Monday, April 16, 2012

The Monkey Wrench Campaign

{by Meg Eakin}
So much has happened in the political world since August 2011. Rick Perry entered into the race and everyone thought he would be the nominee; as a Texas native, I was convinced myself. Then, January 3rd, 2012 came. It was the day of the Iowa Caucus, and everyone thought it would for sure be a Romney win. It was the first time voters went to the polls in the primary season. No one thought the unassuming Rick Santorum, wearing his sweater vest, would be the winner, even though it took a few weeks for that to be clear. As the elections continued, we saw more and more people drop out, Michelle Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, and even the man everyone though would be the nominee, Rick Perry. For the last few months it had been a mainly two man race between Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney. It looked like someone had thrown a monkey wrench in the campaign it went from being too simple to so complex.

That all changed on Tuesday, When Santorum suspended his campaign for President of the United States of America. Some might say it is calling it too early but it looks like Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee for President. That might be a hard pill to swallow for some people but it is almost certainly a fact.

Then there’s the subject of “Can Romney even beat Obama?” The answer, according to today’s polls, is yes. Tomorrow is a new day and it is a long time until November. 

Really it boils down to more than an election, more than two parties, more than votes. It is really about the American values our country was founded on. It is about morality. It is about the values we have and have been taught. It is about Patriotism. It about believing that America is truly the greatest nation on God’s Green earth! Mark Twain once said “A true patriot supports his country all the time and his government when it deserves it.” America is shining city on a hill; the eyes of all people, believe it or not, are upon us. That’s why as long as we are standing for freedom and we still have freedom, there will be people who want to see us destroyed.  That’s why we must take action to keep this Country, "one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Meg Eakin is a Junior in high school and lives in Texas with her family. She loves history and politics and plans on going to law school and running for office one day. She can be found at her home blog here:

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Friday, January 6, 2012

City on a Hill? Or Not.

{by Taylor Eckel}

I recently read a blog post where conservative activist Star Parker lamented that youth no longer desire America as a “city on a hill.”

The notion of our nation as a city on a hill has a nice, conservative ring to it, but what does that really mean? Should this phrase summarize the aspirations of conservative Americans?

The “city on a hill” phrase originated with Puritan leader John Winthrop in his 1630 sermon, “A Model of Christian Charity” and in recent years has been used by several presidents. When Winthrop used the phrase, he was addressing a group of Christians who aspired to create a God-honoring colony in the New World.

Unfortunately, the Christian commonwealth established by Winthrop and others did not last long. American History Professor Dr. Robert Spinney explains, “There can be no better illustration of the late-1600s Puritan-to-Yankee transformation than to look at John Winthrop and his descendants: John Winthrop invested his faith in God, but his grandsons invested in Connecticut real estate.”

Although the nation established in the late 1700s was decidedly not a Christian nation after the model set forth by Winthrop, the slogan “city on a hill” remained in the American vocabulary.

In his 1989 Farewell Address Ronald Reagan described his idea of a city on a hill. After crediting Winthrop with the original idea he said,
“I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.” 
At first glance that sounds like a pretty nice place to live. But something is strikingly missing. Winthrop exhorted his listeners to remember the grave responsibility of their calling.
“But if our hearts shall turn away, so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced, and worship other Gods, our pleasure and profits, and serve them; it is propounded unto us this day, we shall surely perish out of the good land whither we pass over this vast sea to possess it.” 
Reagan, on the other hand, describes more of a utopia of rest and commerce than the sacred duty that Dr. Spinney calls, “evangelism by example.”

The question then is simple. In 2012 should our nation still aspire to be that “shining city on the hill”?

Quite simply, no. 

We cannot aspire to Winthrop’s idea of a shining city on a hill. America is not a Christian nation, and never has been. It is true that the Massachusetts colonies were originally Christian establishments, but by the late seventeenth century the church-going Puritans gave way to Yankee businessmen. Our circumstances are such that Winthrop’s paradigm just doesn’t fit.

That leaves the Reagan version of a shining city on a hill. I submit that Reagan’s view is dangerous because it leaves little room for the reality that fallen men cannot create a perfectly peaceful, harmonious nation.

In the classic City of God, Augustine recognized the “misery” of this fallen world, the difficulty of sinners governing sinners, and pointed to the hope that Christian’s have in the eternal city. Centuries later the wise man Edmund Burke objected to the Rousseauian idea that through proper government men can be perfected. Burke recognized the imperfectability of man. He essentially said that the purpose of government is to prevent the worst. Given the present threats to religious liberty, the mass murder of the unborn, the ever-increasing sprawl of bureaucracy and the national debt crisis, perhaps a less idealistic aspiration is in order. Maybe it’s time we realize that we can’t aim for the shining city until we come up and out of the cave.
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Monday, October 31, 2011

Judging Wisely: Perspective Beyond Presidential Policies

{by Taylor Eckel}

Since the candidates started kicking up dust on the presidential campaign trail, we’ve heard a lot about policy issues. We know where each candidate stands on important issues like healthcare, life, marriage, and the economy. But the discussion of theoretical issues has been absent. Don’t get me wrong- policy issues are important and a president’s policy decisions have broad effect on the nation. I tend to take things at face value, so I had never really thought about anything other than a candidate’s positions (and accompanying record) on matters of policy until recently.

In a Constitutional Law class, my professor broached the subject during a lecture on the theories of constitutional interpretation. He pointed out that appointing justices (especially Supreme Court Justices) is the single most important duty of a president, and a president usually appoints justices with constitutional ideology similar to his own. A Supreme Court justice’s time on the bench far outlasts any president’s time in the White House, and the precedents set by the Court influence society for generations.

Four of the justices currently on the bench are over 70 years old. It is highly probable that out next president will appoint a few justices to the Supreme Court during his term. Indeed, if all of the current septuagenarians die or retire during the next president’s term, it is possible that the next man in the oval office will appoint as many justices as George W. Bush and Barack Obama combined. Certainly this is no small issue.

So how do we figure out a candidate’s view of the Constitution and its interpretation? What about his view of judicial authority? If you look on any of the major conservative candidate’s websites you won’t exactly find a statement of their views on the Constitution.

There are multiple theories of Constitutional interpretation, but there are a few key issues that can clue you in to a candidate’s position. Familiarize yourself with the two major views of Constitutional interpretation and the two major views of judicial authority.

First, does the candidate view the constitution as an aspirational document, or as a social contract? 
A candidate’s view of the nature of the constitution informs how he interprets it. Does he believe it is a set of rules for maintaining political order, or as a general, somewhat shifting vision for political greatness?

Secondly, does the candidate advocate judicial review, or judicial activism?
Judicial review is analogous to an umpire who simply calls the balls and the strikes as he sees them- either something is constitutional or it isn’t. Judicial activism is commonly called “legislating from the bench.” While all judicial decisions influence public policy to some extent, judicial activism involves crafting policy-like qualifications to determine the constitutionality or legality of an issue.

It can be difficult to wade through the political rhetoric, so don’t be discouraged if it’s hard to tell where a candidate stands on these theoretical issues. Keep your ears open, and over the months leading to the primary you’ll be able to piece together the puzzle of information to form a better picture of each candidate.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Case for the Unknown: A Case for Jon Huntsman

{by Joseph Samelson}

Every single time I’ve told someone that I support Jon Huntsman for the 2012 Presidential election, I get one of two reactions: shocked surprise or laughter. The former is a reaction doubting my answer, while the latter is an outright joking response that leads people to stop taking my political opinion seriously. For some strange reason that is beyond me, people cannot wrap their heads around the idea of a relatively unknown candidate going up for the Presidential election.

But still, Huntsman will get my vote whether or not he wins the Republican nomination, and that is because he is the most qualified, credentialed, and experienced candidate in the field, with a proven track record that any republican would cut off an arm to have. But don’t just believe my opinion, this post will examine his actual record and show why everything I’m saying is not opinion, but fact.

First, let’s look at Huntsman’s experience in the United States on a domestic level. Under George H. W. Bush, Huntsman served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce, where he first gained experience with the federal government. As a governor of Utah, Huntsman lead his state to be the number one state in America for job creation. That statistic surpasses even Rick Perry’s job creation record, which is what he’s staking most of his campaign on. Later on in his term, the Pew Research Center named Utah the best-managed state in the country.

His domestic experience isn’t limited to just accolades and accomplishments, it expands to actual programs and policies he implemented while in office. Huntsman established conservative principles when he cut more than one billion dollars during his term. He later went on to institute the largest tax cut in Utah state history, which effectively instituted a flat tax on his citizens, a policy which is heralded to increase fairness, decrease political corruption, increase individual freedoms, and increase savings.

Later on in his term, he brought about market-based health care reform. No mandates like Obamacare or Romneycare, but putting the focus on giving consumers the CHOICE for healthcare. He also signed ground-breaking pro-life legislation, including bills that required parental consent for a minor. Huntsman set the foundation for a challenge to Roe v. Wade by creating a state fund to defend Utah’s state ban on abortion (effective 2013) to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Mr. Jon Huntsman not only has a great domestic political track record, his private sector track record is significant as well. He served as the CEO of Huntsman Family Holdings, turned the Huntsman corporation around to a positive economic profit during the recession, and became the Vice President of the Huntsman Pacific Chemical Corporation, in addition to being the director of Huntsman International.

His incredible track record doesn’t stop there. He also has the most significant foreign policy experience of any candidate up for office, including more than incumbent President Obama had before he became president. Huntsman first served as the United States Trade Ambassador under George W. Bush. It was under this office, where he negotiated dozens of free trade agreements with other countries for the United States. In addition to being the trade ambassador, Huntsman was also one of two United States Trade Representatives during the George W. Bush Administration.

Under President Obama, Huntsman is currently serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Singapore, which has made him the youngest United States ambassador in one hundred years. He also serves as the U.S. Ambassador to China. It is under this appointment where he has served as the head of America’s most important diplomatic mission. Ambassador Huntsman helped expand Chinese access to the internet, which has furthered democracy and broadened U.S. ties with China.

Adding on to his experience with China and Singapore, Huntsman has also worked to limit the development of the North Korean nuclear program, perhaps the greatest emerging threat to United States security.

That’s his track record: unbelievingly experienced, superb qualifications, and a willingness to work under an opposing administration. It’s those reasons that could give him enough ground with independent and democratic voters to defeat President Obama in the upcoming election, if he was awarded the nomination.

With Huntsman’s experience in mind, let’s compare him to the current Republican frontrunner, who [unfortunately] is businessman Herman Cain, who has gained popularity because of his simple 9-9-9 tax plan.

This plan however, isn’t as advertised. It’s incredibly misleading, being described as a ‘distributional nightmare’, and literally send the U.S. deficit through the roof, while raising taxes if it was implemented. In addition to horrible backup of his 9-9-9 plan, Cain has absolutely zero foreign policy experience, a fact that Huntsman could laugh at.

All in all, when compared to other candidates, Huntsman is the candidate with the best experience needed for the commander-in-chief of the United States of America. If you’re republican or independent, I strongly urge you to reconsider who you end up supporting in the coming election. You can go for the candidate that sounds the best, or one with the best record and experience. Your choice.
Joseph Samelson is a senior homeschooler, an avid high-school debater, and a researcher for Ethos Publications, LLC. He has been honored as the southern regional champion in team policy debate and the twenty-second best debater in the country. He enjoys researching, politics, photography, and music. He is finishing up his senior year at home, and is preparing to major in government in college the following year. He authors posts on Ethos Debate, as well as his personal blog, Data Stream: One.

... For more discussion on the 2012 Presidential candidates, read The Case for Rick Perry. 
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Make 'Em Laugh ((Enough With Depressing Politics))

{by Hailey Sadler}

So, I know I said I don't like political catch-phrases and soundbites and all that... But I have to say, I love cartoons! Some political cartoons can be  so funny. Maybe its because they can perfectly encapsulate a small facet of truth or saterize a common mindset you never even realized you had, in a way you had never thought of before.... Regardless, these are funny. In my opinion, of course. I hope you enjoy them, though, because politics is depressing enough to warrant occasionally having a sense of humor about it. 

seriously. sometimes politicans have the most one-track minds.

this made me think of SNL:
 (watch it if you havent.)

traumatic facebook changes...

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Here's to the Crazy Ones, Steve Jobs

{by a Mourning Mac Lover}
 "Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently  they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, 
are the ones who do." — Steve Jobs

i had to write something on this guy.

He is pretty close to being one of my heroes. Due, in part, to his connection with my adorable Mac, who I love with a love that passes PC understanding.  But also due to his initiative, inventiveness, and geniusness as an entrepreneur. When I heard the news, after frantically confirming that it was, in fact, true, I felt like draping my Mac in black mourning, but instead I spent a moment thinking about Steve Job’s life and what it is I admire about him. Here are 5 things I thought of:

He was out-of-the-box
Steve Job’s lived life a little bit differently than other people. He didn’t take the standardized road to “success” or a “good job”. Instead, he dropped out of college after six months. For another eighteen months he hung around taking only courses that intrigued him, and then he quit entirely. And by 20 he was busy in his parent’s garage with a little company called Apple…. fast-forward ten years and Steve has a $2 billion dollar enterprise on his hands. I admire the boldness it took to veer from the accepted path, to climb out of the box set by society, and do what he was called to do. And he didn't like rules; I like that about him.

He did things
Not too long now, I will be 20. While I doubt I’ll be starting a billion dollar company with my friend (although, hey you never know!) regardless of where I am then, I want to be doing things. That is what inspires me about Steve Jobs: he didn’t just have ideas or big things he wanted to do “someday” in the vague future, he translated those ideas into reality and turned that “someday” into now.

He was a true entrepreneur
He did not just fill a need in the market. He created a need, a market. As Nick Schulz of the American Enterprise Institute wrote in the Wall Street Journal
“Lots of ninnies can give customers products they want. Jobs gave people products they didn't know they wanted, and then made those products indispensable to their lives. I didn't know I needed the ability to read The Wall Street Journal and The Corner on a handsome handheld device at my breakfast table, on the Metro, on the Acela, or in any Starbucks I entered. But Steve Jobs did. I didn't know I wanted to mix and match my music collection on a computer and take it with me wherever I went, but Steve Jobs did. I didn't know I wanted a portable multimedia platform that would permit me and my kids to hurl angry birds out of a slingshot at thieving pigs. But Steve Jobs did.”

He failed
Looking back, we tend to view Job’s failures through the softened lens of brilliant success. In the moment though, failure was a very real presence in Steve Job’s life. For instance, he spent tens of millions of dollars developing the epic failure, Lisa, and was fired by the company he created only ten years after starting it. There’s a lesson to be learned from Steve Job’s relationship with failure: Sholz says it this way
“All those successes were made possible by failure after failure after failure and the lessons learned from those failures. There's a moral here for a Washington culture that fears failure too much. In today's Washington, large banks aren't permitted to fail; nor are large auto firms. Next up will be too-big-to-fail hospital systems. Steve Jobs is a reminder that failure is a good and necessary thing. And that sometimes the greatest glories are born of catastrophe.” 
He didn’t just succeed in spite of his failures; he succeeded through them and because of them. And the advice he leaves us with is this, “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”

He lived for the bigger picture
He says it so well in his own words, in a Commencement address he delivered to Stanford called, “How to Live Before You Die”:
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”
                                                                                                          impromptu memorial outside the apple store on fifth avenue, nyc 
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Look at the World {Report}

{by Stevens M. Sadler}

Global hot-spots….

In New York last week, the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, formally petitioned the United Nations for recognition of Palestine as a sovereign nation.  Abbas has refused to negotiate with Israel and the rumblings from Iran, Syria, Egypt and others are not particularly encouraging….

Islam on the march?

There are a number of incidents in Western Europe as well as the United States where Islamic influences are being allowed to take root and even flourishing…. including a growing acceptance of Sharia law…..

Economic catastrophe right around the corner?

While the United States continues to rack up unprecedented and enormous deficits (annual spending exceeds tax income by more than $1,500,000,000,000) and Congress fails to enact any meaningful changes, which means the total cumulative debt skyrockets north of $14,000,000,000….

At the same time, Europe is approaching a cataclysm with Greece, Spain, Ireland and Portugal on the edge of a financial abyss.  The entire continent is dependent upon the financial strength of Germany as France grows increasingly weak and economies are faltering.  All the while, citizens are beginning to revolt against the politicians…..

And China expressly says don’t look to us as a savior" ... 

And then what, social unrest?

The citizens of nations all over the globe are suddenly, or so it seems, taking to the streets… Sudan, Libya Egypt, Yemen and Syria are in chaos…. 

While riots and protests tear through the streets of London, Athens, and Spain as governments attempt to trim spending and raise taxes in so called ‘austerity’ measures…. 

These are interesting times!
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Closer Look at the Candidates: A Case for Rick Perry

{by Maribeth Barber}

These next few months we’ll be taking a closer look at the 2012 presidential candidates… If you support a certain candidate, I invite you to make the case for them here! [Can anyone make a case for Obama?] As long as your writing is intellectually honest and well researched, we would love to hear your opinion. Keep in mind, however, that what is expressed during this series is just that: opinions. Part of being intellectually engaged is practicing thinking critically and respectfully disagreeing, so read analytically but with an open mind, and feel free to start a discussion, ask questions, and disagree. Thanks to Maribeth for starting us off!

The Republican presidential campaign has kicked into high gear. My goodness, what a field!   We have two fiery Texans, one a governor and the other a representative; a methodical former governor from Massachusetts; a sharp-tongued Minnesota congresswoman; an eloquent Southern businessman; a former Speaker of the House, and a few more former governors and senators. What more could you want for variety?

The problem is, there are so many to choose from and so many issues to discuss. In fact, it can get rather overwhelming when your goal is to choose your candidate wisely.

The trick is research: reading everything you can about each candidate and knowing what they believe. Of course, you need to know what you believe, as well, for any of this to be worth your effort.

I knew what many of the candidates believed because their names have been familiar to me for years. But when Governor Rick Perry of Texas got into the race--well, that’s when I had the opportunity to bury myself in research, and I came out of it firmly convinced that he was my preferred candidate.

I discovered that Rick Perry has been governor of Texas since his predecessor, George W. Bush, became president in 2001. Perry was an Air Force pilot and then a cotton farmer before he got into politics in the 1980’s. He married his high school sweetheart, Anita, and they have two grown children. He describes his hometown, Paint Creek, as being so small you can’t find it on a map.

But then I went deeper, down to the nitty-gritty. What was Governor Perry’s record? Was he really as committed to limited government as he claimed? What I found out surprised and excited me.

I found out that Governor Perry strongly supports the Constitution’s supremacy as the law of our land. One of the most important parts of the Constitution, he believes, is the 10th Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Perry believes the 10th Amendment is so crucial, he even wrote a book about it. Fed Up: Our Fight to Save America from Washington is nothing less than a small-government manifesto. In it, he explains that, according to the 10th Amendment, things like school curriculums, license plates, definition of marriage, drug use, etc., should not be under Washington’s jurisdiction. Those powers haven’t been delegated to Washington. But those powers are not “prohibited [by the Constitution] to the States.”

Part of our problem is that our Federal Government-- the President, the Congress, and the Supreme Court --hasn’t followed the 10th Amendment. They’ve run roughshod over the States. If Washington can be cut down to size and free the States from burdensome and unconstitutional regulations and laws, we’d be much better off.

One example of this kind of overregulation-- and one that Governor Perry uses in his book --directly impacts my home state of Louisiana. In April 2010 an oil rig off the Louisiana coast exploded, causing a major oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico. The federal government prevented our governor, Bobby Jindal, from taking any action; he wanted to build up barriers against the oil on our vulnerable coastal islands, but he couldn’t due to “environmental regulations.”  Adding insult to injury, President Obama signed an executive order ending all oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico-- indefinitely.

No bureaucratic agency should prevent a governor from taking emergency action as he sees fit. No president should have the authority to wipe out a huge chunk of Louisiana’s economy with the stroke of a pen. But it’s obvious that Washington doesn’t care. The government has thrown the Constitution to the wind and invaded areas of our lives where they have no authority, whether it be healthcare, business, or our incomes.

When he announced his intention to run for president, Governor Perry promised, “I’ll work every day to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can.” Needless to say, this was a breath of fresh air, especially to those who’ve borne an incompetent, arrogant federal government long enough.

On other issues, too, I was more than satisfied with Governor Perry’s record. With the sole exceptions of Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain, I can’t think of another candidate who is more principled on both social and economic issues. By this I mean that, like Bachmann and Cain, Governor Perry holds deep, unwavering convictions on these topics, most of which are controversial. However, neither Bachmann nor Cain have governing experience, which Perry undoubtedly does.

Governor Perry is pro-life and unashamedly so. He recently signed into law a requirement for Texas women to receive sonograms before getting an abortion. He believes in traditional marriage and supports a Constitutional amendment that would define marriage as being between one man and one woman. He recognizes parents’ right to educate their children as they see fit and especially appreciates the homeschool movement.

On economic matters he passes with flying colors. Under his leadership, Texas has become the most prosperous State in the Union, thanks to low taxes and minimal regulations. Governor Perry would like to see both the 16th Amendment (which legalized income tax) and President Obama’s healthcare plan repealed. He has famously described the process of printing more money (and thus devaluing our currency) as being “almost treasonous.”

First and foremost among all these points, however, is his unashamed profession of faith in Jesus Christ, his belief in the inerrancy of Scripture, and his obvious love for his wife and children. In August he participated in a prayer rally in Houston. Governor Perry prayed aloud, asking the Lord’s mercy on our wayward country in the name of Christ. You can’t get much more courageous than that.

 I could name off dozens of other things I appreciate, but my word count for this article is limited. And besides, I can already hear you saying, “That’s all well and good, but is there anything you don’t like about Rick Perry?”

As a matter of fact, there are a few things I don’t like about him:
  1. Governor Perry supported the building of the Trans-Texas Corridor, a billion-dollar project that would consist of several highways from Oklahoma to Mexico, and from east-to-west in Southern Texas. This idea didn’t go anywhere due to a vigorous public outcry and he let it die. Nevertheless, it’s a blot on his record. A highway that extends into another nation could potentially compromise American sovereignty--which is why I look warily upon anything, be it a highway or a pipe line, that crosses our national borders.
  2. In 2007, Perry signed an executive order mandating that Texas girls receive Gardasil, an HPV vaccine. (HPV--Human Papilloma Virus--is a sexually-transmitted disease.) There was an enormous backlash and rightfully so. By signing this order, even while providing an opt-out, Perry was not making himself inconsequential in Texans’ lives. There was such an outcry that, three months later, he allowed a bill to go into law that would overturn his order. (The vaccine debacle has come up since Governor Perry became a presidential candidate. He’s admitted that he made a huge mistake. He’s also confessed how he never once asked for the opinion of his wife. Apparently Anita Perry, a lively and opinionated former nurse, gave him a sound scolding when she found out what he’d done. “I should’ve asked her first,” Perry explained.) 
  3.  Perry was less strict on immigration issues than he should have been during his first years as governor, continuing the policies of his predecessor, Governor George W. Bush. He’s become downright tough on illegal immigration in the past six years or so, but he’ll still need to explain some of his former decisions to voters.
Governor Perry was wrong on those points, granted. Although I see them as blots on his record and things he’ll have to face in the coming months, they don’t invalidate my support because he’s changed his thinking and/or accepted the will of the people in every case. If he had wobbled on critical issues like abortion, homosexuality, or even biblical economics, I’d be far more concerned.

Thinking these things through is part of evaluating a candidate. It’s part of being honest with other people and yourself. It’s part of being a responsible American--and even more importantly, a responsible Christian.

My charge to anyone reading this article is that you research your choices with great care, whether you prefer Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, or someone else. We’ll be held accountable for every vote we cast. This election will be crucial for our country; our choices will doubtless affect many generations to come.

At the same time, remember you’ll never find the perfect candidate. There will always be something you don’t like about someone. It’s God’s way of preventing us from making idols of mortal men. Recognize that everyone makes mistakes; see if any candidates are humble enough to admit it.

Seek the Lord as you make your decisions. Yearn to glorify Him even with your vote. In the meantime, this proud Perry supporter will go to the primaries with a clear and cheerful conscience.

Maribeth Barber is a nineteen-year-old homeschool graduate and amateur historian. She lives in southeast Louisiana with her wonderful parents, eight younger siblings, nine goats, fifty chickens, one dog, and two cats. She loves to read and write about politics as well as American and world history. Maribeth is currently studying freelance writing and is the author of her personal blog, Step by Step

"The little bodies of children are the repositories of the greatness of a future age. And they must be encouraged, must eat from the tales of those who’ve gone before, and brandished their swords, and slayed dragons." —Peggy Noonan
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Monday, September 12, 2011

A Single Candle: 10 Years and We Remember

{by Katie Talalas}

A talented writer, enthusiastic follower of Jesus, and recently graduated law student, Katie Talalas has a bright smile and enjoys many activities from theater to swing dancing [where I met her actually] to writing poetry. She has kindly allowed me to share with you the thoughtful article on 9/11 which she wrote for her blog.

All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle. ~St. Francis of Assisi

Today is a day full of mixed feelings. It probably is for all Americans, especially those who lost loved ones in the terrible tragedy 10 years ago. While overseas in 2009 a young man tried to engage a friend and I in conversation about 9/11 and I remember just feeling exhausted by the topic. I didn't want to debate with him about the same old conspiracy theories. Eight years had gone by but the memories were still so fresh. I felt no indignation, only sadness.

A friend of my mother's died on one of the flights that had been hijacked. In many ways this tragedy was so senseless, yet certain events lined up in a way that made it impossible for either of us to believe that her death was a hideous, unfortunate coincidence. My mother's friend Jean and her husband were people who were both uniquely patriotic and deeply Christian. This couple hosted a gathering at their house each May for the National Day of Prayer, greeting guests in clothing emblazoned with the American flag and leading them in prayer for our country. Mom has a terrible fear of flying and at this gathering a few months before 9/11 Jean explained to her how she often prayed with other passengers on flights. My mother just knows that Jean and her husband prayed with the other terrified passengers on 9/11/01, sharing Christ's love with them in their final moments.

Jean and her husband were not initially supposed to be on the hijacked flight. They arrived to the airport early that morning, ready to begin their vacation, and the airline told them that they could take an earlier flight. They agreed and that is how they happened to be on the plane that perished 10 years ago.

To those who loved them, it must seem like a strange or even evil thing to suggest that their untimely death was part of God's plan. It is a bit like the well-meaning comments people made to my mother when we lost my infant brother: "God only does this to very special people, you are special souls" etc. My Mom did not want to be "special", she wanted to be a mother of three. Jean's family did not want her to die on that plane, they wanted to be there with Jean through her old age.

Knowing this, I still can't help but believe that God used her and her husband as an instrument to console the other passengers on that tragic day. He did have a very special plan for them. One that brought us pain, yet somehow eased the pain of others. Like the ancient prayer of St. Francis states, they were channels of God's peace- where there was hatred, they sowed love, and where there was despair, hope.

I am so grateful for the example of the Petersons and the impact they made in my own home and family. Their light was not extinguished on 9/11/01- it was made brighter in the memories of those who loved them, and continues within the hearts of thousands that were blessed by their example.
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Ago Today

{by Brittany Sadler}
So it's been ten years. 
That sounds so long, yet feels so short.
I still remember vividly the fear, the images on TV, the church services, and ultimately the nation coming together. September 11th changed us. Changed the world we live in, and the way we view that world. For a while it even changed the way we view each other. 

To all those who lost loved ones that day, to those whose worlds truly were changed forever, we say, we will never forget. In honor of the firemen, the courageous passengers on flight 93, all those who died, we say, we will always remember your sacrifice.

Peggy Noonan has written a powerful and thought-provoking article that is well worth reading.

God bless America.
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Duhbate: The Uninspiring, Uninformative GOP Debate

{by Hailey Sadler}

It’s hard to call last night’s exhibition a debate. Having been involved in team policy debate in high school, I mourn the lack of warrants, justifications, and real plans like old friends. However, in an effort to stay informed, I watched for as long as I could... before the TV. was flipped off due to universal frustration over the perpetual lack of substance... and the result is this report for you on last night’s Republican Presidential Candidate’s Debate:
 Romney vs. Perry: The majority of the debate was back and forth between these two, conveniently situated center stage, with almost the entire first 15 minutes dedicated solely to them. Interestingly, Mitt Romney was afforded 11 minutes and 21 seconds of speaking time, while five other candidates clocked in under 9 minutes and 40 seconds.  Check out more stats on the face time of each candidate (note: Perry is oddly excluded from the records).

·      Best moments of the night....
o   When Rick Perry appeared to forget Santorum’s name, referring to him as “the last individual”. Nice.
o   When the camera first turned to Huntsman giving us the full effect of his golden tie and golden complexion, complimenting each other perfectly. Gotta love a good spray tan.
o   When Herman Cain (by far the most entertaining candidate to listen to) introduced his 9-9-9 tax plan: "If 10 percent is good enough for God, 9 percent ought to be good enough for the federal government.”
o   When Mitt Romney smiled. Every time I can’t help thinking he would make such a fantastic toothpaste ad.
o   The amount of times the candidates quoted Reagan, using him as the clincher to their position. Newsflash: Reagan is not God; agreeing with him does not automatically guarantee you are right.

    Interesting things happen during the commercial breaks... Continuing their discussion off air, Perry got in Ron Paul's face. Notice Paul's body gaurd (left) standing ready.

Third in the polls, Bachmann seemed hardly present last night, one time even calling out “John, John,” to get the moderators’ attention. Which didn’t work by the way; she continued to remain invisible.
o’s War Room reported,“It was truly weird that the moderators ignored her in favor of hopeless cause (and liberal favorite) Jon Huntsman. Neglecting Bachmann does help the press create the "narrative" of her impending collapse now that Perry's in the race. But that's premature. We've got a year to watch Perry and Romney beat each other up; there's no reason to prematurely push everyone else out. Even if everyone else is laughable.”

·      Hint for the candidates: we all know you are running against Obama. We all know you disagree with him *hint you’re a republican he is a democrat*. Ok, can we move on from there?

·      And the winner is…. Surprising actually. Up on Drudge Report is the news that Ron Paul wins after-show poll. This may be more wishful thinking on the part of his fans, many of whom were irate at the agenda of the moderators.
o   1-1/2 hrs and Ron Paul gets 4 questions? What a joke. Apparently the moderators have already decided for themselves who the front runners are,” One frustrated viewer commented. Truly, it is interesting that they neglected to ask the one physician on stage a question about health care.
o   Another said he voted for, “Ron Paul, even though you gave him almost zero time to speak and gave him questions designed to make him look like an idiot when you did.” Although I disagree that Ron Paul “won”; after watching the debate its hard not to sympathize with these commenters frustration.

·      Did you miss the debate? Check out a minute by minute report detailing the nights events. Biased and slightly unfactual? Yes. Highly entertaining? Ohyes. I did watch most of the debate, and I still enjoyed reading this. 

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[[So when you get the chance / Are you gonna take it? / There's a really big world at your fingertips / And you know you have the chance to change it... - Britt Nicole]]