Thursday, December 23, 2010

Goodnight Les Miserables

Here I am at home listening to much of the same Christmas music I enjoy each season, some wonderfully orchestral, some more vocal and even pop.  For instance, I really enjoy Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra singing the old carols.  They unabashedly sing about “Christ the King,” “born to give us second birth,…” from a time when it was considered normal operating procedure to sing Christmas carols with all glory of their original lyrics.

The other night on his regular evening program, Bill O’Reilly opined as to whether or not it was offensive to some when “flash mobs” gather in shopping malls across the country to sing Handel’s Alleluia Chorus from his exquisite Oratorio “Messiah” because the words might be offensive to some, presumably “some” are people who shop and celebrate small “c” Christmas and prefer to evacuate all meaning of its origin and significance, who have made it just another secular day off from work. 

My first reaction to Bill’s question was consternation because it caused me to wonder why this question should even be asked in the first place?  But even if he didn’t, and I know what he was likely driving at – that people who are offended as such were “pinheads” in his vernacular – the question in these times nonetheless is begged every day.

There is a working dynamic here.  It is not just the usual offense that the gospel represents to the unchurched.  I fear we are entering a new age where everything and anything that directly or indirectly makes reference of the true and original nature and meaning of Christmas will be, little by little, extricated from the public square as arcane, dogmatic, irrelevant and biased against those who prefer never to hear a word on the True Light and Hope of the world, which all of this music in effect points to.

When we fully enter that post-postmodern age where everything is completely devoid of all meaning and all reference to this wonderful message of hope, how shall we then live?  What then of our world?  Our society? Dear Virginia, yes there may be a Santa Claus, but as for hope?  Well, I’m sorry Virginia, there is no hope for you beyond this world. There was no Savior who came to remove the dross from this fallen earth to pave a path to a new world, and hence there is only today, so live for today, “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” and it all ends, and sooner rather than later. 

What would be next to remove from public view? Any classical literature the makes veiled references to redemption?  Goodnight Les Miserables.  Farewell to Milton, Adios “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

What then of our coming new and hopeless age? When we are on our respective deathbeds, and become more supple to that last chance at hope, there will be no redemptive literature to reflect upon, no lyrics to ponder, no music to listen to that gives consideration to a coming New and durable life without flaw, in the full light of the Dayspring, the Beautiful Rose of Sharon, whose Kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ. Alleluia.

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

As Rhode Island Goes, So the Nation Does Not Go

Or should I say it the other way around?  As the nation went, at least, RI did not give an iota. 

We end up with the most liberal option of Governor choices.  We keep our General Assembly – mostly liberal Democrats – intact.  RI – Dist 1, which was formerly Patrick' Kennedy’s seat goes to liberal Democrat David Cicilline instead of worthy Republican John Loughlin.  RI – Dist 2, as I expected remained with James Langevin over Mark Zacaria, though Zacaria made the cogent arguments being offered around the country of the run away US House in every debate, but he ended up doing it to no avail – because he was making his points in RI to Rhode Islanders.

My first reaction was “it' truly is time to leave the state.” Former Cranston Mayor Steven Laffey presciently predicted a Lincoln Chafee victory due several factors: the split votes for “Moderate, Democrat and Republican candidates, and that the unions would get their machine out in full force to make certain their liberal Democratic votes made it to the polls.  And they won the day completely in RI. 

The rest of the nation moved very deliberately in the right direction, while RI remains stuck where it has been, and with some of the highest taxes and highest unemployment in the nation.  Even Michigan moved seats to Republicans to get out of their mess, but no, not RI.

But there were signs of a silver lining out there:

(1) There is a remnant of Tea Party oriented activists still intact, and ready to prepare for 2012 – which is good.

(2) The fact that Congress has moved very deliberately to the right while the President is not yielding or triangulating to the middle will mean that the RI delegation will be somewhat thwarted from their liberal agenda, and may not be all that popular in 2 years.  Remember Reagan took the state in 1984, and a solid Republican presidential candidate could yield something similar.

(3) There were some good lessons learned in running in the 4 way Governor race, and the dropping of the Republican nominated Lt. Governor. I thought to myself the other day, soon after his “shove it” comment, what if Frank Caprio said he was going to drop out of the race, and ask his supporters to vote for Republican John Robitaille? Imagine not only what that would have looked like in the national media spotlight, but what that would have done to the outcome.  Chafee would be toast instead of Governor Elect. 

(4) The excellent idea that was“CleanSlateRI.  Though it seemed to end up having little impact on the outcome, the concept is a good one that should be developed further and more robustly supported long before 2012.

While other states are looking forward to a roll back of tax burden, and a movement to prioritize spending so that taxes go down instead of increase, RI has a new governor who diabolically conjures new ways to spend taxpayers money – what few remaining taxpayers are still left in the state – and new ways to tax them.

RI Conservatives: we either have to leave (which will leave even fewer to carry the burgeoning tax load) or we need to build off what momentum we really achieved and strategize starting from now to make a major correction in 2012 – and also plan to get Chafee out in 2014 – too bad it couldn’t be sooner, though there is always the recall.

Activists unite! You have nothing to lose but higher taxes. and poor leadership.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Senescent Predictions

My fellow Blogger, David Todd has made his predictions, and below are mine. Last election cycle, David’s predictions were better than mine.  I’m looking to get even.  Below are my predictions for the Congressional and Gubernatorial elections tomorrow.  Here we go:

The GOP will win 78 House districts currently held by Democrats, and the Democrats will win 6 House seats currently held by Republicans, including a few surprises, or a net gain of 72.  My analysis is largely based upon Jim Geraghty’s analysis, which in turn was based largely on the very accurate Scott Rasmussen.  I veer from Geraghty’s analysis by predicting Keating to lose to Jeff Perry in Massachusetts, as well as Barney Frank to Sean Beilat.  I agree with NRO in predicting, gladly, that John Loughlin will win Patrick Kennedy’s RI District 1 seat away from David Cicilline.

Republicans will end up with a net of 8 seats: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada (yahoo!), North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, all of which will go to the GOP.  Unfortunately, Boxer will win in California, and the Democrats will eek out wins in Washington state and West Virginia; this will leave the Senate split 51–49 in the Democrats’ favor.  That’s okay because there will be enough fear that Democrats won’t be apt to move any further than the middle, especially after they see their beloved Speaker go down in flames in Nevada.

Republicans will net 9 more governor’s mansions, and I veer a little afield from NRO here and predict that though Meg will lose California, the Republican will beat Deval Patrick in Massachusetts.

  Net GOP Gains
US House 72
US Senate 8
Governors 9

I also make these few predictions on the RI races:

Governor: Chafee (I ) – too bad.  A result of Caprio (moderate D) and Robitaille (R ) splitting the rest of the vote.

Lt. Governor: Roberts (D ) – also bad.  Leaves her visible for an eventual US Senate or gubernatorial run.

RI Dist 1 – Loughlin (R ) – As earlier mentioned and this win will make the day worth it.

RI Dist 2 – Langevin (D ) – Too bad.  Only in RI would someone so pro-Obama make it through this storm

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Anti-Chafee

Political conservatives who live in RI (all 6 of us) have a very tough decision to make next week.  In the governor’s race, should we vote for John Robitaille, a conservative Republican, or dare we take a huge leap and vote for Frank Caprio, a Democrat, who will be campaigning this weekend with none other than former President Clinton?

Why would conservative Republicans give the time of day to, let alone vote for someone like Caprio? For conservatives, the good side of Frank is that he is a fiscal conservative, a lover of small business, and an opposer of overly burdensome taxes.  On social issues he’s part way on the dark side; he said that if the General Assembly approved of gay marriage in RI - which they’re apt to do with so many of the leaders gay - he would sign the bill.  I think he should wait to see what voters want on that issue, but there it is.

On the Republican side, Robitaille has the right stance on issues, and he’s been gaining some momentum, but the problem RI conservatives face is, who do you vote for to assure that Lincoln Chafee loses?  With a recent Rasmussen poll showing Chafee in the mid-thirties while Caprio and Robitaille in the mid to upper twenties, the state sits on a precipice.

Chafee will tax us enough for the few remaining productive citizens who work and pay taxes will get to pay even more taxes unless they’re smart enough to move to less taxing neighboring states like Taxachusetts or Connecticut, a mere 40 miles away at the most.  Even Taxachusetts will be a tax haven for RIer’s were Chafee to win.

RI passed the tipping point long ago where the gimme’s beat out the tax-me’s a long time ago, and will continue their stranglehold on the state to ask for more and more from the poor tax-me’s unless drastic action is taken.

In South Carolina, the Republican governor mandated that if the legislature wants to spend more on a high priority like schools or roads, they have to subordinate something else in the budget and maintain the volume of what the burdened taxpayers already contribute to the state.  In 11.5% jobless RI, Chafee thinks we can increase what the taxpayers contribute so we can spend more and more.

As Bill Murray said about the groundhog in the movie “Groundhog Day,” “He must be stopped!”

If we don’t stop Chafee, the few of us who pay the taxes for all the gimme’s in the state will have to leave or become bankrupt, and that will in turn most definitely bankrupt the state.

So it’s time for us decide.  If we pool our votes in one direction or the other, we can be assured of a Chafee loss, but who to choose?

As for me, I’m going to take the initiative and say I think Caprio’s got the best shot.  Anyone who tells a president of his own party to “stuff it,” is courageous enough for me to know he will be courageous about the smaller things – like opposing taxes and helping to rebuild business and jobs this state.

I ask you five remaining RI conservative Republicans to join me.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Beck’s America

I must say I was impressed with the turn out at Glenn Beck’s Restore America rally at the mall in DC yesterday, but I’ll also admit, I’m a bit uncomfortable.  The event has all the earmarks of the early days of the Moral Majority – a well meaning conglomeration of Catholics, Evangelicals and others seeking a moral high ground for America in a political context.  Beck’s “get back to God” falls into this category in my humble opinion, but it also begs an important question or two: “Which God?”  “Whose God?”

Some time ago I was confronted with the very well thought out and well written Manhattan Statement.  Frankly, for me, it has all the right ideas.  But those who sign the statement claim to agree with one another on some basic tenets of faith, and the unfortunate thing about the Manhattan Statement is that some of the signers really do not agree about the nature of God, though they claim to, so in good conscience I could not sign it , and though one of my most favorite Christian authors,, Chuck Colson, endorses the Statement, another of my most favorite Christian writers, R. C. Sproul, could not and did not, and for the reasons I have also come to.

So if I can’t sign something as excellently thought out, comprehensive, well written and in the right direction on all matters social and political as the Manhattan Statement, I find myself all the more at odds with the very broad, very generic “get back to God” theme touted in DC yesterday.  In fact, it gives me kind of a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach because I see so many who, with good intentions, are getting swallowed up in something so shallow.  And when it dissipates, they will be disillusioned.

Beck is a Mormon, and as a Christian I say Christ was the God-Man sent by the Father, foreshadowed in the Old Testament as the “Son of Man” as mentioned in the Book of Daniel; Immanuel and the suffering servant in the Book of Isaiah.  Mormons do not agree with Christ’s claim to diety, that as Christ claimed, “Before Abraham, I Am,” and that Christ was / is the God-man, the Second Adam, who paid humanities debt with His own flesh and blood and justified His flock.  We are millions of miles apart on tenants of faith, though we may have agreement about culture, social issues, government intrusion, taxes, but let’s be honest, we do not agree on who is God.

So I’m a bit uncomfortable about Beck and those flying under his flag right now, including Sarah Palin.  Oh it’s nice to hear public figures make professions of faith in public, it encourages their fans to do likewise, but give me Billy Graham for that kind of thing. 

I know this is a departure from the many of my compatriot conservatives with whom I find myself in general agreement on the tactical issues, but let’s just agree to disagree about this fundamental, strategic concept for conservatism in America.  My God is a lot bigger than what Beck and co. are making Him out to be.  He is not a vague moral choice.  He is God.  And don’t mess with Him.  Don’t use Him like this please.  He just might not like it, and might let you know in some of the ways He showed it in His word.  Be careful with this.

When you have your rallies, I might smile wryly as I hear the ideas with which I may have some agreement, and perhaps chuckle embarrassingly a bit when I hear something hollow said about a generic god, and you might find the likes of me going along for the ride for now.  But let’s be clear, as the President would say in a his typical patronizing manner, I am not one of you.  I march to a different Drummer, and if and when the going gets us into the slough of despond, I will not be standing with you on getting back to God.  Your God is too small.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Letter to Congressman Jim Langevin – D – RI

Today, my Congressman, Rep. James Langevin, responded to me by email regarding my many entreaties to for him to oppose the ObamaCare Bill some months ago.  Below is my response to him.

Dear Jim:

Thank you for getting back to me on this subject after a number of months.  I am appreciative regardless of the fact that a lot has gone under the bridge since you voted for this terrible bill.  But you wrote to me on an auspicious day.  Excellent articles in today's Projo and Wall Street Journals underscore how anachronistic your email is today.

RIers woke up this morning to headline in the Projo of Blue Cross raising its rates about 13% for 2011.  13%.  Don't tell me it would have been worse without Obamacare because since I wrote you about my opposition several months ago, articles have abounded on how this bill will cost us much more than what we pay for our current health care plans, not to mention the extra tax burden it will now place upon us as it was conveniently and only recently revealed by the CBO, long after the lemmings approved it.

Also in today's paper, not the Projo but the Wall Street Journal, is an editorial entitled "No, You Can't Keep Your Health Plan."  The horror of that thought!  All brought on by this awful piece of legislation which you voted for.

If you recall Jim, I sent you lemons at great expense to me to get your undivided attention as to why this bill is bad for me, bad for my family, bad for the state and bad for the nation, but you not only did not heed one iota of my advice, you out and out voted for this pig of a bill without reservation.

One last observation.

I'll confess I voted for you over more liberal Republican counterparts in the past, particularly those who were opposed to the rights of the unborn, but your position on this issue has pushed me back a bit.  Today happens also to be election day in a number of states.  Long time Democrat stalwarts are about to get thrown out of office.  Results are not in yet, but I predict a rout.  Now I will grant you that RIers' are a lot more tolerant of liberal Congressmen and women, but I have a feeling, November 2010 will be very different.

See you in November, Jim.


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Friday, February 26, 2010

Breath in – Breath out

Is it me, or is there something in the drinking water?  There seems to be a movement afoot in social settings – industry, churches, government, designed around the concept that we are a bunch of stultifying dunderheads.  We need to be taught how to do things we’ve been doing reasonably well for years.  There is a “How to” guide now for just about everything from counting socks to boiling an egg.  Need to run a little group?  There’s a guide for that, and yes, oh, by the way, you must take the online course for that.  Need to manage a small team?  There’s a guide for that. Need to (fill in the blank).  Yup, we’ve got a self teaching tool for that too.

Where did all this come from?  I think we older (more senescent) folk can determine the answer when we go out to our driveways, get into our automobiles, start them up and head on into traffic.  No one – I mean NO ONE follows any rules, not even the laws of physics.  By the way, if you would like to live to see your grandkids, drive like everyone around you are aliens from Mars who have no idea what a stop sign is, let alone a turning signal.

It wasn’t long before managers and leaders from mega-churches to post offices figured out that they had better retrain us and retrain us fast – and they want to do it the same way the Republicans want to address healthcare reform: starting from “a clean piece of paper.”  Care not a wit, and make no assumptions that you might be teaching an auditorium of neurosurgeons about how to put ointment on a mosquito bite.  Just follow the teaching guide.

My theory is that this really all began because someone noticed the caliber of what is coming out of our education systems.  Easy solution: RETRAIN EVERYONE!

I have another theory: that this will meet up with a swift demise.  Something similar, perhaps, to when Jack Welch hit GE and determined that the business was running a tad inefficiently with all this type of nonsense going on, the layers it made in the structure, and the general “statist” approach on the factory floor.  Not to mention that relatively normal people (i.e., normal smart people) didn’t need to be given a guide on how to breath.  Suddenly, a Ronald Reagan or William F. Buckley character will come on the scene like a hero in the white hat who arrives just before the train runs over the victim and stands athwart history yelling stop!

In the mean time, as for me, I’ll duck my head, learn about how to count my socks and make a boiled egg, then move on to the next insipid, sophomoric guide to a better life.

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