Thursday, April 20, 2017

Culture War Updates

One of the services provided by Vital Signs Blog is to offer every few days a small collection of some of the excellent and relevant articles (mostly from the alternative media) dealing with issues of the culture war. Here's the latest of those collections.

* “Did O’Reilly Finally Go Too Far?” (Victor Davis Hanson, National Review)

* “How Political Correctness Holds African-Americans Back” (Walter E. Williams, Daily Signal)

* “Confirmed: John Brennan Colluded With Foreign Spies to Defeat Trump” (Geirge Neumayr, American Spectator)

* “Taxpayers Fund Lawyers To Defend Highly Paid Federal Managers Under Fire” (Luke Rosiak, Daily Caller)

* “Scott Walker Deals Another Blow to Big Labor in Wisconsin” (Ted Goodman, Daily Signal)

* “28 people shot in less than 18 hours in Chicago” (Elyssa Cherney, Chicago Tribune)

* “Former FEC Chairwoman Calls for ‘Regulations’ of Political Speech on the Internet” (Ian Miles Cheong, Heatstreet)

* “Earth Day Dopes” (John Stossel, Town Hall)

* “Off the Rails, Again and Again: How Washington ensures that rail travel in the Northeast Corridor remains a nightmare” (Steven Malanga, City Journal)

About This Lack of Gratitude Thing...

Returning home after walking my regular course one afternoon last fall, I came across an unusual scene.  In front of the Christian school that I pass by were two men I know who work there. One was kneeling beside the sewer opening at the curb while the other was actually lying on the pavement and trying to reach down inside.  A nicely-dressed woman was standing nearby.

I stopped to help and discovered they were trying to retrieve a schoolbook that had somehow fallen down into the sewer and which was lying, safe and dry for the moment, on a bit of concrete shelf.  Being dressed down in shorts and T-shirt and already dirty, I offered my help and got down beside my friend.  Though taller and having a longer reach, I couldn’t get to the book either even though I got down as far as I could into the sewer opening.  Even using a pole with a gripping device wouldn’t work.

Well, we worked at it quite awhile before my friend thought about possibly prying the manhole cover from its rust-encrusted position so that he could drop inside.  It wasn’t easy and the iron cover proved heavy and cumbersome – but it worked.  Once we had that done, it took just seconds for him to retrieve the book and but another minute to maneuver the manhole cover back into place.  Our efforts had produced a successful conclusion and, I don’t know about the others, I felt a wonderful sense of achievement.

But the most notable detail of this story was one that wasn’t wonderful at all for that was the inaction of the young girl whose book had been saved.  During the whole time of the adventure – 15 minutes since I had showed up and who knows how long before that  – she merely sat in a nearby car, messing with her phone.  It was the girl’s mother who had stood alongside watching our efforts in her daughter’s behalf. The mom was encouraging and very grateful.  But, even when the book was retrieved, the girl herself displayed no gratitude, not even interest. The mother was embarrassed when she finally had to direct her daughter to roll down the window to acknowledge the favor.  The girl let the car window come down, took the book from her mom’s hand, gave us a slight and quick smile and…zip…up went the window again and she returned her attention to her phone. The mom repeated her own thanks and assured us that her daughter was grateful too.  The evidence of that, however, could hardly been weaker.

I shook hands with the other guys and thanked them for their efforts in behalf of the student.  I thanked them too for letting me be a part of the project for, when all was said and done, it had been kinda’ fun. But, as I walked the rest of the way home, I thought about how sad an example this presented of modern youth, even in Christian circles.  Self-centered. Ungrateful.  A haughty indifference to elders – even when beholden to them.  Indifference to parental expectations or feelings. And being so tied to “social media” that true social responsibilities are ignored.
I wonder — will those of us who are older finally recognize the trouble our youth are in (and, through them, the whole culture) because of the counter-productive polices we’ve practiced in the schools, the church youth programs, parenting priorities, and the tragic extent that we have allowed kids to be engulfed in technology, fad and fashion, and Hollywood media? And, even if we recognize the situation, will we begin to take steps to rebuild among our youth respect, responsibility, a work ethic, humility, real life skills, rites of passage, and a personal devotion to both the precepts and the power of biblical Christianity?

Make no mistake, this is a critical matter, one that must be seriously and continually addressed. If not, the future of Christian culture (short of heaven) is bleak indeed.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Post-Easter Review

We have all been busy about other things these last several days (and rightly so) but now, at the beginning of a new week in the trenches of the culture war, I suggest several articles that are too good to slip by unnoticed.

* “The Israel-Palestinian Peace Process Has Been a Massive Charade” (Daniel Pipes, Mosaic)

* “Trump’s Syria airstrike was a huge loss for Putin” (Ralph Peters, New York Post)

* “Dynamic Christianity vs. the Benedict Option” (Rachel Lu, National Review)

* “Charges Against Pro-Life Investigative Journalist David Daleiden are Totally Bogus. Here’s Why” (Matt Heffron,

* “Why Hillary Clinton Deserves Planned Parenthood’s Award” (Alexandra DeSanctis, National Review)

* “President Donald Trump Signs Bill to Overturn Obama Rule Forcing States to Fund Planned Parenthood” (Steven Ertelt,

* “Congressman Says Corruption in Washington Is ‘Worse Than You Think’” (Rachel del Guidice, Daily Signal)

* “At Least 20% of SEIU’s Budget Went to Politics” (Bill McMorris, Washington Free Beacon)

* “Rod Dreher, Meet Leo Strauss and Friends” ( Mike Sabo, American Greatness)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

All Aboard the Chattanooga Choo Choo...and More

Wow. We have quite a lineup for the April 2017 “When Swing Was King” and things got off to a fine start yesterday evening at House of Hope up on north 52nd Street. Only 12 more shows to go!

We are also pretty excited about discovering a Blue Tooth speaker setup that will be of terrific help to us in a couple of our venues.

Here is this month's excellent song list.

1) Glenn Miller Orchestra (Vocals by Tex Beneke, Paula Kelly, the Modernaires) -- “Chattanooga Choo Choo”

2) Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra (Vocals by Ray Ebery & Helen O'Connell) -- “Green Eyes”

3) Artie Shaw Orchestra -- “Begin the Beguine”

4) Benny Goodman Orchestra (Vocals by Martha Tilton) -- “The Lady’s In Love With You”

5)  Benny Moten & the Kansas City Orchestra -- “Moten Swing”

6) Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (Vocals by Frank Sinatra) -- “Fools Rush In”

7) Lawrence Welk Orchestra -- “Alley Cat”

8) The McGuire Sisters -- “Sincerely”

9) The Mills Brothers -- “Lazy River”

10)  Freddy Martin Orchestra -- “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”

11) Vaughn Monroe Orchestra -- “There, I’ve Said It Again”

12) Sammy Kaye Orchestra -- “Daddy”

Monday, April 10, 2017

Hey Business Leaders! Stop Giving Money to the Giant Abortion Corporation, Planned Parenthood.

I occasionally post some of my letters in hopes that others will follow suit.  And that’s because the evidence remains strong that individual letters make a difference – to politicians, preachers, and business leaders.  In this particular case, I utilized the information at 2nd Vote to send letters and emails to dozens of big companies who give money to Planned Parenthood. (As if the millions PP makes from destroying preborn kids and the millions more they get from government agencies aren’t enough.)

I encourage you to check out 2nd Vote also…and write a few notes of your own. You’ll be interested, I bet, in the companies they list who worked against the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Together, we can create a much greater impact in promoting a culture of life, justice, and decency.

Dear PepsiCo officers,

I recently became aware that your otherwise reputable company is continuing to give money to a most irreputable business; namely, the abortion conglomerate that is Planned Parenthood.  This, of course, is the same Planned Parenthood that continues to lie about providing mammograms and other health care, that works incessantly against traditional sexual morality and parental authority, that has been engaged in the grisly and illegal selling of fetal body parts, that champions the most graphic and profane sex ed materials, and that destroys in their mother’s wombs hundreds of thousands of preborn boys and girls through the barbaric means of curettes and suction machines. 

Please stop debasing your company (and our culture) by giving money to Planned Parenthood.  Until you do, I must forego doing business with your company and I will inform family, friends, fellow church members, blog readers, and others of your grossly unwarranted support of Planned Parenthood.

Denny Hartford
Director, Vital Signs Ministries
Omaha, Nebraska

And 2nd Vote also gives you some of the companies that stay out of leftist causes. So, I wrote letters to many of them as well. Here’s a sample:

Dear Wendy’s,

I understand that your company has resisted pressures to give money to organizations and businesses that engage in leftist political agitation, the promotion of indecency, or in other anti-life and anti-family causes.  Please know that this is a breath of fresh air for most American consumers and is, therefore, a very good business tactic.  Indeed, it has not only persuaded me to frequent your company more than I have, but I will also be recommending your company to my family and friends. 

Thank you.

Denny Hartford
Director, Vital Signs Ministries
Omaha, Nebraska

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Weekend Review

There's a number of topics today, some covered by different, even disagreeing,
perspectives. But they're all valuable articles that will prompt clearer thinking, more effective conversation, and more specific prayers.

* “Syria: After the Airstrikes” (Editors, National Review)

* “The Message in the Missiles” (Scott Johnson, Power Line)

* “No to Bombing Syria” (Daniel Pipes, National Review)

* “Why Susan Rice’s Role In The Obama Spying Story Is A Big Deal” (Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist)

* “Why the media want to bury the Susan Rice ‘unmasking’ news” (Editors, New York Post)

* “BOMBSHELL: The Obama Spying Scandal Started Long Before Trump” (Bre Payton, The Federalist)

* “GOP Calls on Trump to Honor Promise to Defend Religious Liberty” (Todd Starnes, The Stream)

* “Mob Rule on Campus” (Harry Stein, City Journal)

* “The President Is This Presidency’s Worst Enemy” (Jonah Goldberg, National Review)

* “Flawed Climate Models” (David R. Henderson & Charles L. Hooper, Hoover Institution)

* “Hillary Clinton's book plan proves she still doesn't get it” (Emily Jashinsky, Washington Examiner)

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Monday, April 03, 2017

Who's for Peace in the World? Not Planned Parenthood!

The car pulled into the Planned Parenthood parking lot this morning with a bumper sticker lauding “Nebraskans for Peace.” I spoke to the PP employee when she got out of her car: “Surely you’re aware of the startling hypocrisy of a Planned Parenthood worker trying to promote a message of peace. After all, you guys make war daily on the most innocent and helpless of all human beings…and you utilize the most cruel and painful methods to do so. Mother Teresa once said that the greatest killer of peace in the whole world was abortion. She couldn’t have been more accurate. And you know in your heart that's true. So, how about it? You have the opportunity to do more than merely pose as a peacemaker; you can actually do something about it. Quit this barbaric job and start working to protect preborn boys and girls from slaughter. You really want peace in the world? Then let’s start with protecting the sacred peace of a mother’s womb.”