Thursday, December 25, 2008

Once again, thoughts on Christmas morning ...

... lead me to one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs, for it truly (and beautifully, in three-part harmony) illustrates my Reason for this season.

Heaven came to earth, in a small package
For a Child was born, a Gift to many
Yes the living Light came to the darkness
Wore the harness of mankind

Gave His life away, so we could find Him
Changed our night to day, so we'd live in light
Yes the living Light came to the Darkness
Wore the harness of mankind

This morning Light of love
Still shines and shines
We buried Him, within our sin
But He rose again.

Laid His body down, to be sin for us
Gave His earthly crown, so we'd live light
Tore the veil, between the light and darkness
Wore the harness of mankind

This morning Star of light
Still shines and shines
We buried Him, within our sin
But He rose again

Let our hearts rejoice, in Christ our Savior
Let us come before, His throne with praise
Let us pray for peace, so we'll break the harness
Melt the hardness of mankind.

... written by Annie Herring
... performed by Annie Herring, Nelly Greisen, and Matthew Ward
(aka The Second Chapter of Acts)

A joyous Christmas to y'all ... especially to the sheepdogs who stand and defend us, and your loved ones.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A prayer for Election Day 2008 ...

Father ...

... first, please forgive me where I have not lived up to Your standards.

Thank You so much for putting me in a nation that still does "hold these truths to be self-evident", acknowledging that our most fundamental rights are Your endowment to us, and that while governments can restrict, and even deny, our access to and use of them, not even democracy can override Your executive decision and remove them from us.

Thank You for putting me in a nation that gives birth to Men and Women who volunteer to go into harm's way on our behalf, in such numbers that conscription would actually impede their ability to combine violent resolve and Your compassion to secure those rights, not only for us, but for ALL MEN -- since, as our founding citizens acknowledged, those unalienable rights are not the exclusive property of Americans.

May we, with Your guidance, realize that, in the highly-interconnected world, the defense of the unalienable rights of "the other" is not only right ... not only noble ... but wise; a prudent response that also serves to further secure our own freedom. As we have seen time and again, without freedom and the respect for it, peace is just an illusion ... but where freedom is respected, people don't have the incentive to foment violence upon each other, and therefore a sustainable peace is attained in these places and nations. Please act to let that spread, Lord.

May we, with Your guidance, realize that, analogous to what You have inspired others to write with regards to our spiritual life, becoming a "citizen of the world" even in the temporal sense ... in a world where many of its leaders still do NOT "hold these truths to be self-evident" ... is neither prudent, nor wise if it means subordinating "these truths" to the collective will.

Thank You for putting me in a nation where knowledge not only can be found in great abundance, but where men and women have the freedom to both acquire that knowledge for their own edification ... then leverage that knowledge through innovation, rendering their thoughts into various expressions of ordered dynamism that they and others can use to not only make a profit, but make their lives easier and/or more productive ... and sometimes, save them from harm and even death. We are a nation of problem-solvers -- 300 million problem solvers.

May we act in ways that empower them, and not impede them in this process.

And may we also be inspired by You, to realize that knowledge, academic/professional credentials, erudition, even intelligence itself -- none of these are the same as WISDOM, nor do they have the same value, nor are they prerequisites to this attribute of humanity -- an attribute You inspired the writer of Proverbs to write so much about.

May we realize that those who possess wisdom often do not appear erudite or educated as our culture has defined it, and are therefore ignored when not mocked or ridiculed ... but they still express truths so profound, we ignore them at our own peril, and to our detriment.

Father, We the People need wisdom ... Your wisdom ... more than ever today.

Today, we complete the process of choosing those who will lead us for the next two to four to six years, by exercising our right to vote for our leadership.

We face the choice of leadership teams that embrace two highly-divergent worldviews ... neither of which is in full accordance with Your worldview.

Our ability to discern the best choice has been obscured, not only by political and popular-culture hyperbole, but by the "faulty intelligence" published by those who supposedly are objective observers/reporters, but see themselves as "world changers" with the right to color their reporting under the cloak of perceived objectivity, to further the adoption of their worldview. Give us the vision to see through the fog.

Guide our hands, that we may choose wisely who will lead us.

Guide those charged with conducting the election process ... so that there will be no doubt that the choices made are truly the choices of We the People. Help us to avoid the turmoil and doubt of Election 2000, that has poisoned political discourse over the past eight years.

After today passes, if those we have chosen carry the day, remind us to not be arrogant ... and empower us to consistently hold them to account for the good and the bad they render during their time in office.

And if those we have chosen do not carry the day, remind us that "the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord", and that You are in control ... and empower us to consistently hold them to account for the good and the bad they render during their time in office, with a level of respect commensurate with their office and their conduct, in a way that will reflect well upon Your leadership of our individual lives.

All this I ask, in the name of Your Son ... as we head toward the voting booths, which are today the "front line" of multiple conflicts, from the War on Terror to spiritual warfare ... for our decisions today will profoundly and perhaps irreversibly affect the battle on every other front line, from Iraq and Afghanistan, to Washintgton DC, to our local congregations of believers.

It is time to heed the words you said to Joshua so long ago, and "be strong and courageous" ... and wise. It is time to act ... so I conclude this prayer not with an "Amen", but with the words of a fellow believer, who found himself with 39 others on the front line seven years ago ... Men and Women who, on that day, exhibited far more strength, courage, and wisdom than we are called upon to exhibit on this day.

Let's roll ...

Monday, June 09, 2008

Parable of the Lighthouse Keeper ...

... soon to be set to music ... for those with ears to hear ...

I keep this old lighthouse, and I will stand alone

if it means keeping ships off the rocks and the shoals.
I'll keep the light burning, and keep the glass clean,
So the ships of this world have the guidance they need.

************************************************************

This lighthouse was built, and endured the night
in the time right before they built Montauk Point's light
This light welcomed ships and men both slave and free
Watched as they sought freedom and prosperity.

The light here was almost destroyed in the roar
That descended upon her in a hard Civil War
Then the signal was joined, by Miss Liberty
To welcome the immigrants who joined slaves now free

She saw the Men come and go over the shore
As they fought in a war meant to end further war
Then two decades later, she saw still more Men
go over and wage war in the same place again

Through both of these wars, and one undeclared, cold
Her keepers saw clearly that her light must stay bold
And cut through the night, so no one could doubt
The track to safe harbor, upon that they could count

************************************************************

So I keep this old lighthouse, and I will stand alone
if it means keeping ships off the rocks and the shoals.
I'll keep the light burning, and keep the glass clean,
So the ships of this world have the guidance they need.

************************************************************

But others who thought themselves bright in their day
Thought the brightest lighthouse was found on Turtle Bay
They saw it as energized by the whole earth
And diminished in their eyes my lighthouse's worth

They thought they were bright, thought that meant they were wise
They were anything but, for if they had wise eyes
They'd have seen the cracked walls, and the worm-ridden wood
On a base whose stability's not very good.

Still others threw out all our trustworthy maps.
And set course with new ones out through the whitecaps
That led them on strange courses, then they found next
They'd been led to dark shores covered with splintered wrecks

And others put trust in pilots rough and rough
To carry their cargo through wave swell and gust
They thought they had deals with them honestly made
But yesterday's pilot can be pirate today

************************************************************

So I keep this old lighthouse, and I will stand alone
if it means keeping ships off the rocks and the shoals.
I'll keep the light burning, and keep the glass clean,
So the ships of this world have the guidance they need.

************************************************************

Now not a few say we should set sail no more
Instead be content with our homes on the shore
We're not welcome over there across the seas
We should mind our own business now, sir if you please

And a worse thing I see, that has come to pass
All these others have persuaded both lad and lass
That the lighthouse I serve, that has stood here so long
Leads many to sail in a direction that's wrong

They say that our strong light is too bright to use
It overwhelms other lights, dazzles the crews
And we're only here to serve the yachts of the rich
While they swamp smaller boats and scratch their greedy itch

If we'd just dim down, put ourselves in our place
Just another light shining on some coastal space
Then the yachts and the warcraft would not sail again
And our dim state would be seen as so enlightened

************************************************************

It would be so easy, to live life by day
Extinguish the light, and go on my way
Forsake solitude, join the gaggle of men
Who without light run aground again and again

But then I remember the number of souls
That were guided by this light away from the shoals
European, and Asian, Arab, Israeli
American, African, still sailing free

Without the assistance that such light provides
These souls would be wrecked and just drift with the tide
At the mercy of pirates who'd consign them to die
And then plunder their cargoes to threaten my life

Though it seems that I am but one of a few
Who maintains a light that is still bright and true
For the sake of those souls, for the sake of my kin
I'll stay so that each day this light shines again

So I keep this old lighthouse, and I will stand alone
if it means keeping ships off the rocks and the shoals.
I'll keep the light burning, and keep the glass clean,
So the ships of this world have the guidance they need.

************************************************************

These rhymes were composed for those with ears to hear
But if you need a hint 'bout what I describe here
My lighthouse is my nation -- now I leave the rest
To put your knowledge and wisdom and heart to the test

Monday, May 28, 2007

Folded Colors UPDATED!

UPDATE 9 Sept 2007: The MP3s (low- and high-bitrate) are (finally!) up at GarageBand.

This is the first example of the "new tactics" I referred to a couple of posts back, in a continuing effort to change (or reinforce) the thinking of as many people as I can about what this nation needs to be doing.

The urge to write this was triggered by this post, from my Bash Brother, Subsunk ... and you can see why, by the first two comments I left in the thread.

My intent was to have it recorded (just me and my accoustic guitar) and up on Garageband.com by now for download, but work and family needs have delayed that. It will be up there, soon (after all, if Greyhawk can strive to get 'er done while in the Sandbox, this cake-eater can get 'er done on the sandspit known as Long Island).

Hope this brings some good to you, on this Day of Memoriam ...


As I watched as my grandfather was laid to rest, having served in World War II
The flag of our nation was placed over his casket, showing him the honor he was due
Then those colors were carefully folded and gently, placed into my Granny's hands
As a token of thanks to them for serving our nation, so long ago in foreign lands

I have seen that ritual, again and again, and each time it makes me catch my breath
At the sight of presenting that folded flag, to the one left behind by death
It's especially hard, when the one being honored just fell by the enemy's hand
It makes me ask what can I do, so not so many, die so young to defend this land?

Let me stand up
Let me stand strong
so that not so many folded colors
have to pass from the hands of a grateful nation
to a young wife, or to a mother
Let's reserve the flags to cover our brave people with honor
when elderly and weathered
they pass from our grateful nation to rejoin their mothers
and fight no more forever

It's tempting to think that we could slow this down, by just simply walking away
Just lay down our arms, extend an open hand, talk things out to a better way
But I've yet to see those who are totally bent on, stealin' life and liberty
Make the choice to stop that stealin' all on their own, unconfronted by those who'd be free

It comes down to this, just because we might say, that we're going to fight no more
Doesn't mean that the enemy will agree, but instead will keep on waging war.
Except that it will be waged, on the enemy's terms, and they'll prove again it's a lie
To say War's Never The Answer as, again and again, they take our bravest young ones' lives.

Let us stand up
Let us stand strong
so that not so many folded colors
have to pass from the hands of a grateful nation
to a young wife, or to a mother
Let's reserve the flags to cover our brave people with honor
when elderly and weathered
they pass from our grateful nation to rejoin their mothers
and fight no more forever

If you say that America should not even be there,
then I say if not us, then who?
The thugs will keep on spilling the world's innocent blood,
unless we stand and defeat these fools.
We've seen that nations that respect the rights of their people,
don't threaten us any more
If we're gonna live free 'til there's a better answer,
such nations are worth fighting for

Not everyone's meant to wear the uniform, or go into harm's way
But we need everyone to keep this nation strong, and make wisdom her basis today
Whatever your power or wealth or intellect, when you add wisdom and humanity
We get a powerful force in the Home of the Brave, to keep it the Land of the Free

You could be serving by doing the job you know best, and preserving our prosperity.
And by reminding your Congressman, along with your neighbors,
what it's gonna take for us to stay free.
You could serve as an Angel to our uniformed heroes, or maybe buy one lunch at the mall
Or making sure past and present they will be respected, by taking a watch at The Wall

Will you stand up?
Will you stand strong?
so that not so many folded colors
have to pass from the hands of a grateful nation
to a young wife, or to a mother?
Let's reserve the flags to cover our brave people with honor
when elderly and weathered
they pass from our grateful nation to rejoin their mothers
and fight no more forever

Copyright 2007, Richard G. Casebolt

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A new message for Congress ...

"Anbar Rising" -- GOOGLE IT!

This is now in my magnetic sign-holder, on the tailgate of my pickup.

What I am talking about here.

(still working on the "new tactics" ... first effort planned to be out before Memorial Day. Watch this space ...)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Mining the Model

Hey ... I'm back.

Once again, life's gotten in the way of these chronicles ... between a heavy load at work, preparing for a concert at church .... and rolling the boulder over at Blackfive/keeping tabs on the Indepundit ... I didn't have much time to mine my own mind for gems to drop here, lately.

In fact, I am in the process of changing tactics when it comes to rolling the boulder -- being that there are more boulder-rollers now, from what I see, who are willing to provide a logical counterpoint to the screeching of the parrots. (Could that be because, with the success so far of our new ways of doing business in the Iraq theater, we have more new material to both work with, and encourage us?) ... and because the crushing of Leftist parrots has virtually left only those who won't be crushed, until the truth bites their beaks off.

Watch this space for the changes ... I think you will enjoy them.

For now ... I've found myself going more and more often to visit Iraq the Model. The good brothers there are making our MSM look like typists for the tabloids, when it comes to reporting the facts-on-the-ground.

And in the comments of their latest post, I found the following gems:

From commenter steve-o:

10 Reasons It's Not A Civil War

1. The two main factions alleged (by those who wish it to be true) to be fighting a "civil war," the Sunnis and Shias, are still serving in Iraqi government positions, working together in the halls of government.

2. Neither party has withdrawn from the government to form a rump, competing, or rebel government. The Sunnis would be the logical party to withdraw, since they are in the minority.

3. Sunnis and Shias recently attended a mass funeral procession together for victims of AQ violence.

4. Millions of Sunnis and Shias are happily intermarried in Iraq, especially in Baghdad.

5. Suicide bombings of innocent Iraqis by AQ is not a civil war. It is a failed attmept to start a civil war which so far has failed.

6. So called sectarian violence, which in some cases is actually the killing of AQ members and/or supporters, is not a civil war. Such killings have decreased. This will not end yet, some Shias have 30 years of oppression to avenge. This is not civil war, this is vigilantism.

8. There has not been a single instance of a pitched battle at even the platoon level between Sunnis and Shias with both sides organized and fighting under commanders, etc. There is no area under control of "rebels" who have announced a rump government.

9. The Sunnis greatest fear is that the USA will withdraw from Iraq before a political reconciliation is accomplished. Why? See below.

10. Sunnis can't fight a successful civil war when they only number 15% of the population (down from 20%, due to death and fleeing of the country).

Conclusion

If the USA withdraws, a civil war of sorts could begin. It will be short and bloody, and the Sunnis will lose. That war would be a humanitarian problem, and a geopolitical problem if other countries become involved, which is likely. AQ and its' backers are a geopolitical problem. This gives the USA three good reasons to stay for now.

An aside: It's not an occupation when a government has forces working in a country at the invitation and consent of the two major parties within an elected government of the host country. Neither the Sunni nor the Shia contingent of the Iraqi government has made any move to ask the USA to leave. The Shias will be first to do so.
The best refutation I've seen yet of the whole "civil war" canard.

Then, there's this little gem from commenter Brian Hall:

BTW, am seeing lots about Mookie's March in the MSM, but nada about the anti-terror demonstration. The bias is getting far worse. Park has it right: the Western Left is determined to push moral equivalence to the ultimate conclusion by denigrating everything positive and glorifying the rotten until they meet, indistinguishable, in the center.
I never heard the objective of the Left put quite this way ... but I can't argue against the characterization!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Money for Nothing ...

Well, life ... from work schedules, to commenting (and not keeping up with STTP's), to the most wonderful Christmas present my family could give me ... has gotten in the way of my chronicles here, for many weeks. No longer.

The other day, SMASH posted this retrospective on Ann Coulter, in the light of her recent comments at the CPAC conference. I pointed out (in the comments) that if the use of the word "faggot" was so utterly and irredeemably offensive to someone, they also need to exothermically divest themselves of any Dire Straits albums in their posession.

Then, my warped mind went into spin-cycle (as it often does) and it hit me ... you could combine the work of Dire Straits with the facts-on-the-ground, and come up with an even funnier -- and more hard-hitting -- criticism of Edwards and his fellow-travelers, than what Ms. Coulter delivered at CPAC:

Now look at them shysters thats the way you do it
Shillin' for clients there on your TV
That aint workin' thats the way you do it
Two-thirds for you and one-third for me
Now that aint workin' thats the way you do it
Lemme tell ya them guys aint dumb
Get money for a blister on your little finger
Get money for a blister on your thumb

We gotta sue everyone with deep pockets
Lay it on thick for every jury
We gotta win big in litigation
Then collect our contingency fee

See that litigator with his perfect TV makeup
A Breck boy, thats his own hair
That metrosexual gets his own jet airplane
That ambulance chaser is a millionaire

We gotta sue everyone with deep pockets
Lay it on thick for every jury
We gotta win big in litigation
Then collect our contingency fee

I'm glad I learned 'bout twistin' the law
I'm glad I learned 'bout litigation
Look at that judgment, we stuck 'em with a big tab
Yeah man, it sure is fun
And look up there, whats that? Trans-fat is evil!
There's more to get from McD's than hot coffee
That aint workin' thats the way you do it
Two-thirds for you and one-third for me

We gotta sue everyone with deep pockets
Lay it on thick for every jury
We gotta win big in litigation
Then collect our contingency fee

Now that aint workin thats the way you do it
Suckin' the life from our economy
That aint workin thats the way you do it
Two-thirds for you and one-third for me

Two-thirds for you and one-third for me ...

I want my ... I want my ... want my contingency ...
I want my ... I want my ... want my contingency ...

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