Dancing with the Stars and Stripes

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Like a true lady, America has been generous with her dance card.  She has allowed 43 different men to escort her onto the floor, one of them on two separate occasions.  Each man has been strikingly different from the next.  They have varied in age, religion, race, ethnicity, education, social status and philosophy.
Some have guided her with skill and grace.  Twirling her elegantly in time with the music, encouraging her proudly to display the breadth of her beauty.  They have allowed her to absorb the spotlight while following her lead.
Others have not been such selfless partners. There are those who have stepped on her toes because they’ve chosen to dance to a different beat than the one she is hearing.   A few have even spiked her punch and attempted to convince her to relinquish her values in exchange for theirs.
She never abandons any of these gentlemen before the music has stopped.   She always makes good on the contract of her dance card.  At times she’s basked in the warmth of the spotlight.  But she has also known the frigid depths of the shadow cast by a partner’s ego.  All the while she has kept her head held high and her principles close.  She has remained dignified, humble and open to dancing with whomever she is paired.
She currently finds herself in the arms of a man who wishes to guide her across the floor in a manner with which she is completely unfamiliar.  To her this dance is completely foreign and seems to be leading in an uncharted direction.  She is finding it increasingly more difficult to will her feet to comply with these new steps.  The result is two dancers spinning quite clumsily and entirely haphazardly across the floor.
America is tripping over the feet of a man who wants her to follow his lead, to conform to his chosen rhythm.  He cares little about the proper execution of the predetermined choreography; he has brought his own drummer.
There are some who are in awe of the brazen manner of America’s latest dance partner.  His approach is new and different.  His arrogant steps are sloppy and have fallen out of time with the music., but they happily overlook the quality of his performance, because they love his style.
Other audience members are staring in wide-eyed disbelief as America, their consummate favorite and reigning champion is being made to look like an amateur.  They pray that she can last the length of this song.  Can she maintain her dignity when she is being made to look like such a fool?  Can she recover after so many missteps?  Will she live to dance another day?
If she holds true to what she knows to be right, she can regain control of the pace.  She can finish strong and smiling and will retain her standing in the world.  But if she chooses to acquiesce to her partner’s will, her bright star will be extinguished forever.
The outcome will be decided by a two-judge panel presided over by Time and History.  These two may have the final say as to her fate, but their decision is highly susceptible to public opinion.  Now is not a time for shyness, applaud if you like the show you’re watching or boo if you’re unimpressed, believe me the judges are all ears.

Spare Change for Italy

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Early this morning central Italy was rocked by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake.  It has left over 100 dead and thousands homeless.  Many world leaders have offered their condolences and have pledged monetary aid.  Considering the Washington spending spree that commenced the moment  Barack Obama took office one might assume that we would be cutting Italy a check with a minimum of six figures.  If you count the change there are seven figures present in the $50,000.00 that Obama has pledged in aid to Italy.  While our President is on a world tour claiming a major change in the tone of US foregin relations is the best we can offer Italy really only fifty thousand dollars?

The Italians should be insulted especially considering that during his first month in office President Obama approved $900,000,000 in aid to the Palestinians for rebuilding efforts in Gaza.  These funds were pledged to Gaza despite the well known fact that Gaza is controlled by Hamas.  For those of you unfamiliar with Hamas I’ll give you a brief overview of this organization; Hamas is a militant Palestinian organization founded in the late 1960’s, which refuses to recognize the state of Israel.  It operates a terrorist wing which has carried out over 350 attacks including suicide bombings and short-range rocket attacks on the Israeli people.  Hamas became the controlling party of the Palestinian legislature in 2006.

President Obama has quickly and drastically changed the tone of US foreign relations and policies.  We’re now giving hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to one of the most despicable organizations on the planet so that they may rebuild an area that has been decimated as a direct result of their militant actions.  While in the case of the Italian government who have suffered destruction due to no fault of their own, we’re giving them less than one tenth of one percent of what we gave to Gaza.  So is aiding groups who support terrorist activities with millions of US dollars while offering embarrassingly small amounts to a country who came to our aid following hurricane Katrina and is now dealing with a natural disaster on its on soil, the kind of change so many hoped to see when they voted for President Obama?