Friday, November 30, 2012

Today's Posts

Locks, Guns, Fear: Welcome to Post-Christian America

How Secure Is Planned Parenthood's Victory?

Higher Education: Is It Worth the Outrageously Increasing Costs?

Our Pampered President

O, the Times! O, the Morals!

Locks, Guns, Fear: Welcome to Post-Christian America

Government costs more and more and more. And the reach it extends into our pockets, our privacy, and our personal freedoms is greater and greater.

Yet the most basic responsibilities of government -- national security and protection of the citizenry -- are being desperately neglected.

L.A.'s CBS radio news station reports...

The city attorney of San Bernardino is under scrutiny for telling residents to “lock their doors and load their guns” during a city council meeting. The official explained that because the city is bankrupt and slashing public safety budgets people will need to start protecting themselves.

City Attorney Jim Penman said he doesn’t regret what he said. “You should say what you mean and mean what you say,” Penman said…

Penman said the city is dealing with bankruptcy, which has forced officials to cut its police force by about 80 officers. Consequently, there’s been growing criticism about the police department’s response time.

“Let’s be honest, we don’t have enough police officers. We have too many criminals living in this city. We have had 45 murders this year…that’s far too high for a city of this size,” Penman said.

The city attorney said it’s important for people to be smart about protecting themselves and their family. “I’m not advocating that people go out, who don’t have any training, and buy firearms. I certainly strongly caution anyone who has children at home not to have a loaded gun in the house,” Penman said.

“We need to take our streets back, we need to take our neighborhoods back and we need to protect our homes, and that’s what I think Jim was trying to say,” McCommack said.

The city of San Bernardino has seen a 50 percent increase in murders this year compared to 2011.

How Secure Is Planned Parenthood's Victory?

Happy days are here again for Planned Parenthood. November’s elections brought the $1 billion domestic organization, the largest abortion enterprise in the United States, a victory at the polls for which, in the manner of such things, it deserves credit. It has helped return to the White House the most active pro-abortion president in American history, protected the largest expansion of abortion and abortion subsidies since Roe v. Wade, and reinstated a Democratic Senate that will block pro-life initiatives and battle tooth and nail for judges who will protect abortion on demand.

In the wake of this impressive victory, a handful of commentators, most notably Thomas Edsall at The New York Times, are declaring the “culture wars” over. Naturally, pro-life women disagree.

The 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade is approaching, and it remains as true today as it was on that fateful morning in 1973 that it is unnatural and wrong for women to find themselves pitted against their offspring in the womb. The fight for life is one we can never relinquish because for millions of us — a majority now, if Gallup’s polling is accurate — the right to life is not about “our bodies, ourselves” but about our own flesh and blood and a human-centered future…

(Marjorie Dannenfelser, "The Culture Wars Are Just Getting Started" in the Washington Times. Read the whole article right here.)

Higher Education: Is It Worth the Outrageously Increasing Costs?

The clip posted below is an enlightening (and quite frightening) primer on modern education, college costs, job possibilities, student loan debt, and America's future.

This is incredibly important information for us all...but especially for your high school kids.

Our Pampered President

Despite all those jobs he created, all those millions he gave to charity, and all those examples of personal compassion and kindness he demonstrated, the media treated Mitt Romney as the wealthy, pampered, and aloof cad who was running against the sainted populist, Barack Obama.

Yet which one of these two has spent the last three weeks whining, blaming, and primping? And which one is preparing to take off on another of his oh-so-frequent frequent vacations -- a three-week, $4 million vacation -- while the country gets ready to plunge off the dreaded fiscal cliff?

Oh, for a fair press.

Oh, for an intelligent citizenry.

Oh, for a couple more aspirins.

O, the Times! O, the Morals!

* Christian-owned-and-operated Hobby Lobby Stores and sister company, Mardel Christian & Education, didn't receive the outcome founder and CEO David Green wanted in yesterday's federal court case. U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton ruled Nov. 19 that the Oklahoma City-based companies must provide the "morning after" and "week after" pills under new federal healthcare rules that begin Jan. 1. If they don't, the companies will face fines of up to $1.3 million per day…

* Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee will not use Christmas to describe the state’s Christmas tree. This is the second year in a row he has called the state’s tree a "holiday" tree. After last year’s fiasco, his office cancelled the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, but after 24 hours they rescheduled.

“Renaming a Christmas tree to a ‘Holiday tree’ is political correctness run amok,” said Matt Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. “A Menorah is associated with Hanukkah. Its name should not be changed. Santa and his sleigh appear during December bearing Christmas gifts. His name and those of his reindeer entourage should not be changed. Everyone knows that an evergreen tree decorated with lights and ornaments in December is a Christmas tree. The only reason to change the name is due to crass bigotry and ignorance.”...

* The words “bride” and “groom” – along with “husband” and “wife” are about to become archaic language in Washington state as officials prepare to remove the terms from marriage and divorce certificates...

* More than 4 million people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 did not vote this year. But by applying new voter science, Obama nudged enough replacements in key states — many who were rare or first-time voters — to give him his margin of victory (leveraged even larger by the Electoral College).

Years of stealthy multimillion-dollar efforts paid off forAmerica’s left in the 2008 and 2012 victories by President Barack Obama. Using new voter science to get rare and first-time voters to go to the polls, the races have changedAmerica’s electorate — those who make the country’s decisions by showing up and voting.

Aided by $5 million minimum from George Soros, plus millions more from others, at least two secretive institutions were created to enable this effort by focused research on behavioral science. Their results are made available only to liberals and their causes…

* "Under pressure, Stevie Wonder cancels appearance at benefit concert for Israeli military."

* "Rick Warren Uncertain if Homosexual Behavior is Sinful, Says ‘Gays’ Go to Heaven"

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Today's Posts

The Facts Relevant to "Tax Fairness" (In Less Than 4 Minutes)

Among the Latest Outrages...

No, Blinky. City Crowding Is Not Proof of Global Overpopulation.

The Lethal Dangers of Political-Correctness

The Wonder of Ultrasound: Seeing Life Saves Life

The Facts Relevant to "Tax Fairness" (In Less Than 4 Minutes)

Among the Latest Outrages...

* Pro-life advocates are calling for a federal investigation after Canada’s official statistics agency has confirmed that 491 babies died after they were born alive during abortions between 2000 and 2009.

* "The White House’s Benghazi Bungling is Proving a Disaster" by Nile Gardiner in the Telegraph.

* Is this where ObamaCare is leading America? "Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’. Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults. But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies." (Sue Reid and Simon Caldwell in the Daily Mail.)

* "For Fourth Straight Year, Obama's Thanksgiving Message Doesn't Thank God." (Ben Shapiro, Breitbart.)

* "Abortion Central to Planned Parenthood's Business." (Suzanne Gage, Lincoln Journal-Star.)

* "Electronic Tracking: New Constraint for Saudi Women." (France 24)

No, Blinky. City Crowding Is Not Proof of Global Overpopulation.

The Lethal Dangers of Political-Correctness

Can a devotion to diversity be dangerous to your health? You'd better believe it.

Here are excerpts from a  Peter Baklinski report published by LifeSiteNews, "Canada Poised to Partially Lift Ban on Gay Men Giving Blood." Read it and be amazed.

And, after reading this, ask yourself -- Why would a homosexual, knowing how devastating is the danger to a person who might eventually receive his (at least, potentially) "bad blood," still insist on donating it?

Canadian Blood Services (CBS) has revealed that it is about to exchange the lifetime ban on homosexuals donating blood for a deferral system. According to a plan submitted to Health Canada, men who have not had sex with other men for somewhere between five to ten years would be eligible to donate.

CBS spokesman Ron Vezina told the Edmonton Journal that the organization is convinced that it has sufficient evidence to support a change from a permanent prohibition to a deferral.

Canadian Red Cross had put the ban in place in 1983 after thousands of Canadians were infected with HIV and hepatitis C from contaminated blood. Criminal charges were laid against several doctors, blood products companies, and the Canadian Red Cross…

Homosexual activists have been campaigning for more than a decade to have the ban lifted calling the prohibition against homosexuals donating “discriminatory.”

“This ban is discriminatory toward men who have sex with men, but it also continues to mislead the public into thinking that [homosexual activity is] the only transmission of HIV,” said Laura Keegan, spokesperson for HIV Edmonton, to the Edmonton Journal.

But the science that looks at rates of disease and infection in a population does not discriminate.

The Public Health Agency of Canada reported in 2008 that homosexual men as a group had by far the highest rate of new HIV infections, 44%, and that 51% of people with HIV in the country were homosexual men. In 2006 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the U.S. found that approximately 53% of new HIV cases are in homosexual men, even though they only make up a tiny percentage of the overall population. A 2009 CDC report found that the rate of AIDS is 50 times higher among American homosexual men than in the rest of the population.

The CBS ban on homosexuals donating blood hit the limelight in 2010 after the organization sued homosexual Kyle Freeman for lying about his homosexual conduct in a pre-screening process and giving blood despite the lifetime ban…

Freeman, who had lied 18 times to donate blood, was found later to be infected with syphilis and gonorrhea...

If Canada lifts the ban, it will join the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan in allowing blood donations from men who have sex with other men.

CBS spokesman Vezina pointed out that despite CBS’s immanent plans to allow homosexuals to donate blood, the organization’s first priority is to manage the safety of the country’s blood system.

“We have to remember that the recipients who are infused with blood products bear 100 per cent of the risk,” he said.

“Given the history of the blood system, we have to make sure that whatever we’re doing is prudent, and not being done exclusively for the sake of political correctness.”

The Wonder of Ultrasound: Seeing Life Saves Life

When the Sonogram bill was being debated in the Texas legislature last year, the abortion lobby claimed that the measure was an unnecessary intrusion and that it would not impact women’s decisions to have an abortion.

However, one abortion advocate has recently admitted that the Sonogram Law is, indeed, having an impact for Life. Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Woman’s Health — one of Texas’ largest abortion chains — told the Texas Tribune last week that abortions at her five centers have declined since the law took effect in October 2011...

Elizabeth Graham, Director of Texas Right to Life, is not surprised by Hagstrom Miller’s admission. “Looking through the window to the womb, women recognize the child growing within them is not an inconsequential blob of tissue. When equipped with facts and information about both pregnancy and abortion, women are empowered to choose Life over abortion. If abortion centers are seeing a decrease in their business, that means women are turning to legitimate health care agencies for services.”

("Activist Admits Texas Ultrasound Saving Babies From Abortion" by Rachel Bohannon at

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Today's Posts

How Did It Happen?

ObamaCare Update: Look Out for Layoffs, Business Decline

Who's Calling Chen Guangcheng the Rebel of the Year?

Just What Little Gunter Needs -- An Aggressively Atheist Children's Book

The Wednesday Tea Break Returns -- Because We Need All We Can to Get By Nowadays

How Did It Happen?

"It was just a few years ago that a British TV network reported that a majority of responders to a survey believed Sherlock Holmes to have been a real person. No kidding. And substantial percentages of the same group (some 23%, in fact) denied the historical existence of Florence Nightingale and even Winston Churchill.

Let's not feel superior, though. I would be quite surprised if Americans were not every bit as ignorant as their cousins across the Pond. After all, decades of inept (yet indoctrinating) schools -- plus the frightful mindbending that comes from hours spent in front of dull-witted movies, television shows and computer games, have a powerful effect on the citizenry.

And then...that very citizenry votes."

Thus did Mr. Peabody explain to Sherman the re-election of Barack Obama.

ObamaCare Update: Look Out for Layoffs, Business Decline

Shortly after Nov. 6, Zane Tankel, who runs 40 Applebee’s restaurants in the New York City area, announced that his company was freezing employment and would not build any new restaurants. President Obama’s re-election, Tankel explained, meant that ObamaCare was likely to be fully implemented, costing his company millions of dollars and significantly raising the cost of hiring a worker.

Tankel’s statement prompted outrage and threats of a boycott, but he was far from alone. Already John Schnatter, CEO of Papa John’s Pizza, has announced that he would likely lay off some workers. Earlier, Schnatter said that ObamaCare would cost his business $5 billion to $8 billion annually, forcing him to increase the price of pizzas.

Meanwhile, two other restaurant chains, Olive Garden and Red Lobster, are moving many of their employees from full- to part-time work in order to avoid the law’s mandate that anyone working more than 30 hours must have insurance. An owner of 40 Denny’s in Florida, meanwhile, says he’ll add a 5% surcharge to customer bills in 2014 to cover his increased costs.

While restaurants, with traditionally low profit margins and large numbers of low-skilled, low-wage workers, are exceptionally vulnerable to ObamaCare’s costs, other business are being hit too. For example, Boston Scientific has announced that it will now lay off up to 1,400 workers and shift some jobs to China.

And Dana Holdings, an auto-parts manufacturer with more than 25,000 employees, says it to is exploring ObamaCare-related layoffs.

These, and countless other employers across the country, are not doing an impression of Montgomery Burns. They are simply responding to economic reality.

Under ObamaCare, employers with 50 or more full-time workers must provide health insurance for all their workers, paying at least 65% of the cost of a family policy or 85% of the cost of an individual plan. Moreover, the insurance must meet the federal government’s requirements in terms of what benefits are included, meaning that many businesses that offer insurance to their workers today will have to change to new, more expensive plans...

Overall, according to the Congressional Budget Office, ObamaCare could end up costing as many as 800,000 jobs.

The election showed us that ObamaCare is likely to be with us for quite some time. Unfortunately, a great many workers are about to find out the consequences of that decision.

("The 49ers: How ObamaCare will keep unemployment high -- by forcing small companies to cut their workforce to fewer than 50 people." by Michael Tanner. New York Post.)

Who's Calling Chen Guangcheng the Rebel of the Year?

Guards routinely stole into Chen Guangcheng's house, wrapped him in a blanket, beat him bloody, broke his wife's bones. The blanket seemed especially gratuitous: Chen is blind. This went on for a year and a half, all because the self-taught lawyer had sued the Chinese government to stop forced abortions in his village…

Yes, this is a rightfully stirring beginning to an article about the courageous human rights champion, Chen Guangcheng. But did you really expect something like this from GQ Magazine?

Neither did I.

The article, "Chen Guangcheng: Rebel of the Year 2012" and written by John B. Thompson, is not without flaws. But it certainly is a remarkable place to find a pro-life hero so strongly praised.

Just What Little Gunter Needs -- An Aggressively Atheist Children's Book

"I think that God doesn't even exist. And if He does, than he definitely doesn't live in [a synagogue, cathedral or mosque]."

Hmm. Is this Richard Dawkins talking?

No, it's a mentoring hedgehog, warning a young friend about the dangers represented by religion in Michael Schmidt-Salomon's 20-page German children's book, (English translation)"How Do I Get to God, Asked the Small Piglet."

Published last October by Alibri, the book has been criticized as "dangerous for children" by the German Family Ministry but Gunnar Schedel, the publishing firm's boss, defends it as providing a needed service for the kids of atheists and others who are critical of organized religion.

"All three religions are treated equally in the book," he said. "No one is negatively singled out."

That, it seems, the ministry agrees with -- for all three are roundly trashed as being rooted in mindlessness, intolerance, coercion, even violence.

"The three large religions of the world, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, are slurred in the book," the ministry wrote in a December memo. "The distinctive characteristics of each religion are made ridiculous."

But to the author, it's all about freedom of thought, a freedom that he believes will undoubtedly lead to atheism. "Children also have a right to enlightenment. They should not be left defenseless to the scientifically untenable and ethically problematic stories of religion."

Daddy, read me a bedtime story, please. Oh no -- not the one about the cute and cuddly forest creatures dissin' God and demanding an end to the hierarchical oppression of free-thinkers. Please Daddy, can't I just have Sleeping Beauty or Winnie the Pooh once in awhile?

(Repeat post from Feb. 4th, 2008)

The Wednesday Tea Break Returns -- Because We Need All We Can to Get By Nowadays

It's been a long time since Vital Signs Blog featured Wednesday Tea Breaks but, with all of the angst we endure by living in this comprehensive and coercive Nanny State, I figure any little reminder of sweeter, saner days is a good thing.

Here's this week's entries: 1) The Vogues, 2) Spanky and Our Gang, and 3) Blood, Sweat and Tears.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Busy Day Before the Feast

Well, it's been a full day already...quite a run up to Thanksgiving.

First off, there were particularly intense prayers out in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion mill early this morning. Immediately alongside were Carol Moran, Quint Coppi and Don Kohls. We also switched cars with Don as he's taking Claire's for an oil change and assorted matters.

Next was a stretch of news-gathering and blogging as Claire baked eggnog pumpkin pies upstairs. What an aroma! We punctuated these activities with showers and then lunch.

And now we're taking off for a "When Swing Was King" presentation up in Ft. Calhoun. After that it's: a session at the gym; making my Alamosa Salad for tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner with Claire's family in Lincoln; dinner; taking a pie to our single lady neighbor and playing with her dog; watching a Christmas movie; and a bit of reading.

We have a lot to be thankful for -- everybody does, of course. But among our many blessings is activity! May it ever be purposeful, effective and rewarding. Thank You, Lord Jesus.

Lincoln's Thanksgiving Address (1863) Is More Relevant Than Ever

By the President of the United States of America. (1863)

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

Do Your Kids a Big Favor -- Buy 'Em Books for Christmas.

Just in time for your Christmas shopping is this nifty list of book suggestions for young readers compiled by Gina Dalfonzo over at BreakPoint. Each title listed there also has a link to a review from Gina or one of her colleagues. How's that for being helpful?

And they do this (at least, I think they do) every year about this time. Example? Check out these BreakPoint suggestions from 2011.

But I've got a few ideas of my own to pass along. Indeed, I'll simply re-post an excerpt from a short column I wrote for The Book Den last year dealing with this very topic.

Over at Breakpoint, a few of the contributing writers (among them, Gina Dalfonzo and Kim Moreland) have put together a list of "books to buy your kids at Christmas." Not having read (or even heard of) most of the recommended titles, I don't have much to comment on. Nevertheless, for you parents and grandparents looking for some ideas, I figured you'd do well to check it out. They're smart, principled people over there.

However, reading their lists encouraged me to drop in a few suggestions of my own. Ready?

For little kids (of all ages), you can't go wrong with the Winnie the Pooh books by A.A. Milne; the Freddy the Pig series by Walter Brooks; The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame; the collected fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm; or stories about such heroes as Robin Hood and the Knights of the Round Table.

As these kids grow older, toss in C. S. Lewis' Narnia series; Arthur Conan Doyle; Laura Ingalls Wilder; Robert Louis Stevenson; Robinson Crusoe; James Barrie; Jules Verne; John Buchan; James Herriot; O. Henry; and biographies of missionaries, explorers and warriors.

By the time they are in their mid teens, let's hope they've become acquainted with J.R.R. Tolkien; Randy Alcorn's fiction; G.K. Chesterton's poetry and his Father Brown series; Agatha Christie and others of the Golden Age of Mysteries; Louisa May Alcott; G.A. Henty; Charles Dickens; Alexandre Dumas; Thor Heyerdahl; Rafael Sabatini; and plenty of history books. In the latter category, please be sure and include Shelby Foote, Samuel Eliot Morrison and Walter Lord.

Happy Christmas shopping. And don't feel bad that you're going to go out and order the books for your kids that you really want to read too! Literature should promote sharing!

Finally, Something the Democrats Are Transparent About. They Want to Read YOUR E-Mails.

A new law that was originally meant to strengthen the privacy of your email was recently re-written to allow government more access to your private emails and other digital files.

When H.R. 2471 went to the Senate, Democrat Senator Pat Leahy quickly rewrote the whole thing to allow federal policing agencies to have the power to search your digital files without a warrant...

Read more of "Bait and Switch: Law Goes From Protecting Your Email to Allowing Gov’t Into Your Email" by Warner Todd Huston at Publius' Forum.

Thanksgiving 2012 Style

* "More Americans Will Use Food Stamps For Thanksgiving This Year Than Ever Before" (US News & World Report)

* "Unions Shut Down Traffic to LAX" (Breitbart)

* "Thanksgiving, but US Turkey Farmers Aren't Celebrating." (Why? Because corn prices are going higher and higher. That's because of the drought, transport costs and corn being shifted over to ethanol production.)

* "People no longer thankful for Thanksgiving."

* "Student Club Plans 'Anti-Thanksgiving Potluck' at University of Virginia."

* "Walmart Employees Protest Working on Thanksgiving." (ATVN)

* Fort Lauderdale Airport service workers gathered for what they called a peaceful "Thanksgiving Prayer" rally and protest to demand just compensation. (Broward/Palm Beach New Times)

* "PETA asks Obama to skip 'outdated' Thanksgiving turkey pardon ceremony." (The Hill)

When Business As Usual (Police Business, That Is) Isn't Enough

George, an elderly Southern gentleman was getting ready for bed one night when he heard noises out in his back yard. George opened the back door and saw a couple of hoodlums stealing things out of his workshop shed.

He slipped back inside and dialed 911. The operator came on the line and he quickly told her what was happening. She asked, "Is someone actually in your house?"

"No," he replied,"but there's at least two crooks back there and they're cleaning out my stuff! I can't afford to let people steal my tools and equipment like this."

The 911 operator responded calmly, "I understand, sir. But all of our police patrols are busy at the moment. We can't get anyone on the scene right now. Please just lock your doors and and, when a police officer is available, he or she will be out to take a report on what was stolen." And with that the 911 operator hung up.

George was more than a little disgruntled but he quickly formed an idea. He waited for about 40 seconds and he then dialed 911 again. The voice on the other line was the same woman.

George spoke slowly. "Hello again. It was me that called you a few seconds ago about the crooks who were robbing stuff from my back yard shed."

"Yes sir," the operator replied, "I told you already that all our patrols are busy right now but we will send someone out as soon as..."

George interrupted her. "I know what you said. That's why I'm calling back. You see, there's no need to bother the police now. I went ahead and took a shotgun to the two crooks. They're both in pretty bad shape and I don't suppose they'll ever steal anything from anybody anymore because my Dobermans are out there now chewin' up what's left of 'em. But thanks anyhow." And George then hung up.

It took about four minutes before six police cars, the SWAT Team truck, a police helicopter, a fire truck, and two ambulances with paramedics were in front of George's house. Two news vans from the local TV stations also showed up but, by the time they arrived, two robbers had been caught in the act and a third chased down after he had unsuccessfully tried to jump a fence.

Once things were sorted out and the police captain realized that no one had, in fact, been shot -- George owned neither a shotgun or a dog -- he was livid. He screamed at George, "Mister, you lied to us. You didn't shoot anyone. And just look at the unnecessary commotion you've caused here."

George smiled and said, "Well, the police lied to me first. You said there was nobody available and that police could make it here only after my stuff was stolen. Captain, what you call unnecessary commotion, I call stopping a crime in progress and protecting the lives and properties of the citizenry. But, if you'd rather I buy a shotgun and start raising wild dogs..."

He who has ears to hear...

(The original story was passed along to me by Action International missionary Doug Nichols but I'm afraid I edited it quite a bit to make a wider point. Thanks, Doug.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Today's Posts

The Napoleons' 2013 Booklist

In one of yesterday's posts I mentioned that in our weekend retreat with the Notting Hill Napoleons, we had come up with the reading list for the next year. And in last Friday's post, I had listed those being submitted by Claire and I. Well, I forgot to go ahead and give you the booklist the group decided on for 2013.

Of course, this all assumes we will still be able to afford the price of old books with the onset of Stage Two Obamanomics. And that may be a pretty bold assumption.

Anyhow, here's our plan.

January -- Adam Bede by George Eliot

February -- The President's Lady by Irving Stone

March -- The Emigrants by Vilhelm Moberg

April -- The Card by Arnold Bennett  

May -- The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier 

June -- Cimarron by Edna Ferber 

July -- A Blaze of Glory by Jeff Shaara  

August -- Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett  

September -- Arc de Triomphe by Erich Maria Remarque 

October -- The Bridges at Toko-Ri by James Michener  

November -- Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens   
December -- The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington  

Drinks All Around Except for the Republican!

The night of the election, a labor union rep walks into a fairly crowded bar that's right across the street from a closed shop factory. He's about to order a drink to celebrate Obama’s victory when he sees a guy sitting near the bar working on his laptop and wearing a Romney for President button. Just seeing the guy ticks him off and he decides to put him in his place. So, he shouts over to the bartender loudly enough that everyone can hear, "Bartender, drinks for everyone in here, except for that %#^&@ Republican!"

Soon after the drinks have been handed out, the Republican gives him a big smile, waves at him and says in an equally loud voice, "Thank you!"

This infuriates the union rep and so he again orders the bartender to pour drinks for everyone in the bar except the %#^&@ Republican. But again, this doesn't seem to bother the Republican at all. Indeed, he continues to smile and again yells out to the union rep, "Thank you!"

The union rep is really getting angry. So for the third time, he loudly orders drinks for everyone except the %#^&@ Republican. But also, for the third time, it seems to cause no consternation for the Republican sitting with his laptop. In fact, his smile is bigger than ever when he again yells over to the union rep a hearty "Thanks you!"

The union man is really steaming by this time and he turns to the bartender. "What's the deal with that Republican? I've ordered three rounds of drinks for every single bum in here except him and yet all he does is smile and thank me. Is he drunk or just plain stupid?"

"Neither one," replies the bartender. "He owns the place."

(Original joke told by Dan Sorkin and passed along by Lee Rodgers. I'm afraid I've played with it a little.)

The Demise of Christian Stewardship

From "Frail Web of Intention" author, Jack Niewold:

The Wall Street Journal reports that a mere 333,000 votes spread among several critical state races might have won the Republicans both the presidency and the Senate. Those of you in states such as Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Missouri could have made a difference—had you voted.

I have never liked the easy evangelical piety that tells me that "God is in Charge." No, He has put us in charge. He has made us the stewards of this world's history, cultures and civilizations. Now, I realize that politics isn't everything, that human laws and governance are, in a sense, downstream from even more fundamental moral and spiritual realities.

But the opposite is also true, as Abraham Kuyper once wrote. He said that good laws and social policies can make the spread of the gospel more effective and pave the way for broader religious consciousness. Law may only be law, but it is still a Teacher of morals and manners.

It seems we are now condemned to another four years of class warfare, incompetent leadership, and ideological, cultural and intellectual impoverishment. America by 2016 will likely be dumber, poorer and meaner than it is today, and that's saying something. And to one degree or another, some of you evangelical pietists out there, the ones telling me that I am too political, too dogmatic, too negative, are responsible for this.

Typically, only a quarter of evangelical Christians even bother to vote. This year it may have been even fewer.

We Christians seem to be polarizing into two camps: wackos completely out of contact with the world, and wannabes completely in love with it. Take your pick: you’re equally irrelevant.

I'm not okay with this sorry state of affairs. I’m not about to get over it.

More News from the "You've Got To Be Kidding" File

* "Is The Obama EPA Running Its Own Black-Ops Program?" at Investor's Business Daily.

* "Planned Parenthood compares an ultrasound to rape and as a rape victim, I’m angry!" by Kelly Clinger at LifeSiteNews.

* "The GOP: A Most Unpopular Majority Party" by David Limbaugh.

* "Report: Obama Coverage Turned More Favorable In Final Week Of Election" by Elizabeth Flock at US News and World Report. (Gee, really?)

"Barack Obama Blunders Again on the World Stage" by Nile Gardiner at the Telegraph.

* Forget Barack Obama's gaffes in his Burma speech (even though there were many) and his sophomoric flirtation with Aung San Suu Kyi. The real story is this line from his speech -- “Now, on other hand, as President, I cannot just impose my will on Congress -- the Congress of the United States -- even though sometimes I wish I could.”

Before Politics, It's the Culture War

President Obama won the 2012 presidential election by accumulating some of the most one-sided electoral constituencies in modern political history...

Rather than offer a broad sweeping vision for the country, Democrats played identity politics. Republicans were the culprits, and women, young adults, black, Latinos, etc… were the victims. And voters believed it. Why? For the same reason this litany — gender, race, ethnicity, class — sound so familiar.

Voters believed it, not because it was something new or groundbreaking, but because this has been the template of many of our character-building institutions — our public schools, our colleges, and public universities — for the past 50 years. Go to any major university in America and this is the mindset that is taught, preached, and ingested. It also gets an assist from television drama, from the movies, and from much of the mainstream media.

For decades liberals have succeeded in defining the national discourse, the terms of discussion, and, therefore, the election, in these terms. They have successfully set the parameters and focus of the national and political dialogue as predominantly about gender, race, ethnicity, and class. This is the paradigm, the template through which many Americans, probably a majority, more or less view the world, our country, and the election. It is a divisive strategy and Democrats have targeted and exploited those divides.

How else can we explain that more young people now favor socialism to capitalism?...

So while we Republicans opine about election strategies and changing demographics, and appropriately so as that is our immediate order of business, in the long run we must address the problem at its source: the culture.

Politics are downstream from the culture. Plato summarized the two most important questions in a society: Who teaches the young and what do we teach them?

For the past 50 years liberals have had majority control of the character-forming institutions. If the national dialogue stays on their terms — gender, race, ethnicity, class — Republicans will continue to lose.

(From "Republicans Must Win the Culture War to Regain Presidency" by Bill Bennett.)

The Internet -- The Best Alternative to State-Controlled Media

Ninety years after the inauguration of radio in Cuba, Internet, the information superhighway network that is radically transforming conceptions of life, communications, information, space and time, is unavailable to the vast majority of Cubans. As are the thousands of radio stations that broadcast over the Internet, which we cannot listen to in this way because it is necessary to have a computer that supports audio formats and an affordable internet line.

These developments are occurring in Cuba just as the extent of the information highways around the world set the tone in a way, that prevents modern man living outside the new technique, which constitutes a mockery of the Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action adopted at the Summit of the Information Society, held in 2003 in the Swiss city of Geneva and signed by the delegation representing the government of the Island there.

Cuba is the country in the Western Hemisphere with least connectivity to the web. Several studies have shown that the rate of network connectivity is even lower than for countries like Haiti. The number who access the Internet only reaches 1.6 million, a figure that does not exceed 14% of the Cuban population, not to mention that many of them are limited to an account that only allows state-controlled local intranet browsing.

In late 2007 it was reported that Cuba would connect with Venezuela through a fiber optic cable that would multiply by thousands of times the connection capacity. However, nothing has been published in the media about the facility, which was finished about a year ago, demonstrating the willingness of the State to maintain a monopoly on information and making Cubans long for the days when radio began in Cuba.

The above paragraphs are taken from a Dimas Castellano article in Diario de Cuba (via Translating Cuba) and they describe yet another example of how the totalitarian government of Cuba hates and fears the circulation of any information and ideas not under their direct control. The same attitude is present, of course, in Russia, China, North Korea, Vietnam, and in the various Islamic regimes. The case can also be made that the United States under the Obama administration is trying to move in the same direction.

Radio still has an important role in broadcasting freedom, moral reason, and religious truth to many parts of the world. But increasingly, it is the internet that provides the best alternative both to state-controlled media and to the fellow-traveler media which operates in Europe and the U.S. Conservatives (and certainly, Christians) need to work hard to protect, promote and effectively utilize the internet.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Today's Posts

The Napoleon Retreat Was Just In Time

Last week was a very busy one for Claire and I -- blogging, 5 "When Swing Was King" presentations, correspondence, preparations for sermon, painting the kitchen cabinets, car trouble, workouts at the gym, etc. This one is looking like it will be even more so -- blogging, taking the car in for repair, preparations for sermon and Sunday school, the gym, travel for Thanksgiving, putting the cabinet doors on, putting up Christmas lights and decorations, and 4 "When Swing Was King" presentations.

But shoved in between (mercifully!) was a wonderful 41 hours of refreshment down at the Whispering Pines Bed & Breakfast in Nebraska City with the Notting Hill Napoleons, our literary club of 20 years standing. We've been going there every autumn for ten years for the discussion of November's book (always a Charles Dickens novel) and the selection of books for the coming year. Around these two key activities are delicious meals, conversations and games, prayers, and walking around downtown. This year we added a couple of hours around the fire pit which was especially nice.

In last Friday's post, I previewed the weekend retreat and also listed the book suggestions Claire and I were going to submit. Five of them made the final NHN list which was pretty good but I fear we could have a few clunkers in this year's reading since the other six which made the list (the Dickens inclusion is automatic) represent pigs in pokes; that is, they were never actually read by the persons nominating them...or anyone else in the group. But clunky books are not that big a deal. We seem to manage a pretty good discussion even with those. It's a good group.

The retreat was a very welcome respite from the whirl of activity and there were some very special moments (the fun around the fire pit, the early morning talks and prayers with Quint, and the frequent laughter) that I will treasure for a long time.

America Ain't Looking So Good

About That Fiscal Cliff  -- U.S. companies are scaling back investment plans at the fastest pace since the recession, signaling more trouble for the economic recovery.

Half of the nation's 40 biggest publicly traded corporate spenders have announced plans to curtail capital expenditures this year or next, according to a review by The Wall Street Journal of securities filings and conference calls...

Homeland Security Kindly Offering Government Programs to New Non-Citizens --  Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your new country can do for you.

“Welcome to,” a website maintained by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), bills itself as the “primary gateway for new immigrants to find basic information on how to settle in the United States” — featuring a prominent section for new immigrants about how to access government benefits…

The Crisis in Character and Values -- Throughout this election I discussed with students the differences between ideologies. The majority of them are on federal financial aid. They are fine with more taxes as long as they will be taken care of. It is disturbing to hear that they are willing to spend their own money on tattoos and cell phones but cannot buy the book for class until the financial aid comes in. (An anecdote contained in Star Parker's superb column, "A National Crisis in Character.")

But Timmy, You Can't Borrow Forever!

Elizabeth Harrington reports from CNS News: 

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Friday that Congress should stop placing legal limits on the amount of money the government can borrow and effectively lift the debt limit to infinity.

On Bloomberg TV, “Political Capital” host Al Hunt asked Geithner if he believes “we ought to just eliminate the debt ceiling.”

“Oh, absolutely,” Geithner said.

“You do?  Will you propose that?” Hunt asked…

Hunt then asked: “Is now the time to eliminate it?”

“It would have been time a long time ago to eliminate it,” Geithner said. “The sooner the better.”

This administration gets more childish, more ridiculous and more dangerous by the day.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Today's Post --- Ah, The Notting Hill Napoleons Weekend Retreat!

Claire and I have another "When Swing Was King" presentation early this afternoon (our 5th this week!) but from there we will be heading down to the Whispering Pines Bed & Breakfast in Nebraska City for our annual autumn retreat with our book club of 20 years standing, the Notting Hill Napoleons.

We always look forward to this weekend but with the fatigue, the stress, and the need to renew our spiritual batteries after the disastrous election results, it may well be the most important retreat we've ever had.

We have a great relationship with the owner of Whispering Pines and she lets us take over the whole place for the weekend. We've been doing it for many years. Our traditions for the weekend include a discussion of that year's Charles Dickens novel, voting on the book selections for the coming year, enjoying memorable meals together, and an awful lot of talking, walking, praying and relaxing.

The general field for our book club is literature classics and so our achievements to date include Shakespeare, Dickens, Dumas, Tolstoy, Scott, Chesterton, Hugo, Dostoevsky, Cather, Stevenson, Collins, Sabatini, Doyle, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, Austen, and many, many more. However, as you might imagine, after 20 plus years of the book club, we've nearly run out of genuine classics and had to delve into more modern stuff -- good stuff (usually) but not necessarily what Claire and I deem classic. We have tried to persuade our fellow Napoleons to include more re-reading but without much success.

We'll keep trying.

Anyhow, in case you're interested in perhaps finding some new books for yourself, here's the list of suggestions we're submitting to the Notting Hill Napoleons this year. (Note: in addition to brief comments about the books suggested, we provide prices, number of pages, availability in the Omaha Public Library system, etc.)

Denny’s & Claire’s NHN Reading Suggestions for 2013

We decided this year to only list books we have already read and thus could personally vouch for. Then we went through the list carefully and eventually cut it in half. So, from the original 20 titles, we present these 10 – plus 5 previous Napoleon suggestions we’re proposing as re-reads.

1) Cimarron by Edna Ferber – This is a rousing novel about Oklahoma's settlement and early history through the eyes of Yancy Cravat, one of the truly "larger than life" characters in American fiction, and his remarkable wife, Sabra. It's all here -- the “Sooners” and the land rush, gunfights, boom towns, Indians, a crusading newspaper, corruption, the development of civilized commerce and institutions, oil strikes, and local politics. Along the way, the reader learns just how critical to the winning of the West were the pioneer women. An exciting, informative read.  312 pages.  (About $4.00 at AbeBooks.  A couple copies in OPL)

2) The Seventh Cross by Anna Seghers -- This is a tense and deeply moving novel about the escape of a young Communist from a Nazi concentration camp and his ongoing efforts to avoid recapture. It is a very well written book that illuminates several issues essential to our common humanity. 344 pages.  (Used starting at $1 at

3) The Bridges at Toko-Ri by James Michener  -- This novel tells of young pilots flying off aircraft carriers during the Korean War. It will give us more to talk about than its brief length might suggest. Admiral George Tarrant who bears the burden of command -- Family man Harry Brubaker, fighting resentment and cowardice -- Tough Irishman Mike Forney -- The burly and brave flagman on the deck -- These are some of the characters you'll not soon forget. And we’ll be able to talk also about duty, courage, skill, trust, teamwork, sacrifice, and more.  146 pages.  (Starting at $1 at AbeBooks and copies in OPL)

4) Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas -- Two decades have passed since the famous swordsmen triumphed over Cardinal Richelieu and M’lady in The Three Musketeers. Time has weakened their bodies a bit and dispersed them to pursue individual ends. But treason and skullduggery still cry out for justice. So when civil war endangers the throne of France and Cromwell threatens to send Charles I to the scaffold, the immortal quartet comes out of retirement to cross swords once again with the malevolent forces of history...and time itself.  (880 pages. New: $10.85. Used from $0.48 at Amazon.  Free Kindle edition.  4 copies in OPL.)

5) The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington -- This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel portrays the decline of the wealthy Amberson family, serving as a touching backdrop for the huge social changes America saw in the decades following the Industrial Revolution. Rather than join the modern age, George Amberson insists on remaining a "gentleman" and tries desperately to hang on to his patrician pride. But his town soon becomes a city and the family palace becomes surrounded by industry, destroying the elegant, cloistered lifestyle enjoyed by the family in years gone by. I really enjoyed this novel and have thought an awful lot about its lessons. 276 pages.  (New $13. Used from $.01 Free Kindle edition. 2 in OPL.)

6) Arc de Triomphe by Erich Maria Remarque -- Paris, just before World War II. A skilled, principled physician is caring for patients even though he is a "displaced person" without a passport who must elude the authorities in order to keep from being sent back to Nazi Germany. And yes, the novel has romance, intrigue, a tremendous amount of tension, and inspiring themes. This was quite rightly an international bestseller.  464 pages.  (Used from $.68 at Amazon.)

7) The Return of Don Quixote by GK Chesterton -- This was GK’s last novel and, like all his others, the plot is a bit difficult to describe. But that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable or provocative.  The action begins with an amateur theatrical but one of the drafted characters, librarian Michael Herne, decides he likes life a lot better in his medieval character’s guise. It is a superb way for GKC to use the past to comment on the present. There’s a lot of classic Chesterton here: politics, history, religion, and human nature – all delightfully and uniquely expressed. 220 pages.  (Used single copies from $11.66 or in Volume 8 of The Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton starting at $18 from Amazon.)

8) Run Silent, Run Deep by Commander Edward L. Beach, Jr. -- No, this isn't much like the Clark Gable-Burt Lancaster flick of the same name. The book is different -- and much more interesting and worthwhile. The novel provides a detailed look at submarine service during World War II through the eyes of one crew, but the reader learns a lot about how subs worked, training, strategy, Pearl Harbor, and matters of the human soul. The plot also involves a very daring adventure against a Japanese war genius. Beach himself served on submarines in the Pacific during the war but his writing is terrific too.  343 pages.  (Used from $1 at AbeBooks.)

9) Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier -- "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." You loved the movie; I think you’ll love the book – even though you’ll find the ending quite a bit different.  Du Maurier is an incomparable craftsman and in Rebecca she has created one of America’s most intense and intriguing gothic novels.  416 pages.  (Used copies starting at $.01 at Amazon.  10 copies in OPL.)

10) The Card by Arnold Bennett -- I looked for this novel after watching the 1952 Alec Guinness movie of the same name.  I was delightfully surprised to find that I enjoyed the novel as much as the film comedy. The plot involves Denry Machin's use of audacity, luck and inventiveness to rise from a menial job as a collection agent's clerk to Mayor. It's a funny and heartwarming novel, one that may provide us with a few helpful ideas for when we need to go out and scare up living money ourselves.  222 pages.  (Free Kindle edition and used from $1.50 Amazon)

In addition, we propose five books for re-reading: Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago; Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables; Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo; Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace; and Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Today's Posts

A Disastrous Election But I'm Still Upbeat

The November LifeSharer letter (Vital Signs Ministries' monthly missive) is out and up -- out in the mails as of Tuesday afternoon and up onto the Vital Signs website right here. The letter was sent out in tandem with a more detailed evaluation of the election, an essay entitled "Entering the Bleak Winter." That essay is also posted on the Vital Signs page.

Below I print a teaser from the LifeSharer letter itself:

The morning after the election Claire and I were in front of Planned Parenthood, praying and sidewalk counseling.  And though it is always frustrating and sad to engage in this ministry, it did seem appropriate on several levels.  First of all, it’s what we’ve done for almost 30 years – taking the truths and mercies of God right to the doors of the death chambers.  No matter who was in the White House or the mayor’s office, we’ve done our best to give voice to God’s unequivocal declaration of the sanctity of human life – in print, in conferences, on the radio, in starting the CPC, in cyberspace, in nursing homes, in audiences large and small all over the world and, yes, at the abortion mills.

It’s never been easy – even when the government powers recognized our rights of free speech.  But, as some of you remember, that hasn’t always been the case.  We had to endure hassles from police and prosecutors (as well as several arrests and court cases) before a successful lawsuit finally brought a recognition of our rights to peacefully, prayerfully gather on a sidewalk.

Will a second Obama term undo these religious liberties?  There’s no doubt the President will try his hardest to make that happen.  But that’s what made our presence at the Planned Parenthood the day after the election particularly appropriate.  It signaled our dedication to our high calling no matter how low the culture goes.  The Lord doesn’t tell us to serve Him only when it’s easy and popular.  We serve Him because it is right to do so…because He is worthy of our best and bravest service…and because He rewards His faithful servants in ways that are more bountiful than we can ever imagine...

The rest of the November LifeSharer letter is right here.

Entering the Bleak Winter

Denny Hartford ponders the 2012 elections.

Entering the Bleak Winter

The failure of the grand experiment which was the American republic cannot be blamed entirely on Barack Obama.  The post-Christian movement which has increasingly exerted its influence in popular culture, academia, the press, and government over the last century or so has had many other key players.  Nevertheless, the re-election of this remarkably arrogant socialist (remarkable because his arrogance is based on so little merit) may well go down in history as the beginning of the end – the November event which ushered in America’s “bleak winter.”  The lighted city on the hill prophesied by John Winthrop, saved by Abraham Lincoln and cherished (though perhaps even then in its twilight glow) by Ronald Reagan is about to go dark.

The election serves as a barometer, a revelation of the current condition of the country by which we can reasonably forecast future events.  And so I begin by suggesting that November 6th blew away the antiquated, wishful thinking held by most conservative pundits that the majority of citizens in the United States were center-right in their political disposition and basically decent, patriotic and intelligent.  They are not.  They are instead a people who have embraced the allure of socialism and the redistribution of wealth despite the abounding (and alarming) evidence of history that such a system is bound to fail.  They are a people to whom economics is a boring abstraction, a problem willingly left to the politicians who make the biggest material promises.  Free college tuition.  Free medical care.  Free food.  Free birth control.  Free insurance.  Free phones.  Free dough.

But who pays for these things?  Half of the Americans who voted last week have no idea.  And they don’t care.  They obviously trust Barack Obama and the Democrats to requisition the money from what they believe are the bottomless pockets of the despised rich.  Fairness and economic facts be damned.  Just give us our stuff.

These post-Christian Americans do not believe in Jesus.  But they do believe in Santa Claus.  However, the Santa Claus of their imagination doesn’t simply provide a toy or two for morally deserving kids.  No, the socialist Santa Claus they believe in doesn’t make anything.    He redistributes.  Before he comes down the chimney to leave stuff under your holiday tree, he’s gone down Donald Trump’s chimney and filled his bag with Trump’s stuff.  And the socialist Santa doesn’t limit his generosity to toys – he hands out everything you’ll need from cradle to grave.  Oh yes; that list of good little boys and girls?  Forget it.  The socialist Santa is a post-Christian elf who has dispensed with those old-fashioned moral qualifications.  He gives to everyone in equal shares – except those “more equal” shares he gives to government workers, union members, students, and undocumented immigrants.  Happy Kwanzaa, folks.

It must also be emphasized that the election results revealed more than a foolish trust in an ever-expanding welfare state.  Our electorate’s post-Christian ideas of morality also became clear.  Examples?  Referenda protecting marriage were defeated.  A woman who had been exposed as an unrepentant liar about her legal career and ancestry was nevertheless elected to the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts.  An “open lesbian” was elected to the U.S. Senate in Wisconsin.  A felon who was holed up in a mental institution the day of the election was voted back into the Congress for Illinois.  Marijuana for “recreational use” was legalized in two states, for “medicinal use” in another.  Furthermore, several men and women of sterling character, experience, skill and dedication were denied political office principally because they voiced their pro-life, pro-family, and patriotic convictions.

Tuesday night showed us not only how bloated a behemoth the entitlement-oriented Nanny State has become (a monster far bigger than anything FDR or even LBJ dared to envision), it also revealed just how far the decades of revisionist history, self-indulgence, pop culture decadence, government freebies, judicial incompetence, and aggressive secularism have brought us...

Read the rest of "Entering the Bleak Winter," Denny's post-election essay here at the Vital Signs Ministries website.

Which Political Party Is Corrupting the Vote? The Same Party That Fought Abolition.

Greg Richards gives a stimulating (and very enlightening) call to action in an important American Thinker article entitled "Rendezvous with Destiny." I urge you to read it and to use it to spark conversations with fellow conservatives.

I am going to print below, however, passages from Richard's fine essay which deal with two monumentally important points; that is, the need to radically reform the voting process and the need to effectively educate people about the historical distinctives between the two parties on race relations.

On Making the Votes Counted the Same as the Votes Cast --

...An example of just one task: we need to know every detail of the voting process.  Who makes the machines?  How are they initialized?  How do we know they are initialized?  How do we know they are counting correctly?

This will take time.  A key technique of the Democratic Party is stealing elections.  They have done it for two centuries.  They used Jim Crow to steal elections.  They used Tammany Hall in the 19th century.  They used, and still use, big-city machines to steal the vote in the 20th century.  Now they are using false registration, ballot stuffing and count-rigging in tight contests.  The Dems are there ahead of us and they are not going to share the ground. The judges will not support us.  It will not be easy, but it is necessary to assure that the country is getting a fair count...

On the Real Record of Civil Rights --

...We need to get our message out.  We don't have to be obnoxious, but we have to stop trimming in polite society, as we all do.  We need to make our case.  It turns out that all the misrepresentations of the Dems have been absorbed as reality: if you are a Republican you are on the wrong side of history.  We need to tell our story.

For instance, why did it take until the 1960's for the final Civil Rights law to be passed?  Because it took that long for the Dems to throw in the towel on segregation.  They blocked anti-lynching laws in the 1920's and 1930's, they threw blacks off the land in the New Deal, but by the 1950s, the Republicans were able to enforce Brown v. Board of Education (Little Rock) and pass two civil rights laws.

With the movement led by the Rev. Dr. King, the Dems could finally not ignore the developing political power of the African-American community.  So in their own interest of maintaining access to power, they threw in the towel on blocking the advancement of the black community.  It wasn't principle; they didn't do it until their power was challenged. 

And then they came up with welfare as a career to sidetrack black progress.  The African-American family survived 250 years of slavery and 100 years of Jim Crow, but was destroyed by 40 years of liberalism

That is only one story we need to tell.  Socialism has failed everywhere it has been tried.  The 20th century is littered with it.  When the wealth is redistributed, without exception it is goes to the redistributors, not to the people.  The nomenklatura in a socialist economy is about 10% of the population.  Everyone else stands in line to shop at bare shelves...

Liberals Mistake Forward for Downward

By every objective measure, America is in decline. But liberals insist that it is moving "forward." The modern philosophy of progress is Darwinian, holding that the latest development, whether of a country or a species, is always the best one. Mutations are assumed to be perfective, not destructive…

"It is dying but it laughs," said the Romans of their collapsing empire. The chortling of the Bill Mahers last week deserves a similar line. The smugness seems to grow in proportion to America's problems and pathologies. Their assertions about Obama's socialism stimulating the economy or gay marriage strengthening the family are on the same level as their claim that pot is good for public health…

Desperate to win in a declining culture, prominent Republicans have already called for a more "modern" party. It only took a couple of days for them to embrace the wisdom of the Democrats and call for a relaxed abortion stance among other "evolutions." But why stop there? If the purpose of politics is not to win on sound principles (so that problems can actually be solved when you do win) but to win through pandering, the Republicans should discard their whole platform. After all, fiscal conservatism didn't fare very well either. America could then move forward even faster toward destruction, with two liberal parties of varying degrees, jostling with each other in a competition to see who can deliver bread and circuses to the mob to greater cheers...

(From "Obama's Smug America" by George Neumayr, The American Spectator)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Today's Posts

"When Swing Was King" -- Back to Back

Are You Hip to These Happenings?

Bad Move, Indeed. America's Youth Voted Against...America's Youth!

It's the Morality, Stupid

"When Swing Was King" -- Back to Back

Yesterday afternoon was a particularly intense (and fun) one for Claire and I as we jammed in two "When Swing Was King" presentations in just three hours. Wow.

Our regular schedule had us going to the theater room of Heritage Point at 2 o'clock to show the newest volume and we had been hustling all morning to be ready. I'd had an early morning meeting and worked on a proposal to resurrect the Omaha Chesterton Society while Claire got the November LifeSharer letter printed up. (She had printed up the return envelopes the day before.) Then we met back at the house to get it folded, stuffed, stamped and sent out, listening to old radio broadcasts of Dragnet that we have on CD as we worked. (As usual, the project was a 3-program affair. Thus, we were able to listen to Joe Friday and Frank Smith catch a crook, solve a murder, and bust up a dope ring -- all in one sitting!)

We barely finished in time for our afternoon presentation and were in the process of packing our equipment when a call came in from the activities director at Brookstone down in Millard, another one of the assisted living facilities that is on our monthly schedule. "Our music act just cancelled and everyone is set up for a big 4 o'clock party. Is there any way you guys could come?" Claire asked, "You mean instead of our regular day?" The AD responded, "Well, I know I'm asking a lot but we'd love you to come that day too!"

Claire yelled out and told me about the request (Janey was still on the phone) and I almost said no. After all, I didn't want to be so hurried that we wouldn't be able to spend the normal amount of time visiting with the residents at Heritage Point after the program. Then I remembered that the time necessary to set up over at Brookstone is minimal -- they set up the room for us and we use their screen and projection system. That made the difference. "Tell her okay. I think we can do it."

And we did.

We had a terrific time at Heritage Point with the room packed and wonderful visiting before and after. One young woman had come to take her mom out for a hamburger but mom wasn't about to miss "When Swing Was King." So, the daughter stayed and they watched and listened to the presentation together and, from where we were sitting, it seemed that the daughter was swaying to the music almost as much as her mom! After the show, the daughter told us how much her mother loves our program and looks forward to it every month. She wanted to take our picture so that other family members would know who her mom was talking about when she talked about "When Swing Was King."

We also got a kick out of the daughter's complements about my narration in the show. "You know so much history and your voice is like listening to someone on the radio." We just laughed and said thank you. But Claire later teased me, "Interesting. Take that love of music that you've had since you were little, add to it a Master's degree is history, and then add all those years on KGBI and what do you get? "When Swing Was King!"

Maybe so.

Anyhow, we did make it to Brookstone and we had a great time there too. The activities staff is one of the best around (Janey, Lynn, Kim, and the rest) and they were deeply grateful for our willingness to fill in. We visited with some of our regular pals (sadly, two of those regular pals have died in recent weeks) but we made a couple of new friendships too. One of them was with a spirited Benson High grad who went to sing with the Metropolitan Opera in the 40s and ended up singing with people like Danny Kaye and Desi Arnaz. Cool, huh? We're really looking forward to hearing a lot more from this gal.

So, it was a splendid afternoon of music, memories and warmhearted fellowship. In short, it was another afternoon of"When Swing Was King." And remember, these were only presentations 2 and 3 out of 5 this week!

Please remember too that this outreach is given free of charge to the residents of 13 different nursing homes and senior living facilities every month. And so your financial contributions to Vital Signs Ministries (as well as your prayers) are really important to help us keep this wonderful ministry going strong. Thanks.

By the way, here is the current playlist for this edition of "When Swing Was King."

1) Glenn Miller Orchestra (vocals by Ray Eberle)
"Moonlight Cocktail"

2) Artie Shaw Orchestra
"I Cover the Waterfront"

3) Count Basie Orchestra (vocals by Jimmy Rushing)
"I'm Gonna' Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter"

4) The Mills Brothers
"You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You"

5) Benny Goodman Orchestra (vocals by Helen Ward)
"These Foolish Things"

6) Ray Anthony Orchestra
"This Love of Mine"

7) Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (vocals by Frank Sinatra & the Pied Pipers)
"There Are Such Things"

8) Hal Kemp Orchestra
"42nd Street"

9) Harry James Orchestra (vocals by Buddy DeVito)
"If I Loved You"

10) Guy Lombardo Orchestra
"How Deep Is the Ocean"

11) Bing Crosby
"Sunday, Monday or Always"

12) Vaughn Monroe Orchestra
"Ghost Riders in the Sky"

13) The Andrews Sisters
"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"