Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How Great Thou Art

Whitney Houston a few days ago, now Elvis Presley. There is a special emotion that emanates from people who know they have fallen, but still love God.

Advice for parents of boys

The following was written by Cassandra of D.C.
"When I was young, masculinity was a one-size-fits-all affair: Men defended the weak, brought home the bacon, and kept the world running smoothly –while maintaining a stiff upper lip and a heroic reserve. Women had their own carefully prescribed role to play. We were caretakers, teachers, tenders of home and hearth. If men built the world, women connected it. As volunteers, bakers of cupcakes and holiday feasts, keepers of time-honored rituals and faithful recorders of birthdays, anniversaries, and the names of maiden aunties; women bound families and communities together. Our world offered fewer choices than the world of men, but in some ways it was indescribably richer.

The days of rigid gender roles are gone, but so (for the most part) are the restraining influences of morality, social convention, and taste. Today’s world has little use and even less respect for manly strength and character. Too often we confuse manliness with maleness, defining masculinity down to an uninspiring collection of barely controlled biological urges. This is a grave mistake, for a world with diminishing standards and few enforceable rules needs men more than ever.

What is the essence of masculinity? How can we cultivate and honor it in our sons? Harvey Mansfield once defined manliness as “a quality that causes individuals to stand for something”. If men have a salient quality, surely it is strength of body, mind, spirit, and character.

Is it still possible to raise strong, adaptable sons in a society that views manhood as a debased currency? The good news is this: with a bit of tweaking, the old standards still work.

1. Challenge your son to find and develop his own strengths. In an era of expanding choices, masculinity should not be a straitjacket. Not all boys love to fight, make noise, or play football—they need freedom to discover their abilities, and the discipline to develop them. Confidence flows from achievement, not empty praise. Whether your son excels on the baseball field or in the computer lab, challenge him to become good at something.

2. Don’t make excuses for bad behavior. Being male is not a handicap. Boys shouldn’t be expected to behave like girls, but they should be expected to behave.

3. Teach responsibility by delegating responsibility. Children whose parents do everything for them rarely develop the habits and discipline needed for independence and success. Masculine forcefulness is an admirable quality. Channel your son’s natural urge to take command of situations and people by putting him in charge of small jobs he can master with reasonable effort.

4. Sometimes, reality is the best teacher. Boys are usually far more impressed by actions than words. If you find yourself repeating the same warnings, stop talking and let him experience the consequences of his decisions. You can’t protect him from every danger. Let him take a few risks – that’s how boys learn.

5. Give him unconditional love, but not unconditional approval. Boys need love, but they also need firm limits. Insist that he treat others with respect and consideration.

6. Boys need heroes. Books are full of them. Teach him to love great books, and they will inspire him to be a better person.

7. Speaking of heroes, give him time alone with his father. As boys mature, it’s normal for them to pull away from their mothers a bit. Wanting time with Dad is a sign that your son is beginning to see himself as a man.

8. Teach him how to love. A mother’s relationship with her son prepares him for the relationship he’ll one day have with his wife. Older boys may need less mothering, but you can help him in other ways. Teach him how to talk to (and more importantly, handle conflict with) women as people.

9. Respect the father of your children. A boy raised in a home where men are honored is more likely to become a man worth honoring.

10. Look beneath the surface. Despite outward appearances, boys can be infuriatingly indirect. Many can’t – or won’t - admit that they need attention or want to talk. One of my sons loved to provoke me when something was on his mind. Years later, his wife tells me he still does that. Now that’s a smart woman.

11. Teach him to believe in something, defend something, serve something. Don’t neglect his moral education. The noblest expression of manhood occurs when strength and courage serve some larger purpose.

12. Hold on… but loosely. No matter how old he gets, your son will always need caring, engaged parents. But he also needs space to take risks, make mistakes and, most importantly, chart his own course.

If men are driven to stand for something, it follows that the world will be a better or worse place depending on what they strive for. Help your sons find worthy goals—then step back and watch them move mountains."



Cassandra of D.C.
A mysterious figure on the corner of the milblogging community, Cassandra reports on matters that pertain to war strategy, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Marine Corps, male-female relations, dogs, and what it takes to raise boys to be red-blooded men. She is the owner/operator of the blog VILLAINOUS COMPANY.

from RIGHTNETWORK

Is your soul brave enough?

In the secularist’s mind, there is no soul to applaud. Even in brutality and sorrow, beauty often shines brightest in the soul brave enough to deny evil a foothold. It is the theme of redemption, the symphony of resurrection. And we are blessed to be able to sense it and doubly blessed to see it and appreciate it.
seen at Jaded Haven

Where are we on this cycle?


seen at The Burning Platform

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Joy

Do you experience joy? Where does it come from? Inside you? Yes, but what if you are a Christian? What part does God play?

Do you recognize thoughts and behaviors that lead you in the opposite direction from joy? Where do those thoughts and resultant behaviors come from? Could it be Satan?

What are your traps; the thoughts you entertain that lead you away from joy, away from God? Mine emanate from self pity. Lately I have experienced some heartbreak and sadness. If I catch myself becoming flooded with those emotions and thoughts, I bring them to God. I ask for His Holy Spirit to lead me away from the temptations those thoughts invite. Guess what? He does!

Block out Satan. Don't even let him get near you. He's bad news!

Because of our sinful natures, the whole process begins again the next hour, day, week, or month, depending on the nature and frequencies of the temptations, and our willingness to trust God. I am finding that the more willing I am to trust Him, the more I see that He really will lead and guide me, and the less likely I am to get snagged in the temptations.

"There's a purpose for the gift that lies in you."


Suggestion: After they finish singing Holy, Holy, Holy, stay with them all the way to the end.

Pain Relief

I saw a man yesterday wearing a tee shirt that proclaimed:
BULL RIDERS EXPECT PAIN
BULL RIDERS ENDURE PAIN
BULL RIDERS DON'T COMPLAIN.

How about the rest of us? Do we expect some pain to come into our lives? Are we prepared to endure it? Do we complain? If so, where does our complaining lead us? Yep, to more pain.

I think that if we truly want to become stronger, the One we need to turn to is God. He is the One we cannot fool. We don't have to waste time convincing Him of the pain we are enduring; He already knows! With God, through His Holy Spirit, we can learn to trust Him to lead us away from the pain. After a while the trusting becomes easier, as we realize He is here for those of us who believe in Him, repent of our sins, and ask for His guidance.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Can they get more rude than this?

Rude catcalls aimed at Harry Reid's opponent. You don't suppose they were paid to ridicule her do you?

Football in the road

Our sandy country road rarely is visited by vehicles. Therefore, it is a nearly perfect place to throw around a football. When Sara joins in the action, I root for her to hold her own with those two older brothers, who are prone to unnecessary roughness when she is the ball carrier. I encourage her to return the favor when one of them thinks they are on the way to a touchdown. Believe me, she would love nothing more than to throw one of those guys for a loss.

Hangin' out with the kids

Because of the loss of some money we had come to depend on (five hundred dollars in child support money for Colleen's children from her first marriage) we find ourselves pinching our pennies until the first of next month. And, wouldn't you know it, I got a day off today! I had wanted to take ten and nine-year-old sons Jon and Greg to a ballgame (the Colorado Rockies are playing today, and so are the Denver Broncos). Instead, we decided still to make the one hour trek to downtown Denver before the starts of the two ballgames and do free or almost free stuff, and we had a great time.

First we went to the Wynkoop Brewery and Restaurant. They have a large area on the second floor with many pool tables, a shuffleboard area, and a darts area. We did all three for a grand total of $7.00, including tip! Then, we treated ourselves to three burgers and some wild fries at Good Times for $11.00. Everything else we did was free! That includes playing in a park made of different sizes of rectangles to climb high on, riding a free bus up and down the 16th Street Mall, talking to all kinds of people, and walking through Octoberfest, where we watched dancers and accordion players doing their thing. Oh, and I should not forget one of the "funnest" things we did. We went into the Westin Hotel and rode the escalators! Of course, the boys did not just stand still while the escalators were moving. Need I say more?

Our journalistic (blogger?) endeavor was to stop people and ask them if they knew why steam was pouring out of the streets. Jon had excitedly pointed out the steam to me. The best answer we got was that the buildings around there are heated by steam heat that flows underground to the buildings. Yes, people are probably turning on their heat during these 45 degree nights. Periodically, every few blocks, they purposely let the steam out into the street so it won't combust in the pipes or boilers in the buildings ("blowing off steam?")

Speaking of "blocks," my "country" boys did not know what I was talking about when I said gleefully, "we actually got a free parking spot only two blocks away from the Wynkoop!" I explained to them what a "block" is, and then said, "It's a good thing you learned this before you become teenagers and get teased for not knowing it." They did not believe anyone would tease them for not knowing something like that.

Though I wanted to take our adopted daughter, six-year-old Sara, with us, the boys begged me not to, since Sara almost always "acts crazy when out in public," for prolonged periods, and Colleen concurred with the boys' assessment. Sara's biological mother had been diagnosed with many psychiatric disorders. Sara starts getting silly, then laughs loudly and unceasingly, then starts screaming.

How do you think Colleen and I respond to willful, loud crazy behavior, given that we both have advanced degrees in the mental health fields? We tell her to stop acting crazy! We do not tolerate it. Of course, we couple those admonishments with lots of nurturing and encouragement, but bottom line is, our family is crazy enough, thank you very much, so we cannot afford to tolerate willful craziness. We dole out consequences to match the outrageousness of the behavior (usually missing out on something she wants to do). Does this parenting model work? Yes, Sara is making wonderful progress. And, almost all of the time she is included in all family endeavors. When I read her her bedtime stories, I quiz her afterwords to see how well she comprehended what we read, and her comprehension is excellent.

Nine-year-old Greg is going through a stage where he usually has a very hard time owning up to his behaviors. If confronted by Jon or Sara, he usually gets aggressive with them. If confronted by a parent, he often argues and denies culpability, thereby earning himself a closely supervised timeout, then a discussion led by a parent to assess the degree to which the timeout helped accomplish the goal of him accepting responsibility for his actions. Luckily, Colleen and I have always seen eye-to-eye on parenting issues, so they cannot play one of us against the other.

Both Jon and Greg, especially Jon, feel free to ask me questions on any subject. I try to give them clear, comprehensive answers. I am really enjoying them at their present ages.

Is parenting easy? No. Would I trade it for not parenting? No way!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

All right, Barack, that is a good beginning!

Okay now, President Obama has, according to today's Denver Post, called Ahmadinejad's comments "offensive," "hateful," and "inexcusable." Sounds like a good beginning to me.
Victor Davis Hansen, though, writing at National Review's The Corner, reminds us of the similarities between Obama's presidency and that of Jimmy Carter.

I hope we can avoid digging ourselves into our ideological prison camps, though, and support the President for his condemnation of Ahmadinejad's U.N. comments.

South of Broad

Speaking of American novelists, as I did yesterday, is there a better novelist in America than Charleston's very own Pat Conroy? I am rereading his South of Broad. Wow!

Kissin' Cousins

My stepson Erik will graduate from high school this school year. He is also enrolled in a technical school, taking college level classes in diesel mechanics. He has always gone to the beat of his own drummer, or, in his case, his own guitar, on which he has learned to play beautifully classical guitar pieces. As the photo below, taken by his sister, indicates, he and she also have pretty wild senses of humor. He plans to use this for his senior photo in the school yearbook.

Friday, September 24, 2010

"Eleven!"


I saw this on my daily trip to the Washington Rebel blog

"Trapped in an intellectual cul de sac"

David Brooks nails it in his September 20 New York Times column about the writing of Jonathan Franzen. Franzen was recently featured on the cover of Time Magazine, which christened him "Novelist of the Decade." That piqued my curiosity, and I picked up his autobiography. I soon returned it to the library, because after only a few moments into the book I realized this was just one more leftist, albeit one who could write better than most.

Franzen has a new book, "Freedom," which Brooks reviewed in his column. Are Americans unhappy and spiritually stunted? Are we overobsessed with personal freedom? Brooks believes Franzen is really writing about America's literary culture.
Brooks writes: "If you judged by American literature, there are no happy people in the suburbs, and certainly no fulfilled ones."
Bingo! Brooks continues:
"writers have become trapped in the confines of this orthodoxy. So even a writer as talented as Franzen has apt descriptions of neighborhood cattiness and self-medicating housewives, but ignores anything that might complicate the Quiet Desperation dogma. There’s almost no religion. There’s very little about the world of work and enterprise. There’s an absence of ethnic heritage, military service, technical innovation, scientific research or anything else potentially lofty and ennobling."


Broooks' final paragraph:
"Social critics from Thoreau to Allan Bloom to the S.D.S. authors of The Port Huron Statement also made critiques about the flatness of bourgeois life, but at least they tried to induce their readers to long for serious things. “Freedom” is a brilliantly written book that is nonetheless trapped in an intellectual cul de sac — overly gimlet-eyed about American life and lacking an alternative vision of higher ground."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Buck wins Colorado Senate election

The Denver Post reports that Michelle Obama is coming to Colorado to campaign for Senator Michael Bennet in mid-October. GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck must be elated. Now Buck needs to play it close to the vest, not say anything stupid. The election is his to claim.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"We're just going to have to be mature about mass murder."

Ace details the appeasement meme of the left and their spokesperson, Barack Obama:


September 21, 2010
Barack Obama To Bob Woodward This Past July: "We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever . . . we absorbed it and we are stronger."
—Ace

From Woodward's new book, quoted in the Washington Post.


A little context here. The Obama and the leftist media will attempt to spin this as merely descriptive, and as a tribute to America's resiliency. After all -- we did survive 9/11, didn't we? (Well, actually, 2996 of us did not survive 9/11, but apart from them, we survived.)

This is merely Obama talking up America's capacity to endure, they will say.

But it's not. This is a meme that has been circulating on the left for quite a while, usually secretly and among themselves only, but sometimes, ill-advisedly, being pushed out into public as a trial balloon.

The idea, of course, is that America overreacted to 9/11, and 50,000 people die every year in car crashes, and we don't freak out about that, do we? No, we accept these as acceptable losses in the bigger picture (that is, we want to drive places) and we take the exchange. We drive, some of us will die. Sound bargain.

That's the killer notion here -- the idea of bargain. Of what is being exchanged for these deaths. In the case of automobile collisions, well, sure, we have mobility and freedom. That's something.

But the left is pushing this idea that we can safely "absorb" many new 9/11's with an eye towards getting us to "accept" the greater bargain they fatuously offer -- peace, and a general wind-down of post-9/11 security "overreactions" like the FBI tracking Muslims suspected of terrorist ties. If only we didn't overreact to the occasional mass-murder, we could go about our business without war, without increased security measures, without "Islamophobia," without the rest of it.

The problem, you see, is primarily within us, those being targeted for murder. If only we understood that this was a good bargain in exchange for living in a multicultural country and global economy, then we could be good citizens of the world and not lash out so terribly and uselessly when some of the more aggressive proponents of multiculturalism blow up a few of our buildings.

They will spin this, but this is what Obama is getting at, what the left is constantly saying, but which leftist politicians are careful never to say publicly: for the good of relations with the Muslim world we're just going to have to be mature about mass murder

Let's give it a try!

Do you believe God loves you? Then, why do allow yourself to get stressed out? That is the question I am asking myself this morning. If we believe God loves us, then we should also believe that God is available to help us conquer any problem we are facing. I believe God wants us to be joyous, grateful, positive contributors. Through the Holy Spirit He is here to help, and all we have to do is turn to Him throughout our days and nights, especially when we feel stress, anxiety, or loss. Let's give it a try!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Quotes that have meaning to me

Here are some quotes I have recently read. Most of them I cannot remember who said them. They just have meaning to me at this moment in my life.
"If you are going through Hell, keep going." (Winston Churchill)

"When a woman is done, she is well and truly done." (I saw this at the Washington Rebel blog.)

"Some friendships are formed as an alliance against a common enemy." David Sedaris, in his book Dress Your Family in Cordoroy and Denim

"What is the most beautiful sound in the world? Hearing the footsteps of the one you love approaching outside your door." (from William F. Buckley's book The Reagan I Knew"

"What is it like to live in the vortex of an impossible yearning?"

"It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and erase all doubt."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Falling Smile, Inc.

Greg (9) and Jon (10) have formed a corporation. Well, not one sanctioned by the state, but they just like the sound of the word "incorporated." Jon actually asked me "What does incorporated mean?" I started to formulate an answer, but before I did, the conversation had already rushed on to other topics.

The name of their "corporation" is "Falling Smile, Inc." It is Jon's idea, so I asked him what it means. An impish smile appeared on his face, but he only offered this answer: "I just have this HUGE imagination." Both boys like to draw humorous pictures. This morning I could not find the one Jon did last night as I was tucking them in for the night. Greg drew this one. It is a pencil drawing of "Pumpkin Man," who is smiling while wearing a necktie and cowboy boots. In the upper right hand corner, purposely upside down, is the logo of Falling Smile, Inc.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Can she convince Barack?

A new book co-written by Carla Bruni quotes Michelle Obama as saying that being America's first lady is "Hell." "I can't stand it," Michelle tells Italian actress and wife of French President Sarcozy. Now, if she can just convince Barack that one term is enough...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Would that be cheating?

Sara was getting her "Sisterlocks" done today, so Jon (10), Greg (9), and I went on a bike ride on the sandy country road. Greg's bike is perpetually under the weather, since he rides it like a cowboy riding a bull, so he took Sara's. First, though, Greg had to make a sign to cover the Barbie bike bag on Sara's bike. "NOT MY BIKE" read the sign.

When Sara (6) got home from getting her hair done, I read her some stories and tucked her in. When it came time for prayers, I ended with "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." "What about the Daughter? Sara yelled indignantly. I told her "I don't know." I suggested she ask God about that the next time she sees HIm. She immediately responded that God is with her all day long. He usually sits in Ian's chair, because Ian is usually absent. The only time God is not with Sara, she asserted, is when she is doing a spelling test. "That would be cheating, to ask God how to spell a word."

How much longer can he play this "poor me" game?


via Theo Spark

The Wicked Witch of the West

Nancy Pelosi actually has someone who is running against her for the San Francisco seat in the House of Representatives...and, he has a sense of humor! How cool is that? His name is John Dennis. Go to You Tube and search for wicked witch Nancy Pelosi. Note the reference to the McCain-Feingold incumbent-protection-mandated-message at the end of the video. Surprisingly, (heh) the powers that be would not allow me to post the video here.

Tuesday Humor

Checking out Mike Rosen's humor page is always gratifying. For example, there is Doug Powers' column on what leftists wish were different about the Bible. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from that column:
Instead of gold, frankincense and myrrh, they should have brought hummus, incense and a representative from Child Protective Services.
And the thing about the Bible that drives the left the most crazy? People can find salvation without their assistance.


Then, there is this one on Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder:

Diagnosed with AAADD
Recently, I was Diagnosed with AAADD - Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. This is how it manifests:

I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide my car needs washing. As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car. I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full. So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.

But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first. I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only 1 check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Coke that I had been drinking.

I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. I see that the Coke is getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold. As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need to be watered. I set the Coke down on the counter, and I discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers. I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I will be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill. Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:
1) The car isn't washed
2) The bills aren't paid
3) There is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter
4) The flowers don't have enough water,
5) There is still only 1 check in my check book,
6) I can't find the remote,
7) I can't find my glasses,
8) And I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really tired. I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.



On Communism, Capitalism, and Christianity




The Wall Street Journal has a front page story today about the fact that Cuba is going to lay off half a million state workers between now and March, and try to encourage the development of free market capitalism! Interestingly, the Journal article says that the Catholic Church has been recommending this course of action to the Castro brothers for some time now. But, how will these laid-off workers be absorbed into the private economy, when there is not much of a private economy to absorb them? 85% of Cuba's workers belong to the state union, and work for the state. Unlike here in America, where public sector jobs pay more than private sector jobs, when all benefits are considered, in Cuba it is the opposite. The few private sector jobs they do have pay three times what the public sector jobs pay.

Capitalism is based on the simple principle of providing goods or services that people decide voluntarily to choose to buy in a competitive marketplace. Socialism, of course, is based on the principle of taking away from some people to distribute to others; the opposite of voluntary choice.

One of the companies that has succeeded in the free market is Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart emphasizes the three A's. All cashiers are trained to Acknowledge the customer with a warm smile as soon as the customer gets within ten feet of the cashier. Then Wal-Mart expects the cashier to Act on behalf of the customer; providing excellent service to that customer. Finally, Wal-Mart expects their cashiers to Appreciate the customer; to let the customer know that their business is appreciated. One of the features of the Wal-Mart experience is that there is a greeter at the door to make sure you have a shopping cart and are greeted with a friendly hello when you enter the building and thanked when you leave. Simple, but basic. Wouldn't all of us be better off if we ran our families on those three basic principles?

Of course, there is much more to the Wal-Mart story. There is also the principle of providing people with the stuff they want at a price that is lower than anybody else's. Those cashiers I mentioned? They have to be willing to put into practice cheerfully and sincerely those three A's, while working for wages and benefits that are lower than the union-operated stores of Wal-Mart's competitors. To survive on the low wages, Wal-Mart employees have to be willing to go along with the Biblical injunction not to lay up for themselves treasures on this Earth; meaning that they have to live simply with not a lot of material possessions, and still be people who practice the golden rule established a couple of centuries ago by Jesus Christ.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Fed up with appeasement

Talk radio has a real lively issue today: the Florida pastor's desire to burn the Qu'ran tomorrow. Judging by the calls I have heard, there is widespread support for this idea. People are tired of what they perceive as our country's kowtowing to muslims. There can be no doubt that Obama is an appeaser, and that he is solidly supported in these endeavors by the dinosaur media, and that a large segment of Americans are fed up with it.

"Conservatism's Extreme Makeover"

In my daily trip to the Washington Rebel blog, I was referred to an excelllent piece in the American Thinker blog by J.R. Dunn entitled Conservatism's Extreme Makeover. Dunn examines the history of conservatism from William F. Buckley to today's Tea Party movement.

Here are a couple of excerpts, but I urge you to read the whole thing.
Conservatives wasted effort and energy on silly crusades against popular culture, style, and behavior that isolated them still further from average Americans. Nothing about American music, film, sport, or social life seemed to please the new center-right. This deepened their isolation along with earning them a reputation as humorless, over-intellectualized stuffed shirts.


His conclusion:
The year 2010 is likely to be a banner year for the conservative impulse in American life. The Tea Parties have already pushed aside several go-along-to-get-along Republican hacks (which in itself repudiates accusations of partisanship). The sweep of corrupt and ideologized Democrats promises to be an order of magnitude larger. But the 2010 election may well turn into no more than another good election season if we don't take advantage of the disarray in the left's messaging system. We need to look farther and deeper than a single election. We need to bury the calumnies against conservatism that have given the left the advantage for a half-century and longer. To remove the weapon of slander from leftist hands. Elite conservatives failed to attempt this for decade upon decade. The time has arrived to see that it gets done. We must move to change the culture, to establish once and for all the truth that conservatism is a core element of American life, that it is no oddity, no perversion, no dead end. That the modernist political debate is over, with the failure of leftist progressivism manifest and undeniable, and that the game must now be played on American terms.


We will have no better opportunity than this. That most American of political phenomena, the Tea Parties, has established once and for all that conservatism is American and that America is a conservative nation. If we can build upon this, our road will be a lot smoother than it has been.

Blood-sucking relationships

There are many things happening in today's world that I do not understand. Close to the top of the list is people's fascination with vampires. In times like this, when money is tight, to say the least, how is it that so many people spend their limited discretionary funds on books, movies, and cable t.v. shows that glorify blood-sucking relationships?

Who on Madison Avenue is behind this? How did so many people get this addiction? If any reader of this blog has any insight into this phenomena, I would really appreciate hearing from you. It is not just teenage girls; the phenomena has a solid grip on adults, too. It seems to be mainly females, though, who are caught up in this. Why?

Colleen thinks it is about risk. A woman knows that a relationship involves risk, but she also thinks she can change the wild beast and domesticate him. Does she secretly hope that by engaging in romantic love with that man, the risk will be contained? Kind like a romance novel with extra bite.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Burning Platform

Tonight I read a blog with which I was very impressed. Backing up esays with impressive graphs, The Burning Platform had these stories: THE AGE OF MAMMON, RETAILERS - REALITY CHECK TIME, To Burn - or Not to Burn (The Qu'ran), YOU CALL THIS AUSTERITY?, WHERE THE JOBS AREN'T, and REAL WORLD IMPACT OF OBAMACARE.

Demographics matter

Daphne, who writes the Jaded Haven blog in the great state of Texas, has some thoughts about what Texas is going to look like in the not-too-distant future. As Mark Steyn showed in his brilliant book America Alone, demographics matter. Here is an excerpt from her post on the demographics of Texas:
Texas will become a majority Hispanic state within eight short years. By 2020 the majority of Texas voters will be Hispanic and we will no longer be a reliably red state in senate or presidential elections. Several other western and southern states will quickly follow suit as the tide of Hispanic births drastically alters predictable voting patterns and we’ll eventually watch the political fruits of our GOP business friendly immigration policies fundamentally change the American face of politics forever.

The "new tyranny of multiculturalism"

Victor Davis Hansen, in a new blog called RIGHTNETWORK, posts on the subject of multiculturalism. Here is a brief excerpt:
What are the wages of this new tyranny of multiculturalism?

One, the double standard is untenable. Once we deify multiculturalism, all else becomes subordinate. There is no reason why feminists should object that Muslim immigrants arrange marriages or practice female circumcision inside the U.S. In sum, multiculturalism will eventually discredit liberal feminism and the entire idea of universal racial and religious tolerance.

Two, bigotry abroad will only grow, as others sense that the United States lacks the confidence in its own values to extend its self-critical principles abroad. Already, countries not only smile at the notion that a self-proclaimed liberal United States proves not so brave in its criticism overseas, but also believes, even if in condescending fashion, that non-Westerners enjoy some sort of high moral ground that shields them moral audit.

Three, the contradictions lead to caricature. This was best evidenced last summer in Cairo when President Obama falsely claimed certain historical achievements on the part of Islam—from helping to foster the European Renaissance and Enlightenment to Muslim opposition to Christian inquisitions in Cordoba—all the while delineating Western shortcomings. The problem was not just that even President Obama’s compliant audience in Cairo did not believe all that, but they also earned certain delight with his strange eagerness to bend the truth on their behalf. Here at home, supporters did not care that their President had fabricated and distorted history; it was his intention to reach out to the other that mattered.

Multiculturalism is a good reminder that when standards are relative, there are no standards at all.

Can laughing at serious problems help you to solve them?

I have hinted a few times that I am trying to deal with an incredibly difficult situation in my life. Faithful and much appreciated reader, Terri Wagner, read my recent post on Christopher Buckley's satirical novel, Boomsday, and shared this insight in the comments section at the end of the post at Bob's Blog: "Sometimes laughing at a serious problem helps you to solve it, now why is that so?" If that question is not fodder for a blog post, I don't know what would be!

In a recent blog post entitled Making Good Choices, I quoted from two consultants who advised, among other things, that the person who has the problem should try to go directly to the source in order to "get the real story." But what if that leads one to heartbreak or to self-pity, two highly undesirable experiences? The consultants also advised that we try to be optimistic and hopeful; to look at the future with positive expectations, even though one is trying to deal with an extremely difficult situation in the present. I like that approach. Humor is one way to turn negative expectations into positive ones. It also helps rid one of self-pity, anxiety and heartbreak.

Most helpful of all, though, is belief in a loving God, and faith that by acknowledging my own role in the creation of the problem, asking for the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, and trusting God, a better reality will emerge. Maybe it is the Holy Spirit who is leading me to utilize humor in solving the problem!

But wait, there's more!

This morning I turned on the radio and heard that a preacher in Florida plans to have a book-burning on September 11. The problem is that the book he plans to burn is the Koran! General Petraeus has asked that he not do so. My first thought was that this is straight out of a Christopher Buckley novel!

Then there was the story about the woman who for years has been involved with a lawsuit pending against the USDA for millions of dollars on behalf of black farmers in Georgia. The Obama administration hired her to have a high level position where? The USDA! But wait, there is more! Someone sent to Andrew Breitbart excerpts of a video in which the woman, Shirley Sherrod, is seen addressing a predominantly black audience, telling them that she had received a request from a poor white farmer for some assistance. The audience appeared to happily receive her initial words that she did not want to help the white farmer. Breitbart published the video. Sherrod was fired from her USDA posoition

But wait, there's more! It turns out that in fact she did help the white farmer, as a viewing of the entire video, not an excerpt, would have revealed. The "mainstream media," whose biases Breitbart is dedicated to exposing, skewered Breitbart. Breitbart blogs at Andrew Breitbart.com, but he also is the proprietor of three other excellent blogs, Big Hollywood, Big Journalism, and Big Governemnt.

But wait, there's more! An incident had allegedly occurred in which members of Tea Party groups had spat upon two black members of Congress as they were walking into the Capitol building. The Tea Party members also allegedly used the vile "n" word. Breitbart had obtained videos of the members of the black caucus as they walked into the capitol, and in the videos there is absolutely no evidence to support the allegations. Breitbart took the videos to NBC, CBS, and ABC, but none were interested in exposing the fact that no one confronted the Black politicians on their walk to the Capitol. No one from the black caucus has produced videos or eye-witnesses to substantiate their allegations. Do you suppose it is possible a scenario of alleged racism was cooked up by politicians to discredit the Tea Party movement? Nah, that sounds like something straight out of a Christopher Buckley novel!

My point is that a wonderful satirical novelist like Buckley can help us realize that politicians really can have sinister motives behind the actions they take. Laughing at the novel helps us not to take seriously the allegations made by politicans in real life to manipulate us one way or another on issues.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Making good choices

If you are like me, you are faced with difficult decisions. Reading the Denver Post's job section again today brought me some pearls of wisdom from consultants Jamie and Maren Shokeir. These tips are designed to help you in the workplace, but it seems to me they also work in the home, and I added my own perspective.

1. Acknowledge your role in the problems you are trying to deal with. See yourself in control of your future.
2. If you spend too much time speculating on what may happen next, things may get worse.
3. Get the real story. I am prone to anxiety attacks, fear of loss. The best way to deal with anxiety is to ask direct questions about the bottom line.
4. Don't play the victim. That leads nowhere except Hell.
5. Think big picture. Put aside rivalries. Collaborate.
6. Be more of a listener than a talker.
7. Try to focus on the possibility of better times ahead.

To these I would add: Turn to the Almighty. Ask for the Holy Spirit to guide you. Be aware of the things that push your anxiety and fear buttons, and turn to God when you know you are about to be tested.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Boomsday

Now reading Boomsday, Christopher Buckley's hilarious take on how to fix the Social Security mess. The boomers reach the magic age of retirement, and who is left with the bill?

Once again, the chief character of the story is a woman. Ditto Florence of Arabia and Supreme Courtship. No doubt this reflects the influence of the complex and powerful woman who was Christopher's mother. Not only was he the beneficiary of such a fascinating woman, but now, we are, too.

Friday, September 03, 2010

To whom do we give attention?

Whenever I am home in the evenings I like to ask the kids if they want to go on a bike ride. Greg and Sara said yes last evening. I don't have gears in my bike, so the kids invariably charge out ahead of me on the sandy country road. Toward the end of the long ride, though, Sara fell behind and started to whimper loudly. I asked what was wrong. She did not answer. So, did I continue to cater to her and give her attention for expressing her misery? No! Instead, I told her that she would be going to bed as soon as we arrived home. She recovered amazingly, and soon passed me on the home stretch.

If you give kids attention when they are whining and wimpering, you lay the groundwork for that child to become a whiny, wimpering adult. I want to give attention to the child who is tackling a challenge, who is displaying good humor and enjoying life.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Front row students

After paying an unannounced visit to my sons' classrooms, I couldn't help but inquire of them how it is that both ended up being placed immediately adjacent to their teachers desks. Ten-year-old Jon explained that his teacher thought he might need that in order to focus on the tasks at hand. I noted that his teacher seemed like the type not to put up with clowning around. Jon agreed and said she is "really good about that." I asked him, "you mean you respect her for not putting up with your silliness?" He said yes, he did. We then had a good discussion about how kids need to know that adults care enough about them to not let them run over them. Those adults who do allow children to just always do what they want, are really giving the kids a message that they do not care.

Nine-year-old Greg then noted that teachers put kids in the front row who have demonstrated that they need to be "kept an eye on." I asked Greg if it was really true that he put up two fingers behind the teacher's head (making rabbit ears) while walking behind the teacher. He said yes, that is the reason he is now in the front row.



While making my daily visit to the Washington Rebel blog, I came across this parody from The Onion, which reminded me to post about my discussion with my sons about being front row students.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Blaze

Glenn Beck has a new internet site called The Blaze. It advertises itself as a news, information, and opinion site. We'll see if he can do what he does not believe the "lamestream media" (Sarah Palin's phrase) is doing: seek the truth in a fair and balanced way.

"Search for answers everywhere; we will be the key."

I am one who listens regularly, albeit not for long stretches at a time, to Glenn Beck's talk radio show. You may have noticed that he held a rally on August 28 at the Lincoln Memorial that was attended by hundreds of thousands of people. The coverage in the Denver Post said "tens of thousands," in the first pages, but then admitted in paragraph thirteen, the next-to-last paragraph, that it was between 300,000 (archrival NBC's estimate), and 500,000 (Beck's people's estimate).

Now, the columns are flying. Today's Denver Post devotes one-half page to two columns ridiculing Beck and his supporters. Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post calls Beck a person who has poisoned American political discourse. Look in vain for any factual basis for Capehart's claims. Kathleen Parker ridicules Beck's recovering alcoholic and addict background, and the fact that he is now rich. A Miami Herald cartoonist alleges that Beck has replaced Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" with "I have a scream."

Let's see now, what exactly is Beck standing for? Living an honorable life. Worshipping and praising God. Restoring individual responsibility. Strengthening America. Exposing evil and corruption. Uniting people of all faiths and political parties to promote faith, hope and charity. Yeah, I can see why he makes the left so nervous.