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Entries for 'Carter Wrenn'

09
She plighted her troth not in church and not as a bride or in marriage but in town hall meetings and political forums and rallies, saying she was a fire-breathing Tea Party conservative in a Congressional District filled with small towns and flannel-shirted farmers and churches full of hymn-singing Baptists.
 
After consummating her victory (with an oath of office) Renee Ellmers settled into Congress – then the wind veered and when she veered with it she left the Tea Partiers back home with raised eyebrows. But there was no tempest. She was reelected and reelected again.
 
Then she surprised not just the Tea Partiers but just about every other Republican in her district by single-handedly stopping a bill that would have prohibited a woman having an abortion after 20 weeks.
 
This time there was a tempest. Harmony vanished. And cries rose of betrayal and infidelity and her first response made the storm worse: She said she’d opposed the bill because it was unpopular with younger voters.
 
When political expediency didn’t sit well she changed directions – in a heartbeat – and gave a different reason: She said she was standing up for rape victims – that the rape exception in the bill was too weak. (The bill said a rape victim had to report the rape to the police in order to have an abortion after twenty weeks.)
 
Her second explanation collapsed like a house of cards when  Linda Devore, the Republican Chairman in one of the biggest counties in her district, asked bluntly,How many rape victims wait until they’re five months pregnant to decide whether to have an abortion or not? It doesn’t compute with people.
 
The third time she not only shifted directions she did a complete about face – and announced she was going to vote for the bill.
 
But she miscalculated again. Fickleness only dug the hole deeper. Her final position made the only voters who still agreed with her – the Pro-Choice voters – mad too.

 

 

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06
Robed in black from head to toe, a hood covering his face, with a hostage kneeling at his feet, he lifted a knife and started his litany.  
 
Know, oh Obama, he said, that we will cut off your head in the White House.
 
He wasn’t done.
 
This is my message to France and Belgium… we will come to you with car bombs and explosive charges, and will cut off your heads.
 
He also had a message for the leader of the Kurds.
 
As for you, oh Masoud, you dog, we are going to behead you and throw you into the trash bin of history.
 
And, finally, he said a Japanese journalist he held hostage had less than “24 hours to live” – unless a ransom was paid.
 
It was like watching Genghis Khan on the Internet.
 
And it was like going back to 1939 – we looked across the water and saw plain as day a devil but told ourselves he wasn’t our problem – that we didn’t have to fight, that it was the British and French he was after so it was up to them to defeat him and send him back to the desert places.  
 
But it wasn’t to be.
 
It was us he was after.  


 

 

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03
Bush’s steady and Hilary’s experienced and it all looks familiar but deep within the earth hidden rivers are flowing that may turn the Presidential race upside down.
 
No one had seen a caliph or caliphate for a millennium. Then, suddenly, in Yemen, Nigeria, North Africa, Syria and Iraq we have caliphates – and women sold as slaves, towns razed and hostages beheaded (or burned).
 
We have terrorist attacks from Australia to Paris and, in Saudi Arabia, an ‘enlightened’ country, the government has ordered a man publicly flogged, given 1000 lashes in front of a mosque for blasphemy.
                                                                                   
A year more of this and we may not be looking for a President whose steady or reliable – we may be looking for a warrior to whip the Huns. And someone who looks hard-edged, abrasive and unbending today, like Ted Cruz, may fit the bill.


 

 

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31
EMS medics found Larry Green lying face down by the road with a head wound and no vital signs – he’d been hit by a car.
 
But, then, when a state Medical Examiner, Dr. J.B. Perdue, arrived and opened Green’s jacket his chest and abdomen moved. A medic asked if Green was breathing. The medical examiner explained “That’s only air escaping the body” and had the corpse zipped in a body bag and taken to the morgue.
 
At the morgue the dead man’s eyelid started to twitch, twitching over and over, until a worker asked if he was alive and the medical examiner explained it was a muscle spasm “like a frog leg jumping in a frying pan.”
 
Later that night a highway patrolman called, needing more information, and the medical examiner took the cold body out of the morgue’s refrigerated drawer. This time there was no denying the dead man was alive.
 
The next time government promises it’s going to work to solve one of your problems, remember, you may be better off going to work to solve the problem yourself – after all, government hired a medical examiner who sent a living breathing man to the morgue.


 

 

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30
Lord, deliver us – the Supreme Court is about to tell us who can and can’t marry.
 
Marriage as an institution twists and turns back into the mists of time but will a judge even ask how – and why – it began? Are roots of marriage biological? Anthropological? Or theological? Is marriage a holy institution formed by God and nurtured by angels and prophets? Or was it created by a government long ago, by a Pharaoh or Hammurabi?  
 
Christians – or, at least, most of them – agree Holy Matrimony’s roots start in the soil of a sacrament; that a marriage isn’t created by a $20 government license but by a vow sworn in a church alongside a sacrament with the power to make a man and wife “one flesh.” And they’d also argue, hopefully politely, that while Sam and Dave or Judy and Jill can do a lot of things, they can’t do that.
 
But, of course, courts have their own way of looking at things. A judge may think angels and sacraments joining souls don’t matter much beside Sam and Dave having the same right to a marriage license as Jack and Jill. But, in a way, instead of illumination it simply compounds a tragedy when judges see more virtue in Sam and Dave’s temporal rights (like filing a joint tax return) than they see in sacraments and vows sworn in churches.  


 

 

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29
A young chaplain at Duke Chapel announced it was time for the University to transform its gothic cathedral into an enlightened multicultural center with Muslims chanting  azans from the bell tower while Methodists prayed in the sanctuary below – and without knowing it she crossed an invisible line.
 
Word spread and praying to two different gods in one church left a lot of folks scratching their heads: Were the multiculturalists at the chapel worshiping one God or two? And if one, which one? And if it was the God of Abraham why would a Christian chaplain encourage someone to pray to a God she didn’t believe existed?
           
The chaplain, I guess, might have said, I did it out of simple courtesy – but, courtesy notwithstanding, wouldn’t it still be like encouraging prayers to a false god?
 
Finally the older heads at the University  stepped in to still the controversy: There had been, they said, a “serious security threat” so there would be no Muslim prayers in the bell tower.
 
It was a dodge that would make a politician proud.

 

 

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28
ISIS lined up a firing squad to machine-gun 13 teenage boys for watching a soccer game (which violates Sharia Law).
 
They flung two men off a tower in Mosul (they were homosexuals).
 
They threatened to cut off two hostages’ heads unless Japan paid  $200 million then, when the ransom wasn’t paid, they killed one hostage.
 
Throughout its history Japan has made an art form of revenge – a samurai wielding a sword could cut off a head in a heartbeat and no other samurai would blink an eye.
 
Japan has peacefully minded its own business since 1945 but, before that, an angry Japanese soldier was a pitiless enemy. Teenage boys can’t fight back. But taunting Japan may be prodding a sleeping tiger.


 

 

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27
It was a rare feat: Frank Luntz somehow found the twenty maddest-at-Obama people in the country and put them in a ‘focus group’ on Fox News after the President’s State of the Union speech – and they didn’t have one kind word to say.
 
But you have to give the devil his due: Barack Obama can be a powerful speaker. Who has a unique political voice. And Tuesday night there was no ‘voice’ on the Republican side of the aisle with the power to match him. 
 
And that’s what Republicans need to find sooner rather than later: A ‘voice’ who can step to a podium, look Obama in the eye, and answer him.

 

 

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26
She said Yes. Then No. Then Yes, again.
 
Four years ago, running for Congress, Renee Ellmers told voters she was a nurse who had “held the hands of new born infants.” Yes, she said, she was Pro-Life.
 
Then, last week, she said No to banning abortions after twenty weeks of pregnancy. The idea, she said, was unpopular with younger voters.
 
She won (scuttling the bill) but was pounded by Pro-Life groups: One called her “traitorous.” Another wrote, “She is worse than a Democrat.”
 
Ellmers then did another about-face, announcing she was all for the abortion ban.
 
Yes. No. Then Yes, again. All in one week.


 

 

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23

 

Most of us older white conservatives just naturally see a Democratic Senator from Massachusetts who taught at Harvard and figure – barring a miracle – she’s got to be a liberal so it came as a shock the other night when a young conservative posted a link to one of Elizabeth Warren’s speeches with one word beside it: Wow!
 
Wall Street, Warren said, is nailing American workers to a ‘Cross of Gold’ to make already rich corporations richer.
 
Then she got right down to brass tacks and said we need to break up the big banks. 

Whatever else Elizabeth Warren may be she’s not just a liberal or just another Massachusetts Senator – she’s a voice we haven’t heard in a long time: The living and fire-breathing reincarnation of William Jennings Bryan populism.

 

 

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