Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Blessed are the Children, for the Kingdom of Heaven Surely Belongs to Them ....

Regarding the rape of a 14 year old girl, in a Maryland high school:

If we fail to keep our children SAFE, in an environment that by definition should be safe, then anything else we can do to further the cause of humanity fails in significance by comparison.

"It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life-the sick, the needy and the handicapped."~Hubert Humphrey, in a speech at the dedication of the Hubert Humphrey building, Nov. 1, 1977.

 "Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members -- the last, the least, the littlest."~Cardinal Roger Mahony, In a 1998 letter, Creating a Culture of Life

Aristotle has often been quoted as saying 'You can judge any society by the way it treats its most vulnerable citizens.'



I found myself physically ill upon hearing this unthinkable news .....

Friday, March 17, 2017

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

It's About Time We Had Transparency w.r.t. Health-care Costs for Services

The only way you can truly save healthcare and keep it affordable "for all" is by means of introducing a true transparency into the system.  Meaning, people have right to know, up front, what any office visit or procedure is going to cost them, instead of being blind-sided with some horrifically enormous bill after the fact.  I mean, medicine is about the only industry today where the consumer must blindly sign upon the dotted line, agreeing to pay whatever the cost may wind up being, without first being given a reasonable cost estimate/comparison.  With today's technology, there is simply no excuse --beyond deception-- for consumers not having access to prices for medical services upfront.   Moreover, patients should be able compare prices, along with customer reviews and oversight independent rankings, instantly right on-line, in order to shop around and then get the most value for their hard-earned dollars.  Transparency in the healthcare system will also foster competition, which will work toward the end-goal of driving costs down and keeping them down in the long term.

3/10/2017  Republicans would do well to slow the pace and heed the warnings of congressmen Rand Paul and Tom Cotton, lest the Republicans wind up hastily pushing another sloppy, ineffective (i.e., doesn't address all issues adequately), loop-hole ridden bill through congress in much the same fashion the Democrats did with their snowball piece of legislation the 'Affordable' Healthcare Act.

"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."~Abraham Lincoln

And what's up with the "Cadillac Tax"? How is it fair to penalize employers for providing above the base standard for healthcare to their employees?  Level the playing field by penalizing those who have access to better options?  Sounds pretty "socialized" to me.  Not what I thought Republicans stood for?!?  I'm really surprised, not to mention disappointed!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Stardust

"We come spinning out of nothing, scattering stars like dust."  ~Rumi


The Sower of Systems', 1902 By, George Frederic Watts


7 New Earth-like Planets Discovered 'Nearby' (39 Light Years .. It's all relative, right?)



Supernova Remnant E0102-72
September 5, 2009

[Credit: X-ray - NASA / CXC / MIT / D.Dewey et al., NASA / CXC / SAO / J.DePasquale; Optical - NASA / STScI ... read more .]

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Free YOUR MIND

In the absence of critical thought, emotions and group-think will always prevail, polarizing every issue and sewing the inevitable seeds of division and discord.  The time has come to wake up, to stop blindly following others.  The time has come to engage your heart, along with your mind, in order to more fully partake in the true meaning of this shared journey we call LIFE.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Politics of Dancing?

The fledgling Trump administration gets its first bitter, and very public, taste of "the politics of dancing." Time to clean some serious house? The former administration loyalists have overstayed their welcome?  A number of someones, are pushing buttons (illegally, I might add --by way of leaking classified information into the public domain-- which should be the gravest concern of all in the entire Flynn-scenario) in order perpetuate the scorched-earth campaign currently being waged by the Left, at all levels, with the here-to-fore "asleep at the wheel" media --the past eight years (e.g., Obama-Medvedev "hot mic moment", March 2012)-- being complicit in this war-waging. Truth be told, Hillary Clinton using her own private server for government emails --including transmission of classified information-- probably did far more to empower the Russians and jeopardize national security than any pre-election conversations between General Flynn and the Russian Ambassador.

Nancy Pelosi incorrectly used the word "scapegoat", in a public announcement yesterday, when referring to a Tweet attributed to what we now know to be a fake twitter account for Mike Flynn (i.e., NOT him).  Stepping back and looking at the Left's whole post-election response to the loss of their candidate, Hillary Clinton, it occurs to me that the Left are using the Russian's as the scapegoat for Clinton's loss.

"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend four hours sharpening the axe." ~Abraham Lincoln


Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Time to Every Purpose



I did not vote for Donald Trump, but I am willing to give our new President of the United States of America a chance to actually be in the office, doing the work, before I will take to the streets in protest.  I respect our electoral process --even though I strongly feel the order of states voting in the party primaries should vary, from year to year, with the order being assigned by means of a random lottery-- and moreover, I respect the Office of the President itself.

Quite frankly, after eight years of soaring rhetoric, smoke & mirrors, and a profound lack of accountability across the board:  I am actually looking forward to a bit of W.Y.S.Y.G. ("what you see/say is [what] you get").  I may not like everything that President Trump tweets, on Twitter, but at least I get to hear what he's thinking, straight from his mouth, without the added step of a biased media-spin. Donald J. Trump has found a way to circumvent what has heretofore been a blatantly biased --and in some case downright dishonest-- media and I think that's AWESOME!

My advice to President Trump and his new administration moving forward?  Quite simple, really:   namely FOCUS and get meaningful 'shit' done!  Do the latter, Mr. President, and all of the protesters, nay-sayers, no-showers (at the inauguration) and other obstructionists will become superfluous to the execution of the Office of the President of the United States of America.  We've spent so long focused on the trees, we've become lost in the forest of 'identity politics'.  There is "a time and a place to every purpose under heaven." Now is the time to put America's house back in order once again, starting with some soul-searching prioritizing of critical issues (i.e., life and death issues, being able to provide for our families issues) facing the nation. After that, the rest will fall into place.

From my perspective, every President gets a clean slate at the start of his/her new administration, otherwise nothing in this country would ever get done.  The vetting process --election-- is over!  Let me repeat:  THE VETTING PROCESS IS OVER! The President should not have to waste valuable time --his and ours-- defending his past record.  That being said, President Trump should be held accountable for his actions moving forward.

So I say, congratulations, Mr. President!  I'll be keeping you and your administration in my special thoughts and prayers.  God Bless!

I'll leave the rest of you with a parting thought.  Whatever you happen to think about 'Trump the man', if you're being honest, you have to give President Trump credit for doing a rather remarkable job when it comes to reaching out to his opposition during the transition period. And I highly suspect President Trump will continue to do so throughout his term in office.  I am left wondering, however, if you --as citizens, leaders, politicians, etc.-- simply refuse to come to the table and be a meaningful part of the discussion about the path America will take moving forward and things wind up getting done without you or your party, won't that make you/your party obsolete on down the line?  Just a thought.

2/28/2017 President Trump did a  wonderful job with his address to Congress.  The President's speech was one of the best such speeches ('state of the union') I have heard in my adult lifetime.  It struck just the right measure of inspirational, with facts and tangible plans of action to actually back-up the accompanying rhetoric.  Here's to government finally getting meaningful things done for a change!  Now, let us see if the media is capable of keeping up with President Trump --and his administration-- in any meaningful way?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The tangible ...

Something to hold onto?  At the end of the day you have to be thankful for simply having a safe place to lay your head each night.  Anything else is just icing on the cake.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A beating heart, by itself is simply not enough .....

It always bothers me when I hear 'religious' people talk about the "sanctity of [human] life", as if a beating heart in and of itself makes all the rest of the stuff that comes with this life worthwhile.  It's not that I don't personally believe life is precious, in and of itself, rather it boggles my mind that people can talk about "a life" and its "beating heart" --as if these things alone make us whole-- while completely dismissing the consequences that occur in the aftermath of that same life.  Maybe it's just me and my personal life experiences, but to my way of thinking given the two choices --between experiencing an abortion (short term physical suffering followed by a return to our Creator) and a being born into this world unwanted and more often than not unloved, and then having to live [experience] a life of pain, suffering, neglect and abuse (long term physical, mental and emotional suffering)--returning to heaven surely has to be the easier and less painful of the paths one can travel.

I guess to my way of thinking, you are an irresponsible advocate "for life" unless you are personally willing to step-up to the plate in order to ensure that each and every life brought into this world has at least a shot at a purposeful life, filled with at least some small measure of love and respect, because a life without these things is simply unbearable.  So I suppose, I am sincerely wondering why we never hear "pro-life" advocates talking about this other side of the "life" equation?  And more importantly, what will these advocates do in support of the aftermath of each and every "saved" life.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Recent Nightmare ...

Had a  horrible nightmare last night.  Now granted, not all of my dreams (visions) actually come to pass and thankfully so.  This dream was of a bunch of people caught in a seemingly normal traffic jam and then suddenly all hell broke loose as armed men were shooting stranded motorists at random in their cars ... there were explosions too and the perpetrators were riding motorcycles.  Scared the living daylights out of me ... so vivid, such graphic, unrestrained violence ... so much needless loss of innocent life.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

U.S. Congress Set to Vote on "Iran Nuclear Treaty" ....


What would you say if I told you that they say the path we are about to set foot upon will change all our lives, our children's lives and their children's lives, irrevocably forever and not for the better.  The "Iran Nuclear Treaty" tentatively set to be voted upon by the United States Congress, on September 17 --in a "resolution of disapproval vote"-- does not just marry the ultimate in vanity to politics; this treaty starts us along a trajectory which will bring about our (the human race as a whole) ultimate demise on every level possible.  I'd advise those members of Congress who are currently planning to pat themselves on the back for signing on to lend their support for this “ “ground-breaking” “ international treaty to find their spine, to take a courageous detour outside of their party's regimented lock-step --pushing aside, momentarily, the widely pushed (and accepted??) narrative that it is “THIS deal or outright WAR” aside--  in order to clearly evaluate the written terms of the Iran Nuclear Treaty --including its numerous “side-agreements”-- down to the very minutest of details. Then having done the latter, I ask these same members of the U.S. Congress to ask themselves if they are willing to sell their soul for short-lived “infamy” in accepting the delusion "that what they (will have) have done in voting to support such a weak 'treaty' truly does anything to promote the greater good." To ask themselves if they can live with the notion that they alone will be responsible for sealing the fate of humanity as we know it today. I'd add that history has a way of stripping away the varnish of present day perception --so often clouded by the spin of “smoke & mirrors" and the inherent need of weak men to feel that they belong to something greater than themselves-- in the laying down of facts toward the end of chronicling nations' tales, but what would be the point?  Because in the end, there will be none left to whom the tale could be recounted.


"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." ~Oppenheimer


9/11/2015  A deal by any other name would be a "treaty" .....
 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

" "Climate Change" " Show-down?

Carly Fiorina unleashes some articulate perspective on "climate change" in an interview with Katie Couric: A must see!


2/15/2017   Speaking of 'wars':  Here's some tangible fuel to justify skepticism on the whole "global warming" issue.  January 2017, NOAA scientist, Dr. John Bates, blows whistle on skewed recent temperature data. Valid ocean buoy data was discarded in favor of "hot" (known to report hotter) ship data.  Then this "Version 4" dataset was delayed in its release so as to further lend credence to the "Pausebuster" paper [“Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus”, written by climate change scientists to explain away the apparent pause in global warming temps over the past decade, published in the journal "Science" .. just six months before the Paris conference], thereby delivering a maximum timely impact, in an effort to influence the outcome of the Paris Climate Accords this past 2016.

"The NOAA revelations are shades of the 2009 “Climategate” scandal, in which hacked emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit indicated that its scientists were suppressing information contrary to their global-warming agenda. A similar batch of 5,000 emails released in 2011 showed likewise and, furthermore, reported Forbes, illustrated that the “scientists view global warming as a political ‘cause’ rather than a balanced scientific inquiry” and that “many of these scientists frankly admit to each other that much of the science is weak and dependent on deliberate manipulation of facts and data.” ~The Observer, By Selwyn Duke "NOAA Scientists Falsify Data to Dupe World Leaders on Climate Change"

Bottom line?  We are absolutely called upon to be good stewards of the precious resources on this rapidly spinning and beautiful Big Blue Planet: plants, animals, earth, water, sky and people as well. We are not, however, compelled to be mindless followers, blindly changing our lives,  in fundamental ways (i.e., preventing the realization of true "energy independence" --oil, natural gas and clean coal-- with an over-abundance of regulation, which also puts hardworking men and women out of a job in an already thin economy). Nor are we called to spend a larger than necessary chunck of our own precious personal financial resource so as to adhere to a bogus scientific bent.  A bent that incidentally financially benefits both the scientists --who pursue ongoing data manipulation, in support of "the cause"/"climate change"-- and those billionaires whose products are associated with the "salvation of the earth" (e.g., green cars, green energy, green light bulbs, etc.).  Wake up and follow the money, people!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Power to Transform Our World?

Yet another tragic shooting in the month since I've been away,  First the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, South Carolina, and then the shooting of Kate Steinle, in San Francisco.  Now another movie-theater shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana, last night.  And I almost forgot the lone-wolf shooting at the Army Recruitment centre in Tennessee. Hard to find the right words for reason or consolation sometimes, isn't it?  Save to say those who would take the lives of defenceless others, innocents among them, are the polar opposite of those motivated to action by honour.  My heartfelt prayers go out to all involved in these senseless tragedies.  I am left in awe pondering the overwhelming forgiveness expressed by the families of the victims in the South Carolina church shootings.  I can't help but be inspired by these courageous individuals who so readily found their way to forgiveness in the immediate wake of such profound loss.  To my way of thinking, forgiveness has the greater power to shape --transform-- this world for the better.  What say you?  

Time to address the profound vulnerability of gun-free zones?  Way past the time where criminal illegal alien deportations should have been addressed and enforced.  Whenever I am in Texas I always feel safer w.r.t. to the above scenarios playing out --military installations being the one sad, glaring exception-- because if someone pulled out a gun and began shooting at defenceless people I have little doubt that two or more licensed-to-carry gun-owners would not waste a second before drawing their weapons in order to take down the shooter, but maybe that's just me. The best defence is a good offence.  From where I'm sitting forgiveness and enactment of future offensive measures --in effort to prevent future shooting tragedies-- can go hand in hand.



9/11/2015  “Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes.”

― Alexandre Dumas, "Count of Monte Cristo"




Kelly File interview



Three young Americans riding on a train from Amsterdam to Paris found themselves in the eye of the storm.  Then, within a matter of mere seconds, these brave me found it within themselves to act, without hesitation, to act with courage and honor, and by doing so they saved countless lives.  Truly inspirational!  May God Bless all involved.  And may the heroism of these brave men inspire others to find it within themselves to stare terrorists, hell-bent on destruction, square-in-the-eye and to take action in defence of innocence against the ever-growing presence of evil in our world.



[image source:  newyork.cbslocal.com ]

Friday, July 24, 2015

"The wounds of honour are self-inflicted"

"The wounds of honour are self-inflicted." ~Film Quote from "The Last Knights"

A poignant quote from the film (movie) I happened to watch late this evening with my daughters.  Thought provoking, these words, are they not? And drawn from a fictional movie script at that.  Personally, these particular words leave me wondering if we currently live in an age where the notion of honor has now been relegated to realm of fictional tales and legends of days long since gone by.  I suppose there is still some thinking to do on this subject.  What say you?  Has honor in our modern-day society now been replaced with the politics of identity and belonging to a 'greater whole'?

"All honor's wounds are self-inflicted." - Andrew Carnegie


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Donald Trump Enters the Presidential Race

A "primary" is a preliminary contest right?  It's not an outright war.  I'm just checking, now that the provocative Donald Trump has --finally-- officially entered a Presidential race.  The object of this preliminary primary contest is not to eviscerate your opponents, towards the end of being a lone victor hobbling across the bodies of the other 'slain' Republican contenders in order to cross the "primary finish-line" --hopefully, with the ability to still stand-- to face the Democratic candidate in the general election.




With the above image seared into your mind, might I offer another timely word of advice to the Republican field of primary candidates: Let us NOT do the work of the Democrat Party for them.  Think it would behove all of us looking for a viable alternative to the status-quo --of the past eight years-- to have our primary candidates conduct themselves, during the course of the primary, with a strong measure of decorum and respect for one another.  As I told my daughter the other day:  just because someone is LOUD and obnoxious, doesn't make them right.  Translation --in this instance-- those with the fabric necessary for true Presidential leadership will find their way to using words effectivly, in a constructive manner, towards the end of conveying the thoughts and ideas needed to alter the trajectory our nation has been set upon. 

One last thought: A true leader also possesses the ability to listen and to consider the input of others, otherwise we will find ourselves right back in the throws of Congressional grid-lock and Executive Order overreach.

7/20/2015  Why embrace real issues, with real solutions when you can embrace a media circus drenched with hyperbole?
7/24/2015  In keeping with the theme of "hyperbole" in my last comment:  I actually heard a meteorologist (on the weather channel) say the following in a weather forecast this morning, in reference to a tropical storm currently brewing in the Atlantic Ocean:  "This activity is a key signature of climate change.  When we have these types of weather extremes:  Severe drought (motions to California on the western coast of United States) with tropical storms simultaneously delivering large amounts rainfall in other parts of the country."  And this meteorologist made this statement rather mater-of-factly; he didn't even blink an eye.  Seems he's well-positioned on the "science is settled" bandwagon, happily purveying a political (profit-driven) agenda: non-manipulated/unbiased data, actual facts and the inherent chaos of Earth's dynamic weather system be damned (I, personally, have no issue with the notion that Earth's climate obviously changes; it's been doing this for hundreds of thousands of years and it will continue to do so for thousands more with or without the input of mankind (e.g., witness previous ice-ages and periods of global warming, long before man entered into the picture in any significant way).  To think that we, mere humans, can in some way control or influence nature is simply ludicrous.  To think that world-wide impending doom is charging towards us at the hands of nature, via  ""climate change"" -- previously referred to as "global warming"-- is simply profit-driven insanity.  The latter aside, are we called to be responsible stewards of the Earth with which we have been entrusted:  absolutely, but "gloom and doom" at the hands of nature is not imminent in anyway ... now man destroying himself or being subject to larger cosmic forces may be another story, but I digress).  I mention this meteorologists weather statement --issued as if it were a documented scientific fact and subsequent effect thereof of man-induced ""climate change""-- not only because his statement caught me entirely off-guard (the larger portion of the present CA drought happens to be man-induced due to the diversion of river waters natural flow in an effort to protect some species of "smelt" fish) but because I am sincerely wondering where "The Donald" happens to stand on the issue of ""climate change""?

Side Note:  Went home over the course of my travels these past several weeks, to visit with my family in Texas.  Upon my arrival, I was surprised to find that nature had once again, after several drought-ridden years, finally reversed her course a full 180+ degrees.  That is to say, where once ponds and lakes had dried up, or sorely receded, and the sombre brown-brush of parched dryness had swept over a sullen land:  a blanket of lush greenness, swaddled in an abundance of liquid gold now unfolded across the vast landscape.  For me, it was, despite the areas of significant flooding, a refreshing sight to behold.  Life was returning to a seemingly barren-struck land.  In talking with parents about the change in their own piece of the vast Texas landscape they had this to say [paraphrasing]:  "The drought took both of our stock ponds, killing the fish in them.  It also diminished our harvest and it was hard on the animals, but the upside is that the drought seems to have taken all of the plague of disease-ridden oak trees and the disease they carried right along with them ("Texas oak-wilt").  Also the swarms of west-Nile carrying mosquitoes seems to have died off as well.  We now have 1/20th of the mosquito population we had prior to the years of drought and thus far we have not heard of a single reported case of the west-Nile virus in the area.  And both of our stock tanks are filled to the top once again."  So with the latter insight from my parents, I am thinking, in some strange and mysterious way: Nature knew what she was doing all along.  Go figure?  Nature finds a way.

7/28/2015  The 'damage' due to "carbon-footprints" has absolutely nothing on the potential for damage due to nuclear weapons in our much more immediate future. (i.e., Iran nuclear deal). The time for a serious embracing reality-check is long, long overdue, people.  Let's blow away the smoke and shatter the mirrors already.

9/2015  "Like" him or "leave" him, Donald Trump has been a lightening rod for focusing attention onto the presidential primary races.  Perhaps Donald Trump's entering the race has served a useful end in drawing the attention of the usually uninformed, low-information voter into the media-fray surrounding this candidate --and by default drawing attention to the other candidates, Republican and Democratic alike.  I mean viewer-ship for the Republican Primary debates has clearly broken all sorts of records, evidence that people who normally don't tune-in to the politics surrounding elections are actually listening this time around.  Perhaps the mere exposure potential voters receive to thought, information and ideas exchanged in the ensuing media dialogue will open their hearts and minds to consider another perspective and in the process of doing so these voters might glean new insights about candidates and issues important to them.  Thanks to Donald Trump, 2016 could actually be the year of the informed voter.  How exciting is that?!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Interesting News: President Putin to meet with Pope Today


Most interesting piece of news today.  Putin has landed in Italy and will visit with Pope Benedict later today.  Putin last visited with the Pope in 2013.  Interestingly enough, this visit falls on the heels of the G-7 summit, from which President Putin was barred --for the second year in a row-- from attending. This because of Putin's annexation of Crimea and allegations of ongoing involvement in fighting in Ukraine.  Perhaps, the Pope hopes to gain a powerful ally to help protect Christians under attack in many Middle Eastern countries?

Later p.m.... Putin was over an hour late to his scheduled meeting with the Pope? Timing is everything ....

[Of note, the Russian Orthodox Church  is a member of the Eastern Orthodox group of churches which remain separate from the Vatican (in Rome) to this day.]

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Timely Word of Advice for Republican Party Candidates ...


Here's a word of advice for the field of candidates currently vying for the Republican Party's nomination:  What you say now, while speaking to a traditionally conservative and often Christian audience, can and WILL LIKELY be used against in the larger political arena (i.e., the mainstream media and Democratic candidates/politicians will find a way to spin your words such that they will, wherever possible, be used against you.)  Lest you forget:  "perception has become the new truth in our modern day politics," whether we like it or not.

With the above in mind, might I suggest to the current slate of candidates that each of you choose your words, and more importantly that you CHOOSE YOUR ISSUES WISELY!  Where, extreme caution must be exercised when discussing hot-button social issues (e.g., birth control and gay marriage).  Here's a wholly radical idea:  why not just keep your campaign narrative focused exclusively on the larger issues, namely the issues which have the greatest potential to heal, empower, protect and unite our great nation, because the bottom-line is:  You cannot and will not win an election, in the larger public arena, where "hot-button" social issues are concerned, but you sure as heck can lose on them!  Candidates failed (miserably!) to make this important connection in the previous 2012 election cycle.  This time around, it is my sincerest hope that the field of Republican candidates starts thinking about the general election TODAY (from day one).  To my way of thinking, if you aren't doing the latter, then you aren't truly serious about becoming a viable Republican candidate for President.

[Side thought:  When, and if, you find yourself pressed on hot-button social issues it would greatly behoove you to redirect the focus back toward the larger, more universal issues currently facing our nation.  If, however, you are unable to successfully redirect the conversation and find you must give some answer, simply state some version of the following:  "Everyone in our great nation --thanks to the wisdom of our Founding Fathers-- is entitled to hold his/her own personal moral convictions, based upon their unique spiritual or religious beliefs, but we must recognize the distinction between the holding a personal  moral conviction and the infliction of those convictions upon others in the public arena.  In instances where there is a clear need for legislation, in order to protect the latter rights of various individuals or groups of citizens, provisions have been made in our United States Constitution for our States to enact the laws they deem necessary to meet the needs of their respective populations."  The important point in the previous statement being that YOU, the candidate, understand the clear distinction between holding a personal moral conviction and the infliction of those convictions upon others in the larger public arena.]


Now, I'm not saying you should deny your Christian (or other religious) heritage or your faith, nor am I denying the fact there have been an increasing number of instances where "the faithful" have been targeted for ridicule --by the mainstream media, opportunistic political groups and politicians-- for choosing to bring their personal (religious) beliefs into the public arena. What I am saying is simply this:  PLEASE, don't step into the trap of entering into the field laden with land-mines of personal moral convictions during this new 2016 Presidential Election cycle!  If you have learned nothing else from 2012 election cycle, let it be the necessity of avoiding extensive discussion on personal moral convictions.  Let us also avoid the newly nuanced charge of "religious persecution" just levied by Senator Marco Rubio in his interview over the weekend.  We really don't need to go there right now!  In sum, let us (the Republican party and candidates) not risk risk destroying the field of Republican candidates by continuing to take the bait on hot-button social issues.  Let's keep the focus on the issues which matter most: those issues being the ones capable of uniting and fixing the country as a whole.  

By avoiding hot-button issues, Republican candidates will remain free and clear to focus their campaigns on issues which will truly benefit the nation as a whole (e.g., tax reform, balanced budget, job creation, national security and education). These important issues, which you will speak about in your campaigns, can then be used to energize and unite both the party and the country as a whole, because Lord knows there is a whole lot that needs fixing in this nation of ours, right now ... not least among this list of 'fix-its' being the ever-widening chasms of division presently plaguing our nation (e.g., black vs. white and other minorities, wall street high earners vs. middle class, religious vs. secular, etc.)

One final, parting thought: Why not try GETTING INTO OFFICE FIRST and then let your actions and words speak volumes, from a place of undeniable authority, to the need for our nation to revisit its founding history in support of religious tolerance?

Praying for Balance

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Texas who have recently been hit by severe storms, with large hail, dozens of tornados and most recently (ongoing) flash-flooding as the Brazos and Colorado rivers overflow taking cars, roads and homes with their fiercely flowing torrents.  From drought --in subsequent several years-- to now flooding? ... Hope nature finds its way back to balance, and cessation of pounding storms, again soon.  God Bless one and all!

5/30/2015 And of course my ongoing thoughts, prayers and donations are with the people of Nepal as they work recover from the two catastrophic earthquakes which recently struck their country, back to back.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Lying on our backs, looking UP Into the blanket of stars that gently gives cover to night ...


“We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust.”
~Rumi

 Amazing Photo-capture By:  Andrew Whyte, Caters News. Image Source: Telegraph News on-line


Describe yourself using four music "album" covers or less.  (Likely only someone born before 1979, or earlier, can do this?)

You are to be given an all-expense paid trip, with top-of-the-line accommodations, to an as yet undisclosed location. Is there any one place in the world you would refuse to go, regardless of the latter?

Finish this sentence:  "My LIFE is worth ...." 


Flip a coin: Heads or Tails?  Other?

You are speaking with someone who does not appear to speak your native language well.  They manage to inform you that they are visiting with family currently living in your country.  What three pieces of information do you choose to try to convey to them?

What do view as the most pressing world issue in this day and age? 

Close your eyes before attempting to answer the following question:  Could you survive a week without your cell phone or other connection to the internet? 
Now before you open your eyes once again, name five meaningful observations about your present environment.

What would you give to save the world?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fanning the Flames of Civil Discord?

In absence of true leadership chaos, and often violence, will inevitably prevail.  I find it most interesting to note, however, that as civil discord burns brightly on the home-front (presently in Baltimore and previously in Ferguson and other cities throughout the nation) the national focus on global concerns (earthquake in Nepal, Iran military maneuvers around Strait of Hormuz, Nuclear Weapons Deal with Iran, ISIS and other terrorist activities around the globe, Implications of Clinton Foundation Donations w.r.t. foreign powers gaining undo influence and potentially compromising national security, etc.) is rather conveniently diminished.  Perhaps current 'leadership' chooses to fan the home flames of discord toward a greater, overarching, political end? [As opposed to speaking on the situation in any constructively meaningful way, so as to diminish the rhetoric of an ongoing national divide by addressing the underlying issues plaguing communities, such as the one in Baltimore Maryland, while emphasizing the fact that anytime an unarmed U.S. citizen winds up dying in police custody it is a tragedy which must be thoroughly investigated, prosecuted if necessary, and learned from so as to prevent future such incidents from occurring again.]

Also have to wonder, if media outlets would chose to minimize their ongoing, 24-hour, visual coverage of rioting and destruction if the allure towards violent protest and destruction might in some small way be diminished, because the perpetrators would no longer have a guaranteed national television audience. Everything in moderation: including media coverage of violent protests?

4/29  The city curfew seems to have been effective in curbing further violence in Baltimore.  Have to applaud community members, civic leaders, church officials, etc. who found the courage to stand in the streets of Baltimore last night in order to speak in favor of ordered protest, in compliance with the city-wide curfew, over violence and destruction.   It is my sincere hope that justice will prevail in getting to the bottom of the events which lead to the tragic death of U.S. citizen, Freddie Gray, while he was in police custody.

5/13 Thinking we need to focus some "nation-building" right here in America, in cities like Baltimore.  Where supportive communities would work to build strong family foundations and improved educational opportunities,  leading to meaningful and lasting employment and career opportunities.  Because a never-ending handout, alone, will never amount to true freedom and equality.  The illusion of  entitlement to "free stuff" being consistently pushed by liberal progressive policies (failed policies) is the real injustice, not this resurrected narrative of "ongoing racial inequality." The narrative of "racial inequality" offers no definitive solutions.  Instead we have only finger-pointing, victims and violence,  which amounts to a misconception of division towards the end rallying voters to the base for the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election. Would that we would, that we could all see ourselves first and foremost as Americans and then work toward meaningful solutions to real problems from there.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Looking for the Spark of Leadership ....




“Looking for the light-switch of leadership” ~Jeb Bush, speech 2/18/2015

Isn’t that the truth … A truth currently sweeping its way across the nation, according to numerous independent polls addressing the nation’s confidence –or rather a lack thereof—of President Obama’s handling of the global threat terrorism now poses to our nation.

I’ve heard the following line of thought from several prominent foreign policy and news analysts over the course of the last few weeks (and I happen to wholeheartedly agree): As long as we are having a discussion focused around semantics we don’t have to address the real problem, with respect to ISIS and other Islamist extremists, in any immediate or substantial matter. In that respect the Obama Administration's non-approach to tackling the real issues concerning the threat of terrorism, and the ISIS movement in particular, has proved to be a rather successful demonstration of spin-action? Perhaps this Administration –-with the aid of a blatantly biased liberal media—thinks "we can even spin this narrative of “naming conventions” and “tolerance” right up until the very end of our administration’s ‘reign’; then it will become someone else’s problem"?


“Hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue." ~La Rouchefoucauld

I find it rather hypocritical that President Obama continually goes out of his way to speak of tolerance towards those who practice the faith of Islam, citing the fact that the majority of Muslims are peace- loving and not terrorists, claiming that “religions don’t kill, people do” when the President had no problem explicitly calling out the wrongs committed by a minority of Christians –albeit centuries ago-- in the name Christianity, during his address to the “National Prayer Breakfast.” While I happen to agree that the majority of those practicing the faith of Islam are non-violent, this acknowledgement fails to address the violent minority who are outright dangerous to all within their grasp who oppose the ISIS world-view, be it by their choice of faith or ethnic heritage. And interestingly enough, what do suppose brought about a final end to the misdeeds committed by rouge Christians during the Crusades? The original Crusade campaign came about in the late 11 century, when Christian forces were called on by Pope Urban II --at the behest of Emperor Alexius I, ruler to the Byzantium throne-- to protect Christians and Christian lands being attacked by Muslim (Turkish) forces in the Middle East. There were successive Crusade campaigns over the course of the next several hundred years, but of note is the fact that it was these same Crusaders, called to action at the request of their Pope, who stepped in to police their own in order to put an end to the injustices being carried out by a minority of misguided Crusaders. But it would seem as if these truths somehow eluded the President when he was skimming through history in order to assemble his ‘facts’ for writing his speech.

The problem with semantic games and the pushing of a repeated narrative of tolerance is that it prevents us from getting at the heart of any meaningful solution towards the very real problem that is the “Islamic State in Syria and the Levant, ISIS” (i.e., mass killings of minority faiths, beheadings, burning people alive, enslavement, rape, torture, harvesting of human organs from captives and the list of atrocities goes on and on). “Nuance it” any way you want: ISIS militants at their very core are driven by a warped interpretation of Islamic ideology. ISIS is a political ideology of oppression, with theological underpinnings based upon a fundamentalist interpretation of the Quran, and sadly jobs and educational opportunities*, up front or by themselves, will not eliminate the very real threat these Islamist extremists pose, most immediately to those of different faiths or ethnic heritages presently living within the territories now controlled by ISIS militants, and in the larger picture/longer term to all citizens of western nations, most especially those stationed in or traveling abroad in the Middle East.  By refusing to name "the enemy" we allow uniformed people to make the false association that "we are at war with Islam itself", when we are not; we are at war with a radical faction of extremist Islamists.  When we name the enemy we also pave the way for a discussion to enlist the leading authorities of Islam to denounce this extremist faction and to ultimately accept the responsibility to police their own.



Diane Feinstein, a Democratic Congresswoman representing the state of California, and former head of the House Foreign Relations Committee, said it best “We fight them over there now; or we fight them here later.” The Congresswoman’s words speak to a black and white truth, illuminated by the light of true leadership and foresight … Leadership and foresight we could sorely use among our foreign policy makers in Washington D.C. right about now.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” ~Benjamin Franklin


So semantics aside, what would potentially constitute "immediate and substantial action" in terms of addressing the very real threat posed by ISIS terrorists?

1) Right now: get much needed shipments of arms and weapons supplies over to the Kurds who currently fighting on the ground, in Iraq, against ISIS and who are currently willing and able to engage ISIS on the ground in an effort to hold onto strategic locations, while attempting to regain others.

2) Actually fulfill, in a timely manner, the recent specific enumerations of arms and weapons supplies requested by the King of Jordan --during his visit at the White House-- such that the Jordanian Army may continue to their fight against ISIS on both the ground as well as aerial campaign fronts.


3) Consider the authorization for use of Special Forces Operations on the ground, in Iraq, to assist in the ground campaign against ISIS.

4) Put the mechanisms into place necessary for the retrieval of downed fighter pilots engaged in the coalition’s bombing campaign against ISIS, such that coalition members (United Arab Emirates) who have withdrawn their aircraft from the coalition's ongoing bombing campaign would return to the fight.

5) Step-up the air campaign against ISIS, substantially, such that the number of daily bombing runs truly has the force of power to actually degrade ISIS (per Eric Bolling of "The Five") capabilities as opposed to being the half-hearted token gesture of "action" which this bombing campaign is playing out to be.

6)  Bomb the blazes out the oil fields ISIS currently controls, from which they are generating huge revenues that then go to fund further recruitment!

7) Welcome ALL world leaders to the coalition table (including Israel) who are willing to take a stand against ISIS.

8) Join the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in calling upon leading Islamic authorities (e.g., Saudi Arabia) to denounce the violent extremist actions being undertaken by ISIS (and other terrorist groups) based upon their ‘distorted’ interpretations of the religious teachings of Islam.

9) STOP broadcasting our military strategy to the world!  Let the world think all options are ON the table (just because it's on the table doesn't mean you have to use it, but at least you keep your options open). Stop using public timelines for military movements and don't needlessly eliminate the element of surprise (i.e., March plans to retake city Mosul, in Iraq).  Political expediency shouldn't be "standard operating procedure" for military maneuvers.


Finally, with regards to President Obama’s most recent plan –announced just today-- to combat ISIS by means of “de-legitimizing ISIS”: let me just say that the power to de-legitimize ISIS lies first and foremost with religious leaders of the true Islamic faith. In my humble opinion, based upon their own religious teachings, if the non-violent majority of those practicing the faith of Islam do not denounce the actions of the violent Islamist extremists and then further take action in effort toward “policing their own” then these non-violent Muslims are themselves complicit in the violence being perpetrated by ISIS and the like, in the name of Islam, by virtue of their inaction.


*[Also find it extremely ironic that this Administration, which was once so critical of its predecessor for “engaging in nation-building”is now --in the aftermath of their "violent extremist" summit, held this week in D.C.-- flirting with the “nuanced argument” that the United States should now consider the "root causes" behind the effectiveness of terrorist campaigns in recruiting young followers.]

Friday, February 06, 2015

Measles Outbreak: Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?

Regarding the current outbreak of measles in pockets of the country:  I have to wonder, which came first, the chicken or the egg?

That is to say, that perhaps the rush to admonish parents for opting out of vaccinations for their children conveniently (purposefully?) overlooks a more meaningful truth, that truth being the source of origination for the latest "outbreak" of this disease.




Doesn't it strike you as odd that measles was largely under control if not 'eradicated' here within the continental borders of the USA and now suddenly we have a measles outbreak spanning several states?  So what has recently changed that would account for the outbreaks we are now seeing around the country?  Parents of both political persuasions in the United States have been opting out of vaccinations for their children since the "autism scares", in the late 90's, and we haven't seen any "outbreak" until just recently.  So what's changed?  Could it be this disease has newly introduced carriers in the form of a large scale influx of non-immunized illegal immigrants --many among these being children now attending public schools across the nation-- who have been haphazardly 'processed' into our system --but not vaccinated-- and then unleashed upon our communities?  And measles may just be the first of many diseases "outbreaks" to be unleashed upon the nation.  What about the mysterious rodent virus that was killing humans --in large numbers--south of the border, a few years back.  To the best of my knowledge there is no vaccination for that virus. Maybe that's why we have immigration laws and a process for legal immigration in the first place?


Granted the science surrounding vaccinations has been more thoroughly investigated over the past decade and most now agree vaccinations are safe to administer --though, as a parent, I would still choose to space out the vaccinations, over a matter of months, and not bombard tiny immune systems all at once with multiple diseases-- such that parents who have not had their children vaccinated should now seriously consider having their children vaccinated for the more serious diseases, especially in light of the myriad of issues surrounding lax enforcement of our nation's immigration policy under the current administration.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy Columbus Day, Yup I said it ....

To EXPLORE … A willingness to set off into the vast unknown in search of adventure, reaping the subsequent benefits of knowledge and yes, sometimes material reward in the form of “treasure”, but I would argue that the general motivations behind the quest to explore are by and large noble in both their origins as well as their subsequent acquisitions.  Witness advances in modern medicine, physics, engineering and technology.  In medicine alone, we have modern-day vaccinations which have nearly eliminated the vast majority of devastating diseases suffered by generations past, and today we have large scale organ transplants, not to mention cancer treatment advances which have prolonged and saved hundreds of thousands of lives.  And could you really live without your smartphone or the internet?  These types of advances were pioneered by the brave explorers who willingly embraced the risk of venturing into the unknown, seeking new insights into the world in which we live.  Moreover, the achievements of these explorers have, more often than not, gone on to benefit the world at large.


I truly believe that a large, not to mention important, part of the human condition is our need to explore in an effort to better understand the world around us.  We are born into this savage world with a natural proclivity for exploration and how brilliantly this desire to embrace exploration burns within us as children.  Yet sadly our modern-day progressive society seems too eagerly geared towards the diminishing of this childhood inclination towards exploration under the guise of “protecting the innocent” and facilitating “the greater good.”  We paint our children into corners, surrounding them with boxes and lines, giving them the blinders of “politically correct answers” instead of giving them the age-appropriate facts and then equipping them with the tools they need in order to sort out the answers for themselves.  We seem to have replaced a need to explore and question with a need to belong, to conform and to not make waves.  So gone are the dodge balls and swing sets on playgrounds, gone are the scoreboards at youth sporting events, gone is the healthy expression of emotion --now we “use our words”-- gone are multiple opportunities for kids to make basic (not long-term detrimentally harmful) bad choices and then learn from them, gone is “Columbus Day”, gone is the pledge of allegiance at the start of each school day and soon gender identity will be gone as well as children will now be addressed as “purple penguins” in many of our nation's public classrooms --are you kidding me?!  It’s no wonder we’re raising a generation of mixed-up followers who can no longer think and reason independently.  

Sadly, I think, our well-intentioned coddling and social manipulating winds up back-firing on us as a nation, in the long run, by producing future generations --if we haven’t done so already-- of apathetic, self-obsessed, instant gratification adults who are ill-equipped to function in an adult world where not everyone gets a trophy, where sometimes the words people use aren't so nice and where life will all too often knock you flat on your ass, not to mention the fact that our method of teaching has become less exploration-oriented and more indoctrination-orientated, thereby stamping out children’s innate ability to question and explore the world around them.  Maybe its just me, but I’d rather have my children face not-so-pleasant facts about the reality of the world in which we presently live --as well as our past history in its entirety-- and then have them sort their way through the facts with my/and or other immediate “in-home” caregivers loving assistance in the here and now.  I want my children to run, jump, sing, scream at the top of their lungs, laugh and play, make lots of messes --which believe me: they do!-- work out social conflicts with their peers for themselves and to learn to strive for victory while humbly learning from the agony of defeat.  I want my children to first and foremost develop a strong sense of self-identity, which they can then merge to into the world at large, hopefully as leaders and not per-ordained followers.  The way I see it, the fall is not so far to ground when you’re a child, so you scrape a knee and you learn --with the loving assistance of family and mentors—that you can get up, face the world again and carry on.   

Information is truly power, but information can all too easily be used to in order to manipulate and misguide.  Two sides there are to every truth and it’s about time, when it comes to our nation’s history, that we begin to teach our children both sides of our history so that our children will be equipped to find their way through to the other side of a more thorough, non-manipulated understanding of who we are as a collective people in this amazing nation, perhaps gaining new and invaluable insights which may equip them to avoid repeating the same mistakes we have made all over again, while realizing that the best way to move forward is to focus on the good we can do for the world in the present day.  And hopefully, a truthful viewing from both sides of our nation’s history will enable our children to reconnect with a now seemingly absent sense of pride in our nation for some of the good things that we have done in the world at large and can yet continue to endeavor to do in service to others (e.g., most recently rendering assistance to Yazidi Christian captives on Mount Sinjar, helping to secure the release of Miriam Ibraham and her family to the United States, sending U.S. ground troops into West Africa to help secure vital infrastructure necessary to contain and treat the Ebola virus outbreak in that country).




So today, let us celebrate by remembering the man, Christopher Columbus, and his crew who embodied the very essence of pioneering human exploration in their willingness to embrace the untetherable desire to set off into the vast unknown in search of adventure, reaping the subsequent benefits of knowledge and acquisition --the merits and detriments of which can, and will likely, be deliberated for generations yet to come.  “In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue” and with his discovery he nearly doubled the European view of the world, for better or worse unleashing the inevitable torrents of change.

Tomorrow, or any of the other 364 days of the year, we can celebrate Indigenous People's Day (And I happen to have Native American blood in my family heritage).

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

If You Build It: They Will Come?

State of the Union ... Why speak to truth and address real problems facing our nation --like creation of long-term jobs not requiring government subsidies to sustain them, coupled with immediately realizable energy independence via the Keystone XL Pipeline-- when you can perpetuate "a global fantasy worthy of the Middle Ages?"













Once again "climate change" and "green energy" were put forth by the President and his administration as a cornerstone to their approach for 'addressing' --or dodging, as the case may be-- the real problems facing our nation, using a perceived truth to dictate a policy where 'environment' will always trump sound business decisions, even at the expense of the creation of (much needed) real jobs for American citizens.  It seems readily apparent, by both the content as well as the tone of this speech, that it will be business as usual moving forward: Smoke & Mirrors will continue its prevalence throughout the remaining years of this administration's tenure.  Perception has now definitively been established as the 'new truth'?  I hardly think "the debate [w.r.t. "climate change"] is settled", Mr. President.

The bottom line is that the current science IS insufficient to translate our current "alternative" forms of energy into a reliable primary source for immediately realizable --and ready for widespread distribution-- energy for our nation. Yes, we should continue to invest in the science to support the potential for large-scale development of alternative (""green"") energies, but the latter should not, in the interim, preclude our pursuing other forms of immediately realizable energy sources toward the end of achieving "true energy independence" for our nation.

And on another point w.r.t. to jobs creation: If you truly want to make 'doing business in the United States attractive to companies':  then why not make the proposition of doing business in the U.S. attractive to potential companies with the tangible ACTION of approval for the U.S. portion of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The latter would undoubtedly result in a substantial lowering of the costs associated with doing business in our country by making energy/transportation costs lower in our nation. Then again, on the flip-side, if Canada gets tired of being strung along by the United States w.r.t. Keystone Pipeline and grants the contract to China, then China will reap the advantages of doing business with Canada and also the subsequent creation of jobs that will undoubtedly follow.





The movie "Field of Dreams", with Kevin Costner, is running through my mind as I type here ... "If you build it: they will come" ... w.r.t. "manufacturing centers of excellence" mentioned in the State of Union speech. Unfortunately, unlike the movies, in the real-world companies who are successful in business actually connect the dots --manufacturing centers of excellence being only one single dot-- and energy/transportation costs are a BIG part of the dot-connecting calculus when it comes to deciding where these companies will actually decide to do business.

But no worries, right? At the end of the day, who needs jobs, when we can all hold hands and sing "Kumbaya", secure in the delusion that we've actually had a significant or meaningful impact upon the chaotic and dynamic (highly complex and unpredictable! ... long before man's input) entity of our planet's climate system. Granted we are entrusted to be good stewards of this earth, but we also have to live and survive here ourselves within the means technologically available to us in the moment currently unfolding. It's all about balance, working with the scientific data we have regarding climate swings in previous eras --unmassaged-- and then using the technology and resources we have available for large-scale energy today while striving to do better --by means of continued alternative energy research in an effort to make our alternative energies large-scale feasible in our future.

On a philosophical tangent, doesn't real and lasting job creation translate into true independence of the individual and the subsequent potential for upward mobility? And the latter runs counter to the environment conducive for an ideology of underlying control "for the greater good" by means of fostering dependence via imposition and excessive regulation, once again all for the perceived "greater good". I mean education only takes you half of the way: just look at all of the college students graduating these past few years who are unable to secure meaningful jobs in their chosen professions. We can continue the accepted narrative of talking points, fueled by the ever-elusive hope of change, but isn't it funny how we've had five years of this "talk" now with no significantly realizable change (improvement!) in terms of lasting, non-government subsidized jobs? Just because unemployment numbers are magically down, doesn't mean the number of jobs is conversely up ... millions of people have just given up looking for work and are no longer being (truthfully) counted in the unemployment numbers.

I say, enough hope of change! Enough recycled rhetoric: show me the $$MONEY$$ in terms of real and lasting (non shovel-ready, non-government subsidized) jobs. Let's start this "year of action" off by taking the ACTION of giving the Keystone Pipeline a green-light, Mr. President.  Give 'We the People' something we can take to the BANK:  It's time to unleash free-enterprise, starting with the approval of Keystone XL Pipeline which will get this stagnant ball of our economy rolling once again for the middle and low income earners who have yet to benefit from our supposed "economic recovery."


Here are some additional noteworthy points of interest regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline:

"With the Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline stuck in limbo on the U.S. side, Canada’s Energy Board recently gave a thumbs up to a $6.5 billion pipeline designed to carry 525,000 barrels of oil per day from the oil sands of Alberta to ships on the British Columbia coast. The final destination is most likely Asia. 


The development has the U.S. oil industry attacking the Obama administration over its drawn-out process. 

“It’s taken longer to approve the Keystone XL pipeline than it did to win World War II, longer than it took us to put a man in space, and almost as long as it took to build the Trans-Continental railroad 155 years ago,” said Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute.
The U.S. State Department received the Keystone application in September of 2008. The 1,700-mile project is projected to create thousands of jobs and lessen the need for OPEC oil. Even with domestic production booming, the U.S. still imports about half the crude it uses. "  ~Fox News Article By Dan Springer, Published January 15, 2014 on FoxNews.com

5/15/2014 Interesting info regarding "Anarctic Ice Melt", beyond the hype and spin:  http://www.livescience.com/45571-antarctic-melting-myths.html?cmpid=514627_20140514_23897214 ... though I don't find the "97% percent of scientist to be on board with climate change [--due to man's impact]" to be truthful.  Think "scientist" here is being used in the loosest terms for the purposes of supporting a wholly unscientific (not supported by the unmassaged data) propaganda driven agenda of control and profit by a few key (and well-connected) individuals.   Just follow the money to find the real truth.  The almighty dollar ultimately reigns supreme, doesn't it?  The truth will set you FREE ....
5/14/2015 Newsflash ...Growing Anarctic ice posing challenges for countries sending ships into the area

Friday, December 20, 2013

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!



"Snowfinity ..."
@2012 Copyrighted Photograph.  All Rights Reserved: Isabelle Black Smith.



“Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow”


To put to rest a sleepless night
Mother Nature sends our way
A blanket glowing pristine white:
Shimmering fractals interweave
The world about in innocence anew;
Whilst weeping hearts eagerly
Greet a thoughtless reclination,
A sleep, at last, lost to hibernation.
So yield the weary, drinking willfully
From nature’s over-brimming chalice
Of sweetest icy, silver-thorned libation.
And with a single sip the world resigns,
With awe-inspiring, albeit silent
Resignation, to peacefully renew:
Awaiting the robin’s timely return,
With Kiss of Life to sleeping trance undo.


@2013 December, Copyrighted Poem. All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Atheist Billboard in Times Square ...

Regarding the atheist billboard in Times Square and other displays of a similar nature I have only this to say: "What man is a man who does make the world around him a better place?" ~"Kingdom of Heaven" ... and corollary "What is a man who must tear others or their beliefs down in order to find his peace?" ~Isabelle Black Smith



I have always held that if 'they' can take Christmas away from you, then perhaps you never really had it your heart to begin with.  That being said, I have to wonder why everyone in America --well, from a national media perspective at least-- seems to be so intently focused on "equality" when it comes to celebrating our holidays ... Maybe it's just me, but everyone complaining about the way other people choose to celebrate their holiday is beginning to sound like one big (and very annoying!) chorus of whining children whimpering "what about, me?" 

Celebrate any way you want --if you want-- but by the same token don't begrudge others their celebration ... If you want a Black Santa, Hispanic or whatever, have one ... Same goes for Jesus and if you don't want to focus on Jesus as being 'the reason for the season', well that's fine as well.  The point is this:  The Winter Holidays --of which Christmas IS a BIG part for many-- are not about 'equality' by any stretch of the imagination!  They are about diversity and our freedom to choose what to celebrate and HOW or even IF we will celebrate.  Ultimately the holidays are about CELEBRATING, and quite frankly all of this silly bickering just diminishes the underlying element of CELEBRATION!  And honestly, how hard is it to just smile and share in the joy of the season in whatever color or form it happens to take?  So can we move on now, please? 

P.S. Regarding the "Santa Claus" controversy, with Megyn Kelly of Fox News:   My daughter informs me that Santa Claus --to her way of thinking-- is in fact a shape-shifter.  Just like in the movie "The Santa Claus", with Tim Allen, where when Santa Claus encounters a home without a chimney (and accompanying fireplace): he just creates one ... likewise, Santa Claus assumes the ethnicity of the family in whatever home he happens to be in at any given point in time.  Problem solved, right?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

150th Anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's Historic "Gettysburg Address"

President Abraham Lincoln


Quite a monumental day in our American History, I would have to say.  So what have we learned as individuals, as a nation, since this historic day?  I wonder what Abraham Lincoln would honestly have to say, with respect racial equality, about where we are as a nation today? Definitely something worthy of thinking further on, would you not agree?

It was interesting to me to be reminded on this day, the 150th Anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s historical “Gettysburg Address”, that it was the Republican party, led by a Republican President who tirelessly and fearlessly led the charge that ultimately put an end to slavery in our nation. Lincoln's words remind us that those who fought to end slavery were willing to pay the highest price, laying their very lives on the line in a self-less sacrifice with both white and black –in fact, many different races-- fighting side by side in order to achieve the final victory of an end to slavery in our nation.  President Lincoln continues on to make his most important point: that to lose sight of the high cost which was paid, in order to achieve freedom for all, is to dishonor those who have given their own lives in order to achieve this noble end:  "That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." ~Abraham Lincoln

Upon reflection, I think this 150th Anniversary should serve as a reminder for all us to revisit the truth of our history*, as a nation, as well as a call to recognize that it is ultimately actions which produce results, speaking louder than any mere rhetoric in a war of perception fueled by unsubstantiated words. Perhaps instead of making blanket statements, such as those recently made by Oprah Winfrey to the British media, those in a position with the ‘pulpit’ to do so would do better to address specific incidents –on a case by case basis, starting with the highest profile-- of abuse and disrespect toward President Obama, calling the perpetrators out by name with actual facts/statements to back up their claims. Perhaps then we could truly begin to make some meaningful progress toward the legitimate end of addressing the many problems currently plaguing our nation and its citizenry.


For more interesting reading on this historic day in our American History please visit: 

http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/sites/gettysburg.htm

and  a special documentary put together by Ken Burns at "Learn the Address.org"
http://www.learntheaddress.org/

[* Among those truths, we find the following rather interesting facts:
1) The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which abolished slavery passed by a vote of 100% Republicans in favor, but only 22% Democrats were in favor of this amendment.

2) The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which proclaimed that free-slaves (African-Americans) were now full-fledged citizens of the United States of America passed by a vote of 100% Republicans in favor, but with 0% (not a single one!) of Democrats in support of this amendment.

3) The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which unequivocally gave African-Americans the right to vote in our U.S. elections passed by a vote of 100% Republicans in favor, but again with 0% (not a single one!) of Democrats in support of this amendment. 

... And just in case you were wondering: Abraham Lincoln was a Republican.]  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veterans Day 2013!!

I was speaking with a veteran today as he reminisced about his time of military service.  Somewhere along the way, he reflected --comparing his life then to now—“You know, most people will never fully understand what the men and women who sign up to serve in our military give up … The freedoms they have to temporarily surrender, the sacrifices they are willing to make in order to protect the freedoms everyone in our nation enjoys today … Freedoms most people flat-out take for granted.” 

And you know, this veteran is probably right; sad but true are his words.  I for my part, however, having grown-up in a military family do happen to know firsthand what life in a military family is like, the sacrifices that the men and women in our military make … the sacrifices the families of military members make.  I remember most of all the year my father was sent to work overseas for a full year, without leave.  I distinctly remember how hard my father’s absence was on my mother, having to be a single parent while worrying about the safety of her husband.  My father’s year of overseas duty was hard on all of us in different ways.  I remember wondering sometimes, myself, if he would in truth ever come back home to us again.  But my father did eventually come back home, walking on two legs, with open arms to hug and hold.  That was a surreal day for me.  I can still see my father’s homecoming vividly in my mind, as if it had happened only yesterday.  I suppose that is why I am always seem to find gentle tears seeping from my eyes when I witness a father, or mother for that matter, being reunited with his/her children and family on television, or in person --we have gone to a few of the welcome our troops home rallies at airports.  So God Bless them, one and all:  the men and women who serve today, those who have served in the past and especially the families --children, wives, spouses and all-- that love and support our service men and women.  As a nation, we are ever grateful not only for your service, but for your many sacrifices.  You are the biggest part of what keeps our nation strong and allows our hard-won freedoms and American way of life to endure.  God Bless our veterans and God Bless the U.S.A!!


 
 
P.S. And may God Bless those impacted by the powerful typhoon that struck the Philippine Islands over this past weekend!
 

Saturday, November 02, 2013

How's HOPE Working for You Now?




"If you like your health insurance plan, then you can keep
your plan.  If you like your doctor: you'll be able 
to keep your doctor."


That "Hope" thing not working so well for you these days? Lucky for you, your opportunity to enact meaningful change is rapidly up & coming: this Tuesday, Nov. 5th, at your nearby polling station: Your VOTE has the potential to usher in some serious> CHANGE!! Out with the old, ineffective, non-representative, and in with the new.  Time to restore true accountability in government once again, I think.

Personally, I'm hoping to see  a lot of INFORMED voters at U.S. polling stations this upcoming Tuesday!*

==> For me "Change" is going to equal a VOTE FOR MANY REPUBLICANS.<==
(*Unfortunately, the mid-term elections for Congressional seats won't be until Nov. 2014.  That's when REAL CHANGE can occur!)

You know, if nothing else comes out this entire healthcare law fiasco:  I would hope that our lawmakers have learned never again to pass any law without first knowing "what is in the law" (i.e., the important details of the law --like the fact that millions of Americans would likely lose their existing healthcare insurance coverage under a new set of bogus* health insurance standards).  Furthermore, it is my sincerest hope that the voting citizens of this nation will from this point moving forward hold their congressmen (and women) to the latter standard in the future.  That is to say if you don't know the details of what's going to be in a proposed law, then you (members of Congress) have no business whatsoever to move forward with said law's passing.  This has got to be one of most basic, common-sense tenants of elective representation.

It will be interesting to see if the number of people, previously "uninsured", who actually opt to sign up for healthcare plans on the Obama-care exchanges --as opposed to paying the nominal penalty for declining insurance coverage-- actually winds up coming close to the number of people who previously had affordable coverage prior to ACHA and wind up losing their coverage.  Will also be interesting to see how rapidly the quality of healthcare in America declines in response to the large influx into a system ill-equipped to handle this influx. Socialized medicine here we come?
[* Like a 60 year-old woman needs maternity coverage? Or even more outrageous: a 60 year-old man's individual policy  --or any man for that matter-- needs maternity coverage? And people with grown or no children need pediatric coverage? We're not all stupid you know:  these ridiculous standards had to be 'added to the law' via back channels, in 2010, after passage of the initial AHCA healthcare law in order to create (thereby forcing insurance companies which offered policies that did not include the latter types of coverage to cancel said policies for being supposedly 'sub-standard') the large and varied exchange pool needed in order to make this AHCA system capable of having any real chance of working.  The upgrade to these 'new standards' was deemed necessary by the administration so that insurers would be forced to cancel existing policies, thereby forcing more people (i.e., young and healthy individuals, with stream-lined, low-cost existing coverage plans) into the exchanges for Obama-care plans.  The latter would, in theory, work to keep the overall costs down for everyone participating in the exchange pools.  Also keep in mind, if an insurer made any change to an existing plan after the 2010 passage of AHCA (even a change as simple as a $5.00 increase in the required patient co-payment for medical services) then that plan would be required to be cancelled per the CMS directive as well.  The problem is these 'new standards' were not implemented by means of standard congressional channels.  They were written and implemented after the initial law was passed by Congress (late in 2010), by means CMS directives written by the Health and Human Services Secretary.  Furthermore, the information regarding the grounds for health insurance policy terminations was not given directly to most members of Congress or to the general public until now: during the implementation of the actual 'mandated' phase of the law --in October 2013, as the 'individual mandate', with the 'employer mandate' implementation phase to begin in October 2014 due an executive order delay issued by President Obama.  

The above is why we have the present chaos unraveling with respect to 5 million++ (and climbing daily!) Americans losing their individual healthcare plans (and these are just the preliminary numbers for people losing plans in the 'individual' market, some analysts predict these individual numbers will pale in comparison to the number of people losing group plan insurance plan coverage when the employer mandate kicks in next year.  Experts estimate the number of people likely to lose healthcare coverage when group plans are cancelled, next October 2014, may well exceed 50 million people losing coverage.  And we should keep in mind that all of these cancelled plan policy holders were repeatedly promised by the President himself, members of his administration and by Democratic members of Congress that they would be able "to keep their plan if they liked their plan" ... But sadly, now these poor people are scrambling to try to find new coverage --during the holiday season no less-- while having to contend with a ticking clock as this year draws to a close and in many cases trying to find new healthcare providers as many doctors are not participating in the exchange plan networks, and bonus: the federal healthcare exchange website is still not yet fully functional or secure. I guess, it's up to you to decide, for yourself, whether such a glaring omission of fact constitutes an outright lie. 

11/15/2013 Despite the questionable constitutionality of his statement today, it appears as if the President has issued a new CMS directive allowing insurers to re-instate their cancelled policies for an additional year.  Of course most State Insurance Commissioners, if not the actual insurance companies themselves, will likely challenge this directive for obvious logistical, legal and cost reasons.  Thus it would appear as if the President and his administration are likely hoping to merely shift the blame from themselves onto the insurance companies, without providing any real substantive help to people who have had their health insurance policies cancelled (and they can't get new policies because the government-run websites aren't yet fully functional! And bonus, new policies via the exchange with new standards will likely cost more than the policies they will replace in most instances) :  the net result being the exchange pools will likely have a better shot at attaining the large and varied --w.r.t. to age and health (i.e. young and healthy)-- numbers of enrollees necessary to make the exchanges actually work.  In sum, the people who have lost healthcare policies effective Jan. 1, 2014 are simply 'acceptable casualties of war' (an ideological war) in the eyes of the Obama administration. And don't feel too bad for the insurance companies either, who will now likely shoulder the majority of the blame for cancellation of policies: if you read a little further on down into the CMS directive, you will see that the insurance companies will be getting some hefty subsidies which should more than make any up shortfalls in their revenue or perceived damage to their reputations moving forward.]