on the Christmas Story

“There once was a king who loved a humble maiden. This king was of uncommon royal lineage. He was a king above kings, with power and might to make all others humble before him. Statesmen trembled at his pronouncements. None dared breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all who opposed him. The wealth of his holdings was unfathomable. Tribute arrived on a daily basis from lesser kings who hoped to gain his favor.

And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden who lived in the poorest village in his vast kingdom. He longed to go to this maiden and announce his love for her, but here arose the king’s dilemma: how to declare his love? Certainly, he could appear before her resplendent in his royal robes and surrounded with the Royal Guard, ready to carry her away in a carriage inlaid with gold and precious stones. He could bring her to the palace and crown her head with jewels and clothe her in the finest silks. She would surely not resist this type of proposal, for no one dared to resist the king.

But would she love him?

She might say she loved him. She might be awed by his royal splendor and tremble at the thought of being blessed with such an amazing opportunity. She might tell herself that she would be foolish to reject such a marriage proposal. But would she love him, or would she go through the motions all the while living a life of empty duty, nursing a private grief for the life she had left behind? Would she love him or regret the moment of being face to face with the overwhelming grandeur of the king?

Or would she be happy at his side, loving him for himself and not for his title or riches or power?

He did not want a wife who behaved as a subject to his royal decrees, cringing at his word and unwilling to do anything but agree with all he said and did. Instead, he wanted an equal, a queen whose love knew no restrictions or limitations. He wanted an equal whose voice would speak to him at all times without hesitation. Love with his beloved maiden must mean equality with her. He wanted a relationship with the woman that had neither barriers nor walls in which he was not a king and she was not a poor subject of the crown. The love shared between them would cross the chasm that threatened to keep them apart, bringing the king and peasant together and making the unequal equal. In short, he wanted the maiden to love him for himself and not for any other reason.

He had to find a way to win the maiden’s love without overwhelming her and without destroying her free will to choose. The king realized that to win the maiden’s love, he had only one choice. He had to become like her, without power or riches and without the title of king. Only then would she be able to see him simply for who he was and not for what his position made him. He had to become her equal, and to do this he must leave all that he had.

And so one night, after all within the castle were asleep, he laid aside his golden crown and removed his rings of state. He took off his royal robes of silk and linen and redressed himself in the common clothes of the poorest of the kingdom. Leaving by way of the servant’s entrance, the king left his crown, his castle, and his kingdom behind. As the next day’s sun rose in the east, the maiden emerged from her humble cottage to find herself face to face with a stranger, a common man with kindly eyes who requested an opportunity to speak with her and, in time, to court her for her hand in marriage.” ~ Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Danish existentialist philosopher, theologian, poet

May you always remember that Jesus Christ the King left His kingdom for a stable in order to win the heart of, and secure an eternity with, His beloved….you.

Have a Blessed and Merry Christmas.

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on Suckers

So it looks like taxpayers, and our Constitutional Republic, got suckered again. In the interest of solving a crisis that they caused, Congress passed at the last minute a nearly 1,800 page, trillion dollar omnibus bill, cobbled together in the backrooms of establishment leadership, without anyone actually reading it, in order to supposedly keep our government running. In so doing, they allowed the funding of both Obamacare, which the American public despises, as well as executive amnesty, which we don’t want and is illegal.

For some reason Congress, the President, and the hysterical media, seem to fear a government shutdown more than the American people do. Ever wonder why that is? The last time we had a “shutdown”, over 85% of government was still running. This explains why most Americans barely felt it. Personally, I think that this reveals just how bloated and unnecessary most of our federal government is, as well as how much we could really trim without much impact to the American people. Maybe that is the real reason why Congress and our President fear a shutdown: Americans would finally find out that we are being played for suckers, big time.

Below are just a few examples of what is included in this massive bill:

  • Fully funds Obamacare
  • Fully funds Obama’s illegal executive amnesty through February, which will provide visas, social security numbers, and work permits to at least 5 million illegal aliens. It will also allow them potential access to our social security benefits, Medicare, and waive the employer Obamacare requirement (as well as the associated penalty). Employers will now have a financial incentive to hire illegals over citizens
  • $1.5 billion to Department of Health and Human Services to fund the relocation and handling of illegal aliens through 2017
  • $14 million to the Department of Education to help school districts absorb illegal alien children
  • Decreases by $160 million the budget of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), which will hamper their ability to enforce the law here and at our borders
  • $35 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), an organization which is complicit in forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations in China
  • Allows taxpayer subsidies to continue under Obamacare to fund policies that cover abortion (a violation of the Hyde Amendment)
  • Continues to fund the illegal subsidies given to Congress and their staff which offset their premium increases due to Obamacare
  • Fully funds the Import-Export bank for over $27 billion, which provides American taxpayer backed loans to major domestic and foreign corporations.
  • $1.1 billion in funding for congressionally directed medical research (as opposed to public directed) – a 27% increase over last year
  • $20 million for alternative green energy research

In November Americans spoke: we are tired of being treated as suckers. We were tired of more money being taken out of our paychecks, out of our personal budgets and out of our children’s futures. We are tired of the government’s expectation that we continue to fund these political masters, special interests, and foreigners, all the while having our own freedoms taken away.  So really, the only ones left who fear a government shutdown are the little men and women behind the federal curtain, who are bound and determined that most Americans not find out how strong and independent we all really are.

Too late.

“There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.” ~ Daniel Webster (1782-1852), constitutional lawyer, U.S. Senator for Massachusetts

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on the SBAC

Iowa may be ditching the Iowa Assessment. Since our state has implemented the Common Core, the Iowa Assessment (formerly the Iowa Test of Basic Skills) in its current form can no longer be used. Therefore, a task force was put in place by the legislature to consider the implementation of a new Common Core aligned test. Unfortunately, the task force determined that an out of state entity, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, was better qualified to create a test for Iowans than our own University of Iowa, and will recommend that choice to our legislators in January. We need to be concerned about this for the following reasons:


  • Hard Costs: The current Iowa Assessment is $3.50 per student per year. A new Common Core aligned Iowa Assessment is expected to be around $15 per student per year. The SBAC assessment is estimated to be $27.30 per student per year. That equates to over an $11 million annual cost increase to local property taxpayers, with most of the money going to an out of state entity
  • Soft Costs: The Common Core Assessment is an online-only assessment. It will require a significant increase in both technology (computer equipment, software and maintenance) as well as internet bandwidth in all school districts just to accommodate that many students taking these tests.  Local property taxpayers will pick up this additional annual cost increase too, which will vary from district to district.


  • The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s governing board is based at the University of California, and its fiscal agent is the State of Washington’s Superintendent’s office. It is funded primarily by the federal government via the U.S. Department of Education in Washington D.C. No Iowa educators or legislators participated in the development of this test, nor will they be able to review, approve or make changes to it in order align with Iowa standards.
  • This assessment will remove both local control and state control. It will drive local standards, and ultimately curriculum, to align with what is important to people out of state, rather than what is important to Iowans.
  • It will only test those portions of Iowa Core that are the same as Common Core; no additional Iowa local or state standards will be tested.
  • Iowa teachers will be held accountable to test results from an assessment Iowans did not create, based on standards Iowa legislators did not approve


  • Due to U.S. Department of Education funds being used to create the test, the SBAC assessment violates federal laws prohibiting any federal involvement in the creating or directing of a national curriculum or a nationwide test (General Education Provisions Act, Department of Education Organization Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act)
  • Since this test is online, and gathers personal info on our children, it violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act that prohibits participation by children under the age of 13 without written parental consent
  • This Consortium violates the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3), which prohibits interstate compacts without the consent of Congress. (there is a pending lawsuit in Missouri on this)

Privacy/Data Mining

  • Parents, teachers and taxpayers are not allowed to review the content of this new test in order to a) confirm that student multiple-choice and written answers won’t require the disclosure of personal information on the student or the student’s family (a violation of the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment), b) confirm that the answers can be graded correctly and objectively, and c) confirm that content is appropriate, unbiased and non-political
  • The Consortium has an agreement with the federal government to share all personal student data, including potential psychological or social data that may be disclosed on their test question answers

We need to protect our students, our teachers, our pocketbooks and local control. We don’t want this test in Iowa. Let our Iowa legislators know your thoughts.

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on Lynching

Lynching: transitive verb: to put to death (as by hanging) by mob action without legal sanction ~ from the online Merriam-Webster dictionary

As I watched the events unfold in Ferguson this past week, I could not help but wonder if those rioting realized that they were behaving like the bloodthirsty lynch mobs of not too long ago. Refusing to accept evidence, witness testimony, and a bi-racial jury decision, this mob demanded their own kind of justice – or rather, punishment – for not getting to “hang” who they wanted. And unfortunately, like most mob justice, the innocents were the only ones that ended up getting hurt.

What happened to that young man is a tragedy, and I cannot imagine what his parents must be feeling, but sadly, he reaped the consequences of his life choices. Does that mean it is okay for folks to have the adult version of a temper tantrum, destroying their neighbor’s businesses, inconveniencing and terrorizing people around the country, just because the person they thought should be punished was not? This kind of behavior was not justice during the Jim Crow era, and it certainly is not justice now. The American legal system is not supposed to bend to the will of the mob, no matter how much our President, U.S. Attorney General, or the progressive left want it to do so.

Yet, despite the best efforts of those to hurt innocents with their ignorance, selfishness, and destructive behavior, ordinary Americans have again proven themselves better than our leaders claim them to be. People of all races and incomes are banding together to help those businesses in Ferguson who lost everything to this modern day lynch mob. Neighbors and strangers are helping each other to clean up and rebuild, putting up funding, and intentionally shopping at local businesses in order to help them get back on their feet. Despite what Democrat leaders and progressive pundits may claim, Americans aren’t racists, and we are tired of folks using this straw man as an excuse for divisive rhetoric and bad behavior. Those that resort to violence and theft are thugs, plain and simple. It matters not your color or religion.

I believe that the lowest form of humanity takes part in the kinds of things that happened in Ferguson. And those that continue to stoke the fires are even lower than that. We are a nation of laws, not of mob rule. We punish people based on facts, not feelings. To do otherwise makes us no different than a lynch mob. So, now that some jerks decided to throw a hissy fit in Missouri and elsewhere, everyone else is left to pick up the pieces, while some of our leaders even try to use it as an excuse to exercise even more control over us. How much longer are we going to tolerate this kind of behavior? Frankly, I am getting tired of these spoiled brats running the show, aren’t you? I’m done cleaning up their messes – I think it’s time for some adults to be in charge. Thank goodness we saw a little of that with the Ferguson grand jury.

Let’s pray that we will see more of that starting in 2015, as well as have more adults step up in 2016.

“This spirit of mob-law is becoming as great an evil as a servile war.” ~ Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), 7th U.S. president, in an August 9th, 1835 letter to Amos Kendall, discussing how the Charleston post office had been attacked by a mob protesting the delivery of abolitionist literature

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on Thanks

The harvest is in, winter’s chill is already in the air, and we have reached the time of the year when friends and family take time to give thanks. As I have gotten older, Thanksgiving has become more than just a day of comfort food indulgence. It is a day to remember all the blessings that have been given to me, whether in the midst of trial or triumph. Sometimes we tend to focus so much on the event itself – the right food, the right place settings, the right decorations, the right space – that we forget the most important thing: the people. Whether we share the day with many, few or even just one, Thanksgiving is about remembering and celebrating all the good things in our lives. On this holiday, may you and those with whom you share it – be they friends, family or recent strangers – remember and celebrate together all your blessings, as well He from Whom they graciously flow.

Happy Thanksgiving.

“Thanksgiving Day is one of our most beloved holidays, an occasion set aside by Americans from earliest times to thank our Maker prayerfully and humbly for the blessings and the care He bestows on us and on our beautiful, bountiful land. Through the decades, through the centuries, in log cabins, country churches, cathedrals, homes, and halls, the American people have paused to give thanks to God, in time of peace and plenty or of danger and distress.

Acknowledgment of dependence on God’s favor was, in fact, our fledgling Nation’s very first order of business. When the delegates to the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia in 1774, they overcame discord by uniting in prayer for our country. Despite the differences among them as they began their work, they found common voice in the 35th Psalm, which concludes with a verse of joyous gratitude, ‘And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of they praise all the day long.’

This year, of course, our Thanksgiving Day celebration coincides with the Bicentennial of the Constitution. In 1789 the government established by that great charter of freedom, and ‘the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed,’ were cited by George Washington in the first Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation as among ‘the great and various favors’ conferred upon us by the Lord and Ruler of Nations. As we thank the God our first President called ‘that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be,’ we have even greater cause for gratitude than the fresh triumphs that inspired Washington’s prose. We have seen the splendor of our natural resource spread across the tables of the world, and we have seen the splendor of freedom cursing with new vigor through the channels of history. The cause for which we give thanks, for which so many of our citizens through the years have given their lies, has endured 200 years – a blessing to us and a light to all mankind.

On Thanksgiving Day, 1987, let us, in this unbroken chain of observance, dedicate ourselves to honor anew the Author of Liberty and to publicly acknowledge our debt to all those who have sacrificed so much in our behalf. May our gratitude always be coupled with petitions for divine guidance and protection for our Nation and with ready help for our neighbors in time of need. 

Now, therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 26, 1987, as a National Day of Thanksgiving, and I call upon the citizens of this great Nation to gather together in homes and places of worship on that day of thanks to affirm by their prayers and their gratitude the many blessings God has bestowed upon us.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of July, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twelfth.” 

~ Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), 40th U.S. President, from his 1987 Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

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