Help A Fellow Blogger

At the risk of seeming to be spam, a fellow blogger is campaigning to generate likes for her new facebook page.  I normally don’t promote things like this, but there is something in it for you!

If she gets 150 likes by 5:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, Sept. 20 she will give away a $50.00 gift certificate to one lucky “liker”!  The gift certificate is to WonderBooks, a used book store in Maryland.  If you don’t live anywhere near Maryland, all is not lost…they have a web site!

This store is awesome!  They have thousands (no exaggeration) of books and even sell books by the foot!  Go to their site and check it out.  In the mean time, if you have a fb account please look up Kitty Lusby and like her page…before 5:00!

Thanks for caring!  If we can return the favor we will!

Has Common Sense Been Banned From Our Schools?

There was yet another incident in a school where a child was ridiculed and humiliated by the administration for something that should have been totally harmless.  This child brought a cherished souvenir from the 9/11 ceremony to school.  It was an empty shell casing that had been handed out by veterans.  Not a bullet, not a weapon, not dangerous to anyone.  Yet the school threatened this 7-year old with 10 days of suspension and ended up giving him a “lighter punishment” of sitting by himself for silent lunches and missing recess for two days.  You can read the details here.

But the damage is deeper than that.  This child may very well have scars for the rest of his life.  He may never trust adults or may lose faith in his values and beliefs because the very people he trusted to guide him betrayed his confidence and made him feel like a criminal when he broke no laws and harbored no ill intent.

If this were an isolated incident there would be no cause for concern.  Unfortunately it is not.  Children are suspended for having a cough drop, eating a toaster pastry into a shape that someone thinks resembles a banned object or just for pointing a finger at someone else (it could be loaded, you know)!

This politically correct society has lost sight of reason.  When will people snap out of this haze and start actually thinking about what they are doing and what message they are sending to the students?  When will the parents of these persecuted kids stop allowing the school systems to victimize their children?  Enough is enough!

Freedom Of Religion or From Religion?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This is the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the first ten of which make up the Bill of Rights.  The framers of this document considered this to be so important that they placed it first.  Why?  Many, if not most of them had risked their lives, left their families, given up their homes and made major sacrifices to cross an ocean for the chance to be able to worship as they saw fit without fear of persecution.

This concept has been grossly perverted today.  The “separation of church and state” was intended to prevent any one religion from controlling the legislative process as a means to ensure that all men and women would be able to worship in their own way…or choose not to worship at all.  Today we have courts that are prohibiting people from honoring their chosen religion under the guise of Constitutional protection.  But one person’s right to NOT be religious does not trump another’s freedom.

If you see someone praying, you do not have to join in.  Even if the vast majority of people at an event are holding a communal prayer you can politely opt out.  When I was in grade school (yes, it was quite some time ago) we explored many religions; Judaism, Christianity, Hindu, etc.  Not in any great detail, but if there was a student in the class who practiced something other than Christianity we talked about whatever holiday it was for that religion and we…LEARNED!  It was enlightening.  I never had a desire to convert, mind you, and I never felt uncomfortable.  But I did learn to appreciate other view points.  And I learned that we are not so different in our overall philosophy.

It amazes me that in today’s society, where the politically correct pundits preach tolerance of others there is a skewed sense of fairness and the “tolerance” is for a limited few.  Should we not all be respectful of each other’s right to worship…or not worship…as we see fit?

The War On….[Fill In The Blank]

We as a nation have waged war on poverty, drugs, obesity, terrorism, illiteracy and much more.  Where has that gotten us?

Back in the 70’s the Department of Energy was created to combat our dependence on foreign oil and reduce the price of gasoline.  How is that working for us?  We are still paying around $30 Billion every year to support the DOE, which employs over 15,000 federal employees and over 100,000 private contractors.  Are we any less dependent on foreign oil than we were in 1977 when the agency was crated?  It doesn’t appear that we are.

OK, maybe to war on drugs is doing better…after all, if we get someone off of heroin and substitute (taxpayer subsidized) methadone for the “illegal” drug we are making progress, right?  There is obviously less of a drug problem today then there was in 1914 when the Harrison Tax Act was passed, right?  Oh, wait, maybe not!  But Pat Nixon’s “Just Say NO” program was highly successful…NOT!  Again, we are throwing money at a problem that won’t go away.  Humans have been chemically augmenting their consciousness since the first man ate a fermenting piece of fruit. Today we have millions of Americans locked in cages (that we are footing the bill for) because they were found in possession of a “controlled substance.”  But what is the difference between someone smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol?  Nothing, except that one is legal and the other is not.  One could argue that we are saving them from themselves, but freedom gives the individual the right to poison their body with chemicals if they so choose…provided they don’t endanger others in the process.  What the war on drugs has done is create an underground, a crime syndicate, that actually increases the threat to society instead of making it safer.  Look at what happened during prohibition!

How about the war on terrorism?  Are we safer today than we were 10 years ago?  How about 20 or 30 years ago?  We have freely given up our liberties in an attempt to make ourselves feel safer, but are we really more secure?  If a terrorist wanted to poison our food supply or disrupt our lives they would not be deterred by these “feel good” measures that only give the illusion of security. Does a gated community really keep criminals out?  No, it just makes us FEEL safer.  The reality is that we, each and every individual, are the ones responsible for keeping ourselves, our communities and our country safe.

There is no way to wage war on an idea, an object or an action.  There is no way to ensure that bad things won’t happen to good people.  There is, however, the ability to be prepared for unexpected or adverse circumstances.  In fact, it is your responsibility as an adult to do so.  We prepare by doing things like saving money for emergencies, keeping fire extinguishers in places where they could be needed, using smoke detectors, keeping gas in our car, being aware of our surroundings and what others in the vicinity are doing, etc.  So in essence, we wage a war every day.  We do things to prevent catastrophes and if the unexpected happens and we need to react we try to be ready.  That is the real war on….[fill in the blank].

Do The Ends Justify The Means?

It has been held by some as common knowledge that the end result, if for the “greater good” will justify doing things that would otherwise be classified as unacceptable behavior.  But is this really the case?  I was stopped in a sobriety checkpoint recently and from what research I have been able to do online this activity is deemed legal in many states under specific circumstances.  However, if one reads the US Constitution these  random traffic stops are no where near legal and violate the individual’s Constitutional rights.  Remember, the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution to reiterate things that were held to be God given or inherent natural rights that could not be granted or denied by man or government.

So how do the courts justify allowing this activity to transpire?  The guise is that it prevents traffic deaths due to drunk drivers and therefore the end justifies the means.  However the “studies” conflict and many do not back up the claim.  Some say that only 1% of those who are checked at DUI roadblocks are charged with driving while impaired.  By comparison, 2.5% are ticketed for “other infractions” which is still a very low percentage of those stopped.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s own data shows that the police catch drunk drivers three times more often while on routine patrol than they do in these questionable checkpoints.  It could be argued as well that the expense of setting up these roadblocks is unreasonable, especially given their lack of effectiveness.

So why do we tolerate this behavior?  No one wants to see injuries or death due to drunk driving or any other careless activity.  But is violating everyone’s right to unencumbered passage, freedom from unwarranted search or being detained without probable cause really keeping us safer?  Does the end really justify the means?  Would it not be more effective if we simply stopped those who we knew were driving under the influence ourselves before they got behind the wheel?  Freedom is, after all, a great responsibility and it is up to each and every individual to maintain it and to hold each other accountable for our actions.

Different states have different laws, but only 11 states stand by the Constitution and ban this highly questionable and intrusive practice.  They are Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon Rhode Island, Texas, Washington (state), Wisconsin and Wyoming.  If you live in one of the other states and want to live life as a free person perhaps you should petition your state legislature to change the law.  After all, they are supposed to work for US, not the other way around!

Conservative? Liberal? Libertarian? Independent?

I am always amazed at the way people tend to impose their ideals on others.  We classify ourselves into three basic categories…conservatives, liberals and libertarians with independents not “claiming” any affiliation.  But what does that mean?

Conservatives claim to be for freedom, but they still impose their values on others.  This case was recently brought to my attention.  There is a young girl in Front Royal, Virginia, who had a vision.  She made awesome pastries and decided to open a donut shop.  So she recruited backers and worked hard to make her dream a reality…this, by the way, is the true American dream, but that is another post.  She called her shop Naughty Girl’s Donut Shop and used posters of icons like Marilyn Monroe as decoration.  She and her staff continue to go to high school while running the shop!  But some think her name is too risque for the sleepy town of Front Royal so they are calling for a boycott.  So much for the concept of freedom!  Read about this young lady and her business here.

Liberals call themselves “liberal” which would imply a more tolerant outlook, but it seems they only take that stance if you agree with their outlooks and phobias.  As a general rule they are for a Utopian world where everyone is given everything that they need and everyone is equal.  The problem with that concept is that if everyone is equal there is nothing to strive for, no goals, no success and no failure.  In essence, no advancement.

Libertarians are more in line with freedom than the first two groups, but still believe that we are not trustworthy enough to make our own decisions, therefore we must have a higher “authority” telling us what we can and cannot do.  This is still not freedom.

Independents…true independents…will hold that we are each responsible for our own actions and accountable for our deeds.  There are very few true independents, although there are some.  When you meet them you may think them odd because they embody a different perspective on life and freedom.

Most of us fall into more than one category.  Most of us THINK that we are all about freedom and liberty, but we have lost sight of what those terms really entail.  Where do you stand?  Are you willing to allow others to embrace their own values even when they don’t agree with your own?

When The Safety Net Becomes The Snare

Many years ago my mother told me a story about a child walking along a woodland path.  This sweet child came upon a butterfly struggling to break free of its cocoon.  The youngster was fascinated and stopped to watch the insect.  The emerging butterfly seemed to be in a life and death battle to free itself from the silken shell that had concealed the metamorphosis from caterpillar to winged beauty.  Concern overcame the child and so she made the decision to help this creature free itself…but much to the dismay of the young girl the very act of helping had sealed the fate of the butterfly.  You see, it is the struggle that gives the insect the strength to fly.  The butterfly was unwittingly killed with kindness. Continue reading

Special Class of People

Many people think that because someone does a certain job it sets that person apart from the rank and file.  Take, for instance, law enforcement.  Many cops are given special discounts (in fact they often expect them in some situations), they are regarded as somehow more honest or trustworthy, and they are often given a pass when they do break the law.  The same holds true for those who hold political office, certain athletes, actors and a few other “classes” of people.

I have been told by some that we, the rank and file, are not as smart as those who have been selected…hired…by the voters to represent us.  I have heard people say that police are more proficient with firearms than civilians.  Neither of these things are any more true than saying that a redhead has a hot temper or that one ethnic group is less intelligent than another.  Just because someone has a job doesn’t make them better than anyone else…or even qualified for the position that they hold! Continue reading