Ash Wednesday and my Favorite Old Testament Passage

Today is Ash Wednesday the beginning of Lent and the reason why so many people got drunk etc yesterday because traditionally this began a period of fasting and sacrificing to bring us closer to God and while many have abandoned the fasting/prayerful reflection part they’ve kept with full force the last big debauch.

Ash Wednesday is not the most popular devotion out there, you are given ashes which is a reminder of our mortality “Remember man that thou art dust and to dust you shall return.” Although because some consider that reminder too harsh a “Repent and believe in the Gospel” is substituted in some parishes.

But what I’ve always loved about Ash Wednesday is the first reading from scripture at Mass. Every Year the first reading is always this passage from the prophet Joel

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent
and leave behind him a blessing,
Offerings and libations
for the LORD, your God.

Blow the trumpet in Zion!
proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the people,
notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders,
gather the children
and the infants at the breast;
Let the bridegroom quit his room
and the bride her chamber.
Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, “Spare, O LORD, your people,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”

Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land
and took pity on his people.

Joel 2 12-18

Even now! Those are words of power and hope. Most importantly there are no qualifiers to those words

  • Even Now….unless you’ve had an abortion
  • Even now….unless you’ve cheated on your spouse
  • Even now…..unless you are a thief
  • Even now…..unless you are a drug dealier
  • Even now…..unless you are a murder
  • Even now…..unless you are a terrorist
  • Even now…..unless you are an atheist
  • Even now…..unless you promote sodomy
  • Even now…..unless you’ve sold your soul to the devil

In other words, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past or where you are, if you are willing to turn your heart to God, his outstretched hand will be there.

And note the time given is the ever present NOW, the time that every man spends their entire life in. As long as you have breath in your body, even if that breath is your last God will accept your return in that ever present now.

Does that mean that the path that follows will be painless? Nope.

Does it mean that the path will be easy? Nope.

But it means that path is available at every present moment of your life and that the time to embrace the forgiveness of God is always NOW.

Let’s dump recycling

By Christopher Harper

As I pulled out my two garbage bins this week—one for trash and one for recyclables—I was stuck by how yet another fraud was created and perpetuated by the left.

Recycling may not be the biggest threat to the nation. Still, sorting metal, plastics, and other items costs millions of dollars and accomplishes little.

Fostered by the environmental movement in the 1970s, recycling used to make some sense. In Philadelphia, where I live, the city loses $9 million a year. If Philadelphia and other cities simply used available space for garbage dumps, schools could be built, taxes could be lowered, and funds shifted to better uses.

The Property and Environment Research Center has analyzed recycling in an attempt to educate people about the “myths” of rubbish. These myths include:

–The country is running out of space;
–Trash threatens people’s health and the ecosystem;
–Packaging is a serious problem; and
–Recycling saves resources.

The modern era of waste disposal and recycling can be traced to the spring of 1987 when a garbage barge named Mobro 4000 spent two months and 6,000 miles touring the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico looking for a home for its load.

The Mobro set off in March 1987 with 3,200 tons of New York trash, originally intended for a cheap landfill in Louisiana. Hoping to cut transportation costs, the company behind the Mobro’s
voyage attempted to interest Jones County, North Carolina, in accepting the trash. Before the deal could be finalized, local officials wondered if the entrepreneur’s haste signaled the presence of hazardous waste. North Carolina rejected the trash–as did others–including the original site.

The problem WASN’T a lack of space. New York simply wanted a cheaper place to send its garbage. The “problem” erroneously became that landfills were UNSAFE.

Since the voyage of the Mobro, new techniques have made landfills even safer.

Nevertheless, the United States turned to China to send recyclables. But China upended global recycling markets in 2017 when it stopped importing most plastic and paper because most cities co-mingled materials, including waste from computers. The decision sent prices of scrap plastic and recovered paper tumbling, creating a crisis for municipalities that had relied on such sales to subsidize curbside recycling.

Recycling has become more expensive than tossing items into the trash. In 2016, it cost New York City $18 a ton more to collect and process recyclables than to dispose of regular refuse. See https://ibo.nyc.ny.us/iboreports/ten-years-after-assessing-progress-on-the-citys-solid-waste-management-plan-supplement-2017.pdf

Some efforts are growing to return to glass bottles to replace plastics, with deposit charges. That’s what we did before the recycling craze, and it worked.

Keep in mind that the left created the recycling mess in the first place—a system that costs the country millions of dollars. Just think what it will cost for their plans to combat “climate change” and whether any of their “green” ideas will actually work.

Harvey Weinstein Convicted? Thank Donald Trump

Robin Hood: My own men will escort my Lady. But before you take leave of her, it might be as well if you thanked her for saving your life.

Sir Guy: My life?

Robin Hood: Do you think you would’ve left this forest alive if it hadn’t been for her presence here?

The Adventures of Robin Hood 1938

In all of the media platitudes concerning the justice of Harvey Weinstein’s conviction yesterday there is a single name that is being left out.

That’s Donald Trump

Never forget that Harvey Weinstein was a great friend of Democrats in general and the Clintons in particular.

If Hillary Clinton had been elected in 2016 there is a zero possibility that Weinstein would have been facing a jury anytime soon. After all if the media had not considered his actions (actions they knew about) newsworthy for twenty years they certainly were not going to do so when such revelations might hurt a Clinton presidency.

It is only the election of Donald Trump and the declawing of Hillary that made any of this possible.

So if you are happy that Harvey’s reign of terror make sure you thank President Trump and the voters who sent him to the White House, because without their actions Harvey is still on the prowl (and I suspect Jeffrey Epstein with him).

Unexpectedly of course.

Report from Louisiana: Tragedy at Mardi Gras

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT —  Mardi Gras season this year has brought both raucous, bacchanalian festivities true to our “laissez les bon temps rouler” mantra, as well as terrible tragedy.

In New Orleans another terrible accident claimed the life of a man attending the Endymion parade Saturday night. As with the accident the previous week in which a woman was killed during the Nyx parade, this accident also involved a tandem float. For the unfamiliar, tandem floats usually belong to large super krewes and are multiple floats joined together by some kind of hitch. Some can be several sections and be as long as 300 feet.

In the accident Saturday night, Joseph Sampson, 58, jumped up to catch a throw, landed on some beads, slipped and fell, and somehow ended up under a float. His friends tried to grab him and pull him out while another tried to alert the driver to stop, an impossible task over the noise. As with the accident the previous week, the parade was terminated.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has now issued a directive that no more tandem floats will be allowed, thus causing krewes with tandem floats to scramble and make adjustments so they can roll in these last few days of Mardi Gras season.

Of course, some people agree and others disagree with the order. Everyone recognizes the tragedy of the deaths but contend that accidents are bound to happen and perhaps error in judgement should be considered. The woman the previous week was supposedly attempting to cross over between the two floats, got tangled and tripped over the hitch, and went under the float. No safety studies have been done or formal reports on either accident and tandem floats have been in use for many years. The disgruntled are calling Cantrell’s order a “knee jerk” reaction in an attempt to bolster her low popularity rate.

Here in Shreveport, in northwest Louisiana, we have three large parades over two weeks. Some portions of the parades have barricades but it would be almost impossible to place barricades along an entire parade route and it is unclear whether that would have averted the situation in NOLA. Many of these parades wind through neighborhoods. At some point you can’t legislate complete and total safety.

Mardi Gras is a major money maker for NOLA and Louisiana tourism. It is unlikely, as tragic as these events are, that any significant changes will take place; tandem floats may be back next year after safety studies, or whenever there is a new mayor.

In the meantime, roll on.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

One other thing About Democrats/Socialism and Bernie

There is one other point I’d like to add to yesterday’s post concerning the Democrats, Socialism and Communism. I freely confess this this conjecture but based on my observations it’s correct.

For quite a while Democrats leaders have seen the direction this party had been going, particularly in the schools. They saw the moves away from discipline, the rejection of the rule of law, the moves to re-write American History to into anti-american history, the removal of values from the system, and the whole nine yards. They saw all of these things happening at the same time that the GOP began to embrace all of these things.

Moreover the Democrats were in a position on the local, state and federal level to do something about it. To make sure that American values were still taught in American schools, to make sure that American History was not re-written to favor our enemies to make sure that “enforcing the law” was not a dirty word and to make sure that the inmates were not running the asylum.

They did not.

Why? They were afraid.

They feared that unless they embraced these socialist, communist elements would become an effective 3rd party only with numbers beyond the libertarians. Moreover with the abandoning of Americanism and religion Democrats were even more a coalition party of many different groups some with vastly different cultures and priorities united only in their rejection traditional American Judeo-Christian culture. So the loss of any one of those part might put them in the minority forever.

And the loss of power, influence and cash that such a cleansing of these elements in the party even if it was only for a few years, was more than the party could bear. Much better to pay the lip service and advance some of their agenda, after all, as long as they voted the way that secured power and influence for the leadership it didn’t matter what these fringe elements thought.

This could work as long as their numbers were small, but as schools and universities moved unchecked ever farther to the secular left those numbers continued to grow to the point where Democrats are no longer saying to socialist/communists that they much embrace them if they want any chance of power, but it’s literally becoming the other way around.

The rise of Bernie puts give the democrats three unpalatable choices

  1. Embrace the whole Socialist/Communist agenda in public
  2. Walk away & concede this cycle in the hopes that the Bernie Crowd McGoverns itself away
  3. Walk away and take the structures with them and hope that enough Judeo-Christians Americans who voted GOP because there was no place else for them to go might embrace a party that embraced traditional Democrat values without rejecting American Judeo-Christian values

None of these choices are going to be fun for the left but if they had not taken the small hit years ago they would not be in this position today.

I oppose Trump’s commutation of Blagojevich sentence

By John Ruberry

“I didn’t cross any lines I didn’t break any laws,” disgraced former Illinois governor told Rod Blagojevich Fox Chicago’s Larry Yellen in his first interview after his 14-year prison sentence was commuted by President Donald Trump.

Blago did both, which is why I oppose Trump’s commutation. I’m also on the other side of the opinions of my conservative friends and relatives here in the Land of Lincoln. Two of them are lawyers who have tried cases in front of now-retired federal judge James Zagel, a Ronald Reagan appointee. One of those attorneys remarked to me that he was “a hardass with a tin ear.” When I pointed out that one of the counts that the Chicago Democrat was convicted was for was attempting to extort a children’s hospital, he conceded, “Yeah, that was a bad one.”

So is trying to sell a US Senate seat to the highest bidder. As is lying to federal agents.

“I will govern as a reformer,” is what Blagojevich declared in his first inaugural address. His idea of reform was replacing the crooks and ward heelers surrounding his predecessor, Republican George H. Ryan, with his own crew of corruption. Blago’s friend and top aide Christopher Kelly was one of them. Shortly before he was to begin his five-year prison sentence, Kelly committed suicide. Two of Blagojevich’s chiefs of staff served time. Tony Rezko, his political fixer and fundraiser, served several years in federal prison. While they may have willingly been on board Blago’s corruption express, the former governor aided in ruining several lives.

Rezko of course was a key fundraiser in the early years of Barack Obama’s political career. The fixer and his wife played a role in the purchase of the Obamas’ Chicago mansion, the transaction has never been completely explained.

“He honestly believes he did nothing wrong,” Yellen told Mike Flannery this weekend about Blago on Flannery Fired Up

On my own blog I explained my opposition to the commutation with one caveat. If Blago spills the beans on what he knows about his political adversary, longtime state House speaker and Democratic Party chairman Michael Madigan, I’ll give Trump’s move a second thought. There is a current federal investigation of Illinois corruption and Boss Madigan’s name keeps coming up. True, whatever Blagojevich knows probably falls outside of the statute of limitations, but it can’t hurt either. Illinois needs to be power-scrubbed and sand-blasted. Illinois needs much more transparency. 

And as I’ve said many times, one way to finally clean up Illinois is to have judges like James Zagel impose maximum sentences on crooked pols and public workers. Fear is a powerful motivator. The 28-year sentence that former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick received–he had his hands in a lot more pots than Blagojevich–is a good example.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Voting Communist and the Right to Be Wrong

As of this writing Bernie Sanders has been declared the winner in Nevada. Most of the state has not yet reported but his lead is apparently big enough that it won’t matter (although the auto-reporting on Hotair.com is suddenly showing Warren with hundreds of thousands of votes that she didn’t have before which is a tad odd to say the least).

Now it’s worth noting that Bernie Sanders is a communist, he’s not only a Communist but a communist who was willing to Honeymoon in the Soviet Union DURING the cold war. To me that’s no different than Honeymooning in Berlin in 1938. He’s never met an enemy of America that he didn’t like and would if elected compete with Barack Obama and Jefferson Davis for the title of American Democrat president who did the most damage to the country.

This is recognized by folks like Chris Matthews who rightly suggest that there will be more than a few Democrats who believe that the re-election of Donald Trump would be better for their party and country than the election of Bernie Sanders.

That the election of a communist would be a horrible thing goes without saying but there is only one thing that would be worse for the country than the Democrat party nominating a communist to head their ticket.

That would be stealing the nomination from said communist if he won it according to the rules.

There are plenty of people who in my opinion have no business being in government. Great examples are Maxine Waters, Ilan Omar, Barbara Lee and frankly Bernie Sanders.

However while I believe this to be the case in a country of 330 you are going to get plenty of people, literally millions of folks with fringe insane believes and furthermore with 435 reps and 50 states you are bound to end up with at least a couple of such districts and even a state or two where enough of such people congregate to allow them to get elected.

While I think this is a bad idea it is the right of these folks to choose their own representatives on the local, state and federal level, that a basic freedom.

So if for example California decides to elect people who allow a city like San Francisco to be infested with feces and needles that’s on them, if the people of California choose to send a legislature to the statehouse that help promote these things while chasing business out of the state, that’s on them. If they vote for a Governor to keep this decline going and then send representatives to DC to help enable these disasters, again that is all on them because they are the people who are going to have to live with it.

It’s the same thing with Bernie.

If enough Democrat voters decide to vote Bernie Sanders to give him the nomination, even with him communist beliefs and sympathies with dictators then they have the right to be stuck with him, and with the consequences of that choice.

And the Democrat party will get the beating they richly deserve.

And if I’m wrong and somehow the voters of this nation take leave of their senses and trade the peace and prosperity and optimism of Donald Trump for Bernie Sanders brand of socialism on the grounds that for the first time in history it will not bring destruction and misery then just as they did when they choose Barack Obama they’ill have the right to be wrong, and will reap the reward of a socialist disaster so bad that generations will pass before we recover from it.

I sincerely doubt that we as a nation are that foolish, but if we are, then we will richly deserve all we get.

Why Donald Trump Courts Black Americans

Setting the captives free

by baldilocks

A guy I follow on Twitter pointed out something that has been in the back of my mind ever since 2016 when Donald Trump asked black Americans what we had to lose by supporting him in his presidential bid.

Over 90% of black voters voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, but so what? Black people are only 13% of the US population.

(By the way, over 92 million eligible voters did not vote in the 2016 presidential election! I bet that number will be smaller this year.)

The point is that Donald Trump did not need black voters to win in 2016 and does not need us this year. So why does he help and support black Americans? Why does he want us on the Trump Train?

There was a lot of predictable race-baiting last week when President Trump pardoned Bernard Kerik, Eddie DeBartolo, Jr. and granted clemency to Rod Blagojevich. All three are white men and as their stories on were all the talk on Twitter, Chelsea Handler said this.

When people have a caricature formed in their minds, they are unable to see solid reality right in front of their faces. Social Media exacerbates this phenomenon because people want to be part of that which seems popular. Conversely, people hate to be contradicted and hate being wrong – although both happen all the time.  I remember the first time someone tried to explicitly shame me for predicting something that didn’t pan out.

“I was wrong.”
“YOU WERE WRONG! Aren’t you ashamed?”
“Why should I be ashamed of being wrong? I’m not God; therefore, I make mistakes.”

Yes, it really happened like that.

Anyway, the reality is that President Trump pardoned and granted clemency to many others. And many of these others are black.

Here’s a sample.

Angela Stanton-King

When best-selling author and BET reality TV star Angela Stanton-King received word on Tuesday that President Trump had just granted her a full pardon, she was literally overcome.

“I just started hyperventilating right at the airport,” she told Newsmax. “I was just crying like a baby. People thought someone had died.” (…)

For Stanton-King, the pardon represented another amazing chapter in her life’s extraordinary  journey. After surviving a troubled childhood involving abuse, she got caught up in a stolen vehicle ring, and received a prison sentence. She was released in 2005.

“When I was released from prison 15 years ago,” she told Newsmax in an exclusive interview, “I was given a $25 check and a bus ticket and told to start my life over.

“I came home to four children, and I came home to two tombstones,” she said. “My mother was in one and my grandmother was in the other. (…)

Stanton-King defied the odds. She went on to write a best-selling book about her journey, Life of a Real Housewife. The book launched her career as a publishing entrepreneur, and that led to a big role in a BET reality TV show. She also founded the American King Foundation, a nonprofit focused on criminal-justice reform and reuniting families that have been separated by mass incarceration.

In the comments to Handler’s Tweet, many others point to the error in her implication, but it’s a safe bet that she will block it all out and pretend that it didn’t happen all the way up to the next time she decides to point the racism finger at the president or at conservatives in general. She is what she is. Like-minded politicos and media professionals will do the same.

President Trump knows this, but he still keeps reaching out to fellow Americans who are black. Why? I think I have an answer.

What do all of these newly-freed former prisoners – white, black, brown, etc. – have in common besides being mostly non-violent offenders? It’s this: they all hit bottom and are determined to climb back up; they are intent on becoming better people than the persons they were. More often than not, someone saw their efforts and gave them a hand up.

They are all looking to improve themselves the right way.

That’s a very American trait which President Trump appreciates. If you ask me, he doesn’t care whether or not any of these people vote for him – many of them probably won’t be able to anyway.

What he is doing: using his power and authority to make it easier for the repentant to keep walking in the right direction instead of reverting to their old selves and old lives.

He’s inviting all of them – great and small — to be a part of the American Dream, their birthright. He’s inviting them to rebuild their lives and do their small part in making America great again.

Black, white, brown, red, yellow, they already lost the most precious thing they had to lose: freedom. Now they have it back and the president is just trying to help them hold onto it.

Do I think that the percentage of black American voters who vote for Donald Trump in 2020 will be larger than in 2016? Probably, but not by much.

Then again, I could be wrong.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Follow Juliette on FacebookTwitterMeWePatreon and Social Quodverum.

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No, Bernie isn’t working for the Russians

I’m sure Communist Russia has a special place in Bernie Sanders heart. As the Mayor of Burlington, he traveled to Russia to establish a sister city relationship with Yaroslav. That trip has plenty of video footage of Bernie giving gifts to Russians, plenty of which is available on Fox News.

But just because Bernie Sanders visited Russia and might align with some of their ideologies doesn’t mean that he’s colluding with the Russians. Just because the Russians were caught supporting Bernie, or attacking Hillary, doesn’t mean that Bernie Sanders snuck off on a plane to St. Petersburg to plan this with his Russian handlers. It’s doubtful that he has Russian handlers.

It’s a classic case of trying to explain data with what we know (our own candidates) and what we don’t know (Russia’s information campaign) and getting a bad explanation. If you look at it from Russia’s perspective, they don’t care who gets elected. What they want is a destabilized US regime, no matter the party, so that the US will focus on domestic issues and let Russia run amuck in Asia and Europe.

They did this during the last Presidential election by discrediting Hillary Clinton and supporting the Trump campaign. The goal was a damaged regime regardless of who won. If Clinton won, we would have seen Russian information saying she stole the election and calling for mass demonstrations. When Trump won, we saw…information saying he stole the election. All the Russians did was change the name.

We’ll see this again this year. Russia will troll every Democratic candidate. The Holy Russian Grail would be to go into the Democratic convention without a clear front runner. If that happens, we’ll see Russia turn up the trolling to an 11, and no matter who wins, they won’t be “legitimate.” During the general election, it’ll get worse.

Our best defense is engaging our brains and actually reading and understanding news instead of headlines and clickbait. The scary part we’ll be when we see the Russians move past the Presidential election and begin targeting Senators, Representatives and Judges. If they continue to succeed (and the failed impeachment was success for them), I’d expect this to happen next.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

I think Trump has Already Won Re-Election

Can’t think of much to write about so I’m just going to blurt out what I think.

I think Trump has already won re-election and all of this is just going through the motions.

I also think the Democrats & Media already know this and what we’re seeing is prep work for the days after this.

That doesn’t mean we should let our guard down but there it is.