Friday, May 28, 2010

I Know! Blame George Bush!

Today is May 28, 2010. It has been 493 days since George W. Bush left office and Barak Obama took over. That's why I almost fell off the bed as I heard a recap from the president's press conference yesterday. I was stunned as I heard him suggest that the BP oil spill may not have happened had the Bush administration been less cozy with big oil. Likewise, I was bewildered as he reassured a skeptical Washington Press Corp that he wakes up with the spill on his mind and goes to bed with the spill on his mind.


Wasn't it President Obama who received $77,051 dollars from BP when he ran for office,the company's largest campaign donation? For that matter, wasn't it president Obama that we've seen on the golf course, at the White House Correspondents Dinner, welcoming the Yankees to the White House, playing basketball, and hosting a Cinco de Mayo party while Gulf coast residents and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal begged for some kind of assistance?

Of course the president has to multi-task and recreate even in the face of a crisis, but most of us learned as young adults that "appearances" do matter. We also learned that if you're in charge you don't try to put the blame on someone else. It's just not presidential. In this case it's just sad.

When the best the president could come up with was putting the blame on the former administration, it once again, became painfully obvious that he still doesn't have a definitive plan for bringing an end to the crisis. It also proves that the president needs to get a thicker skin when facing the criticism that in this case he deserves.

I have had many liberal friends of mine tell me and other conservatives to "get over it, Barak has won," each time we complain about this policy or that. I've had his call for change and his popular vote win, thrown out as the reason we conservatives should just shut up. I've even heard of conservatives being called racist for simply questioning the often poor judgement that the president has utilized, and yes, I've heard my liberal friends blame George Bush for the mess that we're currently in.

493 Days. It would seem that would be enough time for the president to start preaching the liberal mantra. He did win, and the conservatives lost. George Bush is gone Mr. President, and you have the Congressional majority that you need to save us from the prior administration's evils.

So now in the words of Nike, Just Do It! Stop blaming others for BP's mistake. Stop "thinking" about the problems in the Gulf and push forward to fix them. After all, in four years you don't want the next administration pointing the finger at you.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Don't Build the Mosque!

Calling it a "seed of peace" a New York City community board voted Tuesday night to support a plan to build a mosque and cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero. The decision came after hours of emotional public comment in which people were shouting "No Mosque" while carrying signs with pictures of the Sept. 11 victims on them.

Manhattan Community Board member Rob Townley told the Associated Press that the group believed they were making a significant step for the Muslim community to counteract the hate and fanaticism that has occured against them.


First of all, is there really that much fanaticism occuring against the Islamic community? Granted, shortly after September 11 there were plenty of incidents where misguided people hurled inappropriate epithets at anyone who claimed to be a member of the faith. In recent years however,most Americans have stopped spewing hate,(in fact "MOST" Americans never did) realizing there is a difference between Muslims who live in peace and those who call for Jihad.

Secondly, Islamic fanatics that have caused problems for America in recent years have all been affiliated with particular mosques inside the country, so one can understand the concerns of those who would live and work nearby the proposed New York site. The building will obviously not be earmarked as a place for terrorist training, but what or who will be able to stop the fanatics from coming in? It would seem that a site so close to the place where Islamic Jihadists destroyed the lives of thousands in 2001,would hve a special spiritual significance for those who thought the attacks were justified. After all,in recent weeks, we've witnessed a couple of unsuccessful terrorism attempts in Mid-Town Manhattan, so New York obviously remains a target.

Finally, since our country has become so consumed with protecting the rights of everyone but the majority, it's no surprise that a group of well meaning do-gooders have been blinded to the reality of just how insensitive this whole proposal is. Innocent people died that day. Do their families and friends really need to
be reminded of the terror every time they look out their window at the thriving Islamic establishment near the site where their loved ones were murdered? It is cruel.

While comparing all Muslims to the Jihadists who attacked the World Trade Center is ignorant and wrong, allowing this mosque to be built is equally ignorant and wrong. The proposal should not be allowed to go forward. The victims should not be made to suffer even more.

Ultimately those who say terrorism isn't confined to one particular race or religion are exactly right. Terrorism is nothing more than a misguided reaction on the part of thugs who refuse to accept law and order, and who think vigilante justice is the only way to make their point to the world. Terrorism ultimately comes in all shapes and colors. Terrorism is not confined to Islam. That point alone should serve as a reminder to those who are trying to push this temple project forward, that crazy is crazy and if the mosque is built it will bring even more fanatics out of the woodwork, putting even more innocent New Yorkers in danger.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Who wants to Vacation in Hell?

One of the saddest images on the news right now is oil covered pelicans flopping around on the beaches of Louisiana. As the BP spill enters it's fifth week, CNN reports that the company has started a "goodwill" campaign by promising to bear all costs associated with the clean up. They've also given $25 million dollars to the state of Florida to promote tourism, with most dollars going to the Panhandle area, where vacation bookings are at a standstill. Today, as the company tries yet another method to stop the leak, one has to question just how much goodwill is really involved.

First, 21 miles of coastline has already been destroyed. It will not be restored. It's done. Gone. The fishing industry along the coast continues to lose millions with small bait and tackle shops, boat rentals and other associated businesses facing bankruptcy. The regional travel and tourism industry is already chalking up 2010 as a total failure. One would imagine that for those who've lost their livelihood, the idea that BP will pick up the clean up cost, or help promote tourism, provides little comfort, even if they are naive enough to believe it.

With the governmental cap placed at $75 million, BP can certainly come up with the cash, but ultimately we'll be paying the cost at the gas pump. Within the past few years we've seen $4 per gallon for gas, with an active hurricane season getting the blame for the price hike. Imagine what will happen as the destruction toll continues to climb in the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. Is $5-$6 dollars per gallon really an inconceivable figure? I don't think so.

As someone who sells advertising for a living I am the first to champion its value, but can a bunch of TV spots really make an impact on an area where the summer tourism season is over before it started? I've even cancelled my own panhandle vacation in spite of there being no oil on the beaches -- yet. It's hard to be optimistic when the annual 4th of July Fishing Tournament in Pensacola has already been cancelled.

Meanwhile, BP CEO Tony Hayword continues his mantra of optimism on CNN, as another attempt to stop the spill gets underway this morning. He's convinced that this latest attempt at sealing the spill with mud and cement will work. He's convinced (in his words) that this will only have a moderate longterm impact on the region. He was convinced he had the answers yesterday and the day before that.

Ultimately the best "goodwill" measure by BP would be to admit that they are solely responsible for destroying much of a region that has already been devastated in years past by natural disasters. Tony Hayword and other executives need to show "goodwill" by stepping down. President Obama needs to get busy (instead of just threatening to) and let the government take over the clean up. The region is being destroyed and no amount of goodwill or travel promotion can stop it.

So what are the answers? Only the environmentalists can truly assess the permanent damage. But one thing is perfectly clear. It's not going to do a whole lot of good to encourage vacationers to come to the Gulf Coast this summer, if the area is under a blanket of oil when they arrive. It's also unlikely that travelers will come, if gas is so high they can't afford to get there in the first place.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Clean Up the Oil Mr. President!

Fox news reports, that former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin said yesterday, that President Obama's lack of oversight of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill may have been hampered by his relationship to BP. Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Palin suggested that the White House is too cozy with the oil industry because of contributions they made to Obama's campaign in 2008.

Palin wondered why the mainstream media isn't asking if there is any connection between the contributions and why the president is taking so long to get into the area to clean it up. The White House accused her of being misinformed.

While it's hard to believe that the president would somehow put the brakes on cleaning up one of the worst national disasters in American history, it's equally baffling as to why BP is still in charge of the clean up over a month after the oil spill occured.

The AP reports that the sense of frustration by Gulf Coast residents is growing and many elected officials and environmental groups in the region are calling for the government to simply take over.

Why aren't they?

One has to wonder why an administration that has called for sweeping government controls to be put in place in most facets of our lives is so reluctant to take charge now. The president has gotten involved in our money, our health, our religion and more, yet he is holding back in putting pressure on BP to move the clean up forward. I don't know if he's doing it for the sinister reasons outlined by Ms. Palin, but I do think she is right to ask the question. The reality is the mainstream media has not investigated the connection between the president and BP so to that extent Sarah Palin is right on target.

If one thinks back to the time after Hurricane Katrina they'll remember the media attacks against former President Bush accusing him of delaying that clean up as part of some supposed racist agenda he had. Now, no national figure except Sarah Palin is questioning the current administration about why this clean up is taking so long, proving once again that real journalism is dying in America.

The issue is not about the President's supposed guilt. The issue is why the questions aren't being asked. Fair and balanced reporting has become a thing of the past, and the major television networks have become nothing more than a mouthpiece for the liberal agenda. The national media helped put Obama in office, and they continue to help his cause by refusing to ask the questions that so obviously need to be asked.

Is the president guilty of what he's being accused of by Sarah Palin? I'm not sure, but the major news networks are guilty of continuing to push his agenda on the American public. That alone is yet another sign that the freedoms we've enjoyed in America for centuries, are slowly but surely being taken away.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lessons Learned in the Wilderness

It's been five months since I've posted on this blog, due to an unexpected season of illness. Never in my life have I faced one health problem after another, but now that I'm better, I'm starting to realize that God has blessed me with many learned lessons through my trials.

The first lesson learned is that praying the prayer of "wanting to draw closer to God and to know more of the sufferings that Christ endured" will inevitably bring hardship into your life. While I'm sure like me, many have wished that drawing closer to "The Almighty" could be done on a beach in Hawaii, the reality is that if we let Him, God will use our trials to strengthen our faith, our minds and strangely, even our bodies.

1 Peter 4:12-13 (NKJ) says: "Beloved do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you, but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed you may also be glad with exceeding joy."

Ultimately, the only way to truly learn more about Christ's suffering is to partake in it in some small way. Never would I be arrogant enough to think that my trials have even come close to those that Jesus endured, but for four months my body has been wracked with every illness imaginable and on a human scale it has been life altering for me. When I think of how I've complained, and cried in my personal misery it fills me with wonder that Jesus went to the cross with His head held high. To experience suffering of any kind is so difficult, but to experience it knowing that Christ went through so much more on our behalf, does offer encouragement and ultimately the joy that Peter was talking about.

I've also learned that trials of any kind will only go away when God is ready for them to go away. I do not ascribe to the theory that if, as a Christian you are poor, or sick or somehow in need, that you are in that place simply because your faith is weak. Obviously prayer and faith are the mechanisms that God has given us to cry out to Him, and to help us cling to His hope, but like any father, there are times that God will say no,or not yet to the prayers that we send.

In 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 Paul said "And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."

Paul's thorn was not removed but his ministry and love for God grew, and the Lord was glorified. While I'm not suggesting that this will be my fate, if I can use one ounce of my testimony to bring glory to our Father, then I praise Him for my trials.

The third lesson learned is one of hope and encouragement, and I cling to the promise that all times of trouble will come to an end.

In Ecclesiastes 3:1 Solomon reminds us that "To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven...."

I take great comfort in knowing that at some point this season of my life will end, as will the hard seasons others find themselves in. Whenever God decides that time will be, I hope others who have suffered, will join me in standing firm on God's principles. My prayer is that all will recognize that God has been with us all along, and that after our trials have ended, we will go forward stronger, and more prepared to fight the battles He has chosen for us to fight.