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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Why all Americans need to go back and reread The Three Little Pigs

A straw man argument is an argument, however rational, that does not address the topic at hand. It is intended to serve as a distraction, a decoy. But in the end a good strong wind could take it down.

Politicians today are attempting to build an empire out of straw. And it's working, because instead of huffing and puffing, Americans are sitting in their living rooms with cold beers watching the construction. (Or The Biggest Loser) Let me explain:

America: We need healthcare reform, and we need it now.
Washington: We'll give you guaranteed health insurance that will cost less and create jobs.

And Americans are so busy imagining the wonders of this newer, better, cheaper healthcare that they don't do the math. The giant straw feel-good clinic blinds them to the reality of increased insurance premiums, doctors retiring en masse to avoid crippling regulations, and the jobs that magically disappeared when the employer was forced to keep up with escalating insurance costs rather than hire new employees.

Why would Washington do that? It's all about the results. The healthcare law forces insurance companies to either operate at a loss or raise their rates astronomically. If they raise their rates too much, they lose customers and go out of business. If they operate at a loss, they eventually go out of business. When they all go out of business, the Government has successfully bought out the healthcare industry. And the beauty of it is, they didn't pay for it. You did.

America: Help! We've become a nation overrun by childhood obesity!
Washington: Don't you DO anything. We'll just regulate food until nothing legal to eat has been shown to contribute to obesity in any way.

And like lab rats, we wait for the regulation to come. We don't change our eating habits or get to the gym. We give our kids cookies and video game controllers instead of the inspiration to get outside. We look in awe at the straw construction of the White House garden and ignore the sound bites that tell us even the President sometimes wants hot wings at 1am.

What they don't tell you is that if you overeat on Special K and organic fruits and vegetables, you're still going to be overweight. The image in straw is designed to make you believe that a federal regulation will change the unhealthy habits of the people. (You know, since adding the Surgeon General's warning has stopped people from smoking...)

America: On November 2, 2010, we told you that we were unhappy with the way things were going. What will you do about it?
Washington: We're going to speak more politely to each other, shake hands, and try to get along.We'll even sit together at the State of the Union...

What they're not telling you is that in order to make speech more polite, they intend to regulate it. Meaning they would put restrictions on "free" speech. They also neglect to mention that something as simple as political opponents sitting together at the State of the Union strikes a psychological blow. The Americans who voted for conservatives and trusted them to stand their ground see them already giving an inch. The built-in-straw campfire complete with chorus of Kum-ba-ya is meant to distract them from their hero's first sign of compromise.

The common thread here is freedom. For each straw construct, a liberty is being pilfered. In the case of healthcare, you no longer have the freedom to choose your doctor and self pay. Depending on your pre-existing conditions, you may have even lost the right to choose your insurance company - and you have certainly lost any chance at affordable coverage. You have also been given the added responsibility (through higher taxes and insurance rates) to pay for the healthcare of people who do not work.

In the case of food, you have lost the right to cause a heart attack with a burger and fries. More to the point, the people who can and do enjoy those things in moderation are losing the right to do that in order to protect from themselves the people who have already proven their inability (or unwillingness) to behave responsibly.

But the last one is perhaps the most important. Speech was so important to the founders of this nation, that they listed it first and demanded that it not be limited in any fashion. Why? Because enveloped in the right to free speech is the freedom to dissent. It's the freedom to hold your government accountable in a public forum. Restrictions on the freedom of speech result in the people's freedom to disagree with the government...but only a little bit.

Reread the Three Little Pigs, folks. It tells you everything you need to know. Don't let Washington build a straw empire to hide the systematic removal of the original brick.

A Sputnik moment? Really?

During this week's State of the Union address, President Obama lamented the lack of a "Sputnik moment" to inspire Americans. He reminded us of that split second when we realized that Russia had sent a man to space and we were behind in a race that could cost us our way of life. I maintain that America has seen a plethora of such moments in recent years, and has neglected to act upon them as such.

I have spent a considerable amount of my time as a student at or near the head of the class. And, Mr. President, I didn't even have to get bumped to number five to have my very own "Sputnik moment." The moment one student usurped my number one position, Houston was on red alert.

So why did America not yell "Sputnik" when Japan surpassed the United States in education? That goes as far back as 1992.

America, the world's poster-child for freedom, now ranks 9th overall in the world prosperity index( and ranks 8th in personal freedoms. Why did American's not cry "Sputnik" when we sunk to number 2?

Simply put, Americans don't cry "Sputnik" because they have been conditioned not to care. They have grown up in a world where the losing baseball team gets a trophy because someone didn't want them to feel inferior. The problem is that rewarding the loser removes all incentive to win.

If you apply that logic on a national scale, it is a recipe for disaster. It doesn't matter that we're not the biggest and the strongest anymore, because we're all still friends...(If you believe that, you obviously haven't been keeping up with wikileaks)

The problem can be best illustrated with professional sports: Picture the New York Yankees or the Dallas Cowboys. And now think about how many people - some not even sports fans - love to see them lose simply because they have been on top for so long.

There are nations out there who feel the exact same way about the United States. They want to see Goliath felled by a pebble. They would love to see us crumble and fall, simply because we have spent some time at number one. The minute we become complacent about slipping to number two, number five, or number nine, we set ourselves up for the consolation line and the "participation" trophy. The problem is that in global politics, the consolation prize is a trophy President whose policies are engineered out of fear rather than dominance and confidence.

Mr President, if you think we should still be waiting for a "Sputnik moment," then God help us all.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Well, they haven't blamed Bush yet...

Lately it seems as though everyone is talking. And what they are talking about is the First Amendment. More specifically, the freedom of speech that is guaranteed to us in the First Amendment. The Left is crusading to put a stop to the "violent rhetoric" in the political arena. This so called violent rhetoric is a pot-stirring tactic that they would like us to believe is solely employed by the Right. But with folks like Bill Maher out there suggesting that Sarah Palin should be reincarnated as a wolf so that someone can shoot her from a helicopter, it becomes fairly clear that the tactic is universal.

Their target - du - jour is the apparently unsinkable Sarah Palin, whose use of bullseye graphics on a map (as claimed by a Lefty blogger on the Daily Kos) "were the inspiration behind Jared Loughner's shooting spree in Tucson." In fact, they suggested that between Palin's use of "violent symbolism" and Glenn Beck's raving "hate speech", Loughner hardly had a snowball's chance in hell to become anything but the violent monster he became. Nevermind that closer scrutiny quickly revealed that Loughner was hardly a Palin enthusiast, and that there were no conservative talk-radio stations among his radio presets. That information does not play into the narrative that we are supposed to be gobbling up.

So what are they doing about all of this? As usual, the Left sees a problem and attempts to solve it by driving it into absurdity. They assert that limiting the use of violent terminology will somehow decrease the amount of violence in the people. Basically, they are saying that if we want to keep people from yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater, the best way to accomplish that is to ban all uses of the word "fire."

First on the chopping block is the term "job-killing," as it refers to legislation that destroys jobs. But tell me, do you think that the guy who gets the pink slip will be less upset because he lost the means to support his family due to a piece of legislation that "eliminated the need for his position" rather than one that "killed" his job?

That part reminds me a bit of the Mafia. I know, it sounds a little bit out there - but go with me on this. Back in the day, when someone posed a problem for the Mafia, they had him killed. But when the FBI started getting a little too close for comfort, they changed their language in order to hide their agenda. Kill soon became hit, ice, whack, terminate, erase, or fit with a pair of cement shoes. My point is that regardless of the terminology, the guy still ends up in the East River.

I f the Left truly believes that softening the language will decrease the violence, then I have a few questions that I would like to ask:

Are "vertically challenged" people taller than "short" people?
Do people with "terminal illnesses" live longer than people with "fatal diseases?"
Do men whose wives "step out" feel less betrayed than men whose wives "cheat?"
Do the "visually impaired" see better than the "legally blind?"

And the list could go on and on...

My point is simply that changing the rhetoric will never change the heart of the speaker or the facts of the case.

That being said, when do we take responsibility? 

If Michelle Bachmann (Rep, Minnesota) were shot today and shooter claimed that he was inspired by Keith Olbermann, everyone would say he was crazy. Even though Olbermann has repeatedly featured Michelle Bachmann in his "Worst Person in the World" segment. And he ridicules her for "offenses" such as suggesting that a round table discussion with Jesus, George Washington, Adam – the first man – the Apostle Paul, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ann Coulter, Ronald Reagan and Mark Levin would be a very interesting combination.

If that happened, the press would say that Olbermann was well within his First Amendment rights to say those things. And they would be right. They would say that political and other public figures can not be held responsible for the actions of clearly disturbed people. And they would be right. But when the shoe is on the other foot...

Why is it that the rights of those on the Left extend further than the rights of those on the Right? Why is Palin criticized and warned that she should watch what she says while Olbermann is allowed to run his mouth unchastised and unchecked?

And at what point do we grow up, behave like adults, and take some freaking responsibility for what we do? If I grab a gun and walk into Central Park and start shooting, I am responsible no matter who I cite as inspiration. Is it Jodie Foster’s fault that John Hinckley shot Ronald Reagan? Where exactly do you draw the line? And how much of the First Amendment are you willing to compromise in order to sanitize public speech? What happens when you realize that even if you take away the First Amendment entirely, there will still be nutjobs with guns who find inspiration in high school chemistry textbooks? Who should we blame then?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Woman...Just another one of the guys.

Last week I attended a women's retreat with my church, and one of the discussions brought up the concept that the Women's Liberation Movement in America helped to bring about the decline of the nuclear family. There was some heated disagreement on the subject until we realized that we were talking about two different movements. The feminist movement began with women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton at the turn of the century who set out to earn women the right to vote and the choice to work outside the home. It was later resurrected to bring equality to the workforce, and ensure equal pay for equal work. These were things that all of the women present agreed were positive. 

But then the feminist movement underwent a paradigm shift. The goal was shifted from making it acceptable for women to work outside the home to making it unacceptable for women to choose homemaking and child-rearing as a career (unless, of course, they were paid "domestic engineers," "au pairs," or nannies...). The self same women who spent years screaming for the independence to choose their own careers now mock, scold, and deride the women whose choices lean toward the traditional.

Which is it, ladies? Did we crusade for the right to choose? Or did we crusade for the right to choose only what mainstream society finds acceptable?

The end result of the crusade is that women have been turned into "just another one of the guys." They use language in public that should be shocking, but it has become normal. Why? Because in order to be accepted into the fraternity, women have lowered themselves to the standard that had already been set. 

And the sexual revolution is included here as well. The old stereotype that feminists site is this one: "If men sleep around, they are called heroes. If women sleep around, they are called whores." What they want is to also be called heroes when they sleep around. Shouldn't they be asking men to raise their standards? Instead, they are asking to be rewarded for exhibiting reprehensible behavior. Again, instead of demanding better behavior from men, they seek to lower their own standards.

The person who really irritates me is the "truly independent" woman. You know, the one who takes off her clothes for money because she is enlightened and comfortable with her sexuality? Why does she irritate me? Because she has reduced those of us who remain fully clothed on a first date (and the men who respect us as well) to intolerant prudes.

How does all of this affect the nuclear family? Simple. God calls men to be the heads of their households. When women achieve success and prominence in the workplace, it only stands to reason that they should get the same kind of respect (and in some cases, obedience) in the home. Instead of submitting to their husbands as God calls them to (Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.), they fight against the authority that God has placed over them for a reason. 

So, now what do we tell the boys? How do you teach your sons to respect women who go out of their way to disrespect themselves? How do you teach them to treat a woman as God says he should (Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.) if the girls he dates are offended when he pushes in a chair, holds a car door, or asks permission for that first kiss?

Women complain all the time that chivalry is dead. If that is indeed the case, ladies, we killed it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

How do you raise a girl in a society that scorns the natural role of women?

Teachers will tell your young daughters that they can grow up to be anything they want to be, provided that they are willing to work hard. The list of examples they give will run the gamut from teachers and doctors to astronauts (Well, they could have been astronauts prior to the dissolution of NASA...) and even the President of the United States. The two things that will be noticeably absent from that list are "wife" and "mother." 

The two occupations that only a woman can fill will not be suggested to your daughters as worthwhile pursuits. In fact, your daughters will be taught that aspiring to be a wife and mother is the career equivalent to trying out for the Varsity Basketball team in the hopes that you might one day be good enough to sit on the bench and keep score.

Not only will your daughters be taught that being "just" a wife and mother is hardly a worthy goal, the problem is compounded by the fact that home economics classes are being removed from many public schools. The reasoning behind this brilliant move is that girls "need more challenging academics courses in order to prepare them for competition in the workplace." What is so fantastic about that is the fact that so many women are already out there competing in the workplace that no one is left at home to teach them how to sew on a button, balance a checkbook, or feed a family of four with a pound of hamburger.

The Bible reminds us in Titus Chapter 2 that we are responsible for teaching our daughters the role of a Christian wife and mother."3Older women likewise are to exhibit behavior fitting for those who are holy, not slandering, not slaves to excessive drinking, but teaching what is good. 4In this way they will train the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5to be self-controlled, pure, fulfilling their duties at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the message of God may not be discredited."  

So even though we face an uphill battle as we fight the good fight at home, we come armed. Remind your daughters that taking care of a home, especially one filled with children, is hardly less taxing than eight hours in a cubicle. And the rewards can be far greater. Just last week, after my husband went to work, my nearly three-year-old daughter climbed into bed with me. She pressed her cold feet against my stomach, cupped my face in her chubby fingers, and said, "Mommy, I wuv you much."

Remind your daughters that Godly wives are precious commodities. Proverbs 31:10 states: Who can find a wife of noble character? For her value is far more than rubies.

And lastly, remind your daughters that their value comes from who they are in Christ, not from anything they do or from any corporate ladder they should endeavor to climb.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Silence? Not while I still have the right to speak.

My mother (and practically everyone else who knows me) will tell you that I talk too much. I will admit that I talk too much. I have always viewed that as a handicap of sorts, and in a way it can be because it occasionally keeps me from listening to important things.
But recently I have been thinking quite a bit. About that and about other things. Because of recent paradigm shifts in both our country and our world, I have had to examine what I truly believe and what that means in terms of the way I should act and the things I should say.
Our founding fathers, whether they believed in God as I do or not, founded this nation on values that are largely based in the Judeo-Christian ethics. They believed that man should be free to take advantage of opportunity, but ultimately responsible for what he made of said opportunity. They believed that justice should be sure and swift, and punishment for the guilty fair. They believed that the rights of one should not impinge the freedoms of many. And they believed that men, though flawed, were capable of governing themselves toward those ends. Those ideas- outlined in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights- are what good, strong, passionate Americans have fought and died to earn and protect.
Those rights are what the uneducated masses are attempting at this moment to hand back to the federal government. And make no mistake, if we give our rights to the government, we WILL NOT be getting them back.
Doesn't anyone remember the "American Dream?" The idea that anyone could come to America with nothing and by the sweat of his own brow build an empire? That idea only worked because America promised something that no other nation could offer: equality of opportunity. America promised that all men under God were created equal, and would be afforded life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We now live in a world of instant gratification, where people seek instead of equality of opportunity, equality of results. They want what Mr. Jones has worked a lifetime to earn, but somehow feel justified in not doing the same work to earn it. They want to be allowed to pursue happiness from the comfort of a LaZBoy recliner and they expect someone else to pay for it.
We live in a country where people expect to be given individual rights and freedoms without cost, without consideration, without personal responsibility. And because of this our freedoms become worthless.

Freedom of speech? Don't make me laugh. Why is it that a member of the military can be punished for *owning* an Obama Chia Pet? (Yes, folks, this is true. And we're talking the same punishment afforded one who gets a DUI.) Why has FoxNews been ridiculed for posting commentary and interviews that are middle-of-the-road or (God help us) viewed as right wing? For any news source to be fair and balanced, wouldn't they have to air something that was right wing?

Freedom to gather and peaceably protest? This one has been under fire for over a century. Woodrow Wilson even arrested people marching for women's suffrage because "they stepped on the White House lawn" And God forbid you protest the killing of the unborn, or gay marriage, or a healthcare bill that will turn us into a nation of government-program-addicts. And don't even get me started on the Tea-Party movement. What is this world coming to when educated people can ask their government ("of the people, by the people and for the people", remember?) to listen to the voices of millions over the socialist rants of the few?
If we protest the slaughter of the unborn, or gay marriage, the general public cries foul. Why? Because we are intolerant. But we should be intolerant. This nation was founded on intolerance. The intolerance of tyranny. The intolerance of unilateral government. The intolerance of oppression. And people, we are not oppressing the gay and lesbian community by opposing gay marriage. For the most part we are disagreeing on semantics. Marriage is a union between a man and a woman. That is the definition. Deal with it. A civil union affords all the same civil rights as a marriage, but allows for the alternative lifestyle. If you are not happy with that, ask yourself if you are crusading for equal rights or seeking the validation of your choices. Because the government should not be required to give you that. And as far as the unborn are concerned, we are simply voicing an opposition to a virtual death penalty being imposed on people whose parents should be held accountable for their actions.

Freedom of religion? Only if you believe in Oprah's god - who apparently "would never send anyone to hell." Everyone look to Texas for a minute and realize the enormity of what is happening to their state board of education. There is a crusade going to take out references to the Judeo Christian ethics that provide the backbone of our nation. Why did the Pilgrims come to America? It doesn't matter, they just did. Why is it illegal to kill people? It doesn't matter, it just is. Why was it wrong to do what Hitler did? get the idea. How do we instill values in our children if we allow the people educating to sanitize the information? Part of the crusade is based on the idea that racist ideals are promoted in teaching American history. Guess what? History is racist. Because humans are flawed individuals. Part of learning from history is learning not to make the same mistakes. If you don't allow them to see the true depth of those mistakes, you have doomed them to repitition.

The bottom line: Teach your children values at home and they will take them out into the world. Expect the government to hand you those values with your welfare check and your free cheese, and we will have a nation that stands for nothing and can stand up against no one. "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

So I ask myself if I really do talk too much if this is what I have to say. And I remember one other thing. "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing." Good men in America, your silence is deafening.

And now, for a little purpose and explanation...

I took my title from the Catacombs of Ancient Rome. For years, the catacombs were the safe hiding place for Christians who were being persecuted. Today in America, you may not be stoned for your faith. But you will be laughed out of most scientific communities for suggesting that the earth may be less than 70 billion years old, or that perhaps there was a divine hand guiding the process of evolution. You will be told that you are a bigot if you refuse to embrace the moral relativism that defines our culture.
Over the last few years, I have really started to sink my teeth into politics. Almost more than Christianity, Conservatism in general is on the chopping block.You will be called a racist if you think your tax money should not be spent to support those who do not work. You will be branded an idiot if you suggest that criminals are responsible for their own actions. And you will be called anti-woman if you stand against the slaughter of the unborn. What used to be called patriotism is now looked upon as intolerant.

Welcome to the Catacombs. This is a place for all you conservative, bigoted, racist, idiotic, intolerant misogynists.

All joking aside, in Rome the voices of Christians were not silenced even though they were confined to the catacombs. Let's not let the voices of Christians and conservatives in America be silenced in our lifetime.

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsel or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”
(Samuel Adams)

A more complete introduction...

I am married to a baker, and between us we have five children under the age of 9.

I have two younger sisters. They are both taller than I am, but I have the biggest feet. 
I spent ten years in the Army and only got one overseas assignment: two weeks with a reserve unit in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
I got married in Hawaii, and the only guests were people I met when I got there. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
I swam with a sea turtle that was twice my size on the coast of Maui. 
I make obscure film references at random.
I signed up for a political science class at a community college to see how many liberals I could annoy.
There was a girl in that class who looks like Helena Bonham Carter circa Fight Club and talks like Betty Boop. No lie.
I practice my political debates on my husband. 
I also experiment with new recipes without warning him first.
I have had two knee scopes in the past two years.
My engagement ring is a sapphire rather than a diamond. I love that it's different from what everyone else has.
My camera is one of the best gifts I have ever received. For the other best gift I have received, see the previous statement.
I can tie a cherry stem into a knot using only my tongue.
I memorized Philippians 2:5-11 in 1995 for extra credit, and I can still repeat it without looking.
I have one son one stepson, and three daughters. And the girls are way more vicious.
Two years ago I cut off 13 inches of my hair and donated it. I don't regret donating it, but I do wish it would grow faster.
I love to cook.
I only dance when I'm baking.
I haven't paid more than $20 for a pair of blue jeans since high school.
I sing in the car, but not in the shower.
I would like to study Greek so that I can read the New Testament in its original language.
I have read both Caesar's Gallic Wars and Ferdinand the Bull in Latin.
I own more bathing suits than I do pairs of pants.
My father read The Chronicles of Narnia to me when I was four. 
The book The Princess Bride is far superior to the movie. And the movie is fantastic.
All movies are better with Rifftrax.
I miss Ocean City, New Jersey. Seriously.
I do not miss San Antonio, Texas.
I watch The Mummy when I have insomnia. Not because it puts me to sleep, because I like it.
If I had to guess, I'd say I have x-rayed close to 5,000 people in the last five years.
I can't sleep past 8am, even if the kids aren't home.
I once had to pry a man’s prosthetic leg (still attached to him) from the side of the MRI machine because he *forgot* to tell me that it was made of steel and thus MAGNETIC.  
I believe that the Bible is the literal word of God and should be treated as such. 
I am fiercely pro-life, pro-family, pro-military and anti-big government. 
I believe that the U.S. Constitution does not need any help. 
My father is an entomologist, so I grew up with more insects in my freezer than most people have seen in a lifetime. 
But I am terrified of clowns and carousels.