Saturday, September 29, 2012

Deaths, Lies and Videotape...

On September 11, 2012, our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked by a terrorist group with close ties to Al Qaeda.  They killed our ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and drug his body through the streets.  They  also killed three other Americans during the attack.

According to various sources, the Obama administration knew immediately that the attack was the work of terrorists.  However, they chose to place the blame for the attacks on a spontaneous mob protest of an anti-Muslim movie trailer that had been circulated on the internet since July.  The video had indeed been used by agitators to stir up feelings of Muslims in the Middle East and Africa, as evidenced by the protest in Cairo and subsequent protests throughout Africa, Syria, etc.  However, the assault on the American Consulate in Libya was not a part of that protest, regardless of the statements coming from the White House.

One of the biggest and most obvious reasons the entire country (and obviously the Obama administration) knew the attack was not carried out by a "spontaneous mob" were the weapons used.  The Obama administration wanted us to believe that the protesters in Libya just happened to be carrying rocket propelled grenades, mortars and large caliber automatic weapons, which they decided to use in the heat of the moment. 

In other protests, such as in Cairo,  the protesters vandalized the embassy and destroyed our flag but did not hurt anyone nor even threaten to injure anyone. Whereas in Libya, Ambassador Stevens was targeted for assassination and then displayed in the streets.  And Islam is supposed to be a religion of peace...

About a week after the incident, while protests were continuing in at least 25 other countries (without assaults on Americans) the interim President of Libya, Mohammed el-Megarif, made a statement that clearly said the attack was a pre-planned assault and not a spontaneous incident as the Obama administration kept reporting.  In fact, he said it appeared to be the work of an Al Qaeda-like group but was so far unidentified.  President el-Megarif flatly denounced the Obama administration's assertion as "unfounded and preposterous." 

One can almost feel sorry for Jay Carney, the White House Press Secretary.  Almost.  It must be difficult to get up in front of reporters and television viewers in the country and keep telling blatant lies that no one believes.  Same goes for Susan Rice, the United States' ambassador to the United Nations, when she was interviewed by ABC's Jake Tapper.  Tapper obviously did not believe her statement that the entire attack was a spontaneous response to a video, yet she reiterated it again and again saying anyone who believed otherwise was wrong.

And then, on September 20th, when they had no other choice, with even the Libyan President saying Obama was lying (OK, he didn't use the word 'lying'), Jay Carney finally came out and said "It is self-evident it was a terrorist attack."  Really, Jay?  Ya think?  We, the people of the country and the world, have been telling you that for the last 9 days and you finally admit it?

Then, on September 25th, the President addressed the United Nations and once again said the incident was caused by a video and that freedom of speech did not give anyone the right to ridicule or disrespect Islam.  Wrong, Mr. President.  It gives us every right to ridicule and/or disrespect Islam.  Unless you think freedom of speech only applies to those who appease Islam.  Muslims disrespect Christians and Jews on a regular basis without reprisal (and without the senseless, childlike tantrums often displayed by offended Muslims), yet I have never once heard you defend Christians and chastise Islam.  Does freedom of speech now only apply to Islam?

OK, back to the topic at hand - why did the Obama administration lie to us about what happened?  The obvious answer is that President Obama is up for re-election and a disastrous failure of his foreign policies could be devastating to his campaign.  What he doesn't seem to understand is that when you treat the American people like they're stupid it will have consequences.  The latest polls show President Obama behind Mitt Romney by six points (48-42) on foreign policy.  Perhaps his choosing to lie to the American people about the obvious was a bigger mistake than he thought.

Last night I read a new headline on an article....  "People Died And Obama Lied".  That should sink in and resonate a while.  While the country and the world were fully aware of the truth, the President lied to us all in an attempt to protect his re-election campaign.  So much for the integrity of the office.  President Obama proved last week that getting re-elected is more important than actually running the country.  Maybe because getting elected is the only thing he's good at.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Eyewitness to Tragedy...

On September 11, 2001,  Dr. Bobby Eberle, a conservative political analyst, writer, commentator and founder and CEO of, the leading Republican/conservative web-site in the country, was visiting Washington D.C., from his home in Houston for a conference.  He was running behind and was driving a route into the city that took him past the Pentagon. 

I recently read an article he wrote the very next day about the events as he witnessed them that morning.  It was reprinted this year on September 11th.  Here is an excerpt from the article and the link to it will be posted at the end.  In his own words:
"At about 9:30 am, we rounded a bend and had the Pentagon in our sites -- right in front of us. We continued to listen to the radio to take in the latest news on what was happening.
Riding in a convertible with the top down, I then heard a tremendously loud noise from behind me and to my left. I looked back and saw a jet airliner flying very low and very fast. It's amazing what can run through your mind in just a matter of seconds. As a pilot, I can't help but look at an airplane and think about airplane topics. What I saw sent a shiver down my spine as I realized something was not right.
The aircraft was so very low -- as an aircraft would be on its final approach to an airport. However, if you have watched any aircraft come in for a landing, even though the aircraft is descending, it is angled up slightly. This aircraft was angled downward. In addition, landing gear would also be visible on a aircraft so low and so near landing. This aircraft had its landing gear retracted. Finally, an aircraft on final approach is traveling rather slowly. This aircraft sped by very loudly and very quickly.
All of this flashed in my mind as the aircraft passed from behind my left shoulder to in front of me. It was then that the other events of the morning crystallized in the realization that tragedy was about to occur. With all of these images spinning in my head, the only words that came out of my mouth were 'Oh no!'
With that, the airliner crashed into the Pentagon and exploded."
Conspiracy theorists have speculated that what hit the Pentagon that morning was a missile fired by an unknown (but probably an American military) source.  They easily disregard the 64 citizens on the plane who, if a missile hit the Pentagon, mysteriously vanished, along with their plane, on that day.  I realize that most likely the families of those people are all in cahoots with the government conspiracy but I won't get into that right now...

One can only imagine the horror off actually watching something like that happen.  I watched on TV as the second plane hit the World Trade Center.  I was horrified to see that but on TV the impact is a bit less for most of us because we see bad things happen all the time in movies and TV shows.  To see it in person drastically increases the impact and shock.  Imagine what it must have been like to see that and know people inside the building(s). 

Even Bill Clinton one publicly (and very angrily) stated that the conspiracy theories involving the government were ridiculous.  But there are still those who want people to believe it.

I watched a documentary about the twin towers and an in-depth interview of the architect who designed them.  He said after watching the videos of what happened and how they collapsed from the impact and the fire he realized the design flaw that led to the collapse.  The main support structure of the buildings was in the external skeleton rather than in the center of the building which, in the intense heat of the jet fuel-fed fires, fell inward.  Once the collapse began it carried downward and toward the center because of the design.  Conspiracy theorists like to ignore that because it doesn't hold up their theory.

So anyway, the bottom line is that Bobby Eberle saw the plane that hit the Pentagon and while he didn't see the exact moment of impact, the plane he saw was on a collision course and didn't pull up and fly away.  There was no mistaking that it hit the Pentagon.  Conspiracy theories be damned - it happened.  And I thought it appropriate in this month of September to mention it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lies Caught On Tape

You would think in the year 2012, with Iphone and camera phone technology, with small, portable computers with built in cameras that will record virtually anything, anywhere....  that politicians and other celebrities would be more careful when they speak in public.

In the last few weeks there have been at least two nameless politicians (Debbie Wasserman Schultz and President Obama) who have denied making derogatory statements about someone even though they made them on camera. 

On Monday, September 3rd, Wasserman Schultz told a group of Jewish Democrats at the DNC convention: "We know, and I’ve heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.” 

When it was reported the next day, and the Ambassador to Israel categorically denied ever saying anything like that, Wasserman Schultz denied ever making the statement and said she was misquoted and her words were "being taken out of context by a conservative newspaper." 

That afternoon, after Wasserman Schultz's denial and accusation became public, the newspaper released a videotape of her making the exact statement - word for word what the newspaper had reported.  Still she insisted she never said it, which is a complete lie.

On September 18, 2012, President Obama told Latenight's David Letterman that he never called anyone "unpatriotic."  How soon they forget - about their statements and the cameras.

On July , 2008, during a campaign speech, President Obama said "The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion dollars for the first 42 presidents — number 43 added $4 trillion dollars by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion dollars of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. It’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic!"

Now, once again, it's possible that Mr. Obama is being "technically" correct - he did not say "President Bush is unpatriotic" in a direct way.  However -  the intention is pretty clear, even for those who have difficulty seeing the forest for the trees.  Obama said $4 trillion in debt in 8 years is "irresponsible and unpatriotic."  And the camera caught it.  It's not like the rest of us can look at that video and say "Gee - that's not what he said."  Wait - maybe some people can - even as they ignore the other obvious truth; that President Obama doubled what Bush did in only three years.  So is it still unpatriotic, Mr. President?

I actually wanted to be fair about this so I searched Google for "Republican lies caught on camera".  I didn't have much success.  Oh, sure - there are a few clips that say "Romney lies about this or that" but if you listen to them, they're only lies depending on what you believe to be good for the country, left vs. right.  It's not "On this day he said these exact words and on this day he denied saying those words even though it's recorded."  So there is a difference.  I'll welcome anyone to find a couple of examples of recent, blatant Republican lies caught on camera and denied anyway.  Give me the links and I'll post them too.  Notice in my first paragraph I said "politicians", not Democrats.  They all do it.  So find me some good examples and I'll be fair.  The two examples above, which just happen to be Democrats, were simply too easy to find...

Babies Aborting Babies - With Help From The Government

 In an "effort to combat teen pregnancy", school nurse offices have been stocked with "Plan B" emergency contraception.
The morning after pills are being made available under a new school program known as CATCH (Connecting Adolescents To Comprehensive Health), which is aimed at stemming teen pregnancy.  The pills, along with condoms, are being distributed in at least 13 schools to children as young as 14, without parental knowledge or consent.
The above statements are true and are currently in practice in New York City schools.  Apparently the New York City Board of Education believes it is better to  give children complete sexual freedom rather than involve parents in the problem of teen sex and pregnancy.  Sadly, an opportunity for parents to opt their children out of the program was offered and only 2% of parents took the option.  Apparently, 98% of New York City parents would rather allow the government to decide what their children can do sexually instead of taking on that responsibility themselves. So I guess in reality the schools aren't doing it without parental consent, after all.  Since they didn't opt out their children from the program, consent has been given.
In this day and age of "anything goes as long as you're happy doing it and don't bother anyone else", we have come to the point where children can now do adult things that have life-long consequences and their parents are allowing them to do it.  Many parents have given up the role and responsibility of parenting in favor of being their child's buddy.  Rather than teaching children right and wrong they teach their children that they are always right regardless of what they do.  In my day, when a kid got in trouble in school he/she also got in trouble at home.  In today's society, if a kid gets in trouble at school the parents often blame the teacher and the school system.
I'm sure I'll hear from some of my more liberal friends that it's better to prevent the pregnancy and prevent "babies raisingg babies."  I would ask them one question -  Is it OK with you for your 14 year old child to receive birth control without your consent?  If so, read no further.  There's no point in it.  If, however, your answer is "NO, it's not OK", then why would you say it's OK for someone else?
One of the biggest problems in this country is the downfall of the family and parenting.  Liberal world views, accepting of anything and everything (except conservative values, that is) are changing the country to the point where proper parenting is almost obsolete.  The government can now tell parents what their children can and cannot eat and now the government is handing out birth control and telling parents "It's none of your business - this is between us and your kid."  We truly are becoming a nanny state.  I wonder how long it will be before the government opens up youth training camps?  It worked for Hitler....

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fundamentally Changing America...?

On September 11. 2012, our consulate in Libya was attacked by an Islamic terrorist group closely associated with Al Qaeda.  They killed 4 people, including our ambassador to Libya, whose body they dragged through the streets.  Earlier in the same day, Muslims in Cairo, Egypt, breached our embassy walls and tore down the American flag, setting it ablaze and replacing it with a Muslim flag.  In the next few days protests like this erupted in at least 25 countries in the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

Many of the protesters said they were doing it in response to a movie trailer that was aired on the internet advertising an anti-Islamic movie and insulting their prophet Mohammed.  And that may be partly true.  A video trailer of the movie "Innocence of Muslims"  was being aired all over the Middle East in the days just before September 11th.  The trailer had been out since July but was being publicized in the Middle East just before the anniversary of the 2001 attack on New York.  Coincidence?  I think not.

The Obama administration was quick to apologize (once again) for Americans and to let Islam know that his administration would not tolerate free speech when it came to Islam.  Would not tolerate free speech.

The Presidential Oath of Office states "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."  The first amendment to the Constitution guarantees all Americans freedom of speech.  There is nothing in that amendment that says we have freedom of speech unless that speech upsets Islam.  And yet President Obama and the Democrats are actually looking at the possibility of changing that amendment to outlaw criticism of Islam, under the guise of preventing criticism of any religion.  They're doing this for three reasons in my opinion - 1) because Islam is near and dear to President Obama's heart.   2) Because since he's been in office President Obama has done whatever he could do to appease Islam.  And 3) Because Islam is made up of many fanatics who kill people just for disagreeing with them or for criticizing their religion.  (They also kill people for being Christians.)

Personally, I'm getting really tired of the President of the United States apologizing to Islam for anything and everything.  I'm also very fearful of a President who would even entertain the idea of limiting free speech in the United States for fear of insulting anyone.  One of the greatest freedoms we have is our freedom of speech.  And while it certainly can be a cause of conflict, if  the government takes it away America will no longer be America.

The violence that occurred in the Middle East last week was not caused by free speech.  And contrary to the administration's initial statement (which they held on to for over a week), it was  not about a video, either.   It was caused by religious fanaticism and Islamic hatred of America.  It was caused by people being intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them.  And now our government wants to condemn the American right of free speech and possibly take it away.  If we, as a nation, bow to that fanaticism and put restrictions on American rights to appease Islam, it will be the first step toward the destruction, or "fundamental change" of America as we know it.  What's next after they take away our freedom of speech?  They take away our guns?  That  is the second step toward a totalitarian government.  Is that where our nation is headed? 

In 2008, when he was campaigning for his first term, then Senator Obama kept talking about "fundamentally changing America."  America is the greatest nation in the world and he took an oath to protect and defend her, not to "fundamentally change" her. 

We as a nation need to rid ourselves of the President who wants to  control all aspects of our lives.  Obama supporters say Mitt Romney will be a terrible President.  I disagree.  At least Romney understands what the Constitution is about and why it needs to be defended.  Mr. Obama just doesn't seem to get it.  He makes his own rules.  And those rules will destroy us if allowed to stand.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Father/Daughter Dance Discriminatory?

In a story out of Cranston, Rhode Island, father/daughter and mother/son evens (such as dances) have  been banned in the Cranston public school system.  The reason behind the ban is a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of a single mother whose daughter could not attend the dance.  Although federal anti-discrimination laws make exceptions for things like dances, Rhode Island state law apparently does not and, in fact, explicitly bans “sex discrimination... 'in any and all school functions and activities.'"

Now, as much as I can sympathize with a single mother who wants her child to be included even though the child's father is not there, why would someone want to prohibit all the other fathers and daughters from enjoying an evening together?  Would that single mother feel the same way if her son invited her to a mother/son dance?  And how would she feel if she was getting ready to take her son to said dance and the school said "Sorry - we can't hold the dance because a father whose son has no mother can't go so you can't either?"  It's  certainly "fair" but is it right?

It seems some people these days just don't want anyone to be happy or have something special if they can't have it too.  And because of that they don't want anyone to have what they don't have.  In my life I've been a single father.  I never would have imagined trying to prevent someone from having a fun evening with their child simply because I didn't qualify for that particular event.  But then - I don't think like that mother in Rhode Island or the ACLU.

Life isn't fair.  No matter what some people think, some politicians want to say, what the ACLU does - at the end of the day life is still not fair or equitable for everyone. 

Steven Brown of the Rhode Island ACLU told the local news channel “This is 2012 and they [public schools] should not be in the business of fostering blatant gender stereotypes.”

Scientific research on child behavior has proved that the absence of a father in a child's life can be the cause of many behavioral and emotional development problems.  And before anyone starts in on me read it again - I said "can".  I'm not going to get into the gay parenting thing - that's not the purpose of this post.  My point is that denying gender roles in heterosexual families is just as wrong as the "blatant gender stereotypes" Brown appears to be talking about.  Why deny children of straight parents (and those who are both still around) the opportunity to enjoy that?  If they're so inclined to destroy gender stereotypes, rather than prohibit events like this why doesn't someone promote a gender ambiguous event or a single mothers' event or a homosexual parents'  event.  No - that would allow the old fashioned family to continue doing what they see as normal.  We can't have that now, can we?

The bottom line here is that, in my humble opinion, banning a father/daughter dance to promote gender identity equality, particularly when  only one person complains about it, is ridiculous.  Even in 2012, the ACLU should not prevent an event that helps parents and children bond.  Most daughters in the country have fathers.  (And biologically they all do.)  Most sons have mothers.  (Same biological stats.)  The ACLU thinks the special status between parents and children should only count if everyone is happy.  As I said - life isn't fair.  Sometimes you just don't get what you want.  Sometimes your kid doesn't get what they want.  That's reality.

Life will never be legislated into fairness for everyone.  It simply cannot be done.

It's Not About The Money - Or The Kids

From my buddy, Frank Corbett.  Some days it's just easier to share someone else's work - especially when it's better than anything you have in mind...

And by the way - before anyone takes offense and thinks we're picking on teachers and/or wanting them to be underpaid or not receive benefits, that's not the case.  As Frank says in his second paragraph, teachers are very necessary and deserve to be well paid.  But statistics in Chicago indicate money is not the problem.

FIRE ALL THE CHICAGO TEACHERS ON STRIKE- Got your attention yet? I'm sure you are immediately convinced that I am a heartless conservative, and not sensitive to the financial needs and the plight of the Chicago Teachers Federation. Well, you're half right...and before you judge me, remember that I teach part time, and know full well the challenges teachers face. Money...especially in Chicago, is NOT one of them.

Yes, I was a good student, too. Thanks to the commitment of my teachers, I know how to research, write, perform complex calculations and complete a report. So, let's get back to the basics, and read on.

The Chicago school system is the 3rd largest in the country, with over 350,000 students enrolled from Pre-K through 12th grade. Chicago school teachers are also the third highest paid in the nation, with an average salary as reported by the school board of $67,974 per year...or let me rephrase...per SCHOOL year! Under the contract, the payments are divided over 52 weeks, so teachers continue to receive a check during the summer vacation.

One of the key sticking points is the increase in the school day. So what is the City of Chicago doing to their teachers? Are they demanding a 9 hour day, no weekends off, and a reduction in pay? No. Believe it or not, the proposal gives the teachers a 3% raise the first year, 2% the second and another 2% the third, with a contingency that if the contract is upheld for a 4th year, the teachers would get an ADDITIONAL 3% (per CNN). Also, the school days would increase. How much? Elementary students would be increased to a 7 hour school day, and high school students to 7 1/2 hour day. The teachers are demanding a pay increase, for being forced to work LESS THAN AN 8 HOUR DAY!

Let's get to the math.

Teachers work a total of two 18 week semesters. This is a total of 36 five day weeks. Removing the vacation days and holidays brings this down to a 31 week average.

Average pay per work week in Chicago under current contract: $2,192.71

Average work week under proposed contract: K-8 (35 hrs.) 9-12 (37.5 hrs.)

Average rate per hour under current contract: K-8 (73.09) 9-12 (62.65)

Average raise for first year per teacher (proposed) - $2,039.22
...year two increase... $1,400.26
...third year increase... $1,428.27
...and fourth year increase... $2,185.25

The new total AVERAGE salary? $75,027-, or $2,420.23 PER WORK WEEK!

The last item that is a sticking point is performance evaluations of teachers. The federation wants it removed, as according to them, the teachers cannot be held responsible for how well the students learn! Really???

In every other aspect of private business, people get a raise when they earn it, and you have to be willing to accept a competitive wage in order to get a position. Further, you are expected to excel in your position in order to keep your job.

If the teachers of Chicago were producing some fantastic student scores, at least equal to their pay, I could see the benefit of keeping such instructors and compensating them to a reasonable level, equal to their achievements...but that is not the case. Here are the other statistics, as reported by the board of regents.


-Educational progress math score 282.42 or 32nd place in the nation.
-Educational progress reading score 264.51 or 29th place in the nation.
-Average daily attendance indicates 5.8% daily absenteeism ( 21st place)
-Drop-out rate from high school level 6.27%
-Graduation placement nationally- 32nd place

Translation-if you were to give the Chicago School System a letter grade, it would be a C minus, just above a D, and yet they continue to chant and rave that "We're doing it for our students, because they deserve the best!"

Yes, they do...and that is NOT you! Currently, students parents are dealing with their kids home while they are going to work, paying daycare, and sending kids to summer camps that have opened up for the fall...a move that interestingly enough was budgeted for by the camps last spring...hmmm...

$69.15 per hour, health insurance that covers cosmetic surgery including breast implants, birth control pills, prescription coverage and dental, paid snow days, paid sick AND personal leave days, all holidays, weekends and summers off, paid maternity leave, supplies allowance, and collective bargaining, and a 75% pay scale pension.'s all about the kids...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Competence vs Charisma

Today is a day I don't have to think too hard.  I know what some of you are thinking...  "You're retired.  When do you have to think?"  And while that may be true on any given day, I do have to use my brain when I decide to write something.  (OK, I can hear those who disagree with my views saying "You use your brain for that drivel?"  My answer - certainly.  Even drivel takes thinking sometimes.)

Today's post wasn't written by me and, once I read it, it didn't take any real thinking to know I needed to share it with as many people as possible.  It was written by my old friend Frank Corbett, a man I met in the Air Force in Germany many moons ago.  I haven't seen him in years but we recently reconnected online and I'm happy about that.

Frank's views on the upcoming election have been expressed very well in this article and he has given me permission to share it.  Whether you agree with it or not, it's a good read and will make you think.  Thanks, Frank.

COMPETENCE vs. CHARISMA- Call it what you will...the conservatives vs. the liberals, the left vs. the right, it's not the party that makes you vote for a candidate. It is their ability to unite a larger voting body, by how you feel about the candidate.

During our recent 911 memorial ceremonies, I took advantage of the ready access to several of our local elect, and picked their brains on their thoughts on the DNC convention. Of course I got a lot of puffing about "lipstick on a pig", "twisting of the facts", and my favourite new term "fact laundering". Finally, it was one of our county officers who spoke the truth. "Frank, I thought Bill Clinton's speech was well done. I even thought Michelle Obama was fantastic. It's not what they said, it's how they said it, and how they made you feel it.". Finally, the truth!

It's true. History has shown us, over and again, that to a degree, it doesn't matter your political views are, or even your experience. Now before you go calling me a bigot or racist, remember I am pulling from the most well-known characters in history who made it to power, NOT what they did once they got there! Take a breath and pay attention to the point.

Napoleon was a bitter man of short stature, who made the poor angry by pointing out what they did not have, that the rich did. His speeches drew throngs of admiring supporters, ready to commit public murder for their charismatic savior. Thusly, he lived in the fashion of an emperor. It was the very hatred of the upper class that he stirred, that caused the people to turn on him.

Hitler appealed also to the hungry masses, by literally throwing bread from trucks to the people in the poorest areas, and employed them to help him. His public speeches were attended by tens of thousands, crying, cheering and holding their breath in every word. His promise of rebuilding a nation and making all citizens equal and powerful, led to the total destruction of a nation, it's people and a reputation. There were no appreciative citizens who thanked those soldiers for their service, only shame and denial.

Caesar promised glory, and the right of every soldier to pillage, and to a lesser known fact, to rape the enemies wives and daughters. It was only after he nearly bankrupt the republic, that his own council turned on him.

Each of these leaders, if they had passed the torch after their first four years, would have been remembered very favorably by history. They were charismatic, and charming. Their fans were loyal, and refused to entertain the notion that their heros could possibly be corruptible. We know the difference, now. Stalin, Castro and even our own beloved John Hancock...charismatic criminals with ideas conceived in crime.

So, here we are again, at the steps of history, ready to take those steps, again. The conservative candidate is not charismatic, and throngs of fans are not crying and pledging their undying devotion and bank accounts. He is not great at speeches, just good. He is not a war hero, a sports star...heck he isn't even a lawyer, though he does have a law degree. He is a success story illustrating the American dream. He is a strong Christian who is not afraid to say he doesn't support the 6% of atheists, doesn't believe that every cause should be championed, or needs to be. He is a man with a history of calling all the right shots, and will not apologize for being right, nor make any excuses if he is ever wrong.

In this election, the incumbent has failed at everything he started. Everything. The facts are facts. He admits that he has not fulfilled any promise in the way he intended, of the promises he has attempted. We are 50% deeper in debt on HIS watch...not the previous administration. We still have a prison in Cuba. We are still in Iraq, and Afghanistan. We have higher unemployment, and one in every three Americans receives some form of social services. Our trade defect is the highest in history, and the value of the U.S dollar at historical lows. The last promise he hasn't fulfilled, is his promise to make this "a one term deal" if he didn't succeed...

So there it is...competence vs. charisma. History taught us about this choice before...and charisma only makes one person successful.

Where do you stand?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Defend America Or Defend Islam?

On September 11, 2012, angry Muslims in Cairo,  Egypt, stormed the American embassy and ripped down the American flag, replacing it with one that said "There is no god but God and Muhammad is his prophet."  The anger stemmed from video clips that had been placed on the internet in Egypt that depicted a trailer from a movie which ridiculed their prophet, Mohammed.

In Benghazi, Libya, a few hours later, a group of terrorists stormed the American consulate, setting off explosions, burning buildings and killing four Americans, including our Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.  Security forces at the embassy were overrun in a planned and coordinated attack believed to be perpetrated by a known Islamic terrorist group closely associated with Al Quaeda.

Our President and our Secretary of State condemned the attacks but also condemned the freedom of speech of whoever created the video.  The U.S. Embassy in Cairo initially responded with the following statement:  "The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims -- as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others."

Following the violence and murders at the consulate in Libya, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said:   "The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others," Clinton said.  "Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind."

Yesterday morning, President Obama remarked on the incident stating:   "While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally opposed the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants." 

I call these remarks to attention because it seems our administration will defend Islam regardless of their actions but never have I seen them defend Christianity when it is attacked or ridiculed.  Last year a movie entitled "Red State" was released to American audiences.  The movie depicts Christians as haters, gay bashers and bigots, seemingly using the Westboro Baptist Church as it's model for Christianity.  Another movie, "A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas" ridicules Jesus Christ. 

Not once did I hear President Obama or Hillary Clinton decry either of these movies as being assaults on someone's religious beliefs.  At the same time, not once did I hear of a large group of Christians attacking or destroying anything, let alone murdering someone, because of them.  It seems in this world Christianity is the only religion that is fair game for anyone to attack without repercussions from our government.  People ridicule Christianity, God or Jesus Christ and it is perfectly acceptable.  Let someone say something about Islam or Mohammed and they are attacked by....  our own administration.

Libya's government has condemned the attack on our consulate and the murder of our citizens and has vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.  I hope that comes to fruition.  There has been little response from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and I doubt there will be.  The Muslim government that President Obama helped to bring about in Egypt seems uninterested in  preventing the attacks or defending the U.S. embassy.  Granted, the damage so far has been mostly superficial but when these types of attacks go unchallenged by the authorities is speaks volumes about their government's  commitment to the United States.

We as a nation are told by our leaders that we need to be tolerant of Islam.  Yet Islam, on a daily basis, proves over and over that they are not tolerant of any and all who disagree with their religious beliefs.  The protesters in Cairo say they are simply reacting to the depiction of their prophet Mohammed as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester.   Many Muslims are willing to kill people for disrespecting their prophet and their religion yet history shows that the depiction of Mohammed is more truth than fiction.  So Muslims want to kill people who tell the truth about their prophet.  And we, as a nation, are supposed to respect that?    Sorry - not me.

OK, not sorry.  When the world has to stop telling the truth for fear of being politically incorrect or for fear of innocent people being killed over it then the world has bowed to terrorism and evil.  I agree with my friend, Frank, that putting warships off the coast of Libya might be a bit premature, depending on the actual  response of the Libyan government.  But condemning Americans' right to free speech is the wrong answer to the problem.  Let us hope our President determines that protecting the lives and Constitutional rights of all Americans takes precedence over being politically correct with terrorists and fanatics.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9/11

Today, September 11, 2012, marks 11 years since the attacks on America in 2001.  It's one of those historical moments that most of us remember where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news.  I know I do.

I was the Captain at the Federal Correctional Institution in Miami, Florida.  I was in a Warden's meeting until about 8:55am.  When I returned to my office my secretary told me a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.  Not one to automatically assume the worst I thought it must have been a small plane that had problems.  "What a terrible accident", I thought.  "I wonder how that happened?"  I also felt sorrow for those who lost their lives.  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that a full sized passenger jet had been deliberately flown into the building.  Who would do something like that?

I turned on the TV I had in my office and watched the news about what happened.  I saw the horrific scene with the hole in Tower 1 that indicated it wasn't a small Cessna or Piper that hit the building but a full sized passenger plane.  Again, I asked myself....  was it an accident or intentional?  If it was intentional - who would do such a thing?

I was watching when the second plane hit Tower 2.  I immediately knew we were under attack.  I won't say these terrorists were (are) cowards because they sacrificed their own lives for what they believe - something most Americans would not do.  But they were (and are) despicable because they killed nearly 3000 innocent people - including Muslims like themselves.  Such action against others I find unconscionable.

I remember the feeling of anger mixed with a feeling of complete helplessness.  I wanted to be there in New York to do something, anything.  But what could I do?  Co-workers who worked in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York went to help.  They were not too far away and were able to provide at least some assistance. 

These days I watch the documentaries about 9/11 and see the suffering up close.  I listen to the stories of survival and those of great loss and can only imagine how those people must have felt that day.  Those people who spoke with their loved one(s) on the phone and in those planes just before they died certainly must cherish those memories and hate them at the same time.  Even knowing their spouse's plane crashed they must have held on to the improbable possibility that he/she could be alive.  It had to be the same after the towers collapsed.  Loved ones must have held on to the hope that somehow someone could have survived.  Some were never found and their loved ones have no closure whatsoever. 

Today we remember.  Today is not the day for anger at those who perpetrated the act but the day to remember those who died - everyone from the innocent victims to the heroes of the EMS system in New York who sacrificed themselves in an effort to save others.  It's a day to ask God to help heal our world so that people can live with different beliefs without feeling the need to kill each other over them. 

September 11th will remain in the hearts and minds of those of us who witnessed it, much like the Challenger explosion or, for those of us who remember that far back, JFK's assassination.  It is the rallying cry for the war against terrorism and the rallying cry for unity in our own country.  Remember how the nation came together in the days immediately following 9/11?  Alan Jackson's brilliant song "Where Were  You When The World Stopped Turning?" said it best.  People exhibited love and concern for their fellow citizens in numbers that hadn't been seen in America in years.  How sad it took such a tragedy to bring people together.  Even more sad - the fact that the unity has dissipated over the years.

Sometime today I would suggest that you take a minute to thank God if you weren't personally effected by the events eleven years ago, ask Him to comfort those who are reliving that tragedy today, and ask Him to bless our nation and continue to keep us safe.  Let us never forget the victims of this tragedy and our unity in the fight against evil worldwide.  May God bless you all.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Staying On Top Of The Water...

In a Bible study last night at our church our pastor relayed a story.  His father, who was also a pastor, died about a month before mine.  Since my father was also a pastor I had an interest in Dr. Marr's story because he and I have many very similar memories.  Our fathers' deaths were even quite similar.

Dr. Marr said the only thing he really wanted from his dad's home was his old desk, a secretary type that folded out and had shelves and drawers in it.  His dad used it to work.  When he got around to going through the contents of the desk he found many old Bibles that had been worn to the point of being virtually unusable but his dad apparently didn't want to throw them away.  So he kept them in the desk.  One of them, which it seems was a favorite, had a cover made of black tape.  Dr. Marr brought that one with him.  He (Dr, Marr) also found his first Bible in his dad's desk.  He said he had no idea what had happened to it and was very pleasantly surprised to find it there.

The desk also contained a collection of wooden cigar boxes that became file cabinets for his dad's hand written sermons.  Each box was labeled with the basic topic(s) of the sermons stored within.

My first thought when Dr.  Marr relayed this story  was "How wonderful to have such physical, tangible memories of someone you loved so much."  I have the little book my dad used to perform wedding ceremonies and other special occasions and I cherish it, but compared to that desk and its contents my book is miniscule.  I still will keep that book always I would love to have even a portion of something like Mr. Marr found in that desk!

Dr. Marr brought one of the discovered sermons with him to Bible study to share with us.  It was about Jesus and Peter walking on the water and his message was about how his dad, who had never graduated from seminary, had often written his sermons by choosing Bible passages and analyzing each verse.  He wanted us to understand you don't need to be a pastor or a seminary graduate to read and understand the Bible.  The sermon, broken down to interpretation of each verse, illustrated how to do that.

One of the things Dr. Marr said struck me as important to remember.  OK, there was more than one but this particular thing was what inspired this blog.  The Bible (Matthew 14: 22-33) says that after He had fed the 5,000 Jesus immediately told his disciples to get in the boat and go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee and He would meet them there.  The disciples did as they were told but when they got to the center of the Sea of Galilee a storm came up and they were afraid the boat would sink.  That's when they saw Jesus walking toward them on the water and they were afraid of that as well.

Dr. Marr then went off topic, somewhat but not really, and said (paraphrased) "If the disciples had been paying attention to what Jesus told them they would not have feared the storm.  Jesus told them He would meet them on the other side.  They should have known from His statement that they would make it safely across because Jesus said He would meet them."

"In the same way, we Christians often worry about things in life but there is no need - because we know how it ends.  As Christians we know how the story ends so why do we worry about unimportant things?"

So simple yet so profound.  Peter said to the Lord "Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”  And Jesus replied "Come."

Peter got out of the boat and began walking across the water toward Jesus.  When he was some distance from the boat he began to  pay attention to the wind and the waves and he began to sink into the water.  He cried out "Lord, save me!" and immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him.  "Oh, ye of little faith.  Why did you doubt?" Jesus asked. 

The point here is simple.  Like Peter, we sometimes see the things happening around us and forget to let God take care of our needs and difficulties.  And we begin sinking.  If we turn our thoughts and hearts to God and allow Him to take care of us we resurface, with His help, and everyday life cannot defeat us.  We know what happens to us at the end of the story.  There is no need to worry about everyday life if we only trust in the Lord and let Him guide us.  Our God will see us through any storm and keep us walking on top of the water.  And what could be better than that?

Monday, September 3, 2012

"How Do You Say Goodbye?" - A New Book

In the Spring of 2010, I felt the need to document some things about my son, Christopher.  I began making little notes on a piece of paper about various things that happened over the years as he was growing up.  Many very special memories came to mind and I put them down, feeling like I could sort them and write a little about each one as I went.  I started writing the related stories in April.  It went well.   As I wrote these stories of my son they combined to tell the story of his life, his death, and my struggle to overcome that tragic event.   It took about two months to complete. 

Today, at the risk of a little shameless self-promotion, I’d like to announce the pending release of my book  “How Do You Say Goodbye?  A true story about the struggle to overcome the loss of a child.”  After a couple of years of soul searching and internet research, I found a publishing company willing to put it in print.  It is currently in the editing process and will be published by Tate Publishing sometime after the first of the year.  It will be available at, Barnes and Noble and other stores, in addition to a direct purchase from the publisher.  It will also available in e-book format.  The web page for the book is, as yet, unfinished but I will post the web address as soon as it's available.

Through this book I celebrate Christopher’s short life and my journey through, and eventual triumph over the devastating grief that followed.  It is my hope that my story may help someone else who has experienced the loss of a child.  I would be honored if any of you would read it.

I have decided that a portion of each sale will go to the “Wings For Our Troops Foundation, in honor of Corporal Chad Stafford Wade”, another  young man who died too soon.  Those of you who have read my previous posts know that WFOT ( is a non-profit organization that helps Marines (and hopefully all services in the future) who cannot afford a trip home before deployment get that time with their families by paying for their ticket.  It's a great and worthy cause with which I'm proud to be associated.  And Chad, unbeknownst to me at the time, would go on to become an integral part of the book.  It's the least I can do to honor a great American hero and his family.

This book was truly an effort of love.  Writing it broke my heart all over again but it also helped me cleanse my spirit of ghosts and painful memories.  Those memories are still painful but they're no longer devastating.   

I will publish more information about the book and its release as it comes.  In the meantime, I am patiently awaiting the completion of the editing process to see what suggestions and/or corrections they recommend.  After that comes the layout and design phase.  All in all they told me it would take approximately six months from the time I submitted my manuscript to when the book hits the stores.  I submitted it in July so am expecting it to be completed by January.

Again, I will be honored if any of you read my book.  It is my tribute to my son, my only child, who was taken from this world far too early.