Joel, I enjoyed that story very much! I won’t say anything about it in case someone who hasn’t read it comes on the blog and sees this post first. And thanks for posting the albino micro-bat. &#74

The news today has got me riled. Taiwan is facing a significant political and constitutional crisis following Saturday’s elections, and the Israelis assassinated Hamas religious leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

I am sure Sheikh Yassin deserved the death penalty for the bloodshed that he has perpetrated for years, but the Israelis can’t hope for peace while circumventing arrest and trial by firing a missile at a very popular old-blind-handicapped-religious leader in his wheelchair as he is on his way out of praying in a mosque.

I heard a very interesting 45 minute piece on C-Span radio about the situation in Taiwan. I found it riveting. It included a live talk by the long time head of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), giving a very candid and impartial account of Taiwan’s recent political history leading up to this most recent dilemma. He gave some interesting statistics (that were later corroborated by another speaker) about the attitude of the Taiwanese people toward the traditional One China policy. The numbers seemed to indicate a huge shift away from the traditional position of the KMT. So that now even the KMT no longer wants to be called the “reunification party.” They said that China and the old U.S. diplomatic establishment are out of step with reality in continuing to talk about eventual reunification. The KMT continues to want close ties with China, but even they have expressed willingness to make slow steps toward independence at the same time. But if the DPP holds onto the election victory that they apparently snatched out of the fire this weekend, they could pursue membership in the World Health Organization–which is kind of a halfway house between nationhood and their current international outsider status (other examples of quasi-national WHO members include the PLO and the Vatican). But for now the contested presidential election is in the hands of Taiwan’s highest court, and China has put its army on high alert incase they need to help to “keep the peace” in Taiwan.

Well this is turning into quite the political blog. &#74

Mom Stocker had her surgery today and is home from the hospital. She is very thankful and hopeful that following her three to four weeks of recovery she will be feeling much better. Thank you to everyone for their prayers. We were so happy to hear that everything went as planned and that it seems to have gone well.

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