Reflections Upon the State of OUR Union

Anyone who wishes for armed conflict or war is either fooling themselves or a liar – or both.

Alex Jones is a patriot and a constitutionalist, who has been on the band wagon to wake people up to where the United States is heading. He often loses it concerning the outrageous acts of federal [and some state] government, or rather those who have been elected to operate on our behalf as ‘We the People’.

Constitutionalists like Bill Whittle and Glenn Beck converse in a more calmer state, but I believe they may get the message across [and warnings to Americans] than someone who loses their temper – not that Mr. Jones does not truly believe that We the People must insist upon reformation and the return of what government is and represents as created by the Founders. Of course, Mr. Jones’ confrontation with authorities, acting as a media form, has a right to be angry at the establishment created by apathetic citizens allowing political prostitutes to run their government.

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Dr. Thomas Sowell and His Realm of Random Thoughts

For many years that Thomas Sowell has written his columns, my favorite is when he writes his Random Thoughts. At one time, here at the Lighthouse Journal (originally called Keifer’s Korner), I asked if he would mind if I picked up on his style and write my own version I called “Random Thinking”. He said he didn’t mind at all when answering my email. It seems others have picked up on Dr. Sowell’s originality.
Well, unlike Mr. Sowell, I have not written in that manner for some time – and glad Thomas hasn’t stopped.

He begins his “Random Thoughts” (or entitles the column) …

Random thoughts on the passing scene …
And then just goes with the flow of whatever is on his mind …

How long do politicians have to keep on promising heaven and delivering hell before people catch on, and stop getting swept away by rhetoric?

Yes, indeed. I mention this in previous articles. It will happen when America wakes up, realizes that they must educate themselves and get the proper information in order to make better calls on who qualifies as a candidate – from the city council to the President of the United States. And, looking at the picks in this presidential primary campaign – people haven’t learned they are being taken for a ride. They always pick the ones the media favors with publicity and who the political establishment wants to win. Never a maverick, never one who will rock their comfortable political boat, and certainly not someone who has good character and logical ideas like Ron Paul. What the GOP deems as acceptable “moderate” Republicans are really RINOs – and not constitutionalists and/or are afraid to do the right thing.
Have you noticed that what modest economic improvements we have seen occurred during the much-lamented “gridlock” in Washington? Nor is this unusual. If you check back through history, doing nothing has a far better track record than that of politicians intervening in the economy.
It is because politicians feel it is the quantity of legislation they pass and not the quality. They feel they aren’t doing their job if they are not catering to special interest groups instead of using logic instead of emotion and only seem to be the busiest in what they are SUPPOSED to be doing when it is election year. That is when you get a flurry of mail from them asking you what you think on important issues, often the most important issues are missing from the list, and conveying the idea that they really do want to know what you think.
Here’s a great Thomas Sowell random thought in passing:
Some people are puzzled by the fact that so much that is said and done by politicians seems remote from reality. But reality is not what gets politicians elected. Appearances, rhetoric and emotions are what get them elected. Reality is what the voters and taxpayers are left to deal with, as a result of electing them.
I really do like Dr. Sowell’s way of thinking …
In politics, few talents are as richly rewarded as the ability to convince parasites that they are victims. Welfare states on both sides of the Atlantic (and poor England/UK is suffering for it in several ways, one way is that Muslims are taking over their society and trying to institute some form of Sharia Law) have discovered that largesse to losers does not reduce their hostility to society, but only increases it. Far from producing gratitude, generosity is seen as an admission of guilt, and the reparations as inadequate compensations for injustices – leading to worsening behavior by the recipients.
Some people say that taxes are the price we pay for civilization. But the runaway taxes of our time are the price we pay for being gullible.
Whatever the ideology or rhetoric of the political left, their agenda around the world has been preempting other people’s decisions and regimenting their lives. …
When politicians say, “spread the wealth,” translate that as “concentrate the power,” because that is the only way they can spread the wealth. And once they get the power concentrated, they can do anything else they want to, as people have discovered – often to their horror – in countries around the world.

In an old Western movie, John Wayne encounters a black man. Wayne tell him, “I don’t have a prejudiced bone in my body. I would shoot you as quick as I would shoot any white man.” That is what equality is supposed to mean.

My random thinking based upon Sowell’s random thoughts in passing:
Why couldn’t the first African American (“Black”) president be like Thomas Sowell? The man has it together – educated, uses logic to address issues, and knows what equality is. No one should get over because of their skin pigmentation, creed, or gender – they should be chosen for their qualifications, not their pretty rhetoric, personality or appearance.
I wonder what the first woman president will be like?
If the republic lasts that long.
The key to the answer is in Thomas Sowell’s words quoted above. It is the method the American voter uses to choose their candidates, and those gullible to the games that the media and political establishment play.
Maybe We the People need to quit asking for government’s “help”.
Reagan stated that the most scary thing that could happen to any citizen is a government official coming to your door and offering their help.
Another intelligent, educated, and logical American, but like John Wayne, he has gone to the golden city.
We need maverick constitutionalist fresh and logical leadership.
Know anyone who fits that description.

Random Thoughts – February 13th 2010

Today’s Random Thoughts February 13th, 2010 … 
So much talent, new ideas and inventions have been lost due to prejudice and racial, ethnic and social ideology.

Our first President of the United States, and also America’s first commanding General of the Army, was an Independent, no allegiance, no membership in any political party. So why do American voters today balk at examining and considering an Independent candidate for any elected office? The Democratic and Republican parties have certainly had a monopoly for entirely too long, as evident in their habit of ignoring the Constitution, as well as their poor choice of appointees in the US Supreme Court and other appointed offices.

This year is the ten-year event called the census. Some citizens balk at someone coming to their residence to ask personal questions; this is mostly because of two factors: lack of trust of those operating our government and ignorance that the census was established by the Constitution of the United States for a purpose and for the American citizens’ benefit.

The Constitution of the United States, Article 1, section 2 mandates that an actual Enumeration of the nation’s population be made at least every ten years so that representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers. It was the first time a nation made an enumeration on the basis of a representative government. The census as become more than just a head count for dividing political representation in geographical districts that consists of census information that helps provide statistics concerning crime, mortality, education, religion, and various other information used to evaluate facts about the United States. The census information also provides information for those researching their family history or professional genealogists. The first American census consisted of 650 federal marshals going house-to-house unannounced, writing down the head of the household and counting other residents. The census cost $45,000 and took 18 months to count 3.9 million people. In 1980, after the census was taken, the Census Bureau had 54 lawsuits filed against the agency by civil rights groups with charges of improper and unconstitutional methods of counting. In 2000 the census cost $167 million and for the first time professional advertising was used.
The first known census was taken by the Babylonians in 3800 BC – 6,000 years ago. It was taken every six or seven years and counted the number of people and livestock as well as goods like butter, honey, milk, wool and vegetables. The first documented census was taken in about 500 BC by the military of the Persian Empire in order to issue land grants and for tax purposes. In the Book of Numbers, it is recorded that a census was taken when Moses led the Jews from Egypt to the Promised Land that would become the kingdom of Israel-Judea-Palestine. King David also, later, ordered a census taken for numbering of the people.

When Jesus of Nazareth, later called The Christ, was still in the womb of Mary, Joseph and Mary traveled to their place of birth in order to be enumerated by the Roman census. The world’s oldest extensive census whose data still exists was taken in China during the Han Dynasty. It was taken in 2 BC and is considered to be accurate by scholars who studied it. China had the world’s largest population at the time at 59.6 million people living in Han China. In a previous census taken in 140 BC, there were 48 million people in Han China.

The most famous census in Europe during the medieval period is called the Domesday Book, performed in 1986 by William I of England for the purpose of taxing the lands he had just conquered. Another large census was taken during the Crusades in 1183 to determine the amount of men and funds required to repel the invasion by Saladin against the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

The Incas did not have any written language before the Spaniards arrived, so they collected their census information with strings from the Llama or Alpaca hair or with cotton cords within encoded knots in increments of ten. Censuses are taken around the world today in different ways, from an annual census to every ten years.

Why is it so difficult to know the difference between legal immigrants and those who come to America uninvited and break our immigration and identification laws? There isn’t any doubt that immigrants have and can be a beneficial asset to our nation. But if immigrants (aliens) circumvent the US immigration laws, how can it be possible to screen those arriving for criminal records and health issues. How is it to be expected to maintain national security and reduce crime rates if criminals and Fifth Column individuals arrive among those seeking a better life? Wouldn’t it be common sense to promote a better foreign affairs policy that encourages foreign governments to clean up their act so their people won’t be so eager to seek immigration to other nations, specifically the United States? 

Info Highway: Random Thinking and Snippets on February 4th 2010

Snippets & Random Thoughts on a wintry day ….

hand_point2       Barack H. Obama, as his predecessor, promised bipartisanship and unity, but that is not evident. Racism and Marxist/political ideology dominates over statesmanship. When the campaign is over, the elected official, whether president or congressman/woman require by the Constitution and congressional ethics that they perform their jobs in a stately manner. His speech at State of the Union was an hypocritical abomination.

As Time Goes By … November 28th 2009

Good Morning America! – and the rest of this wonderful world sharing this interesting small blue-marble planet, called Earth by those who live on it, the third planet from the Sun, a star that is at the center of our particular galaxy, fifth largest planet among eight planets in our part of the universe called the Solar System.
Today is November 28th in the year of our Lord, 1949. That’s one thousand nine hundred and forty-nine years after the death of a carpenter’s son who died because he was an advocate of reformation, had new ideas and rebelled against the establishment of the Jewish hierarchy.
As for me, that makes me 60 years old, which is a grain of sand on a beach compared to our planet’s age of 4.54 billion years.
Time is a matter of perspective, I guess.
I remember a time when I thought 30 was an old age. My, how time flies.

From our birth day, until we dieIs but the winking of an eye. William Butler Yeats

Random Thoughts on an Indian Summer Day

Indian Summer, a term that goes back farther than my life. It’s the title of a Brookes & Dunn song. It is a term that began in early America, as Wikipedia describes it:

An informal expression given to a period of sunny, warm weather in autumn in the northern hemisphere, typically in late October or early November, after the leaves have turned but before the first snowfall.

In some regions Indian Summer begins in September and the hot days of July and August are referred to as Dog Days –

in reference to the position of Sirius, the Dog Star and the brightest star in the northern hemisphere – alongside the sun.

Indian Summer is also a festival time for some American communities.
The rest of the description can be read at Wikipedia entry – you get the picture, now to the random thinking …

I remember as a teenager visiting an exotic pet shop on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. There was a full grown chimpanzee, skinny and getting old, unwanted and in a cage just big enough to sit on a seat provided or stand up. No apparent interaction from anyone, the only socialization being visitors and potential buyers coming into the store. The store had a high ceiling and a large shelf on the backside where a caged tiger was kept, just room enough to turn in his pacing routine. There were various breeds of monkeys, all living in similar conditions – not much interaction. I was fascinated to see all kinds of exotic critters there, but saddened deeply because of their life’s conditions. I wished I could have afforded to purchase (Most of them, there was a vulture there that I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting as a pet – but would have set him free if purchased) – and if I could not have them in a natural environment with interaction and a place to allow them to play and act natural – I would have arranged to set them free, if they could survive in the wild after so long being in captivity. However, I would have also had to purchase the business because If I purchased those critters – they would just restock them with others. The shop is still there, but now just a normal pet store – with new ownership and atmosphere.
If people are going to domesticate such creatures, especially with animals with the intelligence that primates have – they shouldn’t just be objects of curiosity or just someone bragging that they are the owners of such critters.
The part that made me desire to be the instrument of those animals’ freedom, also is part of me that not only appreciates freedom but know that it must be protected if those freedoms and liberties are to be retained.
So, along with caring about the “little guy” and protecting those that cannot (or will not) protect themselves – I have become involved what many people look upon disdainfully and dub with the descriptive word politics. Some people shun discussing it because, like religion, it becomes an emotional discussion. To me, however, it has remained subject of great importance in my life and my fellow American citizens and why our nation, for the most part, is falling apart. Americans are leaving the matters of government, politics, to others – and they participate for various reasons and causes. By not participating or performing their part of their duty as a citizen, they are actually condoning someone else to run their lives.
I love freedom more than life to the point that I cannot tolerate anyone, not even my wife, dictating how I should live or think. That does not mean that I concede to authority or don’t obey what an employer wants – there are times to be a leader or even a rebel, but good leaders are initially followers. This all may seem odd coming from someone who was once a professional soldier, expected to follow orders – but I separated this from my philosophical thinking of personal freedom, realizing that by serving others I was providing a benefit for fellow Americans and experiencing the comradery of my fellow troops. It, to me, was like the family unit – unity being the strength.
This also does not mean that I am not open to fresh ideas or alternate thoughts because I enjoy discussing things that are out of the box and about anything a human brain could think of or imagine from everyday living to the wonders of the universe. Maybe that is why the subject material is variable here where one article could be about the history of the Afghan people and their culture to Zippy the Pinhead. However, politics, as folks designate it has become a main subject material because of the every faster decline of the American society and its allowance of our changing form of government.
Our nation began with people who appreciated freedom and the liberty to pursue happiness, prosperity and family values – some died for it and others became impoverished over it, losing all their material wealth they worked for. After our nation was established with a concrete set of laws written in the Constitution – laws set up for those who served in our government to follow – America began to grow and expand from sea to shining sea. Yes, during the course of our nation’s history there were dark eras, especially concerning the enslavement of fellow human beings and mistreatment of a people who lived here long before Europeans came to settle, and respected the land and what was in it. In reality, they would have had to civilize or modernize eventually, but the major transgressions that the new American nation performed were mostly from not abiding by treaties they had agreed to – and when they insisted that native Americans must be educated (which is important) they also insisted in taking away their basic culture and their pride in their heritage. Prejudices coupled with national pride to the point of shamefulness as well. National pride is good, but not at the expense of belittling someone else who is different – just as my parents taught me about folks who were handicapped or born different in some way. I am proud of them for instilling this in me, for parents are so important, and while they sometimes don’t feel like their efforts sinks in, it is because sometimes their children as they get older do not tell them so.
This is just a random thought that entered my head and decided to type it out … what are yours?
Are you going to disregard the political diatribe?
Are you going to start paying attention to those who have so much control over our lives – those supposed to be operating and governing For the People?
Do you want a life of someone telling you what to do in every facet of your life?

Random Thoughts: From My Desk on a Cold, Foggy Morn

Here goes with some “random thoughts” on a cold, foggy night/early morning on the Peninsula …

  • EggHarbor First, I would like share a fun website where you take a “test” and see if you have been raised speaking “Dixie” (south of the Mason-Dixon Line & Texas) or “Yankee” (New England, northern/Great Lake states), et cetera. It was sent in by Diane S., Wisconsin, Friend of LPJ.
    Sharon (Kritter Girl at Kritter Girl’s Korner) took the test and scored 51%. I took it and scored 60%, which means I lean a bit on the Dixie side – which may be the fact that kinfolk on my mother’s side are from south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
    Try this fun test of American-style English (maybe we should have stuck to the Queen’s English, even though we did win independence) and see how you score. Click here.

  • A fellow worker and I were discussing music in general, he likes flamenco music, which I appreciate as well and plays a bit on a guitar and once when he was in Madrid, Spain, wandered into a place where they sold alcoholic beverages, some dancing and a fellow who played the best flamenco (commonly misspelled “flamingo” which is a bird or the name of a casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA) music he had ever heard. It turns out that he was the famous Carl Montoya. Although Baby Miguel is probably the most well known. Then the discussion ended with the fact that music appreciation, the history and development of various music and instruments is no longer taught in schools, especially public (government-run) schools. What a shame. I realize that it seems there is not enough funding for these things, but as a young fellow going to public school, we had a short class of music appreciation and there were also after school activities that cost a couple of dollars that taught things like square dancing and other such arts that has seem to have been lost in today’s America. And what a shame that is. No matter what new music or genre of music develops, all children should be given a class on music appreciation – it’s history and how many instruments were developed in history. Today, I enjoy some new style of music, classics like Beethoven, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, et cetera, and even a couple of operatic numbers – although I never liked that type very much as far back as I remember. It has the same effect on me as “rap”. I like R&B, MoTown, C&W, Country Rock, Classic Rock and the “Oldies”, and Big Band, (Swing Era that includes Classical Jazz) my favorite being In the Mood – but international music as well, such as the Turkish traditional songs (accompanied by a traditional Belly Dancer – folk music established by the Turkish gypsies), Spanish flamenco (music and dance, Spanish gypsies), the polka, (which can still be found in Wisconsin) and traditional music found in places like Scandinavia and even some Japanese and other Asiatic traditional songs. I enjoy island music as well, in the traditional sense, but includes Reggae from Jamaica. Overall, except opera and rap, I can listen or enjoy a performance by musicians playing this music live. Maybe it is time to reinstate music and other fine arts appreciation to students in the school budgets. It seems they have enough funding for sports, why not the arts?
  • Someone was complaining about how much the United States is spending on the military – probably not thinking about the fact that we have declared war [‘unofficially’] on terrorism (approved by Congress), and of course, the Iraq operation was mentioned and Afghanistan totally ignored, (as usual) despite the fact there are casualties there as well. Here some facts and food for thought that sorts it out:
    While the United States spends more in dollars, the portion of the budget we spend on military is only 3.7% of GDP (Gross National Product), according to Wikipedia, more than France at 2.6% and less than Saudi Arabia at 10%. However, this is historically low compared to 1944 at 37.8% and the Vietnam War at 9.4% in 1968. And, as Wikipedia points out: The recent invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan are largely funded through supplementary spending bills outside the Federal Budget, so they are not included in the military budget figures listed above. In addition, the United States has black budget (books have been written about this phenomenon) military spending which is not listed as Federal spending and is not included in published military spending figures. Other military-related items, like maintenance of the nuclear arsenal and the money spent by the Veterans Affairs Department, are not included in the official budget. Thus, the total amount spent by the United States on military spending is higher.
    CIA World Factbook is an excellent source to figure military expenditures percentage of the GDP and other global information. The United States spent (2004-2005) $419.3 billion, United Kingdom, $58.6 billion, People’s Republic of China, $29.9 billion; yet the People’s Republic of China as a percentage of their GDP is only 1.4% (based upon known intelligence information) – but they are a military state that has many secret operations, as well as a larger nation with a higher GDP figure, especially since they have joined the WTO and have become more prominent in the world stock exchange and trading operations. Based upon their military and political ideology, we and others are actually financing their military might – because China stresses much of their GDP as possible to finance aforesaid operations and logistical endeavors. Check out the article about the Chinese stock market, Associated Press.
  • I was wondering how many of our youth read books. A recent article in Technology News, AP writer Anick Jesdanun states:
    Young adults are the heaviest users of public libraries despite the ease with which they can access a wealth of information over the Internet
    Well, it seems to me that they use and know more about video games than anything else. People also go to libraries to access computers, newspapers, magazines and to check out DVD/Video films. So, I guess book reading is still around. Needless to say, the article was surprising to me.
  • Do you think you are more qualified than the candidates running for the presidency in 2008? Well, you can get your chance at a Michael Medved affiliated website. Basically, you just call 1-800-745-0522, Ext. 1 and record your message as to why you should be the next President of the United States in 2008. According to the website, it is a candidate contest. Keep your message when you call below five minutes, it might be helpful to prepare your message on paper and then read from there. Cover the main issues of the day and be sure to answer the following questions:
    What’s your philosophy?
    What’s your platform?
    What’s your preparation for the nation’s highest office?

    Highlights will be replayed on the Michael Medved Show and listeners will vote on their favorites.
    Winners will get an invitation to a Citizen Candidates Debate where they’ll confront their rivals for an hour (or more) to discuss their campaign issues, live, on the show with Michael and callers. Later, listeners will select the ultimate winner of these debates – opening up the political process to some dynamic outside who can connect with the public and thereby launch his (or her) long-shot bid to join Mitt, Hillary, Rudy and the rest as top-tier candidates. … Please make sure to record as clearly as possible and to provide us with your complete contact information, Full Name, Phone Number, Email, City and State.
  • Another New Year is upon us, an election year. I believe that those Americans who are tired of the Clinton and the Bush administrations are having a difficult time in choosing their candidate of choice for 2008, at least those of us who participate in the primary elections. I also believe they will be more cautious, thanks to GW making a turn-about on his expressed political platform. Many voters feel they have been taken for granted and scammed, so to speak. Personally, I wish there was a candidate to choose from that doesn’t belong to either of the two-party system. What are your thoughts?
  • NYPP_033

  • And, I end these thoughts with a wish that the coming year of 2008 will bring out wonderful things, the Iraqi people can wrestle their nation from outside disturbances and work to living a peaceful democratic republic, so the United States can bring home the troops from that region and the American military can seek out, capture or destroy the main element of Islamic fascism to get closer to winning the war against terrorism. And, on the home front, I hope we can get members in Congress to work with the next president and get a handle (finally) on the illegal immigrant situation, change the tax system, and repair/replace or rescind social programs that are not required or not working efficiently. Generally, a tough look at the national budget versus congressional spending (who too often blame the President for which they are responsible for) and hope for a step toward more peace in the world. And personally to you, the readers, a special wish for your happiness, health and prosperity as well as getting more involved in one’s community and the overseeing of those we elect to ensure that they are performing their jobs of US – not their special interests and personal interests.

From My Desk on Christmas Eve …

First, I want to wish everyone a banner_merry-christmas_animated-03 from our home within the home of the Lighthouse Journal
This Christmas Eve was spent with my wife and son and tomorrow, on Christmas Day, we will be traveling by automobile to see Justin (Sharon’s son), Katie and two grandchildren, Megan and Julia. Of course, we have family elsewhere, but our Christmas festivities with immediate family will be in Wisconsin. We had a warm spell for a day or two and the snow was renewed with a fresh batch of the white stuff. While I was preparing my annual Christmas Day message, like Santa Claus who busies himself during the night in his part of the Christmas holiday, and while some folks are attending Christmas Eve Mass or other personal traditions – I bang away on the keyboard with thoughts of Christmas, family, friends and the universe in general. Thus, the title of this article being appropriately called – From My Desk on Christmas Eve.
Reading this you will notice that there are snowflakes falling across your screen. This is a Christmas present from Matt Mullenweg of WordPress to the bloggers, if they so choose to use it on their blogs. His Christmas story is linked above via his name and it is a good one I recommend checking out.
Sharon, my wife who is known as Kritter Girl and author of the adjoined blog entitled Kritter Girl’s Korner, traditionally bakes four types of cookies and a batch of deviled eggs for Christmas Day.

christmas-window I remember with fondness the wonderful Christmases my parents made possible in my youth. These wonderful memories and sharing Christmas with those that are here and now keeps me in the spirit of Christmas.
I remember Christmases away from family, when I was serving my country and couldn’t get away from my duties for that time of year. Most of my leave time accrued was set aside for the Christmas/New Year period, and to return to the place where I grew up and the parents who raised me. I miss my parents and Sharon’s parents, especially at Christmas.
This year she asked me, when she is almost done with the hot and strenuous chore of baking, “How many cookies do you think I baked?” I, of course, had guessed the wrong number – which was over 400 cookies! And then she made the traditional deviled eggs that are special this year because they were made from the duck eggs our three Khaki Campbell ducks lay each day (with some no egg days sprinkled in, they lay anywhere from 200 to 300 eggs per year). These wonderful foods will be brought (part of it) to Justin and Katie’s house on Christmas Day, along with presents.
Meanwhile, I will do the usual thing with “snippets” and share stories about this day that is celebrated in places around the globe …
In a story about Christmas in the town where Jesus of Nazareth was born, Bethlehem, whose birth is the celebration and reason for Christmas, written by Dalia Nammari, APBoston Globe

XMNT_052 Encouraged by renewed peace talks between Israel and Palestinians, Christian pilgrims from around the world converged on Jesus’ traditional birthplace Monday to celebrate Christmas – a palpable contrast to the sparse crowds of recent years. The diverse mix of people included festive American tourists, clergymen in brown flowing robes and Palestinian scouts wearing kilts and playing bagpipes.
“I’m Catholic. I always wanted to see the beginning of Christianity, the whole history. It’s something you grow up with,” said Kristin Obeck, 1 37-year-old schoolteacher from
Richmond, Va.
In his Christmas homily during Midnight Mass, Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah delivered a politically charged appeal for peace and love in the Holy Land – and independence for the Palestinian people.
This land of God cannot be for some a land of life and for others a land of death, exclusion, occupation, or political imprisonment,” said Sabbah, the first Palestinian to hold the position of top Roman Catholic official in the Holy Land.
In his homily, Sabbah criticized religious extremists and lamented the dwindling number of Christians. “To all of you Christians in this land, you are tempted to emigrate, you are the object of everyone’s preoccupation, I say to you what Jesus told us: Do not be afraid,” he said.
In the years following the 1993
Oslo peace accord, Bethlehem attracted tens of thousands of tourists for Christmas. But the number of visitors plummeted after the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising in 2000. …
While many celebrants appeared to be curious teenagers and other local residents, Israeli tourism officials said they expected some 20,000 visitors to cross from
Jerusalem into neighboring Bethlehem. They said that was an increase of about 50 percent over last year, though well below the peak years. …
Bethlehem’s governor, Saleh Tamari, said all of the town’s 5,000 hotel rooms were booked. …

As the birth of Christ brought hope to Jews and Gentiles alike, so does the spirit of Christmas – and the hope of peace on Earth. And while there will always be some sort of conflagration of violence and oppression somewhere in the world, it is always hoped that at least the one night and the following day that means so much to Christians, will truly be a peaceful one, there have been military personnel through history who could not be home and tried to make some sort of remembrance of Christmas. To the troops who are spending Christmas somewhere other than at home, I extend a special Merry Christmas from one who has experienced such Christmases more times than I can remember during the 15 years of my active duty service I spent in the US Army.
In the Vatican, the Pope performs the traditional Midnight Mass [Associated Press by Ariel David, December 24th 2007] …

XMSA_343 Pope Benedict XVI urged the faithful to set aside time in their lives for God and the needy, as he ushered in Christmas early Tuesday by celebrating Midnight Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. …
“Man is so preoccupied with himself, he has such urgent need of all the space and all the time for his own things, that nothing remains for others, for his neighbor, for the poor, for God,” he said. …
“He came to restore beauty and dignity to creation, to the universe: This is what began at Christmas and makes the angels rejoice. The Earth is restored to good order by virtue of the fact that it is opened up to God … Thus Christmas is a feast of restored creation.” …
In a homily delivered in Italian in front of thousands packing the basilica, Benedict asked the faithful to make room for God, as well as the less fortunate, in their lives.
“Do we have time for our neighbor who is in need of a word from us, from me, or in need of my affection? For the sufferer who is in need of help? For the fugitive or the refugee who is seeking asylum? Do we have time and space for God?” …
Earlier, as
Midnight Mass began, Benedict blessed the crowd of pilgrims, Romans and tourists, as he walked in a procession up the main aisle to the central altar, which was decorated with red poinsettia flowers.
As a choir sang, benedict sprinkled incense on the altar under Bernini’s massive bronze baldachin before opening the service with the traditional wish for peace in Latin: “Pax vobis” (“Peace be with you”). The faithful responded: “Et cum spiritu tuo.” (“And also with you”)
Four children, some in native costume from their countries, brought flowers to the altar, placing them near a statue depicting baby Jesus as Benedict, dressed in white and gold-colored robes, joined a choir in a hymn.
Officials unveiled the life-size Nativity on Monday, revealing the statues of Mary and Joseph, Jesus’ parents, in a huge house-like structure located next to the
Vatican’s giant, twinkling Christmas tree.
This year, the scene of Jesus’ birth was depicted in a recreation of Joseph’s
Nazareth home rather than the traditional manger in Bethlehem. Officials at the unveiling said the shift underscored the idea that Jesus was born not just in a single place, but everywhere and for everyone.
Hours before
Midnight Mass, Benedict briefly appeared at his studio window to light a candle as a symbol of peace, blessing the crowd with the light before leaving it on the sill. …
Benedict was
[sic] to deliver his traditional Christmas DayUrbi et Orbi” speech – Latin for “to the city and to the world” – from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, in which he often touches on current events and issues of concern to the Vatican. He then is expected to issue Christmas greetings to the faithful in more than 60 languages.

While Italians are celebrating their Christmas and those who can travel to Rome for the special Christmas Mass and/or the Christmas Day message, Americans are traveling about the United States in automobiles and aircraft and overseas flights to places like Europe, to visit family for Christmas as reported by Andrew DeMillo, Boston Globe

XMSA_282 Many Christmas Eve travelers around the country got what they wished for – few airport delays and highways that were mostly clear, despite a deadly weekend snowstorm in the Plains and the Midwest. Even the usually congested airports in the New York area – Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark-Liberty – all reported departure delays of less than 15 minutes by Monday afternoon, with outbound flights taking off on time. …
Economics did strand some travelers Monday. MAXjet Airways abruptly ceased operations between New York, Las Vegas,
Los Angeles and London as the all-business class airline said it would file for bankruptcy protection. The five-plane airline reserved hotel rooms for stranded passengers and worked to find other flights for them. Elsewhere, no early major delays were reported at the Los Angeles airport or Chicago’s O’Hare. …
AAA estimated 65.2 million Americans would travel 50 miles or more from home during the Christmas and New Year’s period, a slight increase over last year’s 64.7 million, despite high gasoline prices and air fares.
Nationally, a gallon of regular unleaded costs $2.974 on average, according to the AAA.
Air travelers in western
Michigan ran into problems Monday because of an overnight power failure at Gerald R. Ford Airport in Grand Rapids. Service was not restored until late morning.

And, has a special Merry Christmas message with a YouTube video.
The snow falling across your screen while you read Lighthouse Journal will end on January 2nd; however, best wishes to the Friends of LPJ will continue throughout the year and with the hope that people can work together to keep this world a good place to be as much as possible. And so then, I extend the Christmas traditional Roman-Catholic- Latin phrase – Pax vobis.
PS – A special Christmas e-card can be viewed created by Jacquie Lawson.

Walter Williams – Constitution Day

Walter Williams speaks out concerning Constitution Day, September 17th

Each year since 2004, on Sept. 17, we commemorate the 1787 signing of the U.S. Constitution by 39 American statesmen. The legislation creating Constitution Day was fathered by Sen. Robert Byrd and requires federal agencies and federally funded schools, including universities, to have some kind of educational program on the Constitution. I cannot think of a piece of legislation that makes greater mockery of the Constitution, or a more constitutionally odious person to father it—Sen. Byrd, a person who is known as, and proudly wears the label, `King of Pork.’ The only reason that Constitution Day hasn’t become a laughingstock is because most Americans are totally ignorant of, or have contempt for, the letter and spirit of our Constitution. Let’s examine just a few statements by the framers to see just how much faith and allegiance today’s Americans give to the U.S. Constitution. James Madison is the acknowledged father of the Constitution. Continue reading