Obamacare scams
pale in comparison
to the real thing

Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Kim Komando, talk radio’s “computer and digital goddess,” is warning everyone in an e-mailed special alert to “Beware of these ‘Obamacare’ scams” and goes on to describe a few.

What Komando and millions of others fail to understand is that Obamacare itself is a scam — perhaps the most incidious health-care and financial scam ever to be foisted upon the American people.

If Obamacare isn’t stopped (I’m pessimestic about the possibility), all of us will be victims of scam — one that just can’t be topped by anything Komando is writing about.


Would the gays
dare put the ‘bigot’
tag on the Lord?

Friday, Aug. 9, 2013

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Conservative organizations still in the fight against the homosexual lobby, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s pro-“gay marriage” rulings on June 26, are warning Christians and social conservatives that their stand for time-honored morality will invite persecution.

Mat Staver, the leader of the Liberty Counsel and Liberty Counsel Action, went so far as to ask subscribers of his e-mailed newsletter: “Are you willing to be called a ‘bigot’ (for continuing to oppose homosexual ‘rights’ and ‘gay marriage’)?”

My immediate response after reading Staver’s piece was an unequivocal “Yes!”

And then I got to thinking ... and wondering ...

If standing firm against the immorality of homosexuality and “gay marriage” makes me a bigot, what, in the eyes of the militant and not-so-militant gays, does it make God?


On Easter Sunday,
Google’s priorities
are very misplaced

EASTER SUNDAY
Sunday, March 31, 2013

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — It’s Easter morning, a beautiful early morning as I write this, and nothing can take away from the true meaning of this day, the importance of this day and the spiritual and soul-saving significance of this day.

The people behind Google, with a woefully poor sense of collective judgment, can’t even ruin this day. I mention this because instead of presenting an Easter message, even a secular one, Google has chosen to use its website home page to honor the late Cesar Chavez on the 86th anniversary of his birth.

Chavez (1927-1993) was the American farm worker who rose from very hard and humble beginnings to become a labor leader, civil rights activist and co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association (now the United Farm Workers union, or UFW).

Because I didn’t know him personally, I can’t say whether Chavez was a great or even a good man in human terms, but there’s no doubt about his significant role in U.S. history and his positive influence in the lives of past, present and future American farm laborers.

I can and will say that whatever good Chavez did during his walk on Earth, he holds no candle to Jesus Christ — the resurrected and living Son of God, the Savior of the world and the blessed Lord that I and my fellow Christians praise and worship on this very special Sunday.

Google’s priorities are out of whack today, but in the messed-up and, dare I say, wicked world we live in, I’m disappointed but not the least bit surprised.


Stars and Stripes
still make for a
wonderful sight

Saturday, March 9, 2013

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Work, professional obligations, key commitments, lingering illness and just the busyness of life have kept me away from this website for far too long. (It’s certainly NOT for a lack of topics and issues to opine about.) About that, I have feelings of regret and disappointment.

But today, I just had to take a few moments and share something I saw that brought a smile to my face, warmed my heart and rekindled within me the fire of patriotism that had been going out.

Twice a day and at least five days each week, my route to and from work takes me past construction on the site of the campus for the new Florida Polytechnic Universty in northeast Lakeland. Its at the intersection of Interstate 4 and the Polk Parkway. The universitys science and technology building is being constructed first, and its been fun to watch the building rise from nothing and take on its futuristic shape.

Thursday morning (March 7), on the mid-morning drive to work, I spotted something I hadnt previously seen — a medium-sized U.S. flag, attached to pole and flying high atop the admin building. Someone, likely a construction worker, had put it there, and it was a real treat for me to see it and to consider the old-fashioned patriotism of the person behind the act.

I admit, I love Old Glory. The Stars and Stripes. The Red, White and Blue. The header design on this website gives testament to that.

America is in a mess and the current federal administration is making a bigger mess of things, but when I see our beautiful flag, the symbol of our land, I forget about all of that — at least for a little while — and feel like a patriot again.

Update (March 26, 2013): I’ve driven past the Florida Polytechnic construction site many times since I first posted this piece, and I have yet to see Old Glory again. Why? I can’t know for sure. Perhaps the person who initially flew the flag was told to take it down for safety’s sake. Whatever the reason, it’s too bad. The flag really looked good on top of that building.


High court ruling
snuffs out 55 million
lives in 40 years

Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — A friend of mine, Jack Murphy, reminded me in an e-mailed note that Tuesday (Jan. 22) was the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Of all the bad days in American political, judicial and social history, that day — Jan. 22, 1973 — has to be among the worst.

On that day, seven of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices callously and without any moral clarity ruled that women have a constitutional “privacy” right to terminate their pregnancies — to kill their unborn babies.

And since that fateful day, an estimated 55 million babies — living souls with beating hearts — have been legally murdered.

Had they been brought to term, who knows what kind of people these babies would have grown up to become. Perhaps among them was the next Benjamin Franklin or Albert Einsteen, the next John R. Rice or Billy Sunday (evangelists), the next George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, or the next Ronald Reagan-like figure who could lead a struggling conservative movement and put our current and shameful president in his place.

While I will never in my lifetime be on a par with any of the great men mentioned above, I am so grateful that my mother didn’t abort me, that her pregnancy with me wasn’t too much of a bother, an incovenience or an interruption of youthful “fun.”

I’m also grateful for the thousands of people who, instead of marching in the streets and resorting to anti-abortion violence, quietly work to end the legality of this hideous practice and, more practically, provide alternatives to it. The people behind organizations like the Liberty Godparent Foundation in Virginia and the LifeChoice Pregnancy Center right here in Winter Haven come quickly to mind.

May God bless these anti-abortion crusaders, and may God continue to bless the innocent victims of abortion — all of them safe in Heaven and in the Father’s loving arms.


Inauguration Day
brings only a
feeling of sadness

Monday, Jan. 21, 2013

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Today is Inauguration Day in our nation’s capital, and Barack Hussein Obama, having taken the official oath of office Sunday, will address the nation and launch a second four-year term as president of the United States of America.

Am I happy about this? Honestly, no. Sad is the best way to describe how I feel.

I’m sad that despite all we know about Obama, despite four years of failed leadership and despite no positive vision from him for our country, Americans didn’t make a wiser choice and didn’t vote in November to send a better man to the White House.

I’m sad that the man who will sit behind the desk in the Oval Office for the next four years will be a man with no moral compass. I know that because he openly supports “marriage” for homosexuals. Does any other example need to be given?

I’m sad that our president is a communist at worst, a socialist at best and a redistributionist by admission. That kind of political philosophy can lead to nothing but economic ruin for America.

I’m sad that American voters chose to re-elect a man not for his ability to lead America well but for his promises to give away the store in the form of unsustainable social programs and more government benefits.

I’m sad that a man who twice now has taken the oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” is working to dismantle it, with the Second Amendment right to bear arms a clear target.

I’m sad that rather than inspire individuals to work hard and achieve, this president inspires groups of people on the lower end of the socio-economic ladder to protest, march and selfishly demand more from our nation’s achievers.

I’m sad that in the area of foreign policy, our president has given only lip service to support for our key ally, Israel, while sympathizing over and over again with the Palestinians and their Islamist bretheren.

I’m sad that the Obama administration’s economic policies play into the hands of the communist Chinese, who surely are no friends of ours.

I’m sad that, based on what he’s said, what he’s done and the life he’s led publicly, this re-elected president does not seem to be the Christian he says he is. Only God can truly know and judge his heart, but from my vantage point, I do not see a Christian, much less a moral man, sitting in the White House.

Yes, I’m sad.

I will continue to pray that President Obama will seek God’s wisdom and direction as he serves the American people, but, based on the evidence that he himself has provided since January 2009, I don’t have the confidence that he’ll do that.

How will I deal with this day? I’ll work and stay busy in an attempt to keep my mind off the goings-on in our nation’s capital. And when my mind does wander, when I consider the sad state of America and the kind of person we have leading it, I’ll have to remember that, despite it all, my life won’t be directed by the powers-that-be in Washington and, most importantly, that God is in control. It’s consoling to know that, yes indeed, God is in control.


The U.S. a ‘deadbeat
nation’? No, but
we’re heading there

Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — President Obama, in staking out his position on the federal debt ceiling (which basically is this: “Let’s raise it so we in government can spend more.”), said Monday (Jan. 14) that “We are not a deadbeat nation.”

That, so far, is true. The United States pays its bills — it debt obligations — and historically has done so, though the ability of our debt-laden nation to do that is becoming increasingly difficult.

But while we might not be a “deadbeat nation,” we are a nation of deadbeats, and the number of them is growing with each passing day.

With the November 2012 presidential election results providing plenty of evidence:

‣ The takers — the selfish — in society have caught up with and perhaps even passed the givers.

‣ The number of people who, unfairly and without their just contribution, demand things of government and their fellow Americans is at an unprecedented level.

‣ More Americans than ever before think that they are owed something from government just because of their “American” status.

‣ The number of irresponsible loafers multiplies while the number of responsible doers and contributors to society shrinks.

‣ Fewer people are asked to carry — no, make that forced to carry — a greater tax burden for an already large and burgeoning entitlement crowd.

These are the conditions that, unless checked soon and reversed, will force any reasonable person to conclude that, despite what the president says now, America is heading for “deadbeat” status. With a rising number of deadbeats among us, how can any any other result be possible?


My precious granddaughter, 17-month-old Kameron Riley Marshall, cleaned up for Christmas this year, receiving, among many other things, a couple of children’s books. (Photo by Joe Braddy)

The materialism
of Christmas can
easily ensnare us

Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — For many, many years, I’ve had a love-dislike attitude toward the Christmas season. I won’t call it a love-hate attitude, because the word “hate” is too strong to describe the way I feel.

I love Christmas because I love the reason for the season — the celebration of the birth of my lord and savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the One who was born to die and pay the price for our sins.

I dislike the season because of the busyness, the phoniness, the disruption of schedules (especially in the newspaper-publishing industry I’ve been involved in for most of my working life), the twisted holiday messages, the unmet expectations, the excessive and often wasteful spending and the materialism.

Oh, the materialism.

I thought about materialism last night when several family members were at our house for a big and very nice Christmas Eve meal and gift exchange. Among the visitors was my sweet and adorable granddaughter, 17-month-old Kameron Riley Marshall — really the center of all the Christmastime attention.

It’s safe to say that Kameron received more gifts than anyone else. As she tried her best to tear into wrapped presents — that was fun to watch, even if she did receive a lot of help — I found myself thinking: “I sure hope she grows up to understand that Christmas is about much more, something much more important and meaningful, than the number of gifts with her name on them.”

Later, after most of the guests had left the gathering, I thought more about materialism and how the vice has snared me through the years. I thought about the electronic gadgets I’ve purchased but never turned on, the scores of music CDs I’ve never played, the software I’ve never installed or used, the new car I once bought when the one I traded in was perfectly fine, the books I’ve never read, all the things (some might call it junk) I’ve collected with no solid plans for their practical use, the “hot” or “popular” items I’ve snagged just because they were “hot” or “popular” (not because I really needed or even wanted them), and all the money I’ve squandered when I could’ve saved it or invested it for retirement.

Just recently, I purchased a new and really nice laptop computer at a Black Friday-type bargain price but returned it (unopened) the very next day after “buyer’s remorse” set in. I rationalized that my work and entertainment didn’t require the laptop and that I was better off without it and with my money in the bank instead.

I already have all I need — more than what I need, actually — for my work, entertainment and necessities of life. I don’t need anything more, at least in the realm of “things.” (In matters of attitude, personal development and Christian-like living, well, that’s another story entirely.)

I usually don’t ask for anything for Christmas. I know in my heart that God’s gift of His Son is the greatest gift of all. Add to that family, friends, a Christ-centered church home, steady work, good health and many blessings — including that precious granddaughter of mine — and I’m a fairly content man.


Thought to be bright, David Petraeus, shown in his official government photo as CIA director, did a not-so-bright thing by engaging in an extramarital affair with a much younger woman. It cost him his job and mounds of respect.

An affair makes
small a man who
once stood tall

Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Random thoughts on a post-Thanksgiving Sunday ...

It’s a tale as old as time. A married man (substitute “woman,” if you please) rises to a high level of achievement, status or position within his career field, has an illicit affair with a PYT (pretty young thing), gets caught and has his world come crashing down on him.

Such is the case of David Petraeus, the retired four-star U.S. Army general, noted leader in the military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, former head of U.S. Central Command and, until a couple of weeks ago, America’s top spy as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

As the news-watching world knows by now, Petraeus offered to President Obama his resignation from the CIA on Nov. 8, as the result of a federal investigation into his admitted extramarital affair with biographer Paula Broadwell, and Obama accepted the resignation the next day.

Oh, how quickly and how hard the high and mighty can fall as a result of poor judgment, indiscretion and unbridled lust.

While his friends and former military colleagues publicly back Petraeus, the respect that I had developed for him as a top general, military strategist, government leader and, really, a “man above men” is gone. Out the window. Finis.

There are several things I abhor, and near the top of the list is adultery. Short of murder, it’s the worst thing one spouse can do to the other.

Taste tale ironic

Sadly ironic is the matter of the head cold I’m currently battling.

It’s ironic because I wrote on Thanksgiving Day that I’m grateful not just for the big things in life but also for the little things. The things people often take for granted. Things like our senses.

Well, as a result of the cold and related sinus congestion, I’ve temporarily lost my senses of smell and taste. And that’s sad, because here at the Braddy house, we have a refrigerator full of leftovers from the Thanksgiving family feast, and for the past two days I’ve only been able to imagine that they taste great — because I can’t taste anything. (Thankfully, the cold wasn’t fully developed when the holiday rolled around.)

I was about to write that I would’ve gladly, but only temporarily, traded my sense of hearing for my senses of smell and taste, but had that been so, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy and learn from the two great Sunday messages from my pastor.

Oh, well, maybe I’ll find relief from the cold tomorrow. The fridge is only slightly less full of leftovers now, and there remains a lot of great tasting ahead of me.

The Gators surprise

Perhaps because I’ve been super busy with a lot of different projects, I’ve followed the Florida Gators football program less this year than in any other year in recent memory.

Oh, I’ve watched the Gators play on television, but, unlike previous years, I haven’t been in front of the TV for every down. In fact, I’ve missed a couple of televised games.

But, I wasn’t going to let anything keep me away from Saturday’s Florida-Florida State game. As a big Florida fan for 34 years, you can imagine how happy I was that the Gators came away with convincing 37-26 road victory over the Seminoles.

With their offense struggling of late and their starting quarterback coming off an ankle injury, I didn’t expect the Gators to do well on the ‘Noles’ home turf. But, neither did I expect the Gators to finish the regular season with an 11-1 record (the lone loss coming in a most-critical conference game against Georgia).

As did many other people, I sold the Gators short this year, and for that I humbly apologize. I’ve never been so pleased to have been so wrong about one of my favorite sports teams.

At about this time last year, following an awful 6-6 UF regular season (awful by Florida standards), I wrote a column about the Gators and opined that perhaps then-first-year head coach Will Muschamp was out of his league at Florida and in the tough Southeastern Conference. Today, I would have to say that Muschamp has proven that he can coach in the SEC — and do it very well — and that he can be a very effective head Gator.

Here’s hoping that the Gators win their bowl game (it’s looking like it’ll be against Oklahoma in the lucrative Sugar Bowl in New Orleans), finish the season 12-1 and head into the key player-recruiting period on a very high note.


O give thanks
for things both
big and small

THANKSGIVING DAY
Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Though greatly disturbed by the election results, the state of our nation and developments very close to home, I am thankful — on this Thanksgiving Day 2012 and every day — for the richness of God’s blessings upon me.

I am thankful for the big things — family, a job, plenty to eat, good health, a great church home, an excellent pastor and all the “stuff” of life — but I am thankful, too, for the little things, the things we often take for granted — things like our senses.

I am thankful for my sight, that I might see, day and night, the wonders of God’s creation.

I am thankful for my hearing, that I might hear the rustling of the wind through the trees, the preaching of God’s Word and the melodies of soothing music.

I am thankful for the sense of smell, that I might enjoy brewing coffee, blooming orange blossoms and grilling burgers.

I am thankful for taste, that I might distinguish cinnamon rolls from Texas toast, salmon from catfish, pork from beef and Coca-Cola from Mountain Dew.

And I am thankful for touch, that I might create things, type words on a computer, react to harmful elements and hold the tiny hand of my precious granddaughter.

Most of all, I am thankful for the God that gave me these senses, the God that has allowed me to keep these senses all the days of my life and the God that gave me the good sense to accept his free gift of salvation way back in 1969.

O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. — Psalm 107:1 (KJV)


A sad commentary

This message (dressed up with art here) was posted Wednesday (Nov. 7, 2012), the day following the U.S. presidential election, on the sign outside of Central Baptist Church at Avenue A and Sixth Street, N.W., in Winter Haven. It’s sad to consider, but, oh, so true. — JB (Nov. 9, 2012)


In these dark
days, God’s Word
brings comfort

Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — As I sit at home, alone in my office, very early on this day after the election, and sadly contemplate another four years with Barack Hussein Obama as president of these once-great United States, I have to turn to the Bible for comfort.

And I have to understand and be satisfied that even under these circumstances — even with an immoral, Marxist and Islam-boosting man as the extended leader of this nation — the Lord God Almighty is in control. Of everything.

• Joshua 1:9 (KJV) — Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

• Psalm 22:28 — For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations.

• Psalm 46:10 — Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

• Matthew 6:34 — Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

• Psalm 115:3 — But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

• Proverbs 16:4 — The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

• Proverbs 11:21 — Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.

• Romans 8:28 — And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

On nights like last night, on days like today, thank God we can find peace and assurance in His Word.


Black ministers
forced to explain
support for Dems

Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — A couple of quick thoughts very early on Election Day 2012, with the voting precincts set to open in just a matter of minutes:

God bless commentator Bill O’Reilly of “The O’Reilly Factor” on the Fox News Channel. The other night, he was holding to the fire the feet of a couple of black ministers, both of them big Democratic Party loyalists.

O’Reilly was trying to understand and trying to get the ministers to tell him why they would back a political party that runs so counter to the godly work they were called to do and to the messages about righteous living that they purportedly preach from the pulpit each Sunday.

To these particular ministers, the Democratic Party’s messages about “social justice” and “economic equality” trump the party’s nation-destroying socialist tendencies and support for truly immoral homosexuality, same-sex “marriage” and abortion on demand.

In other words, these ministers’ membership in and support for the Democratic Party and its candidates, such as one President Barack Hussein Obama, is mostly about money and government handouts, with no apparent concern about morality and how the party’s policies are tearing apart the nation’s black families and black communities.

The ministers are selling their souls and their pulpits for access to government and the wealth it can spread around.

On another topic, I heard a news blip last night about Charlie Crist, the former Republican Florida governor and current political free agent. Crist was highly critical of current Gov. Rick Scott for his refusal to extend the early voting period in Florida.

My thinking is that voting-eligible Floridians have had and will have today plenty of opportunities to cast a ballot for local, state and national offices and proposed new policies. We’ve had the eight-day early voting period and the chance to cast a mail-in or absentee ballot, and today we have the 12-hour voting period.

I’ve often thought this when people like Crist say there just aren’t enough opportunities and isn’t enough time to vote: “How did this nation survive for more than 200 years when voting was held on only ONE DAY!”


Romney must be
confident, bold
in debate tonight

Please see updates below, at column’s end.

Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Mitt Romney isn’t going to listen to anything I have to say, but if I could spend some time with the Republican presidential nominee and give him some advice ahead of tonight’s first debate with “The Cool One” and “Author of Hope and Change,” President Barack Hussein Obama, here’s what I would tell him:

“Governor, at the first moment of opportunity, turn to the president, look him squarely in the eyes and boldly say, ‘With all due respect to the office you hold, Sir, you and your administration have badly served America and the American people.’ ”

Then I would have Romney provide some examples of that awful leadership — from staggering and wasteful spending to job-killing business overregulation, from socialist Obamacare to support for immoral gay “marriage,” from cozying up to Islamists to giving key ally Israel the cold shoulder. There are so many examples Romney could list.

Finally, I would tell Romney that during the debate he must be strong, he must be bold, he must be aggressive and he must be confident. He needs to go over the heads of the media types and must address the nation — not the panelists — with his debate responses.

I’m hoping for a game-changing debate performance from Romney tonight. Heaven knows, his unfocused and undisciplined campaign needs it.

Debate follow-up (Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012): I heard bits and pieces of last night’s Obama-Romney “debate” (“debate” in quote marks because it really wasn’t one) but didn’t watch it as entertainment. But, it’s good to hear that many of the pundits seem to think that Romney did very well and that the president looked and sounded uncomfortable, that he seemed to be just coasting and sitting on his lead in the polls.

With that in mind, here’s some more advice for the Romney and his campaign team: President Obama will be coached to be much more dynamic and aggressive the next time out. Be prepared!

Oh, and other thing ... The next time Obama brings up in a debate forum how Romney plans to give a “tax break to the rich,” Romney should respond again the way he did last night, that nothing in his economic plan calls for a tax cut for upper-income earners. And then he should add this: “But even if I did want to do that, Mr. President, you need to be reminded that what others make doesn’t automatically belong to government. You didn’t earn it! It’s not your money!“


The U.S. is hurting
but, hey, the ‘pro’
NFL refs are back

Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — With all of the serious problems and issues facing our nation, it’s hard to believe how much time, energy, newspaper ink, broadcast air time and water-cooler talk was consumed with concern and frustration about incompetent officiating in the NFL.

On second thought, given the disappointing state of our society, it can be easy to believe.

Many times (Most of the time?) we’re a superficial people with superficial concerns, interests and endeavors.

The United States of America — the insolvent, socially unraveled, unwisely led and morally corrupt nation that it is — is going to Hell in a handbasket in a hurry, and the quality of officiating in the National Football League was at the top of our worry list?

Puh-leeze.

Instead of hand wringing about replacement refs, the inexperienced ones the NFL owners started the season with in a labor dispute with the seasoned officials, we would’ve been better off with concern and action about:

• Our national debt, now at more than $16 trillion ($51,101 per citizen and $140,433 per taxpayer).

• Our federal budget deficit, which is expected to total $1.1 trillion for fiscal year 2012.

• Our public education system — poor and getting worse by the day.

• The communist monster called China and its growing power and influence throughout the world, including deepening entrenchment in U.S. business.

• The evil of Islam and the exponential rise of Muslim converts in the United States and other western nations.

• A presidential administration that’s sympathetic toward Muslims and less than supportive of Israel, our most key ally in the Middle East.

• The sinister government of Iran and its nuclear ambitions.

• The growing decadence (illicit sex, homosexuality, pornography, booze, drugs, gambling, gluttony, laziness, violence) in the United States and the societal problems it causes.

• The shift away from moral absolutes, led by a president who sees nothing wrong with gay "marriage."

• A weakening work ethic and a steadily rising entitlement mentality among Americans — a sense, belief or expectation that government owes us something.

• Class warfare, envy, materialism, jealousy and greed.

• The banishment of God and all things heavenly from our schools, government and other important institutions.

The list is long and could be longer, but no worries. The “pro” NFL officials, fresh off a Saturday (Sept. 29) vote to approve a new labor contract, are back for all of today’s NFL games, and for the superficial, all is right with the USA. All is right with the world.

(Pssst. Do you want to know the truth? Even with the return of regular NFL zebras, calls still will be blown. Infractions still will be missed or intentionally overlooked. And football games still will be affected for the worse.)


Obama ad calls
AARP ‘nonpartisan’; that’s hardly true

Monday, Sept. 24, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — In an attempt to refute claims by the Romney-Ryan campaign that his administration plans to make a $716 billion “raid” on Medicare funds to pay for Obamacare, President Obama has released a political ad that quotes the “nonpartisan” AARP as saying the “raid” claims just aren’t true.

That’s amusing. AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) is about as “nonpartisan” as Debbie Wasserman Shultz, a congresswoman from Florida and chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

On almost every major issue affecting older Americans, from taxes to budget cuts, from Social Security to Medicare and Medicaid, AARP can be counted on to side with the liberal or Democrat position. AARP as an organization is not sympathetic in the slightest to Republicans and conservatives or to conservative causes.

About the only way that AARP is “nonpartisan” is the way it targets everyone age 50 years old and above, no matter what the political leanings might be, for membership, services and contributions.

Always politically active, AARP has been and continues to be the leading U.S. organization for older Americans — not just retirees — but there are conservative alternatives. An Internet search for “conservative alternatives to AARP” found several, including The Association of Mature American Citizens Inc. (AMAC), the American Seniors Association, Generation America, the United States Senior Association the 60 Plus Association and the Alliance for Retirement Prosperity.

AMAC touts itself as “THE leading conservative alternative to the AARP,” but who really knows. Just a quick glance at the AMAC website — http://amac.us/ — indicates that it, too, is politically active. And it was interesting to learn that the 60 Plus Association went after U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., earlier this year with a $1.1 million television ad buy.

If you’re in the age group targeted by AARP, just know that it’s not the only organization around for older Americans. For conservatives, there are other and perhaps much better choices — at least when it comes to the hot-button political, health and welfare issues of the day.

P.S. The claims by the Republican presidential ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are more true than not. The Obama adminstration does plan to raid Medicare to the tune of $716 billion over 10 years to help pay for the astronomical costs of Obamacare.


Obama plainly says:
‘I actually believe
in redistribution’

Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — In the wake of the media frenzy over poorly constructed but mostly truthful comments Mitt Romney made during a fundraiser in May, out comes an audio recording that shows President Barack Hussein Obama for the socialist-Marxist-communist that he really is.

Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, told a fundraising crowd in Florida in the spring that his campaign would have to focus on the independent or undecided voters who haven’t made up their minds about the race for the White House. He said it wouldn’t make sense to try to target the 47 percent of voters that Obama can count on, describing those Americans as “dependent on government,” did not pay federal income taxes and “believe they are victims.”

Said Romney: “My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they need to take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

While he spoke in terms that didn’t come close to being politically correct, Romney spoke the truth. There’s a large and growing dependency class in America, and if they’re voting, they’re going to vote for Obama.

Why? Because Obama believes in big government. Why? Because Obama supports larger social programs and more of them. Why? Because Obama believes big-time in the redistribution of wealth.

Ten years before he was elected president, Obama came clean with a socialist philosophy that we on the right have known all along forms the core of his thinking, his politics, his policies and his priorities.

Recorded during a 1998 speech at Loyola University in Illinois, Obama said this:

“The trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some (wealth) redistribution — because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody’s got a shot.”

That, my friend, makes the president a socialist, if not a Marxist-communist, and that’s a philosophy the United States can’t afford and can’t embody if it’s to remain strong and economically vibrant.

Oh, and a note to the president: Automatically, “everybody’s got a shot” already in this country. Why? Because this is the United States of America, the greatest land of opportunity there is.


A shooting star
gets the day off to
a wonderful start

Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — For the first time in my life, or for the first time I can ever remember, I saw a shooting star.

It happened very early today, around 6:30 a.m., when I went outside for my daily morning prayer time. It was an exciting moment, a wonderful moment. Had I not looked up at the stars in exactly the right direction at exactly the right time, I would’ve missed it.

I’ve heard it said that you’re supposed to wish upon a falling or shooting star, so I did just that. I wished for more moral leadership in the White House. If that means a new administration with Republican Mitt Romney at the helm, then so be it — and all the better.


Dealing with the
Islamists, Obama,
Clinton are fools

Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Following Tuesday attacks by Muslim mobs on U.S. interests in two North Africa nations, in particular the seemingly sophisticated and coordinated assault that left Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had this to say:

“Today, many Americans are asking — indeed, I asked myself — how could this happen? How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction?”

The statement offers a perfect example of the naive, foolish, ignorant and even stupid way Clinton and the Obama administration she represents has been handling the so-called “freedom” movement in various Islamic countries.

The people in these countries wanted and fought for freedom from the dictators who ruled them for many years, but they certainly didn’t have the idea to replace these authoritarian governments with Western-style democracies. What’s happening now, after the fall of the dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, etc., is an insidious transition to another kind of authoritarianism — this one based on evil Islamic law and violent Islamic extremism.

Sympathetic toward Muslims, Arab governments and Islam itself, President Barack Hussein Obama and Clinton have thought that because we helped these “freedom” movements in some way that the United States would be looked upon favorably by those who achieved the upper hand. Why haven’t our leaders learned by now that Islamists will use the United States to their advantage and then, when we least expect it, kill a few Americans to please Allah, destroy U.S. facilities and saw off our collective head to achieve their wicked goals?

From Kabul to Baghdad, from Cairo to Tripoli to Tunis, the blood and treasure the United States has given to help oppressed Muslims will never be enough to gain their favor. They will always hate us. They will always look for excuses (like a movie that ridicules Islam’s prophet, Mohammed) and opportunities to storm our diplmomatic outposts, burn our flag, kill our people and undermine our national security and way of life.

Secretary of State Clinton should know by now that in the Muslim world she’s not dealing with rational people. She’s dealing with fanatics, anti-Americans, anti-Christians, anti-Jews and in many cases just barbarians. These people are raised from birth to hate Jews, to hate Israel, to hate Americans, to hate the West and even to hate other Muslims who aren’t of their particular sect. Frighteningly, the number of Muslims and number of Muslim communities are growing in the United States, and more Americans are getting sucked into their false religion.

Clinton and the president she works for are fools. Perhaps the violence in Libya, Cairo, Tunisia and other Arab nations will open their eyes to the truth — before more Americans are murdered and more U.S. consulates and embassies are overrun and burned.


PolkCommentary
a year old on 11th
anniversary of 9/11

Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Today is Sept. 11, 2012, already the 11th anniversary of that terrible day when Islamic terrorists used our own jetliners as weapons against Americans and American centers of finance and defense.

It’s also the first anniversary of the launch of this website — PolkCommentary.com.

This little plot of real estate on the World Wide Web is very much a labor of love. I’ve enjoyed writing for it, pulling together art for it and offering it as a home for opinion pieces from like-minded conservatives.

Just as I published a year ago today:

“The commentary that appears here will be, without shame or apology, conservative in content and tone. We are pro-America, pro-democracy, pro-liberty, pro-U.S. Constitution, pro-capitalism, pro-military, pro-family and pro-traditional values.

“We will praise and promote all the positive qualities that made the United States — founded without a doubt on Judeo-Christian principles — the best and most prosperous and most free nation on Earth.

“We will promote hard work; thrift; common sense; and personal, business and government responsibility.

“We will support a U.S. policy of peace through strength.

“And, also without shame or apology, we will lift up the Lord Jesus Christ as the light and savior of the world and promote the good news of His Gospel.”

In the weeks that follow, some social media elements will be added to PolkCommentary.com to help create a greater sense of community about the site, to better promote it and to help expand its reach. That should be prove to be a fun and interesting endeavor as well.

May God bless you, may our leaders seek His wisdom and guidance, and may He continue to keep His hand of protection on the United States of America — the land that we love.


Yes, we can trust
Obama — to oversee
America’s decline

Friday, Sept. 7, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — The setup was perfect — perfect for a retort, a counterpunch, an opinion column or a political advertisement.

(To the muckity-mucks on the Mitt Romney for President campaign staff, are you paying attention?)

The setup was the big headline on the front page of a local newspaper Wednesday (Sept. 5): “FIRST LADY: ‘YOU CAN TRUST’ OBAMA.”

Yes, Michelle Obama, we can trust your husband, President Barack Hussein Obama. We can trust him in a second term (God forbid) to:

• Grow the size of government at exponential annual rates.

• Mortgage the future of our children and grandchildren with annual federal budget deficits of $1 trillion or more.

• Do nothing as the total federal debt passes $16 trillion and begins the climb to $17 trillion.

• Weaken the federal work-for-welfare mandates.

• Undermine federal immigration laws and look the other way as undocumented aliens by the scores cross into U.S. territory daily.

• Ignore federal law and circumvent the legislative process by issuing executive orders in unprecendented numbers.

• Work, with Obamacare as just a start, to bring the U.S. health-care system (one-sixth of the American economy) under total federal control.

• Belittle and punish success and reward ineptitude and irresponsibility with more government handouts.

• Attack the U.S. business sector and all who would be entrepreneurs.

• Strangle U.S. business with higher taxes and record numbers of financial and environmental regulations.

• Use the full power of the federal government, including the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, to intimidate and punish his political foes.

• Allow the communist Chinese to gain a greater foothold in U.S. business and greater leverage over the American economy.

• Practice timidity in foreign policy and get pushed around by the likes of China and Russia.

• Cozy up to America’s enemies at the expense of the nation’s longtime allies.

• Sympathize with the Arabs and the Palestinian cause and throw Israel under the bus.

• Embrace the Muslim way and, at every opportunity, lift up Islam in a way that no “committed Christian” should do or would do.

• Talk, talk, talk while the Iranian government acts to build a nuclear program and, ultimately, a nuclear weapon.

• Turn a blind and callous eye on the wanton slaughter of the innocents through abortion on demand.

• Occupy the White House as a “citizen of the world” — rather than an unapologetic and pro-American leader — and work to make the United States look more each day like a weak, debt-ridden and lost Europe.

• Blame his predecessor for problems that he created or made worse since his January 2009 inauguration.

• Cook the books with economic data — the inflation rate included — to make the U.S. economy appear to be less worse off than it really is.

• Incrementally sap the strength out of the U.S. military and limit its engagement against the enemy in the war zone.

• Side with the environmental extremists who would do anything to keep the United States from tapping its own energy resources and being energy self-sufficient.

• Engage in class and social warfare, pitting the rich against the poor, the haves against the have-nots, the lower middle class against the upper middle class, employees against employeers, minorities against non-minorities, the old against the young and children against their parents.

• Take advice and/or instructions from radicals, subversives, socialists, Marxists and communists who have only disdain for the United States, its heritage, its traditional values, its great institutions and its exceptionalism.

• Promote the nation’s quickening slide toward total decadence and immorality with support for things such as same-sex “marriage.”

• Serve with an arrogance unbecoming of the presidency.

Yes, we can trust Obama. We can trust him to do little good for the sake of this nation. Why? Because we have a three-and-a-half-year record of bad policy and failure by which to judge him.


Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, died Saturday (Aug. 25) at the age of 82. (NASA photo).

Memory of Neil
Armstrong’s ‘small
step’ still strong

Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Late on this Saturday afternoon, my wife tells me that Neil Armstrong has died.

“That brings back memories,” I respond, referring to the name.

Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on and then walk upon the moon, died at the age of 82 of “complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures,” according to a family statement.

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” Armstrong said on July 20, 1969, as he stepped from the ladder of the lunar module Eagle and planted his space boot-protected foot onto the dusty surface of the moon’s Sea of Tranquility.

It’s one of mankind’s most famous statements and one easily committed to memory. And it’s a statement I heard live as it was being spoken.

I was 8 years old, going on 9, at the time of America’s Apollo 11 moon-landing mission and living in my father’s hometown of Green Forest, Ark., way up in the Ozark Mountains in the northwest corner of the state. My father, a U.S. Army staff sergeant, was home on leave from a duty post in West Germany.

I remember watching with Dad the black-and-white family television, tuned with the help of an outdoor antenna to a CBS affiliate likely out of nearby Springfield, Mo., and hearing the unmistakable voice of newsman Walter Cronkite lead the coverage of the first lunar excursion.

I remember the coverage being at night; the living room lamps were on and it was dark outside, probably well past my normal bedtime.

I remember it being really quiet when Dad and I watched the grainy TV pictures from space and saw Armstrong take that first little hop onto the moon. Dad didn’t say anything, or anything much, and I didn’t say anything, but I do remember thinking something like “Wow!”

It was at that moment that I became deeply interested in the U.S. space program. It was an interest I made quite public, prompting a Lake Alfred science teacher to say during a fourth- or fifth-grade awards assembly that I very well could be the city’s first person in space.

Today, thinking about what Armstrong did 43 years ago along with his Apollo 11 crewmates, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins (and a cast of thousands back on Earth), “Wow!” still seems appropriate.

To Neil Armstrong, I say God speed. Though he shunned the fame and public spotlight following his daring and momentous moon mission, he was and forever will be every bit the American hero.


Father-in-law’s
lesson applied
much too late

Friday, Aug. 24, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Yesterday, Aug. 23, marked the ninth anniversary of the death of my father-in-law, Larry Herbert Whitmer.

A longtime resident of the Davenport-Haines City area, he took his last breaths at Lakeland Regional Medical Center a few days after suffering a major heart attack.

I will note here for posterity that Mr. Whitmer — I always called him “Mr. Whitmer” out of great respect — was a wonderful man, a great and giving Christian, a kind and generous father-in-law to me and a terrific and loving grandfather to my two daughters.

For several reasons, I was closer to Mr. Whitmer than I was to my own father. The proximity of our homes here in Polk County had something to do with that, I suppose, but to a greater extent there was a common belief system, particularly in our shared Christian faith and conservative (politically, financially and socially) philosophy of life.

I’ve always had a strong work ethic, to the point of being labeled by many people as a workaholic. One of the best lessons I learned from Mr. Whitmer was that “Work is just a means to an end,” something that, while important and necessary, shouldn’t consume a person and keep him or her from the more meaningful things of life, like church and family.

It’s a lesson I eventually grasped — and applied to my life to a greater extent — though much too long after Mr. Whitmer’s death. I often think about all the family time I missed when I was too preoccupied with work. And today I wonder: “How much more time could I have spent with Mr. Whitmer here on Earth and how much more wisdom could I have gleaned from him had I taken his lesson to heart so much sooner?”


Each American
has a $3,100
deficit share

Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — From a recent newspaper, I saved a story about the U.S. federal budget deficit and how it had grown by $70 billion in July to reach a total of $974 billion.

It’s well on track to top $1 trillion for the fourth straight year.

(This is the budget deficit, mind you — not the total current U.S. public debt of $15.96 trillion.)

If the U.S. Census Bureau’s count is even close to being correct, and the U.S. population stands at roughly 314.2 million people, the share of the federal deficit for every man, woman and child in this country is approximately $3,100.

This means that in order to balance the federal budget deficit, every American and everyone living here legally would have to fork over $3,100 to the government, give up $3,100 in government benefits or do a combination of both.

And that’s just for a single year!

Who’s willing to do that for a year? Who’s willing to do that for all the years in the forseeable future?

The budget deficit has gotten this far out of control (we’re supposed to be comforted by a statement in the newspaper story that the deficit today is about 11.5 percent less than it was this time last year) mostly because of irresponsible or nonexistent leadership from Congress and the White House. But, we the people, also share in the blame. We’ve asked, and continue to ask, for handouts, goodies, social programs and other benefits that the government shouldn’t provide or simply can’t provide on an infinite basis.

When we point our finger of blame at government for the outrageous federal deficit and the oh-so-ominous U.S. national debt, remember that we have a lot more fingers pointing back at us.


Let’s focus on the
81.1% of Polk’s
eligible voters who
didn’t vote Aug. 14

Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — I voted in the Tuesday (Aug. 14) primary election here in Polk County and have the “I Voted” sticker to prove it. (See the photo above.)

The Polk County Supervisor of Elections Office reports that I was joined in the voting by 63,892 of my fellow county residents.

Sadly, no, make that appallingly, about 224,165 Polk residents, the balance of those registered with the elections office, didn’t vote. They sat out the election, failing to exercise their right and privilege as Americans to have a democratic say-so in local, state and national government.

Tuesday’s election, though a primary, was a general election and open to any registered voter, no matter what the party affiliation might be. It wasn’t a closed primary just for Democrats or just for Republicans.

More people should’ve known about the election. More people should’ve been interested. More people should’ve voted.

To illustrate the problem, I’ll share this: Two of my co-workers, both intelligent men in responsible positions, both will many years of experience with newspapers and in publishing, actually we’re surprised Tuesday when they learned, or saw from the sticker, that I had voted. “Election? What election?” one asked. “You voted?” asked the other, absolutely unaware of the primary election. Incredibly, the only election they knew about was the big one coming up Nov. 6.

Election officials had predicted a voter turnout of 18 percent. They probably were tickled pink that the final turnout was a higher 18.9 percent. In my book, that’s not an achievement. That“s just pathetic — and a sign of two very disturbing problems in this country. They are ignorance and apathy among the citizens.

Here’s a message to registered voters who don’t vote and a message to all voting-eligible Americans who don’t even bother to register: “Your voting rights: If you don’t use ’em, you very well could lose ’em.”


Democrats are
making party
ripe for a few
new nicknames

Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Following some absolutely dreadful and disgusting action by the national-level Democrats on Saturday (Aug. 11), here’s what Jonathan D. Salant of BusinessWeek wrote:

“Democrats unanimously voted today to endorse same-sex marriage in their party’s platform, the first time a major political party has supported the issue in its statement of policies.

“Today’s action at the platform committee meeting in Detroit sends the document for ratification by delegates to next month’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. President Barack Obama, a Democrat, said in May that he supports same-sex marriage. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney doesn’t. ...”

If the committee’s work is formally adopted by the Democratic convention delegates — and there’s not much reason to believe it won’t be — what new nicknames will we be able to apply to the onetime party of Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy?

  • The Homosexual Party?
  • The Gay Party?
  • The Anti-Bible Party?
  • The Immorality Party?
  • The Party of Sin?
  • The Sodomy Party?
  • The Anti-God Party?
  • The Anti-Christian Party?
  • The Party of Ill Repute?
  • The Revolting Party?
  • The Disgusting Party?

Harsh? Perhaps. Truthful? Absolutely. You could use any one of these nicknames; each one easily would hit the mark.

Will this action by Democrats at the national level attract more people to the party? Or will it drive away any of the more reasonable, conservative and moral rank-and-file Democrats?

For the good of the nation — for the sake of our children and grandchildren — I hope for the latter.


Eat mor chikin?
I’ll do it — and
quietly make a
values statement

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — The roadside sign outside the local church reads this way:

“Eat more chicken. Don’t be one. Support family values.”

To the uninitiated, the words are just gibberish, but anyone who pays any attention whatsoever to current events will know the background to the message.

The Chick-fil-A restaurant chain is in the news following comments its Christian president, Dan Cathy, made to the Baptist Press. Cathy said the company, known for keeping its restaurants shuttered on Sundays, the Lord’s Day, is “guilty as charged” for backing “the biblical definition of a family” — and not the concocted “gay marriages” now openly supported by our current president. Later, in a radio interview, Cathy said “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’ ”

Long the target of militant homosexual groups and rank-and-file liberals for its Christian business principles and financial support of conservative organizations like the Family Research Council, Chick-fil-A is the subject of renewed boycott calls by gay-rights advocates. Leaders of leftist-dominated cities like Boston and Chicago are getting in on the act, too, condemning Cathy’s statements and saying Chick-fil-A isn’t welcome in their business communities.

But, Christians around the nation are fighting back, eating more at Chick-fil-A restaurants throughout the land and planning to heed the call by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, to make this coming Wednesday (Aug. 1) “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.” The purpose is to support a company whose executives are willing to take a public stand for godly values.

Huckabee has asked that Christians, and anyone else who supports traditional family values and the traditional definition of marriage, to visit a Chick-fil-A at any time on Wednesday and buy a chicken sandwich or something else on the menu. The idea is to financially and quietly support the company and its leaders — not to make a scene by marching, picketing, shouting or shaking a fist in someone’s face.

I’ve made plans to take part and will gladly drive out of my way to do it. A Chick-fil-A restaurant is coming — eventually — to Winter Haven, but until then the nearest ones to my home are two in Lakeland, one on South Florida Avenue and the other at Lakeland Square, the mall on U.S. Highway 98 North.

Having a delicious Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich is a good enough reason to visit one of the restaurants, but on Wednesday I’ll go for more important reasons: 1. To join the worthy effort started by Huckabee; 2. To patronize a fine company; 3. To support Dan Cathy’s courage and principled stand for faith and traditional family values; 4. To help make up for any economic damage a homosexual and liberal boycott might do to Chick-fil-A; and 5. To quietly but firmly send a statement to the social liberals, including President Barack Hussein Obama, that they won’t be able to force their twisted brand of family values on me.

Will you join me and others for “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day”? Will you regularly support Chick-fil-A with your fast-food dollars? I hope you will.


People supporting the Chick-fil-A company and executives in the social war over family values turned out in droves at restaurants all across the nation on Wednesday (Aug. 1), “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.” These photos were taken between 8 and 8:30 p.m. at the extremely busy Chick-fil-A on South Florida Avenue in Lakeland (Fla.).

On Chick-fil-A,
here’s a follow-up

Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — I made good on my plans to participate Wednesday (Aug. 1) in “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” and was pleased to have been a part of the great outpouring of support for this fine company and the moral people who lead it.

I ended up at the Chick-fil-A on South Florida Avenue in Lakeland (Fla.) around 8:15 p.m. and was very happy and perhaps even a bit surprised to see the place jammed with patrons at that late hour. I knew the call for people to support Chick-fil-A, as a response to the attacks it has received from militant homosexual groups and liberals, would bring the company a lot of increased business Wednesday, but I honestly didn’t think “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” would be as tremendously successful as it turned out to be.

My hope is that social conservatives will continue to support Chick-fil-A in the days, weeks and months that follow and not stop with just one special day of action.


Wisconsin vote shows that society’s takers can be stopped

Thursday, June 7, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — The failure of the unionists, Democrats and others on the left to remove Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker from office early was not an insignificant event.

For one thing, Walker’s convincing victory over Democrat Tom Barrett in the recall election Tuesday (June 5) gave rise to the hope that the people who would, with their insatiable appetite for taxpayer-funded programs and benefits, destroy our states and our nation economically, can be stopped.

Walker was targeted for recall mostly because he dared to take on the public-service unions in an attempt to put Wisconsin’s fiscal house in order. But, he also was targeted simply because he’s a conservative Republican who won election as governor in 2010 in a mostly left-leaning state.

Much is being made about the potential negative affect the Wisconsin vote will have on the re-election campaign of President Barack Hussein Obama. While the political and economic issues in Wisconsin might be a microcosm of the national picture, those who want so badly for Obama to be a one-term president should be cautioned that the Wisconsin election was a referendum on Gov. Walker, his policies and his leadership of the state — not on the person, policies and leadership of our sitting president.

More about all of this later ...


Conservative columnist George F. Will is shown in a recent publicity photo.

George Will simply
an extraordinary thinker and writer

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — George F. Will, the nationally syndicated conservative columnist, is, in a word, awesome.

Consider his most recent piece about the “childish” Wisconsin progressives — I won’t be so kind; they’re Marxist unionists — who forced today’s attempt by statewide election to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Will’s column, titled “Wisconsin’s Peter Pan Progressivism,” was in the local newspapers Sunday, but if you didn’t catch it, it can be found online here.

The Wisconsin unionists have been mighty unhappy with Walker’s work, following his election in 2010, to rein in out-of-control public spending on pensions and health-care benefits for ever-demanding government employees.

I won’t spoil Will’s column by telling anything more about it — you really should read it for yourself — but I will say that it’s quintessential George F. Will: High quality in writing, substance, reasoning and wit.

I use the adjective “quintessential” (go ahead, look it up) purposefully and in homage to Will, whose excellent vocabulary and use of the English language lead many to say — sometimes to complain — that he uses “too many big words.”

Would-be journalists and writers usually are taught to avoid “quarter words” when “nickel words” will do, but in Will’s case, in his writing, “quarter words” seem to be the most appropriate words. They seem to work just fine. (And it’s not an awful thing for a writer to send a reader to a dictionary once in a while.)

My late father, Harold Dean Braddy, was a politically active Republican and an avid newspaper reader. Though it often made him angry, the opinion or editorial page was — as it is for me — his favorite page in the paper and George Will was his favorite columnist. But even Dad, as bright as he was, told me on one occasion that sometimes he had to read a Will column twice to thoroughly get the writer’s point.

My career as a journalist and newspaper editor has provided me with many opportunities to meet and talk with politicians, pro sports figures, celebrities and other famous people. To my great delight, George Will was one of them.

Will was the speaker in 1992 or thereabouts for the annual Winter Haven Hospital Foundation fundraiser, and I was fortunate to receive an invitation to ride with the foundation official whose task it was to drive to Orlando International Airport, meet Will and bring him to Winter Haven. I was with the foundation representative when he greeted Will at the airport terminal, and later I interviewed the columnist (and regular commentator on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday morning TV news show) from the backseat of the car.

I found it interesting that Will, the journalist, interviewer and commentator (and very nice fellow, by the way), was being interviewed by another journalist and commentator — me.

Not only is Will a great writer, he’a brilliant conservative thinker, as evidenced by anything anyone reads from him. You don’t earn a Pulitzer Prize for commentary, as he as done, by writing fluff.

In a memorable column from a couple of years ago, Will wrote about the crisis of federal deficit spending — expenses currently exceed revenues by $1.3 trillion — and how people often demand that government follow the example of American households and “live within its means.” The point of his column was that government is indeed following the example of most American households — by living beyond its means, by spending more than it takes in and by mounting huge piles of debt.

I don’t do the column true justice by trying to summarize it from memory.

I think back to the wisdom and brilliance of that column when I ponder what I want to be, who I want to be like, when I grow up — as a writer, as a commentator and as a conservative thinker. In the arena of current conservative columnists and thinkers, George F. Will would be tough to top as a role model.


Will the preachers flee the NAACP after its decision on gays?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — So, the NAACP now says it supports same-sex (gay) “marriage.”

In the words of Dana Carvey’s the Church Lady, “Isn’t that special.”

The Saturday (May 20) announcement, following a meeting of the board of directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was seen as a two-fold political move:

1. To give political cover to President Barack Hussein Obama, who said about 10 days earlier that he now believes “personally” that homosexuals should be allowed to “marry” each other.

2. To help shore up one of Obama’s bases, the black vote, which some political pundits say could be fractured because of the president’s new-found enlightenment about gays.

According to the NAACP board, the policy move on same-sex “marriage” is a “continuation of its historic commitment to equal protection under the law.”

“The mission of the (NAACP) has always been to ensure political, social and economic equality of all people,” said Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the board of the 103-year-old civil rights organization. “We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law.”

Traditionally, the leadership of the NAACP has been dominated by black ministers, but people who tend to become “reverends” more for political rather than for Gospel-spreading reasons. (The “Rev.” Jesse Jackson and the “Rev.” Al Sharpton immediately come to mind.)

It will be interesting to see how many of these ministers, those in NAACP leadership and those as group members and supporters, walk away from the organization following its immoral decision in support of immoral acts — homosexual behavior and so-called “gay marriage.”

Here, according to a FoxNews.com report, is an indication of how that’s going to go:

“Black religious leaders — who traditionally have opposed same-sex marriage — originally opposed the president’s recent decision but appear to have softened their position in recent days.

“Pastor Emmett Burns said on the Sunday following the president’s May 9 announcement that he opposed the decision but this week reportedly said he would vote for Obama.

“Burns, a delegate in the Maryland state legislature, was among the lawmakers who strongly opposed a same-sex marriage bill that passed in the Assembly this year. He helped defeat the bill last year.”

This series of events shows a lot of things — none of them good — but in particular it shows just how weak and uncommitted to God’s Word the pastors are in churches — black, white and otherwise — all across America.

And people wonder why things are going so terribly wrong in this once-great nation.

If we can’t get some grounding in moralty from the pulpits and from the White House, where on God’s Earth will it come from?


What once was considered right is now called ‘extreme’

Sunday, May 13, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — One thing I read Friday and another thing I heard this morning at church together summed up well the awful state of this nation and this world.

Here’s what I saw Friday, for a newspaper dated for Saturday:

“Obama sets social issues trap for (GOP presidential candidate Mitt) Romney ... Some believe the president aims to paint Republicans as cultural extremists ...”

Here’s what I heard from the pulpit from my pastor during the morning worship service today:

“The more the world goes to the left, the more extreme our Bible position sounds.”

The point?

What was decent, right, good, wholesome, acceptable and moral — such as marriage only between a man and a woman — not even a full generation ago is suddenly branded as “extreme” by the cultural and societal elitists and our so-called leaders, President Obama among them.

Truth and goodness and the standards for solid and sober living haven’t changed through the ages, but man has changed — for the worse. Increasingly, man has deviated from the good and proper and embraced the hollow worldliness that leads only to emptiness, ruined lives and sorrow.

In the case of our nation, the path it’s on, the path chosen by our current government, will result not in continued greatness but in second-rate status.

Man was warned thousands of years ago that the time will come when evil is called good and good is called evil. That time has arrived. That time is now.

Dad’s eternal home?
I can’t say for sure

Today, Sept. 30, 2012, would’ve been the 76th birthday of my father, Harold Dean Braddy, but, sadly, he died several years ago of a massive heart attack.

I so wish that I had known my father better, that I had been with him more, that I had talked with him more and that I had questioned him more — about his life, about his interests, about his military career and about his 11 or so years with my mother.

I also wish that I could be sure that one day I’ll see my father again in Heaven. Based on what I do know about Dad — about the way he lived his life, about the priorities he had, about the way he talked and about his description of himself as an “agnostic” (one who believes that nothing can be known about the existence or nature of God and life beyond this life) — I can’t have that confidence. I really don’t even have that hope.

Where we will be in the afterlife, Heaven or Hell, depends on critical decisions we make in this life. Once a person dies unsaved, without the saving knowledge and faith in Jesus Christ, no amount of prayer and pleading to God by family members and friends left behind will rescue that person from an eternity in torment.

That’s tragic in the human sense, but that’s what a righteous God teaches in His Word.

The lesson? We as Christians must reach our unsaved loved ones and friends for Christ. Now. Before they’re suddenly snatched away from us. Before it’s too late. — JB (Sept. 30, 2012)


Union types skip
work to mock GOP

On Aug. 29, during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, the anti-GOP protesters included a group of labor union types. You know, organized electricians, carpenters, welders, plumbers, pipefitters and the like.

On this particular day, the union members were organized to mock the Republicans’ “We Built It” slogan, one of the many themes to their convention. “We Built It,” of course, has been the conservative response one of the responses at least to President Barack Hussein Obama’s ludicrous statement of contempt to business owners and entrepreneurs: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”

The union protestors, shown in a printed newspaper photo gallery, carried signs and banners that included this statement: “We are the workers who built it.”

When I saw the sign, my first thought was: “Yeah, you built it — at half the speed and at twice the cost.”

And then a couple of questions came to mind: “And why aren’t these people working? Shouldn’t they be on the job and building something instead of protesting?” — JB (Sept. 5, 2012)


Vandalism no way
to praise Jesus

“JESUS IS LORD,” the spray-painted message boldly declared.

I saw it yesterday, during the drive to work, on the side of a big CSX Intermodal container box a semi-tractor was pulling along on a trailer in front of me.

The message is correct — Jesus is lord and lord of all — but I’m thinking the Lord is none too pleased that someone vandalized private property to praise His name.

To the person who did this, shame on you. — JB (Aug. 25, 2012)


What kind of woman
converts to Islam?

The question was asked the other day (by a person I greatly admire and respect): “Why would any woman want to convert to Islam?”

The question was asked mainly in the context of American or Western women, not those born and raised in a Muslim country or predominately Muslim culture.

The question was asked with the full knowledge and understanding that women in the Islamic religion and culture are treated as something even less than second-class citizens. In Muslim-dominated lands, the dogs at home and on the street get more respect than women and wives, the person with the original question observed.

It’s a question not easily answered (Could Islam’s Western women converts have a mental screw or two loose?), but perhaps our current president, Barack Hussein Obama, can address it. After all, he seems to have a “special” insight into Islam that no other U.S. president has had. — JB (Aug. 16, 2012)


The U.S. Treasury
must be hurting

Because of some technical problems with e-filing, I had to mail to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service a paper version of the family’s 2011 tax return.

That was on May 19. (Yes, the return was late, but it was filed within the rules.)

As of this writing, almost three months after mailing the return, we’re still waiting on the refund to hit our savings account. An Internet-based inquiry with the IRS about the status of refund provided only this response: “Your tax return has been received and is being processed.”

Having waited this long for the refund, I can only surmise that Uncle Sam, with his $15.9 trillion in federal public debt, thinks he needs the money more than I do. — JB (Aug. 16, 2012)

Aug. 23 update: With midnight approaching today, there’s still no sign of a tax refund. Where are the tax return processors for the IRS? Have they been conscripted for service in President Obama’s re-election army? Just wondering ...


Smoking one habit I don’t have to break

As I watch a co-worker struggle to give up smoking (and as I hope and pray for his success), I am so very thankful that I never took up the highly addictive cigarette habit.

Oh, I tried cigarettes, as a 10- or 11-year-old, but I felt so guilty about it that I stopped before I learned to inhale and never wanted to touch those nasty things again.

There’s one thing we know about a bad habit, smoking included: If you don’t start one, you won’t have it to break later on. — JB (March 29, 2012)


9/12 Project Group
promotes core
American values

Promoting the U.S. Constitution and America’s core traditional values.

What’s not to love about that?

That’s the general purpose behind the Winter Haven 9/12 Project Group and others like it across the nation.

These project groups had their genesis with conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck three years ago. (See the website here.) The name comes from the premise that on 9/12/2001, the day following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans of all faiths, views, walks of life and political pursuasions were of one accord and united. (Remember all the “United We Stand” T-shirts and bumper stickers?)

The Winter Haven group meets each Thursday, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., in the Poolside Room at the Chain O’ Lakes Complex at Cypress Gardens Boulevard and U.S. Highway 17. Meetings, often with special speakers and presentations, are free and open to the public.

For details about the Winter Haven 9/12 Project Group, e-mail member Tom Williams at Williams7098@tampabay.rr.com. The group also has a website at www.winterhaven912.org. — JB (March 18, 2012)


The website for the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney: http://www.mittromney.com/

A great book from a former Winter Haven newspaper editor (and good friend): http://tinyurl.com/77aje5e

An excellent resource for conservatives and conservative ideas: http://www.heritage.org/

Another good source of news from, for and about the right: http://www.1776coalition.com/

For fine portraits and quality commercial photography: http://www.pezzimenti.com/ and http://pezzimentiphotography.com/

An interesting read on our great 16th president, Abraham Lincoln: http://lincolnlaughing.com/

Anyone who loved our 40th president will love this site:
http://www.reaganfoundation.org/

For great, useful and trendy technology:
http://www.apple.com/

A great community project: http://ritzoncentral.com/

A good movie: It’s a low-budget film called “Fireproof,” starring Kirk Cameron. You’ll cry — if you have any kind of heart at all.

For breakfast out: Fred’s Southern Kitchen, 1551 Third St., S.W. (U.S. Highway 17), Winter Haven. The breakfast buffet is wonderful.

For supper out: Manny’s Original Chophouse, 1100 Third St., S.W. (U.S. Highway 17), Winter Haven. The food is good and the prices are right.

A marquee outside a local personal storage business: “Land of the free because of the brave.” (It’s on bumper stickers, too.)

A local church sign: “Spend less time on Facebook and more time in His book.”

An open invitation to attend: http://centralbaptistchurchwh.com/

Strikes: The biggest and baddest strikes that can be given go to a federal appeals court that on May 31 struck down a key provision to the Defense of Marriage Act. A three-judge panel of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals — located in Boston in the heart of the land of liberals, socialists, “enlightened” college professors and Barney Franks — rule unanimously that the section of the act that defines marriage as being the union of a man and woman is unconstitutional.

Strikes: To the Obama administration for not coming to the defense of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Of course, we know now that President Obama is just fine and dandy with the “marriage” of homosexuals.

Stars: For the “Vote 4 Energy” campaign, which was launched Jan. 4 to promote more domestic energy production and sensible energy policy. A “Vote 4 Energy” also would mean, by and large, a vote for conservative candidates, because the liberal version of energy policy — windmills, limited domestic oil drilling, oil pipeline opposition, no new oil refineries, carbon taxes, “global warming” fixes and Chevy Volts — is anything but sensible. “Vote 4 Energy” is being funded by the American Petroleum Institute, the lobbying arm of Big Oil, but that’s OK. Attacked at almost every turn, Big Oil has every right to enter the political fray and ask Americans to “demand smarter energy policy.” On the Web: vote4energy.org

Strikes: To “corporate welfare,” including any received by Big Oil and ethanol producers. Huge companies don’t need subsidies from the taxpayers, and besides, our debt-ridden federal government can’t afford them.

A new day dawns

I went outside for my usual, early morning quiet time Thursday (Aug. 8, 2013) and found this beautiful dawn sky right before me. (The time was about 6:40 a.m. EDT.) I quickly went inside the house, grabbed my digital camera, went back outside before the opportunity was lost and snapped a few photos. This was the best of the lot. The scene has God’s glory and majesty written all over it, don’t you think? And, for fans of the Florida Gators (count me among them), the colors are just right, too. — JB (Aug. 9, 2013, Winter Haven, Fla.)



On ‘gay marriage,’ former
first lady Clinton, others
bed down with immorality

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — So, Hillary Clinton, the former U.S. secretary of state and first lady, has come out publicly in support of “gay marriage.”

(So, too, have U.S. senators Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, and Mark Warner and Claire McCaskill, Democrats from Virginia and Missouri, respectively.)

I suppose Clinton thinks her personal change of mind about the matter makes her out to be more enlightened, more progressive, more fair, more compassionate, more reasonable and more attuned to the need for individual freedom and equality.

From this corner, I think she’s an ignorant fool — right up there with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, the nation’s most visible foes to all that is right, decent, moral and godly.

Clinton is ignorant because she knows nothing about God, His Word and the order he established from the very beginning for human relationships, families and for society. (Or, she does know better and instead has chosen willfully to ignore what is right.) God established marriage as THE proper relationship between a man and a woman and the foundation for a just and well-functioning community, and no amount of “progressive” thinking among humans will make any other kind of marriage right — right for our nation and right in the eyes of God.

Clinton is a fool because, in her twisted thinking that support for “gay marriage” is good for gays, OK for society and progress for America and its culture, she, like Obama and Biden and others in the pro-homosexual crowd, is setting up this nation for condemnation by God. What nation can be good, what nation can be rich and what nation can be strong when it collectively turns away from God and almost dares Him to withhold His blessings?

Those in authority believe that by supporting homosexual rights and “gay marriage,” they are helping the gays and lesbians. Quite the contrary. By accepting, condoning and even promoting homosexuality, authority figures actually are condemning people who engage in it this awful behavior. People who live an illicit, immoral and destructive lifestyle — yes, homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle, not a genetic trait — will continue in that lifestyle, and not feel shamed to leave it, when government and those who lead it label the behavior and lifestyle as being OK and acceptable.

But how can anyone, under any circumstances, consider homosexuality to be “OK” and “acceptable” when God (in Leviticus 20:13 and in other Bible passages) has clearly and forcefully called it “an abomination”?

Lord, forgive us, for our so-called “leaders” — the Hillary Clintons, Barack Obamas and Joe Bidens among us — know not what they do.


A new year presents a new
opportunity for a better life

NEW YEAR’S DAY
Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — I know I’ve mentioned it to others, and perhaps I’ve even written about it on a previous occasion, but I’ll say it again: I like New Year’s Day.

As I’ve grown older — and the years pass by more quickly — I’ve come to appreciate the mindset that a fresh new year brings and the renewed opportunity to lead a more productive, more purposeful and more meaningful life.

In just the past couple of days, I’ve been filled with a lot of motivation to make the year 2013 so much better than 2012.

Internally, I’ve set for myself several goals, with “goals” being the word that I prefer over “resolutions.” Without going into a whole lot of detail, they include being more faithful at church, giving more and to more worthwhile endeavors, reading the Bible more, saving more financially, conserving more of what I already have, doing with less and preparing well for what could be a major, major change in my life.

Externally, I was challenged twice in services at church Sunday to focus more on the things that ultimately matter most — God’s work in the world and God’s plan for my life. From the pastor’s message in the church bulletin, I found these “suggestions” for the new year:

1. I resolve to develop faith enough to accept whatever God designs.

2. I resolve to live so yielded to God that I will realize His perfect will and purpose.

3. I resolve to be thankful for every mercy and blessing.

4. I resolve to be patient to do the work God wants me to do.

5. I resolve to have God’s approval upon all I do.

6. I resolve to be kind under all conditions.

Challenges, indeed!

And then there was this e-mailed request today from the Liberty Counsel: “Join us in asking that God bless the USA in 2013.” The organization’s founder and chairman, Mathew Staver, is urging that Christians pray for America and its leaders, pray that our leaders seek God’s guidance for our nation in 2013 and pray for a “powerful spiritual renewal” to sweep the land.

The thought here is that the path to a better America begins with every American, one by one, living a better, more disciplined and — Dare I say? — less selfish life. With new goals, challenges or resolutions in hand, that better living can start today — the first day of 2013.




An Rx for America

America is sick — and in all ways possible: Politically, financially, socially, culturally, physically, psychologically, morally and spiritually. But the Lord God, the righteous, all-wise and omnipotent One who guilded imperfect men and women as they gave life to these United States, has a prescription for what ails this once-great nation. It can be found in Chapter 7 and Verse 14 in the Old Testament book of 2 Chronicles (above). For those who would say “It’s too simplistic an answer for the nation’s many complex problems,” Christians can respond: “Nothing we’re doing is working. Why not trust in God’s wisdom — God’s instructions — and lean on Him?” — JB (Sept. 17, 2012)



National Dems show their
hostility toward God, Israel

Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — The brouhaha that erupted Wednesday (Sept. 5) during the Democratic National Convention over platform references to God and the issue of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital shows two things very clearly:

1. The party increasingly is being dominated and influenced by people who are anti-God and anti-Israel.

2. For political reasons, key among them the retention of the presidency, some Democrats in top national positions would do almost anything, including ramming through a platform change that didn’t have rank-and-file support, to desperately mask the party’s anti-God and anti-Israel attitude.

In short, here’s what happened with the Democrats:

The people who wrote the 2012 party platform, the party’s policy or “mission” statement, took out a 2008 platform reference to people’s “God-given potential” and a section that recognized Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as its historical and hoped-for future capital city. (Tel Aviv is the Jewish nation’s working capital until the decades-old Jerusalem question is resolved.)

Faced with mounting Republican and other criticism over the God and Jerusalem platform references, more accurately the deliberate omission of those references, a few Democratic leaders (supposedly at the behest of President Barack Hussein Obama) sprung into action to “correct” the 2012 platform and have it read in these sections like the 2008 document.

When the “corrections”were put to a vote — three votes, actually — of the Democratic convention delegates Wednesday, the convention chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, said to a loud chorus of “Boos” and “Nos” that the “Ayes” had it.

Most convention observers reported that the “Ayes” didn’t have it in “the brief but chaotic procedural move” (the way FoxNews.com reported it) — that the convention delegates really didn’t want the God and Jerusalem language and were none too happy with the way the voice votes were handled.

Among the delegates who felt “shammed” by the platform vote was Rashida Tlaib. An online Fox News report referred to her as “a member of the Michigan delegation and the state’s House of Representatives.” What Fox News didn’t report is that Tlaib proudly describes herself as “the first Muslim elected to the Michigan legislature.”

Should there be any surprise that a Muslim wouldn’t support Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel?

While the platform votes over the God and Jerusalem references remain disputed, what can’t be disputed is the growing Democratic Party hostility toward the nation of Israel and, more disturbingly, party hostility toward God and the things of God.

The Democrats ... They have no idea who and what they’re messing with. Shouldn’t they know by now that if they play with fire, that eventually they’re going to get burned?


Congressional redistricting
chops Polk into 4 districts

Monday, Sept. 3, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Driving around Winter Haven the past couple of weeks, I started seeing “Daniel Webster for Congress” yard signs pop up and thought: “That’s odd. Webster is from the Orlando area. Shouldn’t I be seeing ‘Dennis Ross for Congress’ signs?”

And then I remembered that this was a political redistricing year, following the 2010 U.S. census count, and that Florida, with its larger population, was picking up a couple of congressional seats. “Maybe redistricting has affected the congressional lines on this side of Polk County,” I thought.

A little research revealed that to be the case.

For the past several years, Polk County has been almost entirely in the 12th Congressional District, but now it’s home to parts of four districts, and District 12 isn’t even among them. Ross, a Republican from Lakeland, was elected two years ago to represent District 12 in Congress, but now he’s in District 15 and won’t be representing the greater Winter Haven area with the sitting of the new Congress in January 2013. He’s assured of a second congressional term because he drew no opposition this year — another reason we’re not seeing “Ross for Congress” signs anywhere in Polk County.

The newly realigned District 15 that Ross will represent (see map) covers only about a quarter of Polk, the northwest area encompassing Lakeland, Bartow and Mulberry, and the northeast part of Hillsborough County, including the Plant City and Temple Terrace areas.

A solid conservative and Republican, Webster served in the Florida House of Representatives and state Senate before being elected to Congress two years ago in the old 8th Congressional District. He’s now running for re-election in the newly aligned 10th District, which includes north-central Polk County, southwest Orange County and almost all of Lake County.

Northeast Polk County is included in the 9th Congressional District, with southern Polk covered by a large 17th District.

Webster does have opposition in the Nov. 6 election for Congress. The Democratic candidate is Val Demmings, a social worker who went into law enforcement and rose to the post of Orlando chief of police. An independent candidate is Naipaul Seegoam, a real estate professional, small business owner and native of Guyana in South America.

I might be going out on a limb here, but I’m predicting a comfortable victory for Webster (he has my vote) in the general election and sensing that he’ll represent greater Winter Haven very well in the nation’s capital.

Check your newly issued Polk County voter identification card to see which congressional district now covers the area where you live. If you need to do some election research, a good place to start is a website called BallotPedia.


Wrong parties get blame
for public school failures

Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012

By JAMES W. MacMEEKIN III

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — So! The Florida Department of Education has announced failing grades for Haines City’s Boone Middle School and Lake Alfred-Addair Middle School. Grading was based upon test results from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). Polk County Public Schools Superintendent Sherrie Nickell commented: “Basing performance on one test is disconcerting ... but, for now this is the measure by which we are judged.”

There is every reason to suggest that the wrong party has failed our children. At present, every administrator and teacher at Boone Middle School is in danger of losing his or her job in 2014, as a result of one test — the FCAT — taken by about 800 students. Other optional penalties include closing down a brand-new, multimillion-dollar campus, operating the school with district management or assigning the students to other schools.

(The grading procedure for the FCAT has since been found in error, affecting 213 schools throughout Florida. However, it appears that Boone Middle’s F grade will remain.

Compounding the school’s problems, the FCAT test was changed in mid-year. And, sadly, two of Boone’s assistant principals have already been released.)

Even if the defendants were guilty, the varied penalties are insane! Here’s why:

More


For the pro-choicers, read
this important message

Monday, July 30, 2012

By JACK MURPHY

On Townhall.com on July 21, columnist Ken Blackwell wrote an article titled “President Obama’s Covert Zeal.” He makes the point that President Barack Obama is the single most driven president we have had when it comes to the abortion issue. He has even directed efforts at other countries around the world to promote pro-choice policies in their lands. Apparently, the 50 million aborted babies we have seen here do not satisfy him. We are not aborting babies fast enough for him.

In recent times, there have been numerous attempts to legislate the onset of “personhood.” In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court itself has hinted that such an action by Congress would be the way to curb abortion by using the 14th Amendment. It deals with the use of the word “person” to enumerate the protections afforded to each citizen in matters of due process and equal protection of rights. When we define personhood to commence at the point of conception, that child would become protected immediately.

Several years ago, when he was asked about the moment when a person is actually formed, Obama very glibly remarked, “That is above my pay grade.” This is hardly surprising. Much of what he has done since he has assumed presidential office has been above his pay grade. His background does not contain evidence of any business or organizational leadership skills. He served less than one term in the U.S. Senate, voting “present” a large percentage of the time.

In recent years, a number of states have fought to reduce the number of abortions by requiring pregnant women to witness the scanned images of the growing babies within their wombs. This has brought about a slight reduction in abortions. Seeing the beating heart of a living child can have a great impact on a mother-to-be. No longer can she delude herself into believing the baby is only a thing.

I would like something else to be added to the attempts at persuasion to choose life. Ken Blackwell has included a quotation that I have read sometime in the past. Unfortunately, it slipped away into the unknown. It is a keeper that could be as persuasive as an ultrascan image. After describing the actions of the Clintons, Bill and Hillary, he goes on to include the following paragraph:

“Like the Clintons, President Obama opposed the ban on partial-birth abortions. Nurse Brenda Pratt Shafer described what she saw in a partial-birth abortion. It requires re-reading now: ‘I stood at the doctor’s side and watched him perform a partial-birth abortion on a woman who was six months pregnant. The baby’s heartbeat was clearly visible on the ultrasound screen. The doctor delivered the baby’s body and arms, everything but his little head. The baby’s body was moving. His little fingers were clasping together. He was kicking his feet. The doctor took a pair of scissors and inserted them into the back of the baby’s head, and the baby’s arms jerked out in a flinch, a startle reaction, like a baby does when he thinks that he might fall. Then the doctor opened the scissors and he stuck the high-powered suction tube into the hole and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby was completely limp. I never went back to the clinic. But I am still haunted by the face of that little boy. It was the most perfect, angelic face I have ever seen.’ ”

I don’t know how any person could see an ultrasound image and read a description like this and even consider supporting abortion. We all need to support the issue of personhood when it comes up in our states. We need to do our part to stop the next 50 million babies from ending up in millions of medical waste buckets.

The time will come in the future when all of us are going to stand before the Creator of all babies. I would like to be there when President Obama learns the true meaning of the term “pay grade.”

Jack Murphy of Maine is a winter resident of Frostproof, Fla., and compiler of the “Styles of Smiles” column that runs monthly in the News Chief newspaper in Winter Haven. At this posting, he is back at his summertime home in Maine and can be reached by e-mail at jackmurphy27@gmail.com.


Justice Roberts: Did he ‘go liberal’ or was opinion a brilliant ruse?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

By JAMES W. MacMEEKIN III

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Our U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010), otherwise known as Obamacare.

At the conclusion of Chief Justice John Roberts’ remarks, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia bowed his head, U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch’s jaw dropped, Glenn Beck went absolutely bananas and Rush Limbaugh used every negative adjective in his extensive vocabulary, throwing in a few well-chosen expletives for flavor.

Their reactions are classic examples of one’s use of tongue before engaging the brain. In all cases, their reaction was the instantaneous response to a judicial decision never contemplated. That’s understandable. What isn’t understandable is that none of America’s pundits have bothered to read Roberts’ remarks! Justice Roberts carefully and purposely outlined the reasons for his decision, which eventually will be classified as one of the most brilliant judicial acts in Supreme Court history!

More


U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, above left, is being hailed by the left and derided by the right as the man who, by and large, saved Obamacare following the high court’s review of the controversial health-care legislation. In the other image, submitted by Pixie Rubin, Lady Liberty weeps as the United States of America becomes the United Socialist States of America.

Obamacare clarified as the nation’s largest tax increase

Friday, June 29, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — The convoluted and muddled thinking that went into the deplorable salvation of Obamacare by the U.S. Supreme Court deserves at least a convoluted and muddled response by Joe Q. Public.

The following stream of consciousness is not a knee-jerk reaction to the court’s Thursday (June 28) release of the 5-4 decision that basically preserves the 2011 Affordable Care Act, better known derisively as Obamacare. No, several hours have gone by since the decision was announced, providing ample time for a wide and swinging range of emotions, among them surprise, anger, amazement, disappointment, sadness, melancholy, resignation, motivation and determination.

Perhaps something here will make sense. If it doesn’t, it wouldn’t be any different than all the other nonsensical things going on — and going on with greater frequency — in this once-great nation of ours.

• When news of the Supreme Court’s decision came live, between 10 and 10:30 a.m., the immediate reaction here was great disppointment rather than anger. I was disappointed because Obamacare was — and now remains — bad and overreaching law that will cost the nation and its people dearly on more than just a financial level.

• Given the negative trend of recent national developments — on “gay marriage,” immigration, the Keystone XL oil pipeline and the economy, for example — I wasn’t surprised that the close vote by the high court favored President Barack Hussein Obama and the liberals who gave us Obamacare. What did surprise me, and surprised me greatly, was the justice who provided the swing vote — Chief Justice John Roberts. I thought, like many others, that had Obamacare passed constitutional muster, that Justice Anthony Kennedy would have been the deciding vote. Instead, Kennedy strongly dissented with the majority, rightly arguing that Obamacare had no constitutional ground to stand on.

• Roberts found that while Obamacare, and its mandate that everyone buy health-care insurance, wouldn’t be permissable under the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution — Congress can’t force anyone to buy insurance or any other commodity — it is constitutional under the taxing clause, with Congress able to modify behavior and induce social change through the tax code and tax penalties. Oh, what a can of worms that reasoning will open! Roberts, the so-called conservative chief justice, today must be a big disappointment to George W. Bush, the man who nominated him to the Supreme Court. Aided by the four liberals on the court, Roberts basically rewrote Obamacare by judicial fiat to make it work and avoid rejecting it.

• If, as Roberts and the liberal justices reasoned, Obamacare funding has legitimacy as a tax-and-spend enterprise, the court’s ruling clarifies the health insurance act as a monumental tax increase — the largest one in U.S. history and perhaps the largest in world history. And it provides conservatives, libertarians and Tea Party types with another mighty campaign issue leading up to the presidential and congressional elections.

• Obamacare wasn’t sold as a tax measure. In fact, the president went out of his way on many occasions before the act was voted on to state that it wasn’t a tax. He knew the American public wouldn’t accept a huge tax increase in the midst of a great economic recession. He also knew that he had pledged no new taxes for anyone with an annual income less than $250,000. So, what the Supreme Court has done is to tag Obamacare with the label that opponents rightly applied to it before and after it was passed — a tax increase with huge economic and societal costs. Given that Obamacare was sold as a lie, I would like nothing more than to have it go to a revote in Congress as a tax issue rather than a health-care and health insurance issue. The big question is: How many Democrats would support the act a second time around in its proper context as a tax increase?

• Obamacare is less of a health insurance and health-care overhaul than another liberal-socialist ploy to make more people more dependent upon the government. And it’s just a transitional step toward the planned-for creation of a single-payer insurance system with federal government in charge of all facets of health care in this country. In the run-up to the 2008 election, Obama made it clear to the unions that strongly support him that he, too, wants a single-payer system but that the American people have to be conditioned over time to accept it. In that effort, the president found an unlikely ally in the U.S. Supreme Court and, more so, in Chief Justice John Roberts.

Initial great disappointment in the Supreme Court decision led to optimism that Obamacare’s survival, and its proper labeling as the nation’s largest-ever tax increase, will be the pivotal event that motivates and energizes the right to work harder than ever to elect more conservatives to Congress and to help Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (the “Repeal and Replace Obamacare” candidate) make Barack Obama a one-term president. Given its blessing by the U.S. Supreme Court, the only way now to get rid of Obamacare is to toss out of office the people who forced it upon us and the man for which it is not so lovingly named.


Sunrises over the Atlantic were great vacation treats

Thursday, June 21, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. —— I took a brief vacation trip to a beach on Florida’s east coast recently, and among my most enjoyable moments was the time I spent watching the sun come up over the Atlantic Ocean on back-to-back mornings.

Here is a photo I took on the second morning. It was a beautiful and glorious morning indeed.

It occurred to be me later, on the drive back home to Winter Haven, that I’ve seen a lot of sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico, but I can’t recall a previous time that I awoke really early at an Atlantic-side beach and watched a sunrise over the ocean.

In all of my almost 52 years, I’ve been missing out on some truly wonderful treats.


Wanted: Many good people to counter cumulative evil

Sunday, June 10, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Though there is nothing in his many speeches or writings to prove that these exact words are his, the often-used quote above is largely attributed to Edmund Burke.

Burke (1729-1797) was an Ireland-born statesman, author, orator and political philosopher who, after moving to England, was elected to the House of Commons in the British Parliament.

According to some information found on the Internet, the quote familiar to so many of us is a summary of sorts to something Burke said during a speech he made to the House of Commons on April 23, 1770:

“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

Regardless of the way the statement Burke originally made evolved into the quote we know today, the truth of it cannot be denied. The warning cannot be any more clear, and neither can it be ignored.

From this vantage point, the once-great United States of America is spiraling down toward mediocrity, irrelevancy and even has-been status at an astonishing and frightening pace — a pace that sometimes takes the breath away.

Though there are rays of hope, such as the recent vote of confidence Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker received in an election conjured up to recall him, each day that goes by, government — government at all levels and in all branches — chips away at our individual liberties, saps away our economic resources and chomps away at our once-strong moral foundation.

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Our fallen warriors: Are their lives given or taken?

Monday, June 4, 2012

By JACK MURPHY

In his remarks at Arlington National Cemetary on Memorial Day 1982, President Reagan said, in part, “... the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country.”

That choice of words has always seemed a “little off” to me. I don’t mean to sound critical of President Reagan, because I admired him greatly. This reference to the deaths of the fallen in war is commonly used by many writers and observers of conflict.

I have felt for some time that these heroes have not really given their lives in the strict use of the word. No one wants to give away his life. In certain circumstances, like those who have covered the body of another with their own, or thrown themselves on a hand grenade, it certainly would apply. The person clearly knows the result of his action in these cases. In most situations, though, members of a fighting force are focussed on fighting the enemy, achieving victory, and returning home to their families alive and well, as they certainly should.

When a life is lost to an IED, a rocket burst or a bullet, it might be more appropriate to say the life was taken rather than given. This places more emphasis on the enemy, who is fully responsible for the resulting death.

Our fighting men and women bravely place themselves in danger from the evil forces that threaten their families and other citizens. Saying that they go there “to give their lives for their country” is not that flattering, in my opinion. It gives the anti-war cynic an opening to inaccurately portray what is happening here. Those who seek personal empowerment by belittling those engaged in war can characterize it as throwing away a precious gift casually.

Anyone who willingly acts to protect the helpless by entering into a situation fraught with life-ending events merely seconds away, during every moment of every day, is certainly deserving to be called a hero. Even if his body escapes physical harm externally, he returns home with a badly stress-scarred soul.

I don’t want any young people going off to war “to give their lives” for me. I want them to return to their wives and children, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. If some of them do not return, I want the record to show clearly that their lives were taken from them by those with evil in their hearts.

Jack Murphy of Maine is a winter resident of Frostproof, Fla., and compiler of the “Styles of Smiles” column that runs monthly in the News Chief newspaper in Winter Haven. At this posting, he is back at his summertime home in Maine and can be reached by e-mail at jackmurphy27@gmail.com.


If alcohol is involved, it’s not ‘‘family entertainment’

Saturday, May 26, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. —— Well, this is disappointing.

The powers-that-be at Legoland Florida have asked for and received from the Polk County Board of Adjustment permission to sell alcoholic beverages.

So much for “family entertainment.”

The new theme park had sought an exemption from a county code that bars the sale and consumption of alcohol within 1,000 feet of a church or school. The exemption was necessary because two churches are located nearby.

According to a newspaper report, Legoland Florida General Manager Adrian Jones told the Board of Adjustment on Thursday that the company eventually wants to be able to sell beer and wine at a resort hotel planned for a later phase of park development. But he also said a restaurant in the new water park the attraction opened to the public today (May 26) might soon sell beer and wine to adult guests.

Jones said hotel guests would expect to find there a restaurant that serves alcohol, and he said park guests have indicated in comments it was “almost expected” that beer and wine would be sold at a water park.

And besides, park officials, the park’s alcohol advocates and most members of the Board of Adjustment say, all the other theme parks are selling alcohol.

Perhaps we should get comfort in knowing that Legoland Florida isn’t seeking a state license to sell distilled beverages. You know, hard liquor — vodka, whiskey, rum and the like.

I’m not comforted by any kind of alcohol being served at this “family” theme park, one at which the target guests are children ages 2 through 12 and their parents (and a business I really want to like for its local economic benefits). And it seems quite contradictory that a company that prides itself in providing wholesome “family entertainment” would seek permission to sell adult beverages, no matter how strong or light the alcohol content.

Family entertainment and alcohol are not compatible. More than that, family and alcohol are not compatible. I have some experience with that, having grown up quite unpleasantly at times with parents and, briefly, a stepfather who drank irresponsibly and often.

Unless the only interest is money, and the love of it, nothing good in the long term comes from the sale and consumption of alcohol — especially when children are part of the mix.


Moral clarity? Don’t look for it in the White House

Thursday, May 10, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — That big “SMOOOOOOCH!” you heard Wednesday night was the collective lip-locking of gays and lesbians all over the nation — perhaps all over the world — as they celebrated President Barack Hussein Obama’s new-found position on homosexual “marriage.”

The president, a “committed Christian” as described by his staff, now supports same-sex “marriage” after not supporting it just a few years ago.

“At a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that same-sex couples should be able to get married,” the president said in a Wednesday interview with ABC News.

So, not only is Obama the first black U.S. president, he’s made history again as the first U.S. president to openly support gay “marriage.”

That’s just so … so … progressive of our esteemed and enlightened president. So forward-thinking, the homosexuals say. And, according to some pundits, so very bold and courageous of Obama — especially in an election year.

And so very, very wrong.

The president’s statement on gay “marriage” was set up unintentionally or intentionally — the latter probably is more the truth, given the cold calculations of this White House — by a comment Vice President Joe Biden made over the weekend.

Biden said on one of the news shows Sunday that he is “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex “marriage.”

Obama’s team initially raced to distance the president from Biden’s “personal” view, saying the vice president’s comments did not reflect a change in administration policy on the issue of gay “marriage.” But then the president and his handlers saw in some twisted way what they thought was a political opportunity and seized upon it.

The now-shared view by Obama and Biden on same-sex “marriage” — “marriage” in this context is in quotation marks because anything other than a union of a man and woman is not marriage — really is not a surprise, knowing the kind of anti-tradition, cross-cultural, anti-social, anti-moral and un-American people that voters ushered into high U.S. office four years ago. This issue is not the reason to vote in new, better, stronger more moral leadership this November, but it’s yet another reason to do just that.

Make no mistake, Obama and Biden are wrong in their support of same-sex “marriage” because the basis for it, homosexual behavior (a choice, not a predisposition), is wrong.

Absent of God, natural order and just plain common sense tell us that homosexuality is not natural and that gay “marriage” makes no sense.

Enter God, and we find that not only is homosexuality a sin, it is a sin of the highest order — an abominable sin.

That’s not man, commentary writers or even preachers talking; that’s God on high talking.

If Obama, the “committed Christian,” and Biden, a self-described Catholic Christian, would reach for their family Bible, dust it off and turn to Leviticus in the Old Testament, they will find these verses (God speaking through Moses):

• Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. — Leviticus 18:22

• If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. — Leviticus 20:13

The God of creation, the God of the Bible, the God of righteousness and justice and the Author of morality and salvation is supreme, and His Word is the first and final authority on matters such as this. But, it appears that our president and vice president, after three and a half years in their lofty positions, think they know better.

What arrogance! What foolishness!

The president said his new position on same-sex “marriage” represents an “evolution” of thought on the matter — from once opposing gay “marriage” to now embracing it. More accurately, it represents a further devolution of the American culture, a further breakdown in societal structure and another giant crack in the moral foundation of this once-great nation.

Don’t expect greatness from America and don’t expect blessings from on high when we as a people and the people who lead us don’t act with moral clarity.


From God’s perfect joke comes a pair of lessons

Saturday, May 19, 2012

By JACK MURPHY

On one particular Friday night, after watching the 11 o’clock news, I went to bed. As a man with apnea, I can’t sleep on my back, so I habitually sleep on one side or the other.

On this night, I had trouble clearing my head of all my computer plans and couldn’t get to sleep. After lying on one side for a while, I felt the need to turn over. Often I play a sort of game where I try to guess the time on the digital clock across the room before I turn over. This time I closed my eyes and saw 12:15. When I turned over, there it was exactly — 12:15. I was amazed and amused.

After lying there a while longer, I again felt the need to turn over. I closed my eyes and concentrated. I saw the red numerals, 12:35, as clear as anything. I turned over, and to my amazement, the clock said exactly 12:35.

Now, I was really impressed!

Of all the possible numbers I could have chosen, guessing these two times with complete accuracy — right to the minute — was far beyond the laws of chance. No way could this have happened without some kind of spiritual involvement.

The thought occurred to me that maybe it was possible that God was planning to grant me some kind of special power to foretell numerical choices. I thought how wonderful that would be and actually spoke to God directly, asking for such a thing to take place. I assured Him I would treat such a power with respect and only use it for good.

Then I tried to relax and go to sleep despite my excitement. Before long, my shoulder felt a little stiff and I needed to turn over again. This was it. This was the big one.

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The lead image on the website of French President-elect Franois Hollande has a simple message of “Merci” — “Thank you” — to the voters of France. The added inset images are the French flag and the rose-adorned logo of the French Socialist party.

With election of a socialist, French say ‘Give us more’

Monday, May 7, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — So, the French have elected a socialist to be their president.

Franois Hollande, 57, a former Socialist party leader, will be moving into lyse palace in Paris and single-term President Nicolas Sarkozy will be moving out.

According to the news reports, Hollande will be the first Socialist party member in 17 years to serve as French president. Big “S” Socialist? Perhaps. But little “s” socialist? No.

What the people of France actually did Sunday was elect as their president someone who wears the “Socialist” label on his sleeve rather than re-elect a socialist-light like Sarkozy.

Given the political and social mind-set in France and its deeply embedded big-government welfare and entitlement programs, only a socialist to one degree or another will ever be elected president over there.

A true conservative as defined in the United States — someone who believes in capitalism, free markets, low corporate and individual tax rates, personal liberty, individual responsibility, a strong work ethic among the people, national sovereignty and limited government — likely will never be elected president of France.

Analysis of Sunday’s election indicates that in electing Hollande, the French made Sarkozy another victim of the anti-austerity wave that has swept Europe and swept out leaders who have tried to undo some of the great economic damage done by decades of socialist policies.

In rejecting “austerity”— in reality just a minor rollback in government spending to help right their nation’s sinking economic ship — the French have re-embraced liberal spending policies. And they have embraced Hollande, who has promised in many ways to give them just that. That’s what a socialist does.

Laughingly, Hollande said during the presidential campaign that he wants to promote “growth” alongside the nation’s austerity drive. “Growth” in France and in most of Western Europe means only one thing: Growth in government spending on social and entitlement programs — not economic growth. “Growth” in that sense and “austerity” cannot co-exist.

The French didn’t do themselves any favors by electing Hollande as their president, but, then again, the French haven’t done much right since the nation backed the American colonies in the Revolutionary War against Great Britain.

Since then, the French have become lazy, weak, unproductive, selfish, self-absorbed and difficult-to-like whiners, content to feed off whatever they can sap from their government and the few economic producers their nation can muster.

But, perhaps that’s too harsh. Perhaps that’s being way too tough on the French. Because what they did Sunday wasn’t any different than what voters in this nation did nearly four years ago — elect a socialist as president.


Back Romney for president and send Obama packing

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — During the primary election season, I wasn’t an enthusiastic supporter of any of the Republican candidates for president. All of them fell far short of the standard set by Ronald Reagan, by far the best conservative in the modern era to ever run for and win the presidency.

But, now that the path has been cleared for the 2012 GOP nomination of Mitt Romney, I will back his candidacy for president and enthusiastically vote for him come Nov. 6.

And, I ask that my fellow conservatives and Republicans, and independents, libertarians, conservative-to-moderate Democrats and anyone else who truly loves our nation, to do the same.

Why should we support Romney with our time, energy, money, prayers and, ultimately, our vote at the ballot box on Election Day?

• On most of the issues, particularly those dealing with the economy and defense, he’s decidedly conservative.

• Romney is a later-in-life politician, meaning he orginally made a living outside of government as a highly successful businessman. That experience in the real world can be and should be extremely valuable when matters of the economy, job creation and federal budget are considered.

• His election should slow considerably the nation’s dramatic lurch to the left and drive toward destructive socialism, all led by the current administration of President Barack Hussein Obama and — shedding some truth on the matter — his Marxist/communist handlers.

• Since his inauguration, Obama and his policies have been an economic, financial, national security, social and cultural disaster for the United States. An unrestrained Obama in a second term very well could put the nation on an unrecoverable path toward mediocrity or, even worse, eventual ruin. Why take the chance?

• Romney is a capitalist and not ashamed of it. He understands full well that capitalism has been a crucial component of this nation’s strong foundation through the years and that capitalism will help keep the United States economically strong, vibrant and free.

• I believe in and love America and, unlike the current occupant of the White House, Romney also believes in America — so much so that he’s made it his campaign slogan.

• Mitt Romney isn’t Barack Obama — the point can’t be made strongly enough — so given the choices we’ll have for president on the general election ballot (and, to be sure, there will be plenty of fringe candidate options for America’s top job), what reasonable choice other than Romney do we have? (Not voting doesn’t count and might even hurt the conservative cause.)

May God help us during this election cycle. May God be with us. May God bless America.

On the Web: http://www.mittromney.com/


Amusing or tragically sad? This image, which is making the rounds on Facebook, shows the politically, socially and culturally blind being led off the cliff by President Barack Obama and those in his administration. “Forward” is the new slogan for the Obama re-election campaign. Interestingly, the slogan “Forward” has its roots in European Marxism, according to people familiar with such things. Coincidence? We think not.

Read his lips: ‘Fairness’ an Obama call for tax hikes

Friday, May 4, 2012

By ROYAL A. BROWN III

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — President Obama’s messages about economic “fairness” are nothing more than class warfare, pitting those considered to be rich against those who pay no taxes.

His socialist policy of redistribution of wealth by increasing taxes on the wealthy, using the proposed “Buffett Rule” to increase capital gains taxes to 30 percent and marginal tax rates to 50 percent, will only drive investments offshore and further reduce the number of American jobs.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this will result in only $500 billion being collected toward the $16 trillion (and growing) national debt over 10 years. Robbing wealth from those who provide most of the jobs, while destroying individual initiative and motivation to work hard, is a very poor tradeoff.

Obama developed this new “fairness” message because he can’t run on his record of failures, some of which are listed below:

• Obamacare — A high costs to taxpayers, a reduction in health care and unconstitutionality.

• No tax reform — Fifty percent of Americans pay no taxes.

• No immigration reform — The federal government is suing the states for enforcing federal laws that the federal government won’t even enforce.

• No energy policy — Wasting taxpayer funds on “green” projects that supply less than 2 percent of our energy needs and lying about who increased domestic oil production and drilling.

• An apologetic and appeasement foreign policy — Leading to the “Arab Spring” and more radical Islaminization.

• Government regulation — Unconstitutional federal czars and executive orders replacing leadership.

• Disregard for the U.S. Constitution and individual liberty — Example: Ordering Catholic institutions to provide contraceptives.

• Poor economy — Unemployment still more than 8 percent unemployment (17 percent underemployment); foreclosures; allowing two years of unemployment pay.

• Transparency in government — Not.

• Debt — Increases of $5 trillion and growing; a budget plan with a $1.3 trillion deficit; the use of military assets to support vacations and junkets; no entitlement reform.

• Fostering a European-style entitlement society — A record 44 million people on food stamps and increases in other government giveaways (cell phones, housing subsidies, Medicaid, Social Security Supplemental Security Income [SSI], etc.).

• Attempts to reduce our national sovereignty through the United Nations.

• Irresponsible actions by the U.S. attorney general — The “Operation Fast and Furious” weapons sting; Black Panthers; and the use of the United Nations to declare that the United States violates human rights.

Royal A. Brown III is a retired career U.S. Army veteran and a retired educator. He taught in the Army Junior ROTC program at Winter Haven (Fla.) High School.


Many in government want control over our private pension and retirement funds and our free Internet. Are we going to let them have it?

Be wary of government’s moves on Internet, pensions

Thursday, April 26, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Words to the wise:

They’ve already come for, taken and corrupted most of our children through a public education system — grade school, secondary and post-secondary — that long ago kicked out God, the Bible, discipline and sound teaching.

Now the higher-ups in our “benevolent” federal government are gunning for our Internet-related freedoms and our privately held pension and retirement funds.

Don’t let them have them. Don’t let them take them.

If the government moves in on the Internet — the World Wide Web — not only will it grab the ability to tax financial transactions currently out of its reach, it will control the individual’s ability to freely post content to the ’Net and, as a result, limit the rich content — be it good, bad or ugly — that all of us are now free to view, research, download and interact with.

In basic and quite scary terms, the government would end up controlling both the medium and the message.

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Two of our presidents: Abraham Lincoln, No. 16, left, and Barack Hussein Obama, No. 44. Given a choice, who would you trust most to steer the ship of state?

Obama like Lincoln? Let’s paint a picture of contrasts

Saturday, April 21 , 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — The television news had a blip the other night about our nation’s 44th president, Barack Hussein Obama, and yet another in a long line of references he has made through the years to our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln.

This time, apparently, President Obama was drawing similarities between himself and Lincoln.

(It wasn’t the first time he’s done this. Back in mid-March, our Democrat president said that he’s more like Lincoln, the nation’s first Republican president, than any of today’s crop of Republicans. And he suggested that Lincoln would feel more at home with today’s Democrat Party than with the modern-day GOP.)

Without even trying to understand the president’s logic or reasoning for making the comparison, except to say the self-absorbed one likely has motives tied to a re-election bid, it might be more instructive to note the striking contrasts between him and Lincoln.

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To the atheist: Just look
to nature, to the heavens

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

By JAMES W. MacMEEKIN III

WINTER HAVEN, Fla.— Atheism is a religion to the same degree as all other faiths. Webster’s Dictionary describes atheism as such.

Atheists are free to practice their religious beliefs, but they certainly are not free to impede or prohibit the free exercise for those who have a different belief.

This commentary will neither ridicule nor proselytize, but it does provide a metaphoric discussion for consideration by both those of “faith” and those who believe in the religion of atheism.

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Nov. 6, 2012, a pivotal date for the future of our nation

Thursday, March 29, 2012

By PIXIE RUBIN

AUBURNDALE, Fla. — It is evident from watching the Republican presidential debates and the fight for the GOP presidential nomination that many people do not understand the significance of the upcoming presidential election. Issues such as gay rights, a candidate’s faith and alleged personal baggage are irrelevant to the greater issue.

The presidential election of Nov. 6, 2012, will present a choice between freedom and socialism. We are now at the point where the nation’s survival as a prosperous society will be decided. If we turn right, back toward this nation’s founding principles, we have an opportunity to remain free and restore this country to its former greatness. If we continue to move left, toward the European socialist model, we might lose our freedoms in this country forever.

We are 10 years behind Europe’s example of what our future will look like if President Barack Obama is re-elected: Austerity measures and rioting in the streets by those whose attitude is, “You owe me.” Think Wisconsin and the state union members’ outrage at being asked to contribute to their own pension plans.

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Before I kick the bucket, I have a list to work through

Saturday, April 7, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — As a journalist/editor/writer, I deal daily with words and phrases — let’s call it the language — and have been doing that for almost 37 years. It might be a surprise, however, to learn that the term “bucket list” was only vaguely familiar to me up until a couple of years ago.

That’s when I watched on the small screen a tearjerker of a movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman and titled — Guess what? — “The Bucket List.” It’s about a couple of terminally ill, cranky and seemingly incompatible old guys who befriend one another and decide together to do a few things — some of them wild — before they “kick the bucket.” Hence, the Nicholson and Freeman characters create their mutual bucket list and cross off the line items as they do them — and have a blast along the way.

I’ve started a bucket list, too, though at last check my life was terminal in only the normal and basically healthy kind of way. At this stage, I don’t have on my list any of the more daring kinds of things the Nicholson and Freeman characters did (While it might be a rush, I doubt that my limits for adventure will have me parachuting out of an airplane.), but I do consider my list to be reasonably challenging, especially with time and money being key factors.

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The Quran of Islam
is a dangerous book

Saturday, March 17, 2012

By JACK MURPHY

FROSTPROOF, Fla. — I originally wrote this in response to an article that listed only positive statements from the Quran (or Koran), the guiding book of Islam. The article described 10 positive statements made by Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Those statements, according to the writer, show the commonalities among Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

The writer avoided the Quran’s contrary instructions.

The Quran, quite frankly, is a very dangerous book. Despite many positive religious instructions, it contains many that validate the actions of terrorists around the world, and it degrades women.

Since the Quran uses the same chapter-and-verse format as the Bible, I will include the same style to support my statements. Readers can verify them in the Qurans found in any library. Or, you can download your own copy free of charge. There are many free sources on the Internet. I downloaded my first copy from the Gutenberg site that has thousands of free books for downloading. The translator of my copy was J.M. Rodwell, a minister as I recall.

In the Quran: “We send not a prophet with miracles, but to strike terror” 17:59; defines infidels: “who say Jesus is a messiah” 5:17; slay infidels: “strike off their heads …” 47:4-6.

The Quran teaches male superiority, 4:34 and 2:228; women have only a half vote before a jury, 2:282; instructions for scourging one’s wife, 4:34; wives may only inherit half of what males may inherit; authorizes polygamy, 4:3; validates slavery, 33:50; permission given for sex with any owned slaves, 4:24.

The Quran teaches religious intolerance: Only Muslims enter Heaven, 3:85; Muslims forbidden from taking Jews or Christians as friends, 5:51; lying is permissible to one’s enemies, 24:11.

Many “perpetual” virgins (They will become “freshened” to virginity continually) await Muslims in Heaven; 56:35; wine, forbidden on Earth, will be abundant in Heaven, 47:16 and 82:25; and it will never make one drunk, 37:45. The story of 72 virgins is not true precisely. The number was added by Muhammad’s followers later. The Quran does describe “wide-eyed” maidens for their pleasure. If boys are preferred, they will be provided. I swear, this is true.

These things are not in my Bible. Are they in yours?

Jack Murphy of Maine is a winter resident of Frostproof, Fla. He can be reached by e-mail at jackmurphy27@gmail.com.


Targeting oil ‘speculators’ an energy policy sideshow

Monday, March 5, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Bill Nelson is the perfect example of the politician who will attempt to score some quick and easy election-year points by pushing frivolous and gimmicky “solutions” to very real and very serious national problems.

In a recent e-mail blast, Florida’s senior U.S. senator reminded us of the painful reality of rising fuel prices and news reports that a gallon of gasoline could cost motorists $5 or more by summertime.

“That’s outrageous — and unjustified,” Nelson the Democrat wrote in dramatic fashion.

But in the balance of his message, Nelson didn’t direct his fury against an abominable U.S. energy policy that stifles domestic oil production. He didn’t rant against national leaders who scorn “Big Oil” and hold oil companies up to public ridicule. He didn’t boldly take on the environmentalists and “global-warming” alarmists and truthfully tell about their role in making America a nation too dependent on foreign energy sources and weak in the process.

We wouldn’t really expect that of a senator with liberal leanings, would we? That’s not in their playbook.

No, Nelson’s “fix” for high fuel prices is proposed legislation that targets the new energy bogeyman: The oil “speculator.”

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Following recent events, will Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Planned Parenthood be forever linked in our minds?

Komen group came so close to doing the right thing

Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012

By JOE BRADDY

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — I had plans Friday to write a piece about the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation and how pleased I was to learn that the nation’s leading breast cancer charity had severed financial ties with Planned Parenthood.

I’m glad I didn’t. A follow-up would’ve been necessary.

This morning I read that the Komen foundation leaders, under intense criticism and pressure from social media and other corners, had reversed course. The foundation will continue to provide grant money to the abortion-providing Planned Parenthood, supposedly for its breast cancer-screening services.

Not only has my pleasure with the Komen foundation turned to displeasure, I am truly disappointed and disheartened that its leaders, fearing loss of the almighty funding dollar, succumbed under Planned Parenthood-led pressure to retain the foundation’s original grant rules. Those rules flow allow the flow of foundation money to Planned Parenthood, while the grant rule changes announced earlier in the week would’ve cut off that flow.

In essence, the Komen foundation leaders took what amounted to be a highly moral stance toward its relationship with Planned Parenthood and then retreated, coming down squarely on the side of mammon — the pursuit and love of money.

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Tax season and presidential politics combine to fire up the debate about the U.S. tax code and options for replacing it.

Scrap the tax code; ponder move to national sales tax

Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012

By JAMES W. MacMEEKIN III

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Reducing the federal budget to meaningful programs is only one of the many chores required of a U.S House and a Senate that, conservatives hope, both will be controlled by Republicans following the Nov. 6 election.

Confronting the Internal Revenue Service — and its 40,000-plus pages of rules and regulations — will test the political fortitude of the newly elected. But, it must be done.

The U.S Department of the Treasury employs about 150,000 individuals, including the new 16,000-member IRS audit force, which will cling to their leader’s economically disastrous tax agenda to the ruination of any return to full employment.

The IRS must be virtually eliminated. The income tax must be completely eliminated.

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Weight loss possible when exercising some discipline

Saturday Dec. 31, 2011

By JOE BRADDY

“17 USED TREADMILLS”

That’s the message I saw on a sign outside a used sporting goods store I drove by in Winter Haven a couple of weeks before Christmas.

Motorists passing my truck at the time might have seen the wry smile that came to my face.

“Now, that says a lot,” I thought.

It told me that the store likely paid almost nothing for, and probably was asking top dollar for, several treadmills that people wasted their money on and wanted to get out of the house.

It told me that the store was taking advantage of the holiday buying and gift-giving season to help ring up some sales — not that there’s anything wrong with that.

It told me that the store also was timing the treadmill sales to the coming new year and the penchant among many people to resolve to lose weight and get fit.

And it told me that at least 17 people in the area likely gave up on their resolution and didn’t want to have a treadmill around the house to remind them about it.

(How many more people are there who gave up on their fitness resolution but still have a treadmill or some other large piece of exercise equipment taking up space in the family room or garage?)

I’m here to say that anybody — anybody — can lose weight and get fit and that nobody — absolutely nobody — needs to waste hard-earned money on expensive exercise equipment to do it. (Sorry, manufacturers and retailers.)


The irony of it all

This piece of art, created in the wake of the recent protests against corporate America and Wall Street, is making the rounds on the Internet. It shows well the irony of the protests and the hypocrisy — idiocy? — of most of those doing the protesting. You can go here for a larger version of this illustration.


True, Barack Hussein Obama is the president of the United States, but can Americans trust this man to keep the nation strong, well defended and free? (U.S. government photos)

On cue, ‘Obamaspeak’ follows failure of budget ‘Super Committee’

Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011

By JAMES W. MacMEEKIN III

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Recently, President Barack Hussein Obama proposed a “Super Committee” to provide the nation that which Congress could not. Namely, a federal budget that would simultaneously reduce America’s $15 trillion indebtedness while continuing the expansion of Barack Hussein’s entitlement programs.

By definition, there could be no budget acceptable to both the Sociocoms (aka “Democrats”) and alleged conservatives (aka “Republicans”). There should be no surprise at this ideological impasse. It came off as planned by the Sociocoms.

How’s that again?

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What’s the truth about Social Security? Is it a Ponzi scheme or is it a perpetually viable and dependable financial safety net for older Americans? (Illustration by Joe Braddy)

Social Security (1935-2011): Where is the rage?

Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011

By JAMES W. MacMEEKIN III

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Recently, there has been some controversy regarding the administration of Social Security. One Republican presidential candidate had the audacity to suggest it was a Ponzi scheme. Another Republican presidential candidate suggested otherwise.

Let history be your guide. Since 1935, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, the trillions of working-men and women dollars, placed in trust for their eventual retirement have, indeed, been faithfully doled out to retiring workers.

For several decades, more dollars flowed into Social Security than required for disbursement. Naturally, our elected officials (aka “politicians”) couldn’t help but notice the mounting pile of (formerly) silver certificates. They were fast to take advantage. Rather than expose these silver certificates to the vagaries of the (gasp!) stock market, where, from one day to the next, who knew what fate awaited the innocent!

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Keep watching this space and see the bird as it takes on new personalities in a series drawn by James W. MacMeekin III. (Exclusive rights are granted to PolkCommentary.com for publication of this cartoon series. No other publication is permitted without the written consent of the artist.)

“A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.” — Unknown

“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” — Explorer Christopher Columbus (c. 1451-1506)

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” — Marketing expert Joshua J. Marine

“When it’s darkest, men see the stars.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American essayist, lecturer and poet

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), American civil rights leader

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Theresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.” — H. Jackson Brown Jr., American author best known for his inspirational book, “Life’s Little Instruction Book”

“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” — Jonathan Edwards(1703-1758), Christian preacher, theologian and key figure in The Great Awakening

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American essayist, poet and lecturer

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. — James 1:12 (KJV)

“When you accept the fact that sometimes seasons are dry and times are hard and that God is in control of both, you will discover a sense of divine refuge, because the hope then is in God and not in yourself.” — Charles R. Swindoll, evangelical Christian pastor, author and educator

“My patriotic heart beats red, white and blue.” — Author unknown

“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” — Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), principal author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States

“In America, we celebrate success. We don’t apologize for success.” — Mitt Romney, Republican presidential nominee, in Aug. 30, 2012, nomination acceptance speech

“Whatever we worship, short of God, is sure to be our undoing.” — Mignon McLaughlin in The Neurotic’s Notebook (1960)

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” — Mark Twain, American novelist (1835-1910)

“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” — Jimmy Johnson, Super Bowl-winning former NFL coach

“There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.” — Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), 40th president of the United States

“Enslave the liberty of but one human being and the liberties of the world are put in peril.” — William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879), American abolitionist, journalist and social reformer

“The moral imaginations of Americans, which is so much a part of our national character, is inseparable from our religious roots.” — Paul Greenberg (1937-), columnist and political commentator

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” — Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794), American statesman from Virginia and signatory to the U.S. Declaration of Independence

“There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence and energy of her citizens cannot cure.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), American World War II hero and 34th president of the United States

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands. One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” — The Pledge of Allegiance

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road ... unless you fail to make the turn.” — Anonymous

“Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.” — George Washington (1732-1799), Revolutionary War hero and first U.S. president

“I believe with all my heart that one cannot be America’s president without a belief in God, without the strength that your faith gives you.” — George H.W. Bush (born 1924), 41st U.S. president

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), American civil rights leader

“Democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man.” — Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), 40th U.S. president

“My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on Earth enjoy!” — Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), author of the Declaration of Independence and third U.S. president

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” — Mary Ann Evans, aka George Eliot (1819-1880), British novelist

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” — The final words of Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale before he was hanged by the British on Sept. 22, 1776

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” — Harry S. Truman (1884-1982), 33rd U.S. president

Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift. — 2 Corinthians 9:15 (KJV)

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill, former prime minister of Great Britain

“Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.” —Albert Einstein, mathematician and physicist

“America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people.” — George W. Bush, 43rd U.S. president (2001-09)

“Work spares us from three evils: Boredom, vice and need.” —Voltaire

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” — Jim Rohn (1930-2009), American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker

“More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying them.” — Harold J. Smith, author of “The Defiant Ones”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), American civil rights leader

“The strength of our country is the strength of its religious convictions.” — Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933), 30th president of the United States

“Make use of time. Let not advantage slip.” — William Shakespeare (1554-1616), English poet, dramatist and actor

“A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” — Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), 26th president of the United States

“It is incredible how as soon as a people becomes subject, it promptly falls into such complete forgetfulness of its freedom that it can hardly be roused to the point of regaining it, obeying so easily and so willingly that one is led to say, on beholding such a situation, that this people has not so much lost its liberty as won its enslavement. — From the “Discourse on Voluntary Servitude” (1548) by French political philosopher tienne de La Botie (1530-1563)

“The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” — Margaret Thatcher (1925-), conservative British politician and first woman to serve as British prime minister

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: ...” — Matthew 7:13 (the words of Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount)

“Life is a long lesson in humility.” — James Matthew Barrie (1860-1937), Scottish novelist and dramatist and creator of Peter Pan

“Truth is treason in the empire of lies.” — Written by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, a 2008 and 2012 candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, in his book, “The Revolution: A Manifesto”(2008)

“The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.” — Author Lin Yutang in “An Academic Sparks Giving to Charity”

Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it. — Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)

“Integrity has no need of rules.” — Albert Camus (1913-1960), French author, philosopher, journalist and Nobel Prize winner for literature

“The price of greatness is responsibility.” — Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), British statesman and prime minister

“Many Christians have gone on to an untimely death because they got out of the will of God.” — Dr. Gene Wiggins, pastor, Central Baptist Church, Winter Haven, Fla., in a March 4, 2012, sermon

About the Bible ... “In regard to this great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to men. All the good Saviour gave to the world was communicated through this Book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to found portrayed in it.” — Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th president of the United States

“The love of wealth makes bitter men; the love of God, better men.” — W.L. Hudson

“A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan. — Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), U.S. civil rights leader

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” — Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States

Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. — Proverbs 14:34 (KJV)

“Lost time is never found again.” —
Benjamin Franklin, American patriot, statesman and inventor

Time is the best teacher. Unfortunately, it kills all of its students. — Contributed by Jack Murphy

I never wanted to believe that my dad was stealing from his job as a road worker. But when I got home, all the signs were there.

I read that one of the presidential debates will have a town-hall format where citizens will ask the candidates questions. The most common question: “Are you the only two
choices?” — From Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

I hit a rabbit with my car last night. He was very unhoppy.

Love is ... Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing while she mops up the floor after her husband has walked across it in his barn boots. — Contributed by Jack Murphy

Man: “So, do you want to go out, maybe?” Woman: “Sorry. I don’t date outside my species.”

What’s the world’s most popular wine? “I don’t like Brussels sprouts.”

A gossip is someone with a great sense of rumor.

If you smuggle cars into the country, are you trafficking? — Contributed by Jack Murphy

I started out with nothing and still have most of it left.

How bad is the U.S. economy? Jury duty is now considered to be a good-paying job.

Artificial intelligence usually beats real stupidity.

The Senility Prayer:
Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked; the good fortune to run into the ones I do; and the eyesight to tell the difference. — Contributed by Jack Murphy

Did you hear about the red ship and the blue ship that collided? Both crews were marooned.

If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of payments.

A laugh for dieter No. 1: Losing weight is a triumph of mind over platter.

I live in my own little world, but it’s OK; they know me here.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Sometimes I wake up grumpy. Other times I let her sleep.

I didn’t fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.

Two peanuts were walking down the road and one was a salted.

Oh, for the good old days when people would stop Christmas shopping when they ran out of money. — Anonymous, but contributed by Jack Murphy

“If you had to specify, in one word, why the human race has not, and will never achieve its full potential, that word would be meetings.” — Dave Barry

A retired husband is often a wife’s full-time job.

IRS might be targeting Tea Party groups

This headline doesn’t give us a warm and fuzzy feeling about our federal government:

“Numerous Tea Party chapters claim IRS attempts to sabotage nonprofit status”

According to the report (read it here) by Perry Chiaramonte of Fox News, “Tea Party chapters around the nation are blasting the Internal Revenue Service after the federal agency sent them letters demanding information about their politics, contributors and even family members.”

Our government, conceived more than 200 years ago on the premise that everyone has the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” has gotten to be too big, too intrusive, too overbearing, too coercive and, increasingly, too menacing.

Is it too late to dial back the size and reach of the federal government? I hope not. — Joe Braddy (March 4, 2012)


Post-rapture Earth won’t be pleasant

It seems lately that the words that disturb us the most are found on stickers on vehicle rear windows or back bumpers.

Recently, this space addressed a bumper sticker that said: “Instead of being born again, why not just grow up?”

Here’s what was found Feb. 17 on a car being driven by someone with obvious anti-Christian tendencies:

“Bring on the rapture. The rest of us will have the Earth to ourselves.”

The person with the sticker, and those who find it amusing, have no comprehension of what the rapture is and the terrible events it will trigger.

To be brief and to be clear, post rapture, Earth will not be a pleasant place. No, it will be an awful place.

While the word “rapture” isn’t in the Bible, it conveys the biblical teaching that at some point, perhaps soon, Jesus Christ will call the living Christians — and the dead in Christ — out of this world to meet him in the air and be taken away to Heaven. The Holy Spirit’s influence in the world will be removed as well. And afterward will come seven years of “tribulation,” a word that is found in the Bible. God will judge the world and those who have rejected His offer of salvation.

Really, who would want to be left behind to live in a world void of the evil-restraining influence of Christians and the Holy Spirit?

Apparently, the answer is those who would adorn their vehicles with bumper stickers that mock the rapture and, in essense, mock God. — Joe Braddy (Feb. 19, 2012)

It’s all God’s handiwork

I enjoy very much rising early, going outside, praying, meditating and soaking in the freshness of a new day.

This morning, as I looked east and watched whispy white clouds go from pink to orange with the rising sun, a belief I’ve had since childhood was reinforced — again.

There’s absolutely no way the wonder, beauty, perfection, greatness and majesty of Earth’s nature and the universe came about by accident, a “Big Bang” the eggheads call it.

No, just as it says in the Bible, in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.”

About that I can be certain — even without a degree in science. — JB (April 10, 2012)


The message is challenging

I drove by my church Saturday while running some errands and saw the new sign message that someone had put up:

“Will anyone be in Heaven because of you?”

It’s a challenging message for all Christians — me included.JB (March 25, 2012)


The stars are
beautiful

Almost by accident tonight, I stumbled across the big, bright and beautiful stars.

Oh, I knew they were up there in the heavens, hung perfectly by God in His glorious creation, but tonight they seemed extra wondrous.

In a change of routine, I went outside around 7:30 p.m. to cool down in the cool night air following a round of exercises, and when I looked out and up, there they were. Those stars.

Likely because the light of the moon wasn’t around to interfere, and the sky was so clear, the stars seemed to be extra bright. And extra big. And extra beautiful.

I am thankful for the stars — and the little time I could spend with them tonight. — JB (Jan. 16, 2012)


The message
is comforting

During the holidays , I heard for the first time a song that hints of a Christmas message but clearly delivers a gospel message.

Sung by two talented ladies at our church, “Immanuel” was made popular by the contemporary Christian trio Point of Grace.

“Immanuel, our God is with us, yes he is with us still. Immanuel, he has not left us, and he never will.”

Of course, Immanuel (or Emmanuel) means “God with us” and is another name for Jesus Christ.

Looking up references to the song, I came across a performance of it by Point of Grace on YouTube. You can find it — and, I hope, enjoy it — here. — JB


“His strength is perfect when our strength is gone. He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.” — From “His Strength Is Perfect,” a song by Steven Curtis Chapman


“He was there all the time ... waiting patiently in line.” – From “He Was There All the Time,” a contemporary Christian song


“In times like these I have a Savior, In times like these I have an anchor; ...” — From “In Times Like These,” a gospel hymn

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