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Charles Shaughnessy Blog ~ So this is what I think . . . .21 february, 2012

THE Global struggle is NOT between Christianity and Islam, East .v. is between the extremist and the moderate, the reactionary against the progressive. Look closely at the ideology of Rick Santorum, emergent as the standard bearer of the very vocal reactionary Christian Right, and compare it with the ideology of extremist Islam. Both see Religion as the guiding spirit of society, to the point where legislation itself should be Religion-oriented; not much removed from the vision of a Theocracy. Is there any real material difference between Santorum and the Right's desire to have government illegalize abortion, contraception and many other more subtle rights for women on the one hand, and the tenets of Sharia law that marginalize women in the Islamic culture on the other? Both sides believe in the "sanctity" of life, but will willingly sacrifice it in the name of their Gods. Again, is there really any material difference between shooting a doctor outside his Planned Parenthood office as a blow against the workings of the Devil and in the triumphant name of a vengeful God on the one hand, and flying a plane into an office building as a blow against the devil's spawn and in the name of a vengeful Allah? 

In a Theocracy, whether it be Islamic or Christian, reason, research, history, fact or critical thinking, it all becomes secondary and subserviant to dogma. The questioning of government then becomes as anathema as the questioning of it's underlying religious dogma. The worrying part of this equation for me is this. If these two extremes ever figure out that they hold their power as a correlation of the amount of fear and distrust that they can generate amongst their followers and the compelling security offered by their adopted dogma, then they could manipulate the fear that the "other side" means them harm, to suspend individual rights and aspirations as enshrined in declarations of democracy like the Bill of Rights. They might then figure out that they actually need each other. Could there be a scenario, in the not-too-distant-future, when the wheel comes around once again in America where we elect another reactionary, Right Wing administration like a Bush/ Cheney or a McCain/ Palin and that they then quietly set about a policy of secret mutual dependence with other extremist and repressive regimes around the world? 

"You continue to terrify my people that you might explode a dirty bomb in the middle of New York: I will continue to terrify your people that we might invade at any moment  - then you and I can hold on to power for as long as we like. We can suspend Habeas Corpus, roll back human rights, abolish elections, turn the economy of fear into a cash cow for our cronies..and the joke is....the people will ASK us to do it!!" 

This is PRECISELY the future that George Orwell envisioned in "1984" and PRECISELY the world envisioned by both the last bunch of neo-cons here in the U.S. and the Ayathollahs in Tehran. A world where the nations are in a constant "state of war" that is actually one big publicity sham directed and controlled by a cabal of world leaders in order for them to maintain total control of a frightened, compliant populace who have willingly compromised all their values, beliefs and desires in the name of "Peace."  I have often toyed with this notion and always dismissed it as something that this country could never allow, but listening to serious debate now in a Presidential election about the "legality" of contraception, even the morality of masturbation - where "life" could be seen to exist as a real potential when a man and woman so much as THINK about having sex - I remember how cavalier the people of Germany were when a different kind of extremism began to rear its head and was dismissed as only the views of an aberrant minority.  "1984" and "The Handmaid's Tale" should now be made required reading for every man, woman and child in the United States.

additional comment by Charles Shaughnessy 22 February, 2012 10:16

additional comment by Charles Shaughnessy 26 February, 2012 11:53 

additional comment by Charles Shaughnessy 26 February, 2012 17:07


  1. Hi Charlie, You have a good point in some things you have mentioned.
    I vote Republican, and if I have to pick someone as the next president that would have to be Rick Santorum.
    I don't agree with a few things of his things. But I like him better then the other Republican candidates.
    I have a lot of Christian Belief and Faith in God, Faith in Jesus Christ. There is only one God. He is The Holy Spirit, Jesus is Lord, Jesus is God.

    I do feel everyone, whatever they believe need to live at peace.

    Well, I am just saying a little bit of what I feel.

    I do like your opinions!

  2. Very well written, Charles. I go through my daily life praying and hoping for world peace at some point, but I feel as if I'm "spinning my wheels" at times. Our government has really gone by the way-side. We, as American people need to fight back when the polls open to voice our opinion. I, for one, as many Americans, have been struggling for way too long. It is time for change to take place! Godspeed and take care.


    VICTOR HUGO SAID: “No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.” JUST A LITTLE FYI! LOL! HAVE A GREAT EVENING.


    SECONDLY,YOU WERE CLOSE WITH YOUR QUOTE. VICTOR HUGO: “No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.” JUST A LITTLE FYI! LOL! HAVE A GOOD ONE!


  5. Charles your thoughtful passionate writing made me think of something I read the other day in my Buddhist study.

    "Religious strife must be avoided at all cost; under no circumstance should it be allowed. People may hold different religious beliefs, but the bottom line is that we are all human beings. We all seek happiness and desire peace. Religion should bring people together. It should unite the potential for good in people's hearts toward benefiting society and humanity and creating a better future."

    The great challenge of real peace lies within each individual's transformation. You cannot choose a leader who hates and expect the people of the country to be at peace.

  6. Thanks for posting! This is so real! Is trying times we are living in and the potential for things to go dangerously awry is highly possible. If folks with power convince and control the masses by using fear and indifference tactics (extremists) then this could work against our entire beliefs founded on Liberty and personal FREEDOMS. Also, not to mention could also cause more states of war. Life as we know it could then transform and the new norm could be like living in some alternate reality. "1984" was very Erie. Life seemed very Drab and so controlled. Will recommend these books to my friends and family. Thanks.

    Maybe off the subject: but I'd also like to recommend the film "End Time" with Justin T. Where time is the currency. And folks are controlled by time. Also an alternate reality type idea.

    Anyway i so agree the worry of the "Right" is not with its Republican or Christian values. Is with "extremist" ideas. My son goes to a Christian school and he loves it but i worry sometimes if they could be teaching extreme ideas. Although i don't mind the biblical teaching. My trust is just shaken because of extreme ideas i have seen and heard. Is just hard to know who to trust. Just feels safer being in the middle i reckon. Just saying. Want to stay proud of our America during our lifetime and hopefully for many other generations to come.

    It also means so much that folks like you and others give a darn!

  7. Peace may then would come with a very hefty price tag. Bummer there because most of us do wish for world peace. Even so we tend to spend much time and money in war. In the words of comedian George Carlin; "we like war!". Thinking he was on to something because so it would seem.
    And to answer the question in the 1st paragraph: No, there doesn't seem to be a far stretch between an abortion clinic shooter and suicide bomber.

    And in reference to the extremist ideals i have heard tell (and sure many of you have too): all the anti trust of government sentiments and how they our leaders just want to lead our country to the crapper of immorality and control etc.

    @Staci great comment!

  8. Charlie, I agree with you that Christianity and Islam does have similarities. And for the billionth time every religion has their extremist's. You can't damnify the Republician party to " quietetly set about a policy of a secret mutual dependence with other extremists and around the world." If you really think the Republician party is capable of that what makes you think the Democrates wouldn't do exactly the same thing. Case in point here is your government assistants every month, and healthcare as long as you keep having kids that will continue to live the same way. This is not directed toward one race or another it's very common in EVERY SINGLE race. Case number two welcome to our country! Thats ok you don't have to go through that crazy process of becoming a legal citizen. As long as you vote for the democratic party. We will just over look that you don't pay taxes for the school your children will attend and most likely dont speak the language of the majority of people who live here. You don't think that holds some power of illegal aliens in this country. What person in the right mind wouldn't vote for a party that is pretty much bribing them for citizenship.

    I know you could probably care less about what any Republician has to say, but take a look at your own party.

  9. Hi y'all!! I'll really try to be concise here and not hog the blog, but I'm not making any promises ;) So many issues, so little time.

    I'm not sure my opinion on Santorum carries much weight, as an Independent fiscally-conservative, social libertarian, ex-Catholic Evangelical. I'm actually disappointed with him in this...because it's obvious he's being baited by the media to talk about these things, and he's not handling the answers well. There is ZERO reason for them to even be asking RS about this stuff...but it's his "bull's eye on the target". Anyone who has followed Santorum knows he is a devout, strict Catholic(and admires him for it). He and his wife have been very open about their beliefs and their own struggles with very premature/sick babies. So in comes the media with the "gotcha". I don't like Newt Gingrich, but I admire the way he says "I can't believe that you would even ask that question in a political arena". I wish Santorum would have done that from the onset of this nonsense. I have ZERO concerns that birth control would be outlawed...even if he suggested it, the people would rise up AND Congress would never approve it, and that's a BIG "if".
    Second point...since when did birth control become a "right" that should be given for "free"? It's a responsibility when you decide to become sexually active, and charging money for it is NOT "denying access". The GOP is not declaring a "war on women", any more than Obama(who has admitted he is against gay marriage)has a "war on gays", or Romney has a "War on Dogs"(sorry, couldn't resist that one). It's all media propaganda(and the right does it too).
    My main issue though...that I've said over and over again on your blogs over the's that old "Evangelicals are the new Al Qaeda" meme. I don't think it's rocket science to see that one is a few lone sick people who kill a doctor(and are denounced by their own supposed faith), and a worldwide,highly organized, well-funded Jihadist movement. Big difference between prolifers(who are not all people of faith anyway) who want to overturn Roe v Wade, and Sharia law that will stone a woman in public for accidentally enticing a man by showing part of her ankle. But the fear mongering is very effective and it works.
    As for the state of war being a political machine...yeah,I won't argue with you there. That blazing liberal Eisenhower(oh...wait) warned us about the Military Industrial Complex. I just wonder if "we" see it as a group of wealthy businesses, lobbies and for-profit weapons contractors, plus the "wealthy cabal" controlling the strings of both parties(who are really ONE corrupt ball of slime).....and "you" see it as the same gang infiltrating and controlling the GOP. I will echo Jess need to worry about your own party too.

    And finally a PS... LOVE the "Young Blades" photos on the blog! My favorite guest role of yours :)

  10. I am so glad you're coming back to Days. We have been waiting for this to happen. Perhaps you can straighten out the writers.

  11. Charlie: Theocracy? Rick Santorum? You’ve got to be joking. Now if you’re referring to Iran under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini…that’s close to a theocracy. The United States under a possible President Santorum—definitely not a theocracy. A theocracy is a government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler. Santorum is not God, nor has he ever indicated such. A theocracy is also “a system of government by priests claiming a divine commission” (again, doesn’t apply to Santorum, because he definitely isn’t a priest). The closest we’ve had to a theocracy in the United States was in colonial New Haven (before it became part of Connecticut) where the legal code was Mosaic law…and even then, it wasn’t a theocracy, because God wasn’t recognized as a civil ruler but was the instrument the settlers used to maintain law and order in the colony. Yes, dogma is supreme in a theocracy…that’s one of those “well, duh” comments, because of course religious belief/faith is supreme in a theocracy. But just because a presidential candidate wears his faith on his sleeve doesn’t mean that he would impose those beliefs on the people if he were elected president (after all, if Mitt Romney is elected president, I don’t think everyone will be forced to read the Book of Mormon).

    Regarding your concern that the Christian Right would “suspend individual rights and aspirations as enshrined in declarations of democracy like the Bill of Rights”…does this include Obama’s suspension of the 4th amendment by signing the National Defense Appropriation Act in December 2011? Or is it okay for a Democrat to suspend the protection against unreasonable search and seizure, hoping that nobody notices (or the Supreme Court declares the law unconstitutional)? And where, specifically, has the Christian Right said that they would suspend individual rights? The last time I checked, they would continue to protect the 1st Amendment (the one with freedom of religion), one that has been challenged recently by health care mandates that would have forced Catholic hospitals, etc. to pay for coverage that is contrary to their religious beliefs (and I’m not getting into a discussion about a woman’s right to choose…again, it’s a matter of faith).

    Finally, “a world where the nations are in a constant ‘state of war’ that is actually one big publicity sham directed and controlled by a cabal of world leaders in order for them to maintain control of a frightened, compliant populace who have willingly compromised all their values, beliefs and desires in the name of ‘Peace’”: Please, Charlie, tell me you’re lumping Obama the Nobel Peace Prize winner who has engaged the U.S. in three wars during his 3+ years in office as one of these world leaders (and yes, I know the first two were started during the Bush administration, but he is ending them on Bush’s timetable and also got the U.S. involved in Libya without Congressional approval). By the way…this sounds a bit like “Dr. Strangelove,” too—a wonderful visual representation of the evils of the Military Industrial Complex.

  12. Hi, Charlie!

    I know what you are saying. However, I think some of the best statements you've made were on your iBlog on Morality vs. Ethics. It is very difficult to group "Muslims" and "Christians." Just as it is very difficult to group any culture or religious denomination. I am a Christian, very true. I am proud of my solid beliefs. But I have my own thoughts and beliefs that cannot be dictated by any human being. These beliefs are very personal to me. But most of all, I do not and I can not believe that God (in any denomination, regardless of what He is called in different denominations or parts of the world) wants us to harm or to hate one another. I just cannot live and believe that way.

    What you said in the past about the real issue being in how we treat one another, those are very powerful words. I know what it takes for ME to be the best woman I can be. And I know what it is taking for me to live my life and get where I am going. However, I cannot and will not judge another person's beliefs. My faith is who I am. And I have some wonderful friends who are Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, etc. And their religious beliefs are very different from mine. But they are wonderful people, and their faith makes them even stronger human beings.

    Maybe I am just very naive. But I truly believe that there are a handful of extremists in cultures and religious denominations worldwide that do act out violently in the name of religion. And this just makes me sad. Because that kind of behavior makes people look at others from that particular group and think, "I don't want that!"

    I truly believe we can all coexist. I hope that doesn't sound too terribly naive, but I honestly do believe that is the way it should be. I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that we were created to harm and hurt one another.

    Thank you for always sharing your thoughts with us. May your life continue to be blessed.


  13. Jess: Nothing new if the Democratic Party is "encouraging" illegal aliens/undocumented workers to vote; they were essentially doing the same thing in the late 19th/early 20th century when political bosses would greet the arrivals at Ellis Island and offer to expedite the naturalization process if they promised to vote Democratic (and that their children, grandchildren, etc. would also do so). Yet, at the same time, they diligently worked to prevent African Americans in the South from voting because they would vote Republican (aka the party of Lincoln, who freed the slaves). Personally, I have no problem with someone asking me for identification/proof of residency when I vote; that lets me know that someone cares that I'm at the correct polling place (which could affect local and state elections).

  14. And yet another PS after watching this morning's news(did you REALLY think I was done? ;) ). How on earth did the national conversation get to this point? I think I know the's a shrewd political machination and we're all being played.
    When this "contraception" discussion started...Rick Santorum had nothing to do with it. The *ISSUE* was that Obama's Health Care Plan had a mandate requiring the Catholic Church to provide coverage for contraception for their employees. Since when does the government tell churches what to do?! As I saw on FB yesterday..."Separation of Church and's not just for atheists anymore". I suspect that the Obama admin. underestimated the blowback..they expected that everyone would roll their eyes at the antiquated CC and it would just go away quietly. What happened instead was that LOTS of people of faith(and even people who are not religious but saw the problem) said "Whoa Nellie! I may not be Catholic or agree with their policy on BC, but we have freedom of religion!". And that's when the spin cycle started.....Quick! How can we change the subject? Damage Control Alert!!!. By the end of the week, the discussion changed from "Is this constitutional or a violation of the 1st amendment?" to "Those conservatives/religious nutjobs/GOP are declaring a war on women! Obama cares about your reproductive *rights*! He understands! Those other people want to take away your birth control!".
    Fast forward to today...and the media is grilling the GOP candidates about their faith and their views on contraception, and Obama is singing with BB King. Where are your "thoughts" Charlie, about our 1st Amendment rights? THAT was the original problem, and it has been spun into a ridiculous conversation. Obama now walks away, the whole 1st Am. issue has been forgotten, and the nation is shocked and outraged by what THEY WRONGLY ASSUME that those evil GOP/conservatives/faithful want to take away from us. It's beyond ridiculous and I'm beyond furious.

  15. I like Rick Santorum. You know exactly where he is coming from on social issues and he does not try to dance around them as though he is hiding something. That takes a lot of character. He may not win the election (or maybe he will), however, would someone as conservative as he is have been able to get this close to being a candidate for presidency say maybe 4 or 8 years ago? My point is, I believe people are getting really tired of immoral liberal policies being shoved down their throats. Mr. Santorum's time may come not in this election but sometime after. And I certainly do not believe Mr. Santorum's election would mean everyone would have to bow to Christianity. That is just not going to happen and it shouldn't.

    It was refreshing to hear Sharia law get some criticism here and not all of it was directed toward Christians. The truth is, terrorists who use God and religion as their reason for violence are a minority. But all it takes is one act of devastating violence and everyone in that particular faith has to deal with what the world thinks of them. Were not all Germans blamed for the holocaust even though there were those who did not support Hitler? Sure they were. The same applies to Muslims and Christians. I am Christian and have nothing to do with the bombing of abortion clinics. For example, look what happened to Dr. Tiller (you remember him - Dr. Tiller, known as the "baby killer").
    In my opinion, he was a monster and performed atrocities. However, that does not mean he should have been murdered. That is not how REAL Christians handle things.

    Honestly, this blog sounds a little bizarre to me and when I first read it, the author struck me as being a bit paranoid or just maybe over thinking things a bit. The Handmaid's Tale? That falls under science fiction. I do not think our country is going in that direction and cannot believe that could ever happen. No, not in this country, anyway.

    And I believe Jess2289 has a real good point. The Democratic party is the one that needs attention, too. After all, as I have said before, the liberal Democrats are the ones who are responsible for the moral downfall in this country with their liberal agendas being forced on Americans. They try to make themselves look compassionate by giving handouts, yet what they are really doing is buying votes from poor, often illiterate voters. I think Republicans try to be more sensible - at least with some issues.

    And do not forget: God helps those who help themselves.

  16. The extremism of the ‘religious right’ has been a concern of mine for some time now. It’s not so much that I mind people bringing religion into politics; after all, both political ideologies and religious beliefs represent one’s value system. It only makes sense, then, that there will be times when these two seemingly separate entities collide. My concern deals with the ease in which I feel that many of the ‘Christian Right’ can be manipulated. I, like Charlie, do not put it past any of these power-seeking moguls to use this group’s deep devotion to religious principles to promote their own agenda. They understand that persuasion based on fact is unnecessary, but rather simply planting seeds of suspicion that the opposing ideology is anti-Christ is more than sufficient. Thus, statements such as ‘Obama is the anti-Christ’, ‘this administration is hostile toward religion’, ‘Obama is a Muslim’, ‘Romney is not Christian’, ‘Romney will be ruled by Salt Lake’, etc., etc., are enough to bring many into submission. After all, their devotion is such that they do not even want to risk falling out of alignment with Jesus Christ’s teachings. There are those who knowingly spread these blatant lies in order to propagate such sentiments. Now before I am instructed that such blatant lies occur on both sides, keep in mind that one side is not claiming divine sanction to their ideology. I am not implying that every ‘Christian’ politician/commentator is deceptive, nor that every Christian would be persuaded by such rhetoric; I am only suggesting that there may be those amongst the ‘flock’ that have far less than righteous motives who are influencing an eager, plentiful, and devoted audience. I believe a fitting term would be ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’.

    Also found in this extreme agenda is not only the idea that our nation and its leaders adhere to Christian principles, but that there are only a select few who can with any real authority authenticate one’s religious standing. Thus, one can claim to be Christian, sincerely believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior, strive to follow his teachings, and still be rejected by this elite group based upon narrowly drawn terms. This further intensifies the danger in such dogma. In addition, there are many of these extremists who tout their right to religious freedom yet seem unwilling to allow this same privilege to others. Where was their support of the 1st Amendment when they were insisting upon prayer in public school? Where is it when they insist on keeping ‘In God We Trust’ on our money? (On our money, really? That seems like hypocrisy to the fullest. And, does God really care what is on our money? Does that really make us a God fearing people?) Where is their concern for the 1st amendment when they become outraged when the 10 commandments are removed from a County Courthouse? They cry foul and make claims that Christianity is the last form of acceptable discrimination. But, ask the Catholic Church to provide contraception to their employees, many of whom are non-catholic (and 98% of the sexually-active Catholics use contraception anyway) and they have crossed the line. I believe in religious freedom, but I believe wholeheartedly that in order to preserve my religious freedom, I must respect and aggressively preserve the religious freedom of all people, (even when I may not like it) including those who choose to reject religion all together. Unfortunately, there seems to exist in this nation a growing hostility between religious and non-religious groups with each contributing more than they would be willing to admit to such hostility.


  17. Now as far as the media is concerned, why is it so wrong for them to ask a presidential candidate questions in regard to current political conversations? Shouldn’t the people have a right to know what they feel about such issues? And Newt Gingrich successfully turned the tables on the media to take the focus off of his own personal failings of adherence to his own parties ‘Family Values’. Shame on the media for bringing attention to such hypocrisy! I am not claiming that the media is perfect, but I likewise am very frustrated when every time the right is challenged they place blame on the ‘liberal media.’ Personally, I am grateful we have such a media and don’t forget that conservatives have their own version of media that promotes their agenda.

    I, too, have ‘toyed’ with the notion that extremist could come together to correlate their efforts, but I still hold the opinion that it is not likely. Nevertheless, we may all have to avoid all forms of media over the next nine months in order to keep our blood pressure down and our health in check. After all, none of us are getting any younger and I want to be around to see the circus that 2016 brings!

  18. I just read JoAnn's post and I am glad she brought up the issue on contraception and the Catholic Church. This has me very upset and is absolutely an issue of freedom of religion - not contraception. It is completely arrogant of President Obama to even THINK he can tell the Catholic Church, or any church, what to do.

    I believe the liberal media is letting him slide on this one. Bill O'Reilly and Fox News are really the only ones I can see who have addressed this issue for what it is -a total disrespect for religious freedom. Again, that is what the REAL issue is - not reproductive rights.

  19. I really don't know what some of you are talking about. The President was never "forcing Catholics to take contraception" ! He was insisting that they, like ALL employers, should make contraception available to those employees of theirs that were NOT practising Catholics. He then listened to the Catholic employers' position and REVERSED that decision, putting the financial onus onto the insurance companies instead! That flexibility in matters of faith is NEVER seen flowing in the opposite direction. Rick Santorum IS the Republican front runner and therefore ( agree with him or not, ) representative of the Republican majority in the country. Rick Santorum would make ALL contraception illegal for Catholic, Jew, Atheist and Muslim. His biggest supporter's answer to birth control is that women should keep their legs shut!!! Please don't say " Oh, that's nothing to do with me" any more than I would say the same if Ron Berkle announced that Republicans should be deported!!!

  20. Agreed, Charlie! For info sake, my husband works in the health insurance industry and although they may exist, he has personally never seen an insurance company who does not routinely provide contraception coverage. After all, it is in their best fiscal interest--they don't trust that woman will "hold a Bayer aspirin" between their knees!

  21. Here we go! Ding Ding! round 2! ;)
    Well for one thing us women are not going to keep them closed (so they can hang that up) but lest we not forget us (sluts) are sometimes (okay most of the time) coerced by men. Sorry getting rather sexist just had to add two cents. Deport the Republicans? sounds good to me. Kidding!

    Seriously loving this discussion and seems helpful to get us engaged and thinking. Enjoyed reading all the comments were great arguments for both sides . In agree with you guys. Hoping our country would always stay true to our foundations and not impose religious ideas of some on all. Religion and politics just need not go hand in hand always. Course we already know this.

  22. Oh Charlie, you can't be serious. No one said that the President is "forcing Catholics to take contraception". Where on earth did you get that???!!! I have to believe you know that's not true but are stirring the pot with a ridiculous comment...just hoping someone will say "Gasp! That's terrible! How dare they try to force someone to use bc!". It would prove my point about how easily the topic can be spun off base.
    But...since you brought it up, that whole "compromise with the church" business is pure unadulterated bullshit. There is no "financial onus" on the insurance companies! The faux agreement is that the inscos will write policies that do not include contraceptive coverage(not saying they won't be covered, just leaving the sentence out of the contract). The Catholic Church will then sign on the dotted line, and pay the same old premium. THEN...the insco will send a letter providing a list of covered services..and what do you know! Contraception is on there! The Church gets to "make pretend" that they stuck to their principles and aren't providing contraceptive coverage, Obama gets the glory for the "compromise" and gets his Catholic voter base back, and the inscos get their premium. The only "financial onus" is the cost of the letter to the people telling them it's covered. It's all a big SHAM, from soup to nuts. And we're the nuts.

  23. Charlie: I really don't know what you're thinking, but I'm just astounded by your comment posted on 2/22/12. First, the whole "put an aspirin between your legs" idea of birth control is an old joke from the 1950s (which is probably when the Santorum supporter first heard it). It is DEFINITELY not a serious suggestion; only liberals seem to think it is (and even then, most reasonable liberals realize that it's a joke).

    Second, the idea that if elected president Rick Santorum would make all contraception illegal is just plain idiotic (no offense). The president does not make laws; Congress passes laws, and the president signs them into law before they could go into effect. It's not like Congress would revisit the Comstock laws and prohibit the sale of contraceptives. You really should consider reading the entire Constitution some time (or at least watch the Schoolhouse Rock video "I'm Just a Bill").

    Finally, even though Rick Santorum is currently the Republican front-runner, there certainly is no guarantee that he will be next week. If you have paid any attention to the Republican primaries, there almost has been a "front-runner of the week" competition. Remember Rick Perry? Herman Cain? Newt Gingrich (well, he's still hanging around)? Just because Santorum is the front-runner now does NOT mean that he will be the party's nominee after the Republican National Convention in August. Now, if Santorum is still the front-runner after the Pennsylvania primary (where he was soundly defeated for reelection in 2006), then maybe he can be viewed as a threat to Obama's reelection. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the prospect of actually getting to watch a campaign that might not be settled before I get to vote--and, at the same time, wish the Democrats had opted to challenge Obama rather than just automatically anoint him, because there are quite a few dents in his armor--and even Obama himself has said that he hasn't succeeded as president.

  24. @Lily ? "the liberal democrats are responsible for the moral downfall of this country." Are you serious? Quite an accusation. Modern society perhaps a better answer. Okay now i am getting upset. "God helps those who help themselves". I am just flabbergasted. Nearly speechless trying to find the words and calm down. So that poor person best try to help themselves them perhaps if they are so deserving, God will rain some blessings upon them. Perhaps if God's people would send a blessing their way then that would at least be a blessing inspired by God. Seems to me some of God's people like to decide who deserves and who don't. Pickers and choosers. Love for some do gooder to get to decide my fate. That way of thinking to me would mean that: poor folks are sinners and wealthy folks are the most holy. Holy cow!

  25. Oh dear. I just read through some of the comments, and quite honestly, part of it shocked me. And part of it went right over my head. ;) I'm a special education teacher, so the only "law" I know pretty much only has to do with kidlets in the education system. I am definitely not the one to make an intelligent political statement and back it up with the law. Therefore, I will move on.

    I do not really do politics. However, if anyone is voted into office who attempts to illegalize First of all, I do know enough to know that I doubt that would actually come to pass. I don't think one guy can just think it's a good idea. However, as I said, law and politics are not my forte. What I do know is that there are going to be a *lot* of pityful, hungry, abandoned, neglected children if contraceptives were to ever become illegal in this country.

    I do not know enough about the Catholic process of thought regarding contraceptives. However, I do know that somewhere along the way, people who are that strong in their belief that they do not need contraceptives, have probably figured out some form of birth "regulation" (not to be confused with birth control, I suppose). Else, there would be a whole bunch of Catholic folks with households the size of the Duggar family. And nothing wrong with that, either. For those who can afford them, take care of them, and love that many kids, that's just fabulous.

    But for those who do feel that medical birth control is necessary, it should be available. To the best of my knowledge, a belief that contraceptives are a bad idea are very central to Catholicism. Therefore, those entities, I suppose, shouldn't be forced to provide birth control. EWTN, for example, is based in my hometown. I have many friends who work there...most of them Catholic. And they just know and understand that their insurance doesn't cover contraceptives, and understood that upon seeking employment there.

    People do have to take responsibility for their own decisions. And if you are going to be employed by a church or a church-based organization...well..."when in Rome..."

    Now a couple of folks mentioned abortion. That is an entirely different topic, and one that I never ever discuss. Again, it is very personal. I do not mind saying that I, myself, do not believe in it. I will stand for anything I believe in. However, I also believe that picketing, rioting, etc. at abortion clinics can only serve to hurt those who may have regrets. And for those who do not have regrets, they don't care what rioters have to say. And *most* people in this country are not going to be swayed in their position on the topic of abortion either way. So what's the point? I think a much better use of people's time could come with educating young women *way* before they have to make hard and fast decisions.

    I guess I always go back to the very same place in every argument. Just live and let live. Maybe I'm just too passive. But I hold my beliefs and my rights very dear. And I believe everyone else should have their own beliefs and rights. And their rights end where mind begin, and visa versa. :)

    I'm rambling now. :) Sorry about that.

  26. Angie: Don't be intimidated by people who comment on Charlie's blog. We come from all backgrounds; in my case, I'm a history professor, so I'm more likely to include historical references (and refer to the law). And honestly, I admire special education teachers because like yourself because you deal with challenges every day that I don't see (and, since I do work with student teachers, I'm also somewhat familiar with the laws you refer to).

    Jeannie: Mitt Romney getting dictates from Salt Lake City? Gee, that sounds like concerns when Al Smith ran for president in 1928 and John F. Kennedy in 1960 that we shouldn't elect a Roman Catholic because he held allegiance to the Pope (as if the Pope didn't have better things to than to intervene in our internal affairs). At least that issue hasn't come up again with two Roman Catholics running for the Republican nomination.

    Charlie: Isn't it possible that Obama reversed his decision because he realized that those provisions/requirements would not withstand legal challenges (not even taking into account alienating Catholic voters who traditionally have voted Democratic)? First, forcing Catholic employers to provide coverage contrary to their beliefs violates the 1st amendment (intrusion of the federal government on religious beliefs and practices violates the freedom of religion clause). It would be akin to forcing businesses owned by Jews to be open on holy days to increase the tax revenue. Second, having Catholic employers provide separate coverage for Catholic and non-Catholic employees...if any labor unions were involved in negotiating union contracts with the employers--which is not that unlikely a proposition--there definitely would have been issues with not all union members having the same health care coverage/benefits, just like there would be problems if prescription drug plans covered Viagra and not contraceptives. Just because a health care plan provides benefits doesn't mean all participants use them; for instance, I really have no need to get a prostate exam, but it's covered in my policy.

    And, finally (well, at least for now)...I'm a registered Republican, and I'm not enamored with any of the candidates. In a dream world, I would love for the candidate to be chosen at the convention...and that it would be someone who isn't currently among the candidates.

  27. Roxy:

    Please settle down because your spool is unwinding.

    You are possibly the only one on this blog who totally misunderstood what I was saying when I made the comment about "God helps those who help themselves" remark. I was referring to those people who take a handout who either do not need one or do not bother to try and help themselves when they can. And you certainly must know there are people out there who do take advantage of our welfare system and other government entitlements -those people who do not really need the help that is offered. I have known people like that. Apparently I should have made myself more clear.

    And I am an extremely compassionate person and consistently give to charity to help the unfortunate either by way of money or my time.

    And I stand by what I said 100% with respect to the Democrats being responsible for the moral downfall of our country. If you go back a few blogs I listed some of the things these people stand for, such as:

    1. Contraception for 12 year olds;

    2. Abortions for everyone at anytime during a pregnancy - even up until the last 5 minutes (partial-birth abortion);

    3. Abortions for underage girls without their parents' knowledge or permission (but where I live they need parental permission to get their ears pierced);

    4. Gay lifestyle being taught in schools.

    I am sure there are others. The left wing extremists have great imaginations.

    I do not remember anyone on the blog saying the President was trying to force Catholics to take birth control. Maybe I missed something. What he is doing is trying to get religious institutions to provide birth control through their insurance companies - birth control is against the Catholic faith. The President should not be trying to do this. If he gets his way, then what next?

    Mr. Santorum believes birth control is bad for women, however he will get nowhere trying to ban it. The public and Congress will not let this happen.

    As far as women keeping their legs shut maybe we should try teaching more about personal responsibility and the consequences of ones actions. After all, abstinence is the 100% guarantee you will not get pregnant.

    I only know of one time where a baby was born without the involvement of sex (or science). It happened a long long time ago in a place called Bethlehem and if anyone knows of it happening again, please let me know immediately because I would not want to miss it this time.

    Take care everyone.

  28. As far as teaching responsibility and consequences for actions, I am all for that, but contraception is not just for sexually-active teenagers. As a wife, in a long-term, committed relationship, I don't want to have a baby every 9 months. If I chose to keep my legs shut, I would have a very unhappy husband—if I had a husband at all. Nevertheless, if that is what one prescribes to for religious or other reasons, I say to each their own!

    Karen: Yes! And Romney being ruled by Salt Lake does sound familiar. It has been over 50 years—it seems we would have learned something by now!

    Jo: And you’re right in that the insurance companies will not bear any ‘financial onus’, but that is because there is no financial onus to bear. The premium paid by the Catholic Church will not be affected because the cost to insurance companies to provide this benefit is minimal or perhaps even non-existent when factoring in savings. So, in the end, I do feel it is fair to all involved and does not infringe on religious freedom.

    Lilly: As far as Roxy misunderstanding, I completely accept your explanation as to your personal intent. However, the GOP treat the poor in this country as second-class citizens. I am sure that is why she was so quick to jump to that conclusion. Someone (I don’t remember who) implied above that the Democrats basically buy votes through the programs they offer. Although in some cases votes may be cast for that very reason, I can assure you that if I were among the poor, with or without government programs, I could not vote for the GOP simply because of their elitist attitudes. Although I am careful to say that I know that all Republicans do not share that attitude, I nevertheless feel that the party as a whole is definitely entrenched with it. In fact, even as one far above the poverty level, it is probably the number one reason that I cannot prescribe to the Republican ideology. I believe that morality extends much further than just those things you listed and I believe the GOP possesses their share of guilt as well.

    All: Speaking of misunderstanding, it appears to me that perhaps Charlie was misunderstood in some of his above statements. (Charlie, you can correct me if I am wrong!) I think he is smart enough to realize that if Santorum were elected we would not convert to a Theocracy. I inferred that Charlie felt that if Santorum COULD, he would govern this nation as if it was a Theocracy and I agree with Charlie. Obviously, Santorum cannot do that considering that he is subject to a Congress (thank goodness). I do believe, especially after listening to the debate last night, that if Santorum could he would outlaw contraception. I do have to correct Charlie on one statement, however, he said, “That flexibility in matters of faith is NEVER seen flowing in the opposite direction.” I might have overlooked it if ‘never’ was not in upper-case, but I, for one, have definitely seen it flowing in the opposite direction. Actually, it has been a challenge for me because I know what is in my heart in regards to faith, but when I point out the problems that I see with religion in politics, I am afraid that I sound anti-religious—I am not. I just feel that in these, and many other matters, it is important to look at both sides. This was a dominant topic of conversation around our dinner table and even when my children presented an argument that I agreed with, I required them to tell me the other side and recognize any validity in the opposing argument!

  29. mind on your blogspot. Though a lot more people were able to say what I really couldn't say. You lean on the democrate side. And I have to say, it is the democrates that have lead this country to ruins. People aren't giving themselves to God, to Jesus Christ. I am not saying there are not Christian, godly people who've voted democrate, and i have known and have friends who vote democrate. But that doesn't mean the Democrate party is right. And yes the Republican party has made a lot of mistakes. I do think there needs to be birth control for teen ages. There are too many teen pregnacies. I am not saying 18 year olds have to rely on the rule, but we need to get the teenages, rear them the right directions. I really think this country needs to turn them selves toward God. We don't have long left in this world, the end of the ages are approaching very fast, I am not saying I know the time it all will happen, but read Revelations in the Bible, in the New Testament, it is what will be. I don't like a lot of what's on t.v., especially soap operas, these programs can lead people done the wrong track, a lot of immorality comes from soap operas, and so much for the entertainment, programs that ought not to be on t.v., and movies that well ought to be set on fire! I am sorry for bring this all up, but I am getting ignored at what America has become, it is spiraling down the wrong directions. We need to reach by to the goal of Christian. And I will tell you Christian isn't a crutch, it is not a religion, it is a Relationship with Jesus Christ. Anyway, I would love to see Republicans and Democrates work things out, and that Democrates cooperate! Don't keep blaming republicans! And I don't think God would vote! He's left the dirty job up to us the people he created! And so many have just made an aweful mess. I really think you are a nice guy Charles, and I enjoy seeing you on t.v., though I hate the soap operas! That is a wrong choice that you are making to do them again.. Try the suggestions below or type a new query above.
    16 hours ago · Like

  30. Jeannie:

    As far as contraception goes, yes I know it is not only for teenage girls. I also know that most Catholics use it - the percentage is like 95% or something. My husband did not want me to use it (because of side effects) and I never have used it. Instead I got a different kind of "side effect" - our daughter. The Catholic religion is very hard to follow. I asked my priest about birth control just before getting married and he asked me what I thought the bigger sin was: Taking birth control or having a bunch of children that we could not feed, clothe, etc.

    Also, I can see how you got the impression I support the Republican Party. Believe me, I do not. I am a registered Independent. For me, the Democratic Party is too liberal on some very serious issues and the Republican Party is pretty much how you described it - mainly for the rich and they can be quite smug and uncaring for the downtrodden. Of course, that does not mean all people belonging to these two parties are as I described - there are exceptions. So where does my vote go? Right now I just do not know.

    Well, here is a plan. If one feels that they HAVE to vote no matter what because it is their duty as an American then vote for the better looking candidate (which in my opinion is Mitt Romney). You have to look at the guy for 4 years so you might as well get SOMETHING out of it.

    And to Wonders and Insights: I feel some of your pain.

  31. @Lily: Appreciate your person stands and they are not bad. Sorry sometimes i get defensive. Not trying to imply you are not a good person by any means. Truth be known, happy to have more only connect bloggers. Is wonderful that you give to charity. Must see things in a different light. Like your reasons you stated for the moral downfalls.

    1) The reasons the age is lowered down to 12 is because unfortunately 12 year old are having sex. My cousin got pregnant at 13 by a 15 yr old. Isn't that we (liberals) are trying to ENCOURAGE the kids to start earlier. Is just what is going on. But i agree with trying to encourage them to wait or abstain.
    And as @wonders & Insights stated tv and movies are not helping matters. Parental Supervision also a factor (especially at that age).

    2) Don't really know any folks personally who actually agree with late term abortion but looked up the numbers and they are only 1% of all abortions. Plus you'd maybe be happy to know that in 2011 many states passed 92 abortion restrictions more than double in any year (in the past 30yrs). Also, what about that late term abortion dr that was murdered. I think that is pretty sad too as well as poor those third trimester babies who maybe could have gone to some childless couple?

    3) As far as underage girls go: Of course any loving parent would want their daughter to come to them and they could make the right decision so you could help and protect her and be there for her to go through such a traumatic experience. But what about the other girls who are in a not so good home situation. Possibly afraid of the shame, humiliation, and tempted to hide the pregnancy. Foster care, runaway shelter, or abusive home etc. Don't you think if a girl felt she couldn't come to a parent with this there may be some problem there? Is she not still a woman (well some day soon) and should she not be treated with the same rights as a grown one?

    4) As far as teaching gay lifestyles in school. Is not teaching kids what is like to have a gay lifestyle of course; is about promoting tolerance for gays. So someone don't beat the crap out of them when the bell rings. Let's face it gays have been around since the Roman Empire and unfortunately not seeming to be leaving any time soon. (Don't most of us wish) Is kinda nasty to me too. But i believe live and let live.

    @Jeannie thank you for that defensive. I am rather sensitive because (thinking is no mystery) i am a second class citizen or perhaps third class on a cruise ship. lol I have actually been homeless 5 times and currently work as a janitor. So feel free to ask me anything regarding.

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. I left a comment yesterday I am not sure if you received it or if decided not to post it. I asked you why on each blog Karen has to explain the way our government functions? You made a comment that Rick Santorum is going to make all the people of the US give up birth control. Karen explained that both houses would have to agree to that to make it law and you know that will never happen. Again just another scare tactic by liberals to try to make the Republican party look bad.
    I agree with everything Lillie said about how our moral decline and liberals. I think we need to go back to the days when women and men learned about self control. Oh and by the way a husband can learn how to go without sex every month and if he can't then not sure what love is about. Really you believe your husband would leave you if you could not have sex with him every week.
    Mr Obama also should keep his nose out of religion in this country because it is not his place to. Noticed how fast he changed his mind about the birth control issue when there was an outcry from the Catholic community. Also wanted to let those know who think that Catholics vote Democratic. Obama only received 46 percent of the white Catholic vote due to the abortion issue and planned parenthood. Too bad he still became our president. Oh well. I pray every day to see a change in the morality in this country. I hope someday that will happen till then I will keep praying. Everyone has had some very good comment and I learn a a lot every time a blog is posted. God Bless all of you.

  34. Last I knew, skipping sex one week out of the month is not a very great form of birth control. It may work for some women, but it has failed for many more. We have been married for almost 29 years and I can tell you that my husband is one of the best men to ever walk this planet (and I mean ever). We have four children, the youngest of which will turn 19 in two weeks. You have no idea (and I’m not going to tell you) what we have been through during those 19 years—including challenges with my physical, mental, and emotional well being. We definitely know what love is about. But, that is the problem. Outsiders always feel that they can make better decisions for a person and their family than that person can make for herself. I am grateful that I do not have to answer to my government, Rick Santorum, anyone on this blog, the Catholic Church, or even my church for that matter. I will answer to God and only God. I understand that there are some issues for which we should fight, but why oh why is there so much personal judgment in this nation? Most people are simply doing the best they know how under their personal, individual circumstances.

  35. Jeannie,
    I never implied that your husband didn't love you. Don't remember saying that. You said the remark about your husband that if you kept your legs shut you would not have a very happy husband, if you had a husband at all. I didn't say your husband is a bad person or even you for that matter. What I am saying is maybe abstaining every month may work for some who choose that. It that is the case I can't imagine their husband will leave them because they choose to abstain. Also not that I have to give a class on intimacy but you can still hold each and enjoy each others company without having sex. But if I offended I did not mean to I was just replying to your remark I was not implying your relationship is not a loving relationship. Jeez put the claws away. I am not judging anyone. Everyone chooses to do what they do when it comes to birth control but no one should tell others that they have to use birth control either when it its against what they believe in.
    Oh and I just wanted to let those know who say the GOP treat their poor as second hand citizens. JohnStossel did a show a few years back about what party actually gives more to the poor. Guess what after doing research and I believe John Stossel is pretty reliable, it was the conservatives who gave more to the poor. Now who is treating whom as second class citizens. Its funny what the truth really can be.

  36. Oh by the way for John Stossels research type in John Stossel Who gives and who doesn't.If you type that in your url it will appear. You will be quite surprised at the answer to that question. It was quite eye opening.

  37. I beg to differ, Diane. I did not have my claws out--I was de-clawed by court order after my last altercation!

  38. Diane: Thank you for supporting my comments on the blog. Over the years, I have found that Charlie enjoys throwing stuff out for debate/discussion and seldom comes back to join in the conversation, especially if we have the audacity to prove him wrong (and my constant reminders for him to check the Constitution before asserting that future presidents can circumvent the process demonstrate that either he doesn’t read what we have to say, or else he does it to see if I will once again tell him why he is wrong). I know that I’m not the only person who he usually ignores on the blog, and we’ve sort of gotten used to it (even if we sometimes wonder about the purpose of participating in the blog other than to converse amongst ourselves). On the bright side, when I grade exams and see how little my students pay attention to what I teach (or what is in the assigned readings), at least I know that there is someone out there with a prestigious college degree who ignores what I say as much as they do.

  39. Moving on from "the claws" and keeping legs closed. Is easy to get stuck on that one. lol Charlie threw us for a loop there. Whether love is involved or not when it comes to sex: we all not that rhythm method of contraception is not very effective. Exhibit A = my youngest. We are not here to discuss how much we love our spouses. Although that is admiral. And as long as some of you guys have been married they'd must be much LOVE involved. I have only been married for 2 short spells and seems very difficult thus far. All i can say for certain is that we have gone through alot together.

    As far for WHOM is on the side of the poor. Wasn't it back last year certain Republicans wanting to CUT Social Security and Medicaid? "Yeah and lets get started our cutbacks with aid to the poor." Our most vulnerable citizens right off the bat. What jerk offs! And was it not President Obama who said "let's not" and only as a LAST resort. Ain't any wonder which side i am residing on. Open and shut case to me. Say what you will. That was difficult to watch.

  40. @Karen: That was pretty harsh!

  41. I just wanted to tell you Roxy. I live in Illinois. Governor Quinn is closing our local mental health facility and cutting money from Medicaid. Guess what he is a Democrat. Wanna know why? Because our state is broke. We have no more money to give. Since so much money has been given to the poor(which we all know some of these people are taking advantage of the system) in this state there is no more money. So, what is the answer. Of course, raise our taxes. Illinois has one of the highest taxes on gas in the country. Well lets see lets raise our property taxes and then our state taxes and our local taxes. So we are freaking taxed to death. When does it end? Someone please tell me. Now our country is in so much debt we don't know how to get out. What now? We are gonna have to start cutting something. If anyone has any suggestions, the American people would like to know. So before we start blaming either party for cutting programs maybe we need to look at the big picture. The picture is if we don't do something soon what is to become of the USA. President Obama needs to stop worrying about what the Catholics are doing and start worrying about the future of this country.

  42. I said a lot in my last two post on this blog. I was the first on the blog to say what I wanted to say, then the next time I was about the 27th. Those were days ago now, and I just want to add what was on my mind recently since the last two times.
    I think if people are of age and when I say of age, like maybe 18 - 19+ there doesn't need to be a restriction on them having children, or no children. The church, rather a denominational church or a nondenominational church as well as the government really have no right on saying that women need birth control or not, it isn't up to churches or the government.-- I am one though that if someone wants more then a dozen kids, then that is way too much. Don't get me wrong I love large families, but shouldn't there be a point when there is so many kids people need to rethink of what their doing and the importance of things. Look at the people who are not able to even have children and they would love a few kids, wouldn't it be wonderful if those who can't have any could?
    Marriage, or those who are just live in partners, it really ought not to always be about sex, it also ought to be about companionship/friends, getting along and enjoying each other and the family they have together.
    And why does the man have to always have sex on their minds, or in many cases the woman, Marriage is important, and many other things in marriage is as important.
    So whoever goes to the catholic church they don't have to listen to the priest when they want you to take the pill or whatever. The priest, clergymen don't have the say. I was not raised in the catholic church, I was raised in a Christian church, a Baptist type church, now I attend a non-denominational one, but so close to the Baptist style. Anyway there has been no rule to rather the church going people had to listen to the church, preachers, about when they ought to or not have children, never was told to or not to take the pill. God loves children, and I don't think God minds if someone has 20 children or 1 child. I just think teenage girls who are not of age ought to abstain from intercourse, and not having kids. When they are of age then they can do that or not. This has been on my mind the last day or so.

  43. Roxy:
    I feel for you, really. I have never been homeless or even had to worry about it. A lot of us seem to take that for granted. And no one here thinks you are a second or third class citizen. So do not say that!

    I am so glad you are back! I was wondering what happened to you. Your first post about husbands going without sex . . . had me laughing. Only because I thought about the looks on the faces of some of the bloggers when they read it. I believe that if two people are spiritually connected enough that they can follow the "natural family planning" method the Catholic Church supports. But you have to do a lot of counting and I was never very good at math.

    All I can say is with a husband like that you are truly blessed but it sounds like you already know that.

    I have to agree with Karen here on her last post. There are times when I have seriously thought our blog author does not bother to read our posts. Now I am wondering if he reads some of his own blogs. Yes, he does ignore those of us who prove him to be wrong - that is obvious. It is my belief that anyone who is a SERIOUS threat to his way of thinking he totally ignores and instead plays it "safe" by simply answering mainly those he does not see as a REAL threat. Also, I think he uses ignoring us "rebels" as a punishment. (I am used to it). Now, that probably seems very harsh but it appears to be true. It certainly is not right and is downright uncool. But to post a blog for your FANS and then not participate, answer or explain yourself is not the mannerism of someone who really cares about what is going on. Example, (and I hate to bring up old wounds) but when I called our blog author out for his seemingly meanspirited act of posting that awful gossip of an article about the Pope, you must have noticed he did not once give any explanation or defense whatsoever. That is the action of someone who may be a tad bit arrogant. Certainly not the guy that some of you describe, that is for sure.

    So why do I bother to continue blogging here? Well, the above has something to do with it. Someone has to defend things like that which come up on this blog. So I guess I am kind of like a "monitor." Also, I like the rest of the company here.

    Take care.

  44. @Lily: Is all good. Have not been homeless now since two years ago. Not wanting to be a whiner, just want people to understand the viewpoints. Circumstances play an important part in a persons life. If a person has good circumstances they have a better shot at making it is all. Being homeless really makes you appreciate everything especially the necessities. lol But you know those: experiences the friendships, and relationships that i had during (even though some were hard or bad) were still learning experiences. And blessings and possessions are actually in the eye of the beholder. All we really need is decent shelter, food, bath, clean clothes some happiness good friends etc. I was kinda content knowing that my family photos and most valuable possessions were in a storage shed and one day i would see them again. All was not lost. Also grateful to be an American: food stamps and medical care still available to me and my family on the streets it gave me a security net. Knew we wouldn't starve. Made me feel like a decent parent still knowing i could still provide basic care. People i went to high school with helped me too and got together to help. Bought Christmas gifts for my kids. Felt like people cared ya know. People told me i was a good person after they got to know me. Is was a bad crime area we was forced to stay. Cheapest ya know. Made me feel good about myself for them to notice. They still come to talk with me if when i bump into them. If i go and visit they welcome me with open arms and smiles. They ask me how we are doing now.

    PS Charlie already explained in the past why he couldn't answer us. How he couldn't get on and argue or talk with everyone.

  45. Roxy:

    I understand now why you were so upset with my earlier post about God helping those who help themselves and why you took it the way you did. I am sorry about not being clearer on that to begin with. It is a good thing to be able to follow-up on these posts. And trust me, you have earned your right to whine if you want to! I really admire your strength.

    And I am sorry, but I have to stick by what I said about our blog author. He has the advantage of chosing WHAT and WHO he wants to address. When he is wrong he should say so. Three words "I was wrong." Very quick to type. Ignoring us is rude and the "I do not have enough time" excuse is a cop out. There are not THAT many people on this blog for goodness sake. (I wonder why?)

    Maybe because I watch Bill O'Reilly I am spoiled and expect more from someone when discussing or debating an issue.

    Good night everyone and God Bless.

  46. Alright, much against my better judgement, I will make this response. But don't count on too many direct responses as I will go nuts trying to keep up with you all. First: I DO read all these posts and I do have opinions on most of what you all write. Secondly: I cannot respond to anyone who takes the position that they have "proved me wrong" about ANYTHING when all they have actually done is repeat te same old tired rhetoric like " it's proven to be true because the Bible/ my professor/ Bill O'Reilly/ Santa Claus says so!" Third: EVERYONE here, including me, is stating their own opinion and NEVER claiming any opinion as fact. That does not mean that there are no such things as facts. There are empirical proofs for much of what we experience in life: the sun rises each day, fire is hot, ice is cold, you drive a car into a wall at 100 m.p.h. - you will probably die. Anything else, whether you believe it with every fibre of your being or not, is just that ...a belief! And, as a belief, there is no distinction between a belief in a supreme being, Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. In all these matters, FAITH is what counts and FAITH exists ONLY because it is not a FACT. Fourth: Rick Santorum, who is now the front-runner in the Republican Universe, does not believe in public schools, and has now announced that an American's desire to go to college is just some elitist pipe-dream. He told the working man of Detroit that, unlike The President and Romney, he doesn't believe in the notion of going to college and would rather see the blue collar working man have no further ambition for their children but that they should follow in his footsteps. He also believes that the government has NO place in our lives except where he thinks we need to be "guided" down the "right" moral path...i.e. HIS. ...and Fifth: you are right. I Post these blogs specifically to get you all thinking and discussing your thoughts on a variety of challenging subjects; NOT to engage in one-on-one conversations with anyone. Please feel free to respond, not respond, start your own blog, vote Republican/ Democrat/ Independent/ Green/ Crazy Party from Mars, or just get out of the house and go for a nice long walk!!

  47. And perhaps against my better judgment, I have two words--Yay, Charlie!

  48. Charlie, I had to sit on my hands all day to stop myself from replying, because my "Charlie Protective Mode" kicked in(see, I hang out with Liane too much..LOL). I'm so glad I did, because my shade of lipstick would have looked really bad on the back of your shorts. I know that in the past, you HAVE participated more in the blogs...but I assume you have your own reasons for not doing that as much, whether it's busy-ness, not feeling led to respond, or just enjoying the "Jello Wrestling for Intellectuals". ;)

    I will admit...this election cycle is going to be tough for me. I'm a "voter without a home", and have significant issues with every candidate. I'm expecting Romney to win the nomination, and I assume I'll vote for him because he more closely matches my ideology.
    I was really excited to see Rick Santorum enter the race, and I have been VERY disappointed in him. I don't believe he would ever be able to enact his "moral police" ideas, but I really think he has crossed a line and doesn't seem to have a filter for what might be taken out of context. Even if I agree with him for my own personal behavior, he is not making sense and is feeding the "those Christians want to run my life" monster. That said, I also think that Obama/Democrats are feeding the "government intrusion and control" beast. I suspect I'm not the only one in the US who's looking at both and thinking "How has it come to this?".
    I do think though, that the media is right now taking every snippet and sound byte out of Santorum's mouth and twisting it to match an agenda. The right does the same thing with Obama. Deep down, I believe they are ALL THE SAME, controlled by the same puppeteers who win either way. God help us all.

  49. Charlie: Thank you for joining in the conversation (and thank you for reading our comments). I apologize if my response to Diane’s comment offended you, but you do have to understand our frustration when we ask you questions (or ask for elaboration on your views) and you do not respond. And, by the way, this history professor uses facts and official government documents like the U.S. Constitution to support her opinions; I do not just throw opinions on the blog (or express them in class) without evidence to support my argument (and for anyone not familiar with my profession—historians are notorious for citing their sources to document the origins of their interpretations of the past). Be thankful I haven’t figured out how to include footnotes in my comments (although I have done that on my own blog).

    Now, about Rick Santorum…yes, he is the current “flavor of the week” for the Republican Party. And yes, if he wins the primaries in Michigan and Ohio in the next couple of weeks, he possibly can become an unstoppable force. At the same time, you have to remember that he can express views, but again, he can’t force anything upon the American public without Congressional approval. He can’t eliminate public education; he can’t regulate morality; he can’t force the people to put ashes on their foreheads the day after Fastnacht Day (sorry, couldn’t help throwing an ethnic celebration into the mix). And yes, if Santorum is elected—which is highly doubtful, given that the current polls have Obama defeating him in a national election—it could include a public groundswell that would lead to Republicans taking control of both houses of Congress. But, at the same time, they probably would not gain the magic 60 majority in the Senate, and we would be back to the gridlock we have now in getting legislation passed (by the way, in case anyone is interested, the magic 60 number dates back to Democrats obstructing Republican activity in the Senate during the Bush administration; it’s not something the Republicans developed in opposition to Obama).

    And honestly, some of what Santorum says about public education does have merit (whether you want to believe it or not). I see the products of public education (and home schooling) in my classes, and I visit public schools to observe student teachers. The quality of public education has declined dramatically since I was in high school during the Ford and Carter administrations; for instance, I have seen students in a 4th year Spanish class being taught what I learned in 1st and 2nd year Spanish in the early 1970s. I read exams and research papers written by students who cannot compose a coherent thought and who whine when I deduct points for incorrect answers. The public school system, in general, is one that does not effectively prepare students for higher education (actually, it doesn’t prepare them for the real world), and instead it has become a system in which students are rewarded for merely showing up and do not have the basic skills in order to succeed in college (skills like how to write a research paper, how to read a book, how to write an essay or answer the questions on an essay exam, or, in some cases, how to write a grammatically correct sentence). There are exceptions, and it always is a pleasure to work with students who want to learn and whose progress you can see from when they enter the university as freshmen and when they march across the stage at commencement. More often, unfortunately, I deal with students who complain because I expect them to read, write, and think, and they withdraw from my courses because of my unreasonable academic expectations (by the way, I do address this in my own blog…and I started my own blog because of how much I enjoy participating in yours and wanted a place to express my thoughts, even if I don’t get the volume of comments you do).

  50. Mr. Shaughnessy -
    I've given up arguing politics for Lent....that is all...carry on.

    Have a great weekend!!!
    Trish Misiura

  51. Charlie your the man! "Santa Claus says so" & "Crazy party from Mars"! Isn't any wonder i hang around here for the mere entertainment value. Almost as good as "the Nanny"! Not quite. Thought i sensed a tremor coming in the force.

    @Joann Well said: so agree about them being puppets and God help us all. Well then: reckon am voting for Ross Perot!

  52. I haven't read all of the comments on here, so please forgive me if I stray...I do have major concerns with the religious Republican candidates (and I am a registered Republican). I don't like anyone who is running.
    To get where they are, they all have something wrong with them at this point (demo or repub). But at the moment I have bigger concerns, like what the banks are doing to us. They are making the reliable people who pay their bills every month pay more to make up for the ones who default...until they end up defaulting too...that is how they show their loyalty to their good customers. I am more concerned about the banks ruining the country than a president, because it seems like they have more control of our fate. The rich people who might have a voice in this aren't really affected...they can afford to pay crazy interest rates, or afford to pay for the people who can't pay off their loans...but then they have good credit so they aren't the ones stuck. I had excellent credit until no one could pay their loans because the banks loaned them too much money. But people just seem to think that it is okay what the banks are doing because they get away with it,...and they are used to it.
    Another problem is the price of gas...why is it really so high?? Is there a good reason? No, really, I mean a GOOD reason? It seems like the banks and the oil companies have us by the balls more than a president...I mean, come on, who really runs the country?

  53. There are a lot of people in this country that have no desire or no aspiration to go to college, because they have a different set of skills and desires and dreams that don’t include college,” said Santorum. “And to sort of lay out there that somehow this is — this is — should be everybody’s goal, I think, devalues the tremendous work that people who, frankly, don’t go to college and don’t want to go to college because they have a lot of other talents and skills that, frankly, college, you know, four-year colleges may not be able to assist them. ”
    That was Rick Santorum's real words. As usual the liberals twist and turn to make him look bad. I don't know if everyone knew this but Steve Job's never even finished college. Soooo does that make him a bad person or an uneducated person due to his lack of finishing college. Hmmmm. There are many people who are not scholars and not rocket scientists but still can have a good living in this country. Also who says that if a person doesn't go to college that he or she is not a happy or prosperous person.I have met many people in many walks of life working in healthcare and have found that the least educated have been some of the kindest people I have met.
    As far as info we place on this blog not being fact that is just not true. I stated about what is going on in the state of Illinois as a fact. You can look for yourself or you can believe what we say. If you would prefer for us to start putting our facts from web sites etc. we can.
    Also what I said about charity in our country was researched and John Stossel actually did show specifically about this subject.

    I am slightly offended at the fact that you state that you are never wrong when it has been quite clearly stated to you that no President can put anything into law without the houses approval. You are wrong about this. You specifically stated that Rick Santorum would take away individuals rights to birth control. You know that is not true and just another liberal scare tactic to make him look bad to the people. I just don't understand every time this comes up YOU reply with the same old rhetoric.
    Sorry also but I don't want the government involved in my life and my rights to my freedom. There is too much government now and that is why we are in the mess we are in now. Government should not tell me what birth control I can choose, if I have health insurance or not, or any Constitutional right that was given to us from our founding fathers. Its when government steps on those rights that we as the people of the USA need to remind the government to back off.

  54. To answer a question abou the rising price of gas that was asked earlier. As I understand it, it is the fault of neither the President nor the oil companies, though the pundits will try to spin it to their cause. The real culprits are the traders who, just like any trader buying "futures" in any commodity against future rising prices actually pushes the price higher. Traders in oil futures, concerned about the Gulf of Hormuz, Syria, Iranian bombs and Israeli response, are driving the price of oil up and up.

  55. Seriously speaking, we do also talk about important topics here too. Enjoy learning from this blog and from the comments. Didn't mean to sound like that i only like only connect blog for the funny and arguments.
    @Diane: Have to admit you raise a valid point with that what are we to do comment to me. Where do we get the money from? Something has to give. Sorry for your cuts there.
    @Lily: Thanks for the kind words of admiration.

  56. Charlie--Thank you! From what I've heard, part of the problem with higher gas prices also could relate to the U.S. exporting oil instead of using/refining it here in the states, but I'm not 100% certain of that (let's just say I wouldn't stake my life on the validity of the source for that information). I know that the U.S. will soon have an abundance of natural gas once the Marcellus Shale pipelines are completed, then the oil and gas companies can start drilling for the oil reserves beneath there that reportedly are even larger than those in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, I can look out my office window and see the changing landscape as the pipelines are laid (although it would be nice if the industry was regulated by the state government and paid its fair share in taxes, but that's another story).

  57. I agree Charlie, and along with what Cindy G said, confirms my belief that we are all being played by a bunch of very greedy puppeteers. They control our money,determine policy(thru the use of their money), manipulate currency, etc. And I don't believe it's one side...they are controlling BOTH sides, and pretending there are 2 sides. We fight amongst ourselves over ideology, which distracts us from what's really going on.
    I was in college during Jimmy Carter's administration when we had our last oil issues/Middle East crisis. The only explanation for why we are still using those resources is that big money has a vested interest in the game. I understand that we need oil to run machinery in factories, etc....but we could have switched ALL homes to solar since then. And I'm guilty..we haven't put solar panels on our home either. When these crises happen, we all talk about alternative energy,etc...then go right back to our normal lives.

  58. "Fifth: you are right. I Post these blogs specifically to get you all thinking and discussing your thoughts on a variety of challenging subjects; NOT to engage in one-on-one conversations with anyone. Please feel free to respond, not respond, start your own blog, vote Republican/ Democrat/ Independent/ Green/ Crazy Party from Mars, or just get out of the house and go for a nice long walk!!"

    I like that. That is what I figured. :) I love it when people put things out there to make me think about where I stand/don't stand. I have a friend who will believe *anything* that anyone with a degree tells her. And it absolutely blows my mind. My beliefs are constant. However, opposing view points change me in that it makes me become open minded and understanding. I also have the ability to step back and say, "Oh, okay. I do see where you are coming from." And that is important. I went to a private Baptist university for my undergrad, and the most important thing I can say about that school is that we took classes specifically geared toward exploring and learning about other religions, cultures, etc. This is probably the most valuable thing I learned there because we had guest speakers and assignments that took us out of our "comfort zone" and into someone else's world. And as a result I have never once again taken the stance of "you are wrong and I am right." I like to think I never did that, but I am sure I have. Being open minded is probably one of the things about my personality of which I am most proud. A little understanding and compassion can go a long way. It doesn't mean that a healthy debate isn't a wonderful thing, and we shouldn't stand for what we believe in. But it is a very freeing thing to be able to put ourselves in someone else's shoes. Gosh, I'm from the south. Not a whole lot of cultural/religious diversity here. You just have to branch out and explore the lives of other folks in other places.

    For what it's worth, I enjoy reading your blogs. I didn't comment for a long time, but I really enjoy what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to share. :)

  59. I have been thinking about joining that'Crazy Party from Mars'. Can anyone direct me on where to find the party's platform? And, are its members legal or illegal aliens? Either way, I bet they don't have a chapter in Arizona!

  60. Hello Charlie!I´ve restrained from commenting until now, but I have to,as some of the comments here ,(obviously from new bloggers) were quite rude regarding yourself, and I can understand your first comment and saw some anger on your part.In the past we have had many a controversy in your blogs but most time comments have been on the civil side& I hope we get back to that again.Also ( for me) there is too much religious mentioning which in my opinion is a personal thing also.THis is why for instance many non Americans have problems understanding this mentallity.
    Now a couple of my opinions as a non American
    The original topic of this blog seems to have lost it´s thread by now, but I shall try and answer. First re contraception , I think that is a very personal matter so one should pay for it and not an employer or whatever and I have never heard of Health Insurance paying either unless because of illness or under age girls.As for the young girls getting pregnant I think that is part of the responsibillity of the education system to give sexual education at an early age. Here it´s done in year three or four as part of anatomy and physiology subjects and then it´s the parent´s job to guide these youngsters.@karen I must agree with you re the US educational system ,is not the best and lots of schools in fact are being closed because of missing funds. This is where the equal right of education fails , as those that can afford it send their kids to private schools.Now to Santorum from my view he seems to be out of touch with reallity . No person in their right mind would suggest that education was a waste, and the fact that he made those comments in Detroit (which I recently visited)shows what ignorance is in him. Especially Detroit which is so run down and sad to drive/walk through comments like these are unfounded. It is here where most needed, where schools are being closed down.The Universities are looking for students because enrollments are down and so on.
    Now to the gasoline prices , of course it´s few businesses and the stockmarket which puts the prices up, but no Government or politicians will go against these companies as the politicians get funds from them.The US is very slow in getting alternative energy as the investments are big at first , and if no profits then no alternative energy. I was shocked to hear that Obama has approved building new Nuclear Power Plants!As for this Shale gas , few people actually realise how THAt will disturb the enviroment eventually
    I personally think the final "round" will be between Obama and Romney which will be a difficult choice for some not because one is a Democrat and the other a Republican but because one is Black and the other is a Mormon !So in the end the one that can convince most will win.The sad thing once elected none seldom keep their promises no matter for what party they are. Amen!

  61. Well, Charlie, I was listening to some of Santorum’s statements regarding college and I also found them to be disturbing. He also said that colleges were “indoctrination mills that cause students to loose their faith.” In addition, he called Obama a ‘snob’. That’s right a snob. Why? Because “President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob. I understand why he wants you to go to college, he wants to remake you in his image.” Yes, he wants to remake you into someone who is successful, who can support his/her family, who makes more money than one who just has a high school diploma, someone who is less likely to be unemployed, someone who can help our nation by filling the gap in math/science needs, someone who could possibly even be President of the United States someday. And, for the record, President Obama never had a dream that every child could go to college, but he did have one that every child who ever wants to attend college will be able. In addition, he hoped to encourage more children to have that very dream. Obama also understood that some would choose to go to a trade school or have some other type of training. He just wants every child to have the ability to be prepared. Wow! He sure sounds like a snob to me!

  62. Liane: Thank you for your insightful comments from across the pond. I joke that it seems like my university (and many others) admits students if they have a pulse and the means to pay for college (often through loans), and it does become a challenge educating underprepared students. We need more student support services than ever before, and increasingly more students have accommodations because of physical, mental, and/or emotional problems--and these services are cut when funding for higher education decreases, and our class sizes get larger in order to balance budgets (which further affects our ability to help those students who need it). It's the main reason why I switched to take-home exams, to relieve test anxiety and help the students succeed (because they wouldn't have to recall information, but they could synthesize and analyze it). Yet, as you've seen when reading my blog, even permitting the students to use their books, class notes, etc., doesn't always lead to evidence that the students truly understand the material (example: one of my students wrote on her exam that the guest voice when I spoke about immigration in the late 19th/20th century is a “neutralized” citizen).

    About Marcellus shale...yes, there are quite a few concerns about the environment. One of the reasons why I liked this area when I moved here in 1998 was the fact that I didn't have to deal with the effects of gas and petrochemical fumes like I had in Houston (both my mother and I are allergic)...and, well, the allergies are coming back because of the natural gas drilling. Plus, I only drink bottled water, because the drinking water here isn't safe (and, in some places, actually is flammable if you put a flame at the spigot), and there are concerns about the quality of dairy products in the area (most of the drilling is occurring in rural areas with dairy farms). One of the local communities has periodic boil water advisories because even the municipal water has been affected by fracking. Yet, at the same time, our state governor refuses to support any legislation that will regulate or tax the natural gas industry (not even to raise the amount of fines for non-compliance with weight limits on the local roads) while at the same time cutting funding for higher education 20-30% because of a lack of revenue. The rationale: job creation. But these jobs are being held by workers who come from out-of-state and who reside in hotel rooms because of a housing shortage (and thus do not contribute to the tax base). These workers will be gone in a few years after the pipelines are finished, leaving behind a destroyed environment and ruined local economy (and, because they arrived after the 2010 census was taken and will be gone before the 2020 census, they won’t even be counted as residents of the county/state for representation in Congress). Guess which companies made sizable campaign contributions when he ran for governor?

    Back to the original purpose of the blog...again, I honestly don't care what a presidential candidate's religious beliefs are, as long as he doesn't foist them upon me. We know Mitt Romney is LDS, but it's not like he's going to make everyone have multiple wives (sorry, that's 19th century) or force everyone to read the Book of Mormon in public schools. In the case of Rick Santorum, I have the suspicion that IS the case, that he is going to try to force his morals upon me, so I can't see myself supporting him. Not that I couldn't support a Roman Catholic, but I just don't think religion and politics should mix, and it’s clear they do for him (unlike Newt Gingrich, who is also Catholic). I would even vote for a Druid if I thought he or she was the best candidate for the job (the environmentalists would love that candidate). I’m a firm believer in the separation of church and state (and in freedom of religion, which, contrary to popular belief, is not the same thing).

  63. This comment has been removed by the author.

  64. Roxana, that is a great example of why I am willing to pay higher taxes if necessary. I realize, though, that I can afford it, while some cannot; I certainly do not want there to be an undue burden on those who cannot. I guess I too can understand why some might feel they are being forced to provide such care. I feel, however, the same way about this country as you do. I feel that my success is at least in part due to the country in which I just happened to be born—what a great blessing. I also know that some are simply of the opinion that there is a more efficient way to provide such care other than through the government. Although that may or may not be true, I never want to see one like you fall through the cracks. If we err, I would rather err on the side of compassion. It makes me feel good to see the gratitude that you feel for your country.

  65. I think i'll go for that longe walk jmk here!

  66. Where to start...huge sigh. Hi Charlie :) Let me see if I can get this done before I have to get to class. I am going to start with faith since that has been the topic of many recent conversations lately. We all have faith in things we don't understand, whether science, law or gods. When we look at our newborn child we have faith in our parenting skills when we first find out we are pregnant and we have to have faith that child will grow up and grow into a wonderful human being. Long before we had science to prove machines could fly, somebody had to have faith they could make it work. Somebody had to have faith a new form of government could work.

    Logic and critical We have 2 different schools of thought there; we were created or we were self created. Either way, there was a time when life didn't exist, then one day it did, from nothing. From the self-created-evolution- it took us hundreds of millions of years to walk up-right, then took tens of millions of years to have the first written language, and from there only a few thousand years to go from there to cyber-space. Where will we be in another thousand years if this pace of evolution continues? Will we become gods ourselves? So, logically and critically, which one makes more sense, created or self-created? I know what I believe.

    As for politics-- Was it Thoma More in Utopia that siad "If philosophers could be leaders or leader could be philosophers the world would be a better place" or words to that effect. Too bad we don't have any trust in modern philosophers to lead society in the 'right' way. And I don't mean the Utopian way either. Just a way that makes sense.

    It is my personal opinion that Santorum is a fool. If he is the only other option on the ballot, then I will be voting for president Obama.

    As for abortion, what is the difference between killing the child growing in your belly and the child you are holding in your arms? Why is it wrong for a woman to kill her born child, but not her unborn child? We live in a day where it is wrong to kill monsters like Charles Manson but it is okay to kill a defenseless child. How is that not messed up? I saw a sign saying Pray to Stop Abortion and thought to myself, why not pray to stop the need for abortion instead. I will have to continue this later. Much Love :)

  67. Jeannie, you said that you would rather "err on the side of compassion", and I know what you mean. BUT...we can still do that AND reform the entire welfare system. I actually discussed this with a liberal friend before I replied,and we agreed on the principles. People like Roxy need a little help, and that's what the safety net is for, and most reasonable people understand that. There but for the grace of God go all of us, esp. in today's world. But those same reasonable people can't reconcile having MORE money forcibly taken from them, given the amount of waste, fraud and abuse in the current system, and are tired of witnessing the fraud and being powerless to stop it(and having their morals and/or faith attacked for being angry). It doesn't make me angry that people need help, it makes me angry that the money is being given to those who refuse to work, feel entitled, deal drugs under the table, etc etc...while the innocent go without. There are families who have been on welfare now going on the FOURTH generation! That tells me the system is failing, and the help isn't "helping" them get on their feet. Sometimes, esp. in the case of single moms, the system makes it impossible for them to get off welfare, as it "pays better" than an entry level job.
    Ask any health care worker who deals with Medicaid(that's me),grocery store cashiers, bank tellers who cash the checks, people who live near public housing,social workers and even personal stories from those who have family on welfare...the fraud is RAMPANT. It's not a right-wing urban legend, nor is it the "exception to the rule". It's reality, and the people are tired of it.
    To me, so much of it is "common sense".
    1)Why can't the help be 'graduated' instead of all-or-nothing? Then the recipient could work, get experience(and perhaps move up the ladder),be productive...and not lose money that is needed.
    2)WIC is a very successful and common sense program. Why should food stamps be different? The children aren't nourished, they don't do well in school, and the cycle continues.
    3)Why is it "slavery" to have welfare recipients do volunteer work in the community? It's "slavery" to make the taxpayer's work to support someone else! The community would benefit, the person would gain skills they could use in a future job, etc.

    Just some crazy, radical ideas to think about. The citizens are angry, and rightfully so, when they are telling their children that something they want is "too expensive", yet the kid from the projects has it. They're tired of seeing the cigarettes, the $80 airbrushed manicures, and the high-tech electronics. They're tired of the generational dysfunction that proves the "help them help themselves" theory is an abysmal failure. Not that ALL people who are using public services are like that, but the ones that are need to be weeded out. The bad choices are being rewarded, and even encouraged in the community. Surely there is a better way, that will help those who need it, get those who have fallen through the cracks, and be fiscally responsible. It seems we have come to a point in this country where everyone cries "freedom! Stay out of my bedroom! Don't tell me what to do!"...but when the consequences to those choices come, that we are entitled to be free from the consequences,at the expense of the person who did the right thing.
    Perhaps that's part of Santorum's "popularity"? He's talking about bringing back the values that would prevent some of these problems. Once you are taking someone else's money, you open the door for them to have an opinion about how you got in the mess in the first place. NOT THAT EVERYONE ON WELFARE IS THERE BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN BAD CHOICES...there, I yelled. Did I make myself clear? PS!~Sorry this got so long!!

  68. I knew that my comment as written would not be popular (but then I guess none of my comments are), but I was trying to keep it short and to the point. I did not want to comment any further, but I guess I will. First, just because I said that ‘I would rather err on the side of compassion’ does not mean that I do not support welfare reform. I definitely know there are flaws in the program and when those flaws are apparent we should absolutely correct them. I also have in the past and currently support a graduated assistance program—it only makes sense that one would not be entirely cut off by taking an entry-level job. It would be a win-win situation for both the recipient and the taxpayer.

    Regardless of these opinions, however, I know as mere mortals we will never set up a program that will adequately provide a safety net while also fully eliminating the possibility of abuse. We might be able to minimize it and if we can we should, but we will NEVER be able to eliminate it. With that in mind, I still would rather err on the side of compassion.

    I do know that there are many people who understand that ‘there but for the grace of God go I.” But, I think you would be surprised at the number of people who do not embrace that sentiment—they deserve what they have received, it has all been done according to their superiority, and if one finds himself destitute it is his own fault. I know, Jo, that you and many others do not feel that way (I REALLY do believe you Jo), but I think you would be surprised at the large number of conservatives who do. You have to admit that they exist; I rub shoulders with them everyday and I know of their disdain for the poor. It is them, if any, who are ‘having their morals and/or faith attacked for being angry’. I personally feel that abuse of the system is more rampant at the top then at the bottom. Be angry about welfare abuse, there is a need, but the poor are not taking anymore from this country than the wealthy—perhaps not even as much. Trust me, liberals are just as angry with that as conservatives are with welfare abuse and I do believe that our morals and faith are attacked on a DAILY basis--any who doubt that just needs to turn on FOX News.

  69. Oh, and one more thing--since the bottom's anger toward abuse occurring at the top has been coined 'Class Warfare' shouldn't we use the same term when it is flowing from the opposite direction?

  70. At-ta way to go Jeannie! That's the way uh huh i like it. Sorry did i sing (or type) that out loud? Didn't really intend to get you guys going (fired up) back there! @Joann: I know that the welfare system does indeed need some policing and i understand your upset. There are things that just aren't fair such as the expensive phones, nails, fashion statements and obviously some fraud. And i know you see it and know what you are talking about due to your line of work. And Yes we heard that loud and clear.

  71. I hope it's clear that I'm NOT upset that we have social programs to help those who can not help themselves or who need a hand-up. My anger comes from #1 there are people who NEED the money and don't qualify or who get rejected #2 it is hurting those who are making it a lifetime "career". #3 the taxpayers are not able to provide for their own families' futures and give to charities because they are being forced to subsidize the greed and are not getting the breaks from those at the top.

    And yes, there is fraud on the top too. It's so pathetic that we have come to this. The love of money is the root of all evil.

  72. Back to the original point of the blog...which, in some ways, reflects on the suitability of one particular Republican presidential candidate (who, by the way, is no longer the front runner...see, Charlie, I told you to wait a few days). I consider one "qualification" for someone to be president is that he/she has a basic knowledge of U.S. history and geography. It was the main reason I did not vote for John McCain in 2008; Sarah Palin clearly didn't pay attention in geography class, because you can't see Russia from any point in Alaska (unless it's a really clear day and you live on one of distant Aleutian Islands). Michele Bachmann quickly proved herself unqualified because of her revisionist interpretations of U.S. history. Now Rick Santorum has referred to the men and women who wrote the Declaration of Independence...and I'm not sure if he just got confused/flustered or truly believes that (by the way, no women were part of the drafting and adoption of the Declaration of Independence, in case anyone is wondering--and I can provide the citation from the Journals of the Continental Congress in case anyone wants to question my facts). Obviously he should have completed a few more history classes while he was attending Penn State (because I know they teach the correct information there). Gee, if he had graduated a couple of years later, I could have graded his exams...

    Regarding the welfare system...when it started (back in the days of the almshouses in the 18th/19th centuries--which, by the way, were different here in the states than they are in Britain), public assistance was something temporary, until you could get on your feet again financially. If you lived in an almshouse, the expectation was that you contributed something toward your care, whether it was helping with the cooking, cleaning, etc. It was not intended to be a "permanent" situation, unless you were elderly and in effect had become a ward of the state. Fast forward to the New Deal, when the federal government became involved in public assistance on a large scale (previously it had been the purview of the state and local governments, along with private charities). People accepted temporary assistance, but again it wasn't intended to be permanent. For example, the government put people to work on public works projects, such as constructing roads, bridges, buildings, etc.; it didn’t just hand out money. The situation started to change in the 1960s with the development of Medicaid...and it's really since then that welfare has become a multi-generational experience, and, instead of "we want to get off the public dole as soon as possible," it has shifted to "oh, boy, we get free lunch."

    Figuring out how to solve the problem is beyond my pay grade. However, it IS a problem that needs to be addressed, and perhaps we should reallocate resources from the federal to the state governments (who are more aware of the needs of the people residing in a particular state) or shift some of the burden from the government to private charitable organizations. For instance, more people died following the Johnstown Flood of 1889 than during Katrina. It’s difficult to equate property values from 1889 to 2005; estimated damage for the Johnstown Flood ($17 million) equates loosely to approximately $3.2 billion in 2005. But relief was handled by one charitable organization, the American Red Cross, with no assistance from the state or federal governments. With Katrina, you had FEMA (which had to wait for the governor to request aid before it could react to the crisis); at Johnstown, the Red Cross assisted within days and didn’t have to deal with the federal bureaucracy. There has to be a better system than the one we have now, and something has to be done soon. The United States is going bankrupt, and one reason is the massive spending for programs that are intended to be temporary but become ingrained.

  73. Felt an obligation to reply. Sorry guys. You done gone and got me started again. The majority of the folks i know that are on welfare are in fact single moms. And i have some friends who have been and one who is currently on actual cash assistance. Which for the thousandth time, is in fact a very small amount of money. If any of you guys can live for a month with 4 or 5 kids on $400-$500 dollars we'd would love for someone to SHOW us how to do it. Most folks that i know that are on food stamps are struggling families (which explain to me how they are suppose to GET into a better situation with the way the economy is now?) that either work and STILL qualify for help or DO NOT have a job currently! OR they are elderly disabled etc. Know i am not sure how things were back in the day. But can you see a group of single moms out building bridges or construction? Some guy has abandoned you and your kids (and usually due to drug abuse etc) and not only do you have children you need to be minding but you must go out and do construction work. What about the low income families who are already working and still qualify? After work they ought to help construct a building. And i can't picture a group of seniors out doing manual labor (they will probably fall over from heat exhaustion i live in Florida)
    Anyways: if you stop to look at that generational repeating itself CYCLE of welfare precipitants you shall see a cycle of crime, violence and drugs. Not something i think they had to deal with so much back in the day. THE MAIN PROBLEM with the CYCLE of poverty just that is a CYCLE. It takes a VERY STRONG or LUCKY person to break out of this cycle. If you grow up in a bad neighborhood you have lived a through many a rough and tumble. If you are strong minded and lucky enough to have avoided a prison sentence when you got the opportunity to break away. Then you may have a shot at a normal life and that chance is what makes America great. The fact that we ALL Get that CHANCE. But CIRCUMSTANCES beyond our control can weigh on a soul and cause us to struggle.

  74. PART 2. What folks need more than anythings is the same thing that the football player on the field needs. Fans and cheerleaders and one great Coach. If you don't have that (your father is at the bar drunk and couldn't come to the game) your playing ability has to come entirely from You! You have to BE all of those things for yourself. Build or have willingness to play the game by using your own strength, heart, and drive. Is easy for folks to judge. Is EASY for them to give up fall by the way side when they're brother joined a gang or their sister got beat up last night. (Unforeseen circumstances). They are not just hanging out looking for someone to give them a free lunch. Many of them are wishing for the one thing we all want. Some to BELIEVE in them. Someone to give a shit. What they Need is Mental health services, anti violence & anti drug education, Boys and Girls clubs and church. Self esteem building Mentors. If you want people to stop holding out their hand. WE all NEED to help SHOW them how to change and why they should. Yes, i said it church! There is love in a church and strength found in God. Even i knew that. Love and support is the key. If you want my advice (and not sure that you all do) As i said before it seems the only thing there for me was the government. If You want them to build a bridge then show them why they should build it. Teach them the importance of that bridge. One would think that is how they built towns in the old days by working together. Society is crumbling; not because of lack of God. Think is lack of love for each other. Or to much Selfish love. The poor need strength from someplace. And they need it more than regular folks if they are going to rise above the great catastrophe that is poverty.
    And by sending a message to the poor they are dragging America down and y'all want to cut loose some dead weight it will only create more of a mess. That is the WORST message possible. You guys NEED the poor on your side more than you think.

  75. Hi Jo :) I wanted to take a quick minute to address your comments concerning welfare reform. I understand it seems logical for those on welfare to volunteer in the community, possibly at some place that will give the person real life job skills, but in reality all that happens is the tax burden on the American public doubles with this plan. If you take a single parent on welfare and have them do volunteer work, it is the state that picks up the child care tab. Long ago and far away, Clinton did just that. there was this young single mother that had 2 kids and no real job experience-and this can be laid in the lap of her parents- and when the welfare reform came about, she was made to volunteer 20 hrs a week, as well as spend an additional 20 hrs a week looking for work. Well, the children had to be put in child care. That doesn't seem like a bad idea, but the child care provider was actually getting more money for that 40 hr/wk job than the single mother was getting in both cash and foodstamp benifits. There are many policies that sound good on paper, and in discussion, but actually implimenting is cost prohibitive. And generational welfare recipients is a whole other hot topic that I would love to discuss when I don't have mid-terms coming up. Many Blrssings :)


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