Who Speaks For You?

Allan Wall asks "Is it worse to be a murderer or a racist?"

Brooks Bayne writes about criminals who are both. (Warning: Some unsavory language.)

Tom Sowell explains what happens when an American speaks "honestly" about racial matters.

Rush Limbaugh and Paul (an 18-year-old who called his show) had a timely discussion about a colorblind society, etc. Go here.

Update: YOWZA!

Looking For Isabel Celis in Mexico

Incomprehensible that this adorable 6-year-old girl was snatched from her Arizona bedroom.

I hope and pray that Isa is found alive and found soon.

She has been missing since April 20, and many caring Americans are volunteering around the cause of her safe return.

Update: A witness steps forth.


Sun. Inspiration: Maine State of Mind

Voted the "most peaceful" state (by the Institute for Economics and Peace) due to its low crime rate, low number of incarcerations, and lowest number of police employees.

Keep it up, Mainers (and Gov. LePage)!


Colbert Takes Shot at the Liberal Wing of Immigration Reform Movement

A few funny lines in this piece of satire ...

14,000 Evangelical Grads + One Mormon Politico =

A media frenzy.

From the press release: "Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. (pictured, right) announced today that Gov. Mitt Romney will address Liberty University graduates at the 2012 Commencement ceremony to be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 12, at Arthur L. Williams Stadium.

'We are delighted that Governor Romney will join us to celebrate Commencement with Liberty’s 2012 graduates,' said Liberty Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. "This will be a historic event for Liberty University reminiscent of the visits of Governor, and then presidential candidate, Ronald Reagan to Liberty’s campus in 1980 and of President George H.W. Bush who spoke at Liberty’s 1990 Commencement ceremony.' ”

Pretty crafty move on LU and Mitt's part.

Update: It turns that many Liberty students have complained about this graduation speaker.

Friday Fun: Angelo and Veronica Petrucci

Circa 1993. The husband and wife singing duo performing a Christian tune with a dance-club-like beat.


Prom Dress That Wasn't Deemed as Cool as Maura's Cardboard One

A sparkly-looking Confederate evening dress, that was banned from a school prom in Tennessee earlier this month, brought to mind that upbeat, cheeky song by Gretchen Wilson, "Redneck Woman."

In other words, there's a type of southern culture, in the US of A, that the powers-that-be want to airbrush out of the collective consciousness.

A legal scholar weighs in on this silly fracas.

Texanna Edwards (tastefully) has a teen rebel moment. School officials deemed her flag dress "inappropriate" and "offensive."

Eggplant Parmesan: EZ Recipe

EP is one of my favorite dishes to order in a restaurant, yet I never imagined it'd be easy to make at home. How wrong I was. I've used this recipe, twice, and the results rock. (Although my kitchen counters look quite messy by the time the glass baking dish, loaded with eggplant, is ready for the oven.)



100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic

Allan Wall outdid himself penning not one, not two, but three articles on the topic du jour.

This one is a nifty summary - call it Titanic 101, and it includes comments about the James Cameron movie.

While this one explains the 'Mexican angle.'

Now check out these photos of Titanic re-enactors, some of them youngsters.

My community offers an annual Titanic dinner at an inn. What a menu!

What caused the fabled ship to hit an iceberg? (Yet another theory.)

Have you visited the Titanic Museum in Branson, MO?

Music of the period performed by the San Antonio Darlings.


Only Her Hairdresser Knows For Sure

Remember the Does she or doesn't she? Clairol hair coloring slogan?

Today I want to give a shout-out to 'my' hard-working hairstylist Amanda (pictured, right), of M Family Salon, whose expertise is, indeed, color makeovers.

She's been cutting my salt-and-pepper mop for almost three years (she even buzzed it once), and I've always been pleased with the results.

Merci, Mademoiselle Amanda. Maybe one of these days I'll go for a lone reddish highlight. Heh.

Who asked him?

Peter Orszag (pictured, right), writing in the WaPo, attempts to make the case for the communal upbringing of children longer school day.

He claims, "Schools should remain open until 5 or 6 p.m. The result would be better-educated students and less-stressed parents."

Till 6? Ick.

This Orszag dude is a Princeton-trained economist who worked for the Obama Administration (OMB), has four kids (by three different women), is a bigwig at Citigroup, is a fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, and still has time to run marathons, if that provides clues as to why he's all for weakening family ties.


Groveling on YouTube: Isn't that for the hoipolloi?

The HuffPo reports: "New York Times staffers have put out a new video speaking out against the ongoing contract negotiations with the paper's management — particularly proposed changes to their pension plans.

The Times and the paper's union have been engaged in a contentious battle over the terms of a new contract for over a year. The tension between the two sides has heated up in recent months, with staffers openly protesting the negotiations outside a Page One meeting in February.

One of the main sticking points has been the paper's call to freeze the Guild pension plan. A new video, uploaded by the Youtube channel saveourtimes, features employees blasting the proposed change. A memo announcing the video was distributed on Wednesday.

The video is striking for the clear depth of the anger at Times management.

Several staffers said that that the specific term was a deep sign of the paper's 'disrespect' for its employees. They cited the drastic differences in the annual amount they would receive under the current plan versus one without a pension. Some spoke about being forced to go on food stamps or live on cat food."

Say what? Watch the video of the disgruntled staffers, and decide for yourself if any of these smug New Yorkers would get desperate enough to chow down on Purina.

National Junior Shooting Camps

Information about the July pistol and smallbore rifle camps for 12-18 year olds here.

The camps are held in Ohio at Camp Perry.

First-time pistol campers may be eligible for a tuition and travel reimbursement of up to $500.

Underdog v. Frontrunner: Tale of Two Bros

TCC DVD review: For a movie which showcases intense MMA fighting scenes, Warrior is also a poignant family film about a trio of alpha males (a physics teacher, a recovering alcoholic, and a troubled Marine) from blue-collar Pennsylvania.

This plot centers around how this trio - a dad and his two sons - are estranged from one other. But, oddly, it's not a depresssing watch.

For despite the angst and anger, the movie's message is crystal clear: Family remains the great laboratory and institution to practice sacrifice, reconciliation, and unconditional love ... although, in Warrior, one will be pummeled trying to do so. :)

If you don't get too fidgety watching the fight scene below, you can handle the other in-the-ring encounters there's no dearth of in this flick. What is, perhaps, more draining, is the emotional, engaging ride the principal actors (Nick Nolte, Tom Hardy, and Joel Edgerton) take the viewer on, as they battle inner demons, with and without the boxing gloves.

Caveat: There are a smattering of shady moments (not appropriate for
youngsters) that could have been tweaked and made the movie even more family friendly.


Sunday Inspiration: River Kayaking

Yesterday, there were four kayakers on the Bear River.

Here's two of them paddling away.

There are many interesting ways and means to enjoy God's creation, and stay active, aren't there?

Incidentally, northern Michigan is an outstanding place to kayak.


Virgil Goode Officially a Contender for President of the US

This just in: Virgil Goode, former congressman, has become the Constitution Party's presidential nominee on the first ballot.

Now let's see if he gets invited to any of the national presidential debates.

FYI: Mr. Goode, a resident of Virginia, is 65 years old.

Update: Jim Clymer, longtime chair of the CP, will serve as Goode's running mate. Go here.

Maura Pozek: Queen of the Creative Prom Dress

While I think end-of-the-schoolyear dances are overrated rites of passage, I (temporarily) suspend my dogmatism to notice a Missouri teen who is making prom memories and fashion statements. In 2010, Maura made a colorful, ruffled prom dress out of Doritos bags. The following year, she designed a one-shouldered gown made from 4000 pop tabs. For 2012, the high school senior used 30 cardboard bags for yet another flairful creation.

What imagination, craftsmanship, and patience can accomplish!

Sat. Sighting: The Inspirational Quote

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." ~ Anne Frank


Friday Fun: Little Mallard & Friend

The first ducks of the season have arrived at the neighborhood pond. See em?

Here's the photo after I "Instagramed" it (after joining last night).

Think of it as a miniature.


Whatever happened to ...

George Thampy?

Mr. Thampy, as a 12-year-old, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2000. Winning word: Demarche.

George, the son of Indian immigrants (who relocated to Missouri), was also a homeschooler. He graduated from Harvard, majored in chemistry, and now works for an equity firm. He also serves as a judge for the Bee.

Here's an interview George did a couple of years ago where he talks about his journey to become the nation's top speller.

Farewell: The Country's Oldest Teenager

A campy performance by Crooner Manilow but a fun tribute to American Bandstand and "Mr. Dick Clark" who passed away, yesterday. He was 82 years old.


Amber Alert for Keegan Schuchardt

4/18 update: Verna McClain, mother of three, vocational nurse, and, now, psychopath, murdered Kala Marie Golden (a Caucasian) and stole her newborn son, yesterday. This evil, evil woman is toast, as the felony murder occurred in Texas.

A horrible, horrible crime: Earlier today, a young mother was murdered, in the parking lot of a pediatric center in Spring, Texas (near Houston), and her 3-day old baby was kidnapped by the perp. Heartbreaking.

The Amber Alert has offered this description of the abductor: "The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office is searching for Keegan Schuchardt. Police are looking for a skinny black, female wearing grey sweatshirt and blue jeans. The suspect was last heard from in 25230 Burrough Park Drive, Spring, Texas."

A photo of Baby Keegan is featured in this video clip:

I hope and pray this precious infant is found soon and found safe.

PTL update: Keegan been located and will soon be reunited with his daddy. Thank you, law enforcement.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Verna McClain "has been charged with capital murder in the fatal shooting of a mother (Kala Marie Golden) and the abduction of her newborn son."


MD Prescribes Homeschooling for Family Unity

"Home schooling becomes a lifestyle that will draw your family together, while traditional schools are a separating force, from the physical separation during the school day to the hours of homework at night." - Dr. Bethany Gardiner (pictured, right), pediatrician and homeschool parent

Read the rest of her essay, posted at CNN, here.

Mitt Romney: Stay-at-home moms? That's so 1960

A video in which Mr. Etch A Sketch champions day care and other Swedishlike ideas aimed at weakening family ties.

Ze money quote: "Now mom and dad both have to work ... whether they want to or not."

Obligatory photo

Bonus: Dr. Ed passes along a monograph, by Carrie Lukas, of the Independent Women's Forum, titled "The 'Equal Pay Day' Myth." Ms. Lukas strongly disagrees with feminists who claim that the American workplace is overwhelmingly sexist.


Sun. Inspiration: A Portion of the Beatitudes/Matthew 5

7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.

Christianity Today on verse 7.
Clarke's commentary on verse 8.
Barnes' notes on verse 9.

Sermon on the Mount


Awash in Oil

David Deming has authored an informative article about petroleum production.

He confidently argues: "Nine years ago, I predicted that the age of petroleum has only just begun. I was right. The Peak Oil theorists, the malthusians and the environmentalists were all wrong. They've been proven wrong, over and over again, for decades. A tabulation of every failed prediction of resource exhaustion would fill a library."

Do read it all. Dr. Deming, a geologist, teaches at the University of Oklahoma and that hasn't always been an easy task given his pro-Second Amendment views.


Friday Fun: Goma de Mascar

Chomp, chomp. I bought a box of 60 of these small packets of chewing gum in the 'World Foods' section of the local grocery store. As a kid, I used to buy Canel's 'goma de mascar' during family vacations in Costa Rica. I had never seen the gum in the States ... until now.

The flavors: Tutti-Frutti, Violeta, Menta, Canela, Yerbabuena.

Or, Tutti-Frutti, Violet, Peppermint, Cinammon, Spearmint.


Liberty Classroom: High Quality Curriculum

Tom Woods, the widely published author, dropped me a note about his new endeavor, Liberty Classroom.

The site's motto is "Knowledge is your best weapon in the struggle for liberty. Arm yourself."

LC offers several courses taught by Tom, Kevin Gutzman, and other intellectual heavyweights. The current courses offered are U.S. History and Western Civilization. A course on free-market economics will be added in the near future.

I asked Tom (pictured, right) how much it costs to join. His response: "It's $99 for everything on the site, which is something like 140 lectures, plus the ability to ask questions of the faculty, participate in the live streaming sessions we'll have once a month, etc. It's a steal compared to any other online learning environment I've seen."

Imagine if government schools incorporated these high-quality lectures in their civic and social studies classes. Wow. Just, wow.

Entry-Level Bird Watching

There are many birds hanging around the unfettered landscapes near our home, so a former co-worker gifted our family with this guide:The charming book is filled with beautiful photography and easy-to-digest information.

I have now learned that the indigo birds, with the red-orange shoulder markings, who sing with abandon at the nearby marsh, are male red-winged blackbirds.

Wonder if that's how the Detroit Red Wings got their name?

Update: Digital tools for the nation's 50 million bird watchers. (H/T Dr. W.)


When Karma is a Blonde

Oh, these successful D-1 coaches think they are infallible ... so above mere mortals who have to play by the rules.

Take Bobby Petrino, age 51, who just became former head of Arkansas football thanks to being an adulterer and a liar. He can add "fired with cause" to his impressive resume. (He also coached in the NFL.)

The tipping point: "Arkansas fired head coach Bobby Petrino on Tuesday, publicly dressing him down for unfairly hiring his mistress and intentionally misleading his boss about everything from their relationship to her presence at the motorcycle accident that ultimately cost him his job."

That's Bobby P. in the photo, post-accident. This grandfather wasn't wearing a helmet went he went for his joy ride with his gal pal.

The mistress is 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell, an attractive blonde who is (was?) to be married this June to a handsome young fellow named Josh Morgan. Until very recently (like, this week) Josh worked at the University of Arkansas as the director of swimming and diving operations.

I'm assuming this wedding has been postponed or cancelled now that hubris, cruising on a motorcycle, brought this pathetic duo back to earth. Thud!

Amen to how this blogger put it: "Instead of spending time cheating on his wife he [Petrino] should have spent more time with his wife."

Predictably, some Razorback fans went all Woo Pig Sooie. They staged a rally not in support of the attractive Mrs. Petrino - but in support of Bobby Petrino.

Such a backwater move.

Update: Casa Petrino (which includes a putting green, pool, basketball court, and wine cellar) is already for sale. Take the virtual tour, and marvel at what a pigskin can deliver for one family.

Update: Attorney LaRue Robinson, who also follows college football, has good advice for college administrators.

Dr. Walter Williams Grants Pardon

For a time like this - a spot of humor and a dash of pertinent social commentary and a generous dollop of historical accuracy is just what the good doctor ordered:

"Whereas, Europeans kept my forebears in bondage some three centuries toiling without pay,

Whereas, Europeans ignored the human rights pledges of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution,

Whereas, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments meant little more than empty words,

Therefore, Americans of European ancestry are guilty of great crimes against my ancestors and their progeny.

But, in the recognition Europeans themselves have been victims of various and sundry human rights violations to wit: the Norman Conquest, the Irish Potato Famine, Decline of the Hapsburg Dynasty, Napoleonic and Czarist adventurism, and gratuitous insults and speculations about the intelligence of Europeans of Polish descent,

I, Walter E. Williams, do declare full and general amnesty and pardon to all persons of European ancestry, for both their own grievances, and those of their forebears, against my people.

Therefore, from this day forward Americans of European ancestry can stand straight and proud knowing they are without guilt and thus obliged not to act like fools in their relationships with Americans of African ancestry."

In the photo: W.W.


Mike Pearson: A Real-Life Public Servant

At first glance, Rep. Jason Murphey's vignette, about a stretch of roadway in Logan County (OK), may make your eyes glaze over. But keep reading.

Here's Jason: "... county and city officials recently applied pavement marking upgrades to Prairie Grove Road from Division east to Pine in Guthrie.

Not long ago the city and county once again worked together to apply safety markings to the entire mile section of roadway. These safety markings make a big difference in allowing drivers to drive safely in low-light and bad weather conditions.

Few probably realize the impetus for this important safety improvement was a personal donation from Logan County District 2 Commissioner Mike Pearson. Pearson campaigned for office on a platform of not only voting against self-imposed raises but also pledging to donate an amount equal to the previous raise voted in by the Commissioners. Prior to his election the Commission had approved more than one significant increase in pay for themselves.

Because of his pledge, Pearson has donated several thousand dollars each year from his paycheck and has applied the money towards upgrading or maintaining District 2 roadway."

Very classy.

In the photo: Commish Pearson (wearing the long-sleeve shirt) confabs with Oklahoma transportation officials.


Easter Sunday: He is risen!

The late Keith Green singing about the resurrection.


Sabbatum Sanctum: Jesus' Body in the Tomb

Matthew 27: 58-61. "When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away. And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the grave."

More here.


Good Friday: Remembering the Cross

I've participated in Stations of the Cross with Catholics and a crosswalk with Protestants. Both were meaningful Good Friday exercises, but while the stations were in a church building, it was a solitary, contemplative endeavor. The crosswalk was conducted through downtown Amherst, MA with Mercyhouse church members. A community endeavor, as gals and guys took turns carrying a large wooden cross and reading Scriptures, but it was also very much a contemplative exercise.

Christianity is best lived out in private and in public. Such a wonderful paradox.

In the photo: Crosswalk through Amherst


Maundy Thursday Art

In honor of L'Ultima Cena ... *

No, I'm not a 'Da Vinci Code' conspiracy sort. (But, yes, the apostle next to the Lord does look like a girly-man.) Nor do I embrace the idea of Jesus as a hippie-looking guru.

It's just that as works of art by Old Masters go ... well, this one is in a class by itself. It's iconic and mass produced and frequently parodied. For all that (and more) Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" remains a one-of-kind reminder of a sacred event worth remembering.

*Italian for Last Supper


Rodent Owner Wants Her Day in Court

What sort of a lawyer would get involved in this frivolous lawsuit? If Kendra, who is no teenager, is this dependent on her pet, why didn't she just stay at home and take online classes? It can be done. It has been done.

The gist: "A student is suing a Michigan university for the right to keep a guinea pig on campus for emotional support.

Kendra Velzen says Grand Valley State University is violating federal housing rules by denying her request. The 28-year-old from Grand Rapids says her guinea pig, named Blanca, helps her cope with physical and emotional challenges."

What if dorm life proves too stressful for Blanca? Who will, then, speak for this guinea pig?

NCAA Championship Tonite: UK v. KU?

Due to his ties to UMass/Amherst hoops, Coach Cal's lightening-fast wildcats receive my vote.

Is John Calipari animated or what?

April Fool's Mascot: The Imp

Last photo (I'm posting, that is) from Castle Farms. This little dude lives in the "enchanted forest." Yellow flowers were sprouting around his barrel; a pleasant reminder that spring is slowly making its way to northern Michigan.


Sunday Inspiration: Jim Caviezel

In this vid, Jim Caviezel, the Passion of the Christ star, talks about how he and his wife, Kerri, decided to adopt special needs children from China. Very touching testimonial. Mr. Caviezel is, obviously, not your typical, shallow Hollywood actor type.