Tag Archives: Church

FRC STAYING POWER & STRAW POLLS

27 Sep

Staying power, that is a reward for visions that stand the test of time well. The FRC Values Voter is a mainstay of the D.C. political tourism circuit. Like clockwork, every year, the Family Research Council’s annual convention of faith comes together in North West D.C. Next year will be different. No, not in Jerusalem as the prayer goes this time of year, the Jewish new year, but next year across the Potomac, at the Gaylord Hotel in Prince George county Maryland.

Tony Perkin’s F.R.C. annual Summit is a must stop at for presidential contenders in the years of campaigns racing up to the final vote in 2016. This year is no different. The ‘they’, the hopefuls came in crowded race- Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, Governor Bobby Jindal. On their day, Friday, the presidential candidate day, they came, they talked and they hoped they conquered, before heading back out on their POTUS trail.

To the regular attendees, there is little that is different. That, the familiarity is what keeps these attendees coming back year after year. The F.R.C. is the faithfuls camp reunion where friends see old friends, meet new friends and catch up on shared friends that have left them.

The 2015 was elevated to an even higher level of patriotism with this years gala dinner honoring every day people who did extraordinary things, the real superstars who stood up for their convictions in faith, of faith- a clerk, a baker, a fireman along with others told their beliefs were no longer valid.

Kim Davis’ defenders were not the party she belonged to foreheads but men and women from across the aisle standing next to her as her moral fibers were being stripped. Kim Davis stood at the dinner, reborn, a republican. Davis was already a Christian. In a world that holds a different benchmark for Hollywood celebrity multiple marriages, Davis a hometown girl was vilified, publicly raked over the coals for her conviction to marry not live with the men outside of the sanctity of marriage.

Perkins provides a safe forum for people of faith to come together in. And leave from. The Duggars, past attendees at after F.R.C.s events were noticeably absent post the disclosures of son Josh. Not to worry. The unscripted reality that ruled television the past weeks was paralyzing as people witnessed employers flip on their employee, voted in by people who knew her faith.

Davis’ employers made her their sacrificial lamb.

The world watched newscast after newscast, streamed video after streamed video showing workplace violence Davis’ employer, the state did not protect her from- people verbally insulting her, verbally offending her. Davis watched as her employer became complicit in hate speech, against her, leaving her to fend for herself.

Until Conservatives crossed the political divide  and stood with Davis.

The voter Summit is showing its years, the A list of radio row were elsewhere. News competition being what it is, pope stalking was more attractive to mediathen men on mounts battling for their win at the White House. The stalwarts stay. Besides, times have changed. No one needs to be anywhere to be there anymore. Live streaming has become a death knoll to events. That said, the Grand Ballroom was packed.

Kudos.

Non profits were in the  exhibit area- faces of conservatism activism over the decades still present in the conversation of freedom and faith. The swag is candies and ‘pray pins drink sweat sleeves, an occasional books. The conversation is easy. The friends are there. Friends of all colors, ages, plus.

Don’t buy the news alleging the Conservative party is vanilla. Not at all. The FRC is proof positive the Conservative party is vanilla, chocolate, cherry, blueberry and cinnamon.

In the main hall, when the POTUS wannabes are gone, speeches are delivered by activists delivering messages of God, and politics. And dinners.

Attendees race to get speakers books signed. The big announcement of the day is, annually, the result of the Straw Poll, announcing its Presidential choice. And the winner live cast on Fox TV is, was, Ted Cruz, followed by Dr. Ben Carson and in 5th place, The Donald.

Interesting.

In a world driven by polls, interesting.

Authors Note: As long as I covered news in DC, a staple at protests and just plain driving up and down the street, have been the protesters with placards and truck sides  embellished with images of dismembered babies and fetal parts. And then, the videos were released. Those videos. Yup.

Point of sharing  is the annual presence of the sandwich truck outside of conservative events, that truck, with larger than man size life images of fetal baby parts, arranged so the head, hands and legs are where they should be almost. The body parts are separated. And across the street is a restaurant wondering what it did wrong to deserve this truck across from the restaurant’s lunchtime and dinner crowd, as people sat eating their salads and such. Just like in the videos that are bringing good people together across a political divide of horror asking, is this how far we have fallen as a culture, or, more correctly, lack of culture and couth, if baby parts can be sold from a menu……

THE ART WE ARE LOSING- BEAUTIFUL HANDWRITING:

10 Jul

MacBooks and iPads won. We losing the Art of Beautiful Handwriting. Despite one of the most popular giveaways at tradeshows still being pens, flash drives are eclipsing pens as swag.

Decades ago, bar mitzvah boys announced at their celebratory dinner “today I am a fountain pen.” Serious. My brother did just that.

Fountain pens are going the way of the quill pen and an endearment scrawled in the sand. Mitt Romney chose a huge heart as big as his love for Ann. Mitt wrote “I love you” in the middle of a sand drawn heart, way back in the days of pens and pencils and $300 Montblanc pens. I recall being enchanted by stories of birch bark being used by Indians to write messages on. I would craft a teeny birch bark canoe then scratch a message on the boat side before launching it down the “crick” deep in the ravine we played in.

Handwriting is an art. It has been lost. Even I find moments and days my “gton” in “Washington” scrawl together in an unrecognizable scritch even I cant recognize. Readable printing or cursive handwriting are no longer a requirement in school curriculum. Trayvon Martin’s 19 year old friend not being able to read or write cursive got lost in the drama of a trial over zealous people with MacBooks and iPads are using to push a post trial verdict riot. Cursive can connect the dots- character and accomplishment and challenges to overcome. Cursive can connect to success.

Illiteracy has not been wiped out as politics and media promote. Trayvon’s friend is a product of Teachers not teaching a historic craft and a culture that creates its own lingo like cracka. “X” not only marked the spot where pirate treasures were buried. “X” was used by illiterates to sign on to legal documents. Writing was an art utilized by the wealthy. Merchants who could sign put their name to the paper. The masses were taught writing by the churches, in bibles and in schools that evolved from Sunday School teachings. Illiteracy will only get worse with text abbreviations replacing complete words, LOL.

Flash mob, my foot, is not an innovation of modern technology. One click of a tablet button may drive together a flash mob of illiterates looking for a brainless moment that took days of a historic horseback ride for Paul Revere to sound the alarm for.

I have taken my stance. My favorite note pad cover is decorated with a pencil and eraser and the phrase “There Isn’t An App For That.” There isnt. Each push and pull of the pencil if slowed to a momentum of curves is gorgeous in the making. It is thought. It is pause. It is beauty in the making, a challenge bringing together mind, memory, hand and eye in the skill of words I choose to remember. I am after all the author of a book on Scribal Arts, Hebraic, letters within which lives lessons of life. I write an “A”, I see a world I used to lose myself in. Anyone know what a Rapidograph is? A Triple 000 nib. An inwell? I do.

My 7th grade teacher, Mr. Fenn, a man from Wales, taught our class to write with fountain pens. We were encouraged to practice. Good letters, good handwriting were doors to open futures with. That said, the con man who collected pens of all types, may have owned fancy pens. What he lacked was the bravado to write beauty with. What he didn’t realize that people remember what they write down. Once he sent off the damning email, he forgot all about it. The handnotes he penned stood as reminders of his con-in-planning. That is the thing about handwriting. Unlike the skills of listening and speaking, letters stick around as memories- good and bad.

I recall being twisted in to my desk to break my of my habit of writing backhand. To this day, my “4’s” look like “21” and my “7’s”? We wont even go there. And I remember my gift I have to this day, from JP Magnier. I sent a photo of his horse at Cheltenham, its last ride. It tossed its shoe missing me by micro inches. So I sent him a print capturing history. And what I got in return is a pen…. A reminder that iPads and MacBooks may replicate letters of all types of styles and fonts but they will never give me peace that comes with pencil on paper or pen in a notecard or love letters to treasure….. there isn’t an APP for that… but if time was taken to take students back to basics, to teach the Arts of Beautiful writing, some may discover they have an App, an aptitude for that…

FAT CHANCE: Who Would Have Guess That Carlos Slim Is Involved In Waste Fraud and Abuse- Governments Middle Name:

27 Apr

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Ever read your Cable Bill? Your phone bill? Your bundled bill? You should sometime. The only thing being bundled is your bucks going to other people MAYBE EVEN if Marsha Blackburn gets her way to investigate the Dole services the Boston Bomber may have been collecting in addition to welfare? Blackburn put it out there to the world now rampant with cyber-sleuthing “did the Boston Bombers receive Lifeline Funds too.” Guessing the answer will come back to Marsha, correctly and not. Cyber sleuthing is not an exact science as recent viral outings have shown finding a role in public bad behaviour and suicides by persons challenged by private moments gone not-private.

Quite funny in that GMAIL refused TWO ATTEMPTS at sending through my mobile a copy of sections of my bill illustrating Universal Connectivity, seems Universal has its limitations- called Censoring. It seems three times was the charm.

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearing held a hearing investigating if money is  ‘well spent the Lifeline Fund initiated under the Reagan administration. The hearing took place the same morning FIVE living presidents were cracking open yet another historic book- the 43 Library in Texas. Some legislators took the morning as an ET PHONE HOME DAY. Others, were present to say PRESENT. The Lifeline Fund program was expanded for wireless services by President Bush. The Universal Service Funds USF Lifeline programs  tripled in size from $800 million a year in 2009 to $2.2 billion per year in 2012, a phenom blamed in the inclusion of prepaid wireless providers in to the program. The FCCs position is the program is decreasing users and is of benefit to victims of spousal abuse, veterans, tribal areas, seniors, school lunch program families and families in Head Start and others in rural areas, etc.
  
Lifeline is the program with excess, experiencing an explosive growth of public funds under Obama, feared to be unsustainable- both Obama and the LIFELINE FUND. Blackburn says there are plenty of questions under this warranting questioning of accountability. Congresswoman Blackburn inquired as to what reforms should go in to place questioning fund abuse. Vetting is warranted.  

The declared bipartisan goal is to expand the program for the Internet economy in that over 100 million Americans dont use broadband yet. OMG even with percolating Online fraud and abuse coming to a boil.

Congresswoman Matsui (D-CA) hoped the hearing would focus on facts not fiction, used this public stage to reintrode her The Broadband Adoption Act (HR 1685).

Witnesses included Geoff Ageist, general manager of Montana Telecommunications Association, Jessica Gonzalez, Vice President of policy and legal affairs representing the National Hispanic Media coalition, Billy Jack Gregg of Billy jack Gregg Universal consulting, Christopher Guttman McCabe Vice President of regulatory affairs for CTIA the Wireless Association, Phillip Jones chairman of the aboard and President national Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioner and Julie Veach chief wireline competition bureau of the Federal Communications Commission the FCC. Veach compellingly shared how the fund was her lifeline forward to achieve a position on the panel. Veach is a proponent of USE not ABUSE.

The original intent of the program was to cover the short fall for low income customers and local phone rates. Phone costs increased post the divestiture of Bell Operating companies from AT&T. Participating companies must be certified as ETCs eligible telecommunication carriers. Carriers must have their own inversely service programs. States that don’t have their own programs allow the FTC to step in. In 2005, the FTC granted petitions to non facilities based providers, companies who dont own their own infrastructure, on a case by case basis.

The 1996 Telecommunications act introduced competition to the market for local telephone services. Competition was brought in to the market. The USF was codified. Monthly discounts can go as high as $10.00 a month. Participants must be subscribers with income below or at 135 % of Federal poverty guidelines or participate in assistance programs like food stamps.

A tangential program, Linkup, was created to help low income consumers pay the installation cost of phone service, up to $30 to facilitate costs off phone service, up to $200 in a year., with interest free loans for additional installation costs. The FCC reduced Linkup support to tribal residences.

Feb 2012 was a date ‘out there’ for the FCC to have prepared reforms which  included requiring subsides to recertify, confirming subsidies were one per household, starting a state by state accountability database, imposed audit requirements on carriers receiving more than $5 million in annual support, to develop an automated way to determine if a recipient in lifeline eligibility of Medicaid, food stamps, and supplementary income programs.

41% of Lifeline recipients cannot show eligibility or refuse to show certification or even account for how many phones they have.

 There is a fine line between gluttony and margins. The House Majority wants to put the $2.2 billion U.S. mobile-phone subsidy for the poor on a diet. Slim’s TracFone unit is scarfing the biggest part of the U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s Lifeline program enchilada, taking in $451.7 million, or 28 percent, of payments in 2011. “It’s not fair that people save and work and pay for phones from whatever funds they have, and other people get them for free,” Representative Tim Griffin (R-Arkansas) wants the mobile subsidy eliminate. Slim’s phone company AMERICA MOVIL SAB (AMXL), the biggest in Mexico offers mobile service in 17 Latin American countries and the U.S.

 The FCC has No jurisdiction over wireless providers. Checking churches, imams, mosques to vet out who of the sheltered, if any, or benefiting from public and church grace,  is abusing social programs is off the radar. Making sure the next Boston Bomber, a man with time to box, to travel to Russia and crock up a pot of nails is out being a man providing for a family, supported by enabler parents, in-laws, wife and handlers isn’t a margin being made on the program. Being financial mentors, it seems, is no longer PC, appearing to have gone out the window with IN GOD WE TRUST being stamped on the face of American coin.

There is no budget, the FCC says. So next month when you look at your bills back page, bottom line? Yours will be going up. You will pay more so others can continue to DUE less….

FAR FROM THE ISLES ACROSS THE MILES:

17 Mar

Ever since it was brought to the United States somewhere around 1737, St Patricks Day has become a hybrid holiday, less about the Saint and more about the day .

St Patricks Day was a day more connected to faith, more of the 17th century holy day Irish Catholics observed with church in the morning and a feast in the afternoon. Church mixed with drinking and dancing, a dose of blarney, bacon and whiskey topped off with shamrocks. If one was lucky, they found a four leaf clover. If they were luckier, they found the Pot O’ Gold at the end of the rainbow. St. Patricks Day marked the start of the potato planting season. But as the immigrant Irish community began to melt into America, St Patricks Day began changed from the more Catholic celebration.

St. Patrick’s Day always had a theme- the season of Lent – Selection Sunday. Parade organizers over the decades, unhappy with the theme of ‘tradition,’ began to pick themes reflecting the New World. New York City designed its St Patricks Day  parade so it wended its way down New York City’s Fifth Avenue past St. Patrick’s Cathedral where Mass is held. Organizers of the Nation’s Capitol’s St Patricks’ Day parade decided the DC 2013 parade needed a better theme than ‘tradition’ so Admiral Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was invited to serve as Grand Marshall. The parade themed, “Celebrating Service to the Stars and Stripes”, www.dcpastparade.com, would wend its way up Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th SW Times. The DC parade has changed from homegrown and homespun. Seats used to be free. Now, grandstand seats can be bought at a cost of $15 each.

The St Patricks Day Parade tradition began in New York City in 1762. Irish soldiers wanted the New York Irish immigrants to join with them in the British army. So the Irish soldiers paraded up and down hoping the immigrants would fall in to the parade and join with them in battle. The pomp and circumstance eventually became an annual event with its first official St Patricks Day parade starting in Boston. That was then. The year was 1737.

This is now.

St Patricks Day is an American celebration. Everyone becomes Irish, putting on the Green. Store windows are filled with images commercialization makes integral to the day- dealie boppers, green T’s, leprechaun eyeglasses to spray painted hair. Bars put rows of porto potties outside their doors to accommodate the revelers that go “irish” for the night and day. DC hosted their first Limousine Leprechaun Scavenger Hunt and Race challengers twisted and turned. There always seems to be new ways to spread the green on this day that used to be thought of in synch with corned beef and cabbage and green beer to slog it down with.

Few New Yorkers, even tourists, make the trek down to Battery Park. A memorial sits there, close to the ferry taking boatloads of tourists to the grand Lady who greeted the Irish immigrant when they came to the New World looking for work. The Statue of Liberty cannot see the testament to the men and women who came then worked to build up America including the White House in DC. The laborers left their masons mark on stones they embedded to build up America’s symbol of independence- home to Presidents- some Irish- some claiming to be. Along with the claim, comes the precious coveted Irish vote.

There is little public memory of Ireland’s Great Famine of the 1840’s, Ireland’s darkest chapter. Few bar drinks start with a moment of silence, a pause to recall why Irish brave men and women left homes many never got a chance to go back and see, a history people sharing in the day should not be allowed to forget. The world acknowledges, with frequency, famines around the world. Memory of the Great Famine is disappearing. The potato blight wont let the Irish forget. The blight used to start its attack on the leaves of the potato plant. The plant was staple to the Irish poors’ diet. Crops failed. Irish died, millions, from starvation and disease. The years- 1845 and 1846. Poor, with no money to bury dead, interred their loved ones behind walls until coffin money was made. Other fled to North America. Some fled to Britian.

Now, the blight starts its attack on the stem of the plant. Potato, third popular to cereal and rice, is a staple food, at times a meal in itself- potato soup, tater’s n’ bacon, and so on. Genetic engineering by a Dutch University, breeding Irish potatoes with wild potatoes found in Mexico and Argentina, is not accepted by Irish faithful fighting to uphold their artisan way of tradition, believing once genetic engineering takes hold, there will be no turning back to the old ways of traditional farming. The University plans to share the potato license to avoid a monopoly over the Genetically Modified spud.

The fungus that devastates potato yields, still haunts the Irish homeland, devastating crops in a day. Modern day farmers work at eradicating this fungus. Their work is not respected. Ireland is a faith country. The disease is a 200 year old disease modern day science is attempting to adress. Potatoes can be changed- yes, maybe. People move forward. Loved ones tragedy will not be forgot.

On this St. Patricks Day, toast the Irish that were here when America was new, the Irish masons whose artistry is written on walls all over the Nation’s Capitol and inside, too… Over the miles and across the isles, think green, think homeland, think history, think heart…. Aye…

MILITARY CHAPLAIN DEALS WITH PRELUDE, EPILOGUE OF WAR [ archive ] :

27 Jan

A year ago, Chaplain Roger Vanderwerken’s chapel was bursting at its seams the night before deployment. As chaplain, his role includes listening to soldiers discover feelings they fear they may never share again while assisting them with details that modern-day warriors prefer to avoid, realizing they may be leaving loved ones behind for eternity. Vanderwerken’s “job” is being there for all Marines returning home.

Last month, Chaplain Vanderwerken was celebrating. His Marines have returned home, walking into joyous celebration. Family and friends met returning Marines, often in the middle of the night. Huge crowds welcome them, Vanderwerken said, “everyone is there.” Some are seeing children for the first time. Others return to parents, sibilings, extended family. Some Marines returned after suffering dramatic weight loss from heat, stress and inadequate food, said Vanderwerken. “They looked like skeletons, some of them. It was kind of scary,” he said. For many, their diet consisted of MREs (Meal Ready to Eat), military food pre-packaged in plastic bags. These Marines returned 30 pounds thinner than before deployment. “A lot of them gained the weight back pretty quickly,” reassured Vanderwerken. “They were certainly welcomed home with big meals.”

Marines returning from war face readjustment. Couples must work together redefining their roles, to each other and to their children. One of Vanderwerken’s flock, a pilot, deployed leaving a wife and three children ages 8, 5, and 4 on home shores. “During the pilot’s time away, his wife did incredible things. She sold their home, bought and remodeled their new home. Her husband came home to a brand new place, you know and that was kind of interesting. She was pretty strong woman to do all that,” Vanderwerken said. “Another couple dropped their 1-year-old child off, in Texas, with grandparents. It was a time of rejoicing when both parents returned.”

The war has been hard on the Marine community at the base. Vanderwerken found himself counseling families to limit television viewing. “That was psychologically harmful to a lot of people,” he said. “Eyes glued to the TV hoping to see a word, somehow, somewhere. Many wives and families were glued to CNN all day long. It wasn’t a healthy thing for them.”

Vanderwerken was assigned to remain at Marine base Camp Pendleton, near San Diego. With congregants deploying, he worried service attendance would drop. To his delight, it doubled. Wives, girlfriends, and child-minding grandparents sought solace and refuge in the place Vanderwerken describes as a spiritual home.

“When the guys come back,” said Vanderwerken, “there is euphoria and tremendous amounts of attention from the public, family and friends. . . . They don’t think too much about their experiences, too much. And then later, some of that reality sets in. And it is hard. And they need to talk about it.” The pilot whose wife moved his children and home, Vanderwerken said, “took really a couple of weeks before he knew that he was back.” Though the pilot stayed at the local airfield for a while and just talked, most Marines return immediately to their own homes.

Marines undergo significant debriefings before leaving Iraq. Warrior Transition Program chaplains are sent over to head up needed discussions. “There is quite a lot of care given to Marines before they get back here,” said Vanderwerken. The warriors are asked to describe their battlefield experiences. They are counseled to leave those experiences behind. “The Marines are told,” Vanderwerken said, “you are coming back to your home now.”

He makes sure he remembers to take a Sabbath. He takes a day off during the week, to “get away from it all.” One role of the chaplain in the military unit is to remind commanders of one great principle of America is freedom of religion. Military men engaged in the fray are encouraged to worship when they can. “Often,” he says, “there is no such thing as a day off in the field.” Worship is critically important to a Marine or soldier. “It gives them a chance to focus on eternal values,” Vanderwerken said.

One question Chaplain Vanderwerken asks each of his returning Marines is, “What was the best thing you saw in Iraq?” His burly Marines, to a man, describe “scores of children running up to them, thanking them and hugging them,” he said. A lot of older people do the same thing, said Vanderwerken, puzzled as to why the media barely reports on his military’s good deeds in Iraq.

The American military is giving a legacy of American know-how to Iraq. The Navy Seabees helped replace Kish, Iraq’s farming irrigation system; Kansas City, Mo.’s Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 15, Air Detachment, helped install a 1.3-megawatt generator at Kish’s Water Lift Station, sending water to about 50,000 farmland hectares. The 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, and Green Bay, Wis.’s 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion trained fire personnel in modern American firefighting. The 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment re-opened An Nahaf’s all-girl school.

“Marines,” Vanderwerken said, “are a highly disciplined group. Everything is very regimented. Marines know what orders are and they carry them out. And without question. They are very fine troops. They know how to get a job done and they do it.” Vanderwerken doesn’t think Marines will coordinate their own grass-roots promotion of their unreported good deeds for Iraqis. “These guys are Marines. They are not activists. They do what they are told. They really don’t start grass-roots things,” he said.

Ordained in the American Baptist Church USA, Vanderweken counsels Marines of all denominations. “The tendency with past wars,” Vaderwerken says, “is warriors return and fall away from religion.” That has not happened with Operation Iraqi Freedom, he said. Marines who discovered the Lord in the battlefield are maintaining their commitment. His chapel is maintaining its flock since the men have begun to return.

BRITAIN STANDS FOR ISRAEL Well Done:

26 Dec

WELL DONE BRITAIN STANDING FOR ISRAEL AT THE UN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FWrQ7RXvWc&sns=em