Faith has been a major part of my life for a long time. Belief in God, the Bible and church involvement go way back for me. There is so much about all of it that has shaped and impacted every fiber of my life. A faith relationship with God is peaceful, hopeful, helpful, positive and life changing in so many ways. I've written a lot about faith in articles, books and public messages.
My wife and I were walking an Appalachian path a few months back when a poisonous copperhead snake struck at my wife. The snake was big. My wife was carrying pepper spray and amazingly with one quick move sprayed that deadly serpent. The snake was stunned as we lunged forward to safety. We were so very lucky. Either one of us could have died or lost a limb if that poisonous serpent had been successful. Journalists and cartoonists in a French newsroom were not so lucky this week. They were totally caught off guard by striking terrorists that ended their unsuspecting lives.
As the 54th Legislature comes to a close and we focus on our responsibilities to adjust our legislative agenda to match the economic reality of our state and the political horizon, let us consider some issues that demand our focus.
First, State Treasurer, Ken Miller is challenging his fellow Republican state leaders concerning their attempts to lay the foundation to move our budget to a two-year process.
â€śToday I had a chance to speak with John Boehner and congratulated Mitch McConnell on becoming the next Senate majority leader,â€ť said Barack Obama in the opening of his White House press conference following the Democratsâ€™ Tuesday massacre. â€śAnd I told them both that I look forward to finishing up this Congressâ€™s business and then working together for the next two years to advance Americaâ€™s business.â€ť The president is looking forward to â€śworking together to deliver for the American people.â€ť
Average America doesn't feel better off today.â€¨More of us are feeling the pain of the newgovernment healthcare laws.Â My personalmedical insurance premium will increasein January. My deductible goes from $3,000to $5,000 and my co-pay also goes up. Beginningin January 2015, my medical insurance will bethe worst I've had in my life. I suspect thatduring this past election millions of Americansstarted waking up about Obamacare. The newSenate and House must edit the healthcare laws. â€¨Allow the very poor of America to be on Medicaidand those with preexisting conditions to buyinto Medicare.
One complaint about American health spending is that we spend too much. It usually looks like this: â€śWe spend 17 percent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on health care. The next most expensive country is Switzerland, which spends 12 percent.â€ť Put that way, it does seem like we are spending too much. However, it invites another question: Is the five percent extra that we spend on health care taking away from other goods and services we need?
While ISIS horrifically beheaded Steven Sotloff and James Foley, some Americans were being inconvenienced on airplanes. Most of us are spoiled and when we stop and think for a minute our inconveniences are small in comparison to so much else in the world.
The average American is happy to have a paying job with the opportunity to make a little more money. Most Americans would like to work a few extra hours when they could. However, many Americans dream of retiring to fish, golf, garden, or relax. Others enjoy working so much that they never quit.
It all depends on the kind of work you do. If you are a coal miner, then retirement at 55 looks great. If the daily manual labor is not too overtaxing then many enjoy staying on the job.
Lady Justice, Justitia, depicted as a blindfolded statue since the 15th century, illustrates John Rawlâ€™s conception of justice as requiring a veil of ignorance (A Theory of Justice, 1971). Such a veil of ignorance means that, in order to be just, we must ignore the differences between people, such as their identity, power or weakness.
The crisis in Gaza is horrific and the conflict between Israel and Palestine is ongoing. Yet the latest killings seem to be so heinous and out of proportion that the US must consider our part in this. The dominant media narrative is that Hamas kidnapped and killed three Israeli settlers and for that reason, people in the Gaza Strip must be punished.Â The not-so-mainstream narrative is that there was no proof that the kidnappings and/or killings were instigated by Hamas, who has denied involvement, when the bombing began.