Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Healthy Dose of Perspective

I gotta say I was pretty saddened to hear of Michael Jackson's death yesterday, as well as Farrah Fawcett's. I was also saddened to hear of Ed McMahon's passing last week.

What makes me even more sad is the fact that our President made his statement of condolence via Robert Gibbs so quickly (less than 24 hours) after Jackson's death when it took him three days to offer his statement of condolence to the family of Pvt. William Long (army recruiter based in Little Rock) who was shot and killed by a crazed Muslim jihadist.

Look, I understand the knee-jerk reaction to gush on someone as luminary as Michael Jackson in the wake of his untimely death.

But what happened to Pvt. Long should be seen as infinitely more tragic and disturbing. Our soldiers deserve to be given their due, as they actively serve and absolutely in the face of their ultimate sacrifice.

If there is anyone who should understand this, it's certainly their Commander-in-chief.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Are We Paying Attention?

As the revolution in Iran unfolds, as we watch beautiful people like Neda die in the streets for freedom, I hope we're all paying attention to ourselves, our representatives, our President. Because in moments like these, seminal moments in human history, the way we act and react says a lot about us, about what we're made of, deep down in places only we and God know about. Do we realize right now that countries like England and France have issued stronger statements regarding the unrest in Iran right now than we have? Did you see the signs the Iranian protesters were holding up that were written in ENGLISH?! Did you notice that? Who's attention do you think they were trying to get? President Obama, for all of his oratory giftedness and potential, has offered up so far the semantic equivalent of milk-toast. If he has any sense for history, he would see this as a pivotal moment as leader of the free world to stand up in boldness for the Iranians that are revolting against a totalitarian regime that seeks to silence them.

So then, this is what I want to say to the Iranian people revolting in the streets of Tehran and elsewhere:

I am but a man, a husband, a father, living comfortably in the land of the citizen of hundreds of millions in the United States of America. But I have been moved in my soul by your actions, your young and old standing and fighting in the streets against the regime that seeks to silence you. I know many of you respect history and understand it well. I am a student of history myself...our country's history isn't perfect but is proud and substantive. We were founded because of revolution...we were at one time thirteen colonies, an extension of the greatest empire at the time the world had ever seen. Who would've ever thought a little band of colonies would ever dare take on the might and braun of the British Empire? More than that, who would ever think those thirteen colonies would stand a chance against them? But guess what, for all of the power and muscle of the British Empire, there was something they underestimated. They underestimated the cause for which the colonies stood...freedom, pure and simple. They didn't want to be dictated to or controlled...they wanted to own their own destiny, to forge their own path, to write their own story in the course of human history. And that is what you wish to do. You yearn for freedom, to loose yourselves from the bonds of tyranny, to have the opportunity to be governed in a way that represents the very best of you. It is good...freedom is good. But as we paid for it with blood, so you are doing so even now...and it resonates in a place deep within me. Know that I along with many others in our country stand with you and are praying that freedom wins out. Not only that, but we will press our leaders to produce the type of response on your behalf that is commesurate with the cause for which you are fighting. It is the least we can do - we must understand fundamentally that there is no greater threat to our civilization than that threat posed by tyrants and dictators who seek to oppress and dominate. It is to this end that we must fight and stand with those who seek freedom. I can give you only words, but I pray these words get to you somehow and that you find strength and hope in them, that they encourage you to fight for what's worth fighting for.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Interesting Coincidence?

Hey all...I just happened to come across the following link. To those of you that read my last post, it may look a little familiar to you. The link is to a story written by John Kass of The Chicago Tribune.,0,1177440.column


Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Untouchable?

A few months back during a random trip to Walmart, I snagged a great deal. I picked up a $13 Blu-Ray disc of "The Untouchables" with Kevin Costner, Sean Connery and Robert DeNiro. It is a true cinematic gem...if you haven't seen it, you should. If you don't know about it, it's about the Prohibition Era in Chicago back in the 1920s and '30s and it tells the story of how Eliot Ness took on Chicago corruption and took down the notorious gangster Al Capone. I believe the key moral to the story is summed up best in one of the lines spoken by Eliot Ness, played by Kevin Costner...

"Never stop. Never stop fighting 'til the fighting's done."

During that time, no one in Chicago dared take on Al Capone. He was ruthless...but he played to the media and they played him up to be a businessman invoking his civic duty to make Chicago better by the day. He was the king of the city. He was a master puppeteer using fear and money to manipulate and control every major city official. Then along comes Eliot Ness, tapped on the shoulder by the FBI to bring Capone to justice. He took down the mighty Capone by getting him convicted on, of all things, tax evasion.

I talk about all of this because I feel that this country is being exposed to Chicago gangland politics all...over...again. The latest and greatest instance of this is President Obama's firing of the AmeriCorps Inspector General, Gerald Walpin. According to President Obama, he had lost confidence in Walpin, who supposedly had become "confused" and "disoriented". Mr. Walpin just last month disclosed a vigorous, very coherent special report on gross negligence and fraudulent use of AmeriCorps funds by newly elected Sacramento Mayor and Obama supporter Kevin Johnson. The President, by law, is to give 30 days notice to an Inspector General being replaced as well as give a full, clear explanation of the firing. I will point out that there is not only outrage coming from Republican ranks but also high on the food chain within the Democratic Party. Democratic Sen. Clare McCaskill stated that "loss of confidence is not a sufficient reason" for Mr. Walpin's removal and that "the White House has failed to follow the proper procedure in notifying Congress as to the removal of the Inspector General..."

The long and short of it is this...Gerald Walpin has being targeted by President Obama and is being smeared for doing nothing less than his job. Mr. Walpin has been removed from his post by the Chicago Gangland machine that has transplanted itself within the Oval Office. If this machine has its way, it will replace Mr. Walpin with people sympathetic to the "machine" who will not blow the whistle on any wrongdoing and who will instead look the other way while taxpayer money is carelessly and fraudulently used in the name of civic and community volunteerism.

So this must be the "hope" and "change" that Obama talked about during his campaign? Really? This is what the American people voted for? This whole scenario typifies the disregard and contempt this President has for the Constitution and for the checks and balances it created between the branches of government. He took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. He's broken that oath. It's up to us as Americans to hold him accountable, despite the efforts of the MSM to treat him as a celebrity and a deity. Each day, polls show that growing numbers of the American people completely disagree with his policies and the way he's running the gov't. What he's creating for himself is a tsunami of discontent and blowback the likes of which he can't even begin to fathom. When it's all said and done, this isn't going to be about the Republican or Democratic party. This is going to be about the undoing of a President at the hands of people from all walks of life, on both sides of the "party" aisle who have decided that the course he's set this country on is, in one of his favorite words, "unsustainable". This fight, the fight for our nation's very identity and future, is one that rests on the shoulders of its citizens to win. We must wage this fight...with our words, our ideas, our letters, our phone calls, our blog posts, our e-mails, our vote.

For all of my friends out there that disagree with all of this, remember this blog post...remember these words. This President has fashioned himself an "Untouchable"...he has replaced his sense of responsibility to all of us with his own delusions of grandeur. His quest for power, his effort to leave his mark on human history is at an already staggering cost to all of us. History hasn't been kind to people who fit this profile, and in the end it won't be any kinder to President Obama.

Friday, June 12, 2009

No Class

Okay, so I'm pretty fired up right now over this Letterman/Palin drama that's unfolding more and more each day. I believe just today David Letterman said that the real issue is that the Palins can't take a joke. It's beyond me to think that anyone...ANYONE...would think making a joke about A-Rod knocking up a 14 year-old girl as even remotely funny. It's disgusting and shouldn't be tolerated. I would love to see all kinds of people and sponsors distance themselves from Letterman for this debacle. And I think the Palin's response has been restrained, yet clear and firm. It's one thing to go after a public official...she along with anyone else that is in the public sphere is fair game. But to go and make a tasteless, offensive joke about an underage girl getting "knocked up" by a grown man shows a complete lack of human decency. I think part of it has to do with the fact that people like Letterman love the opportunity to try to take a shot at Gov. Palin. Now I know that there are those that would say, "Well she's a non-factor anyway, so it doesn't matter." To which I would say, I think that's a load of bull. Charles Barkley has a famous quote - he says "People don't boo nobodies". Gov. Palin for a lot of people, whether they want to admit it or not, is the personification of everything they resent...a strikingly beautiful, God-fearing, shrewd, accomplished, gun-toting, maternal, moose-hunting conversative. A lot of people just don't know what to do with her. For some people, they would rather try to destroy her and her family and make her just disappear. But what these people fail to recognize is that they're dealing with a person that has a lot of character and conviction. She's not a wilting flower...a one-hit wonder...a frail, weak, scared person. She's got moxie...she's withstood the onslaught of the liberal left and has as a result of weathering these attacks accumulated even more polish and respect from conservatives and liberals alike. As time goes on, we're going to continue to see Palin's star rise in the midst of attacks and attempts to break her down. I believe Letterman is going to be a casualty in his attempt to bring her and her family down to his level once it's all said and done. He's languished behind Jay Leno for years and that has eaten at him. He's got a family and a great job and instead of relishing and enjoying that, bitterness has had a tremendous effect on him and it's to his downfall. He should know better as a parent than to go after someone's young child. If the tables were turned, I guarantee you he would be outraged and do WHATEVER he could to defend his he should because that's what parents do. I guarantee you if anyone, ANYONE, decided they were going to come after my little girl like Letterman did that that person would wish that they had never been born once all was said and done. It's just unacceptable behavior that shouldn't ever be laughed at, made light of, or tolerated. Gov. Palin and her husband are parents defending their 14 year-old daughter from the sick and grotesque words of a bitter, run-down, so-called comedian. I do voice my support for the Palins in this effort to defend their daughter and to stand up to Letterman and anyone of his ilk that makes their livelihood trying to tear down and destroy people. If you can't properly engage people you disagree with and instead engage in malicious personal attacks against them, then you should reap the whirlwind. Sooner or later, these types of people will wither away...they will be exposed for who they are and those that stick to principle and conviction will eventually be the ones left standing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

From the Belly of the Fish

I just read something that I wanted to share. I know of a few folks that are going through some tough stuff in their life and there's something I read just a few minutes ago that I think is worth sharing. My hope and prayer is that this blesses someone right where they're at:

Jonah 2

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. He said:

"In my distress I called to the LORD,
and He answered me.
From the depths of the grave, I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the deep,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers swept over me.
I said, 'I have been banished from your sight;
yet I will look again toward your holy temple.'
The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you brought my life up from the pit,
O LORD my God.

When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you LORD,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.

Those who cling to worthless idols
forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
But I, with a song of thanksgiving,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
Salvation comes from the Lord."

And the LORD commanded the fish and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

You know sometimes the unfortunate and crappy circumstances we find ourselves in are our own doing. Sometimes we go our own way and do our own thing thinking we know what's best and what's right. I will readily admit that I've done this myself...more than a few times. But what I've found is that irregardless of where we find ourselves, we can't ever go where God can't find us. He loves us right where we are and extends His hand of grace to pull us up back to Himself.

May you all be blessed today.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Back in the Game!

Goodness, it's been too long since my last post. My apologies for being away for so long. There's SO much I want to talk about. So let's see...where do I start...

Blogging award from my good friend Danielle
- Okay so I think back in May 18th I got a note saying that I had received an award from her for my blogging exploits. I have to say I'm honored. Just as a point of reference, Danielle and I were like brother and sister in high school back in Houston. She's a tremendously smart, warm, gifted, lovely person and I was honored to get to share the stage with her to accept the school's highest honor at the time, the Timothy Award. I believe the year we received that award, was the first year the school gave that award out. All of that to say, anytime I could get recognized by a dear friend like her, I'm honored to be mentioned in such a way. Thanks Danielle for the shout out. I wish I were more prolific with my blog posts like you are. I'm gonna have to work on that.

American Idol Results
- So I may be opening a can of worms with this but here I go. You know, I thought it was interesting that Kris Allen won. I'm certainly glad he did. Do I think he's as vocally talented as Adam Lambert, no. At the same time, I think the vote crystallizes a couple of things at least. For one, there can be no on-going legitimate argument that AI is just a singing contest, like the judges, particularly Randy Jackson commonly stated during his critiques of the contestants. The people watching AI, while certainly evaluating vocal talent, use other criteria to judge who deserves their vote. Which leads to my 2nd point. I think the vote in a way was a statement. I think the people that voted wanted to make a statement with the way they decided to vote. You look at the two final contestants and they couldn't be more different. Look, I wanted Danny Gokey to win because my heart was won over from day one with him because of his incredible story as well as his talent. But honestly, I was happy that Kris won because I would prefer to give my vote to someone that embodied the type of person you'd be happy to see as the winner of American Idol - a young, clean-cut, small-town guy who leads worship at his church, newly married and very much in love with his wife, someone with strong roots to his community and loves his family. In other words, a guy that the majority of the people in this country identify with. All of this to say, I've heard that Adam is a super nice, good guy. I know there are questionable pictures of him kissing other guys on-line. My gut would tell me he's gay but I don't know that and that's not really the pressing issue. That particular subject will be it's own post at a later date - it (homosexuality) is deserving of intelligent, truthful and thoughtful discussion instead of the other way around which it seems we see a lot of, especially in evangelical Christian circles. Anyway, gay or not, Adam for me got on my nerves a little with all of the screaming. I don't prefer glam rock so that's what sealed my vote...or in Adam's case, my non-vote. I think he's still going to be successful and get to work on a lot of cool projects. It's going to be interesting to see the type of material Kris puts out. I hope they allow him some freedom and say in this initial album.

Obama's first 100 days
- Okay so for those of you that will read this, you probably know that this is going to be critical of President Obama's performance. So if you think reading this is going to make you mad, stop reading now. Now that that's done, on with the rest of this. You know, something that came to mind in thinking about all of this was something that both Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton mentioned previous to taking their respective roles in the Obama Presidency. They both stated that the office of POTUS was no place for on-the-job training. I think these first 100 days typified that sentiment. For all his charisma and charm, President Obama can't cover up his deficiencies...that is, of course, if you're willing to see them with eyes wide open. Well on second thought, if you believe what the MSM has to say about him, "he's above America, above the world even, he's sort of god." This is the kind of coverage he's getting in the face of such things like startling hypocrisy (i.e. calling on the nation's citizens to tighten their belts and make sacrifices while there are lavish White House parties featuring fare ranging from gourmet pizza flown in from St. Louis to Wagyu steak dinners; pledging to give all Americans 5 days to review the stimulus proposal before it passed only to have released it for public viewing after it was already signed into law), signing into law said package that will lead to the increasing of our national debt by 10 times w/in the next 10 years, undermining the security of our nation by allowing a sitting Speaker of the House question the validity of the CIA briefings they receive as well as going relatively silent on the targeting and killing of our enlisted soldiers by the hands of domestic terrorists, closing Gitmo without a true plan for what to do with those being released, declassifying documents regarding enhanced interrogation techniques (EIT) without releasing add'l documents that would bring to light the plots thwarted and lives saved, using EIT as a political device to continue to demonize the previous adminstration by going so far as to call EIT torture although it was ruled by the Supreme Court as legal and last but not least cozying up to despots like Daniel Ortega and Hugo Chavez. I will say this...I thought the way the Somali pirate situation was handled was one of his best moments. He didn't say much, if anything at all, and let his military do what they were trained to do. However, I do think his European tour was an invitation for all rogue states to test his mettle and we're going to see that play out specifically with North Korea and Iran. With Israel, they are going to challenge Obama regarding their right to defend themselves from some of the countries around them that are ongoing threats (i.e. Iran, Syria, Lebanon). It'll be interesting to see how he tries to placate both Israelis and their enemies. If rhetoric doesn't work (and it won't), what will he do then?

Brain-Challenged Moment of the Week
- I drowned my HTC Touch Diamond phone yesterday. WTH?! I couldn't find my phone for the life of me. I looked everywhere except in the pair of short I put in the washer. I wished I had thought to check that before turning on the washing machine. Thank you to those who offered support and advice yesterday. I am with Sprint and I have insurance so I went to the Sprint store here in B'ville and made a claim so a new replacement phone could be sent. It's being sent via UPS and should arrive here at the house either tomorrow, rather today (Tuesday) or tomorrow. I'm gonna have to manually input all of my contacts...something I had to do not that long ago because I upgraded my phone from a HTC Touch to a Touch Diamond but wasn't able to get my contacts transferred over to the new phone. Thankfully I saved a sheet of paper on which I wrote down all of my contacts and their information. So once I get this replacement model, I'll be back to inputting all of my contacts. The cool thing about all of this is that due to my "Sprint Preferred" status, I still have a discount that I can put towards a phone upgrade, which I could've used today but opted not to so I can upgrade into a Palm Pre when they're available and I have a job. It sounds geeky, but I am excited about that. It'll probably be another couple of months before the stars align on that one. In the meantime, I'm using Lisa's old LG flip phone. It's old but it'll do. She recently upgraded to the LG Rant and she loves it. She loves the slide-out QWERTY keyboard on it - she likes to rub it in my face that she can text better than I can. She's especially that I'm using her old phone and see just how far back in the dark ages she was. I'm sorry for neglecting your cell phone needs for so long sweets!

Cool Story of the Day - brought to you by Banana Republic
- Recently Lisa's mom was here (about a couple of weeks ago) and she took us all shopping. One of my favorite stores is Banana Republic and I got a bright red fitted polo and khaki shorts. Needless to say, I was pretty happy about that. Well I think I had worn the shirt once or twice when I noticed two light, apparently bleached spots on my lower left torso. The spots weren't that big, each of them probably about a millimeter or two in circumference. But still big enough to really bug me. So I decided I'd take the shirt back to the store and try to get a replacement. Mind you, I didn't have my receipt and the spots were probably caused by me somehow. Don't you know that they swapped out my stained shirt for a brand new one just like it? The lady that helped me did say that they didn't do that normally but decided to honor my request. So I thought it only fair to blog about my experience today and spread the word around about that BR store's exceptional customer service. For those of you local to the area, it's the store at Pinnacle Promenade Mall in South Rogers. They've found a loyal customer for life...that's for sure. So I'm gonna wear my new shirt tomorrow and tell my little story to whomever is willing to listen. I'm sure the store won't protest too much a little positive PR.

Well goodness, I've gone on long enough. Don't worry, I'll make my successive blog posts shorter and easier to get through. I just decided to put a few subjects in this one to get caught up on some things I've wanted to blog about. There are a couple of things coming from this blog post I'll expound on and make their own blog post stay tuned! You'll just have to find out what they are! :)