Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready." - Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

Monday, December 30, 2013

Obama should follow the Marine Corps' Leadership Traits

Dear Readers,

Here are 14 leadership traits as prescribed by the United States Marine Corps.

These traits are qualities of thought and action, which if demonstrated in daily activities will help Marines earn the respect, confidence, and loyal cooperation of other Marines.

Today, businesses across the country are looking for these same traits in the leaders who understand and can demonstrait these simple qualities.

And yes, our politicians in government, from city hall to the White House, should understand and practice these on a daily basis. If so, then they we receive the respect and loyalty of others. It is just that simple.   

For Marines, it is extremely important that they understand the meaning of each leadership trait and how to develop it.

For good reason, if they want to know what goals to set as they work to become good leaders and good followers, leadership is stressed in the Marine Corps.

THE 14 LEADERSHIP TRAITS:

JUSTICE

Definition: Justice is defined as the practice of being fair and consistent. A just person gives consideration to each side of a situation and bases rewards or punishments on merit.

Suggestions for Improvement: Be honest with yourself about why you make a particular decision. Avoid favoritism. Try to be fair at all times and treat all things and people in an equal manner.

JUDGMENT

Definition: Judgment is your ability to think about things clearly, calmly, and in an orderly fashion so that you can make good decisions.

Suggestions for Improvement: You can improve your judgment if you avoid making rash decisions. Approach problems with a common sense attitude.

DEPENDABILITY

Definition: Dependability means that you can be relied upon to perform your duties properly. It means that you can be trusted to complete a job. It is the willing and voluntary support of the policies and orders of the chain of command. Dependability also means consistently putting forth your best effort in an attempt to achieve the highest standards of performance.

Suggestions for Improvement: You can increase your dependability by forming the habit of being where you're supposed to be on time, by not making excuses and by carrying out every task to the best of your ability regardless of whether you like it or agree with it.

INITIATIVE

Definition: Initiative is taking action even though you haven't been given orders. It means meeting new and unexpected situations with prompt action. It includes using resourcefulness to get something done without the normal material or methods being available to you.

Suggestions for Improvement: To improve your initiative, work on staying mentally and physically alert. Be aware of things that need to be done and then to do them without having to be told.

DECISIVENESS

Definition: Decisiveness means that you are able to make good decisions without delay. Get all the facts and weight them against each other. By acting calmly and quickly, you should arrive at a sound decision. You announce your decisions in a clear, firm, professional manner.

Suggestions for Improvement: Practice being positive in your actions instead of acting half-hearted or changing your mind on an issue.

TACT

Definition: Tact means that you can deal with people in a manner that will maintain good relations and avoid problems. It means that you are polite, calm, and firm.

Suggestions for Improvement: Begin to develop your tact by trying to be courteous and cheerful at all times. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

INTEGRITY

Definition: Integrity means that you are honest and truthful in what you say or do. You put honesty, sense of duty, and sound moral principles above all else.

Suggestions for Improvement: Be absolutely honest and truthful at all times. Stand up for what you believe to be right.

ENTHUSIASM

Definition: Enthusiasm is defined as a sincere interest and exuberance in the performance of your duties. If you are enthusiastic, you are optimistic, cheerful, and willing to accept the challenges.

Suggestions for Improvement: Understanding and belief in your mission will add to your enthusiasm for your job. Try to understand why even uninteresting jobs must be done.

BEARING

Definition: Bearing is the way you conduct and carry yourself. Your manner should reflect alertness, competence, confidence, and control.

Suggestions for Improvement: To develop bearing, you should hold yourself to the highest standards of personal conduct. Never be content with meeting only the minimum requirements.

UNSELFISHNESS

Definition: Unselfishness means that you avoid making yourself comfortable at the expense of others. Be considerate of others. Give credit to those who deserve it.

Suggestions for Improvement: Avoid using your position or rank for personal gain, safety, or pleasure at the expensive of others. Be considerate of others.

COURAGE

Definition: Courage is what allows you to remain calm while recognizing fear. Moral courage means having the inner strength to stand up for what is right and to accept blame when something is your fault. Physical courage means that you can continue to function effectively when there is physical danger present.

Suggestions for Improvement: You can begin to control fear by practicing self-discipline and calmness. If you fear doing certain things required in your daily life, force yourself to do them until you can control your reaction.

KNOWLEDGE

Definition: Knowledge is the understanding of a science or art. Knowledge means that you have acquired information and that you understand people. Your knowledge should be broad, and in addition to knowing your job, you should know your unit's policies and keep up with current events.

Suggestions for Improvement: Suggestions for Improvement: Increase your knowledge by remaining alert. Listen, observe, and find out about things you don't understand. Study field manuals and other military literature.

LOYALTY

Definition: Loyalty means that you are devoted to your country, the Corps, and to your seniors, peers, and subordinates.

The motto of our Corps is Semper Fidelis!, (Always Faithful). You owe unwavering loyalty up and down the chain of command, to seniors, subordinates, and peers.

Suggestions for Improvement: To improve your loyalty you should show your loyalty by never discussing the problems of the Marine Corps or your unit with outsiders.

Never talk about seniors unfavorably in front of your subordinates. Once a decision is made and the order is given to execute it, carry out that order willingly as if it were your own.

ENDURANCE

Definition: Endurance is the mental and physical stamina that is measured by your ability to withstand pain, fatigue, stress, and hardship. For example, enduring pain during a conditioning march in order to improve stamina is crucial in the development of leadership.

Suggestions for Improvement: Develop your endurance by engaging in physical training that will strengthen your body.

Finish every task to the best of your ability by forcing yourself to continue when you are physically tired and your mind is sluggish.




So now you might ask why am I writing about this?

Well, a few of you folks have written to ask what I feel President Obama needs to do to be successful in the White House? Or, how can he be a good leader?

This is what he needs to do, of course that all depends on whether or not he actually has the desire to be a good leader. 

But realistically, I believe Obama could care less and will simply perform in the same unsatisfactory manner as he has all his life -  just one con job at a time.

That's just how I see it.

Tom Correa




Sunday, December 29, 2013

Federal Judge OKs Wolf Derby in National Forest outside Salmon, Idaho.

Gray wolf

BOISE, Idaho (AP) – A federal judge Friday has allowed a wolf- and coyote-shooting derby to proceed on public land outside Salmon, Idaho, this weekend.

The judge ruled that the organizers aren’t required to get a special permit from the U.S. Forest Service.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Wagahoff Dale issued the ruling in Boise hours after a morning hearing.

WildEarth Guardians and other environmental groups had sought to stop the derby, arguing the Forest Service was ignoring its own rules that require permits for competitive events.

The agency, meanwhile, countered no permit was needed, concluding while hunting would take place in the forest on Saturday and Sunday, the competitive portion of the event – where judges determine the $1,000 prize winner for the biggest wolf killed – would take place on private land.

Dale decided derby promoters were encouraging use of the forest for a lawful activity.

“The derby hunt is not like a foot race or ski race, where organizers would require the use of a loop or track for all participants to race upon,” she wrote, of events that might require such permits. “Rather, hunters will be dispersed throughout the forest, hunting at their own pace and in their own preferred territory, and not in a prescribed location within a designated perimeter.”

Steve Alder, an organizer of Idaho’s derby, said dozens of people had already arrived in Salmon to participate. He was elated after the decision.

“We won,” Alder said. “You’ve got a lot of people who have driven from far distances to Salmon, today. A lot of motels have a lot of occupants; a lot of money has been expended for this event. It’s good for Salmon, but I don’t want to send them packing home.”

Every year, predator derbies are staged across the West and much of the rest of the country, where hunters compete to bag the most coyote, fox and other animals.

But wolves – and the notion that hundreds of armed sportsmen might head to the hills to shoot at them for cash – captured the passions of wildlife advocates on a landscape scale after they learned of the Idaho derby.

It’s been just two years since Endangered Species Act protections were lifted, and WildEarth Guardians executive director John Hornung said many people believe the big carnivores still face existential threats that are compounded when they’re hunted for prizes.

“To go from that position a mere two years ago, to contest hunts, is just incredibly dissonant to groups like ours and, I think, a lot of the public. It just doesn’t make sense,” Hornung said from his office in Santa Fe, N.M., adding he believes contest hunts are “all about a scorched earth approach to these native carnivores.”

In Friday’s telephone hearing, WildEarth Guardians’ attorney told Dale that a wolf derby taking place on Forest Service land that surrounds Salmon should be required to get the same kind of special permit as any other competitive gathering, including running races or snowmobile events.

“People are trying to kill as many animals as they can in two days in order to win the prize,” Sarah McMillan told the judge.

Meanwhile, attorneys for the U.S. Forest Service countered that no permit was needed.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Hurwit also said hunters could be in the woods and fields near Salmon this weekend shooting wolves and coyotes – regardless of whether their excursions were associated with a contest.

“There’s nothing to stop people who intended to participate in the derby, from going forward and taking the same action, killing coyotes and wolves, and just not participating in the derby,” Hurwit told Dale.

“The derby doesn’t change hunting, hunting will happen throughout the season regardless of this lawsuit. The derby hunters will have to comply with state regulations.”

Wolves became big-game animals in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming after federal Endangered Species Act protections were lifted starting in 2011. There are annual hunting and trapping seasons.

After reintroduction in the state in the mid-1990s, Idaho has about 680 wolves, according to 2012 estimates.

Story from Associated Press

Saturday, December 28, 2013

American Legion outraged over VA Christmas censorship

by Todd Starnes

December 27th, 2013
FoxNews.com

The national commander of the American Legion is demanding answers from the Veterans Administration after hospitals in three states placed restrictions on Christian volunteers, including a group of schoolchildren who were told they could only perform Christmas carols from a government-approved list.

"Every Christmas, every religious holiday, Christians are more and more often targeted for censorship and restriction at VA facilities," American Legion National Commander Daniel Dellinger said.

"Veterans in these hospitals fought to protect such freedoms."

In Iowa City, American Legion members were told they could not hand out presents to veterans if the wrapping paper said Merry Christmas.

In Augusta, Ga., the VA told a group of students from a Christian school that they could not sing religious-themed Christmas carols. Instead, the students were presented with a list of government-approved, secular songs.

And in Dallas, the VA hospital refused to allow children to distribute Christmas cards to patients because the cards included phrases like "Merry Christmas" and "God Bless You."

The American Legion has asked the VA Central Office for an explanation of why it appears Christians are being singled out for restrictions.

"First of all, VA's decision to prohibit the delivery of Christmas cards that mention Christmas is ludicrous,” Dellinger said.

"Second of all, VA has been down this road before, and recently. VA has been warned through a federal court decree to stop denying freedom of religious expression at its facilities. It’s pretty obvious the Dallas VA did not get that memo."

On Monday morning boys and girls from Grace Academy in Prosper, Tex., were planning on hand delivering the cards to the wounded veterans. Math teacher Susan Chapman called the hospital to make final arrangements and that’s when she learned there was a problem.

"I told him my students made cards, we'd like to bring them down for the veterans," Chapman told MyFoxDFW.com. "And he said,

'That's great. We're thrilled to have them, except the only thing is, we can't accept anything that says ‘Merry Christmas' or ‘God bless you' or any scriptural references because of all the red tape.'"

A VA official quoted the policy which is in the Veterans Health Administration handbook:

"In order to be respectful of our veterans' religious beliefs, all donated holiday cards are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff led by chaplaincy services and determined if they are appropriate (non-religious) to freely distribute to patients. We regret this process was not fully explained to this group and apologize for any misunderstanding."

"It really didn't occur to me there would be a problem with distributing Christmas cards," said Chapman.

She's married to a veteran and volunteers with the American Legion and other veterans' organizations.

Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Institute, said it was a new low “even for the Scrooges and Grinches at the VA.”

“Targeting the benevolent work of little children for censorship is disgusting,” Sasser told me.

“Do the Grinches in the administration of the VA really believe our bravest warriors need protection from the heartfelt well wishes of small children saying Merry Christmas?”

Liberty Institute is now representing Chapman and they’ve given the VA until the close of business Friday to explain why they banned the cards.

High school students from the Alleluia Community School were told they could sing about Frosty the Snowman but not the Baby Jesus at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Ga.

Instead, when they arrived to perform, the students were given a list of 12 Christmas songs provided by the hospital’s pastoral service that had been “deemed appropriate for celebration within the hearing range of all veterans.”

In other words, all secular, nothing sacred, the Augusta Chronicle reported.

“Military service veterans, male and female, represent people of all faiths,” hospital spokesman Brian Rothwell said in a statement to the newspaper.

“It is out of respect for every faith that The Veterans Administration gives clear guidance on what ‘spiritual care’ is to be given and who is to give it.”

Dan Funsch, the school’s principal, told me this is the first year they’ve been told not to perform religious carols.

“Have we gotten to the point where there are approved Christmas songs?” he asked.

“What concerns me is using our government to apply an agenda of aggressive secularization, systematically removing any reference to the Christian underpinnings of western civilization.”

The students opted not to deviate from their prepared selections and left without singing any carols.

“That’s censorship, pure and simple,” Dellinger said.

He said the censorship is a clear case of discrimination based on religious expression.

“VA needs to let those children deliver cards to the veterans now, and those who wrongly banned them owe an apology to the children, the teacher and the veterans who were supposed to get them Monday.”

It’s not the first time the VA has landed in legal trouble over religious censorship. In 2011, Liberty Institute uncovered national VA policies that unlawfully discriminated against religious speech.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes signed a court order enforcing a degree prohibiting the VA from engaging in religious censorship.

“It is shameful that the VA continues to censor religious speech in Christmas cards when the VA knows it is against the law to do so,” Sasser said.

“If the VA does not comply with the law and the spirit of the ongoing federal court order from our previous case, we will have no choice but to once again go to federal court to enforce the rights of these students.”

Editor's Note:

This is why I'm a proud member of the American Legion. - Tom Correa

Friday, December 27, 2013

Slavery In America - Trivia You Won't Believe - Part One

Today's students hear a great deal about Black History. But how about the little known, or to put it more appropriately - not talked about Black History.

America’s First Slave Owner was a Black Man.

According to colonial records, the first slave owner in the United States was a black man.

Prior to 1655, there were no legal slaves in the American colonies. Believe it or not, they only "indentured servants" prior to that date.

All masters were required to free their servants after their time was up. And yes, 7 years was the limit that an indentured servant could be held.

Upon their release, they were granted 50 acres of land. This included any Negro purchased from slave traders. Negros were also granted 50 acres upon their release.

Anthony Johnson was a Negro from modern-day Angola. He was brought to "the America's" to work on a tobacco farm in 1619.

In 1622, Johnson was almost killed when Powhatan Indians attacked the farm. Of the people on that farm, 52 out of 57 people were killed in the attack.

Johnson married a female black servant while working on the farm.

When Anthony was released as an "indentured servant," he was legally recognized as a “free Negro” and ran a successful farm.

In 1651, Johnson had 250 acres and five black "indentured servants" of his own under his care.

In 1654, it was time for Johnson to release John Casor who was one of his black indentured servants. But, instead of letting him go, Anthony instead told Casor that he was extending his time.

Casor left and became employed by the free white man Robert Parker.

Anthony Johnson took legal action and sued Robert Parker in the Northampton Court in 1654 to retrieve his "property."

In 1655, the court ruled that Anthony Johnson could hold John Casor indefinitely.

The court gave judicial sanction for blacks to own slave of their own race. Because of that, John Casor became the first permanent slave in America, and Anthony Johnson became the First Slave Owner.

Both men were Black.

Whites still could not legally hold a black servant as an indefinite slave until 1670.

In that year, the colonial assembly passed legislation permitting free whites, blacks, and Indians the right to own blacks as slaves.

By 1699, the number of free blacks prompted fears of a “Negro insurrection.” And yes, the colony of Virginia ordered the repatriation of freed blacks back to Africa.

Many blacks sold themselves to white masters so they would not have to go to Africa.

This was the first effort to gently repatriate free blacks back to Africa. The modern nations of Sierra Leone and Liberia both originated as colonies of repatriated former black slaves.

Black Slave Owners In America?

Yup, Anthony Johnson was just the First of many.

It is true that many slave holders were indeed Black, or had some Black ancestry. And yes, Black Slave Owners continued to thrive in the United States for quite a while after the Revolution.

In fact, in 1830, there were 3,775 such Black Slave Owners living in the South who owned 12,760 Black and white slaves

By 1860, there were about 3,000 Black slaves owned by Black households in the city of New Orleans alone.

It should be noted, contrary to some historians who write about Black Slave Owners who bought their own relatives to give them better lives, the majority of black slaveholders appeared to hold slaves as a commercial decision.

The First Slaves In Large Numbers In The Americas Were Not Black - They Were Irish?

Slavery in America is said to have began when the first African slaves were brought to the North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619, to aid in the production of such lucrative crops as tobacco.

But that might not be completely accurate.

The Irish slave trade began when British King James II sold 30,000 Irish prisoners as slaves to the New World.

His Proclamation of 1625 required Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to English settlers in the West Indies.

By the mid 1600s, the Irish were the main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat. At that time, 70% of the total population of Montserrat were Irish slaves.

Ireland quickly became the biggest source of human livestock for English merchants. The majority of the early slaves to the New World were actually white.

From 1641 to 1652, over 500 thousand (500,000) Irish were killed by the English and another 300,000 were sold as slaves.

Ireland’s population is said to have fallen from about 1.5 Million to less than half that at 600,000 in just one single decade.

Families were are said to have been ripped apart as the British did not allow Irish husbands to take their wives, and subsequently fathers were stripped from their children, as they sent across the Atlantic.

This led to a helpless population of homeless women and children. Britain’s solution was to auction them off as well.

During the 1650s, over 100,000 Irish children between the ages of 10 and 14 were taken from their parents and sold as slaves in the West Indies, Virginia and New England.

In this decade, 52,000 Irish (mostly women and children) were sold to Barbados and Virginia.

Another 30,000 Irish men and women were also transported and sold to the highest bidder.

In 1656, Cromwell ordered that 2000 Irish children be taken to Jamaica and sold as slaves to English settlers.

One writer said that many people today will avoid calling the Irish slaves - yet that's what they truly were: Slaves.

They’ll come up with terms like “Indentured Servants” to describe what occurred to the Irish.

However, in most cases from the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish slaves were nothing more than human cattle.

As an example, the African slave trade was just beginning during this same period. It is well recorded that African slaves, not tainted with the stain of the hated Catholic theology and more expensive to purchase, were often treated far better than their Irish counterparts.

Then again, you probably won't hear that during Black History month.

How About Slavery Among Native Americans?
Native American tribes have been taking captives and making slaves out of their opposition for centuries before Europeans ever go to "The New World, The Americas".

And no, it was not just confined to the Lower 48, the Haida and Tlingit Indians who lived along southeast Alaska's coast were traditionally known as fierce warriors and slave-traders, raiding as far as California.

Slavery was hereditary after slaves were taken as prisoners of war.

Among some Pacific Northwest tribes, about a quarter of the population were slaves.

Other slave-owning tribes of North America were, for example, the Comanche, the Credo, the Pawnee, the Kiowa, and so on and on.

Most tribes held slaves. In fact, many Indian Tribes who made the journey on the Trail of Tears brought their slaves with them - including black and white slaves.

It's true! After 1800, the Cherokees and the other "civilized" tribes started buying and using Black slaves from the whites - a practice they continued after being relocated to Indian Territory in the 1830s.

The Five Civilized Tribes adopted some practices which they saw as beneficial; they were working to get along with the Americans and to keep their territory. The Cherokee was the tribe that held the most slaves. In 1809, they held nearly 600 enslaved blacks.

This number increased to almost 1,600 in 1835, and to around 4,000 by 1860, after they had removed to Indian Territory.

Cherokee populations for these dates are: 12,400 in 1809;, 16,400 in 1835; and 21,000 in 1860. Of the Cherokee who owned slaves, 83 percent held fewer than 10 slaves.

The nature of slavery in Cherokee society often mirrored that of white slave-owning society.


For example, they had laws barred inter-marriage of Cherokees and enslaved African Americans. Cherokee who aided slaves were punished with one hundred lashes on the back.

In fact, it is interesting to note that in the Cherokee society, those with African-American descent were barred from holding office.

And yes, that was true even if they were a mixed blood Cherokee, someone who could bear arms, and owned property.

And as for captives? Man or woman did not matter to the tribes if you were from another tribe. They saw their opposition as lower than them.

And example of this is the story about a Ute woman who was captured by the Arapaho and later sold to a Cheyenne as a slave. 
The Ute woman was used as a prostitute while she lived in slavery until about 1880 when she died of a hemorrhage resulting from "excessive sexual intercourse".

A Ute man or woman had no worth to a Cheyenne.

While slavery for European America was officially established in Virginia in 1654 when Anthony Johnson, who was himself Black Man, convinced a court that his black indentured servant John Casor was his property for life, Native Americans had been practicing slavery for thousands of years before that.

So How Many People Actually Owned Slaves In America?








Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

Merry Christmas Readers,

In 1897, a little girl wrote the Editor of New York's Sun newspaper and made history.

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of The Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. 

The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

So grab a cup of coffee, kick back for a few minutes, and enjoy the timeless heartfelt thoughts expressed here. You most certainly will come away feeling pretty good knowing that not much has changed.
 
The Letter from Virginia O'Hanlon:

DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

VIRGINIA O'HANLON.
115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.

The Editorial response printed in THE SUN:

"VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds.

All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus.

He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.

Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove?

Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.

Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart.

Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real?

Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."

Francis Pharcellus Church
September, 21st, 1897


Below is a copy of the original newspaper editorial.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and may God bless you and yours!

Tom Correa





Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree - It Gave Hope In A Time Of Despair

Merry Christmas Readers,

Back in the early 1990s, I was in New York City on a job there. It was close to Christmas and I made my way to Rockefeller Center to check out the famed Christmas Tree which I had only seen on television.

For some reason, I've been thinking about what I had learned that day.

Talking with some folks in charge, I found out that the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is usually a Norway Spruce anywhere from 65 to 110 feet tall.

The large tree is placed annually in famed Rockefeller Center in Manhattan in the heart of New York City in late November right after Thanksgiving or early December.

Believe it or not, there are many Rockefeller Center Christmas Trees given to Rockefeller Center by many donors.

The story goes that for many years, the late David Murbach who was the manager of the Gardend Divison of the Center scouted the Northeast United States in a helicopter for the right tree.

Mr, Murbach would search the Northeast forests of Connecticut, Vermont, Ohio, upper state New York, New Jersey and even into Ottawa Canada looking for the right tree.

Today, the Rockefeller Center's Head Gardner does the search. 

It's said that once a tree is found, a crane is brought in to support the tree while it is being cut. Once free, it is moved by trailer transport to New York City.

Besides beauty and shape, another the only limiting factor to what tree is chosen by width because of the New York City streets heading to Rockefeller Center limit the height of the tree to 110 feet.

Once at the Rockefeller Center, the tree is supported by four guide wires attached at its midpoint, and by a steel spike at its base. Scaffolding is put up all around the tree to allow workers access to the tree so that they can put up over 30,000 lights attached to 5 miles of wiring.

From 1942 to 1944, during the World War II, the tree was left unlit because of the need to blackout cities to avoiding attacks and bombings.

In 1967, the tree was opportunity for Canada and the U.S. to demonstrate good will to one another.

It was Canada’s 100th birthday and, in honor of the milestone, the Canadians donated a tree.

In 1971, Rockefeller Center bowed to the environmental movement and agreed to recycle the tree. Yes, the crazies have been around a long time.

The tallest Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center was a 100 feet spruce which was put up on Veterans Day, November 11, 1999.

In 2007, the tree was lit with LED lights instead of incandescent bulbs in order to save energy.

NBC covered the story very favorably, attracting criticism given that it was NBC’s parent company, General Electric, who manufactured and sold the bulbs.

In 2008, signifying its commercialization, a 10 foot tall, 550 pound star made with 25,000 Swarovski crystals topped the tree.

It is called the "Swarovski Star" and was created by German artist Michael Hammers, who in 2009 additionally designed his own star lighting production.

Rumor is that the Swarovski Star cost $1.5 million. A pop singer by the name of Fergie had the honor of helping unveil the tree topper.

Today the decorated Christmas tree then remains lit at Rockefeller Center through January 6, which is the Christian feast of The Epiphany.

Nowadays, once its removed from the premises - it is recycled for a variety of uses.

How it started

Capture

Unlike these days, with anti-Christians running rampant in government and an Atheist minority telling the rest of the nation that "they" do not want to see any form of Christian tradition, the first Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center was put up for a bunch of workers to celebrate Christmas.

Although the official Christmas tree tradition at Rockefeller Center began in 1933 which was the year the 30 Rockefeller Plaza opened, the unofficial tradition began during the construction of Rockefeller Center during the Great Depression.

Yes, during the Great Depression when having any job and putting food on the table was considered a blessing, when being families were going hungry and losing homes as never before, a small Christmas tree gave many hope in the a time of dispair.

It took place when workers took it upon themselves to bring in and decorated a small 20 feet fir tree.

The story goes that they used strings of cranberries, garlands made out of old newspapers, and a few tin cans. Some say that the workers used the tin foil ends of basting caps as well.

That was on Christmas Eve December 24, 1931, and yes, they were inspired by the reason of the season. They simply wanted to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

We sometimes forget how grateful these men were to be working at all. They had jobs and they knew they were the lucky ones.

Low wages, no money, living was expensive, times were tougher than the world has seen it since.

But even then, then in the midst of the worse Economic Depression ever to befall this nation, with more than a quarter of all Americans out of work, in an era of great despair, the workers there put up that tree as a sign of hope.

We should take a lesson from those men.

Though we are being attacked by anti-Christians in government, in the media, in Hollywood, and yes even in our schools today, we still to remember that America is a Christian nation - as over 75% of Americans still affirm that they are indeed Christians.

Today, we Americans see our government attacking our rights of freedom of religion, of free speech, of arming ourselves in self-defense of our own lives. And yes, many of us see America as divided as never before.

During the Obama-era of an openly unashamed dishonest President, a corrupt and abusive government, when the law is only for some and not for all, when more and more jobs are being lost to government over-regulation and over taxation, when families are having it tough to make ends meet yet a greedy government wants more of the few dollars that families has, we too must not lose hope.

During great despair comes great challenges.

One challenge for all of us is to focus on those things in life that matter, among them is the love of our family and friends. And yes, also our faith in God.

As we have for generation through all sorts of adversity, stay strong and have yourself a Merry Christmas!

God Bless You and Yours,

Tom

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Why Christmas Day Is December 25th?


Merry Christmas Readers!

Yes, Merry Christmas!

These days, those two words which constitute our Christian greeting have all sorts of political implications.  But for this article, I don't want to address how that phrase, that small blessing, irks the Left and those who would deny us our freedom of religion simply because we are Christians.

I want to talk about the origin of Christmas Day, December 25th, and how it has come to be that date.

Before starting, lets make something clear, I'm no scholar - not by a long shot, especially when it comes to God.

The idea for this article came about after talking to a friend's wife on the phone about celebrating Christmas.  She is a Jehovah's Witness and subsequently does not celebrate Christmas.

For me, since I was born and bred a Roman Catholic, Christmas means a great deal as I was taught from a young age to celebrate the birth of Jesus - the Christ child, our savior. 

The conversation with my friend's wife started innocently enough, but than moved to the realities that the actual date itself is not spelt out in clear and concise language that some need to have done so that they will not argue the point.

And yes, while I know very little about the Jehovah's Witness religion, it seems to me that that they may have a great deal in common with Contract Lawyers and Politicians than a Religious group.

Why would I say that? It's because of their dogged determination to exclude faith, history, and archeology, and instead focus only what is written in the Bible.

Like a group of Contract Attorneys, they are emphatic about only following the written word. Nothing else matter except what the Bible says - not taking into consideration what the Bible does not say.

No where in the Bible does it mention how a wheel was first created, yet we know that it was and works.  

In the same way that Contract Attorneys disregard something called "the Spirit of the Law," it appears to me that there may be some in the Jehovah's Witnesses who completely disregard what a friend once called "the Spirit of the Bible" - the spirit of its teachings, and our ability to reason, and subsequently gain what might not be so defined that it would please a Contract Attorney.

Why don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrate Christmas? I don't know exactly, so I looked it up.

According to a Jehovah's Witness website, they make quote after quote cherry picking what they want to site and what they do not as to why they do not celebrate the birth of Christ. 

Their website stated the following:

1) Jesus’ apostles and early disciples did not celebrate Christmas.

2) There is no proof that Jesus was born on December 25; his birth date is not recorded in the Bible.

3) Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Christmas is not approved by God because it is rooted in pagan customs and rites. - they list 2 Corinthians 6:17 verse pertaining to idolatry as proof of that.

As for 2 Corinthians 6:17, I gather that some want to take it to be a sort of message to the Catholic Church regarding receiving Holy Communion.

Others like myself were once taught that it was a warning for believers to keep a distance between themselves and wicked and immoral people whose company and conversation are dishonorable, ensnaring, and defiling, - those people are "the unclean."

The Jehovah's website goes on to state:

"Many still celebrate Christmas despite knowing about its pagan roots and lack of support from the Bible."

While I respect that they do not choose to celebrate Christmas, the same as the Puritans who did not celebrate Christmas or as far as that goes any Holiday (Holy Day), and they say they do in fact respect each person’s right to decide for himself in this matter and not interfere in the Christmas celebrations of others, I don't like that they show disrespect to Catholics and other Christians by spreading the myth that Christmas is some sort of pagan holiday.

Christmas Is Not A Pagan Holiday!

According to scholars and professors of Biblical Archaeology, such as Andrew McGowan who published an essay entitled "How December 25 Became Christmas" (2012), it did not start out with pagan trappings at all.

McGowen wrote:

"It’s not until the 12th century that we find the first suggestion that Jesus’ birth celebration was deliberately set at the time of pagan feasts.

A marginal note on a manuscript of the writings of the Syriac biblical commentator Dionysius bar-Salibi states that in ancient times the Christmas holiday was actually shifted from January 6 to December 25 so that it fell on the same date as the pagan Sol Invictus holiday.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Bible scholars spurred on by the new study of comparative religions latched on to this idea - and they subsequently claimed that because the early Christians didn’t know when Jesus was born and that it was simply assimilated into the pagan solstice festival for their own purposes. They claimed it as the time of the Messiah’s birth and celebrating it accordingly."

Like many tradition which are borrowed from other cultures over time, more recent studies have shown that many of the holiday’s modern trappings do reflect pagan customs borrowed much later, as Christianity expanded into Northern and Western Europe.

For example, the Christmas Tree has been linked with late medieval druid practices.

And yes, this sort of finding has only encouraged modern audiences to "assume" that the date "absolutely must be pagan."

But we all know what they say about the word "assume'.

We should not believe it!

McGowan and other Biblical Archaeologists say there are huge problems with this popular theory of paganism being responsible for our celebrating on December 25th as many are lead to believe.

"Most significantly, the first mention of a date for Christmas was circa 200 A.D. and the earliest celebrations that we know about were circa 250–300 A.D., both were in periods when Christians were not borrowing from pagan traditions to such an extent.

Granted, Christian belief and practice were not formed in isolation. And yes, many early elements of Christian worship, including the Eucharist, meals honoring martyrs and much early Christian art would have been quite comprehensible to pagan observers."

But he also writes, "But historical facts point out that in the first few centuries A.D., the persecuted Christian minority was greatly concerned with actually distancing itself from the larger, public pagan religious observances, such as sacrifices, games and holidays.

This was still true as late as the violent persecutions of the Christians conducted by the Roman Emperor Diocletian between 303 and 312 A.D.

And yes, this would change only after Constantine converted to Christianity -as it wasn't until later from the mid-fourth century on, we do find Christians deliberately adapting and Christianizing pagan festivals.

But friends, even with that we don’t have evidence of Christians adopting pagan festivals earlier in the third century when Christmas was already well established by some Christians.

Because of that, realistically, being unbiased, it is apparent that it is unlikely that the date was simply selected to correspond with pagan solar festivals.

It's a lie to say that Christians adopted some ritual when they did not. And yes, celebrating Christmas pre-dates any sort of rituals that may have been adopted later.

The December 25th feast existed long before 312 A.D. when Constantine converted.

How did December 25 come to be associated with Jesus’ birthday?

Some believe that December 25th was being used in the Western Roman Empire and January 6 in the East - especially in Egypt and Asia Minor.

The modern Armenian church continues to celebrate Christmas on January 6th.

For most Christians, however, December 25 would prevail, while January 6th eventually came to be known as the Feast of the Epiphany, commemorating the arrival of the magi in Bethlehem. The period between became the holiday season later known as the 12 days of Christmas.

The earliest mention of December 25th as Jesus’ birthday comes from a mid-fourth-century Roman almanac that lists the death dates of various Christian bishops and martyrs.

The first date listed, December 25th, is marked: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae meaning “Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea.”

In about 400 A.D., Augustine of Hippo mentions a local dissident Christian group, the Donatists, who apparently kept Christmas festivals on December 25th.

So, almost 300 years after Jesus was born, we finally find people observing his birth in mid-winter.

But how had they settled on the date December 25th?

There are two theories today: one extremely popular is that December 25th has everything to do with pagan festivals; the other theory - though more ancient - is less often heard outside scholarly circles.

The first theory is an assumption that Christmas Day is on December 25th to coincide with the Winter Solstice and pagan festivals.

While it is true that elements of the Winter Solstice festival that developed from the fourth century A.D. has some pagan traditions, for us to say that the date of December 25th is entirely based on paganism is not only myth spread by unbelievers - but also a lie because there is no proof that shows that that is true.

Fact is, because the Christian Church did not use any pagan traditions for the first 300 years A.D., the actual date of Jesus Christ birth is more accurately derived from Judaism and from Jesus’ conception and death at Passover.

Some say the Donatist knew it first!

The second theory has to do with the fact that the Donatist Christians in North Africa knew it first 200 years before it ever had any sorts of pagan influence.

Furthermore, in the mid- to late fourth century, church leaders in the Eastern Empire concerned themselves not with introducing a celebration of Jesus’ birthday, but with the addition of the December date to their traditional celebration on January 6th.

Strange as it may seem, the key to dating Jesus’ birth may lie in the dating of Jesus’ death at Passover.

This view was first suggested to the modern world by French scholar Louis Duchesne in the early 20th century and fully developed by American Thomas Talley in more recent years.8 But they were certainly not the first to note a connection between the traditional date of Jesus’ death and his birth.

The miracle of the coming Savior did not start at the birth of Jesus, but at the conception. For this reason, the early Christians celebrated Jesus’ conception and death on the same calendar day: March 25, exactly nine months before December 25.

According to scholars, around 200 A.D., Tertullian of Carthage reported the calculation that the 14th of Nisan (the day of the crucifixion according to the Gospel of John) in the year Jesus died was equivalent to March 25th in the Roman (solar) calendar.

March 25th, is of course, exactly 9 months before December 25th. Imagine that!

It was later recognized as the Feast of the Annunciation — the commemoration of Jesus’ conception.

Thus, Jesus was believed to have been conceived and crucified on the same day of the year. Exactly nine months later, Jesus was born, on December 25th.

This fact appears in an anonymous Christian treatise titled "On Solstices and Equinoxes," which appears to come from fourth-century North Africa.

The treatise states that our Lord was conceived on March 25, which is the day of the passion of the Lord and of his conception: "For on that day he was conceived on the same he suffered.”

Based on this, the treatise dates Jesus’ birth to December 25th which happens to be the winter solstice.

Augustine, too, was familiar with this association. In "On the Trinity" (c. 399–419 A.D.) he writes:

"For he [Jesus] is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also he suffered; so the womb of the Virgin, in which he was conceived, where no one of mortals was begotten, corresponds to the new grave in which he was buried, wherein was never man laid, neither before him nor since. But he was born, according to tradition, upon December the 25th.”

In the East, too, the dates of Jesus’ conception and death were linked.

Thus, we have Christians in two parts of the world calculating Jesus’ birth on the basis that his death and conception took place on the same day March 25th or April 6th. and coming up with two close but different results December 25th and January 6th.

Connecting Jesus’ conception and death in this way will certainly seem odd to modern readers -- but it reflects ancient and medieval understandings of the whole of salvation being bound up together.

The notion that creation and redemption should occur at the same time of year is also reflected in ancient Jewish tradition is also recorded in the Talmud.

The dates of Christmas and Epiphany may well have resulted from Christian theological reflection on such chronologies: "Jesus would have been conceived on the same date he died, and born nine months later,"

The above per Adrew McGowen, Biblical Archaeologist.

It might seem confusing, but it's not.

Though the Bible does not give the exact date of his birth, the Bible is specific about the dates when Jesus was conceived and when he died.

We only need to understand that 9 month later is December 25th to accept that date. And yes, according to research, this is how we arrive at December 25th to be the birth date of Jesus Christ.

While there are some around the world who celebrate the conception, most Christians today celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ 9 months later on December 25th.

And to that birth, we celebrate and give thanks that our savior was born.

And Yes, We Should Celebrate His Birth Just As The Angels Taught Us Too!

What? But the Bible makes no reference to celebrating "Christmas" you say?

Well, actually it does.

While the word "Christmas" is a compound word originating in the term "Christ's Mass". It is derived from the Middle English Cristemasse, which is from Old English Crīstesmæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038 A.D., followed by the word Cristes-messe in 1131.

Crīst (genitive Crīstes) is from Greek Khrīstos (Χριστός), a translation of Hebrew Māšîaḥ (מָשִׁיחַ), "Messiah", meaning "annointed"; and mæsse is from Latin missa, the celebration of the Eucharist.

The form "Christenmas" was also historically used, but is now considered archaic and dialectal; it derives from Middle English Cristenmasse, literally "Christian mass."

So no, since the word "Christmas" did not exist - it obviously should not be in the Bible.

But for me, I believe that instructions on celebrating the birth of Christ certainly are in the Bible.

I believe it comes to us in Luke 2:10-14, where it states:

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"

So yes, there it is. The closest thing we have in the Bible telling us what to do to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Luke 2:10-14 instructs us to have great joy and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ by praising God and wishing peace on earth and good will toward men.

For me, while I praise God and celebrate the birth of my savior, I try to be aware of false prophets like those out there who want to convince others not to celebrate Christmas.

I keep in mind that in the entire Bible there is only one small section that tells us all what the LORD requires from us. Micah 6:8, "To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."

As far as dealing with heathens who profess to have all the answers when it comes to Christmas, and yes I know they sound a great deal like Atheists and other non-believers, I try to remember Romans 14:5-6 which states:

"One person decides in favor of one day over another, while another person decides that all days are the same. Let each one be fully convinced in his own mind: The one who observes a special day, observes it to honor the Lord. The one who eats, eats to honor the Lord, since he gives thanks to God. And the one who does not eat, refrains from eating to honor the Lord; yet he, too, gives thanks to God.."

So yes, let all Christians, even Jehovah's Witnesses, do as the Bible tells us and do what the angels showed us - praise God and wish good toward men.

Above all let's honor the Lord.


Tom Correa

Friday, December 20, 2013

End of U.S. Lead Manufacturing Hurts More Than Bullet Production


Dear Readers,

This is one of those unbelievable stories about what's taking place in America today.

It is about lead. Yes, lead,

Lead has been mined for more than 6,000 years, and the metal and its compounds have been used throughout history.

Besides all over Europe and Asia, small lead nuggets have been found in pre-Columbian Peru, Yucatan, and Guatemala.

The Greeks mined lead on a large scale from 650 B.C. onwards and not only knew how to obtain the metal but how to covert this to white lead.

Because of its superb covering power, this was the basis of paints for more than 2000 years, until the middle of the last century.

The Romans used lead on a large scale, mining it mainly in Spain and Britain, and using it also for water pipes, coffins, pewter tableware, and to debase their silver coinage. Because of it softness, this easily-worked metal has been used for pipes, pewter, paints, glazes, and pottery since Roman times. 

While its mining declined in the Dark Ages it reappeared in Medieval times and found new uses, such as pottery glazes, printing type, and yes bullets.

During most of the 20th century, it has been used as a fuel additive to raise the octane levels of gasoline.

Lead is an element familiar to humans for many centuries reflected in the use of an early alchemical symbol and carved Roman characters used for the image.

Many of these uses have now either been banned, replaced or discouraged as lead is known to be detrimental to health, particularly that of children.

Daily intake of lead from all sources is about a tenth of a milligramme, and the average human body stores about 120 milligrammes in the bones.

While some worry about the mere existence of lead, lead is still widely used for cable sheathing, car batteries, lead crystal glass, radiation protection and in some solders.

The reason for its use is that lead is very resistant to corrosion - lead pipes from Roman times are still in use today - and it is often used to store corrosive liquids.

Great quantities of lead, both as the metal and the dioxide, are used in batteries. As stated before, lead is also used in cable covering, plumbing and ammunition.

Tetraethyl lead is used as an anti-knock agent in gasoline, and as an additive in paints.

The use of lead in plumbing, gasoline and paints has been reduced in the past few years because of environmental concern, as lead is a cumulative poison and is thought to affect brain development and function, especially in young children.

While lead is dangerous if digested, lead is an effective shield around X-ray equipment and nuclear reactors. Lead oxide is used in the production of fine crystal glass.

So now, a story in the news in the past week said, "End of the line for the lead bullet? Regulations, bans force switch to 'green' ammo"

The story went on to talk about how the U.S. Army's new round replaces the current M855 5.56mm cartridge that has been used by U.S. troops since the early 1980s.

The Army claims the M855A1 is more dependable, a more consistent performer, improves accuracy, moves faster. 

When the last bullet-producing lead smelter closes its doors on Dec. 31, it will mark a major victory for those who say lead-based ammunition pollutes the environment, but others warn 'green' bullets will cost more, drive up copper prices and do little to help conservation.

The bid to ban lead bullets, seen by some as harmful to the environment, started slowly more than a decade ago.

But with two dozen states, including California, banning bullets made of the soft, heavy metal, the lead bullet's epitaph was already being written when the federal government finished it off.

While the military announced plans to phase out lead bullets by 2018, the NRA (National Rifle Association said, "Whatever the EPA's motivation when creating the new lead air quality standard, increasingly restrictive regulation of lead is likely to affect the production and cost of traditional ammunition."

Then the Federal Government's EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), citing "emissions," ordered the shutdown of the Doe Run company's lead smelter in Herculaneum, Mo., by year's end.

Whether by state or federal regulation, or by market forces, lead bullets will be all but phased out within a few years in favor of so-called green bullets, experts say.

Of course, switching to copper-based bullets will cost hunters and sportsmen more and have little effect on the environment.

"Whatever the EPA's motivation when creating the new lead air quality standard, increasingly restrictive regulation of lead is likely to affect the production and cost of traditional ammunition," the National Rifle Association said in a statement

Critics of lead bullets say that in addition to lead finding its way into the water supply and food chain. They also say that people who handle ammunition have been found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood.

For me, I don't believe the Environmental Extremist who have been found to use inflated or faked data to push their agenda.

And yes, I really think the Army researching a more environment-friendly bullet at the Picatinny Arsenal, in New Jersey, since 2010, is nothing but more Defense Department Waste.

No, I'm not impressed with a lead-free version of the 7.62-mm rounds fired from M-14 rifles which will be issued to troops in 2014.

I'm not impressed that that will follow a prior switch to a greener 5.56 mm "Enhanced Performance Round (EPR)" the Army switched to in 2010..

I honestly think our Military is becoming too Politically Correct, and I really don't care if the Army says, "The EPR replaces the lead slug with a copper slug. This makes the projectile environmentally friendly, while still giving soldiers the performance capabilities they need on the battlefield."

While the Army has projected that use of green bullets for small-round ammunition could eliminate the purchase of nearly 4,000 metric tons of lead between now and 2018, Jim Yardley who is a retired financial controller and blogger for americanthinker.com, estimated it would cost $18,431,000 to replace the lead with copper.

“Nearly $20 million, not to improve the effectiveness of the ammunition used by our troops, but to protect the environment,” Yardley wrote.

Yes, in a time when we are cutting the services for our disabled veterans, Liberals Environmentalist are closing a plant which will cost the Taxpayer nearly 20 MILLION Dollars just to satisfy the other Liberal Extremists.
Besides, everyone should know that this has nothing to do with lead manufacturing, but instead is simply more Backdoor Gun Control.

In fact, in the big picture, bullets are way down the list of what lead is used for in manufacturing processes.
In 2010, Doe Run settled with the EPA and state regulators for $65 million and a pledge to close the 120-year-old smelter by year's end.

Doe Run General Manager Gary Hughes said the company tried to bring its smelter into compliance so it could continue to produce lead products, but abandoned plans in 2012 due to federal regulations.

"We hoped to be building another such plant by now; however, constructing a full-scale plant, given other regulatory compliance spending requirements, puts our company at financial risk," he said.

It is unclear if another company will open a new lead smelter in the U.S. that can meet the more stringent air quality standards.

Sure, ammunition will cost more, but where's the surprise there.

With the biggest buyer of ammo, the U.S. Army, switching to copper-core, "green" bullets, and the number of state bans on lead bullets growing, ammunition makers are adapting.

One such company is Florida-based Liberty Ammunition, which has ramped up production of green bullets by adding a second production shift.

“Copper is not cheap,” said Matthew Phillips, Liberty's vice president of sales and marketing. “Luckily, we’ve managed to find a way to keep the cost down.”

Copper bullets have a similar price point to high-end lead bullets, but can be as much as twice the cost of lower-end lead bullets, say experts.

And yes, diverting copper for bullet manufacturing could have other unintended economic consequences, critics warn.

“This will inevitably increase the cost of electronic devices that use copper," wrote Yardley."It will add to the cost of a wiring a new home, having an adverse impact on the housing industry.”

“The Treasury Department already wants to discontinue the penny due to the cost of producing it. A rising cost of copper will only add impetus to that, and might encourage them to repeat the response to a copper shortage during WWII, and produce pennies from steel.”

But with all of this information, the bigger question remains. One that no one in the EPA wants to address, "Where are American manufacturers going to get lead from or all of the other uses of lead besides bullets?"

Contrary to popular belief, bullet making is way down the list to other manufacturing processes using lead.

Fact is the single most important commercial use of lead is in the manufacture of lead-acid storage batteries. Yes, car and truck batteries, billions of car and truck batteries.

While it is also used in alloys such as fusible metals, anti-friction metals, solder, and type metal, and is used for covering cables and as a lining for laboratory sinks, tanks, and the "chambers" in the lead-chamber process for the manufacture of sulfuric acid - its primary use in the United States is in producing automobile batteries.
Simple minded Liberals think lead is only bullets and condors, but it is more than that. Just as a half a barrel of oil goes to making over 6,000 petroleum based products that we take for granted on a daily basis - lead has more important uses than just bullets.

We know about it being used extensively in plumbing, but do most folks know that lead is an excellent vibration-dampening characteristics to such an extent that lead is often used to support heavy machinery - and was even used in the foundations of the Pan Am Building built over Grand Central Station in New York City.

So now, since America is not going to produce lead - something we as a nation needs in our manufacturing processes - where do we get the lead we must have to make certain products?

Well, the Obama Administration's EPA says they don't care as long as its not in the United States.

Yes, lead is just one more thing that we will now have to buy from overseas.

Friends, if the world ever decides to start an embargo of goods and materials coming into America - all goods and materials that we are no longer producing here because of our self-righteous laws?

Well, we'd be screwed to such an extent that just our EPA laws alone would turn us into a Third World nation unable to produce a thing for ourselves.


Story by Tom Correa

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Morals Test - Be honest with yourself!

Dear Readers,

As most of you already know, I have a different sense of humor sometimes. And yes, it has gotten me in trouble now and again in all sorts of different ways.

But sometimes, it's just not my fault because I do have friends who get a chuckle out of the same things as I do. 

Take for example this Morals Test that I got from an old friend. Take a look for yourself, and see if you don't get a laugh.

If you do?  Well, we might have more in common than you think.

The Morals Test - Remember To Be Honest With Yourself

This test only has one question, but it's a very important one. By giving an honest answer, you will discover where you stand morally.

The test features an unlikely, completely fictional situation in which you will have to make a decision. Only you will know the results, so remember that your answer needs to be honest, yet spontaneous.

THE SITUATION:

You are in Florida , Miami to be specific. There is chaos all around you caused by a hurricane with severe flooding. This is a flood of biblical proportions.

You are a photo-journalist working for a major newspaper, and you're caught in the middle of this epic disaster.

The situation is nearly hopeless. You're trying to shoot career-making photos. There are houses and people swirling around you, some disappearing under the water. Nature is unleashing all of its destructive fury.

THE TEST:

Suddenly you see a man in the water. He is fighting for his life, trying not to be taken down with the debris. You move closer. Somehow the man looks familiar. You suddenly realize who it is.

It's Barrack Obama !

At the same time you notice that the raging waters are about to take him under forever.

YOU ONLY HAVE TWO OPTIONS:

One: You can save the life of Barrack Obama,  or

Two: You can shoot a dramatic Pulitzer Prize winning photo, documenting the death of one of the world's most powerful Socialist Muslim men Hell bent on the destruction of America .

NOW HERE IS THE QUESTION:

Here's the question, and please give an honest answer.

Would you select high contrast color film, or would you go with the classic simplicity of black and white?




Yes, I like Black & White as well!


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Woman "Accidentally" Shot In Head by Ross County Sheriff's Department

Dear Readers,

There are all sorts of sad tales of things that could have be averted if only ...

This is one of those stories that I fought with myself about writing. The reasons are many, but it boils down to the fact that I truly believe that the vast majority of law enforcement officers in America are good people doing a very tough job.

And that in itself, the idea that it is a tough job, is a part of the reason that I'm writing about this.
In Chillicothe, Ohio, a woman was shot to death. How it happened is a strange and sad tale indeed.

At about 10:30 p.m., on December 11th, a drug task force with the Ross County Sheriff’s Department calling themselves the U.S. 23 Task Force swarmed a residence and prepared to break in and "serve a warrant" to make arrest for possessing drugs.

One of the officers, Sgt. Brett McKnight, an 11-year-veteran of the Ross County Sheriff’s Office, negligently handled his weapon and fired a round through the exterior wall of the mobile home.

The scene of the botched drug raid. (Source: Chillicothe Gazette)
467 U.S. 23 South
The bullet traveled through the exterior wall and into the residence. It struck Krystal Marie Barrows in the head. She was sitting on a couch.

Krystal Marie Barrows, 35, of Chillicothe, was “in critical condition” and flown by helicopter to Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, where she died the following day.

Krystal Marie Barrows 

The Ross County Sheriff's Department is now saying the shot that killed an unarmed Ohio woman during a botched drug raid was purely "accidental" – and supposedly the veteran officer who fired the shot is "surprised" and "didn’t even know" that his gun had gone off.

Imagine that while you read on.

One report said that the Ross County Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant by tossing in a flash grenade into the trailer which they had expected to find a large cache of weapons and drugs.

Yes, that seems to be the new way to serve a warrant - toss a flash grenade.

After detonating the flash grenade and entering the trailer, they found a 35-year-old woman, Krystal Barrows, dying of a gunshot wound to the head.

She was taken from the scene by a medical helicopter.

After the raid and the senseless killing, it seems as though Damage Control started with Ross County Prosecutor Matt Schmidt pointing out that the round was not intentionally fired, and it’s unclear whether the gunfire was the result of a weapon malfunction or user error.

Schmidt stressed that he was not at the scene and is not a spokesman for the Ross County Sheriff’s Office, but he does serve as its legal counsel.

Schmidt said it didn’t appear any shots were fired at law enforcement officers from inside the home.

Lt. Mike Preston of the Ross County Sheriff's Department, after describing the arrests and seizure of drugs found, declined comment on the killing of Ms Barrows beyond what was mentioned in the news release.

The release said the raid was the culmination of a “lengthy and ongoing investigation by the sheriff’s office and the task force.”

To me, that all becomes Blah Blah Blah!

You see, lately, like many of you who write me asking me about it, I too see a lot of use of weapons by police departments in a time when crime is actually down - that is if we believe the FBI Crime Statistics.

To me, the end doesn't justify the means in many of the cases that I've seen. I'm sorry, but I don't care if U.S. 23 Task Force found weapons and drugs of different sorts - or whether six suspects were arrested.

Those jerkweed druggies will most likely be out on bail in no time, and the picture of the guns that were seized at the scene does not exactly look like the assault weapons that people may think those idiots had in their possession.

The problem, as I see it, has to do with law enforcement who do wrong, or with any agency of government that has a situation go bad. It appeared that these agencies immediately try to minimize the real tragedy of the situation, in this case the needless death of an innocent woman, by pointing at the arrests or the seizure as being a positive of some sort or what have you.

In the case of ObamaCare, the media and the Obama administration want us to focus on the problems with the ObamaCare website and how it is being fixed - instead of focusing on the real tragedy of MILLIONS of Americans losing their Medical Coverage as a result of the requirements and regulations set fourth in the ObamaCare law.

As plausible as one can try to make it, the raid went bad and the death of this woman should not have happened.

How big was this raid? Looking at the weapons seized, not very big at all.

Take a look for yourself. And yes, ask yourself if the woman's life was worth getting this ragged excuse of weapons off the mean streets of Ross County?



Look at this assortment of hunting rifles, single shot and pump shotguns, two semi-auto SKS type weapons, and four pistols. This so-called big haul cost a woman her life.

Notice something else, unless they are stolen, they all appear to be legal firearms.

Pursuant to policy, Ross County Sheriff George Lavender called the Ohio State Bureau of Criminal Investigation to investigate the raid and what prompted the gunfire, Schmidt said.

"We’re relying heavily on BCI," Schmidt said.

Then he went on to say something that I find real interesting, according to reports Schmidt said, "Multiple task force members were armed at the time of the raid, and all of their weapons have been seized so they can be analyzed to help determine who fired the shot".

December 14th, 2013,  Sgt. Brett McKnight, an 11-year-veteran with the sheriff’s office who was recently promoted, has been placed on leave while the Bureau of Criminal Investigation continues its investigation, Sheriff George Lavender told media Friday.

Sheriff Lavender also has asked the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association to do an internal investigation, specifically to take a look at training and policies and procedures.

Lavender referred to Sgt. McKnight as a “highly respected officer” and good employee who is “very straight-forward in what his beliefs are, his appearance, the way he conducts himself, the job he does.”

At first, they thought the flash bang might have caused pieces of a kerosene heater to strike Barrows, but then found a shell casing outside.

Once that was determined not to be the case, Lavender said, that the guns used by the officers in the service of the warrant were secured and BCI officials were contacted.
Sgt. Brett McKnight

A police investigation determined that the fatal shot had come from the weapon of Sgt. Brett McKnight. 

According to a police press release, the news came as "a surprise" to McKnight, who was allegedly unaware that he had even fired.

Supposedly, the department suspects that McKnight fired his weapon by "accident," at the exact moment that the flash grenade was detonated.

Flash grenades are used to create confusion for suspects as police initiate a raid, although in this case, the police were just as confused as the inhabitants of the trailer.

Remember, after the shooting, after a spent cartridge was found outside the home, since all of the task force members were armed at the time of the raid, all of their weapons had been seized so they can be analyzed to help determine who fired the shot.

This is one of the things that puzzle me about this story, Sheriff Lavender reported that Sgt. McKnight has had additional training, like other members of the special response team.

That includes tactical training with the North American Tactical Association Training, firearms simulator training with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, and extra hours at the firing range each month.

During the BCI investigation, Lavender said, it was discovered a bullet had accidentally been discharged from outside the door of the trailer, struck the door frame and went through the house toward the couch.

So with all of this training, why didn't McKnight know his weapon fired? Or did he and simply hoped no one would question it?

Lavender, who was at the scene, said he never heard an independent gunshot and believes McKnight’s gun fired as a second flash bang detonated just inside the front door.

“I absolutely believe this was an accidental shot. I really believe that the deputy that accidentally discharged his weapon was not aware of it at the time. You know, these are very emotional, high-stress situations. They’re going into a situation where they feel they could be shot and adrenaline is very high, emotions are very high,” Sheriff Lavender said.

Sheriff Lavender said, "Anytime someone is possibly loaded inside waiting for officers, it’s just like the military. Those people in the military fear for their lives, I’m sure my people do, too. I’ve been on the front line. It is dangerous, and you do have a sense of you have to protect yourself, but you’ve got to do what’s right.”

While I agree to a certain extent with Sheriff Lavender, because I've been there I have to say that if an officer is in fear of his life to such an extent that he might get someone killed with him being there - then he shouldn't have been there!

And while I have to admit that the unexpected happens in a stressful situation, this doesn't answer why a veteran deputy did not know his pistol just went off in his own hand - and had to turn it in to find out that it did?

While Sheriff Lavender first tried to explain that it had something to do with the stress of the situation, he then said that it was caused as flash bangs detonate, a strong reverberation is felt, and he thinks McKnight did not realize his weapon discharged.

But frankly, that is really hard to believe. These officers do not carry small caliber weapons.

They do carry weapons that are sure to let the shooter know that he just squeezed the trigger, and squeezed off a round. Accidental Discharge (AD) or not, you know darn well when it goes off in your hand.

The discharge of any weapon that a sheriff's department uses would certainly be powerful enough to let the shooter know that the weapon had been fired.

For me, to say that he "didn't even know" it went off just seems like a lame excuse for what took place.

And frankly, it is unthinkable that any police department would come up with the lame excuse that an officer of theirs "didn’t even know that his gun had gone off."

Friends, with the power to take lives comes great responsibility.

It also requires skill, proficiency, control, and safe handling of the weapons you're using. Yes, this is the difference between amatures and professionals.

It sounds like Sgt McKnight may have had a boat load of training, but little to no real skill and proficiency with firearms.

His neglect to notify his superiors that it was his weapon that was the one that discharged "accidentally" or not is suspicious.

This is why I'm writing this, I'd like to know why he didn't come forward? Why didn't he? Why didn't he simply say it was an AD, an accidental discharge?

Regrettably, it happens in that line of work to the best officers - especially in an intense situation.  

As for him not knowing, I simply cannot believe that someone cannot feel the discharge of your weapon even in a tense moment.
That, and his negligently handling of his weapon which fired a round that killed an innocent woman demonstrates his lack of ability to do his job in a safe manner.

And with all of his training, it doesn't look like more training will fix his problems.  

During the news conference, while with one hand Sheriff Lavender expressed condolences to Ms Barrows’ family - he noted she is one of the many drug-related deaths seen daily.

“I can’t begin to think of how they are saddened, and we are saddened, too, because we did something and that has happened,” he said.

“But," he said, "we also have people dying of drug overdose every day, and if we fail to continue to do the enforcement effort, I think we’re failing this community in what we’re supposed to be doing.”

Why he said this is beyond me. I hope I'm wrong, but it almost sounds like he was trying to justify her death because she was associated with people involved with drugs.

We must keep in mind that Miss Barrows is the victim here. She had no criminal record, except a misdemeanor conviction for a non-violent offense.

She leaves behind three children, ages 9, 14 and 19, according to local news reports. It was also reported that her Facebook page has her listing four children – three sons and a daughter.

Sgt McKnight has been placed on paid leave for the time being.

It would be interesting to see if the Ross County Sheriff's Department learns from this and make some serious changes.

If the department does see the killing and subsequently the life of a person associated with people who do drugs as a big deal - than maybe they should think about this, McKnight's unsafe handling of his weapon could have got a fellow officer killed.

That would also be a tragedy!

Editor's Note:

My first real training in the proper use and safe handling of multiple weapons started when I was in the Marine Corps over 40 years ago.

The training I received had everything to do with War Fighting and the "use of deadly force" in situations involving security of different sorts.


As an 0311, a Marine Rifleman, War Fighting and the use of weapons and Rifle Platoon Tactics were parts of my primary occupation.

Along with that intensive training, a great deal of my training had to do with Corrections and prisoner escort, security of special weapons and sensitive material, ship's security, facility security, security of individuals, and so on.

Later as an Instructor, I related to others one of the most important things that I was taught, "with the power to take lives comes great responsibilities."

One great responsibility is the safe handling of our weapons.

Thank you.
Tom