The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

THE LONE RANGER

Back in the 1950’s when television came in two versions – “black” and “white” and was promoted on only three portals, ABC, CBS and NBC – a program was broadcast, based on a Zane Grey novel.  It was “The Lone Ranger,” starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels as his faithful companion, Tonto.  One of my favorite shows, I was allowed to take a break from homework to spend a half hour watching the program.

There was a bit of a ritual surrounding watching the show in my house.  Five minutes before it was to air, my father would open the doors to the large sang de boeuf colored Chinoise cabinet, revealing the relatively small Dumont television it held.  He would turn on the power and the hum of the tubes warming could be heard from behind the set as it got itself ready for this week’s episode.  I remember holding my breath, hoping that the set would spring to life and that none of the vacuum tubes had failed.  And then the set would spring to life (usually).

There was no doubt that we were about to see yet another riveting episode when the stirring theme song for the program, the final, allegro portion of Rossini’s “William Tell” overture blared forth in pure unfettered monophonic sound and the announcer pronounced the Lone Ranger’s iconic words as he sat astride his almost equally famous horse and said, “Hi-Yo, Silver!”  And then they would dash off in a full gallop in pursuit of evil doers.

Back in those days it was always easy to tell who the “good guys” and the “bad guys” were because the good guys wore white and the bad ones wore black.  (It was a simpler time and nobody thought this was racist – or at least we didn’t have umpteen million chat room participants discussing that possibility – but then our chat rooms back then were found either in our schools or at the supper table at home).  Stick ball occupied a lot more of our time than discussions about surreptitious bigotry.

Television and media in general have evolved and now have the ability to represent our world in full panoramic colorization.  There are probably few of us, even those of us who hold a certain nostalgia for the olden days, who would want to return to them – at least in respect to how we watch our entertainment.  But the precision with which we could once identify good and bad, right and wrong has been blurred if not completely lost, perhaps because of our ability to see things in so many different shades.  That might explain, at lest in part, our present philosophy of “relativism” which essentially bastardizes principle and finds countless arguments to mollify wrongdoing.

The good news is that there are still some fundamental truths in which we might find security – if we may call it that.  One of those truths is as relevant today as when I heard my father promulgate it a half century ago.  “It is your responsibility to vote in an informed manner – and because you have taken the time to weigh the merit of each person’s candidacy and background, to cast your ballot for the one who will steal the least.”  And with that in mind, I will turn my attention to events that developed this week in my native state of New York.

New York’s Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver (D – NYC) was arrested and indicted on five separate federal charges of corruption.  If convicted, each charge could carry a twenty year prison term.  The charges allege that Silver used his position as Speaker to obtain payments from various law firms who benefited from his influence in directing public policy which directly benefited their practices.  Silver was reported not to have performed any services yet was rewarded with paychecks from one of the firms which amounted to $800,000.  In total, the federal government is alleging that Silver received a total of $3.8 Million over a period of several years and has seized the eight bank accounts in which the monies were deposited.

At his arraignment, Silver was released under a $200,000 personal recognizance bond but was required to surrender his passport.  This might put a crimp in his upcoming plans to participate in the foreign “economic development” tour which he, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Senate Majority Leader were to take, presumably for the purpose of attracting more businesses to open their doors in the Empire State.

The arrest comes at a time when Gov. Cuomo is under a great deal of criticism from the Republicans in the state’s two houses over closing down the Moreland Commission, a body which was looking into what is reported as widespread corruption among state legislative members.  Cuomo formed the commission in March, 2013 and abruptly closed it down eight months later which gave rise to the U. S. Attorney, Preet Bharara’s involvement.  He further suggested that this investigation has not concluded and there may be other indictments in the offing.

Silver’s supporters including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio advised a “wait and see” attitude, the mayor rightfully pointing out that we have a judicial process which we should allow to play out and praising the Speaker as “a man of integrity.”  Others have made comments about the culture to be found in the state’s capitol, suggesting that “no matter how virtuous a person is before election to the state legislature, there seems to be a corrupting influence which takes hold of even the most virtuous.”  That might be supported by the number of state legislators who have been forced to resign after their convictions on varying corruption charges.

Speaker Silver, of course, maintains his innocence.  But based on the scathing press conference which Bharara gave subsequent to the indictment, it would seem that he is confident that the facts he has uncovered will result in a conviction.  Since this is a “white collar” crime and the defendant has a long history of “public service,” it is unlikely that he would receive anything akin to the maximum sentence should he be convicted.  But it does seem likely that he would spend at least some time in the “Big House.”  And as we did on the Lone Ranger, we might hear the judge cry out, “Hi-Yo, Silver – away.”

There has been a lot of negative feedback directed at the White House for its omission in not sending a higher level individual to the rally that took place last Sunday in Paris.  Surely, we could have spared Vice President Biden or Secretary of State Kerry to attend.  If, God forbid, something had happened, they could easily have been replaced by someone equally incompetent.

While White House spokesman Josh Earnest, acknowledged that this was a small faux pas on the part of the administration, he preceded that with a variety of other explanations which bore all the validity of the explanation that “The attack on our facility in Benghazi occurred as a result of a spontaneous attack, caused by an offensive video.”

Let’s see,  “The President only found out about the rally as a result of hearing about it in the media and there wasn’t a sufficient amount of time to ensure that the proper security measures would be in place to guarantee his safety.”  So let’s think back to the funeral of Nelson Mandela which the president did attend.  There were several more days which intervened between his death and burial – and there was probably previous planning about security which would have been tethered together since he was an elderly man and his death, at some point, was expected.  So, despite what must have been greater security, do you remember the mentally ill man who, while Obama gave his eulogy, was gesticulating a translation in a pseudo-sign language style of his own invention?  Was the entirety of the Secret Service detail off in the red light district during the ceremony?

“The president was not invited to attend.”  If that is true it might speak volumes about the real state of Franco-American relationships – though it is surprising considering the fact that Presidents Hollande and Obama are both socialists.  Perhaps the French simply didn’t want the nation to be snubbed in the same way that the British were by Obama’s failure to attend Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s funeral.

While it seems unreasonable to expect this or any other president to expose himself to unnecessary personal risk, that didn’t seem to deter Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel or Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the latter being a much more likely target, from having the gumption to show up and march in the front line, arm in arm.  One could argue that with or without any American security, Obama might well be viewed by the Islamic radical terrorists as an ally rather than an opponent and would have been the safest of all world leaders present at the rally.  After all, he’s been busily freeing Guantanamo detainees and sending them back to the homeland where they can rejoin the fight to eradicate Western Civilization from the face of the map.  Well, at least we taxpayers are saving money since we spend three times more per year on one of the enemy combatants in Gitmo than we do on your basic murderer or rapist in one of our federal penitentiaries.

Now that several days have gone by since the Paris demonstration of solidarity, I think I may have hit on the real reason that Obama couldn’t bother to make it to France – other than the obvious that he was watching the playoff  games.  It is that he was fleshing out his latest idea that we should offer everyone the opportunity to attend community college, maintain an “average” average and have the taxpayers fund their education.  This may surprise some long time readers but I have to say that this might be the brightest idea that has sprung from Obama in the last six years – or perhaps ever.  Which is not to say that I am in complete agreement with it.  But let’s set aside partisanship and review this proposal on an objective basis.

I’m going to begin with an assumption that while an associate’s degree might not carry with it the potential earnings benefit of a four year bachelor’s degree, it should at the least offer its recipient at least half the potential of the more advanced parchment.  We’ll set aside the fact that about thirty percent of those holding newly conferred bachelor’s degrees are unable to find any work and more than sixty percent are holding positions for which they are overqualified for lack of suitable opportunities which would require their newly acquired expertise.  Those are mere anomalies.  There are at least a few examples of how acquiring a four year degree – or at least working toward that goal – can bring with it financial rewards.

The feds recently apprehended seven student athletes who attended the University of South Dakota who were involved in a tax fraud scheme which reportedly diverted $1.1 Million in fraudulent tax refund claims and which netted the group $400,000 which they withdrew from ATM’s before they were arrested.  Of these, six were members of the USD football team and one was a member of the university’s track and field team.  (He was probably the runner for the group).  So to those of you who criticize the quality of education that our kids get in college, I can only say, “Pshaw.”

As I write this, it occurs to me that perhaps the explanation that Obama was watching the football playoffs is indeed the real reason for his notable absence at the Parisian rally.  He might have been scouting for promising football players to add to the administration’s staff who could come up with innovative ways to pay for his community college proposal.  After all, most of those guys have four year degrees – and a fairly large percentage have felony convictions to round out their resumes.

ZIMMERMANIA

Just when we began to focus on serious issues like the intensification of Radical Islamic terrorist attacks on Western Civilization, who pops up his head once again but none other than George Zimmerman.  You remember him, don’t you?  He’s the guy who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Florida, was brought to trial and was acquitted.  That judgment resulted in some minor protests (though absent the burnings and lootings which subsequently have become fashionable) and an explosion in the sales of hoodies – much to the pleasure of the manufacturers in China where they are made.

Whatever you thought of the Zimmerman verdict, it’s pretty difficult to argue that George’s subsequent behavior would not suggest a person who is rapidly speeding downhill.  His latest arrest, as I recall his third, suggests that he is not coping too well with reality – or has abdicated much commitment to it.  And while it might be expedient to shake our heads and tut tut his behavior – drawing whatever inferences befit our personal views of the man  – I am surprised that the liberal left press hasn’t gone on to offer us an explanation for it, one that would be consistent with their worldview of other shooting deaths which also involved blacks.

We know from viewing the mainstream media that anyone who is murdered, irrespective of the circumstances, is always the victim.  That is particularly true if that victim happens to be darkly complected, the activity in which he was engaged prior to his expiration being irrelevant.  Just because he was robbing a convenience store or breaking a law prohibiting the sale of loose cigarettes is inconsequential.  There is always an explanation about how society doomed that person to a life of petty crime – or even more serious infractions.  But if we take that “logic” to its inevitable conclusion, that leads us to a paradoxical conundrum.

If we accept that lawbreakers have no free will but are merely marionettes whose strings are pulled in a certain predetermined sequence beyond their control, it seems only reasonable to apply that same robotic condition not just to one segment of society but to everyone.  Therefore, we should not try to convert the racist from his views but rather, accept his view on race as being nothing more than the manifestation of a condition which his environment has imposed upon him.  He is no more guilty of anything than the person who finds that cancer has invaded his body.  It’s just one of those things – a sort of “Deus ex machina” syndrome or to put it in Calvinistic religious terms, nothing more than the earthly expression of predestination.

It is clear that what might be construed as random events do have implications for our lives.  Prior to his encounter with Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman seemed to be quite a decent person.  He was involved in mentoring children, many of whom were black and certainly didn’t exhibit any reported issues which would suggest that he would become a violent person.  If we accept his version of the events that night, confirmed in the jury verdict, he was merely concerned that Martin was a threat both to him and to his neighbors.  Apparently, the local constabulary and the local DA agreed with his explanation and were prepared to let the matter drop.  Enter the DOJ.

Because the Holder Department of Justice has made a six year career of looking for and, inevitably finding, racial motivations in every instance where a black individual is slain by a non-black person, they succeeded in reopening the case and forcing the now famous trial.  And, despite Zimmerman’s acquittal, his life (and that of his family) were forever changed as a result of the trial, irrespective of the outcome.

Zimmerman was once a person who was considered a likeable person and a good neighbor was regularly portrayed in the media as a racist vigilante.  He went into hiding having received death threats.  Perhaps from the stress which we would all feel as a result of being publicly cast as a pariah, his relationship with his wife suffered and they were divorced.  He was involved in several road rage and speeding incidents and now, most recently, was charged with throwing a wine bottle at his current (soon to be ex) girlfriend.  But is any of this Zimmerman’s fault?  Or is he merely a hapless victim, brought to his current condition through a set of circumstances which were beyond his control?

If we accept the premise that the liberal left espouses, we would have to conclude that in the same way that Trayvon Martin was a victim of circumstance, (remember that if he had not been suspended from school for the third time, he might not have gone to the grocery store which led to the fatal encounter), Zimmerman is little more than a marionette whose strings were pulled by the media’s attention to his trial and by the public’s reaction to the way in which he was depicted.  In that light, his recent brushes with the law and domestic violence are little more than expressions of his condition – one which we might describe as Zimmermania.

While it might be comforting on an emotional level to believe that whatever we do can be explained away through some sort of concocted justification, it precludes us from ever being virtuous by doing good at the same time that we can never be criticized for venal behavior.  And if we accept that premise, we are closing the book on life in a moral society and are opening a volume with the one word title, “Chaos.”

It was a rainy and cold fall day so after school athletics had ben cancelled and I returned home from school early.  I finished most of my homework, leaving the assignment to translate the second chapter of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s  classic story, “Le Petit Prince” for later as I had three days to complete that.  As I closed my math book, Grandma asked me to set the table for dinner and I was in the process of doing that when the door opened and my father came home.  I went over to give him a hug and could tell that something was bothering him.  He wasn’t his usual jovial self.

At dinner the conversation turned to the fact that he had let go Andy Willis, his salesman who covered the New England states for his company.  He also told us that since he didn’t have a salesman representing the territory, he would have to go to Boston to man the Gift Show which was being held a few weeks later and would probably spend a week calling on his clients in the region.  It was a bit reminiscent of the days gone by when Dad was on the road forty or more weeks a year before he started his own company.

Mom asked why he had let Andy go.  This was not an every day occurrence by any means as most of my father’s employees had been with him for ten or more years.  And I knew, given my father’s disposition, that he would have tried everything in his power to help his now former employee become successful as he tried to help everyone he met and knew.  That was one of his most impressive virtues.  He simply said, “Well, to call a spade a spade, Andy simply wasn’t meeting the goals that we had mutually agreed were reasonable – and I saw no reason to believe that was going to change.”

I believe that it was the first time I heard that expression, “Calling a spade a spade.”  It was very characteristic of my father’s approach to life.  He called things the way he saw them – no pussyfooting around.  That is not to say that he was crude or rude because he was one of the most gentle people I have ever known.  But if you tried to put one over on him, he would call you on it – albeit in the most polite manner.  I know because on more than one occasion I tried.  I lost every one of those attempts at deception.  And finally, perhaps because I learned that telling the truth was a heck of a lot easier than trying to fabricate and maintain a lie, I adopted my father’s philosophy and came to believe that, “Honesty is the best policy.”

The events this week in Paris would have infuriated my father – not for their mere depravity but because of the dissembling response by most world leaders, including our president, about the cause of these events.  And the effete news publications which have “covered” the slaughters would be right behind in deserving his derision.  What it all comes down to is the fact that none of them is willing to “Call a spade a spade.”  Instead, they all pussyfoot around the central and unifying issue which caused the deaths of more than a dozen people in France and which several days ago took the lives of more than two thousand in Nigeria.  And the name of that cancer is “Islamic Radicalism.”

Whether or not President Obama or the media wish to admit or acknowledge it, there is a war going on between terrorists who are Muslims and whose goal is the overthrow of Western Judeo-Christian civilization and its replacement with their interpretation of the Quran and Sharia law.  That’s the facts plain and simple.  And no amount of politically motivated vocabulary ethnic cleansing is going to eradicate the truth nor ameliorate the outcome.  In fact, by denying the truth these “leaders” are more likely to ensure that a worse outcome will ensue since they are failing to address the root cause of the problem and call it out for what it is.

I have to say I appreciate the honesty if not the execution of it in actual terms of the terrorist radicals.  They make no bones about their goals and they make no apologies for their methods.  They are focused with an absolute if misguided faith in what they want to achieve.  The complete domination of the world and the replacement of Western Civilization with their own perverted version of Islam.

Meanwhile, back in the capitals of Europe and the U. S. we listen to idiots like our potential new president, Hillary Clinton speak about how, “We should listen to our enemies and try to see the world through their eyes and from their perspective.”  What a load of crap – pardon my Urdu.   And this woman wants to be president.  It’s hard enough to believe she’s sufficiently competent to schedule her next appointment for a cellulite removal treatment.

And then we have our beloved media.  “The New York Times” springs to mind as the standard bearer for what passes now for modern journalism.  The Times had well over thirty articles describing the antics of the Westboro Baptist Church, a hate organization masquerading as a Christian church with a membership of less than thirty people who are focused on a single subject – deriding and ridiculing gays and lesbians.

To my knowledge, as repugnant and un-Christian as this organization’s tactics are, I don’t believe they have ever been accused of either stoning to death a gay male or lesbian woman or beheading one – in sharp contrast to Radical Islam (or one might argue Islam as a religion) which holds that is the appropriate punishment for a person engaged in gay sex – among quite a few other offenses – including extramarital sexual relations of any kind.  It’s hardly surprising that the left wing media choose to ignore that fact because if Sharia law were implemented, three quarters of Hollywood would disappear overnight.  One might argue that wouldn’t be so bad.

So as those in positions of political authority dither along, the enemy, firm in its convictions and determined in its will, are undoubtedly planning the next event, to which when it occurs our “leaders” will come out and make platitudinous general statements, descrying the most recent “outrage.”  But it will be an outrage which has been decades in the making – since the invention and implementation of “Political Correctness” (a/k/a “B*ll Sh*t”) – and will most likely continue and intensify unless and until they get a grip, put down the rose-colored glasses and take up the AK47’s.

We’ll requisition a supply of clothes pins that they can attach to their noses, to dampen their distaste at pulling the trigger, before those who are sworn enemies of our way of life pull theirs and put them out of our mutual misery.

THE SHARPTON SHOOTINGS

It would be unfair to lay the blame for the deaths of two officers of the NYPD in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn solely at the feet of Al Sharpton.  There’s plenty of blame to go around among his coterie of haters – including Jesse Jackson, Louis Farakhan – among those who profess to be members of the clergy; and Obama, Eric Holder and Bill de Blasio among those who hold political office.  As to these two murders, while none of them pulled the trigger, they are as guilty as the crazed gunman who did.  We should all wait to see if the president will take time out from his Hawaiian vacation to announce that this was an act of “street violence.”  That it will be labeled for what it is – a hate crime – is totally out of the question.

Those who head up the Obama administration, starting at the top, have long abandoned any pretense of moral decency – if they ever possessed it.  And the president surrounds himself with people who are like minded – Sharpton being at the forefront of that group.  That the man has the effrontery to appear in public with his sordid background of inciting riot and manufacturing stories speaks to the general lack of morals in our society.  That he is part of the inner circle of the president speaks volumes to the level of immorality that permeates the White House.  This administration makes the people of Sodom and Gomorrah look like the epitome of virtue.

This tragedy is truly depressing – but it is unlikely to be the only such episode of its kind which we might expect.  There are a great number of thugs who roam freely in our neighborhoods – and many of them are armed.  And there are a sufficient number of people who will take this as the beginning of a war – and who will be prepared to fire the first shot – lest they themselves become victims.  There are already far too many victims in our inner cities.  And if the police determine that risking their own lives to protect the decent members of those communities from the scum who infest those neighborhoods is too great for them to do their jobs effectively, the number of victims will only increase.  Maybe the contingent of police who guard the mayor at Gracie Mansion should all call in with the “blue flu” to awaken “His Obtuseness” to the realities that exist in the city which he governs.

To the families of the two assassinated officers, I send my prayers and sympathy.  To those in positions of power who have implicitly encouraged this tragedy through their failure to support those in law enforcement,  it’s time to take an honest look at your own behavior.  If you endorse lawlessness, despite your exalted position and the additional protection that you receive thanks to the tax dollars of ordinary citizens, there is no guarantee or surety that any of us will be exempt from similar acts of violence.  That may be the legacy that you will have inscribed in the history books of the United States which will be written, long after all of us have departed this world.

HANDS UP, PLEASE SHOOT

With the bad rap that the liberal left in America is generally heaping on the police in this country, it might be useful for the mainstream media to pay some attention to the hostage situation in Sydney, Australia which fortunately has been resolved with minimum injury.The alleged hostage taker, one Man Haron Monis has been captured and his captors released.

“Monis has long been on officials’ radar. Last year, he was sentenced to 300 hours of community service for writing offensive letters to families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan. He was later charged with being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife. Earlier this year, he was charged with the sexual assault of a woman in 2002. He has been out on bail on the charges.”  (AP – Kristen Gelineau).

While Australian authorities are downplaying the hostage taking as a “one-off” event, during the course of his occupying the Lindt Coffee Shop, apparently Monis forced several of the hostages to hold up the Islamic State flag within the store, inscribed on which is the Shahada, the first of Islam’s Five Pillars of Faith and required that other of the hostages stand in the window of the store with their hands up in the symbol of surrender.  Is this merely a matter of “shopping center violence” or is there something deeper going on here?

Fortunately, the police were successful in defusing the situation.  But I couldn’t help think, what if, (God forbid) this situation had occurred in the United States and Hillary Clinton were president (double God forbid).  Given her “enlightened and progressive” views and worldview and her recent statements, this situation might well have been handled in a different manner:

 

 

The fundamental problem of the left in characterizing the Ft. Hood shooting, the beheading of the innocent woman in Oklahoma and countless other tragedies is that if you refuse to recognize the reality of what your enemy is about, it is impossible to deal with defeating that enemy effectively.  This applies not only to radical Islamists but to the situation in our inner cities where black on black violence continues unabated and where the focus of the “race mongers” including President Obama and his Henchman in Chief,” Al Sharpton, want to deflect from the real problem and focus our attention on “police brutality” and racism.

I suspect that when the hostages in Sydney were rescued from their captor, thanks to the Aussie SWAT team that liberated them, they probably cried out, “Hands Up, Please Shoot – the hostage taker”

Islamic Flag in Sydney Hostage Siege Analyzed

 

 

 

ON TRUE CHARITY

When I first met Br. Thomas, OSF I was struck by the fact that he spoke infrequently and then only softly, but he listened avidly to each person who spoke and with a great intensity – as though that person’s words had the import of a final earthly utterance.  Perhaps that was natural for him or perhaps it was an acquired skill he had developed.  He had spent over twenty years ministering to those who came to the hospice that his Franciscan priory maintained for those who were dying.

I couldn’t imagine the strength of his and his brothers’ faith to be able to deal on a daily basis with those who came to that hospice – knowing that none of them had long to live and none would leave on their own.  Perhaps that is less a testament to his view of life than it is a statement about my shallowness of spirit.  This reverent man made me feel vey humble by his gentle, taciturn demeanor.

Those who minister without fanfare to the sick, the poor and the dying must hold a very special place in God’s love.  That the mendicant orders have been with us for centuries demonstrates that despite the contentious nature of so many of us, there are at least some who are willing to contribute to them so that they can carry out their much needed, good works.

Another order, The Little Sisters of the Poor which also maintains hospices, has been in the news lately because of their position regarding provisions of the ACA and their refusal to compromise their religious principles.  Like their brother Franciscans, their charity and care is not reserved to those who are Roman Catholic.  Their compassion is open to all those who are at their final moments, irrespective of creed or lack of one.

 

 

Deo gracias! Deo gracias!
Adam lay ibouden,
Bouden in a bond;
For thousand winter
Thought he not too long.
Deo gracias! Deo gracias!

And all was for an appil,
An appil that he tok,
As clerkès finden
Written in their book.
Deo gracias! Deo gracias!

Ne had the appil takè ben,
The appil takè ben,
Ne haddè never our lady
A ben hevenè quene.

Blessèd be the time
That appil takè was.
Therefore we moun singen.
Deo gracias! Deo gracias!

(Anonymous, 15th century)

At this time of year, most of us feel obligated (or if you prefer, inspired) to go out and buy presents for friends, loved ones, or ourselves.  I’ve tried to reign in the temptation to spend, spend and spend more by enacting a simple rule.  For every dollar that I spend on gifts (and I mostly now make my own rather than finding them on store shelves) I donate an equal amount to charities which truly represent the spirit of Christmas, not just at this season but throughout the year.  Nevertheless, there are some people for whom a store bought purchase seems most appropriate.

One of the sites which offers the shopper an opportunity to reduce her or his out of pocket costs is eBates.  The site allows a person to link through their site to over five hundred well known and more obscure internet retailers and earn rebates on their purchases which range between two percent and as much as fifty percent.  They also offer a program for members who refer new members in the amount of five dollars per referral.   My referral link is listed below:

http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=4cwCeH%2FFsKXfalPzt9zdgA%3D%3D&eeid=26471

If you are not familiar with the program, I encourage you to take a moment and review its features and benefits.

The reason for my making what is my first “commercial” appeal in nearly 900 posts is simple.  I will take any referral bonuses and combine them with my own contribution and donate those to The Little Sisters of the Poor – this being my designated charity for the year.  I hope you will contribute to that effort.  Or, if you’re already an eBates member, I’ve attached a link to their website so that you might read more about their good work and perhaps consider making a donation to them directly.

http://www.littlesistersofthepoor.org/

I wish all of my readers a blessed remainder of Advent and the joy of a wonderful Christmas.

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