THE TWELVE BEST HAPPENINGS OF 2007

On the 27th of this month, I published the Worst Happenings of 2007. Now, it’s time to think positive. I know, nobody asked, but here goes.

* Regardless of one’s position on the Iraq war, there is no argument that the change in strategy and in leadership has produced positive results, with American deaths down from 121 in the month of May, to sixteen thus far in December, albeit sixteen too many. The rising outrage of Sunni and Shiia citizens within Iraq has led to revolt against al Qaeda, thus giving us hope for an end to the conflict in the near future.

* Long overdue resignations of Bush lackies, Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzalez and Donald Rumsfeld, all positive changes that will provide more confidence from Americans in the remaining year GWB is in office.

* Abortions in the U.S. have dropped to under 1.3 million, the lowest since Roe v. Wade in 1973. All this, as a result of more education and treatment, without enacting new and unnecessary laws banning abortions which would give rise to a black market.

* Teenage substance abuse. According to the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, teenagers are drinking less and …

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THE TWELVE WORST HAPPENINGS OF 2007

I know. Nobody asked. But here is my list of the worst happenings of 2007.

* Over 900 American heroes brought home in flag-draped caskets, (bringing the war total to 3,900) plus another 3,000 blind, legless, armless or otherwise maimed for life. This tragedy, from a war even more controversial than Viet Nam, where so many scholars from both sides of the aisle tell us how an administration cherry-picked and manipulated intelligence to justify the unjustifiable.

* Osama Bin Laden remains at large and powerful as ever. This, more than six years after the 9/11 attacks on the shores of the United States. Yet, we spent fifty times as much in lives, money and military resources going after another depot who did not attack America.

* The presidential campaign. Countries like Canada and the UK dedicate four to eight weeks on a political campaign. In the U.S., with the primary system, the presidential campaign is a drawn-out, two-year, media-driven horse race with a new poll virtually every day.

* The debates. Dumb questions take up the time that should be allotted for more important issues. “What does America mean to you?” Please. “Do you accept the Bible as truth?” Would …

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JUSTICE SYSTEM GONE AWRY – BUSTING CHILDREN

Have we gone nuts?

A ten year old child brings a steak knife to school in Ocala. She’s caught cutting her meat at lunch, and then arrested as though she was a serial killer on the loose. Perhaps a sharp knife was inappropriate on school grounds, which is a good reason to confiscate, teach her a lesson, admonish her parents and send her on her way. But why whack the fifth grader with a formal arrest as though she had committed a crime?

That’ll give a growing kid a warm and secure feeling about the law.

A first grader in Avon Park, Florida, lost control and acted out in class, kicking and scratching. That’s bad. She obviously has a problem. Teachers called the cops, who came and handcuffed her for restraint. Okay, I can even live with that. Then child — a six-year-old — was brought to police headquarters and charged with a felony and two misdemeanors. Huh?

When did common sense lose it’s foothold in America? Years ago, we’d read stories like this in communist China.

Moses Lake, Washington, 2006. Seven juveniles were taken into custody and arrested for vandalism and theft. Two of these were five and six …

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ANTI-GAY BIGOTRY IS ALIVE AND WELL

“AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.”

— Rev. Jerry Falwell, Christian evangelist

Remember when a gay caballero was defined as a happy Spaniard? Today, if you told a Miami Cuban he was gay, you might be peering down the bore of a .380 Barretta semi-automatic. Tune in to the nostalgia channel sometime and listen to the dialogue in movies of the 1930’s, Fred Astaire or Claudette Colbert exclaiming, “Oh, they had a gay time at the party.” Imagine your spouse hearing about your gay time at the office party?

The modern era has arrived. Being “gay” is now irreversibly defined. So has the omnipresence of gays in all walks of society, which some folks don’t like very much.

“The New York Times and Washington Post are both infested with homosexuals themselves. Just about every person down there is a homosexual or lesbian.”

— Jesse Helms, former U.S. Senator (deceased)

Securing the basic rights of all Americans has been the cornerstone achievement of the twentieth century. Yet, bigots still claim that traditional values of family and decency are being violated. When racial segregation was effectively banished, and women …

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NO PLACE FOR CHEATS IN PRO SPORTS

Imagine, being a Christian and then learning that Jesus was a thief. Or that Celine Dion never really sings, she lip syncs.

This isn’t quite that drastic, but I’m crushed nonetheless. One of my sports idols has fallen from the pedestal. It’s not an easy feeling to have admired a person for so long, and then learn he or she isn’t worthy. It’s no different than having trusted a good friend only to learn that trust has been violated.

It doesn’t matter if it’s sports, music or acting, we human beings admire, and often idolize those who excel over others in their field because, well, they deserve it. Deniro, Streep, Heifetz, Pavarotti, Ruth, Woods, are all names that are instantly recognized and associated with greatness in their respective fields, because they deserve it. That’s the operative word: Deserve.

The best athletes excel over others because of two salient factors: Talent and hard work. The premise is that all competitors start out on an even playing field, and only the best rise to the top.

There is no room for a third factor: Cheating.

When the Mitchell report was released this past Thursday, naming more than eighty baseball cheaters …

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A MEMORABLE CHRISTMAS SMILE

I strolled around the church antechamber playing Broadway tunes, Christmas Carols and Patriotic songs on violin while my friend, Jay, accompanied on piano. The folks all sat facing us in a semi-circle, singing along, clapping, laughing at my antics. Twas a marvelous feeling for the two of us, to bring an hour of music and joy to the seniors of a day care center.

I announced that Jay Barnhart and I had retired from the field of criminal justice, he a medical examiner, me a homicide detective. Now in retirement, we are enjoying the gift of music that our parents instilled into us. They roared when they heard our new tag line: The Dick-Doc Duo. (I didn’t tell them our other nickname: Bag ‘em and Tag ‘em.)

As various tunes were played by heart and I roamed the room, my eyes often met theirs —one by one— winking, smiling. In one swift swoop, I let an upbow sling from my hand like a dart until it hit the floor. Laughter filled the room. My hips wiggled to strains of “If I Were A Rich Man,” and they laughed again.

One gentleman smiled broadly the entire hour. He seemed so robust …

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RADICAL ISLAM LOOMS: VOTE SMART

Call me Islamophobic. Call me a fear monger. Doesn’t matter. After a chilling six month research study into this issue, I came to one unwavering conclusion: The greatest threat to our nation, to our grandchildren, to our constitution, is the swelling of radical Islam within the borders of the United States. While there are good and moderate Muslims everywhere, their voice is rarely heard above the clatter of extremism.

We hear nary a word about this dire issue in presidential debates, as though it doesn’t exist. While the threat looms all around us, the question is never asked: What will you do, as president, to stem the advances of radical Islamic forces within our borders?

In the year 2050, when all is said and done, issues like social security, abortion, immigration, war and the economy won’t matter a lick if Islam establishes world dominion and the Quran supercedes the constitution. If anyone believes that is not the goal of Hamas, Hezbollah, Wahhabists and the Muslim Brotherhood, I have some oceanfront property for sale in Kansas.

Think back ten years. How much did we hear about the infiltration of radical Islam in 1997 compared to now? Little did we read about …

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