Thursday, June 28, 2012

Supreme Court's "Ruling" on Obamacare

So as not to incite a full-on Facebook riot, I decided to post about this on my personal blog where I can say anything I want weeeeeee!!!!!

So the Supreme Court ruling about Obamacare just came out and there is still a lot of sorting out to do. Of course nothing can be cut and dry in this great nation anymore. I swear, it's like our government loves to watch us all debate each other until our eyeballs bleed. They also love to tax us apparently.

I'm terrible at understanding legal stuff, and since this is still so early on, I'm not going to be able to speak with much clarity on the issue. But the good news is, so far, it seems like no one can speak with much clarity on the issue! So in order to ensure that you are as confused and enraged as I am, here's a smattering of Twitter, Facebook, and combox snippets I've read for your ruminating pleasure:

"So they decided a tax for all that free care bankrupting the healthcare system is ok. And a credit is provided if you have your own insurance. Sounds like a justified idea."

"So will this now be called the biggest tax in the history of America? So Obama now is the utlimate Tax and Spend Liberal?"

"Dow going down...a vote of NO confidence in the taxes in Obamacare re. the future of the economy."

"So our gov-ment can make us do anything as long as they call it a tax? "

"Wait, can someone please explain just what exactly IS the difference between a "penalty" and a "tax"?? Oh wait... apparently there is no difference anymore..."

"America now knows it was lied to. It is a tax."    

"America has won today. But we still have a long way to go to be the greatest country in the world again."
"Can't wait to hear Obama admit he lied to us. I'm sure he'll come up with some flourished mumbo-jumbo and completely avoid the financial hell-hole he's dug us into like he always does."

 "It is perhaps true that the taxing power is broader than the commerce power...problem there is that the bill supporters denied it was a tax... few if any courts of appeals have considered it to be a tax."

"Bait and switch."

"The court has ruled Obamacare is a tax. Obama can never escape the tax-hiker label now. The biggest tax increase in history." 

"Whoooo's excited to start paying a 2.5%  federal taxation of your Gross Income every year??? Woohoo! I was beginning to wonder what I was going to do with all that extra money I have lying around..."

"Guys, this decision has some redeeming qualities on the commerce clause side."
"Obama Administration: "This is absolutely not a tax!" Supreme Court: "It's not valid if it's not a tax. I'm sure you meant to say that it is." "

"The poor will be given tax-payer money to pay their "tax". " 

"You pay tax. You get service. And so do your fellow citizens. It's called social democratic government. "   

"My family left Cuba for what? To be followed here by socialists? I fear for the future of our nation and our daughter. I'm depressed :( How could they rule this monster constitutional? They've opened Pandora's box. "

"I go to a hospital. No insurance. What happens? Fine? Or is everyone covered regardless? How the heck does this law work?"

"Sure am glad I can rely on the federal government now to tell me what to buy and how to live. Time to go off the grid."

 "I wish people would stop saying that there is some redeeming quality in the commerc clause decision...there is NONE....if they tax you as a penalty for not doing what they deem you should's ok....their power is now unlimited... Thanks Mr. Chief Justice...please resign now."

"Look the problem is not the Decision, but the justification for the decision...its flawed"

"Well I guess we can still secede and try another go at a Constitutional Republic "

"That's it. Consider me the next official expat."


Uh-oh, Supreme Court... looks like you made a boo-boo. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Speak It with Love

You've all seen them. Facebook Debates. The rumble in the combox. The deathmatch at the blogosphere. It usually goes a little something like this:

Somebody posts a Facebook status about some moral or theological statement, and then, pardon the pun, all hell breaks loose. Furious debating back and forth, back and forth. You start reading the thread because you're bored. Or procrastinating. Or possibly genuinely interested at the topic. Then it happens... you read something someone said that just wasn't quite right and you're all like:
What did he just say???

So you jump in. You're not gonna let crap like that slide. Oh no. Oh, no. You're really pleased with your incredibly witty, sophisticated, intelligent, in short, perfect, rebuttal. That'll shut him up, you say.
But then.... that little red notification bubble appears. "HE" commented back. You go to read, thinking wonder what this chump came up with. And you find this:

So then you're like:
Oh it is ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You say all kinds of amazingly brilliant things that no one could possible refute but "he" just won't give up! And now you're not alone. Commentators from before have rejoined the debate, some on your side, some on "his" side. Then out of nowhere, this guy jumps in:
Ahhhhh, You! Person A - you're wrong about the elephants!! They don't have hooves, they have large, flabby feet with toes!!! And You! Person B - you're wrong about the elephants too! Their trunks serve as both nose AND upper lip!! And you! Person C - don't even get me started with that comment about the elephant scales. Dude. Scales?! I CAN'T EVEN HANDLE HOW WRONG YOU ALL ARE! 

So now the anger vibe is really flowing. It's a no-holds-barred match, and with every contender safely hidden behind their computer screens, somehow they all feel comfortable enough to throw all kinds of cruel and hurtful insults around like candy at a parade. Before you know it, someone's feelings get hurt and they're all like:
Me no likey that comment. That man NOT nice. Waaaaaahhhhhhhh!

So then someone steps in and is all like:
Alright, break it up, break it up!! Let's just agree to disagree okay?

But at this point, you're still pretty worked up. Who is this guy and why does he have the right to break up my fight before we've finished with me as the clear winner? Sheesh! So you dust yourself off a bit before diving back into the trench, but resolve to be a bit more civilized this time. Not like the other guys. They're raging barbarians, clearly uneducated and partially crazed no doubt. Heartless and bloodthirsty. You picture them looking pretty much like this:
I will eat your soul and kill all your words!!!!!!!!

Meanwhile, you are refined and the sheer definition of intellect and self-restraint. You picture yourself more or less like this:
I am smart, classy and well-dressed. I pretty much know everything.

So how much longer does the brawl go on for? It varies. Sometimes you just grow weary and fizzle out, quietly slipping away from the melee, hoping not to be noticed whilst other debators rage on. Sometimes you're in it for the long haul, determined to be the last typist typing. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Either way, most times you still convince yourself that you won in some way and those other guys are off their rockers. You kind of feel sorry for them and their wayward ways. If only you could civilize them. 
Tsk, 'tis a shame.

Both sides walk away with fatigued fingers, minds still racing, but hearts... unchanged. 


The fact is, people's hearts don't change over Facebook debates. No matter how smart, how well-researched, how perfect your answers may be, it doesn't matter. It's not what changes hearts. Love does. And more specifically, Divine Love.
 I'm not saying we aren't called to share Gospel truths with our friends and relatives when the opportunity arises. But we should be engaging in these conversations from a place of love, humility, and discernment. I know how easy it is to get riled up over something you hold near and dear to your heart. I know how fiery the passion can burn and how urgent the need to defend your beliefs can feel. I know. I've been there. But at the end of the day, what matters more to a person is not what was said to them, but how it was said to them. 

Speak the truth! Yes. But speak it with love. 
Jesus said, "By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35 He didn't say "if you outsmart one another" or "if you out-research one another". I write this post, advising myself just as much as you, dear readers. Let us spread and defend the truth always, as fiercely as we would defend Jesus our Lord, for he also said "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." John 14:6 Therefore to defend truth, is to defend Jesus. 

But let us defend Him with all grace and virtue. When Simon Peter cut off the ear of Malchus, the high priest's servant, in the Garden of Gethsemane, he did so with good intention - to defend his Lord. But we know that Jesus admonished him, and bid him to put his sword away. 

Sometimes I am like Simon Peter in the garden - fiery and ready to rage at anyone who speaks against Truth. Righteous anger is understandable, but we cannot unleash fury onto other human beings - other creations whom God loves infinitely and equally as He does you. Above all, we are called to love our neighbors. Above preaching, instructing, correcting - which are all necessary at times as well, but which should never trump our mission to love.

So next time I see that lively debate happening on Facebook about this topic or that, I may or may not jump in. But if I do, I pray I will truly keep my eyes on Christ and attempt share the Truth, only through the lens of Love.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Why Gemma is "Still" Rear-Facing

Something that may seem like a minor decision in the long list of decisions parents make about their children's safety is when to turn their child car seat from rear-facing to forward-facing. While it may seem like a minor decision, it can actually significantly impact the well-being of your child in the unfortunate even of a car collision.

Lots of people raise their eyebrows when they find out my almost 2-year old is still rear-facing in her car seat and that I don't plan on turning her around anytime soon. Car seat safety is something that is ever-evolving, so the level of car seat safety "we grew up with" is vastly different than what we presently have.

While I *understand* on a certain level a parent's desire to turn their child around (kid hates facing backwards, they can see their child, they can recline the front seats further without car seat interference, etc.), I have been exposed to a lot of research that has convinced me to keep Gemma rear-facing as long as possible. There are "minimums" on car seats (ex. - Child must be AT LEAST one year of age AND ___lbs before turning around to be forward-facing. Weight minimums vary by manufacturer) and there are "maximums" on car seats as well. These are set by weight and height of the child according the specific car seat/manufacturer.

I prefer to keep Gemma rear-facing to the MAX in order to keep her as safe as possible for as long as possible. The truth is, if there were a way to keep every single person in the car rear-facing, there would be significantly fewer serious injuries and deaths due to collisions. Obviously, you can't drive a car while facing backwards so we do the best we can with safety. But the fact is, there is a lot we can do to keep our children as safe as possible while in a vehicle. 
Gemma is only 21 lbs and petite all-around. I know 6 and 7 month olds who are that same weight and no parent would dream of putting their 7 month old forward-facing, so why would I put my child who is the same size as them forward-facing just because she's older?

The answer is, I wouldn't and I won't. As much as it can be an inconvenience for her and for us, her safety is more important than that. As parents, we do all kinds of things that are "inconvenient" for the sake of our child's health and well-being. How easy is it to brush your toddler's teeth? Or clip their nails? Or get your preschooler to eat all her vegetables? Or constantly monitor your baby while she's in the kiddie pool? Not all aspects of parenting are easy or fun, but when it comes to health and safety, no amount of sacrifice on our part is too much, if it keeps them safe.

Here's a quick video which does a good job of briefly discussing some of the major reasons to exercise the highest level of car seat safety. If you find it educational, I assure you, there are hours more that you can spend watching and reading up on car seat safety! :)

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