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Is it Any Wonder They Call it… Amazing Grace – a Ragamuffin Blog

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Governor Northam – KKK Pictures and Outrage Culture.

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Governor Ralph Northam has had a rough week in the media if you haven’t been following…

(and really I couldn’t blame anyone who longs for the days of receiving one influx of news per day when the paper hit the porch early in the morning. In those days news was digested with a cup of coffee and a doughnut [yes I know – the horror] in things called paragraphs with a modicum of thoughtfulness at least by today’s standards. So astute are we in 2019 that we may possibly read a slanted headline or tweet, glance at a picture and have complete understanding of a situation. Consider our recent uproar over MAGA hats and contrived headlines as a reference point)

But I digress.

…If you haven’t been following, the Governor made absolutely horrific statements early in the week supporting the proposed late term abortion bill that was narrowly defeated in the Virginia Legislature. He also implied that not only was he in support of late term abortion, he was in favor of possibly not providing care to a delivered baby if the mother and physician so agree. Here is the central quote from the governor: “If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother,” Whether the governor was advocating for infanticide seems uncertain to me from this quote, but he was clearly advocating for abortion up to delivery which is beyond despicable. (Note: There is virtually no circumstance that a full term baby needs to have scissors jammed into the back of their skulls and their body hacked to pieces to benefit the mother. Multiple experts have weighed in stating the baby could just as safely be delivered alive and cared for without additional risk to the mother thus avoiding murdering a completely viable infant)

So I am not a big fan of the Governor.

Later in the week a picture was unearthed from 35 years ago when the governor was 24 years old and in medical school. The year was 1984. For those of you unacquainted with this era, it was a time when He – Man Masters of the Universe had recently debuted to the delight of boys everywhere. Of course today we know the show was a breeding ground of “toxic-masculinity.” She-Ra (which as a boy I, of course, have never seen) was the female counterpart of He-Man designed for girls. Obviously, this was before scientists had discovered the gender continuum scale proving that some can physically alter their chromosomes from XX to XY or vice versa. No the main continuum we were thinking about in 1984 was a space-time one and how Marty was going to save Doc and get back from 1955. In 1984 you could even tackle quarterbacks. We were like barbarians back then. I could go on, but I’ll spare you. My point is 1984 did not have the sensitivities of 2019. And mainly that was a good thing.

So back to our governor, whom I don’t like. In medical school, back in this unenlightened era, he had the extremely poor foresight (given his future career and 2019’s hypersensitivity) to be photographed wearing either a KKK or blackface costume – he is not identified so we don’t know which one he was dressed as. This has quite predictably been whipped into a public firestorm by our instant, less-than-erudite press and eager public on both sides of the political spectrum.

Was it a smart move to dress as a black man or clansmen? Clearly no. Does it necessarily show the man is a racist of the highest order? No it doesn’t. Some questions to consider.

1) If someone showed up at a party dressed as a Nazi and prisoner would that mean they are pro-Nazi? If they showed up as a Roman Centurion and slave would that mean they were pro-slavery? If you are considering saying yes you are a product of our outrage addicted age. There was a time in our not so long ago history where we dealt with dark and difficult things differently. We laughed at them. Think 3 stooges dressed as Nazi’s. Now whether you think as I do that that was a better way of dealing with things than our psycho-sensitivity today or not – what is certain is that in 1984 things were not the same as today. Today if I decide to dress in a KKK costume I could “justifiably” be shot. However in 1984 it didn’t even make a splash – the splash happened in 2019.

2) Does dressing in costume as a evil figure automatically mean you love the evil represented? Presumably the governor was not photographed at an actual KKK rally. He was dressing up for a party. We don’t know anything about the context of the party (come as the worst villain you can think of or come as a historical bad guy). Who knows? And of course in our unthinking age – NO ONE CARES. If you put black on your face you are a worthless human being and a racist. There is no context that you could do that from the perspective of 2019 and not be fully embracing the enslavement, belittlement and hatred of blacks. In the same way that if you wear a MAGA hat you are a racist. That is how narrow our open minds have become.

3) If I had a photograph of everything you had done through your 20’s how many of you would be running for office? Is it possible that you have done some stupid stuff? Does that mean that you cannot possibly be qualified 35 years later to hold office?

4) Why was there no outrage over this photo until now? If this was understood in 1984 as supporting lynching blacks why would a medical school allow it in their year book? Because it was not understood that way.

I don’t know if Governor Northam holds or held racist attitudes. If he does there is no doubt that he is wrong. What I do know is that you cannot tell from this picture whether he does or not. Our time, with the stated cardinal virtue of tolerance, has become the least tolerant – most hateful generation that I have experienced. Should a man’s life be judged on a out-of-context 35 year old yearbook photo. NO! If he expresses racist sentiments – yes he should rightfully be condemned. His statements on abortion should be strongly condemned and disqualify him from office. But when we make EV-ERY-THING a mountain actually significant things lose their meaning and we will continue to live in perpetual outrage finding no way out of own prison we have built with our virtue-signaling.

At the end of the day, Northam should be held accountable for the significant thing he has said he holds to – namely the murder of infants. That’s the story – not a 1984 costume he wore.

Covington Catholic, Our Sick Culture, and Hope

This story keeps on deepening. (If you haven’t followed the story read through the link at the bottom of this article) The latest is a response from a guy whose brother happened to look like the kid from the Catholic school. His name was put on social media and as a result his family and his family’s business have been subject to non-stop attacks. Threats of physical attack, slander of the family and the family business in an attempt (perhaps successful) of destroying a family because a member of the family was inaccurately identified as the student in the video. This family has no connection at all to the events on the video but their lives are threatened.

This is the “reasoned” response to a young man smiling oddly and remaining in an individual’s personal space after his own had been invaded. I “know” the smile radiated “evil” of the darkest kind – but even if you interpret the smile in that way the reaction has been far more evil.

Social and instant media can create this kind of mob think – where we act (at least for most of us I hope) against what we would otherwise know to be an unwise, ill-considered course of action. All of us (myself included) would be wise to not take the click bait. No matter which news source you prefer there is almost always a slant – a bias – driving it.

I quoted a proverb yesterday that says “”The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”

We can do better on both sides of the aisle at not just looking for confirmation of our biases. In the case in question if you hate Trump the MAGA hats make you look at the situation in a certain light. They same thing happens the other way.

Instead of further pushing us apart as a people this could be an event to draw us together. Perhaps we will be not so quick to judge – not so quick to demand retributation. We could admit that we are all at times wrong in our judgement or rash in our response and we could extend grace to each other. Not just when our judgement is in error but grace even in the face of actual wrong.

If we are honest with ourselves – and if all that we have ever thought or done was broadcast on twitter for the world to see and judge we would all be found guilty. I know I would be.

Jesus’ message to the world is -yes you are guilty – more than you probably recognize or want to admit – and when compared to God we all stand guilty and worthy of death and hell.

But God has another word – it is called the Gospel – Good News – and that is the perfect One – our creator became a part of his creation to redeem us. He died the death we deserve to rescue us – to restore us to his good design for humanity. So yes more guilty that I dare admit AND more loved that I thought possible.

When I am honest about who I am and when I see that despite who I am God has loved me, forgiven me and adopted me as his child – I am freed by His grace to extend grace to others with whom I disagree or who even hate me.

If there is to be a change in this country – a reconcillation – it will come with the rediscovery of this Good News – that though grossly undeserving God has forgiven and received me. If we were to fall on our faces as a country and acknowledge our sin we would begin to recognize the sweet notes of the Good News that Christ has come for sinners. And if that were to soak into our national conscience and we believed it to be true our country I believe would experience a new birth of freedom.

Note: The best summary of the events is at this LINK

Are Hurricanes Getting Worse Due to Man-Made Climate Change?

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“The catastrophic recent weather events in the United States, Asia and elsewhere have once again shown that the world is in the midst of a climate crisis of our own making. While countries like ours are on the front lines of the worst impacts to come, these events remind us that no country is immune.

Simply put, the commitments the world has made so far under the Paris Agreement to reduce the emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are woefully inadequate. And we are out of time. If we do not increase these commitments by 2020 as the agreement requires us to do, the potential impacts will be devastating, and they threaten the lives, homes and livelihoods of people in countries like ours.”

CNN Article linked below

It would be nice to think that when the world doesn’t end in 2020 that there would be an apology and retraction for this kind of rhetoric, but as it appears this kind of thing gets said every three months or so by THE authorities on the subject for the past 20 years with 0 consequence for not even being close I doubt any apology will be forthcoming.

If you are reading in the news today (again) that storms are getting incredibly worse and this level of ______ devasting natural disaster is unprecedented, take a breath and consider the following stats on hurricanes.

Guess what year in the past 166 years had the MOST major hurricanes… Go ahead… guess….

It was 68 years ago in 1950. Weird huh? There were 8 major hurricanes (over cat 3) 1950.

In the last decade the worst year for storms was 2017. In 2017 we experienced 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and 6 major hurricanes.

2017 was topped by 1933’s 20 named storms, 11 hurricanes and 6 major hurricanes.

Which was topped by 1961’s and 2005’s 7 major hurricanes.

Let’s look at some more facts

For the last 10 years we have averaged 14.70 named storms, 6.9 hurricanes, and 3.2 major hurricanes per year.

Is this an incredible increase? Is man-made climate change causing significantly higher hurricanes that previous decades? Are we actually hurtling over a precipice from which there is no return as soon as 2020?

Well let’s look at the 10 years prior to that 1997 – 2006
During that decade every metric was higher. We had 15.2 named storms, 8.10 hurricanes, 3.7 major hurricanes per year.

How about we go back to 1947 -1956 – surely it was much better then! During that decade we averaged less named storms at 10.5, about the same hurricanes at 6.8, and MORE major hurricanes the either of the last 2 decades at 3.9 per year.

If you go back before 1947 no decade is higher than the present according to the link below BUT did we name storms with the same rules as today?

Here is an interesting article showing we did not (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/hurricane-names—how-are-th…/)
Also I wonder did we have the same ability to accurately identify hurricanes and their size in 1850 as we do today – I suspect the answer is no. But as you look through the link below you will see peak decades followed by lower decades for no discernable reason especially if you try to relate it to supposed man-made factors contributing to climate change.

http://www.stormfax.com/huryear.htm

Weather is complex. There are natural cycles in the earth that vary for reasons we clearly do not yet understand. I say clearly because NO ONE has come up with anything resembling an accurate, repeatable scientific model to project future temperatures or natural disasters.

So can we drop the rabble-rousing hysteria? Yes let’s study our planet. Yes – let’s care for it to the best of our ability, but can we stop with saying we know with near absolute certainty something we very very clearly do not.

Of course I know the answer is no we cannot restrain ourselves. And I am a heretic for daring to question the established doctrine of the intellectuals which is willingly propped up by media and politicians. But maybe one person reading this might be convinced to evaluate the evidence a little closer and with some scientific skepticism and if so that will be worth it!

https://www.cnn.com/…/climate-change-marshall-is…/index.html

Temporary Tax Cuts? Horrible for the Middle Class?

Have you heard that the tax bill is “permanent” for corporations and “goes way up after 10 years” for the middle class and there is “no tax relief for the middle class” in the bill? I just read articles this morning from the New York Times, Washington Post and US Today stating these exact things. I want to show you why this is dishonest journalism.

1) There is a rule in the legislature that limits the amount a bill can increase the deficit both by time and dollars. The congressional budget office forecasts what a bill is projected to add to the deficit – in the case of the tax bill it is projected that it will add 1.5 trillion to the deficit. (by the way I don’t think economists can project the resultant economy from a significantly reduced corporate and personal rate accurately over the next 10 years as it has never been done before – so I give little credence to the 1.5 trillion added in deficit spending estimate) This deficit amount is more than would be allowed under current rules IF if extended more than 10 years. The Republicans are not trying to screw the little guy in order to help corporations – they literally cannot make the middle-class tax cuts permanent under current rules. So they are implementing them for as long as they can which will establish a new baseline and allow them to be made permanent in the future – just as the Bush tax cuts were made permanent under Obama. When news agencies report this 10-year expiration window without showing the reason and the more than likely ultimate extension of these cuts and are telling half-truths and failing to serve the public honestly. And believe me they know what I have written above – so it is intentional duplicity. That’s frustrating to me.

2) You have heard almost certainly from almost every news source that you rate goes way up in the middle class after 10 years. From the above paragraph, you can see the half-truth they are telling to say that – but then they say there is no relief for the middle class in the bill – it all goes to the rich and corporations. Do you see the lie here? In 10 years (if there are no extensions to the tax relief) your taxes will revert to as they are now – which they are saying will be a huge increase to your taxes. It can only be a huge increase to your taxes if the bill is in fact significantly reducing your taxes over the next 10 years because at the end of ten years it would just go back to as it is. Again this is a very frustrating deliberate manipulation by the press.

My rule – read source documents or as close to source documents as possible rather than opinion pieces that mascarade as unbiased news reporting

Conservatism in a Donald Trump Era

3 Issues in the new Trump era.
1)  Rule via executive order.  Republicans and conservatives rightly were incensed over the way president Obama thumbed his nose at the opposition and bypassed congress by executive orders.  Trump is doubling down on Obama’s precedent and the right is largely silent about it or excuse it.  We do not have a king.  We believe in limited government with checks and balances.  The law making body of the US is the congress not the president.  Whether I am in agreement with the substance of Trump’s changes does not matter – making the change in a way that honors the well designed checks and balances of our founders does.
2)  When Obama nominated his cabinet the sneaky democrats found a way to cheat past the 60% requirement to break a filibuster by changing the 60% requirement rule with a 50% vote.  Republicans were rightly incensed.  But now that power has shifted into their hands they are taking advantage of the same rule they had said was wrong.  I agree with their original assessment and believe that they should change the rule back with a provision that it cannot be changed without a 60% vote.  I realize this is unfair because the democrats benefited from the rule change and we would likely have some of Trump’s nominees rejected, but I believe it would be the right thing to do.
3)  For the last 8 years Republians have hit Obama over the head with his exponential driving up of the debt.  He took it from 10 trillion to 20 trillion during his time in office.  It is deplorable and the republicans were right to denounce it.  But now, with a Republican majority in the house and senate and the white house, the first order of business for the Republicans was to pass a budget which BY THEIR OWN ESTIMATES drives up the debt another 10 trillion to 30 trillion in the next ten years.
Where is the conservative party?  I like some of Trump’s direction.  I like the Department of Education nominee.  I like the SCOTUS nominee, but at what cost?  If we drive over the top of our opponents because we presently wield the power it will come back doubly when the power shifts hands again.  Let’s return to a conservative, limited form of government as envisioned by the founders, rather than continuing down the well trodden road of power hungry politics.

Cuba, Castro, Kaepernick and Cabdrivers

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I asked my Cuban-born cab driver how he felt about Castro dying
He said, “I don’t care that he died.”
I asked him if he thought things would be different in Cuba
He said, “No way – the people ruling are too hungry for power.”
I asked him about Colin Kaepernick.
He said, “Who?”
I told him the NFL quarterback who supports Castro.

He still didn’t know about him so I told him about Kaepernick and he had this perfect response.
“The great thing about America is that you can think whatever you want and it is ok.  I couldn’t do that in Cuba.  But I think this quarterback is a great fool and doesn’t know what he is talking about.”
Made my day!

#Never Trump is not immoral

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I do not think a person needs to be perfect to be president of the United States. I certainly am not. But neither do I believe they are qualified if they shamelessly and repeatedly make their sin their glory and boast. It is for this reason, I cannot Continue reading “#Never Trump is not immoral”

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