The Pope’s comments about gays

The Catholic church has long been very adamant on it’s stance towards gays and gay rights so the recent comments by Pope Francis came as somewhat of a surprise when he offered up some lukewarm support of the gays in general and basically stopped short of condemning the practice of homosexuality. Instead, he stated that he is not in a position to judge gays.

I agree 100 percent with many of his comments. When you think about, who really has the right to judge someone for the way they live? Only God has that right. One of my favorite passages in the bible is John 8:7. “For he who has not sinned, cast the first stone.” We all are sinners and sometimes I wish people would look in the mirror and evaluate their own lives before making a judgement on a certain group of people. If I condemn a gay person for his lifestyle and then turn around and cheat on my wife or girlfriend, I am being a total hypocrite!! I find way too people are hypocritical when it comes to sexual sin. We all have certain shortcomings. Sure you may have never cheated on your spouse but have you ever looked at porn? A good many people have including many very supposedly clean and moral people. 

The Pope’s comments about gays really brings to light how we as a society and churches should handle the gay population.  Anybody or any church that is struggling on how to handle this issue should simply think of what Jesus would do. Would Jesus totally shun anyone who is gay and not accept them? Absolutely not!! If you ever studied the life of Jesus in the bible, you would find that Jesus spent a lot of time with sinners and was even criticized for it by some of his followers. Jesus loved the worst sinner just as much as he loved the best saint. I believe based on the examples of Jesus that we should treat any human being with complete dignity and respect.

One of the things that the Pope said was rather interesting. “If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them”.  I often wonder how someone who accepts the Lord and is homosexual can feel good about their sexuality. It clearly states in the Bible that homosexuality is a sin and how can you continue to live that kind of lifestyle if you clearly accept the Lord?  The same holds true of many pastors or church leaders who are gay.  It is a huge contradiction for someone to preach to me about the word of God yet live a sinful lifestyle. Those homosexuals who have totally accepted the Lord should not feel comfortable with their sexuality.

I hope the Pope’s comments will at least somewhat soften the resentment that many people have regarding the Catholic church’s stance on gays and lesbians. Judging people is a sure way to offend and turn people off. The role of a good church is to bring people in, not turn people away.  I believe gay and lesbian people should be accepted into our society like any other human being. Christians and churches need to love them but not love their sin.






No excuse for Detroit

I find it rather interesting and amusing to hear some of those so called political experts try to spin the Detroit bankruptcy story. Every single excuse in the book has been given as to why Detroit became the largest city ever to declare bankruptcy.  Everything from race, free markets, capitalism, rich people screwing a city and leaving has been given. Surely it has nothing to do with the policies of those in charge of the city. I mean, how could a city run by a bunch of Democrat liberals run a city into the ground? I thought their policies were the standard for growth and prosperity of a community and nation? With one of the highest property tax rates in the country along with the highest per capita tax rate in Michigan, Detroit should be overflowing with revenue, right? Well given the news that they are declaring bankruptcy, something is just not right here.

There is absolute no excuse whatsoever for any city to declare bankruptcy. Absolutely none at all. If I was a resident of a city that declared bankruptcy, I would be absolutely, irate!! That means that the money I pay the city in the form of taxes has been extremely mismanaged. As a result, my city’s credit rating has been shot and that will greatly affect borrowing for future projects around the city. As you can imagine, tax rates will probably go up for everyone due to the incompetence of some elected officials.

One of the main reasons that Detroit and a growing list of cities around the country are declaring bankruptcy is the pension payouts to public workers.  It is great to give these workers nice hefty pensions for their many years of service but where does the money come from? I think some of those Detroit city officials probably figured the money would magically show up in the middle of the night and everyone would be happy. Well in the real world, this does not happen. The city of Detroit paid out much more in pension benefits than what was taken in and this is extremely fiscally irresponsible. I am by no means a financial planner but isn’t there a way that a cities finances can be planned out to avoid these shortcomings? If your city is not bringing in the dough, why promise the workers these huge pensions? If the city of Detroit were run like a business, they would be out of business in 5 years!! All the many years of undisciplined monetary policies has finally caught up with the city.

Many other cities around the country can learn from the problems of Detroit and other bankrupt cities. The high tax rates of Detroit combined with forcing a living wage of nearly 13 bucks an hour including benefits on businesses that contract with the city has created a very anti-business environment in Detroit. Not only that but the city pours a lot of money into its schools yet only about 1/3 of students end up graduating. These are all examples of liberalism gone bad and the effects it can have on a city.

The real key to any city’s prosperity is economic growth which is caused by the creation of jobs and businesses.  I don’t see how having the highest tax rate in Michigan will help Detroit anytime soon. They need to look at places which turned things around as a starting point towards recovery. And maybe get rid of some of those awful liberal politicians that have helped create this mess.

I hope this will serve as a wake up call to many cities around the country and this country in general. If we follow Detroit’s example, this country will go bankrupt sooner than we know it. Good fiscal discipline is a crucial trait for any person we elect to office whether it be locally or nationally. We need to hold our elected officials accountable for OUR TAXPAYER MONEY!! Sadly, the problems of Detroit will probably only spread to other cities and burden other generations. The time to stop this nonsense is now before it is too late.                                  


5 great and not so great things about summer

I am one of those people who absolutely loves summer. It is by far my favorite season of the year. During those cold winter days in January, I like to sit back, close my eyes and dream of those lazy summers days in July when I am relaxing in the sun at the beach or hitting the little white ball during an early morning round of golf at my local course. Our summers are very short here in Minnesota, usually only about 90 days long so I try to make the most of this fabulous time of the year. Of course, not everyone enjoys summer like I do and there are definitely some drawbacks to the season as well. I have made up a list of things that I personally love and also do not like about summer. Image

Great Things about Summer:

1. Paid vacation time.  If you have a full time job, chances are you are rewarded with a certain allotment of vacation time per year depending on the number of years you have worked for the company.  People love to take time off in the summer, whether it is for a whole week or just maybe to take a long weekend. I take about 75 percent of my vacation time in the summer. It is a great time to recharge the batteries and just unwind. Life really slows down when you are on vacation and I love it!! I also love getting paid while I am getting a tan!!

2. Fun at the beach, pool or lake.  One of my favorite things to do during the summer here is spending a relaxing afternoon at a beach. I grab my little radio, slap on the sunscreen, put on my swimsuit, grab my beach towel and away I go. If I get too hot, I jump in the water for a little swim. There is just something about being by a body of water that is very relaxing for me. If your a fisherman, spending time on some lake is another great way to unwind. I always feel that the early morning and evening hours are the best time to be on the water. The peace and tranquility of the lake is wonderful for your soul.

3. Fairs, outdoor music and food festivals.  Several towns and cities, large or small, usually have some type of festival during the summer.  Here in the Twin Cities, we have the state fair which runs for 12 days in late August through Labor Day. Also, there are several outdoor music concerts and food festivals to take part in. Outdoor evening concerts are wonderful. I would highly recommend them if you are a music lover.

4. Family cookouts and barbeques.  Nothing is better than getting a bunch of friends and family members together for a nice barbeque. Summertime and grilling go hand in hand.

5. Longer daylight.  I think most people appreciate the longer amount of daylight during the summer. It is really nice to experience that daylight past 9 pm during the months of June and July. As a golfer, I really appreciate it because I can play longer into the evening!!

Bad things about Summer:

1. That oppressive humidity.  I can deal with a 90 degree day, however, when you combine the the heat with humidity, then it becomes a little bit too much. Being someone who exercises outdoors quite frequently, those conditions really make me wish that I have access to a nearby pool after a workout. A nice breeze certainly helps a ton in those conditions. But having said those things, I will take warm, humid weather anytime over frigid sub zero winter weather. It is far less painful to be outside during a heatwave.

2. Bugs and mosquitoes.  We are know here in Minnesota as being the land of 10,000 lakes. I think someone should change that to the land of 10,000 mosquitoes and more!!! Maybe 10 million mosquitoes!! Those little critters typically come out in full force during the evening hours and turn an enjoyable evening activity into a very annoying one. They are the worst species on this planet!!

3. Road construction.  You know the old saying, there are two season, winter and road construction. That holds true in many states across this country especially here. I live in a large metropolitan area and there is no escaping it. Whether you travel north, south, east or west, those orange cones and detour signs are just a short drive away. In Minnesota, there is only a short window for those guys to do their work so it only compounds things.

4. Nighttime storms.  I can deal with a strong thunderstorm during the day, it may be a minor inconvenience if I am driving somewhere but those nighttime storms that jolt me out of bed are the worst!! I usually get out of bed and turn on my television to see how bad the storms are. Those storms play havoc on my amount of rest and make me look like a zombie the next day. Last month, we had a stretch of 3 straight nights of severe thunderstorms. I think I was so tired on the last night that I just slept through it.

5. Crabby people.  Those nighttime storms combined with the heat and humidity seem to make people’s fusses a lot shorter. I do not have any clear cut facts that can support my statement but it just seems that people are more crabby during hot summertime weather. I think the hot weather further wears people down and makes them more tired thus creating the crankiness.

Those are just a few things that I like and dislike about summer. I hope everyone is having a great summer and creating many good memories. In the meantime, I need to get ready for work this afternoon, on my tan that is. Oh where is my sunscreen?

The insensitive cover of Rolling Stone

If you happened to stop by a local newsstand this week, chances are that you may have spotted a magazine named Rolling Stone. On the cover was some innocent looking young man that from a distance looks to be some sort of musician. However, when you look closer, it is none other than one of the one of the Boston terrorists who is responsible for killing 3 people, including a very precious looking 8 year old boy and injuring 264. Why this punk is on the cover of this or any magazine is beyond me. It is a very sad day when a magazine cannot find a better person to put on it’s cover than some guy who is an enemy of this country and has caused a great deal of pain and heartache to many people.

I get the argument that people want to know more about this young man and his past. It is only human nature to have curiosity about what drives a madman to do what he does. But I have heard continuing stories about him for the last few months and nothing about him is really a secret to me. This guy has gotten more coverage in the last 3 months than many celebrities have in their lifetimes. It is really sad when we glorify and give so much attention to some coward in our culture. What about the 3 young people he helped kill, especially the poor young 8 year old? Why not put their pictures on the cover instead and write an article about those killed and how it impacted their families along with talking about how this guy’s actions is making life very difficult for many both physically and emotionally?

If I was an editor of a magazine and felt that a cover picture was insensitive to many people, I would scrap the idea. The idea of putting a guy’s picture on the cover of a magazine is very insulting to the entire city of Boston and especially the victim’s families. I suppose the knuckleheads over at Rolling Stone were more interested in the publicity this would give the magazine and went ahead with the plan. It was in very poor taste and the magazine deserves the heat it has been getting. There is absolutely no excuse for doing what they did.

I hope the few people who actually read that awful magazine will cancel their subscription. The writers and editors are a bunch of hacks who want to capitalize on the backs on the victims and town of this horrible event. Maybe there is good use for the cover after all. If you have a dartboard, the picture provides for an excellent target. Any person who commits such a terrible act such never be given the publicity and recognition from a cover photo. Any magazine that carries such garbage will not get money or subscription. There are far more deserving people to put on a cover of a magazine than some idiot terrorist.

Protesting for all the wrong reasons

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 5 days, you may have heard of the George Zimmerman verdict and the great outrage which followed. Thousands of people have taken to the streets in many cities to protest the verdict and many more protests and demonstrations have been scheduled for this weekend. All of this is the result of a bunch of people who cannot come to grips with our legal system. The Zimmerman trial was very fair and there was simply not enough evidence to convict him of 2nd degree murder or manslaughter. However, many people feel he should have federal charges brought against him and that is why so many are protesting.The chances of any federal charges being brought against Zimmerman are about as likely as me jumping to the moon. In order for federal charges to happen, there has to be evidence that this was a racially motivated crime and there is absolutely none to suggest he killed Trayvon Martin over race. Why people think any federal charges will occur is beyond me. Do people think that just because thousands of people are protesting and signing a petition on some silly left-wing web site that things will change? Our judicial system is not based on mob rule, people!! It is all about evidence or lack of it, not based on people’s emotions or feelings. I just do not understand why people are wasting their precious time for a cause which is highly unlikely to happen. I guess some people just have too much time on their hands.

If I had to ask one of the protesters and demonstrators one thing, it would be this, why are you protesting this event when there are far more important things to be concerned about regarding race and the black community. It is sad but during last weekend, several young children got shot in continuing violence in the Chicago area. Where is the outrage around the country over this sad situation? Why is the media not covering those stories like they are with the Zimmerman case? I have not seen too many people holding up signs asking for a stop to the gang violence in Chicago and around the country. Why are people’s emotions so fixed on just one story? Many young children are dying from gang violence in Chicago every week and those stories simply fly under the radar for coverage. While the Martin killing was a very tragic story, there are more important stories that the media fails to cover and the Chicago violence is just another example.

Another issue that people should be protesting about is the high employment rate among blacks in this country. People who go around protesting how black people are being mistreated in this country should really be focusing in on the very troubling unemployment numbers for people of race. Once again, where is the outrage over this? The numbers are very staggering especially for young black males. There are also issues with high school dropout rates among blacks as well as high teenage pregnancy rates. These issues lead to so many other problems in the black community. It is very sad that these issues never really get talked about in the media. Of course, they have plenty of time to talk about racial profiling.

I have a real issue with people like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and others like a few NFL players on Twitter, who do nothing but stir up trouble and fuel these protests with their ridiculous statements. Would you please quit blaming everything on race in this country? All these guys are doing is further polarizing this country on race. Instead of blaming everything on the system, why are these guys not talking about solutions? There is a great deal of gang violence in many major cities around this country that take many young lives like Martin’s. We are all affected by this violence black or white. Maybe if these people could show the same amount of passion over these issues like they do over the Trayvon Martin case, things might get solved and we can get over this troubling talk about race.

I respect people for getting out and hopefully peacefully protesting and demonstrating over the Zimmerman verdict. It is the American way and people are entitled to voice their own opinions. However, I believe people around this country are just wasting their time protesting a decision that was very fair based on our laws. There are far more important issues that people should be concerned about in this country.

Thoughts on the George Zimmerman trial and verdict

Judging by the outraged that I see in social media and on some of the news programs, the George Zimmerman verdict will go as one of the biggest travesties of justice this country has ever seen. I mean, how could some poor, defenseless, young black kid get murdered by a cold blooded killer and have that killer walk free? Where is the justice in this great country of ours? That is just a sample of some of the comments I have been reading and is typical of the knee jerk reaction that many people have regarding the trial and verdict. People are basing their opinions on pure emotion and not looking at the evidence and facts of the case.

It is very tragic that a young black lost his life over the dispute. But is also very tragic at how the media, certain civil liberty groups and our president used this story for political purposes and further exploit the tragic death of a young man. You might have remembered President Obama talking about Martin in glowing terms and saying that if he had a son, that son would look like Trayvon Martin. I doubt Obama had any idea of what type of kid Martin was and to make a comment like that was very inappropriate. He sure seemed to make that statement to gain political points.

Suppose for a moment that had Zimmerman lost his life while Martin was pounding the crap out of him. If that was the case, do you think this story would have gained that much attention? Absolutely not!! Or what if Zimmerman was another black man? But being that Zimmerman is not black just gave this story a racial element to it and that obviously garnered people’s attention. It is extremely unfortunate that the media exploited this tragic story just to gain ratings. That is totally not right!!

It is very sad to see so many people form their own little opinions about what happened that night without really looking at all the facts. There is no question in my mind that this confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin could have been avoided. Both could of just walked away from it. But there is evidence suggesting that Martin started the confrontation and it escalated into him knocking down Zimmerman and hitting him several times. There were eyewitness accounts of this. People need to understand that Zimmerman could have been killed or severely injured during the dispute. It is very unfortunate that his option of stopping it was to take out a gun and shot Martin, however, he has the right to defend himself. A person has that right if their live is in danger. Whether Zimmerman’s live was really in danger is something we will never know but based on the facts, it might have been. The claims that Zimmerman shot Martin in a cold blooded manner are just speculation and there is no hard evidence to support that theory.

Nobody knows what happened between the two that night and the truth will never be know. The only person who knows is God and he will be the ultimate judge and deliverer of true justice in this case and others some day. I thought the verdict was very fair and I commend the members of the jury for not bowing to pressures from the media to convict Zimmerman. There was simply not enough evidence to convict him on any counts. That is how our justice system works. You are innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution failed to convince the jury that Zimmerman acted in anything other than self-defense. It is as simple as that. If your looking for a scapegoat in this case, blame the lousy prosecution team not the jury. In the meantime, I hope people will just accept the verdict and move on peacefully. Justice was served in this case, fair and square.

Thoughts on the Dwight Howard and Brad Stevens announcements

Did you happen to watch ESPN during the last few days? It was borderline insane on the coverage regarding where Dwight Howard was going to sign. Now I give credit to Howard as being probably the best center in the game today but come on!! I can easily name 10 players that I would rather have on my team. Howard is a good but not great player, period!! Anyways, it was a very busy news week for the NBA as the stories about Brad Stevens and Dwight Howard dominated the sports scene.

I have to admit, I was totally shocked over the Celtics signing of Stevens as their new head coach. I love Stevens as a coach but I always figured that he would jump to a major college program in the very near future. No disrespect to Butler, but they are not exactly a hot program like an Indiana, UCLA, Duke or North Carolina. It was only a matter of time before a bright young coach like Stevens would get courted by a major program. But the NBA? Say it isn’t true!! I just can’t picture him coaching an NBA team with a bunch of prima donas. Sure, he is given a very young team to coach but the college game seems to bring out his strengths as a coach more. He is best at preparing a team to play with ample practice time and the NBA has far more games and less practice time than the college game. But Stevens can flat out coach and a good coach should be able to coach well at any level or with any style of play.

I wonder if this is just the beginning of having more good college coaches jump to the NBA. Being a college coach at a good program must be very frustrating. Most of your blue chip players only play a year or two and then bolt to the NBA. You constantly have a turnover of players and that makes building chemistry in a program very difficult. It would not surprise me to see more teams look at the college ranks especially if Stevens has a lot of success with the Celtics.

I have to give Dwight Howard a ton of credit for his choice. I think he pretty much wiped out that myth that players only want to play for a select few teams such as the Lakers. Can you imagine some player saying he does not want to play for the Lakers? Is he insane or what? Why would you not want to play for arguably one of the most elite franchises in all of sports? The fact is, most players want to win and play for a championship and that isn’t happening with the Lakers, at least anytime in the short term. Sure Howard could eventually be the guy on that team when Kobe retires soon, which I believe will happen in a few years. But Howard has a chance to join a nice young team that has far more short term potential to win than the Lakers.

Not only does Howard have a chance to win a championship sooner, he has a chance to play for one of the greatest low post big men of all time, Kevin McHale. Howard is a good rebounder and shot blocker but his offensive game leaves a lot to be desired. McHale can help bolster his moves around the basket and that will only make Howard a much better player. It was a no-brainer of a decision in my opinion. It will certainly help Howard’s career down the road.

The off-season in the NBA is know for creating a lot of buzz and these two stories will be talked about for many days to come. Only time will tell if the parties involved made the right decision. I personally feel that both Stevens and Howard will benefit greatly from their choices. It might take Stevens a few years to adapt to coaching in the NBA but he has the tools to become a very good NBA coach. Howard will benefit right away and it should be very interesting to see how his game evolves in the next few years. If it does, then the Rockets will be one of the dominant teams in the NBA for many years to come.


True heroes in Arizona

The word hero is used very loosely in our society. We like to refer to a basketball player who sinks a last second shot as a hero. Or it could be that activist who fights for equal justice. Those people could be heroes to some people but my definition of a hero goes much deeper than those examples. I believe someone who risks their own lives to save others gets top billing as a hero to me. Sure, I believe there are other types of heroes that should get their due, but nothing compares to those who put their lives on the line to save fellow humans from death, serious injury or protecting someone else’s possessions or property. Such is the case with the 19 brave young men in Arizona who lost their lives trying to help out others.

These brave young firefighters had to know about the abnormal dangers involved in last weekend’s fire. They were very experienced and well trained fighters and something tells me that many knew this mission might be their last. But that did not stop them from using their vast training to stop or at least slow down a rapidly spreading fire. These young men saw the total picture. I am sure many were apprehensive about their mission but if they did not act, many homes and property would be damaged and potentially, many lives would be lost. They put aside their own concerns to help and save others. In the process, they paid for it by losing their own lives.

I really learned to appreciate firefighters during the 9/11 attacks. Many firefighters lost their lives on that fateful day as well. I think most people do not understand how dangerous that occupation can be. It is far more than having some guy unravel a hose and spray some water on a burning building, home or area. These people also are very adept at rescuing people or pets. It takes a ton of courage to go into a burning building with flames and smoke all around you with the purpose of saving someone’s life.

The Arizona firefighters also had to deal with gusty winds which made the raging fires even more difficult and unpredictable. And let us not forget about the 100 degree plus temps and having to wear all of that equipment. I cannot even imagine what those guys had to go through just before their deaths.

This story is even sadder when you think about who these guys were. Many were just young guys, not even 30 years old. They had their whole lives ahead of them. Some of the young men had families with young children. In a matter of moments, the bright futures of so many were tragically taken away by a force of nature.

These guys are gone but what they tried to do in protecting others from great harm and danger should never, never, never be forgotten. These brave men are a great inspiration to me and many others around the world for their awesome acts of bravery and courage. I cannot think of too many better examples of heroes than these young men. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families. We lost some true American heroes last Sunday.