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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Identity Crisis

"Who do we think we are?"

~ Chief Justice John Roberts


The Supreme Court decision on gay marriage has made it official. We are now a nation of men, not a nation of laws.

Amid all the gloating and crowing by proponents, the big picture has been lost. This ruling solves nothing; the same people who disagreed with gay marriage before the decision still do. The only difference now is that the people's right to govern themselves has been usurped by half a dozen black-robed rulers. The decision makes us a weaker country and further endangers our liberty, most specifically the right to free expression.

We've already lived this nasty aftermath for over forty years with Roe v. Wade, the case that legalized abortion. While that issue was working its way through state-by-state processes, the Supreme Court's sweeping judgment lifted the matter out of the citizenry's hands, and the contentiousness and strife over legalized abortion still rages today. It probably always will. Thought control cannot be mandated via governmental decrees, no matter how well intended.

So the argument is not over, regardless of how the "tolerant" progressives insist that those who disagree with the validity of gay marriage just shut up and sit down. The problems with gay marriage are only beginning. Watch for increasing intolerance and censorship against churches and other groups or businesses that have a philosophical or theological difference of opinion. Never content with today's victory, the leftists demand complete agreement with their positions or label those with another viewpoint "a bigot." Then they go after them, with deliberate intent to ruin their lives and careers.

In the last century, the intolerant dominating forces were called Communists or Nazis. What would we call those forces today? As the chief justice rhetorically asks, who do we think we are? I'm not sure anymore who we Americans are. But I do know this--we are not free.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Unspecific and Untrue


“This type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.” —@POTUShttp://t.co/vD4Nk8bbO1 pic.twitter.com/yN8pdsO6u9
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 18, 2015

The above quote is a tweet from the White House following the Charleston, South Carolina, massacre last week. As is customary with the president's vague, sweeping generalizations, this one is not true.

France, Norway, the Czech Republic, Germany, Serbia, Russia, England, Brazil, and China will be surprised to learn that they do not count as "advanced countries." Because well within the past decade, "mass violence" certainly has happened in each of those nations.

Details, details. Never let the truth get in the way of advancing a progressive agenda. It's the reason I simply cannot listen to President Obama anymore.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day

Father!--To God himself we cannot give a holier name.

~ William Wordsworth

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Falling Brick Law

I'm under there, somewhere...
This week I have renamed Obamacare--hilariously named the "Affordable Health Care Act"--the Falling Brick Law. Every time I use the "plan" in any way, I get hit in the head by another unwelcome fact.

Take, for example, the "Wellness Checkup." It sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Once a year, for absolutely no charge, you can see your primary care doctor for an annual preventative care exam. But you'd be well advised to read the fine print.

Go ahead, see your doctor once a year "for free." But, if you ask even one single question about a pain, symptom, or medical condition, it is no longer a "preventative" visit. Now you're talking about a diagnosis, which will run you hundreds of dollars, out of pocket, on your zillion dollar deductible. I had to sign a statement that I understood this cold-hard-cash reality before I went into my appointment.

So I asked the doctor no questions, and she charged me no fee. The government has checked the box on my 2015 annual healthcare. My aches and pains will have to wait until I have real health insurance.

As for a prescription I had refilled (no charge for typing it into the computer, to give credit where it's due), Obamacare will not fill a 90-day prescription, even as written by the doctor. Obamacare will only fill a 30-day supply, which keeps those dollars rolling in on a monthly basis. But upon inquiry at the pharmacy, I learned that if I pay cash on my own, I can have the 90-day prescription as the doctor submitted it. Of course, paying cash outside of my "insurance plan" doesn't count against my zillion dollar deductible. This appears to be just another of the intentional little "oopsies" in Obamacare to keep patients shelling out our own money for needed care.

Obamacare. It's just one big pile of--um, falling bricks.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Breaking Bad Habits

The main cast of Breaking Bad
For years, unswayed by the unanimous rave reviews I heard continually, I had refused to watch the hit television show Breaking Bad. I was sure the show's premise--a terminally ill chemistry teacher decides to cook meth to provide financially for his family after his death--was a glorification of the drug culture.

After years of resistance and ceaseless prompts to "give it a try," I decided to watch the first episode about two months ago. Then I watched the second episode immediately after. And, like your basic meth addict, I was hooked.

Far from glorifying drug use, Breaking Bad depicts the terrible human cost and consequences of such harmful activities--often with spectacularly graphic brutality. The acting is solid, the characters grow and change as the seasons progress, and the plot continuously twists and turns in remarkably clever ways. It's a top notch show, worthy of the many awards it has won.

With all of the TV series I have invested myself in over the years, none has inspired the obsessiveness with which I viewed Breaking Bad. Not 24, with all Jack Bauer's save-the-world, cliffhanging activities. For all their evil villains, not House of Cards, nor Rome, nor Game of Thrones could compel me to watch multiple episodes during the week. With these other shows, all excellent and suspenseful, I was content to wait for Friday and Saturday nights. But Breaking Bad had me losing sleep on "school nights." Then, when the weekend did arrive, I viewed back-to-back episodes until I was pinwheel-eyed over my bowl of chips and glass of wine. Streaming Netflix, incredulous that someone might still be in front of my television set, would occasionally query via a pop-up window "Are you still watching Breaking Bad?" I would click viciously on the remote, "YES"--and let's please get on with Season 3, Episode 10, shall we?

To paraphrase the first step in the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Step Program, I have to admit I was powerless over Breaking Bad, that my life had become unmanageable. I finished watching the Season 5 series finale last night. That's 62 episodes in two months. I thank my Higher Power that it's over.

I think I'll try Mad Men next.

Monday, June 08, 2015

A Rare Defense

It was a refreshing surprise to read Bill Kristol's article in the Weekly Standard. "George W. Bush Was Right" actually defends the former President president's record, and quite effectively.

As Bush-weary as the country was by 2008, and for all his faults, it's impossible for any rational, intellectually honest person to believe that the world would be in its current sorry state if "W" were president today. I'm glad there's one journalist, at least, who is ready to make that case.

Friday, June 05, 2015

"Pottersville," USA

Victor Davis Hanson writes a brilliant comparison of the damage wrought by the Obama era with the "Pottersville" of classic movie fame.
Obama living his dream--which has turned into our nightmare.
Photo via johnmesserly.wordpress.com

The most pithy description I've heard of the Obama presidency is a quote from Mark Steyn: "If he were on the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?" Kind of sums up all the devastation in one blunt sentence, agreed? Hanson's article echoes that sentiment.

We Americans are in a very bad place right now. Perhaps worse, and far more perilous, than Pottersville.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Law and Disorder

Photo: NY Daily News, May 9, 2015
The day following Officer Brian Moore's funeral.
Crime is up in Baltimore, you say? Well, imagine that.

You can't have it both ways, people. Either cops do their jobs with community support, or they hold back from fear of negative consequences to themselves, their families, and their careers. And when cops hold back, criminals step forward. It's not rocket science; it's a predictable combination of common sense and human nature.

Occasions of police brutality are real, but these unfortunate incidents are not racially motivated. If you're resisting arrest, attacking or threatening an officer, or otherwise acting with aggression that threatens the peace, you might get roughed up while being arrested. It doesn't matter what color you are; it's the cops' job to subdue you and prevent harm to themselves and to others. No surprise there, at least to any thinking person.

In all of the strident protests, nobody ever holds a sign reading "Stay Safe--Surrender Peacefully!" So much conflict and grief could be prevented if that were the message. But arriving at that rational conclusion requires critical thinking and honesty, two characteristics in short supply these days. Emotional reaction and political agendas always seem to trump intelligent thought nowadays, a fact that makes me fear for our country's future.

When there's trouble or danger in our lives, who are we to call for help if not the police? It's a hard question that many US cities are being forced to face.

Earlier this month, NYPD officer Brian Moore, age 25, was shot and killed by a career criminal when Moore approached to question the shooter. Moore and his partner had seen the murderer adjusting a gun in his belt. There were no riots, marches, or protests over Moore's death. He was just a cop doing his job. Cops know that any shift they work could be their last. But a group of children standing on a sidewalk to salute Moore's passing hearse wore T-shirts that proclaimed "Blue Lives Matter."

It's a message that surging crime rates in besieged cities might now be willing to consider.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Low Expectations

Although it makes me ill to think of it, the US is already deeply immersed in the ramp-up to the 2016 presidential election. Victor Davis Hanson has some sobering thoughts on the international difficulties that will face our next national chief executive.

At the rate things are deteriorating at home and abroad, I hope we make it to the 2016 election intact as a country. I also hope that yet another pathological liar doesn't become the next president. But maybe I'm setting the bar too high.

Saturday, May 23, 2015