Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Coming Blizzard

 
 
Blizzards
(by R.P.Edwards)

Blizzards are subjective things
Depending where you’re at
Up north; a driving foot or three
Down south…much less than that
In fact, an inch can paralyze
The streets, so used to none
And make us pray for warmer days
When blizzards…do not come

Hans hardly slowed (though three miles into the trek) as he quickly shifted the hundred pound “rullning” stone (Swedish for “rolling”) from his aching right shoulder to a position centered on his heaving, flannel draped chest and, shifting slightly, he locked it securely with his powerful arms, crossed at the wrists.  “Hmmph,” he audibly uttered as he thought of his fellow weightlifters who spent their time in comfortable gyms, flexing in between applications of baby oil.  “Wimps,” he grunted (hurdling a fallen pine).  “Sport is not in the lifting…but in the race.”  As the last word exited his lips, so too the covering of the wood fell behind; and before him?…the last leg of the marathon; a mountain with a pleasant moniker (for others), but to the “athletes” it is simply known as “dumdristig,” which, translated, means…foolhardy.

On Sunday, last, we had, what I jokingly refer to as the Blizzard of ‘09.  Oh, we must have had an inch or two, but this was enough to raise the caution flag.  You see, we’re not used to a lot of snow around here.  We’ll get a few inches now and then.  But, generally, it’s a cause for concern and I, knowing the limitations of “Bubble Butt” (affectionate term for my vintage Roadmaster) I proceeded to shuffle some of the hibernating weights in the basement…to the trunk of said vehicle.  Yes, years ago I purchased the heavy rounds and proceeded to religiously “pump iron.”  That is, until my elbow let me know that a threshold had been passed.  Now, for the most part, they serve as a little extra “oomph” for the powered rear wheels and, even with the extra hundred pounds of ballast in the hold, I still proceeded to skate past the first stop sign (normally I would have thrown it in reverse, but I had a coffee mug in my hand).  “Physician heal thyself,” came to mind; as I had just given one of my boys the “how to” as far as winter driving goes.

Anyway,  this whole underwear bombing thing is like my two inch blizzard.  It reveals the weaknesses in the hardware (vehicle) and the software (mindset.)  I’m a little better prepared now.  But will this nation follow suit?  For surely…a real blizzard…is on its way.

That’s what I think.  How about you?  Click comments below…and say.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Reality Check

 
 
Reality
(by R.P.Edwards)

Recognize the danger
Pinpoint the disease
Strip away assumptions
Forget the “how to please”
Life demands confronting
Truth…the naked light
The battle, lost…with colors
To win:  Choose black…and white


Well, it’s been a few days since the Islamic terrorist tried to blow up the airplane on our beloved Christmas Holiday.   His method was a bit unusual (explosives in the underwear), and, since no one was actually hurt I thought perhaps I’d make light of the fellow by introducing this blog with a twisting of the old song, “Skip to My Lou.”  It would go something like, “Bomb’s in my underwear, what’ll I do?  Bomb’s in my underwear, what’ll I do?” And…it would degenerate from there.  Fortunately for both of us…I abandoned the project.

Now, I’ll not spend any time railing against the gaping holes in security, or the glaring disconnect in intelligence gathering and sharing; no, what disturbs me the most is the continued downplay of who the enemy actually is. Yes, political correctness continues to feign ignorance and apathy towards those who, predominantly, are Muslim Jihadists bent on the murder of non-believers.  And, since we choose to ignore this by ascribing a lesser or more lonely motivation; well, we’re inviting another death blow that will, no doubt, move us to action.  However, this “action” may very well remove not only the adversary…but, via the ballot box, those who are currently too timid to call them by their correct name.   

That's what I think.  How about you?  Click comments below...and say.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Washington Dance



The Look Down
(by R.P.Edwards)

It must be
So very hard
To look down…from the hill
To see the rabble
And then to hear
Their voices…loud and shrill
To view the common…bumpkins!…boobs!
The represented few
Who dare to question
The people’s choice
Who dare to question…you
Yes, it must be hard
To downward gaze
While righting ancient wrongs
In crafting bills…progressives love
The stuff…of art and songs
Yes, it must be hard
This looking down
As you redefine the state
But not as hard
As looking back
To the founders
…whom you hate


As relationships go…it was a mandate.  Frank, who had always struck out with the winsome Veronica; well,  he now walked proudly with the “pretty as a model’ heiress of the grandest estate in all Alabama towards the annual dance which would put a fine “period” at end of the sentence that was this last, remarkable year.  Yes, Frank had always considered himself the “choicest” of males, but now that the lovely lady had finally come to her senses, well, wedding bells could not be far away.  Funny thing about relationships, the eyes are not always open...at least in the beginning.  No, this “view” is often clouded with hopes and dreams, and sometimes the wish to simply get away from the past...this too ads a softening filter.  However, a closer examination, along with a step or two, can be quite enlightening as to the compatibility of the couple.  And so it was with the "match made in heaven," Frank and Veronica.  Yes, by the end of the twirling, and shuffling, and stepping, and dips, well, the “one” who had entered…exited as two.  And, as the “wiser now” beauty walked slowly away (on the arm of a more compatible beau) Frank stood by the doorway (the party still in evidence behind) and shouted, “Hey, you chose me!  I have a mandate!  Come back here!  I’m not through dancing!”   

Tis the day after Christmas, and all through the house, most children are sleeping; and working?…my spouse.  And so I, pondering whether I should blather or not, looked at the headlines.  Yes, some zealot wanted to blow up an airplane, but, what’s this?  The CBO has calculated the cost of extending federal benefits to gay couples.  It’s a bunch.  And yes, if any such measure shows up on President Obama’s desk…he’ll sign it.

Oh, it is wearying.  The actions of the elite?  No…our ignorance of them.  Call me na├»ve, but I still believe that most of  America, when it comes to “values, mores, beliefs” is still on the side of tradition.  Whether it be babies in the womb, or couples at the alter, I think we, the ignorant masses, are closer to the view of our parents than those to whom we have unwittingly given a mandate.  So…let’s dance with them.  Let’s dance hard!  Let’s gaze into their eyes, their souls.  Let’s watch their every step and observe which way they lean, and how far they lean.  And then, when confident of their construct, if a suitable suitor taps in, let’s cut the dandy loose…and waltz the other way.

That's what I think.  How about you?  Click comments below...and say.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Parker Griffith and the Duck

 
 
If it quacks…
(by R.P.Edwards)

The waddle
The quack
And the visage
The “duck” thing…we all know
But politicians
Are just the same
Just look…
And you will know
It’s what they do
To back the words
That determines who…they be
So look for ducks…
To act like ducks
The truth…is plain to see


“Dr. Griffith! What are you doing!?”  [The setting: the O.R. at Capital Hospital.  The physician, an oncologist by the name of Parker Griffith, had been tirelessly battling the grotesque tumor for a little over a year, to no effect.  Without question the situation called for desperate measures, but the action taken; well, let’s just say…it stood the Hippocratic Oath on its head].  “Dr. Griffith!” the young intern anxiously repeated, “what are you doing?”  The surgeon paused, looked up briefly at the concerned assistant and, refocusing, continued the long and deep incision that would ultimately remove the huge mass from the host.  “Doctor!  The patient will die!  He can’t possibly survive so much trauma!”  Without hesitating, the fifty pound oozing lump was carefully removed and then placed in an incubator even as the expiring “patient’s” head was covered with a sheet.  A few moments later, as attending staff removed their masks and stood, with mouths agape, in a semi-circle around the chief surgeon…they heard the explanation.  “I had it all wrong,” he began (wiping his brow with an offered towel).  “For so long I was trying to save the thing that looked like the patient.  But in actuality (he paused to down a small paper cup’s worth of water) it was the “tumor” that was the human.”  Those in attendance looked to one another in amazement at the words, and then, composing themselves, centered their gaze once more as the surgeon continued.  “It took me a year to realize it, but the person I was trying to treat was actually a parasite; a clever and deadly imitation of the former Mr. Jefferson.  Finally, after carefully observing the effects of the supposed “cancer” I determined that “it” was the victim, horribly disfigured by a cruel charlatan.  Now, with the wounded safely in the incubator; well, I hope he can recover.  Perhaps, with unfailing attention…he will.”

In the news:  Democratic Representative, former oncologist, Parker Griffith, has changed allegiances from the donkey to the elephant.  I took a little time to check out his “official” site.  It appears, on the issues I care most about…that he’s closer to the republican ideal than a lot of republicans.  And, since the democratic leadership has taken a steep leftward tangent, he has jumped ship.  Well, not really.  The ship has transformed into a submarine and he wisely donned a lifejacket to keep from going under.  Good for him.  I only hope other likeminded dems do the same.  And, I also hope this man of conviction can administer some of the same medicine to the ailing others in the party of Lincoln.

That's what I think.  How about you?  Click comments below...and say.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Shameful Senate



The Shameful Senate
(by R.P.Edwards)

Hurry! Hurry!
Before they think!
Ignore the nose!
Ignore the stink!
Swallow quickly!
No time to taste!
No time for palates!
No time to waste!
Quickly! Quickly!
In, and down!
Only smiles!
Never frowns!
Doing!
Laughing!
We have won!
For their own good
The deed is done!
And then they’ll know
They’ll all know why
Uncertain wings
Will lift and fly!
Yes, we believe!
Yes, time will tell!
Unless…we’re wrong
And usher…Hell

His name is Max.  He’s a Shiatsu; one of those little whitish dogs you see at shows where the fur is long and flowing and terribly cute.  Well, Max is not a show dog.  Oh, he’s not ugly, but that long hair thing; we gave up on that long ago.  Too much trouble.  In fact…a royal pain.  These days, to handle the locks (he‘s not a shedder), this middle aged pooch goes to the groomer two or three times a year (finances permitting.) 

You know, when certain dogs are puppies, they’ve got some nasty habits.  One is the, “I’ve got to eat it--no matter what “it” is--quickly, before they can stop me!”  Believe me, this “wolf it down” syndrome--so I’ve observed--can be downright gross.  And, since we’re talking about a dog; the consequences of the consumption…is never considered.

Well, in true puppy style the Senate is about to “eat it” in regards to the cobbled mess known as the Health Care Bill.  “Do it quick before anybody really understands it or considers the consequences!
And, after it’s eaten, it’s too late! Weee!”  Yes, in true “Stimulus” fashion our representatives will vote for the dream of universal healthcare; believing that the details will work themselves out over time.  But, just as the solemn vows of marriage are so often trivialized, so too this soon to be “consummated contract” is destined for, at the very least, disharmony. 

A while back I wrote a piece extolling the virtues of the slow-moving Senate.  I take it back.  But, having said that, I will not lay too much blame on the vote receivers.  No, they are just who the starry eyed American public wanted.  And now; now that the honeymoon’s over, we have to live with our decision.  At least until next November.  Perhaps then we can have a few of the unions…annulled.

That's what I think.  How about you?  Click comments below...and say.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Got Mine!



I Got Mine!
(by R.P.Edwards)

I got mine!
And mine is fine!
I spent my time
Getting mine
And sure…there’s you
But you’re not me
And I don’t care for you…you see?
But as for me, and those of mine
Yes, thanks to me…we’re doing fine!
In fact I’d say…it’s quite sublime!
This mine, from me
From all my time.
But…too bad for them
Too bad for you
You should have followed
What I do!
Too bad you’ll sink
Too bad you’ll drown
Too bad the others spiral down
But as for me
But as for mine
We’ll laugh and float in bright sunshine
And in the end
When past our prime
And death’s a knockin’
And says, “It’s time”
Then they’ll lay my bod beside the pine
And at its head
They’ll place a sign
Which simply states my life’s opine…
“Above all else…I sure got mine!”

Let’s begin with two quotes by Senator Tom Harkin gleaned from the wire before a vote (early this day) to stifle Republican threats of a filibuster aimed at slowing down the Obamacare juggernaut.  "Today we are closer than we've ever been to making Sen. Ted Kennedy's dream of universal health insurance coverage a reality,"   "Vote your hopes, not your fears. Seize the moment."

On this brisk Monday morn, as I was straightening out the incredibly cluttered desk I sometimes work from in the basement, I received a call from my wife who was wheeling her way towards the job and heard on the radio that there was some kind of vote during the wee hours concerning a rebuffed republican stand.  I check the computer and…sure enough, the anemic minority was trying their darndest to stop the healthcare bill.  Nope.  It looks like this sugar coated cyanide pill is about to be popped.  And, I believe its ingestion will poison this nation…big time.

Now, let me point out, I’m not questioning the sincerity of the supporters.  Nor am I necessarily lauding the few who are finally beginning to “man up.”  But I just want to make an observation:  Last year a majority of Americans voted for a dream…“Hope, change, a new way of doing things.”  Well, it didn’t take long after the inaugural bash to realize that wishful thinking doesn’t necessarily translate to concrete “doing.”  And now, with a bill on the table that will literally touch us all, well, Mr. Harkin’s statement of voting your “hopes” means we're still in the same la la mindset. 

Here’s my point:  I’ve learned over time that wishful, hopeful thinking is fine up until the contract is signed.  After that…the saddle is applied…and you’re there for the ride.  I believe this bill is far too expansive and will do us ill.  Wishful thinking, or no, the hard realities will soon be upon us and if the Washington blizzard is an omen…then the snow job they received, will not compare with the one we’ll soon be subjected to.

The poem?  Dedicated to the sell outs.

That’s my opinion.  What’s yours?  Click comments below…and say.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

No Bibles Allowed



The Bible Effect
(by R.P.Edwards)

Revered and honored
Hated…to shreds
Open…for all
Hidden ‘neath beds
Sought…for destruction
Sought…for true life
Effects
Never neutral
One…peace
And one…
Strife


The third grader gently lifted the lid to her desk and pulled out the book.  It was quiet time and, since she was allowed to read, she thought bringing her favorite “real” book to school would fill the time nicely.  Sure, like most kids her age she enjoyed the fantasies and funnies that her other friends were consumed with; but this book, her bible, was much more than those other, transient tales.  Indeed, by observing how much mom and dad loved it, and how the minister on Sunday was always quoting from it, well, it seemed only natural to become better acquainted with the pages.  But the main reason, was that it told about Jesus.  And this little girl…loved him.  It was disturbing, therefore, when the teacher, someone the child respected and even liked, walked up to her and demanded that the wonderful book be put away…because it wasn’t “appropriate.” 

On this Thursday morn, as I assisted in the send off of my spouse, I saw on the news how yet another public school teacher sought to reinforce the secular mindset by “banning the book.”  Of course, this individual was out of line (so says the Supreme Court…whoopee!) but I tire so of the whole separation of church and state nonsense.  Again:  God is mentioned four times in the Declaration of Independence.  The Constitution ends with the phrase, “in the year of our Lord” and, a simple review of the era when the document was written reveals Biblical principles being a necessary part of the A B C’s.  The convoluted route, it seems to me, whereby the black robed class have concluded that we are to be, when it comes to education “anti-God” (what is “secular,” if not that?) is, at the very least, inane.  The solution?  Vouchers.  Give me my portion and I’ll send my kids to an institution that reflects my values.  A place that teaches radical ideas like; don’t murder, steal, lie, or cheat on your spouse.  Where marriage is uncomplicated and sexuality…is safe.  And how about the most revolutionary idea of all…honor your father and mother.

That's what I think.  How about you?  Click comments below...and say.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Contingency Plans

 
 
The Contingency Plan
(by R.P.Edwards)

The contingency plan
A thoughtful thing
Preparing one
For what fate may bring
To be on guard
Against the new
To stay on course
The heading…true
But contingency plans
Too oft are slight
Forgetting that death
Must someday…bite
So, think beyond your daily breath
And think of He
Who conquered death
Then, stepping to the edge of land
Embrace the clouds
In His scarred hands

“Unflappable,” it was a word the young biologist didn’t use very often, but watching his “boss” methodically put together the cold weather gear (even as the life-sustaining generator sputtered its final gasp) and then explain the intricacies of the plan for survival (listing the doings of each prospective day, culminating in a final exit strategy should there be no break in the weather), well, unflappable fit…and it gave the neophyte a degree of comfort, though from all appearances…the situation was very bleak, indeed.  “Dr. Comstock,” interrupted the youngster after the elder laid out the plan for day six, “what if these contingency plans fail?  I mean, what if…”  “My dear boy,” said the old scholar as he grimaced a bit while slipping on the--a little too small--thermal suit, “What we do then…is die.”  There was a weighted pause as the good doctor pulled the sturdy brass zipper up to his adam’s apple (being careful to avoid his long gray whiskers).  And then, handing the other suit to his companion he, looking over the top of his dark rimmed reading glasses, asked, “You do know that you will die someday, correct?”  The others silence spoke volumes and, as the kindly instructor motioned for the youth to begin dressing, he added, “Well, I see there is one more plan…that I need to share with you.”

The other day I mentioned the (in my opinion) rather cold weather we were experiencing.  Those north of us would scoff at my hesitation, but the thought of my bike ride in frigid  temperatures…gave me pause.  I carefully donned my protective attire, being sure to cover any skin that would not fare well against a negative windchill.  Well, things went fairly well till the final four blocks.  At that point my glasses iced over, a low branch pulled back my hood, and the scarf I had over my face unraveled.  Nevertheless, I survived. 

Contingency plans.  Wise.  But when you know that an end is certain; well, shouldn’t the preparation for this finality…be of first importance?

That’s what I think.  How about you?  Click comments below…and say.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Teaching teachers

 
 
Who will teach?
(by R.P.Edwards)

Who will teach the teachers
If the teachers
Have not been taught
And who will instruct the children
Of the bloody battles fought
For sadly, with the passing skin
True meanings also die
And those who share the sharing…
Are only guessing…why

It was a people transport.  A pickup from a church down the street where some of my young’uns were attending the midweek service (our home church is currently a little light in the “youth activity department”).  Anyway, on this particular cold December eve the local “Christmas Station” was playing a John Denver song, Aspenglow.  The first verse goes:


See the sunlight through the pine
Taste the warm of winter wine
Dream of softly falling snow
Winter snow, Aspenglow


Now, along with the nostalgic element (my era) I was paying close attention to the lyrics for, as the poor Disc Jockeys on this particular station are forced to listen to Christmas songs, one after another, I’ve noticed that in order to qualify for airplay the tune only has to have a vague reference to the holiday.  This song didn’t even do that.  But there was the mention of snow…I guess that met the slightly expanding standard. 

As we neared the end of the run my mind wandered a bit in the direction of the blond haired, wire-rimmed glasses singer/songwriter.  He was big in the seventies.  But…to my oblivious children (“Here he goes again!”) it might as well have been the middle ages.  And, as we pulled into port and the captives were finally set free,  I was once again reminded that in the space of just a few years…knowledge and knowing…fade.  That’s why the act and art of teaching is so important.  Indeed, there are truths that are to be maintained, preserved, passed on.  However, even the slightest misalignment of the stones…and the whole structure leans towards oblivion.  Surely, as late placed bricks begin to totter and fall; surely there are those who still hold a plumb line?  But the question remains; how much will have to fall…before it can be rebuilt…if at all?

 
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust
Kingdoms will crumble, bridges will rust
Mountains will disappear, rivers will dry up
And so it goes with everything but love
 
(from the song, "And So It Goes" by John Denver)


That's what I think.  How about you?  Click comments below...and say.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Ill Wind

 
 
The Ill Wind
(by R.P.Edwards)

There’s an ill wind blowing
Hard…and bitter cold
Sweeping cross the nation
An evil…ages old
Seeking out the souls of men
To crush…and kill…the will
Forgetful we…we bid it come
And now…we’ll have our fill

Uncle Larry was a character.  A little older than my dad, he was--what was the word mom used?--Eccentric! That’s it!  Anyway, me and sis thought his ways were funny.  When he came to visit (every Arbor Day, believe it or not) he’d fill our young minds with wonderful stories of the our “Great Mother” (his words) the earth.  He’d lead us through the woods and whenever we’d come upon a bug or slug he’d (no kidding!) say, “Say hello to your distant cousin.”  The funniest thing was when we stood at the end of the driveway and every time a SUV drove by he’d utter some sort of curse (Mayan, he said).  Yeah, uncle Harry was a character, and he was fun to have around.  But…when mom and dad suddenly died in a car crash…and he became our legal guardian; well, then our lives became a living hell.

It’s early morning, and I begin my dayshift run this cold--and getting colder--December day.  In my neck of the woods (mid-America) there’s a cold front a-comin.’ I can hear the wind howling outside, and the weather folk predict single digits when the new day begins. 

The little charade above (I have no uncle Larry) is a type of “us” and “they.”  For some reason we have killed our “parents” along with their values and “truths,” and substituted them with the eccentric leanings of academia and the airy nothingness of Hollywood. Yes, these relatives were fun to listen to, and entertaining at the family gatherings, but now they’re in charge.  It’s an ill wind…and we invited it.  Better batten down the hatches…this storm…has teeth.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pearl Harbor Day



Pearl Harbor Day
(by R.P.Edwards)

Busy, busy
Fleeting time
Pause for little
Seeking…mine
Rushing past
Memorial threads
Life for living
Forget…the dead
But now and then
From trials deep
From valleys low
With risings…steep
With easing pain
I see the worth
Of values born…
Not of this earth
And so a moment
On this day
Remembering heroes
Their blood…the pay
That bought my leisure
My selfish view
A simple pause for thanks
…to you.


“Red sky at night, the sailor’s delight,” so goes the ancient adage.  I thought about it on my mission last night at dusk which required a buggy ride (in one of our little steel mill transports) and an outside jaunt into the cold December elements.  There, as I tooled along, to the west, were clouds that had the appearance of cotton that had been subject to the cat’s merciless teasing; and they were red.  Well, even though I spent some time sailing the briny deep (decades ago), the saying never made sense.  However, one minute on Wikipedia cleared it up.  It all has to do with predictable weather patterns and the rays of the sun as they travel through the atmosphere at dawn…and dusk.  The “red skies” can indeed be a precursor…to good, or ill.

Today is Pearl Harbor Day.  Sixty-eight years ago the United States was plunged into a World War and the generation of our parents and grandparents was asked, and accepted, the task of sowing their blood that the hope of freedom…might bloom.  And, for us, their progeny…it certainly has.  However, it appears that it is again morning…and the sky is red.  We can try and ignore it; say it’s not coming; but the front is moving steadily towards us.  I hope a little of our ancestor’s “stuff” has been passed on.  We’ll see.  But on this day…we remember them…and say, “Thanks.”

That’s what I think.  How about you? Click comments below…and say.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mike Huckabee and Compassion’s Choice



Compassion
(by R.P.Edwards)

Compassion is a priceless bloom
To thrive, a heart must give it room
No place for greed and selfish gain
No bed for anger’s shoots of pain
No vines of fear that choke the life
No calloused stones of hate and strife
But only soil, rich and red
Where love can grow, from heaven fed
And growing, reaches past the skin
Perchance to touch…and welcome in
Perchance to share your answered cry
When sorrow shouted how?! and why?!
 And you received compassion's bloom
Because the Savior…gave it room

I imagine it can be quite humbling; to realize that thousands of your peers...have loaned you their power, their strength, their trust.  Yes, as chief executive of the state, as governor, your words carry weight.  Your judgment will effect lives; set things in motion that will change, alter, direct streams that will run (and hopefully not ruin) long after your term attains lame duck status.

Then governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, had on his desk a request for commutation.  An inmate by the name of Maurice Clemmons had, as a sixteen year old, committed crimes that earned him a sentence of over one hundred years.  The governor weighed the request, considered the circumstances, and sided with compassion.  He lessened the offenders time to forty seven years, which made him eligible for parole.  It was not a free pass by any means, but it was at least a chance to not let teenage mistakes...ruin a whole life.

Now fast forward to 2009.  Maurice Clemmons, who, because of the compassionate act of a governor, did indeed breath freedoms air once more; well, instead of a new, fresh start, his life spiraled downward, culminating, many years later, in the murder of four police officers.  He was later gunned down. 

Understandably, Mike Huckabee, upon learning of the tragic events, could only offer..."If I had known."  And, naturally, there are those who will try to demonize the man, even going so far as to link him with former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis' disastrous prisoner furlough program.  But, to the objective and open, given the information he was given, his decision was understandable, even laudable.  And, although I join the nation in mourning the death of the innocent, and grieve over the ongoing suffering of their families,  concerning Mike Huckabee, I'd trade him for just about any politician who now sits in congress...or the white house.

Two weeks ago a fairly young (compared to me) minister stood behind the pulpit and gave a message of hope.  He spoke of a Savior whose compassion had reached down to him, even in his prison cell, and lifted him up.  This former criminal is a felon, and his early transgressions could have kept him behind bars...for life.  But compassion had its way and now his life is a blessing.  How terribly sad, that the life of Maurice Clemmons...took a different tack. 

That's what I think.  How about you?  Click comments below...and say.