Thursday, July 30, 2009

'We need a clean up on ailse...hey isn't that...'

My excuse for neglecting my blog is weak and inconsequential. It's not like I work for a DOD contractor and there's a war going on with another one looming large on the horizon over the Korean wait...that is actually the case. Sorry.

I need all my closed-minded conservative friends to stop reading at this point. I'm going a bit left today (only a tiny bit), and I don't want to ruin our near year-long love fest on Tony C Today. Don't worry. I'm still firmly a conservative and will remain so...but I'm not a Kool-Aid drinker for either party. Stop reading now.

The headlines from my local paper looks like this today:

President talks health care reform at Bristol Krogers event
By Hank Hayes

Yes, the ObamaNation has descended on the uber-conservative foothills of the Appalachian mountains in East Tennessee...(cricket noises). He decided to visit the deli section of a local Krogers Supermarket, not for a pound of thinly sliced Butterball turkey cold cuts, but instead to discuss health care reform...that's to discuss health care reform with a bunch of people who don't currently have health insurance. Hmmmmm.

If I seem skeptical, you perceived correctly. Now before you start assumptions, let me state I'm not in the 'everything Obama does is evil and a socialist plot' club. The man is my President as voted by the Electoral College electors this past December. He made a lot of promises. Some I agree with...some I don't. Can he get anything done is the question...absolutely anything?

Not long ago, I had a conversation with my retired U.S. Representative. His son and I went to Vanderbilt at the same time, and we became good friends. I jokingly inquired if he missed Washington, and the conservative gentleman from East Tennessee remarked, 'Absolutely not.' He said Washington had become so bogged down in quagmire that it was near impossible to get anything done. 'If a Republican comes up with a good idea, there's no way Democrats will support it. Same goes the other way if a Democrat comes up with a good plan.'

That's not breaking news to most of us, I know. But it frames the picture of what our elected officials are doing on our time and with our dime. When did argument for the sake of argument become productive for anything outside of marriage (guys are always angling for the make up loving ladies)?

Back to health care reform. Something has got to be done...period. As I've stated before, Republicans, under the veil as conservatives, spent money hand over fist during the years they control both houses of Congress and the White House. Were we better off at the end of their run? There is no logical way you can answer anything but no to that question...loyalties aside.

Now Democrats reign, and they've talked about heath care reform for years. It's an important issue for all Americans on both sides of the aisle. I personally know people from both parties that are either currently hurting or have been hurt by our current heath care system. Why? And how can the most prosperous country on the planet rank 33rd in the infant death rate (just ahead of Croatia by .1 deaths per 1000 live births) and 45th in life expectancy. How?!

Don't even start with that conspiracy theory/skewed statistics garbage! I'm sick of hearing it from both sides. We have a problem. Our health care system is not what it should be. If a government can't protect its citizens, care for its sick and elderly and educate its youth...what good is it?

Just like our financial institutes, greed has overrun our health care system. I see it everyday...right out my kitchen window...which overlooks one of our local hospitals. A hospital that continues to expand and spend as if the word recession is only make-believe. A hospital that would at one time ask what the problem was when you needed services before asking if you had insurance or not.

My neighbor is a doctor at said hospital, and he shared this story with me not long ago. Apparently he was suffering from a sore throat and asked a colleague to check it out for him. His fellow doctor did a quick exam, offered and took a throat swab to make sure it wasn't strep, and gave him a prescription of salt water gargling for a few days. Two weeks later, he receives a bill in his hospital mail box for $98 for services and the culture kit. He was irate to say the least and said those culture kits are thrown away by the dozens on any given day. Welcome to our world Doc...a world where the fee is more important than the service.

Does President Obama have the answers? I don't know...but I do know if we continue to sit on our hands and let the system spiral out of control, people will suffer even more. I ask you this- Is it more important our government focuses on the current college football ranking system, the 'did they/didn't they' shenanigans of the CIA, Dick Cheney, or fixing our health care system?

Is it a coincidence that my health insurance premiums didn't go up this past May for the first time in...well...ever? Will Michael Moore ever shut up about Canada and stop being a divisive instrument on an issue so important everyone?

Don't let your politics and talk radio scare you to the point of thinking that doing nothing is better than doing something. Our politicians have good health care already. The people not worried about health care issues are probably in the same boat. Take a look around your family and circle of friends...can all of you say the same?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

But, I don't want to go to Nineveh...

I'm always amazed at the ways God communicates with us.

This past weekend, I found myself in a discussion with someone about the New Age philosophy compared to Christianity. The point being made by this person was the New Age movement is a natural evolution of Christianity. The example he kept going back to pulled from the biblical verse that God will give you what you ask for in Jesus' name (John16:23-24), and that since God is omnipresent, He represents the universe. The connection was then made that asking the universe in the right frame of mind and the universe granting your request is no different from what the Bible already says. It's just an updated version for a modern time and not written for a more primitive culture 2000 years ago.


Unfortunately, I wasn't on my best game. My counter was found in the obvious fact that his modern version was nothing akin to what the Bible actually says because it leaves out the very pertinent point that the request is going to God through Jesus...that Christ is our way to the Father. The subsequent tangent discussion went to the relationship between man, the Son and the Father. I was left with the feeling my effort was seriously short on substance and filed it away for deeper research later.

I'm currently studying what Paul and James say about religion which is really good stuff when you get into it. But, that's another post at another time.

While I was driving to church Sunday evening, I flipped on my radio and picked up a speaker discussing the very subject of asking God and receiving what you request. Unfortunately, I only got to listen to about 10 minutes in the middle of the sermon before arriving...late as usual. I thought about the discussion off and on through Monday, but I didn't spend any time on the matter in prayer or reading.

Tuesday morning came with the typical morning routines. As I got into my wife's car to take our toddler to her at pre-school, the radio was tuned to a local contemporary Christian usual in her car. Within a few short moments, the announcer stated that the days Power Verse was John 16:23-24, and he read the verses:

And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Now, I'm by no means a Rhodes scholar...but come on...I obviously needed to explore the subject matter more thoroughly.

I worry that sometimes I come across in my postings as a super pious Christian who has all his priorities exactly in line with God's will for my life. Folks, that's not the case. I struggle daily with my devotions, my prayer time and other issues that should take lead in my life. There are days I'm all over it...there are days my focus drifts elsewhere. It too easy to come across in a Pharisee-like manner, and I truly don't intend to do that...just on a side-note.

So God...I hear You. Loud and clear. I was presented an opportunity for better field position, and I shanked the punt. I will focus where You want me to focus and not on my interest.

I've read and studied on what Jesus was saying in these versus, but I'm also very curious to your take on what He meant. Many of you don't comment and that's okay. If you're more comfortable sending me your thoughts via email...I'd be just as appreciative.

Help me out blogosphere. I need your input on the matter...

BTW: The toddler has been watching The Veggie Tales version of Jonah over and over this week...I'm just saying...little slow to pick up at times...just ask Mrs. Tony C Today...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Come and play...everything's sorta okay.

I'm getting old, but that's okay with me. Like an eagle dropping on a lake trout, I'm screaming toward the half century mark full tilt.

I'm not too old, however, to remember a lot of the influences from my youthful days...way back in the mid-single digit birthdays. I grew up watching Sesame Street. No, not the politically-correct, sanitized version my near 2 year old watches today, I watched Sesame Street before the innuendos that Bert and Ernie were live-in 'life partners'. Before the National Mental Heath Association demanded someone else see Snuffleupagus besides Big Bird because it cast people with delusions as...well...bird brains. Before Elmo stormed the toy world creating shopping riots just to be tickled and was only known as Baby Monster. I watched Sesame Street the way it was envision, developed and produced before the special interest groups and ACLU lawyers reshaped it into something akin to watching Michael Moore Street.

I say this to frame my actual subject matter today. You see, I don't really personally know any middle-aged Hispanic women...which makes it hard for me to understand the buzz around Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Yes, I understand the historical significances of the Supreme Court's first Latina justice...but isn't justice suppose to be blind? Why else would Lady Justice be holding that food scale up with a blindfold over her eyes.

To me, Supreme Court seats should be filled by the absolute most qualified person available and willing to serve. That's an oversimplification of a process that has become heavily burdened in political positioning...the same politics which has left our legislative branch practically inept and incapable of its most basic function...legislating.

I really don't think most Americans understand the importance of our Supreme Court. Their knowledge is limited to which side of Roe v Wade they stand or the phrase 'I'll take this all the way to the Supreme Court!' without understanding how the process actually works. That's sad. Our Founding Fathers in their brilliance knew the importance of protecting the sanctity of the US Constitution, our ultimate civil law. They hoped that properly seated justices would understand the oath they would swear to when taking the bench and honor the duty to uphold our ultimate civil law above all else...including personal theory.

In my opinion, being a Supreme Court Justice is the most important civil service job in our country...even above the Office of President. But politics is ever present and the jocking for a more conservative or a more liberal justice is under way. As a conservative, I know it's expecting way too much to look for a conservative-leaning nominee to be submitted by a liberal president and confirmed by a Democrat-controlled Congress. But I've watched the coverage of the Sotomayor hearings and must admit two things: She's very cool under tremendous pressure and her opinions are definitely more conservative than the man she replaces. I can live with that.

I look forward to following soon-to-be Justice Sotomayor's career on the bench...and my own personal growth in understanding why her being a Latina has become so important to everyone else. If she's anything like Ms. Marie from my Sesame Street days, my only other point of reference on the matter...I can live with that too...she taught me a lot of the Spanish words I still know today.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wanna be starting somethin'...even Manu Dibango was misquoted.

Wow! Want people to come to your blog...write about Michael Jackson!

I normally get on average between 120 to 140 visitors a blog post. Most don't comment but some send an email with their thoughts. My last blog on the New Age garbage generated 189 visitors, several pointed comments and a dozen nasty emails. I answered each and every one with sincerity and platitude...excuse me...gratitude for the expression of odious opinions.

Then Michael Jackson. After 214 visitors, several nasty comments (I only deleted 2 for offensive language), and 17 emails of differing opinions (only 4 in support...thanks guys!), I have a new visitor record for Tony C Today. I'm beaming with pride. Nothing like controversy to stir the soul.

For the record, I never stated a desire for Michael Jackson to 'burn in hell.' It's not there. Read the post again.

I was genuine in my statement of hope that Michael Jackson was right with God when he passed. And yes, it does matter...eternally.

Calling Christians 'bigots' is growing tired and insubstantial. True followers of Christ love everyone. Because we love you doesn't mean we have to agree with you. Need a reference? Check with my teenager whom I love with all my being.

This isn't a race issue. Period. My repulsion of child molesters is very equal opportunity. Also, my mention of O.J. Simpson was based solely on the documented ineptitude of the Los Angeles Police Department that botched solid cases against both men...very publicly.

I don't normally revisit a post to address comments or emails, but some of the statements were far off base of fact. If you loved an entertainment icon to the point of unreasonableness and delusion, you won't find Tony C Today very helpful.

The title of this post refers to the mispronounced closing words in Wanna Be Starting Somethin'. It seemed to fit.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Are the Talking Heads the Grand Marshals?

"That's a lot a big, loud , funny looking trucks!"

I hope everyone had a pleasant Fourth of July weekend. Mine was most relaxing and filled with good company, food and entertainment.

Part of my entertainment was found in a good old fashion, God Bless America parade...complete with fire trucks...lots of fire trucks from every surrounding fire station within a 50 mile radius. I'm not sure what happens if there's actually a fire during the parade, since all the truck are busy being on public display, but I'd bet the fact the fire trucks are spaced throughout the route has some tactical significance...

I've thought about how to approach this post while maintaining the reverence I sincerely associate with our nation's Independence Day. Dialogue would do the most justice...

Mrs. Tony C: You ready to take the kids to the parade?
Tony C: Sure don't want to miss the fire trucks and elected officials on display.
Mrs. Tony C: That attitude needs to stay right here. If you don't want to go for yourself, do it for your kids. Leaves room.
Teenager: Don't do it for me. It's 9 am! I want to sleep more!
Tony C: Oh no young lady. I go. Get ready.
Teenager: (indistinguishable mumbles)

At the parade, after Tony C. politely lets the girls out close to the parade route.

Tony C on cell phone: Where are you?
Mrs. Tony C: Where are you?
Tony C: Right where I let you guys out. I made a parking place.
Mrs. Tony C: Turn right at the main street and we are about 100 yards down on the other side.
Tony C (looking at a number of spots directly in front of him on his side of the street): Okay.

As the parade starts, Tony C post up in his favorite folding chair.

Tony C (thinking to himself): Look coming here...leading the way...dozens a police cars...demonstrating on our Independence Day just how fast we've turned into a police state...
Mrs. Tony C (glancing over and making eye contact): Don't even start!
Tony C: What! I didn't say anything!
Mrs. Tony C: I know that look...and I can see the wheels turning in that over-sized melon of yours. Just sit there and enjoy the parade.
Tony C: Just waiting for the fire trucks babe...
Mrs. Tony C: Tony!
Tony C: Okay, okay...I'll stop. Good grief.
Mrs. Tony C: Remember the kids.
Tony C to himself: Like the kids haven't seen a police car...whoop. Looking over notices the teenager is completely oblivious to the parade starting because she's texting rapid fire on her phone, and the toddler is consumed by opening a pack of gummy treats. Sees the day's first fire truck directly behind the police cars.

Fifteen minutes and four more fire trucks into the parade.

Tony C (noticing a row of old...excuse me...antique cars coming): Here come the politicians on parade (with eye roll).
Mrs. Tony C: I think it's nice they take the time to...
Tony C: Advertise. What does our county Assessor of Property have to do with our national independence?
Mrs. Tony C: It's a representation of our right to vote.
Tony C: Wow. You yank that right out of your...
Mrs. Tony C: Tony!
Tony C: Okay, okay (notices a few more fire trucks coming).

One hour and eight more fire trucks into the parade.

Tony C notices a group of older men in uniform behind a sign saying Korean War Veterans. Standing up, he claps in appreciation for their service. The Korean vets are followed by the Vietnam vets, who are followed by Desert Storm and recently returning Middle East war veterans. He remains standing as each group passes and thinks about the absence of WW I and WW II veterans .

Tony C thinking to himself: God, thank you for these veterans and for the many who didn't return or who have already gone home. Thank you for my country and may we never forget we can only be great if You are with us.
Mrs. Tony C reaches over and quietly takes him by the hand.

Another hour and eleven additional fire trucks later.

Tony C: Well, that should be about it.
Teenager: You mean no candy? Not a single person threw out candy!
Tony C: What does candy have to do with celebrating our Independence Day?
Teenager: They throw it out at the Christmas parade.
Mrs. Tony C: do you answer that one big boy?
Tony C: Just wake your sister up and get ready to go. If you want candy, we'll come see the fire trucks again in December.
Mrs. Tony C: Tony!
Tony C: Okay, okay...
Mrs. Tony C: Can't you just carry her to the car, so she can finish her nap? She's only been asleep about an hour.

The last fire truck rolls by and blast the horns...startling and waking the toddler up.

Mrs. Tony C (picking up crying toddler): Bless your heart. It's okay baby.
Tony C: I'm sure glad we can see the fireworks from our back deck tonight.
Mrs. Tony C: What?! You mean...aren't we going downtown to watch them...with the kids?