Thursday, December 28, 2017

Think The Mueller Investigation Is On The Up And Up? Consider These Facts

1. James Comey intentionally released confidential investigation information to a friend with instructions for it to be given to the press. His stated purpose was to get a special council appointed.

2. Robert Mueller and James Comey are close personal friends. Comey wanted Mueller appointed.

3. Mueller was appointed by the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.  Rosenstein, appointed by Trump, no doubt knew Mueller and knew Comey wanted Mueller appointed. The Rosenstein connection to this investigation is highly curious.

4. Mueller was appointed to investigate "collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign," which in and of itself is not illegal. Since there was no alleged crime (which by Justice Department rules there is supposed to be to appoint a special council) Mueller was not given any guidelines or restrictions, giving him unlimited (and unprecedented) scope of investigative authority. He could look at anything, without restriction, ignoring the due process rights of President Trump (since no one has accused him of a crime.)

5. The Mueller investigation, with full cooperation of the President, has found no evidence of collusion by the Trump campaign but has uncovered virtually overwhelming evidence that Obama and Hillary Clinton at various times throughout the last 8 years. Obama and Clinton gave Russia 20% of our uranium and Clinton paid for the fake Russian dossier on Trump.

6. While Mueller supporters defend him, his team of mostly Clinton supporters and donors speak the possibility of political bias, particularly after Peter Strzok was fired for that very reason. Another investigator, Andrew Weissman, attended Hillary Clinton's election-night party. A third, Jeannie Reid, represented the Clinton Foundation and Hillary herself in a 2015 lawsuit that sought the release of Clinton's emails.

A fourth, Aaron Zebley, represented Justin Cooper, a key figure in the setup of Hillary's private email server.

A fifth investigator, who left the team prior to the scandal, was FBI  agent Lisa Page, who exchanged derogatory text messages about Trump with Peter Strzock.

And a sixth, New York Attorney General, is openly bragging about his successful resistance to the Trump administration. In an article in The Medium, he says he's a public anti-Trump litigator who has filed 100 legal or administrative challenges to Trump's administrative policies during Trump's first year in office. "We try and protect new Yorkers from those who would do them harm," Schneiderman recently told the New York Times. "The biggest threat to New Yorkers right now is the federal government (ie, Trump). And we're responding to it."

Yeah - no worry about bias there, huh?

Perhaps I'm wrong but in my humble opinion, if you want your investigation to appear non-partisan and impartial you don't select investigators who used to work for or with the opposing candidate in the election in question. And you don't select investigators who are openly hostile toward the subject of the investigation. But that's me.

Still not convinced? Substitute President Obama for President Trump in this situation and all the investigators used to work for Mitt Romney or John McCain....

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Jerusalem Recognized By US As Israel's Capital - Let The Violence Begin

Yesterday, President Trump announced that he would be the first President in the 22 years since the policy was implemented to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The bill authorizing it was signed by Bill Clinton in 1995, then ignored by Clinton, Bush and Obama. None of them wanted to irritate the Palestinians (nor the Muslim world) so they simply waved it off every time it came up. Donald Trump said "Enough of that."

The Palestinians have said this will end the peace process. What peace process? They haven't been interested in peace between Israel and themselves unless they get an Iran deal. You know - where they get everything and Israel gets nothing. Other Muslim nations are upset about it as well. Hamas and the Palestinian leadership are already calling for violence and an "intifada."

Know what? I don't care. Let the Muslims be angry. I've been angry at many of them for a long time - ever since a group of them attacked the United States in 2001 and they rest didn't rise up as a whole to condemn that attack and prevent future attack.

Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for over 3000 years. And no matter what Islam says - that fact remains. Israel could have taken it by force but they did not. They could take over control of the Temple Mount by force but they haven't done it.

If the Muslim world wants peace there's a way to achieve it. They need to join together as a whole and denounce Quran dictated jihad, caliphate and terrorism, and fight against all of them worldwide. But they refuse to do that. So I don't care if they're angered by Trump's announcement.

I do worry about the people of the incredible city of Jerusalem. I have no doubt that Islamic terrorist attacks will increase following this announcement and, even though it was praised by Benjamin Netanyahu, it will increase the danger to Israelis all across Israel. Rocket attacks by Hamas in Gaza will likely increase as well. But the Jews are willing to take the chance in order to reclaim their rightful city as their own. And I'm good with that.

May God bless Israel, her people and leadership, and President Trump for taking this historic and courageous step. The Palestinians now have a chance to either move forward with peace talks or stubbornly say "There will never be peace" and continue their attacks on Israel. Netanyahu could virtually destroy Hamas if he invaded Gaza - but he won't do that because invading Gaza is not what he wants to do."

Radical Muslims are the root of the violence in Israel, throughout the Middle East and the world. If they want peace they need to police their own. Otherwise they leave it up to the Western World to do that policing. And things get ugly....

Friday, December 1, 2017

Why The San Francisco Verdict Was Wrong

Yesterday's verdict in the Kate Steinle murder case in San Francisco was wrong.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon and illegal possession of a gun by a convicted felon. He was found not guilty of all charges except illegal possession of a gun. This verdict, regardless of the jury's reasoning, was wrong. And here's why:

Jose Zarate was in the country illegally. During that time he admits that he fired a gun that ultimately killed Kate Steinle. Whether or not he intended to do it makes a difference only in the degree of which crime he should be found guilty of but in the least, killing a woman when you're here illegally (for the sixth time) would be involuntary manslaughter. If you commit a crime while in the process of committing another you can and should be found guilty of both.

I have no idea how the prosecutor failed to prove his case to the jury. Personally, I believe the jury, being from San Francisco (one of the sanctuary capitols of the country) was tainted by the ridiculous belief that Zarate had a right to be there regardless of federal law. He was in violation of federal law and ICE had requested that he be held until they picked him up. He should never have been released to the streets. Kate Steinle's blood is on the hands of the city of San Francisco and the county Sheriff's Office that released Zarate.

Zarate's attorney immediately went political after the verdict, criticizing President Trump and saying that it was “a vindication for immigrants.” I've got news for him. Legal immigrants don't need vindication and illegal immigrants need to be prosecuted. California's blatant disregard for federal law has reached the critical point with this verdict. Yet they still demand the federal government continue to give them federal funding, as if they deserve it.

I lived in California for a total of five years in the 1980s and truly love the state. But the liberal government has changed it so much I would never return there to live. And now that their government has let us know that illegal immigrants not only have the same civil rights as US citizens but won't be held accountable for the crimes they commit I probably won't even visit anymore.

The Justice Department is looking into charging Zarate. They can charge him with involuntary manslaughter despite the California verdict since it will be a federal charge. They can also convict him of illegal re-entry and imprison him for two years on that conviction alone. Either way, they need to get him out of the hands of California authorities.

I'm wondering if Jose Zarate will do any state time for the one crime of which he was convicted. Or will California give him time served and release him before the federal government can pick him up? That wouldn't surprise me at all, given where he is.

Jerry Brown should be proud today. His liberal sanctuary law has worked in favor of a killer.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Some Truth About Correctional Workers

Some of you know that after the Air Force I spent my career working in federal prisons. I started at a maximum security penitentiary (USP Lompoc) and worked every other level of prison over 22 years. Did a 3 year stint at USP Leavenworth as well.
Working in prisons can and does change you. As the unknown author of the paragraphs below explains, these changes are a coping mechanism to help one deal with the ugly things one sees working with the dregs of society.
Fortunately for me, I was able to retire 10 years ago, have allowed God to intervene in my life and He has wiped away any PTSD I may have suffered from my career.
But there is a lot of truth in the words below, as my BOP coworkers will attest. Working in prisons is not for everyone. Just like police officers on the streets, it takes a special kind of person to work inside the walls and fences that house those who couldn't function normally in society.
Here is an explanation of it that I wish I'd written. I thought it important enough to share and wish I knew who the author was.
"Those who fight monsters inevitably change. Because of all that they see and do, they lose their innocence, and a piece of their humanity with it. If they want to survive, they begin to adopt some of the same characteristics as the monsters they fight. It is necessary. They become capable of rage, and extreme violence.
"There is a fundamental difference, however. They keep those monster tendencies locked away in a cage, deep inside. That monster is only allowed out to protect others, to accomplish the mission, to get the job done - not for the perverse pleasure that the monsters feel when they harm others. In fact, those monster tendencies cause damage...GUILT, ISOLATION, DEPRESSION, PTSD.
"There is a cost for visiting violence on others when you are not a monster. Those who do so know one thing - the cost inflicted upon society as a whole is far greater without those who fight monsters. That is why they are willing to make that horrible sacrifice so that others may live peaceably.
Before you judge one of us, remember this...
"We witness things that humans aren't meant to see, and we see them repeatedly. We perform the duties that you feel are beneath you. We solve your problems - often by visiting violence upon others. We run towards the things that you run away from. We go out to fight what you fear. We stand between you and the monsters that want to damage you. You want to pretend that they don't exist, but we know better. We do the things that the vast majority are too soft, too weak, too cowardly to do.
"Your life is more peaceful, because of us.
"The current political climate in this country holds that there is nothing worth fighting for. Submission is the popular mantra. Warriors are decried, denigrated, and cast as morally inferior. We know how childish, how asinine, and how cowardly that mindset is.
"We know this - there ARE things worth fighting, and dying for. We know that not every problem can be solved through rational discourse - that some problems can only be solved through the application of force and violence. And, while we do prefer the former, we are perfectly capable of the latter.
We believe that fighting what others fear is honorable, noble, and just - and we are willing to pay the price for that deeply held belief. Why? For us, it isn't a choice...
It is what we are. We are simply built that way."
~ Author Unknown

Saturday, November 18, 2017

To The Political Left - Clean Up Your Own House First

I find it fascinating that so many liberal/progressive actors, producers and politicians are being outed as sex offenders yet so few of them are actually facing any consequences for their behavior. Many of them have actually admitted to the disgusting behavior but they've said “I'm sorry,” as if that should make it all better.

I also find it fascinating that in light of what's going on with liberals/progressives in Hollywood and Washington DC, people on the left are pointing to a lewd statement that Donald Trump made 11 years ago and pretending that it's just as bad as the actual physical misconduct perpetrated by their own kind.

Just as in the Roy Moore case, there has never been any evidence that President Trump did anything wrong other than make a lewd statement. There are no women claiming that he actually acted out on that statement or did anything inappropriate or illegal to any woman. But that fact doesn't seem to matter to those who will defend the celebrities and politicians on the left and condemn Trump's statement as somehow worse.

The actual picture of Al Franken's misdeed is less than convincing to me. The woman is wearing a bulletproof vest and it really doesn't look like his hands are actually touching her. If I was a jury at his trial that picture wouldn't convince me of his guilt. His confession and apology, however? That does it for me.

Kevin Spacey has admitted to illicit contact with young boys. Why has he not been arrested? Harvey Weinstein may be arrested one day. At least the police are investigating it and there is video evidence of him confessing to an assault on a woman.

Bill Clinton was accused of rape, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, etc., yet he was President for two terms and the women who accused him were all but destroyed by Hillary Clinton and the media. Hillary said last year that all women who claim they were sexually assaulted deserved to be believed. But apparently that's not the case when the alleged assaulter is her husband.

Roy Moore has been accused of sexual misconduct and sexual assault by several women yet no one has produced any evidence to verify that it happened. The “yearbook” presented by Gloria Allred last week appears to have a forged signature of Roy Moore in it but Ms. Allred will not release the yearbook for examination. Gee, what does that indicate? If her “evidence” was sound why would she have a problem with it being verified?

Donald Trump made a lewd comment. That's it. It was a stupid and childish thing for him to say but then, he's been known to say childish things since then. Does his statement make him a sex offender? Only to the hypocrites on the left who ignore the behavior of their own but who scrupulously examine everything President Trump says and does.

To the left I say “Clean up your own house before you tell others what to do.”

Friday, November 10, 2017

Happy Veterans' Day

Tomorrow, November 11th, is Veterans' Day. It is a day set aside to honor those who have served in our country’s armed forces during both peacetime and wartime.  Veterans’ Day doesn’t ask where you served, what your rank was, or what branch of the military you were in, it merely says “Thank you for your service” by way of a national holiday.

There is an old saying that “A veteran is someone who, at some point in his/her life, writes a check payable to “The people of the United States of America” for the amount of “Up to and including my life.” No truer words were ever spoken. Not all service members realize the depth of their commitment to their country when they take that oath but they promise to defend America at all costs.

I didn't really realize it until a friend thanked me for my service several years ago. She thanked me for volunteering my life to protect her, her family and the country. I honestly never thought about it in that way before that.

I signed the enlistment papers at the age of 19. I had no career plans to speak of, no interest in college, and wanted to do something different to get me through that awkward period between high school and adulthood.

I took my very first airplane ride on May 31, 1977, to basic training in San Antonio, Texas. I remember being impressed with the meal they served us during the trip. That was back when the airlines gave you more food than you could actually eat.

A bus ride to Lackland Air Force Base, falling in on the painted footprints in the parking lot, then in-processing and a briefing before we went to the dining hall. Then we went to our barracks and got our assigned beds and some sleep – as if that was possible given my day.

We got up early the next morning and I celebrated my 20th birthday with a G.I. haircut (as was the style then – most of us had long hair), immunizations and uniform issue. By the end of the day we all looked like we belonged. Newbies, of course, but we didn't look so out of place.

Basic Training was pretty easy. We did a lot of running and stretching and no pushups. I was a little disappointed with the lack of hard physical training since I had been doing numerous pushups in preparation for this. I had also been running every day so that part was easy.

Fast forward to technical school in beautiful Wichita Falls, Texas, about 2 hours North of where I live today. At the time there wasn't much in Wichita Falls. My parents came to visit me about the third week I was there. They stayed two days while we looked around the area and said “We're sorry. We're leaving. There is nothing here that really interests us except you.” They headed to Hot Springs, Arkansas, for the rest of their vacation. I've been to Hot Springs. I can't blame them for that at all.

I got orders to go to Wiesbaden, Germany, following tech school but I did so well in my academics, training to be a medic, I was offered a job working in the hospital at the prestigious Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Some of my buddies said I should pass that up because I'd be walking around all day saluting everyone. As it turns out, it was one of the most lax assignments I had.

I developed a love for emergency medicine while there and ended up working in the ER at all three of my Air Force assignments. I became an EMT, a CPR instructor, an Advanced Cardiac Life Support provider and an ACLS instructor, all courtesy of the U.S. Air Force. I worked in the ER at the Academy, Vandenburg AFB in California, and eventually, Wiesbaden, Germany.

In Germany I was issued a gas mask and a Geneva Convention card. We trained regularly to use them in case we actually went to war. It made it a little more real for me but it was still just a job for the most part.

When I went to Germany my wife was active duty at Vandenburg and she followed me there about nine months later. Our son was born in the Wiesbaden Regional Medical Center in June of 1984.

They say you are never properly prepared for your first child but late in 1983 I was moved from the ER to be the NCOIC of the Pediatrics Ward in the hospital. I got hands on training with babies every day. But the night my son was born the doctor asked if I wanted to deliver him. I said no. I had no doubt I could deliver anyone else's baby but was scared to death to deliver my own.

One of the things we had to do after our son was born was sign a paper designating who would take over care of our son in case we got deployed in war time. Since both of us were active duty it was possible we could both be deployed if necessary. So we had to sign a form telling the Air Force who would get custody of our son if we were sent off to war.

In the early Spring of 1985 we traveled home on leave for the first time as a family. My wife had gotten out of the Air Force when her enlistment was up (she didn't much like signing that form) and she decided, since I was due to get out in September, she and my son would stay in California with her parents. She didn't really want to go back as a civilian and a stay-at-home mom.

So I headed back to do my last six months alone. I missed my son's first birthday. My bosses wanted me to stay and offered me a job as the NCOIC of the Emergency Room but I turned them down. I wanted to be with my family. I left in August with 30 days of “terminal leave,” using up the last of my accrued leave time. My official discharge date was in September.

I waited in Ohio for my car to arrive in New Jersey and rode the bus up to pick it up. I drove from New Jersey to California in five days, spending the first night with family and the other three with different friends from the Air Force.

One thing I can say about the Air Force – I made some terrific life-long friends. I was at the Academy for four years, Vandenburg for 18 months, and Germany for nearly 3 years. I am still in close touch with people from all three but particularly with a group of incredible people I met in Germany. We get together every two years for a reunion. They are some of the best friends I've ever had.

I'm proud of my time in the Air Force and would do it all over again if I could.

Thank you to all of my fellow veterans. Your service may have been during war time or peace time but it was important and we as a nation are grateful to you. God bless America and our military services.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

More Laws Won't Prevent A Shooting Like Sutherland Springs

I was listening to the radio this morning and heard an update on the Sutherland Springs, Texas, church shooting. Survivors of the shooting say that after the initial volleys of bullets, after many people were already dead and/or wounded, the shooter began targeting crying infants and toddlers, searching them out and executing them.

I had tears in my eyes as I listened to the horrid details. What kind of monster does it take to deliberately shoot innocent children as they cry for their wounded or dead parents? There is no doubt in my mind that Satan himself was in this man's heart as he committed those evil acts. And President Trump was right when he said the incident was a mental health issue rather than a gun issue.

Over one third of Americans say they or someone in their household owns at least one firearm. That's 106.6 million legal gun owners. Given that there were at least two shootings in Texas that day and no doubt several dozen others across the country, that means that 106.59 million gun owners did not shoot anyone on Sunday. And those are the statistics every day. Legal/licensed gun owners do not go out and commit mass murder. Most of them never fire their weapon anywhere except on the range.

More laws will only make it tougher for law-abiding citizens to purchase and/or retain their weapon(s). Bad guys like Devin Kelley don't follow the law. He lied about his criminal conviction on his background check application. Sadly, the U.S. Air Force failed to enter his conviction into NICS so he passed the background check. But only because he lied.

In like manner Dylan Roof, the Charleston S.C. shooter, had a criminal conviction for drugs and his information was inadvertently not entered into NICS. He should not have been able to purchase a firearm either, let alone two. But a government screw up allowed him to lie on his background check and buy guns.

So why do people think more laws will help when bad guys don't abide by the law(s) and the government sometimes doesn't do its job in ensuring the laws are enforced and all information is entered into the system as required. No, I'm not blaming the shootings on the government. But at least two of the recent shooters would have been unable to obtain a gun through regular channels had the government agencies done what what was required of them.

Texas Senator John Cornyn plans to introduce legislation aimed at ensuring all federal agencies upload required conviction records into NICS. It's already a requirement for all federal law enforcement agencies to do this. Do we need a law? And if a conviction gets overlooked somehow are we going to prosecute the responsible person and put them in jail?

According to news sources, Devin Kelley escaped from a mental health facility while still in the Air Force. He had been sent there after assaulting his wife and fracturing his baby stepson's skull. He had also attempted to smuggle firearms onto Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico in an attempt to carry out death threats he had made against his military superiors.

The guy obviously had mental health issues. And I think it's incumbent on our legislators to figure out a way to prevent people like this from legally obtaining firearms. I have no problem with preventing someone who has proved himself/herself a danger to others from legally buying a gun. That's about the only law that would be common sense. Outlawing semiautomatic rifles won't prevent gun deaths. It will only cause people to use a different weapon.

Laws only work for law-abiding citizens. More laws won't keep bad guys from obtaining guns. If that was the case Chicago would be the safest city in the United States.

More gun laws may have prevented the hero of Sutherland Springs from stopping the shooter's progress, thereby potentially increasing the number of dead and wounded on Sunday. A good guy with a gun stopped a bad guy with a gun.

More laws will prevent good guys from having guns. They do absolutely nothing to the bad guys. The sooner the left figures that out the better.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Let's Get Rid Of Everything We Think Is Racist!

Friday on the radio I heard a local talk show host, Rick Roberts, talking about the Confederate statues being removed in Dallas and around the country, and schools and streets named after Confederates are being renamed. Rick got to thinking out loud about what else we should do away with because it relates to the South or the Confederacy. Here were some of the suggestions.

Elvis Presley once recorded “Dixie.” You know the one.

“Oh, I wish I were in the land of cotton.
Old times there are not forgotten.
Look away, look away, look away,

Elvis was obviously a racist to record a song like that.

Hank Williams, Jr. also made the list. He recorded a song called “Dixie On My Mind.” Obviously, any man who thinks of Dixie like that is a racist. We need to do away with Old Bocefus and his music.

The band Alabama recorded “Song Of The South.” What could be more racist than that?

And Lynard Skynard puts Confederate flags on at least some of their album covers. So they're gone as well.

My question since this whole “Remove the Statues” campaign began has been “Where does it stop?”

When we start removing harmless (and priceless) pieces of history, which these two things certainly are, where does it stop? Do we ban songs and recording artists who record “the wrong song?” Do we start removing books from libraries because they contain controversial stories?

A school district in Mississippi has removed Harper Lee's classic book “To Kill A Mockingbird,” a novel about racial inequality and hatred, because some people complained about some of the words in the book. (The book is still in the library.) Yet I would bet that those people complaining hear those same words from their favorite musical artists and/or comedians and that's perfectly OK.

A church in Arlington, Virginia, removed to name plates and a couple of plaques that were placed in the church as historical tributes to two of their more well known members – George Washington and Robert E. Lee. They said some parishoners were refusing to return to church because the plaques make them feel “unsafe.” Really?

I wonder how long they had attended the church before they decided they felt unsafe? Did they attend before the NFL players began taking a knee? And has anyone asked them how an inanimate historical plaque threatens them?

Where does it stop? Where does political correctness end and dealing with real life begin?

History does not change simply because you remove things that depict how things were or that honor brave men (and women) who lived extraordinary lives. The sooner people stop being offended by history and allowing for the fact that our past can't be changed to suit them the better off the nation will be.

By the way - the best part of the conversation was when he said “The Dixie Chicks – just their name is racist. But we don't need to get rid of them – they pretty much did that on their own.”

Monday, October 30, 2017

George Washington Plaque To Be Removed From His Old Church Pew

A small plaque with George Washington's name etched in it is being removed from a church pew in Arlington, Virginia, because some people “felt unsafe” when they saw the name and refused to return to the church.

A second plaque bearing the name of Robert E. Lee was also removed. Both men used to attend the church on a regular basis and the plaques were historical.

Fearing for one's safety because you see the name of a long dead President or a long dead military leader is an issue that I may discuss on another day. My point today is about the removal of the plaques.

George Washington wasn't a perfect man. He owned slaves, which was a despicable practice. That said - it was the custom at that time in history, 200 plus years ago. To hold to the standard of today's society the actions and customs of people from 200 years ago is completely unfair.

Some Native Americans were violent and attacked other tribes for land, horses, etc. Some captured and held captive both white and Native Americans. Those captives were no different than slaves unless they eventually decided to assimilate into the tribe that held them. I have yet to see anyone scream for any Native American statue or monument to be removed. And as a whole they were treated far worse by the new settlers than were the black people here.

According to the Census Bureau, black/African-American people make up about 12.2% of the U.S. population and Hispanics make up 12.3%. Native Americans, who used to own this land, make up only 2% of the population. That's because so many were killed off and others placed on reservations. Native Americans suffered far more than black Americans as a people.

I question the mental stability of people who feel fear from seeing names of dead people who had absolutely nothing to do with their lives today. Do they feel unsafe seeing the name Adolf Hitler, who killed up to 6 million people? Do they feel unsafe when they hear the name Osama Bin Laden, who killed 3,000 Americans? Of course not. That's because the outrage at seeing the names (and statues) isn't so much about personal pain but about attempting to erase America's past.

And it's dangerous.

I Hope You Dance....

I had a surprising emotional memory yesterday evening that caught me off guard. Arden and I had been watching a movie and when it was over the first song for the closing credits was “I Hope You Dance.”

My eyes instantly filled with tears and I was overcome with grief. The song, written by Mark Sanders and Tia Sillers and recorded originally by Lee Ann Womack, had always made me think of my son and very well stated many of the wishes I had for his life.

I began wondering why it stirred such a reaction in me after all these years so I looked it up online. Lee Ann Womak recorded it in 1999 with the band “Sons Of The Desert.” It was released the following year on her album “I Hope You Dance” and quickly became a huge hit. In 2001 it won six awards including Best Country Song and Song of the Year.

As I said – the song always made me think of my son and his future. He died in February of 2002. That song had been a big part of my life in the months just before he died. I think that's why it hit me so hard - because it was so close to the time we lost him.

I let the tears flow for a few minutes while I explained my bizarre behavior to my wife. I showed her the lyrics to the song and she instantly understood.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances, but they're worth takin'
Lovin' might be a mistake, but it's worth makin'
Don't let some Hellbent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin' out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance (Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance
I hope you dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder)
I hope you dance (Where those years have gone?)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance


I hope you dance
I hope you dance (Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder?)

It's so strange how music - a particular song - can invoke such powerful reactions from people, particularly 15 years later. A big thank you to Mark Sanders and Tia Sillers for writing such a powerful song and to Lee Ann Womack for her beautiful rendition of it. It made me cry but it made me smile at the same time.

I miss you, Christopher. And I love you as much today as I ever did.

By the way - for those of you reading this...  tell your kids you love them every chance you get. You never know when you may not have that chance again....

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

New California Laws Are Not Only Stupid But Dangerous

In recent weeks California has passed several laws that are dangerous to its citizens.

The first made California a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants. Even as the trial of the “alleged” murderer of Kate Steinle gets underway (He was deported five times prior to Steinle's murder), illegal aliens now have a legal right to be in California according to their new law. The law is not only in violation of federal law but downright stupid. And the governor still believes his state should continue to receive all federal funding it has been getting even as he tells the federal government he will not abide by federal law.

The second stupid and dangerous law makes it illegal for health care workers who “willfully and repeatedly” decline to use a senior transgender patient's preferred name (or pronoun) faces up to a year in prison.

Is this really a problem? I mean – are there so many health care workers in California abusing patients by refusing to acknowledge their chosen gender that they needed to pass a law against it? And does this law have a clause for people who change their minds and decide they're a different gender a few weeks later or they go from male/female to non-binary and back? Is there going to be a law to protect health care workers from abuse by patients who simply can't decide what gender they want to be from day to day?

The sponsor of the bill, a Democrat, says no one is going to be criminally prosecuted for using the wrong pronoun. Yet the law states if the provisions are violated, the violator could be punished by a fine “not to exceed one thousand dollars” or “by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not to exceed one year,” or both. So why put that language in if it's never going to happen?

And the third brilliant move by Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown is a new law that reduces the penalty for knowingly giving someone the HIV virus from a felony to a misdemeanor. In doing so Brown has basically decriminalized potentially deadly assault on California residents.

Some will argue that HIV is not necessarily fatal anymore due to new medications and treatments. That may be true however, the potential is there since not every patient responds to every treatment the same way. And why shouldn't it be a serious crime to knowingly give someone a lifelong, if not fatal disease?

I lived in California for five years back in the early 80s. I loved the state and still do. It is really beautiful and has so many incredible things to see and do. I visited two years ago and was reminded of all the wondrous things that are there. But I wouldn't move back for any reason.

I can't imagine the citizens of California being happy about these changes. I know some people are getting fed up and leaving the state – not only to get away from the craziness of the government but the high taxes and high cost of living. I don't blame them. California has become a great place to visit.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

No - Roger Goodell Did Not Tell The NFL Players To Stand

It's being reported and repeated that Trump has won the battle of NFL players kneeling for the national anthem.

Roger Goodell issued a Memo on Monday addressing the issue and many are saying that he caved to the President and that President Trump won. But is that really true?

The most important sentence in the Memo is as follows: “Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem.”

He goes on to talk about why unity is important and that he's going to meet with the owners next week and then meet with the players' association (union) after that and they're going to talk about it and try to find a solution. Goodell did not tell the players they must all stand for the anthem. He didn't even come close.

I think Goodell's Memo was issued to make it look like he's doing something when he's really not. At least not yet.

Some players are pushing back. "I don't think guys are gonna like it," said Gerald McCoy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when asked about the possible reaction from players. "I think it's gonna be an uproar if that is to happen because you're basically taking away a constitutional right to freedom of speech. If guys wanna have a, I guess you would call it a peaceful protest, I don't think it's right to take that away."

Um... hate to tell you this Gerald but if your team or league tells you you can no longer kneel for the national anthem or there will be consequences you still have freedom of speech. You just have to deal with the consequences if you decide to exercise it and kneel anyway. You have a constitutional right to express yourself. But if your employer tells you not to do it on his time and you do it anyway he has the constitutional right to take action against you.

One thing is certain – it's going to get interesting before it goes away. Goodell let it go on too long and now, regardless of what he does, many fans and most of the protesting players are still going to be angry. 

Best part about it? I don't watch anyway.

Monday, October 9, 2017

49ers Player says VP Pence Is Seeking Publicity

San Francisco 49ers' Eric Reid said yesterday that Vice President Mike Pence's decision to leave the game after players on the 49er's team took a knee during the national anthem was a simple publicity stunt by the Vice President.
Imagine that - a man who takes a knee during the national anthem to gain publicity accusing others of publicity stunts.
“I have the upmost respect for the military, for the anthem, for the flag," Reid said. "So I will say that every time ya’ll interview me. This is about systemic oppression that has been rampant in this country for decades on top of decades. And I will continue to say and encourage people to educate themselves of how we got to where are today, because it didn’t happen overnight. And it’s not going to happen overnight to fix these issues, so we’re going to keep talking about it."
What Reid simply fails to understand is that his taking a knee during our national anthem is disrespectful to those in the military who died giving him the right to do it. His taking a knee during the national anthem is nothing more than a publicity stunt by a guy who feels "systemic oppression" even though he is a millionaire and has taken full advantage of the opportunities given him by the United States of America.
Reid said people need to educate themselves of "how we got to where we are today, because it didn't happen overnight." Is he talking about how he and his protesting buddies got to where they are today? None of them is hurting too badly.
Mr. Reid - you say you "have the upmost respect for the military, for the anthem, for the flag." As a veteran and an American I can tell you it doesn't show through your actions. Your actions say you're an overpaid crybaby who uses your fame and success to trash the very country that gave you your opportunities. Not very becoming of you. Actions do speak louder than words.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Emotional Demand For More Gun Control After Las Vegas Shooting

And so it begins – the emotional outcry for “MORE GUN CONTROL!”

An obviously disturbed man (anyone who can randomly murder innocent people unknown to them has to be disturbed – including groups like ISIS) armed with multiple weapons fired rapidly into an outdoor concert crowd from the thirty-second floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, killing more than fifty people and injuring as many as 400 others.

Immediately, before the dead were even counted, people on the left began calling for increased gun control and weapons bans. No details have been made public other than the shooter was white, 64 years old, a resident of Mesquite, Nevada, and had a female, Asian companion who was not, at least according to police, complicit in the shootings. The shooter is dead so the reason(s) for the shooting rampage may never be known.

ISIS has claimed that the shooter was a convert to Islam and he was acting for them. Authorities say at this time there is no evidence to support that claim.

We don't know why this man did what he did. Was he a terrorist? According to authorities – at this point he does not meet the definition and/or requirements to be called a terrorist. Some people are complaining that although he murdered dozens of people, because he's white he won't be labeled a terrorist. Those people are also reacting with their emotions and are perhaps unaware of the definition of terrorism.

The definition of terrorism is “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.” Authorities have no idea at this time whether or not the shooter's motives were political or ideological. One report says that his brother claimed he had no real political or religious affiliations. If that is true he does not fit the description or definition of a terrorist.

Let's get back to gun control. AR-15 rifles are outlawed in California yet the San Bernardino shooters managed to illegally get two. Chicago has the most strict gun laws in the country and has the highest rate of gun violence. Washington DC, also with highly stringent gun laws, follows a close second behind Chicago for gun violence. Gun laws do not prevent people from obtaining guns. Gun laws prevent people from obtaining them legally.

Gun laws prevent honest, law-abiding citizens from being able to own firearms to protect themselves, their families and their property. And who is to say that a legal gun owner “doesn't need an AR-15?” Who are they to decide my weapon of choice for home protection?

The weapon used by the Las Vegas shooter, from audio/video recordings of the incident that have been online, indicate the shooter had at least one fully automatic weapon. While automatic weapons are legal in the United States, they're not easily obtained (legally.) One must have a federal background investigation, buy a federal tax stamp and pay a very large sum of money (because of the taxes) for the weapon.

I would venture a guess that the shooter's automatic rifle was either purchased illegally or modified illegally or both. That is speculation only but the cost of legally buying a fully automatic weapon keeps most people out of the market for them.

The Clark County Sheriff said that this type of incident cannot be prevented. I heard a guy on the radio later say that's simply untrue. He said we have the technology, including video cameras in the hotel, that would have shown him making “multiple trips to his room with a large amount of luggage that he would have to have to have so many weapons and large numbers of ammunition in his room.”

The truth is that if he had 10 rifles, as has been stated, and several thousand rounds of ammunition he could have easily concealed them in a duffle bag and a strong suitcase and pushed the luggage cart to his room himself, making only one trip. This guy planned his attack well, for whatever reason.

There are two big questions that need to be answered to get any kind of closure for this incident. 1) Where and how did he get the weapon? And 2) What was his motivation for carrying out the attack?

Unfortunately, with him dead and the family saying they have no idea how it could have happened we may never know the answers. His roommate is being questioned by law enforcement officials. Perhaps she can shed some light on his mental condition.

Ownership of automatic rifles is regulated. Since this is the first incident I know of (in my 60 years of life) in which a fully automatic weapon was used the current controls seem to be working pretty well. It's doubtful that any more regulation will change anything. If the gun was obtained or modified illegally a new law is not going to help. That's just the truth.

The one thing people need to remember is – any gun is only as dangerous as the person holding it.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Why The Flag Protests Are Offensive To Me

As a child I was taught to love and respect my country and my flag. And why not? America has always been one of the greatest, most generous and welcoming country in the world. Sure, we've had our problems. Every society in history has had problems. But we've worked through many of them and made things better.

Slavery and the past treatment of black people in this country is a sad part of our history. It took over 100 years to end the practice of slavery in the United States and it really only happened because Abraham Lincoln wanted to further degrade the South so they'd surrender. Lincoln, while a greataft President, wasn't initially going to end slavery. He only wanted to keep it from spreading to other states.

Fast forward to modern times. The protest by Colin Kaepernick is, according to his own words, about police brutality toward people of color and their “bodies in the street.” It would be a worthwhile cause.... if it was true. Statistics and court rulings don't support it as a wide spread problem. Sure – there have been a few wrongful shootings by police. And those police have, for the most part, been prosecuted.

I'd like to know which cases, which “bodies on the street” Kaepernick is talking about. Michael Brown, perhaps? No wrongdoing by the officer in that case. Eric Garner – who was “killed for selling cigarettes?” Actually, Garner died of a massive heart attack. Police didn't kill him. They only apprehended him.

Perhaps Philando Castile. He was shot in his car after being told not to reach for a weapon that he told the officer he had. Although the officer was indicted (the suspect's gun was in his pocket) he was acquitted of the charge of second degree murder because the jury believed he was in fear for his life. The office was Hispanic, not white.

In 2016, Roland G. Fryer, Jr., an African American professor at Harvard, did a study of police shootings. He concluded that not only were white suspects shot more often than black, but that white and black suspects were armed fairly equally when the shootings occurred.

“It is the most surprising result of my career,” Fryer said in an interview with the New York Times. He hadn’t expected to find such balance.

The point here is that Colin Kaepernick's protest isn't actually based on fact. And the subsequent protests by the other players and coaches are also based on faulty information. Those who are protesting against President Trump are somewhat ridiculous since, like them, Trump is entitled to his own opinion, regardless of how poorly he might express it.

The reason the protests irritate me, as much as I support the players' Constitutional right to do it, is because of my own history. I spent eight years in the United States Air Force. I joined voluntarily in 1977. One of the proudest moments of my life was the first time I stood on the parade field with about 500 other new airmen and saluted the flag as it was being lowered at the end of the work day. I had goose bumps watching that flag come down during the retreat ceremony, knowing I was doing something only a small percentage of Americans will ever do.

For the next eight years I stopped what I was doing and stood at attention any time I heard retreat being played somewhere on the base. It not only was required but it was about showing respect to the flag and our country. That's why most veterans are irritated about the protests during the national anthem. It's because we feel a certain pride when we see the flag and/or hear the national anthem. And that pride is bigger than petty social grievances.

Some people will disagree with me, including some veterans. That's OK. It's their right to disagree.

That flag and that anthem are symbols of the reason the NFL players have a right to protest. That's the ironic part – the idiots don't understand that.

Protesting against the flag or the national anthem is not going to solve the problem that Kaepernick believes is genuine. There are some who say “He's not protesting or disrespecting the flag or the anthem.” But he himself said he was. I have no reason to doubt him.

The NFL is in for some surprises now that they've demonstrated their lack of respect for their fans. I see viewership dropping greatly in the next few weeks. Since I don't watch anyway they haven't lost me. But I know many fans who have said they are done with the NFL – at least for now. Let's see how loss of revenue impacts Roger Goddell's position on this issue.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

What Are They Really Protesting?

I find it interesting that some people are calling Donald Trump a racist for speaking out against the NFL protesters who are sitting or taking a knee (or in one case doing pre-game stretching exercises) during the playing of the national anthem.

Trump said those who protest the national anthem and our flag should be fired from the NFL. It's his personal opinion and it's shared by many Americans. But is it racist?

Today on the radio I heard someone say that because all of the protesters are black that Trump's demand that they be fired is racist. Really? So talking about a subject, such as the protest, in which all of the participants (or most of them) are black, in a negative manner is racist? If the makeup of the group is black that makes any criticism of it by a white person racist? Is there a certain amount of white people required to be in the group before it's not racist?

The whole racism thing is abused constantly. These days, if you're white, you can be labeled a racist simply for that reason – because you're white. It matters not who your friends are, who your family is, where you live. Some misguided people believe that simply having white (or pink) skin makes you inherently racist. How's that for stereotyping?

The San Francisco 49er who started this whole protest thing did it to protest police abuses of black people in this country. He made his reason(s) very clear:

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

All well and good – except he generalizes about what has happened and statistics don't necessarily back him up. Who, exactly, is being oppressed and how? It's certainly not Colin Kaepernick. Part of me cannot help but wonder if Kaepernick wanted out of a contract with the 49ers, thinking he might get a better offer from another team as a free agent. It didn't really work out that well, did it?

Now other players are doing it, they say, based on President Trump's statements about firing those who refuse to stand. I didn't like the way Trump said it. It was rude and vulgar. But he's not the only person in the country to have that sentiment. Personally, I feel it's up to the owners to tell the players to stand out of respect not only for the USA and the fans but for the owners themselves. Those players represent the owners. And if they still refuse to stand they should be considered for a termination of contract.

Kaepernick said when he first did this that he knew his job could be on the line. He said it was “bigger than football.” So why is he whining so much simply because other teams don't think it's bigger than football? They don't want the negative publicity that Kaepernick would bring to the teams. I can't blame them for that.

Just as Trump instantly was labeled a racist when he tossed his name into the ring as a Presidential candidate, the NFL suddenly became a racist organization when the various teams refused to hire Kaepernick. That's interesting considering 70% of the players are African-American. Yep – it's obvious the NFL is prejudiced against black players....

The curious thing about all of this is that according to several reputable news outlets, while the NFL Rule Book doesn't say anything about the national anthem and the players, the NFL Game Operations Manual does address the subject:

“The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem.

“During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.”

The NFL apparently is not going to enforce the one about all players being on the sideline for the anthem, since a couple of teams stayed in the locker room until the anthem was over. And the language in the rest of it is “should stand at attention” and “Failure to be on the field by the start of the national anthem “may” result in discipline. Should and may are the two key words here that give the players permission to do what they want and give the NFL a way out of taking action against them. It's that simple.

People in this country who disagree with the venue of these protests are not wrong. They are patriots who are offended by Americans who are disrespectful to the very symbols of our Republic. Our country is not perfect. Bad things happen all the time. But I can't help but wonder if Kaepernick's complaints about the “bodies in the street” and people “getting away with murder” include the hundreds of black men murdered in the streets of Chicago by other black men?

My guess is that he's not even thinking of them.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Some Thoughts On Disrespecting the National Anthem...

When you intentionally remain seated or take a knee during the playing of our national anthem you're not making a statement for your cause. You're telling patriotic Americans “I don't care about you.”

There will be some who disagree with me about this and that's OK. This is America and you have the right to disagree with me. You even have the right to kneel on the ground when the national anthem is played if that's what you wish to do. But if you do it – you're wrong. You're ignorantly protesting against the very flag, anthem and country that gives you the right to do it. And you're spitting in the faces of those who have sacrificed their very lives so that you maintain that right.

When I observe millionaire athletes kneeling on the ground during our national anthem to express their views of how America treats people of color I don't know whether to laugh, cry or simply shake my head at their ignorance. Think about it... people of color who are millionaires because of this great country lashing out at America for its “oppression of people of color.”

What, exactly, is that oppression? Is it police shootings of black people? If one looks at each individual case, very few cases involved innocent black men being shot for no reason. Sure, there were some. And guess what? The officers were prosecuted. If the prosecutors fail to prove their case whose fault is that? OJ was acquitted too. Does that mean he was innocent? Nope. It means the prosecutors failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Black Lives Matter movement adopted the “Hands Up – Don't Shoot” mantra as their slogan. That mantra was a complete falsehood. And yet its' still out there.

Colin Kaepernick started a movement that has all but taken over the NFL who, in turn, is losing fans and viewership in droves. Roger Gooddell is going to find out soon that when he allows high paid athletes to bring their political views to the field American patriots won't put up with it. Their viewership is dropping and they refuse to acknowledge the reason. The reason is simple patriotism.

What many Americans don't understand about the football players' kneeling during the national anthem is that the players are disrespecting their fans. They're basically saying "We can do whatever we want, right or wrong, because you're going to watch us anyway." And in many cases they are correct.

I spent 8 years in the United States Air Force and 22 years as a federal law enforcement officer. I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, twice. Neither of those oaths have an expiration date. I still support and defend our Constitution. And if you disrespect our country – the country that gave you the opportunity to be who you are today, then as far as I'm concerned you are a domestic enemy.

You don't have to worry about me coming after you. You have the Constitution protecting you from your stupidity. But I won't watch you. I won't spend a dime on professional football, basketball or baseball that puts money in your pockets. As far as I'm concerned you who decide to take a knee are enemy combatants. You are on the other side. And you don't deserve to have the careers you have. Or in Kaepernick's case.... the career you had.

Monday, September 18, 2017

An Open Letter To Celebrities Who Promised To Leave The Country....

Dear celebrities who said you'd leave the country if Donald Trump won the Presidency....

You know who you are. But just in case, let me name names:

Chelsea Handler, Neve Campbell, Barry Diller, Lena Dunham, Keegan Michael-Key, Chloe Sevigny, Eddie Griffin, Amber Rose, Samuel L. Jackson, George Lopez, Barbara Streisand, Raven Simone, Whoopie Goldberg, Omari Hardwick, Miley Cyrus, Rosie O'Donnell, Amy Schumer....

You all said you would leave the country if Donald Trump became President. Well... it's been 8 months since Mr. Trump was sworn in as President and you're all still here. So what happened? Why have you not left?

It seems to me that perhaps you just enjoy the wealth and notoriety that the United States has not only given you but continues to give you. Face it – you like the fame and fortune that you would have to give up in another country. Perhaps not the fortune but the fame.

Other celebrities have moved to other countries and seem to be doing OK. Johnny Depp lives in France most of the time but still makes movies. Your hero pervert, Roman Polanski, also lives in France but still makes movies. So it's still possible to live somewhere else but still make movies and stay wealthy. So what's your problem?

Can I assume (I know that's dangerous but geez...) that like your careers, the things you say in anger and/or frustration are just make believe? It's an easy assumption to make given the fact that you were so vocal about leaving but you didn't.

I'm sure some of you have this self-gratifying notion that you will “stay here and fight against Trump and make a difference.” But your voices really aren't heard by the majority of thinking people. We understand that you're nothing but hot air and make believe (just like Cher saying she is going to take in Dreamers to protect them.) What you say and what you do are two different things. And Americans know that.

Want to make an impression on people? Quit your jobs, sell your fancy homes and cars, fire your servants and move to another country. I know a lot of people who would be willing to help you pack and get ready.

As much as you might not believe it – we don't need you here. There are thousands of aspiring actors and actresses out there who would take your place in a minute. So do the country and them a big favor and live up to your promises. We'll all be better off. Maybe you will as well.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Lee And Freed Slave Statue Removed From Dallas Park

Yesterday in Dallas a statue was removed from public view by the Mayor and City Council. The statue, which depicts Robert E. Lee and, according to the artist, a freed slave riding horses "into a new and free United States of America," was dedicated in 1936 by none other than President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of the Texas Centennial celebration.

The statue was removed under armed police escort. The City Council, in their infinite wisdom, voted to remove the statue. The Mayor initially delayed the removal until a study could be done to see if Dallas residents really wanted it gone. 

"It's easy to jump on the bandwagon and say 'tear it down' because it's frankly politically correct and in many ways it makes us all feel good. I feel that way," Mayor Mike Rawlings said. "But I hesitate because I realize the city of Dallas is better, is stronger when we are united and not divided. My goal as mayor, my job as mayor, is to continue to unite our city."

He changed his mind a little while later citing the violence in Charlottesville as the reason. Apparently he didn't think the city of Dallas is better after all.

Once the decision was made the removal was delayed a couple more times. A representative of the Sons of the Confederacy filed a lawsuit claiming First Amendment rights were being violated. A federal judge temporarily stayed the removal until the case could be heard. (The city also brought a crane to the site that was too small to adequately lift the statue.)

Once that case was heard (judgement for the city) a second, larger crane was commissioned. On its way to the site it was hit by an 18 wheeler that ran a red light. Delay number 3.

The statue was finally removed yesterday. At least the removal didn't take place under cover of darkness as has happened in other cities across the nation. The statue will be stored on some property owned by the city until a decision is made as to what exactly to do with it. One of Robert E. Lee's direct descendants has offered to purchase it but has yet to hear back from the city.

It's a shame that such a marvelous piece of art will no longer be seen by the public. The former slave headed toward freedom wasn't enough to keep the city from removing it. I wonder where he'll end up now?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

An Interesting Fact About Kneeling

For the last nine months or so, America has been watching the destruction of a somewhat successful football career slowly coming apart.

Colin Kaepernick, the moderately talented former quarterback for the San Francisco Forty-Niners, saw his career disintegrate when he chose to make a political statement before each game by kneeling on the ground or sitting down during the national anthem.

Kaepernick made his intent public. "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," he said. America took notice.

The Forty-Niners owner and the NFL decided to stay silent about Kaepernick's actions citing First Amendment rights. That didn't go over well with football fans. The NFL saw a large drop in viewership when nothing was done about it.

Players on other teams decided to do the same thing in support of Kaepernick. Black activists nationwide protested because Kaepernick didn't get signed by another team after losing his position with the Forty-Niners. They called it "racism" even though 70% of NFL players are black. The truth is that Kaepernick is toxic to any team that signs him because he disrespects all Americans, and especially our military veterans, by kneeling during our national anthem.

For some reason I was compelled to look up the actual definition of the word "kneel" this morning. I was surprised by what I learned.
Kneel (nēl/verb): be in or assume a position in which the body is supported by a knee or the knees, as when praying or showing submission.

"As when praying or showing submission." I found that interesting. Certainly Kaepernick meant his gesture to be disrespectful to the flag and the national anthem but I wonder if he knew that by kneeling he was actually showing submission, according to the definition of the word.

Somehow I doubt it.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hurricane Irma And The Power Of Prayer

There are those who say that prayer is a waste of time and energy. I personally know that not to be true but believers today have evidence of it from events over the weekend.

Hurricane Irma was the “strongest storm ever recorded” when it was a category 5 hurricane in the mid to Western Atlantic. Maximum sustained wind speeds were up to 185 miles per hour. That's the same as an EF-4 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale and is fully capable of wiping out entire communities. It was a full 10 miles per hour stronger than Andrew, and we know what Andrew did to South Florida.

Irma was initially predicted to go through the Straight of Florida, bypassing Cuba and Florida both, and head into the Gulf of Mexico, where it would have feasted and grown on the warm water. If that had happened it could have hit New Orleans or Houston, or both considering its size, and wreaked havoc in already suffering areas.

Then the track changed and it was supposed to hit Miami head on as at least a category 4 storm. According to the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale the damage from a category 4 hurricane can be can severe damage to well-built framed homes with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

After the scare in Miami and surrounding areas, Irma's track changed again and bypassed Puerto Rico and skirted the edge of Cuba just enough to slow it down. It came across the Straight of Florida and hit Marco Island as a category 3 storm, still powerful but with much less punch than if it had been a 4 or 5. Rather than stay mostly over the Gulf, as was originally predicted, it spun itself out over the mainland, minimizing further damage to mostly downed trees and flooding.

Why did I mention prayer? Our church prayed by the hundreds for God to turn the storm (we asked for it to go back to the mid Atlantic) and to spare the people in its path from harm. God didn't do exactly as we asked. He answers prayers in His own way. But the two worst case scenarios – Houston or a direct hit on Miami as a category 4 storm, failed to materialize. Did God have a hand in this? While we can never say for sure, those of us who believe in the power of prayer and who believe in the Almighty God certainly think so. So many lives could have been lost. So few were, considering what could have happened.

Irma had the potential to devastate entire cities. With the exception of a few Caribbean Islands, Irma didn't really do a lot of serious damage.

I, for one, thank God for sparing so many people from devastation. Could He have calmed the storm and spared everyone from harm, wind damage, flood damage, and the aftermath? Certainly He could have. But as I've said before, God rarely intervenes in the affairs of men. Sometimes, however, He intervenes in the ways of nature. After all... He controls the heavens and the Earth.