Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Will Trump Hold Evangelical Appeal?


Trump with his Bible at Council Bluffs, Iowa
I'll be interested to see how Donald Trump's appeal to evangelicals continues following his rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Tuesday night.

Trump began the rally waving his Bible and noting that he is a Protestant and a Presbyterian in particular. It appeared to be obvious pandering to evangelical Christians, a strong voting bloc in Iowa, which starts the voting when it holds its caucuses on February 1.

Trump noted that his mother gave him the Bible and had written "This is Donald Trump's Bible" inside.

What evangelicals will notice that others may not is that the Bible was in pristine condition. It hasn't seen a lot of wear and tear. He hasn't spent hundreds of hours studying it.

My first Bible.
That doesn't mean Trump hasn't studied another Bible, saving that one because it was a gift from this mother. But when I see it I think of the Bible my grandmother gave me when I was 14. It, too, was inscribed. And it sat in pristine condition for five years.

When I truly gave my life to Christ, that was the only Bible I owned, so it was the one I initially studied. I still have it, but now its edges are frayed and its binding is duct taped.

Hugh Ross' tattered first Bible. (Greg Richter)
I've also seen Reasons to Believe founder Hugh Ross hold up his first Bible. It's tattered.

Still, a pristine first Bible isn't enough to make evangelicals see trump as a phony.

But not long afterward, Trump noted that one of his rivals for the Republican nomination, former New York Gov. George Pataki, had just dropped out of the race.

"Somebody else dropped out, but there's not much to split up because he was at zero," Trump said, not even mentioning Pataki's name and bascically kicking him while he was down.

Meanwhile, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, whose Cuban-born father is an evangelical pastor, offered words of praise for Pataki.

"I’m grateful for Governor George Pataki’s many years of dedication to our nation and to the state of New York — particularly while serving as Governor on September 11th," Cruz wrote on his Facebook page. "He brought experience and knowledge to the race for the Republican nomination, and as a result, helped prepare our eventual nominee to win in November and take back the White House."

Cruz's response is more likely to resonate with evangelical Christians, who may not support someone like Pataki for president, but who also don't believe in being unnecessarily mean to him.

As for Cruz, Trump closed out his rally repeating an old line in which he questions Cruz's own evangelicalism.

"Just remember this – you gotta remember, in all fairness, to the best of my knowledge, not too many evangelicals come out of Cuba, OK?" he said. "Just remember that. Just remember."

Trump again held up his pristine Bible as he closed things out.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sheriff: 'I Will Not Name the Shooter'

Sheriff John Hanlin (Douglas County Sheriff's Department)
Media outlets have been questioning all day why the gunman who killed at least 10 people at an Oregon college had yet to be identified by police.

The reason, it turns out, may be because the sheriff didn't want to give him credit. John Hanlin, the sheriff of Douglas County, Oregon, the gunman carried out his carnage at Umpqua Community College, said the will never utter the name of the man, who was killed by police, and urged the media not to do so either.

"Let me be very clear: I will not name the shooter. I will not give him the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act," Hanlin said at a press conference Thursday night. "Media will get the name confirmed in time. But you will never hear me mention his name."

He also encouraged the media not to use the man's name, even though some already had done so.

"We encourage you not to glorify and create sensationalism for him. He in no way deserves this," Hanlin said.

Media outlets had questioned why the man had not been identified by police even though he had been dead for several hours and his name was showing up on social media.

The debate over whether to name the perpetrators of mass killings has long raged, with some arguing that they are getting glory they seek when they are named. Others the public has a right to know any public information about such crimes, including the name of the perpetrator.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ariana Grande Must Time-travel to Kill Hitler

Since we can't make all the rednecks stop waving the Confederate flag – or make Donald Trump stop spitting on the Mexican one – it's time we make an example of someone.

We must force Ariana Grande to go back in time and kill Hitler.

The public doughnut-licker, who also sings and acts, has apologized for putting her cooties on some yummy ringed delights in a California bakery and then leaving them for another customer to buy and eat.

I can only hope Homer Simpson is not on that jury.

But she also voiced her disgust for Americans and America itself.

It was the second act that really got her into trouble. She got dropped from singing at baseball's All-Star Game – understandable since baseball was America's pastime in times past.

But no longer. Now, you can just buy us the peanuts and Cracker Jack.

And that was Grande's point: Americans are fat and getting molto grande, and that's what she was really saying in her "I hate Americans" comment. But this is the epoch of taking people out of context because it gets clicks.

Sure, she apologized – twice – but that's not good enough anymore. Neither is explaining what you meant. You must do penance.

Here, Grande could kill two birds with one stone. Not literally, of course, or she'd be in trouble for that, too.

Perhaps you saw the recent study that found that women are far less likely than men to be willing to travel back in time to kill Hitler. If you didn't, here are some links to stories about it on USAToday, the NewYork Post and The Independent

If you don't care for such sensationalism, here's a link tothe actual study, titled Gender Differences in Responses to Moral Dilemmas: A Process Dissociation Analysis, which uses waaay boring terms such as deontology and utilitarianism. Blech.

If you'd rather eat a pre-licked doughnut than read that report, let me sum up: Men are gung-ho to make like Marty McFly – or Sherman and Peabody – and kill Der Fuehrer, while women worry about the consequences of their actions.

Clearly, it's all consequences schmonsequences with Ariana Grande, so she'd be the perfect woman to go back in time and kill Hitler. She could prove her America-lovin' bonafides by blasting our World War II nemesis to smithereens.

Maybe she could pose as his food taster. She likes licking food before giving it to someone else to eat. Then BOOM! Have him screaming Mein Gott! before he ever writes Mein Kampf.

As to that second bird: It's all about gender equality. If Ariana Grande succeeds in her quest she will become not just a national hero, but an international one. She can write her ticket for the rest of her life. Not even Rob O'Neill, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden, is that universally adored.

As for the rest of us, maybe such a giant accomplishment could restore the word Grande to its true meaning, instead of small, as most drinkers of overpriced coffee have come to believe.

Owen Tew is the pen name for Greg Richter, a freelance writer whose work regularly appears on Newsmax and The Clyde Fitch Report. He also has had his work posted on The Huffington Post and The Hill. Follow him on Twitter at @owentew.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Polyamorous Marriage Train Coming in Too Fast for the Curve

As America lurches toward post-pluralism, the groupthink is headed toward outright hedonism.

No sooner had the Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision been handed down on Friday than some same-sex marriage supporters were decrying the fact that polygamous and even polyamorous relationships haven't been seriously included in the debate. 

But even some same-sex advocates thought that a bit over thetop

No matter your opinion on same-sex marriage from a moral standpoint, you have to admit that from a legal perspective it isn't any more complicated than marriage between a man and a woman.

And while one person married to many partners isn't a whole lot more complicated than two people married to each other, things get complicated fast when you add polyamory to the mix. And if polyamorous marriages are legal, what's to stop things from getting even more complicated with people being involved in multiple polyamorous marriages?

To see how complicated things quickly become, let's start off with a traditional marriage: One man is married to one woman.

Now, lets make them polygamous. Let's say the man marries two more women. So he is married to three separate women. As long as everyone is cool with it, no problem. When they have children they belong to the man and whichever of the women bore them. If the man and Woman No. 2 get divorced, it's not really different from traditional divorce. She just leaves the relationship and any child custody and splitting of assets is handled the normal way. (Then again, does she get half the assets or one-fourth?)

Now it's time to get polyamorous. We're going to forget that divorce in the last paragraph ever happened and say that the one man and three women all are married to each other, not just the man individually to the women. Woman No. 1 is married to Woman No. 2 and to Woman No. 3, and likewise Woman No. 2 and No. 3 also are married to each other.

Further, two more men enter the marriage, so now all six are married to everyone else. If two of these opposite-sex members produce a child, whose it? Everyone's? It matters if the natural mother or father decide to divorce the rest of the group.

And what if Man No. 3 decides to divorce two members of the group, but remain married to the rest?

That's too painful to think about, so let's just say the three men and three women all stayed married to each other. But Woman No. 3 decides to marry a man outside the group. And that man marries another man outside the group. Then Man No. 1 (from the original polyamorous marriage) enters a second polyamorous marriage with one man and one woman. The second man from this relationship marries two other women, and the first woman from this latest relationship marries one of the women, but not the other. Then the woman who did marry the other woman also marries the third woman from the original polyamorous relationship, but not anyone else from that marriage.

Do you follow? Probably not, unless you have a 180 IQ or you have been drawing a chart of this whole mess.

A Tangled Web 

But if fair is fair, then the state shouldn't have the ability to ban any of these relationships, and what you've got is a tangled web with virtually no end.

Most people won't choose to enter into such a relationship, but should such be legalized and everyone actually did, then everyone of legal age in the entire country could be part of this insane mega-marriage. Assuming that incest remains illegal, date night could get a little embarrassing.

And if these marriages are just like our current traditional marriage system, some of them are going to break up. That's going to be a "melluva hess," as my Dad is fond of saying. And it will be an even melluva more hess when there are children involved. And property.

What percentage of your property goes to a side spouse who divorces you when you are in another polyamorous marriage of five people? Does he/she get one-half of one-fifth of what you own? What do the other four have to say about you giving up a piece of actual property – jointly owned – when none of them were even a part of this side marriage?

And that's just assuming there were only the two of you in the side marriage. What if there were a couple of more in that marriage. I'm getting a migraine just from the fact that the math exists to make the calculation.

While same-sex marriage might work just as easily as traditional marriage in a legal sense, going any further is going to throw the train off the rails. Conservatives might want to stand aside and watch the wreck.

Owen Tew is the pen name for Greg Richter, a freelance writer whose work regularly appears on Newsmax and The Clyde Fitch Report. He also has had his work posted on The Huffington Post and The Hill. Follow him on Twitter at @owentew.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Fox News' 'Greg Gutfeld Show' Re-invents Political Comedy

As promised by its host, TheGreg Gutfeld Show is not a conservative knock-off of The Daily Show.

Gutfeld's eponymous show premiered Sunday and was different from anything already on TV. (Another good entry that more people need to be watching is The Blaze TV's WonderfulWorld of Stu.)

Gutfeld stresses he is a writer, not a comedian, and he showed those skills in his first show, though he's quite comedic as well. 

Gutfeld opened his first show not bashing liberals, but himself, after he was denied entry into the secretive Fox News Channel "host" club. He followed up with a well-written, well-delivered screed on "evil." It was an expanded version of his typical deliveries on Red Eye and The Five.

Next, he turned to his "Liberal Panel," which turned out to be an actual panel on the wall of his set that had been anthropomorphized with eyes and mouth. The Liberal Panel actually made liberal points and argued with Gutfeld rather than being a conservative's view of a liberal.

Colin Quinn showed up offering Gutfeld talk show advice, including telling him he already knew what to do.

And Tucker Carlson appeared in what appeared to be a book promotion, but turned out to be a comedy bit in which Gutfeld drifted into dreamland, wishing he were really interviewing former SEAL Team Six member Rob O'Neill, the man who killed Osama bin Laden.

O'Neill appears in the dream sequence playing Candyland with Gutfeld, then using the game board to recreate the raid on bin Landin's Pakistan compound.

Red Eye regular Joanne Nosuchinsky took a turn at a Jesse Watters-style man-on-the-street segment, but in her case all the Times Square interviewees knew all the answers.

There were a few slow moments, but not worth noting for a first time effort. Expect good things from The Greg Gutfeld Show.

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Even If Hillary Clinton Broke No Laws, Here's Why Her Email Server is Troubling

Hillary Clinton's email controversy is something to be concerned about even if she didn't break any laws.

Clinton had a server installed in her Chappaqua, New York home in January 2009, just before she took office as secretary of State. She used a private email address on that server for all of her State Department business emails and not a government address, which is more secure, even though State Department rules required her to do so.

Critics say that since Clinton used a server which she controls, there is no way to prove she didn’t hold back or even delete emails she didn't want seen if subpoenaed.

That's a valid concern. But let's give her the benefit of the doubt and say she has not hidden any emails. Even then, there are reasons for concern.

The very fact that Clinton clearly installed the server for her to use for all her State Department correspondence makes it looks as if she is buying an insurance policy just in case she needed to hide any of her correspondence.

We buy homeowners insurance in case of a disaster striking our house. Most people never have to file a claim, but we buy insurance just in case there is a fire, flood or storm.

Clinton appears to have bought insurance just in case she did need to hide emails. And that's troubling.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Fox News: Justice Ginsberg may have 'dozed off' in Obamacare case

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has admitted to being "less than sober" when she dozed off during President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech earler this year. 

Now, there are questions as to whether she was dozing during Wednesday's arguments on the case questioning the constitutionality of subsidies in the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

On Fox News Channel's "The Five" on Wednesday, co-host Greg Gutfeld asked correspondent Shannon Bream about Ginsburg.

"She was lively. She was right out of the gate," Bream said.  "The plaintiffs' attorney went first. He didn't even really get a statement out before she immediately was on to him saying there's, you know, sort of no way that we can interpret it the way you're asking us to. It doesn't make any sense. Of course, Congress intended for everybody to get these subsidies. The law doesn't work otherwise. There was one point, though, when there was some whispering among the lawmakers I mentioned who were there. And I looked over to kind of see what they were talking about, and they were gesturing at Justice Ginsburg because sometimes it is hard to tell if she's fully engaged because her head was down a little bit. I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt that she was reading, but some of those lawmakers felt like she may have dozed off."

Saturday, February 28, 2015


I'm looking out my window watching a bird looking for a place to land. The ground is still mostly white from a rare Deep South snowfall, so he has to try to light on a tall, dry weed in the middle of the spot my father used to plant his garden. Of course, the weed is too weak to hold him so he has to fly away in his continual search for rest.
I live in a house built by my great-grandparents in the 1880s. They fled war in Germany to establish a new life in America. This was their heaven. I don't know if it eventually got old and became drudgery for them. But if they were any kind of human like the rest of us I'm sure it did.
They built a farm and planted this area all around me. That hasn't happened on a large scale in decades, but my dad did still plant a good-sized garden right outside the living room window up until a few years ago.
Now we have an upstart organic farmer trying his hand at it, but so far their has been no harvest.
Today, I live -- and work -- inside the house. I have three jobs, two writing and one editing, that rarely even give me time enough to enjoy this place. I'm sure my great-grandparents would be amazed that one of their progeny was still earning his living on the land -- if not off the land -- with some magical typewriting device which is able to instantly communicate with the entire world.
The end of the agrarian society meant my dad's generation lived on the family property but had to take jobs somewhere else. My dad ran an auto-body shop, putting people's cars back together after somebody's mistake -- or an act of God -- had cracked them up.
He still drove the tractor, though, keeping a garden to feed himself, his friends, and some loyal customer's at the local farmers' market.
I don't even plant a flower. I'm too busy. And I'm just not that interested.
I know how that poor snowbird feels, flying from one spot to another desperately seeking a place of rest and comfort.
There was a day when everything was fresh and clean, just like that newfallen snow. It melts over time, and the ground gets muddy.
Every year life gets a little more complicated. Some of those problems are of our own making, some just the natural course of events.
Spring will come, though. At least it always has.

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 Photo Copyright (c) Greg Richter.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Mea cuppa (or, I licked a cup, and I didn't like it)

From my old blog's archives. Originally posted 03/22/03

I did a funny thing at work this week.

I have plastic cups I fill with water from the drinking fountain so I can use one for a day then toss it -- get a fresh one the next day. I've told co-workers to help themselves when they need a cup, just as people are kind to loan me something from time to time. Just the Christian thing to do, of course.

But recently when I went for a cup they were all gone, and it hadn't been that long since I'd replenished the supply. Fed up, I wrote a kind, but stern note and attached it to the next package of cups stating that while anyone was welcome to help himself from time to time, please buy your own cups if you want them on a regular basis.

Move to this week now, when my index finger had gotten extremely sore from too much mouse clicking. I got a cup, filled it with hot water, and soaked my ailing finger therein. Not wanting to waste a cup, I figured I'd just toss that one back into the desk drawer and use it again the next day if need be.

Guess what? When I got to work the next day, someone had taken the cup. They'd drank out of my nasty finger-bath. Tee hee, served 'em right, I thought. So when I finished with my drinking cup that day I licked the entire rim and tossed it into the drawer. Next morning, yep, it was gone.

I just woke up today with Jesus' admonition to give to everyone who asks, expecting nothing in return, on my mind. So now I'm publicly repenting. Thing is, I've struggled with that admonition a lot since I've worked at a downtown area with lots of panhandlers. While I'd like to follow the will of my Lord, I don't want to give someone money to blow on booze or drugs.

I have a friend who works at an AIDS outreach center who advises to never give money to anyone on the street. She says the chances are 100 percent it will be used for drugs. In fact, she says not to even give them food, because they'll just trade it in for drugs. Mind you, she isn't some cynic; her life calling, after all, is helping people in need.

But back to my co-workers. I shouldn't have a dilemma there at all. I know my friends aren't filling those cups with cheap liquor -- they're filling them with water. And numerous times throughout the Bible water is used as a metaphor for a renewed life filled with God's Spirit.

Shame on me.