Monday, December 14, 2009
For celebrity obsessed Americans, the literal and figurative deaths of two icons in one year is almost overwhelming. With Michael Jackson, the overdose of the surgical anesthetic Propofol gave overindulgent partygoers a moment of pause, as the search for the "big buzz" cost the King of Pop his life. The subsequent media coverage surrounding his funeral, the paternity of his children, the charges of murder against his doctor who injected him with the drug, and the settlement of his estate have created a frenzy that will have the sharks circling in the water for years to come.
Now, a new A&E reality series featuring the other four members of the Jackson 5 (brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon) is a shining example of how even your own family will turn against you if money is the God they worship. Debuting last night, the show basically proved to all, that Jermaine is an egomaniac, Tito should be named Joe Jackson Junior, and Marlon, who seems to have it the most together, is the one who cracks jokes, seemingly to save his sanity. It's sad that a group who once was the shining star of Motown has allowed themselves to fall to such a low point. Maybe Neil Young was right when he said that it's better to burn out than fade away.
So, who should be the top story? Poor drug addicted Michael Jackson, or poor promiscuous Tiger Woods? Some have said that both stories are an example of how those involved were simply human, and we should forgive them and move on. Others have reminded us that no athlete or musician should be held up as an idol of worship. That position belongs only to God. While both points of view have merit, the main thing that ties the Michael Jackson death scandal to the Tiger Woods scandal is that both men handed their lives over to excess.
For one it was drugs and death,for the other is was women and career suicide, but sadly the ultimate outcome was the same. King Solomon spoke about excess in the Book of Ecclesiastes, summing up a life filled with indulgence as meaningless, if it doesn't include God. When one turns their life over to the insatiable desires of their humanity, too much is never enough, and Michael Jackson and Tiger Woods are both examples of that profound truth. Too many drugs, women, friends, too much money, or anything that our culture urges us to use as a substitute for God leads to destruction which will ultimately lead to a physical or spiritual death. While it's too late for Michael Jackson, hopefully Tiger Woods will learn a lesson from his sin, and will spend his time off getting his life back on track. He's been given a second chance whether he realizes it or not, and hopefully he will be smart enough to take advantage of it.
So top story, best story, worst story, who knows? Is it Michael or Tiger? I suppose we won't know until the dawn of 2010, but one thing is perfectly clear. The stories of Michael Jackson and Tiger Woods are essentially the same, and they tie for the most tragic of 2009.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Reactions are mixed after President Obama announced he would send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan. After taking 92 days to make up his mind, the president made it clear last night that he would begin withdrawing the troops within 18 months.
Today, the Democrats are upset saying the cost of escalating the eight year old war is too expensive as the build up comes with a 30-billion dollar price tag. Republicans are unhappy that the president announced a definite time line for the troop withdrawal.
The Associated Press is reporting that Vice President Joe Biden, who did not support the president's decision said the new surge and exit strategy is aimed more at keeping the Taliban from overrunning Afghanistan while protecting America from another terrorist attack.
Senator John McCain who ran against Obama in last year's election said he supports the decision to send in more troops but did not agree with the announced time line for withdrawal.
"We don't want to sound an uncertain trumpet to our friends in the region," McCain said.
What do you think? A defining moment for the Obama presidency or too little too late?
A couple of things concern me about the president's decision, and the reaction to it.
First, like Senator McCain, I don't think it's ever a good idea to let the enemy know your timeline for withdrawing from any war. Military strategy is about playing your cards close to the vest. By letting the world know that we're going to be done in 18 months, the signal has been sent that winning the war is not our objective. In fact, the president never used the word "win" in his speech last night. That omission alone has to be very demoralizing to the troops who we're sending in to fight. When a country sends troops to reform a region, it's imperative that said country appears to be stable in the way they conduct the business of war. The president has made the American military look anything but stable, which will harm us in the long run.
Secondly, the Democrats are crying that the surge will be too expensive, yet Congress is spending billions to bale out banks, and the liberal politicians are working non-stop to create a multi-billion dollar healthcare plan that will provide healthcare for illegal citizens, and abortion funding and sex education for our elementary school kids. How bizarre that our national security is not as important to some in our government as a healthcare bill that will keep our children's grandchildren oppressed with massive debt.
Finally, I'm baffled as to how president Obama came up with 30,000 as the final surge number when General McChrystal originally called for 40,000. I understand we have to work with what we've got, but it seems that the president was trying to make some kind of political point when he did not explain why he cut the troop number by 10,000. I sincerely hope I'm wrong when my gut tells me that once again decisions about protecting America have been reduced to nothing more than a pawn in the game of political football. (although I fear I'm exactly on point)
So Virginia, be happy this Christmas, as we are a bit better off than we were yesterday. The president's decision to send more troops after the first of the year, should help calm a region that is rapidly spinning out of control. For the next 18 months you can sleeep a little easier at night. But remember Virginia, life is full of comprimise and you'll never be completely at peace while you walk this earth. July 2011 will be here before you know it my dear, and once again you'll be forced to fear the inevitable when Johnny comes marching home.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Ahhhh, the power of the boycott. Two thumbs up to everyone who e-mailed or wrote The Gap and Old Navy, and especially to those who refused to shop there while the boycott was in place. While it's ridiculous that the AFA has to have a "naughty or nice list," the absurdity of our country's obsession with political correctness makes the list necessary and that's just sad. While the argument is old, it's still hard to believe that any retailer would refuse the word Christmas because of it's connection to Jesus. It's even more troubling that in spite of the AFA's making this list every year, some retailers still try to get around the word therefore risking their entire shopping season.
Do atheists, agnostics or any of those belonging to a myriad of other religions really care if the word Christmas is used on or near December 25? If you don't believe the day is a religious holiday that celebrates the birth of Christ, why would you care that others do? Are you really so sensitive that hearing someone say Merry Christmas wrecks your entire day? Remember, you don't believe! You are allowed to say Happy Holidays, Bah Humbug or anything else that you want, and if there truly is no Christ to worship, why are you threatened? Merry and Christmas are just words to you, and the reality is that December 25 is called Christmas whether you like it or not. Look at it this way. The holiday is celebrated with the giving of gifts, which requires shopping, so if you have no religious beliefs or ties to Christianity, just enjoy the materialism that many put ahead of the religious significance of the holiday. Believe me we Christians will get over it, and you can still max out your credit cards at stores who say Merry Christmas. Again, Merry and Christmas ARE JUST WORDS!
With all of the Christmas hoopla, I'm thankful for the AFA's "naughty or nice" list and some of the other anti-Christmas retailers include: Banana Republic, Barnes & Noble, CVS, Radio Shack and Staples. The nice list features great stores like Hobby Lobby, JC Penny, K-Mart & Lowes. (updated November 24 and the entire list can be viewed at www.afa.net)
So Christians get out there and shop. Keep the Christ in Christmas but reward those stores who are willing to step up and support your religious beliefs and freedoms. The "nice" retailers need you and the economy needs the jumpstart. American Family Association, keep up the good work and thank you for making all of us aware of the Christ friendly stores that we can support this year.
Remember, there's only 24 shopping days until Christmas, and retailers are promising special deals until the big day. In the meantime, let me wish you a Merry Christmas, I'll remind you that Jesus loves you, and I'll hopefully see you at The Gap.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Tareq and Michaele Salahi put on their black dinner jacket and red sari and were shown grinning and waving to the cameras as they waltzed past several layers of security. They met the president,and posed for pictures with Joe Biden and Rahm Emanuel. They even boasted on Facebook that they had pulled the stunt off, making the U.S. Secret Service look like a bunch of buffoons.
Now, the president is calling for a full review, and the embarrassed director of the Secret Service is apologizing for the breach of security. What's especially funny is that many celebrities and politicos are speaking out saying they remembered the Salahi's and never once questioned if they should be there.
Perhaps now the president will realize that not everyone has a pure motive, and that bad people do exist. While the Salahi's were simply glory hogs, the breach could have been deadly had they have been terrorists. It's pretty scary to think that as we continue to try to upgrade our security across the country, one couple got through seven layers of security at the White House. If the president and his staff were in danger without a clue,what does that say about the safety of the rest of us? If anything, this stunt proves that political correctness has to be put aside when it comes to protecting the commander in chief, or any American citizen around the world.
While some are calling for the Salahis to be arrested, I think they should be hired by the government in spite of the ego-centricity involved in their stunt. They have proven that our security is lax, and they have proven that the president needs to change his attitude about those who want to hurt him or this country. Perhaps the couple could be used as spies and could infiltrate parties across the globe to garner secrets from enemy regimes. It's unlikely to happen though. Sadly, they probably couldn't get through the international security. I imagine that America is the only country in the world where fancy clothes are the only things needed to position yourself within striking distance of the politically correct king.
Friday, November 13, 2009
What do you think? Is it appropriate for believers to call for violence against the landowner? No. He had nothing to do with the advertising company's sale, he just leased the ground that the billboard structure sits on. While the message is offensive to me and others who believe in God, the threat of violence is never an appropriate way to respond, and in fact is extremely anti-Christian. The Bible says that vengeance belongs to The Lord, and it's not up to Christians or anyone else to engage in vigilante justice.
Sadly, those who have threatened the landowner have now proved the point (at least in this instance) that The Coalition of Reason was trying to make. While I strongly disagree that atheists, agnostics and humanists are somehow being mistreated by society in general,the threats over the billboard have put them in the position of victim in Cincinnati, which will undoubtedly create sympathy for their cause.
The reality is that 70% of the American people claim to believe in God, and since there is still freedom of religion here, the atheists will have to learn to live among peaceful religious people. They don't however, have to accept violence against their belief system any more than we do. At the same time, one need only to turn on the evening news to see that the anti-God momvement is still alive and well, and is in fact championed by a huge part of our culture. The whole concept of political correctness has evolved from the belief system of those who have no faith. While it's ridiculous, people have lost their jobs, their positions and their prestige because they wore a cross on their lapel or wished a co-worker Merry Christmas. When the atheists face that kind of discrimination, perhaps more of us will be sympathetic to their plight.
The argument was made by The Coalition of Reason, that atheists, agnostics, and humanists are our neighbors, but so are Christians. Perhaps that means we will just have to accept each other and get along. While I stand at the front of the line of those who defend the power of billboards, I doubt that many conversions to any faith have occured because of a sign that went up for 30 days. I also doubt that the behavior of anyone will change because of one group's message.
Those who call themselves Christian, yet make threats of violence should be ashamed of themselves and should go back and read the Bible in which they claim to believe. God won't ordain your actions and either will Christians who have their heart in the right place. Likewise, those who feel bad for the atheists need to get a clue. They are not being persecuted. Even our president has defended their rights by claiming that America is no longer a Christian nation, but a melting pot of many different faiths. That would logically include those who don't believe in anything.
For now, the battle has been won for the atheists who call Cincinnati their home. The sign has been put back up. The perceived persecution is behind them, and life is once again good. Their message is out there and they are safe, happy and protected. They can enjoy their peace and know that things are ok. No worries. No misery. No God. They can forget about Him and those who believe, and they won't have to deal with the issue of His reality, at least not in this life.
***The opinions in this blog are strictly mine and do not reflect the opinions of the owners or employees of the advertising company that I work for.
Monday, November 9, 2009
US Senator Joe Lieberman, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is now calling for an investigation into the Fort Hood shootings to determine if they were a terrorist act. Liberman said that if Hasan was showing signs of being an extremist, the U.S. Army should have had zero tolerance and should have discharged him. You think?
The AP is also now reporting that Hasan's classmates in a 2007-08 masters program at a Texas military college had complained about his radical views, saying he had told fellow students that Islamic law was to be followed before the U.S. Constitution, and he reportedly arugued that suicide bombing is a justifiable act.
Why was Major Malik allowed to remain in the Army? Is our military so hard up for recruits that they tolerate these type of threats with no repercussions to those who made them? Thirteen people died and thirty others were injured and it's unbelievable that we have to question whether or not this was a terrorist act. Of course it was! There's an old military adage that says to defeat the enemy, you must know the enemy, and it would certainly seem that the best way to know the enemy is to become one of them. For Major Malik, the United State government was the enemy and he left plenty of warning signs that this shooting was going to happen.
While it's imperative that all religions be respected in America, it's equally imperative that we put absurd concepts like political correctness aside and investigate when people begin to threaten our security. Radical Islam or Jihad, calls for the extermination of Israel and its people and any person or group who supports them or their country. As a result, America belongs in the class of the hated. That fact alone gives us the right to investigate anyone who will be responsible for the security of our country, especially those who so openly attack our government as an element of expressing themselves. We also need to investigate any mosque that is rumoured to be preaching a message of hate.
No, all Muslims are not terrorists, but those familiar with the Koran will tell you that Jihad is a principle that is taught in its pages. We must be cautious without being paranoid about people who consistently threaten what we stand for, as it's not a violation of anyone's rights for a government to protect itself by acting in the best interest of its citizens.
One can only hope that Senator Lieberman will follow through and demand an extensive investigation into the Fort Hood shootings and the role that radical Islam played there. He should also investigate the potential that exists for this type of thing to happen elsewhere. In addition, every U.S. lawmaker should join Lieberman in his call for investiagation, putting their fears about the rights of others to rest.
Fanaticism is not limited to radical Islam, and we've seen the damage that fanatics have done in the past, even those like Timothy McVeigh, who were American born. Anyone has the potential to become a terrorist, especially if they are so vocal in their hatred of the country they claim to serve. It's time for us to wake up and take a closer look at everyone who chooses to reside on a U.S. military base, even before they move in. If we don't, it won't be long before another shooting incident will once again catch us offguard.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
The ship's bow is forged from the steel that was pulled from the wreckage of the World Trade Center, signifying the determination of the American people to rally from the greatest tragedy in our history. To further illustrate the ship's connection to the American spirit, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, appearing on Fox News This Morning, reminded viewers that it was built in his home state with 1200 workers staying behind after the area was evacuated in preparation for Hurricane Katrina. When the hurricane hit the shipyard in August 2005, the workers kept building, so the ship would be ready for this day. None of our enemies should doubt the fact that in spite of our problems, Americans will still shine in the face of adversity.
Saturday's formal commissioning of The USS New York will honor the memory of those who died on Sept. 11, and it will provide a tribute to those who survived the attacks. One of the most touching moments of the past few days occured when the ship's pilot brought it into harbor in remembrance of his brother who lost his life when the twin towers came down. The words of the ship's motto: "Strength forged through sacrifice. Never forget," further embody the spirit of the American soldier, firefighter, police officer, worker and family who lost so much that day, but remain steadfast in their hope for a brighter American future.
How sad that on this day of celebration and remembrance, President Obama continues to delay his decision about sending more troops into Afghanistan. How sad that as we celebrate our strength,he's sending the message to the world that America is indecisive, and defeatist. How sad that our Commander in Chief has so little respect for the country he serves and the military he leads. Our troops deserve better. The American people deserve more.
Hopefully today will be a wake up call for the president. Maybe, as he makes the inevitable congratulatory call to the Yankees for their World Series win, he'll make a supportive statement by sending in the troops that his military leaders have requested. Thousands of men and women stand ready to defend this country to the death, and it's just wrong that they are being left in limbo. This decision has been delayed long enough. This decision needs to be made NOW.
It's only appropriate that as New York and the rest of the country honor the American Spirit that is being displayed on the decks of The USS New York, the president should move forward to do the same. Those who came before him on the day the Trade Center was hit, didn't have the luxury to consider how their decisions would affect their political future. They had to react. They had to make split second decisions that would affect the safety and lives of every person in this country. They had to sacrifice. They had to show leadership.
Perhaps the president should look to those people as he continues to fumble around, and perhaps then he will realize that leadership means making the hard decisions even if some disagree. One can only hope that when and if he finally see the light, the president will also remember that it's America and not the rest of the world that he works for, and we expect him to do the right thing by moving forward.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
10. You campaigned for Bill Clinton because he was a master saxophone player.
9. You campaigned for Bill Clinton in 2008. You knew he wasn't running then, but you just couldn't let go.
8. You only vote for good looking candidates which is why you've started the "Clooney in 2012" campaign.
7. You still can't name the president, vice president or even the mayor of your hometown, and frankly you don't care to know who they are.
6. You're a conspiracy theorist, and believe that if you cast a ballot the government will secretly monitor your vote, and will inject your children with mind controlling drugs if you don't vote "their" way.
5. You look to Hollywood for help in making all of your political decisions, and you get your news from "The View."
4. You think Sean Penn really did have a good purpose for touring Iraq, and you believe him when he says America is bad.
3. You think your vote doesn't matter so you stay home and complain about the state of the world to all who will listen. (and you believe you dodged a bullet in regards to those mind controlling drugs).
2. You don't think the economy is "that" bad, after all you can still live in your bomb shelter now that the bank has foreclosed on your home.
And the number one reason to "Not Vote" today:
You said to your spouse this morning: "What do you mean today's election day?"
For Everybody Else: See you at the polls!
Monday, November 2, 2009
What do you think? Too much, or "Way To Go" Southwest? Kicking a woman and child off of an airplane is harsh, but one wonders why the mother didn't do more to calm the boy down once the situation began to escalate. The Oakland Tribune reports that Root said she planned to feed Adam once the plane took off, and while she knew that would make him cranky, she thought it would allow him to stay asleep longer, making things better for everyone in the long run. Perhaps when the child began his tantrum, Root should have scrapped that idea and moved quickly on to plan B.
Most people understand that babies and small children may not be the best travelers, and most are willing to tolerate a certain amount of crying and acting up on the part of said child. If a toddler goes into a screaming tantrum however, it's the responsibility of the parent to get the situation quickly under control. People are trying to work or rest on airplanes and no one wants to listen to an out of control kid for a couple of hours. The screaming child can also become a distraction for the flight crew as they try to provide safety instructions and service to other passengers.
As someone who loves kids, I think Southwest did go too far in kicking the mother and toddler off the plane. But, many parents, especially younger ones,seem to expect everyone else to suffer because they have a problem disciplining their child. I like many, have been inconvenienced and annoyed as I've sat on airplanes, in plays, meetings, church groups, etc. while a parent shrugs off a misbehaving toddler's disruption of the event as nothing more than a minor problem. Often, there is no attempt to correct the situation, and everyone has to sit idly by while it plays itself out. It often makes me think of my own childhood and the swat on the rear end I would have gotten had I have made such a spectacle of myself. Many parents seem to forget that they are responsible for getting their child under control, and if they can't do that, then perhaps they should not put the child into a situation where they will become that upset.
While Southwest did the right thing in apologizing to Ms. Root, she needs to remember that not everyone finds little Adam to be as precious as she does. Hopefully, she'll realize that tolerating a cranky baby for a few minutes is much different than expecting people to keep quiet while the baby has a melt down in Aisle 2. Perhaps in the future, she should consider driving back and forth to Texas, at least until Adam gets older and is easier to tolerate. While I'm sure everyone on the Southwest flight with the Roots would agree, I don't imagine the family will be taking my suggestion any time soon. If little Adam got so out of control that he had to be removed from the airplane, can you imagine what he'd be like trapped for several hours in the car? Maybe the solution for Adam is a nanny, so next time he can avoid the trip altogether and just stay home.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
This time, the absurdity comes from the anti-God crowd at Penn State University, where there's been an uproar over a t-shirt that was designed to be worn on "white out" day at the football stadium.
The tradition of "white out" day began when Penn State fans were asked to wear a white t-shirt as a show of support each time the football team had a home game against a ranked opponent. Penn State has the biggest college football stadium in the country with an average of 110-thousand fans showing up for each game. With everyone in white it becomes the ultimate intimidation for the opposing team.
"White Out" day has become so popular that students have started submitting t-shirt designs each year to be voted on by students and fans. The winning design is then manufactured and sold by the university.
It's this year's winner that has caused the problem at Penn State. The t-shirt was designed after the school helmet and is white with a blue stripe down the center. The words "Penn State" were added across the chest and then the holy war was on. It seems some were offended because they thought the design looked like a cross and a few of the "anti-gods" went beserk. Six student complaints as well as one from the Philadelphia Anti-Defamation League have now forced the school to stop selling the t-shirts, because a few crazies thought there was a subliminal religious message on them.
The whole mess doesn't make sense,but the fact that yet another attack on Christianity is making news is downright biblical. Yesterday, the debate about the very existence of God made headlines and today there's an uproar from a jaded few who apparently see Jesus everywhere and can't handle it. The Bible says that in the last days, attacks on the faith will become more numerous.We've seen that, but are we really prepared for this kind of lunacy? Christians have often been accused of seeing evil everywhere, but it now seems that those with nothing better to do, see crosses.
Get Real! It's a t-shirt! It has nothing to do with God, and it's mind boggling that some people are so afraid of Christianity that they'll make fools of themselves and see things that aren't there. If you don't believe, why are you afraid? Is it really logical to think that Christians have no other way to spread the message except for putting subliminal images on college football shirts? Perhaps the bigger question is that if we don't, why did we just choose one college? Why wouldn't we have covert t-shirt designers in all schools, so we can flood the world with the cross? I think some of these people have watched too many movies about conspiracies.
The Christian music and publishing industries make billions of dollars each year from the sale of religious books and tapes. There are radio and television networks devoted to nothing more than spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. Bloggers (like The Christian Commentator) are posting all over the internet where millions can read their stories about defending the faith. Even conservative channels like Fox News, have begun to fight the good fight of religious freedom.
If you're one of the six who complained at Penn State, you really do need help. In fact, I'm sure hundreds of Christians will be willing to pray that you get it and that you'll soon rejoin those of us who live in the realm of reality. Believe me, we aren't out to get you, and sometimes a football shirt is just a football shirt. As believers, we really don't see the physical God in the trees or sky or even on football fans, even though we stand firm in our belief that He gave man the knowledge to create them. You see, God really doesn't need to impose Himself on the chests of beer drinking college kids and anyone can choose to reject the work His Son did on the cross. So if you're upset about this whole "white out" business you can relax. God won't be there on game day if you don't want him to be, but I sure hope no one gets caught praying, for the winning Penn State touchdown.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Writing on the Huffington Post, Hitchens said that religion will always retain prestige because of its being the species first attempt to make sense of our own nature. The problem for him lies in the Christian viewpoint that the question can be answered on the basis of revelation and faith.
Wilson makes the counter point that the atheistic worldview is reductionistic, saying that atheists believe everything that happens is a chance driven jumble in the concourse of atoms we call time. Wilson says that from the atheist's point of view, the 1927 Yankees, Princess Di, the music of John Cage, and our current Congress have all occured by chance in an aimless fashion.
So, as a Christian how do you defend the faith? The Bible calls upon us to stand ready to give answers, but are we really willing or capable of doing so? Hitchens documentary says that 15% of Americans have no affiliation to any religion. When combined with those who don't accept Christ, millions of people then fall into our Christian definition of being lost.
How can we defend the concept of faith to a group of people who claim that we're ignorant for having it? How can we prove that the Bible is absolute truth and that Jesus actually rose from the dead? We can't. Faith is just that, and comes from the indwelling of God's Holy Spirit in the believer. We can only show faith through action by living according to the principles that Christ and his Apostles taught. We must love our neighbor, we must share God's word (without being preachy around those who refuse to hear) and we must adhere to Jesus' words in the Book of John thatsay that "He is the way, the truth and the life." We must stand ready to defend our creator even when it's not the popular thing to do.
It's mystifying that Christians are called stupid for having faith in the idea that something bigger than we are created the universe that surrounds us. I find it equally absurd when atheists make the argument that the world's existence is unexplainable and spontaneous. Intelligence is based in logic and it is only logical that nature and the human species had to be created by a divine, master designer who knew what perfection was before it existed. Chance can never be perfect, yet the intricacies of the human brain, the perfect designs of nature's seasons and the life source that is found in the world's oceansare just a few of the things that prove that faith in God is where the intelligent person puts his belief. I agree with those who say science is where the answers often lie, but even science had to have a beginning. God is the only one who could inspire mere mortals to discover the answers to many of the world's problems through scientific method. Science is not eternal. God is and hope is the "collision" point where faith and science meet.
If genuine faith was about nothing more than clinging to anything that made me feel better in the moment, then I too would be an atheist. If belief in God came only in the good times when life's ugliness was far away, then I too, would not see Christianity as anything to be concerned with. If I believed that man could walk on the moon but refused to believe that a virgin birth is impossible, then I too would call the people of faith stupid. If I believed that Christ's resurrection from the dead never happened, then I too, would be shouting my disbelief to the masses.
I do belive however, that faith is more complex than any issue that confronts mankind. It only grows through the uncertainties of the life we've been given. I believe that God is at His closest when times are hard and we can't seem to find anyway or anyone to help us out. I believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, and that my life can only be eternal if I accept through faith that He rose from the dead. I believe that I'm at my most intelligent when I accept the fact that next to God, I know nothing at all. You see, I believe that God is very real and that He can do everything He said He can and more. I believe that He loves me and all of his children on earth, even those who refuse to accept the reality that is Him. Finally, I believe that if it makes me stupid and out of touch to have faith in God, then I am blessed, and I look forward to the day when I can personally thank Him for my ignorance.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The decision is one of the "hot topics" of the day, with many "news junkies" saying Palin should refuse to do the show since she was snubbed last year. Meanwhile, Oprah continues to be criticized by political conservatives for being so public about her support of President Obama, and her ignoring Palin when she was on the campaign trail. ( It should be noted that the president appeared on the show twice, but it was several years before his white house bid.)
To be honest, I'm surprised anyone cares about this story, and I was more suprised this morning, when so many had a comment. It's obvious to most, that Oprah's support gave a huge "fist bump" to the president, but I'm not convinced that she's the reason he won. (Frankly, I don't think he would have won, had the economy not crashed last October, as John McCain called for more of the same, in regards to saving the housing industry.)
As a former radio newsdirector and talk show host, my personal policy was to take an "all or nothing" approach in regards to having political guests on my program, especially during election cycles. I usually invited "all" candidates because I think the media functions to inform the public about the people and issues who shape their world. On that point, I can understand why the conservatives are saying that it's "too little to late," in regards to Palin's appearance, because Oprah was so publically supportive of the Obama campaign.
On the other hand, Palin has a book to sell, and may very well be back in the political arena in the future, so she is sure to offer a ratings boost which is a big plus for the advertisers who sponsor the show. Basically, the election is over and Palin has a core group of supporters who would love to see her on daytime television so Oprah booking her makes sense.
Perhaps the bigger issue lies in why so many of us are flooding the network blog sites and airwaves with comments about one guest on one talk show, and whether or not we think she should be there. It's ultimately Oprah's show and she can have any guest she wants to have. Meanwhile,there is still a war going on, a healthcare crisis, and VP Joe Biden (God forbid!) meeting with Polish leaders about our removing our missle defense system from that country. These are the issues that shape our lives, not Sarah Palin being on Oprah. Even so, we get all jazzed about a former media darling who is paving the way for another run for the white house. I guess we really would prefer to live in the "glow" of celebrity, instead of dealing with the harsh realities of our troubled world.
So, mark your calendars for Nov. 16, plan to call out sick from work that day, and enjoy Palin's moment in the spotlight, that is Oprah. The war will still be going on after the fact, and it doesn't appear our domestic problems will disappear anytime soon. Remember, if anyone challenges you by asking if you really care enough to be glued to your TV that day, you can always get in the spirit, and join the millions of other Americans who will likely be saying, "You Betcha."
Monday, October 19, 2009
Authorities became suspicious of the incident on Thursday night, when Richard and Mayumi Heene appeared on Larry King Live, which was hosted by fill in anchor, Wolf Blitzer. During the interview, the Heenes asked their son Falcon why he didn't come when they called his name. (Falcon was the boy that was supposedly missing)
"You guys said we did this for the show," the boy responded.
WHAT? Ahhhhhh....Out of the mouths of babes!
As a result, charges are pending against the Heenes, who apparently thought the incident would be a great publicity stunt as they tried to market themselves to be on a reality show in the future. Police are also questioning 25-year old Robert Thomas who had worked with Richard Heene as a researcher last spring. Thomas had sold the story of his experience to the popular gossip site Gawker.com., and police believe he may have acted as a co-conspirator in this incident.
As a result of their stunt, Heene and his wife are likely to be charged with three felonies including: Conspiracy to Commit a Crime, Illegal Influence of a Public Servant, and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. If found guilty they will both be headed to jail.
In one final twist to this already bizarre story, CNN now reports, that a nearby University Physics Professor said the balloon would never have taken off in the first place as the boy was too heavy for it to get off the ground. This now gives further credence to the conspiracy theory behind the whole incident.
So what should happen to the Heenes? I hope their fifteen minutes of fame was worth the price they'll likely have to pay for it. Have we as a society gotten so hungry for fame that we're willing to risk our families and our own futures just so we can get on camera? Thankfully most of us aren't as far gone as the Heenes, but they certainly aren't alone in their quest for national attention.
Narcissism has reached an all time high (or low) in America, with many being willing to do anything to get themselves on camera. It's a disease that is permeating our culture and part of the blame goes to the producers of many of the disgusting reality shows that fill our airwaves. It's sad and bizarre that people will allow themselves to do all kinds of immoral and gross deeds, so they can have a shot at winning some money and signing their own television deal.
While the producers of the endless number of shows must bear part of the reponsibility, those who watch them are also at fault. If there were no ratings, there would be no shows that sink to the lowest common denominator. (that lowest common denominator also includes shows like Jerry Springer and Maury Povich who exploit the disfunction of people for their own publicity and ratings gain) This whole "car wreck" mentality of watching, as people are being destroyed in front of the camera, is enough to make one physically ill.
I hope the Heenes are punished severely for their crime, as many lives were put at risk including the lives of those who were trying to help save a child. I wonder if anyone didn't get to the hospital last Thursday because the crews were out trying to save a boy who didn't need saving. I wonder how many dollars were lost as helicopters and life squads fled to the scene. I also wonder if the Heenes have any idea about what they've done to themselves and their family, as they tried to get a TV contract with no thought about the consequences. Probably not. Their lawyers are already crying that they're getting a raw deal, and we're all guilty of watching as their saga continues to unfold, which is what they wanted in the first place.
When it's all said and done, the Heenes will get what they set out to get,and their names will be remembered by those of us who prayed for their child. However, I wonder if twenty years from now they'll be proud of their accomplishment as they sit childless,in jail?
My guess is that as they reflect on what could have been, little Falcon will be seeking his own fame at that point, perhaps writing a tell-all book about his horrible experience in foster care, and the suffering he had to endure because of his parents selfishness. After all, he was exposed to the camera early in life, and it may not be easy for him to give up his place in the spotlight.
One can only imagine the life that this child and his siblings will have after all of this, but one thing is sure to occur. As they grow up without their parents, be it with relatives or in foster care, I think it will be very likely that one day they'll be too busy with their own pursuits to stop by the prison on visiting day.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Case in point. Fox News reports, that an Oregon apartment complex recently banned residents from flying American flags on their balconies and cars. The problem began when Jim Clausen of Portland, flew the flag from the back of his motorcycle as a tribute to his son in the military. He was told by the building management that he would be evicted if he didn't take the flag down because of its political nature. Clausen said he was stunned by the request, as were many other complex residents.
Next, longtime resident Sharron White was told to take down the flag she had been flying on her car for eight years, or she would be evicted. The management again said the flag may be offensive to some , but White said that anyone who didn't like it would just have to live with it. Good for her! Fortunately, after the outrage from Fox viewers, apartment managers with similar policies in other states have banned the no flag policy.
Meanwhile, an Illinois bus driver thought he was being supportive of his relatives when he wore a pink tie on the job to help raise awareness about breast cancer. William Jones of Springfield, said his grandmother and sister had both battled the disease, so he wore the tie on October 2, as a symbol for the kick off of Breast Cancer awareness month.
What did he get in return? A pat on the back? Praises for being a supportive family member? Of course not. He was suspended from work for one day without pay, because his employer said he violated a company wardrobe policy! In response, Jones filed a grievance against the transit system, and is waiting to collect. Good for him! (It should be noted that the bus company has now changed its position and is allowing drivers to wear the pink tie for breast cancer awareness month.)
Even thought these incidents turned out ok, the old addage is still true: "SOME PEOPLE NEED TO GET A LIFE!"
If you're " anti -American" to the point that the display of our flag is offensive to you, then there's a simple solution to your problem----GET OUT! People have fought and died for the flag, and there is no amount of diverse thought that can erase that. Two thumbs up to everyone who protested against the policy. I wonder if the wearing of flag pins will be next? (but then again, our president did start that debate when he refused to wear the flag pin in the early days.)
At the same time, how can anyone be offended by showing support for breast cancer awareness? Are there "pro-cancer" people out there that we don't know about? Is there a collection effort and literature available to help people contract the illness? As bizarre as that sounds, why else would there be a problem with showing support for the fight? I find it hard to believe that anyone would be offended by a man in a pink tie. (except the strange few that may question his masculinity for doing so, which is another blog for another day. I personally think pink is chic. :) )
While, it's good news that these situations have been resolved there are sure to be many more of them in the future. Even though informed citizens are finally starting to realize that enough is enough, we need more people who are grounded in reality to continue the protest.
Perhaps if we continue to speak out about the ridiculous nature of these types of arguments, the ACLU would go out of business, the" politically correct" junkies would get a job, and peace, at least in America, would be one step closer to reality.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The American Family Association is asking all Christians to boycott those stores that won't use the word, having been successful at changing some retailers minds in the past. The AFA reports on their website, that Sears, one of the companies who was boycotted three years ago, is now offering a Christmas Club on sears.com. Many Americans including The Christian Commentator, enjoyed last year's WalMart spots, depicting the little boy putting a nativity scene under his Christmas tree. WalMart had also been the target of a boycott a few years back.
This year, the AFA is calling on Christians to boycott The Gap, which has clearly indicated that it will not allow the term "Christmas" to be used on any of its promotional advertising. In addition, they are asking for a boycott of Old Navy and Banana Republic, which are both owned by the same company.
Are you willing to boycott stores that won't allow "Christmas" into their advertisements? If so, you can also go to afa.net, where you can buy buttons and stickers that say "Merry Christmas." They make the perfect accessory to wear into the stores where you refuse to shop, because of their lack of "Christmas" cheer.
This whole idea of retailers refusing to use the word "Christmas" is ridiculous. With 70% of the U.S. population claiming to be Christian, why would they decide to offend such a large group of people, especially in a time when retail sales are going down the drain?
The other issue that doesn't seem to make sense, is the suggestion that a "word" has the power to convert someone to a particular faith. Having been a Christian for over 40 years, I can honestly say, that my conversion moment didn't come because someone wished me a Merry Christmas.
If you don't believe in the religious connotation of the holiday, why would you be threatened by those of us who do? You can relax. You still can buy a bunch of tacky decorations, max out your credit cards on gifts nobody wants, and fill yourself with food and drink while laughing at those of us who respect the day as the rememberance of Christ's birth. Believe me when I say, we won't stop by on December 25 to spoil your fun.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what about the rights of those of us who do call ourselves Christian? We gladly stand by and offer well wishes to those who celebrate Hanuakkah and Kwanza and we tolerate those who choose to celebrate nothing at all. At the same time, it gets a bit old, to be part of the one group in America who happens to be in the majority, as far as religion is concerned, yet we are the very ones who aren't given the respect to worship our God publicly. Remember retailers, every major religion has their day, and ours happens to be the one that can make or break your year end sales goals.
So, be sure to weigh in on what you think. Merry Christmas or boycott? Protest or complacency? Spending your hard earned dollars for gifts for your loved ones, or forgetting about Christmas all together?
As for me, let me be the first to release my inner radical here in mid-October to say: MERRY CHRISTMAS! May the peace of Christ be with you, whether you worship Him or not, and may God put an end to the insanity in the New Year.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
UPI news service reports that the 17-year old Eagle Scout was suspended first for five days, then for an additional 15 under the school's Code of Conduct policy, after admitting that the knife was in his glove compartment. He said he had placed it there as a precaution in case of car trouble. The suspension was a rare mark against Whalen, an honor student recognized last year by the Boy Scouts of America and the city of Troy for saving a woman's life. He has also completed basic training for the Army and had hoped to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Appearing on Fox News This Morning, Whalen said he understood the district's policy and claimed to have no problem with the original five day suspension that he was given. What he didn't understand, was the decision to add the additional 15 days, because school leaders told him they knew he had no intent to use the knife improperly. To make matters worse, the state of New York doesn't consider the knife a weapon because its blade is only two inches long which makes it too small to classify. Sadly, this incident will likely destroy his chances of fulfilling his childhood dream of going to Westpoint.
What do you think? Is this a case of school district follow through about an important policy, or one of it's being totally ridiculous? A young man with an exemplary record, had a small pocket knife in his car and somehow the school found out. He admitted to having the knife, because first, he doesn't lie, and the state says it's too small to be classified as a weapon anyway. He's then kicked out of school for three weeks putting a black mark on his record, and now he may lose the one thing that has kept him motivated and hard working for his whole young life? OUTRAGEOUS!
While policies are put in place for the protection of all, schools exist to teach and prepare young people for life. This young man has gotten it right. He has strived for a goal and has lived a life that is so exemplary that many teenagers can't even imagine it. He isn't drinking or doing drugs. He isn't getting his young girlfriend pregnant. He isn't in a gang. He has been an honor student and a hero, and now some over eager administrator is trying to make him an example, risking his entire future for nothing.
Is it appropriate to ruin a kid's dreams over something that the state says is not illegal? Of course not! I hope the Whalen family sues the school district and I hope they collect big. We cannot expect our children to understand the difference between right and wrong if we have no common sense when it comes to enforcing the policies we have put in place. One wonders what was going on behind the school building when Whalen was being kicked off the property. More than likely there were a bunch of kids cutting class and doing the very things that Whalen has never gotten himself involved in.
Get real, Lansingburgh Senior High! Matthew Whalen is one of the good guys and you should let him back in school. It's just bizarre that you don't recognize that. Is this really a case of your being committed to enforcing a policy? I think it's a case of the inmates running the asylum, and I think that you have become so jaded and fearful of your students, that you can simply no longer tell the difference between right and wrong.
Monday, October 12, 2009
I'd strongly recommend that all Christians read Kabul 24. If you're familiar with the Biblical story that details the imprisonment of Paul and Silas, you will discover an amazing similarity between the two. The six women and two men led by German worker Georg Taubmann, display the same courage with their captors that Paul did in scripture. As a result, God sent many miracles their way, which ultimately led to their release.
In spite of the indignity of being forced to sleep on insect infested beds, and being forced to use toilets that were so filthy it was difficult to read about them, the group spent their days praying, singing hymns and reading scripture. Even in their darkest hour, each SNI worker displayed a sense of courage and faith that could only have come from God. The most amazing part of the tale comes after their release, when six of the eight decided to return to Afghanistan, so they could continue to help the country rebuild.
While it is a great read for Christians, Kabul 24 will also appeal to those who aren't strong in faith. The writers keep you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next, and the book does an excellent job of forcing you to look inside the war torn country of Afghanistan. It also makes one appreciate the freedom that life in a democracy ensures. From the first page, to the last, Kabul 24 is a story of faith, determination and compassion and it's a must read for anyone who likes a tale of hardship and great adventure that ultimately leads to a happy ending.
Friday, October 9, 2009
While the award is an honor for the president and America, some Nobel observers say it comes too early in his presidency. The deadline for nominations was February 1, which was less than two weeks after he took office.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee lauded the change in global mood brought about by Obama's calls for peace and cooperation, but also recognized initiatives that have yet to bear fruit, such as reducing the stockpile of nuclear arms, easing tensions with the Muslim world, and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change. Former Polish President Lech Walesa, himself a Nobel Peace Prize Winner, said President Obama hasn't had enough time to act on many of these issues and he felt that he should have been given time to act and perservere before winning the award.
What do you think? Is it too soon? The award is no doubt an honor, and the president is to be commended for being in the elite club of three. I only hope that the prize encourages him to do a better job of making better decisions for America in a more timely fashion. The recent discussion surrounding the controversy over Obama's relationship with General McChrystal and the action that is desparately needed in regards to more troops for Afghanistan is the perfect example of how his past indecision has hurt America. Hopefully, the "peace prize" won't encourage him to take even longer to decide on the important issues facing this country.
No matter what your politics or opinion of the president, today is a day of honor for him, and he should be allowed to savor it. His efforts should be applauded by all of us as he reaches out to the international community in the hopes of making the world a safer place. But it is also critical that he remember the 300-million people that need him here in the U.S., and our own security, economy, and healthcare concerns must come before all of his international efforts.
While it is great to have a president who is a Nobel Peace Prize Winner , it is even better to have a president who remembers that service and dedication begin at home.
Congratulations, Sir, and be sure to enjoy your award today, because the hard work resumes tomorrow.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
The story began in July of this year when a local fourth grader was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma. The Hamilton Journal News reports, that as a result, Tyler Robert has not been able to return to class at Fillmore elementary.
When school began in late August, Tyler's friends started talking about making cards, and someone had the idea of taking the cards to Tyler in person. Fillmore principal Rex Bucheit decided to make the gesture even more special, by suggesting that the whole school pay a visit to Tyler's home, and that is just what happened.
On Tuesday of this week, 700 Fillmore students brought hundreds of letters, Cincinnati Bengals memorabilia, and the Bengals mascot (since Tyler is a fan) to the Robert's home. The visit was a total surprise to Tyler as all of his friends kept it secret from him. The newspaper reports that the little boy appeared to be surprised and overwhelmed by the thoughtful gesture.
In a time when the news is filled with so many stories of heinous abuse, backbiting politics, and immorality, it is wonderful to see that there are still a lot of great kids (and adults) around. One can only imagine the joy that the students brought to a very sick little boy. I hope their effort is noticed and other schools across the country follow suit when something like this occurs in their hometown. Good for you Fillmore school, and good for you, principal Bucheit. You are the true heroes in a fallen world.
From the Christian Commentator's point of view this act was not only compassionate and kind, it was the embodiment of what Paul said in Ephesians 4:32 (NKJ) "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."
700 kids and one principal at Fillmore school in Hamilton, Ohio have taken kindness and compassion to a whole new level. Good Job! You have truly gotten it right and deserve a pat on the back for your efforts.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The point the billboard designers were trying to make is that parents watch their infants, and they should watch their teens to make sure that they too, don't drink. The billboard has generated a lot of discussion with citizens, causing many to challenge parents who feel it's ok to drink in front of their kids. It comes as police across Connecticut crack down on teenagers who are drinking and driving.
As someone who sells outdoor advertising , I too, was initially shocked at the image of a cute baby with a beer bottle pursed at its lips (you can check out the photo of the billboard at http://www.nbcnewyork.com/ ) and my initial thought was that the billboard went too far. However, it did make me read the message, and it did make the point that while many parents would never give beer to a baby, they do encourage teen drinking by either imbibing in front of their kids or giving the alcohol to them directly.
A properly designed billboard is meant to invoke deep feelings about the subject that is being advertised, and this campaign has done just that. It does shock the reader because it's message is outrageous, but in doing so, it also makes them think about a problem that has gotten out of hand.
Perhaps we need more of this type of advertising, so adults will be forced to look at how their behavior affects the impressionable children around them. Subtlety hasn't worked, and bombarding people with the statistics showing the impact of their behavior on kids obviously hasn't either. I've been saddened, when I've seen parents who not only drink in front of their kids but who actually have their toddler be the "beer runner" for them between the 'fridge and the couch. THAT'S JUST WRONG! (yet it happens all the time)
Two thumbs up from The Christian Commentator to the advertisers and designers who came up with this concept. It will shock you, but it reminds one of the old saying: "the little children will lead them." Hopefully, the beer drinking baby on this billboard will help a few parents wake up, and will lead them to the truth about how wrong it is to encourage alcohol consumption in minors.
Check out the photo and let me know what you think.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the president's national security advisor, retired General James Jones have also joined in the criticism of General McChrystal. Jones told CNN over the weekend that he thought McChrystal was guilty of not going through the proper chains of command when discussing military strategy.
While the chain of command is important, and perhaps General McChrystal should have kept quiet until he could meet with the president, one can understand the frustration that caused him to speak out. As reported last week, the general has only met with the president once in the past seventy days and has been snubbed in his request for more troops to be sent to Afghanistan.
Time is running out and if the U.S. is going to win the war there, more troops are needed now. The wait and see policy that Mr. Obama has adopted can only mean one thing: "a bigger chance for failure with each passing day."
While the president has spent the last week preparing for and attending the Olympic Committee meeting in Copenhagen, that ultimately brought him nothing but embarassment, General McChrystal's request for more troops has been left on the table with no regard for his position or expertise.
This game of cat and mouse is uncalled for, and by refusing to address the general's request, President Obama is appearing to be stubborn and unable to make a decision. While he has been very vocal about not wanting more troops in the region, his refusal to address the issue with the general has obviously left many on both sides frustrated.
Leadership requires that the person in command is willing to put their own viewpoints aside while listening to everyone who has been given the right to speak. It also requires the ability to make a final decision even if that decision is not popular or correct.
The president should send in the troops that have been requested, and his avoidance of the issue is causing a rift between the very people who need to ban together to make our efforts in Afghanistan work.
The problem lies in the waiting, and it seems that General McChrystal is trying to get the president's attention by making his comments public. Frustration can cause one to do things that may go against their beliefs or position, so it's time for the president to call a meeting.
Even if he's convinced that the general is wrong, it's time to speak up and give his advisor an answer. Even if troops are not deployed, the decision will have been made and the general can move on. This is what we need from you Mr. President: "Effective Leadership."
So, hold the meeting with the general Sir. While we hope you make the right decision, remember, it is within the scope of your power to "just say no."
Monday, October 5, 2009
All too often, students and adults in the workforce come to work sick making everyone subject to whatever they're carrying. It's especially hard for those of us who have auto-immune diseases and are subject to picking everthing up. If you're coming to work with something as contagious as Swine Flu, shame on you! It's a pandemic for goodness sakes and people are dying! (hint, hint on the quiz)
While it's understandable that having concerns over missing a day's work can mean lost pay, and it definitely can get you behind, coming to work while ill is thoughtless in regards to your fellow employees. No one is so invaluable that they have to resort to putting everyone's health at risk because they don't want to stay home. You too, will likely get better, faster if you take a day off and rest.
So, for the sake of courtesy, get your flu shot, bone up on swine flu on CNN, and if you have the sniffles, take two aspirin, call your doctor, and stay the heck away from me until your temperature is back to normal! :) By the way, you can take the swine flu quiz at cnn.com.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
The Los Angeles based Fertility Institutes began advertising the pending availability of these tests last December and parents immediately began contacting them to sign up. The idea of Asthetic Trait Selection emerged after DNA testing on embryos was originally done to determine the child's potential for serious disease like breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, and alzheimers risk later in life.
Lest we think that asthetic trait selection is enticing to just a few weirdos who want to play God with their children, a New York University survey that was conducted earlier this year, said that up to 13% of those who responded said they would use the screening to determine the looks, intelligence and athletic ability of their children. 40% of Americans who approve genetic testing for disease, said they see asthetic trait selection as a natural progression of the genetic testing concept.
So, the idea of having a baby and loving it just because it's yours is a thing of the past? Why would anyone care if a child has blue or brown eyes or if they will be a future contestant on American Idol? Are we really at the point in our culture where we're willing to destroy a child just for being a brunette versus a blonde? The idea of pre-screening for disease makes some sense although I can't imagine choosing not to have a baby because eighty years from now that child may develop alzheimers disease!
This is yet another example of twisting the positive benefits of science into a freakshow for those who are so selfish and controlling that they won't accept a baby unless it meets their preferred physical criteria. How sad when you think of so many couples who would love any child but for medical reasons can't have one of their own.
Remember as the song says "Jesus loves the little children, red and yellow black and white." I suspect that also means "blonde or brunette, with green eyes or blue." If we are part of the 70% of Americans that agree that God is the creator of life, it seems to me that we should respect his title and leave the job of creation to Him.,
Friday, October 2, 2009
In spite of the president's impassioned plea, Chicago was knocked out in the first round in what is being called one of the most shocking defeats ever in Olympic Committee voting. Meanwhile the president was quoted as saying he could not be prouder of his efforts, in spite of the loss which put his personal prestige and political capital on the line. Many Americans have said they are embarassed by the president's defeat, since no other president has ever gone in person to make a pitch for the games.
While it is sad that Chicago lost, it is also embarassing for the president that he failed. There was much criticism of his going to Copenhagen in the first place, in light of all of the problems with national defense, the economy and healthcare at home. It also gives the world the impression that the most powerful man on earth can't close the deal.
In spite of what should be the president's embarassment over the incident (although he's obviously not embarrassed) losing the deal should be good for his ego. For a man who has allowed school kids to praise and worship his name, and who has become punch drunk while basking in his own hype, getting knocked down in such a big way will hopefully help him see that it really isn't all about him. While millions of Americans have fallen for the president's charms, the loss in Denmark shows that not everyone has "Obama Fever."
Even though his world view has championed the rights of our enemies and denigrated the name of our men and women who believe that democracy is worth preserving, President Obama got to see first hand today that sometimes sandy beaches and ocean breezes are just harder to resist than a great speech
Thursday, October 1, 2009
The Sentinel found that more than 3500 elderly and disabled patients as well as children in day care, have been left in the hands of convicted felons who were given jobs in spite of the fact that they hadn't even cleared a background check.
Examples include a cancer patient at a Pompano Beach assisted living facility who had to watch helplessly from her bed as a nurses aide, previously convicted on theft charges, rifled through her handbag and stole $165.
A video camera caught another aide at a North Miami Beach group home for the disabled shoving a cerebral palsy patient to the floor and busting her lip. The aide had previously pleaded guilty to aggravated assault charges yet she was allowed to care for helpless patients.
An aide at a health care center in Pahokee also fell through the cracks after the facility did a background check, but her previous charges of forgery didn't turn up. It was also not reported that she had previously attacked a patient at another facility. While on the Pahokee job, she reverted to her old ways and slapped a stroke/alzheimers sufferer extremely hard on the face, which landed her in jail, but the damage had been done.
What makes this story even more outrageous is that in Florida convicted felons cannot be a bartender and cannot get a liquor license for 15 years after getting out of jail, yet criminals who have committed serious crimes are getting hired to care for human beings who are unable to care for or defend themselves. The Sun Sentinel investigation found that over the past twenty years many of the violent offenders were granted exemptions by the state so they could work in these facilities and hundreds of criminals were given the jobs because the employer either didn't do a background check or simply ignored their previous criminal record.
One woman who was a convicted drug dealer who had served jail time in Ohio, was given a job at a Flordia seniors facility, but her out of state record only came to light when she switched jobs and began to work with the disabled in Fort Walton Beach. When her past problems did show up she was given the position anyway because the administrator felt sorry for her when she claimed to have found God and professed a love of helping the helpless. She was later convicted again, this time for dragging a mentally disabled man from a van by his feet, slamming his head on the floorboard and pavement. She now faces charges of abusing a disabled person, yet her previous record which indicated this type of violence was ignored! I've worked with convicted criminals in the past and believe me, most of them find God, but quickly lose Him again when they are back out on the streets.
While Congressman Port is on the right track in Florida and one can hope that the laws will be changed, this type of abuse is likely to be found in other states if investigations are conducted. In fact, headlines have been made here in Cincinnati in which the circumstances are very similar.
Lawmakers nationwide should start working with various agencies to ensure that this type of problem doesn't get out of control anywhere else. The media needs to do it's part (Great job Sun Sentinel!) and begin investigating facilities on their own, as I fear that this may not be an isolated problem in Florida.
While media budgets are tight, we never run out of stories about the latest celebrity drug addicition, affair or adoption, yet this type of case is often unreported and could be the tip of the iceberg for the abuses that so many innocent people must endure.
Yes we all should be outraged at the problems in Florida, and we need to take it upon ourselves to look out for our elderly/disabled neighbors by checking in and listening if they report this type of complaint. We may be busy and we may not want to get involved but for the sake of decency we need to open our hearts and care. After all, none of us is getting any younger, and we never know if a health crisis of our own is looming around the next corner. So the next time we say it's not our concern, perhaps we need to remember that if this type of problem is allowed to continue, we may someday find ourselves in the same hopeless situation.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The president says kids in the U.S. spend too little time in the classroom, putting them at a disadvantage when competing with students from other countries. He has suggested that making school days longer, and extending the school year will increase learning, raise test scores and close the achievement gap. But will the expansion acheive the goal the president is striving for?
Critics say that if the school year is extended it will hurt many districts because they'll have to retrofit older buildings with air conditioning which will raise their utility bills to unaffordable levels. Overtime for teachers will also have to be paid which can destroy a smaller district's budget at a time when money is already tight.
Another problem with the proposed change is the detrimental effect that it is sure to have on the travel and leisure industry which relies on summer family vacation travel as a major source of revenue.
Speaking to FoxNews.com, Joe McInerney, president and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association said that fewer vacation days will dry up the industry's labor source and lead to huge losses of revenue for American hotels and resorts.
As an example, in the New Jersey shore area alone, the average cost of a rental home is $1,500 to $2,000 a week. In the tourist town of Wildwood, approximately 7 million visitors flood the boardwalks, beaches, and restaurants from mid-June to September, spending over $185 million on hotels and prepared food and beverages alone. (according to John Siciliano, executive director of the Wildwood Tourism Authority.) The figures do not include dollars spent in retail stores, and amusement park rides in the area which could triple the $185 million dollar figure.
Another area that would be hit hard by the change is the summer camp industry which relies on thousands of school kids each year to fill camp counselor positions. If the kids are in school there will be no counselors and no campers which will destroy the 150 year old business.
While the president is correct in looking at the problem that American kids have when competing with students from across the globe, the negative economic impacts of extending the school day and year must be considered.
Can we really afford to add more stress to an economy that is already buckling under the strain of record unemployment, small business bankruptcy and major industrial failure? This is yet another example of why any person who is given the job of president must be willing to look at all aspects of a situation before moving forward with a plan.
Ideas are great and should be the basis of an open dialogue with everyone who has something to gain or lose if they are enacted into law. While something must be done to ensure that our American students are making the grade in the area of academics, it should not be done at the expense of our economic future.
As the debate moves forward, one can only hope that this is one time where the president will not act according to his typical nature and will finally realize that true leadership means listening to all of the expert input before moving forward with a decision. Listening is an important skill Mr. President and should be the basis for any final decision that you make, even if it ultimately means that you are wrong.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Bob Beckel, a Democratic strategist and contributor to Fox News said whoever created the poll should be prosecuted, blaming the incident on right wing political extremists. Beckel said that the threat was unacceptable and un-American, and on that point, I couldn't agree more. While I champion anyone's right to freedom of expression, the Constitution only guarantees that right if the speech in question doesn't call for violence against a person or group
The following is an excerpt from the Cornell University legal website about the First Amendment and what it does and does not protect.
''The most basic component of freedom of expression is the right of freedom of speech. The right to freedom of speech allows individuals to express themselves without interference or constraint by the government. The Supreme Court requires the government to provide substantial justification for the interference with the right of free speech where it attempts to regulate the content of the speech. A less stringent test is applied for content-neutral legislation. The Supreme Court has also recognized that the government may prohibit some speech that may cause a breach of the peace or cause violence. The right to free speech includes other mediums of expression that communicate a message." (courtesy of topics.law.cornell.edu)
There it is in black and white. There is no protection for anyone who would ask the readers of a social network to vote on whether or not someone should die. In fact, the person who would do such a thing is not only breaking the law, they're breaking the moral code that separates humanity from the animals. There are enough forums in this country that allow everyone to share their point of view and participate in open political discussion without resorting to the kind of nonsense that this poll stooped to. I hope the Secret Service finds those responsible, and I'm confident they will.
Perhaps the next Facebook poll should be created and put up by those of us who enjoy a healthy political debate. It could ask the question: " What should happen to those who call for violence against someone because they disagree with their politics?" My answer? Jail time should be mandatory.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Senator Kit Bond of Missouri, seems to think so. Speaking on Fox News, he said this is another example of why diplomacy doesn't work with terrorists like Iranian leader Ahmadinejad. Bond, the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee also pointed out that the president made a huge mistake recently when he gave in to Russian demands to drop plans for a U.S. missle defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Bond said that by giving them more than he got in return, Obama has left the U.S. without much hope of getting nations like Russia to join us in the economic sanctions against Iran, that he is calling for.
Meanwhile in other news, U.S. General Stanley McChrystal appeared on 60 Minutes last night, and said the situation in Afghanistan is worse than he first thought in light of the geographic spread of the violence there. McChrystal said more troops are needed for the U.S. to complete a successful mission in the region and he said that without the troops we are sure to fail which would mean an even stronger position for the Taliban and Al Queada. The most shocking admission from the General came when he said that he's only been asked to meet with President Obama once in the past 70 days in spite of the president's public reluctance to send in the additional troops he's requested.
Ok, so a rogue nation like Iran continues to snub its nose at the U.S. and our own General in Afghanistan is calling for more troops or he says failure is imminent there. The president responds, by planning to sit down with the Iranian leaders because of his continued flawed belief that negotiations will work, yet he is leaning toward saying no to more troops in Afghanistan ignoring the advice of our top military leader in the area, a man he has only met with once in over two months. Now, in one final bad decision, the president has announced that he will go to Copenhagen on Friday, in the middle of all of this, to try and secure Chicago as the site for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
WHAT? It's about priorities sir, and one might believe that yours need to be re-evaluated. Is it wise to spend your time attending a meeting on something as superfluous as whether or not we host the Olympics in seven years? I think not. You were hired to be the Commander in Chief of this country which means our national security, not your personal public relations efforts, should be at the top of that priority list. We've seen you cracking jokes on Letterman, we've seen the razzle dazzle of your personality that you display at press conferences, yet we don't see or hear from you when you're needed most. You are not auditioning for the job sir, you've got it, so it's time to put the public relations efforts aside and start acting like you belong in the most powerful position in the world. Even those of us who didn't vote for you respect your gift of gab, but we need and in fact, we demand much more. You are responsible for my safety, the safety of my family and the millions of citizens like me who have trusted you to keep us safe. It is your duty to uphold that responsibility, so please, for the sake of all of us, straighten up and be worthy of the position you have.
It's sad that you won't listen to the majority of those who put you in office when it comes to questions about healthcare reform and the economy, but it is unconscionable that you refuse to listen to your top advisors on how to proceed in matters of national security.
Wake up Mr. President! It's time to start acting like you're capable of fufilling the position you've been elected to hold.
Friday, September 25, 2009
CBS and Fox News report that students at the B. Bernice Young Elementary School have written songs about the president and one video even shows them singing their song to the tune of "Jesus Loves Me". The video was posted on the Drudge Report and hundreds of angry comments from readers across the country came pouring in. What do you think? Is this just an example of innocent school kids honoring their president or is it indoctrination on the part of the school district for allowing it to happen?
As far as this writer is concerned it's an attempt to indoctrinate school children into a belief system that supports the idea that the president is some type of God.
The fact that the melody of the song is the same as "Jesus Loves Me" makes this incident even more reprehensible. I didn't think we were allowed to use religious music in our schools? Is it somehow ok if we allow our children to insert praise for the president where the praise for God used to be? OUTRAGEOUS!
Mr. President you need to stop this. You have provided us commentary on everything from the Kanye West incident at the Video Music Awards, to your picks for the best team in the NBA, but when little children are "worshipping" you, you remain silent. Whatever your religious belief or practice, anyone with an ounce of common sense would stop this. It is inappropriate and cannot be taken as a compliment by anyone who doesn't view themselves as a God. The children aren't the problem. Those who refuse to stop this, are.
Please show some respect sir. You've asked that we to do the same for you, and I believe we should comply with your request. That being said, millions of us value our religious heritage and political freedoms and we don't want our children politically indoctrinated (one way or the other) when we send them to school. It's bad enough that our text books don't teach the "true" history of America, and it's bad enough that our Christian freedom of speech is being taken away. But, allowing kids to sing a song to you, that is considered a mockery by so many, is just simply too far over the top.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
"American Muslims have enjoyed the direct support of President Obama. In April, he traveled to Egypt where he told the Muslim world that America no longer considers itself a Christian nation. He later traveled to Turkey and announced that America was one of the largest Muslim nations in the world (despite the fact that 78% of Americans claim to be Christians but only 1% claim to be Muslims). Then in May, President Obama refused to invite Christian and Jewish leaders to the White House to participate in the National Day of Prayer (as former presidents have done), but in September, he did invite Muslim leaders to the White House for a special Muslim Ramadan celebration to commemorate Allah delivering the Koran to his prophet Mohammed.
Heartened by this new encouragement, Muslim leaders have called 50,000 observant Muslims to come to the Capitol this Friday, September 25, for a day of Jummah (Friday congregational prayer). The sponsors promise that from 4AM to 7PM, "the Athan [the call given five times each day for Muslims to participate in mandatory prayer] will be chanted on Capitol Hill, echoing off of the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and other great edifices that surround Capitol Hill." The goal of this event is that "the peace, beauty and solidarity of Islam will shine through America's capitol." In fact, their website for this unprecedented event proudly and unabashedly declares, "Our Time Has Come!"
As Bible-believing people, let's also make this Friday a day of prayer – and please encourage others to participate with you. We know that our contest is with spiritual forces (Ephesians 6:12), and we firmly believe that He Who is within us is greater than any other god or force (1 John 4:4), so I encourage you to fill America with prayer to the True God this coming Friday."
Let's ban together to make this time, a time for Jesus.
In response, Montana Senator Max Baucus who chairs the Senate Finance Committee denounced the letter as false and a blatant scare tactic. Other insurance companies have been warned by the government not to follow in Humana's footsteps.
My questions is, "How can the government issue a warning when this company was exercising its right to free speech in the marketplace?" Attornies who have reviewed the letter said that nothing in it is blatantly false, even though Humana obviously has a huge interest in stopping a public option for healthcare. Perhaps even more importantly, when trying to determine if illegal lobbying practices were used, wouldn't it have made more sense for Senator Baucus to engage in a private discussion/investigation with Humana so he could address his concerns? Now there's a political war over where the rights of free speech end, which ultimately makes the American public more suspicious of everyone involved. Now, there are no winners in the war.
Partisan politics have hit an all time low in this country, with both sides of the aisle refusing to comprimise on any issue. The anger and bitterness that has permeated Washington has never been worse,and conspiracy theorists have never been given this much fodder from which to build their false assumptions. This is just the latest battle in a time when political gridlock is the norm, and open, honest discussions on policy have been forgotten. Our lawmakers need to wake up and recognize that we have serious problems in the country, and we've given them our vote so they can represent our interests to the best of their ability.
The issue with the Humana letter isn't just about what they said or their right to say it. It's about having an open dialogue on an issue that will affect us all. Scare tactics? Gag orders? They're irrelevant. Lives are being affected by these decisions so it's time that our so-called leaders grow up and learn how to play nice.