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I was listening to Rush today while I was out and about and they were talking about the whole situation with Sarah Palin resigning and what she's gone through during her time in the public spotlight. Let me point out some things that she's had to endure:
-She's been critized on her dress just about as much as her stances on the issues.
-Her accent, home town, home state, love for things like guns and hunting are subjects of constant ridicule.
-Her teenage daughter's situation has been the subject of much discussion, her son is in the military and that's received significant attention, one of her kids was the butt of a really bad joke on the Letterman show, and one of her kids is a special needs child and that's been in the public eye (while Obama simply had to say his children were off limits and the press left them alone).
-Her apparent lack of experience was brought to the forefront of the election while she had more experience in an executive position than Obama, Biden, and McCain combined.
On Rush today, it was pointed out that there seems to be a special hate by the media and the left for Sarah Palin. I agree. I've never seen anyone attacking in the public view so much in my life. Bush never got it this bad. I challenge you to find someone who's been attacked in such a way in recent history.
The attacks are, in my opinion, a good reason for Palin to make the move that she did. The kids shouldn't go through what the media's doing to them. But then I've recently come to the conclusion that Palin is also now in a better position to serve the conservative movement than she ever was or could have been (outside actually being in the White House, but THAT would be a challenge).
The conservative movement's in trouble. I'll make no bones about and I won't dance around the issue. 8 years of a neo-con being president (and the GOP president before him was a far cry from Reagan), congress members who forgot what small government means, and the lack of anyone new on the scene has made us a dull and sad party. Really, the only difference between the GOP and the Dems in the past 15 years has been we like guns while they like killing babies. We engage in similiar government structures (more power in DC and even more power in the White House) and we're also an elitist group, ignoring the ideas of the average Joe. For the past 2 years, I haven't been proud to be a Republican. I've been a Republican by default because the Democratic party's just worse.
Palin's what we need to pull ourselves back to where the GOP desperately needs to be. She seems to stand for family values and that the mom and dad in a family are the ultimate authority in how their house should be run (which rubs liberals the wrong way because they want the state to raise kids). She's pro-gun, pro-life, pro small government. She seems to understand what federalism is AND believes in it! She has the message that can bring the conservative movement back to where it needs to be.
And that's why the left hates her so much and why she's attacked so much. The GOP is wounded and lost. She's the beacon that could bring it back to the powerhouse it was with Reagan or even in '94.
The best thing Palin can do is to fix the GOP from within, not in the public spotlight. Her name may never appear on a ballot again, but she could get more true conservative names on ballots than anyone else.
Let's face facts, Palin's a big name in the Republican party. She has more appeal than anyone else (outside maybe Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh). So if you're running for Senate or Governor and you want to do a fundraising event that's going to pack the house and let you charge a premium price for admission, who are you going to call? Limbaugh doesn't do such events. Romney? Please. Tom Tancredo? Brilliant guy, but too much of an unknown. Palin though will get you a packed house. So Palin can start supporting the true conservative candidates and help them raise money in the process. If this helps them beat their neo-con rivals in the primaries, so much the better.
On top of that, Palin's the type of person who would be great for the lecture circuit. Young America's Foundation is a program that I think she'd be great for. They help college groups book big name conservative speakers for their campus. As a member of Western Michigan University's College Republicans, I became very familiar with the organization. Through them, the group booked people like Ann Coulter, Roy Moore, and Ted Nugent. Joining this circuit would allow Sarah to go to various college campuses and make the case for true conservative ideas. She's someone that I'm sure every CR group in the nation would want to book. And these events pull in more than college students. Professors, community members, and local conservative politicians also attend them. Our state representative and state senator could be found at pretty much every event that we held. This means Palin would also give a chance to tell these sitting members of government about conservative values while drawing a crowd of one thousand and up students showing that there are people out there who value these ideas. This is all in addition to helping thousands of college students across the nation see the importance of conservative ideas. Plus Palin wouldn't go broke doing this. Some of the speakers for YAF get upwards of $20,000 for each appearance. Palin would be one of those who could get this kind of cash for each show.
Right now I'm hoping Palin takes full advantage of her new position to help the GOP. I don't think her role will be front lines anymore, but instead, a behind the scenes type of person. And the best part of it all, I'm thinking she could do more damage to the left in her new position than she could ever before.
Alright, for those that haven't heard, I've been looking for a Twitter application for my Windows Mobile device (Samsung Omnia) because as good of a job as Twitter's done with their home page on mobile devices, I've been hoping for better. I've found one called "Twikini" (don't ask me how to pronounce that). From what I've seen of it, it looks like it has potential. I'll try to post thoughts once I give it a go. It apparently works on WinMo 5 and 6 as well (in case you're running an older device). If you're interested in checking it out, you can find more info at http://www.trinketsoftware.com/Twikini
Here's a shot of what it looks like:
Now I'll admit I'm not a lawyer, but being a political science major, I'm rather familiar with our legal system and what our founding fathers wanted. Let's just say that if they saw what we had today, they would probably shake their heads in sadness while thinking "At least we tried."
I begin with the recent court case in California. Recently the people of California passed an amendment to their state constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Well some people didn't like this amendment. So leftists do what they always do when they get upset over something and hope the liberals they put in the court are going to give them the ruling they want (more on why that's a joke later). Get this. The left and gay "rights" activists argued that the constitutional amendment was, wait for it, unconstitutional. How can a constitution be unconstitutional? Now I'm thankful the courts did the logical thing and shot the whole thing down, I think it's extremely sad that they even took up the case in the first place. What do you think the US Supreme Court would have done if someone from the South came to them declaring the 13th amendment unconstitutional and that he had a right to own slaves? They would have laughed at him. And for those reading this saying "Owning slaves in America is nothing like gays getting married in California," actually it's exactly the same. There's a ruling constitution that says it's illegal. It doesn't matter how bad you think one thing is and how good another thing is. The law is the law.
And that's a phrase we seem to have forgotten here in the United States. We can clearly see that it's not the policy of the White House. Let's take a look at Obama's pick for the Supreme Court and what his criteria was for the court nominee. First, let's be clear on one thing, Sonia Sotomayor is a racist and sexist. This is clearly seen when she said "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." If Chief Justice Roberts had said "I would hope that a wise white man with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a hispanic woman who hasn't lived that life," prior to his approval, his nomination would have been removed so quickly, Washington DC would have set a record pace for doing something. Replace "hispanic" with "black" and it would probably be even quicker. But we in the general public aren't saying anything. All I can say is "And they shot down Bork?"
But then what appears to be her approach to law and what Obama was looking for in judicial nominees is downright wrong. Obama said "It is experience that can give a person a common touch of compassion; an understanding of how the world works and how ordinary people live. And that is why it is a necessary ingredient in the kind of Justice we need on the Supreme Court." Really? I think Chief Justice Roberts got it right when he suggested justices are to be more like umpires, not players. Everything I read about Sotomayor leads me to believe she's going to rule with her heart, not her head.
And that creates a problem. We are a nation under the rule of law, not a nation under the rule of man. Our founders set up key protections to ensure that this would stay that way. First, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land (Article VI). That means that what is written in that document defines the laws of our land. It cannot be trumped by any state constitution, any wishes of Congress, the will of the President, the wants of the people on the courts, or the constantly changing public opinion. This ensures that people know what rights they have, what the limits of the US Government are, and that the majority or the strong cannot rob the minority or weak of their rights. And yet I constantly hear people (Obama being one) talk about how we have a living Constitution and how it needs to change with the times. Does anyone else realize how dangerous that is? Who determines this change? The President? The courts? Public opinion? There isn't a single answer that can be given that still protects our status as a nation under the rule of law and not man. The minority and weak are completely subject to the will of the majority and powerful. This is why the left's constant runs to the courts to get their way is so dangerous. Every time the courts hand down a decision that falls under judicial activism, we step away from a rule of law and more towards a rule of man.
"But Dan, sometimes the law just isn't fair!" Very true. That's why we have a Congress that can pass laws and a Constitutional amendment process (Article V). We have procedures for how the laws of this country are determined. No school child is taught that the courts make the laws of this country. But they seem to increasingly do so. I still can't find the right to privacy in the Constitution, yet the Supreme Court ruled it was there in the case of Roe v. Wade. Is it fair that a panel of judges got to determine if we could have this right and not us through the Constitutional amendment process? I'd say no. We don't even get to vote for these judges.
Sometimes people will cite intent as well when reading the law. What did the founders intend? This is also something that is dangerous. We can never know what someone thought when they suggested a portion of the Constitution. However the Constitutional Convention passed the document as it is written. Think of it this way. Let's say I go to buy a car and I finance it. I sign a document saying I'll pay $300 a month for 48 months, but while I'm signing it, I'm only intending to pay $3 a month for 10 months. It doesn't matter what I was thinking when I signed the document. The document I signed reads the way it does. I have to follow what I signed, not what I was thinking.
I hope people are paying attention to what's going on right now in this country. We need a court system that reads the law as it is written. Otherwise how can any of us honestly know what the law is?
Every year the youth group at my church that I help lead does a sunrise service. Seeing how half of the youth group is usually gone for spring break and the other half doesn't want to do it, it usually falls to me to do a sermon for the service. Lately I've been putting together my sermon for this year. I thought I would throw it up here so people can comment and make suggestions.
Easter Sunday is a the day where we celebrate the glorious resurrection of Christ. And this is a topic that recently came up in my Sunday School class. The question was thrown out there: What is the meaning or value of Christ's resurrection? It was during his life on earth that he taught us the lessons that we learned. It was on the cross that he died for our sins. Why did he have to rise from the dead? Now this is a question that I suggest each of you considers for yourself and if you think of it, I would like to hear your answers. But the two answers that first came to my mind are 1) It was even more evidence that Jesus is who he says he is and 2) He's not done. He has more work to do and more promises to fulfill. He can't do that very well if he's in a tomb. And it's this work and these promises that I would like to focus on today.
Jesus spoke many times about his return. You can find quite a bit about it in the Gospels. You can read even more in the book of Revelation. Jesus informed us that after he was to die for our sins, he would return. He talks about this return in the book of Luke. "I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left." (Luke 17: 34-36). This scene that Jesus is describing is believed to be an image of the rapture. Those who are saved will go with Jesus while everyone else will be left behind.
Let me pose this question to you now. Which of the two are you? Are you someone who can confidently say that you will go with Christ when he comes or will you be left behind? Are you going to be able to enjoy the kingdom which Christ is preparing or will you be left out in the cold? If you cannot honestly say before God that this is true, then I beg you to consider having a relationship with Christ and asking him to forgive you of your sings. If you can confidently say you're going to go with Christ, let me say that the rest of this sermon is for you.
When we became born again Christians, when we prayed the sinner's prayer, we were given two things. The first thing we are given we are familiar with. That would be our salvation. This is the part we all love, cherish, and remember. But there is a second thing. 2 Corinthians 5: 18 reads "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation." Verse 20 then reads "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." This ministry of reconciliation and this title of "ambassadors for Christ" is talking about the gospel and our job, as Christians, to spread this message to the world.
Let me ask you this now: what are you doing with this second gift?
I think of the familiar parable of the servants with the talents. Even though many will argue that this parable is targeted towards the Jewish population and not the Gentiles, I think it's a great starting point as I tie all of this stuff I've been talking about together. For those who don't remember the parable, you can find it in Matthew 25 starting with verse 14. It tells the story of a man who calls his servants together before him and says he's going away and entrusts them each with three different amounts of money. Two put the money to work and double the value. The third takes it and buries it. The master returns and is joyful for the work done by the first two, but is upset with the third who didn't even bother doing something simple like putting the money in the bank.
We have been given this valuable message of Christ. We have found the way to heaven. It's rather amazing if you think about it. But what are we doing with it? Are we simply aknowledging it only on Sunday morning when we enter this building? Are we occasionally opening our Bible but never really trying to better understand God and his will for us? Are we living the Christian life in purity and humility, but then holding our tongues when an opportunity to share the gospel comes up? If Jesus was to return this very day, what do you think he would say about your work with the gospel?
And the day will come when this question will be raised. 2 Corinthians 5:10 reads "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." Now the part of the bad that is our sin is forgiven. So that's not of concern for those who have put their faith in Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins. But at this judgment seat of Christ we will also have our good works judged.
This whole thing reminds me of when I was a kid. By and large, my siblings and me were good kids. But then I remember a few occasions where my mom and dad would leave us home alone. And what's that old saying about when the cat's away, the mice will play? I remember on a few occasions where we got into a bit of minor trouble. Mom and Dad weren't seeing it so it's not like we were going to get into trouble... at least that was the thought. But then when my brother might be doing one of his "home experiments" that might burn the place down or I might be sneaking a few cookies from the cookie jar or tried hiding the fact that I was missing half of my front teeth due to a dare at the Green Hills pool, we would hear the garage door. Mom and Dad were home. Shear terror would shoot down the spine. We would hurry up and hide the trouble that we had gotten into before they could make the trip from the garage to the house.
Funny how that fear and panic didn't happen on the times when we were doing nothing wrong.
And I have to wonder if that's how it's going to be when Christ returns, much like the master in the parable. Are we going to realize that we haven't done any work with the gospel or are we going to rejoice? Will Jesus say to us "Well done, good and faithful servant," or "Why did you let fear of embarrassment stop you from even praying with that person when they asked?" When it comes to sharing the Gospel, ask yourself this question: what have you done?
As I said earlier, it's an important message. The option to go to heaven instead of hell is rather important. I remember an anti-drug PSA from a few years back. The ad featured a guy standing in the middle of a road as a speeding vehicle was approaching, while his friend just stood at the side of the road. The tagline was something along the lines of "You wouldn't let your friend be killed by a car, why would you let them be killed by drugs?" Isn't this similar to the Gospel. Why would you just stand on the sidelines when people we all know and love are on the highway to hell?
The book of Revelation talks about the Great White Throne Judgment. In this judgment just prior to the creation of the new heaven and new earth, every soul that has lived will be judged. Those that are saved, or written in the book of life, will see brighter days. Those who aren't saved will experience what is called the second death. Let's just say it doesn't sound good... at all. But a pastor friend of mine painted a great image of this whole thing that I found really inspiring. Let's say you're a witness to this huge event. You're sitting in section 212, row J, seat 5. And that person you know comes up to be judged. You know the one you've known for quite a while but never shared the Gospel with. Since they don't have Christ on their side, they're headed for this second death. And as they're being hauled away, they look up at you, sitting comfortably in section 212, row J, seat 5, secure in your place in heaven, and they shout "Why didn't you tell me?" Let me ask that question to you. Why don't you tell them? I think we all have people like that in our lives. I think of an old college roommate of mine. I regret daily not trying harder to share the good news with him. It's not like there was a lack of opportunity. We lived under the same roof. But I made excuses and never got around to it. And he's just one of many for me.
Much like the servants in the parable, we're all given something by our master. In this case, it's not money, but people. We are regularly given an opporunity to share the word. But far too often we waste it. We bury it in the ground and do nothing with it. How about we take the chance next time it comes up? If nothing else, when that day comes, at least they won't be able to ask us "Why didn't you tell me?"
When I was studying government, the idea was presented to me that there are 4 branches to our government with the press being the 4th and serving as a watchdog. Naturally I flat out rejected this concept as the press has no standing in the structure of our government according to our Constitution. But lately I've been thinking about this idea and then asking the question "Is the press doing its job as a part of our government?"
First, I looked back at the coverage of the election. I've written many, many of my thoughts regarding the press here before. This includes the fact that they seem to pick their favorite candidates (be it they like their ideas or their position offers an interesting story), give them extensive coverage, and then ignore the others citing they don't have support. Well if they gave them the same coverage, it might be a different story. The press then also failed us during the general election. When then Senator Joe Biden completely miscited the US Constitution in a debate (saying that Article I covered the executive branch and that it was clear the VP served in the executive branch when Article I covers the legislative branch and the article that covers the executive branch has zero job description for the VP) the press completely ignored it. A mistake like that should be a clear indicator of Biden's ability to support and defend the Constitution. But the press was more interested in Sarah Palin's pregnant teenage daughter. It's clear that during the past election, the press failed us to provide proper coverage of the election that would give us all a look at the issues that would help us determine who was the better candidate.
Then I looked at the current coverage of the AIG bonus debate. Right now the big headlines revolve around how Americans are upset that AIG gave these bonuses after taking taxpayer dollars. Here are my questions that seems to barely ever be answered: what were the terms of these bonuses? Were they contractually obligated to pay them? Might there have been a legal battle if they didn't and then still had to pay them if they lost that battle? Did they owe them the money or did they just say "I feel like handing out bonuses!"? It seems to me that these questions are ones that people should know before they form their opinion on this issue. But the press is more than happy to ignore them, let them slip under the rug, and continue to press the headline selling idea of America being mad. "Americans upset over AIG bonuses" is a much more interesting idea than "Americans understand AIG bonuses."
Plus there's more to this story that seems to only recently be hitting the light of day. Let's say I had a few hundred thousand dollars I wanted to invest in a business and I hired a guy to find one to invest my money in. After a while the receiver of my money does something stupid. Should I be upset at the guy who received my money or the guy who lent my money without any sort of safeguards to prevent this? I'm going to be upset with the guy who picked the investment. Yet Congress, who invested in AIG for us, seems to get a free pass.
Even as I watched the Libby hearings and after coverage on TV, I noticed much of the same. The focus is clearly on Libby. What did AIG do wrong? How are they evil? Yet their business practices are being questioned and judged by people who have little to no business background (let alone running a company that large) and are asking some really stupid questions. One Congressman played the emotional card to make AIG look bad saying that schools could have really used that money and that teachers who do their job are more deserving of it. Really? How is this a logical case for why AIG shouldn't have given those bonuses? How does this help us understand the situation any better? Yet the press fails to question how well these people are doing at getting to the truth of the situation. Had it been one of my representatives in Congress that said such a thing, I'd add it to the list of reasons to elect someone else the time around. If it's the press's job to act as a watchdog on the government, they should focus more on what Congress is doing in this whole situation and less on AIG.
Then I think the tip of the iceberg for me recently was an article I read online. Let me lay down the situation. The article I found through a link on cnn.com. CNN is supposed to be a respected name in news. It goes off to an article on the website for Fortune magazine. Again, a well known name in news. The story was in regards to the recently released Internet Explorer 8. The headline reads "Is IE8 the Vista of Web browsers?" Now, as someone who has gone no further with his journalistic studies than serving as co-editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper, it's pretty sad that I can see flaws with this headline. There are a lot of people who swear by Vista (myself included). Is this meant to imply IE8 is awesome? But then some people hate it so is it meant to say it's horrid? Not very well done. However the kicker lies in the first line of the article which reads "I have not tested Internet Explorer 8." Really? This "journalist" is going to tell us about IE8 yet hasn't even touched it. Then he goes on to say that since Microsoft has no intentions of releasing it for the Apple Macintosh, he may never use it. At this point, on the internet, we would declare this guy an Apple fanboy. The last thing anyone would declare him is a journalist. He cites an early review from another journalist at another paper. He declares IE8 is slower than Firefox, Chrome, and Safari without citing a source or a test done to prove so. He uses pie charts that look like he put them together using his Apple II (that's a really old Apple computer for those curious). He cites that Vista (no longer talking about IE8, which is the topic of the article) only has 22% market share in the OS arena while XP has 63.5% and calls it a sure sign Vista's failing (note he fails to mention that Vista's been out about 2 years while XP had about a 6 year run until Vista hit market. It only makes sense that this would be the case since most people don't upgrade their OS).
Then the story gets to the point where it's just entertaining by how sad it is. The author provides an "Update" to address those who left comments complaining that he never touched the browser. He cites 2 things. First he links off to another article done by another author on another site that "...does a better job with one of the points I was trying to make...". The second was that he cited Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer when he said he doesn't own Apple products. Really? Is Steve Ballmer writing reviews of Apple products? Is he a journalist? Just because he doesn't own them, does that mean he's never used them?
Here's the best part: The article is under a section on the Fortune website called "Apple 2.0: Mac news from outside the reality distortion field" If the browser's not coming to Apple any time soon, why would an Apple blog report on it or review it? And why should we expect an honet and complete review? The website anythingbutipod.com doesn't review iPods. That's not their focus. So why would an Apple writer write about something for Windows?
You can read the article here.
Now you could just say "Dan, you found an article done by a poor journalist. It doesn't mean the press as a whole is failing us!" Remember how I got to the article. I found it on cnn.com. That means some editor at cnn.com found it to be good enough to post on that website. So the failure now expands to CNN. It also made it to Fortune's website which means some editor there made the same mistake. So the failure also expands to Fortune. If the New York Times ran a story about aliens from a different planet filled with shotty research, the New York Times would get egg on their face since they're the ones who printed the story. Same situation.
I think it's becoming increasingly interesting how the press has been failing us. It seems that when big, important news is hitting, they're more interested in a random missing person/murder investigation. Perhaps we need to start saying something.