Thursday, July 5, 2012

Here is the truth about Obamacare that should be read by everyone. Are we going to put up more years of doing nothing? 

I am sure you are aware the Individual Mandate and the basic health plan system is the old Republican and Heritage Foundation format to deal with “free riders” and to make everyone accountable for their health care. They started with this project back around 1989 or 90. Now, the President has proposed basically what the Republicans wanted. Each person is responsible for their own healthcare.

Attached is a piece at the bottom of this page showing the Heritage Foundation and Republican history on the individual mandate and this type of health insurance legislation. There was an excellent letter to the editor in Fla. Today this morning by a Rockledge lady, Barbara Walton, who is a long time Republican, pointing out this very fact. This is what she wrote...

"As a Republican since 1976, I applaud the adoption and proven legal legitimacy of any law promoting self-reliance and personal responsibility.
The principles underlying Obamacare were first developed by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank, in the early 1990s as a sensible alternative to the Clinton health care proposal. They were widely promoted by a Republican majority Congress under Speaker Newt Gingrich beginning in 1994. A Massachusetts plan derived from that model and enacted by Republican Gov. Mitt Romney has resulted in 98 percent of that state’s population having health coverage, and the highest customer satisfaction rate for health care in the nation.
So, America now has a fiscally responsible (as scored by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office) plan developed, advocated and first enacted under Republican stewardship, subsequently embraced by President Barack Obama and a Democratic-led Congress and finally upheld by the Supreme Court.
This is how our country is supposed to work. Good ideas should be enacted. Credit should be given and received where it is due. And Republicans should be above partisan politics when it comes to desperately needed health care reform. That they are not says an enormous amount about our party’s leadership, none of it good".
I know there is little room anymore for moderates in the Republican Party—Do you think the intellectually honest Republican will also be driven from the party? I say that because I have never known whack job extremists on the left or right to be very tolerant of persons who express a logical, intelligent, honest view on subjects. Exhibit 1 of evidence in that regard is seeing logical, intelligent, honest moderates like Senator Richard Lugar lose in a Republican primary to a right wing extremist who does not have a thimble full of the knowledge Lugar has. Lugar will go down in history as not only a great Republican but also a great American.

Do you think the current Republican opposition to the bill, which is very similar to Romneycare in Mass., is simply because Obama said he would go along with the individual mandate in order for there to be healthcare for all citizens?  In other words, does what the Republicans want suddenly become what the Republicans do not want once Obama says it is OK?”
         Written by a Republican

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What is happening in Washington?

Does the Republican Party have as their sole goals the destruction of Obama and the destruction of Democrats? Are they are willing to destroy the country to accomplish those goals? Our governmental system has been chopped up into a non-representative, non-functional, unconstitutional, unfixable system - BOTH PARTIES. 

 If we do not get rid of this cancer on our country, it will kill us, as it is doing now. I think the GOP needs to be called on their myths in OPEN PUBLIC ACCESS DEBATE, which include: "tax cuts increase revenues" and "we have a spending problem not a revenue problem" and "regulations kill jobs" and "tax hikes on the rich hurt small businesses" and "climate change is not happening." These myths have been refuted over and over again. Irrational folks unwilling to listen to the evidence have no business leading the country. Back in the thirties we were told we must collectivize the nation because the people were so poor. Now we are told we must collectivize the nation because the people are so rich." -- William F. Buckley, Jr. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Extractions from the Washington Post Article Liberals and conservatives don’t just vote differently. They think differently. By Chris Mooney, Published: April 12, 2012: Liberals and conservatives have access to the same information, yet they hold wildly incompatible views on issues ranging from global warming to whether the president was born in the United States and whether his stimulus package created any jobs. But it’s not just that: Partisanship creates stunning intellectual contortions and inconsistencies. Republicans today can denounce a healthcare reform plan that’s pretty similar to one passed in Massachusetts by a Republican — and the only apparent reason is that this one came from a Democrat. None of these things make sense — unless you view them through the lens of political psychology. There’s now a large body of evidence showing that those who opt for the political left and those who opt for the political right tend to process information in divergent ways and to differ on any number of psychological traits.  

Perhaps most important, liberals consistently score higher on a personality measure called “openness to experience,” one of the “Big Five” personality traits, which are easily assessed through standard questionnaires. That means liberals tend to be the kind of people who want to try new things, including new music, books, restaurants and vacation spots — and new ideas. Open people everywhere tend to have more liberal values. Conservatives, in contrast, tend to be less open — less exploratory, less in need of change — and more “conscientious,” a trait that indicates they appreciate order and structure in their lives. This gels nicely with the standard definition of conservatism as resistance to change — in the famous words of William F. Buckley Jr., a desire to stand “athwart history, yelling ‘Stop!’ ” 

We see the consequences of liberal openness and conservative conscientiousness everywhere — and especially in the political battle over facts. Liberal irrationalities tend toward the sudden, new and trendy, such as, say, subscribing to the now largely discredited idea that childhood vaccines cause autism. This assertion was tailor-made for plucking liberal heartstrings, activating a deeply felt need to protect children from harm, especially harm allegedly caused by big, rich drug companies. But the claims about vaccine risks happened to be factually wrong. 

And how do we know? Scientists — who themselves lean liberal — debunked them. Over time, so did many other liberals. And in significant measure, it worked: There are still many people who cling to this inaccurate belief, but it is much, much harder these days to defend it, especially in the news media. Compare this with a different irrationality: refusing to admit that humans are a product of evolution, a chief point of denial for the religious right. 

In a recent poll, just 43 percent of tea party adherents accepted the established science here. Yet unlike the vaccine issue, this denial is anything but new and trendy; it is well over 100 years old. The state of Tennessee is even hearkening back to the days of the Scopes “Monkey” Trial, more than 85 years ago. It just passed a bill that will weaken the teaching of evolution. Such are some of the probable consequences of openness, or the lack thereof. Now consider another related trait implicated in our divide over reality: the “need for cognitive closure.” This describes discomfort with uncertainty and a desire to resolve it into a firm belief. 

Someone with a high need for closure tends to seize on a piece of information that dispels doubt or ambiguity, and then freeze, refusing to consider new information. Those who have this trait can also be expected to spend less time processing information than those who are driven by different motivations, such as achieving accuracy. A number of studies show that conservatives tend to have a greater need for closure than do liberals, which is precisely what you would expect in light of the strong relationship between liberalism and openness. The trait is assessed based on responses to survey statements such as “I dislike questions which could be answered in many different ways” and “In most social conflicts, I can easily see which side is right and which is wrong.” 

Anti-evolutionists have been found to score higher on the need for closure. And in the global-warming debate, tea party followers not only strongly deny the science but also tend to say that they “do not need any more information” about the issue. I’m not saying that liberals have a monopoly on truth. Of course not. They aren’t always right; but when they’re wrong, they are wrong differently. 

When you combine key psychological traits with divergent streams of information from the left and the right, you get a world where there is no truth that we all agree upon. We wield different facts, and hold them close, because we truly experience things differently. However, there only is one reality — and we don’t get to discount it forever. And liberal-conservative differences are part of reality, too; inescapable, and increasingly difficult to deny. 

Extractions from the Washington Post Article Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem By Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, Published: April 27, 2011: The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges. “Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when discussing partisan polarization. 

Many self-styled bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose solutions that move both sides to the center, a strategy that is simply untenable when one side is so far out of reach. It is clear that the center of gravity in the Republican Party has shifted sharply to the right. Its once-legendary moderate and center-right legislators in the House and the Senate are virtually extinct. What happened? 

Of course, there were larger forces at work beyond the realignment of the South. They included the mobilization of social conservatives after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the anti-tax movement launched in 1978 by California’s Proposition 13, the rise of conservative talk radio after a congressional pay raise in 1989, and the emergence of Fox News and right-wing blogs. But the real move to the bedrock right starts with two names: Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist. From the day he entered Congress in 1979, Gingrich had a strategy to create a Republican majority in the House: convincing voters that the institution was so corrupt that anyone would be better than the incumbents, especially those in the Democratic majority. It took him 16 years, but by bringing ethics charges against Democratic leaders; provoking them into overreactions that enraged Republicans and united them to vote against Democratic initiatives; exploiting scandals to create even more public disgust with politicians; and then recruiting GOP candidates around the country to run against Washington, Democrats and Congress, Gingrich accomplished his goal. Ironically, after becoming speaker, Gingrich wanted to enhance Congress’s reputation and was content to compromise with President Bill Clinton when it served his interests. But the forces Gingrich unleashed destroyed whatever comity existed across party lines, activated an extreme and virulently anti-Washington base — most recently represented by tea party activists — and helped drive moderate Republicans out of Congress. 

Some of his progeny, elected in the early 1990s, moved to the Senate and polarized its culture in the same way. Norquist, meanwhile, founded Americans for Tax Reform in 1985 and rolled out his Taxpayer Protection Pledge the following year. The pledge, which binds its signers to never support a tax increase - and that includes closing tax loopholes - had been signed as of last year by 238 of the 242 House Republicans and 41 of the 47 GOP senators. The Norquist tax pledge has led to other pledges, on issues such as climate change, that create additional litmus tests that box in moderates and make cross-party coalitions nearly impossible. For Republicans concerned about a primary challenge from the right, the failure to sign such pledges is simply too risky. 

Today, thanks to the GOP, compromise has gone out the window in Washington. In the first two years of the Obama administration, nearly every presidential initiative met with vehement, rancorous and unanimous Republican opposition in the House and the Senate, followed by efforts to delegitimize the results and repeal the policies. The filibuster, once relegated to a handful of major national issues in a given Congress, became a routine weapon of obstruction, applied even to widely supported bills or presidential nominations. And Republicans in the Senate have abused the confirmation process to block any and every nominee to posts such as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, solely to keep laws that were legitimately enacted from being implemented. In the third and now fourth years of the Obama presidency, divided government has produced something closer to complete gridlock than we have ever seen in our time in Washington, with partisan divides even leading last year to America's first credit card downgrade. On financial stabilization and economic recovery, on deficits and debt, on climate change and healthcare reform, Republicans have been the force behind the widening ideological gaps and the strategic use of partisanship. In the presidential campaign and in Congress, GOP leaders have embraced fanciful policies on taxes and spending, kowtowing to their party’s most strident voices. 

Republicans often dismiss nonpartisan analyses of the nature of problems and the impact of policies when those assessments don’t fit their ideology. In the face of the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression, the party’s leaders and their outside acolytes insisted on obeisance to a supply-side view of economic growth — thus fulfilling Norquist’s pledge — while ignoring contrary considerations. The results can border on the absurd: In early 2009, several of the eight Republican co-sponsors of a bipartisan health-care reform plan dropped their support; by early 2010, the others had turned on their own proposal so that there would be zero GOP backing for any bill that came within a mile of Obama’s reform initiative. 

As one co-sponsor, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), told The Washington Post's Ezra Klein: “I liked it because it was bipartisan. I wouldn’t have voted for it.” And seven Republican co-sponsors of a Senate resolution to create a debt-reduction panel voted in January 2010 against their own resolution, solely to keep it from getting to the 60-vote threshold Republicans demanded and thus denying the president a seeming victory. This attitude filters down far deeper than the party leadership. Rank-and-file GOP voters endorse the strategy that the party’s elites have adopted, eschewing compromise to solve problems and insisting on principle, even if it leads to gridlock. 

Democratic voters, by contrast, along with self-identified independents, are more likely to favor deal-making over deadlock. Democrats are hardly blameless, and they have their own extreme wing and their own predilection for hardball politics. But these tendencies do not routinely veer outside the normal bounds of robust politics. If anything, under the presidencies of Clinton and Obama, the Democrats have become more of a status-quo party. They are centrist protectors of government, reluctantly willing to revamp programs and trim retirement and health benefits to maintain its central commitments in the face of fiscal pressures. 

No doubt, Democrats were not exactly warm and fuzzy toward George W. Bush during his presidency. But recall that they worked hand in glove with the Republican president on the No Child Left Behind Act, provided crucial votes in the Senate for his tax cuts, joined with Republicans for all the steps taken after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and supplied the key votes for the Bush administration’s financial bailout at the height of the economic crisis in 2008. The difference is striking. 

The GOP’s evolution has become too much for some longtime Republicans. Former senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska called his party "irresponsible" in an interview with the Financial Times in August, at the height of the debt-ceiling battle. “I think the Republican Party is captive to political movements that are very ideological, that are very narrow,” he said. “I’ve never seen so much intolerance as I see today in American politics.” And Mike Lofgren, a veteran Republican congressional staffer, wrote an anguished diatribe last year about why he was ending his career on the Hill after nearly three decades. “The Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe,” he wrote on the Truthout Web site. Shortly before Rep. West went off the rails with his accusations of communism in the Democratic Party, political scientists Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal, who have long tracked historical trends in political polarization, said their studies of congressional votes found that Republicans are now more conservative than they have been in more than a century. 

Their data show a dramatic uptick in polarization, mostly caused by the sharp rightward move of the GOP. If our democracy is to regain its health and vitality, the culture and ideological center of the Republican Party must change. In the short run, without a massive (and unlikely) across-the-board rejection of the GOP at the polls, that will not happen. If anything, Washington’s ideological divide will probably grow after the 2012 elections. In the House, some of the remaining centrist and conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats have been targeted for extinction by redistricting, while even ardent tea party Republicans, such as freshman Rep. Alan Nunnelee (Miss.), have faced primary challenges from the right for being too accommodationist. 

And Mitt Romney's rhetoric and positions offer no indication that he would govern differently if his party captures the White House and both chambers of Congress. We understand the values of mainstream journalists, including the effort to report both sides of a story. But a balanced treatment of an unbalanced phenomenon distorts reality. If the political dynamics of Washington are unlikely to change anytime soon, at least we should change the way that reality is portrayed to the public. 

Our advice to the press: Don’t seek professional safety through the even-handed, unfiltered presentation of opposing views. Which politician is telling the truth? Who is taking hostages, at what risks and to what ends? Also, stop lending legitimacy to Senate filibusters by treating a 60-vote hurdle as routine. The framers certainly didn’t intend it to be. Report individual senators’ abusive use of holds and identify every time the minority party uses a filibuster to kill a bill or nomination with majority support. Look ahead to the likely consequences of voters’ choices in the November elections. How would the candidates govern? What could they accomplish? What differences can people expect from a unified Republican or Democratic government, or one divided between the parties? In the end, while the press can make certain political choices understandable, it is up to voters to decide. 

If they can punish ideological extremism at the polls and look skeptically upon candidates who profess to reject all dialogue and bargaining with opponents, then an insurgent outlier party will have some impetus to return to the center. Otherwise, our politics will get worse before it gets better. by George Ryan

Monday, May 14, 2012

Christianity in America Today

This email was in reply to one I wrote. I think everyone should read George Ryan of CT.. Redneck, You expressed yourself quite well in your response. I will see if I can adequately reply in a manner which bespeaks how I feel. [P.S. After I read what I have written below, I realized that I got a bit carried away, and for that I apologize; however, I do NOT apologize for what I say herein, for it is what I believe.] For me, America is simultaneously the most professedly Christian of the developed nations and the least Christian in its behavior. That paradox illuminates the hollow at the core of our boastful, careening culture. Is America truly Christian? Christ was pretty specific about what he had in mind for his followers. What if we chose some simple criterion ... say, giving aid to the poorest people ... as a reasonable proxy for Christian behavior? After all, in the days before his crucifixion, when Jesus summed up his message for his disciples, he said the way you could tell the righteous from the damned was by whether they'd fed the hungry, slaked the thirsty, clothed the naked, welcomed the stranger, and visited the prisoner. What would we find then? When one of the Pharisees asked Jesus what the core of the law was, Jesus replied: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Love your neighbor as yourself: although its rhetorical power has been dimmed by repetition, that is a radical notion, perhaps the most radical notion possible. Especially since Jesus, in all his teachings, made it very clear who the neighbor you were supposed to love was: the poor person, the sick person, the naked person, the hungry person. The last shall be made first; turn the other cheek; a rich person aiming for heaven is like a camel trying to walk through the eye of a needle. On and on and on ... a call for nothing less than a radical, voluntary, and effective reordering of power relationships, based on the principle of love. In public we tend not to talk about such things. What Jesus mostly meant seems like it should be left in church, or confined to some religious publication. But remember the overwhelming connection between America and Christianity; what Jesus meant is the most deeply potent political, cultural, social question. To ignore it, or leave it to the bullies, politicians and the salesmen of the televangelist sects, means to walk away from a central battle over American identity. At the moment, the idea of Jesus has been hijacked by people with a series of causes that do not reflect his teachings. The Bible is a long book, and even the Gospels have plenty in them, some of it seemingly contradictory and hard to puzzle out. But love your neighbor as yourself, not do unto others as you would have them do unto you, but love your neighbor as yourself, will suffice. There is no disputing the centrality of this message, nor is there any disputing how easy it is to ignore that message. Because it is so counterintuitive, Christians have had to keep repeating it to themselves right from the start. Consider Paul, for instance, instructing the church at Galatea: “For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment,” he wrote. “‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” This reminds me of the story of a thief standing before a court judge, and, when asked by the judge why he had committed the robbery, he said: "The Good Book taught me that 'God helps those who help themselves' [Unfortunately, this is probably the most often quoted phrase that is not found in the Bible. This saying is usually attributed to Ben Franklin, quoted in Poor Richard's Almanac in 1757.] The judge replied: "You need to go back and read some more ... and pay more attention ... you read it wrong. It states 'God HELP he who helps himself'! A rich man came to Jesus one day and asked what he should do to get into heaven. Jesus did not say he should invest, spend, and let the benefits trickle down; he said sell what you have, give the money to the poor, and follow me. Few plainer words have been spoken. And yet, for some reason, the Christian Coalition of America, founded in 1989 in order to “preserve, protect and defend the Judeo-Christian values that made this the greatest country in history”, proclaimed in 2005 that its top legislative priority would be “making permanent President Bush's 2001 federal tax cuts.” The power of the Christian right rests largely in the fact that they boldly claim religious authority, and by their very boldness convince the rest of us that they must know what they're talking about. They're like the guy who gives you directions with such loud confidence that you drive on even though the road appears to be turning into a faint, rutted track. But their theology is appealing for another reason, too: it coincides with what we want to believe. How nice it would be if Jesus had declared that our income was ours to keep, instead of insisting that we had to share. How satisfying it would be if we were supposed to hate our enemies. Religious conservatives will always have a comparatively easy sell. This Christian nation also tends to make personal, as opposed to political, choices that the Bible would seem to frown upon. But straight is the path and narrow is the way. The gospel is too radical for any culture to ever come close to realizing; in demanding a departure from selfishness it conflicts with all our current desires. Even the first time around, judging by the reaction, the Gospels were pretty unwelcome news to an awful lot of people. There is not going to be a modern day return to the church of the early believers, holding all things in common ... that's not what I'm talking about. Taking seriously the actual message of Jesus, though, should serve at least to moderate the greed and violence that mark this culture. It's hard to imagine a con much more audacious than making Christ the front man for a program of tax cuts for the rich or war in Iraq or Afghanistan. If some modest part of the 85 percent of us who are Christians woke up to that fact, then the world might change. It is possible, I think. It is true the mainline Protestant churches that supported civil rights and opposed the war in Vietnam are mostly locked in a dreary decline as their congregations dwindle and their elders argue endlessly about gay clergy and same-sex unions. And the Catholic Church, for most of its American history a sturdy exponent of a “love your neighbor” theology, has been weakened, too, its hierarchy increasingly motivated by a single-issue focus on abortion. Plenty of vital congregations are doing great good works ... they're the ones that have nurtured me ... but they aren't where the challenge will arise; they've grown shy about talking about Jesus, more comfortable with the language of sociology and politics. More and more it's Bible-quoting Christians who are carrying the fight. For Christians there should be something at least a little scary in the notion that, absent the magical answers of religion, people might just get around to solving their problems and strengthening their communities in more straightforward ways. For Christians, the plainspoken message of the Gospels is clear enough. If you have any doubts, read the Sermon on the Mount. Admittedly, this is hope against hope; more likely the money changers and power brokers will remain ascendant in our “spiritual” life. Since the days of Constantine, emperors and rich men have sought to co-opt the teachings of Jesus. As in so many areas of our increasingly market-tested lives, the co-opters, the TV men, the politicians, the Christian “interest groups”, have found a way to make each of us complicit in that travesty, too. They have invited us to subvert the church of Jesus even as we celebrate it. With their help we have made golden calves of ourselves becoming a nation of terrified, self-obsessed idols. It works, and it may well keep working for a long time to come. When Americans hunger for selfless love and are fed only love of self, they will remain hungry, and too often hungry people just come back for more of the same. America needs to start investing in itself once again. We need investment in areas such as education, our industrial infrastructure and research and development if we hope to build an economy that can be competitive in the future. However, each of these areas needs a lot of attention in order to succeed ... and this includes putting God back in the schools, work places, and most importantly, back in our hearts and homes. On April 20, 1999, Joan was working as an English and Music teacher in Colorado, Jefferson County, Wheat Ridge, Everitt Junior High School/Middle School, 11 miles away, on the day of the Columbine High School disaster. Subsequently, on May 27, 1999, Darrell Scott, the son of an Episcopalian minister and the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, addressed the Subcommittee on Crime of the House Judiciary Committee. Joan and her fellow teachers listened carefully to his speech ... and have never forgotten what Darrel Scott said that day. If you choose to read it in its entirety, go to ... it's only a 3 minute read. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful. They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needed then and is more needed now to be heard by every American parent, teacher, politician, sociologist, psychologist, and so-called religious experts and church leaders. This is part of what he had to say: "I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy -- it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best. Your laws ignore our deepest needs, Your words are empty air. You've stripped away our heritage, You've outlawed simple prayer. Now gunshots fill our classrooms, And precious children die. You seek for answers everywhere, And ask the question "Why?" You regulate restrictive laws, Through legislative creed. And yet you fail to understand, That God is what we need! "Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation's history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine's tragedy occurs -- politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts." "As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America , and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA -- I give to you a sincere challenge. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!" And to think, 13 years later, worse than Columbine has happened, as we let our kids of this country be further separated from God in their everyday lives. It is not just the politicians we need to look to, but to each and every American. America needs prayer in their own homes twice as much as we need it in our schools. Christian parents need to put their Faith in Christ FIRST in their lives, and set true 'Living Christian' examples for all, starting with their children. 2 Chronicles 7:13-15 New International Version (NIV) 13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Genes and More

The term gene, first created by Danish botanist Wilhelm Johannsen in 1909, comes from the Greek word for origin, genos.

The number of genes in an organism's complete set of DNA, called a genome, varies from species to species. More complex organisms have more genes. A virus has a few hundred genes. Honeybees have about 15,000 genes. Scientists estimate that humans have around 25,000 genes.

Each gene has many parts. The protein-making instructions come from short sections called exons. Longer "nonsense" DNA, known as introns, flank the exons. Genes also include regulatory sequences. Although scientists don't fully understand their function, regulatory sequences help turn genes on.

Each gene helps determine different characteristics of an individual, such as nose shape. Full of information, genes pass similar traits from one generation to the next. That's how your cousin inherited grandpa's nose.

Peas in a pod

The "Father of Genetics," Gregor Mendel, was an Austrian monk who experimented with plants growing in his monastery. He studied inheritance in pea plants during the 1860s.

Mendel observed that when he bred plants that had green pea pods with plants that had yellow pea pods, all of the offspring had green pods. When Mendel bred the second generation with one another, some of the baby pods had green pods and some had yellow pods.

He discovered that a trait, or phenotype, could disappear in one generation and could reappear in a future generation.

Individuals have two copies of each gene, one inherited from each parent. Mendel explained how these copies interact to determine which trait is expressed.

In all peas there is a gene for pod color. The pod color gene has green and yellow versions, or alleles. Mendel's green pod alleles are dominant, and the yellow pod alleles are recessive. In order to express a recessive form of the trait (yellow), individuals must inherit recessive alleles from both parents.

A plant that inherits one green allele and one yellow allele will be green. But it can still pass the recessive yellow allele onto its offspring. That's how some of Mendel's pea pods came out yellow.

More to it

Human diseases such as sickle cell anemia are passed down in a similar way.

However, genetics don't always work so simply. Most genetics and instances of heredity are more complex than what Mendel saw in his garden.

It often takes more than a single gene to dictate a trait; and one gene can make instructions for more than trait. The environment, from the weather outside to an organism's body chemistry, plays a large role in dictating traits too.

Lactose Intolerance is inherited worldwide by about 75% of adults to some degree. About 90% of Asians are Lactose Intolerant and usually under 20% of Northern Europeans.

Most of the world's adults suffer, to some degree, from Lactose Intolerance. If your ancestors are mostly Northern Europeans you are not likely to not have a problem, or it is likely to be far less severe.

What can you do about it? Not much, other than avoid those products that affect you or find substitutes. If you think you aren't going to be affected this one time...don't try it. The good news is there are now over the counter medications, simple pills, you can take prior to having that ice cream that often reduces the affect, or in some cases you may not be affected at all. The problem is finding the one that works for you.

Blue Eyes

Did you think blue eyes were disappearing? Not so, they're only 6,000 to 10,000 years old. That's right....we all had brown eyes. This means people with blue eyes have a single, common ancestor, according to new research.

The mutation occurred between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago. Before then, there were no blue eyes. Originally, we all had brown eyes. That genetic switch somehow spread throughout Europe and now other parts of the world.

"The question really is, 'Why did we go from having nobody on Earth with blue eyes 10,000 years ago to having 20 or perhaps 40 percent of Europeans having blue eyes now?" It seems that blue eyed people do produce more children. Why?????

Thursday, April 12, 2012

There is no missing Link

I don't know of anyone who has written about the fact that science is proving much of what is in the Bible. There comes a point where we have to understand that we simply do not know much about our past. Most families know little more than one or two generations and few have any clue as to the personality or nature of their ancestors.

I happen to believe that we did not evolve and, in fact, were quite civilized in the distant past. I'm not sure that the story of man is correct at all. If you study archaeology new civilizations are being discovered all the time and there is little explanation as to how they created what they did. Stonehenge is new, for instance, and pretty primitive compared to so many other older discoveries. The Bible is a guide for all of us. Exactly how we were created and when is the real mystery...but we were created.

The Bible states the Heavens and Earth. That may not mean just this planet. We're a long way off from knowing our true origins but we're getting there.

Humans are very different from other species [not a good word but okay]. There is no missing link because we were created in a very short time. Even the Scientific community has concluded, based on their own findings, that we took quite a jump in a very short time but that's because we are not in the evolutionary line like other creatures.

Evolution exists .....but not in us. The only evolution, in our case, is we're beginning to learn what we have forgotten and that is not evolution but regaining memory. At least that's my theory. You have to wonder why our brain can contain more than we use. We are moving so fast technologically that it is baffling.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Sunrise Service on the Beach 2012

Cllck on photo to see larger size.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

You want me to prove there is a GOD? Okay!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Written by Ernest Hatton Jr.

Science is proving there is a God. Instead of being fearful of people who, at this time, claim there is no God we should be confident and assured in our own beliefs. There ARE facts. Each day that passes genetics is proving the story of humans as it links us together [all of us regardless of the religion we practice]. Science once claimed there were eight Eves and then one. That we are descended from one woman. The story of man lies in our DNA and science is proving what we believe.

Were Scientists trying to prove that the ancient stories and the Bible were factual? Of course not... but they have. We are foolish to have so little faith that we cannot feel secure in what we believe no matter how many have to have proof. The proof is coming and it is through science.

Our failure is that we have complicated a simple story told down through the ages by letting man create dogma that is confusing. Instead of keeping our story simple and guided by ten laws we have pitted ourselves against each other by various complicated interpretations of that very simple story.

Then we confuse matters, even more, by failing to realize that everything we believe may not have happened at an exact time and maybe there are parts of our story that are missing. Being insecure about our faith we feel we have to prove everything, or that others have to accept each and every detail.

There are certain truths, which are proven fact. We descended from one woman and science agrees. Many call her Eve. We did not evolve and there is no missing link because man was created in the image of God so we know pretty much what God looked like. How do we know there was no missing link...because the evidence weighs heavy that we did not evolve from another species. Maybe we can't prove every little detail but the proof of the Bible story is there and science has proven the main tenants of that story. We know that the world once had a great flood and so much more.

We've failed to know and tell our story? We haven't been listening as science tells it for us. The destruction of Christianity can only happen if we continue to distance ourselves from other Christians, if we continue to let man muddy the story with his own additions and interpretations of an easily understood story. We are our own worst enemies and it is us who are restricting free thought as we try to control the thought of others because we are not secure in our faith.

We are striking out, we are defaming others, we are not turning the other cheek, we are willing to lie or cheat the minute we leave our places of worship, and we allow and even embrace, the destruction of another's reputation. I have witnessed the wickedness of us and then we wonder why others don't embrace our religious beliefs. It's not complicated....we don't practice them!

We are a confused lot and if we continue our numbers will certainly decrease. We cannot hate and expect others to embrace our religion. Look at our uncivil nation. We are divided by politics and religion and I think we are ignorant about both. We can't have a conversation or listen to other views all because of us...not the Bible or Religion... but because of our many and various interpretations of both and an unwillingness to listen to others.

We have decided which Christians are really Christians and who is going to hell. All because we are not speaking directly to God but instead listening to another person interpret what we should believe.
We don't know our history, which mirrors a lot of what is happening today. We don't know that our founders were not perfect. In fact, just the opposite at times. Still they accomplished great things.

I think we need to judge ourselves and then perhaps others will see the light.