abortion ‘right’ worth a celebration?
Jan. 14, 2012
Fla — A
brief newspaper story I came across this week both saddened and
was announcing a Jan. 14 event in Tampa called “Roe on the
Rocks: Celebrate Choices,” a “celebration” of
the U.S. Supreme Court’s contorted 1973 decision in Roe
v. Wade, the case that led to legalized and almost limitless
Lucky for those who attended, the free event included refreshments.
The use of the word “celebrate” is what really got to
My thinking is you celebrate birthdays. You celebrate wedding anniversaries.
You celebrate the Fourth of July, Christmas and New Year’s
Day. But unless you’re cold, cruel and lacking a moral compass,
you don’t “celebrate” a female’s so-called
“privacy right” to have her unborn child sucked from
her womb in bits and pieces.
the United States of America no longer the great nation it once
was? Why would God withhold His blessings from this land? Look to
the things some of its people now “celebrate” and you’ll
find at least one of the answers to those questions.
much-criticized and lampooned Tim Tebow, quarterback of the Denver
Broncos and former University of Florida quarterback, had a great
game Sunday in the Broncos’ 29-23 playoff victory over the
Tebow responds well to the pressure
Jan. 9, 2012
Fla. — I’ve previously written in this spot that I’m
a fan of Tim Tebow, NFL quarterback for the Denver Broncos.
I like the passion
he brings to the game of football, I appreciate his mighty role
in two national championships when he played for the University
of Florida Gators and, most of all, I appreciate his Christian testimony.
So, it was with
extreme pleasure Sunday (Jan. 8) that I watched Tebow lead the Broncos
to a 29-23 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the
first round of the NFL playoffs.
and outsiders have long been critics of Tebow, saying that while
he had great success in college football, he doesn’t fit the
mold of a prototypical NFL quarterback and won’t have success
as a pro. Nevertheless, the Denver coaches handed Tebow the starting
job at QB about six games into the season, and he led the team to
six straight victories.
The critics were
muted temporarily, but they seemed to return in greater force when
the Broncos lost their last three regular-season games and squeaked
into the playoffs with an 8-8 record.
Sunday’s home game against the Steelers, Tebow was under incredible
pressure from Denver fans and even the Broncos’ management
to shake off his poor late-season play, do well against the Steelers
and get the Broncos into the second round of the playoffs. Add to
that the intense media scrutiny, the criticism from NFL “experts”
and pundits and the basic widespread hate — yes, hate —
for Tebow, and one can imagine how the young QB might have felt
before Sunday’s kickoff.
the belly? How about bats in the belly? The kind of nausea that
can lead to vomiting.
But Tebow responded
exceedingly well, throwing for 316 yards on 10 completions and two
touchdowns and running for another score. His last touchdown pass
was on an exciting 80-yard play that made short work of the NFL’s
new overtime rules for playoff games.
After the game,
I was so happy for Tebow but still angry about a comment a sports
radio “personality” made about him early in the fourth
quarter. (I heard the comment on the drive home from an evening
church service, when I was checking on the game score.) The radio
sports guy, an obvious Tebow critic, was struggling to say something
good about him but then slipped again into critic mode with a comment
that was just mean and anything but the truth.
Tebow, he said,
is a “cartoon character.”
be honest, folks. Tebow critics and haters are all over the place
not because of his NFL-type football skills or perceived lack of
them and not because he wears his passion for the game on his sleeves.
They’re all over the place because Tebow is a Christian and
not ashamed of it. He’s a walking, talking and living testimony
for Jesus Christ, and the world can’t stand that — especially
from such a public personality.
this Jesus talk and just play football,” the hoards say.
In the scheme
of things, it is Tebow who has the things of life in proper perspective
and priority. For him, it is faith in Jesus Christ first, family
second and football somewhere lower on the list.
His is an example that NFL pundits, players and fans — and
yahoos on sports radio — would be very wise to follow.
Wide Web offers some value
Jan. 1, 2012
Fla. — I suppose I should be thanking *Al Gore, the former
vice president and Oscar-winning filmmaker (choke), for
inventing the Internet.
A few minutes
on the íNet very early this morning saved me at least $75 and about
90 minutes of work.
My online time
was spent researching a possible solution to a problem that developed
with my garage door opener. The openerís light wouldnít go off automatically
a few minutes after the garage door was opened or closed.
It didnít take
long for me to come across a suggested fix, which was to unplug
the opener from its power source for five minutes and allow the
logic board to reset itself.
Well, I did
what the suggestion called for and, by golly, it worked! After opening
or closing my garage door, the openerís light now goes off on its
own after about four minutes. Itís as good as new.
is loaded with junk, lies and pornography, but it does have its
redeeming points. The solution to my garage door opener problem
is but one of those redeeming points, and that pleases me.
please me is that a technician for the company that made my garage
door opener didnít offer the solution I discovered online when I
called the company help desk the other day. After I gave him the
model number for my opener and described my problem, the man told
me I had three choices: 1. Remove the bulb from the openerís light
socket (which I had already done as a temporary fix). 2. Replace
the openerís logic board (at a cost of time and about $75 for the
part). 3. Replace the entire unit (at a much greater cost).
None of the
technicianís solutions satisfied me, which drove me to the Internet
and my search for another option.
After my success
with resetting the logic board, this question immediately came to
mind: ďIf the solution to the problem was relatively easy to find
on the Internet, why didnít the openerís help-desk technician know
about it and suggest it to me?Ē
Could it be
that the help desk is less about helping and providing good solutions
and more about selling openers and opener parts?
The cynic in
me says ďYes.Ē
didnít really invent the Internet, but he once boasted he did. He
really did win an Academy Award for “An Inconvenient Truth,”
a 2006 documentary about global warming, but the film was based
on junk science and, like a lot of stuff on the Internet, is everything
but the truth.
Harold D. Braddy,
the editor’s father, was little more than a kid when he joined
the military in the early 1950s. This photo only recently became
known to the editor.
We love our
veterans — especially those close who served
Nov. 11, 2011
I would be remiss
on this Veterans Day 2011 if I didn’t say how much I am thankful
for our U.S. veterans — those who served our nation honorably
in the past and those who currently serve in war zones and in peaceful
stations around the world.
I am especially
grateful for two veterans most close to me: My late father, Harold
Dean Braddy, and my younger brother, Dwight Richard Braddy (named
for a U.S. president and a vice president who went on to become
in the U.S. Marine Corps for a hitch that began not long after he
graduated from high school in the early 1980s. I remember traveling
up to Camp Lejeune, N.C., for his graduation from boot camp.
Also at the boot
camp graduation was Dad, who then was about eight years into his
retirement from the military. He was really just a kid when he enlisted
in the U.S. Air Force in the early 1950s. He was in the U.S. Army
when he completed more than 20 years of service in 1975, having
earned the rank of chief warrant officer. I’ve never known
for sure why, how and when the move from the Air Force to the Army
occurred, but it seems to have worked out OK for Dad.
Unless you count
my many years as an always-moving Army brat (twice the family lived
on base at Fort Riley, Kan.), I never served in the military. But,
I wanted to.
In the early
1980s, not long after my wife and I were married, I went down to
the Winter Haven Armory, inquired about joining the National Guard
and went to far as to pick up the enlistment papers. But, the wife
would have nothing of that and any talk of enlistment talk was off.
on this site about Dad and the unhealthy smoking and drinking habits
that I believe cut his life very short, but I couldn’t be
more proud of his military service and his two tours of duty in
the Vietnam war zone in the 1960s.
My many years
around but not in the military have left a soft spot in my heart
for the institution and for those who have honorably and bravely
worn the uniform.They have my undying respect and gratitude.
the big change,
Nov. 8, 2011
Today is the
eighth day of the month. Its also a Tuesday.
Exactly nine months ago, on the eighth day of the month, a Tuesday,
I worked my last day for the News Chief newspaper in Winter Haven.
It was a tough decision to leave my employer of many, many years
my employment comfort zone, if you will and it carried
considerable financial risk because I didnt have another job
But I took a leap of faith that everything would work out well in
Today, just as that day nine months ago, I have absolutely no regrets
about my big move my retirement from daily newspaper
editing and publishing.
There are several reasons really, but the biggest is that the job
was consuming me and in all ways negatively.
The regrets I have now are about all the things the really
important things that I ignored, sacrificed and missed out
on in my attempt to do an excellent job for my company, the newspaper
and the community.
Those really important things of life are faith, family, friendships
and even simple daily pleasures. And work, as my dear and late father-in-law
used to tell me, is just a means to an end.
I value work, especially the kind that is meaningful, enjoyable
and personally satisfying and enriching, but the desire of my heart
is to place more value on the God who created me, the Christ who
saved me and the people most close to me.
Once I made the decision to leave the paper, I made a promise that
at the very first opportunity following my last day of work there
that I would be back in church. And I kept that promise. I have
since realized how much I missed being in church, missed the singing
and missed the preaching and teaching. I also have realized how
very important all of those things are to my spiritual and personal
Now that Ive resumed regular church attendance, it truly hurts
when work yes, the Lord has blessed with many new opportunities
and new sources of income and other unavoidable matters interfere
with the service times.
Nine months ago, despite the uncertainty then ahead of me, I was
content and at peace for the first time in a very long time. Today,
because I value more the really important things of life
and because I know God will provide I remain that way.
And in the end, at least so far and at least as far as Im
concerned, everything has worked out. It has worked out quite well,
The Ledger remain ‘liberal’?
almost 40 years, The Ledger in Lakeland has been a New York Times
came to abrupt end Friday (Jan. 6, 2012) with the announcement that
the sale of The Ledger and 15 other NYT Co. papers to Halifax Media
Holdings LLC had been completed.
the papers included in the $143 million cash purchase by Daytona
Beach-based Halifax Media was my former employer, Winter Haven’s
News Chief, which The Ledger and NYT Co. bought almost four years
ago to eliminate a prime source of competition.
Ledger’s ownership by the NYT Co. brought prestige, great
media and technical resources, nice benefits for employees and usually
solid financial backing, but it also brought the baggage that the
local paper was, like its parent, very socially and politically
liberal in tone and opinion page content.
have wondered for years how and why The Ledger could be “so
liberal” in a county, Polk, dominated by basically conservative
to the “conservative” News Chief, which I served as
a newsroom employee for many years and later as editor, The Ledger
definitely leaned to the left.
was with the News Chief when it was purchased in March 2008 by The
Ledger and NYT Co. and worked as a NYT Co. employee for almost three
years. Honestly, as a conservative, I felt like a fish out of water
the whole time, though I liked and respected — and still do
— The Ledger managers and employees who went instantly from
competeters to colleagues at the stroke of midnight on March 10,
The Ledger’s new affiliation with Halifax Media steer it in
a more conservative course editorially? Will the News Chief remain
a basically “conservative” newspaper. I hope so, but
time will tell.
I noticed that with Friday’s issue of the News
Chief, all New York Times Co. logos and references to the company
had been removed. There’s a piece of me that will quietly
rejoice when all references to the NYT also are removed from the
signage at the office (and Ledger bureau) that houses the News Chief
in Winter Haven. —
JB (Jan. 7, 2012)
on TV are amusing
wasn’t watching TV tonight, but from the kitchen I could hear
the commercial for a new drug that was developed to offset the symptoms
amused me that while the first half of the commercial voiceover
was spent extolling all the benefits of the drug, the second half
was spent warning potential users about how the drug can make them
sick, make them go blind and even kill them.
The second half of the commercial is called the legal
disclaimer, and it’s the drug manufacturer’s way —
at least one way — of staving off potential lawsuits over
unintended side effects.
“The drug made your big toe fall off? Well,
we warned you,” the lawyers for the pharmaceutical company
can now say.
The way the ad text is written is altogether funny,
sad and absolutely necessary in an age of instant lawsuits. —
JB (Jan. 7, 2012)
itself to thinking
the course of the past several months, I've almost totally shunned
the radio, CDs and other background noise while I'm traveling alone
in the old Buick sedan or the even-older Chevy pickup.
a world full of noise and distractions, I've come to value any opportunity
for quiet time. It gives me time to think, ponder, reflect and medidate
(with eyes wide open on the road, of course).
If I’m alone at home, the television is seldom
on. Is there really anything but Florida Gators football (and that
might be a stretch this season) worth watching? I’m a news
guy by trade, but even TV news and commentary, with its leftist
slant and just plain idiocy, is too maddening to watch, so I don’t.
I write this as perhaps a too-long and convoluted
lead-in to my main thought, which came to me during a Monday morning
drive to the dentist’s office in Winter Haven.
the radio off and the only noise being that of the Buick's engine
and the muffled outside traffic, it occurred to me during the drive
that a job, however necessary and appreciated, can really interfere
with the important things in life, such as family, church and the
truly meaningful things one most likes or wishes to do. And then
this statement came to mind:
your job gets in the way of your work, a change in your life might
be in order.”
I hope so. Worthy of consideration? Maybe. Just maybe. — JB
(Oct. 26, 2011)
excellent resource for conservatives and conservative ideas:
good source of news from, for and about the right: http://www.1776coalition.com/
fine portraits and quality commercial photography: http://www.pezzimenti.com/
interesting read on our great 16th president, Abraham Lincoln:
great, useful and trendy technology:
great community project: http://ritzoncentral.com/
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 — even after the $5 special has run its course.
supper out: The wife and I tried the new Manny’s
Original Chophouse at 1100 Third St., S.W. (U.S. Highway 17), in
Winter Haven. And I like it — well enough to recommend it
marquee outside a local personal storage business: “Land
of the free because of the brave.” (It’s on bumper stickers,
local church sign: “Spend less time on Facebook and
more time in His book.”
church sign: “Questions are in life. Answers are
another area church sign: “God isn’t withholding
anything from you. He’s holding it for you.”
open invitation to attend: http://centralbaptistchurchwh.com/
To the Central Intelligence Agency and its drone strike teams teams
for taking out another bad guy. A missile fired Friday (Sept. 30)
from an aircraft piloted remotely by the CIA over northernYemen
killed Anwar al-Awlaki, the fiery U.S.-born Islamic jihadist and
propagandist for al-Qaida. The world is a better place without al-Awlaki
and certainly a better place without Osama bin Laden, the long-sought
al-Qaida leader killed in a lightning strike by U.S. Navy Seals
in Pakistan in May. Yea for the good guys! Yea for our side in the
fight against Islamic terrorism!
have been in title game
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Most sports fans and many
casual observers of the national news scene knew by Tuesday morning
(Jan. 10) that the University of Alabama had defeated Louisiana
State, 21-0, in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) title game in
New Orleans the night before.
What’s my excuse for not know the results of
the game until Wednesday? I have three, actually. 1. These days,
I rarely watch television, including TV news. 2. A onetime talk
radio junkie, I seldom now turn on the radio — in the car
or anywhere else. 3. I completely forgot until Wednesday morning
that the game was played Monday night.
I wasn’t surprised that Alabama, ranked second
in the final 2011 BCS poll, had upset undefeated and No. 1-ranked
LSU, the only team that had topped the Crimson Tide during the regular
I was a little concerned, though, that ’Bama
fans would use the game result to mock me for having written almost
five weeks ago that their team didn’t deserve to be in the
BCS title game.
My point in a Dec. 4 column (you can find it here)
was that the BCS system is very flawed by allowing a team that did
not win its conference championship into the BCS title game. (That
game usually decides major college football's mythical national
championship, the MNC.)
Not only did Alabama NOT win the 2011 Southeastern
Conference title, the team didn’t even play in the SEC title
game. LSU got into that game by winning the SEC Western Division
and then won the SEC title by defeating Georgia.
My Dec. 4 column never addressed whether Alabama could
contend with and even defeat LSU in a rematch (as it obviously did).
I never wrote that Alabama didn’t stand a chance against the
mighty Tigers. I wrote only that a team without a conference championship
should not be eligible to play in that season’s BCS title
game. And I haven’t changed my opinion about that —
no matter what happened Monday night.
Because the competition factor — a paper matchup
of two strong teams — was not a basis for my opinion, today
I am not eating crow and I am not wiping egg off my face.
loss possible when exercising some discipline
Dec. 31, 2011
ď17 USED TREADMILLSĒ
Thatís 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
ďNow, that says a lot,Ē
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 ó not that thereís anything wrong
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
And it told
me that at least 17 people in the area likely gave up on their resolution
and didnít want to have a treadmill around the house to remind them
(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?)
Iím here to say that
anybody ó anybody ó can lose weight and get fit and that nobody
ó absolutely nobody ó needs to waste hard-earned money on expensive
exercise equipment to do it. (Sorry, manufacturers and retailers.)
a Wonderful Life,” starring Donna Reed, third from left, and
Jimmy Stewart, fourth from left, shows us how each life affects
the life of so many others.
is wonderful, even without the materialism
Dec. 25, 2011
thoughts as Christmas Eve 2011 morphed into Christmas Day …
is a wonderful life
not exactly a holiday tradition in the Braddy household, but I spent
most of Christmas Eve watching “It’s a Wonderful Life”
on NBC-TV. (With the exception of a few Florida Gators football
games, the three-hour-long movie presentation — stretched
by lots and lots of commercials — was the most TV I’ve
watched in a single sitting in months. I find most TV programming
mindless and a complete waste of time, so I purposely avoid it.)
Christmas favorite, starring the very talented Jimmy Stewart and
very lovely Donna Reed, doesn’t get to me every time I watch
it, but this time it did, bringing me to tears. I’ve never
been in the kind of trouble in which George Bailey finds himself
in this story, but I know well the feeling of deep hopelessness
and despair and the need to call on God for help.
Most everyone knows the key message of the movie: Everyone’s
life touches so many other lives, and the selfless and generous
George is shown how badly his community and those he loved would
have turned out had he been granted his wish to have never been
I’ve wondered many times how my life would’ve turned
out — for better or for worse — had I made different
decisions or taken or been taken on different paths along the way.
For example, where would I be today and what would I be doing had
my mother not been so afraid to fly and so unwilling to accompany,
with me and my siblings in tow, my soldier father when he received
orders in the late 1960s to serve in West Germany?
came so close to moving to Europe, at least temporarily, but we
didn’t. Instead, Mom, my sister, my brother and I stayed behind
and lived for a few years in Green Forest, Ark., my dad’s
hometown in the beautiful Ozark Mountains, until Dad received new
orders to return to the States.
Had we all gone to West Germany, it’s very likely that I wouldn’t
have become a writer/editor/journalist, it’s possible that
my home would’ve been somewhere other than Central Florida,
and it’s improbable that I would’ve found and married
the former Lana Renee Whitmer, become a father to two bright and
lovely girls and then become a grandfather to the sweetest of babies,
Kameron Riley Marshall.
All of this boggles the mind. I’m reminded of the movie “Back
to the Future” and several “Star Trek” time-travel
episodes, in which the main characters are warned repeatedly not
to disrupt the “time-space continuum” and alter the
course of history.
While I believe — while I know — that I can be a much
better man, a much better husband, a much better father, a much
better friend, a much better worker and a much better Christian,
I am mostly content with my place in this world and my station in
life. And that, I think, is where George Bailey eventually finds
himself when he realizes that his truly has been — and is
— a wonderful life.
The idea — the truth —
that relationships, both earthly and eternal, are more important
than material things has been galvanized on this Christmas of 2011.
Leading up to the big day, which this
year for our family was Christmas Eve rather than Christmas proper
for food, fellowship and gift exchanges, I was reminded of the notion
that a person who has clothes on his back, a roof over his head,
food in his belly and the personal security of eternal salvation
really has all he needs. Throw in love from family and friends and
a person has a double and even triple shot of blessings.
“Things” are nice, “things”
are cool and “things” can be fun, but, in the big picture,
“things” often are frivolous and they certainly are
“You can’t take it with
you,” as the saying goes.
What I will remember most from this
Christmas won’t be the gifts, however appreciated they are.
What I will remember most will be the time I’ve spent with
family (have I mentioned that precious 5-month-old granddaughter?),
the best wishes I’ve exchanged with good friends and the worship
service I attended at church. (Doesn’t it seem just right
for Christmas to fall on a Sunday?)
I like the theme of a holiday advertisement
that Publix Super Markets has been running on television, and which
I caught several times during the Christmas Eve showing of “It’s
a Wonderful Life.”
It’s a company image ad rather than a product ad, and the
setting, as seen from the outside of a home and looking through
a window, is a large family having its holiday feast around a big
and formal dining room table. At the end, the narrator sums up the
message with something like this: “While gifts are nice, we
probably already have everything we’ve ever wished for.”
In a not-so-great age of consumerism,
materialism and “things” all around, the Publix ad is
a breath of fresh air — one that is most welcome and most
End of Iraq
War brings mixed thoughts, feelings
Dec. 18, 2011
Fla. — It began with a bang — “shock and awe,”
don’t you know — and ended with a whimper.
The Iraq War,
or Operation Iraqi Freedom, was declared over by President Barack
Hussein Obama in a symbolic speech at Fort Bragg, N.C., on Wednesday
(Dec. 14) and in an official U.S. military flag-lowering ceremony
attended by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Baghdad on Thursday
As the last U.S. troops rolled out of that God-forsaken land (forsaken
because it has forsaken the one true and living God) and into Kuwait
on Sunday (Dec. 18), bringing with them equipment and vehicles America
isn’t leaving behind, mixed thoughts flooded my mind.
Many will disagree on technical points, but I say that the United
States won this war, which began on the orders of former President
George W. Bush on March 19, 2003, and which I have supported from
In a war not to conquer and occupy Iraq but to protect U.S. interests,
rid that nation of a vile dictator and provide the Iraqi people
with an opportunity for freedom and some semblance of democracy,
we did just that.
We vanquished the Iraqi military quickly, but then had to deal
with years of terrorism and guerrilla and asymmetrical warfare;
eventually found dictator Saddam Hussein and turned him over for
a trial that led to his just execution in 2006; and led the way
in stablizing the nation enough to give democracy a chance.
We left Iraq basically on our own terms and timetable, in no way
like we left — fled? — Vietnam almost 40 years ago.
And we settled once and for all the issue that was a principal
reason for going to war in the first place: Iraq’s capability
to create, stockpile and use “weapons of mass destruction,”
What we found out was that we had been duped by Saddam. Though
he had used chemical weapons in the past on his own people, he fooled
the world into believing he had new and more destructive WMDs to
make his nation seem stronger and more threatening, particularly
to neighboring Iran, that it really was.
While still being counted, the cost in U.S. blood and treasure
has been exceedingly high. Out of more than 1.5 million U.S. troops
who served in Iraq, about 4,500 were killed and about 30,000 were
wounded. Economically, the cost likely will exceed $800 billion.
I am so proud of the U.S. men and women who voluntarily chose to
enter in the military and did their duty — and did it well
— when ordered to the battlefield that was Iraq.
I am not proud of the U.S. civilian leaders and members of the
“intelligence” community who were too easily fooled
by Saddam and his government and who took us to war with horribly
And I am not proud of U.S. miltary leaders who were caught unprepared
for, and then reacted slowly to, the crude but effective warfare
waged by terrorists in Iraq after the major and conventional battles
between U.S. coalition and Iraqi forces were over. Most of our troops
who were killed and injured in Iraq were casualties of IEDs, or
improvised exploding devices, and not conventional warfare.
The purpose of our military is to kill people and break things,
but more than nine years after the major fighting ended in Iraq
and so-called reconstruction began, the country and its infractrure
are still very much shattered and its economy on extremely shaky
footing. It’s maddening to think about it, but billions of
U.S. reconstruction dollars for Iraq have been looted or squandered,
and more economic spoils from the war are going not to the United
States but to nations that didn’t commit troops against Saddam.
And, most alarmingly, the Iraqi government is not strong enough
to fend off the interference and negative influence of a sinister
Had we not gone to war in Iraq, Saddam likely would still be in
power there, Iraqi citizens still would be tortured and killed by
Saddam's henchmen and U.S. military air assets still would be deployed
to patrol no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq. But, the cost
in U.S. casualties and taxpayer dollars to date would have been
far, far less.
In a rare moment of agreement with President Obama, I say the service
of U.S. military personnel in Iraq has not been in vain. The troops
did what they had to do and almost always succeeded, despite having
to fight under asanine “rules of engagement” and with
one hand tied behind their backs.
Now that the U.S. military role in Iraq is over, I can say that
I am not unhappy about it, though I am concerned about Iraq slipping
into a civil war and then being led by proxy from Iran.
I also can say that the next time our government says a conventional
war “over there” is necessary, I will be much more skeptical
than I was in 2003, when I so wanted to support then-President Bush
and believe that his decisions and actions were for the best.
In the past decade, I have become a big fan of using air power,
missile-firing drones, special forces and better human and technical
intelligence in foreign lands to carry out military operations and
protect U.S. interests — wherever they may be.
How much would we have saved and how much could we have accomplished
in Iraq had we fully deployed those assets rather than put millions
of boots on the ground?
It’s an interesting questions to ask, but for the thousands
of Americans killed and wounded in Iraq, a question much too late
in news media excel in negativity, scab picking
Dec. 11, 2011
Fla. — The depth of this recession has left all Americans
in a mood just as deep as the economy around us. I maintain that
the collective world of media, both print and television, has failed
miserably in its contribution to our nation’s welfare. Far
too many of its members are more interested in profit than public
service. The public, remember, is the source of their profit.
With the destruction of Republican Herman Cain’s bid for the
presidency, we see the media at its worst. The period leading up
to the presidential election is the time when we need to learn as
much as we can about a candidate’s leadership skills, his
political strengths, his knowledge of world affairs and plans for
Instead, when a salacious story surfaces, the tabloid-style media
vultures descend on the subject to find the scabs to pick. The most
important qualities of a candidate get lost in a feeding frenzy
One does not have to go very far back into history to find evidence
of presidents with checkered backgrounds who managed to serve out
their times in office successfully. Presidents Kennedy and Clinton
come to mind immediately. Despite moral failings, they had enough
of the right skills to serve their citizens appropriately in matters
most important to the post they held.
The tabloid vultures would have us place private weaknesses before
all else. Those of us who have read the Bible know that it teaches
us to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is
God’s. I don’t say these are acceptable qualities, but
these things are God’s to handle.
Politics is the area that is Caesar’s realm. We must not let
these vultures remove our choices to structure our political landscape
to their liking.
If former House Speaker Newt Gingrich emerges as the Republican
choice for president, you wait and see, they will pounce on him
for more scab picking.
Our economy desperately needs positive leadership. We need the good,
decent ethical members of the media, and there are more of them
than vultures, to come forth and show the proper course of action.
We need investigative reporters to scout for any business that has
hired anyone. It doesn’t matter whether it is a fast-food
restaurant, department store or a junkyard business. On a daily
basis, we need to see interviews with the new hires and hear their
stories. We need to hear how long they were out of work and living
on macaroni and cheese, and how happy they are now to be better
able to provide for their families.
We need these stories facing us every day of our recession-dominated
lives. We need the good journalists to swamp the scab-picking vultures
with solid, positive evidence of a recession turnaround.
Let us stop feeding the fantasies of peeping Toms. We, the people,
deserve better than that.
Murphy of Maine is a winter resident of Frostproof, Fla. He can
be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. We have a few things
of our own to say about these protests, so check back soon. In the
meantime, go here
for a larger version of this illustration.
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)
cue, ‘Obamaspeak’ follows failure of budget ‘Super
Nov. 27, 2011
JAMES W. MacMEEKIN III
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.
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.
commute pleasant, full of interesting sights
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — I’ve mentioned a
couple of times on this site the five-day-a-week drive to my “day
It’s about 25 minutes one way, but it’s
not a bad drive. On the contrary, it’s very pleasant most
of the time.
For much of the journey, I take the easternmost leg
of the Polk Parkway (State Road 570), the approximately 10-mile
section that runs from Winter Lake Road (State Road 540) north to
The end of the section, from about Mile Marker 21
to Mile Marker 24 (I-4) has been under construction for quite some
time. It’s been interesting to watch since mid-May the daily
progress of the work as crews widen the parkway and put in a major
interchange leading west to the future University of South Florida
Polytechnic campus (which, for now, will keep its USF ties) and
east to Berkley Road, north of Auburndale.
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)
Security (1935-2011): Where is the rage?
Oct. 8, 2011
JAMES W. MacMEEKIN III
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.
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
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 written consent of the artist.)
never too late to be what you might have been.” — Mary
Ann Evans, aka George Eliot (1819-1880), British
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
open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on
them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter
is New Year’s Day.” — Edith Lovejoy Pierce
has to remember that every failure can be a stepping stone to something
better.” — Col. Harland Sanders (1890-1980),
founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) franchise
amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the
credit.” — Harry S. Truman (1884-1982),
33rd U.S. president
all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”
— Thomas Edison (1847-1931), American inventor,
founder of General Electric
cement of this union is the heart-blood of every American.”
— Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), American
patriot, author of the Declaration of Independence and third U.S.
Thanks be to
God for his unspeakable gift. — 2 Corinthians 9:15
man ever complains of want of opportunities.” — Ralph
Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American essayist, lecturer
“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I
know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.” — Lee Greenwood,
singer, “Proud to Be an American”
will work unless you do.” — John Wooden
(1910-2010), college basketball coach
sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity
in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill,
former prime minister of Great Britain
not to become a man of success but a man of value.” —
Albert Einstein, mathematician and physicist
you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in
the first place.” — Unknown
will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our
people.” — George W. Bush, 43rd U.S.
was first an amateur.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
(1803-1882), American essayist, lecturer and poet
“Work spares us
from three evils: Boredom, vice and need.” —
in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
— Henry David Thoreau, American author
is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t
pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for,
protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” —
Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. president (1981-89)
reason Christianity is the best friend of government is because
Christianity is the only religion that changes the heart.”
— Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), author of
the Declaration of Independence and third U.S. president
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
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
higher our position, the more modestly we should behave.”
— Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 B.C.-43 B.C.),
Roman philosopher, statesman
Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
— Proverbs 14:34 (KJV)
the monstrous weapons man already has, humanity is in danger of
being trapped in this world by its moral adolescents.” —
Omar N. Bradley (1893-1981), U.S. Army general
give an order that can’t be obeyed.” — Douglas
MacAuthur (1880-1964), U.S. Army general
only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”
— John Powell, British statesman
person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten
out almost every other area in his life.” — Billy
Graham, American evangelist
with wise people, you will become wise yourself.” —
Menander, Greek dramatist (342-291 B.C.)
devil is not afraid of a Bible with dust on it.” — Unknown
time is never found again.” —
Benjamin Franklin, American patriot, statesman
with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for
it is better to be alone than in bad company.” —
George Washington, first U.S. president
Wisdom is the
principal thing; therefore, get wisdom; and with all thy getting,
get understanding. — Proverbs 4:7 (KJV)
were walking down the road and one was a salted.
for the good old days when people would stop Christmas shopping
when they ran out of money. — Anonymous, but contributed by
asked me if I’m sufferin’ from old age, and I told him,
‘Why, no, I’m enjoying it.’ When I find myself
sitting in the car in my driveway and can’t remember if I’m
comin’ or goin’, I’ve got a sure-fire way to figure
it out. Just get out and grab ahold of the tailpipe! If it burns
the skin off your hand, you just got home.” — Another
version of a joke told by Jim Stafford during his
Saturday night (Dec. 17) show at The Ritz Theatre in Winter Haven,
did the tie say to the hat? “You go on ahead. I’ll just
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
husband is often a wife’s full-time job.
I’ve got to get in shape. Yesterday my imagination ran wild,
and today my arms and legs are sore. — From the collection
of Jack Murphy
with no humor is like a job that is no fun.
neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than
this current administration.” — Former New Mexico Gov.
Gary Johnson, a libertarian-learning GOP candidate for president,
speaking during the Sept. 22 Republican “debate” in
Orlando. (We hear that radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh used a
similar line earlier in the day.)
you hear about the two radio antennas that got married? The wedding
was terrible, but the reception was excellent!
For good and
bad, for better or worse, a vehicle bumper sticker usually will
be a reflection of the person behind the wheel.
Here is what
I saw on the bumper of a white sedan I parked next to recently in
front of a Walmart store in Winter Haven:
of being born again, why not just grow up?”
I take from
that the owner or driver of the car is ignorant, just mean or some
obviously has no idea what being born again — “saved”
in the Baptist vocabulary — means. He or she doesn’t
understand that a person who is born again actually is very mature
— mature enough at least to realize that there’s no
way a person can earn a home in Heaven by his or her own accord,
by his or her own deeds or behavior.
what else the bumper sticker tells me: The person responsible for
it has an anti-Christian disposition and a life that requires some
kind of divine intervention.
If there was
ever a time to have a Bible tract to stick under the windshield
wiper of a car, that was it. — Joe Braddy
FBI tool is alarming
we learn that the FBI soon will activate a nationwide facial recognition
service that will allow local police to identify unknown subjects
is one of four states that will serve as testing grounds for the
alarming new technology this winter.
You can read
about it here:
to launch nationwide facial recognition service
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.
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)
About a week
ago, 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.
our God is with us, yes he is with us still. Immanuel, he has not
left us, and he never will.”
Immanuel (or Emmanuel) means “God with us” and is another
name for Jesus Christ.
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.
“He was there all the time ... waiting patiently in line.”
– From “He Was There All the Time,” a contemporary
like these I have a Savior, In times like these I have an anchor;
...” — From “In Times Like These,” a gospel