Even having served our country, the most dangerous assignment I've ever had was being a Little League umpire. :)
There were two songbooks that I wore out when I played guitar and coincidentally both artists died in plane crashes. One was John Denver and the other was Jim Croce.
Jim loved playing guitar, writing songs, and singing, but he had no idea how to break into the recording business. While attending college at Villanova University for a degree in psychology and a minor in German, he and some other students played different venues around town to get some pocket change. Jim was the university’s disc jockey. He also did various part-time jobs, so he’d have some spending money. Performing became addictive to Croce so he pursued becoming a professional musician once he graduated.
He signed a record deal, but it wasn’t a good one as he was taken advantage of by the record company and his agent. His first two albums weren’t marketed well and they flopped. His first album only sold around 500 copies. There wasn’t a need for him to go on tour because his music wasn’t getting out there. He and his wife barely kept their heads above water, and they were wondering if music would keep a roof over their heads.
Jim was doing all kinds of jobs including construction, driving trucks, and welding. Then he found out his wife was pregnant, and it lit a fire under him to take care of his family. In just a few weeks he was cranking out hits like “Leroy Brown.” They were living on a small farm in Pennsylvania, so he travelled to New York City to present his new songs to his record label and they loved them. His songs began rocketing up the charts including “Operator,” “I Have to Say I Love You In a Song,” “Time In a Bottle,” “Photographs and Memories,” “Time In a Bottle,” reached number one on the music charts a month after Jim died.
All the above success hit around 1972 and Jim ended up on the road almost every day of the year performing concerts even in Europe. Television shows like “American Bandstand,” were constantly after him. Jim loved performing but it became too much. He missed his wife and son and he told her before he went out on the road for his second major tour that when it finished, he was quitting the business. Unfortunately, he couldn’t keep his promise.
About a year before Jim had become famous, he was supposed to perform at Northwest Louisiana State University for a group of college students, but he got sick and couldn’t do it; he promised he’d be back. Once famous, the university couldn’t believe Jim was willing to come perform and the entire Colosseum (a pretty small gym), was filled with fans. He performed three encores and the last song he sung was “Time in a Bottle.”
The college student who set up the event walked out to the small plane to see Jim and five other passengers off. The plane went down the runway but never got high enough to clear the trees at the end and one of the wings hit the trees and the plane went down on September 20, 1973; Jim was just 30 years old. His wife, Ingrid never remarried and their son A.J. became a singer/musician as well.
"Stay away from negative people, they have a problem for every solution." - Mark Twain
The DNC Chair, Tom Perez, admitted that the Party has concerns about Sanders quick start and perceived momentum. This isn't something they normally admit as candidates are still shaking out. What I think is funny is that he made it a point to say that Sanders did sign a contract to run as a Democrat, something he had to do to get funding. No one else had to sign a contract. Bernie's not a Democrat, he's a proud Socialist no matter what he signed.
At least Perez is being honest about their concerns over Bernie. If you remember last time, the DNC got caught providing Hillary with backdoor support against Bernie. Thus why his supporters shunned Hillary when she got the nomination. The thing is, the DNC isn't just worried about Sanders getting the nomination, they're worried about the negative impact down ticket if this happens. They would lose the House and lose even more seats in the Senate because more people would see that the Democratic Party had officially become the Democratic Socialist Party. An identity that would be almost impossible to shake. Putting forth a moderate candidate to run against Trump is crucial to save their image.
I was in line at the grocery store and the man in front of me had a bouquet of roses and a bottle of wine. I kidded him and said it's a little early for Valentine's Day and he just gave me a nervous smile. He asked me if I minded holding his place and he came back with another bottle of wine and more flowers. I asked him if he had two girlfriends and he said no, just one really angry one. :)
Can you imagine if you were told after the Civil War that you had to lay tracks for a railroad from New York all the way to California? Not only did they have to worry about Indians, they also had to figure out how to bring in the supplies necessary and enough workers to get the job done. They had to cut down trees and carve the wood to make railroad ties. Some areas didn't have trees for many miles so they had to move the wood to the area they were laying the tracks. They not only needed steel, they needed blacksmiths to shape it sometimes having to make significant curves in the tracks. They had to dig the ground to make sure it was level. They had to build bridges then put the tracks on top of it with the requirement of being able to hold a train and cargo. There weren't computer programs helping them figure out how to engineer a bridge. There weren't computer programs that told them how much dynamite they'd need to cut paths through the mountains.
When I think about what they accomplished it absolutely blows my mind. I don't think I was smart enough to become a doctor and I certainly wonder whether I could ever have been smart enough to become an engineer. They certainly are responsible for making our country what it is today.
I would like to remind everyone that the Democratic Party set forth an investigation into why President Trump's Administration killed a terrorist. Qassem Soleimani masterminded the killing of hundreds of US troops in IED attacks, helped Assad slaughter his people in Syria, was an ally of Hezbollah. Even though this is the case, Democrats were livid about the attack. Even last night in the debate, the candidates attacked what Trump did. They made it sound like he didn't have the support of the military when he did it. They said he hadn't thought through the repercussions of killing Soleimani. How in the world would they know this? They don't, they're just lying about it.
Democrats and the mainstream media made it sound like we were going to go to war over what Trump did but as usual they're hysterics were wrong. For three years they've manufactured crises that would hurt our country terribly, yet they've been wrong again and again. It's a Chicken Little scenario. Why people still believe them when they say the sky is falling is beyond me. By it's very definition, it's insane to believe them.
Without actual knowledge of the situation, Democrats immediately went to the press and said that there was no "imminent threat," by Soleimani. This is ludicrous. If someone commits a murder in the U.S. and it was a crime of passion so we don't believe he'll murder anyone else (he's not an immanent threat), we don't let him get away with his past crime(s). There was absolutely no reason to believe Soleimani was going to stop being a terrorist but even if there was, he had committed horrific crimes and needed to be held accountable.
Of course this served to embolden Iranian leadership by making it appear the U.S. President had done something wrong and isn't supported here in our country. This endangers all of us. This is how off-the-rails Democrats have become. Their hatred of Trump is so bad that they wish ill will to U.S. citizens so that Trump doesn't have any successes. I hope people remember these things at the polls.
I'm not a biblical scholar so the comments below are just my opinions.
If it hasn't happened yet, there will be a time when we’ll hurt someone terribly by what we do and/or say. It's during these moments when we ask forgiveness even though we don't deserve it and wonder if we’ll be shown mercy. So, from a judgement perspective we’re guilty but hoping this burden will be lifted from us.
The Bible is filled with advice when it comes to issues like forgiveness, mercy, and judging other people. The words of wisdom written thousands of years ago are completely applicable to our lives today. First, we should always remember: "Judge not lest you be judged." God says the same way we judge other people will be applied to us when we’re judged in heaven. I find this a scary thought because I sometimes don’t apply the same measures when comparing what I did to someone else and how mad and hurt I get when someone offends me. We will fall far short of what God expects from us because of our “free will,” choices and we will inevitably ask for forgiveness and mercy from him.
Christians believe that Jesus washes away our sins so we can enter heaven, but many people also believe that we don't get a free pass for our bad behaviors. In other words, we can't just get away with the same sins repeatedly, without truly repenting (which means to turn away from the sin) and think that there will be no repercussions because Jesus has us covered. For example, if your son took money out of your wallet and you caught him, of course you’d end up forgiving him at some point because that’s what parents do. Our hope is that our child feels remorseful and promises not to do it again; but what if he continued to do it? Even as a loving parent, enough would be enough and you’d dole out very harsh punishment of some sort. Not only to correct the behavior but also to punish him because that’s the just and righteous thing to do. Forgiving someone for what they did is a Christian thing to do, but so is punishment when warranted.
Many people believe that in one way or another we’ll have a “come to Jesus moment,” that will have us on our knees begging for mercy. I don’t have a clue what this entails. I would be ashamed beyond imagination if I were to go to heaven and they played a movie of my life for everyone to see of all the times I sinned in one way or another. Is that a punishment that is right and just? I don’t know, but it would be brutal. For me, believing that I won’t get a free pass and walk right through the pearly gates without repercussions of some sort, helps me make better decisions in my life. I need to worry about the choices I make. I need to worry that there won’t only be potential consequences on earth for my actions, but that I face punishment from God as well. God is too righteous to let me get away with anything and everything.
In a debate class a card is typically drawn regarding a topic to debate and then you’re given which side to represent whether you agree with it or not. I wish everyone had to take a class in debate because it really helps a person to look at both sides of an issue and teaches you how to present your side of an argument. It very much teaches you that few things are just black and white. For example, the issue of whether we should have a death penalty; I could argue both sides of the case so I will, then you can decide what you think, and believe me that I wouldn’t blame you for your stance on the issue because this is a tough one.
In my opinion, I do not believe that having a death penalty is that much of a deterrent for these violent crimes. First, because many people who commit these crimes come from backgrounds where quite frankly being put to death isn’t that bad of an alternative. There are many prisoners in jail in general who enjoy having three meals a day and a place to sleep. They’re institutionalized and when released from prison, often find a way to get back in because creating a life on the outside is too difficult. Second, these crimes are often crimes where mentally the perpetrator is temporarily in a state where logical thinking has gone out the window. In other words, it wouldn’t cross their minds that they better not commit the crime, or they’ll be executed. Lastly, there’s no other way to put it, but executions in most states have become soft. These criminals who have committed horrific crimes which still negatively impacts the families of friends of the victims, are basically put to sleep. Can you imagine the last few minutes in the lives of the victims? Can you imagine their terror? Yet those who are executed lay on a table and are put down almost like an animal is put down in an animal hospital.
Maybe a lot of people are okay with it thinking that it’s humane to do it this way but I can tell you that if one of my friends or family members were viciously murdered, I wouldn’t want the person being executed to have an easy way out of this life. How do you think you’d feel? I’m a Christian man but I admit I’d want some suffering to take place. The way I look at it is Jesus said to follow the laws of the land and if the citizens want a firing squad, an electrocution, the gas chamber, hanging, etc., then it’s their right. When people on death row were electrocuted, it was a tough death and they spent a long time thinking about when the moment would arrive. There was some sense of torture and some sense of justice to the act for those who were left behind. Being put to sleep on a table is a pleasant end for many death row inmates. It just doesn’t seem right.
A very important thing to keep in mind about allowing someone life versus the death penalty is that an average murderer is around 25 years of age and the life expectancy living in prison is around 45 years. With this in mind, It costs taxpayers around $1.6 million dollars per prisoner to pay for their incarceration over a lifetime; over $2 million in California. This is at today’s prices so it will get even worse. Throwing out any morality issues, from a cost perspective, taxpayers are way better off executing dangerous criminals. This is one of the reasons there was so much hanging taking place back in the 1800’s, the wild west, because not only did their jails not have enough room for the many criminals, but they couldn’t afford to feed them. It was mostly about money.
Anyhow, I can go back and forth on the issue but there’s no doubt in my mind that each state has the authority to choose whether or not they want the death penalty and quite frankly from a Constitutional perspective, they have every right to choose how they want to do it. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ends when you’re a part of taking away someone else’s life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. At this point, you’re at the citizens’ mercy from where you committed the crime. So, when it comes to the death penalty, whatever side you on, you’ve got plenty of data to back up your position. This isn’t always the case.
By the way, Texas by far leads the rest of the country in conducting executions followed by Virginia, Oklahoma, and Florida. No place in the country has as many people on death row than California which has 721, but they’ve only executed 14 over the last 40 years regardless of what the juries wanted. Let that sink in.
Democrats fought with all their might to get some Republicans to flip and allow more witnesses in the Senate trial and lost. Their goal of getting more face time in front of the cameras saying things again and again which aren’t true, has been reduced significantly. They know that many people don’t realize that members of the House and Senate don’t have to tell the truth, that they’re in no danger of perjuring themselves according to the rule of law in their hearings and trials. Witnesses can get in legal trouble for lying, House and Senate members cannot.
This is why Representative Schiff (CA), has been able to say the outrageous things that he has and hasn’t faced legal trouble, not even for liable and slander which he clearly has done. How many times has he already cried wolf? How many times has he said he has secret information from an anonymous source that will bury President Trump? His prediction and delivery rate is 0%. No one gets more Pinocchio's than Schiff.
The fact is, it never would’ve mattered if Republicans caved into the Democrats requests for the Senate trial because if Trump got off the hook, Democrats would still say it was rigged. They said the election was rigged. They baulked at the over two-year investigation results which showed Trump didn't collude with the Russians. It just doesn't matter so why would Republicans give in to anything they want? Democrats sure ramrodded the House impeachment hearing.
The truth doesn't matter to these Democrats. All they want to do at this point is to attack Trump relentlessly and say Republicans protected him. They want every race whether the House, Senate, or presidential election, to be about Trump. The last thing they want is for people to pay attention to the actual results which have been record-breaking. They don't have a platform beyond everyone needs to vote against Trump and vote against anything or anyone Trump supports. This won't win campaigns and that is great news for Republicans and for the citizens of the United States.
Author: John Mann