Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ayotte on Target About Gun Control

US Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire) voted against the abortive background check bill last week, despite the emotional pandering of President Barack Obama, who used the Newtown, Connecticut victims to stir up shame and sentiment to force a vote on the issue.

No matter how much liberals plead, no matter how hard progressive interests push against Washington, US Senators in purple-red states, most of whom are Democrats facing a tough reelection fight in 2014, will not vote against the grain and bearing of their constituents. The expanded background checks bill failed to breach cloture by six votes, including Democrats from red states.
Republican US Senator Ayotte, former Attorney General for the state of New Hampshire, has been a reliably conservative vote in the upper chamber in Congress, and her vote against the gun control bill crafted by Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey shines out. Now gun control advocates have her in sight, aiming to take her down with attack ads shaming her for refusing to support the legislation. Ayotte even faced a strident and emotional daughter at a recent town hall meeting. This woman's mother was the principal killed at Sandy Hooke Elementary School in the Newtown, Connecticut shooting late last year.

Ms. Ayotte's response to the daughter's frustrated outrage was reasonable and respectable:

Erica, certainly let me just say that I'm obviously so sorry, and as everyone here no matter what our views are, for what you have been through.

Later she explained why she voted against the Manchin-Toomey bill:

The enhanced improvements to our background check systems, as you and I know, the issue was not that system. Mental health, I hope, is the one thing that we can agree on.

Voters in New Hampshire and commentators around the country should commend Senator Ayotte for her principled and calm explanation. Too much of the debate in this country around fraught issues like gun control, health care, and even fiscal and foreign policy has devolved into "shame, blame, defame" rhetoric, both anti-intellect and anti-civility. Gun control has had no effect on detering crime. Preventing law-abiding citizens from purchasing a firearm has not prevented criminals and the mentally ill from harming others.

Ayotte's vote also reflects the balanced values of the Granite State. New Hampshire is home to a different stand of conservatism, one based on a more libertarian tempo of "live and let live", which matches with the state motto: "Live Free or Die." The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary should invite pause and reflection, yet the heated debate which pushed gun control with enhanced background checks was the wrong route for all intended purposes. The aggravated tragedy of twenty children and six care givers is beyond description, and the pained frustration of the victimized daughter should not dissuade anyone from facing this issue of gun violence on our schools. However, the spur-of-the-moment emotionalism which has pressed liberal legislators and frustrated independent thinkers and Second Amendment Advocates can never serve as the first or final basis for comprehensive legislation. All the laws in the world cannot uproot the evil in men's hearts. Proper protection best eliminates the threats of sudden gunfire. "The best defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun".

Senator Ayotte's assertion about mental illness deserves greater attention, and her insistence on refusing contoured measures which would have appeased vocal interests and assuaged temporal fears deserves more praise than Ayotte is currently receiving. However, the greater issue which left an elementary school an easy target has not been addressed. Connecticut, like many states in the country, has concealed-carry laws, yet "gun free zone" provisions which prevent lawful, trained gun owners from bearing arms on public school campuses. Such backward policies have created "safety free" zones on public schools, and deranged assailants can attack these schools and hurt children without fear of reprisal.

Ayotte was on target about gun control because she refused to endorse a bill which would have expanded background checks, only to hinder law abiding gun owners and Second Amendment advocates, while at the same time doing nothing to alleviate the suffering of the Newtown, Connecticut victims, both the families and the community at large. If only more US Senators like Kelly Ayotte served in the US Senate. Her presence of mind to ignore the pressures of the media and heated special interests, as well as the blatant emotional pandering of President Obama by using the Newtown children and grieving parents as political props, deserves props and praise from all voters.

Markey is "All Miss" -- Go for Gomez (Gabriel Gomez for US Senate)

Gabriel Gomez for US Senate
When US Senator Ted Kennedy passed away, Massachusetts had a special election in 2010 to replace him. The Bay States' Attorney General Martha Coakley ran against Scott Brown, the Republican state senator from Wrentham. He was a surprise, and surprisingly good candidate, one who revved up from a double-digit deficit to win the senate seat by five points in three-to-one Democratic Massachusetts.

Why did Brown win in 2010? Pundits argue that the Democratic Party machine was not paying attention, and Brown took advantage of the slothful disarray. In reality, President Obama was an anchor on the national conference, hurting candidates even in reliably blue bastions of liberal sentiment. He hurt the Democratic Gubernatorial candidates in New Jersey and Virginia in 2009, and he killed his Democratic Majorities in 2010 in the House while diminishing his delegation in the US Senate.

In 2012, the standard bearer for the Republican Party was weaker than President Obama, and definitely than the US Senate candidate running for reelection in Massachusetts. Romney was  a confused general election Presidential contender who had tacked too far to the right during the primaries against raging opponents and a ravenous media willing to highlight discrepancies. Furthermore, Romney ran for office more out of obligation than voluntary ambition, and he refused to honor statewide candidates in US Senate or Congressional races when they were struggling to make traction in otherwise winnable contests. Romney commanded little respect with the national electorate, including more conservative Republicans who doubted his credentials. The reluctance lasted for months, and long enough that three million Republicans stayed home on election night. A stronger, more unifying GOP Presidential candidate would have strengthened US Senator Scott Brown's election chances hand, and he would be in the Senate serving his first full term. Many are confident that there will be a Governor Brown in Massachusetts in 2014.

The troubling legacy of a bad standard-bearer, or a bad standard, has frustrated campaign opportunities before. US Senator John Kerry faced the same challenge in 2004 that Mitt Romney faced and fell to in 2012: an incumbent with no primary challenger and no third party dragging away votes. Losing his chance to be President, Kerry then took the offer to serve for the chief executive when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opted to step down in 2012.John Kerry, the second choice for the office, took the assignment, thus opening up the third US Senate race in three years in the Bay State. With this background mind, and with the US Senate special election primaries ended, Navy Seal Gabriel Gomez will challenge Markey for the vacant US Senate seat.

Indeed, Massachusetts is a liberal bastion. There is a time and a place for government to move in more strongly for those who are in need. In the long run, it would be better to help people out of need than to prolong their dependence, and certainly with the help of someone whose livelihood has depended on more than government. Liberal Congressman Edward Markey has "served" in Congress for nearly thirty-seven years. While still a law student, he ran for the office, and he has stayed in office all this time. A career politician like Markey has no business making the government his business, especially when his claim to fame is . . . "Cap and Trade".

This bill, pushed in 2009 with the assistance of fellow virulent liberal Henry Waxman (D-California), would have raised a tax on all carbon, which in effect would tax every form of energy. Requiring businesses to purchase a "carbon credit" creates a third-party racket for profiteers to plunder businesses, agriculture, and economic enterprises. The program in Europe created wild speculation, more pollution, and higher fuel prices. The whole scheme is a Wall Street-style scam.

Yet Markey to this day stands by his abortive bill, which did not have a chance of passing in the Democratically-controlled Senate, where statewide business interests pressured their lawmakers to reject the bill. West Virginia's Joe Manchin ran for the US Senate, pledging that he would shut down Cap and Trade, even shooting a bullet through the bill in one campaign commercial.

Gomez, a former naval pilot and Navy Seal, has worked in private equity for the last twelve years. Private sector experience is a must in this crucial time. His training in national security with a better understanding of the daily lives of Bay State residents is a plus for Gomez, while locals to this day complain that they have not seen much of Ed Markey in his local district. The bombings during the Boston Marathon should remind every Massachusetts voter that moral equivalence in the face of latent terrorism is a losing proposition, one which President Obama and the Democratic Pary do not seem to take seriously.

Markey-Obama policies are killing the middle class and taking away chances for the working class. President Obama once again is dragging down his own party as well as the entire country, from ObamaCare, with high taxes and regulations spiraling out of control, to stagnant employment, to food stamps for 43 million Americans, and a staggering foreign policy which has emboldened Islamist radicals in the Middle East. Besides, what good is a politician who pushes everything but the better solutions for the better interests of Bay State voters?

Markey is "All Miss" and No Hit. Go for Gomez. Vote for Gabriel Gomez for US Senate on June 25.

Marriage Equality = Legitimate Rape

US Senate candidate Todd Akin misspoke when he referred to forcible rape as "legitimate rape".

Those two words cannot coexist side by side. Rape by definition is illegitimate. Poor choice of words, nothing more.

Another unpalatable conjunction of words has labeled another trending issue: "marriage equality".

According to one Democratic activist, liberals do not like the phrase "gay marriage", but rather "marriage equality".

Equality is a major issue for liberals and Democrats, even though pushing equality as the means and the end of civil society creates uncivil consequences.

Some institutions are not open for change, not open to social engineering.

Marriage is one of them.

Homosexual interactions harm the very people who involve themselves with those activities.

The higher incidence of disease, dysfunction, and death is too great to ignore.

Contrary to the argument form liberal advocates, gay marriage is on the wrong side of history.

Greek city states lost population, eventually imploded. Homosexual conduct was a part of this breakdown, which included individual reluctance to marry and produce children to repopulate the cities. Those parents who did have children refused to raise them, leading to gang-like marauding in many towns.

Marriage equality is one step among many which makes nothing of man, marriage, and the long-term growth and prosperity of the state.

Furthermore, the institution of marriage requires that two people give up their rights to themselves and become something new: a married couple. No longer single lives, they two "I's" become an "Us", and share everything. Marriage is never about equality, but about mutual submission.

For this reason, many marriages are failing, because the two who marry refuse to become "one flesh". Such a division of selfish interest dooms a marriage from the beginning.

Marriage equality does not exist, no more than "legitimate rape".

The attitude of giving up oneself for something greater is foreign to many these days.

Christie, Gun Control, Crime Rates, Camden, and Cutting Costs

While Governor Christie should be commended for his stance on school choice and a voucher program for New Jersey’s public schools, his insistence on gun control, coupled with the sky-rocketing crime rate in cities like Newark and Camden, deserves no praise. From CNN to the Cato Institute, history, research, and scientific studies have confirmed that gun control only controls the gun ownership of law-abiding citizens, not the criminals.
Residents throughout the Garden State have called for the National Guard to bring law and order back to cities struggling with open drug dealing and rising murder rates. If Governor Christie will not expand gun ownership, then he may have to seek help from other unlikely sources. Hamilton, New Jersey just banned pro wrestling within its city limits. Perhaps all those grapplers should take up arms and patrol the urban ghettoes in the Garden State. Governor Christie is large enough to be a sumo wrestler, if he wanted to.
Camden has disbanded the city police to bring in the county police department, citing the rising salary, overtime, and pension costs eating away at the city budget. Let’s hope that a stronger police presence will bring down the crime and bring up sense of safety and security that New Jerseyans should expect from their city, county, and state leaders.
Cutting taxes and spending are important, but so is the safety of the citizenry. Governor Christie and his legislative caucus would be wise not forget this fundamental role of government to protect our right.

ObamaCare Facing another Taxing Legal Challenge

Chief Justice John Roberts upheld the Affordable Care Act as a tax rather than a stretching of the commerce clause. The Obama Administration and chief architects of the law, including Congressman Henry Waxman, wanted to turn the Commerce Claus into a frill of its constructive import. What value does a constitution have if it cannot outline enumerated, constricting powers to the federal government? The Constitution is a binding document, one which provides specific powers to Washington, while all other powers would devolve to the states and to the people (see Amendments Nine and Ten, which the vast majority of Congressman, Senators, and Presidents have contented themselves to ignore).

Matt Sissel, and Iowa small business owner and Iraq War veteran, has filed a petition challenging Obama-WaxmanCare because the taxing essence of the individual mandate, as construed by the Supreme Court, originated in the United States Senate. The Framers of the Constitution explicitly designated that all taxing laws would originate in the popular lower house:

All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills. (Article One, Section 7)

Currently, this legal challenge is under review from US District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C.

This challenge respects the ruling by the Supreme Court, yet also permits the Supreme Court to reverse itself on this issue, precisely because the previous appeals which had challenged the law focused on the extravagant reading of the Commerce Clause during the three days of oral arguments.

Conservative columnists George Will and Charles Krauthammer both recognized the long-term significance of Chief Justice Roberts decision to uphold Obama-WaxmanCare, which protected the Commerce Clause unequivocally from future encroachments into every transaction of American commerce.

Now he can justifiably rescind the entire law because of this blatant disregard by Congress to tax the people, when the original bill "to tax" originated in the wrong chamber.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Waxman and ObamaCare -- Train Wreck

Campaigning for office for the first time in decades, Congressman Henry Waxman rallied behind the Affordable Care Act, which he claimed would bring down the costs of health care while expanding access without taxing anyone.

The Supreme Court upheld the law as a tax. Premiums are sky-rocketing throughout the country. Leading Democrats who had supported this bill are calling it “a train-wreck” which will create a “third-world” experience for providers and patients. Because of Obamacare’s prolixity, California faces an unprecedented doctor shortage. Insurance companies are limiting coverage or abandoning the industry altogether. Business refuse to hire workers or they are cutting hours.

How much longer will voters tolerate Waxman’s unrepentant ignorance about the consequences of his own legislation? Obamacare’s incompetent, uninformed micromanaging fully exposes that political elites like Waxman care only about power, not the people they represent. “We the People” must not permit him another elected term in office.

The Library (and Legacies) of George W. Bush

Since President since Herbert Hoover, former chief executives have placed their imprint on history through their own libraries. President George W. Bush (Bush 43) certified his own at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Presidents, past and present, commemorated the event with small talk and highlights of Bush ‘43’’s administration. Jimmy Carter celebrated Bush’s aid for AIDS in Africa. Handicapped and ailing, Father Bush shared a few words to congratulate his son (only the second time in history with father and son as President). Bill Clinton joked and self-promoted. President Obama praised Bush 43’s leadership during and after 9-11, followed by his attempt at comprehensive immigration reform in 2006-2007 (which Bush’s own party and the nation had rejected en masse). Obama forgot to praise Bush’s Hispanic outreach in 2004, whose strategies Obama copied to great effect in 2008 and 2012.
Upon taking the podium at last, Bush ’43 first poked fun at himself: “Most would think that I wouldn’t have been found at a library, much less found one.” Former advisers praise the younger Bush’s unrecognized intellect. Bush also shared his deeper compassion and patriotism at the pulpit.
Bush had plenty of victories. His 2001 and 2003 tax cuts restored respect for the private citizen and the small business. President Obama has made those tax cuts permanent for the ubiquitous 99%. Bush’s Supreme Court appointments of Samuel Alito and John Roberts were supremely superb. Despite upholdingObamaCare, Chief Justice Roberts created an impenetrable hedge around the commerce clause so that future administrations will not force people to purchase anything. Contrary to liberal pleadings, Citizens United has diminished the dominance of the dollar in politics.
With political capital, Bush tried to privatize social security in order to save it. Bush vetoed embryonic stem cell research in 2006. On one of his most potent legacies, the War on Terror, President Bush showed no moral equivalence. He was not afraid to look evil in the eye and call it what it was. He showed masterful resolve going after Al-Qaeda. Bush had his gaffes, but Obama is making gaffes. If the media had hounded Obama as they had harassed Bush, Obama would not have a second term. Under Obama, Bin Laden is dead, but five attacks in five years have exploded on US soil since Obama became President. "Bush kept us safe". Thank you, President Bush.
Bush had policy blunders, though his blunders do not rival the folly of President Obama.
Cutting taxes, Bush did not cut federal spending, which exploded during his tenure. The deficits were not as bad asObama’s annual trillion-dollar extravaganzas, but Bush has no excuse for spending recklessly in the first place. His last deficit was $157 billion, give or take hundreds of millions, yet even Congressman Henry Waxman arguably pointed out that the United States had a surplus in 2000, which fiscal crises because of the Housing Crisis abounded in 2008. “We have to suspend the rules of the free market in order to save it” will haunt President Bush, a contrary move which discouraged a generation of Republican Presidential candidates in 2008 and 2012.
"No Child Left Behind" leaves children behind. Why would anyone co-sponsor anything with Ted “Chappaquiddick”Kennedy? Students are drowning in tests, scoring, and paperwork. Red states still seek waivers from that failing, misguided program. Students have now resolutely refused to take these tests. Public school advocate Diane Ravitch trumpeted the era of “Higher standards through Standardized tests” with NCLB passed --she even helped initiate the program. Ten years later, she expressed her disillusionment. Other blunders include the Medicare Part D expansion, which added to deficits and debt (though nothing like the massive divestments of ObamaCare). The Transportation Bill of 2005 was as anti-conservative as it gets. Florida invalid Terry Schiavo should have been left alone to perish, as her husband chose. Bush's intervention was unconscionable and unconstitutional. Bush's Louisiana "fly-over" during Hurricane Katrina was bad, but his response was rapid and respectable. Geographers, climatologists, and urban planners had warned New Orleans and Louisiana for years about the dangers of a massive hurricane, yet no one listened.
After 9-11, Afghanistan had to be cleared of Al-Qaeda, but Iraq was a bad policy move, yes indeed. Five separate intelligence agencies did report weapons of mass destruction, which Syria’s diminishing dictator Bashar al-Assad may be using against his own people right now. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell was not lying about WMD, nor was Bush. Still, to get the US to take down Saddam Hussein was a bad idea. To diminish Bush’s folly, one could surmise that the festering tribal rivalries ravaging the Middle East were inevitable, whether the United States had invaded or not. And President Obama’s apology tour plus dubious support for Israel has only made things worse.
Bush 43 has his library, with a legacy to promote, to shape, to justify, or to spare from those who would vilify. “Is your children learnin’”? Who knows what they will read in future history books. For now, Bush 43 gets a mixed grade for domestic policies, but a failing grade in foreign policy.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

You Have Been With Jesus "From Beginning"

"27And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning." (John 15: 27)

"You have been with me from the beginning" may seem to refer to Jesus' ministry.

The original language of the text is even more compelling, since a literal translation would read "from beginning".

This same construction opens up the Gospel of John:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1: 1)

"In beginning" would be the accurate translation, a statement which communicates the very beginning, the outset of time, of everything, the same words which open up the entire Word of God (Genesis 1: 1)

How is it possible for Jesus then to say "You have been with me from the beginning"?

First of all, God is outside of time:

"Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah." (Psalm 39: 5)

We are slight creatures, grants, in the eyes of the omnipotent Lord, yet the magnitude of this greatness must reflect on how great He is, not how little we are in comparison.


"For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night." (Psalm 90: 4)

Peter quoted this verse with a greater emphasis on the negligible effect of time to Him:

"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." (2 Peter 3: 8)

We are now one with Christ, seated in heavenly places in Him (Ephesians 2: 6). We are in the Kingdom of Heaven (Romans 14: 17), and in Christ we have eternal life (John 3: 16)

This wonderful gift touches our spirit, even though we currently live in a dying body. As far as God the Father is concerned, however:

"As He is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4: 17)

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13: 8). We are partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1: 4), which means that when we receive Him, we in effect step into His timelessness, as well.

Because we are in Christ, and Christ is throughout all time, we can then claim that we have been with Him "from beginning."

Meditate on this powerful, wonderful truth, for this wonder will give us greater grace to receive:

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8: 38-39)


"5Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13: 5)

Top Ten Embarrassing Moments for "Comedian" David Letterman

"The Late Show" Host David Letterman has waded then drowned in political waters, attacking conservatives in many cases, and rarely rescinding vile comments volleyed against others. Letterman has lost his cool at times on the air, demonstrating an incapacity to take a joke. He also set himself or his guests for embarrassing or disconcerting moments, often at his own peril.

Here is a list of David Letterman's Top Ten Humiliating Moments/Comments, from the insensitive and incendiary and invidious.

10. Letterman mocked US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas: "Senator Cruz voted 'No!' on gun control reform. He recently received $14,000 in contributions from the Gun Owners of America and the National Association for Gun Rights. [Silence] Senator Ted Cruz. There he is."

There is little respect for a media personality who brazenly mocks a Hispanic-American, one who rose from poverty to honors at Princeton, then Harvard Law School, then solicitor general of Texas, to the US Senate seat.

David Letterman
9. "Aren't you supposed to be in rehab?" Letterman insisted on hosting troubled actress Lindsay Lohan, and asked her about her drug issues. She referred to their pre-interview: "We talked about this. . ." yet Letterman insisted on skewering her live. Honestly, the fact that he had to bring Lohan on the show, and then try to embarrass her, shows neither class nor originality on Letterman's part.

8. Bill O'Reilly said: "Saddam Hussein slaughtered three hundred, four hundred thousand people, so knock it off!" In 2006, David Letterman lost his cool with Conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly when they were discussing the legacy of the Iraq War. For the first time in a long time, the guest pushed Letterman to the wall. While the host wanted to condemn President Bush, O'Reilly cut through the noise. The audience cheered for O'Reilly. Letterman didn't like getting owned, and he got loud, louder, then "loud-mouth".

7. O'Reilly again: "You wanna bet on it?" O'Reilly did another dance on Letterman in a later episode. Their discussion about welfare, the welfare state, and the proper role of government in the life of the citizen led to O'Reilly schooling Letterman on the generosity of the American People. When the "No Spin Zone" Host willingly offered to bet Letterman on the stats for addicted dependents, he pushed Letterman to donate his salary to charity.

More inflammatory comments on Letterman's show have set him up for humiliation:

6. Cher was a guest alone one time. She admitted her reservations about coming on the show. "I thought I would never want to do this show with you." Letterman set himself up when he asked "Why? Because you thought I was. . ." Cher pounced: "an a--hole!" Loud laughter and shock followed.

5. Heavy metal rocker Marilyn Manson refused to play along with David Letterman. In one of his worst interviews, Letterman was pushed from one side to the other, and could do very little to rile his guest. "My mom's name is Barbara, Barbara Wire." Letterman laughed through half the interview.

4. "I have a very low threshold for embarrassment." Letterman candidly admitted this to Oprah in an exclusive interview: Of course, how can anyone forget his gaffe-prone, laugh-lone Oscar hosting gig in 1995 -- "Uma! Oprah!" -- OMG! Yet he then shared: "For a long time, I thought I was a decent guy." His frank confession then becomes frankly unconvincing, especially in light of these last three "humiliating moments."

For all of David Letterman's incriminating and reproachful comments, nothing can beat the times when he had to face or come clean about his own perverse past:

3. Kirstie Allie read some of Letterman's jokes about her weight. Letterman's most awkward moments include guests reading him his own jokes, and making him squirm in his seat. Allie had the last laugh, tricking out all the insensitive jokes that he had laid on Allie. The guest got the best of Letterman that evening.

His outrageous joke about former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's daughter received a firestorm of protest:

2. "One awkward moment during the game, maybe you heard about it. One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game. During the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez. You can see how that would be awkward."

Shameful. Letterman's crude remark about Palin's daughter Bristol, at the time fourteen years old, was just plain bad. Of course, Letterman has very little respect for woman in general, apparently.

And the Number One humiliating moment from "The Late Show with David Letterman" -- incendiary, insensitive, and invidious -- is. . .

1. "I have had sex with women who work for me on this show. Would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Perhaps it would, especially for the women."

Following an extortion attempt from a CBS news executive, Letterman came clean about affairs on the workplace. Yet he was not embarrassed, and his lack of embarrassment in itself is quite embarrassing, yet not surprising. Letterman's shamelessness makes his work ultimately worthless, and network viewers share the sentiment. Perhaps it's time for Letterman to give up the comedy routine. He's just embarrassing!

The Late Show.jpg
The Late (As In Dead?) Show

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Believe on Jesus, Your Kingly Nurse

"Aman" is the Hebrew word for "to believe", yet the word has a number of powerful meanings, including "to be faithful", "to be a support", or "to nurse."

The word "aman" is translated "nurse" in the following passages:

"Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers?" (Numbers 11: 12)

Moses could not bear or support the Israelites in his own strength. Moses was a servant, but the Son abides forever (Hebrews 3: 5-6).

"And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it." (Ruth 4: 16)

Naomi was the estranged and bitter mother-in-law who returned to Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law Ruth, a Moabitess who became one of the ancestors of David, then Jesus Christ.

An old woman who had no children of her own left alive, Naomi was able to nurse a descendant which carried on her name, and the name of her household. A child raised up for her was miraculous enough, but her nursing the child was a greater miracle. The greatest miracle we receive every day from the Chief Descendant Jesus, who lives in us and sustains us with His faith (Galatians 2: 20-21) and His grace and righteousness (Romans 5: 17)

"And Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth." (2 Samuel 4: 4)

This verse lays the background for the lame Mephibosheth. His nurse, a bondwoman in this context, dropped him and crippled him for life. When the law serves as "the support" in our lives, we will end up crippled and ineffective in our lives, falling from grace (Galatians 5: 4) and bringing forth sin, death (2 Corinthians 15: 56-57), and condemnation (2 Corinthians 3: 7).

Later on David, a picture of our "Beloved" Jesus, called upon Mephibosheth, who had entered in hiding for fear that David would kill him. Instead, David honored Mephibosheth with a place at his table, lands and money all restored (2 Samuel 9)

The last verse is the most powerful one of these four, and proves beyond any doubt that Jesus wants to be our nurse:

"And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me." (Isaiah 49: 23)

Imagine that -- not a servant named Moses, nor a formerly embittered widow, nor a bond-maid of any stripe, but Kings and queens will be our nursing mothers. In fact, we have such a king, Jesus Christ, who delights in our drawing from Him. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is portrayed as servant:

"For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Mark 10: 45)

Only in this Gospel do we read that He sat at the right hand of the Father:

"19So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God." (Mark 16: 19)

Let Jesus, King of Kings, be your "nurse", your source of strength and support.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Jesus Christ is Moving, Moving, Moving

We have to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord, or otherwise we become occupied with ourselves.

Walking by faith has not so much to do with attitude or a state of mind, but literally seeing with our inner knowledge that God is, God is there, and God is there for us in all things.

The more that we see how intimately God knows us, that He knows all of what is going on.

He is outside of time, space, energy, and matter.

He is actively, constantly, moving and flowing in your life.

He is the river of living water.

He is the Holy Spirit, the wind that never stops blowing, that never stops flowing, that never stops growing.

"Keep Trying" is Precisely Why God Cannot

The greatest hindrance for men and women in the Body of Christ is the very men and women themselves. Advice like "You have to take the first step" or  "Just Keep Going!" has kept people in bondage, looking at themselves instead of resting and receiving the Life that is Christ Jesus living in us.

Another way that people frame this problem includes statements like "We have to get out of the way", or "We have to give up the driver's seat and let God drive us."

Of course, I would hear this advice frequently from pastors, teachers, and even my own parents, but it never made any sense to me.

What was I supposed to do, exactly? Just sit on my but and wait for things to happen to me?
Their sincere effort to live the Christian life is frustrating the Life of Christ from living through them.

Most believers are overcompensating for the power which already is flowing in us:

"But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." (1 Corinthians 15: 10)


"12Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2: 12-13)


"27To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily." (Colossians 1: 27-29)

Paul does not relent from stressing the primacy of Christ living in us:

"1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3: 1-4)

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2: 10)

John presents this point even further in his First Epistle:

"9In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." (1 JOhn 4: 9)

Then he writes:

"19We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4: 19)

Instead of "keep trying", which leads to men and women doing the same things over and over, and thus getting burned out like "cumbered" Martha (Luke 10: 38-42), let us receive Jesus' invitation:

"28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11: 28)

The issue is not about our doing more, but our believing more and seeing more of Jesus at work in our lives:

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." (2 Peter 3: 18)

It;s his grace that defines, that drives us, that determines us (1 Corinthians 15: 10), and as we grow in him, we find it easy to reckon ourselves dead to sin, shame, and condemnation and then allow Jesus to live in us (Romans 6: 11).

"Keep Trying" leads us to fall from grace:

"4Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (Galatians 5: 4)

Instead of "keep trying", men and women in the Body of Christ need to meet Jesus more in the Word, cease from their own efforts, and rest in Him:

"Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." (Hebrews 4: 11)

Not "trying" but "trusting" -- that;s what it's all about for the child of God in Christ!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Just Keep Going!" No -- Start Believing Right!

"Just Keep Going!" many people in the Body of Christ will advise to those who are struggling, who are in great need.

I received this empty advice many times in my life. What's the point of going anywhere if there is nowhere to go? What's the use of taking any steps in any direction when a sense of guilt, frustration, or misunderstanding still thwarts are life and our walk on this earth?

Many people are struggling and falling down in their lives not because they have not done enough, but because they do not believe the right and righteous truth of Jesus Christ and His glorious Gospel.

Like "You have to take the first step!", the misguided advice of "Just Keep Going" teaches people to look at themselves for the answers, to look at themselves for their needs.

Throughout Scripture, God invites us to look to Himself, to His Son -- Jesus, our Salvation -- and to His Holy Spirit for all help:

"13And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." (Exodus 41: 13-14)


"22Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." (Isaiah 45: 22)


"6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."(John 14: 6)

Jesus Christ did not come to the earth to show us how to live a good life. He came to give us life:

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10: 10)

Jesus did not come to give us a standard of living. He came to take us from death in our trespasses to life everlasting:

"16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3: 16)


"20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2: 20-21)


"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3: 1-4)

To many Christians are looking at our lives on this earth as if they have to be lived in our own strength.

One has to wonder if the children of God are reading their Bibles, or why they do not believe what they are reading:

"13I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4: 13)

We are called to a Person, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

We are called to reckon ourselves dead to sin, to shame, to condemnation, and to receive His Life through God (Romans 6: 11).

If we struggle, if we feel lost, if we find ourselves frustrated in our efforts, then let us rejoice, because Jesus is ready to give us more of His grace and gift of righteousness in our very area of need. (Romans 5: 17)

The answer is Jesus Christ Himself, not "keep going", not "take the first step", and certainly not "keep trying".

"You have to take the first step!" -- Jesus Has Already Done All -- Prodigal Son

No parable so excites, so moves, and so incites the interest of others than the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15.

Point of fact, the Parable is about a prodigal, lavish and ever-loving Father.

The more legalistic mindset will argue -- "The Prodigal Son had to the first step to the Father."

What did take place first? After taking his inheritance, traveling to a far country, wasting his substance, suffering famine, the prodigal son changes his mind:

"17And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

Too many teachers, pastors, leaders emphasize what we must do before God moves in our lives.

In the third parable, the lost son, a picture of every man and woman who feels alienated from God, or even every Christian who feels that God is angry with Him, has to believe the right things about God the Father.

Contrary to religious teachings, God the Father is not some stern taskmaster, but a wealthy God who wishes us to prosper and be in health, even as our souls prosper (3 John 2). For our souls -- our mind, will, and emotions -- to prosper, we have to walk in the truth (3 John 3-4)

He did not even change his mind, so much as he remembered his Father, and assumed that he would not punish him, but offer him a place as a hired servant.

"20And he arose,

He believe the right things about His Father, then he took the steps to return home,

Yet even when he got to the border of his home, the Father's reception was beyond what he could have asked or thought (Ephesians 3: 20):

"20 But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." (Luke 15: 20)

The Father had been longing and waiting for his son to return to him. No matter what he was reduced to, no matter how bad he looked, no matter what he had done, the Father's love exceeded all:

"21And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry." (Luke 15: 21-24)

The Father's love was so overwhelming and lavish, that the son could not begin his halting speech to beg forgiveness and a meager job as a hired hand. The Father not only welcomed his prodigal son, but promoted him with the best robe, the ring, sandals, and a great feast.

While so many Christians are caught up with "You must take the first step!" God is just looking for people who will believe on Him and His Son (John 6: 29)

Jesus has done it all for us, granting us the Spirit of adoption (Romans 8: 15). God's love for us is perfected, because as Jesus is, so are we in this world (1 John 4: 17)

We have the same favor, the same power, the same grace, the same love, as Jesus Christ Himself!

God has more than taken the first steps for us. When will we believe Him?

"You have to take the first step!" -- Jesus Has Already Done it at the River Jordan, Cont'd

Under Joshua, the Israelites arrived at the border of the Promised Land.

Did they have to take the first step before God moved? Let's take a look at the Word of God before making any judgments:

"And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over."" (Joshua 3:1)

The third chapter starts with Joshua, a type and shadow of our Lord Jesus Christ, not with the Israelites, not even with the priests.

Three days elapsed, then Joshua sent word throughout the camps:

"2And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host; 3And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it. 4Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore." (Joshua 3: 2-4)

The three days speaks of Jesus' death and his burial for three days. After the three days, the officers told the Israelites to wait for the ark and the priests to move, then they would move.

The Israelites did not make the first step. The Ark of the Covenant, carried by the priests, would move first. The Ark is another picture of Jesus Christ. We see Him, we believe on Him, and we receive His grace and truth in our lives to move on. Above all, though, let us not once assume that we have to make the first step, because Jesus has taken the steps for us.

"5And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you. 6And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people."

Joshua tells the people that they will see the LORD do wonders in their eyes first, then they will move. The second extensive account in Scripture affirms that greatness of God, His goodness, as the precursor to any repentance or obedience in our lives (Romans 2: 4)

God moves first, then we move. Jesus is our life, and the more that we believe on Him for all things, the more that His quickening Life moves in us to will and to do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13)

The rest of the account is even more compelling in the greatness of God, not in the works that we "must do":

"7And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee." (Joshua 3: 7)

Jesus must be magnified, for He must be first in all things. There can be no other order otherwise.

"11Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan. 12Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man. 13And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap." (Joshua 3:11-13)

The Ark goes first -- the Ark, the picture of Christ and His Finished Work on our behalf. The priests who bear the ark will step in, not the Israelites. The word "rest" in verse 13 cannot be ignored. "Rest" is the Hebrew word "Nuach", the same word/name of the Patriarch Noah whose family stayed in another "ark" to rise above the floods of judgment which covered the earth:

"But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD." (Genesis 6: 8)

The first mention of "grace" is connected with rest, and just as Noah the personification of rest received God's grace to live and survive and thrive in spite of the floods, so too the Israelites crossed the river Jordan because of the grace of God, personified in Joshua. Today, Jesus, whose name comes from "Joshua -- Savior" has brought us from life to death, and from a land of want and loss to plenty and blessing.

He took the first step, at the Cross, and in Christ every other step has been taken. Will you believe Him?

Let us cease from presuming on "our part". It's all of Christ, none of us that brings us from death to life, and every other good thing that we receive in this life, we receive because Christ is our life.

"You have to take the first step!" -- Jesus Has Already Done it at the River Jordan

One fellow-believe remarked that before the LORD could move in the lives of His people Israel, they had to take the first step at the River Jordan before they could enter the Promised Land.

What does the record show us?

Before we refer to the specific chapter in Joshua, let us bear in mind that the LORD had provided for their every need in the wilderness. He provided a cloud over them during the heat of the day, and His pillar of fire kept them warm at night time. He also rained down manna on His people so that they would not hunger, and he kept them clothed and in good health throughout:

"And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live." (Deuteronomy 8: 3)

Jesus would repeat this verse to thwart the devil's temptations:

"But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4: 4)

Jesus Christ is the living Word:

"1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1: 1)

The Word of God became flesh:

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1: 14)

The Word of God testifies of Jesus Christ (Luke 24: 25-27). He is our life (Colossians 3: 3-4), and the fullness of all things is found in Him:

"10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: " (Ephesians 1: 10)


"22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." (Ephesians 1: 22-23)

Before the Israelites came to the border of the Promised Land, they had learned to walk by faith, living of the Word of God. In the same manner, everything about us, who we are, what we have, and what we do, is all about Jesus Christ, who lives in us and is our hope of glory (Colossians 1: 27).

Right away, therefore, we must dispense with the empty mandate that "You have to take the first step!" in order to receive God's blessings.

"You have to take the first step!" -- Jesus Has Already Done it at The Red Sea

Many Christians will tell people who are frustrated or unsure of what to do next:

"Take the first step!"

While more people in the Body of Christ are awakening to the reality of God's grace and goodness, lavish and unending through His Son Jesus Christ, the Pharisee spirit will rise up and scold people:

"You have to take the first step!"

For example, regarding the Israelites, when they crossed the Red Sea, "They had to take the first step!"

About the Israelites when they entered the Promised Land, led by Moses' successor Joshua, "They had to take the first step!"

Of course, there is the prodigal son, who also "had to take the first step!"

These legalistic prescriptions put the emphasis on what we must do, instead of leading us to focus on what Jesus Christ has done for us, which in turn draws us to receive more of Him in our lives.

First, let us look at the account of the Red Sea. While the Israelites were moving out of Egypt, Pharaoh's heart was hardened once again, and he dispatched his forces to capture the Israelites and bring them back to bondage.

The Israelites cried out in fear and unbelief:

"10And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD. 11And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? 12Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness." (Exodus 14: 10-12)
Unbelief is not pretty, and it certainly brings out the worst in us. One would assume that God would have just as well turned them over to their former slave-masters.
God's grace is greater by far:

"13And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." (Exodus 14: 13-14)
Notice that the Lord did not tell the Israelites to "take the first step." In fact, he told the Israelites to stand still and watch for "The Salvation of the Lord."
Look at Jesus. See Him above and beyond your needs, your problems, your fears, your issues, your anything. See Him as providing everything, and in you He is living and moving and offering all things to you and through you, and thus you are a blessing to all whom He leads you to meet.
It's not about our "taking the first step." It's about believing that He is taking all the steps, and that He lives in you, and works in you, and thus He is taking care of all things.
Let us not forget that it was the LORD -- The Eternal One, Was-Is-Always -- who brought His people out of Egypt, who gave His people favor in the eyes of Egyptians, that they gave them all their gold and jewelry, more than back-pay for the hundreds of years of slave labor extracted from them.
This whole tirade of "You have to take the first step" is the most preening, pernicious arrogance! As if we can even take the first step! He does it all. Believe and receive Jesus

Jesus Has Taken the First Step, the Last Step, and Every Step in Between

"You have to take the first step!"

"Just Keep Going!"

"Don't Quit! Keep Trying!"

These advisos, among others, have infiltrated the Body of Christ.

These three phrases are suffused with will worship:

"16Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." (Colossians2: 16-17)

The Child of God's greatest temptation is not sin, since sin shall not have any dominion over us (Romans 6: 11), but rather returning to the law, to outward shows of piety, to follow rules and regulations to earn our righteousness:

"4Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love." (Galatians 5:4-6)

Then Paul writes to the Colossians:

"20Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21(Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh." (Colossians 2: 20-23)

Christ Jesus is our life, not our flesh, not our feelings, not our efforts in our own strength. The last thing that anyone needs to tell anyone else is "try harder", or "do more" or "take the first step", because Christ is the one who lives in us (Colossians 1: 27), and He works in us (Colossians 1: 29), and His grace quickens us to do all things as He wills (1 Corinthians 15: 10; Philippians 2: 12-13)

Jesus Christ is the Way, as well as the Truth and the Life (John 14:6)

He knows the Way, because He is the way. He has prepared everything in advance for us to do. He asks us to trust Him and to grow in grace and knowledge of Him (2 Peter 3: 18)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

BSA -- A Different Form of Cowardly

The leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have offered a compromise on gay rights. They will allow gay youth to join openly, yet will not accept openly gay scout leaders. The Daily Breeze editorial board then labeled their decision “cowardly”. Indeed, the decision is cowardly, but not because the endorsements are not “open” enough, but because the BSA, like a growing number of organizations, are caving to the “gay lobby”.


Gay activists have been promoting homosexuality, causes and consequences, as a civil rights issue, while dismissing critics as “intolerant religious fanatics”. Both arguments are insufferable and insulting. Being born into a race or ethnicity is nothing to be ashamed of, nor something which anyone of us had anything to do with. Homosexuality is a choice, and a bad one. The disease, dysfunction, and death associated with homosexuality should discourage such conduct, and no one should resist exposing these realities.

Education Reforms Statewide -- Wisconsin the Big Winner

Fox Business reporter and libertarian columnist John Stossel identified the biggest frustration to  outreach, reform, and innovation in our public schools. Facetiously termed “The Blob”, the collective inertia of the teachers unions, clerical and classified staff associations (janitors, secretaries, and administrators), plus the bureaucratic lethargy of school boards and district administration frustrate educational reform in every way, shape, and form. Thus, a formless mass of standardized testing, low-expectations, and negligible oversight remain the norm in public education.

Despite the negative press for one association of charter schools (Indian Charter Schools in Oakland, CA), school choice and educational reform are winning major gains across the country. The Indiana state supreme court just upheld the statewide voucher program enacted by former Governor Mitch Daniels. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam wants to expand school choice into statewide school districts. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is pushing the “Opportunity Scholarship Act” to create a voucher program. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval wants to offer tax credits to businesses which subsidize private education for youth forced to attend struggling schools.

Nevertheless, the greatest record of public education reform belongs to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Public education unions can no longer withdraw dues directly from employees’ pay checks. They can only negotiate salaries, and they must offer employees the choice of leaving their union every year. Coupled with his voucher expansion proposals, Walker’s public sector collective bargaining reforms have forced “The Blob” to form in line with the interests of students and parents, not nebulous, dubious special interests.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Teachers as Parents -- Extended NJ Editorial

As a California resident, a state with high taxes, higher unemployment, and the height of waste and spending, I look outside of my state politics for leadership and accomplishment. In addition to leaders like Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Mitch Daniels of Indiana, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has implemented fiscal responsibility and educational reform beyond anything that my state legislators or leaders have even attempted in the last three years.

Christie stood up to the teachers unions. He tried to amend the tenure laws. He is pressing for a state-wide voucher program. His latest effort commanded enough respect with me, that I wrote a letter to the editor to compliment his resolve. Interestingly enough, the editors noted that I am a former teacher, which qualifies my comments on public school choice.

Then I read forty-year teacher-veteran Frank Breslin’s editorial (“Schools have become triage centers”, April 14).

Unfortunately, Breslin reserved this most damning indictment of the failing education culture towards the end of his editorial. Still, he gets an “A+” for exposing this reality:

“Today, too many schools have been turned into emergency wards struggling to instill basic standards of civilized conduct, which should already have been taught in the home.”

I embraced his lamentations about the break-down of the family as the source of frustration for teachers who try their best to teach their students more than the test. Teachers face so many challenges in today’s public schools. With more regulations and red tape, with expanding administrative oversight and accountability metrics, teachers are expected to accomplish more for their students with less time, energy, and respect. Now they have to be parents, too, which encompasses psychologist, social worker, nutritionist, along with police officer and security guard.

Despite the numerous negative comments disparaging Breslin’s sobering assessment, I want to rise to his defense. The teacher cannot be the parent for two hundred students. Discipline which must instill self-respect long neglected at home compromises the learning experience for all students. If my teaching credential advisers had informed me that I had to “play parent”, I would have withdrawn.

Voucher programs allow schools to hold parents accountable, not just the other way around. Still, Governor Christie and his colleagues must investigate the conditions which have forced teachers to train students how to behave, not just read and write and do arithmetic. Mr. Breslin’s frustrations are universal, and they must be addressed, too.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Rhode Island: The Petri Dish of Socialism

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.” – Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)
A petri dish is a pristine, transparent carrier in which scientists develop a culture, a bacterium, or a cancerous sample within a controlled environment. By allowing a monitored proliferation of growth within an antiseptic environment, scientists can discern causes and cures for potent and lethal maladies, like cancer. Socialism is a cancer, one which is eating Rhode Island from the inside out. Unlike the limited growth within a petri dish, the Democratic hypermajority's aggressive cancer has metastasized beyond the statehouse and invaded every house in the state.
The centralized control of the Democratic hypermajority, coupled with the moneyed hegemony of the public sector unions and the selective cowardice of city leaders who want to cut spending -- but not while the voters are watching -- has promoted a selective disease into an aggressive opprobrium which is turning the Ocean State into a society stricken with socialism.
Rhode Island GOP Chairman Mark Smiley acknowledges that their curative message needs improvement. By comparing property taxes in Rhode Island to the lower rates in other states, he explained the need for healing. However, the GA keeps the needy needy while enhancing their greedy grab for power at voters’ expense. Democrats and unions are turning into their own worst enemies with their pernicious avarice. What’s the point of higher taxes when no one is hiring, who can then pay those hire taxes? Assemblymember Doreen Costa lamented, and rightly so, that the Rhode Island GA would rather discuss calamari than take down the spending, the taxes, and grant people the opportunity to get good paying jobs and got of the state’s handouts.
How many Rhode Island residents suffer lack and deprivation because of a state which taxes everything that moves? Like a cancer-stricken patient languishing in hospice, small businesses are getting smaller, or leaving the state entirely. MetLife insurance has met its match with high taxes, higher spending, and the height of regulations squeezing the life out of their bottom line. General Treasurer Gina Raimondo made a deal with the diseas, and while Wall Street may rally, Forbes Magazine was riled up, with nothing but lavish denunciation for state pension "reform" which will ravaging everyone.

What have the US Senators done for their state? Jack Reed flies to Afghanistan, and Sheldon Whitehouse laments “climate change”. If any aggrieved veterans need support and care, they live in Rhode Island. If any climate needs to change, it is the tax-and-spend, regulate-frustrate atmosphere which has advanced the socialist agenda of the Democratic Party while diminishing every man, woman, and child in the Ocean State.
Socialism breeds state-sponsored dependence, a corrosive leprosy which inflicts the host with a sense of shame. Within every human being, regardless of what he says or thinks, is a healthy desire to thrive in the world without having to survive on someone else. Yet every time that a young person wants to get a better education, or an unemployed citizen seeks a job, the state inflicts him with more handouts. Unlike neighboring Connecticut and Massachusetts, Rhode Island state law has authorized recipients to receive five years’ worth of assistance, with a one-month period before the same residents can get back on the dole. No man can be free as long as he believes that he cannot do for himself. So far, the Democratic hypermajority has been content to enable dependence, like a deranged caretaker with Munchausen syndrome by proxy, who has no purpose without an ill patient to "care".
The contagion of socialism has been in remission before. Recently deceased British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was a virulent opponent of socialism. Determined to live out what she believed, the free market principles of Friedrich Hayek, she rebuked her predecessors’ acquiescence, accommodation, and cowardice. She stepped up to her Conservative party’s leadership in 1974, after their caucus endured their third loss in parliamentary elections.
For decades, the Labour Party was not working for the British people, but for the special interests: the unions. The growing majority of services in Great Britain were state-owned enterprises, which empowered public sector associations to bully Parliament, or force the nation to suffer the consequences. Inflation was rising at a record annual rate of 17%. Strikes from postal workers to grave diggers, and even trash collectors were bringing the nation to its knees. In 1979, her party ran a simple platform : “Labour isn’t working”.
Labour wasn’t working, and Thatcher won. She implemented drastic austerity policies. Unemployment rose sharply, then diminished considerably. She stood up to the unions, and won. She privatized numerous industries, then expansive job creation and homeownership quickly followed. The massive repudiation of the British People, coupled with Thatcher's resolve to protect the Falklands and the domestic economy, engaged discouraged Conservatives to voice the values of disparaged and disappointed Britons into victory.
The Rhode Island GOP, the Moderates, the Libertarians all can follow Thatcher’s example. With resolve comes engagement; with engagement victory, and the Conservatives can "clean out the petri dish" and excise the cancer of socialism from Rhode Island.