Sunday, February 28, 2010

Signs of the Coming of the Lord

Lately we've been experiencing several earthquakes in our world. Back on January 12, Haiti just experienced a massive 7.0 earthquake which devasted that tropical country. On Friday February 26, Japan experienced an 8.5 earthquake off its coast. Early Saturday morning February 27, Chile experienced a massive 8.8 earthquake, one of the largest recorded earthquakes in Chile. I was watching Fox news Saturday about the earthquake in Chile and they said the largest known earthquake was in May 1960 in Chile and it registered 9.5. The earthquake took place in Concepcion, Chile. The powerful earthquake triggered off a tsunami warning off the West Coast. Hawaii was on alert for a tsunami but thankfully that tsunami was called off for Hawaii. However, Japan is on the lookout for a tsunami. It's becoming a frequent occurence for our world to experience the earthquakes we've been having recently. Anyone that knows anything about the Bible knows that this is all part of the signs of the last days (Matthew 24:7). I believe the Lord's trying to send a message to us. I believe it's part of the judgment of God on this world.

In Matthew 24 Jesus' disciples asked him what are the signs of the last days. Jesus told his disciples that in the last days nations will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, which is what we're presently seeing. He said there would be wars and rumors of wars and there would be earthquakes in divers places. These are things that we aren't to be disturbed of. Then Jesus mentions of false christs coming claiming to be the Christ. Jesus mentions that all these things are the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:8). Jesus also mentions about the Great Tribulation that will take place. This period of history will be after the rapture of the Church. For seven years there will be great tribulation upon this earth. Jesus says in Matthew 24:29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:" The Great Tribulation will be a time of Jacob's trouble. Israel will be chastised and Israel will finally recognize Jesus as the Messiah. All of God's children that were saved prior to the rapture will be part of that great, glorious morning when Jesus is coming back for his people. Then for seven years great tribulation will hit this world and then after the seven year period Jesus will sound forth the trumpet and he will establish his kingdom in this world. This will be the establishment of a thousand year reign called the Millennial Reign. What a day that will be!

What are the signs of the coming of the rapture? I believe in a pretribulational rapture. I believe that those who are saved will not take part in the Great Tribulation. I believe now more than ever the return of Jesus for his bride is nigh upon hand. II Timothy discusses what things will be like prior to the Lord's return. II Timothy 3:1-7 says, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." Any Christian that pays attention to the news on a daily basis knows that we're living in II Timothy 3. We have children that are disobedient to parents, we have blasphemers, unthankfulness in our society, evil lurking in our society, to name a few. We have those nations such as Iran that want to wipe out Israel. All the eyes of the world are turned toward Israel. They want to blame Israel for the problems of the world. The U.N. wants to restrict Israel and force a Palestinian state to be created alongside with Israel. There's no way that Israel and Palestine could coexist with one another peacefully. We live in a world that's consumed with the spirit of the antichrist. We have had people in America for the last few decades that have brought lawsuits in America's courts to rule out God in the schools, our government, and even in the workplace. Our judges and politicians have been trying to create a secular society where the rule of God no longer holds sway. As a result, I consider America a post-Christian nation. Our country as a whole no longer upholds or respects the laws of God in our country. We are ripe for the return of Christ.

Another sign of the coming of the Lord is in Mark 13:28 which says, "Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:" This passage of scripture is referring to the rebirth of Israel. In May 1948, Israel was rebirthed once again. It became a nation once again; just like the Bible predicted. There has never been a time when a nation was wiped out like Israel had been and several hundred years later was reborn. Israel's rebirth is another sign of the Lord's coming. There have been countries that have been critical of Israel over the years since her rebirth. America thankfully has stood by Israel so far. But woe unto America whenever that day may be when she turns her back upon Israel. The United Nations, the European Union, and the United States have tried to push for a Palestinian State alongside Israel. I don't believe that could ever work. The Jews have built settlements over the years and Israel has been forced to make concessions and stop building settlements. Israel has had to give back some of the land they captured during the Six Day War in 1967. Israel gave back Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005 and in spite of doing so, they still experience terrorism in their country. Israel figures in to Christ's soon return.

Finally, I believe one of the signs that Christ's return is pre-eminent is the technological wave. Daniel 12:4 says, "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Never before has our world received an explosion in the field of knowledge as the 20th century has. From the beginning of time until the beginning of the 1900's, the world was fairly primitive. The automobile was just invented. Families traveled in horse and buggy. Many homes didn't have electricity. However, all that changed since 1900. Just stop and consider all the inventions since that time. We've had the invention of the airplane, the computer, the internet, cell phones, all kinds of technological gadgets, scanners, CD's, rockets, satellite, and the list continues. There's been all kinds of innovations in the realm of technology and science. The wonders of man have come to pass. We also have the means technologically to usher in the antichrist. With today's technology, we can eliminate all forms of cash and use credit cards. We are approaching a cashless society. Today they've invented chips that could be placed on your hand in which they could identify you. If there's ever been a time when we're on the threshold of Christ's coming it's today. We have all the means necessary to bring about the coming of the antichrist and the New World Order.

We are on the threshold of the Lord's return. It's true that ever since the days Jesus ascended into Heaven our forefathers were anxiously awaiting the return of the Lord. Just think how much closer we are today to the coming of the Son of Man than ever before. Everything's in place for the soon return of Jesus. People are eating, drinking, and being merry. We are living like life will never end. That's a great sign of the Lord's return. Jesus said he will return like a thief in the night. This year there's a general election taking place in November and many conservatives and Tea party members are gearing up for the mid-term Congressional elections. However, Jesus may come before then. Any plans that we may have may never come to pass. It won't matter if Jesus comes today. As much as I would like to see most of the incumbents voted out of office in November, it won't make any difference when Jesus returns. When he returns for his bride, all the cares and concerns we have in this life will be irrelevant. We'll be in the presence of the Lord. What a day that will be!

The Sermon on the Mount (Part 7)

(Matthew 5:13-16) "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." As Christians, we are to be salt and light before this dark world we live in. The world that we live in is depraved. This world is cursed by sin. America, which was once a beacon of light before this lost world, has become a heathen and pagan nation. Today sin is promoted on the internet, the television screens, the billboards, public places, and the list continues. This world is decaying by the day. This world is on the pathway to destruction. Jesus said in Matthew 24 that if the days aren't shortened no flesh shall be saved. Jesus was referring to his second coming and illustrates what the last days are going to be like. We're living in those last days. II Timothy 3 gives an example of what the last days will be like. He says that men will be lovers of themselves, blasphemers, proud, boasters, children disobedient to parents, etc. Satan is the prince of this present world today. Nearly 2000 years ago Jesus died upon an old rugged cross to save mankind from his sins. The invitation to salvation is still present today. God has left Christians in this world to reach fallen man. We have the responsibility to live Christ before the whole world. The Apostle Paul said that to live is Christ and to die is to gain.

Jesus said that we Christians are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. What do "salt" and "light" symbolize in the Christian's life? What does Jesus mean when he says that Christians are to be salt of the earth and the light of this world? God desires for Christians to be salt and light because of this rotten, decaying world spiritually. Jeremiah 17:9 says that the heart of man is deceitful above all else and desperately wicked, who can know it? We live in a depraved world. Christians are to be salt and light in this world because this world is depraved. The world needs to see an example of Christ in this world. We're to show the world that Jesus lives. God's purpose is for the Christian to be conformed to the image of Christ. We are to be the image of Christ before this lost and dying world. There's an old song that says, "You're the Only Bible that Some People Read." The Christian is to be the "living Bible" before this world. Many people in this world don't read God's written Word. Therefore, it's imperative that Christians emulate Christ through their actions and deeds. The only image of Christ some people may ever see is that Christian on the job or in the community. If we aren't salt and light to this world, how will we be able to reach the world?

What are "salt" and "light"? Salt is a substance and the purpose for salt is to preserve flavor. Salt is white and it symbolizes purity. Salt is also a preservative. Whenever one kills a hog they will take salt and rub it into the meat so it won't decay. Salt in that instance serves as a preservative. Christians are to be a preservative in this dying culture. Without the Christian's influence in this world, this world would decay much quicker. If you think evil abounds at this moment, you haven't seen anything yet! Once Christ raptures his church away from this world, all manner of evil will be manifested before this world. It's the Christian's influence that restrains sin and prevents this world from being totally corrupt. Christians are to be a preservative in this dying culture. Christian also to symbolize purity before this world. We as Christians are to live holy and separated lives. We are to be sanctified. Romans 12:2 says to not be conformed to the image of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We're to walk circumspectly before this world. We're to be blameless in our walk and our testimony. When we allow sin and worldliness to creep into our lives, then we lose our saltiness before this world. We lose our testimony when our attitude and behavior is conformed to this world. As a result, we're good for nothing. There are people that are saved and they have wrecked their testimony before this world. As a result, their testimony is worthless. They would be well off to keep their lips closed and not even admit they're a Christian. If Christians are to have flavor in their lives, then they must not allow sin to be a part of their life. Christians can't flirt with the world and expect to possess any flavor when it comes to our testimonies. Christians must have a walk with God and follow God's commandments in order to give flavor and be a preservative in this world.

Salt also serves as a fertilizer. When we eat popcorn that contains a lot of salt, it will cause us to become thirsty and as a result we desire something to drink. We are to serve as a fertilizer. We are to be faithful in our witness and our testimony. We should live lives that are full of joy. We must show the world that the Christian life is full of joy. The world needs to see that serving Christ is the most wonderful a person can do. They need to see that living for Christ is worth it. If we as Christians aren't happy or content with God or if we allow worldliness to govern our lives, how can we expect the world to come under conviction? It's imperative that we serve as a fertilizer. We must show the world that there's no greater joy than serving Jesus.

Jesus says Christians are the light of the world. What is the purpose of light? The purpose of light is to shine in order to expel darkness. Light enlightens; it shows the way out. Light exposes darkness. Light reveals the way. Light shows you who to turn to. Light will also show you where you're located. Light also will reveal what position we're in spiritually before God. Without the shining of light, we can't know truth. I remember a Baptist preacher from Louisville, Kentucky one time mentioning before he got saved. He said one day the Lord "cut the light on". Before God saves a sinner, He "cuts the light on" to reveal that person is lost before God and he must turn to Jesus and trust Him as Saviour and Lord. Light exposes darkness, reveals sin, and shows the way out of darkness. God is light. God also gives light as well. Light serves as a path upon which to walk. That's why the psalmist said "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." (Psalms 119:105) Christians are to shine before the world. Christians are to be light before this sin cursed world. Christians are to be an example before this lost world. Christians through their witness and lifestyle should show the world that there is a God, that he's the way, truth and the life, and that only joy and peace come through the Lord.

What is the purpose of Christians being light before the world? We're to glorify God and the world should see our good works being salt and light. Those that are without God should be able to come to us whenever their world is upside down. They should be able to come to us and ask us to pray for them whenever their world is crashing. They should feel whenever there's a question they need to ask about the Bible, we can give them the answer through the scriptures. We're to shine this glorious gospel before the world. How are Christians to shine before this world? We are to shine before this world by living a separated, sanctified, and holy life before men. We're to be an example of Godliness and holiness before lost man.

The reason why the world doesn't have any time for Christians today is because of our careless and shoddy testimony before the world. We can't expect the world to recognize they're lost and need the Lord if we talk, act, walk, and smell like the world. Christians are to be uniquely and distinctly different from this world's system. The world should be able to identify us as Christians by our speech, our lifestyle, our desires, our passion, and our compassion. If we don't live as salt and light before this darkened world, we'll be useless and good for nothing but to be trodden under the foot of men.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Glenn Beck Under Fire From Fellow Conservative Hosts for Statements about Republicans at CPAC

Radio and Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck drew some criticism from fellow conservatives over the speech he gave at CPAC when he chided the Republican party for being addicted to excessive spending and big government. Bill Bennett, Rush Limbaugh, and Mark Levin gave their criticisms of Beck's speech to the Republicans. Limbaugh didn't mention Beck by name during the Rush Limbaugh radio talk show Monday, but he said this, "But to each his own. There are motivations for people who do what they do--and I, as a highly trained broadcast specialist, I think I know what's going on and why various people are doing what they're doing and taking positions that they're taking. But the best way to ensure that Obama succeeds is to think that we need a third party..." Mark Levin in his radio program this past Monday evening called on Beck to "stop dividing us" and suggested he "stop acting like a clown." Former Education Secretary and radio talk show host Bill Bennett didn't agree with the general comments Beck made about the Republicans. Bennett stated all the Republicans aren't the same. He didn't think Beck should've lumped all the Republicans in the same group. Sean Hannity kept on re-iterating the theme that all Republicans aren't the same. Hannity has admitted there were excesses in the Republican party when they held power such as their excessive spending and their stance on illegal immigration and amnesty. Hannity then went on to cite that Republicans have steadfastly stood against the stimulus bill that was passed last year as well as the national healthcare bill President Obama and the Democrats are trying to shove down our throats.

Glenn Beck gave a great speech at CPAC. I enjoyed it and he was right on target. He was right in taking the Republican party to task for their excessive spending as well as the government growing under their watch. I don't agree with Beck on some issues, but he was on target in what he stated about the Republicans and they needed to be called to accountability. I was glad he spent his time mentioning about how the Progressive movement has infiltrated both parties and how our country needs to turn back to the roots that made it great. He was right in pointing out how the Progressive mentality has hurt America and that our country needs to return back to the values that our Founders built this country upon. Beck said more in his CPAC speech than what any other speaker had to say at the convention. Many of the Republicans spent their time taking pot shots at the Obama administration and its socialist policies. I am totally opposed to Obama's socialist policies. However, the Republicans in power today are just as guilty of some of the things they accuse the Obama administration of. Yes, the Republican party may be the loyal opposition, but it's much easier to oppose the policies of your foes than to be in power and craft solutions that are constitutional. I do appreciate the Republicans' opposition to Obama's agenda. The question I have is have they learned from their corrupt ways when they held power? Do the Republicans understand if they betray the conservative principles they claim to uphold they will be voted out again by the American people? I see the Republican party as being more interested in regaining power in Congress than repenting and renouncing their big government policies.

Glenn Beck on Monday during his program on Fox News was mentioning how his speech caused some ire among conservatives. Beck said that he knows there's a difference between Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina than Senator John McCain for example. Beck features some GOP senators on his program from time to time. I agree all Republicans aren't the same, but there are very few Republicans that stand for anything. And even they need to go a step further in their stance against the policies of the Obama administration. There's only a handful of Republicans in both the House and Senate combined that even stand for traditional American values. Most of the Republicans in Washington are part of the establishment. They spend their time spouting the party line. It perturbs me that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin will criticize anyone for calling the Republicans to task. They say they're opposed to a third party and that a third party will divide this country. Limbaugh, Hannity, and Levin should be thankful when the Republicans are scolded. If the Republicans aren't brought into accountability then a third party will be formed by the conservatives. Conservative Americans are tired of fradulent Republicans that go along with the flow. The American people desire candidates regardless of party affiliation to stand for God, country, and the Constitution.

The Republicans need their feet held to the fire all the time. I don't think a third party is a good idea itself. That's why I criticize the Republican party like I do. I will call for the abolition of political parties before I call for a third party. I believe political parties have ruined American and have hindered the Americans' ability to think clearly and logically on issues. Why bother taking time to muse about the issues of the day when all you have to do is to identify yourself and hide behind one of the two major political parties? I believe political parties are a handicap to America. Since we have two major political parties and since I'm a registered Republican, I will heavily criticize the Republicans when they stray from the issues they claim to uphold. A third party will divide the conservative movement, that's true. But there's a legitimate reason why some are calling for a third party. It's due to the Republican betrayal of their own base. However, instead of blaming those conservatives that are calling for a third party movement, the blame needs to lie at the feet of those Republican frauds that betrayed America while they held power in Congress. That's only been three years ago since they were voted out of power. Have the Republicans learned their lesson? I doubt it. I believe Glenn Beck is right--the Republican Party doesn't get it!

Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington was a very successful ex-slave following the Civil War. He was the epitome of hard work and success. He was born in 1856 on the Burrough's tobacco farm which, despite its small size, he always referred to as a plantation. He mentions about his early years from his autobiography, Up From Slavery. His mother was a cook, his father a white man from a nearby farm. "The early years of my life, which were spent in the little cabin," he wrote, "were not very different from those of other slaves." He went to school in Franklin County--not as a student, but to carry books for one of James Burrough's daughters. It was illegal to educate slaves at that time. "I had the feeling that to get into a schoolhouse and study would be about the same as getting into paradise," he wrote. In April 1865, The Emancipation Proclamation was read to joyful slaves in front of the Burrough's home. He soon left to join his stepfather in Malden, West Virginia. He took a job in a salt mine that began at 4 a.m. in the morning so he could attend school later in the day. Within a few years, Booker was taken in as a houseboy by a wealthy towns-woman who further encouraged his longing to learn. At age 16, he walked many of the 500 miles back to Virginia to enroll in a new school for black students. He knew that even poor students could receive an education at Hampton Institute, paying their way by working.

The head teacher at Hampton was suspicious of his country ways and ragged clothes. He was finally admitted after cleaning a room to her satisfaction. He earned his living by performing menial tasks. His entrance into Hampton led him away from a life of forced labor for good. He became an instructor there. He later founded Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1881. He was recognized as the nation's foremost black educators.

Washington would invoke his own past to illustrate his belief in the dignity of work. "From the time that I can remember anything, almost everyday of my life has been occupied in some kind of labor." "There was no period of my life that was devoted to play." The concept of self-reliance was the cornerstone of Washington's social philosophy.

Washington also had his critics as well. Many charged his conservative approach undermined the quest for racial equality. He faced liberal opposition from the Niagara Movement (1905-09) and the NAACP. These two were civil rights groups demanding civil rights and encouraging protests in response to white agression in such areas as lynchings, disfranchisement, and segregation laws. Some of the statements he made was, "In all things purely social we can be as separate as the fingers," he proposed to a biracial audience in his 1895 Atlanta Compromise Address. "Yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress." It is now known that Washington secretly funded antisegregationist activities. He never wavered from his belief in freedom. "From some things that I have said one may get the idea that some of the slaves did not want freedom. This is not true. I have never seen one who did not want to be free, or one who would return to slavery."

By the last years of his life Washington moved away from many of his accommodationist policies and attacked racism. In 1915 he joined ranks with his former critics to protest the stereotypical portrayal of blacks in a new movie, "Birth of a Nation." Some months later he died at age 59. I appreciate Booker T. Washington and his stance on hard work. He achieved prominence due to his work ethic and determination. I believe all citizens regardless of race should possess the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. However, regardless of race, if you want to be successful in life, you must labor. That's God's formula for success.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Bi-Partisan Healthcare Summit

(Yahoo) President Obama and a group of Democrats and Republicans met together at the Blair House, which is across from Pennsylvania Avenue, where the White House is located. They hosted the Bi-Partisan Healthcare Summit where both Democratic and Republican Party leaders rambled back and forth about the healthcare bill that was passed by both House and Senate last year. After a day of debate and disagreement, President Obama concluded Thursday's unprecedented live talkfest on healthcare with the blank assessment that a deal may not be reached between both parties. He rejected Republican preferences for seeking a step-by-step solution or simply starting over. Obama suggested that Democrats will try to pass a sweeping overhaul without GOP support, by using controversial Senate budget rules such as reconciliation that would disallow filibusters. After the end of a seven-and-a-half hour marathon policy session, Obama stated we couldn't have another yearlong debate on this usse. Neither side gave much ground, mostly using the same talking points as usual. Obama had urged the Republicans to do a little soul searching.

President Obama and his Democratic allies clashed with Congressional Republicans over the right prescription for the nation's broken healthcare system. There was much talk of agreement with each side holding onto long-trenched positions that left them far apart. "We have a difficult gap to bridge here," said Rep. Eric Cantor, the No. 2 House Republican. "We just can't afford this. That's the ultimate problem." Cantor sat in front of a giant stack of nearly 2400 pages of the bill. Obama and the other Democrats argued that a broad overhaul is imperative for the nation's future economic vitality. The president casted healthcare as "one of the biggest drags on the economy". He lamented partisan bickering that resulted in a stalemate. "Politics, I think ended up trumping practical common sense," he said. There were some issues that President Obama didn't think he could bridge the gap with the Republicans. The healthcare bill will extend coverage to the uninsured and prevent insurers from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. President Obama stated he was was willing to move on alone with his Democratic allies if nothing could be reached. The Democrat leaders were looking towards using the reconciliation option to pass healthcare.

GOP Senate Lamar Alexander asked Democrats to swear off the reconciliation option, which they weren't willing to do. A USA Today/Gallup Survey released Thursday found Americans tilting 49% - 42% against the Democrats forging ahead by themselves. American opposition was stronger to the idea of Senate Democrats using special budget rules such as reconciliation to pass healthcare. 52% of Americans opposed the idea with 39% of Americans in favor of it.

This healthcare bill will supposedly allow parents to keep their young adult children on their health plans into their 20's, "?cutting fraud?" and "?waste?" and ensuring that sick people aren't dropped by insurance companies. Senator Lamar Alexander proposed medical malpractice reform, high-risk insurance pools, and expansion of health savings accounts. Senator John McCain complained at length about what he said was a back door process to produce the original bill that resulted in favors for special interests and carve-outs for certain states. President Obama remarked the campaign was over with and McCain said he was reminded of that everyday. Nothing was accomplished between the two parties at the meeting. There were 40 senators, represenatives, and admnistration officials there. They were crowded shouldder-to-shoulder around a hollow square table.

The one issue that the Republicans should've argued when they spoke at this meeting was the unconstitutionality of this bill. They should've argued it's not the place of government to seize control of the healthcare industry. However, they didn't do that. The problem with the Republican Party is their hypocrisy. When they were in charge of Congress, they didn't abide by the conversative principles they claimed they upheld. Therefore, they've limited themselves on what they can say. Anytime they do complain about the healthcare bill, President Obama will ask them where were they for the last ten years? Sadly, he's right. The Republicans can't point their finger at the Democrats if they're going to promote the same kind of legislation as the Democrats do.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman's life was a monument of courage and determination that continues to stand out in American history. She was born into slavery around 1820 in Maryland. Her birth name was Araminta Ross. She married a free black named John Tubman around 1844, she took his last name and eventually changed her first name to Harriet, her mother's name. As an adolescent she was whipped by the masters that hired her. She eventually freed herself and played a role in freeing many slaves. She made 19 journeys to the South to help slaves escape. She used the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. After the Civil War she joined her family in Auburn, New York where she founded the Harriet Tubman Home. She died of pneumonia on March 10, 1913.

At the age of five or six, she would work as a house servant. Seven years later she went to work in the fields. She would be whipped a number of times by some of the different masters she worked for. While an adolescent, she suffered an injury that would follow her the rest of her life. She was the type of person to stand up for someone else. She had blocked a doorway to protect another field hand against an angry overseer. The overseer picked up, threw a two-pound weight at the field hand, but missed him. Instead, it struck Tubman in the head. As a result she would later suffer seizures and even sometimes fall into a deep sleep. Around 1844, she married John Tubman. In 1849, in fear of being sold along with the other slaves on the plantation, Tubman decided to run away. She set out on foot one night with the assistance from a friendly white woman. She followed the North Star by night, making her way to Pennsylvania and soon to Philadelphia, where she worked and saved her money. The following year she escorted her sister and her sister's two children to freedom. She made the dangerous trip back South soon after to rescue her brother and two other men.

On the third return, she went after her husband, only to find he had taken another wife. Undeterred, she found other slaves seeking freedom and escorted them to the North. She returned to the South again and again. She devised clever techniques to make her journey successful, including the master's horse and buggy for the first leg of the journey. She would leave on a Saturday evening, since runaway notices couldn't be placed in newspapers until Monday morning. She would turn back and head South if she encountered possible slave hunters. She would carry a drug to use on a baby if its crying placed the fugitives in danger. She also carried a gun and threatened to use them on the fugitives if they became too tired or decided to turn back the other direction. She exclaimed, "You'll be free or die." There was no turning back once the decision was made to escape. There was a notice for her capture. By 1856, her capture would've brought a $40,000 reward from the South. Given the fact she was illiterate, she would feign reading a book if she overheard anyone mentioning her name.

Tubman made the perilous journey to slave country nineteen times by 1860, including one challenging journey in which she rescued her 70 year old parents. She was a famed heroine, who became known as "Moses," Frederick Douglass said, "Excepting John Brown--of sacred memory--I know of no one who has willingly encountered more perils and hardships to serve our enslaved people than (Harriet Tubman)." John Brown, who conferred with "General Tubman" about his plans to raid Harper's Ferry, once said she was "one of the bravest persons on this continent."

After 1860 she would involve herself with antislavery causes. She would make friends with abolitionists and during the Civil War she would work as a cook, nurse, and even a spy. She was the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war. She guided the raid on the Combahee River, which liberated more than 700 slaves. In the post-war era, she fought for women's suffrage. She died of pneumonia on March 10, 1913. She was definitely a courageous lady during the slave years.

Monday, February 22, 2010

George Washington's Birthday

George Washington's Birthday is celebrated as a federal holiday on the third Monday in February. It is one of the "permanent holidays established by Congress." George Washington was born in Virginia on February 11, 1731, according to the Julian Calendar. In 1752, Great Britain and all of its colonies adopted the Gregorian Calendar, which placed Washington's birthday on February 22, 1732. The Americans celebrated his birthday long before Congress declared it a federal holiday. The centennial of his birth prompted festivities nationally and Congress established a Joint Committee to arrange for the occasion. At the recommendation of the Committee, chaired by Henry Clay of the Senate and Philemon Thomas of the House, Congress adjourned on February 22, 1832 out of Washingtn's memory and the commemoration of his birth.

Prompted by a memorial from the mayor and other citizens of Philadelphia, the House and Senate commemorated the 130th anniversary of Washington's birthday by reading aloud his Farewell Address. In a special joint session in the House chamber, the House and Senate, along with several cabinet officials, Justices of the Supreme Court and high ranking officers of the Army and Navy, gathered to listen to the Secretary of State read aloud the address. The reading of George Washington's Farewell Address became an annual event of the Senate, a tradition observed to this day. His birthday didn't become a legal holiday until January 31, 1789 when Congress added Februry 22nd to the list of holidays to be observed by federal employees in the District of Columbia. The act didn't stipulate that employees were to be paid for the holiday. Some government employees in Washington, D.C. were paid while others weren't. In 1885, Congress resolved this discrepancy with legislation that required federal employees to be paid for all federal holidays and made federal holidays applicable to all federal government employees, including those employed outside the D.C. area.

Washington's Birthday was well-celebrated into the 20th century. In 1968 Congress passed the Monday Holiday Law to "provide uniform annual observance of certain legal public holidays on Mondays." By creating more three day weekends, Congress hoped to "bring substantial benefits to both the spiritual and economic life of the nation." One of the provisions of this act changed the observance of Washington's Birthday from February 22nd to the third Monday in February. As a result of that provision, Washington's Birthday would never be celebrated on the 22nd. The latest it could be celebrated now would be on February 21st. Contrary to popular belief, Congress nor the President has ever stipulated the name of the holiday be changed to "President's Day". The movement for a holiday called "President's Day" didn't begin until 1951 and then they wanted to make March 4th the day to observe President's Day. March 4th used to be the date when the president took the oath of office. When the Monday Holiday Law was debated before Congress, there was an early draft to change Washington's Birthday to President's Day but it didn't make it before Congress. It was sometime in the 80's that Washington's Birthday was changed to President's Day. It happened as a result of a push from advertisers to rename the holiday. That's when "President's Day" made it's first public appearance. Also, only the banks and the post office close on President's Day and not other places of business.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver was a remarkable black scientist. His achievements made him famous in the world of agriculture after the 1920's. His ideas helped transform southern agriculture following the Civil War years. He was born in 1864 near Diamond Grove, Missouri on the farm of Moses Carver. Carver's parents were Miles and Mary. He was born into difficult and changing times near the end of the Civil War. The infant George and his mother were kidnapped by Confederate night-raiders and possibly sent away to Arkansas. Moses found and reclaimed George after the war but his mother had disappeared forever. Moses and Susan Carver reared George and his brother James as their own children. It was on Moses' farm where George first fell in love with nature. He was nicknamed "The Plant Doctor" and collected all manner of rocks and plants.

Carver began his formal education at the age of 12, which required him to leave the home of his adopted parents. There was no segregated school near him that accepted black students. He moved to Newton County in Southwest Missouri where he worked as a farm hand and studied in a one-room schoolhouse. He later attended Minneapolis High School in Kansas. College entrance was a struggle because of racial barriers. At the age of 30, Carver gained acceptance to Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa where he was the first black student. He had to study piano and art. The college didn't offer science classes. Intent on studying science, he later transferred to Iowa Agricultural College (Iowa State University) in 1891, where he gained a Bachelor of Science degree in 1894 and a Master of Science degree in bacterial botany and agriculture in 1897. He became a member of Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanics. He was the first black faculty member for Iowa College. He taught classes about soil conservation and chemurgy. In 1897, Booker T. Washington, head of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, convinced Carver to come south and serve as the school's Director of Agriculture. He remained on that faculty until his death in 1943.

Carver wrote a book entitled, Help for Hard Times to help farmers in agriculture. Carver developed his crop rotation method which revolutionized southern agriculture. He educated the farmers to alternate the soil-depleting cotton crops with soil-enriching crops such as peanuts, peas, soybeans, sweet potatotes, and pecans. Carver's achievements were significant because America's economy was heavily dependent upon agriculture during this period. Decades of growing only cotton and tobacco had depleted the soils of the southern area of the United States. The economy of the farming south had been devastated by years of Civil War as well as there wasn't slave labor to be used. Carver also worked at developing industrial applications from agricultural crops. During World War I, he found a way to replace textile dyes formerly imported from Europe. He produced dyes of 500 different shades of dye and was responsible in 1927 for the invention of a process for producing paints and stains from soybeans. He received three separate patents from that.

As an agricultural chemist, he discovered three hundred uses for peanuts and hundreds more uses for soybeans, pecans, and sweet potatoes. Among the listed items that he suggested to southern farmers that he thought would help them economically were his recipes and improvements for: adhesives, axle grease, bleach, buttermilk, chili sauce, fuel briquettes, ink, instant coffee, linoleum, mayonnaise , metal polish, and paper. He only applied for three patents which were in cosmetics and plant products, paints, and stains.

Carver didn't patent or profit from most of his products. He freely gave his discoveries to mankind. Most important he changed the South from being a one-crop land of cotton to multi-crop farmlands. In 1940 Carver donated his life savings to the establishment of the Carver Research Foundation at Tuskegee for continuing research in agriculture. He was bestowed an honorary doctorate from Simpson College in 1928. In 1939, he received the Roosevelt medal for restoring southern agriculture. On July 14, 1943 FDR honored Carver with a National monument dedicated to his accomplishments. The area of his childhood near Diamond Grove in Missouri is preserved as a park, which is the first for an African American.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Glenn Beck, Keynote Speaker Addresses CPAC

Radio and television talk-show host Glenn Beck capped the evening with his keynote speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC). I listened to bits of speeches from other people throughout the day such as Newt Gingrich, Linda Chavez, and the list continues. However, none of them said what Glenn Beck said. Glenn Beck by far gave the best speech during the three day CPAC convention. He took the Republican Party to the task. Instead of spending his time taking pot shots at President Obama and the Democrat Party, Beck stated what the problem was that ailed America: Progressivism. For the last several weeks on the Glenn Beck Program on Fox News, Glenn Beck traced the roots of the Progressive movement early in the 20th century embodied by Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Beck mentioned Progressivism is found in both political parties. Progressivism is about big government, excessive spending, and high taxes. Progressivism believes government holds the solutions to the problems that ails mankind.

Beck began his speech paying tribute to the late President Ronald Reagan. One of the famous slogans of the Reagan campaign was "Morning in America". Beck believes in an America where it's morning once again. He was mentioning abut Progressivism and how it was eating away at the Constitution. He called Progressivism a disease. Progressivism is in both political parties. Beck said he doesn't even know what the Republican Party stands for today and even if they state what they supposedly believe, he doesn't know that he can trust them. He says democracy can only on operate as our Constitution allows us to. "Big government, socialist-utopia needs to be addressed as it is--as a cancer." Beck made mention of the press conference golfer Tiger Woods held yesterday and at that press conference Woods admitted he had a problem with sexual addiction. Beck said that the Republican Party hasn't yet admitted that it has a problem. He says the Republican Party needs to admit it has an addiction to excessive spending and big government just like the Democrats are. He mentioned how Woods adapted the attitude that rules applied to normal people but him. He says Republicans don't get it. The Republicans need to recognize they can't continue their excessive spending and not bankrupt America.

Glenn Beck unveiled his famous chalkboard that he uses on his daily Glenn Beck television program and he wrote some notes on it like he always does on television. He said America is not a circus. He made tribute to the attitude many progressive Republicans have about the GOP being a "big enough tent for everyone". Beck says that America isn't a big tent, it's an idea. America is not a clown show. He was writing down the statistics on the chalkboard the breakdown of America's ideological preferences. He wrote that 40% of Americans claim to be conserves, 36% say they're moderate, and only 20% of Americans identify themselves as liberal. He was mentioning despite the conservative ideological bent of a great percentage of Americans, Republicans and Conservatives keep losing? Why? Because those that claim to be conservative aren't. That's my take--not Beck's quote.

Beck was mentioning the importance of personal responsibility. Beck started his career 20+ years ago as a DJ. During his early career Beck was addicted to drugs and alcohol. Beck eventually had to hit rock bottom and he lost everything. His first marriage ended in the mid-nineties. Beck had to come to the point where he had to admit he had an addiction to drugs and alcohol. One of his radio producers, Pat Gray eventually introduced Beck to Mormonism and Beck is now a Mormon. That part of Beck's story is tragic because Jesus is the only way--not Joseph Smith. Beck eventually worked his way upward. He remarried in 1999. Several years ago he began his own radio talk-show program. He's still on the airwaves to this very day. It's called the Glenn Beck Program. Over four years ago Glenn Beck started the Glenn Beck Program on CNN Headline News. Last year the Glenn Beck Program moved to Fox News Channel. Beck has been at Fox for over a year now. Beck has precious little formal college experience. He took only one semester of college because he couldn't afford to attend longer. However, Beck is a self-educated man. Over the years he's read and studied history. Today Beck's star is rising and he has one of the top rated shows on Fox. Beck said he can stand tall due to learning from his failure. He said without failure there's no sweetness to success.

Beck was talking about the greatness of America. He mentioned America is a country where people have the opportunity for success. However, success isn't something that's guaranteed to America. Success must be earned. He was mentioning about the Progressive attitude about entitlement. The Progressives believe that Americans are entitled to healthcare, a house, and handouts. Beck was pointing out we're we're not owed anything by the government. It's our responsibility as Americans to purchase our own homes or to purchase healthcare. He rightly pointed out that the government doesn't create jobs. The entrepreneur creates the jobs. He was criticizing the government for penalizing those in business that try to achieve. He said the Progressives were looking toward Europe as a model for the United States, whereas Europe was looking toward the United States as the model and a beacon of hope. He was also criticizing how in our schools today students can compete in a sports event and all the students will receive a trophy for participation. He asked why bother competing for the purpose of winning if there are no winners. If all students are going to receive a trophy due to participating, then what's the point of competing. America doesn't know how to be competitive. Beck said teachers better grade students papers with red marks or students will be devoured in the real world when they look for a job. In America there are winners and losers. Beck was advocating personal responsibility for each individual. The government should stop being anti-capitalist and allow America to be the kind of country it can be. Beck said we haven't faced the day of economic reckoning yet. He said difficult times are yet to come. But he stated if we band together as Americans, after a long and tiresome day we will make it.

The speech that Glenn Beck gave at CPAC was superb. His speech said something. Even though I don't agree with all of Beck's views, he was right in everything he said Saturday evening. He took the Republicans to task and reminded them that they need to admit they have the problem. There are some political pundits that don't like what Beck said about the Republicans, but it's true. Calling pot shots at President Obama is not what the Republicans need to be doing. The problem with the Republican Party is hypocrisy. They need to take a trip down memory lane and remember what they were like when they had control of Congress. They were drunk on power themselves and they were guilty of excessive spending. They need to recall why they lost the last two elections. They need to apologize to the American people for their pathetic leadership when they had control of Congress. They need to create an outline of what their core principle views on government are and they need to outline an agenda that they would implement if they were to take the reigns of leadership in Congress once again. Their responsibility is to the American people--not Wall Street, La Raza, or other special interests. The American people are angry at both parties. The Republicans better not interpret the Democrats' loss in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts as the American people currying favor with the Republicans. The American people can't trust either party. The American people want leaders that will stand upon solid American principles and not stray from them. We need patriots that will following the Constitution. Politicians must stop hiding behind their own party. The American people aren't interested in party affiliation as much as they're interested in leaders that possess character.

The CPAC Convention in Washington, D.C.

This year at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) there was a host of speakers such as Dick Cheney, Richard Armey, Tim Pawlenty, Jon Ashcroft, Marco Rubio, Steve King, Linda Chavez, Newt Gingrich, and the list continues. Fox News talk-show host Glenn Beck will be delivering the closing keynote address this evening. Marco Rubio, a Cuban immigrant, was the opening keynote speaker Thursday, which was the opening day of the meeting. Rubio is also running against Governor Charlie Crist in the Florida primaries. As of this date, Rubio is leading in the polls 12 percentage points against Crist. CPAC was first formed in 1973 and it's a forum for young conservatives. The very first keynote speaker at this event was then Governor Ronald Reagan of California. It's a gathering for conservatives to express their ideas and give speeches and "bash" the other party in power. There were plenty of speakers making derogatory comments about President Obama and his use of the teleprompter and the national healthcare bill he and Congress are trying to ram down the American peoples' throats. Iowa Congress Steve King called Obamacare "toxic stew". He's definitely rights in his assessment about Obamacare. This national healthcare bill would be toxic for Americans. There's no way to fund this monstruous bill. Taxes will have to be increased at all levels and that would push the American taxpayer over the brink considering employment prospects at this moment. So far, there wasn't much said that I enjoyed. I listened some to Linda Chavez and Newt Gingrich.

Newt Gingrich spoke this afternoon and he was making reference to U.S. Senator Evan Bayh's not running for re-election. He was commenting on the statement that Bayh made about creating jobs. Gingrich said as President Mr. Obama has created three jobs: Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. He was making reference to the Republican victories in those states. As true as those statements are, I thought the reverse is as true as well. I believe the Republicans that held control of Congress as well as President Bush helped created jobs for the Democrats that hold the majority in Congress as well as for President Obama. That's why the Republican Party is in the shape it's in. In 2008, the Republican party bosses elected John McCain in the primary. He was no conservative. Just think what would've happened if McCain won the presidency. It would've placed the conservative movement in further disarray. However, Obama's ascension to the presidency has energized conservatives and as a result the growing Tea Party movement has formed. And the Republican elites still don't understand. Linda Chavez was stating that we don't need to alienate the growing Hispanic population in the United States. The issue isn't over race: it's over illegal immigration. We're speaking of border security! Those that support closing the borders aren't promoting racism against Hispanics or any other race. They believe the illegals shouldn't sneak into the United States and receive benefits when they aren't entitled to them. Those that cross this border should go through the proper channels and be documented. It's a national security issue. It's dangerous to not know who crosses our borders whether it be through Mexico or Canada.

Another issue that I didn't hear discussed was the issue of the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq. There needs to be a commitment to win those wars immediately and then pull out as soon as possible. These wars are bankrupting our treasury. There's no purpose in fighting a protracted war when there's no commitment on the part of the President, the Congress, and the military brass to win that war in convincing fashion. It's foolish! Border security and the wars in the Middle East were issues that needed to be addressed. Instead all those in attendance have their mind on winning the general elections of 2010. Dick Cheney and some others stated that 2010 will be a good year for conservative ideas. The question I would like to ask what kind of agenda will they implement if they win back control of Congress? Are they going to continue their business-as-usual ways like they did a few years ago? They need to publish an outlined agenda of what goals would be if they returned to the helm of power. The Republican elites are more concerned about winning elections than standing for principle. They will be the loyal opposition as long as the Democrats are in power. They can criticize Obama's use of the teleprompter and his excessive spending from now until sundown. However, many Americans still remember how the Republicans were when they were drunk on power. The Tea Party movement is not a movement to promote the Republican Party. They desire to see power restored to the people and to promote candidates that will shrink the size of government. Many conservative Americans feel betrayed by the Republican establishment. I'm tired of hearing Republicans taking pot shots at President Obama and the Democrats when they were just as hypocritical themselves. Many of them were Progressive in their thinking and they promoted big government and huge spending. They lied about the principles they claim to uphold.

The Republican Party needs to take a trip down memory lane and remember their hypocrisy and how they betrayed the trust of mainstream Americans. They need to apologize for their arrogance and betrayal of the public's trust when they were in power. I liked what Senator Jim Demint (R-SC) said. He would rather have thirty Republicans stand by conservative principles than have 60 Republicans that stand for nothing. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum had it right when he said conservatism didn't fail America. It was "conservatives failing conservatism." Those that claimed to be conservative are liberals. Under former President Bush and the Republicans, spending was out of control as well as the scope and size of government grew. The Republicans deserve to lose if they are going to be Democrat-lite. The Republicans need to stand for constitutional principles and practice them when they win election. If they won't abide by that decree, then they don't deserve to win in November. We don't need any more RINO's in there.

In closing, there was a 2012 presidential straw poll taken at CPAC. Ron Paul garnered the most votes with 31% of the vote. Mitt Romney came in a close second with 22%. Sarah Palin won 7% of the vote and Tim Pawlenty won 6% of the vote. Sarah Palin didn't attend this year's CPAC. The previous three years Mitt Romney won the straw poll but he didn't win the Republican party's nomination for president in 2008. It's highly unlikely Congressman Ron Paul will win the Republican presidential primary in 2012. Last year's CPAC was capped off by Rush Limbaugh delivering the closing keynote address. He was assailed by critics last year when Rush Limbaugh stated that he hoped President Obama's policies fail. Bush explained in that meeting that he wanted to see Obama's policies fail because they're terrible for America. Limbaugh wanted to see America prosper but he pointed out Obama's policies would destroy our free market system.

Former Secretary of State Alexander Haig dies at 85

Former Secretary of State Alexander Haig, who served Republican presidents and briefly pursued the presidency in 1988, has died today at the age of 85 according to Fox News.com. He died at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore from complications associated with an infection. President Obama praised Haig as a public servant who "exemplified our finest warrior-diplomat tradition of those who dedicate their lives to public service. He enjoyed a remarkable and decorated career, rising to a four-star general and serving as Supreme Allied Commander of Europe before also serving as Secretary of State." "I think of him as a patriot's patriot," said George P. Shultz, who succeeded Haig as the country's top diplomat in 1982. "No matter how you slice him it came out red, white, and blue. He was always willing to serve." The four-star general served as a top adviser to three presidents and had presidential ambitions of his own. President Richard Nixon appointed him to White House Chief of Staff in 1973, succeeding H.R. Haldeman. As the Watergate Scandal deepened in 1973, Haig had the responsibility to help the president prepare his impeachment defense and handled many of the day-to-day decisions normally made by the chief executive.

It was said in 1974 that Haig had urged Nixon to resign from the presidency. In later years Haig spoke of Nixon in cautious terms. "I found with President Nixon--and I'm sure there are similarities today--that these are very political beings," he told Fox News in 1998. "They wouldn't be in that office if they weren't politically astute." Haig had considered making a run for the presidency in 1979, but later decided against it. In 1981 following the election of Ronald Reagan as president, Reagan appointed Haig as Secretary of State. He held that post for seventeen months. He resigned due to bureaucratic infighting. He had conflict with both Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and National Security Adviser William Clark.
When Reagan was assassinated in March 1981, Haig uttered these famous words, "As of now I am in control of the White House." Some critics have misconstrued that statement as Haig was trying to usurp power because according to presidential succession, the Secretary of State isn't next in line for presidential succession. In 2001 Haig remarked that "Everybody in that room was familiar with the fact that this wasn't a discussion of transition, but rather authority within the executive branch."

In 1988, Haig campaigned for the GOP presidential nomination but was forced to drop out of the race before the end of February. He published two memoirs, profited in the private sector, and spent much of his later years defending his unique, storied, and controversial career. Born on December 2, 1924, Alexander Meigs Haig spent much of his boyhood dreaming of a military career. He was born on the Philadelphia surburb of Bala CynWyd. With the help of his uncle who had congressional contacts, he secured an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1943. He saw combat in Korea and Vietnam. He had worked alongside General Douglas MacArthur in the Korean War. Haig was tapped by Henry Kissinger to be the military adviser on the National Security Council under President Nixon. In 1972 Nixon promoted Haig from a two-star to a four-star rank, passing over 240 high-ranking officers with greater seniority. He helped arrange wiretaps of government officials and reporters during his tenure as Chief of Staff under Nixon. After Nixon resigned, he stayed for six weeks as Chief of Staff under President Ford. For years Haig was dogged by speculation that he was "Deep Throat". It was speculated that Haig anonymously leaked the Watergate story to the Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. A few years ago it was revealed that former FBI agent Mark Felt was "Deep Throat."

Following his resignation as the White House Chief of Staff under President Ford, Haig went back into the military as the Commander in Chief of U.S. forces in Europe and the supreme allied commander of NATO forces. He was in that position for four years and resigned during the Jimmy Carter administration due to frustration over the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Then Haig went back into the private sector and worked for United Technologies. When Haig was Secretary of State under Reagan, he was involved in Shuttle diplomacy between British and Argentine Islands in an unsuccessful attempt to avert a war over the Falkland Islands.

Three years ago I had the privilege to hear Dr. Michael Savage of the Savage Nation interview Alexander Haig on his radio program. Haig was giving his comments in regards to the Iraq War that was floundering at that time. Haig stated the problem was there was a lack of commitment to win that war and that then President Bush needed to invest his assets to concentrate on winning the war in Iraq. Haig also believed the national draft needed to be reinstated as well. Haig wasn't too thrilled over the report the "Iraq Study Group" gave about the war in Iraq. The "Iraq Study Group" was a dog-and-pony show. Haig also was opposed to the policies of the neoconservatives or "neocons" in the Republican Party. Haig stated President Reagan invited those formerly disenfranchised Democrats into the Republican Party due to the neoconservatives disgust with the leftward direction of the Democratic Party. However, Haig remarked that the neocons didn't embrace the conservative tenets of the Republican Party. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Gen. Haig speak on the Savage Nation. He was thoroughly knowledgeable about national and military affairs. Haig is survived by his wife Patricia, three children, and eight grandchildren.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Man Furious at the IRS Crashes into the IRS Building in Texas

Joseph Andrew Stack, a software engineer who was perturbed at the IRS, launched a suicide attack Thursday by crashing his small plane into an office building containing nearly 200 IRS employees, setting off a raging fire that sent workers running for their lives. The FBI tentatively identified the pilot as Joseph A. Stack, 53. Before taking off, Stack apparently set fire to his house and posted a long, anti-government screen on the Web. It was dated Thursday and signed, "Joe Stack (1956-2010)". In it the author cited run-ins with the IRS and ranted about the tax agency, government bailouts, and corporate America's "thugs and plunderers." "I had all that I can stand", he wrote adding: "I choose not to keep looking over my shoulder at 'big brother' while he strips my carcass." Stack had a manifesto on his website begun on Tuesday night. It was typed on Microsoft Word and revised over 27 times. I don't know what his manifesto contained in regard to his political beliefs and ideology. He uttered the statement, "Violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer." That's very scary to say the least.

The pilot took off in a single-engine Piper Cherokee from an airport in Georgetown, about 30 miles from Austin, Texas, without filing a flight plan. He flew low over the Austin skyline before plowing into the side of the hulking, seven-story black-glass building just before 10:00 a.m. with a thunderous explosion that instantly stirred the emotions of September 11." Flames shot from the building, windows exploded, a huge pillar of black smoke rose over the city, and terrified workers rush to exit the building. The Pentagon scrambled two F-16 fighter jets from Houston to patrol the skies over the burning building before it came clear that it was the act of a lone pilot. One IRS revenue officer stated it felt like a bomb had exploded. The ceiling caved in and the windows blew in.

I first heard about this incident yesterday afternoon when I was watching the Glenn Beck Show on the Fox news channel. He was saying when he first heard about the plane crash it sounded like another 9/11. It seemed the same way to me. As Beck was giving the details about the incident, I had the usual questions coming to my mind when this terrrorist incident took place. I was wondering what was his race, religion, etc. I was wondering whether he was a Muslim or was he sympathetic to Muslim extremists. Was Stack behind this terrorist plot himself or was he the vehicle? Did someone or some group construe this plot? These are pertinent types of questions to ask. After the plane crash occurred, the government took down Stack's manifesto on the Website. I'm curious what that website contained. I'm curious what his ideological bent is. I have no idea what political party he was a member of nor whether he was a political liberal or conservative. It doesn't make any difference. There's no justification for his carrying out a suicide mission to crash into an IRS building. The Constitution of the United States provides a means for a redress of grievances. I know our national government is very unresponsive to its citizens in this day we're living in; but suicide missions are evil. God is not behind them. There's a proper way to channel one's anger. You don't use unmitigated violence to address problems. Instead, it will give our federal government an excuse to clamp down on the private citizens of America. The federal government will use Joe Stack as an excuse to denigrate the Tea Party movement or those that are disgusted over how the government is being operated. President Obama and the Democratic Congress will call those type of people right-wing extremists or revolutionaries and declare them dangerous. That was an idiotic act that Joe Stack performed. There's more to this incident that what we already are being told.

It is true that some of the allegations that Joe Stack made in regards to "Big Brother" and the U.S. tax code are true. I'm not dismissing any frustration he may have had over our government. However, committing acts of murder is NEVER JUSTIFIED! The citizens don't have a right to take the law into their own hands. Crashing a plane into a building is not going to straighten out Washington. There were innocent employees that were murdered in this plane crash. I don't know what possessed him or what his motivations were. I'm sure we'll learn more in days to come. However, it's never justifiable or right to take the law into your own hands. There are things that the American citizen can do besides committing atrocious acts such as voting out the incumbents, becoming politically involved in our local communities, citizens lobbying for true reform such as eliminating campaign financing of our politicians by various special interest groups toward both political parties etc. We need to remove these traitorous incumbents from Washington. However, there are proper ways to address political grievances without committing violence.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Booker T. Washington's Speech at the Atlanta Cotton States and International Exposition

Here is a speech that Booker T. Washington gave at the Atlanta Cotton States and International Exposition, September 18, 1895.

. . . A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal, "Water, water; we die of thirst!" The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back, "Cast down your bucket where you are." A second time the signal, "Water, water; send us water!" ran up from the distressed vessel, and was answered, "Cast down your bucket where you are." The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket, and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River. To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition in a foreign land or who underestimate the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man, who is their next-door neighbour, I would say: "Cast down your bucket where you are"--cast it down in making friends in every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded.

Cast it down in agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domestic service, and in the professions. And in this connection it is well to bear in mind that whatever other sins the South may be called to bear, when it comes to business, pure and simple, it is in the South that the Negro is given a man's chance in the commercial world, and in nothing is this Exposition more eloquent than in emphasizing this chance. Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labour and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial, the ornamental gewgaws of life and the useful. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of life we must we must begin, and not at the top. Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.

To those of the white race . . . I would repeat what I say to my own race, "Cast down your bucket where you are." Cast it down among the eight millions of Negroes whose habits you know, whose fidelity and love you have tested in days when to have proved treacherous meant the ruin of your firesides. Cast down your bucket among these people who have, without strikes and labour wars, tilled your fields, cleared your forests, builded your railroads and cities, and brought forth treasures from the bowels of the earth. . . While doing this, you can be sure in the future, as in the past, that you and your families will be surrounded by the most patient, faithful, law-abiding, and unresentful people that the world has seen. . . in our humble way, we shall stand by you with a devotion that no foreigner can approach, ready to lay down our lives, if need be, in defence of yours, interlacing our industrial, commercial, civil, and religious life with yours in a way that shall make the interests of both races one. In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress. . .

The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly, and that progress is the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than artificial forcing. . .It is important and right all privileges of the law be ours, but is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercises of these privileges. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera-house.

. . . far above and beyond material benefits will be that higher good, that, let us pray God, will come, in a blotting out of sectional differences and racial animosites and suspicions, in a determination to administer absolute justice, in a willing obedience among all classes to the mandates of law. This, this, coupled with our material prosperity, will bring into our beloved South a new heaven and a new earth.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

President Obama Announces Intentions to Build Nuclear Power Plants

In Lanham, Maryland President Obama yesterday laid out an eight billion dollar plan on nuclear power, unveiling loan guarantees to spur construction on the first new U.S. nuclear plant since the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant accident in 1979. President Obama said nuclear power must play a key role in an energy policy designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and wean the U.S. of foreign oil from volatile regions such as the Middle East. "On an issue which affects our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, we cannot continue to be mired in the same old debates between left and right, between environmentalists and entrepreneurs." Obama said. "We'll have to build a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in America," he told journalists on a visit to a training center focusing on clean energy and low carbon energy technologies outside Washington. "We are announcing roughly eight billion dollars in loan guarantees to break ground on the first nuclear plant in our country in nearly three decades," said Obama.

The loan guarantees are supposedly going towards the construction of two new 1100 megawatt nuclear reactors at an existing nuclear facility in Burke, Georgia. Obama's plan is supposed to create 3000 construction jobs and eventually some 830 permanent jobs. Obama said this was only the beginning. President Obama stated that America's competitors were beating us to the punch such as Japan and France for example. There are 56 nuclear reactors built worldwide: there are 21 in China, 6 in South Korea, and 5 in India. Obama stated with the threat of "climate change" it was imperative that America invest in nuclear energy. What a turnaround in policy!

Is President Obama serious about constructing new nuclear power plants in America? Only time will tell. It could be nothing but lip service. However, if President Obama will carry out "his" plans to build nuclear energy plants, that will be the first notable accomplishment of his administration. It's hard for me to believe that President Obama would do so given his liberal supporters are opposed to using nuclear power as an energy alternative. There are two types of groups opposed to the building of nuclear power plants. For one thing, there are watchdog groups that are opposed to spending money on building nuclear plants because of concern of its scale and impact. The environmentalists are another group that's opposed to building nuclear plants. The reason for their opposition is supposedly due to safety concerns, citing the Three Mile accident in 1979. However, most of the nuclear power plants in America are built safely and it's rare to have a nuclear accident. I know in Russia there was an accident at Chernobyl in 1986, but the Russians poorly construct their nuclear facilities. However, all the opposition that the environmentalists and other groups give for opposing nuclear power plants are just an excuse to prevent America from weaning itself away from foreign oil.

Why is President Obama all of a sudden deciding to "build" nuclear power plants? First of all, it's too premature to say whether President Obama will carry through with building nuclear plants. Anything could happen. I remember when President Bush was in office and he and the Republicans were trying to lift the ban from drilling for oil in the Arctic. However, I believe the whole incident was a charade. Obama's "plan" to build nuclear power plants could be a charade simply because the Democrats in power are in trouble of losing control of power in Congress this November. Also, President Obama's approval ratings have been slipping for several months. There are some polls that say his approval rating is below 50%. Therefore, Obama recognizes he needs to reach out to the voters, especially the independent voter that are loyal to neither the Democrats nor Republicans. That might be the purpose of him making the decision to build nuclear power plants. If lower approval ratings will help motivate President Obama to make some right decisions in regards to America's best interests, then that's great. We desperately need to build nuclear power plants so we won't have to dig for coal all the time. Much of the nation's electricity comes from coal.

Only time will tell whether or not President Obama is sincere in his "desires" to build nuclear plants. If he is, he's doing the right thing in this scenario and I agree with that move. However, it's nothing new for both Democrats and Republicans to put on a charade to appease the angry voter. President Obama knows the average voter is angry so he's trying to find ways to appease the disgruntled voters. I'm all for nuclear plants and other forms of alternative energy that will place America on the path to energy independence. Nuclear power is a clean form of energy. I believe our nation's cities need to invest in nuclear energy. That will greatly reduce the need for oil and coal. We need to diversify when it comes to energy resources. Building nuclear power plants will be the first step in the right direction.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sermon on the Mount (Part 6)

(Matthew 7:24-27) "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these saysing of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." Whenever there's a commercial building or any kind of physical structure being built, there must be a foundation laid before you can begin hanging the steel. Whenever you build any kind of physical structure, you must begin laying a foundation. Why is that so? You must lay a foundation to hold up the structure of the building. If there's not a solid foundation upon which to build any kind of physical structure, then whatever is built from the ground up will eventually collapse. It's the foundation that offers support for the steel, bricks, the rafters, the roof, and any other materials that are involved in building an edifice. Without a solid foundation upon which to build any kind of physical strucutre, then all the materials that are used to erect the building won't endure. They'll just cave in. That's why it's so crucial to build a foundation. A foundation is the support or stabilizer upon which to build a building.

On January 12, Haiti experienced a 7.0 earthquake. That earthquake devastated the tropical country of Haiti. All the buildings that were constructed in Haiti weren't constructed to withstand a strong earthquake. Therefore, many of the homes and public buildings toppled in Haiti. The foundation of those buildings was inadequate. That's why they toppled the way they did. Of course, any town, country, or state that's built on a fault line is not on a very strong foundation to begin with. If the homes or commercial buildings aren't built to withstand a large magnitude earthquake, then the building will collapse. In any earthquake which has a magnitude of 7.0 or more there will be considerable damage taking place. That's why it's so necessary for buildings to be designed so the damage caused by an earthquake will be minimized. That's one example of how important it is to construct a strong foundation. There are cities along the Gulf Coast that are susceptible to hurricanes. It's very imperative that homes and public buildings to be built to better withstand the storms that nature allows to take place. That's another reason for builings to be constructed with a steady foundation.

Here are just a few of the reasons just mentioned with earthquakes and storms why it's so important to construct buildings with a firm foundation. If that be so in the physical realm, just recognize the seriousness of building a church, a country, and a home (family) on a strong spiritual foundation. One of the reasons why so many homes are falling apart today like never before is because many homes aren't build on a sturdy solid foundation. If Christ isn't the head of that home, there will be trouble when the storms of life come about. Today our country is in the midst of a recession. The unemployment rates are creeping higher and higher. As anyone knows, the lack of finances causes stress in a home. If that home isn't built securely on the Word of God, then there will be turmoil in that home. There's a great possibility that home could rip apart at the seams and crumble. That's happened in many homes. In today's homes, there are many wayward children that are running to and fro in every direction. They are on drugs, alcohol, etc. and they hang around with the wrong crowd in their youth. There are many parents that are frustrated with the choices their children are making. Why? There's a number of reasons. Many parents are inconsistent with training their children in the ways of God. They aren't consistent when it comes to discipline. Children have to be disciplined. Children also have to be taught the Word of God. If the Word of God isn't paramount in that home, then how can Christian parents expect their children not to go astray? If Jesus isn't the foundation in that home, then it will crumble when the pressures of life are applied to that home. Everybody goes through trials. Trials and suffering are a fact of life. Every home regardless whether it's Christian or not, is going to face storms and trials. When the parents aren't faithful when it comes to standing on the rock (Jesus) when storms come by, how can they expect their children to make it? Christian families don't just happen. They are built. A Christian home must be built on the Word of God and prayer as well as faithful church attendance. If families don't make spiritual things a priority in their life, then their home is going to face trouble when the storms come.

A church also must be built on a strong foundation. In Matthew 16:18-19, Jesus told his disciples, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Jesus told Peter that His church was to be built on the solid rock, which is Jesus. A church must be built by the preaching, teaching, and practicing of the Word of God. When the focus is not on the solid rock, then that church isn't going to withstand trials and tribulations. Also, a church isn't scriptural if it's not built on the Word of God. The whole purpose of church collectively is to worship and serve the Lord. Everything must be Christ-centered. If it's not Christ-centered, then it won't fulfill it's purpose here on this earth. There are many churches in name only that major in numbers and marketing techniques to draw in crowds of young people. A church must be built on solid preaching and prayer. The Bible says in Acts 2:47 when the church was empowered by the Holy Spirit that the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. God must add to the church. It's done through the preaching and teaching of the Word. The Holy Ghost must convict hearts. We can't rely on the methods outside of the Bible to legitimately reach people. You can reach people through worldly methods, but those worldly methods won't produce genuine converts. Instead, those methods will produce lost church members. A New Testament church must be built on the solid rock which is Jesus.

Lastly, it's imperative that a country be built on a solid foundation. America in its beginnings was built on a solid foundation. Our Pilgrim and Puritan forefathers came to this country in the seventeenth century to build this country on Judeo-Christian principles. They fled England for the purposes of the freedom to worship as they chose. They in turn built and dedicated Massachusetts to God. Read the Mayflower Compact and some of the old Puritan writings. Over the last one hundred years, America has gone astray. Secular humanism has creeped into this country and now we've become a post-Christian nation. Our politicians, our mainline denominational churches, our businesses, and even many of this nation's citizens have forgotten God today. Today we worship at the altar of prosperity. Take a look where that's brought this country in the last fifty years. There's an old saying, "Rome burns while Nero fiddles." That's happening in America today. America is on fire and we are all playing our fiddles. The warning signs are ominous. America is in trouble spiritually, socially, morally, politically, and even financially. We've allowed atheists such as Madeline Murray O'Hare declare war on God over fifty years ago and they sued and took their atheistic causes to court. As a result we've had Supreme Court decisions in 1962 and 1963 which led to the path of outlawing voluntary prayer and Bible reading in our schools. Our nation's leaders don't want to acknowledge God in our country. We have atheists that have been trying to strip every mention of Jehovah God from our public arena in America. They've been successful for the most part. The biggest problem is our churches have fallen asleep. We've hung our harps upon the willow and have not paid attention to the cultural onslaught that's taken place in America for the last 50 years. We've rejected the Judeo-Christian foundation that our Puritan forefathers built American upon. The Bible says in Psalms 11:3 "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Our foundation has been destroyed in America. What can the righteous do in this country? I don't know. I do know Christians need to stand for truth and stand for righteousness in all levels of society. I don't expect America to turn around and embrace the God our country was built upon. I know I'm very cynical. I do know with God all things are impossible. However, it says in Psalms when your foundations are destroyed, there's not much the righteous can do to restore them. I do know that all the events that are taking place in our world is leading to the soon return of the Lord. We need to live for God in these last days. We need more than ever to be faithful to church and put a hedge around our homes. That's the only choice we have. We need to make sure our homes are built on a solid spiritual foundation.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

On the Death of George Whitefield (by Phillis Wheatley, a black poet)

Hail, happy saint, on this immortal throne,

Possest of glory, life, and bliss unknown;

We hear no more the music of thy tongue.

Thy wonted auditories cease to throne.

Thy sermons is unequall'd accents flow'd,

And ev'ry bosom with devotion glow'd;

Thou didst in strains of eloquence refin'd

Inflame the heart, and captivate the mind.

Unhappy we the setting sun deplore,

So glorious once, but ah! it shines no more.

Behold the prophet in his tow'ring flight!

He leaves the earth for heav'n's unmeasur'd hight,

And worlds unknown receive him from our sight.

There Whitefield wings with rapid course his way,

And sails to Zion through vast seas of day.

When his AMERICANS were burden'd sore,

When streets were crimson'd with their guiltless gore;

Unrival'd friendship in his breast now strove:

The fruit thereof was charity and love.

Towards America couldst thou do more

Than leave thy native home, the British shore,

To cross the great Atlantic's wat'ry road,

To see America's distress'd abode?

Thy prayers, great Saints and thy incessant cries,

Have pierc'd the bosom of thy native skies!

Thou moon hast seen, and ye bright stars of light

Have witness been of his requests by night!

He pray'd that grace in every heart might dwell:

He long'd to see America excell;

He charg'd its youth to let the grace divine

Arise, and in their future actions shine;

He offer'd THAT he did himself receive,

A greater gift not GOD himself can give!

He urg'd the need of HIM to every one!
It was no less than GOD's co-equal SON!

Take HIM ye wretcvhed for your only good;

Take HIM ye starving souls to be your food.

Ye thirsty, come to his life giving stream!

Ye Preachers, take him for your joyful theme;

Take HIM, "my dear AMERICANS," he said,
Be your complaints in his kind bosom laid!

Take HIM ye Africans, he longs for you;

Impartial SAVIOUR, is his title due,

If you will chuse to walk in grace's road;

You shall be sons, and kings, and priests to GOD.

Great COUNTESS! We Americans revere.

Thy name, and thus condole thy grief sincere;

We mourn with thee, that TOMB obscurely plac'd,

In which thy chaplain undisturb'd doth rest.

New England sure, doth feel the ORPHAN's smart;

Reveals the true sensations of his heart:

Since this fair Sun, withdraws his golden rays,

No more to brighten these distressful days!

His lonely Tabernacke, sees no more

A WHITEFIELD landing on the British shore:

Then let us view him in yon azure skies!

Let every mind with this lov'd object rise

No more can he exert his lab'ring breath,
Seiz'd by the cruel messenger of death.
What can his dear AMERICA return?
But drop a tear upon his happy urn,
Thou tomb, shall safe retain thy sacred trust,
Till life divine re-animate his dust.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Abraham Lincoln's Birthday

Today is the 201st anniversary of former President Abraham Lincoln's birthday. He was considered by historians to be one of the greatest presidents that the U.S. has ever known. He had a very humble background. He was born to Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln. He was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky on February 12, 1809. He lived there until he was about seven years old, then his parents moved to Indiana. His mother died when he was around ten years old. His dad eventually remarried a woman named Sarah. Then when he was 21 years old around 1830, he moved to Illinois where he eventually became a lawyer, state legislator, and a U.S. Congressmen. He lived in Illinois until he was elected as America's sixteenth president in 1860. Lincoln possessed very little formal education. He taught himself law. He was mostly a self-educated president. When Lincoln became president in 1861, our nation became embroiled in a Civil War which lasted from 1861-65. The causes of the war were varied. One of the causes was over the dispute of state's rights vs. federal sovereignty. After the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, South Carolina in April 1861, Lincoln was determined to preserve the Union. He felt saving the Union was more important than anything else. If he couldn't preserve the Union, he would've been a failure as president. Another major issue that had been brewing ever since we became a nation was the battle over slavery. There were states that supported slavery and there were other groups such as the abolitionists that opposed slavery. Slavery became an issue in the war after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Linoln in 1863. That helped rally the blacks in support of the war. Slavery wasn't officially ended until eight months after Lincoln's death when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified in December 1865. Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on Friday April 14, 1865 (Good Friday) and he died the next morning. Lincoln has been a legend in American history since that time. He's been known as the "Great Emancipator" as a result of the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 as well as slavery being completed ended after the war. There's never been a president quite like Lincoln since that time. He was definitely my favorite president.

Abraham Lincoln's birthday is a legal holiday in some U.S. states including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and Indiana. Except for California and Indiana, Lincoln's birthday is observed on the anniversary of Lincoln's birth, which is February 12. the earliest known observance of Lincoln's birthday was in Buffalo, New York in 1874. Julius Francis, a Buffalo druggist, made it his life's mission to honor the slain president. He repeatedly petitioned Congress to establish Lincoln's birthday as a legal holiday. The day is marked by traditional wreath-laying ceremonies at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site in Hodgenville, Kentucky and at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Last year was the Bicentennial celebration of Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday. On February 12, 2009, the annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial commemorated Lincoln's 200th birthday in grand fashion. An extended ceremony, organized by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission (ALBC) and with help from MOLLUS featuring musical performances by the U.S. Marine Corps Band. The morning celebration featured remarks by Dick Durbin, Senate Majority Whip, Lincoln scholar and ALBC co-chair Harold Holzer, recently retired Rohide Island Supreme Court Chief Justice and ALBC commissioner Frank J. Williams, and author Nikki Giovannia, reciting her newest work, which was written especially for the Bicentennial. Also, as part of the Bicentennial, the U.S. Mint released four new pennies. The commemorative coins have new designs on the reverse showing the different stages of his life. The first coin went into circulation on February 12, 2009. The standard portrait of Lincoln's head remains on the front. The new designs include a log cabin representing Lincoln's birthplace, Lincoln as a young man reading while sitting on a log that he was taking a break from splitting, Lincoln as a state legislator in front of the Illinois capitol, and the partially built dome of the U.S. Capitol. There has never been an annual Federal holiday honoring Lincoln. For several years now "Presidents Day" is celebrated on the third Monday in February. Presidents Day combines both Lincoln's and Washington's birthday in February and now Presidents Day takes the place of both famous presidents of the past.

Abraham Lincoln will live on in infamy as undoubtedly one of the greatest, if not the greatest president that ever lived. He became president during the time of one of the greatest crises that's ever existed in American history. Sectionalism or various conflicts amongst the states was rampant for a number of decades prior to the Civil War ranging from issues such as the tariff to the spread of slavery in the new U.S. territories. There were also conflicts involving states rights vs. Federal sovereingty. The Civil War was the bloodiest war America had ever engaged in because it was a war between the North and South in the United States. Lincoln had a daunting task in preserving the Union. His most important goal was in preservation of the Union regardless of whether slavery was abolished or not. He was opposed to slavery and desired to see it someday abolished. However, he wasn't willing for the United States to be splintered in order to see that happen. Thankfully, following the Civil War, the Union was preserved and slavery was abolished completely. We as Americans owe a debt of gratitude to "Honest Abe" for his steadfast leadership and perseverance during one of America's greatest conflicts.