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.

Even with bright spring sunshine streaming through the windows, it’s been a gloomy weekend in our house. It’s never fun when you’re on a death watch … even if it’s only for a cat.

For the past 14 years, Merlin has been the scourge of birds, chipmunks and unfamiliar visitors to our home. And, often, me. But now his reign of terror is coming to an end.

Merlin’s story begins about 12:30 a.m. on a warm spring night in 2003. As a newspaper editor, I’d just put Sunday’s edition to bed and headed out the employees’ entrance at the loading dock. As usual, more than 100 vans, pickups and cars jammed the parking lot, their drivers eager to pick up bundles of papers for delivery to carriers in a three-county area.

Jan, a security guard and occasional smoking buddy, was in the designated smoking area outside the door, playing with a tiny kitten. I crouched down and scratched him behind his ears. “Cute kitten,” I told Jan. “Is he yours?”

“No,” she replied. “He just showed up a few minutes ago.”

I figured he’d escaped from a driver’s car, so I picked him up and brought him around the parking lot for the next 15 minutes. Nobody knew anything about a missing cat, so I came back to Jan. Eyeing the idling vehicles, I knew the kitten was sure to be squished if he was roaming freely as the drivers made a mad rush for the loading dock when the papers became available.

We already had two pets — Sydney, an Australian terrier, and Loki, the Best Cat in the World — so I sure didn’t want to bring the little critter home. But when I asked Jan to keep the stray, she said her apartment didn’t allow pets.

I had no choice. He went into the car with me, and wound up spending most of the trip home on my shoulder. All the while, I wondered how my wife, Shirley, would react to our guest.

I shouldn’t have worried — Shirley was immediately enthralled by him. But her enthusiasm seemed dim next to daughter Sandy’s response. We were still up when Sandy’s alarm went off at 4 a.m. She fussed over him so much she was nearly late for her 6 o’clock work shift.

In the next day or so, he got a name, Merlin, based on his mysterious and magical appearance at my workplace. Shirley and especially Sandy spoiled him terribly. Sandy carried Merlin everywhere; at one point, Shirley chided her: “If you don’t put that cat down, he’ll forget how to walk.”

But while Merlin was bonding with the ladies, he began shunning me. Maybe it was because Sydney was my dog, who usually occupied the space next to me on the couch and sometimes my lap. Merlin got along very well with Syd and Loki — once they put him in his place — but he barely tolerated me.

Merlin’s kittenhood passed all too quickly, and he grew. And grew. He finally topped out at about 16 pounds of bone and muscle. Our research showed he was probably at least part Maine Coon Cat, and he proved to be a skillful hunter.

Without a doubt, he was the handsomest cat I’ve ever had, with his sleek, thick coat and huge, bright eyes. But he also was the stupidest cat in creation. Outside of hunting, he never showed any sign of typical feline cleverness. I came to refer to him as “a cinder block with fur.”

Merlin and I endured an uneasy truce. For the longest time, I tempted fate by trying to pick him up or pet him. Too often, my reward was teeth and claws jammed into my hands and arms.

But something funny happened after several years. He discovered that I actually knew how to hit a cat’s sweet spots with scratches and massages. When I was sitting on the couch or  a chair, he would approach and nudge his head against my hand, demanding a scratch.

When I gave in, I got a real reward: the deepest, loudest purr I’ve ever heard. It was like sitting next to a furry mini-Harley. It was so loud that it would wake up Shirley when he came to me in bed and I’d scratch under his chin.

Still, he’s always been Shirley’s boy, and I appreciated him mainly because he brought her so much joy.

Except for a urinary tract blockage in 2012, Merlin has always been in fine health. A couple weeks ago, however, I realized he had lost a lot of weight. He wasn’t eating so much of his dry cat food, so we broke protocol and bought him some cans.

Despite gobbling down the canned food, he was becoming so lethargic that I decided to take him to the vet, who had given him a clean bill of health at his checkup in October. Shirley and I were stunned to learn he had lost three pounds in five months and weighed less than 10 pounds for the first time since 2004. An X-ray showed no problem, but the vet drew blood for testing.

The news was not good Friday morning. The vet called and said the tests showed Merlin apparently has lymphoma. Shirley and I had discussed such a diagnosis in advance and decided we would turn our home into a hospice. As long as Merlin shows no sign or pain or even discomfort, we’ll keep him here and cater to his whims. If things turn, the vet will make sure he doesn’t suffer.

Merlin is growing weaker by the hour, and we don’t expect him to last the week. The canned food still tempts him, but he can manage only a few bites before giving up. But when we fondle and scratch him, he still has that awesome purr.

The approaching end has caused me to shed some tears despite my best efforts, but I still have hope.

Because of my faith, I firmly believe in heaven. Theologians might disagree, but I believe paradise also awaits cats and dogs, too. Of course, nobody knows what comes in the afterlife, but I like the idea put forward by some scholars that death brings us unity with God for all eternity, and we are embraced forever in His almighty splendor.

To the Maker of All, mankind is special, created in His image. But all life bears a sparkle or hint of the divine. The bridge between people and their pets is vast, but it’s a only an atom’s span compared to the inconceivable gulf between man and God. In His infinite compassion for His creations, He surely wouldn’t condemn the tiny spark of a soul in a cat or dog to everlasting darkness.

I pray that Shirley and I earn a place in heaven. But it wouldn’t truly be paradise if Merlin doesn’t pull himself away from Shirley every now and then and come up to me and demand a scratch. I’ll be ready to give it.

A phrase oft heard during any given sporting event where the heavily favored team finds itself on the score’s short end is “the other team practices too.” Meaning: nothing is a given and no matter how talented, or better on paper, someone or a collection of someones is than the competition, if you dismiss the other team out of hand and don’t compete up to your ability level you will not win. Ever.

The same principle applies to life. We all have our burdens and battles; our private little hell that can and all too frequently does consume us. These must be tended to, otherwise they can severely damage us. Sometimes irrecoverably.

This duly noted, it is easy but dangerously shortsighted to exclusively focus on our own situation, neglecting to note that the other person has problems too. John Donne was right; no one is an island. We all have oppressive elements besetting our every day and every step.

To behave as though we alone are suffering while everyone else is on their own under the veneer of “they know their problems and I don’t” is pathetically short-sighted. Empathy is not contingent on complete understanding of someone else’s pain. We are all human, and we all share humanity’s common threads.

It is equally short-sighted, with a hefty dose of narcissism on the side, to focus so heavily on our own problems while neglecting to value others sufficiently to, at the least, inquire as to how they are doing that our life becomes a one-note samba of “woe is me.” The other person hurts too. Their hurt is equally important as ours. Ignoring them while bemoaning our state helps no one. It makes the other person quite apt to wonder why they should help, or care for, us when our actions and words make it apparent our concern for them extends only as far as their willingness to feel sorry for us. And, simply put, in such a scenario we are doing more than enough feeling sorry for ourselves to where the other person has zero inclination to join our pity party regardless of how deeply they care for us. We are pushing them away at a time when we most need them.

The other person matters too. Ask them how they are doing. You will be surprised how much it helps you both face the wounds and scars we all – all – bear.

A few days ago, I ran across this story involving a recent speech by conservative radio host and author Hugh Hewitt:

ORLANDO, Fla. (NRB) –  Christian radio show hosts have an obligation not only “to deliver great news talk” but to make certain the “fragrance of the Gospel is there,” Hugh Hewitt said Tuesday evening (Feb. 28) at Proclaim 17, the National Religious Broadcasters’ International Christian Media Convention.

Speaking at NRB’s Media Leadership Dinner, Hewitt told the audience of other talk show hosts and broadcasters that he has hosted his many guests during 17 years with Salem Media Group “with one purpose in mind – to smuggle in the Christian Gospel into a secular setting.”

 

Really.

Really?

Indulge me while I address Hugh Hewitt directly.

I prayerfully urge you, Hugh.

Listen to yourself.

Put your words into practice.

You did not do so in my case.

See, a few years back when I wrote my book about the forgotten and neglected pioneers of Christian modern rock, I had the crazy notion you’d be interested. After all, you’ve written a parcel of books for Christian publishers. You’ve long talked about the need to impact the culture. Well, here were people who took that notion to heart and actually did so. Seemed to me like it’d be a natural for your show. Just a few minutes; enough to get the word out. No big.

I was wrong.

Even after I sent you a copy of the book through your personal assistant, not a word. Now before you or anyone else (more on said else anyones later) reply with I’m/he’s busy and can’t possibly get back to everyone who contacts me/him, a brief reminder. We’re all busy. All of our time is valuable. By my reckoning, the single mom trying to juggle child rearing, working more often than not one job, and everything else life has thrown her way is far busier than both of us combined. So no, no whining about being busy is admissible.

Oh, but I did hear back from your radio show’s producer Duane Patterson. Boy, did I hear back. According to him, no interest whatsoever. The show is politics from start to finish. No time for anything else. When pressed, he responded time and again with heaps of insults and name calling. Rather disrespectful, don’t you think Hugh?

As noted, there was your loyal core of fanbois and gurrls who were aware of my efforts. They followed both your lead in ignoring me and Mr. Patterson’s lead in belittling me. How DARE I speak less than glowingly of the great and good Hugh Hewitt! How DARE I waste a nanosecond of his time, or that of anyone connected with him! Infidel! Unclean! RINO!!! Which leads to the musing about how in a conservative media world, both old and new, where endless self-promotion is not only mandatory but routinely lauded and reciprocated, I was burned at the stake for attempting … self-promotion.

So, Hugh, you can imagine my reaction to your comments at the NRB convention. My personal, direct experience with you, your employees, and your fans stands in direct contradiction to your words. There are several expressions concerning, and descriptive adjectives for, those who say something yet do the exact opposite. No need to list them here; we all know them very, very well.

Instead, let’s try this again.

No, I’m not asking to appear on your show, although I wouldn’t mind the opportunity to spread the word about my podcast playing the music by the artists I wrote about in the book. Instead, I bring to your attention two of these artists with new projects currently going on. Daniel Amos (which is a band led by one Terry Scott Taylor) is prepping a deluxe rerelease of its Horrendous Disc album, one of the true watershed moments in Christian rock. Have Terry on your show. He’s wise and witty. It will be a treat for you and your audience.

Veteran Christian alternative rockers The Choir are currently running a campaign to fund both rereleasing its 1989 Wide Eyed Wonder album and record a new album. They’re also going on tour in a few days. Have the band’s drummer and lyricist Steve Hindalong on your show. He’s wise. Ask him about the band, and about how he cowrote “God of Wonders” which doubtless you’ve sung during Sunday worship. Like Terry Scott Taylor, it will be a treat for you and your audience. And there are many, many more artists who would be positive additions to your show.

Now before you say that’s too much gospel, Hugh, I remind you that Dana Loesch had Christian rapper Lecrae on her show. Is not her show 99.44% politics? Yet she is unafraid to have bold Christians on her show, and equally unafraid to proclaim her own beliefs. Last time I checked, it hadn’t cratered her career. I remember turning on Fox and Friends one morning not too long ago and there was Casting Crowns. Seen FOX News’ ratings lately?

I have no doubt you’ll ignore this, Hugh, just as I have no doubt your sycophant fans will rant and rail against me for once again besmirching your hallowed name. I’ve quite given up caring about such things. It is of primary, if not sole, importance to promote the artists devoting, far more often than not at tremendous personal cost, themselves to serving Christ through music. The world has enough political talk, Hugh. The world has very few political talkers willing to openly embrace and promote the God so many of them say they serve by openly embracing and promoting Christian rockers new and veteran. You have the opportunity. Take hold of it.

Dismiss me as you will. Dismiss God’s servants at your own peril.

Cite.

by baldilocks

Long story and worth it.

My father didn’t like telling war stories. He’d accumulated fistfuls of medals over there, and he kept them stashed in an anonymous little plush case at the back of his closet, where they went unseen for decades. That was all part of the past, and he had no use for the past. He used to wave off any question I asked about the world before I was born, irritatedly dismissing it as if all of that were self-evidently too shabby and quaint to interest a modern kid like me. “It was a long time ago,” he’d always tell me, which was as much as to say, “It’s meaningless now.”

This attitude reminded me of a story my American dad told me.

John Simpkins

Don’t forget: I have three fathers. I’ve talked about my biological father, Philip Ochieng, ad infinitum. My second father was my great-uncle John Simpkins, Jr. (1920-2000). He served in the Second World War and the evidence of it hangs on my living room wall.

My third father, Johnny Dorn, is the youngest of the three and a Vietnam-era vet. I refer to him as my American father. The story of his father’s stint in WWII is the topic.

Grandpa died in 2006 and his death, as is not unusual, was preceded by a descent in health; his children had to help take care of him. (Grandma died years before him.) Dad is the eldest of his siblings, so it was natural that a lot of the responsibility fell on him and he was happy to do it.

Grandpa was a right and proper man who never came out of his bedroom or the bathroom in a state of undress—not even in just a t-shirt and shorts. None of his children or grandchildren had ever seen him any other way until my dad had to see to his hygienic needs during the decline.

So it was that when Dad first had to help Grandpa bathe, he discovered that his father had deep marks in his upper torso near a shoulder. Bullet wounds. He asked his dad how they came to be.

It turns out that Grandpa had briefly been a POW while assigned in France. I’m not sure what Grandpa’s task was. (Remember, this was before the desegregation of the military; most black Americans who served were cooks, stewards, and the like. But, not all. After the war, Grandpa went on to join the USAF—created in 1947– and retired as a supply NCO.)

Members of the French Resistance helped him escape, which explained Grandpa’s lifelong love for the French.

Grandpa had never told that story before.

I haven’t tried to verify the story and I don’t feel the need to. I just thought that the holding-back of it was emblematic of how men who have truly been in breakdown-of-civilization situations handle visions of Hell afterward. They forget about it, move on, and live. And that is exactly what my grandfather did.

(Thanks to Gerard Vanderleun)

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.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

baldilocks

So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, 19 and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

Matthew 6:31-34

National Harbor Sun 6:50 AM

I’m mostly packed and well rested getting the full 6 hours of sleep having held a short version of DaTechGuy’s Midnight Court at 8 PM so I could get upstairs and be packed and ready for the shuttle to the airport at 9:30 but more important than the sleep is waking up reassured.

As some of you might know this CPAC trip was completely unexpected just one month ago what you might not know is that on Last Sunday this odd story took one more unexpected twist.

Valery had been unable to sleep and when I came downstairs she was in great pain requiring a trip to the ER.  Seven hours later we left with a diagnosis of a bad gall bladder that had to come out, the doctor set up a meeting with the surgeon for Wednesday and said both work that morning was no prob and CPAC also looked good as this was routine.

When I got home from work Monday Morning after work and mass Valery was up, she had slept well due to the prescriptions but was planning to contact our personal physician to ill him and our insurance in so I did some packing then hit the sack.

By the time I had woken up her pain was back and our doctor had called seeing the ultrasounds etc and said he wanted her in the ER not in Leominster but at St. Vincent’s in Worcester that evening.  The determination was she needed the surgery this week, perhaps as soon as Wednesday.

My wife and sons insisted that CPAC should go on, I had not been here for the last two years and my oldest assured me he could handle things here, after all the surgery is routine.  He had even managed to find my cell phone missing for 5 months (with a holy card & relic of St. Maximilian Kolbe on it)

So to CPAC I went arriving Tuesday, still worried but sure things would work out.  Tuesday evening we talked and Val was tired by OK.  Wednesday the surgery took place in the evening and everyone was reassuring me.  Thursday I was told there was some minor complications but again NBD.  Friday during a call Valery insisted I shouldn’t blame myself for not being there which given the situation I found odd but things went on normally and I found myself holding the Midnight court till 5 Am when I headed up to the room to sleep.

Saturday Val asked if I could get home quicker than the train could take me so I called my brother Dominic and asked him if he could get me at the airport instead.

At this point the story turns because my Sicilian brother violates the 1st rule of being Sicilian, he talked.

Apparently his son the nurse had visited my wife in the Hospital as he lives near, he knew the actual situation rather than what I had been told and mentioned it to his father who assumed I knew just how serious and non routine the complications and the prognosis for my wife was.

I was crushed but there was nothing to do.  By this time it was nearly noon, I was flying out in 24 hours and the added expense to try and get home that evening would simply add weight to a financial burden which was the least of my worries.  So I went downstairs camera in hand and carried on, getting several good interviews and appearing on a radio show to talk about TBS’s and Samantha Bee people’s attempted shenanigans with me before heading back to the room.

This displayed one of the few disadvantages of the sleep arrangement my friends were all there when I got the news and had been sympathetic and when I returned to the room Cynthia (A conservative Lesbian) continued to be, but I desperately needed to be alone.

Leaving my laptop behind I walked down to the BBQ place, where I had eaten each day (the Brisket is excellent) and asked for a seat out of people’s sight it was after 3 pm by now and the lunch crowd was gone so it was pretty easy to achieve this.  I removed the hat and put the monopod & camera aside and ate considering all the unpleasant futures that might be ahead.

At this point Evan Sayet came by and noticed me and saw immediately something was wrong.  I told him of my troubles, that helped a bit and by the time I left I was feeling a little better, but only a little.

As I re-entered the hotel Senator Santorum was trying to head for the door.  (To no avail as every single person wanted to shake his hand and take a picture, he was most accommodating to them all) I asked for an interview (uploaded later) and as he is very devout asked him to pray for my wife.

It was in that hall that I heard somebody say there was a Mass downstairs.

Now I had asked the EWTN folk if they knew of a priest saying daily mass days ago and had tweeted looking for a priest to no avail.  As soon as I had my interview I dashed downstairs asking a staff member if they knew about a mass.  I checked all over the bottom floor, no sign of any such thing.

So I headed up the 1st escalator and right across from the media registration desk I was intercepted by old friend Rob Whittermore saw me and directed to where the mass would be.

There were 30 chairs set up before a table, the priest had not arrived yet, and people were sitting in silent prayer.  The priest, a young man entered and started setting up when I realized nobody had Holy Water to bless themselves.  I had given away all the four large bottles I brought with me but remembered the small one in my suit pocket and proceeded to go from person to person to allow them to bless themselves as the priest vested himself.

He introduced himself as Fr. Bjorn Lomborg (not the skeptical environmentalist the one from the catholic radio show Morning Glory) and the sacrifice of the mass began.

It was a great comfort to me.  The first reading (Is 49:14-15) addressed my feelings.

Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
my LORD has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.

The Psalm (62) and response reminded me of what to do

Rest in God alone, my soul.

But it was the Gospel for the day, Matthew 6:24-34 that hit me exactly where I was living at the moment

Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?

I was worrying about the future that worry wasn’t going to do any good.

So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
or ‘What are we to drink?’or ‘What are we to wear?’

The best case scenarios running through my head all involved the return of debt far beyond what had been expected from the hospital stay.  This reminded me how foolish I was being

Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.

This brought to mind the message of divine mercy:  Jesus I trust in You.

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

It was exactly what I needed when I needed to hear it and Fr.’s sermon built on that.

Just before Holy Communion Fr. dispensed us from the communion fast as most of us didn’t know about the mass but it was not until after the mass was over that Robert mentioned we had been part of a historic moment.

It was the 1st Catholic Mass ever celebrated at CPAC

It had never occurred to me that in all the decades that CPAC had been around that mass had never been celebrated. This was something that needed an interview and Fr. Lomborg graciously consented to do one on audio

As I headed back to the room, I considered how unlikely this all was.

I managed to attended the first mass ever at CPAC, celebrated by a priest who is regularly broadcast on our local EWTN station 89.3 WQPH Shirley/Fitchburg that I do volunteer media for and even scored an interview with the priest for the station.

Moreover I found the mass completely by accident, and the readings directly addressed all of my turmoil running though me exactly at the time when I most needed it.

Just about 14 hours ago Stacy & I had a back and forth with a 20-year-old man who was doubting the reliability of scripture and of his own faith. Perhaps the day will come when, at the time he most needs it, the tapestry that the Spirit weaves when be there to catch him as he’s ready to be crushed by the rocks as he falls and God will stretch out his hand saying “Do not be afraid”.

And he will be able to answer with the same feeling that I had going back to my room, my worries gone:

Jesus I trust in you!

Update: Linked at Canon212.com thanks


DaTechGuy at CPAC 2017 (all videos not blogged about yet here). Be aware that due to the sheer volume of videos to upload if I interviewed you it might be days before you see it here

2/25
Voices at CPAC 2017 Two Rons and a Patricia
Voices of the Cannoli deprived at CPAC 2017 Scottie Neil Hughes
Voices at CPAC 2017 Evan Sayet A Deplorable Mind before and after
DaTechguy Meets Students TBS & Fake news at Donald Trump’s CPAC 2017 Speech
Voices of CPAC 2017 Author Matt Margolis On DaTechGuy’s Midnight Court

2/24
Voices of CPAC 2017 Tom Wenzel of EWTN & Alberto Calamaro of Radio Maria
The Media Narrative Hunt at CPAC
Voices of CPAC 2017 Donald Trump Single lines from CPAC speech as he makes them
Voices of CPAC 2017 the Indefatigable Kira Innis

2/23
Voices of Cpac 2017 Steve & Shen, Ed Morrissey of Hotair and a Kellyanne Conway Cannoli Story
Voices of CPAC 2017 Radio Row Sharon Angle & Rick Trader Daria Novak & Frank Vernuccio
CPAC 2017 Photos & Brief videos from the Sean Hannity Taping

Voices at CPAC 2017 Advocates: Melissa of Able Americans, Matt of American Majority
Voices at CPAC 2017 Yvonne (from almost #NeverTrump to Evangelical Coordinator) & Michael
Voices of CPAC 2017 Joe on Life behind the Berlin Wall

2/22

Voices at CPAC 2017 Liz a Cook County Republican (and Kasich delegate)
CPAC 2017 First Interviews Theresa an Attendee and Rob Eno of Conservative Review

2/21
Some Quick pre-cpac video and thoughts

2016 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

There is plenty more from CPAC coming over the next couple of weeks, but what is also going to be coming are a lot of hospital bills and debt from work that both my wife and I are going to be missing because of this.

If you are able and inclined to help mitigate them I’d ask you to consider hitting DaTipJar




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by baldilocks

Sometimes I forget what a strange existence I’ve lead since…birth.

I grew up as an oddball; the black girl with the “Chinese” last name, who’s good at math and English. My non-stereotypical worldview and interests sometimes get me in trouble, and this is especially so online.

I’ve been accused of using a fake name—my birth name–on Disqus, been told that I was a white man using a black woman’s avatar on Twitter (language alert), been told to “go back to Africa” by my fellow black Americans, and been told to “stay out of Kenya” by some of the countrymen of my Kenyan family.

And just today I was accused of lying about my USAF background as a German (and Russian) linguist who was stationed in then-West Berlin in the 1980s and early 1990s. (It wasn’t the first time for this and, though I’m always hesitant to point at something and call it racism, it’s almost certain that when someone does not believe me when I say what I did for a living, it’s because of my outer coating.)

Am I whining? No I don’t think I am, though it’s infuriating to have others deny your very existence. Being a weirdo is fun and, though some might think it’s lonely, I enjoy being alone, for the most part—I have a low stupidity humanity tolerance.

But, every time I start feeling just a little sorry for myself, one of the people who loves me, shows it and comes through for me—like our host and the person who recommended me for this gig.

That said, I want to show this audience my plaque from my first stint in Berlin.

Yes, I left one month before the Wall fell—worst timing ever. I watched the TV from thousands of miles away and spotted many of my friends stand on top of the Wall in merriment.

Such is this life that God gave me. I love it.

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 February 2017! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

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Blogger at the home of a Forgotten Man

By John Ruberry

Donald J. Trump’s presidential honeymoon with the media lasted sixteen minutes, which was, not coincidentally, the length of his inauguration address.

Since then, the media, with a few exceptions, has been relentlessly attacking the president, and by media, I’ll use the definition Rush Limbaugh gave this morning to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, which is ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post and USA Today.

I’ll add one more–a big one, CNN, sometimes called the Clinton News Network.

The media is striking back with an assault on the presidency not seen since the height of the Watergate scandal.

And Donald Trump is fighting them–and the media can’t ascertain why much of the public, their public, is siding with the president.

Because conservatives don’t like cheaters.

Among the damning revelations from the John Podesta emails hacked by WikiLeaks was clear evidence of collusion by some of these allegedly neutral outlets during the 2016 presidential campaign, most notoriously when CNN analyst Donna Brazile twice supplied a planned question to the Hillary Clinton campaign prior to a CNN-hosted debate with Bernie Sanders.

Viewers of those two CNN debates were cheated by CNN, which employed Brazile, as they rightly expected the Clinton-Sanders matchups to be, let’s use a popular term from the time when several Chicago White Sox players conspired to throw the 1919 World Series, “on the square.” Sure, Brazile, was fired, but only after she was caught the second time feeding a debate question to the Clinton machine. That says a lot. Oh, where did Brazile learn of these questions? Did they come from a low-level CNN staffer?

Liberals, with the possible exception of the most ardent members of the growing socialist wing of the Democratic Party, dismissed Brazile’s cheating as just the way the game is played, which is not how White Sox fans greeted news of the 1919 fix broke a year later.

Before there was fake news there was a fake World Series.

Here is my conservative-or-liberal litmus test: If you were angry–or still are angry–about media collusion with the Democratic Party during the 2016 campaign, they you are a conservative. If you are not, they you’re a liberal. It’s that easy.

Which explains why the media, again using the definition I gave earlier, is astounded that Trump not only attacks them millions of Americans are cheering him on.

After dutifully reporting on media collusion immediately after it was revealed, the media promptly ignored the scandal–their scandal–which is not the case with Russian interference, and yes, alleged hacking of the election by Russia of the presidential election, whatever that entails. It probably entails nothing. WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, repeatedly insists that Russia was not the source of the hacked Podesta emails.

Okay, you skeptics out there, you are probably thinking to yourselves that I am citing only two examples of CNN collusion, and that done by an analyst, not a reporter.

Still still for a moment. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper, both of them anchors, the latter is the network’s Washington correspondent, were caught colluding by WikiLeaks. Other colluders captured in the WikiLeaks net were the New York Times and CNBC’s John Harwood, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, Glenn Thrush, then of Politico and now of the New York Times, and Brent Budowsky of The Hill.

When Trump said on the stump “the system is rigged,” the colluders proved him right.

The Forgotten Man and the Forgotten Woman, that is, the people who play by the rules and try to make an honest living under increasingly daunting odds, elected Trump, despite the rigging.

John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

And the cheating media still can’t figure out why most Americans despise them.

You Democratic cynics are probably still thinking, “Everyone does it.” No they don’t. Very few media outlets are conservative ones, so the opportunity simply isn’t there for Republicans to collude. The only instance of GOP collusion in a presidential campaign I can recall is George Will’s vague self-described “inappropriate” role in the 1980 Debategate micro-scandal.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Yesterday was the first Time in a VERY long while that you did not see a post with my byline was not on this blog, instead RH – NG36B ‘s loving tribute to his seven month old daughter Rebecca. When the news came here Wednesday evening that Rebecca had unexpectedly died I made the decision, to provide an update to Saturday’s post concerning her condition. Instead I made a private announcement to our writers & asked our substitute writers to prepare posts for today in the event RH decided he needed some time off here. He responded that he wished to continue to write then penned, well typed, tribute and asked when it should go up. We decided it should be the lead post yesterday. It received a strong response and continues to do so.

He now has a funeral to plan and pay for, he does not have a tip jar at his base site but if you follow him on facebook I’m sure you can contact him about helping out if you wish or to send him direct condolences.


Of of the things about RH’s tribute to little Rebecca is how well it answers one of the oldest questions in Christianity: “Why does God allow bad things to happen”

Many of us spend a large part of our adult lives influencing, or trying to influence, those around us. We read books, we devise arguments, we make PowerPoint presentations, and we argue on Facebook. And yet here I had a little girl, not even a year old, who came into my life and changed everyone around her, including people she never met. Her broken heart was changing those with hardened hearts.

She did it without words, without slides, and without a social media account.

It truly was never about her. It was always about us, about making us better. And even though it took her death for me to realize it, I’m glad that I did.

There are those who would argue that a Down Syndrome child’s live has no value, that it’s would be better to have said child killed in the womb than incur the costs, both financial and emotional, of bringing such a child into the womb. I submit and suggest that perhaps we’ve needed them as much as they’ve needed us and the crass, narcissistic society that we now possess is the price we have paid for making children like Rebecca disposable.


There was actually a 2nd death in our blog family, although with two big differences.
1. Technically she wasn’t in our family at the time of her death.
2. She came back.

Old friend Zilla of the Resistance, one of the grande dames of the blogging world who I last saw several years ago in a hospital bed in very bad shape contacted me a few weeks ago and provided me with an update on her situation filled with good news, although not good enough for her to return to daily blogging. I immediately invited her to join our merry band here and she accepted. Her 2nd post since her return to blogging was yesterday. This is quite ironic as she was on my initial list of bloggers to join my magnificent seven but was too ill and weak to consider it at the time. You will see her here Friday evening for as long as she wants to stay and her health continues to permit it..


You might have noticed that old friend Jerry Wilson who wrote here occasionally has returned and is now writing regularly here. You will find him here Thursday Evenings. We are pleased to have him back and look forward to his posts from the left coast which tend to be non-political but as we’ve learned there is much more to life than issues in the political world.


After writing about weighty subject turning to the Press’ tantrum over Donald Trump’s press conference seems completely anti-climatic. Because of my sleep schedule I didn’t see the President’s press conference when it happened only the outraged reactions of the media to it. When I finally went online to watch it seemed to me (as it did to others) that the media description of this event bore no resemblance to what actually happened. It’s the same backwards reaction they had to his speech opening his candidacy.
This would explain both President Trump’s willingness to confront them head on the death of their credibility with the public.

Never before has Glenn Reynolds statement to the BBC about 90% of the press giving the other 10% a bad name rung more true.

The contrast on how the media has handled their “loss” vs how RH has his is notable and speaks volumes.


Now the death of credibility:

Listen to this speech via Milo, from a Bucknell Student (in introduction to Christina Hoff Summers appearance there) who upon receiving an open email from a professor at Bucknell university calling conservative and libertarian students “racists and fascists” and saying they should “Pay a deep and lasting price” for having Milo speak on their campus last year, Asked said professor in a return email what he meant by a “steep and lasting price”.

The professors response was…interesting.

The university’s decision to not only back the professor but go along with his explanation to them that “a deep and lasting price” meant, “engage me in calm and peaceful discussion” sends a clear message that inciting violence against conservatives and libertarians who do not support the goals of the SJW community will be tolerated but questioning said incitement will not.

A lot of masks have been falling lately and the totalitarian campus left have proved like totalitarians everywhere that they love free speech until they are in power and then will crush it.

Thus dies free speech at the University


Continuing on this theme it’s worth replaying Andrew Breitbart’s response six years ago to a question at an event in Lexington Mass that I covered to what happens if the left decides to resort to violence:

“We outnumber them and we have the guns”

I’m really thinking that the left and the media is hoping and praying for us for some of these anti-milo, anti-trump and anti-conservative rioters to get themselves killed by a conservative in fear for their life, and would like it even better if they can provoke the police into doing so for the sake of their cause.

Ironically this whole “#resistance” nonsense sounds very familiar:

You hear it from the stump, you read it in their papers and in their resolutions, that if Mr. Lincoln is elected the Union is to be dissolved. Here is a constitutional party that intends to violate the Constitution because a man is constitutionally elected President. Here is a constitutional party that proclaims it treasonable for a man to uphold the Constitution. If the people constitutionally elect a President, is the minority to resist him?

That’s Sam Houston in Sept 1860 advising Democrats not to revolt over the election of a Republican via the electoral college, and a few months later he had some words for those who thought violent revolution was a good idea:

They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates. But when they begin to move in a given direction, they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche

What is it about Democrats that they turn to violence and revolt if a republican wins the presidency without a popular vote majority?


Speaking of the death of things this post at Declination via Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit shows the death of irony (warning this post is….interesting)

In my DJ career, I have spent a great deal of time in communities and scenes that normal folks would regard as underground. For many years, I DJed BDSM parties, Fetish events, and the like. I’ve DJed warehouses and clubs with no names, buried in the wreckage of abandoned industrial parks. The marketplace of sex is one which I know exceedingly well. I’ve been DJing these scenes for the better part of 20 years.

To quote Blade Runner, I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe
.
As that commenter lamented, so I’ve seen first-hand. These SJWs, the radical feminists who spend their lives fighting the Patriarchy? They come to my clubs to be beaten senseless on crosses, chained to them by men dressed in uniforms very reminiscent of the Nazis. Yes, it’s a thing, as anybody who has ever been to a Goth club can attest. They demand to be tied up, burned, bruised, and battered.

Go on social media, and you will see SJWs telling us that Nazis are everywhere, that they are evil, and foul, and legion. They are in the White House, they are on Youtube, they are on Twitter, they are in Video Games. Nazis, everywhere. And so they march out into the streets, the Black Bloc, Antifascists engaging in what Tom Kratman calls a bit of political theater (not unlike Fascists once did).

But at the end of a long week of fighting the cisnormative heteropatriarchy, they come to be beaten by men dressed as Nazis, to the gritty beats of loud Industrial music in the depths of an Industrial park.

I suspect that this is actually more well known that folks let on.


You might not have thought it was possible to take a post about a movie paring a 72 year old actor with a 44 year old love interest and connect it to election 2016 and the attacks on Steve Bannon but then again you might not be Stacy McCain:

Steve Bannon is a conservative populist, period. Only if you’re a cult disciple of Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse can you believe that an American conservative populist is necessarily a crypto-fascist. Yet dozens of reporters keep publishing stories that depict Bannon as a Nazi fanatic — because Trump is literally Hitler, of course — and this is merely the logical sequel to the failure of Hillary Clinton to fulfill the media’s fantasy narrative, The First Female President of the United States.

That narrative was as flawed as the idea of casting Robert De Niro as a washed-up comedian who scores with a woman 30 years younger. And the whole problem with the narrative that the media are using as the script for their sequel, Literally Hitler, is that it involves liberal journalists writing stories with their fellow liberal journalists as the intended readership, just like having Helen Mirren’s husband direct a show-business-themed comedy starring Robert De Niro was so obviously a made-for-Oscar project. People aren’t lining up at the mall cineplex to pay $8 bucks to watch The Comedian, and the media’s bulls–t script for Literally Hitler isn’t going to make people line up to vote Democrat.

I’ve known Steve Bannon about as long as Stacy McCain has, I’ve interviewed him at CPAC before and I hope to do so next week during my return to CPAC after a two year absense.

Is this the death knell of De Niro’s career?


Finally I was going to close on why the next regeneration of the Doctor should not, despite all the buzz and the SJW warriors of the left & the BBC insisting it should be, but that got to be very long so it will be it’s own post, here is a preview:

4. As anyone who has followed the Doctor on TV or in books or via Big Finish knows, the Doctor is constantly getting captured and chained up in dungeons, and prisons and getting tortured. One the Doctor is a woman how do you deal with the inevitable possibility in fact probability of rape? How do you explain it away? How do you get that to play on what is supposed to be a kids show?

The problem is these fools are forgetting that Doctor Who is basically a kids show about a hero fighting monsters, the last time they decided to go SJW and make the monster Margaret Thatcher is what killed it the first time. As I said on Twitter

Of course I might not be the audience they care about.

R. H. and I have never met, but I am absolutely heartbroken after reading about the news of his beautiful baby Rebecca’s passing.

Read his post, Who it’s really about.

I was going to write today about the usual American and Latin American politics, but . . . politics, money, jobs, culture, are all ephemeral.

This is what life is really about,

Many of us spend a large part of our adult lives influencing, or trying to influence, those around us.  We read books, we devise arguments, we make PowerPoint presentations, and we argue on Facebook.  And yet here I had a little girl, not even a year old, who came into my life and changed everyone around her, including people she never met.  Her broken heart was changing those with hardened hearts.

The Lord called beautiful Rebecca to his side, and her short life has affected many of us, even when we haven’t met. That a child so young can help so many is indeed a miracle.

From the Book of Common Prayer, we pray for consolation,

O merciful Father, who hast taught us in thy holy Word that thou dost not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men: Look with pity upon the sorrows of thy servant for whom our prayers are offered. Remember him, O Lord, in mercy, nourish his soul with patience, comfort him with a sense of thy goodness, lift up thy countenance upon him, and give him peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And, as we go on our daily lives, may we find joy in what really matters.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.