Category Archives: culture

On My Honor

boy_scout_with_oathThis coming May the Boy Scouts of America will make a decision on whether or not to allow gay people into the organization. As a scout parent, I have very mixed feelings about this issue. For more that one hundred years the organization has fulfilled a need that may be greater now than ever before. As our society increasingly seeks to emasculate the male gender, young men need a place where “boys can be boys” while still learning the foundations of integrity taught by the Scouting program.  The values enumerated in the Boy Scout Law, trustworthiness, loyalty, helpfulness, friendship, courtesy, kindness, obedience, cheerfulness, thriftiness, bravery, cleanliness, and reverence are values that are sorely needed in all aspects of today’s world.  From the White House, to the board room, to the schools, and the media, our society is yearning for men (and women) who will place personal integrity above their own needs for power and glory and wealth.  The kind of men Scouting  creates, and yet, this same society has sought on several occasions to tear down the tenets of Scouting as outdated or discriminatory.  This is a dark place for the organization to be in.  The issues are complex and weighty, and there is no solution that won’t hurt the program in some way.

The safety of the boys is the most important consideration in this issue.  The idea that allowing gay leaders would somehow lead to an increase in sexual abuse is based more on emotion than fact.  Homosexuality, and Pedophilia come from two different mindsets.  I would expect any leader, regardless of his or her sexual orientation to keep their private lives, private.  Just as it would be inappropriate for a man and a woman married or not to engage in sexual behavior during a Scout function, so would it be for a gay couple.  Because the standards of behavior for adult leaders are well established and could apply to any sexual orientation, removing leaders who violate the rules could be accomplished without valid accusations of discrimination.

Allowing gay boys into the organization is more problematic.  Navigating the hormonal seas of adolescence is difficult for any teenager.  Add in an immature frontal cortex, the judgement center of the brain, and you have a recipe for all sorts of bad decisions.  That is why coed groups such as Venturing, have strict rules of behavior.  Many of those same rules could be used in a mixed group of gay and heterosexual boys, but it would be impossible to segregate tenting and bathing without discriminating against the gay Scouts.  To be fair, there are already gay boys within the ranks who are engaging in camping and other Scouting activities alongside their fellow Scouts without any problem.  But this could be attributed to a boy’s trying to hide his homosexuality from the other Scouts.  If homosexuality is an acceptable behavior, would gay boys continue to be discreet about it?  Regardless of your stance on the issue, this is something that has to be considered and appropriate rules put in place.  Other wise it could lead to an incident that could be emotionally devastating to all boys involved.

The solution that the BSA seems to be favoring is to leave the decision up to the local units, based on the criteria of their chartering organizations.  This will leave individual troops vulnerable to lawsuits if they choose to exclude gay members. As long as the National Organization is will to offset the legal costs to these troops it may be the best alternative.  Solving the problem at a local level will make it possible for gay boys to form their own troops if there are none available.

No matter what decision the National Organization makes, it faces an uncertain future.  If they decide to allow gay persons, they will lose the backing of the churches where so many troops are chartered.  Many Scouting families, attracted by the emphasis on moral behavior, will leave in droves, possibly crippling the Scouting movement.  If they do not allow gays, the organization will face an exodus of members sympathetic to the gay cause.  They will also face legal pressures from outside groups who opposed any organization with Christian ties.  Sadly, this is a battle the Boys Scouts of America should not have to face.  The Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the BSA had the right as a private organization to establish its own policies regarding who it allows to join.  The state of California is proposing a law, SB323, that will strip the BSA and other organizations that exclude, gays, atheists, and others based on their religion, gender, or sexual identity, of their tax exempt status.  This will essentially prevent these organizations from being able to operate in that state.  This is wrong.  It is not the place of any government, local, state or federal, to remove an organization’s Constitutional rights, in order to promote a social agenda.  Indeed it should be society that will ultimately decide whether  the BSA is still relevant in today’s world, and it will be society that will pay the price should it decide that the BSA is not.

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On my way to Chic Fil A

Crowd at my local Chic Fil A

Today in stock yards all across the nation, the cattle enjoyed a one day stay of execution. That’s because there was little demand for beef as people crowded into their local Chic Fil A to show their support of Dan Cathy’s First Amendment rights. It was a thirty minute wait for those wonderful waffle fries and peach milkshakes. As my son and I stood in line, I was amazed by what I saw. The line reached around to the back of the building. The drive through line all the way though the parking lot, down the driveway and out to the highway. There were even cops directing the traffic. We had to park a lot away. People even showed up in a church bus.

They even came by bus.

The mood was neighborly, friendly and festive. What was even more impressive was what I didn’t see. There were no honking horns and hand gestures. No cutting in line. No bored indifferent employees. There were so many “thank you’s” and “pardon me’s” you would’ve thought it was a finishing school exam. Even those who may have disagreed with Dan Cathy’s position showed an enormous amount of class by not showing up to protest.  I left with the impression that these people get it.  This wasn’t a gay marriage thing, it wasn’t even a Christian thing.  It was a Constitutional thing.  When the government, be it local, state, or national, tries to silence the opinions of decent, moral, hardworking folks, we just can’t take that lying down.  They didn’t during the Boston Tea Party, they didn’t on July 4th, 1776, and we didn’t on Aug 1st 2012.

The Real Life of Julia

Reflections of a Rational Republican has introduced me to “Julia” the cartoon solder of the fictitious Republican “War on Women”.  Both the Obama Campaign and the Heritage Foundation have differing versions about the “Life of Julia“. While the Obama Campaign’s version touts the benefits of living in a cradle to grave socialist utopia, the Heritage Foundation’s version extolls the virtues of freedom of choice. Neither version truly depicts the reality of Julia right here, right now. This is my version of the “Real Life of Julia” without the cutesy graphics. It depicts what her life would be like at each age, if she were that age today.

Age 3

Both of Julia’s parents work.  Their combined incomes put them in an income bracket too high to qualify for head start or other programs designed for underprivileged children.  After “doing the math” her parents decide that the high cost of quality day care makes it impractical for both of them to work. Julia’s mom’s income is less than her father’s so Julia’s mom decides to stay home with her.

Age 17

It was important to Julia’s parents to bring her up in as safe a neighborhood as possible. They purchased a modest home in a decent suburb.  Because she lives in a working class family her parents  cannot afford private school.  Therefore Julia has spent her youth in the public school system.  Her state uses standardized tests to measure  the performance of the teachers, schools, and students.  Because the teacher’s unions have made it difficult to weed out ineffective teachers, and because school administrators fear the loss of state and federal funding due to government programs such as race to the top, classroom time is consumed with teaching children how to pass the standardized tests instead of proficiency in basic skills.   Sports, music classes, and pay raises for competent teachers are cut due to a lack of funds, but administration costs remain high.  PE and recess are cut and replaced with programs to teach environmental awareness, anti-bullying, drug avoidance, and sexual abuse defence techniques that are of little value in real world situations.  Julia’s parents stressed the importance of doing her best and made sure she did her homework.  They communicated regularly with her teachers.  Because of this, Julia worked hard and made good grades.

Age 18

Because she has made good grades Julia has qualified for a modest state sponsored scholarship.  She barely qualifies for a Pell grant because her parent’s income is almost to high even though they do not make enough to pay any of her college expenses.  She chooses a community college because it is the most cost-effective option, allowing her to live at home and commute to class.  Her scholarship and grant still are not enough to completely cover her school and expenses so she works part-time to fill the gap.  Her public school education has left her unprepared for college level work, she takes advantage of the resources the college offers, but in spite of her efforts to study hard, she fails her math and english courses.  Because the state sponsored scholarship pays some of the costs of trade school, Julia decides to drop out of college and attend cosmetology school.

Age 22

Julia has to undergo emergency surgery for an appendicitis.  The recent passage of Obama care mandates that she is covered under her parents care until age 26, however, before the passage of Obama care, she still would have been covered under her parents’ policy until her 23rd birthday because she is a student.

Age 23-25

Julia finishes cosmetology school and begins her career as a hair stylist. At first she lives with her parents, but through hard work and dedication to her career she lands a job at a prestigious salon and moves into her own apartment.  Among the benefits provided are health insurance and the opportunity to participate in a 401K program.   This particular salon offered such benefits even before Obama care was passed. Her insurance pays for mammograms, pap smears, yearly exams, and maternity care. Her copay for prescription birth control is fifty percent of the cost, but because she is focusing on establishing herself in this business and building a clientele, she has little time for a relationship or casual sex.

Age 29-31

Julia meets Ethan a local electrician.  They begin a relationship.  Julia explains to Ethan that since he would assume half the responsibility for raising a child, he should share half the responsibility for the cost of birth control. Ethan agrees. (He’s a keeper).  Since her insurance pays for half of the fifty dollar cost of birth control pills* and Ethan pays half of her half, her cost for the pill is a manageable $12.50 a month.  Julia and Ethan marry and decide to have a child.  Her maternity and child-birth costs are covered minus the $25.00 office copays and a $500.00 deductable. Because she and Ethan planned ahead for this child, money was saved and these expenses prove to be little problem for them.  Even though money is tight, they still make too much for Zachary to qualify for head start or other daycare options for underprivileged children.  Because neither of them can afford to quit their jobs, Julia’s mother agrees to watch little Zachary.

Age 37

Zachary starts preschool.   His parents make too much money for Zachary to qualify for school vouchers designed to give underprivileged children a chance at a better education, but they do not make enough to place him in private school.  His parents depend on both incomes to get by, so having Julia quit her job to home school Zachary is out of the question.  Julia has no other option but to place Zachary into the inferior public school system.

Age 42

Julia is a well-known stylist around town and has built up a loyal clientele.  She decides to open her own salon.  She qualifies for a small business  administration loan and purchases equipment.  She rents chair space to beginning hair stylists and teaches them the latest techniques.  In spite of a loyal and growing customer base, she is barely breaking even. The regulatory costs of the required insurances and licenses are high and the time required to keep up with the paperwork keeps her from her customers.  When the ADA fines her $25,000.00 for failure to install a wheelchair accessible styling chair even though she has no disabled customers or employees, she realizes she can no longer keep up.  Julia sadly informs her stylists and customers she must close.  She sells her salon equipment to pay off the fine and the remainder of her SBA loan. She then takes a job as an instructor at the local beauty college.

Age 65

Julia enrolls in medicare.  She has difficulty finding a competent doctor that accepts the plan.  She must pay out-of-pocket for a medicare supplement insurance plan to cover the gaps.  Ethan dies suddenly of a heart attack leaving her without his income. Fortunately he had the foresight to purchase life insurance even though paying the premiums was sometimes a struggle.  This allows Julia to pay off the mortgage and Ethan’s funeral expenses.

Age 67

Julia applies for Social Security.  The amount is nowhere near enough to cover her monthly expenses.  She rolled over her 401K into an IRA but was not always able to contribute to it when her business was struggling.  She realizes that her available cash flow is not enough to live on so she continues to work part-time at the beauty school as a receptionist so she doesn’t have to spend hours on her feet.

The truth is, neither scenario, whether it is Obama’s or the Heritage Foundations’s is going to help working class Julia.  Making her dependent on the government for her cradle to grave care will eventually backfire like it did in Greece.  Once the producers have been bled dry and robbed of any incentive to create wealth, the money will run out and untold misery will ensue.  On the other hand, unbridled capitalism will not reduce the cost of healthcare and education to the point where they will be within reach of working class families.  While it will create more freedom of choice, those choices mean nothing if you can’t afford them.

* Information on the cost of birth control pills was obtained from the Planned Parenthood website.

The War on Wives

A Tribute to Housewives

A Tribute to Housewives (Photo credit: Richard Loyal French)

The liberal feminist movement has long had an arrogant disdain for stay at home moms. Though they try to pretend otherwise, the truth slipped out in Hilary Rosen‘s remarks, and now the Democrats have to do “damage control”.  If you listen carefully to the disingenuous apologies, you will hear the true agenda of the feminist movement.  It’s not necessarily motherhood that they despise, it’s wifedom, and  in their eyes the epitome of subservience is the “stay at home mom”.

Liberal feminists simply do not think it is possible in this “enlightened age” for an intelligent, woman to find fulfillment in caring for a husband and children and managing a household.   They think that women who choose this lifestyle must suffer from low self esteems or are brainwashed by some sort of patriarchal cult.  Because they see men as nothing more than abusive, condescending sperm donors, they celebrate motherhood by elevating single moms to heroic status.  Especially women who choose to raise children without a husband.  Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not criticizing single mothers, or trivializing the incredible juggling act that they have to perform on a daily basis.

Liberal feminism has created a culture in which women do not just have a choice of having a career and a family they are obligated to. Women are expected to live up to a “super woman” ideal that just isn’t realistic.  The result is that today’s women live with an overwhelming burden of exhaustion and guilt.  There are many women who would rather stay at home with their children but because of economic and or social pressures feel they can’t.   Unless you have a part-time job at a school, there are no jobs where you can be home when your kids are.  When you are at work, you feel guilty that you are not home with your kids.  If you have to take care of a sick child, you feel guilty about not fulfilling your work obligations.  If you call a friend or relative to tend to your sick child so you can be at work you feel like a terrible mom.  If you choose not to work and stay home you feel guilty every time your husband works overtime to make ends meet, or you feel guilty when you have to tell your kids no because you can’t afford it.

The real “war on women” isn’t being waged by conservatives, it’s being waged by those liberal feminists and their supporters who claim to represent all women. All women except those who put their families first that is.

Just Another Profile of Profiling

racism \ a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce and inherent superiority of a particular race (Webster’s New collegiate Dictionary 150th Anniversary Edition)

The Trayvon Martin case has once again prompted a call for a dialog about racial profiling. Usually this means that the black community wants the white community to understand that they find profiling to be demeaning and sometimes potentially dangerous. That is understandable. Profiling in its most basic form is a kind of stereotyping. Many cultures and subcultures are stereotyped in derogatory ways and when a person of a certain culture, especially one who is aware of the stereotype and works hard to overcome it is, however judged in that way, it is insulting and demeaning.

Any truly productive examination of profiling however has to look beyond the rhetoric, to seek the real reasons why certain groups of people are profiled. More often than not, it has nothing to do with skin color; rather it is a reaction to the behaviors of a large portion of people within a particular group. We all profile to some degree. Anytime we approach a person we don’t know, we subconsciously size them up to determine whether or not they are a threat to our safety. If that person appears by his looks or actions to be a threat we will behave in a defensive manner.
That is not racism. It is human nature. Black people are not the only ones who deal with this, Many Muslims who choose to dress in the traditional Muslim fashion are also profiled because of the terrorism committed by Islamic extremists. The main reason why black people, particularly young black males, are often looked upon with suspicion is not because they are black, but because young black males commit a disproportionate number of violent crimes. These young men usually dress and behave in a way that is meant to be provocative, (baggy pants with underwear showing, hoodies and jackets during the summer). When young black males who are not out looking for trouble choose for whatever reason (usually because they think it looks cool) to imitate the troublemakers they will be perceived as being part of that group. After all, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck. In fact, young white males who choose to dress and behave in this manner are also looked upon with suspicion.

Most white people want unity with black people and are able to look beyond skin color to see what’s inside. We are bewildered, saddened and insulted when we are accused of racism when it is so obviously not the issue. The black community needs to realize that more often than not, they are being judged by the content of their character and that character, for some in the black community is being found wanting. The people to blame for the mistrust between the black and white communities and the tragedies that result are not the so-called profilers, but the black hoodlums who terrorize not only whites, but their own neighborhoods as well. Beguiling their little brothers into a life of easy money, and wasted lives. Those law-abiding black people who have worked hard, educated themselves, and have become productive members of society who are tired of having to live with the taint of the hoodlums, need to understand that these problems will not be resolved until they look to the inside, of their community. Work with law enforcement and openly condemn the gang culture, and the entitlement culture and come to accept that maybe it isn’t about race after all.

Understanding the Occupiers Part Two

Day 3 of the protest Occupy Wall Street in Man...

Day 3 of the protest Occupy Wall Street in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A little over a month ago in a post entitled “Understanding the Occupiers”, I posed ten questions that I felt would be a reasonable measure of personal responsibility and life experience.  I was hoping to reach people who had attended a protest, but didn’t really fit the media profile of an Occupier.  The response was, well let’s just say it was not overwhelming.  I got a couple of comments from LiberalTalkingPoints. Housewifedownunder answered the questions,and turned out to be just the kind of response I was hoping for.  My two commenters were from two different ideologies, yet both expressed genuine frustration at the lack of opportunities for today’s young adults.  It is my hope that the leaders of business and industry will listen to the desperation of these young people and will create jobs for those who are really willing to work. I hope the government will ease its regulatory burden so that they will be able to do so.  And I hope that our universities become a place where young people are taught how to be competitive in a world economy rather that a place of political indoctrination.  As for the Occupiers themselves, I hope that as they continue onto adulthood, they will realize that there are better ways than civil disobedience to be heard and taken seriously.

Putting Prayer Back in Public Schools

On Thursday, March 1st, the Florida State legislature passed SB, 98 www.flsenate.gov /Session/Bill/2012/0098/BillText/Filed/PDFwhich gives individual school districts the freedom to allow student led “inspirational messages” during mandatory assemblies and other school sponsored events. The bill was sponsored by a Democrat,

Florida State Capitol

Image via Wikipedia

State Senator Gary Siplin, and was overwhelmingly passed with bi-partisan support.  A fact that might surprise many conservatives and Evangelicals.  The bill now awaits the probable signing from Governor Rick Scott.  Other states are taking notice and waiting to see how this law will play out in the practical application of public school policy.

As a Christian and a mother, I should be elated about this.  Over the past few decades we have seen the First Amendment being twisted and perverted into an instrument to deny Christians the right to freely practice our beliefs in public. Activities that are actually a positive influence on campus such as the annual See You At The Pole or groups such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes are routinely banned from school property even though these activities are completely voluntary and take place outside of regular class hours.  Teachers are forbidden to acknowledge their Christian beliefs on their school website bios and are reprimanded for publicly expressing their beliefs even when they are outside of the school setting. This is wrong and is in opposition to the true intent of the First Amendment.

This bill, however, is a bad idea.  The bill’s only strongpoint is that it puts the authority for implementation in the hands of the individual school boards.  This is right because the boards are better able to determine the needs and beliefs of their communities better than the state government can.  The bill seeks to protect the schools from First Amendment litigation by giving the responsibility for choosing, who delivers the message and its content, to the discretion of the students.  School officials and employees are forbidden to interfere in any way with the students’ decisions. There is absolutely no way a school board can define what constitutes an “inspirational message” without violating the rights of one group or another. These messages could be anything from a prayer or devotional to an anarchist rant, or hate group rhetoric. Any student who has an ax to grind or just simply enjoys stirring up trouble will now have a platform.  Time and precious school resources would be wasted on the litigation that is sure to ensue if any school board tries to implement rules to curb the chaos.

The school system in Florida has many challenges.  Fixing a broken system of accountability is one. Though it is a well-intentioned attempt at restoring morality in the school system, this law will not work.  The only way to improve the quality of education in Florida or anywhere else in this country is to remind the schools that their purpose is to serve their students, parents and taxpayer supporters, not the other way around.  The only way to accomplish  what this bill is trying to do, is to implement school choice.

Full Civic Literacy Exam

several small American flags

Image via Wikipedia

Today on the Neal Boortz show, he was talking about this test from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. It is scary that the test average for college professors was 55%. And yet, they keep increasing tuition costs. Go figure.Here’s the link. give it a try you will find it interesting.
By the way, in case you’re interested I scored 84.85%.

http://www.isi.org/quiz.aspx?q=FE5C3B47-9675-41E0-9CF3-072BB31E2692

Understanding the Occupiers

English: Protest signs outside of Occupy Boston.

Image via Wikipedia

Though it started months ago, and no longer makes daily headlines on the major news networks, the Occupy Movement is still plugging away. Tenaciously spreading its anti-capitalist mantra to anyone who cares to listen. This movement has been applauded in the media as a great social movement, but how great has it really been? Just what has truly been accomplished that will benefit the whole of society? To get a better handle on the kind of people who are, or  have participated in an Occupy protest, I have a few questions I would like to ask. I would appreciate a direct response to these questions from anyone who is or has participated in an Occupy protest for more than a week.

  1. Are you currently employed? If so, how did you get the time off from work to participate in this protest? If no, are you actively seeking employment? If so, how are you conducting a job search while  attending the protest?
  2. If not employed, are you a student? If so, how are you managing to attend class and keep up with your homework while attending the protest?  What is your grade point average?
  3. Do you own a home or rent?  If so, how are you paying your mortgage, or rent and utilities while you are attending the protest?  If not, where were you living before you encamped at the protest?  Did you have to contribute financially in any way,  in order to live there?  Will you be able to return there when you are through protesting?
  4. Other than student loans or education grants, are you receiving any form of government assistance?  If so what kind?
  5. Do you depend on your parents for any kind of financial support?  (To include trust funds)
  6. Are you married?  If so, are both of you attending the protest?
  7. Do you have any children?
  8. What visible positive effects can be seen in this community due to the presence of this protest?
  9. Are you old enough to vote? If so, are you planning on voting in the presidential election?
  10. Do you now, or have you ever owned any kind of business?

It will be interesting and probably surprising to see the answers to these questions.  I’ll put the results in a future post.

Pretty Fly for a White Guy

Me being a Stereotypical Nerd.

Image via Wikipedia

When it comes to fairness in this country it seems we have come full circle. We have a black president. Hispanics will soon be the majority in this country. We have doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, policemen, firemen, politicians and astronauts of all races and genders.  So who is really discriminated against anymore?

I have come to the conclusion that, the most discriminated demographic in this country is…….the white heterosexual male.  I know a lot of you are thinking, whaaaaaat? But before you get David Duke to come and fit me with a sheet hear me out.

Yes, once there was a time when being a white male gave him an unfair advantage, regardless of his wealth or social status. But those days are over.  Now you have the NAACP, the National Black Caucus, The Hispanic Chamber Commerce, NOW, the League of Women Voters and The Gay Straight Alliance. Our society considers these organizations to be progressive and enlightening. They are not presented as discriminatory. What you don’t have is the NAFAWG (National Association For the Advancement of White Guys), White Voters United or The White Guy White Gal Alliance. Organizations such as those would immediately be considered discriminatory even though they would exist for the same purpose as the before mentioned organizations.  To unite people of a specific ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

There are no scholarships set aside only for white guys, yet there are numerous scholarship opportunities exclusively for blacks, Hispanics and women.

There are no start-up loans for white guy businesses even though being a white male doesn’t automatically grant you a higher economic status. There are however, loans for minority businesses.

White guys have no rhythm or sense of style, they can’t dress and Lord knows they can’t dance.

Affirmative action doesn’t apply to white guys. They have to get a job or promotions strictly on their own merits and work ethics.

White guys have to endure being called crackers, gringos, chauvinists and homophobes. But heaven forbid they call a woman “sweetcheeks”.  Uttering the highly forbidden “N word” could get him sued or fired.

The time has come for a truly level playing field. For all forms of public financial, educational, and employment assistance to be color and gender neutral and be based solely on need. So that all persons regardless of their gender, race, or sexual orientation, can have the freedom to pursue the vocation of their choice and to live by the consequences of those choices.

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