Matt Drudge is the master of the headline, and his site is a snapshot of the country, in a way. Let’s take a look at today’s Drudgereport.

There’s a top ad for UNTUCKit, which shows you that Drudge’s advertising algorithms are working, since I recently bought my son one of their shirts as a birthday gift.

Top left headline:

Banner headline:

I used to follow French politics in the 1990s, when one of the PBS affiliates in Central N.J. used to broadcast the France2 evening news, straight-up with no subtitles. Even back then there were reports of no-go zones in the banlieues, and on the marauding gangs of “youths” who burned hundreds of cars on New Year’s Eve (the number keeps increasing every year).

Somewhere along the way Jacques Chirac decided this was not good PR for the country (and probably for himself re: the kickbacks story ), and established France 24 for overseas consumption. Voilà, English-language news with features on the countryside, fashion and wine replaced dreary France2 reports.

Now there’s alternate media.

The center column has more on the French,

MACRON SUES LE PEN OVER ‘KREMLIN SMEARS’…

4CHAN Posts Images from Off-Shore Bank Account?

France set to ‘explode with anger’…

Macron is the country’s political establishment’s designated heir. We’ll see how it all turns out.

The website refreshed and a story about the declining ratings of the Kardashians’ TV show disappeared, which as Martha Stewart says, “it’s a good thing.”  If the Kardashians/Jenners depended on my support, they’d still be working at the IHOP.

This took its place, ‘Destroyed’ Sneakers Selling for $1,425… A fool and his money are soon parted, and those sneakers will go well with the $425 fake mud jeans. Don’t tell me if the Kardashians are wearing them, thanks.

On the left column there’s a pseudoscience story, Swearing increases physical strength…  If that was true, two women I know would be able to clean-lift 400 lbs with each arm while outlasting a marathoning Kenyan. Maybe men contain themselves when I’m around, but the two worst ever potty mouths I’ve heard are women.

Below that, UAE to bring ICEBERG from Antarctica to solve water shortage?

Above it, ISIS using ads on CRAIGSLIST to lure hostage and murder victims…

On the right column, North Korea, Venezuela, and Trump savors win as House passes Obamacare repeal…

MCAULIFFE: ‘Puts lives in jeopardy’…

Dirty Colbert: ‘Just Kicked America In The Balls’…

NEXT: TAX REFORM…

Colbert’s confessor has his work cut out for him.

Last but not least, REFUGEE ADMISSIONS TO USA PLUMMET…

Spooked by Trump, Central American immigrants turn to Mexico…

Mexico’s immigration laws have been revised recently but historically the country does not tolerate foreign nationals who are not legally in the country to hold jobs or seek public assistance in any form. If memory serves, you also must also be in good health, own a certain amount of assets and not upset the “equilibrium of the national demographics” in order to be accepted as a resident.

Additionally, it is against the law for foreigners to opine on the country’s politics (and it is also the case in most Latin American countries).

Browsing through Drudge reminds me of a friend who lived to a very advanced age (she never admitted it, but she was 99 when she died). When asked what she attributed her longevity to, she replied,  “I never pay attention to the news.”

Now, if you will excuse me, I’ll work on my strength and endurance over the weekend . . . without swearing.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes in U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.

UPDATE
Linked to by The Other McCain. Thank you!

“Crime by Migrants in Germany Increase.” The headline on the story, buried deep within the Wall Street Journal, was so innocuous it might as well have said, “Nothing to See Here, Folks — Please Move Along.”

Despite the mild headline, however, the article by Ruth Brenner was filled with statistics that spun a tale of terror.

From 2015 to 2016, crimes committed by refugees and other migrants to Germany soared by 52.7%, a figure sure to attract attention. Except it didn’t. I saw a few references to the stats on conservative websites, but not even the crickets chirped in the mainstream media.

The pure numbers are just as startling: Migrants were charged with 114,238 crimes in 2015 and 174,438 last year. Meanwhile, crimes committed by German citizens plummeted by 3.4% in the same period. Despite the drop in misconduct by natives, the country’s overall crime rate was up by 0.7 percent.

To put it into perspective, Germany’s tiny immigrant population was responsible for more than 12% of the country’s crimes. Germany has long welcomed refugees, but the inflow turned into a flood when more than a million migrants from the Middle East and Africa arrived in 2015-16.

The article didn’t break out the severity of the crimes committed in the two years, but it noted that violent crimes by citizens rose by 1% and those by migrants nearly doubled.

The story said Christian Pfeiffer, a criminologist and former justice minister, blamed the increase in migrants’ offenses on “the high number of young males traveling alone, a group that generally is responsible for the majority of crimes regardless of nationality.”

Missing from this account was a key word: Muslim, even though the overwhelming majority of migrants were followers of Islam. I’m sure Germany’s crime stats would’ve gotten a lot more publicity if the misbehaving migrants had been Pentecostals, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists or Zoroastrians.

For years, the primary commandment of the MSM has been “Thou shalt not speak ill of Islam,” which is in keeping with its unending claims that Islam is the religion of peace. While most Muslims are good and peaceful people, Islam itself was born in war. Of all the world’s faiths, only the “religion of peace” established itself through military conquests in Asia, Africa and Europe.

Germany’s miscreant Muslims may not derail Angela Merkel’s bid for another term as chancellor, but they should be a concern for every other Western government that’s supposed to protect its citizens and culture.

It’s no wonder the media ignored the German crime report and accounts of similar lawbreaking and militant activity elsewhere. The story would not only break the MSM’s primary commandment but also — more urgently — undermine efforts to thwart President Trump’s limited ban on Muslim immigrants.

Terrorism is a justifiable reason to scrutinize potential newcomers to America, but let’s not forget outright thuggery is a threat, too.

UPDATE: Merlin — the Maine coon cat who was the bliss and the bane of me and Mrs. Mick for the past 14 years — passed away peacefully on Friday, four weeks to the day after he was diagnosed with lymphoma. We met his every wish in his final weeks, and he never showed any sign of discomfort, let alone pain. He will be missed.

If  you are in New York’s Hudson Valley and you like your abortions with a side of communist activism, then you are in for a real treat on Monday as Antifa and Planned Parenthood join forces to defend illegal foreign invaders, smash capitalism, support public indoctrination of non-aborted children, and snarl traffic for the May Day march in Poughkeepsie, New York on May 1, 2017! Yes, POUGHKEEPSIE, home to that bastion of higher education tolerance (well, tolerant unless you are a Jew or a heterosexual male), Vassar College!

The march begins at the ironically named “Family Partnership Center” (that’s where you can partner up with a service to avoid becoming a family with children, by any means necessary), and will end at the local City Hall where there will be a meeting which will include discussion about turning Poughkeepsie into a “sanctuary city” for foreign invaders. Because it’s more important to be welcoming to people who are here illegally than to do anything about the crime problem that exists in Poughkeepsie. Got to make sure to continue to avoid enforcing existing laws because, tolerance and diversity!

Hopefully the Hudson Valley leftists will be milder than the ones who’ve been making news lately by rioting against free speech for non-commies, and hopefully they can restrain themselves from throwing their own excrement at anyone who might show up to voice an opposing opinion.

Hudson Valley Antifa Facebook page

Here is more information about the event, from Resist and Protest:

Community Voices Heard invites you all to come join the Poughkeepsie family as we march in the streets on May Day to uplift the working class struggle as it relates to saving the Poughkeepsie city public transportation, undocumented immigrants, public school students, and fighting any form of violence as a result of the pursuit of profit!

May Day PK will consist of speakers, rallies, and a march from the Family Partnership Center to City Hall. We will culminate at Poughkeepsie City Hall as the Poughkeepsie City Council Meeting begins where a sanctuary style legislation will be discussed to protect immigrants rights in Poughkeepsie!

Educate, Agitate, Organize!

They also have it posted in Spanish, natch.

Hudson Valley May Day Facebook Event Page

Poughkeepsie previously hosted an encampment of #Occupy protesters, back when that was a thing, some of whom will likely be at Monday’s march, since these lefty groups tend to overlap each other.

For non-locals, Poughkeepsie is about an hour (by car) north of New York City, in a region known as the Scenic Hudson Valley. There is Poughkeepsie City, which normal people try to avoid when possible, and Poughkeepsie Town, which is basically middle class and kind of nice. It is in Dutchess County, and most of the county and federal government offices for the region are housed in Poughkeepsie City, as are the two hospitals the area has to offer.

I live in a small rural-ish town not far from Poughkeepsie, which is why I noticed this stuff, but I have little doubt that similar events will be happening all over the country because May Day is like Christmas for leftists. Poughkeepsie also had its own “March for Science” and “Women’s March“, because leftists gotta do what leftists do, and when leftists are agitating somewhere, they like to replicate it everywhere.  What’s happening in your neighborhood on Monday?

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

This weekend, two of my favorite veteran Christian bands (The Choir and Sweet Comfort Band) are playing some of their rare concert dates in Southern California. Great, awesome, and wonderful … for those able to attend. Due to family work commitments, namely an annual inventory, this will be the one weekend of the year I and she who is my wife are absolutely unable to traipse down the freeway and visit SoCal. No concerts for me. Very disappointing. Pales in comparison to so many other full-fledged hammer blows in life; regardless, very disappointing. Obviously no personally aimed conspiracy against me. But still, I’ve asked, of no one in particular, why.

We who believe are taught two things starting at our spiritual infancy: never judge anyone, and never ask why. We should never judge because we too are guilty of something, and we should never ask why as the answer is always “because God” and who is the creation to question anything under the Creator’s roof? Toss in a few Scriptural Cliff Notes, and hey presto! You are good to go, and if not it is all on you. Where is your faith?

The problem with this mindset, aside from the minor detail how it ignores a whole lot of Biblical observations about what to expect in life, is that it automatically disparages the human condition in a manner taught nowhere by Jesus or anyone else within the pages of Sola Scriptura. We are supposed to speak up when someone is messing up so they will get back on track. We are allowed to ask why, and the answer is not always “because God.” Sometimes, there is no apparent answer save silence.

The days will come, if they have not already arrived, when you realize you hold nothing but a fragile lifeline woven from a tattered thread of faith growing increasingly frayed. You have a laundry list of whys, and answers seem to be nowhere. You wonder if it’s possible to get ahead in life without being a self-fellating talentless walking sack of rancid, arrogant steer manure. You wonder not when, but if you will leave the unemployment line. You see beautiful inside and out members of the opposite sex either throw themselves into relationships doomed from the start or throw themselves firmly into the arms of one of the aforementioned self-fellating talentless walking sacks of rancid, arrogant steer manure while your Saturday night dates come in a box from Sunkist. You observe how the popular girl or boy shamelessly monetizes their loss while you are told to shut up about your grief. You ask why, and based on the non-existent answers you wonder if God so much as takes a message and will get back to you.

There are times I for sure wonder.

Yet, somehow, I hang on.

Some don’t. Some walk away from the faith. Some walk away from their lives. Some walk away from life itself.

Please, do not do these things.

Seek out the open, the scarred, the ones still bleeding who are not ashamed to admit. Seek out, embrace one another, and help carry one another through the living no man’s land life can often transform itself into in a moment.

Admit the hurt; confess the pain; reveal the scars. Help one another. Let them help you. Ask questions. Just don’t quit.

Please, don’t quit.

And never quit asking why.

For the most part, I endorse Thomas Carlyle’s description of economics as the dismal science. I have to add the “most part” qualifier after meeting and working with an economist who with her husband – also an economist – has developed the Family Prosperity Index. Measures like gross domestic product have value, but fail in themselves to measure prosperity in all its dimensions. FPI brings together data on fiscal and social well-being.

What is authentic prosperity, in terms of families? Where’s the objective data to evaluate prosperity? How do public policies help or hurt families? Explore the Index for yourself, and see how Dr. Wendy Warcholik and J. Scott Moody demonstrate how economic and social policy affect each other and in turn affect families.

As Mr. Moody told me in a recent interview, “We need to take a longer perspective, not election to election, about problems [affecting families]. That’s something the Family Prosperity Index is trying to do: break that vicious cycle of jumping from election to election with policy, and instead put into place programs that are going to be there long term, that will actually make a difference.”

It was my good fortune to work for Dr. Warcholik a few years ago when she served as executive director of a New Hampshire nonprofit organization. Today, she and Mr. Moody are senior fellows at the American Conservative Union (ACU) Foundation, where they are working on their Family Prosperity Initiative. I met with them at CPAC 2017 to learn more about what they’re doing and to follow up on some recent research they’ve published about the opioid crisis in my home state of New Hampshire.

Q. How did FPI come to be connected with the American Conservative Union?

WW: We met the executive director, Dan Schneider, and that’s how the partnership came about. We’d been working on the idea for the Index for the last five years. We had known Dan for awhile before that. We knew he was very interested and passionate about building out the foundation side of American Conservative Union. He was the first person who really saw the big vision for the Index and its data-driven capability to capture and measure what is truly prosperity.

Q. You look at more data than the typical economic analysis.

WW: We do. We’ve spent most of our career looking at the fiscal side of things, the economic side of the equation for prosperity. Through our many years in the free-market arena, doing the research and looking at different measures of prosperity indices, we really felt it needed to be a broader measure that takes into consideration the entire person. We wanted to go with an economic index with variables that truly measured human choices, not statutory measures. We wanted actual socioeconomic data that show the choices people are making.

Q. Regarding my own state, you titled a 2016 report “New Hampshire’s Suicide and Drug Use/Overdose Crisis.” Why are those two things – suicide and drug use – in the same title?

SM: The strength of the Family Prosperity Index is that it’s grounded in the academic literature. We were going through the literature on drug overdoses, and there’s a growing body of evidence that our medical examiner system is deficient in its ability to discern a drug overdose from a suicide. It’s very important that we understand this linkage. You might be able to effectively tackle drug overdoses through law enforcement and drug treatment facilities. But if we’re talking about a public health situation like suicide, then that is a truly different problem altogether.

Obviously, there’s mental illness [as a factor in some suicides]. We know that treatment, whether it’s for substance abuse or mental health, pays huge dividends down the road, even though they can be very pricey upfront. We need to take a longer perspective, not election to election, about these problems.

Q. Your studies have found a strong linkage between drug use and religion. You point out in your New Hampshire report that we are the third-least religious state, as measured by weekly religious attendance. At the same time, we have a relatively high rate of illicit drug usage.

SM: We want to bring to light [via FPI] all of these linkages that exist within the data or the academic literature, so that policymakers can discuss them in a neutral setting. Data doesn’t take sides. The literature doesn’t take sides. We need to have this discussion to fundamentally solve the opioid drug overdose problem in New Hampshire.

When we held a heroin crisis leadership summit in New Hampshire [in 2016], we purposely included members not just of law enforcement, but of the religious community and other important segments of our state that are all going to play a role in fighting the opioid problem.

From an economic perspective, religion brings to a society or state a much longer-term level of thinking.  [Religious faith] extends your time horizon, and makes you other-people-centered.

WW: From the public policy perspective, there are no silver bullets for solving this issue. That’s part of the point we’re trying to make with the index: you have these complex relationships between these social variables that impact economic outcomes. We’re so focused on the economic side of the equation. Until our public policy leaders turn their heads to the other side of the equation, the policies that we put together aren’t as durable as they could be. 

Q: Are you working in particular states now?

WW: We’re working with Governor LePage in Maine. He’s six years into fighting the heroin and opioid crisis. He’s putting some practices into place with the drug court there. He’s been very active in some of the laws passed to be very hard on drug dealers, as well as laws to open up more beds [for inpatient treatment of substance abuse]. It’s a very slow process. He’s put more money into law enforcement, but he knows that’s not the full answer. We’re working with him to develop an educational campaign about those other factors that are causing people to abuse. We’ll be up there in Maine to do a forum in late April or May. We’re also doing a legislative forum where we’re going to be bringing the FPI to all the legislators and the governor.

###

Note: the complete 2017 Family Prosperity Index, with information from every state, is available for download

Ellen Kolb blogs about New Hampshire life-issue policy at Leaven for the Loaf and looks farther afield in ellenkolb.com

Support independent journalism by hitting Da Tip Jar for Da Tech Guy Blog.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT (327 miles from NOLA) –  We knew it was coming, we just didn’t know which one. As promised, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu began the process of removing historic monuments in the city  last night.

They came in the dead of night wearing body protection gear and masks; the license plates were removed from their trucks. The company name was covered with tape and cardboard. Snipers loomed nearby in a parking garage. Men in a cherry picker were lifted to the top of the monument and began the process of drilling into and dismantling in sections the Liberty Place monument.

Police kept the protestors behind barricades. “Where’s your work permit? As a citizen I want to see your work permit!” one man yelled.

Liberty Monument

The 35-foot granite obelisk was taken down in four sections, placed on the back of a flatbed truck, and taken away to some storage facility. All that remains now is a scarred block of concrete.

Landrieu promises that the other three targeted monuments, P.G.T. Beauregard monument, Jefferson Davis monument, and the towering Robert E. Lee monument in Lee Circle will come down “sooner rather than later,” in the next few days.

The Liberty Place monument was erected in 1891 to commemorate those killed during the Battle of Liberty Place which took place in 1874 between the hated Reconstructionists, or carpet-baggers,  and the old order of New Orleans who wanted their city back.  You can read about the battle and the history here, at least as long as Landrieu leaves the site there.

Landrieu says of the four targeted monuments, this one more than any other needed to come down because it honors white supremacy.  His opponents contend that this may have been a tragic time in our country’s history but people lost their lives there and this event was an important part of the city’s history. To erase it is criminal.

Monday morning, Landrieu said, “The removal of these statues sends a clear and unequivocal message to the people of New Orleans and the nation: New Orleans celebrates diversity, inclusion and tolerance.”

One could argue that point, too.  He clearly is not showing tolerance for those who wish the monuments to remain. No vote was ever taken; the New Orleans citizenry never got to vote on this issue and polls indicate that 73% of the city want the monuments to remain.

With murders and shootings at an all time high in New Orleans, with streets almost impossible to navigate because of potholes, with a large homeless population whose needs are unmet, many question Landrieu’s priorities. Rather than building Equity Circles and taking down historic monuments, perhaps the city would be better served if he took care of those needs first.  Removing these monuments is creating a racial divide of epic proportions and will affect tourism as conventions are relocated and a rising call for a boycott grows.

This is not the end. Once Landrieu and his cronies who are instigating him, the hate group Take ‘Em Down NOLA, more sanitizing of history will come. TEDNola has an entire agenda laid out on their website of names in NOLA that they feel must be changed including Tulane University.

If you think this is just a problem for New Orleans, I would suggest you rethink that. Already many are comparing Landrieu’s actions to those of Isis in taking down cultural markers. The Facebook memes have already started and are scathing, including one of the Superdome flying a Nazi flag. This can happen to any monument, in any city, in any state if we don’t study history and learn from it.  To attempt to erase that history or to negate the lives of those who have gone before us is a grave error.

It is a sad day for those of us who believe in preservation.

There is a great timeline of last night events with excellent photos here.

 

Previous Posts at DaTechGuy blog:
Mayor Landrieu’s Plans to Remove Monuments in the Dead of Night Exposed (4/17/2017)
The Slippery Slope is Now Open (3/27/17)
A Disappointing Ruling from the 5th Circuit (3/13/17)
Still Fighting the Civil War (2/5/17)
Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s Solution to 172 Murders: Equity Circles (12/26/16)
Removal of Historic Confederate Monuments in New Orleans Thwarted — For Now (12/21/2015)
Report from Louisiana: Update on the Confederate Monument Removal Controversy (1/18/2016)
The Lives of My Ancestors Mattered Too (2/1/2016)
The Ongoing Battle of the Confederate Monuments: An Update (4/18/2016)
Confederate Monuments and Unintended Consequences (6/27/16)
Report from Louisiana: Revisionist History and Confederate Monuments (9/19/2016)
Report from Louisiana: Mass Shooting in New Orleans While Landrieu Fiddles (11/28/2016)


Previous Posts on And So it Goes in Shreveport:
The Confederate Battle Flag Rises Again in South Carolina (2/6/17)
Can the Violence in NOLA be Alleviated with Equity Circles? (12/26/16)
Shreveport Work of Art Still Needs Funding for Restoration (10/22/16)
Can You Help Clio? Restoration Fundraiser is Now Underway (9/5/16)
Epperson Demands UDC Remove Confederate Monument Within the Year (7/6/16)
Epperson’s Continued Attack on the Confederate Monument (6/22/16)
Report from the Caddo Commission Meeting in Which Ken Epperson Blasts “Jake-Leg Bloggers” (6/9/16)
Caddo Parish Confederate Monument Under Attack (5/19/16)
Joseph Welsh Texada’s Life Mattered Too (1/31/16)
The Heartbreaking Removal of the New Orleans Confederate Monuments (1/17/16)

April is National Frog Month, and frogs are awesome – unless you happen to be a hyper-sensitive SJW snowflake, of course, because then you need to get all offended and join your fellow travelers in online bullying campaigns to censor the appearance of the innocent amphibians from invading your precious safe spaces.

A clothing company offered up on its website a denim skirt featuring cute sunglasses wearing frogs on it, and leftist lunatics lost their darned minds over it because they thought the frogs reminded them of Pepe the Frog of internet meme fame, and, because some Trump supporters enjoy having fun with Pepe themed things, social justice warriors got themselves all triggered and so they harassed the company selling the skirt (whose frogs do not resemble Pepe at all, BTW), screaming about raaaacism, until the company buckled under the pressure and removed the “offending” item from it’s catalog.  So stupid.

This is Pepe:

This is the NOT Pepe frog skirt

As you can see, the skirt frogs ain’t Pepe, and even if they were (which they clearly are not), Pepe ain’t raaaaacist. Duh. But the vitriol directed at Zara (the skirt seller) was so thick that they evidently felt pressured to issue this statement:

“The skirt is part of the limited Oil-On-Denim collection which was created through collaborations with artists and is only available in selected markets,” the spokesperson said.

“The designer of the skirt is Mario de Santiago, known online as Yimeisgreat. Mario explores social interactions through his work and in his own words: ‘The idea came from a wall painting I drew with friends four years ago.’

“There is absolutely no link to the suggested theme.”

Ridiculous that they had to explain anything at all to those thin skinned harpies who can’t handle the appearance of a frog on a piece of cloth. What’s next? Is the tolerance mob gonna go after Jim Henson’s estate because the puppet named Kermit, a frog – OMG!,  sang about being green? Will Michigan J. Frog be next on the SJW hit list?

Stupid, bigoted, ranidaphobes! If they can’t discern Pepe from NOT PEPE, they probably can’t distinguish a frog from a toad either, but I think with his mind control abilities, Hypnotoad is probably safe – for now.

We all know that once the left gains an inch they want five hundred more miles, so I don’t see this madness ending anytime soon but I’ll tell you this, they can take my Frogger game only after they pry it from my cold, dead, hands.

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals – including Siberian Husky Dalmatian Lab Puppies and their parents. 

Chances are I wouldn’t recognize Susan Slusser if she passed me by on the street. I’ve seen her photo online and her on local sports television a few times, but given how I’m the living embodiment of jokingly stating the reason retail workers wear nametags is so we can remember our own, it should come as no surprise I’d most likely miss her if she was tap dancing in front of me. In a duet with Stomper.

Ms. Slusser is a superb sports reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. Her main assignment since 1999 has been my beloved (albeit sometimes bedraggled) Oakland A’s. She writes with crisp, clean accuracy, covering the team’s ups and downs while drawing little if any attention to herself. It’s said the best referees and umpires are the ones you never notice due to their calling the game correctly. Similarly, in today’s world where reporting and opinion are far too often mixed in an unwieldy, unsatisfactory in both areas whole, Ms. Slusser is admirable in keeping the two separate, never tipping her hand or interjecting herself into the story. She is informative, in depth, and invisible.

Like most every media person in any field these days, Ms. Slusser has a social media presence. Unlike most every media person in any field these days, using said social media as something other than sheer self-promotion she engages with her readers, or at least the ones with a few synapses firing in coordinated fashion. I’ve exchanged a few tweets with her in recent months, and she has been unfailingly polite and informative. In like fashion, I have always addressed her with completely deserved compliments, respect, and consideration, often looking for a way to insert something she hopefully finds chuckle-worthy into the conversation. I gotta be me, after all.

I’m quite certain that Ms. Slusser and I voted for different Presidential candidates last November. Which is fine. Politics aren’t everything; I’d much rather chat about what the A’s are doing to address their defensive deficiencies or my beloved classic Christian rock artists. I don’t need to debate every policy and platform with everyone. Sometimes – most all of the time, in fact – I’d rather find common ground and not mix politics with everything else. I’d rather enjoy a ballgame. I also figured out quite some time ago that no one in Washington DC was refreshing any given blog site where I write fifty times a day, trembling with anticipation of my next great pronouncement so they’d know which policies and platforms to pursue. Something others, given their predilection for incessant self-righteous babble, have apparently yet to learn. But I digress.

There are many on my side of the political aisle who live for open combat with one and all in mainstream media. It works for them. It generates heat; it creates a scenario in which the fearless flamethrower, backed by gallant retweeters and such, speaks truth to power hiding behind corporate walls. Makes for great spectacle. Hail the conquering snarknado master!

If someone isn’t doing their job properly because of implied or overt bias, fine. Call them out. They deserve it. But with this duly noted, is it impossible to praise, and treat the same way you and I wish to be treated, reporters who regardless of their political beliefs do work of the highest quality? Or for that matter, members of any given profession?

Certainly engaging people as, well, people is far less exciting and attention-drawing than treating others as raw meat designated for tossing to your wolfpack fan club. But does the latter genuinely accomplish anything? Sure, you look like the tough guy or mucha macha chica on Twitter et al. You’ve also alienated, probably permanently, a whole lot of people you’re supposed to be trying to reach for your cause who, astonishing as it may seem, aren’t that interested in your totem pole positioning within their echo chamber. Why not for once try being respectful to another human being possessing the same dignity and worth as you? If it doesn’t work, you did the right thing. But if it does …

… you too can exchange tweets with the Susan Slussers of this world.

Being a Christian in Hollywood can be difficult. There aren’t a ton of movies being made today that fit in with a believing actor’s moral compass. Moreover, there’s a stigma attached to many actors who willingly profess their faith just as there’s a stigma against conservatives. As such, the average Christian-themed movie is pretty poorly done from a purely critical perspective. The messages can be great, but the delivery can be lackluster. Neither Kirk Cameron nor Nicolas Cage could make one of the most popular Christian book series of all time successful.

The Case for Christ is different. I was shocked when I saw that it received a 77% critical response on Rotten Tomatoes until I realized it was only reviewed by 13 critics. Go figure. Nonetheless, it was encouraging so I took my wife to see it last night. We were familiar with Lee Strobel’s journey from truth-seeking news reporter to truth-seeing evangelist and author, so we didn’t go for the sake of the story. As highly selective adults who have chosen to restrict our movie viewing to ones that fit our worldview (or that at least don’t attempt to trash it), we wanted to see if it was the rare “well made” Christian movie.

We were pleased with the results.

Both the acting and the cinematography were very good. They delivered 1980 about as well as big-budget films, 70s red Camaro and all. Nobody’s going to win an Oscar from this movie, but compared to the poorly crafted Christian movies of today that have good messages but are artistically weak, this was a real winner. Mike Vogel delivered the right mix of skepticism and intellect. He was believable as he struggled in a quest to debunk the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I wasn’t expecting it based upon some of his previous performances in cultural garbage flicks like Cloverfield and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but he found his groove with this role.

While far from being a critical masterpiece, this will hopefully bring more attention to the quality of Christian movies. They don’t have to look like they were made by a high school film studies class, nor does the dialogue have to sound like carefully crafted proselytizing disguised as robotic conversations. There needs to be a gelling of message and art that gets people not only interested in seeing a movie but that compels them to recommend it.

Hollywood is a cesspool of left-wing manipulation of progressive propaganda. As a society, we’ve fought through to make conservative-themed movies like American Sniper and Zero Dark Thirty critical and box office successes. Now we need to do the same for Christian-themed movies.

The Case for Christ is a step in the right direction. We need more of them.

by baldilocks

Of course, I’m still writing my second novel, and, occasionally, I read the advice that others give, even though I know, from the first two or three sentences, whether I want to finish reading the advice. After all, if a writer can’t hold your attention in an article about writing, why should you take her advice?

I’ve had this April 1 (yes) article opened in my browser for a few days–You’ve Got a Book in You (Maybe Five)—and it’s priceless.

Through my intensive research and study of the Modern Literary Canon, I have come up with Five (5) Plots absolutely GUARANTEED to get you published. I also include in this lesson, five (5) plots to avoid, plots that will get your manuscript rejected again and again.

Example of guaranteed publishing material:

Two rich, white college boys are seen harassing a vulture sitting atop a Saguaro cactus. Relentlessly they take turns hurling insults at the bird, each trying to top the other in a perverted twist on the old game called “the dozens.” Despite the pleas of tearful passers-by to desist, they continue and the vulture finally flies off, severely traumatized. Later that day the same boys are walking atop a steep cliff over the sea when the vulture streaks down, causing one of the boys to lose his footing and fall to his death. The guilt-ridden survivor goes on a solo trek into the desert. He returns years later, wiser and more sensitive and founds the new eco-warrior band, Save the Vultures. Free bonus title: To Mock a Killingbird.

Example of rejection fodder:

George Goodman and his wife, Trudy, welcome their new neighbors, Makmoud and Taureg, refugees from Awfulstan, with an Upside Down Pineapple Cake. George and Trudy hardly ever see their new neighbors, but they begin to notice strange behaviors and odd visitors in the night. A glimpse of some suspicious packages in Makmoud’s garage intrigues George. He sneaks in after the neighbor couple go on vacation to the beaches of Arabia, and finds hand grenades and AK-47s. George alerts the FBI and Makmoud and Taureg are arrested at the airport and a major terrorist event prevented!

You get the point…at least I hope you do. Anyway, the author manages to pique interest in the topic, make some creative, funny commentary on political correctness in Big Publishing and plug his own book—all at the same time! (Groan-worthy puns notwithstanding.)

One has to admire that skill.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on April 2017! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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