Hard Working Traditional Values With A Dash of Fun

Hard Working Traditional Values With A Dash of Fun

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Census Bureau Gives Up On Marriage

The Census Bureau is proposing that it eliminate the following questions from its annual survey of 3.5 million households:

  • In the past 12 months, did you get married?
  • In the past 12 months, did you become widowed?
  • In the past 12 months, did you get divorced?
  • How many times have you been married?
  • In what year did you last get married?
These annual questions are important to researchers who use this comprehensive data to compare the differences between married and unmarried households. If this data collection is discontinued, it will be much more difficult to measure these differences.

Defenders of traditional marriage are confident that same-sex marriage results will not show the same benefits to families as traditional marriage. The collection of these statistics would make it easier to make this comparison over the years. 

Not collecting this information only supports the position of those who do not think marriage is important and want to eliminate an important tool that is used to show why traditional marriage is the best environment for raising children.

You can voice your opinion regarding whether to keep these questions in by sending an email to: jjessup@doc.gov. The deadline is December 30, 2014.

More details about this action at this Pew Research Report.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Why "A Charlie Brown Christmas" Almost Wasn’t


In today’s entertainment culture, no one would ever make a primetime TV cartoon where the highlight of the program is having a main character recite the Nativity story from the Gospel of Luke. One might guess that 50 years ago, this would be no big deal. It was a big deal and A Charlie Brown Christmas almost didn’t happen.

By 1965, Charles Schulz had turned down offers to make Peanuts into animated movies or TV programs. Schulz finally consented to do A Charlie Brown Christmas, but he maintained strict control over the content. It was to have a message about how Christmas was being commercialized that would play on commercial television. In an era when all cartoons used a laugh track, he insisted on no laugh track. He decided that he would use real children to do the voices, not adults imitating children’s voices.

Most importantly, Schulz wrote a script where Linus spent one whole minute reciting St. Luke’s Christmas story. CBS executives were not pleased.  One said, “The Bible thing scares us.”  Another thought the show was too slow and too innocent . Schulz was adamant that the Gospel story would stay in. 

The program first aired on Thursday night, December 9, 1965. Half the people watching television in America tuned in.

The next day reviews across the nation recognized it as an instant Yule classic. Audiences loved Linus’s touching speech which brought tears to many. The next year A Charlie Brown Christmas won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Programming.

We can thank Charles Schulz for keeping to his values and giving us a Christmas special that is actually about the real meaning of Christmas. When his co-producer tried one last time to get him to drop the St. Luke section, Schulz told him, “If we don’t do it, who will?”


For a comprehensive biography of Charles Schulz, read Schulz and Peanuts by David Michaelis.


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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fiddlin' - Hillary's Frozen Campaign Song

Updated 12/5/2014

A Pro Hillary Clinton 2016 PAC has released a country video campaign song. And no, it is not a spoof, although it is unintentionally funny.

My song below is intended to be funny.



The Disney movie Frozen is still a top ten movie thirteen weeks after opening. It will likely top $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales. Disney has announced it will make the movie into a Broadway musical. The songs are catchy and the story about an ice queen and her sister has found a large audience.

I thought it would be entertaining to take one of the songs from the show and come out with a parody cover version to be sung by one of the best known ice queens around -- Hillary Clinton.  I think it could make a great campaign song.

For those not familiar with the tune you can play it here in the background and sing along.

(from the movie Frozen)

The window is open, so's the door
Cause they won't remember anymore
Who knew we left the White House in disgrace?
For years I've craved the White House seal
With no more Obama, it's for real
Finally I'm starting up my race

There'll be actual real live voters
It'll be totally strange
But wow, am I so ready for this change?

'Cause for the first time in forever
There'll be champagne, there'll be cake
For the first time in forever
What difference does it make?

Don't know if I'm elated or gassy
But I'm somewhere in that zone
'Cause for the first time in forever
I'll win it alone

I can't wait to beat everyone! [gasp]
The press says I'm THE one!

Tonight imagine my pantsuit's fine
Hiding my cankles and behind
The picture of sophisticated grace
Ooh! I suddenly see Bill standing there
With a beautiful stranger, tall and fair
I wanna punch that cheater in his face!

But then we talk pol'tics all evening,
Which is totally bizarre
Because that's the life I've led so far

For the first time in forever
There'll be magic, there'll be fun
For the first time in forever
I'll shellack ol' Joe Biden

And I know it is totally crazy
To the White House I'll prance
Yes for the first time in forever
At least I've got a chance

Don't let them in, don't let them see
Be the cruel witch you always have to be
Conceal, don't feel, put on a show
Make one wrong move and everyone will know

But it's only for today
It's only for today

It's agony to wait
It's agony to wait

Be on guard to squelch Benghazi-gate!
The gate!

For the first time in forever
Don't let them in, don't let them see

I'm getting what I'm dreaming of
Be the cruel witch you always have to be
A chance to change my lonely world
A chance to find true power
Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know

I know it all ends tomorrow,
So it has to be today
'Cause for the first time in forever
For the first time in forever
Nothing's in my way!

For an index of all Fiddling Ant parody songs, click here.

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The Hidden Christian Hobbit Message

As movie goers visit theaters nationwide to watch the final installment of the Hobbit series, few people recognize that there is a hidden story in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings masterpiece.

At the conclusion of The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien's author notes stated that he was not a believer in allegories and did not write his stories to have any allegorical meaning. However, elsewhere he wrote that, "The names come first and the story follows." Tolkien scholars have long seen parallels of the Shire of hobbits with the rural lands of England. They see the tie-in of the dead marshes with the killing fields Tolkien experienced as a soldier in World War I.  Many of the names have roots with real locations familiar to Tolkien.

Perhaps the most interesting name choice in Tolkien's work is that of Samwise Gamgee. All the other main characters have creative names not to be found elsewhere in common usage. However, Sam, as he is normally referred to in the books, is a very plain and common name. It also has a very interesting meaning. Sam is short for Samuel, which in Hebrew has the meaning: Name of God.

This name choice is very interesting, coming from the very religious Catholic Tolkien. When you reflect on actions taken by Sam in the books, it is extremely easy to see that he is an obvious Christ figure.  If you have not read the books in a while, here are some examples:

1. Of all the characters in The Lord of the Rings, only Sam is not drawn to or influenced by The One Ring. The Ring can be seen to represent evil or sin and Christ is not capable of either.

2. Sam has no desire for power. His focus is to be a servant. One of the main themes of the New Testament is that of the importance of serving others rather oneself.

3. Sam is ever faithful and never gives up on Frodo. Even when Frodo makes bad choices and listens to Gollum, Sam will not completely abandon him. A promise found multiple times in scriptures is that Christ is always their to support believers.

4. Gollum tries to convince Frodo that Sam wants to steal his ring. This can be seen as Satan trying to portray Christ and his teachings as our enemy.

5. Sam was there to support Frodo's journey, but Frodo needed to make all the choices. This is consistent with the Christian doctrine of free will.

6. When Frodo was exhausted and unable to move further, Sam was there to carry him and encourage him not to give up. Believers also credit their Savior with giving them much needed support in times of great trials.

"I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well." 
Samwise Gamgee

The Lord of the Rings is a great set of books without this perspective, but having this understanding should give readers an even richer reading experience.

Tolkien is not the only well known writer to give us a message about Sam, The Name of God. So did Dr. Suess.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Miracles Happen. Deal With It.

The recent movie Exodus: Gods and Kings tries to take a naturalistic view of miracles caused by Moses. When The 10 Commandments was made in the 1950s, there was no trying to explain away the miracles. Cecil B. DeMille did not hesitate to give the credit to God. However, the predominant culture of modern America needs to explain away miracles. No doubt this is in part rooted in the role evolution plays in our schools. In the 1950s, audiences could more easily accept that the miracles in the Bible really happened. Now, with attempts to classify God with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, “rational” people have to reject miracles because to believe in miracles is proof that you are kooky.

Eric Metaxas’s new book, Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, And How They Can Change Your Life and David Limbaugh’s new book Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel, both effectively challenge the post-religion modern view that miracles are not real. They argue from a position of evidence and logic, not scripture and tradition. New Atheists and radical secular humanists are unlikely to consider these compelling arguments to accept miracles as facts (they suffer from the closed-mindedness they wrongly believe is a problem unique to religious people). However, open-minded people who have perhaps unconsciously accepted the modern view that miracles are not real should find both books enlightening and may reconsider their position.

Metaxas takes the position that those who do not believe in miracles because everything can be explained away as happening by chance, are actually more irrational than those who recognize that God can perform miracles. To support this point he discusses our most current understanding on cosmology and astrophysics. The evidence time and time again suggests the only reason we exist is due to hundreds of situations that had almost no chance of happening randomly. In other words the best explanation would be that we exist because of the actions of a grand designer of the universe. The historic atheist position is that the universe has always existed  and everything that happens is from random chance. The random chance explanation is  getting harder and harder to accept as we keep learning more about how the universe and life originated and evolved. In fact, it is fair to say that it takes a lot more faith and suspension of rational thought to believe in a random chance explanation than a grand designer explanation.

For example, there is an incredibly fine balance in the ratio of electromagnetic forces to gravitational forces. If it is too much in one direction, the universe would only create heavy stars where the heavy elements are created. If it is too much in the other direction, the universe would create only light stars (like our sun), which are needed to support the existense of life on an earth. How fine a balance? If you are off by 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000000001, you won’t get both types of stars.

How easy is it to hit this sweet spot? Caltech astrophysicist Hugh Ross explains it this way. Take a bunch of dimes (and I mean a bunch) and use them to cover every square inch of North America. Now stack another layer of dimes, and another, and keep doing it until your North America shaped stack of dimes reaches 238,000 miles to the height of the moon. Now that’s a lot of dimes, but we are not done yet. Next step -- do it a billion more times. Then take one dime and paint it red and hide in one of these billion piles. The last step is to blindfold a friend and have him pick out the dime on his first try. If you believe this could happen by random chance, you are either nuts or a closed-minded atheist who refuses to see the hand of God in the creation of the universe.

Let’s give our atheist friend the benefit of the doubt and accept the fact that this did happen by dumb random luck. Now it’s got to happen more than a hundred times more because there are that many other “impossible” actions that have to happen for us to exist.

Here is just one more. Scientists think that 4.25 billion years ago, the earth was a much smaller size. Then one day a Mars size mass that had been travelling across millions of light years hit the earth perfectly to blast away an old atmosphere that could not support life and give earth the gravitational mass needed to support life. To assume that this was a random event is like believing two bullets randomly shot from guns on opposite sides of the Grand Canyon could collide head on in such a way to cancel out each other’s momentum. It’s hard to do, but much easier if you are trying to do it on purpose instead of relying again on random chance.

Both Metaxas and Limbaugh point out that many modern Americans may profess to follow Christian teachings, but at the same time have difficulty accepting the miracles in the Bible. Metaxas makes the great point that if God can create a universe, the miracles in the Bible are easy in comparison. Since the best explanation by far is that the universe was created by a grand designer, it shouldn’t be hard to accept that he could also perform Biblical miracles.

C.S. Lewis famously stated that Jesus must either be a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. There is no neutral option of being a great teacher. With cosmological support for the reality of miracles, it is easier to accept Jesus for what he claimed he was. Christians rejoice in their understanding that Jesus is more than a great teacher, that he has a special relationship with all of us and that he has created a path we can follow to return to God our father.  Secularists may scoff at such beliefs, but as a group they make bad scientists by not testing out whether what the Bible teaches is true.  Metaxas, Limbaugh, Lewis, and many other believers did not start out as believers. They approached the study of Christianity as a scientist or lawyer would, weighing the evidences and testing the doctrine. They were all converted as a result. These are highly educated, first rate minds. They are not following some foolish tradition of ignorant nomads.

The new Exodus movie tries to explain away most of the miracles as resulting from natural events. It does not show Moses taking credit for causing the plagues like the Bible shows. In an age where many people don’t read the Bible, this may become the story they remember instead of the Bible version. Hopefully, some people will want to learn more of the Exodus story and actually pick up a Bible to read the original version.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

FDR's Waterboarding Connection

A debate over waterboarding has ramped up recently as the Democrats in the Senate have released a report criticizing the CIA for torturing captured terrorists. It seems that such actions are considered barbaric for the first decade of the 21st century. Such was not the case during the first decade of the 20th century when the scions of many of the nation's richest families found waterboarding to just be part of the New England boarding school experience.

Like many sons of millionaires from the eastern establishment, Franklin Roosevelt attended Groton School, a private Episcopal college prep boarding school in Groton, Massachusetts. One of Roosevelt's first major biographers, James MacGregor Burns wrote this about FDR's teen Groton School experience in his book, Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox (1882-1940):

"Franklin in short was a trifle unorthodox, and unorthodoxy at Groton could encounter harsh penalties at the hands of the older boys. One of these penalties was the 'bootbox' -- being shoved forcibly doubled up, into a small locker, and being left there. Another, also permitted by the faculty, was 'pumping' -- sixth formers would call out the name of an offender in study period, drag him quailing and shaking to a nearby lavatory, bending him face upward over a trough, and pour basins of water over his face and down his throat until he went through the sensations of drowning."

Franklin was never waterboarded. We don't have a record if he ever participated when he was  sixth former. The practices was common around the time period with writing from Robert McCormick, Teddy Roosevelt, Jr., and Dean Acheson also referring to the practice.

So in a hundred years we have 'progressed' from faculty condoned waterboarding of America's future leaders to the condemnation of waterboarding of the world's most dangerous terrorists.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Roosevelt's Advanced Knowledge of Pearl Harbor Attack

Today, it is widely believed that the Japanese conducted a dastardly surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941. Our army and navy never saw it coming and suffered tremendous losses.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the Second World War is that there is strong evidence Franklin Roosevelt and his most senior military and political aides knew the Japanese attack was coming and purposefully looked the other way, knowing Japan's "surprise" attack would turn a reluctant America into a nation fully supportive of joining the world war. This is the conclusion made by WWII veteran Robert B. Stinnett in his enlightening 2000 book, Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor.

In the 1930s, as the world became more and more engaged in wars, the people of the United States remained isolationist. Roosevelt was a dedicated Anglophile who took active steps to aid England fight against Nazi Germany. He also took steps to ramp up preparations of the army and navy. Despite these steps, even with Roosevelt's superior persuasive powers, there was no way he could convince American citizens to join England in its war against Germany.

If you are looking for a smoking gun, you won't find it. The historical records have been destroyed or kept from public view. What you can find is a pattern of missing records that point to advanced knowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack by President Roosevelt that was not passed on to local army and navy leaders in Hawaii.

  1. Most students of WWII history are aware that the US had broken the Japanese naval communication codes prior to the battle of Midway, and it helped contribute to the victory. What is not well known is that the various Japanese communication codes were broken as early as the 1920's. Intercepted communication codes in 1941 were forwarded to the English base in Singapore and the American base in the Philippines. The same communication intercepts were supposed to go to Hawaii, but the transportation was delayed until after December 7. Had they arrived in time, the Hawaii cryptographers would have learned of the pending attack in advance. An explanation for the delay is missing from the historical record.

  1. Early in 1941 a known Japanese spy, Tadashi Morimura, arrived at the Japanese consulate in Honolulu and was allowed to spend months casing out the Pearl Harbor facilities. The FBI had planned to track and deal with Morimura, but the Navy Intelligence told them to stand aside. Why this unusual action? It resulted in Morimura sending key intelligence that the Japanese used in planning the Pearl Harbor attack, even to the extent of plotting the bombing runs. The reason this was allowed remains unknown. An explanation is missing from the historical record. Navy Intelligence was intercepting Morimura’s reports on a regular basis. The information was sent to Washington, but not to Admiral Husband Kimmel, the top navy admiral in Hawaii.

  1. In the later half of November 1941, Admiral Kimmel ordered a practice mission for his fast carriers in the ocean northwest of Hawaii. The carriers were actually in the vicinity of where the Japanese would launch their planes on December 7. Washington ordered the ships back to Pearl Harbor early. Washington also ordered all vessels to vacate the ocean in the area that would be crossed by the Japanese attack fleet. They even diverted two Russian merchantmen -- one was rerouted on a southern route and the other was made to stop in Portland until there was no risk it would run into the Japanese navy.

  1. FDR was provided with regular reports with details of the Japanese naval movements running up to 15 pages per report. The navy maintained a log, so we know how many messages there were. Of the 70+ messages, only five remain. The others are all “lost,” The National Archives has no explanation for the missing documents.

  1. On November 15, General George Marshall, the top general of the army, called a secret press conference with key journalists. He told them that the United States could read Japan’s encrypted messages. He told them that war would break out during the first 10 days of December. He provided no such message to his top general in Hawaii, Walter Short.

  1. At the end of on November 1941, Roosevelt and his war cabinet drafted a message to Emperor Hirohito asking that he take steps to avoid war. The message was not delivered to the Imperial Palace until the night before the Pearl Harbor attack, three hours before the attack planes launched. It was a nice cover to show Americans wanted peace, but delivery was delayed until it was too late to matter.

  1. During the first week of December, the SS Lurline, a merchant ship, sailed from San Francisco to Honolulu. The assistant radio operator Leslie Gorgan was surprised to hear Japanese radio signals coming from the direction northwest of Hawaii. Normally, this would not have been possible, because they were broadcast at a frequency that usually had a short range. However, a sunstorm had interfered and made it possible to receive the transmission from farther away. These short range messages were sent by the Japanese fleet because they had just gone through a storm that dispersed their ships and they needed to send the signal to regroup. Grogan gave the radio messages to Lieutenant Commander George Peace of the navy when he got to Hawaii. Admiral Kimmel never heard about it. When the Lurline returned to San Fransisco, its radio logs were confiscated by the Twelfth Naval District intelligence unit.. A search by the author for the log in the 1990’s had found that it had been checked out and not returned. The checkout slip had no name or date.

  1. Intelligence reports usually included a section for radio direction finder (RDF) reports. The copies that were sent to Kimmel have been mutilated and the RDF sections are missing.

  1. Days before the attack was to occur, Kimmel received an order to sortie the carriers and all the newer ships to deliver planes to outlying bases. The orders made sure only the older, more obsolete ships remained in Pearl Harbor for the attack.

  1. The final diplomatic orders from Tokyo, sent in four parts to its outlying embassies, were received and read by President Roosevelt and his told aides 15 hours before the attack. Japanese orders to destroy all codes and cryptography equipment were a clear sign that war was imminent. This revelation, which would have allowed the army and navy in Hawaii to go on full alert, was not sent to General Short or Admiral Kimmel in time for them to take action.

The results of the Pearl Harbor attack are well know. Americans rallied behind President and Congress supported a declaration of war with only one no vote. While it is disappointing that these actions have been lost to history after more than 70 years, it was probably a good thing that America joined the war when it did. Without America’s help, Germany may have won the war. And if they lost, the Soviet Union could have dominated western Europe.

For a related post which discusses a Soviet mole in the US government who set the policy that led Japan to attack America, click here.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Planned Parenthood Kills More Blacks Than Police

Why the big outrage about police killing blacks and no outrage about Planned Parenthood killing blacks?

Other posts on this topic:

$6 Million Abortion Mistake

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Monday, December 1, 2014

December Hollywood Fails / Old Hollywood Gems

It is time for another monthly contrast between the many morally bankrupt movies made today, that pass for entertainment, and the classic movies made before most people alive today were born. These older movies give viewers a level of entertainment forgotten by most modern movie producers.

This month, the low brow new DVD releases include Tusk, a Kevin Smith movie that reached a new low (hard to do with so many bad Kevin Smith movies). I guess people don't care to see a movie about someone forced to undergo tusk implants. Michael Medved, who sees hundreds of movies, says it is one of the most disturbing he has ever watched. It only managed to earn $1.8 million in theaters. One time child star Haley Joel Osment and the inconsistent Johnny Depp could't save this dog.

How a movie like this is able to find an audience as a DVD is a sad comment on modern culture.

For those who don't want to feel like they just fell in cesspool, there are some great video choices that were first released in December. If you have not had the pleasure of watching these three classics, you should add them to your movie bucket list.

December 1939 - 75 years ago

Gone with the Wind
If you don't like watching oldies, this movie should be an exception. A winner of eight Oscars, including best picture, this movie has the well deserved reputation as one of the greatest movies ever made. An epic tale of the Civil War in the south, it was made closer to the Civil War than our modern day. The novel it was based on is also a very readable classic.
November 1944 - 70 years ago

National Velvet
A young Elizabeth Taylor shines in this horse race movie. AFI rates this as one of the top 10 sports movies of all time.
November 1954 - 60 years ago

20 Leagues Under The Sea
Kirk Douglas (still alive today at 98 and soon to release another book) and James Mason star in this classic Disney adoption of Jules Vernes adventure. It was one of the first movies to feature extensive underwater photography of actors.

If you wish Hollywood made less disgusting movies, you are invited to read my screenplay Jihad on Hollywood, currently free on Ibooks or on Amazon for $0.99. The story addresses what would happen if the elite of Hollywood were captured and put on trial by Muslim terrorists. You will experience adventure, humor, and a condemnation of modern Hollywood's culture.

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