Saturday, October 23, 2010

When Media Centers Collide

A few years ago there was a brief flap in the media when Brit Hume openly scoffed at Juan's opinion on the air. Brit Hume spent days explaining that he respected Juan, liked him personally, etc. Juan's troubles with NPR may have begun around that time. He stayed with Fox as well as NPR.

Fox has always presented itself as "fair and balanced." That means providing equal time to people like Juan, and to Juan himself. Viewers may or may not think it's drivel, and fast-forward through his comments as I do, but part of the integrity of Fox is that they provide this equity of opinion.

On a financial level, Fox is responding with their hard-earned dollars to this week's contributions by notorious liberal George Soros to NPR and to Media Matters, and on another level the Huffington Post. Soros contributed over $2 million this week to the organizations, and that is the figure Fox is contributing to Juan. It is a tactical move, putting their money where their mouth is, to counter the Soros donations. I found this aspect to be a true shot-across-the-bow move by a media giant that has been falsely accused of a right-wing stance, when all accurate research has shown Fox to be the most fair of all news networks in the presentation of opinions.

The battle lines are drawn. This will be very interesting in the coming months. Maybe even Juan will be interesting.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Charity versus Government Programs

When I taught in a public high school some16 years ago, a student of mine said another student was absent because she had to be with her mother so that she could get the 'crazy check'.   I thought I knew all about welfare checks, but this was one I'd never heard of before.  Turns out, if you can prove you are crazy enough to be unemployable, you get a 'crazy check' on top of social security, welfare, food stamps, Adult care of Dependent Children, etc.  But you have to show you are too crazy to provide your own transportation, so my student was gone.

The young woman who had to go for the 'crazy check' wasn't my saddest student on public schools in relatively insulated Omaha, Nebraska.  Granted, she had followed her mother into the family business of prostitution, but as she said to me at our last class, "I'm the first woman in my family to finish high school without getting pregnant."  She frequently showed up for class in slippers and sweats after working all night.

The saddest one was the daughter of an addict who became an addict herself.  I noticed by the bruises on her arm that she had started to inject herself a few weeks before graduation.  The school nurse, a female administrator, and I made elaborate plans to catch her in her routine, but our plans were destroyed by another administrator before we could get to her.  She dropped out days before graduating.

The primary reason I joined the Tea Party in the beginning was because the government has taken over the business of charity.  And they do a really lousy job of it.  Welfare recipients are the lowest of the low in our country.  They receive benefits, work to keep them, and never seem to stop taking them.  Welfare has become an entitlement.  "I deserve this.  I deserve to live and you can't take that away from me."  In no other government law or program is that thought so rampant.  Has anyone ever heard an unborn child say, "I deserve to live.  You can't take that away from me."

And yet, our elected representatives tell us we have to provide for others, as long as they are not pre-born.

I joined the Tea Party to protect my right to give to charity as I see fit.  I don't want to waste my money on government programs.  What is alarming is that the government seems to think that the poor and the needy, very politically incorrect names these days, would be left helpless if they don't provide entitlements.

That is patently false.

The bureaucrats in charge of government services are notoriously unkind.  Charitable institutions that have survived government take overs, like churches, provide better and more meaningful care.

As we look to cut spending and taxes, let's remember that if we stop the government from being charitable, we can all be more charitable.  The current administration proposed to reduce or eliminate the charitable tax deduction.  Truly, nothing could be worse for the state of our pocketbooks, our country, and our souls.

Mark Shea apparently thinks that Tea Party people are small and lack generosity.   Nothing could be further from the truth.

We simply want to choose our own charities.  That's charities.  Not entitlements.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

God Only Gave Me One

...That's what I always say.  I find myself feeling it is necessary to explain why I have only one child.  I love big families.  I think it is generally a kind of child abuse to have only one; no built in playmates or partners in crime, no one to boss around or to be bossed by,  no special friend to talk with after lights out, no one to poke on long car rides, no one to blame for something you did,  and no first cousins for your kids when you have your own.

There are upsides.  Today was one of them.  My son has earned money this summer by taking care of our neighbor's lawn while they were gone.  Today I took him to the bank to open his own account.  After the transaction was completed, my son shook the hand of the banker and said thank you.  We then went to a restaurant for lunch, followed by a trip to the Durham Western Heritage Museum, which is at the site of the former Union Station for Union Pacific in Omaha.

The bankers were doting and congratulatory.  They made my son feel that his deposit was a rite of passage.  They treated him with respect and deference.  It was a lovely experience.

The waitress at the Bohemian Cafe we went to said that she was happy to see my son there.  He told her it was some of the best food he'd ever had.  She said she was glad he was there, because without young people coming to the restaurant, it would not continue into the next generation.  (This is an older restaurant that serves Czechoslovakian food.  My husband and I had our pre-nuptial dinner there.)

Finally, as we walked through the old train cars at the museum, we came to an older man sitting in a 1950's era club car.  We sat down with him.  He told stories of the 50's and 60's and train travel.  He is a retired train engineer.  He told us how the college students could buy cheap tickets home for the holidays that didn't guarantee a seat, but gave access to the club car for a trip of 350 miles or less.  He said the  students would pull out instruments and play music, or read from books, and no one slept in the club car.

He told us about a trip we could take in a classic steam train from Durango, Colorado, to another town nearby through land without roads.  It was so glorious in his description.  He even told us not to wear anything but dark clothes, because the steam and smoke from the train would destroy anything white or light colored.

As his tales went on we were transported to another era, where speed and economy were replaced by the joy of the time taken.  We've been talking about this kind man since.  The whole day has been beautiful.

My Father is an only child.  I get the feeling he did not enjoy it.  He was sent to boarding schools at age 14, then to college where he finished in 3 years.  At that time, finishing early meant you were not awarded a diploma.  He went on to medical school, and has been a successful physician, but his main pride and joy has been in his children.

These are very different experiences, my son's and my father's.  Sometimes my husband talks about sending our son to boarding school.  Given my father's experience, I think the best we can do is to try to fulfill the roles of parents, siblings, disciplinarians, teachers, and friends for our son as long as possible. 

And may God bless all of those who were so kind to us today.  I feel far less guilty about having an only child because of you.  Today, I know, that children need parents as much as siblings.  And both are good.

Aggie Catholics: Big Families = Opportunities to Spread God's Love (and some wit)

Aggie Catholics: Big Families = Opportunities to Spread God's Love (and some wit)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

One Nation vs. Restoring Honor

I think the biggest story about the One nation rally today versus the Restoring Honor rally a month ago will be told by the amount of trash left behind and the man-hours required to clean up the mall.  Here are two links that may be used as a comparison:


Now, being a lousy housekeeper, I don't necessarily equate cleanliness with virtue.  But I will say this:

If I am a guest at someone else's home, I do not leave my trash behind.

To do so would show an enormous amount of disrespect.  To do so would state my lack of regard or concern for those who have to clean up after I am gone.  To do so would be an insult to the hard work others put into caring for that space.

Enough said.