Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Here Comes 2010

Man-Oh-Man! It's a lot harder to get back into the swing of blogging, than I thought it would be. It's not that I don't have any ideas, it's more like I have too many ideas and dunno where to begin.

I guess i could do a "Year in Review" kind of thing, but I guess that everyone already knows what happens or they are so disinterested that there is no need in informing anyone on any issues now. And by the way, Michael jackson did die and is still dead as near as I can tell...

So I guess that leads to a "Year in Preview" edition of The Self-Inflicted Blog. And like usual, I will just jump right in:

For the year 2010, I have a few predictions, that may or may not happen. I have no claimto any inside information and do not "back up" any predictions, as I am generally not very accurate on these things. But the beauty of this "Preview" is that I am only a critic and have nothing invested and nothing to lose; not to mention that no one will remember the predictions that I get wrong, and I will only remiond everyone of the guesses, I mean predictions that I am accurate in my prognostications. So without further adieu,

In the sports world, I predict that the Arizona cardinals will lose to the San Diego Chargers in the Superbowl. I take the Washington Capitals over the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup, and the Yankees to buy a championship, I mean beat somebody, for the championship of baseball in the World Series. Yeah, I know there is some bad grammar in that last sentence, but it's the only way I could maneuver the "buy a championship/win a championship" thing.

Other sports forecasts, Brett Favre will retire/unretire/leave a team hanging/so on and so forth. None the less, he will cost another coach and GM a job. I look for more of the same from Urban Meyer, minus the coach aspect for obvious reasons. I predict that the Rams will win 4 games next year, the Blues will fire Andy Murray before February 1st, Iowa will play Iowa State seven times this year in college football, or so it will seem, and that I will continue to root against Notre Dame, Alabama, Oklahoma, Detroit Red Wings, and the Niners...

In the world of economics, I predict that the dollar will drop drastically in value. I predict inflation to occur ala Carter years. Unemployment will rise to close to 20% by Autumn and there will be a 30% plus default on credit card debts. And i predict that this will all be Bush's fault. Either one of them, maybe even Jeb.

I hate to be pessimistic, but I just don't like the signs of the economy. And I do have a semster of Econ 101 under my belt; or I would have if I would have finished that semester. But that is another lesson for another day. Bottom line, I look for the massive government spending to affect global economies and for our national economies to be negatively affected. The DOW will prob hang around the 6500 range for those interestd in the markets, not that the DOW really means anything.

So I do not think anything good will happen in the economic realm. I'm not thinking Great Depression stuf, but it will be darn close. But good things can still come of it. Wew may find out where Americas strength really is; and it won't be in our banks or checkbooks....

In the political realm, I think that this will be the year of the taxes. Everything will be taxed, and I mean everything. It will be the price we must pay for health care, crime, "green" lifestyles, organic food, and flu vaccines. But do not fret, it will be spun to reflect how caring we are and how much we love to sacrifice for those around us. As we are taxed to death, we will have the luxury of knowing that we are not moral or ethical in our hearts, but in our checkbooks and our bank accounts.

This taxing death to death will contribute to the economic failure. Instead of focusing on consumption, tax breaks for business, and tort reforms we will increase taxation as we increase the role of our government. As we learned under the Clinton administration, we do not really care about the moral climate, just long as the check doesn't bounce. And only about a third of you reading will understand what I am saying, but now it is time to reconcile the statements; the piper is knocking on the door wanting his salary. We can not stay a step ahead of the wolves by our checkbooks any longer; the birds have come home to roost. And feel free to insert any overused cliche here, I have.

In other economic/political predictions I think we will be exposed to the word, "Keynesian" entirely too much. I feel that we will still hear about Hurrican Katrina as if it was the only disaster we have ever experienced in our nation. I think people will still read Krugman's junk as gospel, and that this will be still be Bush's fault. Any of them.

And I predict that I am running my predictions togethere and that everyone will wonder why I don't invest in some ADD medications. My excuse, I'm rusty...

Other random predictions, This will be the year that populism begins to come back in vogue, the phrase, "in vogue" will become dated, Harry Reid will publish his memoirs under the title, "Milquetoast", and another celbrity will have an affair or die or do both. I think Obama will break promises that he hasn't even made and that the Democrats will continue to screw things up. I predict that the Republicans will point fingers and "tattle-tell" on the Democrats like a bunch of third graders under the guise of "caring for our best interests". I predict that people are tired of the two parties and of their politics. We may hit a low point this year, but we will probably have to have things get worse before they can get better.

And now putting all of the predictions aside, I will share something that you can absolutely take to the bank: God will still be in control and He will love us even when we are unlovable.

I hope you enjoy my guess for the happenings of 2010, but mostly I pray that you remember the prvious paragraph; and know that regardless of what happens this year, we can still have peace and hope!

Monday, December 28, 2009

New You 4418

Wow! It's been a long time, since I have blogged...

I could make up a fascinating story about being kidnapped or lost in the jungle somewhere, but the truth is that I just took an unplanned break in blogging. I was not/am not burned out. I always have something on my mind and just enough ego to think that others find that what is on MY mind is interesting enough to read and mull over in their own minds.

I have changed my daily routine and have a new job, both of which were an adjustment to my blogging, but if the truth were to be told, the changes were pretty minuscule and only a meager excuse not to blog...and though factory work is unbelieveably mind-numbing, it does give one time to think about things.

There have been some emotionally taxing issues that have been dealt with, but in reality it is just life and these things never stopped me nor altered my daily routines before; at least not but for a day or two.

The Holiday Season has been very busy, but very good to my family and myself, so not much excuse in the lack of blogging to be found there. I hope the same can be said for all of you...

And all of this is "announcement/confession" is to clear the air, so to speak, and to let everyone know that I plan on continuing this blog and will be posting some new stuff soon. I also would like to thank everyone for their support and for all of those who continued to read and check in from time to time and see if their was anything new going on.

I also must confess that I hope the unintentional hiatus will breath a little fresh life into the blog; I do realize that my rants were getting stale. I hope that this continues to grow, has purpose, causes people to think, and encourages everyone to voice their thoughts!

Thanks again for your support and take this opportunity to go back and read some archived stuff, for my ego's sake!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Quickie On Food

Wow! It's been a couple of weeks since I've blogged. Are you missing it or have you decided that you have found better ways to spend five minutes every few days? Either way, I'm back...

...not that I went anywhere. Well, I have been out of town a few times since I've blogged, but you know what I mean; no major changes. And no excuses for not blogging other than lack of discipline and desire. And to be honest, I felt like I was in a rut. It seems like a little negativity goes a long way with me these days. Even though I'm cranky because I am an optimist, I am hoping to dull the edge a little, so to speak. So maybe the time off will help my outlook.

So for my blog today I will not focus on politics or religion. I will not use this as a forum to blast wishy-washy, cowardly people who pretend to be friends in an attempt to hide my hurt. I will not try to solve the health care problem or write a treatise on Tea Parties or issues of reform. No splitting the atom or re-inventing the wheel.

But I will ask a question of my reader's; one that I can't figure out for the life of me: and that is why is food and eating becoming so confusing?

Yes,food is becoming confusing to me. I love to eat and always thought that I understood the concept; all to well. But even the basic principles of food have me a loss these days. Like food flavored food. You know, food flavored to taste like other food. And I can understand why you would want to cover up and disguise the taste of brussel sprouts or peas. But why cover up good stuff? Like apple pie shake. Why would I drink a shake if I have a craving for pie? Why wouldn't I just get pie? Or a shake? Or how about mango flavored pineapple? I still can figure out who goes to all of the trouble to "unflavor" a piece of dried pineapple, only to "reflavor" it with mango. And to add to the confusion, I read that the product contains pear and apple juice.

Then that brings me to the question of why does the juice I buy from the store contain artificial flavors, but the soap that I use to wash dishes contains real fruit juice. Would I be better off drinking my dish washing liquid? It leads me to believe that would be the case, except I tried that with the "Body on Tap" shampoo, years ago. I drank 6 bottles of that stuff and was still as sober as the Pope! But my insides were clean; and come to think of it, it could have been marketed as toilet cleaner. But back to my point...

...which is that even eating is getting confusing. Maybe I am getting old. Maybe this is some of the change that people talk about that occurs whren you hit forty. And certainly there is some psychological aspect that I am overlooking. But to me it still seems simple; "I want chocolate pie. I go to store or I sweet talk my wife or mother for chocolate pie. One gives in, I get pie. I eat pie." None of this "Company X has now developed a chocolate pie flavored ice cream that you can make into a frozen dessert or a shake" stuff. That makes my head hurt. And it kind of makes me feel stupid that I just want a simple piece of chocolate pie. I didn't think I was a simpleton, but maybe I just don't understand the psychology of it all.

I do know that it bothers me that I can' trust my government, most people I meet on the street, or anyone else some days, with the exception of God; and that now Gosh Dang It! I can't even trust my grocer or fry-cooks! What have we devolved into?

Oh well, it is lunch time and all of this is making me hungry. I crave a cheeseburger and I see that one sandwich joint has a chicken burger with turkey bacon, covered with american flavored swiss cheese. And organic pickles, whatever that means. Maybe I will hop in the truck and go try one and see if the psychology tastes as good as a regular bacon cheeseburger. Or maybe I will put some soap on a cracker and call it an even wash, so to speak...

...Thanks again for your support! And pass this along to any that may be "food impaired" like I am...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thoughts on Death

Why is it, that when people die, they become martyrs and paragons of virtue and shining humanity? Why is that people extend such courtesies to those who are dead and gone, while neglecting forgiveness and optimism on the lives of those still living? Wouldn't we be doing better if we would try to find the good in people while they are still alive, instead of waiting for disease or accident to take a life before we find any morsel of decency in another's life? We rarely trust, respect, or honor anyone while they are among the living, but the second they die, we want to forgive them of all of their sins and vices as we project them to be pillars of society as they were among the living. Do we do this because of guilt? Do we fell that we should have "done better by them" while they were living. Do we feel guilty that we often overlooked or ignored their needs as we lumped them into a general category of humanity as we do most other people that we encounter daily? Or is it arrogance? Do we feel that we can resolve their sins now that they are gone from this life? Do we have the power to do more than to forgive? Can we cover their sins by erecting a statue or muttering some kind words at a funeral service? Or maybe it's all due to the strong emotions inspired by all things dealing with death.

Please understand that I am not trying to be insensitive to death, and certainly not insensitive to the pains felt; sincere, heartfelt pains of those who may have lost someone dear to them. Nor am I trying to over-generalize or overlook the individuality of people and the manner by which they express grief. But I have to admit that I find the difference that life and death makes on a person's image to be difficult to understand at times.

Death does change things. And when we lose someone close to us, we hurt. And there is nothing insincere about that. But when we change in our minds, as to how or who that person was as they lived, we alter a great many things. And I'm not so certain that this alteration is altogether healthy. But that is just my opinion, and probably a muddled opinion at that. But I feel that when we alter, not chose to focus on the positive, but alter our opinions of who a person was after they die, we alter our perceptions of life and death. And as we alter our outlooks by guilt or arrogance, or confusion, we alter our perceptions of life after death; and that is a crucial element to our "psyche" for lack of a better word at the moment. It just seems to me that we should look at things realistically before, during, and after life.

And I'm sure that I am being as clear as mud. This happens when I try not to step on toes and when I mince my words. And do not think that this is a good trait or that I am making excuses for myself; as I am not. I am, however, trying to be honest and realistic; as I perceive honest and realistic to be. Which brings me to a point that may help clarify things somewhat:

When I die, the greatest honor you could do for me, other than have a bar-b-que instead of a funeral, is that everyone would remember me as I truly was. Don't overlook my bad points. My being dead will not change the fact that I am opinionated or that I can be difficult to deal with. My dying will not change the fact that I struggle with my temperament or that I tended to usually say too much. Now don't get me wrong, I don't want everyone to drag my name through the mud, for I have some very good qualities as well. And I hope that those qualities stand out much more than my bad qualities, but please do not erect a statue of me in an effort to make me a martyr; figuratively speaking of course. If you really know me, you will know my faults and if you really love me you will deal with those faults and still love me, whether I am dead or alive. And for the sake of my friends and family, there is no need to dwell on my negatives, as they know what they are more so than the casual bystander in my life...

...and I feel that this may have just muddied the water more than it was. And this blog is not about my life and times, but about how we deal with life and death. So many funerals in town recently, the Michael Jackson death( and yes, he is still dead according to the news), and today's news of Teddy Kennedy dying are some of the issues that has brought the death and stuff to the surface and on occupies my thoughts. And I'm trying real hard not to write about Kennedy and how his death will be an emotional boost for the health care reform. Kennedy will be a martyr for all things liberal, and many things that have and will hurt this country. But all will be forgotten because he has died. Not that we should dwell on his dead secretary or any of his flaws. It won't help anything or anyone now. We should learn from his life, and those lives of those who have died who may be close to us. We should look at things more realistically and less politically, and that goes for our friends and families, not just for politicians.

Because realistically death is the beginning of eternity. And we need to focus on things eternal, not the temporary life that we have right now. And if we realistically look at the lives of those around us, we should better understand about things eternal. The decisions we make now affect the hereafter, and the way in which we live our lives now, affect others; not the manner by which we die or by which a statue is erected in our honor.

I will try to end this very random blog on a note saying that memorials and good memories are not only acceptable, but cherished as well as healthy. Especially during the grieving process. But if we really know someone and really admire their lives, we should remember them honestly; and learn from their lives as we apply it to our lives. We should think eternally by admiring and learning from the finite, and doing our best to let our heads and hearts work together for the sake of souls.

I'm certain that this not the best blog ever written and that it is certainly not the most cohesive piece ever written either. But I do hope that it contains a few tid-bits of something useful, and that is causes us to think. And somehow, I hope this can make a positive change in the lives of the living, as it is too late for the deceased.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ads I Would Like To See

Often, I see advertisements and t.v. shows that I feel should come with some type of disclaimer; something honest and direct. And in this spirit, I submit some commercials, advertisements, disclaimers, and previews that I would really like to see:

Commercial Number One:
A sole lawyer gives his spiel about mesothelioma and how he would like to represent so many victims of this malady. He is standing in front of some diplomas hanging on the wall, and the standard bookcase that generally accompanies these ads. However his dialogue is much different than what we have come to expect; " Hi, I represent the Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe Law firm and I would like to represent you in a case against your former employer. Regardless of the fact that you may have made $50 an hour with incredible benefits, as well as knew the health risks before you took the job, we at the D.C.and H. firm feel that a good fleecing is always in order. I am trying to pretend that I sincerely care about you and your family, as well as have some concern as to helping stop unhealthy work environments; but in all reality, I really only want to make a few bucks. Most of the good lawyers, with ethics, probably wouldn't take this case, but I am below those standards and am tired of chasing ambulances 5 days a week. Not to mention that I feel that I am entitled to make as much money as I can; even at your expense.
And speaking of expense, I will give you a free consultation as you and many others sign up for a class action suit that will make many of you hundreds if not thousands of dollars, while making me millions. Isn't your life worth $1000? Think of all of the things that your children could do with the $250 you leave in their college fund.
We at Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe really want to represent you in order to make some money off of your misery, and we promise to pretend to care most of the entire proceedings. If you make us money, that is. And oh yeah, we are not allowed to practice in 36 of the 48 continental States, but call anyway as we make $1.25 per call...

Here's one for a drug company:
The commercial begins with soft music and children playing on a school yard. Then the camera pans to a young woman and young man walking hand in hand down along a beach, in front of a beautiful sunset. As the music plays softly, a voice begins to inform you of a new medicine that is alleged to cure many disorders: We at PillCom realize that the scenery and music used in this commercial have nothing to do with cancer or depression, but we are trying our best to manipulate you into an emotion. And as we manipulate your emotion we want you to think of things better than the things in your lousy life, not in hopes of comforting you, but in hopes that you realize how crummy your life really is and that you need yet another pill to help you function.
Never mind that the side affects are worse than your illness or that our pill may even kill you. This only matters if we are all truly concerned for each other. And here at PillCom, we are really only concerned with profit.
We also want to take this chance to inform you of disease and disorder, not for education, but so that you can run to your doctor and tell them how sick you are. Not to mention that you will be as smart as your doctor if you tell you know of a new medicine and that our commercial manipulated you into feeling as though you now need this medicine to help deal with reality.
We usually throw in the "this may not be right for you" bit about now, but, again, who really cares? You get your pill and we get some $200 a bottle.
Then the camera focuses in on a dove flying serenely into the sunset.

How about a disclaimer for a reality show:
Tune in to channel 7 at 7 on Thursday nights for "The Rack of Love", "Rack" hinting at the implants of the female contestants and "Love" manipulating you into thinking that you could find such on a t.v. show. We would like to issue a disclaimer that we are, in reality, producing a cheap program with minimal cost, while exploiting those who are indeed heartbroken or just too simple to know that they are being manipulated. You really should be embarrassed and ashamed to watch this program, but if you do watch, be certain to take your penicillin beforehand...and remember that boobs and birdbrains really sell to the majority of the people who feel the need to pretend that their lives are more superior to others. And as long as there is insecurity, there will be a balding, wig-wearing, over 50 has-been, pseudo rock star who needs you for his ego...

How about a disclaimer on a bottle of diet pills saying that you burned more calories reading this bottle than you will taking this entire bottle and that the only real way to lose weight is diet and exercise. That is why this herbal/grass placebo only works if you take it while dieting and exercising.

A disclaimer on a political ad:
I'm a Republican and I know the problems, but have few answers. But I will continue to point fingers as long as you vote me in office. I will even pretend to be outraged. I'm part of the old elite, and really couldn't find a real job anywhere else anyway, so continue to vote for me as I show you the problems...


I'm a Democrat and it's my turn to shine. I like to talk about bi-partisan things but I just don't really like Republicans; and the common man is too dumb to know how to help himself, so I must do it for him. I only have two years left in my political career, so I must act fast and have little time for concern for anyone other than myself, so watch as I cram legislation down your throat...

How about an ad for cold medicine:
A man in a cheap doctors costume, complete with stethoscope, is seen shilling a night-time liquid medicine. " Hello, I'm a doctor. See my stethoscope? And I'm here to sell, I mean tell, you about ColdAway liquid. If you take this elixir for 4 or 5 days, I guarantee that your cold will be gone. Never mind the fact that it would have been gone in 4 or 5 days regardless of medication. ColdAway is 190 proof, so you will be so bombed that you can deal with your cold for a little less than a week. So for those weak in constitution but great in symptoms, take ColdAway.

And I guess you all get the point that I am trying to make here.And i must admit that I have always found commercials to be very interesting as well as very powerful. I do wish that I could see some commercials like the ones that I just created; and wonder if it would help sales...

Have a great Monday as I hope your week gets started on a high note!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Look Around You

So much has happened to so many people in our community this week; as I suspect has been the case for many communities these days. So many people with so many needs, and such heavy hearts. With this in mind, I ask that you take the few minutes that you usually spend reading my two-cent opinions, and spend the time in prayer for those around you. And remember that God is in control and that we are just passing through on this plane; our citizenship is in heaven if we know Jesus. If you don't know Jesus, I will gladly help introduce you to Him! Just ask...

Look around at those in need, and ask God how you can meet these needs. Let's all pull together in these trying times and bring something positive from our experiences.

God Bless!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just As Empty As Nirvana

Maybe I am just a bit rusty, but I cannot find a good way to begin today's blog, so I will give it the "cold swimming pool" treatment and just jump right in:

Has anyone heard much about a case in Florida where a teacher and someone from a church are facing criminal charges for a lunch time prayer? And no, this is not one of those, " two Jews, a Baptist, and a priest walk into a bar" kind of thing. There is a real case that will go to trial sometime in September. I have to admit that I have not read much about the case, and have seen very little coverage on the news. So I am not an expert on what has happened and why it is a criminal offense. I have also read that the ACLU is involved, so nothing would surprise me , and frankly I cannot stomach it right now. There are too many people with real struggles around all of us these days. My heart breaks when I hear that prayer, Christian prayer, is on trial; but know that this is pretty typical of the ACLU and going back to school. The pushing of a wacko agenda, and the timidness of those who call themselves Christians, always flare up and clash about now. And there will be another flare up and clash around Christmas. It is much more political than it is personal.

But it does have me thinking about the whole prayer in school thing. And I must admit, that it is an issue that has caused me to struggle, at least struggle for the best solution without compromising my duties as a Christian. Maybe it causes alot of people to struggle, and what I see as timidness or fear is really confusion. Either way, it is a subject that is difficult to express, so like I usually do, I have decided to be aggressive instead of passive, and tackle the subject in my blog.

While I have little desire to have this become and in-depth article on prayer and school, church and state, I do think that we need to touch base on a few areas that relate to prayer in our schools. There are some things that may cause us to think about and better relate our feelings, so that maybe we will be inspired to help bring about a change or betterment.

The first thing we must address is the separation of church and state. And the first thing we must get straight is that separation does not mean absence of. While it is in no one's best interest to have a National religion or a State run church, it is in eberyone's best interest to allow individual religion to exist hand in hand with things of the State. Separation does not imply lack of existence. And how some judges that supposedly have so many degrees cannot understand this is way beyond me. If something is separate, there is an implication and understood knowledge that there must be at least two entities, in this case church and state, and that they shall remain as two entities. That is separation. To rid the nation of religion in schools is a philosophical genocide, something that the ACLU is trying to attempt. Their desire is to rid our society of all things Christian. They hide behind phrases like "separation of church and state" or "freedom of choice" when they really intend to push an agenda that would only benefit those who wish to rid the nation of Christians and all things Christ-like. There are no defense of freedoms here, just the diminishing rights of those who believe what they do not. This is the means and manners of most liberal organizations such as the ACLU. And it is time they are called out on it. And consider this, When is the last time that a Buddhist or a Muslim were on trial for their religious belief? Or how groups such as the ACLU want to remove the ten commandments from public buildings and quiet Christian prayer, but then complain about the lack of religious freedom for prisoners in Guantanamo Bay? Complain about the treatment of prisoners so much that they are now given a copy of the Koran and that the direction to Mecca is mapped out all over the prison floors. You try to give a Bible away and see what happens. You can't put crosses on the prison floors. So it's better to side with a criminal who is Muslim and has planned the death of thousands of people, than an innocent American who wishes to pray or read a Bible. Seems like strange bed fellows to me; and that maybe they should drop the A from the ACLU...

...and I have gotten off subject somewhat. But I do want us to consider the logic and the inconsistency in the argument of separation of church and state. Our constitution gives us freedom to worship and that freedom is not limited to where and when. Regardless of the amendments and laws and opinions, it was written to guarantee freedom; judges and eggheads have placed the limits on our religious freedom, not our forefathers.

So with that being said, why isn't there a time that would be allowed for prayer in our school? Why allot the first five or ten minutes of a school day for individual prayer? Why not take a prayer break in the afternoon? And why would the ACLU or atheists object? If they don't believe in God, then what is the harm? And if there is no God then their ears should not bleed from hearing the word God, or witnessing some people praying or meditating. Why act like there is a threat, when there is clearly none if they believe that we all came from nothing and return to nothing. Maybe the conviction is more than they can bear. I do not know. But I do not understand why anyone or any group can be threatened by something they do not believe exists. Not even logical. So maybe they should just let people of religion practice their faith while they walk smugly away thinking that we are all fools. If I weren't afraid of something, I would care less if I were exposed to it. And I think that if they are so thin-skinned, soft, and weak of heart,that they are offended by such practice of faith and religion, then they have more problems than someone giving a "rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub" over a ham sandwich.

And now for the tricky part of allowing religion in school but not being a state religion. Maybe I didn't say that correctly, but my point is that there is a side to this that can be a slippery slope if it were allowed, or let run amok. I want to first say that I do wish prayer were allowed in school but I do not think it would be best to be mandatory or part of a curriculum, so to speak. And this is the part that I struggle with as a Christian. But we cannot force Christianity on the schools or our society. We must allow Muslim prayers and Buddhists chants in our schools if we want to have a separate and free religious society. We cannot want freedoms for Christianity, then impose restrictions on other belief systems. If we desire to do so, then maybe we should join the ACLU. And this is difficult to say, as a Christian. I wish we were all Christians, not just people who went to church, and that we didn't even need to discuss this subject. But we are not.

I think of God having the Jews kill all of the pagans in Canaan and I realize that God does not play. I understand why he ordered their death and I understand that God is the only Truth. I believe the Bible to be infallible and inspired and that anything other than a relationship with Jesus Christ is just a belief system with no merit and no substance. I can and will gladly debate these issues with anyone at anytime. I am not a close-minded person, and do not intend to sound arrogant, but I want you to be certain of where I stand personally.

Because it is at this point that I have struggled in the past, in allowing all faiths to be practiced in school. Because God does not accept all faiths, and as a Christian I should not either. But the law has been fulfilled and we are now under grace; and God no longer orders us to kill pagans. Jesus changes all of that. Just as the crusades were not of God, I feel that intolerance in the instance of beliefs are not of God. But how can I say that if I just stated that I believe God is intolerant of other religions? Because I see a difference between tolerance and acceptance; not to mention it is apples to oranges in the discussion of what God tolerates and what we tolerate. The word means close to the same thing, but our natures change this...

...and now to get back on track. We must allow all religions to practice their faith in our society and in our school rooms. And remember that we are talking about a separation that is tied together by a spiritual means. But none the less, freedom is freedom; and a free society is the best society for worshipping God, praying to God, and performing ministries in God's name. Social freedom can nurture spiritual freedom, God is the only Truth, and I think like all roads leading to Rome, if a person is truly searching for the Truth, it will lead to God.

May faith hasn't always been strong enough to say all of this. My arrogance lead me to believe that I must defend God. But my growing relationship has showed me that God can handle His own and that the Truth really will set you free.

And I also believe that the "Christians" who have been intolerant and shallow in their faith, have hurt the progression of prayer in school. By being stiff-necked, arrogant, pious, and hiding behind God's word instead of living it, they have caused many a set back. As Christians we should know why we believe and what we believe, and not just because the preacher or the priest has told us so. Just because Grandma or mom were afraid of Muslim or Buddhist philosophy rubbing off on good Christian kids, we should not share the same fear. as the illogical reaction of the atheist in this manner, how illogical is is for us as Christians, to be afraid of something that is only words and a mere belief system. If we do not believe in Allah, than why be so threatened by him? If the Holy Spirit is real, and convicts, and counsels; then why are concerned about a god who isn't? Can Allah or Brahma convict, guide, counsel, or save our soul? And think of the story of Elijah and the 300 prophets of Baal. He welcomed the challenge of proving God is real and all others are false. Elijah encouraged the prophets to pray more and pray louder. Maybe Baal is using the bathroom, so to speak and that we should be more like Elijah and have more faith in God and less in gods.

And the separation of church and state, it also comes down to the matter of legislating morality and ethics; and neither can be done. Nor should it be done. Our faith cannot come from a school system, but from our homes. If we are concerned about little Johnny becoming a Muslim, then we should teach him why it is not the truth. And not just because someone says it's the truth. We have to know why it is the truth to be able to teach it, and we must live in accordance to the truth if others are to see it in us. The responsibility is that of our own, not societies. All we need from society is the framework that will allow us the freedom to teach and live. we must do the work that is needed inside that framework.

And I have gone on much longer than I had planned. I didn't even get to the teaching of religion in school; but will save that for another day. I do hope that my words give us all something to think about and inspire us to read our Bibles, pray, as well as write letters to our congress people. We must act on our convictions, or they are just as empty as Nirvana.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tea Parties, Patriotism, and Rebellion

There has much commotion about the Tea Parties and the Town Hall meetings that have been taking place lately. And for good reason, there has been much to discuss and much more than just discussion at these public forums. Today I will share my thoughts and ideas on the public forums, many of which may or may not seem random:

For starters, nothing boils my blood worse than calling these forums "unpatriotic" or "anti-American". Especially by people who supposedly support free speech. And by the people that are elected as our public officials. The people that say that these forums and the rebellious attitude are UN-American know very little about American history. We are a nation of rebels. We are a people that have the freedom to complain and fuss and be angry. We are founded on it, entitled to it by our Constitution, and built a culture around this concept of free speech. Granted, I do wish some people would not speak as often as they do(see Nancy Pelosi)but it is not my place to decide who can and can't speak at what time or place. If i were King of this country, I certainly would use my power to close the mouths of many people; but as we have no King, we must rely upon our constitution, our elected officials, and responsible citizens. But that may be a topic for a longer essay and another day. Back to the point of the UN-American activity and the anti patriotism, I have two quotes that come to mind. One is from Thomas Jefferson "who holds that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing" and the other chestnut is from Samuel Johnson, and it says that," Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel". There is much food for thought in those two quotes, and very applicable to our society today.

Another thing that gripes me is when "Tea Parties" are just an excuse to yell and complain. It is not that the verbal pugilism bothers me, but that the original Tea Party was held as a rebellion against being taxed without being represented. And in my mind, that is what the tea Parties today should be doing. We are being taxed unfairly and we the people are not being represented. And I believe that this opinion and closely knit sentiment is growing, and will be reflected in the next elections for congress people and such. And this sentiment also is what is feeding such strong emotion and harsh language. I only wish that more people were aware of that, on both sides of the issue. So my "behind" would be much less chapped if we could keep the general fussing and debates to the forums of town halls and such, and that the tea parties would be a demonstration of rebellion to the manner in which our government is being ran these days. This may clear up some confusion and provide a little organization. Not to mention that our displays of rebellion would become more effective and not as diluted by mixing in the town hall issues.

One thing that has been a good thing, in my opinion, is that it is good to see so many people riled up and taking action. This is the best thing that has happened, politically, in a very long time. Maybe we are turning the corner on apathy.
But we unfortunately are not turning the corner on intelligence. I hate "mobs" and feel that many a coward hides inside of a mob. But let's be certain not to confuse a mob with a group of protesters; protesters have a common goal and purpose. And there is strength in numbers. A mob is just a bunch of mad idgits, looking to turn over a car after their team loses at any given sporting event. A mob is mindless and uninformed. Sadly there are some people confusing mobs and protesters, within and outside of the movements. The politicians and media have blurred these terms when it supports their motives, stories, and ratings. It should be on all of us, "we the people" to redefine these terms and peoples. And kick the mobsters out of the protesters. If you are at a public forum and someone acts like a member of a mob instead of a protest or, tell them to hush their mouths and leave. "Go form a mob or something" would work. There is strength in numbers, but idiots and uninformed people who are mad at the world only dilute this strentgh.

I have lost all respect for Anderson Cooper and Sean Hannity for their coverage and opinions of these public forums. I never much liked Hannity and he only confirmed that he drinks too much Kool Aid, but I am really, really disappointed at Mr. Cooper for his adolescent tea-bagging jokes. Very unprofessional. I have gained more respect for Claire McCaskill though. I have never been a fan of her politics, but she is taking a tough, bring 'em on attitude that is very refreshing to see. She is not afraid of the challenge, and this seems to embrace it. That is my kind of person. We can grow through all of this is we all face our responsibilities and if we will not shy away from our duties.

I do not like the new Chicago style strong-arm tactics used by the Obama administration. It shows too much of an arrogant "we vs. them" mentality. It exposes paranoia and elitism. The "If you hit us then we will hit you back" thought process only further divides the American people and will only fuel rebellion; possibly even violently.

And speaking of division, I have never seen such polarization in this country. And I am very disappointed by this. My hope was that President Obama would be instrumental in bringing people together and uniting the country, ala Reagan. This ws the only real thing that I felt he was capable of. But he has been atrocious in this regard. There has been no other worse President as far as setting a "civil" tone in our country. And before you think that this is a shot or a not very well thought out issue on my part, know that I think that the single most important aspect of leadership and especially the presidency, is to set a ethical, moral tone for the nation. This will provide unity. George Bush did this very much during his first term(and none of this in his second term) Reagan did this for eight years. Kennedy did a great job of this. Eisenhower was a leader in this regard. Clinton, not so much, as he lead to much sexual immorality. And before you get mad at that statement, think about the "state of the union" in the sexual context before and after Clinton; or better yet, find some polls or statistics. Or just turn on the cable and find three shows made in the last 10 years that doesn't feature sex. And this sexual "outburst" is due, in large part, to Mr. Clinton. Granted, the people have a choice not to watch or fall prey to the sexual revolution; but a leader none the less is much more responsible and held accountable. That is a tough part about being a leader. That is why you must heavily weigh your decisions and words in any leadership position...and I have gone astray, haven't I? Back to the point: President Obama has lead to a much greater degree of polarization and anger among Americans with his elitist, arrogant, and egotistical attitude and policies. he was big on words of change and hope, but has been small on action that support these big, fancy words used in an election year. Only George H Bush's "read my lips" statement has been as grossly negligent; albeit with smaller consequence. I do feel that Obabams lack of keeping promises and his lies, yes lies, about transparency has grossly fueled the fire of angry sentiments. Not too mention that he is force fed upon us 24/7. But that is a longer issue for another day also...

...but to blame all of this on Obama is not accurate. The last 2 or 3 years of Bush began the anger. His hiding his head in the sand did little to help Americans to feel that anyone was really guiding our country. And when there is lack of leadership, or a leader, people tend to wander around and decide on their own agendas. Then when the agendas clash and there are no answers, just more questions, anger and disillusion occur. And this has been the case of America. And let us not forget that Bush started the bailout crap that the majority of the Americans were against. His allowing Hank Paulson to run amok and panic, showed a lack of leadership and spine. No two ways about it. It began to show that we really aren't being represented and that there is something wrong with our government.

Have I gotten too far from the issue of public forums? I guess this happens when you get behind in your blogging. Sorry...

...Another thing that frustrates me with this stuff is the political spin. People on the left saying that all of this is staged, implying that the people on the right have set up all of these venues in a grass roots movement aimed at undercutting the left. Of course, we have also blurred the words "grass roots", but you get the point I am making. To those who support this school of thought, do you really think that a group of tired old men such that are in the GOP could come up with this plan? Do you really believe that a party as disorganized as the Republican party is today, could organize this many people in the nation? Think about it....I think that the majority of the protesters are conservative, or at least what I used to define as conservative, and that many business owners and individuals do not like the direction of the country. I think that Bush and Obama have created this rebellion, and for this I thank them. But I do hope it serves a purpose and rights our countries path.

Because another thing that I cannot tolerate is the mindless name calling and fighting. Don't get me wrong, I like a good disagreement to keep things honest. But to call people names is just childish and pointless. Unless the shoe fits. But calling Obama Hitler? Come on. Really? Or calling a protester unpatriotic? Honestly...How does this help us show that we are tired of the status quo? And isn't that what the forums are about? That and to ask difficult questions of our elected politicians. Do we want answers and guidance or name calling ad pie throwing? You get out of it what you put into it...

And these are some of my thoughts on the Tea Parties and Town Halls. I am sure that this is not very organized and strays from what I intended on saying on the issue, but it didn't cost you anything. And if you don't like it, grab a couple of like minded citizens and protest. EMail me ( me an angry note on Facebook. But let your feelings lead to an action; an action that will better this blog and those around you. This should be the American way!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday, Monday...Can't Trust That Day

Who knew Neil Diamond would be so prophetic?

Anyway, it is Monday. And I have some questions and thoughts to ask and share:

Who didn't think our taxes would go up? Now that the new administration is hinting at such, why act surprised? And with our deficit being what it is, what did we expect? Is this a price we pay for corruption or apathy? We can point fingers, but I can't help feeling that "We the people" have allowed much of this with our ballots and our heads in our cable television...

...and when it is a crime to be wealthy and successful? So why penalize this group with higher taxes? Do most of us strive for mediocrity? Are we angry that we can't achieve success so we criticize those who have? It is no sin to be wealthy nor is it a sin to be poor. These are only indicators of purpose and status when the standard by which we measure others is monetary...

What would a single man do if he were searching for companionship through web-dating services? Or what would he do if he only wanted a "regular girl", someone decent and someone to talk to? All of the "see who's been searching you" or "find your partner now" ads feature large breasted sorority girls wearing skimpy pjs telling you that they have been trying to find you. What if you're too old for sorority girls? Or what if three girls having a pillow fight just confuses you when you only need one girl to spend a little quality time. Call me old fashioned, but the bars may be a better scene...

...and how about the pharmaceutical ads? I have quit making doctor visits and just watch drug company ads. They give you the problems, symptoms, and cure if you just consult a physician. So I basically watch three ads and compare them to see if I need enlargement, shrinkage, or a prostotectomy then call my doctor and order my meds. And if the side affects don't kill me and Im able to still remmebrer my name, I am able to pee freely as well as control my cholesterol with one single pill...

...who are all of these people on the reality t.v. shows? Are they celebs before or after the reality show? Kind of a "chicken or the egg" thing...

Is this nice weather teasing us or could Fall be around the corner?

Do people really stay up all night, then complain all over Facebook about being tired all day? And is this as difficult to explain as splitting the atom? And I don't mean the people who mention this every now and again, but the repeat offenders that want us to know how many Red Bulls they drink three or four days out of the week?

Maybe I'm getting crotchety... I really long for the days when the neighborhood kids call me "old man Mason" and walk in my grass just so i can yell at them from my front porch?

Why do many progressives hide behind the separation of church and state as to remove God or Christian ethics from all being, yet have no problem legislating morality through taxes, healthcare, or "reforms"

What is the difference between uni-sex restrooms or family restrooms? And why not bi-sexual bathrooms? Aren't there only two genders? Or is there more to this "uni-sex" thing that I am missing? Have we gotten THIS politically correct to where we are confused as to how to label our restrooms?

How can I have complete faith in God's workings around me and see miracles in seeds, birth, water, etc and so on, yet struggle so much when it comes to prayers?

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?

If wishes were fishes, would we all really have shad?

If a baseball player thanks God for helping him hit a curve ball, does his logic show that God cares more about him than the pitcer? Or did the pitcher just not pray as much?

Will any of this better mankind? probably not, but it may give us something to think about. Let me know if you have any answers! And have a great Monday!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday's Announcements

Hello and a glorious Monday to you all! And that was my weekly attempt at being a cock-eyed optimist, cheerleader type...

I want to first thank everyone for the kind words and comments concerning the blog about "What I know", that I wrote last week. I am reminded of how many of you have shaped my thoughts and feelings and that there is good reason why I miss so many of you guys so often. And it turns out that it was the most read blog that I have written, with about 60 reads. I have to admit that I was surprised at the response; pleasingly surprised. With that being said, I hope to incorporate a little more of myself into this blog; and not just what my thoughts are, but my feelings as well. But don't expect it all at once, it will be a process for me. I feel that too often we focus on our feelings, feelings that can mislead us; and also feel that I shy away from sharing mine due to this philosophy. I'm a very open person, and very emotional also. I just try to keep it all in check, and balanced. So bear with me as I fine tune my approach.

I also would like to announce that I will be doing a blog on all things football. I have not decided if I will do it on this site ot create a new site dedicated to football. I do plan on starting it this week, as many NFL camps open this week as well. If you have any feedback or thoughts, let me know!

Also, in the form of an announcement, I will begin to blog about my "fixes" for health care, crime, immigration, and other issues that we face. That will be on the "Self-Inflicted" site beginning this week as well. And my plan is for this not to turn into an Obama-bash, which I am guilty of all too often. I want to give my two-cents on the issues and how I see them, and how I think we can fix the ailments we face in our country. Just some things for us to think about...

Thanks again for reading and supporting. In the last year since I began this, there have been near 2000 reads, as close as I can calculate. I do hope that the site grows and has a purpose, and with your help and support, we can get 4000 reads this year! And if any of you want to be on the mailing list of reminders, email me at And don't forget that there is a "Readers of the Self-Inflicted Blog" group on Facebook. Not muvh action on it, but you never know how it will develop!

May God truly bless your Monday!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What I Know

I want to start today's entry by saying, "Thank You" to all of you who have read and supported this blog over the last year. I know it can get tedious and probably dull to some, but many of you have had kind words and patience and I am thankful.

I have not been doing much of the blog over the last couple weeks. I am not burned out, I have just got out of my routine a little, as we all tend to do during the summer. Hopefully we will all pick up steam as we approach Fall.

Today's blog:
One of the most common pieces of advice in the world of writing, is to write what you know. I have ignored most advice, a my writing probably shows such, but today I will follow the adage of "what I know."

I know about politics and religion and I know that many of us are growing tired of each. There are fewer leaders, or at least fewer with any leadership, in our government or our churches. Thankfully we are apathetic enough that it doesn't matter.

I know that I love my wife in a way that I never knew was possible; and in a manner that I can't explain. This feeling must be what real love is; not the syrup and poetry junk that changes, dims, or burns out.

I know that I love my children so much that it hurts.

I know alot about football and hockey, but most of my readers aren't interested in such. And that's o.k. by me.

I know that there is no loyalty in sports, even in the rec leagues.

I know that people say that they like straight talk, but few actually do when the push comes down to the shove. I have found that straight talk is appreciated when it is aimed at others. What's good for the goose is hated by the ganders.

I know that to have a friend, you must be a friend. And sometimes friendship is giving and not taking. So few people know how to be friends, unless it's a misery-loving-company type thing.

I know that too often, hate and anger are the ties that bond.

I know what it is like to be misunderstood.

I know that it saddens me to see a tree die or damaged.

I know that dead dogs on the side of the road make me feel like crying.

I know that absence does not make the heart grow fonder, but causes the heart to forget.

I know what it is like to not be a welcome sight at church, work, or the grocery store.

I know people never say what they mean anymore. And that honesty is unappreciated.

I know that I trust God, but sure can't understand things He does, or allows, some times.

I know I do not handle the aging of my grandparents as I thought I would. And i know that I will regret it one day.

I know how good cold beer tastes on a hot day. And to share a cold beer with friends is priceless.

I know that I want justice when it come to everyone else, except myself. And I know that I am thankful for grace in my life, but wish there were less for some others. I need to work on this.

I know when we hurt, God hurts. Even if we don't feel like He is anywhere to be found.

I know that I struggle more than people think that I do.

I know how to blow smoke.

I know that 40 feels like 14 some days and 400 other days. And that it ain't nothing but a number.

I know that I didn't think I would be so immature or unsettled at 40.

I know that I miss some of my childhood friends. And that I miss all of the guys in my inner circle of friends.

I know that I miss sitting on the porch, smoking cigars and talking about Hemingway stories.

I know that I miss driving around with my friends on country roads, listening to the same 5 songs over and over. The beer was always better and the conversation was never dull.

I know that I miss driving all day and comparing corn fields; and the companionship that came with it. And floating the river. And I almost miss the sunburn.

I know that I miss playing SEGA all night and wondering if we were the best.

I know that this blog shows a different side of me and that some people will be surprised that I have feelings.

I know that I will probably never like poetry or flowery talk.

I know a good joke when I hear one.

I know that I get very frustrated with people and can be very jaded; but it is because I am an optimist.

I know that I am thankful God is in control even when I'm not so sure.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Another Favorite List

I am feeling philosophical today, but it is Friday and Im sure it has been a long enough week for everyone; and my going on about the price of eggs in China not being worth the wear and tear on the hens, will probably do little to alleviate any tedium. And we haven't done any "Favorite Lists" for some time, so let's do one today.

As always, my favorutes change from time to time, depending on mood and issues that preoccupy my mind. So this is more of a Fovorite "Today" List kind of thing.

Favorite Albums:
1-New Miserable Experience, by The Gin Blossoms
2-Fortress, by Sister Hazel
3-This Might Sting a Little, by Disciple
4-Peace Sells, by Megadeth
5-Gretchen Goes to Nebraska, by King's X

Favorite Books:
1-The Holy Bible, by God
2-Nine Stories, by J.D. Salinger
3-Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
4-The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh
5-The First American, by H.W. Brands

Favorite Cravings:
1-Bacon Cheeseburgers
3-Potato skins,from BG's
4-Ice Cold Bud Light, at the ballpark
5-Pizza;thin crust extra cheese, olives, black olives, extra cheese, bacon, hamburger, mushrooms, canadien bacon, and extra cheese

Favorite Athletes:
1-Kurt Warner
2-Brian Sutter
3-Brett Hull
4-Lou Brock
5-Noah Mason

Favorite Board Games:
2-Trivial Pursuit
3-Axis and Allies

And that is it for today. maybe it will give you some ideas of things to do, or at least distract you enough to help get thriough the day. God Bless and have a great weekend!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Just Passing Through

Another Monday, and more random thoughts:

It is hard believe there have so many "celebrity" deaths lately, with former NFL quarterback, Steve McNair being the latest. And surrounding the celebrity death, as well as the death of most any young person, there is controversy and the suspect of a tarnished character. I do not want anyone to die, but since they are dying, as we all will, I will go ahead and say that it would be nice if someone would die a hero, or at least without the stain of corruption, infidelity, crime, or general lack of character. But I guess that wouldn't be very newsworthy or exciting. And like, I said, I do not wish death on anyone. I do wish we all had more character and could be remembered as such. Like my Grandpa was and my other Grandpa will be remembered, two very great and honorable men...

And on the topic of death, Sarah Palin has either committed political suicide or is reinventing the way we will do politics; and this view depends on your bias on the subject. Personally, I am like Joe Biden in the sense that I am taking her at her word. Of course Joe probably didn't stop at that, but I will. I do find it interesting that so many people have so many ideas as to what her future holds. I even saw an article on The Daily Beast website, that had 11 theories as to what Palin's future holds and what her strategies are. Eleven? This must include brain surgeon and rocket scientist, as well as a welder on a high-rise building. Maybe the article was written tongue in cheek. I didn't read it, so I am not certain. But I am certain that I have heard at least eleven hundred thoughts, scandals, and rumors as to why she is resigning as Governor of Alaska. It seems odd that so many consider her dummy and a nit-wit, but are so consumes with her actions and words. So many people hang on her every word, then turn around and write about how little influence she has on anyone in any circle. She is a harmless twit, but people are so afraid of her. Seems odd to me, but what do I know? Other than I never thought she was a front runner for the Republican Presidential candidate, which all of the Democratic analyzers and strategist viewed her as....

Does anyone else wonder why our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has been so quiet and invisible while there is so much unrest and activity on the international issues? Does anyone remember that Hillary is the Secretary of State? Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel, Honduras, Iraq, Iran, North Korea,China, and now Russia are all having serious international issues and conflicts that affect us and our policies, yet we hear nothing from the secretary of state? I have seen more interviews and heard more questions answered by Henry Kissinger than Hillary Clinton. And that is no exaggeration! I have some thoughts on as to why we aren't hearing from Hillary, but they are pretty jaded and negative. And possibly wrong, so there's no need to get into that now. But I would like to know that someone is minding the store, so to speak; other than waiting three weeks for a teleprompted answer from our president...

On a side note, I wish Fox News would drop the, "Fair and balanced" bit. I watch Fox news and I appreciate their take on the issues as well as the issues that they cover. But Neil Cavuto, Shepard Smith, and Greta Van Susterin are the only balanced reporters on the channel. I do think that Fox news is balanced if you also watch Anderson Cooper and Lou Dobbs. To me, I need to understand where all parties are coming from and there is no one channel that does that. But opinions sell and are easier to understand than issues. It's just business, I guess. But give me the city papers any day, at least for what is important in our communities.

How about Citibank raising the rates of some cardholders, as well as some other questionable practices, just before the new rules and regulations for credit card business kicks in? Perfect timing? Lucky stab? Remember that we the people, or the government, own much of Citibank now. Thank you bailout money! Now we can get taken advantage of from one more angle. Now the "evil companies that make profit" have indside information. Now that the government can give advantages to it's companies that it owns, the playing field is tilted; which will result in more trouble for free market and the consumers. Now the government can make policy for the business that it owns and manipulate the industry to it's advantage. All in the name of serving the people and their interests. Man! I wish I never read "Atlas Shrugged"...and watch the GM situation for more of the same. It will happen. And keep an eye on the gas tax, not just for the religion of green, but to force the consumer to buy the more fuel efficient cars that it will make at Obama Motors, I mean General Motors. Not to mention the standards that the government will put on vehicles that will manipulate the industry to where we are "forced" to buy a OM, I mean GM vehicle.

And on that note of cheer, I will bid you adieu for the day. And if all of this frustrates you as much as it does me, do something about it. Write a blog. Discuss the issues with your friends and Representatives. Write your senator. Be active in your frustration or it's just griping. But most importantly, remember that God is in control and that as Christians, we are just passing through...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Independence Day

I hope that everyone has a great Independence Day!

It is hard for me to think much of the day as a holiday this year. I am frustrated at the direction of our country and frustrated with the attitude of many people. I still believe that this is the greatest place to live and that the people of America are what has made us great. But it's hard to remember sometime, at least for me. But that is usually my narrow vision and self-centeredness hiding behind a desire to make this country better. Not always, mind you, I am a very sincere, straight forward person. But I am human as well, very human...

So instead of thinking of the political and social scene and how it relates to our Independence Day, I have focused my thought on the past Fouth's of July; I think of getting up before the sun to go dig potatoes at my grandparents farm. I remember bar-b-ques with all of the family; metal wash tubs full of ice and soda, the smell of the grill and the gunpowder. I think of the fireworks display that was held at the Sikeston Mall, the greatest mall for memories. I remember playing with cousins and family reunions. Pool parties and buckets of margaritas with Jeff and Bob. So many great memories...

It is a little sad thuinking of how we have all went our separate ways, the farm is gone, and some have died. A few are in nursing homes and some are restrained to their homes. No display at the mall and few places of my youth remain intact.

But I chose to think of the good memories and hope that my kids have such great memories; they will be different, but can still be great memories...

Have a great Fourth, however you choose to celebrate it! And remember that our freedom and our independence came at a price. However we celebrate, we should never forget what and who has made us great!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Take a Minute...

There's not much going on in my mind today; nothing worth writing anyway. So I ask that you take the few minutes that you would spend reading this, and say a prayer for those around you. Ask God how you can make, where you are, a better spot on the globe.

Have a good Humpday!

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Edge of the Set

Well, it's Monday again...

In the world of politics, the new energy/green/snake oil bill has passed the House of Representatives and is heading to the Senate. I have to say that I am very disappointed by the passage of this bill, but am surprised that the vote was as close as it was. I watched a lot of the debate, or it was on as I did other things, and I am surprised that anyone with a mind at all could vote for this bill. This piece of, well let's just call it legislation, should be watched by all of us. This bill further sets us on a bad pathway. Not only is it a lousy bill in regards of what it accomplishes, or does not accomplish, but it can set a precedent as to government intervention in our lives, the direction of our economy, and the means by which we do business. Not to mention that it is just a bad bill! This is no time for partisan politics and party lines. The American people deserve more, and it is that important.

While on the subject of politics, do we need to know the details of Mark Sanford's Emails to his mistress? I for one, do not. Do we need to know if he abused the power of his office? The people of South Carolina certainly do. Do I think he should step down as governor? Well, if he misused his office, Yep! He does. Could I vote for him as governor of my state? Nope. He not only couldn't keep a commitment to his wife, but he lied time and again in the process. We all make mistakes, and his affair is between him and his family. But once, maybe twice, is a mistake. More than that is a character flaw. I do, personally, hope there is reconciliation, as I do in all marital problems. But I don't think he is trustworthy at this point. And that has nothing to do with his Emails or details of his sex life. And yes, I felt the same way about the Clinton sex scandal, or all three of them I should say. Mistakes can sometime be learning processes and strength builders, but sometimes just reveal a lack of character, as in Sanford's case. And really, this matters little to me in Missouri, but is a much larger issue for a South Carolinian.

While not a politician or a rock star, Billy Mays made quite a name for himself as a pitchman for household products. And while I have nothing against the man and have no knowledge of his character, he really got on my last nerve. And I say this with no remorse. And how can I say this with no guilt? Because I harbor no ill feelings towards Billy Mays, and I never did. He just got on my nerves with his commercials. I am saddened for his family because he has passed, and I do hope and pray that they can deal with their grief and that God will provide comfort. But none of that changes the fact that his commercials annoyed me. I have read and heard so many comments about "not liking him but didn't want him to die". That really should go without saying. Only a truly petty person can have much animosity towards someone over a commercial for Orange Glow. And some one's death doesn't change how they behaved while they were alive. It seems disrespectful to lump everyone in to the category of "saint and martyr" just because they die. One of my best friends died when we were younger, and he was a mommas boy. He also liked to try to boss me around at times. When he died, I was devastated. I loved him dearly! But he was still a mommas boy and a bossy fella. It didn't change how I felt nor did the truth become altered due to his death. I guess this kinda stuff has been on my mind since all of the celebrity deaths; and it is easier to deal with Billy Mays than Michael Jackson.

But it doesn't stop me from having some thoughts on MJ. I have seen people post horrible stuff about him on Facebook, and have heard people say horrible things about MJ in the wake of his death. I have also heard and seen people defend him based on his talent or his skin color. I think all of this, and the Billy Mays stuff as well, shows the complexity of being human and the difficulty humans have when it comes to holding seemingly opposing ideas on the same subject. What I mean is that so many people are totally for someone or something, or against the same person or thing, based on their bias, either preconceived or not, and feel that agreement is the source of love, understanding, and truth. Too many people look at people unrealistically. And acceptance and reconciliation are different things, just as it is possible to care and love without agreeing, contrary as to what the majority of the people believe. I loved MJs music and even more so loved his videos. He was a major pop icon during my lifetime and many of his songs and videos bring back good memories. He was one of the most talented people that has ever lived. But none of that changes the fact that he had issues. None of that changes the fact that he made some odd decisions and that he was basically a weird duck. We can say that he lost his way along the route to stardom or that the pressures of this or that drove him insane, and we may be certain of that. But none of that gives him an excuse or free pass on his actions and thoughts. None of that makes him an angel or a demon. MJ did many things to help unfortunate people, but singing and dancing we rent on that list. Hungry people cannot eat a song. He also has been accused of some of the more heinous acts towards innocent children, that one can think of, short of mutilation. And that is hard to get past. But it doesn't change the fact that he is talented. I think all of this exposes how complex a person, most any person, can be. I think it exposes some flaws in our thinking. I also think it reveals where we are arrogant enough to think that we are the judge and jury of all things moral both here and there; both physical and spiritual. My take on it is that Michael is in God's hands now and God will determine if MJ spends an eternity in Hell or an eternity in Heaven. We had the responsibility to judge and punish while on Earth, but that time has passed. And anyone who is glad that someone has died and gone to Hell doesn't understand much about anything; and needs to seek Jesus. Plain and simple.

So remember Michael before he weirded out or after; but have no guilt in liking the music or videos. Don't confound the issues that are simple and don't overlook the issues that should be considered larger than they are considered. Use Orange Glow and remember that the commercials drove you insane. That doesn't imply hatred. Watch Charlies Angels and enjoy it or poke fun at the outdated fashions, there's nothing personal to it. Remember a hard difficult fight against a horrible disease, but don't let that turn someone into a saint because of it. Admire courage for courage's sake. Emulate the good things we see in people. Pray for the families without condoning the past actions of those who have died. If you have lost a mommas boy in your life, be sad for a moment then remember the good times; but always remember he was a mommas boy...sit back on the edge of a the set and watch life unfold and yell, "Yes sir!" every now and again. We will all be the better for it.

Friday, June 26, 2009


What a week for the celebrity deaths...Instead of a tribute or memorial, I propose that we forget about all of the bad traits and mistakes made by Farrah, Ed, and Michael; and just remember their good traits. We all make mistakes, and theirs are in the hands of God now. It's not up to us or our society any longer. So for the sake of the families and friends grieving, if we have nothing good to say, let's just remain silent...just remember the music and the films and the late-night television; and the good memories that they bring back to mind.

God Bless and have a good weekend!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

For Lack of a Spiffy Title...

Well, it's Humpday...

...and I've finally made back some of my pretend losses from the fantasy stock market game that I play. And yes, I'm that competitive...and I am glad that I have made back some of my pretend losses, because I was about to have to get a pretend loan to float myself along; kind of like the government, but they don't play...

Yesterday, Steve Yzerman and Brett Hull were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, along with Luc Robataille and Brian Leetch. Yzerman and Hull were two of my favorite players, ever. Especially Hull. So many memories come to mind when I think of Brett Hull and that shot of his. I not only remember Hull and that era in St. Louis Blues hockey, but the era in my life; when everyone was still alive and healthy. I remember having hockey parties at my grandparents house and how no one could hear the games due to my uncle Kenny and I yelling, coaching, refereeing, and doing the general manager duties, all while stuffing our faces with huge deli sandwiches. Those were the good old days, and not just in sports...Brett Hull was the best player on the best team and that team was my St. Louis Blues! It just doesn't happen much for us Blues fans. Congratulations, Brett Hull and thanks for the memories...

...but I realize that many of you aren't hockey fans. So my two-cents on baseball. It really is an all American pastime. And it seems to run parallel to our culture. We lose focus on the good of the game by all of the scandals, negotiations, pop-culture coverage by ESPN and SI. When someone does well, we wonder if it was legally. There is little loyalty, money speaks loudest. Tradition is nice if it doesn't interfere with notoriety and fame. But every now and again we smell the grass and beer and brats while we see someone achieve true greatness as they display integrity and leadership. And those moments, like in our real lives, are what keep us going; those moments remind us of why we are great and what it takes to be great...

How about another stellar speech by our president? I sure hope that Iran isn't concerned that he used such harsh rhetoric. Unfortunately, rhetoric doesn't do much except tickle ears. but to be fair, our president has some big issues on our plate. North Korea and Iran will have to be dealt with. And alienating Israel will not help. We really do need to pray for guidance and strength for Obama, and pray that he doesn't wait too long and do too little. I realize that he hates foreign affairs and that may distract from his domestic policy and campaigning, but we cant talk these issues away. Polls will do us no good and campaigning for the next term will not keep us safe nor help the peoples of the world. We really do need to be praying, not for the president to behave the way we wish individually, but that he will make wise decisions for all of us.

And that is it for today. I've got things to do and I'm not getting them done by using a lot of words and ideas. I have to practice what I preach and get into action mode.

Have a great day!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Random Stuff On A Monday

I would like to begin today by thanking everyone for their support and also to apologize for the "hit and miss" blogging lately. It's just been hectic lately. No worse than anyone, I'm certain, but hectic none the less. Thanks again for hanging in there.

And now for some random stuff:

There is little honor among people these days, and even fewer people know how to be a friend. I realize that I have been blessed with some great friends in the past, and I unfairly compare all my friends to a certain few, but friendships are that important to me and should be measured with important scales, even if the relationships aren't that important to others. Maybe we should all try all little better in the area concerning our friendships...

...and speaking of honor, we blame a lot of things on the "decline of capitalism and free enterprise" in our country, but we seldom think that much of the blame is the lack of honor and integrity. Freedoms need ethics and honor and principles to work best. Otherwise a bunch of rules have to be written to regulate our lousy habits. Morality cannot and should not be regulated, even in the area of economics. Maybe we should all try to do a little better here also...

...and to do better by our president, we really need to be praying for him. And not just the general, "be with our president even though I didn't vote for him and I don't really trust him but I know I should pray something for him" kind of prayer. We need to be specific. Pray for wisdom. Pray for guidance of the right kind. Pray for protection against negative influence. We are facing many crisis right now. Besides the issues and polarization in our own country, we have a lot of turmoil on the international level. And words and sanctions will do little to help. Pray for direction and clear answers that will lead to actions for our president...maybe most of you already do this, but I need to try to do little better in this area...

...people will take a pill for a hangnail, regardless of the many side affects and health warnings associated with the pill; but let one person get a little sick from the all-you-can-eat buffet and it's lawsuit time. Seems odd to me...

I wish I hadn't read "Atlas Shrugged". It's kinda spooking me these days...

Has anyone else noticed that the movie, "Overboard" is on every single Saturday?

Will the Blues draft well this weekend?

And for all those "Galactic Cowboys" fans, I understand that they are doing three "reunion" gigs in Texas. I will not be able to attend, but I have seen them in St. Louis and they are worth the price of admission. Not to mention that they are some pretty good guys with a real talent and it would be nice to see some good guys win one every now and then. So I encourage folks who can, to support 'em!

And finally, I want to thank my wife and kids for giving me a wonderful Father's Day; much better than I deserve some most of the time. And I want to make an official announcement that I really have the most wonderful wife around. She has really came through in a pinch for me lately. I can fuss about lack of honor and integrity, then think of her and realize that there is much good still left in people. Thanks Brandy, for all that you do!

And that's it. Not exactly the biting sarcasm and political analysis as usual, but it is a Monday; and a little difficult to get the week going. Be blessed and live well today!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Just Say "No" to Nationalised Health Care

Just a few quick, random thoughts on the health care issue:

We should all be against the proposed health care plan that President Obama is trying to rush through congress. The country does not have enough money to fund this program. And the tax hike that will be required to fund this health care mess will be large, and all will be taxed. Even the lower and middle class who have been "promised" tax breaks. This section of the "redistribution of wealth" could cripple our economy.

Secondly, socialized health care, and that is exactly what this is, doesn't work. Anywhere. Period. And those who believe that you can actually keep your doctors and your current health care plan are either Kool Aid drinkers or naive. There is no way that insurance companies can keep the rates affordable enough to compete with the nationalised plan. Especially when many, many people will drop their current coverage and opt for the Obama plan. Insurance companies have to raise rates to offset losses and those losses are passed on to the policy holders, like it or not. Such a rise in health care rates will potentially flow over into car insurance and homeowners rates. Your dollar will go for a lot less than it does now. Between taxes and higher rates otherwise, expect a significant portion of your income to fund these areas; all so you can redistribute your "wealth" into the hands of some of those who just line up for handout. Or into the hands of those who run to the emergency room every time they get a hang nail or the sniffles, further raising the costs of health insurance.

Thirdly, the plan is vague. I have heard El Presidente, as well as numerous congressmen, speak of this health care plan, and no one has any answers as to how it will be funded or what the expenses are. There are no details as to how you can get on the plan or how you can keep your current plan. No details as to how long and if you can drop the Obama plan if it does not work for you and your best interests. Concessions to the AMA in the form of malpractice reform will be minimal, and a mere token gesture. Not to mention that many good doctors will opt for another career field rather than fight the bureaucracy. There are no real answers and too many people writing and pushing for this bill are being deceptively vague.

And get ready to have your Twinkies and Ho Hos taxed also. As well as higher taxes on tobacco and alcohol. And any other item that will lead to "unhealthy" lifestyles. This could mean butter, eggs, non organic vegetables, so on and so forth. I know this sounds crazy, but the writing is on the wall. A $7.50 cheeseburger will be common, and say goodbye to value menus and hello to more expense for the average consumer. Especially if the religion of green gets it's hands into the food service industry. Look at what it has done for the auto industry.

Maybe some information on the Obama Health Care Plan will come out that will cause me to change my mind; but it will have to be pretty amazing. I do not want to sacrifice any freedom, even in the area of health care.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Today's Rant, Comrades

I can't believe that I am typing about czars in The United States of America. I really can't. I never thought this issue would be a, well, issue. I had faith in our constitution and although filled with many dishonest people, I had some confidence in our government framework. I was taught that the system of checks and balances would keep an even kilter in Washington and that the people would always be represented in our government.

Call me naive, but I really thought that Americans loved their freedom. I knew that my Grandpa, and many, many other brave men fought, sacrificed, and died while defending these freedoms.

So why are we taking this Czar stuff lying down, so to speak? Talk about Tax-Day Tea Parties, we really should be out in the streets over this Czar stuff!

Maybe everyone isn't aware of the size and realm of the Czars. How many people know that there have been 16 Czars appointed by President Obama? Sixteen! And how many people know that one of them is a, "Great Lakes Czar"? And God Himself only knows what he does. But 16 Czars? This may create the 1.5 million jobs needed, but it certainly won't be beneficial to anyone. ACzar System never is.

And we have some kind of Health Reform Czar. Even though there is a Health Secretary on the Presidential Cabinet; as well as a Surgeon General. We have a Car Czar even though we have A Commerce Position and a Treasury Secretary, if you can listen to Tim Geitner and not giggle.

Why all of the overlapping positions?

Has anyone realized that the Czars are all appointed people, that they are unconfirmed, and unelected? Do you realize that if Obama wanted to appoint, for lack of a better word, a Religion Czar, or a Two-Cent Blog Czar, that he could do so in a matter of minutes? And remember, Cabinet members do not have a budget, Czars do.

And these Czars answer to no one. Neil Cavuto on Fox News has been trying to reach the Car Czar for weeks and cannot even find the man! Of course Neil may be looking for a person in the Auto Industry instead of the Phone Business, where this Steve Rattner came from. But that is beside the point; A Czar does not have to listen, answer, report to, or seek advice from anyone on the planet; with the exception of the President. And that scares me plenty. Not to mention it sounds like "Acorn Gone National".

Of course some of my friends who have drank the Kool Aid or have their heads in the sand think that I may be overreacting, as I am prone to do at times. They tell me that the Czar position is a "Figure Head" kind of deal and that there is no real power there; it's just an advisory kind of thing. Then answer me this, why does an advisory thing have nearly a trillion dollars at their disposal? Remember, Cabinet members have no budget. So why do 16 men have money that is close to the same figures as that of the national debt? Why would a figure head with no real power have that much money, 1 trillion dollars, to play with? I'm not a genius but I know that if you load a gun with bullets that you plan on shooting something...

And let's talk about the Car czar, who has no real power. For starters, President Obama has taken over a large sector of the Car Industry without a single Congressional vote. Not one single vote. Not only is this dangerous, it is unconstitutional. And he continues to get a free pass because so many are enamored by and smitten with him, or we are more concerned over money than our freedom; and all of the money in the world can't buy freedom. Anyway, does anyone really think that a Car Czar who has came to power by this method, will have much of a conscience or concern for the American people? Or that his dealings will be above the table? And not one person can do anything about it; except President Obama. This is too much power in one man's hands, whether you agree with his politics or not.

And what is the Car Czar's role? What is he trying to achieve?

And the same with the Pay Czar. And yes, you read it correctly, that is Pay Czar. He is to oversee the salary and wages used by TARP money; but it will not and does not stop there. It also is reported that the Pay Czar "may" look into the salary and wages of those in the private sector as well. And if you don't think "may" doesn't mean "will" then look back at the presidential campaign and remember Obama promising a redistribution of wealth. And then remember how people like me were called fanatics and fear mongers because we were concerned about what that meant. Think back to how many people didn't really believe that Obama would redistribute wealth and that the "extreme right" was making this worse than it really was; besides no one can circumvent the powers of checks and balances, and only the extreme leftists would approve of such measures.

Well look again! Redistribution is here. What started out as an Acorn, pun intended, has turned into a mighty oak of illegal, socialist, and unAmerican political fascism. And maybe I didn't phrase that correctly, but I'm on a roll...and you get the picture...

The Pay Czar is said not to be concerned with salaries, but raises, bonuses, and compensation. Huh? Yeah, read that again...and what is your salary made up of? What do raises, bonuses, and compensation come under? Maybe salary? But it's ok if you don't like these words, you can listen to another channel or another politician say that the Pay Czar will not be concerned with private compensation, just with bonuses, salaries, and pay raises. Now try to figure it out...

And now to try to wrap up today's rant: The Czar system is crazy! It opposes all things American. No one is sure how it is funded. The Czars are not elected nor confirmed. They are not accountable to the citizens. They have unlimited power. They will infringe upon our freedoms more and more. Be afraid, be very afraid!

Phew! I have to calm down. I feel even more jaded and distrusting than usual. I think I will walk away from this mess for a few minutes and watch some t.v. No news though; maybe History Channel is showing something more realistic and hopeful, like UFO Hunters...

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Prayer Revolution

I really don't have much of a blog to write today. The stock market is down, congress is trying to decide how to waste more taxpayer money, most of the news is negative, biased, and depressing. Our President is finally getting a little negative press for one of the worst speeches in the modern history of our presidency;while still gaining respect in other circles, although both sides heard the same words. And the Red Wings can wrap up the Stanley Cup finals tonight with a win. Not much to get excited about.

So I suggest that we all turn off the television and radios and take a minute to pray. But don't pray for ourselves, but spend a few minutes praying for those around us. Pray specifically for one or two coworkers, a spouse, a child, a leader, so on and so forth. And don't be concerned about praying for anything large or Earth shattering; even a simple prayer that someone across the room from you will have a better day than you, or that a specific friend experiences unexplainable peace and joy today. Keep it simple. And don't tell the person that you prayed for them, but ask God to answer the prayer so that the person will KNOW that someone prayed for them. Then watch and try to notice the difference that prayer has made in some one's life; even if only for a moment or a day.

We see the effects of the news on peoples behaviour. We can pick up on the habits of people's speech and actions that are influenced by pop culture and cable t.v. But can we see the aftermath of prayer in people's lives? Do we ever look for answered prayers in others lives?

This is not a test of God's power or a contest; but this could turn into a revolution. If we would all practice this prayer exercise more frequently than we do, we could see a real change in our community.

So I suggest that we go to the restroom and sneak a few minutes of prayer in; for the sake of those around us, not for any gain of our own. I think we will find that we may benefit from this practice more than we ever thought that we could and that we CAN make a difference in someones life; and that beats the opinion's of a two-cent blogger every day.

Friday, June 5, 2009

An Unedited Rant Intended to Declutter


I'm attempting to reduce the clutter from my desk and clear my mind of a few thoughts today:

I have come across a note with the words,"sensible conscience clause" scribbled down, and a brief explanation that this clause is a stipulation in "abortion reform" that would allow health care providers the right to refuse to perform an abortion. I remember thinking that this is vague and leaves an awful lot of gray area; wiggle room for legislation and execution of the "reform". I also remember thinking that there is little wiggle room on this issue, and no means by which to bridge the gap between those who view abortion as murder and those who view abortion as a choice. I wish that Americans weren't so polarized, but there is no gray area here. And in my opinion, choices do not take life, but abortions do. There is no tap dancing around the issue, despite the rhetoric...

Here's a definition of terms for you: Diversity- the right to become just like me or be considered close-minded, backwards, or hateful...we really shouldn't use words if we don't know what they mean...

I fully expect a gasoline tax as soon as Chrysler, GM, or The United States Motor Company produce a more fuel efficient car. Not only will this help the religion of Green, but be an effective means to manipulate the sales of fuel efficient cars. And while I am not against fuel efficiency, I do like vehicles that can pass slow-moving vehicles on the highway, or pull a trailer full of limbs to the city compost site, both while managing to reach a speed of 30 mph in less than three minutes. But more importantly, taxes are not meant to punish, manipulate, or reward. Taxes are to be used for basic infrastructure. We really need to focus on the principle of the issues, not the outcome of legislation...

Where are the jobs that the "hurry up and rush this most important bill" of the stimulus package? And why did unemployment RISE from 8.9% in April to 9.2% in May? I thought time was of the essence when the bailouts and stimulus packages were passed. And how is it that only now, this problem may take some time to be resolved? My guess is that it is the difference between rhetoric of an election year and the pragmatical words of the reality of running the country...

I find it interesting that I find myself to be most like Christ in that I would rather spend time with outcasts, drunks, and those of ill repute than to spend much time with a "church crowd". Don't get me wrong, I have some very good Christian friends who are not "churchy" and who sincerely care about others in our community; and I enjoy their company and friendship more than any other people that come to mind. And I find that the verse in the Bible that tells us not to forsake our fellowship with our Christian brothers and sisters to be very, very important. But I still have to say that there is more Jesus in the bars and on the streets than in our church houses. Not exclusively but generally speaking. And I imagine Jesus' day was similar or He would have hung around the temple more often instead of spending time with a motley crew of men he called His disciples...

I think our society has become enslaved by money. I also think that this philosophy that we have adopted, whether cognitively or not, will lead to the end of our freedoms; first we lose Federal and State rights, then we lose more individual rights. And it began, for the most part, with the apathetic want of a dollar...

I have noticed that there is more more scrutiny in dealing with the Bible than in dealing with science. If an individual would apply a balance of attention and detail to both, the truth would become much easier to see...

I have tried very hard not to get into President Obama's Cairo speech this week. I have to calm down before I write about the speech. But I want to end with a few thoughts/questions I have, that arose from Carter's, I mean Obama's speech: For starters, why does no one realize that the Palestinians do not want a two-state existence with Israel? They have had opportunities in the past to develop an economy, a culture, infrastructure, etc. but the Palestinians always place bombing and the destruction od Israel above the advancement of their own culture and people. So applying pressure to Israel is not going to help in the peace process; at least not pressure of a two-state existence.

Next Section of Clutter Reduction: Why give a speech about peaceful resolve in Egypt? They have no freedoms, little acceptance of anything other than what they deem important or worthy. They are ruled by a merciless tyrant and oppress many people. They receive the second most American aid than any other nation, and we send a president who will not use any leverage, but talks out of both sides of his mouth about the evils of religious polarization; all while remaining arrogant while apologizing for all of the aid and military help that we have given many nations, especially Egypt; who is almost exactly opposite of our ideals, or at least how our ideals were at one time. The Cult of Personality that is our president is amazing to me, but not for any reason that I find honorable or impressive. And I STILL wonder who is pulling his strings...

Lastly: If Obama were a real Christian, he would know that a Christian and a Muslim do NOT worship the same God. I'm not trying to question the cult of personality's personal faith, that is God's call. But I do know that when I see someone claim to be a born again Christian that they cannot still consider there to be one universal, humanist god. All roads do not lead to Rome when it comes to salvation. There is only one God in Heaven, and none of the rhetoric, policy, ideals, or issues in the universe can change that. There are not many ways to God; only one pathway, through Jesus Christ via His sacrifice on the cross...and anyway, why do we try so hard to remove Christianity, I mean religion, from all things governmental, then allow our "leader" to go and freely cater to one religious denomination. And not just cater, but pander. Beg. Kiss up. Why was Obama given a free pass on this? Maybe we don't want separation of state and church, just distance between God and government...