Category Archives: In the News

Here we go again…

Hi!  Remember me?  I know, it’s been a minute.  I was hoping that the next time I got the urge to jot down my thoughts, they wouldn’t be politically oriented but I guess that didn’t happen because…

It’s Election Season…again

Voters guide for the 2022 Election for Berks County PA residents

Yay.  Yippee. Woo-hoo.

If I don’t sound too enthusiastic, it’s for a reason. In a season when I’d like to be walking through piles of bright colored leaves, I’m walking through a cesspool of hate, lies and vitriol. Between the candidate signs everywhere, the political ads all over the internet, the SPAM emails and the veritable forest of dead-tree crap delivered to my door, I’m ready for Fall – this one, anyway – to be DONE!

Politics in this country are less about what each party thinks is best for America and more about garnering and keeping as much power for themselves as they can.  Oh, on the surface, it doesn’t seem that way but anyone who can read a headline knows the truth.

Both sides want to WIN!!! And they’re willing to do whatever it takes to make sure they do. Politics in America has always been something of a free-for-all but, for the last several years, it’s gotten more and more vicious.  This year, I don’t recall seeing a single ad saying why I should vote FOR someone.  All I seem to see are ads telling my to vote AGAINST <insert candidate’s name here> because he/she is a lying bag of shit who wants to <insert dog-whistle slogan here> which will destroy the <country/state/county/city/family/whatever>.

If the sides were evenly matched, it might not be so bad but things are definitely not even. Getting the Democrats/left/liberals to do anything as a single group is like trying to herd cats on acid. The Republicans/right/conservatives are much better at all pulling together. The only problem is that they are all pulling has hard and as fast as they can toward a cliff.

Worse still are the basic issues defining this election. One the left hand, you’ve got a very unorganized bunch of people pushing for what boil down to basic human rights – healthcare, equality, freedom of choice, freedom of self-identity, bodily autonomy. On the right hand, you have a much more focused and organized group pushing hard to impose what amounts to a theocratic state where, if you don’t believe right or worship right or have the right gender identity or the right skin color…or if you have a uterus, you don’t get to have any rights.

The way it seems to me, the left wants everyone to get and give the best they can while the right wants to control who you are, who you can be and what you can do or get. Yes, this is a gross over-simplification…but it gets the point across.

The great divide…

Every Democrat/left/liberal politician I’ve heard wants women to have bodily autonomy, wants people to be able to decide for themselves what gender they do or do not identify as, wants everyone to have healthcare, wants people to be treated the same regardless of what color their skin is.  They want to be/stay in power the same as their opponents but the agenda they are pushing is based on giving people more what they need to live (as opposed to survive), making the corporations and the rich pay their fair share and doing what we can to make sure there’s still a planet to live on a generation or two from now.

By the same token, every Republican/right/conservative politician I’ve heard wants to control women’s bodies and make blanket decisions about their healthcare rights in spite of the fact that every single medical professional and healthcare organization says that’s a bad idea. They want to limit what gender someone can be even though science and history both say that more than two sexes exist in nature. They want to Make America WASP Again, ignoring or rolling back the hard won progress this country has made toward true universal equality. They want the Government to be based on Christian principles even though this country was formed on the fundamental belief in religious freedom, religious tolerance and the separation of Church and State. And by the way, the “Christian” principles they espouse sound more like they came from Mein Kampf than the New Testament.

The ad is mightier than the sword!

The problem is, with the right ad campaign, anything can be made to look good. If you phrase something right, with the right visuals and sound track, you can get people to help you commit mass murder. Don’t believe me? By any chance have you ever heard of the Nazi death camps?

Hitler preyed upon people’s distrust of strangers. He blamed the bad German economy on Jews. He promoted an Us vs. Them feeling in everyday life and then gave the people a convenient scapegoat. In the end, a charismatic madman with a lust for power had talked an entire country into killing six million people.

Make good choices…

Election 2022 - 9 & 10 News

That’s easier said than done.  Who do you believe?  How do you figure out who is lying?  How do you decide who to vote for?  Or against?

“If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for … but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong.”

― Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

Frankly, I assume that every politician is a liar.  They want to get elected and they’ll say whatever they need to in order to make that happen.  My yardstick to decide where to cast my vote is to look at what they say. (Wait!!!  What?  You just said they’re all liars.)  Yes, I did.  But what a candidate says and how they say it can tell you a lot.

Are they pushing an agenda that includes people or excludes people? Do they want to help people or hurt them? Do they talk about all of us together or us vs them? Do they preach love or hate?  Are they willing to compromise with their opponents or is it “my way or the highway”?  Finally, if they have held office before, what is their voting record.  

There is no way I’ll agree with everything a left/liberal/Democrat – or any –  politician says.  I don’t trust the Democrats any more than I trust the Republicans. But for now anyway, the Democrats are not trying to divide us as a nation. They’re not trying to exclude.  They’re not trying to divide.  Oh, they still want to be large and in charge, just like the right/conservative/Republicans but they’re doing it by pushing programs that help people. I’ll vote FOR inclusion and helping people and love every time.  Just like I’ll vote AGAINST exclusion and hurting people and hate every time.

Sheep or goats?

Oh, and I’m aware that my intention to vote Democrat will undoubtedly get me called a “sheep”.  Here’s a question for all the self-proclaimed Christians out there who don’t want to give people health care or feed the poor or welcome strangers…look in the mirror and answer yourself honestly…are you a sheep?  Or are you a goat?  If you want to call me a sheep, that’s fine.  I’ll thank you for the compliment and try hard to live up to that standard.  Will you do the same?

Parable of the Sheep and the Goats

Matthew 25

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Is Your News Feed Killing America?

Quick question…what’s in your news feed? Maybe you use Google News, maybe you use Flipboard. Maybe you still have a landing page in your browser that has news feeds in it. But what news feeds are they?

I’m not asking if you’re Liberal or Conservative. And I’m not going to get into which news feeds cater to Liberals or which ones cater to Conservatives. What I want to know is, do any of those news feeds disagree with your stance on politics? I’m betting the answer to that question is, “No”.

The age of personalization

This is a wonderful time we’re living in. Think about it. You can buy fresh fruit from the other side of the globe. You can order doodads and thing-a-ma-bobs from all over the planet and have them delivered to your door in just a couple of days. You can stream music or TV or movies to your phone pretty much anywhere you go. You can subscribe to blogs, podcasts and websites for any interest you may have. And you can have a personalized newspaper available to you every minute of every day.

Every bit of it can be customized to your specific tastes. Want to listen to nothing but pre-White Album Beatles? No problem. Want to see the latest episode of your favorite sitcom? Just stream it. Want to read up on all the latest trends in hair care, craft brewing, microbiology or whatever your particular interest is? There’s a blog or website or podcast out there just for you. Want to read the news without all that annoying stuff from the other party that you just don’t want to wade through? A custom news feed is just a click away. But that custom news feed may be a problem.

You are what you read

When I was a kid, every night at 6:00 my Dad would tune the TV to the CBS Evening News. Walter Cronkite would be there to tell us what was happening in the world. Maybe other families watched David Brinkley…or maybe just their local news. There weren’t as many choices back then so you could be pretty sure that anybody watching the Evening News was watching either CBS, ABC, NBC or the local channel. And maybe you liked it, maybe you didn’t…but you trusted that it was the truth.

I’m not saying that the news was completely unbiased. One network might lean a little more toward the Democratic side of things while their competition might tend to be more Republican oriented. But regardless, the news was reported in a reasonably unbiased manner. If you watched Cronkite and you were talking about the news the next day to a co-worker who watched Brinkley, you’d have both heard pretty much the same news, reported in very similar fashion.

If Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley both looked at the same dog, both would report on the dog. One might comment more on how big the dog was while the other might focus more on the length and color of it’s coat but there’d be no doubt that they were reporting on the same dog. Your water cooler conversation may be about the relative merits of Black Labradors vs Beagles (Black Labs win that one, BTW) but regardless, you’d be talking about dogs because dogs were what every network was reporting on.

Compare that with today where, if MSNBC and Fox both looked at the same dog, MSNBC would tell you about a fish and Fox would tell you about a bird. If you’re more a fish person, you’re going to be all-in on MSNBC. But if you’re think that fish drool and birds rule, Fox is where you’re going to go for your news fix. The only problem with that is that we complete lose track of the fact that we’re actually talking about dogs.

You read what you are

Today we have news sources that is decidedly biased one way or the other. We also have technology that makes it insanely easy to tailor a news feed that caters to our individual biases and opinions. On the face of it, it sounds like a fine idea. I can read/watch/listen to news that is oriented to my interests. If my interest is business news, I can see that without having to wade through sports news or personal interest stories. Great! Fantastic!

But what happens when we check political news? Suddenly, you’re not seeing only political news without having to wade through business news or sports. You’re seeing only political news that conforms with your own biases and beliefs without having to wade through different opinions. If you’re a Liberal, the majority of the news stories you’ll see in your personalized feed will be Liberal stories from Liberal sources. By the same token, if you’re a Conservative, the majority of the news stories you’ll see in your personalized feed will be Conservative stories from Conservative sources.

OK, so what’s wrong with that?

Again, on the face of it, it sounds fine. “I don’t have to listen to those idiots over there. They’re wrong anyway so why waste my valuable time on them? I’ve got better things to do besides listening to their sheep-like bleating.”

Except that listening to nothing but what you already think closes your mind to everything else. If you never see or hear a different opinion you’ll never have a new idea. You’ll be doomed to live the same political day over and over and over again without any hope of it ending. It’s Bill Murray in Groundhog’s Day but without the learning and growing and, most importantly, without the redemption in the end. Nobody gets the girl. Nobody lives happily ever after. Everybody just wakes up tomorrow and it’s exactly like today. Forever.

When I was a kid, politicians were Democrats or Republicans but they thought more for themselves. They at least made a pretense of supporting their constituency. They would ‘cross the aisle’ and vote for a bill from the other party because the bill was good or necessary. They didn’t do it all the time but it happened often enough that it wasn’t worth more than a casual mention on the news, if that.

These days, Democrats and Republicans are scared to do anything not officially blessed by their Party. Crossing the aisle is a major thing and could cost you re-election. With everyone only seeing their own opinions and never seeing anything else, we’ve become an Us vs. Them country. If you agree with me, you’re on the side of the angels. If you don’t agree with me, you’re more evil that Satan.

And it’s getting worse every day. The news sources for all those personalized feeds have to keep one-upping every story. And the networks with their polarizing spins do the same thing. If they don’t, they lose readers or viewers. A story that was a 5 alarm fire last month wouldn’t be worth mentioning this month because “HAVE YOU SEEN THE LATEST THING THAT THOSE EVIL BASTARDS OVER THERE HAVE DONE TODAY?!?!?!?”

04.08POLARIZED jpg

So what’s the solution?

Frankly, I doubt that there is one single solution. But, in the interest of proposing solutions to problems and not just complaining about them, I’ll lay out three options: what I want to see happen, what I hope happens and what I do myself.

What I want to see happen is for News reporting to go back to a time when reporters only reported the news. They didn’t try to make it. They didn’t spin every sentence to try to make it sound like their side was nothing but Good Guys and the other side was nothing but Bad Guys. I’d like them to report the news without actively, blatantly, aggressively having a side. I’d like to see more factual reporting and less opinion. I don’t see this happening anytime soon. Maybe one day that pendulum will swing back the other way but I’m not going to hold my breathe.

What I hope happens has nothing to do with the news sources and has everything to do with computer programmers. Let me explain. You have a personalized news feed because of computer programmers. They wrote programs that looked at what news sources you read most often, how long you spend reading their content, how quickly you click away from other content, etc. Then they took that information and gave you a news feed based on where you clicked the most and what news you spent the most time on. It’s pretty much the same thing that Spotify does with your music feed and Netflix does with your movies.

But when it comes to politics, I’d like the programmers to program in some equal time. For every three Conservative stories in your feed, they throw in a Liberal one. And vice-versa, or course. This won’t do anything for the Luddites who don’t get on the Internet and only watch whichever TV news channel feeds their biases. It would however, make sure that just about anyone under the age of 40 would be exposed to ideas different from their own. Maybe if that happened, the next generation would be more open and accepting … assuming we survive that long.

What I do myself – or try to do at any rate – is look at a bunch of different news sources of all stripes from HuffPost to Fox. I listen to Liberal and Conservative pundits ( sorry, I’m having a hard time calling them “Reporters” ). I read foreign press including the BBC and Al Jazeera. Then I think about what I’ve read and heard. I talk to other people about it – specifically including people who vote differently than me. I do some research and try to double-check the alleged facts that have been “reported”. And finally, I try to make up my own mind.

I don’t do all that so I can say that I’m better than anyone else. I do it so that I know what I think is as close to the truth as I can find. I do it so that I am forced to consider opinions and idea that are sometimes wildly different from what I might normally consider. I do it so that my ideas and opinions are truly my own and not just what some talking head told me to believe. Because if I don’t question my ideas…if I don’t hold my opinions up for comparison to differing opinions, how can I know whether any of them are worth a damn?

I’ll ask again…what’s in your news feed? Are you reading and listening to news that challenges your opinions and that forces you to consider other ideas besides your own? Or are you only reading and listening to news that feeds your own biases? Are you trying to save America? Or are you trying to kill it?

Traitors, Oath-breakers and The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has been one Justice short for six month today.  Why is that?  Did the President not do his duty and propose a new Justice?  No.  President Obama nominated Chief Judge Merrick Garland on March 16th of this year.  So how come the Senate hasn’t confirmed him?  Simple, really.  They haven’t confirmed him because his confirmation hearings are being blocked…by the very people who’s job it is to hold the hearings.

Let’s take a look at a few things here…

The Oath of Office for the President of the United States reads as follows:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Article II, Section 2, clause 2 of the Constitution states that the President

“shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges of the supreme Court.”

The Oath of Office for a United States Senator reads as follows:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take
this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that
I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter:
So help me God.

Nowhere in there does it say that a Senator can refuse to hold hearings for a Supreme Court Justice just because they don’t like the President.  The Constitution and the Senate Oath of Office are very clear.  The President “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint” and a Senator “will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

So essentially, any Senator who willfully blocks, delays or in any other way refuses to hold fair hearings for a replacement Supreme Court Justice is breaking his Oath of Office and violating the Constitution of the United States.

Anti-Constitutional Oath Breakers!

This strikes me as sufficient reason for a recall election…or considering that this is an election year, reason to vote them out of office.  Just my opinion…as a registered Republican.  I understand that others may disagree and that’s certainly their right.  But I can only tell you that if I refused to do any part of the job I was hired to do because I didn’t like the president of the company I work for…and was dumb enough to talk publicly about it…I’d be fired.  And rightly so.

What Mitch McConnell and his fellow Senate obstructionists are doing is precisely that.  Refusing to do the job they were hired to do.  Which in this case also means that they’re breaking their Oath of Office.  That is not something that we should allow our employees to do.  And that’s just what all the Senators and Representatives are.  They’re our employees.

I know it’s common these days to call them “our elected officials” or “our elected leaders” but what they really are is “our elected employees”.  Which means we can fire them by the simple act of electing someone else who will hopefully do the job better.  Someone who will hopefully not lie to us.  Someone who will hopefully not break their Oath of Office.  And they will hopefully NOT defy the Constitution.  Because that’s what McConnell and his cronies are doing.

A politician is known by the promises he keeps. ~Author Unknown

By breaking their word…their Oath of Office…they are defying the Constitution and saying that what they want is more important than what the Constitution says.  They are saying that an Oath they took  before God is worthless.  They are, in essence, placing themselves above any other rule or law in our Nation and saying that what they want is right…even if they have to lie to get their way.

Please note, I’m not saying they’re committing treason.  According to the Constitution “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”  I’m saying that their actions make them traitors.

A traitor is defined as “one who betrays another’s trust or is false to an obligation or duty”.  That sounds like what McConnell and the others are doing – betraying the trust of their constituents. You know…the people that hired them in the first place…the people who should fire them.

Guns in America – A Modest…and Moderate Proposal

Gun Control.  I don’t think there’s ever been two words that could spike blood pressure so high in such a large portion of the population.  Ever.  Half of us want  tighter gun control up to and including completely outlawing guns all together.  The other half wants no gun control up to and including letting anyone buy and carry anything they want to just because they want to.

Or at least that’s what the News wants you to believe.  The percentages are probably more like 10-15% want more gun control and another 10-15% want less gun control.  That leaves the remaining 70-80% of us stuck in the middle going deaf from all the shouting.  That’s not to say that those of us in the middle of the Bell Curve don’t have an opinion.  We do.  We’re just not as extreme or strident about it.

Be that as it may, we still have a major disagreement going on.  One one side of the argument are the people who want stricter gun laws / better enforcement of existing gun laws / guns to be completely outlawed / all of the above.  On the other side are the people who fewer guns laws / fewer restrictions on concealed carry / no gun laws at all.  These two groups of people do not see eye to eye.  So, in an effort to save everyone’s hearing and sanity…and hopefully some lives…I’d like to make a proposal.

Accept reality.  We have a gun culture in this country.  Accept it.  It’s not going to change…at least not any time soon.  The writers of the Bill of Rights mandated that every citizen of this country has the Right to keep and bear arms.  For America that’s a reality right up there with, “The sun rises in the East.”  So…all you people on the Gun Control / Gun Registration side of things…people like…me…accept that guns are here and they’re here to stay.

But…and here I’m talking to the pro-gun / Constitutional Rights people.  You know who you are…people like…me.  Start acting like grown-up, responsible Citizens.  You have your guns.  The Gub’mint ain’t gonna take ’em away.  They can’t.  Do the math.  There’s too many of you and too few of them.  So stop acting like spoiled kids on the playground who think the teacher is going to take away your favorite toy.  It is not going to happen.

Let’s try something different instead.  Let’s try to actually talk to each other and maybe come up with a compromise solution that everyone can live with.  Here’s my suggestion for a starting point.  Oh…and before I get started, a word of warning.  There are suggestions here that are going to piss off both sides.  That’s kind of the point.  Nobody gets everything they want.  One side gives up a little, the other side gives up a little.  That’s why I called it a compromise.

Here we go…

  1. Universal Gun Registration.  I have to register my car.  I have to register my house.  If I ever get rich enough to afford an airplane I’ll have to register that.  Why is it so terrible to have to register a gun?  Oh, and no loopholes!!!  UNIVERSAL.  Pro-gun people keep saying that registered gun owners aren’t responsible for most gun violence…which means that unregistered gun owners ARE responsible for most gun violence.  So why not stop unregistered gun purchases?
  2. Universal Carry Permit availability but with mandatory training on safety and all pertinent laws before a Permit is issued and mandatory, periodic relicensing.  I can get a Drivers License in any State and use it to drive in any State.  But first I have to take a class to learn how to safely operate a motor vehicle and then take a test to prove that I can safely operate a motor vehicle.  Then, I can get a license…which I have to periodically renew.  Same with a plane.  Why not with a gun?  Oh, and a standard drivers license does NOT allow me to operate a tractor-trailer rig.  That requires a different class of license…and training…and testing.  If a gun owner wants to own more powerful guns they should have to receive more stringent training, undergo more stringent testing and be subject to more stringent penalties.
  3. Stricter penalties for gun law violations patterned after drunk driving laws.
    • 1st offense – temporary lost of gun license, fines, short jail time and a criminal record.
    • 2nd offense – permanent loss of gun license, mandatory forfeiture of all firearms, much higher fines and longer jail time.
    • 3rd offense – thrown them in a hole and thrown the hole in after them.

Gun ownership is a Right.  There can be no argument on this.  But rights have responsibilities.  A gun owner must be willing to accept the responsibility for keeping his guns safe, carrying them safely, being knowledgeable in the pertinent laws and using them in full accordance with those laws.  And he must also be prepared to accept the full consequences of his actions if he screws up.

There you go.  My suggestions on Gun Control.  Personally, I don’t think they have a chance in hell of ever becoming law.  But what do you think?  Let me know.

The Gun Control Nuts are Assholes…and the Pro-Gun Nuts are Assholes, too!

Nine people are dead. Nine! Some pathetic, psychotic nutbar decided that he didn’t like something so he started shooting people. The reason doesn’t really matter. What matters is that nine people are dead.

So of course, the Gun-Control Lobby – including President Obama – are calling for tougher gun control laws. To quote the President, “…we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these mass shootings every few months.” This is true. The other countries that have mass shootings like this are vacation spots like Syria, Iraq and Libya. Meanwhile, nine people are dead.

At the same time, the Pro-Gun groups are saying that if we didn’t have Gun Free Zones  and all the restrictions on gun ownership and carry permits then someone else with a gun could have shot the shooter before the shooter shot the victims. So we don’t need more Gun Control, we need more guns. And the nine people are still dead.

At the time I’m writing this there are unconfirmed reports that the nutbar was asking people what religion they were. Non-Christians got shot in the leg, Christians got shot in the head. Conservative Christians, in a country founded upon Freedom of Religion, get upset when people of other faiths use the Constitution to secure equality and religious freedom for their faith.  Someone singling out Christians for a hate crime is terrible, unfathomable, unpardonable…and proof that Christianity is under attack.  I wonder if any of those so-called Christians bothered to pray for the victims or their families.  You remember the victims?  The nine people who are dead?

Everyone is so caught up in pushing their own agenda these days that we’re turning into a nation of Us vs. Them.  We’re losing the willingness to listen…REALLY listen…to other opinions and give them due consideration.  We’re losing our soul.  We’re losing what makes us great because we’re so busy tearing the other guy down that we can’t be bothered to build ALL OF US up.

Ecclesiastes 3 tells us

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Now is not the time to talk about Gun Control or Religious Hate (two words that should never be in the same sentence).  Right now is the time to weep.  Right now is the time to mourn.  Right now is the time to embrace, the time to keep silence, the time to heal and most especially, the time to love.  And maybe…just maybe…if we do that then there will be time to listen and time to talk and time to understand and time to come together as a people…as a great nation…and find acceptance of our differences and find solutions to our problems.  But right now is not that time.

May God Bless the families of those that died.  May he heal their hearts and comfort their souls.  And may He guide us all to a better tomorrow…together.