Blog

My Political Framework of Thinking

Posted by on Apr 3, 2010 in Life, Politics, Spiritual | 0 comments

Experiences of childhood affects many facets of our adult life. Recently I was thinking about my political beliefs of limited government and my dislike for government expansion with entitlement programs.

I grew up in a middle class neighborhood. My parents did not have a lot of money, they never gave me a lot of money, but growing up, I never did without the basics. Sure, I would have liked to have been given additional spending money to purchase more clothes, Beatles albums, ballgame tickets, swimming club memberships, junk food, you get the picture.

My parents and grandparents grew a lot of our food in vegetable gardens. We ate them fresh from the garden in the summer, and out of jars and freezer bags in the winter. My grandparents kept the neighborhood supplied with plenty of fresh vegetables. If there was a need that my family was aware of, they tried to take care of it. My parents and grandparents have given money, taken food in, and helped anyway they could where there was a need.

Except for an occasional “to go” order at Krystal Hamburger, and later KFC, I never remember a single time our family went into a restaurant to eat a meal. It was considered too expensive and we ate home cooked meals instead. The first time I actually remember eating at a restaurant was after church on Sunday night at Shoney’s, I was probably 14 years old. I ordered their onion rings and I still recall they cost $.50. It seemed very expensive to me because that’s all the money I had that night. (they were delicious)

A few members of our extended family received government food either free or at reduced costs. We didn’t have food stamps then but they were referred to as “commodities.” My immediate family never turned to the government for assistance.

Instead, my mother took on babysitting jobs for the neighbor down the street (she also held other part-time jobs from time to time) and my father worked 2 jobs. Instead of working normal hours (8 am till 5 pm) he worked the 4-11 shift at Ford Glass plant (because it paid a little more money), got up the next morning and painted houses until time to head back to the plant. Didn’t need government assistance.

I was taught to value savings and hard work. My grandparents took me to Home Federal Savings and Loan bank to start an account when I was too short to stand at the counter without a step stool. I never saw a credit card until I went to college. I wasn’t even sure how they worked. I never had a credit card until after I graduated. If my parents couldn’t pay for it by the end of the month, they didn’t buy it. It’s that simple. Get it? No credit debt.

My grandmother knew the head cook at the local “burger” shop and got me a job washing dishes when I was actually under age, I was 15. During that time period I caddied on weekends at the Old Hickory Golf Club. I walked from my grandparent’s house to the golf course on Saturday and Sunday mornings at 5 am to get in line with the other guys looking for work. I’d walk home late that evening with about $20 in my pocket. Felt like a millionaire. Didn’t need government assistance.

I won’t bore you with the details, but subsequent years were similar. I had a job during most of my high school years, and I worked during College. My parents and grandparents paid for my college tuition. There was no government assistance.

So this is a small snapshot into my early years that shaped how I view the world today. The idea of turning to the government for anything is completely foreign to me. The idea of depending on the government for financial assistance is completely foreign to my way of thinking. If you need something, then work for it. If you can’t obtain it that way, then pray for it and God will provide it. I often think, if I can do this, if my mother and father could do it, then others can do it as well.

I recognize a role for limited government to help provide social assistance. But government is currently too big, too inefficient, mismanaged, abused and out of control.

If my government can keep the roads paved (which they often don’t) and our country safe from attack, maintain a strong infrastructure, keep our water, food, and pharmaceuticals safe, then I’ll be content for now.

I’m Thankful When the Government Looks After Me

Posted by on Apr 1, 2010 in Funny, Politics | 0 comments

Yes I am thankful when the government looks after me.  I know sometimes I can be negative about government intrusion, but I’m going to turn over a new leaf starting today.

News cameras spotted our distinguished Mayor of Philadelphia (Nutter Dem.) as he proudly walked the hallowed littered streets of Philly feeling good about the newly passed law requiring restaurants and food establishments to post calories of food for all to see. It warms my soul as well because I’ve always wondered how many calories a Starbucks Vente Caramel Machiato with double cream contained. And thankfully I can also see right away the calories in a Boston Cream Filled Dunkin Doughnut.  No more for me!!  That did it!

This along with the new tax proposal to add 25 cents to the cost of colas for inner city kids is something we can all feel good about.   This is heart warming.  Just think of those kids now refusing to pay an extra quarter for Coca Cola and turning instead to the OJ section of  Florida’s fresh squeeze. And besides we all know that increasing taxes improves diet and health as well as creates jobs.  Right? Right. Behavior modification is just another thing our government has excelled in.

The tax on vendors using plastic bags for groceries will help to eliminate trash on the streets too.

Mayor Blumberg of NYC can also boast about mandating restaurants to stop cooking with saturated fats and too much salt.

This is what I want my government doing for me.  Who needs better roads or decrease in crime when we can have them looking out for our dietary needs.  So today I am thankful for all that my government does for me and my family!! 🙂

Why all the Anger?

Posted by on Mar 29, 2010 in Politics | 0 comments

This past week was a tough one for conservative Americans as we witnessed the largest government takeover and expansion since FDR and social security. Congressional representatives from both sides of the isle complained of being victims of hate “crimes,” vandalism, ugly and nasty comments.  Some liberals have accused the right of being racists, bullies, uncaring and hate mongers.  Some on the right have have indulged in name calling (“it’s a baby killer”), “communists,” and so on.  There is a lot of anger in our country today.  We see this on the news programs, hear it on talk radio, and read it on Facebook of all places.  We’ve all heard it before that it’s taboo and an Emily Post  no-no to discuss religion and politics in social situations.  Of course that was long before social networking like Facebook.

I’ve been asked “where is this anger coming from?”  So I’m trying to think through this question.  Why are people angry at our politicians?  Why are we angry with each other?  Is there in fact increased anger today or is it more in plain sight because of increased visibility created by the blogosphere, the internet, success of talk radio, and of course FB?

I am very concerned anytime government expands and creates a larger dependent population.  I don’t  “hate” anyone but I do hate high taxes.  It robs me of my  hard earned money and ultimately the more taxes I pay, the less I have to spend on manufactured goods, home improvements, travel, entertainment, and savings. Increased taxes results in less job creation. And where do the taxes go?  I posted a comment earlier this week asking if anyone could name a single entitlement managed by the government, funded by tax payers that was doing a good job.  There is none.  Why would anyone believe this entitlement is any different?  I’m angry because this is not the hope and change promised.  Obama never crossed the isle as a senator (for a full 18 months) and he has shown so far the same partisan politics. We were promised by Obama that “all this will be seen on C Span,” which was a lie.  This bill was passed with sleaze, deals, and largely behind closed doors. Is this the political transparency Obama promised?  Have you heard Obama speak lately?  Can any objective listener say that he doesn’t sound divisive and angry?

I’m angry that people apparently don’t understand what debt is and at citizens who have little concept of “pay as you go.”  It’s a simple concept, balance your checkbook.  Someone has to pay for government services but we hear little about how things will be paid for.

The liberals I’ve spoken with are still mad at Bush/Cheney.  They refuse to place any blame for problems of the past year on Obama or the Democratic leadership (Reid and Pelosi) who, by the way have been in power for several years now.

Yes there is anger.  Political and Religious beliefs go deep into the heart and soul of people. Individuals dig into their beliefs and refuse to listen and learn from each other.  When this happens, pride slips in and prevents us from seeing the “big picture.”  In this case, I believe the “big picture” is the growth, protection, and success of The United States of America, the greatest nation on earth.

“Is this Mr. Creeeecy?

Posted by on Mar 17, 2010 in Funny, Life | 1 comment

Whenever our “land line” phone rings at any time of the day, and I answer it, a cheerful voice on the other end greets me with “Is this Mr. Creeecy?”  (they always mispronounce my name) I won’t take the time to phonetically spell all of their machinations and mispronunciations.  As soon as I’m asked this question, my  primary sphincter muscle begins to contract and tighten because I know what follows.  DO NOT ANSWER THIS QUESTION if you receive these solicitation calls.  As soon as you say “yes, who’s calling?” they begin their monologue selling their wares without taking a breath. For some mysterious reason, once I’ve  answered “yes” to “Is this Mr. Creeecy?” I feel like it would be rude for me to just hang up the phone. So, I patiently listen while my sphincter muscle gets tighter and tighter and my blood pressure rises. But in the end (or sometimes I interrupt the chirpy voice on the other end) I say “No thank you.” Then I hang up. No matter what they say, regardless of what they ask me, the answer is “No thank you.”

Apparently my membership to the “Pennsylvania Do Not Call List” recently expired.  I have been contacted in the last week by every charity known to humankind asking for my donation.  Political lawyers have also phoned to warn me of the impending doom which awaits our country (of which I’m already well aware of) asking for money so they can take our case to the Supreme Court.  I’m serious.  I received a recorded call from Dick Morris and one other dude (can’t remember his name) asking for a donation (I promised myself that I would not make this a political blog today).

So today, I’ve “re-signed” with the “Do Not Call” list and hopefully it will remedy this nuisance.  I’m not sure why we maintain the land line instead of switching entirely to cell phones.  Not a single person we know or friend calls the land line.  Of course our family and friends use the cell number.  Perhaps we feel more secure knowing that if the cell phone battery goes dead because we forgot to plug it in the night before, we still have a life line to the outside world of talk.

Love in the Supermarket

Posted by on Mar 8, 2010 in Funny, Life, Psychology, Spiritual | 0 comments

Now that I’m “retired” from my regular day job, I’m on different routines.  For example, I might be at the grocery store during the day instead of on the weekend or at night as was the case today, after returning home from vacation, our cupboards were bear.  I got up later than usual and started to the gym.  Traffic patterns are different at 8 am  vs 5 am.  No joke.  School buses and school mom’s tried to kill me several times with their unexpected starts and stops.  At 5 am, there is no traffic to speak of, so I had the road to myself, but not so at 8am.  The gym is a bee hive at 8am compared to the 10 of us there at 5am.

So now, I’m off to the store.  Ok, first lesson, never, never shop at Wegmans on Monday mornings.  Their cupboards are also bear from the ransacking they took over the weekend.  The collard greens were yellow (for you yankees, they’re supposed to be bright verdant green),  No tomato sauce, or fresh grapefruit juice either.  Enough, you get the picture.  So now I notice  there are only two categories of people in the entire store; either the very old with grey hair ( I guess I qualify now), or young mothers with kids in shopping carts which look like model airplanes.  It’s dodge cars as you’ve never seen it (remember the dodge cars at the state fairs? The ones which have the electric sparking cable attached to the ceiling?)  Well that’s what its like.  Several grandmothers were nearly ran over by moms  rushing for the blue light special in the opposite corner of the store.  Wild as usual.

But what got my attention and brought me back to the present, a very enjoyable moment of course, was the red faced toddler standing up in the shopping cart (designed to look like a model airplane) who was announcing his unhappiness to the entire produce section.  Then I watched as the mom, bend over, without effort and softly plant a  “mothers” kiss to his sweaty forehead.  It was magical and facinating to see the calming effect of …what else…LOVE.  The tears dried up, and a big smile came on his smudged face.  See what a kiss can do?   Find the one you love right now and go plant a kiss on their cheek and see what happens…..

Healing of Addictions

Posted by on Feb 20, 2010 in Devotion, Psychology, Self-Talk, Spiritual | 0 comments

II Corinthians 4:16-17 encourages us to not lose heart or become discouraged even though our outer man is decaying, our inner man is being renewed  each day.  It’s a daily “process” in which light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.

God seems to transform and bring healing to us in at least two distinct ways;  an instantaneous miracle, or through a process of peeling back multiple layers of spiritual, emotional, and psychological walls, often compared to “peeling an onion.”  This latter process usually occurs over extended periods of time often requiring years or even a lifetime to accomplish.

In my experience with counseling those struggling with sexual addictions and sexual sins, transforming healing and freedom occurs during a process over time.  I’ve also observed this “healing process” with drug addictions as well. During the process there are often “slip-ups” where the person who has resolved never to go back, never to “use” again, returns to use the drug or view the pornography once more.

While we know that God has the power to instantly heal and bring recovery, I believe he uses this restorative process over time to vividly demonstrate the destructive, deadly, consequences that sin brings not only to the individual but to family and friends surrounding the person.  It helps one to realize the “awfulness” of the sin which drives us to our knees in daily submission and supplication to our Father for help.  The process also reveals to us the magnificence and depth of His grace when we are  totally and completely dependent on God for deliverance.  Remember God spoke to Paul about his struggles and said “my grace is sufficient.” God did not instantly bring healing or restoration to Paul regarding the “thorn in the flesh.”  I believe he wanted to use this opportunity to demonstrate his grace and power in Paul’s life.

The story of Joseph in Genesis perfectly describes a healing process.  God could have instantly taken revenge on the brothers who tried to kill Joseph.  He could have made Joseph ruler in Egypt at any time.  But he didn’t.  We’re provided a narrative that tells of how Joseph was left for dead, slandered, accused of rape, and  imprisoned before being placed in authority to save his family.  It was a process.  All the evil that was hoisted upon Joseph, God turned it around and made something beautiful and good that saved his entire family from death.

Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Look at the process that God took Abraham and Sara through.  Why didn’t God just give them a son during their youthful years?  Why did he wait 100 years before giving them a child?  It was through this extended period of time that Abraham proved his faith and God demonstrated his powerful hand to accomplish what he promised he would.

I believe God can take the evil that haunts and seeks to destroy our lives and make something good from it.  Addictive behaviors are always the tip of the iceberg.  It’s what we observe from the outside. God wants to uncover the often hidden root causes, the emotional and psychological wounds, unforgiveness, anger, self reliance and pride, that support and give way to the addictive behaviors.  True restoration, freedom and healing from these types of wounds will take time to explore and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal new insights within our hearts which will bring lasting transformation.

What Conservatives Believe

Posted by on Feb 19, 2010 in Politics | 0 comments

If you’re a political junkie like me, you may already know this, however I think it’s good to periodically conduct a self – check up to make sure we’re still on target.  Conservative values (true conservative values, not just a political party platform) have enduring qualities.  Below is a list of 12 tenants of “faith” for conservatives.  Conduct your own check-up and share with others if you’d like. These are the types of questions and criteria I will consider when deciding who to vote for.

Adopted in conference at Sharon, Connecticut, on 11 September 1960.

In this time of moral and political crises, it is the responsibility of the youth of America to affirm certain eternal truths.We, as young conservatives, believe:

That foremost among the transcendent values is the individual’s use of his God-given free will, whence derives his right to be free from the restrictions of arbitrary force;

That liberty is indivisible, and that political freedom cannot long exist without economic freedom;

That the purpose of government is to protect those freedoms through the preservation of internal order, the provision of national defense, and the administration of justice;

That when government ventures beyond these rightful functions, it accumulates power, which tends to diminish order and liberty;

That the Constitution of the United States is the best arrangement yet devised for empowering government to fulfill its proper role, while restraining it from the concentration and abuse of power;

That the genius of the Constitution- the division of powers- is summed up in the clause that reserves primacy to the several states, or to the people, in those spheres not specifically delegated to the Federal government;

That the market economy, allocating resources by the free play of supply and demand, is the single economic system compatible with the requirements of personal freedom and constitutional government, and that it is at the same time the most productive supplier of human needs;

That when government interferes with the work of the market economy, it tends to reduce the moral and physical strength of the nation; that when it takes from one man to bestow on another, it diminishes the incentive of the first, the integrity of the second, and the moral autonomy of both;

That we will be free only so long as the national sovereignty of the United States is secure; that history shows periods of freedom are rare, and can exist only when free citizens concertedly defend their rights against all enemies;

That the forces of international Communism are, at present, the greatest single threat to these liberties;

That the United States should stress victory over, rather than coexistance with, this menace; and

That American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion: does it serve the just interests of the United States?

On the Mountain of the Lord It Will Be Provided

Posted by on Feb 11, 2010 in Devotion, Life | 2 comments

Genesis 22  “Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.

2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

Can you imagine hearing the voice of God telling you to do such an insane thing?  But Abraham had astounding faith and he recognized the voice of God.  Don’t know about you, I have trouble with both having faith and recognizing the voice of God.  But Abraham responded immediately “Here I am.”  He had an ear for hearing God.  There was no confusion, no arguing, no questioning, no “but God…. but…. you said….” just obedience and preparations for the journey to the mountain of sacrifice.  How could he take Isaac, his only son, one that he had waited on for almost 100 years,  and embark on this journey to sacrificial death?  Genesis 22:5 perhaps provides a clue.  When Abraham, Isaac, the donkey, and 2 servants arrived at the mountain, Abraham told the servants to stay with the donkey and “we (Isaac and Abraham) will come back to you.”  I think he knew all along that God would provide, he just didn’t have the details yet.  It was his tremendous faith in God that allowed him to take Isaac on a  journey which to the natural eye appeared to be a death trap.  Abraham knew God and exercised faith in God that he would fulfill his promises.  True to form, Abraham pulled out his knife and was ready to slay his only son just as God had ordered.  But once again, Abraham’s keen sense and ability to discern and hear the voice of God was immediate.  An angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham! And once again he replied, “Here I am.”  Most of you know how the story ended, but just in case, read the outcome in Genesis 22:-15.  He was not to lay a hand on the boy.  The Lord provided a ram for sacrifice.

Abraham must have had faith that God is a God of unlimited provision.  He called the place “The Lord will Provide.”  “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided”  What is this mountain of the Lord? Mountains often symbolize a tower of strength, immovable, permanent, wisdom, power, protection and magnificent beauty.

What aspects of your life do you need to exercise faith in God’s promises?  In your marriage, your relationships, your career, family, children, personal health?  I believe we can approach the “mountain of the Lord” where he provides a source of wisdom, strength, power, and protection from sin, from discouragement, guilt, shame, depression, anger, and various addictions.  Has God “promised” something to you but you don’t have the “details” just yet?

Yes, but “I’m not faithful like Abraham, I’ve had sin in my life,” or “I’ve made so many mistakes that I don’t think God would answer my prayers.”

Let me remind you that even though Abraham had tremendous, unwavering faith, he also demonstrated a lack of faith and even entered into sin on numerous occasions.  Let me start by listing a couple.  He lied about his wife Sarah being his sister on at least 2 separate occasions to protect himself.  Perhaps he is best known for sleeping with the maidservant Hagar and getting her pregnant with Ishmael. Significant consequences followed each of these sinful acts, but God was faithful and so was Abraham.  The New Testament refers to Abraham as “father of faith” not “that sinner who slept with Hagar.”

We’ve all sinned and fallen short of our high calling, but we can and must abide with our God on the mountain of provision each day.

Scott Brown

Posted by on Jan 20, 2010 in Politics | 0 comments

It’s time for the Democrats to step back, take a deep breath, and recalibrate.  The stunning loss last night for the democrat’s senate race in Massachusetts to Republican Scott Brown should send political shock waves to liberal politicians across the country.  This was the seat Ted Kennedy held for 5 decades and now it’s in republican hands.  So what happened?  If you listen to the main stream media (MSM) pundits they’ll tell you it’s because of ethics probes with the local democrats, or Martha ran a campaign worthy of political malpractice or that Brown ran a clever campaign.  Chris Matthews, the pMSNBC left winger, chalked it up to Coakley’s ill timed vacation during the Christmas holidays. But the one excuse that still has me scratching my head is, it’s Bush’s fault.  I can’t make this stuff up. The logic (or illogical)  reasoning goes something like this; Bush left the economy in shambles, people are just plain angry and voted for Brown. White voter rage. Whatever.  No.  She lost because of the message content and lack of substance, not the campaign presentation.

I believe there are three things that keep American people up at night; the economy, jobs and unemployment, and national security.

March 12, 2010

Posted by on Jan 11, 2010 in Healthcare Reform, Life, Pharmaceutical Industry, Psychology | 10 comments

March 12, 2010 will mark a new milestone in my 57 year old chronology. It will be my last day at work (most of you know who I have had the privilege to work for) after 31 years with the company.

Right now I’m referring to it as Phase III for a lack of a better title. Phase I was my Growing Up years (the immature years), Phase II was my career years (also the immature years), and now Phase III. I’m all grown up (that depends on who you ask) and the path ahead is not marked.  I’ve never been here before.  Of course, it’s never been well marked.