Saturday, December 15, 2012

Bug's Bleat - - GCF: Dog Bowl

Main Street Magnolia looking west toward the courthouse square.

SAU’s new watertower Christmas colors. I like the old colors better.

Annette’s lights on our porch.

Trees around the courthouse.

Volume 14, Issue 49 Friday, December 14, 2012

Hello ALL,

It’s gonna be a short “Bleat” this week. The tragedy in Connecticut is weighing on my mind and my heart.
Thoughts from friends;

About this time yesterday, I was sitting in this chair worrying about the "problems" of everyday life and reminding myself to stay positive, work hard, and never give up...
Today, I sit here in this chair, while my precious daughter is singing and playing in her room, and I am completely unable to validate yesterday's "problems" as real things deserving of thought. - - JR Bunner

"A great disaster had befallen Russia: men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened."
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn - - Donah Dumas

Your kids are a loan from God, so love them while you can. - - Nancee Davis Law

Praying for these school kids and their families. - - Jimmy Malone

Praying for all involved & affected by the demonic murders in Conn. - - Terry Maris

A day to be prayerful. - - Joe Tudor
Our nation (and much of the civilized world) took a “gut punch” yesterday with the news that 20 children had been slaughtered by a madman. Any death of a child is horrible but to have them taken in such a senseless, demonic way is almost unbearable.

My class of ’69 mate, Mindy Phillips Lawrence quoted from the Fairfax Review: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the tragedy in Connecticut today.”May we not succumb to thoughts of violence and revenge today, but rather to thoughts of mercy and compassion. We are to love our enemies that they might be returned to their right minds." (Marianne Williamson)”

That reminds me of the incredible Amish response to an elementary school shooting; “Forgive, Pray And Mourn” []

I agree with that sentiment, but the question remains … why? Why do things like this happen? If there is a God, why does he allow such evil? If we are truly a “modern” society, why do people commit such evil acts?

Well, let me give you the short answer. This world ain’t perfect. We ain’t perfect. Our society ain’t perfect. God is perfect, but he’s not the ruler of this planet. When Adam and Eve “fell” they turned authority for this world over to another fallen being … Satan. As Larry Norman sang on his Iconic "Only Visiting This Planet" album, “This world is not my home/ I’m just…. passin’…. through….”

So, is there no hope? We have more than hope. We have the promise of Matthew 18:18 "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” So God has given us authority over the ruler of this planet.

We should be using that authority and pray for our leaders, our neighbors, our friends and our family. When we hear of someone who is a threat to our peace, our first response should be prayer. In fact, our first response to most any situation should be prayer.

Luke 6:28 ... bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Besides praying and sharing God’s hope, we should also encourage a greater effort to address mental illness in our nation (as well as the world.) Medically, we’re seeing great strides in Cancer, Heart and Lung research as well as many other medical problems. And, we’re spending large sums on Alzheimer's research. All of these programs are worthy of our support. But I get the feeling that research in treatments for schizophrenia and other serious mental ailments is lagging behind.

Regan cut funding for many mental health treatment facilities (here in Arkansas, many of those who had been housed at the state mental hospital in Benton were farmed out to Nursing Homes across the state. You can imagine the difference in treatment for their disease between the two places.)
And, most insurance doesn’t pay for much mental health treatment. The normal coverage is for three to six months and then the patient is no longer covered. It doesn’t matter if they are well or not.

Mental Illness is treatable. But it’s much more difficult to diagnose and the course of treatment for many mental problems is not standardized. We need a “War on Mental Illness” to address the diagnosis, cause and treatment for severe illness such as obviously affected the shooter in Connecticut.
I’ve seen this posted several times over the last few hours. It’s being attributed to Morgan Freeman but I can find no proof that he issued this statement. However, I do consider this a thoughtful take on what happened in Connecticut:
"You want to know why this happened. This may sound cynical, but here's why I believe these suicide mass killings keep happening.

It's because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. The Columbine shooters are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way.

Why a grade school? Why children? Because he'll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN's article says that if the body count "holds up", this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer's face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer's identity? None that I've seen yet. Because they don't sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you've just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man's name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news."
Thank to Gena Risher Hammock for sharing that Conn. Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Wayne Carver has released the list of victims from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Saturday. The students killed were all in the 1st grade:

Charlotte Bacon, 6

Daniel Barden, 7

Rachel Davino, 29

Olivia Engel, 6

Josephine Gay, 7

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

Dylan Hockley, 6

Dawn Hochsprung, 47

Madeleine Hsu, 6

Catherine Hubbard, 6

Chase Kowalski, 7

Jesse Lewis, 6

James Mattioli, 6

Grace McDonnell, 7

Anne Marie Murphy, 52

Emilie Parker, 6

Jack Pinto, 6

Noah Pozner, 6

Caroline Previdi, 6

Jessica Rekos, 6

Avielle Richman, 6

Lauren Rousseau, 30

Mary Sherlach, 56

Victoria Soto,27

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

Allison Wyatt, 6
And, while we’re talking about loss and heartache, let me comment on the “Word Wars” I see from time to time play out on Face book.
Let me try to put this into perspective. I got a post from Larry Lyons, a fellow safety man I worked with at Lion Oil in 2009. Larry is one of the best. What he shared hits me right in the gut.

"Thoughts and prayers sent out to the two families that were affected by the accident this morning. If you love someone, tell them. It may be your last chance." Two workers were killed on the job in south Texas.

And those of us on this list have experienced loss over the years we've been visiting digitally.

I'm just saying life is too short to spend time in strife. I'm not asking anyone to change their beliefs, just to do three things;

1. Try to remember that God made us all different. We don't march in lock step and Thank God for it. You can disagree without being disagreeable.

2. If someone says something that offends you, consider cutting them a little slack. I for one could fill a large volume with the words I wish I'd never spoken or written.

3. In all cases pursue peace. I will respect whatever you have to do to maintain your peace.

With that said, All of you are important to me. I value your thoughts and comments (even though I sure don't agree with all of them all the time.) And I deeply value y'all.
On a lighter note, Our Favorite Christmas Movies:

Christmas in Connecticut 1945
We’re No Angels 1945
Die Hard 1988
The Santa Clause 1994
Last Holiday 2006
The Holiday 2006
Holiday Inn 1942
It's a Wonderful Life 1946
Miracle on 34th Street 1947
White Christmas 1954
The Shop Around the Corner 1940
The Bishop's Wife 1947
Holiday Affair 1949
I'll Be Seeing You 1944
my classmate, Chuck Jackson, shares a little humor with us.
CURIOUS LITTLE FELLOW by Chuck Jackson (Originally posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2012)

The little anecdotes I write come during idle reflection when I´ve nothing to worry me. Oh, I can write under stress, but that´s too much like college, which I never did enjoy. Politics aside, this was still a very trying year, and I wrote little. The following is one of the few exceptions, and the one I liked best. If you haven´t read it before, merry Christmas!

MY WAR RECORD I went to work on Monday and found Roberto, the five-year-old nephew of one of our secretaries, in the teacher´s lounge at my institute. He was spending the day with us as his normal haunt was having some kind of internal school holiday, and there was no one available to keep him incarcerated at home.

With a plastic tub of crayon bits and a stack of Xeroxed pictures from an assortment of coloring books, he was employing an imaginative sense of hue to enliven otherwise mundane drawings of animals, trees, houses, airplanes, etc.

He noted my envy and grudgingly allotted me two drawings to color myself. Both were of zebras.

I granted him a soul-withering thanks and set to coloring.

Criticizing my work, he remarked as how my zebras looked much the same. I admitted that one was the common black-and-white-striped variety but that the other was the rare white-and-black-striped zebra previously found only in the jungles of the Sahara.

He told me the Sahara was a desert. I reminded him of the great droughts in Africa which had not only destroyed the jungles of the Sahara but also killed millions of the now rare white-and-black-striped zebras, the Sahara having been their only native habitat and all.

He asked was the white-and-black-striped zebra extinct? I plead ignorance but told him of the one I had seen at the zoo in Barcelona way back in ´76. Mention of that year produced an astounding change in his countenance. His eyes rounded up like solid quarters in a flash, and he asked had I fought in the U.S. Revolutionary War after returning home from Barcelona in ´76. I regretfully informed him I was too young to have fought in that war.

Noting his disappointment, I quickly added that they had let me beat the drum when they were marching though. My not having actually shot anyone (Hispanics are real big on shooting historical Englishmen) didn´t impress him. To return to his good graces, I bragged as how my cousin, George Washington, HAD let me sign the Declaration of Independence.

He ripped open his schoolbag, jerked out a large U.S. Revolutionary War picture book, and opened it to the centerfold. What lay before us was a two-page spread of the Declaration. He asked which signature on the bottom was mine. I pointed it out, but he complained as how it was illegible.

I explained how I had been forced to sign with a feather having never written with one before. He sympathized and said how he had the same problem with biros. (I can see y´all now thumbing through the Wikipedia for ´biro.´ I assure you it´s a perfectly good word though usually capitalized.)

He asked me to be his show and tell in kindergarten as I was probably the only U.S. Revolutionary War veteran in Chile who had signed the Declaration. I declined stating I was embarrassed calling myself a veteran in public not having actually shot anyone.

Sighing, he returned to my zebras and asked which was the rare white-and-black-striped one. Well, . . . I was stumped.
The Babe in the Manger

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isa 9:6)

1) Do you worship the babe in the manger
But reject the Christ of the cross?
Your redemption comes not by the manger
But the death of Christ on the cross.

2) If you worship the babe in the manger
But ignore the blood of God's Son
To you Christ is only a stranger
'Til you trust the work He has done.

3) Will you look past the babe in the manger?
Will you look to Calvary
Oh my friend can you not see the danger
Of a lost eternity?

The Babe in the manger was God's only Son
Who came to the world to die
The Babe in the manger could never have done
The work of His God on high.
The Babe left the manger and went to the cross
To pay the wages of sin
Your way of forgiveness is not by the babe
But the Christ Who died for your sin.

Christ...made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:7-11) (VW)
United States Department of Education, also referred to as ED or the ED for (the) Education Department, is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government. Created by the Department of Education Organization Act (Public Law 96-88) and signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on October 17, 1979, it began operating on May 4, 1980.[2]

For 2006, the ED discretionary budget was $56 billion and the mandatory budget contained $23.4 billion. As of 2011, the discretionary budget is $69.9 billion.

Student achievement has stagnated or fallen in most subjects since 1970, with the largest and most thoroughly established decline occurring in basic literacy. That is the verdict of the five most reliable sources of evidence: the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), the International Evaluation of Education Achievement (IEA), the Young Adult Literacy Survey (YALS), the National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS), and the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS).

In 1992, education scholar Harold Stevenson published the results of a decade’s worth of international studies comparing not only educational performance, but attitudes as well. In his studies, he looked at hundreds of classrooms and families in the U.S., China, Taiwan, and Japan. What he found was that American parents were by far the most satisfied with their local schools, while their children had the worst performance overall. Though in the first grade they were only slightly behind their Asian counterparts in mathematics, by the fifth grade the best American schools had lower scores than the worst schools from all three other nations. Unaware of this fact, the American parents reported being quite pleased with the performance of their schools and their children.

Looking at the above facts, I conclude that the billions we’re spending via the Department of Education are a waste since our kids school performance has remained static or declined in spite of the DOE’s money.

However, the study also shows that parents are no judge of the quality or ability of their local schools.

I believe that our hope relies in local school boards who are dedicated to the quality education of students and supported by the public.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I know of no Federal program which will provide quality local school boards. That’s the job of the community.
Here’s how Finland handles education.
26 Amazing Facts About Finland's Unorthodox Education System by Adam Taylor

Finland Helsinki

Since it implemented huge education reforms 40 years ago, Finland's school system has consistently come at the top for the international rankings for education systems.

So how do they do it?

It's simple — by going against the evaluation-driven, centralized model that much of the Western world uses.

Finnish children don't start school until they are 7.

They rarely take exams or do homework until they are well into their teens.

The children are not measured at all for the first six years of their education.

There is only one mandatory standardized test in Finland, taken when children are 16.

All children, clever or not, are taught in the same classrooms.

Finland spends around 30 percent less per student than the United States.

30 percent of children receive extra help during their first nine years of school.

66 percent of students go to college. The highest rate in Europe.

The difference between weakest and strongest students is the smallest in the World.

Science classes are capped at 16 students so that they may perform practical experiments every class.

93 percent of Finns graduate from high school.

17.5 percent higher than the US.

43 percent of Finnish high-school students go to vocational schools.

Elementary school students get 75 minutes of recess a day in Finnish versus an average of 27 minutes in the US.

Teachers only spend 4 hours a day in the classroom, and take 2 hours a week for "professional development".

Finland has the same amount of teachers as New York City, but far fewer students. 600,000 students compared to 1.1 million in NYC.

The school system is 100% state funded.

All teachers in Finland must have a Masters degree, which is fully subsidized.

The national curriculum is only broad guidelines.

Teachers are selected from the top 10% of graduates.

In 2010, 6,600 applicants vied for 660 primary school training slots

The average starting salary for a Finnish teacher was $29,000 in 2008. Compared with $36,000 in the United States. However, high school teachers with 15 years of experience make 102 percent of what other college graduates make. In the US, this figure is 62%.

There is no merit pay for teachers but Teachers are given the same status as doctors and lawyers

In an international standardized measurement in 2001, Finnish children came top or very close to the top for science, reading and mathematics. It's consistently come top or very near every time since.

And despite the differences between Finland and the US, it easily beats countries with a similar demographic

Neighbor Norway, of a similar size and featuring a similar homogeneous culture, follows the same strategies as the USA and achieves similar rankings in international studies.
Recent Rasmussen Reports

Most Still Think Government Workers Better Off - - As they have for years, Americans still generally believe that those employed by the government don't work as hard as those in the private sector but get more in return. Read More []

76% Think Christmas Should Be About Jesus, Not Santa - - Should Christmas be more about Jesus Christ or Santa Claus? It may seem hard to tell looking at the popular culture, but Americans overwhelmingly think the emphasis should be on Jesus. Read More []

New High: 73% Say Government Should Cut Spending to Help Economy
Half of all Americans want more government action to deal with the economy. But the action they are looking for is to cut government spending. . Read More
Health Care Law Is Still Fighting For Its Life
A Commentary By Scott Rasmussen

Having survived the Supreme Court and the November elections, President Obama's health care law now faces an even bigger hurdle: the reality of making it work.

Implementation of any massive new program requires cooperation, something the health care law can't count on. Overall, just 46 percent of voters nationwide have a favorable opinion of the law, while 49 percent offer a negative view. The reasons are pretty much the same as they've been all along. Just 22 percent believe the law will reduce the cost of health care. Forty-eight percent believe costs will go up. By similar margins, voters expect the law to hurt the quality of care and drive up the federal budget deficit.

Overall, just 28 percent believe the health care system will get better over the coming years, while 50 percent expect the opposite. Most Democrats believe things will get better, but few Republicans or unaffiliated voters agree.

This skepticism might not matter except for the fact that the law counts on the cooperation of states to implement the federal plan. States were called upon to set up so-called health insurance exchanges that the president envisioned as a one-stop shopping place for health insurance products. However, the Dec. 14 deadline for states to sign up showed that fewer than half the states are willing to go along.

The federal government will have to run the exchanges in those states, a task few believe it is prepared to handle. The timetable is challenging, to say the least. These exchanges must be ready to accept patients by Oct. 1, 2013, and be fully operational by Jan. 1, 2014. If that's not enough, the federal exchanges will need to rely on cooperation from state agencies in places that have officially refused to cooperate.

If the president's health care law were popular, this kind of state-by-state resistance would provoke outrage and be dangerous to the politicians involved. But it has not. Only a third of voters nationwide even know whether their state has decided to open an exchange.

Fewer than half (46 percent) of the nation's voters want their state to set up an exchange, and voters are evenly divided between whether they want their governor to support or oppose implementation. Generally speaking, Democrats want their governors to be supportive; Republicans want their governors to resist; and unaffiliated voters are divided.

Last March, I wrote that the health care law was doomed regardless of what the Supreme Court decided. That still appears to be the case. With the re-election of the president and a Democratic Senate, formal repeal is not going to happen. However, the realities of implementation will provide many avenues for ongoing resistance. Some will be financial, as businesses and others evaluate their options. Some will be legal, as a number of cases continue to work their way through the courts.

But the biggest challenge is more basic. Voters want more control over their own health care choices than either the status quo or the president's law allows. Voters are OK with the requirement in Obama's plan forcing insurance companies to offer comprehensive coverage, but 74 percent think everyone should also have the right to choose between expensive plans that cover just about every imaginable medical procedure and lower-cost plans that cover a smaller number of procedures.

Giving consumers that kind of choice would be a popular reform. Giving them that kind of control over insurance companies would do more to reign in the cost of medical care than anything else.

To find out more about Scott Rasmussen, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit

Rasmussen Reports | 625 Cookman Avenue | Asbury Park | NJ | 07712
2Th 2:16-17 Phil 4:4-7 Titus 3:4-5 Gen 1:29-31

Today's Seed from E-MIN
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Favorite Quotes:

What do you call Santa's elves? Subordinate Clauses. - - Thanks to Martha Chapman.

Christmas is the time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell government what they want and their kids pay for it. ~ Richard Lamm Thanks to Ron Hazelton

Mediocrity - Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. (Catch-22) - - Joseph Heller
Great innovators and original thinkers and artists attract the wrath of mediocrities as lightning rods draw the flashes. - - Theodor Reik
The following wisdom is shared by our friends.
We often miss out on blessings simply because they aren't packaged the way we expect

When you are down to nothing, God is up to something

Just because I had my morning cup of coffee doesn't mean I'm fully functional.

Nancee Davis Law
Cinnamon Ornaments

Making Cinnamon Ornaments are a perfect holiday fun activity for kids. The ornaments are easy to make and their aroma lasts long after the holidays are over.

Makes 12 to 15 ornaments.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 1/2 hours or 1 to 2 days drying time


3/4 cup applesauce
1 bottle (4.12 ounces) McCormick® Cinnamon, Ground

Supplies needed:

Cookie cutters
Drinking straw
Colorful ribbon


1. Preheat oven to 200°F. Mix applesauce and cinnamon in small bowl until a smooth ball of dough is formed. (You may need use your hands to incorporate all of the cinnamon.) Using about 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll dough to 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap. Peel off top sheet of plastic wrap. Cut dough into desired shapes with 2- to 3-inch cookie cutters. Make a hole at top of ornament with drinking straw or skewer. Place ornaments on baking sheet.

2. Bake 2 1/2 hours. Cool ornaments on wire rack. (Or, to dry ornaments at room temperature, carefully place them on wire rack. Let stand 1 to 2 days or until thoroughly dry, turning occasionally.)

3. Insert ribbon through holes and tie to hang. Decorate with opaque paint markers, found in arts and crafts stores, if desired.


Test Kitchen Tip: If a different size bottle of cinnamon is used, measure 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cinnamon.

Nutritional Information: DO NOT EAT

Copyright © 2008 McCormick & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. |
AskBob - - Bob Rankin - - Securing Your Laptop

The mobility and convenience that laptop computers provide has made it imperative for users to take steps to secure their laptops, and the data stored on them. There are several simple things that you can do to keep your laptop safe. Read on to learn how to protect your laptop from theft, snooping and data loss... []
The latest from Michael Yon, the foremost “milnews” blogger on the web.

This dispatch is special []. Wait until you see what the Dutch Marine discovered.
Shadows are key in tracking. []
All I want for Christmas

This song is popular in Thailand tonight.

A few years ago, I was Hanoi, Vietnam, on research, and in short order also hit Singapore (love it!) and also Jakarta, Indonesia (heavy Muslim), and all were celebrating Christmas.

Singapore welcomes Christmas massively with decorations. I love the safety of Singapore, but I love the wildness of America even more.

In Afghanistan, I remember Soldiers listening to this song during a break in combat operations, off the back of a Stryker.

Thank you, Mariah and band, for this great worldwide song.

Very Respectfully,
Michael Yon
Your Writer,

Please remember that this website accepts no advertisement and is dependent on your support.

PS Please sign up for my updates at "Michael_Yon" [] (not Michael Yon).
If you would like to encourage US Troops overseas, but are not sure just how to begin, visit for ideas.
Please remember ... America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the MALL.
~~~~~ - - Here's hoping your week is going great!

Brilliant Response To Neighbor's Holiday Lights
What to do when you can't begin to match your neighbor's over the top holiday light display? One woman has the perfect answer.

Hero Saves Lives In Portland Mall Shooting
A store employee at the Portland mall used his knowledge of the shopping complex to hustle a customer out of the building during Tuesday's shooting rampage and then twice went back inside to guide other shoppers to exits and safety.

ACC: Interior Dept. delays issuance of fracking rules
The Department of the Interior has delayed the implementation of rules covering hydraulic fracturing. Interior earlier planned to finalize the rules by year's end, but it now "expects action on the [hydraulic fracturing] proposal in the new year," said Blake Androff, a spokesman for the department. "[A]s we continue to offer millions of acres of America's public lands for oil and gas development, it is important that the public have full confidence that the right safety and environmental protections are in place." The Hill/E2 Wire blog (

The Interior Department no longer plans to finalize rules this year that will impose new controls on the controversial oil-and-gas development method called hydraulic fracturing, a spokesman said. …
Photos on the front of this week’s “Bleat” include - -.Main Street Magnolia looking west toward the courthouse square. Trees around the courthouse. Annette’s lights on our porch and SAU’s new watertower colors.
For the latest issue of "Da Bleat.", go to
Our photos are posted at
Feel free to share the "Bleat" with any and all. That's why we publish it.
BreakPoint - - The Court of Public Opinion, Why We Must Win
By: John Stonestreet: December 14, 2012 6:35 AM

Legal victories are critical to protecting constitutional rights. But there’s a far more important court we need to win, or our freedom as Christians will be in serious trouble.

If there’s one thing Chuck Colson was adamant about, it was that politics is downstream from culture. While he was careful to remind us that this doesn’t mean politics is pointless (far from it, in fact) he took exception when Christians looked to Congress, the president, or the Supreme Court to do the work that only can be done in other spheres: work that leads to the transforming of hearts and minds, building personal and cultural ethics, reforming education and business, among other spheres of human existence.

He thought and taught this approach because he knew the ultimate source of our government’s policies is the will of the people.

As our second president, John Adams, once wrote in a letter to a relative, “Statesmen…may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.”

One of these principles—the most important, in fact—is our freedom to be moral and religious. That means permission not only to privately believe as we choose, but to live out our beliefs in every area of life.

Well, here’s some bad news: New data from LifeWay Research shows a majority of Americans favor requiring religious employers to provide contraceptives to their employees—which is the primary component of the HHS mandate we’ve kept you up to speed on this year.

According to the poll, which LifeWay released earlier this month, six out of ten Americans favor the mandate. Perhaps more surprisingly, over half said they thought Catholic employers, specifically, should have to comply—despite the church’s well-known teaching against artificial contraceptives.

Though many of these respondents may not have thought their answers through completely, this means that most of the country currently agrees with the administration that Christians ought to be required to relinquish their religious freedom when they go into business, and that anyone who disagrees should have to shut their doors.

This news comes on the heels of a spate of mixed messages from the courts. Late last month, a federal appeals court granted an injunction on behalf of O’Brien Industrial Holdings, a small, for-profit, Catholic-owned business. This reinforced the precedent of an earlier decision out of Chicago to grant an injunction to Tyndale House Publishers.

But the real story here is that the O’Brien ruling helps counter Federal Judge Joe Heaton’s reason for denying Hobby Lobby’s request for an injunction just a few weeks earlier on the grounds that they could not cite “any case concluding that secular, for-profit corporations…have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.”

Well, thanks to O’Brien, we now have a very strong indication that such a precedent might be set. Tyndale House is not a “secular, for-profit corporation.” O’Brien Industrial Holdings is.

The decision on the HHS mandate, ultimately, could be up to the Supreme Court. But until then, the HHS’s reasoning that private companies have no religious freedom doesn’t seem to be holding up.

Here’s where we come in: as I mentioned just a moment ago, courts aren’t enough to protect our liberties long-term. Even if the Supreme Court decides in favor of our right of conscience, the battle will not be over—not when a majority of Americans see no problem with forcing Christians to violate their most basic beliefs as a condition for going into business. As my colleague, Eric Metaxas said last month, “we must wage the battle for religious freedom on the airwaves, in the court of public opinion, and in the halls of Congress.”

So what can you do?

First, visit our special HHS Mandate section at We’ve collected all kinds of resources and talking points for you.

Second, make sure you add your name to one of Chuck Colson’s most significant projects—the Manhattan Declaration. The website at, has just been updated and offers next steps for people interested in defending life, marriage, and religious liberty.
Further Reading and Information

HHS Mandate

Most Americans Disagree with Exempting Religious Employers from Contraception Mandate
Melissa Steffan | | December 4, 2012 []

Federal court issues injunction against HHS implementation of Obamacare contraception mandate
The Daily Caller | November 29, 2012 []

Whence Comes Our Deliverance? []
Eric Metaxas | | November 28, 2012


Copyright © 2012 Prison Fellowship. All Rights Reserved

Residents of Columbia County, Arkansas are represented in Congress by:

Senator John Boozman (R_ AR)
1 Russell Courtyard
Washington DC, 20510
Phone: 202-224-4843
Senator Mark Pryor (D_ AR)
Phone 202_224_2353
FAX 202_228_0908
Representative Michael A. Ross (D _ 04)
Phone 202_225_3772
FAX 202_225_1314

Other states congresspersons can be found at: []

"Success is blocked by concentrating on it and planning for it. ... Success is shy -- it won't come out while you're watching." - Tennessee Williams

"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence." - Robert Frost

"One thing you will probably remember well is any time you forgive and forget." - Franklin P. Jones

"Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold." - Leo Tolstoy

"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last." - Winston Churchill

"One will rarely err if extreme actions be ascribed to vanity, ordinary actions to habit, and mean actions to fear." - Friedrich Nietzsche

"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18." - Albert Einstein
Breaking Christian News

Olympian Gabby Douglas Talks Faith - - Teresa Neumann (Dec 10, 2012)
"Before the all-around competition, I was just praying to God and saying, 'Thank you for all, God. No matter what happens tomorrow I'm still going to be with you. Win or lose, I'm still going to bless you and I'm still going to give you all the glory." Read Full Story []

Surgeon Talks In-depth about Heavenly Experience - - Teresa Neumann (Dec 11, 2012)
"I was also absolutely overcome by the sense of being home, of being where I truly belonged. . . I love my husband dearly. I love my children more than I could ever imagine loving something on earth. But in comparison to God's love, the love I feel here is pale. I mean, I was home." -Dr. Mary Neal
Read Full Story []

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GCF: Dog Bowl

If this was forwarded to you, please consider your own subscription to Good Clean Fun. It's free! Just send an email to:

A woman went to the counter to purchase a drinking bowl for her dog.

The clerk asked, "Would you like it inscribed 'For The Dog'?"

"It doesn't really matter," she replied. "My husband doesn't drink water and the dog can't read."
_ _______________________________ _
GCF: Long Trip

Before leaving home with our family for the drive from Maine to Disney World in Florida, the children were warned that it was a long trip and no one was to ask, "How much farther is it?" or "When will we arrive?" The journey was remarkably question-free until 9 a.m. on the third day, when the youngest of the children sighed, "Will I still be five when we get there?"
_ _______________________________ _
GCF: Lost Dog

The front door was accidentally left open and our dog was gone. After unsuccessfully whistling and calling, my husband got in the car and went looking for him.

He drove around the neighborhood for some time with no luck. Finally he stopped beside a couple out for a walk and asked if they had seen our dog.

"You mean the one following your car?" they asked.
_ _______________________________ _
GCF: Guest Speaker

We recently had a guest speaker at our church. He is from India, part of an organization that our church supports.

Before he started his sermon, he asked if anyone had called any customer support numbers recently.

When several people in the congregation raised their hands, he said, "That's good. That means you won't have too much trouble understanding my accent."
_ _______________________________ _
GCF: Division of Labor

Newly married, my husband and I had several heated discussions concerning the division of household chores. I complained that I was doing the lion's share.

Not long after, I returned home and found every second room vacuumed, the dishes washed and the laundry done and folded. I was even more touched to find "I love you" drawn in the dust on every second shelf of the bookcases.
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Pun intended

How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.

Venison for dinner again? Oh deer!

A cartoonist was found dead in his home. Details are sketchy.

I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.

Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.

England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool .

I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.

They told me I had type-A blood, but it was a Type-O.

I changed my iPod's name to Titanic. It's syncing now.

Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

I know a guy who's addicted to brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.

This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I'd never met herbivore.

When chemists die, they barium.

I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can't put it down.

I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.

PMS jokes aren't funny; period...

Why were the Indians here first? They had reservations.

We're going on a class trip to the Coca-Cola factory. I hope there's no pop quiz.

I didn't like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn't control her pupils?

When you get a bladder infection. urine trouble.

What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.

I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.

All the toilets in New York 's police stations have been stolen. The police have nothing to go on.

I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.

Velcro - what a rip off!

Thanks to Waneta
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A little levity

A Soldier, a Sailor, an Airman and a Marine got into an argument about which branch of the service was "The Best." The arguing became so heated the four servicemen failed to see an oncoming truck as they crossed the street.

They were hit by the truck and killed instantly.

Soon, the four servicemen found themselves at the Pearly gates of Heaven.

There, they met Saint Peter and decided that only he could be the ultimate source of truth and honesty. So, the four servicemen asked him, "Saint Peter, which branch of the United States Armed Forces is the best?"

Saint Peter replied, "I can't answer that. However, I will ask God what He thinks the next time I see Him. Meanwhile, thank you for your service on Earth and welcome to Heaven."

Sometime later the four servicemen see Saint Peter and remind him of the question they had asked when first entering Heaven and asked Saint Peter if he was able to ask God for the answer to their answer.

Suddenly, a sparkling white dove lands on Saint Peter's shoulder. In the dove's beak is a note glistening with gold dust. Saint Peter opens the note, trumpets blare, gold dust drifts into the air, harps play crescendos and Saint Peter begins to read the note aloud to the four servicemen:

TO: All Former Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines
SUBJECT: Which Military Service Is the Best

1. All branches of the United States Armed Forces are honorable and noble.

2. Each serves America well and with distinction.

3. Serving in the United States military represents a great honor warranting special respect, tribute, and dedication from your fellow man.

4. Always be proud of that.

GOD, US Navy, Retired

Thanks to Waneta
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When my neighbor's granddaughter introduced me to her young son, Brian, I said to him, "My grandchildren call me Mimi. Why don't you call me that, too?"

"I don't think so," he retorted, and ran off after his

Later I was asked to babysit for Brian, and we hit it off wonderfully. As he snuggled up to me, he said, "I don't care what your grandchildren say. I love you, Meanie."

- from Marilyn Hayden (via Reader's Digest)

Received from Doc's Daily Chuckle.


Nervous Patient

"I'm so worried," the nervous patient said as the nurse plumped up his pillows. "Last week, I read about a man who was in the hospital because of heart trouble, and he died of malaria."

"Relax," the nurse said smiling. "This is a first-rate hospital. When we treat someone for heart trouble, he dies of heart trouble."

Received from Clean-Laffs.


Music Saved My Life

Little Noah came into the house with a new harmonica. "Grandpa, do you mind if I play this in here?"

"Of course not, Noah. I love music. In fact, when your grandma and I were young, music saved my life."

"What happened?"

"Well, it was during the famous Johnstown flood. The dam broke, and when the water hit our house, it knocked it right off the foundation. Grandma got on the dining room table and floated out safely."

"How about you?"

"Me? I accompanied her on the piano!"

Received from Clean-Laffs.


Mother of Six

Joe was proud of his family of six children. He frequently referred to his wife as "Mother of Six," much to her annoyance. Finally, she cured him of his habit. At the end of a big party, Joe called out loud enough for everyone to hear: "Ready to go, Mother of Six?"

"Any time you are," she replied, "Father of Four."

Received from Keith Sullivan.


Magic Lamp

A programmer was walking along the beach when he found a lamp. Upon rubbing the lamp, a genie appeared who stated, "I am the most powerful genie in the world. I can grant you any wish you want, but only one wish."

The programmer pulled out a map of the Mediterranean area and said, "I'd like there to be a just and lasting peace among the people in the Middle East."

The genie responded, "Gee, I don't know. Those people have been fighting since the beginning of time. I can do just about anything, but this is beyond my limits."

The programmer then said, "Well, I am a programmer and my programs have a lot of users. Please make all the users satisfied with my programs, let them ask for sensible changes before I start writing the programs and no changes after I start."

Genie: "Uh, let me see that map again."

Received from ArcaMax Jokes.

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A cheerful heart is good medicine... (Prov 17:22a)
Mail address: GCFL, Box 100, Harvest, AL 35749, USA

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The latest GCFL funny can always be found on the web at
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Madeleine Begun Kane Latest Column - - When Readings Go From Verse To Worse

I was asked to read several limericks at the third annual Los Angeles Limerick Fest Wednesday night, held at the Altadena Ale House. Since I live in New York City, arrangements were made for me to read them via phone.

As you can tell from this limerick, my reading went awry:

When Readings Go From Verse To Worse
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Reading limerick verse from afar
Via phone to a mike in a bar
Is a risky affair:
Noise and feedback will blare.
Pass the sidecar. I’m still below par.

© Madeleine Begun Kane. All Rights Reserved.
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"We have nothing to fear but fear itself." __ Franklin D. Roosevelt
"There is not enough darkness in the world to put out the light of one candle."
Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity. _ _ George Carlin
"Stop telling God how big your storm is. Instead, tell the storm how big your God is!" _ _ Queen E. Watson
“A political class of Republicans and Democrats that look after themselves, not the Nation. A media hostile to the very precepts of this nation. A generation of Americans who see morals as vices, and are ignorant of America's Actual History.”
"The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life." - - Theodore Roosevelt
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Emergency Phone Number 911
(Fire, Police, Ambulance, Sheriff, etc. )
Central Dispatch 234_5655
(Non _ Emergency Number)
Direct Numbers
Ambulance _ 234_7371 (24 Hour)
Jail _ 234_5331 (24 Hour)
Poison Control _ 800_222_1222 (24 Hour)
http://www. aapcc. org/
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Interested in getting in touch with the Banner_News through e_mail? For the editor, For news and sports items, Coming Events, Diary, Church News, school and civic events. []
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"Laugh whenever you can and cry if you need to." __ "Bug"
"I read the end of the book. We win!" __ "Bug"
"We may not be able to cure the world, but we don't have to make it sicker." __ "Bug"
"There just ain't enough fingers for all the holes in the dike." _ _ "Bug"
"It's no big deal doing what God tells you to do. A big deal would be NOT doing what God tells you to do. Just ask Jonah." _ _ Paul Troquille
“Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.” Knowledge is power. _ Francis Bacon
"The problem is here and now. The time for talk is past. The time for action is now."
Comments on the first Earth Day _ James F. McClellan via John "Fuzzy" Thurman
Hope you enjoy the newsletter.
Again, thanks to all our contributors this week.
"Remember Pearl Harbor? Remember 9/11!" __"Bug"
God bless and GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!
God is Good and Faithful CU 73 IC JFM CSP NREMT_I KC5HII

P. S. If you'd like to be added to the distribution, just drop us E_mail at
. We offer "Da Bleat" as text, a "Blog" and as a newsletter with pictures in Word and PDF format. The latest issue is usually updated sometime Saturday. For the latest issue, go to We also have a site [] where we post photos that I like.
We appreciate your encouragement. We also appreciate your communication when you desire to be taken off our mail list. If you are on this mail list by mistake or do not wish to receive "Da Bleat," please reply back and tell us to discontinue service to you. This email was scanned by Norton AntiVirus 2012 before it was sent.
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James F. McClellan
Editor/Publisher "Bug's Bleat"
418 North Jefferson Street
Magnolia, Arkansas 71753
(Phone) 870_234_7028

"The problem is here and now. The time for talk is past. The time for action is now."
Comments on the first Earth Day _ James F. McClellan via "Fuzzy" Thurman

Remember McClellan's Rules

1. Rejoice in that this is the will of the Lord concerning you.
If that doesn't seem to be working, remember;
2. All things work together for the good of them who love the Lord.
If that doesn't seem to be working, remember;
3. All things are subject to change.
And finally;
4. Don't let the son of a guns get you down!

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