Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bible Verse of the Day: Proverbs 31: 6-7

Proverbs 31:6-7
6 Give beer to those who are perishing,
wine to those who are in anguish;
7 let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Water to Wine

An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for speeding in Connecticut. The state trooper smells alcohol on the priest's breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car.

He says, "Sir, have you been drinking?"

"Just water," says the priest.

The trooper says, "Then why do I smell wine?"

The priest looks at the bottle and says, "Good Lord! He's done it again!"

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Box of Dirt

Tonight I attended an art opening at Watkins Institute here in Nashville. Going to art openings is one of my favorite things to do. Nashville has quite a number of galleries and has a thriving arts community. There are art openings almost every week. Art openings usually offer free wine and hor’derves and an art opening is usually a festive atmosphere. I have been going to art openings for years. I run into some of the same people at openings and while I have not developed any close relationships, I have developed a chit-chat acquaintance with several people. Art openings are fun! In the same room you have everyone from hippy-looking creative types to well-dressed Belle Meade art patrons to Nashville-cowboy-songwriter-types to students to obviously gay guys. It is fun people-watching.

I like art. I appreciate art. I have visited many of the best galleries of the world. I appreciate a range of art from classical Greek to the old masters to the impressionist. However, there is a lot of art that I just do not understand. What makes something art? Tonight at Watkins, there was a piece of art that was a box of dirt. The title of the piece was “A Box of Dirt.” The box was about the dimension of a shoebox but about twice the size. The box was a crude, industrial box of unfinished lumber. It had once held some sort of industrial fittings. Stenciled on the side was the nomenclature of what the box had once contained. The “artist” did not make the box. The box was placed upright on a pedestal. The surface was dirt that had probably been put in the box damp and allowed to dry. The surface was somewhat concave.

I have been going through a career crisis of sorts recently and I have been contemplating “retiring.” I probably will not, but have been unhappy and have been weighing my options. I would not want to call myself “retired.” I am too young for that. Due to the collapse of the stock market I can not afford to retire and really do need an income, but equally important, I would want something to do. I would not be happy not being productive and I need the self-esteem that comes with a title. Plus, I really like the work I do. I find the work rewarding. Nevertheless, the crisis I have been experiencing has made me think a lot about my future and various options.
As I looked at “A Box of Dirt” I thought, I could become an artist! If you are an artist there is no objective standard of weather you are a good artist are not. You never have to sell any art and you can still call yourself an artist. I could be a “found object artist” or an “outsider” artist. No one can tell you that you are not really an artist. As my wife and I stood and contemplated the piece, I turned to her and said, “I think I could do that.”

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Today's Bible Verse

Psalm 104: 15&16
He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; and wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Jesus Turns the Water into Grape Fruit Juice

I was brought up in a very religious household and regularly attended church and we also had nightly prayer and Bible-reading in our home. I was taught that consuming alcohol was a terrible sin and that real Christians did not drink wine or any kind of alcohol. It was scandalous if anyone drank. A lot of what I was taught didn’t stick.

Since the Baptist have aligned themselves with the liquor industry to keep wine out of grocery stores I thought it was time for a little sermon to my Baptist brethren. I would like to examine the first recorded miracle of Jesus Christ, the turning of water into wine at the feast of Cana. Please turn with me to the second chapter of the Gospel of John, verse 1-11:

And on the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and Jesus also was invited, and His disciples, to the wedding.And when the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what do I have to do with you? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the headwaiter.” And they took it to him. And when the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when men have drunk freely, then that which is poorer; you have kept the good wine until now.”

This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.(John 2:1-11, NASB).

Let us look at the above text again. “Every man serves the good wine first, and when men have drunk freely, then that which is poorer; you have kept the good wine until now.” I am not a theologian, but the only way I can read that is that most people serve the good wine early in the party, and then when people are getting a little drunk, they don’t notice when the host switches to the cheaper stuff. What else could that mean?

Well, the Baptist teach that Jesus turned the water into grape fruit juice. Ye of other faiths may find that hard to believe, but that it is the truth. Given the historical context, that is as about as silly as you can get. (Can I get an Amen?) The guest at this wedding feast would have probably really been disappointed if not down right pissed off, it the host would have switched from wine to grape fruit juice. If all of the “wine” being served were really grape fruit juice, it wouldn’t have been much of a party. I no longer attend a Baptist church so maybe Baptist just skip that part of the Bible now, rather than embarrass themselves with this teaching. I don’t know.

Some time when I was an early teenager and started thinking for myself, I began having doubts that Jesus really turned the water into grape fruit juice. It is hard to believe that Baptist really believe that, but of course, many Baptist also believe that the earth is only 6000 years old and they profess to believe the story of Jonah and the Whale is a fact and they take a lot of other Biblical stories as literally true.

I am sure there must be many Baptist who have been exposed to the wider world and who enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. I am sure there must be Baptist who have been educated and who doubt the age of the earth is only 6000 years old. Surely there are some Baptist who when out of town on vacation, even dance with their wife. Surely there are many Baptist who are BINO’s (Baptist in name only). At least, I hope there are.

I thought times were changing. That attempt to boycott Disney World fizzled, didn’t it? I thought that was a good sign. Someone told me that Baptist would now even speak to each other in the liquor store. Of course, they still won’t have sex standing up: someone might think they are dancing.

I should probably lay off the Baptist. I don’t want to pick a fight with my devout relatives and the Baptist I know. Just let me have wine in the grocery store and I promise I won’t force you to drink any of it and you can go on believing that Jesus turned the water into grape fruit juice.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Arguments against wine in grocery stores fall short

by Gail Kerr, The Tennessean, March 21

Opposition to selling wine in grocery stores comes down to two arguments. And neither of them holds water. [full article]

Comment: Good article by Gail Kerr.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Red White and Food

wine, red, white, and food

Here is the link to the website of "Red White and Food." This site is designed to give the public access to the latest information on the current efforts to bring wine to grocery stores in Tennessee. At this site you can join the Red White and Food cause and be listed as a supporter of wine sales in grocery stores, you can learn more about the issue, and learn how to get involved.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Dear Representatvie Pruitt, Please vote to allow wine sales ...

March 25, 2009

Dear Representative Pruitt,

I noticed in an article in Tennessean published on March 20th that you are listed as one of the legislators who are undecided as to how you will vote on the bill to allow the sale of wine in grocery stores. As one of your constituents, I am disappointed and am writing you to urge you to vote in favor of this bill.

Thirty-three other states allow the sale of wine in grocery stores, but not Tennessee. Frankly, I find this embarrassing. There is no logic in denying us this right that is enjoyed by the citizens of most other states. I want the convenience of being able to pick up a bottle of wine when I shop for dinner. As a consumer I would like to benefit from the lower prices that would result from the increased competition.

I know that the argument against it is that it would increase the likelihood of alcohol use by underage drinkers. This is bogus argument. We already have a mandatory proof of age law for anyone purchasing alcoholic beverages. There is no evidence that selling wine in retail food outlets would increase underage drinking.

Another argument against it is that some of the “ma and pa” liquor stores would be driven out of business. Businesses come and go all the time as new products develop and new ways of marketing emerge. A few years ago there were lots of video stores. As, new methods of distribution of movies developed many video stores disappeared. Should we have banned NetFics? It should not be the job of government to protect businesses from competition. In any event, it is not necessarily proven that sale of wine in grocery stores would undermine liquor stores. As more people experienced the pleasure of wine, a more sophisticated and knowledgably wine drinking public may emerge. People would probably still go to liquor stores to buy fine wine. Making wine more available my actually increase the market for wine.

Allowing the sale of wine in grocery a store is estimated in bring in an additional $16 million dollars in state revenue and $11 million for local governments. At a time of budget shortfalls, it makes sense to tap this source of additional revenue.

I am writing this as an open letter and am posting it on my blog and other social networking sites and am copying friends and family. I will also post your replay.

Thank you for your consideration and your service to our community.

Rod Williams

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Wine in Grocery Stores: Influence your legislator now!

There is a real chance this year that Tennessee may allow the sale of wine in grocery stores. When people move here from other states they are often dismayed to discover that you can't pick up a bottle of wine at the grocery store. The powerful liquor lobby and the influence of a segment of the religious community, primarily the Southern Baptist, have been able to keep wine out of grocery stores. If you would like the convenience of being able to pick out that bottle of red wine at the same place you pick out your steak, please contact your legislature. It is time that Tennessee stopped being a rural backwater and joined the modern world.

On March 20th the Tennessean listed the stance of each member of the state legislature on this issue. To see how your legislator stands on the issue please follow this link: Wine in grocery stores: Tennessee lawmakers' stances. The list includes the phone number and email address of each legislator. If you are not sure who your Senator and Representative is, follow this link to find out: Tennessee General Assembly.

It is hard to categorize who takes which position on this issue. It is not a liberal or conservative division nor a Republican/Democratic division. I had thought it was a rural vs urban and suburban division but I notice that that is not necessarily so. Most of the Knoxville delegation is in the "anti" column and several of the Memphis delegation are either anti or undecided. I am proud or my own Senator Douglas Henry for being in the "for" column and disappointed that my Representative, Mary Pruit, is listed as undecided. This issue is being decided right now. Please contact your legislators and tell them to vote in favor of letting us buy wine in grocery stores.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Petition for a full ethics investigation of Chis Dodd

Dear Rod,
Last week we told you about the big-spending liberals' latest mishap with their so-called stimulus, bailout, and pork-filled spending bills agenda. As we have learned more one liberal Senator's name keeps rising to the top: Senator Chris Dodd.

Senator Chris Dodd - the liberal former Chairman of the Democrat National Committee and Senate Banking Committee Chairman - has been in our headlines month after month supporting ACORN, protecting subprime mortgage policies that led to our financial crisis, taking sweetheart mortgage deals for his own home and now shielding those who bankrupted companies in their efforts to receive federal taxpayer funds.

Chris Dodd is in the headlines again, not for working to fix the problems he helped create, but for making them worse. With new revelations coming into the news, we are calling for a full investigation of all of his activities.

ACU is launching a new, expanded effort today to call for a full ethics investigation of Chris Dodd. We need your help today. Please sign the petition and support ACU's efforts here, now.

As we noted, at the heart of the AIG bonus controversy, taking money after accepting billions in taxpayer bailouts is not the bonuses themselves, but the liberal policy of bailing out private companies in the first place. We can see what happens when the government gets their hands into private industry. It is not pretty. It is not enough that the liberals and their bureaucratic policies cause mismanagement in our government, now they want to take over and mismanage our economy as well.

As many have pointed out, it is just one more step toward socialism. And when it came to solving their latest media problem they helped create, liberals tried to pass a new massive tax to fix. Going to that tax code was their idea of fixing the problem. One more big brother solution for the problems created by the liberals' big brother government actions. It is vicious cycle.

But again, we really need to get to the root of the problem. One cheerleader for the liberal policies that got us here is Senator Chris Dodd.

He is at the heart of this issue and others from the funding of ACORN, to the support of subprime mortgage buying at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to other recent scandals regarding sweetheart personal mortgage deals.

ACU is launching a new, expanded effort today to call for a full ethics investigation of Chris Dodd. We need your help today. Please sign the petition and support ACU's efforts here, now.

New information has been uncovered on Dodd's amendment that created the AIG bonus ruckus and its connection to the big government spending stimulus bill.On Saturday the Attorney General of Connecticut reported that $218 million was paid by AIG in bonuses, not $165 million as we had been told - a difference of more than 50 million dollars.Then we learned that some of our previous ACU efforts are taking effect.

On Sunday, after running stories under headlines screaming "Dodd Draws Voters' Ire Over Wall Street Pay," the NEW YORK TIMES wrote, "On a 48-hour swing through Connecticut last weekend, Senator Christopher J. Dodd began acting like a candidate for re-election, staging press events and commandeering a Sunday news show. A newly aggressive Mr. Dodd was reacting to a spate of bad press and poor polling..."

Reuters news service wrote under the headline, "Veteran senator Dodd in the eye of AIG bonus storm," that, "In a capital always looking for someone to blame, a powerful U.S. Democratic senator has a big bull's-eye on him in the firefight over taxpayer-funded bonuses for executives at insurance giant AIG. Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and one of the more prominent faces of the Democratic Party, is scrambling to explain how a loophole ended up in legislation that allowed the roundly condemned bonuses to go forward."

Why is Chris Dodd ducking for cover? We are beginning to peel back the onion of the Chris Dodd story and it is enough to make you cry with anger.

In fact the latest revelation may explain why Dodd was involved in the AIG bonus story in the first place.

The American people deserve the truth. That is why ACU is launching a new, expanded petition effort today, to call for a full ethics investigation of Chris Dodd. We need your help today to make this happen. Please sign the petition and support ACU's efforts here, now.

CNN reported that, "Dodd initially denied he had anything to do with adding the provision." Later... "Dodd, Connecticut's Democratic senior senator, said Treasury Department officials misled him on the issue of bonuses for AIG executives." Dodd (then) "told CNN ... he was responsible for language added to the stimulus bill."

Why would Chris Dodd dodge the issue, tap dance and try to mislead the American people? Maybe it is because of a personal family connection.

REAL CLEAR POLITICS, the respected online news media source, reported just yesterday that Dodd's wife was a former Director of an AIG controlled company.

Their story states, "Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn) went wobbly last week when asked about his February amendment ratifying hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to executives at insurance giant AIG. Dodd has been one of the company's favorite recipients of campaign contributions. But it turns out that Senator Dodd's wife has also benefited from past connections to AIG as well."

Real Clear Politics noted, "From 2001-2004, Jackie Clegg Dodd served as an "outside" director of IPC Holdings, Ltd., a Bermuda-based company controlled by AIG. Clegg was compensated for her duties to the company, which was managed by a subsidiary of AIG."

Mr. Dodd has found himself sleeping with the AIG controversy.

The American people deserve the truth. That is why ACU is launching a new, expanded petition effort today, to call for a full ethics investigation of Chris Dodd. We need your help today to make this happen. Please sign the petition and support ACU's efforts here, now.

Even if this work Mrs. Dodd did for a previous AIG connected company had nothing to do with Senator Dodd's secretive bonus amendment it is important the American people get the truth. It is important for us to know if Obama and the Treasury Secretary were covering for Mr. Dodd.

If Dodd did not place the amendment for that reason, the potential other reasons are even worse.

The WALL STREET JOURNAL reported, Dodd "is the top all-time beneficiary of AIG contributions, with a total of $280,000 in donations from the company's employees."

His actions with the bonus amendment remind us of other actions he has taken.

Senator Chris Dodd aggressively and publicly attacked those who claimed the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's subprime mortgages policies could endanger the economy. Many questioned his actions. Then we learned from that Dodd received more big money PAC campaign contributions than any other politician on Capitol Hill from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for over 10 years.

Chris Dodd supported the efforts that led to our financial crisis and now he is using our own taxpayer funds to bail the companies involved.

The American people deserve the truth. That is why ACU is launching a new, expanded petition effort today, to call for a full ethics investigation of Chris Dodd. We need your help today to make this happen. Please sign the petition and support ACU's efforts here, now.

For these reasons, when you sign the petition and support ACU's efforts, we encourage you to access our ACU Chris Dodd Media Page. This is a special page we have created so that you can contact members of the Connecticut news media and ask them - and the voters of Connecticut - why they have Chris Dodd representing them in U.S. Senate. We encourage you and others to use this resource which you will see after you sign the new petition and support ACU.

Multiple news reports have surfaced nothing that Chris Dodd's early Senate challenger in the race next year has already tied him in the polls.

Now it is time to keep the pressure on and for the American people to get to the truth.

Please support this effort here and now.


Dennis Whitfield
Executive Vice President

P.S. Many times I add a PS to make sure I summarize the issues ACU is working on. Unfortunately you know all too well about Chris Dodd, his support of ACORN and subprime mortgage policies, his personal sweetheart mortgage deal and now his support for taxpayer funded bonuses in the big government spending "stimulus bill." Help us start to bring the

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Monday, March 23, 2009



The definition: "Liquidity is when you look at your retirement funds and you wet
your pants "

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Congressional Report: Countrywide Bent Loan Rules For Dodd

By MATTHEW KAUFFMAN The Hartford Courant, March 20, 2009

An executive at mortgage giant Countrywide Financial overrode the company's loan-writing policies to give a discount to Sen. Christopher Dodd,the powerful chairman of the Senate banking committee, according to an internal Countrywide document turned over to congressional investigators and obtained by The Courant. [full article]

The article does not reveal any quid pro quo. The evidence proves Dodd received preferential treatment but does not prove that Dodd was aware of it. Dodd as Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee is one of the nations most powerful banking overseers. Countrywide is one of the nations largest subprime lenders.

What is revealed by this investigation is that Countrywide routinely gave preferential treatment to important people whom they called "Friends of Angelo." They frankly discussed in documents and emails who was worthy of getting special deals and who was not. Some staffers and lesser influential politicians such as mayors were classified as "moderate VIP".

After months of Dodd's and Countrywide's stonewalling, the issue can now be put to rest. Probably all that can be proven is proven. Weather Dodd knew about it or not, Dodd should return the ill gotten gains from his Countrywide refinance deals. Dodd's roll in the AIG bonuses scandal, his sweetheart loans from Countrywide, and the large campaign contributions he has received from AIG should make him unworthy of chairing the senate banking committee. He should step down.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories