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Destroyed For No Good Reason

A worship leader at a small Baptist church near us was recently busted for pot. He’s been the worship leader there for about 3 years and prior had been an assistant worship leader at a larger mega-church for 9 years.

He was sentenced to 6 months in jail with half of it suspended so long as he is not arrested again within the next 5 years. He has already served his sentence and is now working at a guitar store.

He is highly regarded as a worship leader and as someone who has been a very positive Christian mentor to dozens of high school kids. This has caused some bit of commotion in their growing church as the elder board were very intent on his resigning immediately and having no contact with anyone at the church. Parents of teens are apparently overwhelmingly supportive of him as are others in the church and want him back as worship leader.

His wife’s parents are split with her mother believing that she should leave him while her father is supportive of their staying together.

My understanding from friends we have in common is that he smokes about 3 or 4 times per year and has been doing so for over a decade. The contention is that his smoking this amount has had no negative impact on he or anyone else.

My thoughts…

I think that smoking pot is exceptionally stupid. I also think that it does cause some bit of mental and physical damage to people who do smoke. I’ve known too many potheads to believe otherwise. I also believe that pot is addictive and can (though not necessarily often) lead to harder and much more damaging drug or alcohol use.

HOWEVER… I do not believe that criminalizing the growing, sales, possession, or smoking of pot has any positive impact. It may actually increase use and comparing pot use where it is legal or tacitly legal with places where it is criminalized would indicate that criminalization increases use, not decreases. Teens in the US are twice as likely to smoke pot as teens in The Netherlands.

In this specific case I have no idea if there will be any positive impact. I don’t know if he or anyone else will stop smoking because of this. It has caused considerable harm to numerous people though.

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Lewis Hamilton – A Far Greater Reward Than Winning A Race

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton deserved to win Monaco today. He was, arguably, robbed of victory by a horrendously bad decision by his team. I cannot imagine the level of disappointment. Yet he showed a level of character after the race that every one of us should aspire to.

Nico Rosberg gets second place for admitting that he won by luck.

How different these guys are to losers like Jameis Winston, Tom Brady, and Tanya Harding.

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If NFL and Patriots won’t take action, fans should

Did Tom Brady cheat? Likely.

I find it impossible to believe that a quarterback at his level would not have realized that the balls he was using were under inflated. Over the years there’ve been numerous stories of lessor quarterbacks complaining that a ball was a 1/4 pound under or 1/4 pound over what they desired and gauges showed the quarterback to be spot on. These guys know their footballs.

Personally I have no interest in watching a cheater. I love football games but it’s no longer a game when someone cheats and no longer holds any interest.

If the NFL and Patriots won’t take action then we should. Attending a game that Tom Brady is playing in is our endorsement of his cheating and of others cheating. We shouldn’t endorse cheating and we shouldn’t attend any game that Brady plays in.

Brady should go the way of Lance Armstrong and Tanya Harding.


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I’m Feeling Very Fragile Today

CL6-3025One of my worlds is photography. I shoot some of my own stuff for articles and I also enjoy it as a hobby. I particularly enjoy shooting candids of people. Sometimes though, they are not so happy about me shooting candids of them if I’m not candid enough.

Recently in Edinburgh I was doing so at the Stockbridge Market. One guy looked up at me and said “Please don’t, I’m feeling very fragile today.”

I thought that was an interesting phrase.

Well, today it’s my turn. I’m feeling very fragile today.

CL6-3015I occasionally go through what I’ve often termed ‘a bit of a funk’. I question my worth. I feel like I don’t fit in this world, kind of like a square peg in a world of round holes. Kind of hopeless about who I am and the future.

I come by my bouts of depression from a couple of sources. One is hereditary, compliments of my dad who was, despite his depression, an extremely wonderful man beloved by scores of people. We realized how many lives he’d touched only at his funeral that wasn’t just standing room only but people standing outside who couldn’t fit in.

It also comes with ADD which I think also accounts for the square peg syndrome.

CL6-3037Today’s funk, which actually started last night, has nothing to do with Robin Williams other than both of us having depression (and likely ADD) in common. Williams suicide does scare me a bit since I don’t want to ever go there myself.

On the plus side is that I’ve been through this enough that I can usually keep myself relatively convinced that it will pass, often in a day or two. Much the same as I know that various problems and valleys in life will pass because I’ve been through a bunch and have always emerged fairly OK out the other side.

What scares me more is alcoholism. My dad was an alcoholic and I think his dad, my granddad, may have been as well. I am not anti-alcohol but when I’m in a funk like this I’m very cognizant of how close alcoholism is and how quickly the combination of depression and alcohol can lead to a downward spiral from which escape is extremely difficult and for many people, impossible.

CL6-3041I’ll often have a glass of wine with dinner or maybe a beer with friends. Two drinks per day (one on most days) is my max with occasional exceptions like being on vacation in Scotland where a beer with a pub lunch and a wine flight with that night’s six course dinner (and maybe a Scotch afterwards) seems appropriate.

When I’m in a funk though there’s no alcohol for me. It’s one thing to have a drink for the enjoyment of the drink itself, another if that drink is by any stretch self medicating or ‘because I need one.’

FWIW, I am rather anti med. I don’t like they way they make me feel and fortunately I don’t really need them.


So, to my friend at Stockbridge. I’m with you. And thanks to all of the wonderful people at the Stockbridge Market who let me take their photos and provided wonderful nourishment along the way.

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Michael Gallagher — Going Off Half Cocked and Brainless

I heard a bit of Michael Gallagher’s radio show this morning. He was talking about the problem of South American children crossing our southern border without their parents.


Gallagher’s question was “What kind of parent would do this?”  He went on to talk about reports that many of these parents have given their daughters, some as young as 9 years old, birth control pills prior to their journey in case they’re raped along the way.

Gallagher answered his own question labeling these parents a long string of negative descriptors such as ‘rotten’ and others I can’t remember.

The question he should be asking is what kind of situation are these parents in that they would do something like this? Are these actually quite loving parents but with a future ahead for their children that is much worse than sending them off to be smuggled across the border in to the United States by people who very likely will rape them?

I’ve talked to people who’ve had to make choices like this and whose circumstances were such for their children that sending them off like this was a better and rational option.

Gallagher should limit his judgement for things he knows something about. Or better yet, stop judging.

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Commerce Bank EMV Chip and Pin card


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Who Makes Our Laws?

FoxIRS 02


Somewhere during my life I got the impression that in our democracy, elected representatives crafted the laws that we live under. Numerous stories cause me to wonder to what extent that’s true but three have recently driven this home a bit.

First is the case of Justina Pelletier in Massachusetts. It really burns me. Where are Massachusetts representatives on this one? Why aren’t they doing something to free this poor girl and her family?

Second is the standoff between the our government and a rancher in Nevada. Interestingly, unlike some previous encounters like this, the government may actually be legally correct this time. Even so though, is this what we want our government to be doing? Where are our elected representatives?

Third is the IRS. Regulations are one thing, but the targeting issue is another. Again, where are our elected representatives?

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Florida State—A Bittersweet Victory

The Florida State vs Auburn game was probably the best BCS Championship game of the BCS era and will likely remain one of the best of all championship games.  Sadly, it is tainted with the reported rape of a girl by Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. 

The overwhelming opinion of LE and attorneys I’ve had discussions with about this case is that this very likely was a case of rape. This includes a couple who seem quite skeptical of any reported rape (understandable given that about half of all reports of rape are found to be false). None have any knowledge of the case beyond what is publicly available.

The good news is that the attorney for the victim has said that they will be filing a civil suit against Winston and against the investigating law enforcement agency. Hopefully through this suit, if Winston did rape this girl, he will be held at least somewhat accountable and his career as an athlete and public figure ended. (If he is proven innocent I’ll be one of the first to celebrate with him. I find false rape allegations just as disgusting as rape.)

That our country places so much importance on the winning of a football game that we are willing to allow football players and other athletes to rape young girls is disgusting. The recent incident in Steubenville, OH where several local high school football players repeatedly raped a young girl and, even with considerable evidence publicly available, were defended by the people of Steubenville, is sadly, not unusual. The major difference being that there has been enough evidence in Steubenville to prosecute, not just the athletes, but also a number of the adults who were aware of what happened and covered it up.

I’m sure many of the adults in Steubenville and elsewhere who so willing condone rape by athletes would condemn me for calling for the legalization of prostitution. There is a very vast difference though, between a consensual act of prostitution, as unappealing as it may be, and the rape of innocent girls. 

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It Doesn’t Matter

I often find myself having to re-focus. Not unlike the navy commander who went up to the bridge of his ship every morning and pulled a piece of paper out of a little box, read it, and the refolded it and put it back in. After several years someone finally had the nerve to ask him what it said. “port is left, starboard is right”. 

That’s one of those stories that you hope is true.

I get to write about a lot of things from bike paths in small towns to world cultural/political issues. As I was talking with a couple of colleagues this morning about all of the things going on in the world I began thinking about how Christianity could make the world a better place—if only Christians would focus on Christianity and not all of the ornamentation we’ve added on.

The average person, in the U.S. anyway, views Christians primarily as judgmental, hypocritical, shallow, ignorant, narrow-minded, anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-Obama, anti-Obamacare, anti-this, anti-that irritants. And largely I think that’s pretty accurate. And who’d want to be like these?

Sadly, extremely few people see anything about God or salvation. Or, for that matter, love or peace.

If only people could see Christianity as Christ intended, what a better world this would be.

And therein lay my mistake. All of the things that I research and write about, all of the things that irritate me throughout my day, all of the things that concern me about our world or community or neighborhood or future, in the overall scheme of things, don’t really matter.

Perhaps I need a slip of paper to read every morning with one simple word—God.

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Thank you to President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid

In his speech yesterday, Obama made the case against liberalism and big government. And, in the process, made the case against Democrat’s platform. In apologizing he made two very accurate statements.

He said that government isn’t efficient. He’s absolutely correct. It’s not. It never will be. That’s the nature of the beast. This is not to say that we shouldn’t do all that we can to make it efficient and function better, but at the same time we also have to know that government will often be quite inefficient. It always costs considerably more for the government to do something and the result is often not as good as that produced by the private sector.

He said that he is not perfect. Correct again. I don’t say this in a mean way though. None of us is perfect. We all make mistakes. For every single person who’s ever held the office of President of the United States we can likely find a dozen mistakes each has made that we can all agree on. 

Both of these also apply to the private sector. Private businesses can also be inefficient and their leaders imperfect. There are two key differences though; they are usually considerably less inefficient and imperfect than government, and the impact of their mistakes is massively less than with government.

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