Friday, December 21, 2012

MY SECRET CAREER HAS BEEN EXPOSED!

        I live at Princeton Windrows, a community for independent seniors just outside of Princeton, New Jersey. Seven years ago I started a chorus, and we have been putting on a show for our staff and residents in mid-December every year. We call ourselves the Windrows Warblers. I write silly words to popular songs of the past and present, and we sing and dance and do some funny skits for everyone's enjoyment, but principally for the staff, who love to see us older folks make fools of ourselves.
        Last year for the first time I decided to do a rap incorporating the names of our entire staff, calling myself "The Rev," the granddaddy of all rappers. My disguise didn't fool anybody, of course, but the effect was hilarious. It went over so well that The Rev was pressed into making a return appearance this year. Our executive director decided to put it on YouTube, to show that life in a community like ours can be lots of fun, and we're not a bunch of old fogies, sad sacks, and stuffed shirts.
        So my secret career has been publicly disclosed! Don't worry, we're not about to take our show on the road!  But if you want to watch the oldest living rapper in action, here's the link to the YouTube video:  http://youtu.be/fUMuH113zVI.

A CHRISTMAS PRAYER


God give us grace. . .  
                                                    
To see
beyond the gleam and glitter
of our tinseled trees
a dim lit stable
not at all like these,

To hear
above the clash and clamor
of the market throng
an angel's call for peace
in silent song,

To feel                                                                                                  
in all the merry madness
of our festive cheer
the Savior's presence
in our hearts this year.

(from Now, That's a Miracle!)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

REFLECTIONS ON THE TRAGEDY IN NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT

Children being led to safety out of the Sandy Hook
 Elementary School with their eyes closed to avoid their
seeing anything that might disturb or frighten them.
        I was shocked and sickened, like everyone else, by the horrible slaughter of twenty children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, this past Friday morning. My heart was breaking for those whose lives have been so rudely and cruelly devastated by this unspeakable catastrophe.
        Those of us who are pastors wrestled with what to say to our congregations yesterday, the third Sunday of this holy season of Advent. Our parishioners are grieving, too, and trying as people of faith to make sense of this senseless tragedy. Where is God in all this?
        Unbelievers are quick to use such a disaster to deny the existence of God. They wonder how anyone can believe in a God who would let wenty-six innocent children and adults be so brutally murdered. They don’t understand God’s permissive will and humankind’s propensity for misusing the freedom God has granted us. God did not kill those children; a deranged young man named Adam Lanza did, for reasons we do not yet know or understand.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

THE SNOWMAN


When I pass by some wintry lawn and see
        a rounded figure fashioned from the snow,
with button eyes, a carrot for a nose,
        an old felt hat, a scarf, or tie, I know
what it would surely say, if it could speak:
        that there is love within that home, and joy,
because the silent sentinel was built
        by some excited little girl or boy
with some parental aid undoubtedly,
        or maybe by a grown-up (just for fun),
in whom a little girl or boy still lives.
        In any case, I know, if there is one
upon the lawn, the people in that house,
        if nothing else, can take the time to play,
and if there were more snowmen on more lawns,
        the world would be a better place today.

(from If I Do Say So Myself)






Friday, December 7, 2012

GETTING READY FOR CHRISTMAS

(Note: This poem was originally written to be used as a sermon illustration. It is intended to be read aloud as rapidly as possible.)

                                                             Working, slaving, pennies saving,                                                        
                                                             shopping, waiting, long lines hating,
       sewing, pressing, cards addressing,
       buying, trying, washing, drying,
       licking, sticking, presents picking,
       making, baking, early waking,
       capping, wrapping, never  napping,
       lighting, writing, stopping fighting,
       messing, meaning vacuum cleaning,
       memory versing, parts rehearsing,
       car pool driving, late arriving,
       parties throwing, money's going,
       sick kids nursing, feel like cursing,
                                                             surely this must not be Christmas!

                                                             (from If I Do Say So Myself)


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

SHAME ON THEM!

AP Photo
        Shame on those 38 Republican Senators who voted against the United Nations Treaty banning discrimination against people with disabilities.
        Ratification of international treaties requires a two-thirds majority of the Senate. More than 150 other nations have signed the treaty, which guarantees disabled persons the same rights provided disabled persons in the United States under the Americans With Disabilities Act, which was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush in 1990.
        Kudos to the eight Republican Senators who voted with the Democrats in favor of the treaty, including Senators Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Scott Brown (Mass.), Susan Collins (Maine), Dick Lugar (Ind.), John McCain (Ariz.), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) voted with Democrats in favor of the treaty.
        Eighty-nine year old retired Senator Bob Dole, a disabled veteran of World War II, was wheeled by his wife, retired Senator Elizabeth Dole, onto the Senate floor as a gesture of his strong support for the treaty. He was greeted warmly by Senators on both sides of the aisle, but how disappointed he must have been by those of his own Party who voted against the Treaty, on the pretext that it would be an infringement on the sovereignty of the United States.
        How sheepish they must have felt, as their names were called out in opposition. They included some of Senator Dole’s closest former colleagues and friends, whose fear of a back lash from their Tea Party constituents was, I suspect, the real reason for their opposition. Their misguided political loyalties stifled their desire to do what was right for America and the world. Shame on them!
        But then, why should we be surprised? Because of their outrageous pledge to Grover Norquist, they’re willing to let the Bush tax cuts expire for 98% of us Americans rather than allow the tax rate for the wealthiest 2% to revert to the Clinton tax rate, which would represent a slight increase that the rich can well afford.
        Shame on them!

Monday, December 3, 2012

THE FISCAL CLIFF

Regarding the dread fiscal cliff                                                          
the backs of both Parties are stiff.
After hearing their views
on which option to choose,
I’m beginning to think, what’s the diff?

The wealthy will still have to pay
a higher tax rate either way.
Meanwhile posturing
is the politic thing.
So for now just ignore what they say!

Friday, November 30, 2012

WHAT DID BARACK AND MITT SAY TO EACH OTHER PRIVATELY?


Romney went to the White House for lunch.
What was said there I haven’t a hunch.
Did Mitt say, “Thanks! I’m free
now to be the real me!
I am through with that Tea Party bunch!”

Did the President say in reply,
“I have always thought you’re a good guy,
but I hear in my head
all the mean things you said;
can I now on that promise rely?”?


EMOTION OR DEVOTION?

                                                                                       
Some church members have the notion
that their level of emotion
is the mark of their devotion
and on that their kingdom standing must depend.

Some are much too braggadocian,
and their cocky self-promotion
may just get them a demotion,
when the roll is called up yonder in the end!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

WILL THEY EVER GET THE MESSAGE?

Rachel Maddow posted this composite photo of the nineteen newly appointed persons who will be serving as committee chairs in the House of Representatives, when the new term begins in January.

Note that there is not one woman or minority person among them!

Will the Republicans ever get the message?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"WE'RE NUMBER ONE!"

To be a good loser is challenge enough.
        To be a good winner is equally tough!                                          
Few things ever gall me more under the sun
        than hearing some braggarts shout "We're Number One!"
I have to declare that it sure gets my goat,
        when even the teams that I'm rooting for gloat.
For boxers or merchants or teams and their fans,
        for leaders of nations and vain "also-rans,"
For armies and navies and their personnel,
        for whoever wins and their boosters as well,
it ill behooves any to flaunt their success.
        Sincere gratitude is what they should express.

Monday, November 26, 2012

STAY PUT, MR. FOSS!

"Let me live in a house by the side of the road                                                  
and be a friend to man."
With all due respect to old Sam Walter Foss,
I don't know how anyone can!
It's not just his language to which I object.
Inclusive or not, it's the thought.
I have a suspicion the poet elect,
if it had been my house that he bought,
would find himself surely agreeing with me,
before a few days had gone by.
For all of the trash that is dumped on our lawn
would make any home owner cry.
From beer cans and bottles to Styrofoam cups,
old clothing and cigarette butts,
scrap metal and garbage and furniture, too,
and even dead cats and dead mutts.
How can I befriend all those mean litterbugs
whizzing by in their cars and their trucks?
Their thoughtless pollution deserves only wrath
---and a fine of a few hundred bucks!
So take my advice and ignore Mr. Foss,
though he was a remarkable man.
If he moved to a house by the side of the road,
he would need a much bigger trash can!

Friday, November 23, 2012

DOES IT SHOW?

We can say we love Christ with a smile on our face.  
We can tell everybody we know.
We can share our faith stories all over the place,
but the question remains, Does it show?

We can put it on badges and bumpers of cars
and even on billboards for dough;
We can sing it in churches and shout it in bars,
but the question remains, Does it show?

For actions speak louder than words, as they say,
and faith without works will not grow.
Salvation by grace through faith is the way,
but the question remains, Does it show?

(from Enough, Already! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A THANKSGIVING SERMON

                                                                                      CONFIDENT THANKS

“And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said 'Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me'" (John 11:41, RSV).
         The place is Bethany, a tiny village less than two miles from Jerusalem on the road to Jericho. Mary and Martha are at the tomb of Lazarus, crying over the brother they have lost. Some of their friends have followed them to the tomb, and they, too, are weeping.
         At this moment an anxious silence grips the mourners. The sobbing has momentarily ceased, the weeping and wailing have halted like a suspended sigh, and even the air seems suddenly still. They are staring intently at the quiet figure standing beside the open cave from which the stone has been rolled away. Jesus also has been weeping, but his expression and manner are calm and confident. As the master is about to speak, they wait with bated breath and pounding hearts, sensing the excitement, the expectancy, the anxiety of this moment.
         Lifting his eyes to heaven Jesus utters a prayer of thanksgiving, and then with a loud voice cries: "Lazarus, come out!" From the murky, musty darkness of the tomb, before their wondering eyes, the man they had buried four days ago emerges, still wrapped in his grave clothes, but alive! As they stand there gaping, entranced by the miracle, the sharp command of Jesus snaps them back to the reality of what must have seemed a dream: "Unbind him and let him go."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

THE LOSER SYNDROME

        What ever happened to the “loyal opposition” concept? It has been replaced by what I call “the loser syndrome.”
        You encounter this syndrome in every organization, including in the church. A new pastor comes and those who used to be on the “in” with the former pastor start making odious comparisons and finding fault with the changes that usually occur. Those who have lost power seem to feel they have to exercise their influence in negative ways. They aren’t running things any more, so they oppose, and criticize, and second guess everything the new “regime” is doing. I’m sure you have encountered this attitude somewhere along the way. It’s the loser syndrome.
Illustration by Stephen Kroninger for TIme
       It is especially evident in the current political arena, and the prime example is Senator John McCain, who has never got over his loss to Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign. His and Senator Lindsey Graham’s unwarranted attack on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice drew a stern rebuke from President Obama, who called the attack “outrageous.” The Senators are accusing the Ambassador of either deliberately lying about the cause of the Benghazi attacks or of being incompetent for not knowing what she should have known. They have vowed to oppose her nomination as Secretary of State, should President Obama choose her to replace Hillary Clinton, who will be leaving the post in January.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A SERIOUS ISSUE

        In our nation's concern about our dependency on foreign oil and the laudable desire to find safe alternative sources of energy, such as wind and solar power, "clean" coal, and natural gas, many knowledgeable Americans are deeply concerned about the dangers of the use of hydrofracking to extract natural gas.
        Having written about this issue before (see How One Church Has Addressed the Issue, and ALEC Is At It Again), I now urge those who are not familiar with what looms as a controversy of growing national and even international significance to read the following article, entitled Frack Fight.
        Given the conflict between the general public's concern about gas prices and the environmentalists' concerns about the harmful effects of fracking, between the conflicting economic interests of the oil companies and the health and safety concerns of communities impacted by the process, and given the enormous political implications of the issue, President Obama will face some difficult decisions in the months ahead.
        It will be one of the most challenging tests of his presidential leadership.


THE REAL ME


A take-off on I Corinthians 15:10 - "But by the grace of
God I am what I am."

God created me.  I don't understand ---
        is what I am now the "me" that God planned?
If by the Lord's grace I am what I am,
        can I be to blame, whatever I am?

Is claiming that just a pretext to say
        whatever I am is really okay?
As if what I am is not up to me?
        So blame it on God, and I go Scot free!

Or does God alone observe the real me,
        not just what I am, but what I can be?
God knows my desires as well as my needs.
        God knows the intent behind all my deeds.

The "me" others know is not the real me;
        nor is it the "me" I want them to see.
I'm not what I seem.  Yet is it not true,
        that masquerade "me" is part of me, too?

Beneath the facades the world need not see;
        the masks that I choose reveal the real me!
Indeed, I confess that it may well be
        those phoney facades are closest to me.

To know who I am may be but a sham.
        Salvation is this:  to know whose I am.
To know I am Christ's by grace and that he
        can free me through faith to be the real me.

(from Now, That's a Miracle!)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

OTHERS ARE HURTING, TOO

How long will this awful pain last?
I am reaching my breaking point fast!
No one ever could know
that it's hurting me so.
I just pray that the worst part has passed.

But have I any right to complain,
when so many are suffering pain
which is far worse than mine?
Therefore, why should I whine?
There are things that can deaden my pain.

Furthermore, I need not be up tight,
for they tell me that I'll be all right,
while for some on this Ball
there is no hope at all
that the end of their pain is in sight.

While I suffer, therefore, I shall try
to remember those worse off than I.
As I pray for them now,
I feel better somehow
---though it still hurts, I would not deny!

RSA

Thursday, November 15, 2012

WHEN WILL THEY EVER LEARN?

        On and on it goes. Mitt Romney tells his big donors he lost because of President Obama’s “gifts” to
the African American community, the Hispanic community, and young people. His comments were in keeping with his infamous remarks about the 47% of Americans whom he accused of  paying no income taxes, expecting  handouts, and not wanting to take responsibility for their own lives. When will he ever learn?
        That on top of Karl Rove’s karlrovean assertion that Barack Obama won the election by "suppressing the vote"! When will he ever learn?
Senator Mitch McConnell
        In responding to an editorial in the Louisville Courier Journal celebrating President Obama’s victory, Senator Mitch McConnell wrote “Kentuckians did not, as the editorial board would lead you to believe, suggest that those of us representing their interests capitulate to the wishes of President Obama and his liberal allies in Washington. The fact is, America voted to maintain divided government.” What Senator McConnell failed to note is that the Democratic candidates actually received over half a million votes more than their Republican opponents, who though they lost some seats, managed to maintain the control of the House because of the gerrymandering that took place in Republican States following the 2010 mid-term election. This month’s election was hardly a mandate for divided government! When will they ever learn?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

ANSWERING THE RACISTS


        Who are the truly loyal Americans?
        They are not the flag-waving red necks whose bigotry oozes out of every pore. Decent folks who care about the truth need to speak up and speak out against the absurd but dangerous rhetoric coming from the radical right. I feel duty bound not to let the racist charges against President Obama which we hear or receive from our friends and others go unchallenged.
        A college classmate of mine keeps sending me anti-Obama propaganda he receives from his far right sources. Usually I read it, because I want to know what the opposition is saying. Then I delete it. But sometimes his material is so blatantly racist and false that I feel compelled to respond.
        His most recent post-election offerings have been so outrageous that I had to reply. Here’s what my former friend (I feel it is appropriate that I change his name), sent me from his friend Sam Holliday, whose name I have not changed:

Monday, November 12, 2012

A PRAYER FOR VETERANS DAY

        God of grace and God of Glory, once again we honor the Veterans, living and dead, of the many wars in which our nation has been involved. We thank you for their service, their sense of duty, their sacrifice, their patriotism, their bravery, their esprit de corps. We pray for those who bear the physical, emotional, and psychological scars of war, and for their families and all who have shared their pain.
        We also lift up to you those for whom this day is a sad reminder of the terrible cost of war, and we pray that every living veteran may feel the gratitude and respect of all their fellow citizens, even of those who may have questioned the justification of our preemptive invasion of Iraq or the wisdom of our prolonged stay in Afghanistan.
        What a privilege, O God, to live in a land where people of good character and conscience can differ in their assessments of our nation’s foreign policy, with equal loyalty to their flag and equal love for the republic for which it stands. What a testimony to the allegiance of our service men and women that they are ready to lay down their lives for their country, even when some of them may not fully understand the reasons for the war they are fighting.
        God of all nations, having just reelected our President and Vice President to a second term in office, we ask your special blessing upon them and upon all who will be serving with them in the Administration and in the Congress, as they face the enormous challenges ahead. In your great mercy, heal the divisions in our land, and dispel the bitterness of the recent campaign that we may unite as a nation in our prayers for all who bear the weight of public office, regardless of their party affiliation.
        Give to our new president and to every office holder, at whatever level of government, the humility to acknowledge their limitations, the wisdom to discern the best solutions to the world’s problems, the good will to work in a spirit of non-partisanship to solve those problems, the integrity to put principle above expediency, and the commitment to live up to their campaign promises.   In so doing, may they learn the fine art of compromise for the sake of progress.
        We acknowledge, O God, that we honor our veterans best by doing our best for them on the home front and giving them the support they need during and after their time in the service.
         “We are living, we are dwelling in a grand an d awful time.”. . . “Let there be light, Lord God of hosts!  Let there be wisdom on the earth!  Let broad humanity have birth!  Let there be deeds instead of boasts!”
         And if it be your will, O God, let there be peace on earth, for your kingdom’s sake.  Amen.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

KARL ROVE’S KARLROVEAN CHARGE

Karl Rove
        It has been interesting to watch the Republicans play the blame game. Karl Rove wins the prize for charging that President Obama won “by suppressing the vote”! There we have the most blatant example of the karlrovean tactic by the man who personifies it: accuse your opponent of that of which your side is guilty! Imagine a Republican accusing the Democrats of voter suppression!
        Other Republicans are blaming Hurricane Sandy for disrupting Mitt Romney’s momentum; or Governor Christie for his generous praise of President Obama’s leadership in responding to the storm; or the liberal bias of the main stream media; or the remarks of extremists like Todd Akin, whose candidacy for the Senate Romney endorsed; or the choice of Paul Ryan as Romney’s running mate instead of someone like Senator Marco Rubio, who they think would have narrowed the gap among Latino voters; or the Democrats’  negative attacks on Romney that succeeded in defining him early on as a “vulture capitalist” who couldn’t relate to and didn’t care about middle class Americans; or the fact that the Democrats had a much more sophisticated ground game than the Republicans; etc., etc.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

POST ELECTION REFLECTIONS

        I stayed up until 3:00 a.m. last night, watching the election returns. President Obama’s reelection was a victory for all Americans, even those who voted against him! For all Americans stand to benefit from the President’s policies.
        Barack Obama’s impressive victory, though not a “mandate,” is certainly a confirmation of the direction in which the nation is heading under his leadership and the progress that he has made so far. While there is much to be done, as the President is the first to admit, his reelection is a most gratifying vindication of his many first-term accomplishments, which have been so meanly misrepresented by his opponents throughout the presidential campaign.
        It is also a well-deserved repudiation of right-wing extremism, of the attack ads of the superPACs, billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers and their efforts to buy the election,  of “birthers” like Donald Trump, of the fear mongering conspiracy hunters, fueled by the Citizens United backed producers of the “documentary” film 2016: Obama’s America, which paints the President as conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood to turn America into a Muslim state, and of the Republican state officials who tried to steal the election with their restrictive voter I.D. laws and other measures designed to prevent or discourage primarily Democratic voters from exercising their fundamental right to vote.  
        On a brighter note, Mitt Romney’s concession speech was commendably gracious and apolitical. It was also relatively brief, maybe because, according to rumor, he had not prepared one in advance. Maybe his delay in conceding the election was not due to his campaign’s unwillingness to concede Ohio to the Democrats, but to his need to work on a speech he never thought he would have to give.
        One of the things that pleased and impressed me most about what was obviously a very sad and difficult moment for Governor Romney and his disappointed followers, who had been hoping for a very different kind of message from their leader, was the crowd’s response to his announcement that he had just called to congratulate President Obama on his victory and to wish him and his family well. Instead of the usual outburst of booing that we are accustomed to hearing from the losing side at the mention of their opponent’s name, there was spontaneous, polite applause!
        Shortly after that, at the Democratic headquarters in Chicago, there was also a round of applause when the President reported on his opponent’s call and complimented him on his hard-fought campaign. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the similar reactions of both camps were a sign of a new desire for bipartisan cooperation in the days ahead?  
        We’ll soon find out!

Friday, November 2, 2012

CATCHING UP

Pres. Obama and Gov.Christie on Marine One
        To those who have been following my posts I apologize for my recent inactivity, but I was without Internet access for a few days because of hurricane Sandy and unable to access my blog.
        That was frustrating for me, as I’ve had so many thoughts I wanted to share. I was so impressed by President Obama’s immediate and forceful response to Sandy, and especially by his and New Jersey Governor Christie’s commendable cooperation in dealing with the disastrous effects of the storm. The President’s actions drew high praise from the man who gave the keynote address at the Republican Convention and who has until now been a blistering critic of Barack Obama. His praise of the President’s leadership and the help of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) completely contradicts Mitt Romney’s campaign rhetoric!
        Meanwhile the Republican candidate is desperately trying to lie his way into the White House. He keeps on trying to scare Ohioans by charging that the Chrysler Corporation is planning to ship the manufacturing of Jeeps to China, despite the angry contradiction of Chrysler’s CEO.  Romney’s ads continue to level a similar charge against the General Motors Corporation, drawing an unprecedented blast from GM.

Friday, October 26, 2012

ONE MORE TERM!

        Before discovering this newer video, I posted a link to a 2008 video, which I felt was still relevant and inspiring. It's still worth watching!
        In that post, which I have just cancelled. I suggested that as you listen to the stirring song from Les Miserables, imagine they were singing "one more term" instead of "one more day"! In this  newer version, featuring Broadway stars, they are doing just that, with contemporary lyrics and a powerful political message!
       The 2012 presidential election is just as important as the historic 2008 election, even more so, for it is a test of our American values. Truth itself is on the line. We can't let the dream die! There's too much at stake. We've come too far, accomplished too much.
        Click on this LINK, turn up the volume, click on your full screen, and be inspired!







Thursday, October 25, 2012

ONE MORE DAY!

        Do you remember the 2008 video? It's still relevant and inspiring!

        As you listen to this stirring song from Les Miserables, just imagine they are singing
"one more term" instead of "one more day"!

       The 2012 presidential election is just as important as the historic 2008 election, even
more so, for it is a test of our American values. Truth itself is on the line. We can't let the
dream die! There's too much at stake. We've come too far, accomplished too much.

        Click on this LINK, turn up your volume, and click on full screen.


WHOSE SIDE IS GOD ON?



On whose side is the Lord?  Do not answer too soon,
lest your destiny force you to alter your tune
to a more humble melody, taught by the fact
that your enemies also may claim to be backed
by the same God you pridefully say is your friend,
until things do not turn out so well in the end.

When your faith is wrapped up in a neat little box,
then you need to be taught in the School of Hard Knocks!
If you want to be faithful, you'd best understand
that you can't have the Lord in the palm of your hand.
   
So the question to ask is not, What are the odds
that the Lord is on my side? but, Am I on God's?

                                                                RSA

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

CHALK UP ANOTHER WIN FOR THE PRESIDENT!

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images
        President Obama was the clear winner of the third “debate,” both in substance and in style.
Governor Romney was obviously trying to appear knowledgeable with his geographical name-dropping, but he was clearly limited to his memorized lines. That is undoubtedly why he chose not to debate but to reverse his previously stated positions and agree with the President on almost every for foreign policy issue. As was to be expected, Mr. Romney turned his every answer into an attack on the President’s economic record.
        The strategy did not work, however, for the President called attention to his opponent’s inconsistencies (“You’re all over the map, Governor!”), challenged his misstatements, and corrected his mistakes. It was abundantly clear which of the two candidates was more qualified to be Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces!
        The President was sharp, articulate, factual, and firm. His opponent seemed nervous and defensive. He was sweating. He spoke too fast and too long. The Fox News crowd complained that Bob Schieffer cut him off. He should have, but he couldn’t. He tried to, but Romney rudely ignored him and went on and on, never on the question, and it appeared at times that the President couldn’t get a word in edgewise.
        Today the President released three and a half million copies of his detailed plan for his second term. It is a far more factual, detailed, and explicit agenda than Romney’s vague generalities and platitudes.  It will be interesting to see how the Romney/Ryan team react, now that the rug has been pulled out from under their main criticism of the President!

Monday, October 22, 2012

TONIGHT'S DEBATE

        When it comes to foreign policy, how can there be a real debate tonight, when one candidate's foreign policy experience is limited to his investments in foreign companies and shipping jobs overseas? As the President put it very bluntly in the second debate, Governor Romney is the last person that should be talking about getting tough on China. His preparation for tonight's debate has been to memorize what he has been told by his neocon advisers. Since he has nothing to offer, all he can do is attack, attack, attack. He is good at that!
        During his overseas trip a few weeks ago Mr. Romney revealed his propensity for putting his foot in his mouth, and time and again he has displayed his dangerous tendency to shoot from the hip, as revealed by his totally inappropriate and premature criticism of the President immediately upon hearing the news of the killing of four Americans during the attack on the Benghasi consulate..
        We don't need a belligerent hawk in the White House. America's allies are dreading that possibility. The last thing we need is another war! What a tragedy it would be to destroy the good will and unity that has been established under President Obama's leadership! He has restored America's respect and role in the world community.
        Foreign policy has been one of the President's greatest strengths. Vice President Biden has had many years of foreign policy experience. Their opponents have had little or none. Voters should not be misled by Romney's rhetoric. If you need a reminder, take a look at this video.  
     
       

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A RELEVANT WORD FROM ISAIAH


The villainies of villains are evil;
they devise wicked devices
to ruin the poor with lying words,
even when the plea of the needy is right. 
But those who are noble plan noble things,
and by noble things they stand  (Isaiah 32:7-8, N).

  BY THEIR FRUITS

From the knave come evil deeds.
        Well, what would you expect?
Bad trees cannot bear good fruit,
        for deeds the heart reflect.

Noble deeds from noble minds
        will follow, as they should.
By their fruits, then, you will know
        if they are bad or good.                                

BE REASONABLE!


"Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord" (Isaiah 1:18a, RSV).

You said, "Come, let us reason." Does that mean I'm assured
        that with me you will always be reasonable, Lord?

Somehow I don't think that is exactly what you meant.
        I'd like to know the reason why reason's your intent.      

If, Lord, I may speak frankly, I think it's rather odd, 
        unreasonable even, to reason with one's God.

But hold on just a minute! A thought occurs to me:
        Is that what I am doing with you right now?

                                                    I see!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

WHAT A CONTRAST!

       What a contrast between the Republicans’ reaction to the second debate and the Democrats’ reaction to the first debate!
        Whereas Democratic sympathizers were the first to acknowledge the President’s disappointing performance and to concede that Mitt Romney was the winner that night, the Republicans are looking for all kinds of excuses to deny President Obama’s clear victory in Tuesday night’s heated debate.
Photo by Michael Phillips-
Pool/Getty Images
        As expected they heaped much of the blame on the moderator, Candy Crowley, for correcting Mr. Romney’s misrepresentation of the President’s remarks in the Rose Garden on the day following the Benghazi attacks. Instead they should be relieved that she didn’t call attention to all the other misstatements by the Governor. Ms. Crowley moderated what for me was the most spirited televised presidential debate, and the most lively exchange of views ever.
        The Republicans and some of the commentators have faulted President Obama for not laying out his plans for the next four years. I disagree completely with that criticism, because his plans were inferred over and over again in his responses to the various questions.  He will work for the passage of the legislative acts that Republicans have blocked, such as the Dream Act, the American Jobs Act, the Farm Bill, the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Veterans’ Jobs Bill, the cost of living adjustment for veterans, continuation of the Bush tax cuts for those earning under $250,000 a year, the winding down of our involvement in Afghanistan, and continuing to push his policies regarding energy, education, rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, and the prevention of the outsourcing of American jobs. These are just a few of his most obvious commitments.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

SCORE A BIG ONE FOR THE PRESIDENT!


AP photo/Charlie Neibergall
        President Obama was himself tonight. He was forceful, factual, articulate, confident, and above all presidential in his bearing.
        Governor Romney seemed to get more and more uncomfortable and desperate as the debate proceeded.  He said almost exactly the same things he said in the first debate, again short on facts and substance. He must have known that President Obama would not sit idly by and not question his statements, yet he seemed totally unprepared to deal with President’s pointed objections.
        It was almost ludicrous to hear the Republican spin doctors try to argue that their candidate had won the debate. Romney’s expression was anything but confident. His usual tactic of responding to a question by attacking his opponent was obviously not working tonight, and the Governor was clearly on the defensive, while the President was cool, calm, and collected.
        Tonight’s debate was a totally different scenario. The President had many strong moments, but he was especially good in summarizing his accomplishments, and I liked the way he pointed out the differences between Romney and George W. Bush, after Romney had fielded the same question from the moderator.

Monday, October 15, 2012

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN


In the conflict re our language
        there's a point on which I'm shady.
It pertains to the distinction
        'twixt a woman and a lady.
If you call someone the latter,
        all the feminists will bristle,
and no matter what you're saying
        they will quickly blow the whistle.
Now, it may be quite old-fashioned,
        but I think of my own mother
as a lady, yet a woman
        just as free as any other.
And to state it rather bluntly,
        for those folks who are not "fraidies":
Every lady is a woman,
        but all women are not ladies!
That is not a sexist statement,
        for the same is true of men:
While all gentlemen are males, hey,
        not all males are gentlemen!

(from If I Do Say So Myself)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

IS THE ROMNEY BOOST A BUBBLE?

        Governor Romney’s boost in the polls following the first debate is an indictment of the intelligence of anyone who switched his or her allegiance to the Republican candidate. Granted President Obama  gave a lackluster performance, and he disappointed his followers by failing to challenge his opponent’s misrepresentations. But he was true to his convictions and his words matched his record. You know where he stands and what he stands for.
        The same cannot not be said for Mitt Romney, who completely reinvented himself,  contradicting his previous positions on issues and saying things that were totally false. If people couldn’t trust him before, how in the world could they trust him after his totally hypocritical performance in that debate?
        He took his etch-a-sketch strategy to a new extreme, proving once again that he will say anything he thinks will help him to get elected, often to the embarrassment even of his surrogates who are continually having to reinterpret their fearless leader’s remarks. “What he meant to say was. . .”

Friday, October 5, 2012

THE FIRST ROUND WENT TO MR. ETCH-A-SKETCH . . . OR DID IT?

        The first debate usually goes to the challenger, and the initial response of most commentators, Democratic and Republican alike, was that Mitt Romney won the opening round. The general consensus was that he was energetic, aggressive, confident, and well scripted.  Many expected him to be the attack dog, and he did not disappoint his followers.
        Though he sounded specific with his one-two-three point style, he was no more detailed than he has been throughout his campaign. The President’s supporters were disappointed and frustrated that the President let his opponent off the hook time and again. They felt that the President was not forceful enough in his responses, and that he missed or ignored opportunity after opportunity to call out his opponent on his misstatements and contradictions.
        But hold on. The President did not say anything wrong. He is being faulted not for what he said but for what he didn’t say, not for being too aggressive but for not being aggressive enough. Maybe restraint was the wise course to take, at least in this first debate.
         To those who have been so quick to hand the debate over to Romney, I want to say, “Wait a minute! Have you forgotten Mr. Etch-a-Sketch? We didn’t hear the real Mitt. We heard the well rehearsed Mitt! Romney scored on style, not on substance. A non-observer might have a difficult time picking a winner from a written transcript of the debate, especially if the non-observer was informed enough to recognized Romney’s complete reversals of many of his campaign positions, as well as his departures from the Republican Party platform.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

TONIGHT’S DEBATE

        The first Presidential debate takes places tonight. Governor Romney and President Obama have been practicing hard for it. The political pundits have been discussing the importance of this long-awaited confrontation between the two opponents and opining about each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and what each one has to do to “win” the debate.
        Viewers at home will be watching to see how the two men comport themselves, and how they interact with each other and with the moderator, former PBS News Hour anchor Jim Lehrer. We’re told that the format will be different from that of previous debates, but regardless of the changes, it will still not be a real debate.
        Nevertheless, I hope the moderator will ask questions that draw out the two candidates in a way that enables onlookers to see the differences in their views on key issues. Mr. Romney will surely be attacking the President on the economy and jobs. The President will be making the case that “we’re moving in the right direction,” and that he has a better plan for moving forward, and pressing his opponent for specifies on his plans, specifics that have been missing to date.
        As I wrote in an earlier post, the President has one great advantage in this debate: the truth! Because Mr. Romney has been flip-flopping all over the place and consistently misrepresenting the facts, it will be much more difficult for him to avoid being challenged on almost anything he says. It will be interesting to see how the President exploits his opponent’s inconsistencies.
        There have been rumors that Romney will come well stocked with memorized “zingers,” and he will be inserting them cleverly and seemingly spontaneously. But as much as the media reps like to focus, disproportionally in my view, on these kinds of sound bites, I don’t think I’m alone in my feeling that what is more important is people’s overall impression of the character, personal values, and goals of the two candidates.
        Tonight they will have to talk to each other, not about each other. Despite the limitations of the format, as we listen to their exchange, we shall have an opportunity to compare and contrast them apart from their attack ads and superPAC commercials. At the end of the debate the spin-doctors and supporters of each candidate will be claiming victory for their man.
        But you and I don’t need anyone else to tell us what we’ve seen and heard. We can decide for ourselves which one seems more “presidential,” or more confident, or more in command of the facts, and we will make up our own minds, if we haven’t already, which of these two very different individuals we are more willing to entrust with the leadership of our nation for the next four years.
        For me that decision has everything to do with the personal integrity of the candidates, as reflected in the degree of consistency between their rhetoric and their record, between their stated positions and their personal practices, between their public affirmations and their privately expressed attitudes.
        I hope the debates will help us to make that assessment.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

THE RIGHT TO BE TRUSTED




Some campaigners will say anything to attain
        the office for which they have lusted.
If their actions, however, don't match what they say
        do they have any right to be trusted?            

THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD




Ordination confers upon preachers the right
        to proclaim from the pulpit God's Word.
Though they may have been given the right to proclaim,
they must merit the right to be heard!




Thursday, September 27, 2012

BY HOOK OR BY CROOK

       President Obama is leading in the polls in most of the critical swing states. That sounds encouraging for Democrats, but it could be totally irrelevant. It matters not that the majority favors the President if the majority can’t vote!  
Photo by Richard B. Levine - Newscom
        Seventeen Republican state legislatures have enacted harsh voter ID laws, purged voter registration lists, and adopted other restrictive measures to intimidate, confuse, and make it much more difficult for poor people and minorities to vote, the vast majority of whom have been voting democratic in past elections. Surprise, surprise! These blatant attempts to keep people from exercising this fundamental American right are outrageous.
        Strenuous efforts are being made to register voters, but the process is so cumbersome that only a small percentage of the potentially disenfranchised can be registered in time for the election. Unless more courts act to overturn these restrictive laws that have been enacted on the pretext of preventing voter fraud, millions of Americans will be unable to participate in the forthcoming election.
        That is unconscionable, but have the two Republican standard bearers spoken out against what these states are doing? No way! They want to win by hook or by crook, and if they do win, that’s exactly how it will happen.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

SCOTT BROWN’S RACIST ATTACK

Jon Keller (c) moderates first debate between Republican
Senator Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth
Warren.  Photo by Barry Chin, Boston Globe staff
       For incumbent Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown to start off his debate with his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren by questioning her Native American roots, on the basis of her fair-skinned appearance, was akin to the birthers’ charge that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and therefore is disqualified to be President of the United States.
        Both charges are shamefully racist. Brown’s attack on his opponent’s heritage was compounded on Tuesday by a disgusting video featuring several members of his staff leading a sign-waving crowd of chanting war whoopers and tomahawk choppers, whose antics were as disparaging to all Native Americans as they were intended to be insulting to Professor Warren.
        When asked about it, Brown said it was something he didn’t condone, but then, instead of apologizing for his staff’s inappropriate behavior, he tacitly excused them by immediately accusing Professor Warren of being the real offender!
        Right-wing Republicans have been quick to join in the attack. But many others have rushed to Elizabeth Warren’s defense as well. They rightly point out that Warren never claimed to be a member (citizen) of a tribe. What she said was that she has Native American roots on her mother’s side, and the records have shown that to be true.
        It’s a sad state of affairs when a United States Senator has to make his opponent’s racial heritage the central focus of his argument against her.

THE PRESIDENT’S POLITICAL PRIORITIES

September 25, 2012 - President Obama addresses the United
 Nations General Assembly - AP Photo by Seth Wening
        President Obama is on the campaign trail today in Ohio, a critical swing state, where his opponent, Mitt Romney, is also campaigning.
       The President has been criticized for not meeting one-on-one with some of the foreign leaders who have gathered for the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, and for appearing on The View yesterday. Although he did address the Assembly, he left afterward to continue his campaign tour. It was obviously not an oversight but a well calculated decision based on his immediate priorities.
       Some of the President's supporters would have preferred he act "presidential" by meeting with as many of the other heads of state as feasible, thus putting the nation's foreign policy interests ahead of his personal political ambitions. They feel he would have won the respect of more voters by suspending his campaign schedule.
       Three points can be made in the President's defense: (a) he is very popular abroad and he has visited with and kept in close touch by phone with many of those leaders; (b) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is an able and highly respected surrogate, is meeting with those leaders in his behalf; and (c ) with the presidential election less than six weeks away, that has to be his number one political priority now. Whatever diplomatic damage to his international image might result from his opting out of any one-on-one meetings with other heads of state at this time is minimal compared to the potential disaster of a Romney presidency.
        The president has his priorities in order, and I’m sure the international leaders understand that. They're politicians, too!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

MITT ROMNEY'S 2011 TAX RETURNS


        Mitt Romney has finally released his 2011 tax returns, and no one is at all surprised by what they reveal. In order to be consistent with his insisting that he has never paid less than 13%, he took less than the full deduction of his charitable donations, knowing he can deduct those unclaimed donations in future years. Had he claimed the full amount of his charitable deductions tax experts are saying his effective tax rate in 2011 would have been under 10%!
        In addition to that maneuver, there were pages and pages of tax shelters and off-shore tax havens. That, too, was to be expected.
        The timing of the release was well calculated to get the thorny topic out of the way now, so that it would not be a distraction in the final month of the campaign.
        The issue may not go away, however, because there are still too many unanswered questions, and Ann Romney’s fear that releasing more returns would only give their opponents more things to attack, was obviously well founded.
             Mr. Romney’s tax returns reveal his character, and his values. While his giving to his Mormon church is commendable, the rest of the picture is not pretty. It makes his candidly disparaging remarks about the 47% of Americans who don’t earn enough to pay any income tax all the more egregious.



 







Saturday, September 22, 2012

A NIGHT IN EAST BROOKFIELD


September 14, 2012, East Brookfield, MA
Senator Connie Mack III (C)  poses with
my son Woody (L) and me (R) at the
celebration of  the 150th anniversary of
his grandfather's birth.
        Last weekend my son Woody and I were privileged to take part in a celebration of the 150th anniversary year of the birth of Connie Mack in the town of East Brookfield, Massachusetts. I was one of several speakers at the program on Friday night, which was devoted entirely to the life and times of “the Grand Old Man of Baseball.”
        The first speaker was Senator Connie Mack III, whose father, Connie Mack, Jr.,  I had known and liked very much, when I was working for the Philadelphia Athletics. We had a wonderful opportunity to reminisce and chat at dinner preceding the program. He was only ten when his famous grandfather died, and so was most interested in my recollections of his Dad and of the man we respectfully called “Mr. Mack.”
        The next speaker was Connie Mack’s biographer Norman Macht, with whom I have been exchanging phone calls and e-mails almost every day. He is working on his third volume, which will cover the final years of Mr. Mack’s life, including the period when I was with the A’s. I was so glad to be able to put a face with the voice of my hitherto unseen correspondent, who has been focusing on this biographical project for twenty-seven years! He will have written well over two thousand pages by the time the third volume is published. It was a special treat to be able to visit at some length with this fellow octogenarian, whose biography of Connie Mack is a one hundred year history not only of baseball but of America.
        Norman’s task that night was to cover the early years of Connie Mack. Woody and I were wondering how he would condense his vast knowledge of his subject into a twenty-minute talk, but he did a splendid job, sprinkling his historical time-line with humorous anecdotes. He was followed by Dick Rosen, President of the Philadelphia Athletic Historical Society, of which I am a Life Member. It was he who had issued the invitation for me to speak. I welcomed the chance to visit with Dick before and after the program.
        Dick Rosen had planned the well-coordinated program for that night, and was serving as Emcee. He had assigned himself the daunting task of covering Connie Mack’s years as manager of the Athletics. In those fifty years the Mackmen won nine American League pennants and five World Series.
        Following an intermission, Dick introduced me as “the last surviving member of the Philadelphia Athletics front office executive staff.” (That’s what happens if you live long enough!)  My topic was “Memories of Mr. Mack.” Since I was the only one there who had actually worked for Connie Mack, I was able to share my personal impressions and tell some stories, which the audience seemed to enjoy. I finished by reciting the poem I had written about the Athletics’ famous double play trio (Joost to Suder to Fain).
        Before leaving the stage, however, I told the audience they were going to hear something that no audience had ever heard before or in all likelihood would ever hear again. “What are the chances,” I asked, “of your having the person who sixty-two years ago wrote the theme song of Connie Mack’s Golden Jubilee celebration, The Connie Mack Swing, here in person to play it for you?” With that, the original sheet music was projected on the large screen, and I sat down at the piano near the front of the stage and played the song, as the audience clapped in rhythm.
        When I finished, Senator Mack was the first to leap to his feet. Never before have I ever been given a standing ovation for my piano playing! Maybe that’s what I need to do to sell copies of my book, because after the program people were lined up to buy autographed copies of A Sense of Being Called.    
        There was also time to visit with folks, before Woody and I had to continue on our way to Albany, New York, where we would spend the night en route to Cooperstown, which Woody had never visited before. I was scheduled to participate in the Sunday worship service at the First Presbyterian Church of Cooperstown, where my daughter Elsie is Pastor.
        Woody and I hated to miss the big doings in East Brookfield on Saturday, including the parade and other special events, but the folks there understood and sent us on our way that night with gracious words of appreciation for our having driven up from Princeton to participate in the Friday night program.
        It was a most memorable event for me, as I turned back the pages of time and relived once again my days with Connie Mack’s A’s.
        Woody enjoyed it, too, even though he is a died-in-the-wool Phillies fan!

Friday, September 21, 2012

GO, ORIOLES!


        People who know that before entering the ministry I worked for the Baltimore Orioles and that I’m still very much an Oriole fan may be wondering why I haven’t commented on the fact that they are now running neck and neck with the New York Yankees atop the American League East.
        The reasons for my silence are rather complex, but let me try to explain. First of all, as one who has suffered through fourteen straight losing seasons with “them Birds,” I have to admit that I’ve been holding my breath throughout the summer in anticipation of another collapse, like the ones that have occurred in recent years after the Orioles have got off to a good start. I was enjoying it while it lasted.
        And then it looked as if it were going to happen again, when the O’s started falling off the pace in mid-season and soon found themselves ten games behind the red-hot Yankees. Meanwhile, the pesky Tampa Bay Rays were hanging tough, and Oriole fans like me were thinking, “Here we go again!”
Adam Jones hits an 11th inning two-run homer on
September 19 to give the Orioles a win over the
 Seattle Mariners and their 15th straight extra-inning
victory. (Ted S. Warren AP Photo)
        But lo and behold, they clawed their way back from their ten-game deficit, and today they are twenty-one games over .500 and fighting for the lead in their division! Along the way they have won fifteen straight extra-inning games and a slew of one-run games, while their closer, Jim Johnson, is leading the Majors with 45 saves.
        So why not write about it? Having been an Episcopalian for thirty-one years before realizing that I was predestined to become a Presbyterian, I must confess that I have never completely lost touch with my Anglican roots. Many Episcopalians like me are a bit superstitious, although we won’t admit it. So we resort to various euphemisms, like not wanting “to tempt fate” or “to presume we can know how the future will unfold” or “to impose our will on God.”
        But all baseball players are superstitious, and as a former player as well as an erstwhile Episcopalian, I didn’t want to jinx the Orioles by glowing about how well they are doing. And as a committed Presbyterian I certainly do not believe in gloating about it! Not that my writing about it would precipitate a disastrous losing streak, but too often it just seems to work out that way.
        So I’ve held off—until now! Regardless of what happens the rest of the way, the O’s have given their long-suffering fans something to cheer about. Whether or not they win their division or secure a wild card berth, it has been an amazing season for the Baltimore Birds. And Buck Showalter has my vote for “Manager of the Year” for the way he has turned around a team that with a few exceptions is made of up no-names, has-beens, yet-to-be’s, with players coming and going throughout the season, including a parade of twenty-six pitchers!

        So, allow me to put in writing what I’ve holding back for too long:

                                 GO, ORIOLES, AND MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!







     

Thursday, September 20, 2012

NOW WE UNDERSTAND WHY!


       Mitt Romney has always been short on specifics as to how he would help low income Americans, if he is elected President. He has offered no plan, just platitudes.
        Now we understand why! It’s because he thinks that the 47% of Americans who pay no income tax are moochers who could never be convinced “to take responsibility and care for their lives.” So why waste his time worrying about a plan for them? They’re not going to vote for him anyway.
        The irony is that many of them are Republicans who would have voted for him, before they heard the disdainful remarks he made about them at a private $50,000-a-plate fund raiser. Now that they know how Romney really feels about them, they may well have second thoughts about voting for him.
        I should certainly hope so!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

ANOTHER GLIMPSE OF THE REAL MITT ROMNEY


        Everyone’s talking about the recently released video of Mitt Romney’s self-damaging comments about the 47% of Americans who pay no income tax, whom he accused of looking upon themselves as victims, of feeling entitled to health care, to food, to housing, and everything else.
         “My job is not to worry about those people,” he said, “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” As if all those people are lazy, good-for-nothing, moochers! What an outrageous insult to hard-working Americans whose income is insufficient to warrant their paying income taxes! Who wants a President who thinks like that?
         In disparaging nearly half of the American population, including many of his own supporters, especially seniors on fixed incomes, Romney has drawn harsh criticism even from conservatives like Bill Krystol, founding editor of The Weekdly Standard, and  New York Times columnist David Brooks.
         While I was having lunch yesterday with my daughter Ellen and her husband Mike, my son-in-law wondered if Romney was including himself among the 47% who pay no income taxes. A good question, given that many suspect that there have been years when Romney paid little or no income taxes. His refusal to reveal his tax returns only fuels that suspicion.
         If he isn’t in the 47%, one could argue that he certainly has aspired to be, given his manipulative moves to avoid paying taxes!
         Of course Romney was not thinking of himself, when he made those remarks, but it would be amusing if someone pointed out to him the irony of his broad-sweeping and totally inappropriate charge, especially when instead of apologizing for his gaffe, he has been attempting to justify it.
        Romney’s attitude toward the poor and to those less fortunate then himself is a stark reflection of the faulty theology that assumes that those who are poor deserve to be poor. “They aren’t taking “personal responsibility and care for their own lives.” Conversely, those who are rich deserve to be rich. “I built that business!”
        Mitt Romney and his super-rich friends like Sheldon Adelson need to take heed to Jesus’ words:  “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:23).

Saturday, September 15, 2012

SECOND FIDDLE

From John the Baptist we could learn about humility.                            
        He testified that Jesus was a greater man than he.
"There comes one after me," he said, "far mightier than I,
        whose shoestrings I am not worthy to stoop down and untie."
John could have thought of Jesus as a threat to his renown,
        a rival prophet on the rise, while he was going down.
Indeed, John did confess that, when he said, "He must increase!"
        And still without the least regret, he said, "I must   decrease!"
Hats off to those who play the role that John the Baptist played
        without resentment or ill will, when on them it is laid.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

PROOF OF ROMNEY’S INCOMPETENCE!

AP Photo by Charles Dharapak
        It has been said that it is better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought dumb, than to open it and remove all doubt.
        What an appropriate adage for Mitt Romney, who following the recent attacks against the American consulate in Benghazi and against the American Embassy in Cairo, opened his mouth and removed all doubt that he is not qualified to be President of the United States.
        His totally inappropriate remarks revealed not only that he knows nothing about foreign policy, but that he lacks the character, wisdom, and personal leadership to deal with an international crisis.
        For Romney to politicize such a tragedy at a time when America is under attack by Islamic extremists, and to criticize the President as he did, with his usual misrepresentation of the facts, was outrageous and inexcusable. He showed he has absolutely no understanding of the complexity of the situation.
        What a contrast between Romney’s blustering comments and the President’s thoughtfully worded response, which was appropriately forceful yet sensitively tactful. Secretary Hillary Clinton’s remarks at the State Department this morning were also brilliant, as she condemned the offensive video that triggered the attacks, while making it clear that the violence against our diplomatic personnel and property was totally unjustified and would not be tolerated. The killers will be brought to justice.
        Romney’s utter lack of diplomacy scares the living daylights out of me. The man is a threat to American’s best interests in the world. He shoots from the hip, without thought of the consequences of his blustering remarks. Even moderate Republicans at first were critical of the timing and the tone of his comments. Only a few ultra-conservatives came to his defense immediately. Rush Limbaugh, the Screamer, is on Romney’s side, of course. They deserve each other!
        I dread the thought of Mitt Romney as President of the United States. He is itching to get us into another war, and time and again his belligerent remarks have been irresponsibly dangerous to our national interests. Shame on him, and shame on those weak-kneed Republicans who are now excusing or defending his incompetence and his deceitfulness, even when confronted with facts that glaringly expose the falsity of his accusations against President Obama.
        But then what else can you expect from a Party that has lost its scruples?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

OUR HARD-HEADED REPUBLICAN FRIENDS


        I have a Republican friend who hates Barack Obama. In an exchange of e-mails he has refused to acknowledge that President Obama has accomplished anything. He accuses the President of spending all his time playing golf and basketball and taking vacations.
        When I took strong exception to those charges, and pointed out some of the President’s many achievements, despite the unrelenting opposition of the Republicans, my friend wrote back, saying “I disagree and I don’t want to discuss it any further.”
        That is the attitude of too many Republicans, who simply refuse to face the facts. Their hatred of Barack Obama blinds them to the truth. They make some outlandish and totally unsupportable charge, and then close their ears. They will not listen to reason.