MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

How is it that a Person Praying at Commencement is an Establishment of Religion?

December 17th, 2012 Viewed 2197 times

Learning to PrayOne of the things that always baffles me every year is around commencement time.  How have we gotten to the point where we accept that a prayer in a single meeting is considered an establishment of religion?

I mean, the Congress of the United States opens with prayer, and they are the ones actually mentioned in the First Amendment as ones that are not to establish a religion!  How can someone, especially a student in a school, be interpreted to be establishing a religion?


Image from Stock Exchange used under the Standard Restrictions explained at the link.

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Should The Congress Let the Democrats Have Whatever They Want?

December 8th, 2012 Viewed 1857 times

Capitol Place 2Rand Paul is in the news, with many others, that think that the GOP should just give the Democrats whatever they want, so they can own it:

I have yet another thought on how we can fix this. Why don’t we let the Democrats pass whatever they want? If they are the party of higher taxes, all the Republicans vote present and let the Democrats raise taxes as high as they want to raise them, let Democrats in the Senate raise taxes, let the president sign it and then make them own the tax increase. And when the economy stalls, when the economy sputters, when people lose their jobs, they know which party to blame, the party of high taxes. Let’s don’t be the party of just almost as high taxes.

[Real Clear Politics: Rand Paul: We Should Let Dems Raise Taxes and then Let Them Own It]

Seems stupid to me.  You were elected to do what was best for the country, and if you believe the Democrats plan is not good for the country, shouldn’t you go down fighting?


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Should States Have Their Own Currency?

March 21st, 2011 Viewed 2690 times
Thomas Jefferson - Series of 1869 $2 bill

Thomas Jefferson – Series of 1869 $2 bill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This isn’t the first place that I’ve heard desiring of having something anchored to gold or silver rather than to the Fed, and somehow I doubt it’ll be the last:

Is This The End of the United States of America?

March 11th, 2011 Viewed 2775 times
American flag

American flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Depending on who you read, this country is in for a bumpy ride.  The problem centers on a debt spiral that is out of control, and only getting worse.

The latest reason for this pessimism comes from some recent statistics—35 percent of wages and salaries this year come from social welfare benefits such as Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment, Social Security and Welfare.

Who Is Our Biggest Ally?

January 11th, 2011 Viewed 1706 times

old union jack

If you would have guessed Great Britain, you would have came up with the same answer that I did.  And yet that’s, obviously, not what our President thinks:

Barack Obama has declared that France is America’s greatest ally, undermining Britain’s Special Relationship with the U.S.

The President risked offending British troops in Afghanistan by saying that French president Nicolas Sarkozy is a ‘stronger friend’ than David Cameron.

The remarks, during a White House appearance with Mr Sarkozy, will reinforce the widely-held view in British diplomatic circles that Mr Obama has less interest in the Special Relationship than any other recent American leader. [France is our biggest ally in blow to Special Relationship with Britain]

Who Were the Founders?

April 13th, 2009 Viewed 2489 times

flag

I made a statement in my post about how America has been like Paris Hilton about the beginning of our nation—what the atmosphere was like at the founding and what the people there believed and what they chose to use as a basis for their law and principles.

Since this happens frequently, I believe that it would be beneficial to actually look at these thing—to frame the discussion and give context (and an anchor) to future discussion, I believe it’s as good I time as any to talk this through.

The Founders and Their Religion

Are We Living In The End Times?

April 9th, 2009 Viewed 3408 times
The World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks
Image via Wikipedia

At the new church I’m visiting we’ve started going through Romans, and when you start Romans you start at Romans 1.  It is preacher’s belief that we are in for a rough ride ahead of us because of the pattern you see in Romans 1 and the state of the current culture in the United States today.  It’s also possible that we could be living in the End Times.

Man has been predicting– and discrediting the idea of– Christ’s return since shortly after He left for Heaven back in the 1st century A.D.  Peter, Paul and the Apostles thought he’d return in their lifetime, and every generation of believers since has through that “today could be the day.”

Time for a Reboot

March 11th, 2009 Viewed 2284 times

bluescreen.jpgIt never fails.  You’ve been plugging away, working on your budget, writing that blog post, or just surfing when your operating system claims that it’s installed some new software and you need to reboot your system for it to take effect.  Or an application stops responding, and you find that the best thing that you can do is to end the offending program and start fresh.

The interesting thing is, despite how much we don’t like restarting an application or an operating system, it’s perfectly natural.  You see, all systems have built within them the need for change, because we are far from perfect.

Whether it’s your computer, the seasons, or the economy, all of these complicated systems occasionally need a reboot, and our current situation is no different.

A Problem For Parental Rights

March 3rd, 2009 Viewed 2877 times

PH2008112401773Get a good look at the man on the right of former Attorney General Janet Reno.  The man’s name is David W. Ogden, and he’s in line to become second in command at the Justice Department.

Why should you be concerned?  Because this man will hold a highly influential position in the Obama Administration, and his views may differ from yours.

One of the things that is different from you and I is his history:

[T]he man in line to become No. 2 at the nation’s top law enforcement agency was once a strident defender of Playboy and other purveyors of nudity.

And some critics are drawing attention to his risque legal work ahead of his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday. In one case, Ogden paved the way for the blind to enjoy Playboy at the Library of Congress.1

If that doesn’t get your attention, this should:

  1. Obama Justice Nominee Used to Represent Playboy – Fox News []

Moral Bailout

March 2nd, 2009 Viewed 2336 times
20090110 big government-01

20090110 big government-01 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The last couple of months brought us lots of change. Some good, some not so good. But the biggest change of the new administration is just now being spent- an unprecedented $787 billion of spending.

But let’s backtrack a bit and see what brought us into this current state of affairs.

  1. Bush stimulus package – $168,000,000,000
  2. Bank bailout – $350,000,000,000 (another $350 billion to go after further Congressional approval)
  3. Automaker bailout – $17,400,000,000 in loans
  4. Obama stimulus package – $787,000,000,000

Grand total: $1,322,400,000,000

Likely Forthcoming Additional Spending:

  • Mortgage Bailouts (unknown)
  • Automaker Bailouts Round 2 – $21,000,000,000 in loans
  • Bank bailout Round 2 (unknown)
  • Omnibus Spending Bill – $410,000,000,000
  • Healthcare reform – $630,000,000,000

Estimated Total: Who knows?

With an estimated US population of 303,824,640 as of July, that means an average of $4352 will be spent or loaned out for every man, woman, and child in this country.

And this doesn’t count the second half of the bank bailout, any of the forthcoming spending announced in the President’s State of the Union address, the interest on any of the spending, or any additional bailouts that corporations are lining up to ask Congress to provide. Did I mention that repaying the interest on the debt from President Obama is estimated to bring the total cost to well over $1 trillion for that package alone? And although it is small change by the rest of the figures, remember that the U.S. government effectively took over insurance giant AIG with an $85 billion dollar loan in September.

If, in the first month of his administration, President Obama can spend a trillion dollars we don’t have on hand how much further will this go? And more to the point, why have we let this become so commonplace? This recent spate of spending started under Bush and we barely noticed. It continues under Obama and and somehow the shame of the government Somewhere along the way we have grown accustomed to the idea that failure and responsibility aren’t necessary any more. If we don’t have failures to learn from where will most people ever learn morals from? (In case you’re wondering, I don’t think we can count on the majority of Americans learning their morals from the Bible any more and learning fiscal policy from Proverbs is just right out.) If we don’t have fiscal responsibility in Washington, why would we be expected to maintain it in our families?

At this point, I think we could do with a different kind of bailout: a moral bailout.

Transparency

President Obama promised a transparent administration and an end to Congressional ear-marks. Let’s see that he sticks to that promise. One way to do this is through the various websites tracking the progress of this latest stimulus package (http://www.stimuluswatch.org is one such site, more will no doubt follow).

Keeping track of who is appointed where, who receives what tax breaks, which regulations punish which industries, and who stands to profit from the administration’s agenda will not be an easy task but preventing graft and cronyism is essential to retaining any sense of transparency in the White House.

Moral Uprightness

Closing Guantanamo Bay in his first week in office, was put forth as an example of correcting the moral lapses of the previous administration. While we can debate the wisdom of ordering the closure of a detainment center before knowing what will happen with the detainees, getting the detainees to face military tribunals is probably something that should have happened sooner.

But this was an easy target – with his home state’s governor under impeachment, with overwhelming party majorities in Congress, and with a ambitious agenda, many opportunities exist for favors to paid back with appointments, money to be pushed to supporting political organizations, and industries populated by political allies to be favored over what would be appropriate in a free market.

At last count the number of cabinet nominees with tax issues was up to 4. Certainly easier to raise taxes on the rich if you aren’t paying them! And former Governor Gary Locke of Washington state is the third Commerce Secretary nominee. If you are tired of reading about bailouts, you may want to research the political contributions Locke originating in China may have received. Not terribly encouraging for an administration that was supposed to recapture the moral high ground. The best I can say at the moment is that so far the moral leadership is unproven with room to go in either direction.

Fiscal Leadership

Back to where I started this post – spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need.  Any moral bailout will have to include fiscal leadership. President Obama didn’t campaign on any platform of conservatism and, unfortunately, that included fiscal conservatism. Continued policies of rewarding failure with monetary bailouts and loans (automakers and banks) and not allowing those that exceeded the limits of commonsense (mortgagees with loans they knew they couldn’t afford) to actually go bankrupt and learn their lessons doesn’t set any kind of example for the rest of America. If one can attempt to make money at anything without risk,  why not try it?

One simple opportunity for a needed example is the auto industry. Isn’t time that we held automakers responsible for poor planning and decision-making and held the UAW partially responsible for helping drive the automakers into insolvency? If we need examples to teach fiscal stewardship maybe an example of poor stewardship driving America’s industrial icons into bankruptcy would get us rethinking our personal finances.

In summary, it’s time that we got the bailout we need – not a stimulus package, not a loan, not a monetary bailout, but a moral bailout. But the only thing that we’ve received was so far was a measly $600 dollar rebate check. Will Obama be the leader we need during a recession or can we expect only more rebate checks as his agenda moves forward?

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.