Holding their feet to the fire...Thank you, Mr President!

It seems like the "liberal left" (whomever they are, and wherever they may be) and the "conservative right" (which is usually anything but "right" on most issues) all have a "common enemy" now: President Barack Obama.

Personally, I think he is doing a great job--for less than 100 days in office.
He is personally holding the feet of the "Detroit" crowd (i.e. General Motors and Chrysler) to the fire, and demanding some accountability. This is as it should be when the "taxpayers" (that would be ME) are funding your "intensive care transfusion" of cash. I'm delighted the President has given them a "drop dead" date. It's about time.

Now, he needs to do the same thing on Wall Street. And do it in the same fashion. What's good for Detroit is also good for New York...and Washington DC, and Chicago, and Los Angeles...

Thank you, Mr President...Thank you!

I finally took the plunge: FACEBOOK....

Okay, okay, okay...I realize that I am MONTHS behind the "latest and greatest" thing...but I finally took the plunge yesterday, and signed up for a Facebook account. I have found people that I've not had contact with in many, many years...some of these people more than 30 years...

It's good to reestablish contact with them...but I'm not sure how "regularly" I'll be using this new 'thing.'

I'm sorta old-fashioned...I prefer "real contact"...not just the superficial stuff on the internet.

The Obama Quadrilateral...

President Barack Obama laid out his "four-point" plan last night for economic recovery and sustainability:

Healthcare Reform: An absolute must if we are to recover any of what we have forfeited in healthcare costs, individually and nationally. This has been one of my "hot buttons" for many, many years. And that button is now "spawned" all over the country.

Education Reform: I work in Adult Career Education, and I see how "non-functioning" most public schools have become...and I certainly don't blame the teachers for this disaster...the HOME must assume the "lion's share" of responsibility...but we must reform education...on every level.

Energy Independence/Renewability: Yep, President Carter warned us more than 30 years ago that we must reduce our dependence on "foreign oil"...and this also means that we must wean ourselves from our addiction to the automobile for every trip more than five feet in distance. Finally, we have a President who isn't beholden to the "oil companies" who just keep getting richer...

Deficit Reduction: We must reduce our national deficits, and our national debts...We must...and this President has vowed to start doing that before the end of his first term. If he doesn't, there will be no second term...that much is for sure.

So what say ye?

Talking about Alzheimers' Disease...

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and Former Surgeon General, Dr David Satcher are talking about the "unspeakable" today:
I have seen, first-hand, how cruel and awful Alzheimer's Disease can be...and how much havoc is causes the entire family.

Right now, one of the dearest people in my life, is exhibiting symptoms of early stages of Alzheimers. It profoundly saddens me...and I feel pretty helpless right now.

This discussion from these very public figures is definitely a move in the right direction.

So what do we do?

I've been researching all kinds of things trying to help my friend who has recently been dismissed from his ministry postion because of drug addiction (among other things). The unfortunate thing, I'm not sure this friend of more than 35 years really wants anyone to help him....

While I realize that God never designated me the "general manager of the Universe" my heart is truly in pain over this man who has "lost his way"--whom the Devil has deceived, and who is basically participating in the destruction of his own life. He is in such "denial" that I'm not sure he will ever admit he needs help.

That makes me even sadder. This friend was once a powerful preacher, a wonderful musician, and a winsome personality. Now, I just don't know...

How far to the "bottom" will he have to sink before he looks up and let's someone (including God) help him?

Please pray for him. God knows who he is....

Concealed.....and Revealed

Some of the very sobering words of Jesus Christ (that I had not thought about for a while) came to mind very recently to me:

He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops. (Luke 12: 1-3)

It's amazing the things that God can bring to light if and when we wait on Him. Very recently a friend of mind said that a group of people (where they are tightly connected) was praying for things that are "concealed to be revealed..." Quite a prayer...and a dangerous one at that!

Almost immediately God started working...exposing, revealing...bringing things to light. This has been particularly hard on my friend, since they are in a position of heavy responsibility--and they want to "get it right the first time." ( I am intentionally avoiding gender-specific pronouns, so as to not shame anyone, nor cause anyone to "wonder who that was....")

I remember praying, not too long ago, about this situation...and the Lord just wouldn't "let me go" until I had prayed some more...and some more...and some more. I finally sensed from the Holy Spirit that "things were not as they were reported to me."

I'm troubled by the "report(er)" and also troubled that deception was used. But just as the Scriptures warn us, "there is nothing covered that will not be revealed."

Now I must ask myself some very searching, convicting, and troubling questions: "What am I covering, and why am I covering it?" "What will happen if this is ever revealed?" "Can I trust God to forgive me, heal me, cleanse me, and protect me?"

I remember something my pastor said years before I was ever one of his parishioners:

"You can control the actions leading to sin, but you cannot control the consequences of your sin."

There is a definite reason the Apostle James tells us to "confess our sins to one another..."

Right now it may be concealed...but it will be revealed.

Shame on you, AIG!

You have taken the hard-earned money of the American taxpayers, and you have done nothing but show how SHAMELESS and GREEDY and HORRIBLE you are....all the while your survival has been coming out of the pockets of Mr and Ms Joe American...because you ruined your own company.

Your contracts can be broken! They MUST be broken. President Obama is exactly right: You are both shameless and shameful...

So, just who is St Patrick?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Saint Patrick
Born c. AD 387Banna Venta Berniae, Britain
Died 17 March, 461
Venerated in:
AnglicanismEastern OrthodoxyLutheranismRoman Catholicism
17 March (Saint Patrick's Day)
Ireland, Nigeria, Montserrat, New York, Boston, engineers, against snakes, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne

Saint Patrick (estimated AD 387 - AD 461)(Latin: Patricius,[2] Irish: Naomh Pádraig), said[by whom?] to have been born Maewyn Succat (Latin: Magonus Succetus), was a Roman Britain-born Christian missionary and is the patron saint of Ireland along with Brigid of Kildare and Columba. When he was about sixteen he was captured by Irish raiders and taken from his native Wales as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After entering the church, he later returned to Ireland as a missionary in the north and west of the island, but little is known about the places where he worked and no link can be made between Patrick and any church. By the eighth century he had become the patron saint of Ireland. The Irish monastery system evolved after the time of Patrick and the Irish church did not develop the diocesan model that Patrick and the other early missionaries had tried to establish.

The available body of evidence does not allow the dates of Patrick's life to be fixed with certainty, but it appears that he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the second half of the fifth century. Two letters from him survive, along with later hagiographies from the seventh century onwards. Many of these works cannot be taken as authentic traditions. Uncritical acceptance of the Annals of Ulster (see below) would imply that he lived from 340 to 460, and ministered in what is modern day northern Ireland from 428 onwards. On 17th March St.Patrick's day is celebrated to remember him and what he did. This is celebrated across the world.

1 Background
2 Patrick in his own words
3 Early traditions
4 Patrick in legend
5 Missionary Legacy
6 Methods for Conversion
7 Sainthood and remembrance
8 Saint Patrick in literature
9 See also
10 References
11 Further reading
12 External links
This certainly changes how we should be celebrating ST PATRICK'S DAY, huh?

Turning 47 on Friday, March 13th...

I wish I could say that I am not so "shameless"--but just ask my friend Joe Misek (www.joemisek.blogspot.com) and he will beg to differ.

Yes, I'm celebrating my FORTY-SEVENTH Birthday on Friday...(I'm actually writing this on Thursday evening, because I won't be near my keyboard for most of Friday, I will however get all messages that are left for me on Saturday...or much, much later on Friday).

I never thought I would live this long. And I'm grateful for every day. I'm thankful for all the life experiences that have shaped my world, and have made me, for good or ill, the person I have become. I grew up 'singing' and to this day, my life is filled with the great "songs" that encourage, inspire, teach, and remind me of all God's goodness. Here's one that is particularly appropriate for this time of the year:

"I'm not on an ego trip
I'm nothing on my own.
I make mistake, I often slip
Just common flesh and bone.
But I'll prove some day, just what I say
I'm of a special kind
For when He was on the cross
I was on His mind.

CH: He knew me, Yet He loved me!
He who's glory makes the heavens shine!
I'm so unworthy of such mercy,
When He was on the Cross
I was on His mind!

A look of love upon His face
A crown of thorns on His head
Blood flowed down the robe He wore
and stained it crimson red!
Though His eyes were on the crowd that day
He looked ahead in time,
For when He was on the Cross
I was on His mind!
May I ever remember that I'm on the Lord's mind perpetually. And that I should live worthily of being called His own.

"In the Midst of it all"...

This great song just keeps rolling around in my soul,

" 'What have you done to deserve all of this?
Just curse God and die.'
What advice for a man who had trusted God
All of his life.
But then Job speaks, surrounded by his broken down domain,
'In the midst of it all, I'll stand and not fall, I'll bless His name!'

CH: In the midst of it all
In the midst of it all
I found hope that will never let me fall!
Jesus heard my call
And by me, He stood tall
Now I stand in Him complete
In the midst of it all!

Should the day come when everyone bows their heads to cry
When man has done all that man can do,
I'm left alone to die.
But even then, surrounded by life's final, fleeting pains
In the midst of it all, I'll stand and not fall
I'll bless His name!
I'm thankful I know that "in the midst of it all" I can trust in Jesus. The writer of this powerful lyric speaks deeply into the heart of human who has ever lived...because we all are in the "midst of it all."

When we take a close reading of Job, we find that it was GOD who pointed out His servant Job to Satan...but in the "midst of it all"...God was with Job.

He's with us too.

Thank You, Mr President.

Proposed Budget Supports VA Programs
March 02, 2009
Department of Veterans Affairs

Funding Plan Improves Access, Modernizes Technology

WASHINGTON – President Obama's first proposed budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) expands eligibility for health care to an additional 500,000 deserving Veterans over the next five years, meets the need for continued growth in programs for the combat Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, and provides the resources to deliver quality health care for the Nation’s 5.5 million Veteran patients.

The 2010 budget request is a significant step toward realizing a vision shared by the President and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki to transform VA into an organization that is people-centric, results-driven and forward-looking.

“Our success must encompass cost-effectiveness,” Shinseki said. “We are stewards of taxpayer dollars, and we will include appropriate metrics to accurately gauge the quality of our care and the effectiveness of our management processes.”

If accepted by Congress, the President’s budget proposal would increase VA’s budget from $98 billion this fiscal year to $113 billion for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2009. This is in addition to the $1.4 billion provided for VA projects in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The 2010 budget represents the first step toward increasing funding for VA efforts by $25 billion over baseline during the next five years. The gradual expansion in health care enrollment that this would support will open hospital and clinic doors to more than 500,000 Veterans by 2013 who have been regrettably excluded from VA medical care benefits since 2003. The 2010 budget request provides the resources to achieve this level of service while maintaining high quality and timely care for lower-income and service-disabled Veterans who currently rely on VA medical care.

The new budget provides greater benefits for Veterans who are medically retired from active duty, allowing for the first time disabled military retirees to keep their full VA disability compensation along with their retired pay. The President’s budget request also provides the resources for effective implementation of the post-9/11 GI Bill -- providing unprecedented levels of educational support to the men and women who have served our country through active military duty.

The new budget will support additional specialty care in such areas as prosthetics, vision and spinal cord injury, aging, and women's health. New VA Centers of Excellence will focus on improving these critical services.

The proposed fiscal year 2010 budget also addresses the tragic fact of homelessness among Veterans. It expands VA's current services through a collaborative pilot program with non-profit organizations that is aimed at maintaining stable housing for vulnerable Veterans at risk of homelessness, while providing them with supportive services to help them get back on their feet through job training, preventive care, and other critical services.

Finally, the President’s budget request provides the necessary investments to carry VA services to rural communities that are too often unable to access VA care. The President's budget expands VA mental health screening and treatment with a focus on reaching Veterans in rural areas in part through an increase in Vet Centers and mobile health clinics. New outreach funding will help rural Veterans and their families stay informed of these resources and encourage them to pursue needed care.

© Copyright 2009 Department of Veterans Affairs.

I am glad that caring for the Veterans of this nation is more than just "lip-service" to President Obama...and I'm glad that he is keeping his word to care for the people who have given all for this great country.

Only in Chicago...

Will someone get on the bus, stand in the middle of the aisle, when there are plenty of empty seats...and then refuse to sit in one of them. This person would rather clog the aisles, and be a general nuisance to the rest of the commuting public...while talking on their cell phone, and having their iPod so loud the rest of us can hear it.

Can someone go into a local grocery/department store, ask an employee for some "information" about a certain item, and that employee say (three times at least), "Well, I don't know." Let's save both of us some oxygen and trouble: Tell me what you do know.

Can a parishioner be on their way to Sunday morning worship, and have at least 6 people approach him/her asking for food--and when they are offered food, they refuse it. Maybe they weren't that hungry after all. These same people will follow you into the worship building, if you aren't careful.

Can someone get a "Chicago-style hotdog" and there is no ketchup anywhere on the "entree." (Chicago-style hotdogs are normally mustard, onions, hot peppers, tomato, and a slice of pickle).

Will someone walk into City Hall, wondering who was "indicted" (in that same building) today?

Will some "self-absorbed" woman (in her 50s, 60s, or somewhere) get on the bus, have a bag on wheels, ask two men to let her have their seat (she paid for one, and takes up the space of three--so she's a thief too), and then proceed to call "city hall" complaining about the snow on her sidewalk. LADY, we ALL have snow on our sidewalks. Get a grip...and if you are that worried about the snow, a shovel might be a worthwhile purchase for you.

Can an otherwise "calm" gentleman go to a free concert in Millenium Park--home of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra--sit in some great seats, and COMPLAIN because his seats are not better...Sir, just stay at home, and we don't have to hear your whining about your FREE seats. Or better yet, pay the Chicago Symphony Orchestra prices and let the rest of us enjoy the free seats.

It's more than just

"the money." We have been lied to, over and over and over again. We've bought into lies, individually, as family units, and as a nation:

1) You can have it all.

2) You can buy it on credit--at low interest, no less.

3) You deserve to have it now.

4) Why deprive yourself?

5) Your life will never be the same without this?

And now, we are paying for it.

I talked with someone recently whose marriage is in trouble--due to a mountain of debt that has been "assumed" in the not-so-distant past. This person isn't sure what to do...and their spouse is in denial.

So it's really more than must "money"--it's integrity and fidelity and accountability.

Rush Limbaugh: SHUT UP!

We have heard (endured) your rantings/ravings/blatherings for years, ad nauseum. You have brought NOTHING of significance (not to speak of intelligence) to the "national conversation." You are an embarrassment to most of us thinking Americans.

Your desire to see President Obama "fail" testifies to your insanity. Of course some points, i.e., your insanity, needs no further proof than your loudmouthing off on the airwaves every day.

If you don't like the duly-elected leaders of this country, then by all means immigrate! I'm sure there are plenty of other "FREE" countries who would tolerate your insipid stupidity without blinking an eye.

Just shut up! Stop popping your pain pills, and get a real job for a change!

Calvary Answers for Me!

I heard this for the first time yesterday...and it made me weep tears of rejoicing!

Satan just cowers to think of the power
He lost when the cross had its day
Gone are the mornings when fear without warning
Would win and again have its way
Now when Satan reminds me of things I regret
I bring up Calvary lest he forgets…

High on the mountain of sorrow and shame
Grace signed my pardon as Christ took the blame
When I'm called to answer for my history
Calvary answers for me
Calvary answers for me.

I am now under the beautiful wonder of Grace
That erased all my past.
I feel the heartbeat of Mercy inside me
And now I have found Joy at last.
I live in freedom that chains cannot bind
And I won't look back at what I've left behind.

Remembering a truly GREAT MAN...

CHICAGO – Paul Harvey, the news commentator and talk-radio pioneer whose staccato style made him one of the nation's most familiar voices, died Saturday in Arizona, according to ABC Radio Networks. He was 90.

Harvey died surrounded by family at a hospital in Phoenix, where he had a winter home, said Louis Adams, a spokesman for ABC Radio Networks, where Harvey worked for more than 50 years. No cause of death was immediately available.

Harvey had been forced off the air for several months in 2001 because of a virus that weakened a vocal cord. But he returned to work in Chicago and was still active as he passed his 90th birthday. His death comes less than a year after that of his wife and longtime producer, Lynne.
"My father and mother created from thin air what one day became radio and television news," Paul Harvey Jr. said in a statement. "So in the past year, an industry has lost its godparents and today millions have lost a friend."

Known for his resonant voice and trademark delivery of "The Rest of the Story," Harvey had been heard nationally since 1951, when he began his "News and Comment" for ABC Radio Networks.

He became a heartland icon, delivering news and commentary with a distinctive Midwestern flavor. "Stand by for news!" he told his listeners. He was credited with inventing or popularizing terms such as "skyjacker," "Reaganomics" and "guesstimate."

"Paul Harvey was one of the most gifted and beloved broadcasters in our nation's history," ABC Radio Networks President Jim Robinson said in a statement. "We will miss our dear friend tremendously and are grateful for the many years we were so fortunate to have known him."
In 2005, Harvey was one of 14 notables chosen as recipients of the presidential Medal of Freedom. He also was an inductee in the Radio Hall of Fame, as was Lynne.

Former President George W. Bush remembered Harvey as a "friendly and familiar voice in the lives of millions of Americans." His commentary entertained, enlightened, and informed," Bush said in a statement. "Laura and I are pleased to have known this fine man, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

Harvey composed his twice-daily news commentaries from a downtown Chicago office near Lake Michigan.

Rising at 3:30 each morning, he ate a bowl of oatmeal, then combed the news wires and spoke with editors across the country in search of succinct tales of American life for his program.
At the peak of his career, Harvey reached more than 24 million listeners on more than 1,200 radio stations and charged $30,000 to give a speech. His syndicated column was carried by 300 newspapers.

His fans identified with his plainspoken political commentary, but critics called him an out-of-touch conservative. He was an early supporter of the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy and a longtime backer of the Vietnam War.

Perhaps Harvey's most famous broadcast came in 1970, when he abandoned that stance, announcing his opposition to President Nixon's expansion of the war and urging him to get out completely. "Mr. President, I love you ... but you're wrong," Harvey said, shocking his faithful listeners and drawing a barrage of letters and phone calls, including one from the White House.

In 1976, Harvey began broadcasting his anecdotal descriptions of the lives of famous people. "The Rest of the Story" started chronologically, with the person's identity revealed at the end. The stories were an attempt to capture "the heartbeats behind the headlines." Much of the research and writing was done by his son, Paul Jr.

Harvey also blended news with advertising, a line he said he crossed only for products he trusted.

In 2000, at age 82, he signed a new 10-year contract with ABC Radio Networks.
Harvey was born Paul Harvey Aurandt in Tulsa, Okla. His father, a police officer, was killed when he was a toddler. A high school teacher took note of his distinctive voice and launched him on a broadcast career.

While working at St. Louis radio station KXOK, he met Washington University graduate student Lynne Cooper. He proposed on their first date (she said "no") and always called her "Angel." They were married in 1940 and had a son, Paul Jr.

They worked closely together on his shows, and he often credited his success to her influence. She was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1997, seven years after her husband was. She died in May 2008.
Paul Harvey's "news and commentary" was a "spiritual moment" in the household where I grew up. My Grandmother Hoover listened to Mr Harvey with a faithfulness that mirrored zealotry. She was always entertained, and loved his "Rest of the Story" broadcasts as well.

I learned to love Paul Harvey as a child, then as a teenager, and certainly as a college student. My first pastor in college, J E Brisson, often encouraged his congregation to listen to "Paul Harvey every chance you get. You will always learn something."

When I was active duty in the United States Air Force, (stationed in Oslo, Norway) Mr Harvey's "news and commentary" came on the Armed Forces European Broadcasting System (AFEBS) station. We listened to him faithfully. My Norwegian friends all loved him as well.

One of the very few things that I had wanted to do was to meet Paul Harvey. One of my friends at church works for his organization, and she promised me a chance to meet him. Alas, that never happened.

Of course, since he was a committed Christian, I can plan to meet him on the other side.

That, my friends, is the rest of the story.