Robert, of a Work in Progress, contacted me tonight with what I consider to be a novel idea. He believes Obama will win in November and he's willing to put his money where his mouth is.
Here's what he asked me to post:
Greetings, I find myself in the unusual position of addressing you, the audience of this blog. (several orders of magnitude larger than my own, puny but steadfast collection of readers)
Rick and I have agreed, in the spirit of the season, on a wager relating to next November's Presidential election on these terms: If the Republican nominee ascends to the White House, I will donate $250 to the charity of Rick's choosing and post whatever message he wishes on my blog. If, however, President Obama is re-elected, Rick will make a donation to the organization of my choosing and you will see a message from me, posted here.
The President of the United States being a position that affects everyone on earth, though I do not have a vote, I certainly have a stake on the outcome. Seeing as how Rick and I usually don't agree on much and I, for one, have given in to the angels of my foul-er nature more often than I care to remember, it is hoped that our friendly wager will bring some levity and goodwill to this divided atmosphere.
In the meantime, best wishes to all for a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah & Happy 2012.
At Kmart stores across the country, Santa seems to be getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn't afford, especially toys and children's clothes set aside by impoverished parents.
Stearnes said at first she thought it was a joke when someone from the Omaha store called to say someone had paid off most of her layaway bill for toys and outfits she bought for the youngest four of her seven grandchildren.
The total bill was about $250, but after the stranger helped, she only had a $58 balance, she said. Stearns, who cleans medical instruments at a hospital, said she and her husband, Lloyd, live paycheck to paycheck and that layaway often helps spread out the costs of Christmas.
A similar random act of kindness happened at a Kmart in Indianapolis, where a young father wearing dirty clothes and worn-out boots, stood in line at a layaway counter alongside three small children.
He asked to pay something on his bill because he knew he wouldn't be able to afford it all before Christmas. Then a mysterious woman stepped up to the counter.
"She told him, 'No, I'm paying for it,'" recalled Edna Deppe, assistant manager at the store in Indianapolis. "He just stood there and looked at her and then looked at me and asked if it was a joke. I told him it wasn't, and that she was going to pay for him. And he just busted out in tears."
Before she left the store Tuesday evening, the Indianapolis woman in her mid-40s had paid the layaway orders for as many as 50 people. On the way out, she handed out $50 bills and paid for two carts of toys for a woman in line at the cash register.
"She was doing it in the memory of her husband who had just died, and she said she wasn't going to be able to spend it and wanted to make people happy with it," Deppe said. The woman did not identify herself and only asked people to "remember Ben," an apparent reference to her husband.
Deppe, who said she has worked in retail for 40 years, had never seen anything like it.
"It was like an angel fell out of the sky and appeared in our store," she said.
Might more angels fall out of the sky nation wide.
By allyHM (Brutally Honest's newest guest blogger - welcome her!).
On Thursday, October 27, 2011, I was blessed and privileged to fly on Mission IV with Ocala Honor Flight.
Honor Flight is a national network of local “hubs” whose goal is to take every veteran who is willing and able to Washington, D.C, to see THEIR memorial. Right now, the focus is on World War II veterans due to their age and the fact that the WWII Memorial didn’t open until 2004. Most of these guys (and a few gals) would not be able to go without the support of Honor Flight, either due to finances or, most commonly, age and infirmity. Ocala has been flying missions since 2009. Mission IV took 99 veterans and 74 support personnel: flight coordinator, two logistics coordinators, two physicians, six paramedics, and handful of nurses and nurse practitioners, a respiratory therapist and a host of other volunteer escorts. The escorts and most of the “staff” paid their own way for the flight at $500 each. The veterans are not allowed to pay their way. The total cost of this Mission was $80,000, including a charter plane, three charter buses in D.C., food and keepsakes and other miscellaneous items. All of the money was raised in the local community.
Our day started at Ocala Airport which is large enough to land any aircraft ever built. Set-up staff arrived at 4:00am, escorts at 5:00am and veterans at 6:00am. After making our way through TSA, we took off at 7:47am. Loading 99 85+- year-olds, some with wheelchairs and needing to be literally carried up the stairs into the airplane by our paramedics, takes time. That was one of my jobs: to keep the loading going as smoothly as possible, mostly by loudly saying (over and over), “Get in, find a seat and get your fanny it in!” Our Flight Coordinator, Trey Adams, had a fantastic seating chart, color coded by bus - red, white and blue - so that made it fairly easy to coordinate as each veteran or support person wore a red, white or blue hat, and one of the assistant bus captains stood in the aisle with his copy of the seating chart making sure these guys sat where they were supposed to.
The flight up seemed short despite a medical emergency that a little oxygen we brought along took care of, and we were served a nice breakfast on the plane. We landed at Baltimore Washington International, and were greeted by the airport firefighters giving the plane a water curtain salute as we taxied between to water tankers (an honor usually only given to a retiring or deceased firefighter). After some minor glitches getting everyone and everything (50 wheelchairs, for example) off the plane and up to the terminal exit, we headed off in our color-coded buses. Forty-five minutes and a boxed Arby’s lunch later, we were at the WWII Memorial in a bit of a drizzle. Thankfully, Trey had the foresight to buy 176 rain ponchos. After a special performance of the President’s Drum and Fife band, an address by an active duty Lt. Colonel, and a brief address by Congressmen Cliff Stearns and Rich Nugent, we had about 40 minutes to just wander around the memorial. Most of the guys really seemed to experience some fairly intense emotion at the star wall, where each star on the wall represents 100 men who didn’t return. They seemed almost reverential while looking at this enormous memorial. As I looked around the oval, I could see escorts heads bent down to hear what their wheelchair veteran had to say. I heard several veterans telling their escort about the men they knew who were part of the number who didn’t return. I saw more than a few wipe away a tear. What an amazing way to bring closure to that time in these men’s lives.
After that, we loaded back up on the buses and headed to the Lincoln and Korean War Memorials which are right next to each other. I rode on the blue bus, and I asked a couple of the guys near me what they thought of the WWII Memorial. “Just fantastic!” said one. “Very moving,” said another. They all seemed in awe, humbled and grateful – all at the same time – that the country honored their sacrifice by building that memorial. Most of them were fairly quiet on the blue bus, having that faraway look one gets when one is remembering something from long ago.
A very short ride later, we were at the next stop and being unloaded to head to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for a group photo. That was a bit like “herding cats” but we did get everyone together in fairly short order. Earlier, at the WWII Memorial, we found a wreath that had been delivered there by the man who started Ocala Honor Flight, Morrie Dean, who stayed home this time and organized the welcome back party (more on that later) – red, white and blue roses with a ribbon that read, “Ocala Honor Flight 2011. That wreath traveled with us to the Lincoln Memorial and was put in front of the group for the photo, along with the folded, encased flag that represented those who did not live to join us. After the photo, everyone was allowed to look around on their own for about 40 minutes. A very small number went over to the Vietnam Memorial, but most visited the Korean Memorial. A number of our guys were career vets who served in both WWII and Korea. We even had one that was active from WWII through Vietnam. I moved our wreath to the exit point at the Korean Memorial, and a number of guys had their photo taken with it.
Back onto the buses we went, and we were off to Arlington, snacks and water on the way. Everyone was a bit more relaxed and talkative on this leg. We had to wait about 10 minutes at Arlington as buses aren’t allowed in until 3:30pm so that they can conduct funerals – 25 to 27 per day. Even so, after we were allowed in, we drove by a funeral procession as it was coming to an end near the gravesite – a horse-drawn caisson indicating an officer’s funeral. The blue bus got rather quiet at that point and everyone tried to get a look. Once we arrived at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Trey was met by the relief sergeant, last name Skywalker (I am not making that up). He asked Trey to have the group assemble after the changing of the guard so that he could speak to them briefly. Along with about 200 other people, including a middle school group, we watched in reverential silence as the changing of the guard ceremony proceeded. Then, after the middle school presented their wreath, two of our guys were selected to lay the wreath we had carried around all day at the Tomb. Taps was played. So very, very moving – in fact, I’m tearing up again now while remembering that. Our two guys stood there, at attention, saluting alongside the escort guard.
Now, I have to relate to you that immediately after, one of those two guys – 88 years old - missed the first step going back up the steps with the escort guard and fell over backwards…HARD. There was a loud collective gasp of the 400 or so people who were watching. Our six paramedics, our medical director (an ER doctor) and our chaplain (my Anglican priest) were on him in under 15 seconds. Fr. Don prayed, the doctor did a quick neurological check and the paramedics sat him up. He had some bleeding from the back of his head which they patched up quickly, but he was otherwise fine! A bit of a headache, he said, but he had no other symptoms. Of course, the paramedics lifted him into a wheelchair after that just to be safe. The first thing he said as he was settled into the chair: “Where’s my cap?” He wanted his Honor Flight hat back, even if he couldn’t wear it. He waved that cap to the crowd, which was cheering at this point, as he was wheeled away. Normally, the guard on duty will step off of the carpet and quiet the crowd with an admonishment for not maintaining silence, but not this time. The guards were just wonderful through this little situation.
After the excitement, everyone gathered at the back of the Tomb pavilion where Sgt. Skywalker spoke to them. He spoke about what it takes to be a guard at the Tomb. It truly is an elite group. He then told these guys that he appreciates it when people thank him for his service, but that THEY are the reason he does what he does, that THEY are his heroes, his inspiration and the reason he loves his job. He openly admitted that he has a “soft spot” for WWII vets, and he didn’t want a single one of them to leave with allowing him to shake their hands. One of the most moving events of the day occurred at this point. As Sgt. Skywalker was making his way down the front row of wheelchairs shaking hands, one of these 85+ year old white veterans stood up out of his wheelchair and opened his arms to this 20-something-year-old black soldier for a hug. A hug! Sgt. Skywalker broke into a huge grin and reciprocated gladly, the two of them embracing in a warm, manly hug. Tears are rolling down my cheeks at this very moment as I type this (and again as I proofread it). It was truly a beautiful moment. Right then, the sun – which had been absent all day – broke through for a few brief moments. Fitting. Thank you for that, Lord!
Back onto the buses we went. Another snack and another bottle of water, and a long drive back to BWI thanks to the 5:00pm traffic in and around D.C. We got through TSA quickly and loaded up again, this time not so much color coded but making sure to have our head injury guy and our least mobile guys sitting near the front and near paramedics. We had a hot dinner served to us on the plane: meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peas & carrots, along with a small tossed salad, a roll and a small piece of lemon pie. I thought it was a very American menu and probably “comfort food” for a good number of our guys. I sat next to a veteran on the way home, and Art and I talked quite a bit. He is a rarity, a marine who made it home alive. He told me that he’s actually a little bit younger than the rest of the guys because he enlisted at “16-and-a-half.” According to Art, they were so desperate to recruit marines due to the devastation among their ranks that you could enlist at that age with your parents’ permission. I asked him, “How was your day?” He said that it was fantastic, and he couldn’t get over how organized the whole trip was. He spoke about how tough it was emotionally at the WWII Memorial but that he wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. He choked up a couple of times talking to me on the way home, remembering those that didn’t make it and remembering how it felt to be so far from home but doing what needed to be done.
We got back to Ocala at about 10:30pm. Art and I happened to be on the port side of the plane, so we were able to see the terminal as we taxied up under another water curtain salute by local firefighters in tanker trucks. Flags waving. Music playing. Kids on their parents’ shoulders. What a sight! Art was waving through the window, trying to spot his wife in the crowd of what appeared to be about 1000 people – and this was at 10:30pm on a Thursday! As we unloaded the plane, there were local active duty personnel from the National Guard Armory standing in salute on either side of the stairs. They stood in salute for the entire time it took for the plane to unload, including the time it took to literally carry some of these guys off – more than the number carried onto the plane earlier that morning. City and County commissioners were at the bottom of the stairs to greet each veteran as he exited the plane. Veterans were directed to their color-coded table to pick up their keepsakes: a photo montage of their current photo and an old photo of them in uniform, a letter from their congressman and Mission IV dog tags. Then, they were greeted by their family members – wives, children, grandchildren – and went home.
Truly an experience I will never forget and an inspiration to keep plugging away as I work to raise funds for an inaugural Honor Flight Mission in April for WWII heroes that live in the area where I work: Lake and Sumter Counties, FL (Villages Honor Flight). These men and women deserve it, and it’s the least I can do.
For weeks the president and Warren Buffett have been lamenting what they say is the terrible disparity and unfairness of taxation in America. According to President Obama and his BFF Warren Buffett, millionaires and billionaires simply aren't paying their fair share of taxes.
The example frequently tendered has come to be known as the "Buffett Rule." According to Warren Buffett and the president, Warren Buffett pays less in taxes than his secretary, which is unfair. Now the Republicans have tendered their own "Buffet Plan" to address the guilt and remorse felt by those like Mr. Buffett.
President Obama’s proposed “Buffett Rule”-- which would force the wealthiest Americans to pay higher taxes to help cut the nation’s deficits -- has met its Republican match. Republican lawmakers have introduced their own “Buffett Rule” that would allow billionaire investors like Warren Buffett who say they’re not paying enough taxes to voluntarily give more money to the federal government. Under the legislation, authored by Sen. John Thune of South Dakota and Rep. John Scalise of Louisiana, taxpayers can donate at least a $1 to the Treasury fund for deficit reduction when they file their federal income tax returns starting next year. “If individuals like Warren Buffett or President Obama are inclined to donate their own personal money toward paying down the federal government’s debt, they ought to have that right to do so voluntarily,” Thune said. “This bill would make it easier for those wealthy individuals who feel they are currently under-taxed to pay more to the U.S. Treasury above and beyond their current obligations, without raising taxes on America’s job creators.”
Simple as that, the GOP bill proposes to alleviate the disparity of liberal guilt and allow those like Mr. Buffett to ease their conscious by paying their fair share of taxes. If passed and signed by the president, Mr. Buffett and others will be able to simply stroke a guilt check to the government every year and fill in the blank as it concerns the pain relief they are seeking for their tormented souls.
I call it the GOP "buffet plan." It is kinda like walking the counter at your favorite buffet. If you are a millionaire or a billionaire under this proposed plan, all you have to do is walk the steam table of remorse and guilt and plate as much monetary apology as you feel comfortable with.
Therefore, with the passage of the proposed bill, all would seem right with the world, except for one minor point. I wonder what Mr. Buffett will do about his already outstanding delinquent tax bill of over one billion dollars. Warren Buffett has already spent millions in accounting and legal fees, trying to keep from paying his taxes on his Berkshire Hatthaway profits to date. So I wonder. Will old Warren belly up to the table and pay his fair share like a good party member? And then kick in a goodly amount more just to be sure that the ledger books of egalitarian fairness are assuaged?
Or will he continue to beat the egalitarian drum for Barack Obama's socialist change, via class warfare and increased taxes, while all the while writhing and twisting like a serpent ensnared by his own legitimate taxes. Taxes that he continues to attempt to avoid paying, while at the same time decrying the unfairness of the same tax structure that he knowingly violates and regularly exploits.
I can't help but believe that President Obama will immediately see the benefit of this legislation and sign it into law as soon as it comes to his desk. Then I'll bet he'll pick up the phone and call Warren Buffet to let him know that pain relief is on the way.
Via MSNBC's The Week in Pictures, that heartbreaking shot of 2 year old Aden Salaad might I hope tweak you in the direction of helping out. The caption, which reads as follows, might add to that tweaking:
Two-year-old Aden Salaad looks toward his mother on July 11 as she bathes him in a tub at a Doctors Without Borders hospital, where he is receiving treatment for malnutrition in Dagahaley Camp, near Dadaab, Kenya. U.N. refugee chief Antonio Guterres called drought-ridden Somalia the "worst humanitarian disaster" in the world. His comment came after he met with refugees who endured unspeakable hardship to reach the world's largest refugee camp in Dadaab.
You can indeed help by clicking on any of the graphics below:
Pause for a moment... consider how well off you really are... then consider giving to those who aren't... you know there are many in need... and you know you're likely able to give a little something to make their lives better. Any of the charitable organizations listed below are worthy. Click on an image and give. Do it now. You'll feel better. You honestly will. And you'll be making a difference in somebody's life.
Caleb Howe is one of the valuable members of our community who does tremendously good work. As you know, Caleb has put many hours of time and effort into RedState and broken major stories you’ve probably read here. If he was a left-winger, he’d be one of scores of full-timers bankrolled by George Soros and left-wing interest groups, and wouldn’t have to worry about making a living. And right now he could use some help. The Obama economy has done him and his family no favors and he has been without a job for some time. With bills to pay, including a mortgage, kids to feed, and an internet connection that has to be paid for, its tough.
Rashad Hussain, President Obama's new envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference, and Sami al-Arian, who pleaded guilty in 2006 to conspiracy to aid a terrorist organization. (FNC/AP)
President Obama's new Muslim envoy Rashad Hussain admitted Friday to once defending a man who later pleaded guilty to conspiring to aid a terrorist group -- an admission that contradicts earlier claims from the White House that the quotes had been mistakenly attributed to Hussain. Hussain, named by Obama as an envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference, said Friday his comments at the time were "ill conceived or not well formulated."
I am so pleased to finally see these complex and mind boggling realities being explained in a manner that I can both understand and relate to.
Thank goodness....what a breath of fresh air!
Now, can we please begin by applying these same principles to all of our conflicts with reason?
Where should we begin?
What say we apply these simple explanations to our little buddy president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Is there any doubt that many of his remarks of the past few years have been both ill conceived and not well formulated? I mean seriously, should his failures of communication be held against him?
And what of our own president and his on going remarks concerning Las Vegas? Is Barack Obama a recidivist 'ill conceiver?' I certainly think so. Can I get an amen brother!
So you see.......as has been noted for generations, intent is like beauty. It is in the eye of the beholder and therefore, there is no need in placing any extra burden on those who don't initially appear to be expressing themselves properly.
Give them a chance! Allow the secular humanist principle of relativity to come into play. Then apply an ample measure of perceived fairness to all encounters? And the first thing you know, we are all sitting around plucking daisies and singing we are the world and imagine.
I feel so much better now. It's as if this huge weight of blackness has been lifted from my eyes. And I must admit, these standard issue rose colored glasses don't hurt either.