Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday's Unintended Soapbx

Is anyone else tired of hearing the word bailout? And will there be anyone else to bail out within a couple of years?

We already bail out those who won't work or perform any productive activity. And I'm not talking about those who CAN'T, I am referring to those who WON'T.

We bail out people with tax "refunds" for more than the amount of money that they pay in taxes.

We have many social programs that "bail out" people who mismanage money. We see welfare checks spent on candy, liquor, and lottery tickets. We give parents with poor parenting skills more money to have more children, and then see that money spent on the 'adults' instead of the poor, innocent children. DAEOC pays the utilities for people that drive vehicles that they can't afford; people who spend $750 per month on vehicle payments and then can't afford $100 electric bills. The government provides section 8 housing for those who are too lazy to work or care for a home. Unemployment is a scam. The sub prime lending to those under qualified didn't work. We are still paying taxes on programs that should have ended forty years ago or more.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not against aid or assistance. We all go through times of difficulty and there are certainly people who can't work or have disabilities or responsibilities that won't allow them to have much of a job. And in this great country, no one should have to go without having needs met.

But we aren't entitled. We have confused our rights with our wants. And we should meet needs, not continue to contribute to bad habits and unethical practices of our individuals.

And also understand that I am not a financial wizard, not have I made the best economic choices in my life. I have and probably will make mistakes that negatively affect my family and our household income. I am not trying to be the pot calling the kettle black.

But I am writing about mistakes and errors, not lifestyles, habits, or entitlements. We all make mistakes; life is a learning process. But we all don't feel like someone owes us something because we made mistakes. Believe it or not, many Americans still try to do for themselves and still try to overcome their mistakes with better decision making and diligence. And lots of prayer.

But many Americans don't try to make difficult decisions or difficult lifestyle changes. Many Americans feel that they are entitled or that something is owed them because they were dealt a bad hand. Many Americans just wont do anything except the minimal, just so they can get by. While this is their prerogative and their decision, they should reap what they sow, not stand by idly with a hand out waiting to benefit from someone else's good decision making.

And that is what so many social programs have done; contributed to people who feel entitled, standing around with a hand out, waiting to be bailed out of another poor, lazy, unconcerned decision. Too many social programs have contributed to the erosion of work ethics; ethics period actually. To often the social programs intended to help, turn into abused overspending. Too many programs have caused people to feel entitled; raising generations of lazy, uncaring people. We no longer reap what we sow. We are able to reap what some else sows. Our resilience has been lessened, our ethics eroded, and the "do-ability" that our country was built on has turned into "what someone else can do for me ability". There is little pride in the work place. Our labor pools are shoddy. There is little concern for our co workers or respect for the team concept in the workplace.

I am not trying to be negative, but when on this subject I see little to be optimistic about. I do know of some good workers with good ethics. I am fortunate to have a wife and a best friend who have been excellent examples of ethics, hard work, and resilience. And I have other friends who are hard workers and make ethical decisions. God has blessed me with good examples to surround myself with; with good people to surround myself with period.

These people aren't wanting a handout or to be bailed out. Actually what makes these people great is how little they complain. They of course vent their frustrations, but they have no desire to be enabled or entitled.

Phew! This wasn't the direction that I had planned to go today. I guess I got on my soapbox early this week. This bailout stuff gets my dander up.

I apologize for leaving this "unfinished" but I am out of time. I may try to focus this week's blogs on the concept of bailouts and entitlements; in the private sector and commercial sector. Plus I probably need to tie up some loose ends and explain today's post a little better.

Let me know what you think and if you have any thoughts on this issue. Whether you agree or disagree with me is not an issue, I like to hear other opinions. That is one thing that we ARE entitled to, even if we may be wrong.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday's Questions

How about that stock market?

A trillion dollar bailout is a good idea, but a twenty-five billion loan is not conscientious spending?

Why don't we let the economy run it's course?

Fish or cut bait?

What is the big deal about Donovan McNabb forgetting that an NFL game could end in a tie?

Did you know that there are 10,592 Christian martyrs per year in North Korea?

How is the declining price of gasoline a bad thing?

Is the Hillary for Secretary of State deal political or in the best interest of America?

Why can't I find a good right winger for my fantasy hockey team?

Is Facebook more fun than I imagined it would be?

What's that smell?

Is our economy more Hamilton or less Jefferson?

Will the Rams get beat by less than 30 points this weekend?

Are the Blues cursed?

How much would a feather weigh on Jupiter?

Read any good books lately?

Whats this 'Twilight' crap?

Will we ever know the price for 'going green'?

How come we read so little about the theory of the greenhouse effect being flawed?

If scientist can't explain why the global temperature is FALLING this year, how can they explain that the global temperature has been rising?

Will Al Gore have to give back his Nobel Prize?

Who wants an award that Jimmy Carter has been given?

Do I remember grace?

Does my life reflect that I remember grace?

What have you done for me lately?

Is Nicole Kidman pregnant?

Who cares?

Is anyone else tired of the media bashing Sarah Palin?

Lame duck president?

Is anyone else glad that its Friday?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nothing Special Wednesday Edition

I don't have a lot of printable material on my mind today. Nor is my mind in a very cognitive state. But I did come across an intersting article in The Jerusaleum Post:

Regardless of who you voted for or what you may think of politics, this is a very plain, yet revealling article for many reasons. It would be interesting to see what people on all sides, beliefs, and philosophies think about this simple article.

I wouls also like to mention that an friend of mine has begun a blog and I think it will be very worthwhile reading:

My God bless!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Morning Musings

I have a hodgepodge of notes, scribblings, and musings cluttering up my desk, and even more in my head. In an attempt to clear up and organize both, here is today's two cents worth:

I see that there was a poll done on the relationship between depression and television watching. This is almost as useless as the study showing that people on antidepressants are more likely to commit suicide than people who don't take antidepressants. Some things just seem obvious with or without a scientific study...In getting back to the television/depression study; how much television have you watched lately? I watch Missouri sports teams and that is reason enough to be depressed these days, but I watch little else. "King of the Hill" is in it's final season and "Corner Gas" doesn't come on as often, these are depressing facts. I have, however, maintained a generally decent level of emotion. But if I watched much more than old black and white movies or Andy Griffith, I doubt I would be able to maintain much of a sanity level. There is nothing except crap on television! There is too much tension, drama, melodrama, nonsense, mind-numbing, sex, reality(?) and the like, on our sets these days. Who wouldn't get depressed watching much of this junk? Why aren't there any decent shows? Or even anything creative. I'm sure many may not share my sentiment, but t.v. is pretty depressing in it's content, expression, and it's creativity in my opinion. I wonder what the suicide rate is among depressed people taking anti-depressants while watching too much television?

Why is the NAACP still the NAACP? I mean, isn't it politically incorrect to call someone colored? And aren't we all some color? My generation, as well as myself personally, have never called anyone colored...maybe they are due for a name change.

Does anyone watch the NHL? And of the two people that may, are you tired of hearing about the excessive hitting? And the head injuries? Players need to learn not to rely on rules for protection and not place themselves in poor positions on the ice...I miss the days when there was some common sense...and I am ready for the days without Gary Bettman, the worst commissioner in the history of sports.

I encourage everyone to write their congress people and oppose the automaker bailout. I understand that it is a difficult situation and I feel for the workers and their families. But we need to act on some principles before there is nothing remaining to act upon. The Free Market is not a failure, it's the government intervention that is causing the problems. And on a side note, ask the UAW what they are prepared to do to help the situation. The trillion dollar fiasco that Bush,Paulson,Frank, etc proposed only brings us closer to Hamilton's idea of central banking and farther away from where we need to be, economically. And look how good that bailout has done. Not to mention that Paulson announced that he will not be buying the bad debt and etc or investing in the financial sector to the extent that was initially proposed. So besides the pork and earmarks, what or who has benefited? Ans as Thomas Jefferson said,"A government big enough to give you all you want, is big enough to take everything you have." We may need to be reminded of that more than we wish the next few years...

There was a rash of blame and finger pointing last week by pastors and politicians last week. For some reason, many sex scandals and the like were in the news. Was it Bill Clinton's birthday? Anyway, no one was very ready to accept blame for their own decisions but many were quick to point to abuse, neglect, and stress in their lives that caused them to make the poor decisions in their lives. It made me wonder why i have failed in areas of my life and as soon as I decide who caused it, i will feel better about myself...Give me a break...and before we judge these people too harshly we really should examine our own lives first...but no one is too blame for our personal decisions but ourselves. People and situations may make it more difficult to overcome certain obstacles, but we are always accountable for our own, personal decisions. And our churches and our government should be leading the way in teaching that philosophy...but what do i know?

Frustration is generally the manifestation of selfishness or fear...that one is mine. Feel free to use it...

I also have some notes on Kelvin, Celsius, aphelion, miles multiplied by 8,divide by 5=1.6 conversion. It is also -454 degrees Fahrenheit in space and the Earth temp ranges from 184K to 287K...I'm not sure what theory I was working on there. Any ideas?

And that clears up enough clutter for the day. I will save the rest for another time.

I hope everyone has a good week! Try to be productive, purposeful, and Christlike in all that you do!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Time of Thanksgiving…

I may be a little ahead of the season with the official celebration of Thanksgiving still being two weeks away, but this year seems a little different to me. Could it be the chill in the air or the decorations around every corner? Or maybe something more obvious such as the daily, bold reminders plastered on the internet and television?

Headlines such as:
Missile strike on Pakistan tribal region kills 12
“Acid attacks keep Afghan girls away from classes”
“Hamas fires heavier rockets at Isreal”
“Children separated from parents by Congo violence”

We could so easily focus on the other headlines regarding our own nation such as:
“Worse drop ever in retail sales; stocks fall”
How to hold down heating costs this winter

And while those issues, as well as others, are definitely items that can affect each of us as Americans, I wonder if anyone else profits from a reminder to check our worldview.

Although there are certainly days or moments when I become frustrated or overwhelmed by life itself, my eyes are opened considerably when I consider what a day entails for those in Pakistan, Israel, Afghanistan, or the Congo. My mind cannot fathom living in a constant state of fear. I cannot imagine being separated from my children due to continual military and militia combat. My heart breaks when I think about the 6-year old little girl who has been separated from her parents in the Congo as she “stared down at her grubby blue dress and said, in a voice barely above a whisper, "I'm afraid of bullets." My children have never known such trepidation and for that, along with the reasons aforementioned, I am so THANKFUL.

Are there experiences in our country that cause us to fear? Absolutely! But overall, how many of us awake each morning and wonder if we will be killed by a suicide bomber or whether a missile will be headed for our country? How many of us have been forced from our homes and placed in refugee camps?

I certainly do not intend to downplay the pain and heartache that as Americans we do face in our lives. But I also know that for me personally, I tend to, on occasion, need a “wake-up call” that takes my focus off of “me” and reminds me of how different life COULD be…and for that I give THANKS to the Lord…not just during this “season of Thanksgiving”, but each and every day.

*Thanks again Brandy, for the blog today.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Patriotism Today

Redistribution is not patriotic. Biased coverage in our media is not freedom of speech. To use uninformed words or second hand opinion, then hide behind the flag is vulgar in all literal senses. "Patriotism is the final refuge of a scoundrel", were Samuel Johnson's words; words that I say to myself more often these days.

Patriotism is a funny thing now. We can say or do anything we like and call it a right or a freedom. We can act with total disregard of others and call it entitlement. Every self-serving word and action is acceptable in today's political correct and litigation-maddened society. Just label ourselves a true patriot, call it a freedom, and send it up the flag pole.

But just becasue we can doesn't mean that we should.

Like burning the flag or calling our military people murderers. Granted, these acts occured in a different decade and aren't as popular acts now as they were then. But is that becasue the sentiment has changed? Is it becasue we have discovered respect and more civilized manners of expression? Has the culture war in America changed?

Or have we developed more subtle, nuanced ways of undermining real patriotism or morale? We have no need for the blatant or obvious. We can use undertones and insinuations. Ignorance and self-centeredness in equal parts produces an effective base for "patriotic opinion" and quietly erode any movement that the mainstream deems unappropriate; regardless of necessity.

Yesterday caused me to think alot about military issues; but mainly about military people. I realized how easy it is to get caught up in the political quagmire of war by watching the news and reading articles on the internet, while REAL people are on foreign soil fighting for my priveledge to do so. And I felt a little ashamed.

Not that I have spoke against anyone or that I don't pray for our troops. I didn't feel badly because I don't support our troops or that I have protested any movements. Nor do I feel self-righteous in my words or actions either. But I felt ashamed becasue my support has been diluted. My real focus has been on the wars and conflicts being managed here in the States by pencil pushers, journalists, and arm-chair politicians like myself. And all the while, my focus should be on our men and women serving in our military. Not that all of the others don't need prayer and support; just that my notions and intents toward out military people have become an all too often token of appreciation, not the real thing. And that is no one's fault except mine.

So I apologize to all who serve, in whatever capacity it may be. I apologize for forgetting that you are dads, husbands,mothers,wives,sons,daughters,neighbors,and friends. I truly am sorry that I have placed you in a generic mass of bodies and whispered a few words of prayer over you. There is nothing greater than serving a purpose greatethan yourself, regardless of whether it is your career or your duty.

I pledge to try to do better. I have no desire to find refuge in patriotism; I desire my patriotism to serve others than myself.

Thank you Veterans of America! Thank you for your service! Thank you for the lessons in patriotism.

And here is someone who puts the sentiment into wrods much better than I do:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes...

As I am sure you have all experienced, there has been much “election” talk in our home the past few months. We have discussed issues, values, candidates, what-ifs, and more. And our incredibly smart 4-year old (according to his parents!) has been listening in. He knew the candidates and their running mates. He knew that we were leaning toward one candidate more than the other, but that we certainly did not hate the other. As we sat listening to the news in our living room on Election Day, the popular topic of discussion for the media was race and gender. The look on our little one’s face began to change from interest to confusion. And as a parent, you are wondering what in the world could be running through their mind! Assuming that I could read his mind, I began to explain what the media was discussing…how there are people in this country that use their voting privilege to vote for a person simply because of the color of their skin or whether they are a man or a woman.

I went into even further explanation due to the fact that he was still peering up at me with squinted eyes and a scrunched nose. I explained that there are those in other countries that do not have the privilege of voting for their leaders…that we live in a country where men and women fought and continue to fight for us to have that privilege…that it is important we take it seriously and identify what the candidates stand for and how that measures up to what we use to live by in our lives, the Bible, and not just vote for someone based on the color of their skin, their political party affiliation, or if they are a male or female.

When I finished my oration, I was still looking down into squinted eyes and a scrunched nose. At this point, I paused. Had I attempted to explain too much? Did I not explain clearly? What could he possibly be thinking?

And in my moment of silence, he dropped his head, stared down at his arm and his hand, and then hesitantly asked, “Mommy, what color am I?”

Even in only four years of being a Mommy, there are experiences that have already made me proud of our little Noah, but I am not sure there has been a prouder moment than this one. Our son, who knows more about dinosaurs and habitats that I, who can count to 100 with little help, who can read very well for his age, who loves to watch the History channel, Discovery channel, and the weather channel…did not know what color he was. For some parents that might appear to be an embarrassing moment. How could he know so much and yet not know the answer to that simple question? But for this Mommy, it was an affirmation that in our home and among those individuals that surround his life, no one has ever presented a difference in people simply because of the color of their skin.

I know that one day there will probably come a moment when someone will make that distinction to Noah, and he will be faced with the decision to see people based on the color of their skin or, as we discussed on Election Day, to see us all the way the Lord intended…as His creations.

We could probably all learn a lesson from such a “childish” question. Do we see people through our own eyes or through the eyes of Christ? I am convinced that this world would be a different place if we were to all commit to the latter.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Handful of Thoughts

There will be no blog today. I plan on some family time today.So just a couple of thoughts:

Remember to pray for our country, our newly elected president, our military men, and each other.

Be active in contacting your government representatives. Let your voice be heard.

And for those concerned about the new president and the filibuster-proof congress, just remember that God is in control.

Regardless of who you voted for, we need to support the president. Not give him a free pass, but be respectful.

Spend the next couple minutes in prayer, just thanking God for who He is and what He's done.

Have a good day!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Who Is Barak Obama?

With tomorrow being election day, I'm sure that most of our thoughts are on things political. I know that many of my thoughts are. And with so many different thoughts on the election and the campaign, I have alot of random notions, statements, questions, and philosophies floating around in my head; and I will devote today's blog to these musings:

For starters, my intent today is not to offend or polarize anyone. as I have stated before, I have many friends who vote opposite of me and we are still friends; friends who I respect and admire regardless of their political philosophies. Nothing will change that. And I have also written that we, my friends and I, are what works in our country; people who care about each other, listen to each other, respect each other, relate to each other, then vote freely for whomever our convictions lead us to vote for, all the while remaining friends. I only wish congress could behave so respectfully.

With that being said, I realize that some feathers may be ruffled by my words today. That may be a good thing, that may be a bad thing. It depends on how we all react as individuals and what we do about our convictions. And while I like to stir the pot at times, I only like to do if it causes others to think or act on their passions. I would also add that I appreciate my friends and family allowing me to be me and to be vocal and strong-minded. I appreciate that my philosophies are heard even though they may not be agreed with. And with all of that being said, here are some random musings on things political:

I have to say that I have become more jaded during this election year.

The media has been absolutely atrocious in their coverage of the respective campaigns. For starters, I would like to see more coverage of the Libertarian party, Independent party candidates, and other parties running a candidate for president. Personally, I like to hear everyone's opinion and philosophies. And having coverage of multiple candidates helps keep everyone more honest, so to speak. But I guess the media is more concerned with popularity and ratings than they are concerned with actual "campaign coverage".

I used to be one who grew tired of people complaining about the media. I feel that the media does a very important job in this country. I believe in freedom of the press and that it is crucial to the people and that it aids in the democratic process. So it is not with a hidden agenda or with some knee-jerk reaction to something that I have read that causes me to be so disappointed, so angry at the media these days. It is the main stream media that has become as corrupt as congress; a media that has shirked responsibility and ethics for instant gratification. The media that we rely on for information has let us down. They have decided that they know what is best for us, the common man, and that we will all be better if we let THEM dole out crucial information to the masses like a parent doles out a weekly allowance for a child. They have forgotten their duty and abused their freedom.

And regardless of who you support in the election tomorrow, you have to see the bias. And bias should not play a role in all of the news. It has it's place and should be afforded some liberties, but not under the guise of information and fact.

For instance, Out of ten major magazines on the shelves this weekend, eight featured Obama on the cover. One featured McCain. -

Another example is the headline,"Biden Reliable Running Mate Amid the Stumbles". Is Sarah Palin measured with the same scales?

Or "Biden States McCain Reacted too Slowly to Economic Woes". Now suddenly McCain is the only senator in the race. Hasn't Joe Biden been in senate for alot of years? Doesn't the press acknowledge that when they need to add experience to Obama ticket? And isn't Obama credited with being a very influential and important figure in congress, although he has only been there two years? But only McCain is responsible for economic woes? This gets into a level of bias that is not only ignorant, but insane.

And how about the GOP scaring people so that they will not get out and vote? How are they scaring people? And what about ACORN, if you want to get into voter interference? And Obama's $800,000 donation to his former employer? Sure, it received modest coverage, but the issues were never pressed. Obama was handed a free pass on the issue. One of many.

And how about anytime that Obama was pressed on anything? If anyone had the audacity, he would simply state that "that", whatever the that of the day was, was "out of bounds" and should not be an issue; and the subject was dropped. Does he know the Jedi mind trick? Why is he not pressed on the issue?

Obama has verbally acknowledged that Jeremiah Wright has been an influential person in his life. He has written about him and even tilted his book after one of Wright's sayings. Yet when he is pressed, he says that that is out of bounds and that religious freedom is being compromised. Yet Sarah Palin is crucified for her pentecostal background. Reporters dig to find out if she has spoken in tongues, which is a spiritual gift according to the Bible. But something that may be her private prayer language between her and God, and is supported Biblically in a supposed Christian nation comes under attack. But that is in bounds?

There are many, many more examples but time and children will not allow more at the present.

And how about the candidates, both presidential and vice-presidential? Joe Biden is a reason I am jaded. I never agreed with his politics but I always liked Biden. i considered him a straight shooter who spoke his conscious. But not anymore. He's just a common politician. During HIS attempt for presidential bid he stated that Obama wasn't ready to be president and that John McCain could be. Then he gets the vp nod and it all changes. In a matter of weeks? What class did Obama take that made him so instantly prepared to be a world leader? Sign me up for that one. Biden has always had foot in mouth disease. he hasn't been able to win his parties nomination on his own. So now he has a chance to be in the big show and he changes his stances, his style, and his principals. He becomes a sell out. And another seemingly honest man succumbs to the corruption of political power. Joe Biden lost my respect, not that he will lose any sleep over it.

And how about Biden's remarks that Obama will be tested by a foreign country within six months of election. And make no mistake about it, he is insinuating an attack from terrorists or rogue nations. Go to YouTube and look for yourself, don't take my word for it. Anyway, when Biden was added to the Obama ticket it was for his foreign policy. many agree that Biden's expertise is in foreign policy. The media concurs. Joe Biden is a foreign policy expert. An expert that said McCain is the best man for foreign policy numerous times. Yet when the expert claims that there will be a "test" within six months, it is dismissed as Joe Biden being Joe Biden. He steps out of the expert role when he contradicts Obama's agenda. He steps out of the expert role when he acknowledges McCains mettle. Yet when he is attack dog and kool-aid drinker, he is an expert again. And they make Palin out to be some sort of ninny...

And does it concern anyone else that Obama is "endorsed" by so many other world leaders? Leaders who hate the United States? Where is the media coverage and slant there?

I am running out of time and space. I have much more to say today but have other duties i must see to. I have changed a dirty diaper, given two baths, swept up a mess, damage control, broken up two fights, filled three sippee cups, and performed brain surgery(so it feels) while blogging today. So I am sorry if this isn't very coherent. I would like to wrap today's blog up by stating that I do not have animosity for Barak Obama. But I do not think we know who he is. He sells Hope, but he does it by trying to scare you into it. Hope should not be sold under the guise of negativity. But he is given so many free passes, we don't really know who he is. He has never been tested, actually the opposite is true. He has had legislation written for him. he has had the backing of the press and has become a pop culture icon. He sells magazines and helps t.v. ratings. An entire political party has been behind his efforts. You have to look at the facts that he has done very little of his own other than write books about himself. We don't know who Barak Obama is. I doubt that he is the anti-christ or that he is a terrorist. I don't believe, nor pass along, extreme right-wing emails. But we really don't know who Obama is. He has not been pressed to explain his ties with corrupt, extreme, or dangerous people. His relationships are always out of bounds, even though he is running for the highest office in the land. Acorn hasn't been explained or investigated. He hasn't been held accountable for elitist comments in San Franciso or God and Guns comments in the heartland. And when Joe Biden was pressed about some comments in Florida television interview, he not only lied and backtracked, but the Obama campaign has taken all "privileges' from the Florida tv station. They will not give anymore interviews or acknowledgments. Is this how his presidency will be? Will we be punished for having legitimate questions? Obama simply has not been tested in any manner. He is not ready for the presidency. At least I don't think he is. He has been so sheltered and protected that I am not really certain of anything about him...I am getting back on the soapbox. And I really must finish here.

Maybe I can air my gripes about the lousy campaign McCain ran or how his political ads derailed the "straight talk express" later this week. I am just as jaded by the Republicans as i am by the democrats. Just not as enraged as I am by the media treatment during this last year...