The Right Perspective

Saturday, April 29, 2006

United 93: The Movie

I went to see United 93 last night. My husband was gracious enough to offer to stay home and babysit. So, since I knew I had free (and competent) babysitting, plus the knowlegde that a portion of the proceeds from this weekend's box-office profits will be donated to the United 93 memorial fund, I went to the movie theater by myself for the first time in my life to watch a very serious movie.

Let me preface this by saying that I have also seen the A&E channel movie on the same subject, entitled Flight 93. Both are worth your time. I also want to let you know that this post may be a bit of a spoiler, although I really don't feel too bad, since we all know the end of the story, so to speak. But as fair warning, if you don't want any details, don't read any further. (I will try to keep it to a minimum, though.)

The theater was half-full at best (at the 7:05 pm showing). I think I was a little disappointed. I was hoping to have to fight for a seat because I think we all need to see the movie. We need to be reminded who the enemy is, who the heroes are and why we must fight and win this war on terror. We must remember...we cannot afford to forget.

The movie portrayed events that occured both in the air, on United flight 93, and on the ground, in various air traffic control centers and military command air traffic centers. At least half of the movie focused on the pandemonium in the air traffic control centers. The producers did a good job of showing the confusion, disbelief and then chaos that occurred in the air on Sept. 11th. I was struck by how quickly the events happened that day and how the very timing of the attacks helped lead to such widespread confusion, panic and fear. I remember those feelings myself.

The other half of the movie portrays the passengers, flight crew and terrorist hijackers, from the time they board the flight 93 until it crashes. The passengers are never really identified (at least by full name), so it takes a little while to figure out who is who and in some cases, you never know.

The movie demonstrates how crucial the timing of flight 93 was in relationship to the other flights that had been hijacked. I had never really considered how a routine traffic delay on the runway might have completely changed the events of that day. Had the plane been held up for even 30 more minutes (the movie does show a delay on the runway) the air traffic controllers might never have allowed the plane to take off. The passengers might have learned of the terror attacks sooner, so many different scenarios might have occurred, all probably better than what did happen. Instead, the movie highlights what must have been extremely meticulous planning on the part of the hijackers, at least with regard to the scheduling of the planned targeted flights and the timing of the planes' hijacking.

I was also struck by the portrayal of the terrorists. The movie follows the 4 terrorists aboard the plane, from their preparations in the hotel room, to their ultimate death in the plane crash. The terrorists' portrayal was not sympathetic, which I greatly appreciated. I don't personally care how traumatic it was for the terrorists. They knew what they were getting into, how their lives would end and how destructive their actions were going to be to countless others. I have no sympathy for them, and I'm glad the producers of this movie didn't either. The movies shows them praying. A lot. To Allah. In fact, much of what the terrorists say is in Arabic and is usually not translated. It is clear however, that they are praying. We know they recited some prayers because the official flight data recorder transcript documents it.

Contrast this with the portrayal of the passengers who are seen and heard reciting The Lord's Prayer (another documented fact, from a 911 call, I believe) and the differences between the terrorists and passengers is striking. The muslim terrorists (our enemies) use their god and religion to injure, kill, torture, terrorize and reign death and destruction on their sworn enemies, (the U.S and other Christian nations). The passengers (who represent the U.S. and a Christian nation) pray for guidance and strength and forgiveness. No matter how politically incorrect this statement may be, we are in a war with the muslim religion. This is a religious war. The other side is fighting for its god and if we want to maintain our freedom to worship our God, then we have to be willing to fight just as hard.

As I watched the passengers get themselves together and strike back against the terrorists, I wanted to stand up and cheer. I knew the final outcome, but I wanted them to win. I wanted them to save the plane and themselves. I wanted the hijackers captured and put on trial and sentenced for their crimes. I wanted to see the courage of those passengers rewarded.

It was, though not in the way I would have liked. Because those men and women stood and fought against evil and terror, countless other lives were saved. They were heroes, the movie portrays them as such and they died, defending themselves and our country. Their families are, and should be, proud.

I did not cry at this movie, though there were plenty who did. It is disturbing, but in my opinion, not as emotional as the A&E movie. The A&E movie delved more into the passengers' lives and their last moments with their families, which to me was a far more emotional experience. Still, United 93 needs to be seen. We need to honor the brave men and women who fought back that horrific day. We need to remember how we were all attacked and be reminded who the true enemies and heroes are. Go see the movie and remember.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Anti-Gardener Series: Where to Begin?

I took some pictures of my weed garden (Umm...I meant flower beds) and thought that I would share. Mainly, I am shamelessly begging the more creative, skilled gardeners out there to help me figure out what to do to transform these weed-and-bug-infested areas of dirt into a pleasant, LOW-MAINTENANCE landscape. As you can see, I need help! (This is the smallest, best-looking part.) Also, be sure to note the massive "Supervisor Cat" keeping tabs of me from the window!

The second picture is the worst area. The flower beds on this side of the house are all about 7 feet deep (maybe more) and run longer than my 24 foot tape measure. The area between the two garage windows is all weeds except for the small clump of lilies that are centered in the flower bed between the windows. Everything else is weeds. We like the bushes and the lilies, but othewise, the area is a mess. Any ideas for what to put behind the clump of lilies and the bushes? In front? Also keep in mind that contrary to the way the picture looks, the entire area in front of the house receives very little sun, some parts being entirely in the shade.

The third picture is the area right beside the front step. Though I don't object to the two shrubs flanking the large rock, they are both looking decidedly unhealthy on the side facing the house. (They have a matching, but much healthier, pair on the other side of the steps.) The rock is heavy, but could be moved. Nothing except weeds (to my knowledge grows here.)

There is more (much more, still in the front of the house, down one side and in the back yard....sigh) but I'll start here. I have already decided I want mulch (though any and all tips on the type are welcome) and would like a bird bath or fountain or pond or bench somewhere, just to take up some space. I am also considering hostas bordering the sidewalk, interspersed with lantern-style walkway lights. At least that's what I'm thinking now...I'm curious to hear any and all suggestions and ideas. PLEASE!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Why the MSM Already Dislike Tony Snow

It certainly didn't take long, did it? I'm referring to the criticism of both President Bush and his new pick for White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow. Officially announced this morning, the MSM is already bombarding the internet, airwaves, newprint and radio with criticism. Surprise, surprise. I knew this was coming, but I didn't expect it to take on this form.

What do I mean by this? Take the article from AP White House correspondent
Terence Hunt as an example. Mr. Hunt immediately labels former Fox News channel pundit Tony Snow as a "conservative commentator" which is certainly a fair analysis, given what I know of Mr. Snow. Mr. Hunt then describes President Bush and his administration as having a "reputation for not suffering criticism".

Next, Mr. Hunt acknowledges that Tony Snow has, at times, been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration. He quotes Snow as saying that the president was "something of an embarassment", "a leader who has 'lost control of the federal budget,' the architect of a 'listless domestic policy' and a man who has 'a habit of singing from the political correctness hymnal.'"

These are all quotes that Tony Snow acknowledges by saying, "I've written some critical stuff. When you're a columnist, you're going to criticize and you're going to praise."

President Bush also acknowledges Snows' criticism of his administration and policies. He said of Snow, "He's not afraid to express his own opinions." "For those of you who've read his columns and listened to his radio show, he sometimes has disagreed with me. I asked him about those comments, and he said, `You should have heard what I said about the other guy.'"

So what's the problem, you might ask? What beef could the MSM possibly have with Tony Snow? It sounds to me like he would be the perfect candidate. He is a true conservative (I'll clue you in, this is one of their main problems), but not a "yes-man". He is unafraid to express his opinions, even when they differ from the president's. President Bush, who has been criticized throughout his years in the White House as being oblivious to criticism, has brought in someone who has in the past, and no doubt will continue to criticize the very president the MSM claims to be incapable of accepting criticism. Finally, Tony Snow is a veteren media figure, with experience in print, television and radio journalism.

And that, folks, is where the MSM has a problem. Tony Snow is an intelligent veteren Conservative reporter who knows how to play the media game on many levels. Being a reporter, analyst, journalist and talk-show host, Snow has plenty of experience being one of the media, so he knows all the tricks of the trade. He will not be easily bamboozled. He will likely not be just a mouthpiece for the President and the White House. He will "handle" the MSM and they already don't like it.

So what is the MSM to do? Well, it looks like they've resorted to play #1 in the liberal playbook. If you don't like your opponent, try to discredit him (or them, in this case) in any way possible. Throw any accusations you can come up with at your opponent and hope they stick.

The MSM media tries to discredit President Bush by painting him as a bumbling idiot who didn't do his homework on his new press secretary. They try to discredit Tony Snow as someone who is anti-Bush and attempt to create discord between the President and his new press secretary. The problem is, in doing so, they only succeed in continuing to discredit themselves, disproving their own accusations, in their own words, yet again.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ben Stein's Letter to the Troops

Sometimes I read something and know that I could never say it that well myself. So I won't try. Instead, I'm going to post a letter, written by Ben Stein, to the men and women of the armed forces. (I had to do a bit of editing to maintain the high standards against vulgarity that this blog possesses!)

This is Mr. Stein's letter as found on The American Spectator:
"Dear Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, National Guard, Reservists, in Iraq, in the Middle East theater, in Afghanistan, in the area near Afghanistan, in any base anywhere in the world, and your families:

Let me tell you about why you guys own about 90 percent of the cojones in the whole world right now and should be [darned] happy with yourselves and [darned] proud of who you are. It was a dazzlingly hot day here in Rancho Mirage today. I did small errands like going to the bank to pay my mortgage, finding a new bed at a price I can afford, practicing driving with my new 5 wood, paying bills for about two hours.

I spoke for a long time to a woman who is going through a nasty child custody fight. I got e-mails from a woman who was fired today from her job for not paying attention. I read about multi-billion-dollar mergers in Europe, Asia, and the Mideast. I noticed how overweight I am, for the millionth time.

In other words, I did a lot of nothing. Like every other American who is not in the armed forces family, I basically just rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic in my trivial, self-important, meaningless way.
Above all, I talked to a friend of more than forty-three years who told me he thought his life had no meaning because all he did was count his money.

And, friends in the armed forces, this is the story of all of America today. We are doing nothing but treading water while you guys carry on the life or death struggle against worldwide militant Islamic terrorism. Our lives are about nothing: paying bills, going to humdrum jobs, waiting until we can go to sleep and then do it all again. Our most vivid issues are trivia compared with what you do every day, every minute, every second.

Oprah Winfrey talks a lot about "meaning" in life. For her, "meaning" is dieting and then having her photo on the cover of her magazine every single month (surely a new world record for egomania ).This is not "meaning."

Meaning is doing for others. Meaning is risking your life for others. Meaning is putting your bodies and families' peace of mind on the line to defeat some of the most evil, sick killers the world has ever known. Meaning is leaving the comfort of home to fight to make sure that there still will be a home for your family and for your nation and for free men and women everywhere.

Look, soldiers and Marines and sailors and airmen and Coast Guardsmen, there are eight billion people in this world. The whole fate of this world turns on what you people, 1.4 million, more or less, do every day. The fate of mankind depends on what about 2/100 of one percent of the people in this world do every day -- and you are those people. And joining you is every policeman, fireman, and EMT in the country, also holding back the tide of chaos.

Do you know how important you are? Do you know how indispensable you are? Do you know how humbly grateful any of us who has a head on his shoulders is to you?

Do you know that if you never do another thing in your lives, you will always still be heroes? That we could live without Hollywood or Wall Street or the NFL, but we cannot live for a week without you?
We are on our knees to you and we bless and pray for you every moment.

And Oprah Winfrey, if she were a size two, would not have one millionth of your importance, and all of the Wall Street billionaires will never mean what the least of you do, and if Barry Bonds hit ninety home runs it would not mean as much as you going on one patrol or driving one truck to the Baghdad airport.

You are everything to us, as we go through our little days, and you are in the prayers of the nation and of every decent man and woman on the planet.That's who you are and what you mean. I hope you know that.

Love, Ben Stein"

And I might add, Thanks, Love Christina.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Flight 93: A Timely Lesson

There has been quite a bit of controversy over the movie based on the events of United Flight 93 that crashed over rural Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001. The movie is due to be released in theaters April 28th and I plan to go see it. I will, of course, have to find a babysitter first, something that we rarely do. But in this case, I will make an exception. I want to see this movie not because I want to re-live the horrors of that day or the suffering that the passengers of this flight had to endure, but to honor the heroic efforts that those men and women made for this country and to remind myself of why America must win the war on terror.

You see, America has already forgotten what happened on that beautiful September morning when our peace and innocence was shattered by violent terrorism. When I watched those planes fly into the Trade Centers, the Pentagon and finally a field in Pennsylvania, I felt a fear I had never known in my then 25 years. I cried as I watched the continuous news coverage that I didn't want to see, yet couldn't stop watching. I felt the horror of wondering if my hometown would be next. I was afraid to leave my home because no one knew where the terrorists might strike next or if it was really over. I cringed whenever a plane flew overhead because the mere sound of a plane became a terrifying noise. I can still remember, more than a month later, sitting at my first Notre Dame football game during the first quarter and watching a plane fly over the stadium, low enough to read the airline name (the airport is nearby), the roar of the engines filling my ears, and wanting to leave immediately. I was terrified that plane was headed for the huge crowd of people. I felt like I would never truly feel safe again, not like I once did anyway.

But now, less than 5 years later, we have all really forgotten. It's easy for me to say that I "remember" my feelings on Sept. 11, but they aren't as strong or real anymore. It's easy to go through my day and actually forget about terrorism for the most part. That's what scares me a little bit. If I can this easily "forget" and move on with my life, so can the rest of us. And in a way, we should. But we can't ever forget the lessons we claim to have learned. That's why I plan on seeing Flight 93. I don't want to forget.

The controversy surrounding the movie doesn't suprise me in the least. People who have seen the trailers complained that they weren't prepared for this type of movie, that it was too soon.

I think it's coming just in the nick of time.

What happened on Flight 93 illustrates what is happening here in America. The first 3 flights that were hijacked and flown into the Trade Centers and the Pentagon happened within a relatively short period of time from one another. The passengers on these flights most likely had little time to react and in all likihood, didn't know other planes were also being hijacked.

Flight 93 was different. Being the last plane to be hijacked and apparently being some distance from its' target, the passengers had time to call home and find out what was happening in America. They had advance warning and realized the imminent danger that they faced. They almost certainly knew that they faced death and they chose to go out fighting, knowing that though they would probably die, they might spare the lives of countless others. They looked terror and evil in the eye and understood that they could not stand by and do nothing. They stood and fought, using whatever resources they had. Though they all died, they did prevent an even greater act of terrorism and gave us all a little bit of hope despite the tragedy. They became our heroes that day.

Today, we as Americans face a similar choice. The acts of terror on September 11, 2001, caught us all by surprise. We had little time to react and we did not understand what was happening. Nearly 5 years later, however, I wonder if we have learned our lesson. We now have volumes of information at our disposal that clearly shows us that our country and freedom is under attack. The terrorists responsible for the attacks on September 11th, would like nothing better than to hit us again, even harder. We know what they have done in the past. We know they have plans to do more harm. The question is, how will we respond? Will we sit back and do nothing, hoping that those who wish to harm us will simply forget as we have forgotten? Or do we stand up, use all the resources at our disposal and fight to the end like the passengers of Flight 93? Do we have their courage? Have we really learned our lesson?

Sheep, Sheepdogs and Wolves: The Tale of an American Soldier

I found an interesting take on the mind-set of soldiers on the American Citizen Soldier blog. This blog is written by a U.S. Army Infantry soldier who goes by the name "Buck Sargent". He served in Afghanistan and is currently serving in Mosul, Iraq. He includes the following paragraphs in a recent post:

"Consider the following from On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace by retired Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman:'If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath -- a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot, and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog that intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa." Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle.Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, "Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.'"

This soldier, who knows first-hand what both the American and Iraqi troops are facing goes on to say, "The Iraqi Army used to be the wolf. But now this new collection of Kurdish and Arabian knights we’ve built from the boots-on-the-ground up fight him alongside us. They’ve progressed from right-seat riding in 2005 to left-seat driving in 2006, and at the current pace a sizable number of them will be flying solo by early next year. We’ve remade them into our own image to hunt the wolf, and so far they’ve stunned him with their aggressiveness."

I find this comparison of sheep, sheepdogs and wolves to be absolutely right. I know that I most likely fall into the sheep category, and I for one am absolutely honored, humbled and grateful to be protected by the American sheepdogs.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Anti-Gardener

Yes, I am still here. I had a great (but too short) time with my family. My mom and sister came for a few days and helped keep track of Emily, a job that is most definitely bigger than just my husband and me. They live over 700 miles away, so it's a rare treat to see them, but they are now safely back in the miniscule state of Delaware, that happily liberal bastion of the East Coast that Joe Biden calls "home".

I will post something new and exciting (I'm sure) soon. I'm working on ideas, but with the nice weather and huge flower beds that must be weeded after a winter of neglect, the weeds took precedence over the blog.

Dang weeds! Did I mention that I abhor gardening? I'm not exaggerating. Currently, I'm finished weeding for the day, though far from done with the job. My husband and I are contemplating putting in a pond/fountain in part of the flower beds just so we won't have to weed the things so often...and more stepping stones and maybe a bird bath. Seriously, I hate gardening.

Malott's Blog has regular gardening features that boast of Mr. Malott's rather impressive knack for growing things. Maybe I shall counter his "gardening corner" segments with something I like to call "The Anti-Gardener". It will feature my complete and utter failings at planting, weeding, growing and enjoying anything even remotely associated with gardening. Yes...I think I like it, and so this will be my inaugural "Anti-Gardener" post. Let the fun begin!

Monday, April 17, 2006

A Note to my Readers

I just wanted to let you all know that your visits and comments are always welcome. I enjoy hearing the different opinions and it's always fun to be visited.

I will be taking a short break from posting anything new (I think) for a couple of days as I will be hosting some family members this week. Of course, this is always subject to change, as something that completely infuriates me may happen, and I may need to get it off my chest, but I have a feeling that I will be extra-busy over the next couple of days.

Never the words of Gov. Arnold, "I'll be back!" (What a great country this is...the Terminator can even become a governor!)

Support our Troops

Just a little plug, not for myself, but for our men and women in uniform who are bravely serving the United States...take a few minutes and send a note of encouragement to our troops. You can do so in several ways, but here are a few suggested websites to check out for ideas.

America Supports You : a website set up by the U.S. Department of Defense. You can send a message to the troops, read messages from the troops and peruse others' messages of support among other things.

Vets For Freedom : a website founded in 2006 by veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can sign up to receive free email updates on the War on Terror, read "the most non-partisan" media coverage of the war, read featured blogs, etc... (This site was set up to provide a more accurate view of the war than the msm presents, according to its founders)

The American Legion : This is a link to a website founded by vets of past wars, although there are hundreds of branches of the American Legion all throughout America. The website offers a message board, ways to write to troops, ways to show your support, volunteer opportunities, places to donate, etc...

The National Guard : a website sponsored by the U.S. National Guard. The site provides ways to donate, send messages and links to other organizations who support our troops.

These are only a few of probably hundreds of places to devoted to supporting our troops. I tried to find sites that were well-known or reputable, but I'll add the little disclaimer that I cannot personally vouch for these sites, other than the fact that I have visited them. Check them out thoroughly before sending any money, just to be safe. Messages of support, however, are free!

Take a few minutes and show your appreciation. It will mean the world to a real hero.

No Support, No Appreciation

Washington Post contributer Wade Zirkle reported on a recent townhall meeting sponsored by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.). The meeting was also sponsored by ultra-liberal, anti-war groups and CodePink and included Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) among it's attendees.

Mr. Zirkle, executive director of Vets for Freedom, is a Marine who served two tours in Iraq before he was wounded in action. He knows a little about what it is like to be in the military, in Iraq and to sacrifice for his country. To him, this is personal and real. For this reason, his opinion on the state of the troops and the Iraq/Afghanistan wars seems more credible than most, to me. He says, "'To this Iraq war veteran, it was a good example of something that's become all too common: People from politics, the media and elsewhere purporting to represent "our" views. With all due respect, most often they don't.'"

During the town hall meeting, an injured Afghanistan veteran stood up to give his opinion on the state of the troops' morale. Here are his words: "'If I didn't have a herniated disc, I would volunteer to go to Iraq in a second with my troops," said Mark Seavey, a former Army sergeant who had recently returned from Afghanistan. "I know you keep saying how you have talked to the troops and the troops are demoralized, and I really resent that characterization. The morale of the troops I talk to is phenomenal, which is why my troops are volunteering to go back despite the hardships. . . ."'

Sgt. Seavey went on, directly addressing Rep. Moran: '''And, Congressman Moran, 200 of your constituents just arrived back from Afghanistan -- we never got a letter, we never got a visit from you, you didn't come to our homecoming. The only thing we got was a letter from the governor of this state thanking us for our service in Iraq, when we were in Afghanistan. That's reprehensible. I don't know who you two are talking to, but the morale of the troops is very high."'

The response from the Congressmen said it all. They were at first silent, then tried to redirect the conversation, rather than answer the charges. Rep. Moran said, "'That wasn't in the form of a question, it was a statement."'

No kidding.

With that statement, Sgt. Seavey completely discredited the charges of so many politicians and members of the MSM. Yet they were totally unwilling to even address his comments or, for that matter, thank Sgt. Seavey for his sacrifice. I think the two democratic members of congress present sent a message loud and clear that evening: We neither respect your sacrifice on our behalf nor support your efforts to make us safer.

I encourage you to read Mr. Zirkle's entire article at the Washington Post, but I will end by including his summation: '''The morale of the trigger-pulling class of today's fighting force is strong. Unfortunately, we have not had a microphone or media audience willing to report our comments. Despite this frustration, our military continues to proudly dedicate itself to the mission at hand: a free, democratic and stable Iraq and a more secure America. All citizens have a right to express their views on this important national challenge, and all should be heard. Veterans ask no more, and they deserve no less.'''

Well said, Mr. Zirkle. And thank you for sacrificing for our country.

Friday, April 14, 2006

It is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll.
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
"It is well, it is well with my soul."

Though Satan should buffet, tho' trials should come
Let this blest assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh the bliss, of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part, but the whole
Is nailed to His cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, oh my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul.

"It is Well With My Soul" (text: Horatio Spafford)

Thank you, Lord, for taking my place and granting me eternal freedom through your death and resurrection.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

They're After Our Children

Forget about violence, profanity and lewd sexual behavior on CBS, ABC and NBC. The most disturbing tv out there today may well be aimed at kids.

Growing up, I always thought Nickelodeon was a cool cable channel that was just for kids. I didn't have cable at that time, since my family lived amidst chicken farms on a rural road, so I can't say from personal experience that my perceptions were accurate. I am fairly certain, however, that what passes as "teen" programming today would never have made it on air when I was growing up....and that hasn't been such a long time ago.

My family and I (usually my husband and I) watch Nick at Nite from time to time because we don't care for most of the network programming in the evenings. We watch old reruns of more family-friendly sitcoms. During the commercials, I see adds for, a subsidiary of Nickelodeon, that is clearly aimed at teens. The commercials alone are enough to make me vow that my children will NEVER watch the "popular" programs on this channel. No way, no how, not in my house.

To give you an idea of some of the filth that is being touted to our teens as "mainstream" and "acceptable": the show Degrassi.

Here are a few character profiles:

Alex Nunez (a female): "Planned public humiliation of Rick, Dumped Jay when he hooked up with/gave gonorrhea to Emma, Smoked weed with Paige during the college fair, Kissed Paige and won her into a (lesbian) relationship."

Ellie Nash: "Helped Marco discover his sexuality, Overcame her cutting habit, Saved her alcoholic mother from a fire, Moved in with Sean, Nurtured Jimmy's creative side"

Jay Hogart: "Turned Sean on to a life of crime, With Spinner, planned public humiliation of Rick, then shifted blame to Jimmy, Expelled for above, Spread gonorrhea to Emma and others through unsafe oral sex, Broke into school with Spinner, convinced him not to burn it down, Hooked up J.T. with a drug dealer, Alienated Spinner by lying to help him score with Darcy."

Jimmy Brooks; "Came to Marco's side when Marco was assaulted by gay bashers..."

Marco Del Rossi: " After much confusion, realized he's gay, Dated/dumped Paige's older brother, Elected class president, Came out to his mom, Came out to his dad on stage while playing Hamlet."

Then there is the show, "South of Nowhere". The entire premise of this show, as I see it, is to legitimize the status of homosexual behaviors in teens. Here are some character "bios":

Ashley Davies: "She once dated basketball star Aiden Dennison — but now Ashley's mostly into girls. Although the entire school is aware of the switch, Ashley couldn't care less what people have to say."

Spencer: small town girl moves to the big city, starts questioning everything and falls for Ashley (see above).

These are just a few of the characters on two shows, all of whom have ridiculously sordid, lewd, overtly sexual behaviors. This is what the media is selling. They aren't selling it to adults...they're going after our kids. They have a clear message and they know how to make their message look appealing. They use pretty young faces to spread a vile and dangerous message of tolerance of everyone, everything and all life choices. Worst of all, they do it knowing they will convince a new generation that these types of behaviors are acceptable and even good by repeatedly filling their minds with these images.

What the media won't ever show is the hurt, the disease, the death and even more eternal consequences that come as a direct result of this type of behavior. Unfortunately, many parents today have no idea what their kids are watching and perhaps even more alarmingly, they don't want to be seen as uncool or intolerant, so they never tell their children that some choices are harmful or just plain wrong. In the end, a generation of children will experience a lot of pain and suffering because the media had an agenda and parents turned a blind eye.

Here is the agenda (in their own words) of "The N":

"A Website, a TV Channel, and a Promise. is a site for you. It’s a place you can come to let your opinion loose, play games, make stuff, and hang out. It’s also the spot to find out more about the shows on The N, and about the stuff that happens in those shows. is your community and it feeds The N on TV. So speak up, freely and often.

The N on TV is different than any other network. Because all of the shows on The N are about the way life really is and the stuff that really matters. We put your opinions and thoughts from the website on TV, and we try to make TV that really matters to you.

The N is REAL.
Real doesn’t mean just 'reality' programs, documentaries, or the news. It means the shows on the N are about your real life and the things you’re dealing with every day.

The Promise
It's you
The N is not just for you, it is you. It’s with you, from you, and about you. So it only works if you are a part of it.

It's real
The N isn’t about the Hollywood or make-believe version of your life. It’s about your life the way it really happens.

It's worth it
The N is built out of stuff you can really use in your life. And not 'someday.' It's valuable now.
The N: It’s real, it’s about your life, and it’s relevant right now.
Real. Life. Now."

Immigrants Are Always Welcome

The opinion/editorial page of the Wall Street Journal features an article Peggy Noonan has written that I consider to be a fair analysis. It expresses her opinion on immigration, and does so in a quite agreeable way. Her article expresses, in kind, generous terms, the good that can come from immigrants. It also expresses the harm and havoc that can come from breaking the laws. It's a little long, but worth the read.

I certainly wish President Bush and some of our other leaders would take the time to read it as well. They should pay special attention to the final paragraph.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

By His Hands...

Some days just don't go the way you plan.

The last couple of days have been pretty good. The weather was nice, my little girl was healthy and happy and somehow less demanding than normal and all was well in my world, for the most part. Today was a different story.

I had errands to run, so I took my nearly 19-month old with me, as I have the last couple of days. I had a few quick stops to make, the weather was great again and everything should have been fairly easy...but it wasn't. Emily apparently had decided that the last two "good" days were enough for mom. She is well-versed in the art of throwing temper tantrums and has honed her skills so that she knows when to throw them so that it will be most embarassing and least helpful to mom. And she did this is at least once in every store we visited. Fun stuff.

At my last stop, I wandered down the gardening aisles and happened upon a little bird bath. The design is one I have seen in years past and always liked. There are two hands (symbolizing God's hands) cupped together with a bird perched on the wrist, drinking the water the hands hold. The inscription on this garden statue says, "By His hands, we all are fed". (Hmmm...maybe it's supposed to be a bird feeder?....I can't make up my mind.)

Anyhow, I decided to buy the statue because I like it and because I thought that my two cats and Emily might like watching the birds use it. I gathered the rest of my purchases (bird seed, cat food and diapers), all the while fighting to keep Emily seated in the cart. By the time we reached the check out lane, Emily was howling, huge tears running down her face, I was exhausted and we were both in need of a nap. I tossed everything in the van and drove home.

Once home, I opened the passenger side door and out onto the concrete garage floor, tumbled the bag with the bird bath. It wasn't a pretty sound. Meanwhile, Emily had fallen asleep in the car seat which is a sure sign that she will boycott her normal 2 hour afternoon nap, even if she has only been asleep for 5 minutes. Oh joy!

So, I grin and bear the fact that Emily is not going to be any fun for the next 5 hours or so (is it 8:30 pm yet?), and decide to call my mom to see how her day has been. I get my dad. He talks to me for a few minutes, tells me mom isn't there and that she received word today that the Christian school for which she has worked (for a pittance) the last 20 years is not renewing her contract. She has worked there longer than anyone else, is a wonderful teacher (she taught me quite well) and has dedicated her life to doing God's work for next to nothing, yet because of church politics and a corrupt preacher/school board issue, she (and quite a few other good teachers) will now have to search for a job. I'm angry for her and sad all at the same time.

It's not been a good day.

Upon further inspection, the birdbath is broken. Oh, I suppose it might still work (though I won't use it in it's current condition), but there is a hole in the side of it and most depressing of all, the pinky finger on God's hand is broken off. That's the kind of day it has been.

I know this is a part of life. In comparison to my mom and dad, my day has been a piece of cake. All I had to deal with is a cranky toddler and a broken bird bath. They should be retired or close to it, and yet they are facing complete uncertainty. On days like these, it feels like God's hands must be broken. Something isn't right. This shouldn't be happening to good people. But I know that's not true.

God's hands are just fine, perfectly capable of lifting us up when we need Him, more than capable to hold us close and comfort us, always feeding us just what we need. He knows what we need, how to supply it and just when to give it. His hands aren't broken. It is us who are broken and He heals us daily.

Maybe I'll keep that bird bath after all. Maybe it's just what I needed today.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ugly Kids, Poor Parenting and Evolution...oh My!

I was listening to Rush Limbaugh on the way home from running some errands today, and I caught a portion of a study that he was mentioning. The topic piqued my curiosity (and I am nothing, if not curious), so I decided to see if I could find any more information about the study Rush referenced.

Here is what I found. A study out of the University of Alberta found that "ugly" children get a raw deal from parents, compared to "pretty" children.


Basically, the study was conducted in this manner. Observers went to a grocery store and observed the attentiveness of parents to their children.
"The researchers noted if the parents belted their youngsters into the grocery cart seat, how often the parents' attention lapsed and the number of times the children were allowed to engage in potentially dangerous activities like standing up in the shopping cart. They also rated each child's physical attractiveness on a 10-point scale."

The study found that "ugly" children tended not to be belted into the shopping cart as often and were more likely to be allowed to wander out of sight. The "ugly" child got worse treatment when a man was in charge and when the parent was older.

The best part of all...the underlying reason that parents treated the "ugly" kids worse. According to the article I read, "Dr. W. Andrew Harrell, executive director of the Population Research Laboratory at the University of Alberta and the leader of the research team, sees an evolutionary reason for the findings: pretty children, he says, represent the best genetic legacy, and therefore they get more care."

So evolution is to blame. DUH, why didn't I think of that? The parent is obviously just employing some of that higher-level evolutionary thinking and is conciously neglecting the "ugly" child so that he will fall prey to the "survival of the fittest" theory. Of course, that makes perfect sense.

Thankfully, there are still those among us who haven't completely lost their minds.

The article goes on: "Dr. Robert Sternberg, professor of psychology and education at Yale, said he saw problems in Dr. Harrell's method and conclusions, for example, not considering socioeconomic status.
"Wealthier parents can feed, clothe and take care of their children better due to greater resources," Dr. Sternberg said, possibly making them more attractive. "The link to evolutionary theory is speculative."

You think?

But not to be deterred from his faulty study, Dr. Harrell said, "Like lots of animals, we tend to parcel out our resources on the basis of value...Maybe we can't always articulate that, but in fact we do it. There are a lot of things that make a person more valuable, and physical attractiveness may be one of them."

Maybe what makes a person more "valuable" is the fact that we are not animals, Dr. Harrell. We are beautiful, complex, thinking, creative human beings, a miraculous creation of an all-powerful God who sees our worth beyond our outward appearances and who gave each of us that capability as well.

Maybe it has nothing to do with evolution or ugliness or bad parenting. Maybe the study is just another faulty, misleading attempt to prove a theory based on assumptions: the theory of evolution.

For the record, we went to Meijer today. My little girl wasn't properly strapped in the cart. Want to know the real reason? The seatbelt was broken and I have a rather determined little tyke on my hands. Did anyone think of that?

And just for the record, child is not "ugly"!

Redefining Community Service

According to the Washington Post, Montgomery County (Washington area) schools will give community service credit hours to any student who attends pro-immigration rallies. These credit hours will go towards a graduation requirement of 60 community service credit hours. The only requirement is that they go to a rally under the supervision of a school-approved non-profit community group, in this particular case, CASA.

The group responsible for organizing the rally? You guessed it, none other than CASA, a group that does work with and for the Latino community. Now, CASA probably does some great things for immigrants, but they have also recently been involved in some not-so-spectacular activities.

Apparently, a group of minutemen have been discreetly photographing CASA day-labor centers in the hopes of catching employers who are out to hire illegal aliens. They are basically trying to catch employers doing something illegal. (Since the government is choosing to turn a blind eye regarding this matter.) The executive director of CASA de Maryland, Gutavo Torres, wasn't thrilled with this turn of events and had some threatening words to share. According to WorldNetDaily, "We are going to target them in a specific way," Gustavo Torres, executive director of Casa de Maryland told the Maryland Gazette, speaking of the Minutemen volunteers who have set up a surveillance site across the street to discreetly photograph contractors who pick up day laborers at the center.

Going out with their own cameras will only be the first step his group takes.

"Then we are going to picket their houses, and the schools of their kids, and go to their work," Torres said. "If they are going to do this to us, we are going to respond in the same way, to let people know their neighbors are extremists, that they are anti-immigrant. They are going to hear from us."

Last time I checked, Senor Torres, wanting employers to follow the laws of America and hire LEGAL citizens, is not an "extreme" view. And we are NOT "anti-immigrant". We are anti-ILLEGAL. They are NOT one and the same.

Stephen Schreiman, president of the newly formed Maryland Minuteman Project, had this to say of the Project's tactics, ""We're going to go after these [contractors] at the state and local level because these people aren't paying taxes. We're going to take these people and through a vetting process determine which ones are not paying their taxes and doing business in an inappropriate manner and then turn them over to the appropriate authorities for prosecution. That should put a damper on the hiring of illegals."

Sounds, to me, like a perfectly legitimate thing to do.

So, perhaps now, you can see why many parents (and others across the U.S., myself included) have a hard time stomaching the idea of students in our public school systems being allowed to earn credits toward graduation by participating in a CASA-organized event on immigration.

The problem is not that students are participating in a political event. There is nothing wrong with that, and frankly, I think it's a good experience. The problem comes when a school system begins promoting a particular political view (in this case, supporting illegal behavior) to its students. There is no mention of students being able to earn credit if they attend anti-immigration rallies. In fact, it seems unlikely, given that the rally must take place under the supervision of a school-approved group.

I also think the definition of "community service" is pretty broad in this case. I always thought community service referred to actually getting your hands dirty and helping those less fortunate, those who could not do work for themselves, working in a homeless shelter...that sort of thing. I hardly think that standing around outside on a nice spring day with a group of your best buddies, shouting your support for illegal behavior, is doing anything good for anyone, except those breaking the law.

Let's face it, this is, for the vast majority of those students who will attend, an easy way to both get out of class for a day and earn a credit towards their graduation. These kids would be much better served sitting in a classroom, learning math and science, english and music, so that they could someday put these necessary skills to work and do some real community service.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Church of Bono

What's the best way to encourage young people to come to church and to promote social activism? Play music from U2 at your church services.

Yep, I've heard it all now. According to the AFA Online, some Episcopal churches are now using the music from the Irish rock band U2, whose lead singer is the controversial social activist Bono, during their worship services in order to draw socially active young people into their churches.

Episcopal priest Whis Hayes, says of Bono, "To be sure his social activism has a broader appeal, but I think he's somebody -- as I understand what he's said -- who has a vital faith in Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior."

Hmmmm...I think it's hard to say that for sure. I can't judge Bono's personal relationship with Christ and I shouldn't, but his actions and words often leave a lot to be desired. To be sure, Bono has taken a stand on some issues that are important and need to be addressed, such as the AIDS epidemic in Africa. He uses his considerable influence as a rock star to urge the American government to pay attention to his pet causes. There's nothing wrong with this, but if you really pay attention to his words (and his actions), I'm not sure this is the person that I want preaching to my kids.

In a Nov. 17, 2005, CBS news report Bono talked with Ed Bradley (of 60 Minutes fame). He spoke of his desire to bring attention to the AIDS epidemic in Africa and told Bradley, according to the online article, that "getting conservative Christians on his side was the best way to push the Bush administration to send more aid to Africa." He also told Bradley that he didn't think he would be as successful in his endeavor by "taking the usual bleeding heart liberal line..." so he approached the conservative Christians.

"I was very angry that they were not involved more in the AIDS emergency. I was saying, 'This is the leprosy that we read about in the New Testament...Christ hung out with the lepers,' " Bono recalls saying, " 'But you're ignoring the AIDS emergency.' " This is Bono, talking about his faith. He throws a few Bible verses in once in a while and continues to live however he wants. He seems to be more interested in using Christianity as a means to accomplish his social goals than in living a life that is Christlike. I'm not sure that really makes him or his music the best role model our churches can find to lure young people to Christ.

This does not deter the Episcopal church, however. According to the AFA article, "In any event, although Bono and his band members occasionally use profanities and some of the songs they sing are about sex, Hayes says he sees nothing wrong with incorporating many of U2's more meaningful music into Episcopal Church communion services."

And this is the problem with many Christian churches today. They see nothing wrong with twisting Scriptures for their own purposes. They see nothing wrong with tolerating sin. (As another example, the Episcopal church voting to allow homosexual priests.) They have abandoned the Bible, in large part, and are doing what feels right and seems good, instead of looking to God's word and doing what it commands.

Why Can't We All Just Be Nice?

What happened to decency, manners and common sense? Everyday the world seems a bit less friendly, a bit less cultured and a more hostile place.

Take for example, my experience at Walmart. (I have a bit of a Walmart, Target and Meijer addiction...I go there way too often, just ask my ever-patient husband.) I do my grocery shopping there, with a toddler in tow. The last stop we make is the deli counter. Being a frequent shopper (they really should put up my picture as shopper of the month), I recognize the ladies and gentlemen who work behind the deli counter and I am pretty sure they recognize me as well.

So today things were pretty busy at the deli. I had to wait in line to buy some macaroni and cheese for my recently sick, refusing almost all foods, finicky toddler. There is no number system to identify who was there first, so I just waited patiently (because I really am pretty patient). There was a rather obnoxious family in front of me who not only kept changing their mind for their large order, but complained and cursed loudly when they had to repeat themselves or couldn't get what they wanted. I waited patiently for about 10 minutes while the two ladies behind the counter waited on this family. As I was waiting, people were beginning to crowd the counter, some pushing in front of me and my cart. I thought (naively as it turns out) that they were simply looking at their options. Surely the man who shoved his way in front of me and my patient little girl was not going to go ahead of me...oh wait, he did. But certainly, the ladies behind the counter, who not only wait on me all the time but know that I am always a patient and polite customer, would not wait on the other man who has worked his way to the front of the counter...yep, they did.

So by now, I've been standing in line for about 15 minutes, had two people shove their way in front of me, watched the macaroni and cheese dwindle to precarious levels (one serving left) and my patience is running thin. It is therefore the last straw that the 50-something woman who has sauntered up to the counter, who HAD to have seen me waiting, gets the deli worker's attention and starts to be served.

Now, I am a very soft-spoken person. My brother-in-law calls me a "low-talker" (from a Seinfeld episode) and I am not easily heard, but I decided to speak up, rather than risk standing in line forever and losing the macaroni and cheese that is rightfully mine. I said, "Excuse me ma'am, but I have been standing in line here for quite some time and you have already waited on two other people who pushed their way to the front of the line. I was here next. Would you please take my order so I can go home." I did not yell, I was polite, I did nothing uncourteous, I simply stood up for myself. What did I get in response? A dirty look from the deli-counter lady and the lady who had cut in front of me. My order was filled (yes, I got the very last of the macaroni and cheese), I thanked the deli-counter lady, and started to leave, only to hear the deli-counter lady say (in a snide voice) to the other customer, "I'm sorry about that, I'm so sorry that your order had to be interrupted, what can I get for you?"

Okay, I know, most of you are thinking to yourselves, "That's it? That's the whole story?" Yep, that's it, but it bugs me. Why can't people have manners? I was polite, I was patient, I was tired of getting stepped on by less polite, less patient people. I nicely did something about it and was then treated like the scourge of the earth by someone who should not be making comments about any customers, particularly not with a snide tone of voice, and got dirty looks from the lady who tried to cut in front of me in the first place.

Sometimes I get tired of being the nice lady. There are days when I want to just let rude people know exactly what I think of their immature, selfish and frankly offensive behavior. I would dearly love to give some of the people a verbal tongue-lashing the likes of which they have never before experienced. Of course, I won't, because I'm polite. I also won't waste my time because this kind of person likely wouldn't care or understand most of what I had to say. Still, on days like today, I just wish people would use a little more common sense and a lot more common courtesy.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

American Citizens Take Backseat to Illegal Aliens

I am disappointed today. Disappointed because it has become patently obvious that I, a legal American citizen, a person who loves America and what it stands for, no longer matter to my government.

Today lawmakers reached a tentative compromise on the illegal immigration reform bill which will essentially, if it ever even becomes a real law, grant amnesty to most, if not all, illegals currently residing in the U.S. while doing absolutely nothing to either enforce the borders or make the U.S. safer.

Apparently, the opinions of the illegals who rallied and the Hispanic vote mean far more to members of Congress than the opinions of the average, legal, tax-paying U.S. citizen. In other words, I no longer have a voice in my own country. My lawmakers are more concerned with doing whatever it takes to win the Hispanic vote than with getting my (and millions of other concerned Americans') votes or doing what is best for the country.

What the Hispanics don't seem to realize is this: The lawmakers don't care about them either. They don't even care if this bill ever gets passed. The reality is, both parties only want to be seen as being in favor of Hispanic immigration in an election year. Neither side wants to be the bad guy who sends the illegals home and strengthens our borders. The lawmakers only want the Hispanic vote. They are obviously not concerned with keeping America safer. They don't seem to care about the fact that many of the Hispanics coming to America don't want to be Americans, they simply want to work here and benefit from America but still be Mexicans. They don't care that the Hispanics and Mexicans are using America, because they are using the Hispanics and Mexicans to get re-elected.

The compromise does nothing to make America safer, which should be the first and foremost goal of all Americans and particularly our leaders. The legislation basically says this:

1. Those illegals already in the U.S for less than 2 years must leave immediately. This makes up about 2-3 million people. How they will be found or deported is anyone's guess.

2. Those illegals currently in the U.S. for 2-5 years must go to a U.S. port of entry and declare themselves to receive a temporary visa. Once back in the U.S., they may apply for citizenship. This accounts for 3-4 million people. This will be apparently be done on the honor system. How they would be held accountable for this is anyone's guess.

3. Those illegals already in the U.S. who could prove that they had been here for more than 5 years (what counts as proof is unclear) will not have to go back and declare themselves. They would be given guest worker status and be placed on the 11-year citizenship track. This accounts for about 5 million people. How this would be enforced is anyone's guess.

None of this legislation takes into account the fact that many of those already illegally here do not want to be Americans, they don't want to pay taxes or support our country. They are working to support their families back in Mexico. If they are already here without having to pay taxes and benefiting from our goodness, then what incentive will they have to show themselves and start paying taxes? How will we ever find the estimated 2-3 million who have been here less than 2 years and are supposed to be deported? How will we ensure that when this debate dies down, in a couple of months or years, the government will keep track of those who are supposed to be doing certain things to obtain citizenship when they don't even know where they are right now? And most importantly, how does this do anything to stop more illegals from coming here?

The reality is, there are plenty of laws already on the books to address illegal aliens in America. The problem is that the government refuses to enforce existing laws. They merely want to give the appearance of doing something, instead of tackling the harder issue of addressing the root of the problem. Their main goal is not America's security or continued strength, it is to get re-elected by any means possible. In doing so, they are ignoring a huge number of hard-working American citizens who are concerned with the direction America is heading and doing what could very well be irreparable damage to our nation's legal system and security. They are putting their short-term desire for more power above the interests of this great nation and her citizens. Meanwhile these congressmen and women are sending a dangerous message to the rest of the world. Go ahead, feel free to come here and break our laws, just be sure to vote for us in the next election.

How Childish

I have been around a lot of children in my life. There are certain behaviors that are common in kids, at particular stages in their lives.

Take as an example, when two 6 year-olds are out on the playground and an argument (with hitting) occurs between the children. When called to account for their actions before the teacher, the child at fault will invariably say, "No, I didn't hit Bobby". It is his first instinct to lie. When asked to apologize for the hitting, the child will say, "I'm sorry", but only because he has to.

As a child gets older, he begins to understand that the teacher will see right through this out-right lie, so the child gets more creative. When called before the teacher to account for wrongdoings, the child will say something like "Yes, I did hit Bobby, but only because he called me a name." So now it is no longer a denial of wrongdoing altogether, but now it's someone else's fault. The "he-made-me-do-it" syndrome. An apology will be given only to avoid more trouble, and is forced rather than heartfelt.

When a person reaches an age of maturity, the response, when accused of wrongdoing, becomes the most sophisticated of all. "I hit Bobby because my environment made me the way I am". "I'm not to blame, I can't help my responses, and I am justified because this is my reality." There is no apology because the person feels justified.

It seems to me that there are a lot of immature, childish people out there these days. A chief example would be Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.

When first accused of being involved in a scuffle with Capital Police and hitting the police officer, she denied hitting him and did not apologize. (This corresponds with 6 year old behavior.)

When the media began getting all sides of the story, McKinney admitted her part in the scuffle, but blamed the officer for not recognizing her and still did not apologize. (This corresponds with teenage behavior.)

When confronted with growing media coverage, McKinney did what a sophisticated child would do...she blamed the Capital police of racism. She was a product of her black environment and couldn't help feeling justified in her reaction. Absolutely no apology and no real regret.

Today, Ms. McKinney was not heartfelt, it was not sincere. It was the apology of a 6 year old child who knows that she may very well get in trouble (a grand jury is now hearing the testimony of the Capital police) if she doesn't apologize. She will now say whatever it takes to stay out of trouble. But she won't mean it and when the opportunity presents itself again, she will respond in the same way. Why? Because she is a selfish, immature child who has not learned how to take responsibility for her actions.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Cynthia McKinney: A Woman of No Honor

I have rarely seen a more arrogant and foolish woman than Cynthia McKinney. In case you have somehow missed the story, McKinney is the Georgia Congresswoman (D) who failed to wear the pin signifying her as a member of Congress and became beligerant and apparently violent with the Capital Police who detained her when she tried to bypass the security system. According to McKinney, she was in a hurry and was not wearing the pin given to members of Congress in order to identify them, (as has apparently been her habit). McKinney said, in part of her official statement , "I was urgently trying to get to an important meeting on time to fulfill my obligations to my constituents. Unfortunately, the Police Officer did not recognize me as a Member of Congress and a confrontation ensued."

A confrontation ensued indeed. Ms. McKinney became angry at being detained by the Capital policeman and apparently refused to simply say (as many other Congressmen do when they forget their pins) who she was. She expected the policeman to recognize her. And apparently not just her hairstyle, but her face. (She has recently changed her hairstyle quite dramatically.) Her ultimate response to being slug the officer with her cell phone. (If I had been that officer, I'd have slapped handcuffs on her immediately....)

Now, Ms. McKinney is doing what comes naturally to her. She is placing the blame elsewhere. She is accusing the officer (and apparently other Capital policemen) of racism. Today, McKinney said, "Face recognition is the issue .... The pin doesn't have my name on it and it doesn't have my picture on it, and so security should not be based on a pin ... People are focused on my hairdo. Something that perhaps the average American just doesn't understand is that there is a heightened sense of a lack of appropriateness being there for members who are elected who happen to be of color...and until this issue is addressed by the American public in a very substantive way, it won't be the last time." (this from

Cynthia McKinney is a very racist and foolish woman. She is not only blaming everyone else for her error, but she is arrogantly assuming that she is above the law. Apparently in McKinney's world, the laws should not apply to her because she is a black member of Congress and she felt slighted by someone who was simply doing his job...a job which serves to protect even idiots like McKinney. Capital police chief
Terrance Gainer said, "I've seen our officers stop white members and black members, Latinos, male and females...It's not an issue about what your race or gender is. It's an issue about making sure people who come into our building are recognized if they're not going through the magnetometer, and this officer at that moment didn't recognize her."

According to outgoing Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, "Cynthia McKinney is a racist...She has a long history of racism. Everything is racism with her. This is incredible arrogance that sometimes hits these members of Congress, but especially Cynthia McKinney."

Apparently, McKinney has gone a little too far this time. Not one of her fellow Democrats will even come close to showing support for Ms. McKinney's self-made predicament. Even they realize that this is foolishness that all could have been avoided had the "honorable" Congresswoman McKinney shown a bit more class and chosen to follow the rules rather than expect favortism. Grow up, Ms. McKinney.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Planned Parenthood Prayer Breakfast

The New York Times published an interesting article about Planned Parenthood and some members of the clergy. I found myself reading this article in utter disbelief that there are members of any church that reads the same Bible that I do that can sit down with Planned Parenthood and not only condone what they do, but wholeheartedly support it and claim that it is "sacred work". These are the words of the Rev. Thomas R. Davis of the United Church of Christ. He has written a book entitled "Sacred Work: Planned Parenthood and its Clergy Alliances".

He is not the only clergyman who believes that what Planned Parenthood is doing is righteous work. The Rev. W. Stewart MacColl told a story of how a Presbyterian church he led in Houston worked together with Planned Parenthood to open a family planning center. This was, of course, protested by many Christians. He said that that he and his wife brought refreshments to the protesters, "out of respect for their understanding of faith". Of course when a parishoner complained that it was difficult to explain to her 4 year-old why the protesters were waving signs that said "Your church believes in killing babies", MacColl responded "She (the protester) would, I suspect, count herself a lover of life, a lover of the unborn, a lover of God. And yet she spoke in harshness, hatred and frightened a little child." He went on to quote the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, saying, "'Sometimes the worst evil is done by good people who do not know that they are not good."

So I suppose in his twisted world, the Rev. MacColl would say that I am not good. Funny...I had the same thought about him. I wonder if he even realizes how ironic that statement is, considering I am not in favor of the killing of an innocent life, and particularly not doing so with the false idea that I would have God's blessing in this action.

Perhaps the most chilling words of all came from the Rev. Susan Thistlethwaite, president of Chicago Theological Seminary. She said, "The more we are able to cultivate the capacity in every person — women and men — to make informed ethical judgments both in ourselves and our society, the more we are coming into relationship with the transcendent, with God".

So let me get this straight. It's not only okay to kill innocent unborn babies (in any circumstance, apparently), but in doing so and thereby making an ethical judgement that we know who should live and die, we can be more God-like? Is this what she is saying? If so, I believe this type of thinking among the more liberal clergymen and women is very frightening. There is a huge difference between desiring to have the characteristics of Godliness (the Fruits of the Spirit) and wanting to BE God. It is a dangerous difference and this type of thinking needs to be categorically denounced by the more Biblical churches, otherwise it will slowly but surely work its way into the more conservative churches, as sin left untended has a way of doing.

Bill Cosby: No Excuses

I grew up watching The Cosby Show. I do believe that I have seen every single episode and I still laugh at the reruns. It is one of those shows that is timeless, family-friendly and groundbreaking all at the same time. I have always appreciated Cosby's attempt at showing that a black family can be fully functional, successful and strong. It is a message the black community desperately needed to hear when The Cosby Show first began and perhaps needs to see and hear even more now.

Though The Cosby Show sent a subtle message to the world during its run, Bill Cosby himself is speaking out in a not-so-subtle way now, this time directly addressing the black community. In recent years, Cosby has become increasingly vocal about the disintegration of the black family, the lack of education and morality and violence. Cosby's remarks have been candid, even blunt, and say what few other prominent black leaders dare to say. He advocates taking responsibility for one's actions. As a result, Cosby has been harshly criticized for his words, with some of the harshest critics being prominent black "leaders".

Cosby's latest comments are stirring up debate as well. Speaking at a rally in New Orleans this weekend, "It's painful, but we can't cleanse ourselves unless we look at the wound," Cosby told the rally of about 2,000 people in front of the city's convention center.
"Ladies and gentlemen, you had the highest murder rate, unto each other. You were dealing drugs to each other. You were impregnating our 13-, 12-, 11-year-old children," he said. "What kind of a village is that?" Cosby basically calls for the people of New Orleans to stop making excuses for their situation and take some personal responsibility for their lives.

Bill Cosby knows what he is talking about. He is black and grew up during a much more racially segregated time. He was abandoned by his father and raised by a single mother. He dropped out of high school after the tenth grade to join the Navy. He finished school through correspondence courses, earning a GED. He then went on to earn his master's degree and eventually a doctorate in eduction from the University of Massachussets. He has quite literally, been there and done that.

While other black leaders continue to make excuses for the rapidly failing black family and community, Cosby pulls no punches. He says (in a 2004 article in the Washington Post), "Racism continues to exist,... but "there is nothing that will defeat parenting." He added: "My call is for more, tighter reins. Know what your children are doing."

Cosby responded to critics by saying, "I know a victim when I see one. And so did Christ. And so does God know victims. And so do we all recognize victims. But some victims you can look at and say, 'Get up.' "

Bill Cosby gets this right. There are true victims (as some of the Katrina survivors are) and then there are those to whom it is time to say "get up".

Sunday, April 02, 2006

What Country is This?

According to Fox News, Skyline Highschool in Longmont, Colorado, has had some trouble with students protesting the proposed immigration legislation, as have other states across the nation. Apparently tensions were running high, with many waving the Mexican flag in protest of the legislation. So in response to all the Mexican flags, other students chose to wave American flags. One student said (in the tv interview) that he wanted to see an American flag waved for every Mexican flag being waved.

The school's response? Ban all flag waving. Including the American flag.

"Skyline High School Principal Tom Stumpf said American flags were brazenly waved in the faces of Hispanic students and in one case a Mexican flag was thrown into the face of another student." He went on to say, "When it involves the American flag and its abuse in vilifying other people, we simply will not tolerate it...They were using the symbol derisively as misguided patriotism."

Okay, I understand that throwing the Mexican flag in the face of another student could be considered abuse, and I don't in any way condone that type of behavior. However, I do wonder if the the school would have banned flag waving if it had only been the Mexican flag...even if waving the Mexican flag was "vilifying" the American students opposed to the immigration policy. I somehow doubt it. And of course, all flags had to be banned because we wouldn't want the American flag being flown (in America) to somehow be perceived as superior to any other country's flag or to be threatening to any student. That wouldn't be right, now would it?

What country am I living in? It is still America, right? I think I'm going to go out this week and buy a new American flag for my flagpole. A big one. And personally, I don't care if my neighbor feels threatened by it. I live in America and I love it here. I'm proud to be an American and I have every right to show my patriotism...and I intend to.