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Charity – Just Do That One Little Thing

 

Most days, he sits on the wall outside my local Walmart, far enough away from the front door so the manager won’t roust him . His clothes are disheveled and he always looks in need of a bath as he holds up his sign. “Homeless. Please help.”

The shoppers walk by, most trying to avoid eye contact. I understand the tactic. It’s something a native New Yorker learns early. And, after a very scary experience many years ago with someone on the street who felt the coins I gave him were not enough of a donation, I too honed my ability to keep walking.

It took me a long time, many years in fact, to get over that incident and I’m not sure exactly when it happened. But I’m now of the mind that this is the one and only way to ensure every dollar gets into the hands of someone who may really need it. To say I’ve lost my faith in organized “charities” is an understatement.

charitiesgrid

I started seeing this grid circulated via email and Facebook posts recently. As with most memes I receive, I questioned its veracity.  My concern had to do, not with the charities that we are being warned off of but, with the list of those we should trust. Trust is the key word here. It’s what we, as a society (and very possibly as a species), are losing by the boatload on a daily basis. The more the human animal is convinced that they do not owe their fellow humans even the commonest of courtesies, that we are all entitled to whatever we want or want to say or do without having to take responsibility for our actions, the more we also learn that trusting each other simply amounts to folly. It becomes an old fashioned concept worthy of ridicule and scorn, with those expecting to be able to trust any of their fellows ending up labeled as idiots, fools, and simpletons.

So I did some research of my own. I wanted to know the facts about the charities mentioned above.There’s a lot of information out there and it’s a bit of a slog trying to cull out the meaningful stats. The info also may vary from site to site, and finding current figures can be difficult. Here’s what I found: Continue reading

YaWhat

Yahoo News, Now Serving the KoolAid

I thought I could let this pass. It’s not as though I should be surprised. I think the wham-bam is what got me. So I just have one simple question.

Yahoo, have you lost your mind completely?

Here’s the wham: Story number one:

presanddau

An attorney from Kenya, a Mr. Felix Kiprono, age unkown (I’m afraid to ask, actually) has offered our President Obama fifty cows, seventy sheep and thirty goats for the hand in marriage of his sixteen year old daughter Malia: a young lady he admits “falling for”, from afar, when she was ten years old.

Holy freeholies, Yahoo. This is not a feel-good story! On the creepiness scale, this one not only rings the bell, it blows it clean off and clear across the carnival. He wants to BUY our President’s child! Not only does he want to buy her, it doesn’t sound like he thinks she should have any say in the whole transaction. And he decided he wanted to be her husband when she was still playing with dolls. Disgusting. My favorite line in the story? Continue reading

Saul Alinsky, Communism & The Things We Hold Onto

A relative sent us an email today. It’s one of those well-traveled internet memes of unconfirmed origin seeking to engage us, albeit briefly, and illicit enough emotional response to prompt forwarding. Compelling at first, the newspaper clipping is supposed to have been saved “in a bible” by someone’s mother for many years. Mom, it said, was a teacher and “believed in prophesy” (sic) so “she always kept up on issues”, evidently by tucking them away in the good book.

oldnewsarticlecommunistrules

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xmas tree viggo johansen 1891

Merry Christmas! ( hope that doesn’t offend) – A Blog Post

A Facebook friend posted a brief treatise on the holiday season which began with the line “Jesus is not the reason for the season for everyone” and described her dissatisfaction at feeling that the Christian holidays were being forced upon folks. This is my reply to both her and a few of her other friends who decided to respond vigorously to my simple question, “Why the anger toward Christians?”

Why can’t Christians enjoy their holidays freely, like every other religion? Why is “Christian bashing” the new national pass time? People go on about tolerance and acceptance, and yet, in the same breath, they disparage one particular religious following. It makes no sense to me. I know Christians seem like an easy target these days, considering how many folks have climbed onto the bandwagon. But it’s getting old. The display of a Christmas tree in an office setting is not a call to convert nor is it meant to insult. A decorated pine or blue spruce at this time of year has been used since the 16th century to celebrate Christmas. I have many Jewish friends and they don’t put up Chanukah Trees. It’s the holiday season for everyone and that includes Christians.

Tearing down one group’s set of beliefs does not make yours any more valid nor does one group enjoying their own lessen the value of yours. If someone wishes me Good Christmas, Happy Chanukah, or Happy Holidays, I do not take it as an affront. It’s not proselytizing to wish a person well. It’s someone simply wishing you well and enjoying their own beliefs. Think for a moment why that visitor to your office who questioned the “Holiday Tree” was incensed. There is no excuse for rudeness, I agree. But if he is a Christian, he knows that one of the symbols used by his religion has been altered because of political correctness and co-opted by those who may wish to negate his beliefs.

What if I took the Menorah and, in order to display it publicly, decided it should to be called the “Holiday Candelabra”, so as not to offend Christians or those who celebrate Kwanzaa or EID? What would the outcry look like in that case, do you think? And why would I ever do such a thing? It’s a beautiful symbol of light and divine inspiration. It’s a positive thing. Just because it is religion based, should it be hidden from public view? I’m a Christian, and when I see a lit Menorah, it touches me. I am not offended.

What is the answer then? No public displays of any kind that refer to anything remotely religious? Fine. Turn the world into a scene from “1984”. Happy, Merry nothing anymore.

1984 cubicle

Because that’s what you’ll end up with. If it’s wrong to display one, it’ll be wrong to display any. You won’t get rid of just the one. It doesn’t work that way. Is it realistic to think that just one religion’s trappings can be made to disappear? Think about what that looks like.

Religion is the opiate of the masses. That’s not the question. It’s a given. The question is, is that such a bad thing? Don’t knee jerk and say “Damn right!” right away. Really think about it. In the grand scheme of things, in this oh-so-brief time we have on this planet, is it so awful that folks find solace and a reason to be a better person in the form of a religion? Sure, plenty of atrocities have been committed in the name of religion, but many more have been carried out with no basis in it whatsoever. I would hasten to guess more in the latter category than the former, by far.

I agree with the poster’s statement. Jesus is not everyone’s reason for the holiday season. But he is for many, and he actually is what Christmas is all about. The reason we have a “holiday” season at all is because so many religious holidays fall within the time period. What I am is offended by how easily so many folks beat up on Christians. It’s not because I was raised as one but because I was raised to believe that we can all live together, maintain our distinct differences and still share joy with one another without having to default to some banal, generic seasonal greeting. I don’t want a flat, gray world. I like all the colors and beliefs and revel in the joy of those who celebrate, peacefully, whatever it is they celebrate, deity or no deity.

I hope you all enjoy this special time of year, no matter what form your celebrations take on. I wish you all a merry, blessed Christmas from the bottom of my heart. May you find peace, joy, balance, warmth, love, laughter, kindness and understanding and may you give, in direct measure, the same to everyone you meet.

 

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On Election Day, What Would Ayn Rand Do?

Did you really think we want those laws observed? said Dr. Ferris. We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it… There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

(Ayn Rand, from ‘Atlas Shrugged’ 1957) Continue reading

Hang On – Taylor Swift’s Video is Offensive??

taylor swift video photo

I make a point of not getting too involved in the lives of those I don’t know personally, in general. In other words, the lives and loves of “celebrities” don’t matter too much on a day-to-day basis to me. But this one I have to mention. Just briefly. Because someone just asked me if I’d seen Nicki Minaj’s new video. My answer, of course, was no. I was entreated to check it out and I did.

Now, I like Nicki and I enjoy some of her music. But a chord was struck. Just last week I remembered seeing an article. Some rap person named Sweatshirt, whom I’ve never heard of, got himself a sliver of attention by stating that Taylor Swift’s new video perpetuated “black stereotypes to the same demographic of white girls who hide their prejudice by proclaiming their love of the culture.” He went on to say “For instance, those of you who are afraid of black people but love that in 2014 it’s ok for you to be trill or twerk or say n—a.”

This, of course, forced me to actually watch Ms. Swift’s video. I lean more toward Metallica and Halestorm, but I thought it was cute and perky. Ms. Minaj’s video is also pretty perky. My question to Mr. Shirt is this: How do you feel about Nicki’s video? If she’s not “perpetuating black stereotypes”, then tell me what she is doing. Or is it only us white folk who can manage to offend in such a way? Anaconda? I’m old enough to know the rest of the words to that song. Evidently, baby still got back. And when did twerking, as ridiculous as it is, become property of one portion of the population?

I just ask that you watch both videos. Then tell me if I’m off track here. Here’s the offensive Taylor Swift ditty.

And here’s Nicki. She’s looking good, actually

So? Am I nuts?

A Soldier’s Independence Day – A Blog Post

I was going to write a post today about the 4th of July holiday. It was going to be cute and flippant, and reference that everywhere I go today, the question is “any plans for the holiday?” I know it’s a day off for many, a long weekend filled with grilling and chilling. And that’s great. But do we really understand why that’s so great? What we are actually celebrating? Most folks don’t try to analyze it because the freedom we have is taken for granted.

Instead, I’m re-posting this. My cousin, who just returned from Kuwait, wrote this poem. I honestly think it speaks for itself. Here is his post in toto:

vincent

I jotted this down one year when I was working for the school district back in PA. I am no poet or philosopher. I was trying to express an emotion I had to deal with when individuals flippantly disregard our service to our people and our country. Not sure if I nailed it but I came close. I forgot about this, I was going through old emails and came across it and thought I would put it out there again.

Medals on my chest:

I wore medals today.
Not the full sized ones they handed me,
those will probably never see the light again.
But I wore my medals today
the mini-medals I bought for just such a day.
They added some color to my dull blue uniform and
they offset the shiny badge on my chest.
I wore my medals to school today.
The kids looked and looked again.
Some asked me what are they?
I told them these are what you wear when brothers don’t come home.
I wore my medals to work today.
Some shook my hand some said thanks with a hug.
Those that once passed with noses high now passed with heads down or mouths agape
But I wore my medals today.
One child asked “Why would you? Why should you?”
I told the child: because I could and I would.
We said we would stand against all comers wherever or whenever we were called.
We said we would stand for others who could-not or would-not stand with their brothers.
I wore my medals today.

by
Vincent Provenzano TSGT USAFR
6 years US Navy (two wars)
7 years Air National Guard
3 years Army National Guard
3 years US Navy Reserves – Seabees (activated)
9 years and still serving US Air force Reserves (two deployments)

Happy Independence Day
Remember who gave up all so we can be who we are now.