Diane Sawyer, The Girl Without the Dragon Tatoo

If Diane Sawyer of ABC News wants to get a tatoo that’s ok with me, just not a Dragon Tatoo.

Lisbeth Salander, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and central character of the Millenium Triology by Stieg Larsson, wouldn’t march for life but she would fight for it – literally. Would Diane Sawyer?

Lisbeth was abused and oppressed by an immoral government system. The Swedish “CIA” had decided that protecting information they wanted to keep private was more important than her welfare and her life. She could have ignored the evil around her and retreated to a place that was safe for her. But she refused to do so and thus had to fight for her life and the lives of others. She fought back in a way that she could. And it was a way at which she was good. When she fought back she protected herself and rescued other victims of violence, oppression, and abuse. Her Dragon Tatoo is a symbol of strength, courage, bravery, and justice.

Is Diane Sawyer worthy of wearing a Dragon Tatoo? After all she has walked the battlefields of Iraq and reported from the wreckage of the great tsunami of Japan. Her job title is News Anchor, and I can see a fire in her eyes for truth and justice. She is the voice most people associate with one of the biggest, most influential news organizations in the world. But is she carrying out the responsibility that her title demands? She reads the news headlines she is told to read. She travels to the trouble spots around the world that she is told to travel to. But is that enough? Does she have a responsibility to inform herself as to the major issues of the day and to have an awareness of major events taking place around the world? This country? How about in Washington, DC? Or in front of the Supreme Court?

ABC News is known as a news organization. On Monday, January 23, 2012, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators from all over the United States and all over the world converged on the Supreme Court in Washington, DC in support of a divisive national issue. Vast crowds stretched in every direction on the mall and onto side streets farther than the eye could see listening to speakers before marching to the Supreme Court. For several hours tens upon tens if not hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of people marched past the Supreme Court. For ABC news executives this event was not newsworthy enough to merit even a few seconds of coverage on the nightly news. Smaller national capitol events often receive weeks of ad nauseum pre-coverage (parking, traffic patterns, subway schedules, street closures) and leading news first-story status on the nightly news.

During the same month, a couple of hundred protestors were camping in Washington, DC in support of a different national issue, also divisive in nature. The same ABC News managers believed that this was newsworthy enough to merit over 120 seconds of coverage newscast after newscast every night for weeks including the night of the January 23rd Supreme Court mecca.

Diane Sawyer, get that Dragon Tatoo. It can be a rub-on if you don’t want a real one. Put your foot down this year (January 25, 2013). Insist on reporting on the March for Life. I don’t think you deserve a Dragon Tatoo. I hope I’m wrong about you. I hope you’ll read this, educate yourself about it, and demand it be covered.






For Abortion Issue Voters

There are good people trying to do the right thing on both sides of this issue. Each of us has to decide what we think is best. One-sided media posts from either side rousing up their side to believe the other side is going to “destroy their freedom, destroy their country, etc.” don’t do anything to create better understanding of the issues.

Here are some plain, non-flamed up facts and opinions I’d like to share, for example (against abortion).

In DC unborn babies capable of feeling pain are aborted during late term abortions. It’s legal. The DC District Council repealed it’s entire abortion law and it is now legal there for any reason right up until birth. A facility in DC offers a type of abortion up to 26 weeks in which the baby is dismembered. The Constitution gives ultimate responsibility for protection of human life and other matters in DC to Congress and the President.

On July 31, 2012, the House supported the D.C. Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act by 220-154. The bill would ban abortions, except to save the life of the mother, at 20 weeks fetal age on the basis that by this point the baby can feel pain. I feel compassion for these unborn babies and want to do something for them. Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney said the bill is “controversial, divisive social legislation” and “the President’s position on a woman’s reproductive freedom is well known.”

I think Obama would veto any law that protects the unborn. When asked about it in the past he usually speaks about protecting the rights of women. Who can argue with that? The rights of the unborn babies or the fathers are not mentioned. I don’t think someone who supports this type of policy on late abortions should be president. It doesn’t mean I hate women, or want to deny them rights. I believe the rights of the unborn need protection.

I know that sometimes its very late in a pregnancy that a doctor discovers a defect in a baby that indicates it will suffer painfully if it is born. I believe even every one of these babies should be born, loved, comforted, and that every effort to improve his/her condition and to relieve his/her pain should be taken. I believe if a particular set of parents isn’t ready, willing, able, or capable of caring for such a child that someone will step in and help.

If you believe it’s better to abort the baby in a case like above or if you believe it’s better to legislate mandates to let it be born, demonizing people who don’t agree with you or re-posting one-sided media posts that incite disdain for your opponents don’t do anything to create better understanding of the issues.

“Micro”: A Review

“Micro”: A Review

This novel, published in 2011, is an enigma. Love it? Hate it? Most have chosen to hate it. Full of imperfections? Yes. But maybe loving or hating it aren’t our only choices. I choose to “cherish” it.


The book has a fascinating premise. Little robots? Tiny robots? How about micro robots. What if it were possible? What if they were developed in secret? What if some glitches got covered up? What if the cover-up spiraled out of control?


Set in beautiful Hawaii, this story is compelling if for nothing else to just vicariously enjoy the beauty and wonder of this amazing place. Of course, I read the book with my iPhone in my pocket and used Google Earth to 3-dimensionally fly in from above to the various locations mentioned in the book. I also Wikipedia’d the back stories of the sites so by the end of the book I felt like I’d visited and been there myself.


Michael Crichton envisioned the premise and technology for this story, but died before it was complete, or as many say, before it was barely started. For Michael Crichton aficionados the fact that the story was finished by Richard Preston, and that Richard Preston doesn’t bring as much reality and believability to the characters and technology is unbearable. But to me reading Preston’s completion of Crichton’s work is akin to the the heartfelt thrill I would get if for example an Olympic champion marathoner dropped dead during his race and his wife or best friend suddenly marched onto the course and started to run to complete the distance for him in his honor. So yes, it’s not as fast or elegant a read as it would have been but I enjoyed its fluffiness without any feelings of betrayal. Thank you Richard Preston for finishing this story.


Well then what is the micro world like? It’s another frontier possibly more exciting than the bottoms of the oceans or the reaches of outer space. This book gives a glimpse into its magnificence and gives the imagination a springboard into another world.


It’s a light read even with all the technology. Not perfectly written but a perfect example of why great writing is so rare and should be rightly appreciated. If you choose to read it, enjoy, and remember how lucky we are to have been blessed to have access to the works of the great writers.


This is the last of Michael Crichton’s novels. Best to read it now before the today’s technology surpasses the imagined technology in “Micro”.

Ted Welti – August 2, 2012

Dragon Tatoos

I disagree with a recent movie review that was in the Catholic Herald, a newspaper I receive once a week from the Diocese of Arlington, of which my church is a member. In the review, the movie ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ is classified as morally offensive. Granted, the character Lisbeth Salander makes some poor choices about her sex life, and the parts of the abuse she’s suffered that they show in the movie are morally offensive. However, the main point is that she has been abused and is being oppressed by an immoral government system that has decided that protecting information they want to keep private is more important than her welfare, her life. She fights back in a way that she can, a way that she is good at. She fights back in a way that protects herself and that rescues other victims of violence, oppression, and abuse.

Our Christian faith is a bulwark against evil in the world. We need people like Lisbeth, the diminutive girl with the dragon tatoo, to fight against injustice in any way they can. In her case, her way was behind the scenes, under the radar, and out of the spotlight – but powerful, effective, and successful.


Skeleton Santa Claus

On a recent Wednesday a few weeks before Christmas, and three days before I planned to spend the day in downtown Leesburg, VA with my two 4-year-old grandsons and two 2-year-old granddaughters, someone erected a wooden cross on our courthouse lawn, at the intersection of the two main roads at the center of our town. They hung a skeleton on the cross, and they dressed it in a Santa Claus suit. The erector stated that the display represented the over-commercialization of Christmas. I was on my way to work and saw it as I drove by.

Contrary to the erector’s statement, the message portrayed by dressing a skeleton in a Santa Claus suit is that Santa Claus is dead. The message of Santa Claus is that giving of yourself to others is good thing. To say Santa Claus is dead is saying that that concept is flawed. The cross was used as a cruel and painful way to kill people, most notably, the man Jesus Christ, who suffered tremendously when he was left on one until he died. The cross was a public way for authorities to warn people to not do what its victims had done. The symbolic message of the courthouse display was that its erectors depicted that you should suffer a painful and public death if you believe in giving of yourself to others. Successful graphic artists can skillfully and effectively convey messages with symbols and art and would likely be the first people to acknowledge that you cannot simply declare a specific meaning upon a graphic display. There are ways to symbolize the over commercialization of Christmas that would actually convey that message. The skeleton dressed in a Santa Claus suit did not. It was an insulting image to anyone who has ever sacrificed their own wants to care for and give to others.

So, who was Saint Nick before he became who we call “Santa Claus”?

Saint Nick was Bishop Nikolaos of Myra in Lycia in the region anciently referred to as Asia Minor (modern day Demre, Turkey). He was born in 270 A.D. and died on December 6, 373 A.D. He was a real person and was a Christian bishop who became famous for secretly sneaking in the middle of the night to give help to the poor. He used to leave coins to those who left a shoe out for him to signal that they needed help. Saint Nicholas became very popular in both Eastern and Western Europe after the 4th century. The Dutch called him Sinterklaas and from this came the English version of the name we’re most familiar with, Santa Claus. Saint Nicholas was a participating member of the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. where the current Nicene Creed, a statement of Christian beliefs that Catholics pray every Sunday, was formulated. He was a staunch defender of the teaching that Jesus has both divine and human nature. Without him there would not be today’s Santa Claus and lessons so many have lived about giving of themselves to others would not have been learned.

When Saturday came and I walked with my two grandsons around the corner to the street across from the display I was wondering what they would say or ask me if they saw the skeleton inside the Santa Claus suit, hanging from a cross. Instead, and I don’t know how they saw this, they immediately raced 50 feet down the sidewalk to the front window of the biker bar. ‘Look, Grandpa, look!’ they yelled to me. When I caught up with them they pointed through the window to a miniature toy motorcycle with a miniature toy Santa Claus sitting on the motorcycle seat. Then they started laughing so hard they could hardly stand up! Made me feel wonderful for a few moments. Thank you biker bar owner for creating those moments of joy for a couple of 4-year olds and their grandfather!

Power of Attorney and Great-Grandfathers

If you are helping to care for an elderly parent now is the time to go ahead and get your power of attorney. I set up power of attorney for my father about a year and a half ago. He was 86 years old at the time. Now he’s 88 and beginning to get quite forgetful. Somehow he paid his rent in advance about six times and now has a six-month credit. He also has an outstanding penalty and outstanding tax due from his 2009 tax return. Well, now it’s 2012 so that’s three years late. Not only that, he also used his investments incorrectly and took a loan to make some payments rather than selling some stock. He is now in a margin (debit) condition which I found out it is not allowed by the securities rules.

So I had to tell his broker today to sell some stocks to eliminate the debit. Luckily I have the power of attorney paperwork from one and a half years ago and thus the broker was able to rely on my decision and use my permission to do this. At the time we drew up the power of attorney, my Dad did not want me to make any decisions for him considering finances. But now he’s more cooperative about that. He seems kind of relieved that I am stepping in now. So all I had to do was fill out an agent form from Morgan Stanley, his broker, and then attach a copy of my power of attorney paperwork.

At first I thought I was going to have to take all the paperwork to the post office and send it to his broker. But I found out that it was okay to make a PDF copy of all the paperwork and then email it. Wow! That is so much easier. The power of attorney paperwork was about 10 pages long. The agent form was a page long. And I had to add a copy of my drivers license. That was another page. So altogether I had about 12 pages to prepare into PDF.

You might be wondering how I made it into a PDF. Well, for me it was pretty easy. We have an automatic scanner at work. I fed all 12 pages in at once. It fed them through one at a time and created a combined PDF. So I have one PDF with all 12 pages in it. Oh, I almost forgot. The agent form had to be signed by a notary. Luckily we have one at our office. She was kind enough to notarize it for me. She did not ask for any compensation. She was so nice about it. Note to self: Please get Sharon a nice gift card as a thank you for her kindness. Otherwise I would have had to go to a bank. All banks have notaries. I was so glad I didn’t have to go out and find a notary or to the post office. It saved me a lot of time in a busy day and besides, it was pouring down rain.

So, please, if you are caring for an elderly parent, go out right away and get the power of attorney paperwork drawn up by an attorney and put it away in a safe place. You never know when you will need it!