are the blood of our country

I realize we need gas and oil. Our country’s livelihood depends upon our transportation system. We need gas and oil to manufacture goods and then transport them to their destinations. Whether by land, water, or rail, all forms of transportation need gas and oil to run. People who depend upon these jobs need gas and oil to be able to go to and from their work. Yes, the blood of our country is gas and oil. I understand we need it for a healthy commerce.

However, something else we need is clean water and air. Without these two elements we are not able to sustain life. Wars have been fought over safe water supplies.

Native Americans revere the earth

In examining my feelings on this topic I first turned to the philosophy of the Native Americans who I knew respected and revered all of nature. I have often thought that if the white man had listened to and respected the beliefs of the first Americans and their worship of nature; we would not be in the environmental mess we are today.

Our first obligation is to protect our most precious resource—our Mother Earth who gives us life. The Native Americans viewed our earth as a living and breathing entity that is holy and is to be worshipped.  A Native American chant says:

Where I sit is holy
Holy is the Ground
Forest , mountains, rivers
Listen to the Sound
Great Spirit Circling
All around me 

Grant Redhawk of the Balckfoot Nation (AKA Two Feathers) said:

Air moves us
Fire transforms us
Water shapes us
Earth heals us
And the circle of the wheel goes round and round
And the circle of the wheel goes round…

As a child growing up in West Virginia one of my favorite Bible verses was Psalm 121– I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. To me this meant that since I was surrounded by the beautiful hills of West Virginia surely I was also surrounded by the Lord who made heaven and earth. It gave me a sense of peace knowing that my help came from my God who manifested himself in these majestic hills and surrounded me constantly.

The Catholic Church’s view of the environment and seven generation thinking

When I saw that the Hydraulic Fracturing Conference was being hosted by the Students for a Fair Society of the Franciscan University I did some research to know more about the organization. Keith Michael Estrada, who is coordinating the conference, was kind enough to send me more information about the Society, the Conference, and the official stand of the Catholic Church on the environment. He said that the Church’s official teachers, the Bishops, point to a strict care for all of creation, temperance and fairness when using the goods/gifts of the earth, and a constant keeping in heart and mind the future generations who will inherit the land.

I was struck by the similarity to the philosophy of the Native Americans who refer to “seven generation thinking.”  In the Native American world, where life is viewed as interconnected, every decision has physical, economic, social, and spiritual consequences, and all these impacts must be carefully considered. This interconnectedness is what Native Americans refer to as “seven generation thinking,” says Ivan Makil, former president of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and a partner in Generation Seven, a consulting firm that specializes in advising tribes on appropriate economic development considerations.

The environment is God’s gift to everyone….

Estrada also included the quote from Pope Benedict XVI… “The environment is God’s gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole. . . Our duties towards the environment are linked to our duties towards the human person, considered in himself and in relation to others. It would be wrong to uphold one set of duties while trampling on the other….” from Charity in Truth.

Estrada also included a quote from the late Pope John Paul II:

Equally worrying is the ecological question which accompanies the problem of consumerism and which is closely connected to it. In his desire to have and to enjoy rather than to be and to grow, man consumes the resources of the earth and his own life in an excessive and disordered way. . . . Man, who discovers his capacity to transform and in a certain sense create the world through his own work, forgets that this is always based on God’s prior and original gift of the things that are. Man thinks that he can make arbitrary use of the earth, subjecting it without restraint to his will, as though it did not have its own requisites and a prior God-given purpose, which man can indeed develop but must not betray.  Instead of carrying out his role as a co-operator with God in the work of creation, man sets himself up in place of God and thus ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature, which is more tyrannized than governed by him.  On the Hundredth Year

Are we poisoning Mother Earth

So I am finally able to more clearly define my concerns and reservations over the fracking industry. Without more information, guidelines, and regulations it appears we are poisoning our Mother Earth. We are endangering our own health and possibly the lives of future generations for the greed of more fuel for today. We are rushing into an unknown future and selling our souls and laying them at the altar of money and greed. We could possibly be giving up abundant clean water and fresh air for progress.

Creation reveals the nature of God

Who would think that a mountain Methodist girl from West Virginia could find clarity from the Native Americans and the Catholic Church? Who would think that these extremely diverse entities would have a common ground? The answer to the dilemma of nature vs. the need for natural resources is as close as a walk out our front door into God’s creations. Creation reveals the nature of God (Romans 1:20). Creation and all created things are inherently good because they are of the Lord. (1Corinthians 10:26)

Another source of inspiration and reassurance of God’s omnipotent powers speaks to me often and that is the old hymn This Is My Father’s World. I pray that we will be able to maintain the purity of God’s world.


This Is My Father’s World

1.            This is my Father’s world,

               and to my listening ears

               all nature sings, and round me rings

               the music of the spheres.

               This is my Father’s world:

               I rest me in the thought

               of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;

               his hand the wonders wrought.

2.            This is my Father’s world,

               the birds their carols raise,

               the morning light, the lily white,

               declare their maker’s praise.

               This is my Father’s world:

               he shines in all that’s fair;

               in the rustling grass I hear him pass;

               he speaks to me everywhere.

3.            This is my Father’s world.

               O let me ne’er forget

               that though the wrong seems oft so strong,

               God is the ruler yet.

               This is my Father’s world:

               why should my heart be sad?

               The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!

               God reigns; let the earth be glad!




Published on May 24, 2011 by Sheila Dobbie in Current EventsNature


Editorial: Question mark

Published on May 25, 2011 by Sheila Dobbie in Current EventsNature


Fracking brings risk Ohioans should avoid

Published on May 25, 2011 by Sheila Dobbie in Current EventsNature


The Fracking Song

Published on May 27, 2011 by Sheila Dobbie in Current EventsNature


What the Frack Is All The Fuss Over Natural Gas (Part 2)

Published on May 27, 2011 by Sheila Dobbie in Current EventsNature


What the Frack? The battle heats up


Senate OKs ‘fracking’ in parks


Ohio taking in flood of Pennsylvania’s toxic brine for disposal


Is natural gas a windfall or just fool’s gold?


Editorial: Due diligence | The Columbus Dispatch


Fracking Fray Still in the News


More news on fracking




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Friday Night Excitement

My grandson, Adam Notestine, continuing a long tradition.

Fall is here. There is a nip in the air, trees are beginning to show tinges of red and orange, and that aroma in the air is brats sizzling on the grill at tailgate parties.

It has been a long time since I attended high school football games. A few things have changed with the times but the basic excitement of gladiator proportions still exists.

The sound of the band and the drums start the heart racing. The cheerleaders do their best to capitalize on this adrenalin rush with rhythmic stomps, thumps, and yells. Then the team runs on the field clad in their form fitting uniforms with lots of protective padding underneath and new state-of-the-art custom fit helmets. All sorts of protective measures have been taken to shield the player as he fights for his school and hometown’s honor.

The fans are packed into the stadium wearing a wide assortment of paraphernalia reflecting their team’s colors. They cheer and moan and groan depending upon their team’s success. Officials wearing black and white uniforms are positioned around the field to ensure a fair and safe game. However, the fans sometimes see their calls as more of an interference or nuisance and voice their opinions accordingly.

It is a grueling fight to the finish and we can only pray that all players escape the game with no serious injuries. But football has always been a violent sport. It dates back to the ancient Greek game of harpaston and is mentioned in classical Greek literature as a “very rough and brutal game.” The rules were very simple and similar to today’s game. Points were awarded when a player crossed a goal line either by kicking the ball, running across it with the ball, or throwing the ball across the line to another player.

In the United States the Native Americans played a game similar to football and it was reported that the settlers in Jamestown also played a similar game with inflated balls. Modern day football has its roots in rugby and soccer. It resulted from some major rule changes instituted by Walter Camp, considered the “Father of American Football”. Among those changes were the introduction of the line of scrimmage and down-and-distance rules.

I might be a bit different from most women. I love football and always have. I even understand it. Some of my earliest memories are of my father and uncle sitting in front of a small black and white TV screen yelling and screaming. I married a former player, coach and scout who takes his sport seriously. So much so that he never yells or screams at the TV and never cusses out the officials. However, I have seen him so disgusted that he says he is giving up on his Buckeyes—that is until the next game.

I live in the middle of Big 10 territory and the Ohio State Buckeyes. This area is rich in football history not only for the Buckeyes but Columbus was also the site of the first NFL headquarters. I frequently pass through Portsmouth, Ohio and go past an ancient, inconsequential looking concrete stadium; however, this was the home of the Portsmouth Spartans (which later became the Detroit Lions) and is the sight of the first professional night game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1930. Famed Jim Thorpe played here when the team was the Portsmouth Shoe-Steels. I also live a little over 100 miles from the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Yes, like so many other Americans I love football. It gives me a tingle up my spine to watch my grandson run onto the field ready for battle in this ancient sport. A sport steeped in tradition and history. A sport that creates more energy than a nuclear blast. A sport young boys dream about and old men remember fondly.

My grandson Adam at age 9 examining my nephew Andrew Thornburg’s Furman football jersey. I think that jersey would fit now.


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Confessions of a reformed Republican



I have been a Republican most of my voting life. When I turned voting age I proudly marched down to my voter’s registration office and put my name on the rolls as a Republican.

I come from a long line of Republicans on my mother’s side and my father was the lone Democrat in a family of red-white-& blue blooded Republicans. I had the mistaken idea that Republicans were always right and the Democrats were so liberal they were almost communists. I don’t believe in voting a straight ticket but I had the philosophy of when in doubt vote Republican.

Disillusioned and disenchanted

The transformation was gradual and I’m not sure exactly when I changed, or if I did change. I don’t think I changed so much as the Republican Party did. The shift began sometime in the middle of George W. Bush’s reign term. The campaign and insistence of Bush to invade Iraq to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction had something to do with it. So did his “Mission Accomplished” speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003 when, clearly, the mission was not accomplished and many years of war were ahead.

I became cynical when I saw vice president Dick Cheney pull the strings from behind the scenes and interfere in areas that benefited his company, Halliburton. Cheney was chairman and CEO of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000. He retired from the company during the 2000 U.S. presidential election but still received stock options and other payments from the company. During his term as vice president, Halliburton was allowed to bid unopposed on government contracts. Cheney is also responsible for the infamous Bush/Cheney loophole of the Clean Water Act. Halliburton is a prominent player in the relatively new fracking industry and Cheney was successful in eliminating a disclosure of chemicals used in the fracking process. They claimed it prevented competitors from stealing their formulas but it also exempts these companies from having to meet strict EPA regulations and endangers the water supplies.

I became even more disenchanted when John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. She is an embarrassment to the female population. She makes a good cheerleader but is ignorant of political and foreign affairs and basic fifth grade history.

Mitt the Twit

I thought the current presidential Republican candidate would be more intelligent and informed but it looks like he came out of the same mold as Palin. His trip abroad this summer, which was intended to showcase his foreign affairs savvy, only made him look more foolish. The Brits began calling him Mitt the Twit because of his blunders. Who in his right mind goes to our long-time ally and insults them by saying they are not ready to host the Olympics on the eve of its opening? He then went to Israel and insulted the Palestinians with a comment about their “culture”; and, as an equal opportunity abuser, he insulted the Jews by referring to a stereotype of the Jews.

Romney further exhibited his incompetency in foreign affairs by issuing a statement regarding the attack on our Embassy in Libya calling Obama’s handling of the violence “disgraceful” and accusing the administration of sympathizing with the attackers. He was too quick to jump to the party line of portraying the president as always apologizing for the U.S.’s actions and made a fool of himself in the process.

In addition to individuals within the party I am also upset with the Republican Party as whole for their stand on women, birth control, and no abortions in cases of rape and incest. The party wants to set back the women’s movement to the 1950’s when women stayed home, cooked, cleaned, wore house dresses with pearls (think Harriet Nelson in Ozzie and Harriet), and never had an original thought. In addition, the middle class and below is looked down upon as evidenced in Romney’s latest comments about 47% of the people not wanting to work or pay taxes and sponge off the government. The party has become the party of the 1% and the “wanna be’s”; that is, those who want to be part of the 1% and think that some of it will rub off on them if they vote Republican.

Mind polluting and propaganda spewing

And we can’t forget the plundering, pontificating, mind-polluting, propaganda-spewing duo of Limbaugh and Beck. Nothing more needs to be said about this Republican self-promoting tag team.

Compounding these issues is the Tea Party and the “religious right” who think they have all the answers and if you don’t agree with them you are not only wrong but also ungodly and un-American. The way the party is now I don’t understand how any middle-class American, woman, minority, or disadvantaged can vote Republican.

I looked around and thought, “What the hell is going on? This party does not represent who I am or what I believe.” At that moment I woke up and became a “reformed Republican.”

Reformed and rehabilitated

Yes, I am now a proud reformed, rehabilitated Republican. The party took a sharp right turn and left me in the middle of the road seeking my own path down the center between far-right Republican extremism and bleeding-heart liberal Democrats. I think I will start a third party called the RRA (reformed rehabilitated Americans). It is open to disillusioned voters of all parties who want to restore integrity and sanity to our government. Anyone with me?

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Movie Review—The Campaign gets my vote

Will Farrell has made some pretty stupid movies but The Campaign isn’t one of them. This is a movie that actually has something to say.

The Campaign starring Will Farrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, and Dylan McDermott is a satire on today’s politics. With almost every scene you see something familiar whether it is Cam Brady’s (Farrell) hair that is an exact replica of John Edwards’ or Marty Huggins (Galifianakis) homespun philosophy and lack of sophistication all wrapped up as neat as a glass of Southern Comfort.

Cam Brady is a career politician accustomed to running unopposed but when he is involved in a sex scandal (imagine that!) the Motch brothers (as in Koch brothers), sleazily played by John Lithgow and Dan Akroyd, decide to back a naive candidate who can be easily controlled, Marty Huggins. Huggins is an effeminate tour guide, husband and father who wears wild eye-crossing sweaters.

Although The Campaign is meatier than some of Farrell’s other movies it still has some of his trademark physical and slapstick comedy such as when he accidentally punches a baby. When Huggins decides to test Brady’s true conservatism and challenges him to recite the Lord’s Prayer the scene will be long remembered as his campaign manager (Jason Sudeikis) acts out a charades to feed him the lines. One can’t help but laugh as Brady mumbles through the prayer and asks “Give us this day our daily pizza.” Oh Lord, forgive me my trespasses if laughing at this is considered sacrilegious but it is funny. The scene also points out the ridiculous lengths candidates go to today in trying to be a more devout Christian and a better American than the opponent. In fact, Brady’s trademark slogan is “America, Jesus, freedom!”

 As the movie continues with one ridiculous incident on top of another a nagging thought persisted—this would be really funny if it weren’t true. The Campaign, directed by Jay Roach of HBO’s political dramas Recount and Game Change, manages to show us how insane our political process has become and does it in a humorous rather than an insulting and shouting way. For a thought-provoking and entertaining evening be sure to see The Campaign.

The Campaign gets my vote—I give it a B+.


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Only a woman knows


No one knows what it is like to be a woman, except a woman. This seems to be such an obvious statement; so, why are so many men claiming to be experts on the functions of the woman’s body?

They are so knowledgeable that they are rushing to make statements and pass laws concerning our bodies. One man, Rep. Todd Akin, notoriously got it wrong when he claimed that few women get pregnant when they are raped.

Men have no idea of the physical pain and emotional upheaval our bodies cause us. A woman’s decision whether or not to have children and when is a very personal and emotional decision, one that no man can even begin to understand. Men can never know how much a woman loves and worries about her family. The hours spent caring for her family and creating a safe and nurturing home for them are all part of a woman’s nature. I sometimes think it must be built into her DNA. There must be a mysterious Mom gene that hasn’t yet been identified.

Decisions are not black and white

No matter how loving, caring, and devoted a woman may be, there are times when some women must face a gut-wrenching decision whether or not to bring a child into this world. Every circumstance is as unique as a woman’s fingerprints. I can’t imagine there has ever been a woman who did not face such a decision lightly. It would be easy if the world and its decisions were all black and white—a right and a wrong answer—but it never is.

Let me say right here, before you jump to conclusions, I am not advocating abortion. But I am asking for the right to be able to make our own decisions that will affect the rest of our lives and the future of many others. I am not against pro-life; rather, I am for pro-choice.  I feel a woman should be able to make her own decisions concerning her body, especially in cases of rape and incest.

A neighbor’s painful journey

I never gave the debate over pro-choice versus pro-life much thought until a neighbor told me of her very personal and painful journey. She was a young elementary teacher who found herself pregnant at the same time there was a rubella epidemic in her school. Rubella has been known to cause birth defects so she had herself tested and, yes, she had contracted rubella and they thought the fetus was affected. This was in the ‘70’s before Roe v. Wade and she had to petition the legislature before she could have an abortion. She had to undergo three tests with at least two out of the three showing positive results. Each test had to be spaced a few weeks apart and during this whole process she agonized over the results and decisions.

During this time she visited the school for the blind and the deaf where many of the students had been exposed to rubella while in the womb. This experience convinced her to terminate the pregnancy. She knew if she had a physically and/or mentally handicapped child she would never be able to bring herself to have another child. As we looked at her two healthy children playing in the yard, with tears in our eyes, she said she knew she made the right decision.

No one can know the fear, anguish, sleepless nights, and heart break she suffered. She put herself through this long and difficult process because she felt in her heart it was not fair to the child to bring it into this world with so much against it.

Her story moved me to the point that I became a believer in pro-choice. If this had happened to her during a time of legal abortions, she would not have had to undergo the humiliating experience of petitioning the legislature and endure the long wait for the testing, results, and finally the legislature’s decision. One look at the pain in her face told me the process had not been easy for her.

Rep. Akin and VP candidate Ryan sponsored “personhood” bill

Now women are faced with the prospect of NO legalized abortions—even in the case of rape or incest. By now we all know of the statement by Rep. Akin saying that a woman’s body has a way of shutting down in case of rape to prevent pregnancy. But did you know that vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan and Rep. Todd Akin have worked together in the past to cosponsor a “personhood” bill that would not only prevent rape victims from terminating the pregnancy but would also treat any abortions resulting from rape as a homicide crime. In addition they also sponsored a bill to prevent Medicaid recipients who are raped from obtaining an abortion unless it is a “forcible rape.”

What does that mean? Are we now at the point that we are defining degrees of rape? Rape is rape. Ryan admitted this in a recent interview however he also said that he still stands behind his position on abortion. In another interview Ryan stated that rape is just another form of conception. As a woman I find these words and attitude too cavalier and offensive.

Rape defined

Several terms have been tossed about recently in connection with rape. We have heard forcible rape, legitimate rape, and statutory rape. What do these terms mean? Let’s take the easy term first—statutory rape. The legal definition of statutory rape is sexual intercourse with a person (girl or boy) who has not reached the age of consent. Rape is legally defined as the crime of forcing a woman to submit to sexual intercourse against her will. If this is the definition of rape why do we need to add the term forcible or legitimate to it? Does this mean that if a woman didn’t fight hard enough then it is considered legitimate? To examine this further, one of the definitions of legitimate is complying with the law, or having official status defined by law or complying with recognized rules, standards, or traditions.

As you can see, by adding qualifying adjectives we are opening Pandora’s Box. Rape is rape. So where did Rep. Akin and his colleagues get the idea that a woman’s body shuts down and does not become pregnant after a rape? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch looked into this and found the origins of this claim. It comes from a 1972 article by Dr. Fred Mecklenburg titled “The Indications for Induced Abortion: A Physician’s Perspective” published in Abortion and Social Justice compiled by Dr. Thomas W. Hilger. In his piece he states—a woman exposed to rape, “will not ovulate even if she is ‘scheduled’ to.”

Nazi experiment

Digging deeper they found this statement came from a study done by Nazi doctors. Dr. Mecklenburg, who wrote the paper, says “the doctors tested their hypothesis ‘by selecting women who were about to ovulate and sending them to the gas chambers, only to bring them back after their realistic mock-killing, to see what the effect this had on their ovulatory patterns. An extremely high percentage of these women did not ovulate.”

 There are two major problems with this theory. The first is that these women were malnourished and the second is they were abused and both conditions have been known to cause infertility. The Post-Dispatch quoted Dr. Barbara Levy, vice president for health policy at the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:

“From a scientific standpoint, what’s legitimate and fair to say is that a woman who is raped has the same chances of getting pregnant as a woman who engaged in consensual intercourse during the same time in her menstrual cycle.”

Love, understanding and counseling needed

We will hear a lot about this topic in the future. Rather than rushing to judgment to condemn and convict women who seek abortions, wouldn’t love, understanding and counseling (without preaching) be better? These decisions are never easy and we don’t live in a black and white world.


So Where DID Akin Get That ‘Legitimate Rape’ Idea?


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© © Copyright 2012 Sheila Dobbie, Gahanna, Ohio