In Remembrance of the Many

Memorial-Day

At this time of year, when Americans kick off their summers with holiday vacations and barbecues, it is good to pause and remember our countrymen (and women) who have answered the call to serve, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifices.

Please feel free to list the names of those you know who served our country so that we may know their names.

Conflict                                                U.S. Military Deaths

Revolutionary War (1775-1783)            25,000

War of 1812 (1812-1815)                       20,000

Mexican War (1846-1848)                      13,300

Civil War (1861-1865)

Union                                                        360,000

Confederate                                              260,000

Spanish-American War (1898)                   2,500

World War I (1917-1918)                            116,500

World War II (1941-1945)                           405,400

Korean War (1964-1973)                            36,600

Vietnam War (1964-1973)                           58,200

Persian Gulf War (1990-1991)                    380

Afghanistan (2001-present)                        500+

Iraq War (2003-2011)                                  4,700

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Do You REALLY Understand Healthcare?

MedizinYou’re sick. You begrudgingly take off work, using your last sick day of the year available to you. You’d rather not go to the doctor, but your boss is requiring a doctor’s note.

You drag yourself out of bed, buckle the screaming baby up in the car seat, drive to the doctor and sign in.

You provide the receptionist with your insurance card. You write a large check for your deductible (the very reason you’ve been avoiding the doctor). On top of that, you owe a copay, and this is ONLY if that doctor accepts your insurance provider….

Has anyone ever stopped to ask, “What’s going on here?” If you’re practically having to take out a loan to pay your deductible, and you’re expected to fork up a percentage of your bill, then what are your premiums going toward? Insurance retention?

But if we’re all honest with ourselves, I bet we’d say, “I wish insurance didn’t exist.” It’s a hassle at best. I mean, is it really so expensive to pay a doctor to look down your throat and prescribe an antibiotic that you can’t pay a flat rate yourself?

Is insurance really helping us? How much would an X-ray really cost as a flat rate?

And, not to get political here, but… well, I’ll save this question for a later post.

In the meantime, am I the only one who’s had these questions but has been too afraid to ask them? Is there anyone who can explain this or elaborate? Has your insurance provider helped or hurt you? Share your experiences as an insurance subscriber below. Let’s hash this out.

And keep checking back for further posts on this topic. I just might have some more to say on this topic that you and your family can benefit from.

I only share the best on my new Author Facebook Page.

When We Were United

This is a very difficult time for people, these later days of summer. What should be a time for welcoming fall,  shopping for new school clothes, picking out ugly sweaters, and pulling holiday boxes out of the attic, has, for the last thirteen years, been a time of grief and stark reminders of reality.

For the last thirteen years, not even the bravest of us can get on a plane and wonder, if just in the back of your mind, if you’re on the next disaster flight. The 21st century world differs greatly from the 21st century world in many ways, but no so much as it does in America’s psyche when it comes to national security.

I drive past the Louisville airport on my commute to work. I don’t think I’m the only one who has a brief flashback of 9/11 when I see the planes coming in or taking off. I don’t think I’m paranoid, because I know it isn’t likely going to happen the same way again, but so deep-rooted was that day’s calamitous impact that it really does still affect each and every one of us every day in some way.

It’s a conversation we can all  contribute to with our own personal stories about where we were that day, how it affected us, and when we think the next strike will be. We all have our political opinions and subscribe to certain conspiracy theories. But in the end tomorrow’s observance of 9/11 ought to remind us not of the politics surrounding the attacks, or pointing our fingers at who’s to blame, but it should cause us to recall  how, for a short time after the attacks, we were united as a country like our generation had never seen before.

Almost every car had an American flag clipped to its back window. Strangers were friendlier toward each other. Neighbors showed compassion that otherwise wouldn’t have been shown. Everyone, it seemed, at least for a short time, came together. The families of victims were suddenly America’s greatest concern – they became America’s families, whom I believe every one of them deserves medals of honor for their courage and strength, and the losses they’ve endured.

As terrible as those September days were  in the wake of the new millennium, I wish that camaraderie and unity stuck around a little longer.

If you’ve lived through a natural disaster, you know about the warm feelings of neighbors meeting each other and sharing each other’s stories, and helping each other clean up the street.

With 9/11, it was an entire nation that came together; not just a block or a neighborhood. But somewhere from then to now, we lost sight of that unity and love for one another.

Somewhere among presidential races, and racial court cases, we lost sight of what it means to be united, to stand together as one nation, to blindly practice goodwill toward one another.

Let tomorrow’s somber reminders cause us to reflect on those times when political aisles were torn down and there was no white and black between us. It didn’t matter who you voted for or who you spoke with at the water cooler. What mattered was that you are an American and you were affected as greatly as I was, and we are in this together.

Remembering D-Day

d-day05During World War II, one of the innumerable government agencies, the Writer’s War Board, couldn’t come up with a working definition of the word democracy. Here’s what E.B. White wrote in the the New Yorker:

Surely the Board knows what democracy is. It is the line that forms on the right. It is the don’t in don’t shove. It is the hole in the stuffed shirt through which the sawdust slowly trickles; it is the dent in the high hat. Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half the people are right more than half of the time. It is the feeling of privacy in the voting booths, the feeling of communion in the libraries, the feeling of vitality everywhere. Democracy is a letter to the editor. Democracy is the score at the beginning of the ninth. It is an idea which hasn’t been disproved yet, a song the words of which have not gone bad. It’s the mustard on the hot dog and cream in the rationed coffee. 

Don’t forget today, those that died for our freedom and our right to democracy. Don’t forget, especially, those brave souls that braved the beaches of Normandy and turned the tide of the war, facing off with evil and defending what is good and right and true and honorable.

Debates and Racism Over Coca-Cola Super Bowl Ad

If you didn’t watch the Super Bowl last Sunday (or turned it off out of embarrassment), you missed an ad put out by Coca-Cola that has sparked much debate and criticism.

In my family, we prefer Coke over Pepsi, even though only one of us can taste the difference. A big reason is because of their ads. Commercials and expensive advertising must work; we drink Coke because of those cute polar bears and vintage Santa Clauses. Their ads are catchy and classy, as opposed to Pepsi whose ads tend to be trashy and inappropriate by comparison.

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On Sunday, February 3, 2002, during the Super Bowl, Pepsi-Cola North America unveils a new Britney S..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And let’s face it: if I drank, I’d choose Budweiser for the same reason.

But Coke’s newest ad, which you can watch on the video above, was anything but classy, according to a lot of people.

For a whole minute, Americans from all nationalities and languages joined in in singing “America the Beautiful.”

My wife and I made no comment about it, that I recall. Except I might have mentioned how pretty it was.

It’s touching to see Americans of all races come together and be united as one, though we may differ on subjects of religion, politics, and attire.

And it’s heartbreaking to read comments online like:

Not a fan of the CocaCola commercial. America The Beautiful should not be sang in any other language other than English. Sorry not sorry. 🇺🇸 -BudLightBro (@BudLightBro)

I will be drinking Pepsi after your Super Bowl commercial. We welcome all people but being American should be an honor. @CocaCola #tcot -M Mahathy (@mmahathy)

I am truly disappointed in @Coca Cola for the offensive#SpeakAmerican commercial last night. Speak English!— Janice Rounsaville (@janicehr55)

Read article here.

Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes once said “If you can’t speak English, then I say, shut up!”

He was six. I doubt he’d still say that today.

Some even went so far as to say that terrorists should not be singing our nation’s songs.

It’s too bad that we as a nation are weary to take up arms against our real enemies over seas, but will attack our own under the pretense of assumption and bigotry.

I don’t see people complaining about Disney’s “Let it Go” sung in 25 languages going ultra-viral. Why? Because it’s beautiful.

Like America.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

What are your thoughts on the whole Coca-Cola ad debate? Share your thoughts.

Let’s Talk About Obamacare

Cruz_924_620x350

With just five days to go before the healthcare bill is put into effect, officials from both sides of the aisle are scrambling to get their affairs in order, make last-minute decisions, and rally supporters, either for or against the new law.

But no one has taken such a bold and decisive stand against Obamacare like Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who has been carrying on an old-fashioned filibuster since last night and continuing until noon today or until he is “no longer able to stand.” This filibuster included a couple of bedtime stories to his two daughters who were getting ready to go to bed. A couple of stories were from a children’s Bible.

Whether you watch CNN or Fox News, we seem to hear a lot about what the politicians think about Obamacare, with a few snippets from everyday American’s here and there. I’m not much interested in what politicians (or News commentators) think about President Obama’s new healthcare law. I am curious, though, what everyday people like you and me think about it, and how we perceive it’s going to affect us, be it for good or for bad.

I just love talking politics. I guess that’s the reason for this blog post. I really want to hear what you all think about Obamacare, your fears, your excitement, how it might help you, how it might hurt you.

I ask that when placing your comments below, you keep them brief. State your opinion on the new bill, and, if you’re comfortable, your party affiliation. And remember, no one’s going to change the law by posting a comment on this blog, so don’t try to do so. Also, please be courteous and respectful to fellow commenters and to our President, as he is in a place of authority over us, whether we agree with his ruling or not.

A Blessing in Disguise?

There’s now an AdoptingJames Facebook page which just went up today! Click like, directly to your right and receive all your updates and other fun stuff. Be sure to share it with your friends. (Article begins after jump.)  CLICK LIKE –>

US_Supreme_Court

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court ruled that DOMA is (Defense of Marriage Act) unconstitutional. As I followed my Twitter and Facebook feeds, the pro-gay activists couldn’t help but post their excitement and enthusiasm continuously throughout the day. The others, however, were silent.

More silent than I thought, in fact. Many posts were about people going on with their lives as though nothing has changed. And maybe, in a way, nothing has changed except that the Supreme Court acknowledged what most of the country has been yelling and shouting about for the last couple of months – or rather, the last several years.

Were Christians and Conservatives on my social media feeds just not surprised? Was yesterday’s decision just one more inevitable step toward an inevitable future? Or have they surrendered altogether?

Or, maybe they’re quiet because they don’t want to look like bigots, or become even more socially ostracized than they already are.

Personally, my stance on the whole subject tends to be: “We’ve accepted fornication and domestic partnership, so why not this?”

I’m not saying this is the right attitude and that we should throw in the towel on the subject. No, I’m saying we must dig our feet deeper into our faith because of the direction we’re going. I’m not going to influence the Supreme Court to change its mind. Dr. Albert Mohler isn’t going to convince the masses that their thinking and way of life is fanning the fires of Hell. John Piper isn’t going to convince the president that he is a wolf rallying and leading the lost to the slaughter. (He’s never made such a statement, so don’t quote him on that.)

In fact, here’s the hard truth we all must face: There is no moral argument that we can make against homosexuality outside the Gospel of Christ.

I confess, the question I ask myself repeatedly is this: “How can we effectively argue our case against homosexuality without bringing up Jesus?”

It doesn’t take much explaining to show someone that stealing is wrong. Why? Because it hurts others.

People generally understand that adultery is wrong. Why? Because it hurts others.

Murder? Yeah, that’s pretty bad. It hurts others.

Abortion, even, can be argued without stepping into religious realms.

Homosexuality, on the surface, doesn’t hurt anybody. It’s seen as progressive, and brings happiness and inspires parades.

Just like you can’t convince a non-Christian to stop cursing because it’s wrong, we can’t convince people that homosexuality is wrong. They’ll want to know by who’s standards.

We can’t effectively have a discussion about homosexuality without addressing who’s standards we’re living by. 

I do not agree with the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday, but I do believe it could be a blessing in disguise. Feigning a neutral stance on the topic is less an option today than it was Tuesday night. We can no longer hide behind the safety and conventionality of an anti-gay culture. 

Here’s the blessing: When it comes up – and I assure you, it will – that you do not support gay marriage or transgender lifestyles, you can give absolutely no other reason than “because God is against it.”

You receive either a cold shoulder, a punch in the face, or an invitation to share the Gospel.

And actually, according to God, any of those is good, simply because you stood firm.