Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sometimes We Just Need God To Open A Door...

In church for the last three weeks the topic of the sermon has been “The Gospel Experiment, sharing the gospel with others.”  The bottom line of the message is that if every member of the church would commit to sharing the gospel with at least one person each week, think what we could accomplish in this nation.
Our pastor shared a story that I wanted to share as well.   A pastor friend of his had relayed this story and it was very pertinent to the message this morning:

During his sermon, this pastor had challenged his congregation to share the gospel with at least one person each week as well.  When the invitation came at the end of the service a young man with Down Syndrome came forward and told the pastor “I’m ready to commit to sharing the gospel with someone every week.”  The young man was very well known in the church because of his condition and the pastor thought to himself “If I could only take the heart of this young man and put it into the rest of my congregation….”

A week went by and Sunday came around again.  As he was preaching the pastor saw the young man sitting in the back with another young man next to him.  When the invitation was given, the young man walked to the front of the church with his friend, who was accepting Christ as his savior.  The pastor was busy with another person and the young man and his friend went to the side to another person. 

The following week that same young man sat in church with two other friends on either side of him.  When the invitation was given the young man accompanied his two friends up to the alter.  Both of his friends gave their hearts to God that morning.  The pastor once again was busy with another person and didn’t get a chance to speak with the young man.

The following week the young man brought another friend to the Lord on Sunday morning.  The pastor made a conscious effort to speak with the young man that morning.  He had to know.  He pulled the young man aside and said “You have brought 4 people to the Lord in the last three weeks.  What are you doing?”

The young man answered “You know those tracts we have out there in the entry way?  I took a bunch of them.  Every week I take one to a friend and hand it to him and ask “Would you read this to me?”

Sometimes we only need God to open a door for us.  When we try to open it ourselves we often fail.  But if we ask God to open it for us, the possibilities are endless.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Still Proud To Be An American!

Today is one of those days when I don’t have to think too much.  My post today is mostly written by a friend of a friend.  We were having a discussion on Facebook about being an American and whether or not we were still proud of that title.  One person said he’s no longer proud to be an American but still proud to be a Constitutionalist with its ideals.  I had to disagree with him because I’m still proud to be an American.  I just don’t like the direction in which America is heading.  A couple of other friends echoed my sentiment.

Then, a friend of the man who opened the topic posted something that said it all so well that I asked his permission to reproduce it here so I can share it with as many people as possible.  He agreed.  His words are profound and so true.  The only edits I made were breaking it up a little to make it easier to read and adding a comma or period here and there.

Thank you, Jeremy Langley, for your words of wisdom.  I hope everyone who reads them shares them with another person. 

“I still consider myself American and I'm proud to be one of the few of us Patriots left. I am proud of this country in the sense of what this country is. I am not proud of what my fellow citizens are doing to this country.

I call them citizens because I do not believe they are Americans. To me an American is more than just being a citizen of this country.  It's a feeling and sentiment that must be felt deep down in your bones. You have to truly understand the principals of this country and know what Freedom, and Liberty really mean.

Being an American involves knowledge of our history and truly understanding the work , sweat, blood , and tears that went into building the greatest country on earth. You have to be able to feel the work that went into carving towns out of a wilderness and respect the ingenuity of building new machines to help with building wealth.  You have to respect the courage of the men who stood up to tyranny and organized a country to resist against huge odds and drafted documents to assure that their dreams of freedom and liberty could live forever if the people followed them. 

You have to feel the fear our men have felt many times over when they lined up against the British and stared down the barrels of thousands of guns; when handfulls of men stood down armies of Mexicans in a ragged old Fort; when thousands of men stormed the beaches of Normandy fully knowing the odds of living through it were against them; the men who fought in Korea; and even the ones in Vietnam who didn't agree with the fight but still answered their country’s call.

If you don't understand what it has taken for you to be here then you can't really call yourself an American.  It pisses me off when our Liberal countrymen try to paint us as self-centered people who don't care about others.  The true socialists are us.  The great men of this country have worked, bled,and died not just so they could have freedom, but for the greater good of us all to have freedom. The part that many of today's progressive socialists don't understand is that in order for us to have freedom to do what we want with our lives and the freedom to pursue greatness we also must have the freedom of failure and the freedom to starve to death from our own laziness. When we remove someone’s accountability for their actions we in turn remove part of the freedom we all say we want.  

Americans have always helped each other.  We don't need for it to be mandated and controlled by tyrants in the government. We help each other through bad times not because we have to, but because we have always known that when one of us fails we all suffer a little. We have always understood that people make mistakes and accidents happen.  We just don't stand for people who make a career out of failure.  Welfare has not helped America. It has simply divided us and made us resentful of people who take that which is not freely given.  We must get this country back on track and educate people in history so they understand the true meaning of being an American if we are to survive long as a country.”

I asked Jeremy what he meant when he said "The true socialists are us."  Here is his response:

"What I meant is while the socialists of today claim to be doing things for the "greater good" of society, all they do is legislate from the safety of an office, protected by men with guns. They write laws that deprive hard working people of the fruits of their labor to hand over to unworthy people who make a career out of living off the labors of others. 

We are the ones who have given our sweat, blood, and tears to give everyone the greatest things in life, Liberty, and Freedom.  Socialism by definition is the mentality of thinking of the greater good of society over the individual.  I contend that the people who have faced tyranny and sacrificed everything, including their lives, for us all to have Freedom and Liberty are the true socialists. These men, like many of us toda,y were not just worried about themselves.  They did all this to build a country that allowed everyone to pursue greatness according to each one's desire.  If that isn't putting the greater good of society above yourself I don't know what is. 

We are the true socialists.  Our implementation of the ideals are just much different than the socialists of today. Unlike them, we believed in something we were willing to die for while they believe in the safety of legal robbery with a pen and disregard personal accountability."

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Few Facts About The Sequester And Baseline Budgeting

I’ve listened to President Obama, fortified by the main stream media, talking about how devastating the automatic spending cuts from the sequester will be if allowed to happen.  The President said the ability of first responders (a group of which he posed behind him) would be decreased and that FBI agents would be furloughed.  He went on to say that federal prosecutors would have to dismiss cases and release criminals, Border Patrol agents would see fewer hours, other federal employees would be furloughed, police and firefighters would be laid off and teachers wouldn’t get paid.  About the only thing he didn’t say was that we’d lose the war and be ruled by another country if the sequester happened.

The main stream media, i.e., the all Barack all the time channels, echo the President’s dire warning instead of telling the truth.  Together the President and the MSM blame the Republicans for this pending disaster because the Republicans just won’t give the President free reign to institute another tax increase on the American people.  Liberals all over the country are also blaming the Republicans and demanding Obama’s plan be allowed to go through – even following an unexpected tax increase that began on January 1st that Obama said would not happen!  Hard to believe, huh?

The truth about the sequester is that the spending cuts would amount to about 2% of the current budget – the same amount that began disappearing from people’s paychecks due to the increase in Social Security taxes in January.  The President expects everyone to live without that 2% but says America itself could collapse if the government loses 2% of its budget.  Huh?  Our government spends so much money on pork barrel spending it’s pathetic.  Certainly that spending is more than 2%.  But America will collapse if Obama does not get his way?  I think not.  (And for the record - teachers are not paid by the federal government.  Neither are most police and firefighters.  Mr. Obama knows this but he likes to use those people as a method of gaining sympathy.  It's simply another lie.)

What the President and politicians in general don’t talk about is Baseline Budgeting.  In 1974 the government passed a bill that allowed the government to project spending for the next year in order to assist with preparing a budget each year.  (Preparing a budget: definition….  "Something the Democrats don’t do even though it’s required by law…")  Baseline budgeting automatically projects spending increases for the next year based on inflation rate and population growth.  The average baseline increase is about 7% a year.  The law was modified in  1984 to project for five years and again in1987 to allow for projections of ten years instead of five.

So the truth, Mr. President, is that government spending limits increased automatically by about 7% this year and the sequester cuts will be about 2%.  That leaves a 5% (or about a $15 billion) increase in spending limits automatically, even after the sequester takes effect.  So why, pray tell, would all these people have to be furloughed and prosecutors have to drop cases because of budget cuts when no real budget cuts will occur?

The American people should, by now, be getting tired of the scare tactics used by President Obama and the Democrats to get what they want.  First of all, the White House came up with the idea of the sequester and appointed a “supercommittee” to look into the idea.  Secondly, when the committee produced their results they were drafted into a bill and the President signed it into law.  Did he do this under duress?  Third – in a news conference in October of 2011, the President defended the spending cuts in the sequester and declared he would veto any attempts to derail it. 

On Wednesday the President said it was not his idea but that of the Republicans and it was a bad idea.  In other words, the President flat-out lied.  And the main stream media and most liberals applaud him for blaming the Republicans, even if it’s a blatant lie.  Such blind loyalty is one of the things I will never understand about Obama supporters.  Sooner or later don’t you get tired of the lies?  They effect you.

So there you have it – a little truth about the sequester and the budget.  You won’t hear this information from the White House.  It wouldn’t further President Obama’s agenda of raising taxes.  If you don’t believe me – do the research yourself.  Everything I have written is out there.  What matters most is whether or not you want to know the truth or blindly follow along…

Thursday, February 21, 2013

"How Do You Say Good-bye" Update....

“They say you never get over the death of your child.  They’re right.  It’s been almost nine years since my son died and I still miss him every day.  It’s difficult sometimes to think about how so much time has passed since that terrible day in 2002.  Even now there are still tears from certain events that trigger strong memories. 

Losing a child is equivalent to losing a piece of yourself.  It’s a piece you feel as a physical loss, even when the tears are gone and the pain has subsided to intermittent only. 

This book is about the journey from the crushing pain of losing a child to the triumph of self-forgiveness and healing, only to be reminded of that painful loss once again in a very unexpected way. 

You really never do get over the death of a child.  You simply learn to live with it.  As unbelievable as it seems at the time, it does get easier as time goes by.  But as you’ll see, it never disappears.

This is a true story about my son, his life and his death, and how I learned to live again.  Writing it was very cathartic but very painful.  I hope I’ve done my son justice with my story.  Christopher – this is for you.”

The above text is from the back cover of my book, “How Do You Say Goodbye?  A True Story Of Overcoming The Death Of A Child.”  Yesterday, February 20th, I received the electronic proof copy of it from the publisher.  The hard copy proof is supposed to arrive in the mail next week.  In the next twenty days or so I have to review them both carefully and look for any mistakes and/or changes that might be necessary.  When I finish the review I have to send it back to them so they can make any necessary corrections and it then goes into production.  It should be available in book stores and online in early April!

As some of you already know, I wrote this book several years ago in honor of my son.  I didn’t start out to write a book.  I was simply writing down memories of him that were special to me.  After a while it just came together and the idea for an actual book became clear.  It was a labor of love.  Going back in time, re-living his childhood, and then that terrible accident that took him from us, was painful.  But the deeper I got into the story the more I knew it needed to be told.  What is so amazing to me are the details I was able to recall – even conversations.  I’d give anything never to have had to tell this story but I believe I was supposed to write this book.

Christopher was a great kid who loved life and loved his family and friends.  He was taken far too soon from this world.  It is my hope, with this book, to introduce him to those who never got the chance to meet him and to bring back some happy memories for those who knew him.  I also hope to inspire others who have suffered this same loss so they know it is survivable – regardless of how it feels initially.  

They say time heals all wounds.  Quite frankly – “they” are wrong.  Some wounds don’t heal.  But time can make them more bearable….

Thank you all for your support.  I will post more information about the book as soon as it’s available.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pelosi Says Drone Strikes On Americans Can Be Kept Secret

Soon after September 11, 2001, George W. Bush signed the “Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.”  This bill, with the acronym “USA PATRIOT ACT” removed many restrictions from federal law enforcement agencies investigating and tracking terrorists.  It also gave them the ability to conduct wire-tapping operations on suspected terrorists.  On October 24, 2001, the Act passed the House 357 to 66, with Democrats comprising the overwhelming portion of dissent.  The following day on October 25, 2001, the Act passed the Senate by 98 to 1, with Russ Feingold the only opposition.  For the most part the PATRIOT ACT was a bipartisan bill.

Not long after the bill was signed into law opposition began.  The ACLU and many liberals and Libertarians objected, saying it was unconstitutional and violated the civil rights of all Americans.  The bill (or parts of it) has been renewed both by President Bush and President Obama.  Many on the left still complain about the PATRIOT Act and it is often blasted by the main stream media. 

In like manner, the left screamed about the Bush administration’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques decrying them as torture.  Even President Obama said waterboarding was torture and that the United States does not use torture to gain intelligence information.  The government waterboarded three terrorists during the Bush administration.  No one died and, as much as the President doesn’t like to admit it, the intelligence gained led to locating Osama Bin Laden – one of President Obama’s strongest bragging topics. 

So why is it that so few on the left are complaining about President Obama’s declaration that he has the authority to kill American citizens with drone strikes?  The President has already killed one American without due process.  And while I have no problem with the death of Anwar Al Awlaki, an American Muslim citizen who had declared war on the United States, I do have a problem with Mr. Obama’s latest declaration.  

Supported by his Attorney General, the President says he can use drone strikes to kill any American “deemed (by the government) to be part of a terrorist organization” even if there is no evidence that person is a current threat to the United States.  So President Obama and his administration can decide someone is a terrorist and kill them, without proof, no questions asked. 

Where is the main stream media screaming about a violation of civil rights?  Where are the liberal protests?  Where are the marches on Washington condemning President Obama?  Where is Michael Moore??!!  (To be fair, Moore has written his disagreement with drone strikes in general but I have not heard anything from him about the killing of Americans.)

The only ones who are standing against this atrocity are the Republicans.

In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, Democrat Minority House Leader Nancy Pelosi said that if and when the President orders a drone strike to kill an American he doesn’t have to let it be known.  “It just depends,” she reportedly said.  “People just want to be protected.” She also said that such disclosure “depends on the timing, because that’s right — it’s all about the timing.”

That certainly would fit in with President Obama’s statements that his is “the most transparent Presidency in history.”  Declaring an American a terrorist without having to prove it and secretly killing them – yup – that’s transparency at its best.  I think of all the things the left has done in recent years this would be the most hypocritical of all.  If they don’t stand up to the President declaring himself the authority to target and kill Americans just because he wants to where does it end?  How long do you think it will take before some of those Americans are here in the USA and are targeted?  There are already drones in the skies above the United States.  Don’t believe it?  See the link below.

The Department of Homeland Security is buying up guns and ammunition like it’s going out of style (and it may be for us civilians).  Why do they need all that firepower unless they’re gearing up for something major here in the United States?  And President Obama has been questioning military leaders if they would fire on American citizens if ordered and is reportedly replacing the ones who answer negatively.  I’m thinking drone strikes on people here in the U.S. may trigger an uproar from the people – something about which the Obama administration not only seems to be worried but, in fact, appears to be preparing for.

I don’t make this stuff up.  I merely read various articles and watch the news and put facts together.  Anyone who doesn’t see the apparent buildup of government forces and misuse of power by the Obama administration is, in my humble opinion, either living with blinders on or deliberately ignoring the facts.  Either way – it’s dangerous.

Does Harry Belafonte Need Factcheck?

A couple of days ago, at the NAACP Awards, Harry Belafonte said, “White America discusses the Constitutional issue of gun ownership, while no one speaks for the consequences of our racial carnage.”

Does Mr. Belafonte believe “white America” is responsible for the ever increasing murder rate of black Americans, as has been suggested?  I’m not sure why he would believe that unless he is totally clueless about murder rates in the country.  Or by “racial carnage” is he referring to black on black crime?  The sad truth is that most murders of black Americans are committed by other black Americans.  So Mr. Belafonte – which did you mean?

Walter Williams, a well-known African American economist, professor, academic, columnist and author, writes:

“Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Using the 94 percent figure means that 262,621 were murdered by other blacks. Though blacks are 13 percent of the nation’s population, they account for more than 50 percent of homicide victims. Nationally, black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, it’s 22 times that of whites. Coupled with being most of the nation’s homicide victims, blacks are most of the victims of violent personal crimes, such as assault and robbery.

The magnitude of this tragic mayhem can be viewed in another light. According to a Tuskegee Institute study, between the years 1882 and 1968, 3,446 blacks were lynched at the hands of whites. Black fatalities during the Korean War (3,075), Vietnam War (7,243) and all wars since 1980 (8,197) come to 18,515, a number that pales in comparison with black loss of life at home. It’s a tragic commentary to be able to say that young black males have a greater chance of reaching maturity on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan than on the streets of Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Newark and other cities.”

Ninety-four percent of the time the murderer is another black person.  That statistic alone should shock and terrify the African American community.  Most of the killings are in the inner cities and many are gang and drug related.  Some will say this is a result of the environment and in a way that’s true.  However, we are all products of our environment along with the personal choices we make.  Not everyone who grows up in the inner city and/or gang controlled parts of the city ends up being murderers and criminals.  Harry Belafonte was born and raised in Harlem and went on to be the first African American to win an Emmy award.  It’s about choices.

When a person kills another person with a gun it’s nearly always a choice.  Certainly there are accidents.  And when someone shoots another person in self-defense (as in a home invasion or burglary) they may not be intending to kill that person but merely incapacitate them.  But even that is a choice.  The fact is that most shootings in this country are committed intentionally, whether they are legal or illegal.  So to blame environment alone for gun violence would be wrong.

Mr. Belafonte is a man who made it big at a time in this country when racism was something that truly did hold black Americans down.  I’m sure he experienced it first hand on a regular basis.  However, to make blanket public statements that leave one wondering about his true meaning seems to be deliberate misrepresentation of the truth.  Mr. Belafonte is an intelligent and well-spoken man.  And this is not the first time he’s made controversial remarks concerning racism. 

The statistics concerning murder rates among black Americans are not only sad but reprehensible.  It’s as if the black community is slowly committing genocide of its own people.   And what’s the answer?  Certainly not more gun control laws.  Does anyone really believe that more laws will keep guns out of the hands of those who truly want them?  And if all civilian guns are somehow taken away and no one, not even the bad guys in the country, has a gun, then only the government will have them.  Ask anyone who survived Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union how that worked out.

I don’t have the answer for this.  I wish I did.  But celebrity activists who make controversial public statements just for effect don’t help the problem.  If Mr. Belafonte wants to stop the gun violence in the African American community maybe he should spend more time in the areas where it occurs, talking honestly with not only the victims of the violence but with the people who are committing it.  Think it’ll happen?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

"An 87 Year Old College Student Named Rose”

I saw this story posted on Facebook this morning and thought it needed to be shared.  I don’t know who wrote it and I attempted to verify if it was true or not but all I could find was that it’s “Unverified.”  So it cannot be proved untrue either.  I choose to believe it’s true and the message is good either way.  Enjoy.

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know.

I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.  I turned round to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, “Hi handsome.  My name is Rose.  I’m eighty-seven years old.  Can I give you a hug?”

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant squeeze.

“Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” I asked.

She jokingly replied, “I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids…”

“No seriously,” I asked.   I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

“I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends.  Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop.  I was always mesmerized listening to this “time machine” as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went.  She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students.  She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet.  I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium.

As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry I’m so jittery.  I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me!  I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.”

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began.

“We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.  There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy and achieving success.  You have to laugh and find humor every day.

You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!  There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old.

If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change.

Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.”

She concluded her speech by courageously singing “The Rose.”

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be.  These words have been passed along in loving memory of Rose.

Remember, growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional.

We make a Living by what we get.  We make a Life by what we give."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Obama Went Down To Georgia...

My newest poem.  The first line of the poem was a headline of a news article and my mind immediately went to the song.  So, with sincere apologies to Charlie Daniels and the band....  I give you:

Obama Went Down To Georgia...

Obama went down to Georgia
He was looking for some income to steal
He was in a bind - his economy was behind
And he was willing to make a deal.
When he came upon a young conservative
hunting a deer and taking a shot
And Obama jumped up on a hickory stump and said
"Son - let me tell you what.

I bet you didn't know it but I'm a right fair shooter too.
And if you'd care to take a dare I'll make a bet with you.
Now you shoot a pretty mean rifle son but give 'ol Barack his due
Cause I shoot skeet up in Camp David
And I think I'm better than you.
I'll bet you if we both take aim and my good aim is true
I'll take more taxes from your check in case I defeat you.
If you defeat me I'll go back home and think about my sin
But I'm really not too worried cause I know I'm going to win."

The boy said "My name's Johnny and this will be a hoot
Cause I've seen the pictures from Camp David.
Mr. President - you can't shoot!"

Johnny you polish up your gun and aim your rifle true
Cause Obama wants more money and he’s coming after you.
And if he wins he’ll take more taxes from the check you earned
But if you win you know you’ll still get burned….

Obama pulled out his 4-10 gauge and said “I’ll start this fun.”
And BS poured out from his ears as he loaded up the gun.
But he had to ask someone for help – he knew not what he did.
And Johnny knew without a doubt that victory would be his.

Obama aimed the shotgun with that girly stance of his.
He closed his eyes and pulled the trigger and the target he did miss.
He said “That target is too small – I’m going to need some of yours.
You know what I believe in - we have to share the wealth, of course.”
Obama finally hit the mark – a lucky shot at best.
He gave his gun to someone else and sat him down to rest.
Johnny took one easy shot and the shooting match was done.
But when he turned around he saw the President was gone.

Johnny you polish up your gun and aim your rifle true
Cause Obama wants more money and he’s coming after you.
And if he wins he’ll take more taxes from the check you earned
But if you win we know you’ll still get burned….

- G. Clark

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The President's Silence About Chris Kyle Is Deafening....

On Tuesday, February 12th, an American hero was laid to rest.  Chris Kyle, former U.S. Navy SEAL and the most accomplished sniper in America, was killed last week by a former soldier suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Chris was doing volunteer work with PTSD patients and was on a firing range not quite 50 miles from here when the patient he was working with shot Chris and his friend, Chad Littlefield, both of whom died.  The suspect, 25 year old Marine Reservist and Iraq war veteran, Eddie Ray Routh, was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder.

Kyle worked with a nonprofit group called FITCO Cares, to get returning veterans workout equipment. He had also written about using gun ranges as a kind of therapy for returning veterans, in which he'd give jokey tough-love between stories and beer. It's on such a trip with Routh that police think Routh turned a semiautomatic pistol on Kyle and Littlefield.

Unlike some, I’m not going to question the program of taking PTSD patients to a firing range.  I’m not familiar enough with the program to make judgments on it.  Obviously in this case it was a mistake but I have no idea if it has helped others in the past.  Either way, the killing of Kyle and Littlefield was a tragedy that shouldn’t have happened. 

One reason I’m writing this particular post, however, is because of the enormous silence coming out of Washington for Kyle.  One year ago, when Whitney Houston died, she was lauded by the President and the American flag was flown at half-staff in her honor.  Now, I have nothing against Whitney Houston at all.  She was a very beautiful and talented woman; accomplished model, accomplished musician and a great actress, with a smile that could light up a gloomy day and a voice that could give you chills.  But really – what did she do that deserved all American flags at half-mast that Chris Kyle didn’t?

As mentioned above, Chris Kyle was a Navy SEAL.  Wearing that trident, alone, is quite an accomplishment.  Kyle served four tours in the second Iraq war, and was awarded the Bronze and Silver Star medals multiple times. Iraqi insurgents dubbed him the "Devil of Ramadi" and offered an increasing bounty for his head that started a $20,000 and ended at $80,000. He was shot twice and survived six improvised explosive device (IED) attacks.  Those details certainly make him a hero.

Kyle had 160 confirmed sniper kills making him the most lethal sniper in American history.  He served his country and the military proudly and with honor.  So why is it, I wonder, that the President doesn’t mention anything about his death and doesn’t lower the flags for Kyle?  As the elected Commander in Chief of the armed forces I would expect the President to at least acknowledge a service member as well known and accomplished as Chris Kyle.  Besides being the best at what he did he was a best-selling author.  His book, "American Sniper", was on the New York Times best-seller list.  And he was killed by someone with a legal gun.  You’d think the President would have eagerly used Kyle as an example for his anti-gun rhetoric.

President Obama – I’m disappointed that you chose to stay silent about the death of a man who served his country at least as much as you have.  Probably more.  When is the last time you were shot, or even shot at, serving your country?  And no, I’m not advocating that the President be shot.  Don’t even go there.  That would be one of the worst things that could happen to the country as a whole. 

My point is – Chris Kyle put his life on the line every day for this country, in war zones.  And rather than lower the flags in his honor, our President hasn’t even mentioned Kyle’s death.  But he had the flags lowered for Whitney Houston, who threw her very successful life away with drugs.  Chris Kyle was buried on February 12, 2013.  Whitney Houston, a celebrity cocaine addict and drug user, drowned on February 12, 2012, in a bathtub with high levels of cocaine in her system.  And the President ordered all flags in America lowered to half-mast in her honor.  Chris Kyle, an American hero, was killed while trying to help a fellow soldier with PTSD and the President said and did nothing.  And for that Mr. Obama should be very ashamed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Birthday Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was born 204 years ago today in a one-room log cabin on the Sinking Spring Farm in Hardin County, Kentucky (now LaRue County).  His family was poor and he was mostly self-educated but became a country lawyer, a Whig Party leader, Illinois state legislator during the 1830s, and a one-term member of the United States House of Representatives during the 1840s.

Lincoln's election as President and his stance against the expansion of slavery led seven Southern states to secede from the union and form the Confederate States of America which, in fact, was the root cause of the Civil War.

On November 19, 1863, Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to deliver the most popular and famous Presidential speech in history.  He spoke on the sight of a long and deadly battle between the two sides of Americans.  It's interesting that included in the text were the words "The world will little note nor long remember what we say here".  It is estimated he spoke just a little over 90 seconds yet the world remembers.  I had to memorize this speech in grade school and with very few mistakes I can still recite most of it today.

I post that famous speech today in honor of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America.  Happy birthday, Mr. President.

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Dam Problem With Pennsylvania...

I can’t verify that the following two letters are authentic or only make believe.  But I can say that either way they’re pretty funny and I laughed out loud several times while reading them.  This is the type of government stupidity and citizen come back that comedies are made of…

This is supposed to be an actual letter:  State of Pennsylvania 's letter to Mr. DeVries: SUBJECT: DEQ ... File No.97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec 20; Lycoming County

Dear Mr. DeVries:

It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity:

Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream of Spring Pond.


A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity.. A review of the Department's files shows that no permits have been issued Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.

The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially failed during a recent rain event, causing debris and flooding at downstream locations.. We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the stream channel. All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31, 2010.

Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that a follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff. Failure to comply with this request or any further unauthorized activity on the site may result in this case being referred for elevated enforcement action..

We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter. Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.


David L. Price
District Representative and Water Management Division.

Here is the (alleged) actual response sent back by Mr. DeVries: Re: DEQ FileNo.. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Lycoming County

Dear Mr..Price,

Your certified letter dated 11/17/09 has been handed to me. I am the legal landowner but not the Contractor at 2088 Dagget Lane, Trout Run, Pennsylvania .

A couple of beavers are in the process of constructing and maintaining two wood 'debris' dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond. While I did not pay for, authorize, nor supervise their dam project, I think they would be highly offended that you call their skillful use of natures building materials 'debris.'

I would like to challenge your department to attempt to emulate their dam project any time and/or any place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic. 

Here are recent picturez of the culprits.  I do not think the beavers are aware that they must first fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity.


My first dam question to you is:

(1) Are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers, or

(2) do you require all beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request?

If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, through the Freedom of Information Act, I request completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits that have been issued. (Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.)

I have several dam concerns. My first dam concern is, aren't the beavers entitled to legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said representation -- so the State will have to provide them with a dam lawyer.

The Department's dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event, causing flooding, is proof that this is a natural occurrence, which the Department is required to protect. In other words, we should leave the Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling them dam names.

If you want the dammed stream 'restored' to a dam free-flow condition please contact the beavers -- but if you are going to arrest them, they obviously did not pay any attention to your dam letter, they being unable to read English.

In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and water flows downstream. They have more dam rights than I do to live and enjoy Spring Pond. If the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection lives up to its name, it should protect the natural resources (Beavers) and the environment (Beavers' Dams).

So, as far as the beavers and I are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more elevated enforcement action right now. Why wait until 1/31/2010? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice by then and there will be no way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them.

In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention to a real environmental quality, health, problem in the area It is the bears! Bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the beavers alone. If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your dam step! The bears are not careful where they dump!

Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam office.


Weekend In Oklahoma...

Arden and I were in Oklahoma City over the weekend visiting some of my favorite people in the world.  Odd as it may sound, those people are my former in-laws and their closest friends. 

My son died on February 10th. (2002)  His late mother’s birthday is February 11th.  Her parents, Christopher’s beloved grandparents, have lost their grandson and their daughter, both in February.  (Pat died 8 years after Christopher on Valentine’s Day, 2010.)  Both Pat and Christopher were living with her parents when they died. 

Since I now live in Fort Worth, only 3 hours away from Oklahoma City, for the last two years Arden and I have travelled up there for this particular weekend to spend some time with these wonderful people.  Even though we divorced in 1995, “Mom” and Tom have always treated me as if I was still family and have always welcomed me into their home.  They also welcomed Arden as if she was one of theirs.  I love them both very much and always enjoy spending time with them. 

I’m not at all surprised that Mom didn’t abandon me after the divorce.  When my own mother died in 93 I was still married to her daughter.  As soon as she heard about my mother Mom called me and in her sweet and completely sincere way said “I’ll be your mom now.”  And she has never failed to live up to that promise.

Arden is so gracious and accepting.  Of course she felt odd being there the first time.  When we arrived at their home last year there was a large group of people present.  Mom and Tom were hosting their best friend Norma along with Norma’s son-in-law, her two grandchildren, their spouses and their children.  I had known Norma and her kids for 30 years so they were simply extended family to me.  But poor Arden was surrounded by family and friends of my ex-wife and it had to be a bit intimidating.  But she was welcomed by these wonderful people and by the time we left she and Mom were friends.  And this year when we went back she and Mom hugged like they were old friends.  I am so grateful for both of them.  In kindness and grace they are kindred spirits.

We arrived in OKC Friday evening and, after a quick stop at the cemetery we checked into our hotel.  Our room faced a new Walmart store so at least we had a great view out the window…!  Arden had finished a very long week at work and was worn out so we bought food and simply stayed in the room relaxing Friday evening.  It was cold and windy and we just didn’t feel like going anywhere that night.  In the morning Arden said it was exactly what she needed and she felt better.

We weren’t scheduled to visit anyone until Saturday evening – everyone was busy with their own lives – so after a leisurely couple of hours in the room and a light continental breakfast at the hotel we went downtown to the Murrah Building memorial.  We had been there last year as well but it was really cold and we couldn’t stay very long.  We talked to a couple of the Park Service workers and got some interesting details of that day.  If you have never been to the memorial I suggest it as one of those bucket list things.  Oklahoma City is a nice place to visit and the Murrah memorial is very humbling. 

After that we headed to Bricktown (another great place to visit) and had lunch in a place called “Crabtown”.  It’s a great seafood restaurant where, if you order  “the bucket”, they put white paper down on your table and pour shrimp, crab legs, Andouille sausage and corn right in the middle of the table and everyone digs in.  We opted for a less messy meal and split a salad and the best fried clams I have ever eaten.  Interesting - the best fried clams I’ve ever eaten were in Oklahoma.  And the best crab legs I have ever eaten were in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Go figure….

We finished the afternoon then went to Norma’s home for pizza with nearly the entire gang.  Only Norma’s grandson and his family were absent.  Mom and Tom were there and we truly enjoyed the evening.

Sunday morning we got up early and went to have coffee with Mom and Tom before Mom went to work.  We wanted some quiet time with just the four of us.  Arden had originally suggested that I go alone but Mom insisted that she come along.  That’s just the type of person she is – gracious to a fault.

While at Mom’s home I had the opportunity to meet the Tazmanian Devil himself.  Or at least his close relative.  My niece’s one year old dog, part Lab, part something else and part Tazmanian Devil, was in the back yard.  He was on a long rope that gave him access to the entire yard (tied up because he jumps over the 40 inch high fence if he’s not) but had gone down the steps to the lower level of the yard, gone around a large bush, then jumped up the retaining wall thereby leaving a large portion of the rope wrapped around the bush.  He was stuck and standing on top of a smaller bush unable to figure out how to free himself.  When I went out to free him I had to wrestle a 70 pound (guessing) bundle of jumping, writhing, licking energy who could not sit still to save his own life.  He was so crazy I had to hold him by the collar and take the rope off of him, pull it back around the bush and reattach it.  Then I made the mistake of letting him go….

That dog jumped on me more times than I could count before I could take three steps.  When he stands on his back legs he’s as tall as I am and he’s so full of energy it’s like trying to hold on to a tornado.  I finally made it back to the house and went back inside.  The dog whined for a few minutes and laid down on the porch.  He was calm and quiet, looking through the window of the door that separated him from me.  I had some more coffee and decided I’d go out and see him one more time because he was being so good.  Big mistake.  As soon as I opened the door he darted through it, rope and all, and I barely caught him by the tail before he made it all the way into the house.  I grabbed the rope and got him back outside and when I turned to close the door he had made it halfway in again.  The dog is quick. 

I held him away with one hand and closed the door.  He gave up on trying to get in and began concentrating on me instead.  He was back to jumping, spinning around, laying down, rolling over, standing up, licking me, all at the same time.  He rolled and twisted around so much he tied himself up in the rope.  And all of this was going on while I was using my best dog whisperer voice to get him to calm down.  Finally, after a couple of minutes of wrestling (and realizing I was losing) I ordered him down in a stern voice and told him to stay.  He did as I said long enough for me to escape into the house.  And that was that. 

When we left Mom’s we headed back to the hotel to collect our things (and our puppies), then went to the store for some flowers for another trip to the cemetery.  Then we headed for home.

All in all it was a good trip.  We came away feeling a little sad but relaxed and thankful.  Hoping to get back up there sooner than next February.  But time goes so quickly.

Mom and Tom - thank you for still being family and for always supporting me.  That goes for Norma and Jill and the rest of the gang as well.  Love you all.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Remembering Christopher... And The Things I've Learned

Today, February 10, 2013, marks the 11th anniversary of the accident that took my son from this world.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and miss him still.  If he were alive today he would be 28 years old. Who would he be?  Would he have a wife and family?  Would he have fulfilled his dream of being a pilot?  Would he have joined the Air Force as he wanted and gone off to war?  These questions will never be answered for me. 

I was reading something the other day about a teacher who lost her husband suddenly.  She realized that little things in life mattered most and shared her insight with her students.

“Class is over. I would like to share, with all of you, a thought that is unrelated to class but which I feel is very important.  Each of us is put here on earth to learn, share, love, appreciate and give of ourselves. None of us knows when this fantastic experience will end.  It can be taken away at any moment.  Perhaps this is heaven's way of telling us that we should make the most out of every single day.

So I would like you all to make me a promise. From now on, on your way to school, or on your way home, find something beautiful to notice.

It doesn't have to be something you see, it could be a scent, perhaps of freshly baked bread wafting out of someone's house, or it could be the sound of the breeze slightly rustling the leaves in the trees, or the way the morning light catches one autumn leaf as it falls gently to the ground. Please look for these things, and cherish them.

For, although it may sound trite to some, these things are the "stuff" of life - the little things we are put here on earth to enjoy... The things we often take for granted.”

This story was relayed by someone who had recently lost her husband.  I wish I could remember who it was but I accidentally deleted the e-mail prematurely.

Today, in honor of Christopher, I offer the same advice but will add something of my own. 

None of us know when we, or someone we love, will be taken from this life.  It’s difficult enough to lose someone we love when it’s expected, such as an elderly parent or grandparent or someone who suffers from a terminal illness.  It always hurts to have to say good-bye.  It’s even more difficult and painful to lose someone suddenly in an unexpected way.  Losing someone you love to an accident or a heart attack or, heaven forbid, to their own hand, can feel as if a piece of your heart has been torn out.  When that person is suddenly gone forever you can never again tell them in person what they mean to you.  Certainly you can still talk to them – I talk to Christopher all the time and I believe he hears me.  But you can’t look them in the eye and know they understand what you’re telling them.

In like manner, it’s difficult for the ones we leave behind if we happen to be the one who moves on.  If you die tonight – do the people you love know how you feel?

So on this special day I offer this advice.  Never pass up an opportunity to tell those you love just how you feel.  You never know when something could happen that will take that opportunity away from you forever.  The night Christopher died he and his mother had an argument and he left the house angry.  Neither of them said “I love you” before he left.  Certainly things like that are going to happen in life – none of us is perfect.  But Christopher’s mom lived the rest of her life remembering she didn’t tell her baby boy she loved him before he went out.  And it was the last chance she had.

The good thing is that Pat very rarely missed that opportunity.  Christopher certainly knew he was loved and appreciated.  She told him on a regular basis and I told him I loved him every time I spoke with him.  And he told us as well.  So there’s my other piece of advice.  Teach your children to do what I’m telling you.  Teach them to express their love for others openly and for the same reason.  Even though as teenagers they believe they know everything – none of us ever knows what can happen.  They will be better people for it.

May our good Lord bless you all.

Christopher – I’m thinking of you today a little more than usual.  I love you and I miss you every day.  Say hi to your mom for me.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

More Truth About Benghazi - Obama Did Nothing

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testified today before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the Benghazi incident on September 11, 2012.  I wish I had watched it but didn't realize it was on today.  From what I have heard and read, if Panetta is to be believed, his testimony leaves me feeling disturbed.  No, I take that back.  Panetta's testimony leaves me feeling disgusted.  It seems the President was informed soon after the attack began and did nothing about it, just as I have believed for months.  In fact, he didn't even inquire further about it until the next day.

Panetta testified that he did not receive any communication from the White House on the night of the attack after initially informing the president of the situation on the ground in North Africa.

Panetta testified that he did speak directly with the president on the night of the attack. He said he informed Barack Obama of the ongoing situation and was directed to respond appropriately.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) asked if the president made any requests for additional information on American security assets that were in the region which could have responded to the ongoing attack. Panetta replied that the president was generally aware of what regional assets could be deployed, but he did not request any specific information on that night.

“Did you have any further communications with [President Obama] that night?” Ayotte asked.

“No,” Panetta replied.

“Did he ever call you that night to say, ‘how are things going? What’s going on? Where’s the consulate?’” Ayotte followed up.

“No, but we were aware, as we were getting information that was taking place there, particularly when we got information that the ambassador [Chris Stevens] – his life had been lost – we were aware that that information went to the White House,” Panetta added.

“Did you communicate with anyone else at the White House that night?” Ayotte asked.

“No,” Panetta responded.

Interestingly, (or not) CNN reports only that the President was informed and does not post the actual transcript of Panetta's testimony.

MediaMatters reports that Panetta's testimony has been altered and/or taken out of context (even though it's printed word for word) to make Obama look bad but offer no other transcript that verifies their claim.

The bottom line is that the President was informed by Leon Panetta himself who then had no further contact from the President for the rest of the night.

In October 2012, President Obama himself told the media "“The minute I found out what was happening . . . I gave the directive,” he said, “to make sure we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to do. I guarantee you everybody in the CIA and military knew the number-one priority was making sure our people are safe.”

According to Leon Panetta that was a straight up lie.  Not that it surprises me but so many of his supporters believed Obama's lame excuse (and still do) that he wasn't questioned thoroughly about it.  The truth is that four people died in Libya that night, the President was informed when it began and he did absolutely nothing.  And for that, in my humble opinion, he needs to resign or be impeached.

We do not need a Commander in Chief who allows our citizens and ambassadors to be attacked by enemy forces and does nothing about it, then lies to the people of America to protect his own butt.

Will the main stream media report the truth that now stares them in the face?  What do you think?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Let's Just Take Away Their Imaginations And Be Done With It!

Dear Lord - when did we do away with common sense in these Unites States of America?

It has happened again.  In Loveland, Colorado, on Friday afternoon, seven year old Alex Watkins, a second grader, was suspended from second grade for saving the world.  Playing on the playground during recess, Alex pretended that a box on the playground was the evil in the world and he threw an imaginary grenade into the box to destroy the evil and save the world.  Apparently it worked – at least in Alex’s imagination. 

Then he was called to the principal’s office where his mother was called and told he was being suspended “for violating one of the school’s absolutes”, whatever that is.  Apparently the school has a policy of no weapons even if they’re only inside the mind of a seven year old.  Alex’s heroism in saving the world apparently counted for naught.

Alex’s mother is having a difficult time with the suspension and says Alex is really confused.  “He got in trouble for trying to save the world from evil,” she told Denver reporters.

For the second time in less than two weeks I ask “What has happened to common sense and talking to children about something they do wrong (that they may not even realize?)  Unless school authorities or his parents sat him down specifically and said “If you play make believe during recess you can’t blow up anything with an imaginary grenade or use an imaginary gun because you’ll get in trouble” – how was the kid to know?  Do we really want to stifle our children’s imaginations over fear of school violence?  Do we tell our kids they can be heroes but only if they fight their battles without weapons of any kind.  Maybe they can pulverize the bad guy with green energy or something….

Seriously – this is the fourth kid under the age of 8 suspended this year (and it’s only February) for pretending to have finger guns, a picture of a gun or, in this case, an imaginary grenade.  I wonder – does that school also have an absolute no smoking policy?  If so, do you think if a first grader was leaning against the playground fence smoking an imaginary cigarette and trying to act cool he’d be suspended?  Of course he wouldn’t.  The principal would probably talk to him and call the parents but suspend?  Probably not.  And before anyone gets indignant and says “Well, guns kill people” – so do cigarettes.  Certainly there’s a difference but there’s a reason many schools have a zero tolerance for smoking.  But I can tell you without a doubt that imaginary finger guns and imaginary grenades don’t kill or threaten any more people than imaginary cigarettes.  Suspending a child for either is just plain silly.

It’s funny – schools, educators and counselors these days are always worried about a child’s self-esteem.  What do they think they’re doing to the self-esteem of a child when they suspend him for using his imagination?  This kid was fantasizing about saving the world.  Now he thinks he’s a bad kid who did something wrong.  How’s that working toward building his self-esteem?  And the school will wonder why the kid keeps getting in trouble as he gets older.

What ever happened to sitting down with a child and their parents and helping them understand what they did wrong?  This kid is seven years old!!  These days it seems suspension is automatic for everything – no questions or alternative solutions offered.  Let’s not help identify the problem and make the child understand what he did wrong.  Oh, no – that would be too difficult.  Let’s just get rid of the problem for a while.  It won’t solve the problem but it will get it out of our hair for a while. 

When I was a kid I was taught the way to tell the word principal from the word principle was that the guy at your school was your pal.  It seems in this day and age that’s no longer true.  My first principal knew my parents by name and he pulled my first tooth one day in the lunch room.  It seems there aren’t too many like that anymore.  

I fully respect teachers, educators and school principals.  I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression.  Unfortunately, these days many are so busy having to be politically correct they have to stick to rigid and sometimes overzealous rules and can’t be bothered with doing what's right for the child.  And that’s truly a shame.

The Ever Increasing Power Of The Obama Administration

Soon after the Al Quaeda attack on the United States on September 11, 2001, the Bush administration signed the Patriot Act into law in an effort to effect more expedient and efficient intelligence information about terrorist organizations working against the United States.  One of the most controversial aspects of the legislation was the ability of the U.S. government to perform wiretaps on terror suspects without a warrant.

Even though Democrats in both the House and Senate voted to approve the Patriot Act (as they did the war in Iraq), it did not take long before outcries from the liberal base and the liberal media decried the wiretapping as being unconstitutional and a violation of their civil rights.  That same complaint still goes on today in some liberal circles.  Liberals still talk about how Bush took away their rights.  So where are they now?

In the last year President Obama has given himself the authority to arrest and indefinitely detain anyone in America the government decides is a terrorist or supports terrorist activities.  They need no proof and the victim gets no due process – they just disappear.  Gee – that’s a little different than a wiretap, isn’t it?

On Monday, a confidential Justice Department memo obtained and released by NBC (a surprise in and of itself) concluded that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens overseas, and foreign nationals, if they are “believed to be senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.  They can be killed with drone strikes if they are “believed to be” senior operational leaders.

Attorney General Eric Holder specifically endorsed the constitutionality of targeted killings of Americans, saying they could be justified if government officials determine the target poses “an imminent threat of violent attack.”

But the confidential Justice Department “white paper” introduces a more expansive definition of self-defense or imminent attack than originally described by Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, John Brennan, or Holder, in their public speeches.  It refers, for example, to what it calls a “broader concept of imminence” than actual intelligence about any ongoing plot against the U.S. homeland.

“The condition that an operational  leader presents an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” the memo states.

So according to the Attorney General, the President can legally order the arrest, indefinite detention of just about anyone here in this country and the arrest, indefinite detention and/or killing of just about anyone outside the country.  And before people get indignant and say “No, he can’t do that” or “He wouldn’t do that” remember – he already is and has.  Anwar Al-Awlaki was an American citizen.

In the case of Anwar Al-Awlaki – I have no problem with him being taken out.  Not only had he left the United States but he was actively waging jihad against us.  By his words and actions he had declared war on the United States.  Taking him out was a good thing.

By contrast, the DOJ Memo says “even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.”  So all the government has to do is declare someone an Al Quaeda member or suspect and he becomes a target for death.  It also says “does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,”

And once again, it says “It refers to what it calls a “broader concept of imminence” than actual intelligence about any ongoing plot against the U.S. homeland.”

So in other words, the President and his administration not only get to decide who is or is not an Al Quaeda member and/or who represents a threat to the USA but they are judge, jury and executioner and that person will either disappear or be killed at the direction of the President.

Again I ask – where is the outrage from the left??  Why are they not screaming about civil rights and human rights violations by the President of the United States?  At least the ACLU is questioning it.  I’m not a huge fan of that particular organization but someone has to challenge this type of pronouncement!

When the GW Bush administration approved waterboarding the left went crazy.  Even then-Senator Obama denounced waterboarding as torture.  The Bush administration waterboarded a total of three people (and got information that led to the death of Osama Bin Laden – even though Obama will never, ever admit it.)  All of them are still alive.  President Obama skips capture, waterboarding, due process, formal charges and detention.  He simply has them killed.  Where is the outrage from the left??????

It is reported that the Department of Homeland Security has recently ordered 7000+ AR-15 “Personal Protection Weapons” (their words, not mine.)  Personal protection from whom?  In the last year the U.S. government has also purchased over 1 billion rounds of ammunition for everyone from the Department of the Interior to the Social Security Administration to the IRS.  Are they gearing up for something major in this country?  One can’t help but wonder.

It is also rumored that in picking his military leaders for his next term the President is asking them if they would fire on American citizens if so ordered.  The rumor says those answering in the negative are being replaced by those who answer in the affirmative.  Why would a President feel the need to ask that question unless he is seriously considering that possibility?

If people who oppose the President begin disappearing in this country in the next few years, how long do you think it will take to become public knowledge?  Will federal agents raid homes in the middle of the night and haul everyone in the house away?  Will they snatch individuals off the street?  Will FOX News be silenced by the administration to keep it quiet?  God knows the main stream, state run media won’t report it.

It’s a scary world we live in and unlike four years ago, it’s now more scary inside the USA than outside.  When the government becomes the biggest threat to our freedom it’s time for a change.  And President Obama has taken far more of our freedoms away (and continues to do so) than any other President in history.  If he succeeds in taking away our guns, as was the case in Germany, China, Russia, etc.,  – the United States of America will cease to exist as we know it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cruising Main Street - Conclusion....

This one hasn't been quite as popular as some (most) of my political blogs but I enjoyed writing it.  Here is the conclusion.  On Thursday I'll get back to normal...   :)

Cruising Main Street - Part 2

I remember one night my parents were out of town and I decided to have a small party.  Jon, Jeff, Bumble, Andy, John, and a few others, plus some of the girls, were all invited.  We had a great family room in the basement and that’s where the party was going to be.  Unfortunately, as the evening went on more and more kids heard about it and by the time it was in full swing there must have been 50 or 60 people there – most of which I didn’t know.  My buddies helped me keep things under control, ensuring no one went wandering through the house upstairs and helping me make sure that if they were smoking (anything) they did it outside.  Surprisingly I got through the party with little to no damage and nothing missing (that I ever knew of.)  And to my knowledge my parents never knew about it. 

In the winter of 76, the day after a really good snow storm, the four of us went out into the country to do some bumper surfing.  We found a small housing development far away from the city limits with only a handful of houses.  Being outside the city meant the streets were not plowed and the cars coming and going had packed the snow down to make it very slippery – perfect for bumper surfing.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with bumper surfing – it’s when you drive down an icy road with one or more people holding onto your back bumper sliding on the ice behind the car.  It’s a lot of fun but very illegal…

Someone in the neighborhood apparently called the Sheriff’s Office and reported us.  We had finished our bumper surfing and were headed back to town when I got pulled over by a deputy.  He told me I’d been reported for bumper surfing (not the words he used) and said “We don’t go for that type of shenanigans in this county.”  He made me sit in his car while he checked my license and registration but then he let me go with a warning not to get caught doing it again.  I assured him I wouldn’t.

A couple of times in the Spring before I left we went out to an old strip mine they called “The Pond.”  It was a nice, quiet little pool of water, about 60 by 80 feet and deep enough on one side that we could dive off the rocky cliff.  There was one problem though.  Over on the deep side, about six feet out and a couple of feet to the left, was a big rock under the water that you couldn’t see.  So before anyone started diving off the cliff we had to swim around until we found the rock and one of us had to stand on it while the others were jumping.  The water seeped into the pond from underground so it was very cold.  But it was great fun.

In the Spring of 77, as Easter was approaching, Jon, Bumble and I volunteered our voices in the Coshocton Community Choir, which was performing Handel’s Messiah for their Easter presentation.  (Jeff wasn’t much of a singer.)  Since we all enjoyed singing along with the radio and were all in our own high school choirs, it wasn’t much of a stretch.  (Yesterday morning Jon pointed out the interesting contrast of us “underage, town-cruising, drinking buddies that also sang the Messiah!) 

I was honored to be chosen by our director to sing several solos including “The Trumpet Shall Sound”, a song I loved to sing.  We went to our rehearsals every week and took our music home with us.  I would practice my solos in my truck when I was working.  By the time the evening came for the presentation I had everything mostly memorized and didn’t even need the music anymore.

The night of the performance people packed the church.  We sounded great.  I did the first two solos, very simple tunes really, without a problem.  Then came my big moment – “The Trumpet Shall Sound” in front of a live audience.  I was confident and sure – I knew the song inside out.  I had sung it every day for a couple of months and I was ready. 

I went through the first half of the song, hitting all the high notes strongly and projecting well.  I was showing off and having fun.  Then, about three quarters of the way through the song, I came in about two measures two soon.  Looking back afterward I knew what had happened.  When I sang in my truck I didn’t have the accompaniment – I sang without the background music so I started and stopped whenever it felt right.  So that night, I started in with words at the wrong time.  I glanced at the director’s face and knew instantly that I had messed up.  I finished the measure and then came back in where I was supposed to and very few people even knew I had made the mistake.  But Jon and Bumble did.

After the performance everyone was complimentary.  Jon congratulated me and said “Even though you messed up that one part it sounded good and no one really knew about it.”  Even the director said I covered it well and it was no big deal.  I felt pretty good about the whole thing.  My good friend Bumble was the only one who pulled no punches.  He came over and quietly said “You screwed up.”  He didn’t say it in a mean way or to make me feel bad – he was simply stating a fact.  And he was right.  I responded “I did.”  Then he said “Don’t worry.  No one knew but us.  You covered it well.”  So I was vindicated.  I messed up but my friends didn't care.

A couple of nights before I left for the Air Force (on May 31, 1977) Jeff, Jon, Bumble and I went out to a local creek and camped out for the night.  It was our last night together as a group.  We drank a few beers and talked and laughed and stayed up half the night.  Jon reminded me that we also had fireworks because there was a fireworks manufacturer just up the road from where we were camping.  It was a good time.

It’s interesting – as I have been thinking about Coshocton and the memories I realized I only lived there for about a year and only knew Jon and Bumble for about seven months before I left town for good.  I would come home on leave and we’d hang out again but then, a couple of years later my parents moved from Coshocton so it was no longer home.  And I didn’t get back there for a long time.

In 2009 I stopped in Coshocton to look up Bumble – the only one I knew who still lived in town.  I had searched for him online and discovered he worked for the county so I stopped by his office to see him one day while driving that way.  He wasn’t in but I left him a note that I’d stop by again on my way back through town.  On the way back I didn’t catch him at work but I found Jeff’s address and stopped by his house.  He hadn’t changed at all in 30 years.  He still has the same old 68 Plymouth Satellite convertible (I think that’s what it is) that he bought when I lived there.  He introduced me to his son and said “I’d like you to meet one of the best friends I ever had.”

While he and I were standing outside talking, Bumble drove up.  He lives next door to Jeff.  He no longer has his hair but other than that he looks the same as always.  I still haven’t seen Jon.  The sad thing about this is – when I lived in Columbus, Ohio, in 2009 and part of 2010, he lived on the other side of town.  I found out he was there but it was after I began working full time and we never managed to get together.  I left in August of 07 and even though I’ve been back to town a couple of times for family gatherings I have yet to see him.   I feel badly about that and must remedy it one day.

Even after all these years and even though I don’t get to see them often enough, the friends I used to cruise Main Street with were good pals and I have a lot of great memories – especially considering what a short period of time I actually spent with them back then.  I’m hoping one day to arrange a reunion with them.  Have dinner in Coshocton and cruise up and down Main Street again – even if we all pile into a minivan!