Category: Random Thoughts


It is not my practice to mix politics and faith.  I will not do so now.  Therefore, this is not a faith issue.  This is common sense, life happens thoughts.  This is a once in a great while venture into the political world.

So, at the last minute they (pick one, they all stink Senate, Congress, President) pass a bill to “avoid” the fiscal cliff.  Boys and girls, we fell off the cliff a long time ago.  We don’t want to pay for it.

How did we fall off the cliff?   That is open for debate.  The bottom line is when we let go and let our government spend more than it takes in year after year, we (notice I did not say “them”) sat back and let them (pick any and all of the above) drive the nations financial foundation right off the cliff.  It is our fault since we re elect them each year.  What happens if each one of us overspends year after year?

This year, in order to make sure they have some sort of leg to re-elected on, they fight and squabble for what?  It left us more unsure, unstable and under than ever before.

I’m sick and tired of it.  Plain and simple.  It is long past time we stop being lazy and do something about it.

Who is with me?

What do I think can be done?  It doesn’t matter if you are democrat or republican or whatever, you have to be sick of this “politicking.”  Let’s adopt some of the following if not all of the following:

1.  Tax reform.  Demand it.  Sorry fat and lazy Americans.  If you want all your services and stuff, we have to pay for it.  Only way to pay for it is taxes.  Might be time to take a way any tax exempt status.  Might be time for everyone to pay a little more and some to pay a lot more. Sorry super rich guys…more is given, more is required.

2.  Freeze spending.  Seriously.  Freeze it.  Not a single increase till we are in the black.  Not a one.

3.  Stop sending money oversees till we are stable as a country.  Anytime our unemployment exceeds 5% all oversees money is delayed.  For every dollar spent by government to create jobs it has to invest in private sector to create jobs.

4.  Scrap Obamacare and straighten out the insurance companies who are making enough money to pay off the country’s debt on our health costs.  We are trying to fix the wrong thing.  The problem is insurance companies dictate to doctors.  We did it in the housing industry by keeping appraisers from being influenced by real estate agents.  Do the same with insurance companies.  Let the doctors do their thing.

Or…

Give us all socialized medicine.  I’m not a bleeding liberal.  The medical field is so broke if it can’t be fixed, make it the same for everyone.  By the way, for each family member, it will cost more in your taxes.  So be it.  We are paying for it anyway.

5.  Balanced budget or shut the government down.  When I say “balanced” I mean it.

a.  No more pork.  None.  A bill is a bill.  No a, b, c, d and so on.

b.  Make the pork it’s own bill so we can see it clearly.

 

6.  NO LOOPHOLES.  It doesn’t matter what the government does, spell it out in clear concise language.  No tax loopholes.  No financial loopholes.  When they show up, plug em immediately.

6.  Term limits for all politicians.  Just like the president, no more than two terms.  Our founding fathers did not set up a system to produce professional politicians.

7.  Once we get rid of professional politicians, no more pay increases.  It is called “public service.”  Look up the definition.

8.  All elected officials get the same medical care and insurance we do.  What is good for the goose is good for the gander.  Or is it?

9.  Prorate their “retirement” according to years served.

10.  START A THIRD and possibly FOURTH political party.  Seriously.  Hey tea party, if you think you got the answers, start your own party.  That would be the third party.  There could be a fourth party.  We need more than 2 choices.  Is there really anything wrong with a confessing moderate?  Extremes on both sides can’t be good.  Maybe call the fourth party the “Moderate Party.”

11.  Start calling non-stop to all elected official offices until change occurs.  If it does not…see #12.

12.  Vote every one of them out at every election.  Find me the guy who promises to stay in office only 2 terms.  Find me the guy who promises to accomplish key objectives and keeps his promise.  If not…bye, bye.

I’ve had my rant.  I feel better.

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Recently I purchased a collection of books to add to my personal library.  In arranging the books I wanted to hold out the top books that have impacted my thoughts on God.  The list  is in order of impact.

Drum roll please…..

And the top 12 (staying with 10 is like the NCAA basketball tournament, it would leave a few good ones out):

1.  Scandalous Freedom – Steve Brown

2.  Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be – Cornelius Plantinga Jr.

3.  The Prodigal God – Timothy Keller

4.  Jesus + Nothing = Everything – Tullian Tchividjian

5.  Dangerous Wonder – Mike Yaconelli

6.   Blue Like Jazz – Donald Miller

7.  The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis

8.  Counterfeit Gods – Timothy Keller

9.  Broken-Down House – Paul Tripp

10.  What’s So Amazing About Grace? – Philip Yancey

11.  The Jesus of Suburbia – Mike Erre

12.  Opie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore – Walt Mueler

I’m sure if I expanded the list some more many other authors would appear.  In the meantime, these have shaped my thoughts the most.

Feel free to respond with your top whatever.  I’m always looking for a good read.

I have a 2 and soon to be 3 year old granddaughter.  Her name is Kylee.  The Casey Anthony trial has my attention.  Little Caylee was about the same age as my granddaughter when she disappeared for 31 days and their names are similar.  Not only that but being a counselor, the behavior of Casey Anthony intrigues me. 

As I find myself deeply attracted to the case, the family, the defense and now the shocking verdict, I am overwhelmed with the concept that this trial truly resembles American Culture.  I was talking to a veteran police officer.  He agreed.  The many twists and turns in this trial resemble more reality of our culture than we care to notice.  Maybe noticing will hurt too badly.

There are so many places to start.  There are so many avenues to go down.  Let’s start with the dysfunctional family.  Dysfunctional is now the normal.  Sure we are all dysfunctional.  However, it is now worn like a badge of honor.  As I age, and my parents probably said the same thing, I notice that sin is no longer kept in secret.  Our oddity and over-the-top behavior has become the norm just like dysfunctional behavior.  Personal desire takes precedent over personal responsibility.  All of this is the living breathing function of a world that does not believe in moral absolutes.

We love to pick and choose our absolutes.   If it does not meet a behavioral norm we will display the banner since my “freedom” overrides any sensible behavior.  How many times do we say or think “well, it’s not my problem” or “I don’t care…”   Moral absolutes have boiled down to “me.”  It is written all over this case.  It appalls the general public but who holds to moral absolutes these days?  There was perjury without question in this case but it will not be addressed.  Why?  Will we be upset when we no longer have to put our hand on the Bible and swear to “tell the truth and nothing but the truth?”  If a standard cannot be held, than why have them?  I guess to avoid total anarchy.  However, every great culture known to man fell from within.  Why?  The more we can take a little away from here and a little away from there eventually you have nothing to hang a hat upon.  In this case, truth was allowed to take a little a way here and a little away there and we are left with an empty verdict. 

Dysfunction is the norm and it has been elevated to a badge of honor.  If there are no moral absolutes, than dysfunction has to be the norm.  Truth will be subject to feelings and logic will no longer be standard frame of thought.  It will be replaced by the desire to be a drama show or better yet reality TV that is not reality at all.  The judge at one time said the trial would not be a means to “surprise” the other side.  However, the jury was the one surprised. 

Dysfunction will continue to elevate behavior that at one time was not accepted but now becomes commonplace.  Why was everyone upset that Casey Anthony partied and got tattooed while no one knew where her child was?  One young acquaintance put it clearly.  He said “She was a nice girl; she was like one of us.”  Bingo.  There it is…”she was like one of us.”  It has now become acceptable to:  party, grab another woman’s breast in public, participate in wet t-shirt competitions, be sexually provocative and active, get tattooed so the world can see what “I” want, and anything else that goes on.  Meanwhile we all forgot including the jury that little Caylee was 3 years old.  This was not a “new” mom who made a mistake.   This was a mom of a 3 year old.  For 3 years who paid the bills?  Who enabled this behavior? 

We know the answer to that question however, American culture and family life tends to do the same.  We are raising an entitled generation.  The entitled generation who are given everything they want.  Eventually they come to believe their wants are more important than their needs and God forbid someone else should have a need.  How do we know this?  Marketing companies do not market to the ones making the money.  They market to teens.  Teens drive the spending habits of working adults.  That’s right!  Teens don’t have the money but someone is giving it to them.  I wonder who? 

I question Casey’s behavior in the first place but let’s understand something.  The party life costs bucks.  All the alcohol was not free.  A tattoo is not free.  Nothing is free. 

But wait a minute, turn on your TV. during spring breaks.  Where do kids go the minute they graduate from high school?  We know and we don’t talk about it.  We know and we pay for them to do so.  We think it is a right of passage.  Amazing that we consider it a right of passage to have kids who lack any sense of wisdom to go and live the party life on our backs.  This comes from the same culture that parents by the droves think it is o.k. to sponsor parties at the house for under-age kids to drink thinking they have things in control.  Really?  Have we considered that we have taught the next generation that we can break the law since we think we can control the law?  Interesting.  Why are we upset at Casey Anthony?  Ohhh, her child Caylee is dead.  Let me see if I can pick a few other headlines out of the news.  A young underage girl named Holloway is dead after the party life in Aruba.  A young student dies of over intoxication of alcohol.  A group of teens die in an alcohol related accident 2 weeks after graduation.  Schools now have to provide an education for single teen moms.  Finding a virgin might be harder than finding wheat ear pennies.  Do I need to go on?  We all feel sorry for the victim but we don’t consider what got them there. 

When talking about our culture the word Narcissism springs to the forefront.  Narcissism is one of the traits of our culture.  It simply means that the “I” of my world overrides every sense and sensibility of life.  “I” is the determiner of all my decisions.  “I” is the lens by which I interpret life.  “I” doesn’t care about you it only uses you to get what “I” want.  It is so insidious it can even take “good” things and stroke my “I” wants which are wrapped up in selfishness, jealousy and carelessness. 

We even have diagnoses of “Narcissistic Personality Disorder.”  While we are all affected by our narcissistic society this is a diagnosis of the real bad cases.  One doctor wrote “if you are a parent of a NPD child I’ am sorry.  Prepare for a life of pain and disappointment.  If you are a friend of a NPD individual, run as fast and as far away from them that you can.”  Scary heh?  I forgot to mention that NPD has 7 different varieties and/or levels.  Most of them you cannot see.  Why?  Most of them describe you and me.  That is the point.  Narcissism is our culture and with the loss of any absolute norm get ready…there will be more O.J.’s and Casey Anthony’s coming.  With parents going full bore to make their kids happy and be their friend instead of being a parent, we are breeding future narcissism that will only continue to move behavior deeper and deeper into the dysfunctional pit where people who live a decent, moral life will be the oddity instead of the normal.

I see it all the time.  It scares me.  As a counselor I see people on a regular basis who cannot see life through any other eyes than their own.  They cannot relate emotionally to anyone else and yet, expect everyone to relate to them.  They throw out the baby with the bathwater all the time but accuse you of doing it.  Sound familiar.  We saw it in the Anthony trial.  I don’t know if Mr. Anthony is a child abuser.  No evidence was given.  But the defense was allowed to mention it without proof.  Casey had to give the o.k. to that one.  Screw dad.  Of course she made the decision to do so.  It benefitted her.  Her narcissistic behavior was paid for my mom and dad and yet she chose to throw them under the bus. 

How does this happen.  It’s happening every day, all the time.  It comes from giving our children everything they want instead of working for what they need.  It comes from paying the way expecting to receive their love in return.  Whoops.  It doesn’t happen.  It only teaches that “I” deserve more and “you” have to give it to me.  The prosecution was right in their final argument.  “Who benefitted from the death of Caylee?” 

I don’t know what happened to Caylee.  Somebody does.  We watched a grandmother wrench over in pain on the stand.  She did not benefit.  I saw an ex-cop be an ex-cop and he for sure did not benefit.  Shoot, that man was thrown under the bus without an opportunity to defend himself.  All that was based on hear-say.  Amazing.  The jury hated the lies of Casey but did not consider the hear-say of the lawyer as the same.  That is a narcissistic society at its best. 

In a narcissistic society lies become the standard means of communication.  If I only work for my good I have to lie.  It is the really smart liars that are scary.  It may be the really smart liars that end up with NPD diagnosis when in reality all they are is extremely self-centered people that know how or are taught to lie at a very young age.  If you live in a home of lies you end up believing the lies. 

At one point Casey had a melt down.  The trial was recessed and they did a psych evaluation.  They said she was competent to stand trial “regardless of her issues.”  Did we catch that one?  “Regardless of her issues” What does that mean?  It means that everyone on that defense team knows Casey has personal irregularities.  After the trial one of the defense lawyers was asked if he would take Casey in if she had no place to go.  He said “no.”  He softened the blow by saying he would have her over to his house.  Again, deception at it’s best.  Deception is a lie.  Lies are going on all around us.  The key is to look at everyone else’s lies so your won’t be the hot item.  Studies show that the normal person lies somewhere between 3 to 10 times a day.  The selfish individual lies nearly 3 times as much.  So what does someone do when caught?  The normal person admits their error.  The dysfunctional narcissist makes up new lies.  It used to be given the label “pathological liar.” 

The defense acknowledged the Casey lies.  They even said they “did not like her behavior.”  They pointed out the fictional characters Casey made to lie her way through.  How did the jury miss the lies?  Why would Casey have to lie?  Why was she building a string of lies and held to them?  That is an easy one.  The attention was directed at the “lies” of the parents and the state witnesses.  At times Casey was not on trial, her parents were.  At times Casey was not on trial, the state was.  They got away with it.  Through enough diversion (lies) out there and hope you can get the jury stuck on one or some. 

This is the same culture that Enron lived in.  This is the same culture our government works in.   A juror for the coming Roger Clemons case responded “why should we try Roger Clemons, congress lies all the time and they get away with it.”  That juror is more accurate than we like to believe.  This election coming will we as an American people focus on facts or the distortion of facts?  When we watch any news channel do we grasp the fact that it is all twisted and we have to take the time to consider who and why even news is twisted?  It is a lying game.  Don’t look at my lies when you lie.  The old as Adam and Eve in the garden deflection of responsibility continues thousands of years later.   This is the same culture where greed (wealth) is the object of the game.  The art of lying has become the norm of business and now family life.  The Anthony family lied constantly.  They were good teachers to Casey.  Only Casey was smarter.  She hooked up with a defense layer who knew how to deflect the truth and even the lies.  The lies are not just trying to avoid truth; they are our society’s unquenchable thirst for fame. 

A narcissistic society wants its now demanded 15 minute of fame.  I could go on forever on this one.  Everybody wants and actually thinks it deserves attention.  Casey was the classic “bad girl” case.  The defense had its issues.  Even the prosecution had its problem with it.  Why was there not a “murder 1” count against Casey?  Why was there not a child neglect count against her?  Is it possible the state’s attorney with the “fame” surrounding this case get caught up in the dramatic?  Darn right it did.  Everybody did.  That could have been taken care of real quick.  Get court cases off the television.  I learned a lesson late in life through my own family disasters.  Follow the money.  Seriously!  Who gains the most?  Would the “kitchen sink” defense been done if it was not on television?  We don’t know.  However, I watched a lawyer go from being declared the stupidest lawyer to the most brilliant in 30 days.  Why?  It wasn’t about justice.  It was about who won.  He won.  He won in front of a television.  Do you remember the Yankees and Red Sox or the Pirates and Royals?  What are Americans drawn to?  Winners for sure but better yet…dysfunctional, narcissistic winners.  Why?  WE WANT OUR CRAP TO BE SOMETHING MORE THAN CRAP!  Not only that but if we can get our lives on TV. we really get noticed.  Have you noticed that hoarders, addicts, pimps, prostitutes, con-men, legal thieves, jerks like Hulk Hogan, Hard Core Pawn, repossessers and more are now presented as normal on any given night?  The once low life of society is being elevated to be accepted as normal.  Why?  We want our crap to be accepted as normal.  Bottom line.  We are all narcissists. 

Did the jury get caught up in it too?  Yup.  It didn’t take 24 hours for a juror to be selling her story.  Umm, now why doesn’t that allow for a mistrial?  What made this jury look at hear-say and not break down the evidence piece by piece?  It is obvious and early reports are that it didn’t.  Is there a difference between doubt and reasonable doubt?  Sure is but not with this jury.  Why?  Television forced the judge to sequester them.  They knew this was huge.  I find it hard to believe that not 1 would hold out for a mistrial.  Not 1.  We should not be surprised.  When “I” is more important than common sense, wisdom and adequate ability to reason than this will be the normal.  We saw it in the O.J. case and we see it again.  Is this happening on a smaller level only we don’t see it because it’s not on TV?  I don’t know however, if this is the new norm, it is or will be coming to a court system near you.  These are dangerous combinations.  But what ever happened to logic and reason? 

Has our culture accepted being dumber down?  Standards continue to fall.  Was this jury able to reasonable deduce something more than a short deliberation accepting unsubstantiated claims over the evidence presented?  We assume a jury of Americans can perform logical and reasonable deduction.  We got kids graduating from high school that can only tell time on a digital clock and can’t give change without an “amount tendered” button on the machine.  They know how to scan the web for the new dysfunction.  However, they may not and I claim more and more juries of our peers can’t logically think nor reasonably deduce much of anything.  There is a report that major companies fear the final retirement of the baby boomer generation.  They fear it as one said “this generation has more wisdom than the current one and they are taking it with them.”  Wisdom.  There is key word.  Logical thinking and reasonable deduction comes with wisdom.  If major companies fear the retirement of wisdom what does that say about our future educated generations?  They might have more information but they don’t know how to use it.  Why?  We didn’t let them.  We didn’t let them suffer.  We gave them the good life on our backs and it is coming back around. 

There was an interview with a 17 year old teenage girl who was arrested after stealing unattended money off a Girl Scout cookie table.  Her logic was “if nobody was watching the money than it is mine for the taking.”  Her second line of defense was “I needed it more than they did.”  Her final words to such great logic were “I don’t like it when things are taken from me.”  There was one more line.  “I don’t know what the big problem is…I gave it back after I was arrested.”   Now here me out on this one.  I showed this clip to a group of teenagers.  More than half could not understand why I had issues with this “brilliant” girl. 

American education is not cutting it.  We are beginning to see it clearly.  There is more to knowledge.  It is called wisdom.  How much wisdom was evident in this case?  The only highlight was the judge.  He tried hard to prevail and have wisdom dictate the day.  Eventually wisdom fell victim to assumptions and mystery.  Want better juries?  Tell our education system.  We teach facts but do not teach how to use them.  We have access to all sorts of knowledge but little ability to use them.  There will be more “guilty” people walking our streets.  If a trial must have facts since juries don’t have wisdom abilities than trials will not take place.  Why should they?  Every case has elements of circumstantial evidence.  Circumstantial evidence has always been around.  It is the missing elements of any case since for much crime there are no witnesses. 

Wait a minute.  I forgot.  We all have learned or forensics from CSI.  Monday nights on channel 3 is our new education channel.  If it’s on TV it must be true.  We really believe reality TV is real.  We actually think that everything on CSI is true.  If they can find DNA from basically nothing the Florida Justice system should find DNA on something.  If they can find things on TV than any cop should be able to as well.  We are not teaching wisdom in school but we are letting TV and movies teach wisdom.  Fantastic. 

Recently I was talking to a young man about Casey’s age.  He was living with his parents.  His girlfriend was pregnant.  He was working at a grocery store for $8.00 an hour.  I asked him what he wanted to do in the future.  He was dead serious when he told me he was going to become a lawyer.  I asked him when he was going to go to college.  “Never” he replied.  He said he watches Law and Order and CSI and all he has to do is pass the bar exam.  He was dead serious.  His parents at that moment said they were proud of their son and look forward to his new career. 

Huh?  Are you serious?  This is not new.  Dysfunction is now the norm.  Lies and deceptions are considered the standard.  When a society abandons absolute norms there is also a blurring between reality and fantasy.  This young man is no more delusional than Casey Anthony.  They actually believe that their fantasy is real.  They believe they can manipulate life enough to make it work.  Their parents foster it (both this young man’s and Casey’s).  Always looking to get something for free.  Always looking for the easy way out.  Welcome to 2011.  Dysfunctional.  Get used to it.  It’s our new norm. 

6 jurors are quoted as saying that acquittal does not mean “not guilty.”  What does it mean?  If Casey is guilty of something should not some sort of verdict have been given?  The jury forgot that it was Casey on trial and not the whole family.  They let off Casey since they felt there was more to it and possibly other people involved.  That is for the attorney’s office to figure out.  If I kill someone robbing a store and keep quiet my accomplice does that mean I can get an acquittal since someone else was involved?  Does that mean I can be acquitted since my dad might have beaten me as a child so I was an angry person?  Does that mean I don’t have to face the rap since the jury might not know every detail?  That is called reasonable deduction.  Something is really wrong when a jury can only spend 11 hours in deliberation on a 40 day trial with more evidence given than anyone can count. 

We have to address our education system as a nation.  “No child left behind” has failed and failed miserably.  It has to.  Too much red tape.  Teachers aren’t paid enough for sure.  Our system of blending everyone promotes lower standards not higher ones.  Teaches teach to have students pass tests not function in life.  I used to be a teacher.  I have masters in education.  I could not stand the system.  There is no such thing as value less education.  When we teach facts without wisdom we are teaching a value.  We are teaching that you can know it all but don’t have to use it.  On top of that we are seeing a generation of parents pay for their children’s dysfunction so they can be happy.  Happy with a lack of wisdom.  We are in trouble for sure.  Follow the money all the time and you will find the truth. 

Money is the gasoline for a narcissistic engine.  Who paid Casey’s way?  Why was it paid?  Who paid the defense?  Who paid for all the nice charts and magnetic presentation in the end while the prosecution used words?  Who will get rich?  Who will become famous?  Now we can find out what really drives America.  Listen, it is no different with all of us who sat in our living rooms and watched the trial.  Show Me The Money!  Money overrides logic.  Money overrides common sense.  The one problem is that money is believed to be the end all.  Why are lotteries so popular?  The hope for money.  Money is supposed to bring peace.  Instead it breads disaster as we have just seen.  Money deceives us to think we will be happy.  One problem with money…it tends to go out faster than we can get it in regardless of our socio-economic stratus. 

A study was done that showed the more money one made the less positive and family based relationships they were involved in.  Money is the pathway to fame.  It drove this case and drives our society.  The only problem is positive loving family relationships are replaced by the opposite.  They are replaced with people who will only use you to get what they want.  If that mindset is how a family functions (dysfunction) look out…more dysfunctional movies coming to the local theatre in the near future. 

So, if we could wrap all this up in one lump sum what would it be?  Recently I was sent an article that pointed to “escapism” as the catalyst for the Casey Anthony trial.  I agree.  Escape from a world gone bad.  Escape from decisions that backfired.  Escape from a life that promise one thing but gave another.  Escape from one lie that went bad to another.   So…let’s escape.  In the escape truth was battered and left for dead.  In the escape an already tortured family was destroyed.  In the escape wisdom was ignored.  In the escape “I” was the primary object.  In the escape a young child was left for dead in a swamp.  In the escape a culture wonders if it is not left for dead as well. 

We are creating Casey Anthonys.  It is just another drama.  The judge knows our culture.  He is not going to release the juror’s names until all the activity dies down.  Wait a week, there will be something else to grab our attention.  Meanwhile, a child is still dead. 

 Justice has become a game.  Justice has become a money racket.  Now justice has become a made for TV mini-series.  What do we expect?

Final thoughts:

I do believe that there is more to this case than meets the eye.  I watched a lot of the trial.  On any given day I waffle between a child who was chloroformed so a mom could go party and a child who maybe drowned.  I personally lean to the chloroform.  There are too many coincidences in regards to the computer search and the duct tape on the mouth.  I tend to believe the following:

Mom and Dad were trying to get Casey to become a responsible adult.  While that should have happened long before now, Casey wanted to party and had no one to watch Caylee.  That has been proven.  Casey researched a way to make her child sleep while she partied.  Chloroform would not kill but knock her out for the night.  Being night time, Caylee could sleep in the car while mom partied.  The duct tape over the mouth was not to kill her but to muffle noises Caylee might make while she was sleeping.  Casey is smart…very smart.  This is one key issue I think the state may have missed.  It was not the duct tape that killed her…it was the chloroform.  If the state would have stuck to the chloroform as the killer and not the tape we might not be here.  Casey over did the chloroform.  Caylee dies in the car.  From there she thinks about burying her in the backyard.  That wouldn’t work.  Without question Caylee was placed in a plastic bag just like the pets.  The reason she ended up in the car is that Casey could not figure out what to do.  Eventually and I believe with some help, Caylee is placed in the swamp.  Good move.  How many people actually tromp through a swamp?  I believe the car did smell like a decomposed body and not the trash.  Case in point.  Put your old trash in a bag and place it in the garage.  Now, pick up the latest road kill in a bag and put it in the garage.  What will you smell?  There is a big difference between the two.  George knows it as an ex-cop.  Cindy knows it as a retired nurse.  The only person who would not know it is Casey.  Stink is stink to Casey.  While the defense made some good points, it did not make enough points to counter:  a trained dog (they are far better than a human with the nose), 30 days of a missing girl without her mother telling anyone, a mom who lied and lied and lied, the computer searches for chloroform, the presence of chloroform in the trunk (again, why did the state not go after chloroform as the means of death?) and Casey asking the neighbor for a shovel.  Casey is not innocent for sure.  That is what logic and deductable reason says.

Can this be a case of incredible mistaken circumstances?  It could.  Is it reasonable?  No.  There is another key element that points me to Casey’s guilt.  I am a grandparent who loves and is involved in my granddaughter’s life.  I watch her parents.  Maybe I watch them a little too close.  My wife loves our granddaughter.  She has a bond with her like Cindy had with Caylee (check out all the pictures).  Who was taking care of her?  Cindy.  Cindy.  Cindy.  Women have a 6th sense.  They know.  One day we may find that 6rth sense in DNA.  It’s there.  Cindy is the most suffering in this case.  Why?  She knows.  It comes out in her call to the police.  It comes out as she questions Casey in jail.  It comes out as she realizes in court (a mistake by the judge) that her daughter is guilty so she perjures herself to try and save Casey from the death penalty.  Cindy does what a mom should want to do.  But?  Why did Cindy think she had to save Casey?  Cindy was looking through the lens that without question Casey is guilty.  A mom does know.  Cindy knows.  A mom’s intuition is better than a lie detector machine.  The only problem is it is not scientific. 

Give me reasonable deduction, logic and mom’s actions and Casey is guilty if the verdict was in my hands.  The case of the death or murder of Caylee Anthony is over.  However, we have not heard the end to the tragedy of Casey Anthony. 

Could Caylee Anthony have drowned in an accident?  Yes?  However reasonable deduction asks what would make that so feared by Casey.  The indication is if Casey would have asked her parents to raise Caylee they would have.  In many ways they were already.  Could fear of parents driven Casey to such means as to lie for 30 days about your child?  Could have?  Would it shine in Casey’s favor if it was an accident?  Yes.  So why the big secret if it was an accident?  It could have happened but it doesn’t add up.  The defense made inference but offered nothing substantial.  The only way logic and reasonable deduction work is based on substantial information to be processed.  There wasn’t any.  If someone would provide some, I might give it a plausible consideration.  I could see a 3 year old drowning in the pool.  It happens all the time.  However, I cannot consider the lack of any information or the 30 days of Casey’s behavior thereafter. 

Maybe I am a dying generation.  Maybe there is a new generation that has a different answer to reasonable deduction and logic.  God help us. 

Last one:  As a minister I understand the depravity of man.  I understand the fears and motives of the heart.    The Scriptures call them “deceitfully wicked.”  John Calvin, reformer said “our hearts are perpetual idol factories.”  He is right. 

Jesus came to give us the answer to man’s depravity.  The only reason we avoid Him is the same reason Adam and Eve tried to avoid him in the Garden.  They had become like God when they ate the apple from the tree of Good and Evil.  In doing so, they blamed everybody else.  Sound familiar.  We might get past man with our lies but we don’t get past God. 

Our avoidance of God is our way around absolute truth.  We try and manipulate it to fit our “goodness” on a daily basis.  Casey Anthony does it too.  If we didn’t have Nancy Grace screaming at us we might be able to get off our emotional bandwagons and deal with absolute truth. 

We all lie.  Jesus said we are adulterers with our eyes.  We murder people all the time.  Sometimes it’s real murder and sometimes it is character assignation.  Sometimes it’s personality murder and demoralizing murder.  Murder might take the breath and heartbeat out of a child but continual murder of the truth and life is a long slow death from the inside out. 

Jesus said he came to set the prisoners free and to bring peace.  He gives his love in the form of grace and forgiveness.   As much as we don’t like it, the only way a Casey Anthony can change is through being loved in a way that overrides whatever has been love in her life.  That is what Jesus meant when he said to James and John that He came to set up a different kingdom that was not like any on this earth.  It is a kingdom where murderers, thieves, liars, and any other type of sinner can find forgiveness. 

His instructions to us are to imitate God.  Hold the standard of holiness but make sure we love and love well.  Grace isn’t cheap.  It’s quite expensive.  It cost the blood and life of God’s son.  Treat it with respect.  Hold to truth but make sure we do it through the same love Jesus bestowed upon us.

We don’t deserve his grace.  But he gives it anyway.  It comes with a call to repent.  It stands for Casey Anthony and anyone else where depravity has caught up with them.  Remember that we deserve something other than the peace God grants us.  Without love anything we do including crying out for justice for Caylee is just a sounding gong. 

The world needs to be overwhelmed with the love and grace of Jesus.  It is not easy and I’m not going to sell it that way.  In a case like this it is very hard.  My emotions can get the worse of me on this one.  But the day anyone is determined to be beyond the blood of Christ is the day I need to walk away from the pulpit.  How do I know?  Due to Christ’s great love I have been not only acquitted of my sin (past, present and future) I have been declared not guilty.  If it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough for Casey as well.  Don’t get me wrong…our sin has consequences.  I pay for mine all the time.  However, in my heart there is always hope.  There is always room for forgiveness.  There is always room for a new day and a new song.  Instead of protest, let us consider prayer.  Instead of demanding justice, let us consider performing justice.  Instead of condemnation, let us consider forgiveness.  Only God can truly give it and it’s his to give.

I am reading “The Narcissism Epidemic.” It is scary. We are all in danger of adding to a growing cultural phenomenon that is quite destructive and opposite of the gospel.
Parenting is very important in the process of Narcissistic Development. Our worship of our children and grandchildren plays a major role.

Here is an excerpt from chapter 5.

“parenting is an incredibly powerful force for spreading cultural values. From our parents we learn right and wrong, how to treat others, political and economic beliefs, prejudice or tolerance, and manners or lack of manners. Parenting has a big impact on children because parents are the first one there (may I add the main ones there and with the most influence even in the teen years regardless of what authors say).”

“Here are a few steps parents can take to temper (notice the word is temper not prevent) narcissistic impulses in their children:
– Say no and mean it
– Don’t give your child too much power
– Carefully consider the messages you are sending to your children about competition and winning
– Think twice before you buy your kid something that announces how great he is.”
“The Narcissism Epidemic” by Jean W. Twenge, Ph.D. and W. Keith Campbell, Ph.d.

If I may take a moment and make 2 comments.
The narcissism epidemic is affecting all of us. The younger generation is being exposed to “me” more than any other generation. It is beginning to explode which will lead to an implosion first in families, church, society and eventually nationally. Literally the narcissism epidemic places an emphasis on our goodness which emphasises not our self-image but how great we are. It gives a false image of life. It perverts the gospel. It affects everything. Eventually as the epidemic grows and morphs just like a virus, we will return to the days of old when in the book of Kings “everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” That will not include just the world but inside the church as well. Continue reading

I am tired of Boston and New York violating the salary cap and hording all the great talent in baseball. All MLB does is take their money. Yeah, that really hurts. What a joke. They have the means to replace the missing dollars without blinking. Meanwhile the small to medium market teams abide by the rules and cannot replace the bucks like the big boys. Who really gets punished in this scheme? Everybody but the big boys. They continue to bully the market and make it near impossible for the other teams to get consistent talent from free agents. The top tier free agents are consistently going to the top $$ teams.
MLB has to wake up that many of us old baseball fans are getting tired of the same old crap. It is not a fair game. I love football now. I used to hate it. Why? A bad team can build quickly due to the level playing field. A good team with good management can stay consistent. It works for the NFL and their growth continues. NASCAR has the same problem as MLB. They better start looking at all the empty seats. Baseball is in trouble everywhere but where the big $$ teams reside.
So, what can be done?
I got a thoght. Create a tier system that not only fines the teams who violate the salary cap bu also take away draft picks. If the big boys can buy talent than they don’t need minor league talent. That is not true and we all know it. A good team has a good system. However, if you take away the ability to draft basic good talent your team will suffer from it’s overspending. How? During the season the big boys go down. If you don’t have the talent base in your minors, I don’t care how much $$ you spend, you will not be able to compete. If you have to call up 3 and 4 level players instead of being allowed to draft 1 and 2 tier level teams it will play out over time… say 3 to 5 years.
It works. The big $$ teams can still pay big $$. The real talent will still get the $$. The other teams will put more into their draft picks since the talent pool will be bigger for them. Those players will have a chance to grow in teams that need them. Their $$ stock will increase as well due to the inability of the big boys to draft and pay talent.
It could work like this…for every $50,000 over the cap you start at the bottom of the draft and you begin to lose those picks. Maybe give them in a waiver system to the other teams to the lowest rank team and work upwards. For every $250,000 level you will lose a high draft pick beginning with your #1 pick and start working downward every time you reach another $250,000. So if you are $500,000 over the cap, you would lose 8 lower level picks and 2 upper level picks (your #1 and #2 pick). Now GM’s can get creative as well.
Your team has it’s choice at any given time. Violate the salary cap and pay for current talent or stay under the cap and create talent. Thus, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
Right now the Yankees have a prime 2nd baseman that when they bring him up he will cost them very little. What if he was unable to be drafted by the Yankees. Might make them think a little different.
Anyway, it sure beats the current system which is not working. Don’t realign divisions. That’s bull. Take something away that levels the field. Take potential talent away and give the potential talent to other teams.
Hey, if the lower level teams won’t spend $$ and won’t put the $$ into the minors, get rid of em. Seriously. Force the sale of the team. Do something MLB instead of sitting on your you know what and do nothing.
When is the last time I bought anything MLB related? I can’t remember. Why? I don’t root for the Yankees and the Red Sox. Anybody else in the same boat?

What do you think?

FOOTBALL…Go Cowboys

I did not use to be a football fan.  I used to be a die hard baseball fan.

I have to confess, I am now a football fan.  Baseball is dying. 

O.K., You all know I am a Cowboys fan.  Who do you root for?

A few thoughts on football this year:

1.  Farve should have stayed retired.  It will probably be another athelete who stayed one year too long.

2.  Football is one tough sport.

3.  No wonder football players get a lot of money…I don’t know how they can remember to spell their name after getting their bell rung so many times.

4.  Only problem with football is the head injuries.  Only got one head.

5.  My prediction:  Ravens win the Super Bowl.  Steelers won’t make the playoffs.  You will begin to see the backside of Peyton Mannings career.  Detroit comes off of life support but Seattle and Clevland goes on it.  The Bears coach will be the first one fired this year.  T.O. and Ochowhatever will not be happy 9 weeks from now…but we will love the story.  Washington will start fast and die once again.  Dallas will lose to Redskins Sunday night. 

AFC Division winners:  Jets, Ravens, Colts and Chargers

NFC Divsion Winners:  Cowboys, Packers, Saints, 49ers

I will win my fantasy league by smoke and mirrors.  Have too, I draft horribly.

Recently a mom in her late 60’s left her job to rescue her 40 year old son.  As the story unfolds, he has addiction issues, basically living free in mom’s house, unemployed, living with a woman who put him in jail, there is a child in the middle of all this but it is not his and so on and so on.

Mom is rescuing her adult child AGAIN.  Everyone tells her to leave him in jail.  She can’t.  She went down to spend several thousand more dollars.  She wants to kick out the woman but guess where he will run after he gets out of jail?  We all know…and it won’t be mom.

I understand a mom’s desire to care for her son.  I know, my son in his early 20’s had major issues.  We rescuded him.  He also knows that there will not be a second time.  Not that we would not extend grace and love him but there is no money but more than anything, everyone deserves a second chance to learn lessons.  However, you don’t learn the lessons…especially as an adult…it’s your life.  I hate it.  He is my son.  I love him.  But, that is the way I see it.  You get grace…but when you abuse it…it’s up to you to figure it out.  I know, I sound harsh.  Not really.

Check out this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/magazine/22Adulthood-t.html?_r=1&emc=eta1&pagewanted=all

It is an article about 20 year olds and how they just are not growing up. 

Personally I don’t think it needs a long article.  How I see it:

1.  Parents who have their issues and early on tried to find the love they want from their kids instead of God and thier spouse.

2.  Growing narcissim within our culture.

3.  Image is everything.

4.  Enablers, enablers, enablers

5.  God is no longer sovereign, my money is (what a joke). 

One other stat I saw recently…boys used to move out of adolesence by the age of 21.  Recent studies show boys with major signs of adolesence up to and around the age of 28.  We wonder where all the good men have gone???

I forgot…one other thing…when we really think we can live in a pain free world, we will do everything to keep our children from it.  Problem is…we learn the best lessons of life from the pain it offers.

Little to boast but…

I know my beloved Baltimore Orioles are mired in last place in the American League East.  There has not been much to get excited about.  However…

Since new manager Buck Showalter has taken the helm on August 2, 2010 they are:

the hottest team in baseball.

 are 8 – 1.

have taken the last 3 series.

knocked off 2 teams in playoff contention.

playing good baseball.

I don’t know how long it will last…but…Go O’s!

Random Thoughts

I’m tired.  Sermon #2 is killing me.

So… random thoughts to clear the brain cells…

The Baltimore Orioles (my favorite team) stink.  Don’t even try to define stink. 

Football has started trining camp.  Hip, hip, hooray.

I don’t know why I get so excited about sports.  When I watch them I end up taking a nap… a long nap.

Sure it hot on the east coast this year.  Sure makes people cranky. 

Pets are fun until they get sick.

A big dog is great.  Only problem is what comes out of both ends is big too.  Remember that as you let him out of the crate and roam the house when you go out.

Sure seems like you can’t have lunch anywhere under $10.00.

Did anyone notice that food prices have shot up.  Funny thing is they can’t blame gas prices and they can’t blame some sort of long draught. 

Computers have internal demons.  I am convinced. 

Instead of calling computer viruses “viruses” they ought to call them “death sentences.”

Golf is fun…till you play it.

I vote for 4 day work weeks.  Why not?  It will make more jobs and give people rest.  Let everybody work 10 hour days.  We do it now.  Think about it.

Take a breath of fresh air…hold it…look out elections are right around the corner.  The air is about to go putrid. 

I got an easy idea for political campaigning this year.  It has been proven that Americans tend to vote according to the economy.  So…no campaigning is allowed.  Have each media source ask one question:  How is your personal financial situation?  Than they list each candidates response to how they will make it better.  That’s it.  Nothing else.  All the rest is meaningless babble. 

Elections have really gotten down to the lesser of two evils.  Man, we are in good shape.

The best way to judge he ability of a high school to educate is not SAT scores.  IT’s the dropout rate.  I know that families and culture influences it but than again, education is more than the person sitting in the seat. 

We need to pay teachers as much as we pay lawyers.  Seriously, we make jokes about lawyers.  But we pay them.

Face it…something has to change in medical care in America.  The biggest problem is it is no longer a free market.  When was the last time a doctor came to town and lowered prices to attract clients?  Not in my life time. 

Do I sound sarcastic today.  It’s hot…heat index of 118.  Gotta blame it on something.

More Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts…I must cut down on my coffee intake!

First things first…

The World Cup final game was an interesting contrast.  It was one team that lived for the 1 – 0 game vs. one that looked for the breakaway.  Some thought it was a boring game.  Americans would find it boring.  It is interesting to see our addiction to high scores, drama, and entertainment.  With that addiction we often miss themes, intrigue, plots and personality.  No wonder we created Indoor soccer.  Add music, high scores and cheerleaders and boom we like it.  Ahhhh, maybe one day we will find the value of enjoying the theme and the plots and subplots.  I forgot, we have to sit still and think about it.  Oh well…let’s go World Cup 2014…maybe by then they will add larger goals, a shorter field and rules to increase scoring.  Baseball did it.  Who can’t wait for the World Series.  Now that is a misnomer…. “World” Series.  And we wonder why the rest of the world can’t see things our way?!?!

Second Things Second…

I enjoyed a day on the Edisto River saturday.  Pictures will be coming.  15 guys on the river.  8+ paddling or floating miles.  Rope Swings.  Swimming.  A dog that bite my kayak…yes, he did so while we were in the water too.  Frisbee kayaking.  Fossil hunting in the marl rock (no luck this time).  A very close Blue Heron.  One snake-skin (no snakes or gators).  One huge country family flotilla (huge might be too small a word).  Water fights.  One guy collecting plant samples.  Many guys collecting sun burn.  Floating next to the kayak…I don’t know what we call that…maybe floyaking or Kayoating.  A great lunch.  A fun time.  A relaxing time.  Life as it was meant to be lived.  Hey everybody…take a day…go relax. 

3rd things 3rd

I lost a friend this week.  She succumbed to complications of Cystic Fibrosis.  She is home with her Lord.  She is healed. 

A friend lost a kitten this week.  It was too sick to be rescued.

Death of a friend and death of a pet or simply death is harsh.  It reminds us of our frail nature.  What is our hope?  You know my answer…what’s yours?  I hope it isn’t medical insurance?

4th things 4th

I was in the shower this morning.  For some reason my best thouhts are in the wee hours of the morning when the first drops spit out of the shower head.  Maybe when I write the blog I should do so in the shower.  Now, that is a mental image isn’t it?  I came upon the depth of the truth that no matter what we touch, do, say, try, read, listen or anything it is tainted.  It just is.  I’m leaving that thought out there.  What do you think?