March 31, 2008

The Shortcomings Of Obama



Ken Blackwell - Black NY Sun Columnist - Warns about the Shortcomings of Obama.

3/18/2008 12:46:04 AM

This is the entire column from Ken Blackwell a black columnist for the New York Sun:

It's an amazing time to be alive in America. We're in a year of firsts in this presidential election: the first viable woman candidate; the first viable African-American candidate; and, a candidate who is the first frontrunning freedom fighter over 70. The next president of America will be a first.

We won't truly be in an election of firsts, however, until we judge every candidate by where they stand. We won't arrive where we should be until we no longer talk about skin color or gender.

Now that Barack Obama steps to the front of the Democratic field, we need to stop talking about his race, and start talking about his policies and his politics. The reality is this: Though the Democrats will not have a nominee until August, unless Hillary Clinton drops out, Mr. Obama is now the frontrunner, and its time America takes a closer and deeper look at him.

Some pundits are calling him the next John F. Kennedy. He's not. He's the next George McGovern. And it's time people learned the facts. Because the truth is that Mr. Obama is the single most liberal senator in the entire U.S. Senate. He is more liberal than Ted Kennedy, Bernie Sanders, or Mrs. Clinton.

Never in my life have I seen a presidential frontrunner whose rhetoric is so far removed from his record. Walter Mondale promised to raise our taxes, and he lost. George McGovern promised military weakness, and he lost. Michael Dukakis promised a liberal domestic agenda, and he lost.

Yet Mr. Obama is promising all those things, and he's not behind in the polls. Why? Because the press has dealt with him as if he were in a beauty pageant.

Mr. Obama talks about getting past party, getting past red and blue, to lead the United States of America. But let's look at the more defined strokes of who he is underneath this superficial "beauty."

Start with national security, since the president's most important duties are as commander-in-chief. Over the summer, Mr. Obama talked about invading Pakistan, a nation armed with nuclear weapons; meeting without preconditions with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who vows to destroy Israel and create another Holocaust; and Kim Jong II, who is murdering and starving his people, but emphasized that the nuclear option was off the table against terrorists - something no president has ever taken off the table since we created nuclear weapons in the 1940s. Even Democrats who have worked in national security condemned all of those remarks. Mr. Obama is a foreign-policy novice who would put our national security at risk.

Next, consider economic policy. For all its faults, our health care system is the strongest in the world. And free trade agreements, created by Bill Clinton as well as President Bush, have made more goods more affordable so that even people of modest means can live a life that no one imagined a generation ago. Yet Mr. Obama promises to raise taxes on "the rich." How to fix Social Security? Raise taxes. How to fix Medicare? Raise taxes. Prescription drugs? Raise taxes. Free college? Raise taxes. Socialize medicine? Raise taxes. His solution to everything is to have government take it over. Big Brother on steroids, funded by your paycheck.

Finally, look at the social issues. Mr. Obama had the audacity to open a stadium rally by saying, "All praise and glory to God!" but says that Christian leaders speaking for life and marriage have "hijacked" - hijacked - Christianity. He is pro-partial birth abortion, and promises to appoint Supreme Court justices who will rule any restriction on it unconstitutional. He espouses the abortion views of Margaret Sanger, one of the early advocates of racial cleansing. His spiritual leaders endorse homosexual marriage, and he is moving in that direction. In Illinois, he refused to vote against a statewide ban - ban - on all handguns in the state. These are radical left, Hollywood, and San Francisco values, not Middle America values.

The real Mr. Obama is an easy target for the general election. Mrs. Clinton is a far tougher opponent. But Mr. Obama could win if people don't start looking behind his veneer and flowery speeches. His vision of "bringing America together" means saying that those who disagree with his agenda for America are hijackers or warmongers. Uniting the country means adopting his liberal agenda and abandoning any conflicting beliefs.

But right now everyone is talking about how eloquent of a speaker he is and - yes - they're talking about his race. Those should never be the factors on which we base our choice for president. Mr. Obama's radical agenda sets him far outside the American mainstream, to the left of Mrs. Clinton.

It's time to talk about the real Barack Obama. In an election of firsts, let's first make sure we elect the person who is qualified to be our president in a nuclear age during a global civilizational war.

March 30, 2008

Press One For English

This needs no further embellishment.

March 29, 2008

A Whole Lot Of Anger


Obama's Anger


"The anger is real. It is powerful, and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races."
- Barack Obama


Back in the late 1980s I was on a plane flying out of New Orleans and sitting next to me was a rather interesting and, according to Barack Obama, unusual black man. Friendly, gregarious, and wise beyond his years, we immediately hit it off. I had been working on Vietnamese commercial fishing boats for a few years based in southern Louisiana. The boats were owned by the recent wave of Vietnamese refugees who flooded into the familiar tropical environment after the war. Floating in calm seas out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, I would hear tearful songs and tales from ex-paratroopers about losing brothers, sisters, parents, children, lovers, and beautiful Vietnam itself to the communists.

In Bayou country I lived on boats and in doublewide trailers, and like the rest of the Vietnamese refugees, I shopped at Wal-Mart and ate a lot of rice. When they arrived in Louisiana the refugees had no money (the money that they had was used to bribe their way out of Vietnam and into refugee camps in Thailand), few friends, and a mostly unfriendly and suspicious local population.

They did however have strong families, a strong work ethic, and the "Audacity of Hope." Within a generation, with little or no knowledge of English, the Vietnamese had achieved dominance in the fishing industry there and their children were already achieving the top SAT scores in the state.

While I had been fishing my new black friend had been working as a prison psychologist in Missouri, and he was pursuing a higher degree in psychology. He was interested in my story, and after about an hour getting to know each other I asked him point blank why these Vietnamese refugees, with no money, friends, or knowledge of the language could be, within a generation, so successful. I also asked him why it was so difficult to convince young black men to abandon the streets and take advantage of the same kinds of opportunities that the Vietnamese had recently embraced.

His answer, only a few words, not only floored me but became sort of a razor that has allowed me ever since to slice through all of the rhetoric regarding race relations that Democrats shovel our way during election season:
"We're owed and they aren't."

In short, he concluded, "they're hungry and we think we're owed. It's crushing us, and as long as we think we're owed we're going nowhere.

"A good test case for this theory is Katrina. Obama, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and assorted white apologists continue to express anger and outrage over the federal response to the Katrina disaster. But where were the Vietnamese "leaders" expressing their "anger?" The Vietnamese comprise a substantial part of the New Orleans population, and yet are absent was any report claiming that the Vietnamese were "owed" anything. This is not to say that the federal response was an adequate one, but we need to take this as a sign that maybe the problem has very little to do with racism and a lot to with a mindset.

The mindset that one is "owed" something in life has not only affected black mobility in business but black mobility in education as well. Remember Ward Churchill? About fifteen years ago he was my boss. After leaving the fishing boats, I attended graduate school at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I managed to get a job on campus teaching expository writing to minority students who had been accepted provisionally into the university on an affirmative action program. And although I never met him, Ward Churchill, in addition to teaching in the ethnic studies department, helped to develop and organize the minority writing program.

The job paid most of my bills, but what I witnessed there was absolutely horrifying. The students were encouraged to write essays attacking the white establishment from every conceivable angle and in addition to defend affirmative action and other government programs. Of the hundreds of papers that I read, there was not one original contribution to the problem of black mobility that strayed from the party line.

The irony of it all however is that the "white establishment" managed to get them into the college and pay their entire tuition. Instead of being encouraged to study international affairs, classical or modern languages, philosophy or art, most of these students became ethnic studies or sociology majors because it allowed them to remain in disciplines whose orientation justified their existence at the university. In short, it became a vicious cycle.

There was a student there I'll never forget. He was plucked out of the projects in Denver and given a free ride to the university. One day in my office he told me that his mother had said the following to him: "M.J., they owe you this. White people at that university owe you this." M.J.'s experience at the university was a glorious fulfillment of his mother's angst.

There were black student organizations and other clubs that "facilitated" the minority student's experience on the majority white and "racist" campus, in addition to a plethora of faculty members, both white and black, who encouraged the same animus toward the white establishment. While adding to their own bona fides as part of the trendy Left, these "facilitators" supplied M.J. with everything he needed to quench his and his mother's anger, but nothing in the way of advice about how to succeed in college. No one, in short, had told M.J. that he needed to study. But since he was "owed" everything, why put out any effort on his own?

In a fit of despair after failing most of his classes, M.J. wandered into my office one Friday afternoon in the middle of the semester and asked if I could help him out. I asked M.J. about his plans that evening, and he told me that he usually attended parties on Friday and Saturday nights. I told him that if he agreed to meet me in front of the university library at 6:00pm I would buy him dinner. At 6pm M.J. showed up, and for the next twenty minutes we wandered silently through the stacks, lounges, and study areas of the library. When we arrived back at the entrance I asked M.J. if he noticed anything interesting. As we headed up the hill to a popular burger joint, M.J. turned to me and said:

"They were all Asian. Everyone in there was Asian, and it was Friday night."

Nothing I could do, say, or show him, however, could match the fire power of his support system favoring anger. I was sad to hear of M.J. dropping out of school the following semester.

During my time teaching in the writing program, I watched Asians get transformed via leftist doublespeak from "minorities" to "model minorities" to "they're not minorities" in precise rhythm to their fortunes in business and education. Asians were "minorities" when they were struggling in this country, but they became "model minorities" when they achieved success. Keep in mind "model minority" did not mean what most of us think it means, i.e., something to emulate. "Model minority" meant that Asians had certain cultural advantages, such as a strong family tradition and a culture of scholarship that the black community lacked.

To suggest that intact families and a philosophy of self-reliance could be the ticket to success would have undermined the entire angst establishment. Because of this it was improper to use Asian success as a model. The contortions the left exercised in order to defend this ridiculous thesis helped to pave the way for the elimination of Asians altogether from the status of "minority."

This whole process took only a few years.

Eric Hoffer said:
"...you do not win the weak by sharing your wealth with them; it will but infect them with greed and resentment. You can win the weak only by sharing your pride, hope or hatred with them."

We now know that Barack Obama really has no interest in the "audacity of hope." With his race speech, Obama became a peddler of angst, resentment and despair. Too bad he doesn't direct that angst at the liberal establishment that has sold black people a bill of goods since the 1960s. What Obama seems angry about is America itself and what it stands for; the same America that has provided fabulous opportunities for what my black friend called "hungry" minorities. Strong families, self-reliance, and a spirit of entrepreneurship should be held up as ideals for all races to emulate.

In the end, we should be very suspicious about Obama's anger and the recent frothings of his close friend Reverend Wright.

Says Eric Hoffer:
The fact seems to be that we are least open to precise knowledge concerning the things we are most vehement about. Vehemence is the expression of a blind effort to support and uphold something that can never stand on its own.

A personal note:

While living in Alabama, we became friends with a black lady who attended some of the same church meetings that we attended. I won't mention her name, for obvious reasons, but she was a sweet lady in her late sixties, or early seventies. She had dinner at our home, and we at hers, and we attended various functions together. Over time, she shared some of her background, and her experiences with us. She said that when she was a young woman, that she hated all white people, and actually carried a butcher's knife on her person, and she said that she would have used it on a white person without a second thought.

She had worked as a housekeeper/nanny for white families, and what she told us was shocking! She said that when the parents left the house, that she would mistreat the children, putting them into the bathtub and making them stay for hours, while she did whatever she wanted to do. She said that when she cooked the meals that she would spit into the food, and that she did that the whole time she cooked for them, but they never knew it. I asked her why she did that, were they unkind, or did they mistreat her in any way. She said no, they just loved her, and were good to her. Then why? "Because they were white, and I hated all white people." Of course, she said, she changed when she found God, and started going to church, and no longer hated white people, but still didn't trust most of them.

She has two daughters, both living in Chicago, and one is married to a white man. She has many, many neices and nephews, all of whom have a college degree of some kind, with high paying jobs. I commended her on this, saying that not a single member of my family, nor of my relatives, had attended college, the reason being that none of them were financially able to do it.

She said that all of them had been given scholarships, or grants, and that was the reason that they could attend college. I asked her how they all got scholarships like that, expecting the answer to be that they were over-achievers, and deserving of it, but her answer really shocked me. She said that they got it because they were "entitled to it." That white society owed it to them because of the way their people had been held back. The odd thing is, that she answered in all sincerity the thing that she believed. I was surprised, because I was rather naive about such things at the time. I had no idea that many blacks really did have that mindset. I had had another similar experience a few years ago while applying for a job, but I thought that it was not something that happened all the time. Now, I know how wrong I was.

I think that Mr. Kaitz's essay explains a lot about what has brought us to where we are now.

March 28, 2008

The Sandpiper


The Sandpiper

By Robert Peterson

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live.I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sand castle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.

"Hello," she said.

I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.

"I'm building," she said.

"I see that. What is it?" I asked, not really caring.

"Oh, I don't know, I just like the feel of sand."

That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes.

A sandpiper glided by.

"That's a joy," the child said.

"It's a what?"

"It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy."

The bird went gliding down the beach. Good-bye joy, I muttered to myself, Hello pain, and turned to walk on. I was depressed, my life seemed completely out of balance.

"What's your name?" She wouldn't give up.

"Robert," I answered. "I'm Robert Peterson."

"Mine's Wendy... I'm six."

"Hi, Wendy."

She giggled. "You're funny," she said.

In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me.

"Come again, Mr. P," she called. "We'll have another happy day."

The next few days consisted of a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and an ailing mother. The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. I need a sandpiper, I said to myself, gathering up my coat.

The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed.

"Hello, Mr. P," she said. "Do you want to play?"

"What did you have in mind?" I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.

"I don't know. You say."

"How about charades?" I asked sarcastically.

The tinkling laughter burst forth again. "I don't know what that is."

"Then let's just walk."

Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face."Where do you live?" I asked.

"Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages.

Strange, I thought, in winter.

"Where do you go to school?"

"I don't go to school. Mommy says we're on vacation."

She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things. When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.

Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home.

"Look, if you don't mind," I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, "I'd rather be alone today." She seemed unusually pale and out of breath.

"Why?" she asked.

I turned to her and shouted, "Because my mother died!" and thought, My God, why was I saying this to a little child?

"Oh," she said quietly, "then this is a bad day."

"Yes," I said, "and yesterday and the day before and -- oh, go away!"

"Did it hurt?" she inquired.

"Did what hurt?" I was exasperated with her, with myself.

"When she died?"

"Of course it hurt!" I snapped, misunderstanding,wrapped up in myself. I strode off.

A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn't there. Feeling guilty, ashamed, and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.

"Hello," I said, "I'm Robert Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was."

"Oh yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much.I'm afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance,please, accept my apologies."

"Not at all -- she's a delightful child." I said, suddenly realizing that I meant what I had just said.

"Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson. She had leukemia.Maybe she didn't tell you."

Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. I had to catch my breath.

"She loved this beach, so when she asked to come, we couldn't say no.She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days. But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly..." Her voice faltered, "She left something for you, if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?"

I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something to say to this lovely young woman. She handed me a smeared envelope with "MR. P" printed in bold childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues -- a yellow beach,a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed:

A SANDPIPER TO BRING YOU JOY.

Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had almost forgotten to love, opened wide. I took Wendy's mother in my arms. "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry,I'm so sorry," I uttered over and over, and we wept together. The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words -- one for each year of her life -- that speak to me of harmony, courage, and undemanding love.

A gift from a child with sea blue eyes and hair the color of sand-- who taught me the gift of love.



NOTE: This is a true story sent out by Robert Peterson. It happened over 20 years ago and the incident changed his life forever. It serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy living and life and each other.

The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.

March 25, 2008

Si Se Puede, But Can He?

A sign for Barack Obama proclaims "Si Se Puede" — or "Yes We Can" — at a campaign event at Los Angeles Trade Technical College on Thursday. The Obama campaign is using the rallying cry of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers union.
I thought this article, from last February, was rather thought provoking. You can read the whole thing by going here:

Here are statements by a couple of his supporters:

"I'm very enthusiastic, the way he has embraced our rallying cry of 'si se puede,' " says Obama volunteer Francisco Sola, a computer programmer. "He called [it] a timeless creed."
Alfredo Figueroa, assistant dean of students at the University of California-Riverside, is another Obama volunteer.
"When we first heard it, we automatically tied it into Cesar Chavez. … [Obama] is telling us, 'All of what you guys went through made it possible for me to be here today,' " Figueroa says.

But despite Obama's use of its well-known slogan, the United Farm Workers union has endorsed Clinton.

In case you're wondering why I consider it thought provoking, it's because of statements like this:

"Since being sworn in as Venezuela's president in 1999, Chavez has championed the cause of the poor, making them the protagonists of his policies. He calls his crusade the Bolivarian Revolution, after Simón Bolívar who helped liberate Venezuela from Spain in the 1800s. His supporters say he is the only one who has ever cared about them. Critics call his peasant-class evangelism posturing – a man with too much oil money using politics as a personal sandbox."
Leftwing activists flock to Venezuela to soak up the socialist 'revolution' csmonitor.com

It makes me wonder if we are going to have an Obamaian Revolution in this country, since his supporters seem to think that he is the only one who has ever cared for them, and the only one who can fulfill all of their dreams.

Hmm..maybe they should adopt a new theme song, like Candy Man, and use these lyrics:

Oh, who can take tomorrow
Dip it in a dream
Separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream
The Candy Man
Oh, the Candy Man can
The Candy Man can
'Cause he mixes it with love
And makes the world taste good

Can't you just hear it? Instead of "Yes We Can!" it will be "THE CANDY MAN CAN!"

March 24, 2008

March 22, 2008

The Empty Tomb



This sign is carved in the door to the Garden Tomb near the Damascus Gate, in Jerusalem...the tomb where Jesus Christ was laid after His crucifixion.
May the hope and joy of this message be ever in your heart...today, and every day.

If


If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings -- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son! ~
~Rudyard Kipling~

March 21, 2008

You Ain't Gonna Like Losing

This picture reminds me of a couple of aunts, now deceased for several years.

The reason, I guess, is that they were both pretty strong women, and both did their part during the second World War.

They were different in many ways. They had different life styles. They lived in different parts of the country. Aunt Lillian in Washington D.C. worked as a secretary at the Pentagon, and Aunt Lois worked at a ship yard in New Orleans.

Aunt Lillian, and my mother's brother, Uncle William, became millionaires before their lives were over.

Aunt Lois, my mother's sister, married a happy-go-lucky, motorcycle riding dude, and they were pretty well off, but never became millionaires.

As different as their lives were, they were much alike in a very special way. They were all very patriotic, and had a real love for their country. They all contributed to the well-being of it, in some way, and they were grateful for what they had

Neither couple ever had children of their own, and my Aunt Lillian and Uncle William left most of their wealth and property to the Children's Home in Georgia, and their residence now shelters homeless children.

I have very fond memories of that home, having spent a summer or two there with them as a little girl, dressing up in Aunt Lillian's fancy dresses, listening to her "Washington Tales," while eating her fancy cooking.

It was a different time then--not only during the war days that they told me about, but in the years afterwards, too.

It is a different world, now.

I said all of the above, to preface the following:

"You Ain't Gonna Like Losing"

President Bush did make a bad mistake in the war on terrorism. But the mistake was not his decision to go to war in Iraq.

Bush's mistake came in his belief that this country is the same one his father fought for in WWII.

It is not.

Back then, they had just come out of a vicious depression. The country was steeled by the hardship of that depression, but they still believed fervently in this country. They knew that the people had elected their leaders, so it was the people's duty to back those leaders.

Therefore, when the war broke out the people came together, rallied behind, and stuck with their leaders, whether they had voted for them or not or whether the war was going badly or not.

And war was just as distasteful and the anguish just as great then as it is today. Often there were more casualties in one day in WWII than we have had in the entire Iraq war. But that did not matter. The people stuck with the President because it was their patriotic duty. Americans put aside their differences in WWII and worked together to win that war.

Everyone from every strata of society, from young to old pitched in. Small children pulled little wagons around to gather scrap metal for the war effort. Grade school students saved their pennies to buy stamps for war bonds to help the effort.

Men who were too old or medically 4F lied about their age or condition trying their best to join the military. Women doubled their work to keep things going at home. Harsh rationing of everything from gasoline to soap, to butter was imposed, yet there was very little complaining.

You never heard prominent people on the radio belittling the President. Interestingly enough in those days there were no fat cat actors and entertainers who ran off to visit and fawn over dictators of hostile countries and complain to them about our President. Instead, they made upbeat films and entertained our troops to help the troops' morale. And a bunch even enlisted.

And imagine this: Teachers in schools actually started the day off with a Pledge of Allegiance, and with prayers for our country and our troops!

Back then, no newspaper would have dared point out certain weak spots in our cities where bombs could be set off to cause the maximum damage. No newspaper would have dared complain about what we were doing to catch spies.

A newspaper would have been laughed out of existence if it had complained that German or Japanese soldiers were being 'tortured' by being forced to wear women's underwear, or subjected to interrogation by a woman, or being scared by a dog or did not have air conditioning.

There were a lot of things different back then. We were not subjected to a constant bombardment of pornography, perversion and promiscuity in movies or on radio. We did not have legions of crack heads, dope pushers and armed gangs roaming our streets.

No, President Bush did not make a mistake in his handling of terrorism. He made the mistake of believing that we still had the courage and fortitude of our fathers. He believed that this was still the country that our fathers fought so dearly to preserve.

It is not the same country. It is now a cross between Sodom and Gomorrah and the land of Oz. We did unite for a short while after 9/11, but our attitude changed when we found out that defending our country would require some sacrifices.

We are in great danger. The terrorists are fanatic Muslims. They believe that it is okay, even their duty to kill anyone who will not convert to Islam. Europe will be essentially a Muslim theocracy in 50 years with Shira Law governing the people. Included in Shira Law are stoning, beheading, and chopping off the left hand of thieves. It has been estimated that about one third or over three hundred million Muslims are sympathetic to the terrorists cause...Hitler and Tojo combined did not have nearly that many potential recruits.

So....we either win it, or lose it -- and YOU AIN'T GONNA LIKE LOSING.

Here's the link to the essay.

March 19, 2008

Reparations



There are a lot of things to worry about, and in the event that Senator Barack Obama is elected President, the issue of reparations could be one of them.

In the many articles that I have read recently, this caught my attention:

Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004 Obama opposed reparations for slavery. After his election, Obama subtly changed his view, stating he was against "just signing over checks to African-Americans," leaving open the possibility of other forms of reparations would be acceptable to him (Chicago Tribune 11/14/2004).

After reading that, the following became pretty interesting, too. It is a resolution passed at his church's Annual Meeting in June, 2001.

RESOLUTION REGARDING REPARATIONS FOR SLAVERY

Submitted by TRINITY UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST and UNIVERSITY CHURCH

THEOLOGICAL RATIONALE:

The Lord said to Moses: If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the Lord... about something...stolen...or he commits any such sin that people may do - when he thus sins, and becomes guilty, he must return what he has stolen or taken by extortion. He must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner... Leviticus 6:1-5 (NIV)

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to...preach good news to the poor...to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God...and provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them...a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. ...They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ancient cities that have been devastated for generations. Isaiah 61:1-4 (NIV)

"Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today. So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter...he has gone to be at the house of a 'sinner'. But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, Look Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount. Jesus said to him "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." Luke 19:5-9 (NIV)

The Law, the voice of the Old Testament Prophets as well as teaching of Jesus in the New Testament speak often, both emphatically and parabolically about repentance, restitution, restoration, and reconciliation. It is clear from the Law, as noted in Leviticus 6:4 that when something is stolen, obtained by deceit or through intentional or unintentional misdeeds, restitution plus "interest" must be made - in order to restore the wholeness of the community. Wholeness of the community and a communal life that honors and glorifies God was a central theme in the laws passed down by Moses. Repentance, Restitution, Restoration and Reconciliation are Required.

The prophets likewise quite eloquently urged and pleaded for God's people to reconcile with God - through a return to a focus on what God requires and a plea for God's people to heal the spirit of the oppressed, and to do what is necessary to proclaim the day of the" Lord's favor." As noted in Isaiah 61 (repeated again in Luke 4:18 as Jesus stated earthly mission and ministry focus), Isaiah known by some scholars as the greatest old testament prophet, summarizes God's request for God's people, by calling for the rebuilding of (and advocacy for), a united and healed community that glorifies God, honors who God is and calls us to be. Isaiah describes this community as one wherein the ancient ruins both figuratively and literally are restored, and a place where prior devastation is reversed, and despair is replaced by praise. Repentance, Restitution, Restoration and Reconciliation are Required.

Likewise, Luke the physician, and disciple of Jesus uses the story of Zacchaeus, a man of Jewish heritage (a person by profession, denoted as a "sinner" because of his oppression of and theft from the poor), to demonstrate how Zacchaeus' exposure to Jesus, produced, an act of repentance and his "repayment" four fold to those he stole from. Luke used this account of an acknowledged sinner's encounter with Jesus, to demonstrate that God is glorified and salvation accomplished throughrepentance, restitution, restoration, and reconciliation.

And so it is with the issue of Reparations for African Americans. Christians, especially those of us in the family of the United Church of Christ, and the Disciples of Christ must be cognizant of the foundations set before us in the Old Testament Law, acknowledge that the voice of the prophets still speak to us today, and hold tight to the teaching of Christ. In summary we are called to embrace repentance, restitution, restoration and reconciliation.

There can be no dispute that Africans were forcefully and through deceit, stolen from Africa, oppressed, abused physically, emotionally and psychologically, and forced to work without pay - the highest and most inhumane form of theft. The law as well as New Testament says if something has been stolen - repayment four fold is required, i.e., reparations.

There can be no doubt that one of the aftermaths of this horrible tragedy and smear on American history and greatness, is racism both institutional and personal, along with its pervasive counter part white supremacy, which has produced a deep malaise of the human spirit in a whole race of people. There can be no dispute that community is broken - remaining unreconciled, and in need of restoration. There has yet to be an official apology (repentance) for this great suffering and tragedy. This great suffering as aptly noted and described by Non-governmental Organizations and African Nations meeting as a part of the African Regional Preparatory Conference for the UN World Conference Against Racism, in January 2001 has resulted in, substantial and lasting economic, political and cultural damage caused to the descendants of the victims, the perpetuation of the prejudice against Africans on the continent of people of the African descent in the Diaspora, including and specifically the United States of America.We need advocacy, as called for by the prophet Isaiah, by a people of God for a new community.

Both reparations and advocacy for a new community will demonstrate as it did for Zacchaeus - that salvation has truly come. We need repentance, restitution, restoration and reconciliation.
The following resolution on Reparations for African Americans, supported by this theological rationale and others, will assist themembers of the Illinois Conference United Church of Christ to indeed embrace repentance, restitution, restoration and reconciliation as called for in the Law, by the prophets and as demonstrated in the teaching of Jesus.

BACKGROUND:

Members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ began conversations on the issue of reparations for slavery following the Disciples Justice Action Network-sponsored Justice Jubilee 2000 gathering in Tulsa, Oklahoma in September 2000. It was noted that awareness and discussion of this issue occurs almost exclusively among African American clergy and those churches they serve, but is also a justice issue long overdue for the serious attention of Christian citizens motivated by faith and tradition. Members of two Illinois Conference congregations - Trinity UCC, Chicago and University Church, Chicago - have held church school classes and study groups on reparations.

SUMMARY:

This resolution calls upon the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ, its Associations, its local churches, and other related agencies, to be educated about the historical evils of the slave trade and its legacy which is a pernicious and self perpetuating distrust and fear that continues to feed the sin of racism and its fruits of inequality and injustice. It further calls upon the Conference to take actions in support of reparations.

TEXT OF RESOLUTION:

WHEREAS: The institution of Slavery is internationally recognized as crime for which there is no statute of limitations, AND

WHEREAS: Uncompensated labor was demanded from enslaved Africans and their descendants for more than two centuries on U.S. soil; AND

WHEREAS: The principle that reparations is the appropriate remedy whenever government unjustly abrogates the rights of a domestic group or foreign people whose rights such government is obligated to protect or uphold has been internationally recognized including, but not limited to:

- German reparations to the State of Israel for the Holocaust

-United States reparations to Japanese Americans for illegal internment

-Reparations by the United Kingdom to the Maori people of New Zealand, AND

WHEREAS: This violation of human rights of Africans led a long legacy of subordination, segregation, and discrimination against descendants of slaves, AND

WHEREAS: In January 2000 a bill was presented in the U. S. House of Representatives: THE COMMISSION TO STUDY REPARATIONS PROPOSAL FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS' ACT (H.R. 40) by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), "To acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and in 13 American colonies between 1865 and to establish a commission to examine the institution of slavery, subsequently de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African Americans, and the impact of those forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies and other purposes" AND

WHEREAS: In the century and a half since the abolition of slavery the United States government has never acknowledged or taken responsibility for its role in the enslavement of Africans and the promotion of White Supremacy, AND

WHEREAS: The experience and legacy of enslavement, segregation and discrimination continues to limit the life chances and opportunities of African Americans, AND

WHEREAS: Christians must not only continue to call for the release of the captives (Leviticus 25:52) but also to proclaim liberty, bring good tidings to the afflicted, and build up the ancient ruins, (Isaiah 61) AND

WHEREAS: General Synod of the United Church of Christ has voted ten resolutions, statements, and pronouncements on racism since 1963; AND

WHEREAS: the Chicago Metropolitan Association at its Spring Annual Meeting held May 5, 2001 adopted a Resolution supporting Reparations For Slavery.

THEREFORE: be it resolved that the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ meeting June 6, 7 and 8, 2002, go on record supporting Reparations for Slavery and a process of study for; AND

THEREFORE: be it further resolved, that this resolution be communicated to the Associations, Congregations, and related agencies of the Illinois Conference for study and reflection and that the Illinois Conference; AND

THEREFORE: be it further resolved, that the Illinois Conference instruct its staff to communicate our support to Representative John Conyers for House resolution 40 which he presented to the U.S. House of Representatives; AND

THEREFORE: be it further resolved, that the Conference Minister write letters to all Illinois Members of the US House of Representatives asking them to sign on as co-sponsors of the resolution; AND

THEREFORE: be it further resolved, that the Illinois Conference UCC explore what actions it might take to seek forgiveness for its participation in the benefits of slavery and explore creating models of Reparations that might be adapted by other ecclesiastical and governmental bodies; AND

THEREFORE: be it further resolved, that this Resolution be enabled by the appointment of a Reparations Task Force, that includes members of the sponsoring congregations (Trinity UCC and University Church) and that the Task Force be instructed to engage associations, congregations and related agencies of the Conference in study and action; AND

THEREFORE: be it finally resolved, that funds for these efforts come from the Conference Justice and Peace Funds.

Presented to Annual Meeting June 2001

Amended and passed at Annual Meeting June 2001

Interesting, indeed.

I wonder if this is something that Senator Obama was not aware of, either. It hardly inspires confidence in me to trust someone running for the highest office in the country, knowing that he is, and has been a part of a church, and congregation, with this misguided way of thinking.

I think it would only cause one to wonder if he would be for all the people, or only a select group of people.



March 18, 2008

Well, Well


Well, well.

The man who wouldn't salute the U.S. flag made his speech, blaming all the ills of society on slavery, and the resentment of whites of affirmative action, with eight of those flags behind him.

As far as I'm concerned, that speech was a "something for everyone" speech, and a speech to excuse, and justify, the controversial hate speeches made by his friend, and pastor, Dr. Jeremiah Wright.

Do you think that it really accomplished anything? I don't. I think it will serve only to stir up more bitterness and resentment on both sides, and I doubt that anyone was inspired to work on the issue of the great racial divide in this country.

It is true that many whites feel that they have been denied equal rights, in order to give a step-up to blacks, and it is just as true that blacks still feel that they are victims, with a very strong sense of entitlement, which is enforced by activists, black and white, such as Dr. Jeremiah Wright, and others with extremely far left, radical, liberal views.

I must say that I did feel sorry for Senator Obama, because I know that he feels a genuine affection for his friend and pastor, but he must have known when he considered becoming a presidential candidate, that this issue was going to arise, sooner or later. The fact that he denied ever hearing any of the incendiary comments of Reverend Wright, or any knowledge of his strong anti-white establishment feelings, only made himself look worse. At least, today he finally did acknowledge that he knew of some of it, but still tried to justify it.

I have my own idea of where this is leading, and I believe that the civil unrest of the sixties will be nothing compared to what will happen if Senator Obama, for any reason, loses his bid for the White House.

Prop Us Up On Our Leaning Side

Every time I am asked to pray, I think of the old deacon who always prayed, "Lord, prop us up on our leanin' side."

After hearing him pray that prayer many times, someone asked him why he prayed that prayer so fervently.

He answered, "Well sir, you see, it's like this...I got an old barn out back.
It's been there a long time, it's withstood a lot of weather, it's gone through a lot of storms, and it's stood for many years.

It's still standing. But one day I noticed it was leaning to one side a bit.
So I went and got some pine poles and propped it up on its leaning side so it wouldn't fall.

Then I got to thinking about that and how much I was like that old barn. I've been around a long time.

I've withstood a lot of life's storms. I've withstood a lot of bad weather in life, I've withstood a lot of hard times, and I'm still standing, too. But I find myself leaning to one side from time to time, so I like to ask the Lord to prop us up on our leaning side, cause I figure a lot of us get to leaning, at times.

Sometime we get to leaning toward anger, leaning toward bitterness, leaning toward hatred, leaning toward cussing, leaning toward a lot of things that we shouldn't. So we need to pray,
" 'Lord, prop us up on our leaning side," so we will stand straight and tall again, to glorify the Lord.' "

~Author Unknown


March 16, 2008

Wright's Statements Not Outliers for Church Flock

Here's another great post by one of my favorite bloggers:

I've commented quite a bit on the Barack Obama's Wright scandal.
I have, for example, argued that Obama's statement repudiating Wright's sermons
is not enough, that the Illinois Senator needs to cut all ties with a church that proselytizes hatred.
It turns out,
as the New York Times reports, that despite some claims that Wright's controversial statements are aberrations in years of work promoting traditional Christian theology, members of the Trinity United Church in fact flock eat up Wright's hated-filled sermons:

Mr. Wright, 66, who last month fulfilled longstanding plans to retire, is a beloved figure in African-American Christian circles and a frequent guest in pulpits around the country. Since he arrived at Trinity in 1972, he has built a 6,000-member congregation through his blunt, charismatic preaching, which melds detailed scriptural analysis, black power, Afrocentrism and an emphasis on social justice; Mr. Obama praised the last quality in Friday's statement.
His most powerful influence, said several ministers and scholars who have followed his career, is black liberation theology, which interprets the Bible as a guide to combating oppression of African-Americans.
He attracts audiences because of, not in spite of, his outspoken critiques of racism and inequality, said Dwight Hopkins, a professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School, in an interview last year.
But Mr. Wright's blistering statements about American racism can shock white audiences.
"If you're black, it's hard to say what you truly think and not upset white people," said James Cone, a professor at Union Theological Seminary and the father of black liberation theology, who has known Mr. Wright since he was a seminary student.
You think?
I mean, what good natured, patriotic white person would be upset at hearing Wright's venomous and paranoid attacks on this country?


http://americanpowerblog.blogspot.com


Thanks again, Donald...I couldn't have said it better, myself!

March 14, 2008

There Are Not Enough Words

There are not enough words to express my disdain for men such as this. Men who are known as 'men of the cloth' who are supposed to strive for peace and harmony, but who do nothing but try to bring division...not speaking words of truth, but pure, unadulterated, venomous lies.

I would like to call him a wolf in sheep's clothing, but that would not be appropriate for this false prophet, because he is not trying to pretend that he is one thing, when he is another. He knows that he is a racist, and he's proud of it!

Obama's Preacher Says God Damn America

When I saw this today, I was horrified at its message, and the fact that it is possible that the next President of the United States is a member of this church which spews racial hatred in such a blatant fashion.

I posted on this church in October of 2007, and I think that everyone, everywhere, who cares about the direction this is headed should voice their concerns.

I am sickened, and disgusted, that the media has ignored anything that could adversely affect Obama's image.

Maybe, just maybe, some are beginning to see the real truth, and substance, behind his words.

Her Guardian Angel?



The Mysterious Stranger Who Saved Clara Barton's Life
By Brad Steiger

Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was a 40-year-old former schoolteacher when the Civil War broke out in 1861. As she witnessed dreadful and bloody carnage, she saw a need for a system to distribute medical supplies and food to troops on the front lines. For her untiring efforts, she deservedly earned the title of "The Angel of the Battlefield." Later, according to some accounts, she may have met her own guardian angel.
After the war she worked tirelessly to establish an office that would help locate and identify prisoners, missing soldiers, and the dead who lay lost in unmarked graves throughout the North and the South. Her doctors sent her abroad to Europe to rest and rejuvenate her state of exhaustion and ill health, and she arrived shortly before the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. She immediately began work with relief units of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Forced into temporary retirement by ill health, she used her supposed convalescence to begin lobbying the U.S. Senate to ratify the Geneva Convention and to establish an American Red Cross. In 1882 the Senate managed to put aside its fear of foreign entanglements, and the Geneva Convention was ratified, the American Red Cross was formed, and Clara Barton was named its first president.
It was in April 1884 that 63-year-old Clara Barton, who had always professed to be a deist, rather than a conventionally religious person, may have met her guardian angel aboard the riverboat Mattie Bell on the Mississippi River.
A terrible spring flood had swept away corn and cotton fields, as well as homes and human lives, and Clara and a group of Red Cross workers were on a mission of mercy to bring food and medical supplies to the starving and the injured.
Before they set out, the captain of the Mattie Bell had warned her that it would be no pleasure cruise. They were going to encounter floating trees, dead animals, and other debris--probably including human bodies.
But the most dangerous threat to their mission, he emphasized, would be submerged rocks and crevasses, waterfalls. The flood had allowed the river to escape its former banks and to break through in new directions, and that meant that those crevasses might now be in places where they had never been before. A crevasse was a riverboat captain's worst nightmare.
Just as the Mattie Bell was about to push away from the dock, a Red Cross worker rushed up to Clara Barton with the report that a stranger had just stepped on board and was requesting permission to sail with them. The worker told her that the stranger seemed rather vague about his reasons for wanting to accompany them and that there was something unusual about him.
Clara, always practical and direct, expressed her opinion that she saw no reason for a stranger, "unusual" or otherwise, to accompany them. "Tell him that permission is denied," she told the Red Cross worker.
But the Mattie Bell was pulling away from the dock, and the stranger was already on board. The captain had given the order to sail, and the assembled crowd of well-wishers was giving them a rousing sendoff, complete with a chorus of cheers and a band playing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." The stranger was forgotten.
The captain had been right about the unpleasant sights that they would encounter. No member of the crew or the Red Cross workers could remain unmoved by the river currents carrying bobbing, swollen- corpses of men, women, and children, as well as the carcasses of horses, cattle, cats, dogs, and other livestock and poultry. The Mississippi River had become a charnel house that moved inexorably toward New Orleans with its debris of death.
From time to time the captain would call out to Clara Barton, "Hear that roar? Just on the other side of that broken levee is a crevasse. Pray to God that we don't come on one of those hellholes unexpectedly."
It was nearly sundown when Clara recalled that they had a stranger in their midst. A worker pointed out the man standing alone at the stern, leaning on a railing, looking at the sunset.
He seemed to be an ordinary fellow, Clara remarked to her assistant. And he did not appear to be bothering anyone. Nevertheless, she ordered, he would be put ashore at the next dock.
She had just made her decision about the stranger when the captain approached her with another matter that required her immediate response.
"Miss Barton, I'm asking your permission to continue for a little while longer. There's a headland just a few miles farther on that would be an excellent spot to drop anchor for the night."
Clara was puzzled by the man's request. The sun had nearly set. It was the Captain himself who sought to impress her with the many dangers inherent in this voyage. Wouldn't they be taking great risk by continuing after dark?
The captain seemed to stiffen at her query. She was, nominally in command, so he must obey her orders. However, he reminded her that he had been chosen for the voyage because of his great familiarity with the river. He was certain that he could make the headland before it became completely dark.
Clara reluctantly agreed to allow the captain to continue on toward the headland where he wished to anchor for the night.
But then almost as if the demonic force of the flood had conspired to entrap the Mattie Bell, a thick fog seemed to appear from nowhere. Within moments the last rays of sunset had been swallowed up by the rolling clouds of fog, and the riverboat slowed to a crawl--far from the headland sought by the captain.
Clara Barton gripped the cold railing of the ship and began to pray for God's help in seeing them through to safety.
A deep masculine voice startled her from her prayer. It was the stranger's voice, and although she could not clearly see his face in the darkness, she could hear plainly the urgency in his voice: "Within moments the steamboat will be in a crevasse, and it is a deadly one. The captain and engineer will not listen to me. You must command them to pull backward at once. If they do not, the ship will be lost--and all on board will perish!"
Clara Barton did not hesitate for even one second to argue the validity of the stranger's grim warning. There was something about his manner that precluded debate. She was immediately on her way to alert the captain of the danger.
Later she thanked God that the startled captain had not felt his authority threatened by a female. He had implemented her orders at once.
The crew and the Red Cross workers felt the Mattie Bell shudder to a stop. The rushing current of the crevasse could now be heard plainly by everyone.
To a person they all realized that their lives now depended on the little steamboat's reversed engines' being powerful enough to fight against the current that sought to pull them to their deaths.
To his credit, the captain displayed remarkable skill at the wheel as he managed to direct the Mattie Bell, groaning and creaking, engines shrieking, backward to an area where he felt secure in dropping anchor for the night.
At dawn's first light the men and women who had set out on a mission of mercy beheld with absolute horror the fate that a merciful God had spared them.
Immediately before them stretched a crevasse almost five hundred feet wide over which a torrent of rushing water dropped fifteen feet into the river below.
How had the stranger known of the existence of the broad and deadly crevasse?
Surely it had only recently been caused by the violent action of the floodwaters. The captain had not known of its ominous presence.
Without the stranger's warning they all would almost certainly have been killed by plunging into the crevasse.
Clara Barton wished to commend the stranger for his action, which had saved the entire crew and the group of Red Cross workers.
"He's gone, Miss Barton," one of her staff told her. "He's nowhere on board the ship."
Clara frowned her bewilderment. That was impossible. He must be on board. Where else could he be? They were in the middle of a river made hazardous by floodwaters.
The staff worker reminded Clara that the Mattie Bell was not a very large vessel. It did not take long to search out all of the places where a man might be sitting, standing, or resting.
The Red Cross worker who had first confronted the stranger when he had requested passage on the Mattie Bell reminded her that he had immediately noticed something different about him.
"1 think he was an angel," the man said frankly, without embarrassment. "1 think he came aboard solely for the purpose of seeing to it that our mission of mercy would not be terminated by a cruel, watery death."
Clara Barton nodded in silent agreement. The Red Cross worker's explanation was good enough for her--and it seemed to satisfy the others on board the Mattie Bell as well.
Until her death in 1912 at the age of ninety-one, Clara remained unable to offer any "natural explanation" of who the stranger aboard the riverboat had been. If those with a skeptical or rational set of mind wished to devise other theories of how the man had known of the existence of the crevasse and how he had subsequently managed his complete disappearance from the Mattie Bell, she would not argue the case with them.
But she herself never wavered in her conviction that the unseen world had made itself manifest in order to protect the Red Cross workers on their humanitarian mission to the needy flood victims.

March 12, 2008

Has This Ever Happened To You?


Hey, guys...I would like for you fellow bloggers to tell me what you think about this:


Last night, I posted something from another blog, which I thought had a lot of good information, with the permission of the blogger. The title of that post was "Obama's Second Coming." That was the last thing I posted, however, when I signed on this evening, there was not one, but two posts, of the same thing, which was a YouTube video of Obama making his Texas Primary speech. Now, how do you suppose that happened? I deleted them, but someone saw it before I deleted it, and thanked me for it! It is really upsetting me to think that, somehow, someone was able to post something on my blog, that I didn't want posted.


I would like for you to tell me whether or not this has ever happened to you, and if so, what did you do about it?

Obama's Second Coming


My wife's been getting Rolling Stone delivered to our home.
I'm not sure why, since she's not some tattoed alternative rocker or some wild-eyed antiwar counter-culture provocateur. Actually, she's gets a lot of mags like Ladies Home Journal and Redbook, and maybe some subscription renewal incentive had a side deal for the left-wing music magazine.
No matter, I've been reading some of the articles.
It turns out Rolling Stone
endorsed Barack Obama with this week's edition.
Why now? That's the first thought that comes to mind. If the mag's got any pull in the rockin' electorate, you'd think they might have laid down an endorsement, say, around the time of the New Hampshire primary. For all of their political reporting, maybe the editors really don't understand the imperatives of frontloading.
But what was really on my mind is the meat in the endorsement itself. Rolling Stone's apparently an alternative media tribune for the idealistic, if not the radical set. Their piece is a classic example of messiah-building on the left (more on that
here and here). I mean, take a look at this yourself:


Throughout the primaries, and during a visit he paid to our offices, we have come to know Barack Obama, his toughness and his grace. He would not be intimidated, and he declined to back down, when Senator Clinton called him "frankly, naive" for his willingness to meet leaders of hostile nations. When one of her top campaign officials tried to smear him for his earlier drug use, he did not equivocate or backtrack. On the matter of experience and capability, he has run an impressive, nearly flawless campaign — one that whupped America's most hard-boiled political infighters. Indeed, Obama was far more prepared to run a presidential campaign — from Day One — than Senator Clinton. And at no point did he go negative with personal attacks or character assassination; as much as they might have been justified, they didn't even seem tempting to him.
Obama has emerged by displaying precisely the kind of character and judgment we need in a president: renouncing the politics of fear, speaking frankly on the most pressing issues facing the country and sticking to his principles. He recognizes that running for president is an opportunity to inspire an entire nation.
Obama was far more prepared for "Day One"?
Does that include things like
feeding the multitude? Let's give Hillary Clinton some credit here for raising the issue.
Certainly, all this hard-left Obama-worship is exceptionally light on analysis. If Obama's divine, you'd think he'd a least hold his own during press conferences, as
Michael Barone points out in comparison to John McCain:


McCain takes questions until the last reporter runs out of things to ask. Obama terminated a probing press conference last week after eight questions with the lame excuse that he was running late. Obama's oratory has been compared to John Kennedy's. But he doesn't have Kennedy's gift for gracefully parrying hostile questions.
Not so miraculous after all, it seems. At least Christ attended to the questions from the high priests.
But not only that.
The Rolling Stone endorsement goes further, to rehash all the left-wing demonized talking-points against the last seven years. Speaking of Obama:


Obama ... [has] denounced the Republican campaign of fear. Early in the campaign, John Edwards took the lead, calling the War on Terror a campaign slogan, not a policy. Obama rejected the subtle imagery of false patriotism by not wearing a flag pin in his lapel, and he dismissed the broader notion that the Democratic Party had to find a way to buy into this entire load of fear-mongering War on Terror bullshit — to out-Republican the Republicans — and thus become, in his description of Hillary Clinton's macho posturing on foreign policy, little more than "Bush-Cheney lite."
We have a deeply divided nation, driven apart by economic policies that have deliberately created the largest income disparities in our history, with stunning tax breaks for the wealthiest and subsidies for giant industries. The income of the average citizen is stagnant, and his quality of life continues to slowly erode from inflation.
We are embittered and hobbled by the unnecessary and failed war in Iraq. We have been worn down by long years of fear- and hate-filled political strategies, assaults on constitutional freedoms, and levels of greed and cynicism, that — once seen for what they are — no people of moral values or ethics can tolerate.
A new president must heal these divides, must at long last face the hypocrisy and inequity of unprecedented government handouts to oil giants, hedge-fund barons, agriculture combines and drug companies. At the same time, the new president must transform our lethal energy economy — replacing oil and coal and the ethanol fraud with green alternatives and strict rain-forest preservation and tough international standards — before the planet becomes inhospitable for most human life....
We need to recover the spiritual and moral direction that should describe our country and ourselves. We see this in Obama, and we see the promise he represents to bring factions together, to achieve again the unity that drives great change and faces difficult, and inconvenient, truths and peril.
Whoa!
That's a lot, apocalyptic even. No wonder Obama's nomination is seen as no less than the second coming - he's our savior!


http://americanpowerblog.blogspot.com/

Thanks, Donald!

March 10, 2008

United We Stand


My Aunt Polly has been on my mind, today. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may recall that she is my mom's sister-in-law, who was married to her youngest brother, Uncle Bo. In another post, I talked about her old neighborhood, which is now mostly a Hispanic community, and how much she misses her old home.

When I last wrote about her, she had been diagnosed with Hodgekins disease, a serious form of cancer, and was facing a series of chemo treatments, with not a very good prognosis. I am happy to tell you, that she came through those treatments quite well, and is now free of cancer. I am sure that her resiliency, and her faith, had much to do with that, which is, maybe, the reason that she was on my mind today.

Over the years, she has lost three sons, tragically--an eleven year old killed when the horse he was riding was struck by a speeding car. A twenty year old, shot with a shotgun while trying to defend someone else, and a son in his forties, to suicide. Last year, only a few days after being diagnosed with cancer, she lost a granddaughter, whose life was tragic in itself, to a drug overdose. Through that newsest grief, she was still resilient enough to bounce back. And that's why she came to mind today, as I watched, and listened to the telling of all the tragic events going on in this country, and other countries, as well.

I was thinking that the tragedies that my Aunt Polly endured, touched my life, yes, but any tragedy that touches another should touch us, in some way, and I wondered about the resiliency of the people of our country. How much longer will we be able to endure such senseless acts of cruelty and violence, which are rampant? I am grieved when I hear about how those two young coeds died, at the hands of young Black men, their lives ended almost as soon as they were begun, imagining the sorrow inflicted upon their families and friends.

I cried with the Black couple whose promising young son was shot and killed a few days ago in California. He was only two or three doors down from his home, while his mother was across the world in Iraq, serving her military duty. I wept with the young man's father, who told with tears streaming down his face, how they had impressed upon him to stay away from gangs, to work hard in school, to do his best, and to make something of himself. Yet, maybe it was because he was not in a gang that he was killed, because when he was asked if he belonged to a gang, he said nothing, and was shot.

I cried as I listened to his mother wail, as only a heartbroken mother can, at the senselessness of his death. He was doing all the things he was supposed to do, all the things that his parents were teaching him, and was killed by some thugs with no regard for human life, nor anything, other than establishing their own personal reign of terror, and dominion over "their territory."

I know that I have written much of this before, but I am genuinely concerned for us, as a nation. Here, where I live, there is a constant stream of street violence, gang activity, shootings, robberies, and just about anything else one could think of in terms of abberant, and abhorrent, behavior. Along with that, there is the constant report of some official, or employee, embezzling large sums of money from organizations which are supposed to be helping those in need, which is not only a local problem, but nationwide.

There is corruption everywhere in the country, and now, today we hear about the governor of New York being involved in a prostitution ring. And right now, as I write, Reverend Al Sharpton is talking about suing the DNC over the delegates situation, and disenfranchised voters. Our government, on all levels, is filled with scandal, greed, and corruption, exposed and hidden.

Where will it all end?

Maybe, we could just get back to taking responsiblity for ourselves, living life in the best way that we are capable of doing, with common courtesy and respect for others and their rights. Maybe, we could get back to honesty, and integrity, and the kind of pride that we once had in the knowledge that we were citizens of the best country in the world, despite its imperfections.

I know that the hue and cry now, is "Change" but I just don't think that change will come through any political system, or any charismatic politician, but change must start within each of us. Maybe, then we would stop trying to drag our country through the mud, and allowing others to make us feel ashamed to be Americans.

Change will come when all of us have equal rights in every sense of the word, and when we stop feeling a sense of entitlement just because we are of a certain ethnicity, or a particular sexual orientation. Change will come when we stop being denied our rights because we are not of those certain select groups. Change will come when the elected officials of this country all start using their positions of power, and their offices, to do what is right, and not for personal power and greed.

It doesn't matter whether we are black, white, brown, yellow, red, or any color in between, we are all human beings, with a responsibility toward our fellow man. I think that it is time that we started acting like it.

Am I proud of my country? You bet I am. The thing that I am not proud of, is the way that we have allowed our rights to be stripped away, layer by layer, until we stand naked and exposed and vulnerable. We do need change, but we have to be sure that it is for the better, and not more of the same, in a different diguise. Perhaps if we do it right this time, we can properly diagnose the cancer that is eating away, insidiously, at this country, treat it, and bounce back from it, as resiliently as my Aunt Polly has from hers.
United, we will stand, proudly.

March 08, 2008

Just A Bit Of Humor

In The Beginning, God created the Heaven and the Earth.
And the Earth was without form, and void,
And darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Devil said, "It doesn't get any better than this."

And so God created Man in His own image; Male and female.
And God looked upon Man and Woman
And saw that they were lean and fit.
And God populated the earth with broccoli and cauliflower and spinach and green and yellow vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

And so the Devil created McDonalds
And McDonalds brought forth the 79-cent double cheeseburger.
And the Devil said to Man, You want fries with that?
And Man said, Super size them.And Man gained five pounds.

And so God created the healthful fruit to go with the vegetables,
That Woman might keep her figure
But the Devil brought forth chocolate.
And Woman gained five pounds.

And God said, "Try my crispy fresh salad."
And the Devil brought forth Ben and Jerry's.
And Woman gained 10 pounds.
And God said, "Why doth thou eatest thus? I have sent thee heart-healthy vegetables,
And olive oil with which to cook them."

But the Devil brought forth chicken fried steak so big it needed its own platter.
And Man gained 10 poundsAnd his bad cholesterol went through the roof.

And so God brought forth running shoes.
And Man resolved to lose those extra pounds.
And the Devil brought forth cable TV with remote control so Man would not have to toil to change channels between ESPN and ESPN2.
And Man gained another 20 pounds.

And so God brought forth the potato,
A vegetable, naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition.
And the Devil peeled off the healthful skin,
And sliced the starchy center into chips,
And deep-fat fried them.
And the Devil created sour cream dip.

And Man clutched his remote control
And ate the potato chips swaddled in cholesterol.
And the Devil saw and said, "It is good."
And Man went into cardiac arrest.
And God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery.
And the Devil canceled Man's health insurance.
So God made a concession, and showed Woman how to peel the skin off chicken
And cook the nourishing whole grain brown rice.

And the Devil created light beer,
So Man could poison his body,
While feeling righteous because he had to drink twice as much of the now-insipid brew to get the same buzz.
And Man gained another 10 pounds.

And Woman ventured forth Into the land of Godiva chocolate.
And upon returning asked Man, "Do I look fat?"
And the Devil said, "Always tell the truth."
And Man did.

And Woman went out from the presence of Man,
And dwelt in the land of the divorce lawyer East of the marriage counselor.
And the Devil said, "It doesn't get any better than this......"

And that Devil is still creating havoc. And he is still trying to get us to swallow something poisonous to our well-being, all the while making it look like it is good for us.

Hmm..I wonder if that Devil ever ran for office?

March 07, 2008

March 05, 2008

Building Your House

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer- contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business to live a more leisurely life with his wife and enjoy his extended family. He would miss the paycheck each week, but he wanted to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but over time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

When the carpenter finished his work, his employer came to inspect the house. Then he handed the front-door key to the carpenter and said, "This is your house...my gift to you."

The carpenter was shocked!

What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then, with a shock, we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we would do it much differently.

But, you cannot go back. You are the carpenter, and every day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Someone once said, "Life is a do-it-yourself project." Your attitude, and the choices you make today, help build the "house" you will live in tomorrow.

Therefore, build wisely!

March 04, 2008

Slogans: Words, Just Words



Memorable Slogans
"No child left behind." -- George W. Bush
"A kinder, gentler America." -- George H. W. Bush
"Nothing to fear but fear itself..." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt
"Ask not what your country can do for you..." -- John F. Kennedy
"It's the economy, stupid." -- Bill Clinton
"Speak softly and carry a big stick." -- Teddy Roosevelt
"Are you better off than you were four years ago?" -- Ronald Reagan
"A chicken in every pot." -- Herbert Hoover

Two words define Franklin D. Roosevelt's impact on America: "New Deal." Compare that phrase to the one coined earlier by his distant cousin, Teddy Roosevelt: "A square deal for every man."
Square Deal, New Deal, big deal. What's the difference? Why is New Deal the one we remember?

The thing is, Teddy didn't restructure American voting patterns, and he wasn't looking to; that's reflected in his phrase. "Square deal" appeals to a sense of fairness within an accepted framework. It's what you might offer your gardener, if you're a stand-up guy.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, however, understood that a fault line had opened in America between owners and workers, employers and employees. He looked out there and saw the potential for a powerful new voting coalition of labor unions, immigrants, and minorities. He grasped that those groups, bonded in many struggles for control of their own destinies, were looking for more than bigger handouts--they wanted a seat at the table.
New Deal implies tearing up old contracts and starting from scratch. It conveys the feeling of two parties sitting down to negotiate as equals. It displays perfect pitch for the string that was out there to be plucked.

And now, in this same context, look at the slogan poor old Herbert Hoover was riding: "A chicken in every pot..." That's what rich people bestowed on their servants at Christmas time! No wonder Hoover lost. No, the slogan alone didn't cause his loss. His clueless grasp of the emerging political landscape did that; but his slogan reflected that cluelessness.

And on that note, let's not forget this one: "Change we can believe in!"

A True Story



The Girl With the Apple
An amazing and true story by Herman Rosenblat



August, 1942.

Piotrkow, Poland.

The sky was gloomy that morning as we waited anxiously. All the men, women, and children of Piotrkow's Jewish ghetto had been herded into a square. Word had gotten around that we were being moved. My father had only recently died from typhus, which had run rampant through the crowded ghetto. My greatest fear was that our family would be separated.


"Whatever you do," Isidore, my eldest brother, whispered to me, "don't tell them your age. Say you're sixteen." I was tall for a boy of 11, so I could pull it off. That way I might be deemed valuable as a worker. An SS man approached me, boots clicking against the cobblestones. He looked me up and down, then asked my age.


"Sixteen," I said. He directed me to the left, where my three brothers and other healthy young men already stood.


My mother was motioned to the right-with the other women, children, sick and elderly people. I whispered to Isidore, "Why?" He didn't answer. I ran to Mama's side and said I wanted to stay with her. "No," she said sternly. "Get away. Don't be a nuisance. Go with your brothers." She had never spoken so harshly before. But I understood: She was protecting me. She loved me so much that, just this once, she pretended not to. It was the last I ever saw of her.


My brothers and I were transported in a cattle car to Germany. We arrived at the Buchenwald concentration camp one night weeks later and were led into a crowded barracks. The next day, we were issued uniforms and identification numbers. "Don't call me Herman anymore," I said to my brothers. "Call me 94983." I was put to work in the camp's crematorium, loading the dead onto a hand-cranked elevator. I, too, felt dead. Hardened. I had become a number.


Soon, my brothers and I were sent to Schlieben, one of Buchenwald's sub-camps near Berlin. One morning I thought I heard my mother's voice. Son, she said softly but clearly, I am sending you an angel.


Then I woke up. Just a dream. A beautiful dream. But in this place there could be no angels. There was only work. And hunger. And fear.


A couple of days later, I was walking around the camp, behind the barracks, near the barbed-wire fence where the guards could not easily see.


I was alone. On the other side of the fence, I spotted someone -a young girl with light, almost luminous curls. She was half-hidden behind a birch tree. I glanced around to make sure no one saw me. I called to her softly in German, "Do you have something to eat?" She didn't understand. I inched closer to the fence and repeated the question in Polish. She stepped forward. I was thin and gaunt, with rags wrapped around my feet, but the girl looked unafraid. In her eyes, I saw life. She pulled an apple from her woolen jacket and threw it over the fence. I grabbed the fruit and, as I started to run away, I heard her say faintly, "I'll see you tomorrow."


I didn't believe she would come back. It was much too dangerous. But I returned anyway, the same time the next day. And there she was. The same girl. She moved tentatively from behind the tree, and once again threw something over the fence. This time, a small hunk of bread wrapped around a stone. I ate the bread, gratefully and ravenously, wishing there had been enough to share with my brothers. When I looked up the girl was gone.


I returned to the same spot by the fence at the same time every day. She was always there with something for me to eat-a hunk of bread or, better yet, an apple. We didn't dare speak or linger. To be caught would mean death for us both. I didn't know anything about her-just a kind farm girl-except that she understood Polish. What was her name? Why was she risking her life for me? Hope was in such short supply, and this girl on the other side of the fence gave me some, as nourishing in its way as the bread and apples.


Nearly seven months later, my brothers and I were crammed into a coal car and shipped to the Theresienstadt camp in Czechoslovakia. "Don't return," I told the girl that day. "We're leaving." I turned toward the barracks and didn't look back, didn't even say good-bye to the girl whose name I'd never learned, the girl with the apples.


We were at Theresienstadt for three months. The war was winding down and Allied forces were closing in, yet my fate seemed sealed. On May 10, 1945, I was scheduled to die in the gas chamber at 10:00 A.M. In the quiet of dawn, I tried to prepare myself. So many times death seemed ready to claim me, but somehow I'd survived. Now, it was over. I thought of my parents. At least, I thought, we will be reunited. At 8:00 A.M., there was a commotion. I heard shouts, and saw people running every which way through camp. I caught up with my brothers. Russian troops had liberated the camp!


The gates swung open. Everyone was running, so I did too. Amazingly, all of my brothers had survived; I'm not sure how. But I knew that the girl with the apples had been the key to my survival. In a place where evil seemed triumphant, one person's goodness had saved my life, had given me hope in a place where there was none. My mother had promised to send me an angel, and the angel had come.


Eventually, I made my way to England, where I was sponsored by a Jewish charity, put up in a hostel with other boys who had survived the Holocaust and trained in electronics. Then I came to America, where my brother Sam had already moved. I served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, and returned to New York City after two years. By August 1957 I'd opened my own electronics repair shop. I was starting to settle in.


One day, my friend Sid-whom I knew from England-called me. "I've got a date. She's got a Polish friend. Let's double date."


A blind date? Nah, that wasn't for me. But Sid kept pestering me, and a few days later we headed up to the Bronx to pick up his date and her friend Roma. I had to admit, for a blind date this wasn't so bad. Roma was a nurse at a Bronx hospital. She was kind and smart. Beautiful, too, with swirling brown curls and green, almond-shaped eyes that sparkled with life.


The four of us drove out to Coney Island. Roma was easy to talk to, easy to be with. Turned out she was wary of blind dates too! We were both just doing our friends a favor. We took a stroll on the boardwalk, enjoying the salty Atlantic breeze, and then had dinner by the shore. I couldn't remember having a better time.


We piled back into Sid's car, Roma and I sharing the backseat. As European Jews who had survived the war, we were aware that much had been left unsaid between us. She broached the subject. "Where were you," she asked softly, "during the war?"


"The camps," I said, the terrible memories still vivid, the irreparable loss. I had tried to forget. But you never forget.


She nodded. "My family was hiding on a farm in Germany, not far from Berlin," she told me. "My father knew a priest, and he got us Aryan papers."


I imagined how she must have suffered too-fear, a constant companion. And yet here we were, both survivors, in a new world. "There was a camp next to the farm," Roma continued. "I saw a boy there, and I would throw him apples every day."


What an amazing coincidence that she had helped some other boy. "What did he look like?" I asked.


"He was tall. Skinny. Hungry. I must have seen him every day for six months."


My heart was racing. I couldn't believe it.this couldn't be.. "Did he tell you one day not to come back because he was leaving Schlieben?"


Roma looked at me in amazement. "Yes."


"That was me!" I was ready to burst with joy and awe, flooded with emotions. I couldn't believe it. My angel. "I'm not letting you go," I said to Roma. And in the back of the car on that blind date, I proposed to her. I didn't want to wait.


"You're crazy!" she said. But she invited me to meet her parents for Shabbat dinner the following week. There was so much I looked forward to learning about Roma, but the most important things I always knew: her steadfastness, her goodness. For many months, in the worst of circumstances, she had come to the fence and given me hope. Now that I'd found her again, I could never let her go. That day, she said yes. And I kept my word: After nearly 50 years of marriage, two children and three grandchildren, I have never let her go.



"The Flower of the Fence," starring Richard Dreyfuss as Herman and Maia Morgenstern as Roma, is due out next year. What makes it different from other films depicting the Holocaust, such as "Schindler's List" and "The Pianist," is that its central theme is not the concentration camps or the gas chambers.


"It's based on love," Roma Rosenblat says.


And its message, as its plot, goes beyond place and time.


"We are all the same. There should be no difference," Herman Rosenblat says.


And there should be no hate. That is also the message in the children book titled "The Angel at the Fence," coming out soon.


Children are the principal audience the Rosenblats, who now live in North Miami Beach, are hoping to reach.


"They are the future. They should not hate," he says.


A message he doesn't get tired of repeating and got first at the age of 11 when his father told him never to hold grudges. He doesn't. Not even when in 1992 he and his son were shot during a robbery at his business. His son is in wheelchair now. Rosenblat was in the hospital for seven months.


"I'd be hating everybody," he says. But he and his wife have chosen to forgive, the thieves, the Nazi officers responsible for their suffering and other victims who are consumed by hatred.


"Hate is the worst thing you can ever imagine," he says.


Amen to that, Mr. Rosenblat.