Saturday, January 31, 2015

Her First Sabbath

We now have a daughter with which to share the Sabbath. We celebrate that sacred day of rest from Friday dusk to sunset Saturday. The baby's great uncle was the first to wish her "good Shabbos". Baby girl is obviously unaware at this point of the sanctity of this holy day. We have never had so much to be grateful for as we are this Sabbath. We thank the good Lord for the greatest blessing ever bestowed upon us.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Respect and Awe

I have a new respect for any woman who has ever given birth after witnessing my first delivery. I had never seen so much blood or pain before in my life. I knew I loved my wife virtually from the moment we met but had no idea of how tough she was. Now, I am in awe of her resiliency. She bounced back from a gory spectacle and tremendous blood loss to immediately wanting to hold our baby even as the doctor was still stitching her up. I love my wife now more than ever. There are not sufficient words to describe our love for our new baby.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Our New Arrival

We have our little bundle of joy. She joined the family last night. My wife pushed for all she is worth. Ultimately though, our doctor had to use forceps. In a way, parts of labor were terrifying. My wife was in incredible pain. We now have the great blessing of a healthy baby. Thank you for you prayers and support.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

On "Induction" Day

I am not being drafted today. My wife is being "induced" into labor today though. She will (good Lord-willing) be delivering our first child. We are eager to meet the baby. Honestly, there is anxiety too, after several well-meaning friends have told us about painful, extended labors. There is nothing I can do to hasten or ease delivery beyond prayer. In my experience, prayer can be powerful. Please pray for both Tracy and our baby.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The State Casino

If you want to take money that you have earned and burn it in the fire that should be your prerogative. I am essentially libertarian in regard to economic self-determination. The state should regulate casinos but not be the casino. If casinos offered the same odds of winning as the state-sponsored lotteries do, the regulators from the state would properly shut them down. Table games on the riverboat afford the suckers a much greater chance to win than pick six or pick seven state-sponsored gaming. As far as the education scholarships funded by the state lotteries go, it seems tuition increases each time scholarships increase, essentially negating any benefit of the lottery scholarships. All in all, I find it reprehensible for the state to be in the gambling business.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Appointment with Destiny

My wife is having what will likely be her last appointment with her obstetrician before she delivers. We are near the finish line that is actually just the start of the race. There is a degree of trepidation as this is the first child for both my wife and I. If I could take the pain of labor for my wife, I certainly would. We are becoming first-time parents somewhat later in life. We know this pregnancy is certainly a blessing. Please pray for an easy labor and a birth without complications for my wife and for the good health of our baby.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Hundred Names

We have heard dozens of suggestions for what we should name our baby. The baby has three living grandparents all offering different names. Even the postman has a name in mind. I figure my wife and I should have some say in what we call the baby. After all, without us, she would not be here. Does Jane sound too exotic to you?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Snow Storm Delivery

My wife is about to give birth to our first child. We experienced exactly what we do not need last night. As a native Southerner, I have one experience driving in snow and on ice in my life. That was not a good experience as I skidded, spun across five lanes, and ended up on a traffic island, remarkably without damaging anyone or anything including myself and my four-wheel drive 1978 Jeep Wagoneer. I have next to no skill at winter driving because growing up in a state with mild winters, I have no practice at it. Now, with a winter baby on the way, and the chance that I may have to rush to the maternity hospital at any time and possibly in icy conditions, I had better hope I still have my horseshoe.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Tactic Deserving Infamy

The New York City Council tried to commemorate the lives lost at Auschwitz yesterday. Unbelievably, that attempt was disrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters. Is nothing sacred? Why try to sully the memory of over one million people who were murdered? It seems some people do not mind attempted genocide. The rowdies that stormed the Council meeting may even want more of it when it comes to wiping the Jewish State off the map. Can you think of a sicker time to protest Israel than during a Holocaust memorial?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fear Mongers Prosper

Throughout the ages, certain people have profited mightily by scare mongering. The unscrupulous are continuing to rake it in today. They are selling everything from gold to survival items claiming a great cataclysm is about to strike. If you truly thought the world was about to end, why would you worry about trying to sell anything? Why would anyone think that "survival foods" would buy them a second if there was a nuclear exchange between Russia or China and the United States? To those building "survival bunkers" in the woods, do you think fatal levels of radiation will not drift into the forest after that nuclear exchange? If civil order breaks down and/or the type of jihad roiling the Middle East reaches America's shores, do you think you can save your family from heavily-armed roving bands of murdering thugs with the semi-automatic rifle you are training with and on which you are relying? If that grim day ever comes, those who want to kill you and your family will be coming after you, not with military-style semi-autos, but with real full automatic military assault rifles. You better hope lawful governing authority never breaks down or that thermonuclear war never erupts in America, because there will be nothing you own or can purchase that will save you. Those who are selling you merchandise now that they claim will save you from doomsday are laughing at you all the way to the bank.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Spin Master

Barack Hussein Obama may have been less than forthright in his State of the Union Address. In fact, Obama was "spinning" so much that after his Presidency, he might make an excellent DJ up in the clubs. The saddest aspect of the evening is that the GOP is attempting to co-opt the language of the Left. They are falling into the class envy trap. The Republican Party used to believe a rising tide raises all boats as enunciated in the "trickle down" theory, but the GOP response last night shows Republicans are trying are to "buy" more votes with government giveaways to buy the votes of the so-called "middle class". The GOP is trying to sell the idea that they will do more for middle class than Obama and the Democrats are capable of doing, that in fact, Obama has failed to lift up the middle class as he has promised since the 2008 Presidential campaign. This is true- Obama has failed to deliver, but the best prescription for broad-based recovery and the most prosperity for the most Americans will not be found in pitting the poor against the rich or crafting Federal programs that supposedly benefit the middle class and the poor at the expense of the wealthy. The road to shared prosperity does not involve greater redistribution but less interference by government at all levels in free markets. In any event, Obama and his Democrats are much better at class warfare than Republicans who are not contenders but only pretenders in that Marxist game.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Two Expanding Wars

Russia or those who want more Russian control of the Ukraine will take over as much of that country as they want. The Ukraine is not able to stop them militarily. The West does not have the will to shed enough blood to save the Ukraine. No sane person wants a Russia that the West is trying to back into a corner to launch World War III. Iran has been stirring the pot near Israel, both in Lebanon and Syria. The IDF responded with a strike that killed almost a dozen Iranian operatives and Hezbollah members, including an Iranian general. There can be no doubt that Iran and its proxies will try to retaliate. Either the Ukraine conflict or Israel versus Iran may spark conflagration that dwarfs the fighting now going on in Donetsk and even the carnage in Iraq and Syria.

Monday, January 19, 2015

They Took Paris

Does any city exemplify the West more than Paris? Is there a symbol to identify Western progress better than the Eiffel Tower? How, in a city that so exemplifies Western progress, can the Muslim call to prayer bring traffic and commerce to a halt in certain areas? How can non-Muslims be afraid to go into certain parts of the City of Light? How come police and emergency services do not enter certain sectors of the city at all, unless it is in force? The French have ceded certain sections of their capital to Islamists without even putting up a fight. After the recent terror outrages, there is some push back, but I expect that to be short-lived. Parisians will soon go back to capitulating little by little to the most radical elements within Islam.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Fearless Football Forecast

Two professional football games will be played today in America. I doubt I will watch a second of either of them. Most of the participants in these contests are wildly overpaid to play a children's game. Who is worth more to humanity- a surgeon who saves lives every day or a quarterback who completes sixty percent of his passes? Why is the athlete paid ten times more than the doctor? Is a stadium a more important venue than a hospital or school? Why do teachers make so little and pro athletes so much? I do not hate football. I just wonder if the majority of people might abandon our version of bread and circus and prioritize our real issues for a change.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Of Perpetual Offense

There are individuals who take umbrage at almost anything. They feel the world has it in for them. There are also racial, religious, and ethnic groups that are hypersensitive and regard any talk about them as a provocation. This is not to say they are paranoid. Jews really are and have been persecuted more than any other religion. Black people really are treated differently by some retailers, certain cab drivers, and in some cases, even the police. Is there anti-Semitism? Indeed, there is. Just look at the Paris kosher market slaughter to see Jew-hatred is thriving. Does racism in the US exist today? Of course, it does but it is clearly better than it was fifty years ago. After all, Americans elected a black President- twice. Human nature will never change. There will always be people who hate others who are different from them. There will also always be folks walking around with a chip on their shoulder ready to scream "hater" for all the wrong reasons or for no reason at all.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A "Weaponized" Faith

Top rabbis in Europe are asking for laws to be changed so that Jews can carry guns to protect themselves and their communities after recent attacks killed Jews. The lawful authorities on the continent will likely never permit this, as they fear Jewish self-defense. There is a portion of a faith that is already weaponized. They are armed with a self-righteousness that demands murder and considers martyrdom as the highest and most holy religious aspiration. There are thousands (at least) of these people in Europe. They are not Jews but fanatic Muslims, many of whom have already gone to fight in Syria. It is not Jews or Christians or atheists or any faith group but those who consider themselves to be the most faithful Muslims who threaten the peace and stability of Western Europe (and much of the rest of the world). Rather than ever permitting Jews to be armed, it is more likely that European governments will allow Muslims to bear arms to combat what is mostly a chimera of Islamophobia, and even if the authorities do not issue permits for Muslims to carry guns, Muslims likely will carry them anyway as they seem to ignore the lawful authority already in most places they reside in Europe and enforce some elements of Sharia instead of obeying the laws of the Western nations that have sheltered them and afforded them benefits and freedom unknown in any Muslim nation.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Market Swan Dive

There may be a rally on US markets today. On the other hand, the stock slide may continue. There is no way for the small investor to guess. Institutional investors may have an inkling where the market is going. The largest funds may even be able to influence the markets in one direction or the other. American stocks may feel like a rigged game to individual investors. Who knows? Those who are suspicious that forces larger than they are manipulate outcomes in US markets may be right.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Long Battle Ahead

Islamist terror did not start last week. Jihad wherein non-believers are converted by the sword or killed has been a component of the Muslim faith since the beginning of Islam. Most Muslims are non-violent but so were most Germans as Hitler marched through Europe. Peace does not need to be achieved between peaceful people. Peace can not be brokered when one side fervently believes that they must force those who disagree with them into submission, because forcing "the other (the infidel)" to submit they perceive is the will of their God. Sane people do not negotiate their own subjugation or submit to their own destruction. We see in the appeasement mentality toward the forces behind Islamist terror that many in the West are not sane. Islamic extremism did not arise in one day. It may take generations of combat to defeat the menace that stalked France in recent days.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Roller Coaster Market

There is no doubt wealth is being increased dramatically for the few in America's volatile stock markets. It is great to be Warren Buffet, but there is only one Warren Buffet. Hedge funds and high volume brokers seem to do alright whether stocks go up or down. It is the poor sucker who has individual stocks or a 401k who is heartsick at recent losses. The small investor is often worse off now while elite investors are making more money than ever. Wage stagnation also hurts the proverbial "little guy". Barack Hussein Obama promised to be a President who would help the so-called "middle class". In more than one and a half terms, Obama has failed miserably in boosting economic prospects for the vast majority of Americans.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Netanyahu Not Welcome

There is a report circulating that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked by French Prime Minister Francois Hollande not to attend the anti-terror rally in Paris. When Netanyahu announced that he would attend, Hollande invited Palestinian leader Abbas to attend. Abbas has a long history of encouraging terror attacks against Israel and Zionist targets. At least five Jews were murdered in the series of attacks around Paris in recent days. Jewish casualties make up the largest single identifiable group among the targeted. There are around half a million Jews in France, and the nearly third of victims killed being Jews far outweighs the less than one percent of Jews in France's overall population. As the leader of the Jewish State, and as an ardent warrior against terror, it was proper for Netanyahu to attend. It mocks Jewish victims of terror that Abbas was included.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Huge Paris Rally

More than a million people, including many world leaders marched in Paris. There were condemnations of terror and calls for peace. There was no formula mentioned that would stop terror or bring peace. Both Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Abbas attended. In this instance, Netanyahu attended because he has been fighting jihad all his life. Abbas attended because Netanyahu was there and he could not permit the Jewish leader be seen as more devoted to peace than he is. Abbas attending an anti-terror march is ironic because he has incited terror himself against Israel almost all his public life, except for a handful of public pronouncements against terror aimed to make the world further pressure the Jewish State into suicidal concessions. Marches do not defeat jihad. Concerted and sustained military action might.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Nobel Calling

Anyone who can figure out how to pacify Wahhab and Salafi Islam deserves the Nobel Prize. In fact, if someone can mollify extreme Sunni Muslims, that individual should earn immediate sainthood. No other branch of any other faith is as violent. No other sect is as aggressive in compelling non-believers. These Sunni fanatics have an "our way or we will kill you" way of comporting themselves. This uncompromising way of life (death) is obviously incompatible with other faiths, including the slightly more flexible but still dogmatic Shia Islam. If the two major strains of Islam can not get along, those being the Sunni and the Shia, how can those who Islam brands infidels ever coexist anywhere Islam holds power? That is why we today see a Middle East being depopulated of the Christian minority which until recently was as much as twenty percent of the population. Iraq, Iran, Syria, and even Egypt have become increasingly hostile to faith differences. Only Israel, the so-called "Jewish State" demonstrates broad tolerance for religious minorities. Jews and Christians in the Middle East largely make the effort to get along with other faith groups. Shia persecute and sometimes kill those who worship differently. Sunnis, particularly, extremist Wahhab and Salafi elements are intolerant of religious difference, and now routinely murder those they see as non-believers. Blessed are the peacemakers (as was said in Matthew 5:9), but their task is nigh on impossible when dealing with those who really relish cutting folks heads off and who really want to die for their religion.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Death to Terrorists

Those who prey upon the innocent deserve the ultimate punishment. Those who murder to please the Lord are committing unforgivable sin. Those who invoke the name of G-d to incite and justify murder are perverse. The jihadist thugs who profane the sacred by spilling innocent blood need to be obliterated. Too many leaders have thought it was possible to appease radical Islamists. It is not possible to make peace with these fanatical elements because they offer only two options- convert or die.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Reign of Terror

Certain religious fanatics believe they have a right to tell others who see the world differently what not to say. They think they have a duty to kill those who demur from their rigid belief system. They are not raging Protestants, Buddhists, Hindus, Catholics, or Jews. They are Muslim extremists. There are many hundreds of millions of Muslims who deplore the violence of jihad. There are also a sufficient minority of lunatics within that faith to cause carnage on a scale that the world has rarely seen.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Vive Charlie Hebdo

Freedom means having the liberty to say disagreeable things. Statements no one disagrees with need no protection. The French revere free speech just as Americans do. The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution affords Americans protection of the right to speak. Both the French and US defend controversial speech. The vast majority of Muslims abhor the murder of innocent people. This group is more numerous than those who perpetrate slaughter after slaughter, like the massacre we have just witnessed today at the offices of the Paris-based satirical publication "Charlie Hebdo". The silent majority of Muslims who want to live in an ordered society must chase the evil-doers from their ranks. Until the good Muslims prevail, the West might be justified in treating that great world faith with suspicion. We who cherish free speech must defend that notion that sadly now is literally under savage attack.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Boehner and Obama

The returning Republican leader of the US House of Representatives and Barack Hussein Obama really want to work together. They want to get things done for America. This flies in the face of the desires of the majority of Republicans who do not want the GOP to cooperate with the President. The majority of those who voted GOP in the last election did so because they want the Obama agenda blocked. The Ohioan with the Florida tan will not try very hard to thwart the advance of socialism that Obama is orchestrating. The GOP establishment is deaf to the conservative voters who put them in office. The President will face little push back from the new Republican majority. America's conservatives have been betrayed yet again.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Learning New Priorities

Before my parents became infirm, I watched sports avidly. I was a fan of football at all levels. I loved college basketball. Even though we never had cable at home, I could always find a friend with a big screen to invite me over to watch the big game. When those you love are sick, you suddenly could not care less about what used to matter to you. I know there is a new college football national championship playoff, but with Mom fighting to get well, I doubt I will watch a second of the title game. It is amazing how quickly priorities are reshuffled when we find out what really matters.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Road to Recovery

Strokes might be called a silent killer. Strokes must be hard to recognize in some instances. Even medical professionals assessing Mom in the emergency room did not recognize her stroke and sent her home with a prescription for a nausea medication on Christmas Eve. My Mother's best friend, a retired registered nurse did not realize she had a stroke in taking her to emergency with me Christmas Day. Yet, Mom sustained a major stroke on the right side of her brain. Her will to fight to recover is astounding. She is awe-inspiring with her courage and tenacity. We still need and are thankful for your prayers.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Such Staggering Debt

The national debt of the United States rose one hundred billion dollars in a single day on December 31, 2014. That debt now surpasses eighteen trillion dollars. President Obama and both (supposedly) opposition Republicans and the President's pocket Democrats have signed off on more spending in this eight year Presidency than all the previous Presidencies up to George W. Bush combined. If the incoming Republican-majority Senate and the even larger GOP majority elected to the US House do not drastically reduce Federal expenditures, the United States will carry more debt at the end of Obama's second term than the government debt of all the other nations in the world put together. I have hope that fiscal conservatives will try to curb some of the wastefulness. I also realize that progressive Republicans have little interest in cutting budgets, though they may waste tax-confiscated funds with less enthusiasm than the sitting President's party. I believe there will be nominal cuts and a slightly slower growth of government, but no real effort to significantly shrink the government Leviathan.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Some Broken Resolutions

Does the administration of Barack Hussein Obama seem to be the most transparent ever? Does Obama seem to be spending our tax-confiscated dollars more responsibly than his predecessors? Has Obama championed individual liberty or advanced the surveillance state? Has Obamacare helped or hurt access to healthcare for the majority of Americans? Has Obama been a "post-racial" President or the most divisive President on matters of race in the last century? Is Obama forthright or a liar?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Bear Year

I do not see how we can make it through 2015 without a market correction. With Obamacare's full implementation, many millions will find themselves shifted from full to part-time employment. Many more will find themselves among the ranks of the unemployed. Gasoline prices may continue to fall. Overall though, the dollar will continue to be worth less. I have feared inflation since Obama, with his free spending ways, rose to the Presidency. I continue to fear that we are not far from Weimar.