Friday, September 25, 2009

Interview with Kevin Jackson: A Proud Conservative with a Relevant Message


“What you learn about America is that people are a lot less interested in race than they are in character.”

Kevin Jackson: The Black Sphere


Kevin Jackson, Speaker at the 9-12 event in Quincy, Illinois, 9-12-2009

Interview in Politics — by Christine Lakatos — on Sep 24, 2009

This past week, I had the honor of interviewing Kevin Jackson for Blogcritics...

Kevin Jackson is a father of four sons and an unlikely success story. Jackson is a highly sought after speaker, most recently speaking at the 9-12 event in Quincy, Illinois. Jackson has graced the stage with luminaries like Neal Boortz, Herman Cain, Judge Napolitano, and Andrew Breitbart, to name a few.

In addition to his newly released book, The BIG Black Lie, Jackson is a regular on the Glenn Beck show, writes his daily blog, The Black Sphere, is a contributing writer to Big Government, American Thinker, and his work was recently featured in Townhall Magazine. Jackson hosts a radio show and does guest appearances on some of the more prominent conservative radio and television shows around the country.

Jackson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and has gone from business owner to consultant for some of the world’s largest companies, making him a leader in the consulting industry in America.


CLICK HER TO READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW....

Besides our conversation about politics, I discovered that Jackson is an athlete and has been in martial arts since he was eight. We had a chance to briefly "talk shop" and reminisce about our "glory days" when we were lean, mean athletic machines!

According to Jackson, “What you learn about America is that people are a lot less interested in race than they are in character.” Jackson believes that empowerment comes when you know who you are and what you stand for. While Jackson was as charming, amusing, and direct as I imagined him to be, he most definitely knows who he is and is strong in his convictions, forces that have catapulted him onto the political stage, branding him a "patriot" of our time.

Check out Kevin's Book: The BIG Black Lie: How I Learned The Truth About The Democrat Party



Thanks Kevin, and keep up the great work.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Florida Officials Cleared of Criminal Charges in Prayer Case


Florida Officials Cleared of Criminal Charges in Prayer Case
An Apology and an Amen.
Opinion in Politics — by Christine Lakatos — on Sep 20, 2009

EXERPT:
I am relatively new to the world of writing and came to Blogcritics as the author of a diet book focusing mainly on topics that reflect my fitness expertise. In May I decided to branch out into the political arena — what was I thinking? I am not a journalist but firmly believe that the media, magazines, authors of books and articles must have some level of integrity. Writers, who compose articles that are centered on reporting or criticizing people, stories, or issues of the day, should be prudent in their gathering of the facts and the presentation that follows, especially when it is publicly displayed. My articles have had their share of opposition as well as problems with grammar, content, layout, categories, etc. –– something the editors here on Blogcritics can attest to.

That being said, a piece that I wrote back in August here on Blogcritics, “Florida Principal and Athletic Director Face Criminal Charges for Praying", is back in the news this week and is one that I must admit bothered me for weeks after it was posted. In hindsight, it took on a hyperbolic posture, although it arose out of passion and was not done intentionally. The information was accurate but my presentation may have thwarted the reality of what was happening; portraying an assumption that it was entirely the fault of the ACLU that these two men were about to face prison time for praying and surmising that they had the power put them there. As a commenter pointed out, “Christine, your problem is with the Law and the Court, not with the ACLU, which, despite the hyperbolic stance of your article, does not have the power of a branch of government”. In retrospect, it is the “consent order” that should of been the focus of my attack –– an order that the ACLU designed, the accused agreed to, and a Judge put into effect. It was the court (per the request of the ACLU to hold them in contempt for their prayer at a luncheon), which detained these two men’s lives and placed them on the criminal fence.

The ACLU has represented their fair share of “dirt bags” like the one mentioned in my article (NAMBLA) and there are plenty of cases that constitute a direct verbal attack. But as another critic noted, the ACLU has a "record of defending individuals whose rights of religious expression has been violated", including some Christians. By no stretch of the imagination am I implying that I am now a fan of the ACLU...

Read the entire article...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

ACORN Exposed: Take Five

ACORN Exposed: Take Five
Will Congress finally launch a full investigation into ACORN and will all federal funds for this community organization be “terminated”?


News in Politics — by Christine Lakatos — on Sep 17, 2009


Exclusively for Blogcritics.org


ACORN has received over $53 million of federal funds since 1994 and stands to get $8.4 billion more tax dollars in the near future and this past week we have been enlightened to certain ways that our taxpayer dollars are at work.


The “ACORN Exposed” videos came from James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles who went undercover to expose the dirty deeds of ACORN this past summer. When the first two videos hit the airwaves last week, Blogcritics was on top of the story, “In both cases, O’Keefe and Giles “presented himself as a pimp and his associate Hannah Giles as a prostitute looking for assistance in qualifying to get a federal low income loan so that they could purchase a house to use as a brothel to which they would be bringing underage Salvadoran girls smuggled into the country illegally to work as prostitutes.”


These two "undercover videos" came out of the Baltimore and D.C. offices of ACORN and a third video hit the news focusing on the ACORN office in New York, which for the most part exposed what the first two had, “employees eager to assist him in committing and covering up multiple crimes, including tax fraud, prostitution, human trafficking and defrauding the federal government.”


ACORN has been under investigation for voter fraud in several states and the fallout over these videos has been interesting, to say the least, with ACORN responding in a variety of ways, whereas the Baltimore City Attorney’s office has threatened to press charges against the two filmmakers, O’Keefe and Giles. After the third video was released, the Senate passed (with a 83-7 vote) an amendment to “strip” ACORN of federal funding for housing and a statement by Senator Shelby followed, "While this vote is important, it is limited in scope and we must know more. It is imperative that we proceed immediately to investigate what appears to be ACORN’s stunning disregard for the law and abuse of taxpayer funds. Such an investigation would serve as the basis for determining not only whether ACORN is worthy of receiving other federal funds this year, but ever again.”


While ACORN has announced that it will launch its own internal investigation, the White House has called the ACORN employees’ “behavior unacceptable”, but have yet to launch their own investigation.


The show continues as two more videos were unleashed, this time from the West Coast, California offices, San Bernardino and San Diego. San Bernardino ACORN employee not only gave advice on how to run a brothel and was proud to utter that Heidi Fleiss (the Hollywood Madam) is her role model, she claimed that “she shot her husband." After her starring role in this ACORN undercover video was made public, she downplayed her story by saying she was merely attempting to “shock them as they were shocking me”.


Late last night, video five was released to Sean Hannity of Fox News revealing the deeds of the San Diego office. In this video the ACORN employee shares that the “best place to smuggle under age girls into the United States is from Tijuana because he has connections there”.


Yesterday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger weighed in on this ongoing controversy and sent a letter to California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown, Jr. urging an investigation into ACORN’s activities in California, stating, “I have seen a series of news stories regarding the ACORN organization that have concerned me greatly”.


Breaking news today ––20 states are calling for a full investigation of ACORN, the House is debating cutting funds for this organization, and the FBI is consulting with Department of Justice, yet the details have
yet to be released. Will O’Keefe and Giles (BigGovernment.com), “be back” with more videos? Will Congress continue to be a “girly-man” in their handling of ACORN? Will Schwarzenegger’s “muscle” matter? Will the demands of Senator Shelby and others be heard, with a complete investigation materializing? If they do examine the entire ACORN community organization, what will they expose? Will all federal funds for ACORN be “terminated”? Stay tuned!


UPDATE: the House just passed the "ACORN defunding bill" (345 to 75). We will see what happens in the Senate and then to the Pres.


Links to many parts of this story can be found in the original post on Blogcritics. In the meantime, you can keep up with this story by checking out BigGovernment.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kevin Jackson and the Tea Party Express


Kevin Jackson and the Tea Party Express
Satire in Politics — by Christine Lakatos — on Sep 16, 2009

“I’m here to see if I can find the racists they keep talking about…and uh, I have yet to find em’… We’re looking for the racists and Dick Cheney is calling me, he’s on standby. He says if we find them that we can take care of business over here.”
These are the words of Kevin Jackson who is part of the Tea Party Express and made a special appearance at the Quincy, Illinois rally, where thousands gathered this past Saturday. Jackson is the author of the book, The BIG Black Lie, writes The Black Sphere Blog, and has an online radio show based on his blog.

The Tea Party Express is a movement spreading across the nation "rallying Americans to oppose the out-of-control spending, higher taxes, bailouts, and growth in the size and power of government." These protests have been going on all summer and the last stop was the U.S. Capitol on September 12, 2009, where it was estimated that anywhere from 20,000 to 2 million, depending on where you get your news, gathered to express their grievances.

David Axelrod told Face the Nation on Sunday, "I don't think it's indicative of the nation's mood," and stated, "You know, I don't think we ought to be distracted by that. My message to them is, they're wrong." This is just a continuum of the attitude shown by the White House and Congress who choose to ignore or discredit all protests, and worse, mock and vilify the protesters. Whether you agree or disagree with any of these protests is not the topic I am interested in addressing or commenting on. What I do want to tackle is a growing trend (which I thought would have ended with Olbermann and Garafolo) that is divisive, destructive, and debilitating.

Click here to read the entire story exclusively on Blogcritics...
Check out Kevin Jackson's Blog!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Remembering 9/11: The Horror and the Heroism


Remembering 9/11: The Horror and the Heroism
September 11, 2001: We should never forget.


Opinion in Culture — by Christine Lakatos — on Sep 11, 2009
Today as we reflect back on that horrific date eight years ago, September 11, 2001, I must say that I can remember that day vividly. I had just dropped my daughter off for her first day of kindergarten and my oldest daughter had started her first year at University of Hawaii. As I drove home after dealing with a defiant five-year-old who didn’t want anything to do with kindergarten, my mind was filled with frustration yet excitement at the same time — a memorable time for any parent — elementary school and college.

When I arrived home, news blaring in the background as usual, I prepared to do what I do every morning, walk my dogs. However, my dog walking was curtailed by breaking news: “8:45 a.m. a jet crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.” Along with this announcement followed photos of a gaping hole in the building, which was now on fire. By this time I became glued to the television with no idea about the horror that was about to unfold. While later we would discover that this plane was a hijacked passenger jet, American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston, Massachusetts, the news continued and I actually saw the next dreadful incident that occurred at 9:03 a.m. when a second hijacked airliner, United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston, crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center and exploded. Both buildings were now on fire!


Fear in me emerged when the media reported that most terrifying message by President Bush at 9:30 a.m: "The country has suffered an apparent terrorist attack." I immediately tried to contact my eldest daughter directly and my youngest daughter’s school to make sure they were okay. I had this overwhelming longing to have my children at home with me — however, they were safe, with the youngest too young to grasp what was happening and my oldest in utter shock and dismay. My dogs became my source of comfort as I continued to follow the news.

The news coverage was unrelenting, reporting that at 9:43 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 had crashed into the Pentagon, sending up a huge cloud of smoke and prompting immediate evacuations. News coverage was in full force in New York City and the entire world was observing more of this horrific day and what happened next was so shocking and surreal that I could hardly stand what I saw because at 10:05 a.m., the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed, plummeting into the streets below. Then at 10:10 a.m., United Airlines Flight 93, also hijacked, crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania and at 10:28 a.m., the World Trade Center's north tower collapsed from the top down as if it were being peeled apart, releasing a tremendous cloud of debris and smoke.

What I observed that day was so disturbing and heart-wrenching that I could hardly contain my emotions and to this day I can recall the chaos, the smoke, and the most haunting images of those people who jumped from the Twin Towers to escape the pain headed their way. While the death toll kept rising, I couldn’t stop my poignant outcry for all those involved. The aftermath was no less disturbing as I witnessed the ongoing recovery efforts from what was described as “ground zero” at the World Trade Center.

Out of the rubble surfaced stories of the heroism of our police officers, firefighters, those of flight 93 and many citizens; the goodness and decency of the media, our politicians and ordinary people abounded; and the resilience of America arose as we rebuilt lives, families, buildings, a city and a Nation.

What materialized out of the ruins of this horrifying day in our history other than fear was compassion and love, and Americans were united, albeit short lived, but no less profoundly. We should never forget September 11, 2001, the lives lost, the sacrifices made, the pain endured, and the tears being shed today. Let us all stay vigilant and follow the advice of Sandy Dahl, the wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl:

"If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate."

Article exclusively on Blogcritics, Setember 11, 2009...

White House Releases Transcript of Obama's Back-to-School Speech


Blogcritics NEWS FLASH

White House Releases Transcript of Obama's Back-to-School Speech We can now put our rulers and pencils back into our backpack, learn a few lessons from this current event and move on. News in Politics — by Christine Lakatos — on Sep 07, 2009

In response to the blizzard of controversy over President Obama's planned back-to-school speech which was announced by the DOE last week, the White House has now released the transcript of the speech and posted it online so parents, principals, teachers, and those interested can read it in its entirety at www.whitehouse.gov.

Late last week, The Associated Press reported on their interview with White House deputy policy director Heather Higginbottom, who stated, "I think it's really unfortunate that politics has been brought into this," and also noted that President George H.W. Bush made a similar address to schools in 1991. Like Obama, Bush drew criticism, with Democrats accusing the Republican president of making the event into a campaign commercial.

The AP also noted that most of the criticism was about the lesson plans that were created to accompany the speech, particularly the ones recommending students to "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president." Higginbottom admitted that it was "inartfully worded" and the White House has since revised the wording to say "write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals."

The actual Back-to-School Speech is set for Tuesday, September 8th at 12:00 PM EDT at Wakefield High School in Arlington. The President's message will be streamed live on WhiteHouse.gov/live, and broadcast live on C-Span, or you can read the text in advance and decide how controversial it is for yourself.

Will this calm the storm and nullify the criticism? Time will tell, but maybe we will put our rulers and pencils back into our backpack, learn a few lessons from this current event and move on.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

President Obama to Address our Nation's Schoolchildren September 8


President Obama to Address our Nation's Schoolchildren September 8 “No Child Left Behind” could take on a whole new meaning: Education or Propaganda?
Opinion in Politics — by Christine Lakatos — on Sep 02, 2009


EXCERPT:
As if (we) parents don’t have enough to worry about as our children head back to school: flu season along with the swine flu, health in general, behavior, grades, homework, sports, relationships, drug use, teen sex, and violence in our schools, now we must fear our own President’s motives behind his upcoming monumental message directed to our nations schoolchildren.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan sent letters to school principals; “President Barack Obama to Make Historic Speech to America’s Students” On September 8, 2009, history will be made. Will you be a part of it? At 12:00 p.m., Eastern Time (ET), President Barack Obama will deliver a national address to the students of America.

The letter states that the special address directed at our nation’s children will be about “persisting and succeeding in school”. A Presidential speech about education, terrific! Gone are the days when the President or First Lady pops up occasionally at a school to read a story or two. This administration has a new strategy. This is more than a speech. It’s an event, which encourages “students of all ages, teachers, and administrators to participate." In her letter, Duncan has prepared what the DOE is calling a “menu of classroom activities for students preK-6 and for students in grades 7-12” for educators to use as “ideas (developed by and for teachers) to help engage students and stimulate discussion on the importance of education in their lives.”

President Obama plans to speak to a captive audience of schoolchildren ages 5 to 18 through the classrooms of our nation’s public schools. If Obama’s speech actually addresses the significance of education in American lives and acts as a motivator that is one thing, but why do they need directives or interactive activities? And where are the permission slips?

Department of Education PDF files so we won't need another misinformation Czar...
Click here to read the entire article: President Obama to Address our Nation's Schoolchildren September 8

The Kennedy Brothers: And Then There Were None


The Kennedy Brothers: And Then There Were None As the last Kennedy brother is laid to rest, a country mourns the man and the end of a political era, but their legacy will live forever.
Review in Politics — by Christine Lakatos — on Aug 29, 2009

EXCERPT
"My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country."– John F. Kennedy January 20th, 1961

The last Kennedy brother's death was announced on August 26, 2009, marking the end of an era in politics. Ted Kennedy, dead at the age of 77. Referred to as "The Lion of the Senate", his final battle wasn’t just in the Senate; it was also against a year-long struggle with brain cancer.

In the days following, I observed history unfolding; the motorcade escort on August 27, from Hyannisport to the Boston library, where thousands of mourners were lined to view the passing hearse and capture this moment in time. I was privy to (due to cable TV of course) the August 29 ceremony given at the Kennedy Library where 13 of his friends, colleagues and family members shared heartfelt and even humorous memories of their Teddy.

These past few days I have watched documentaries about this captivating and incredible family, the Kennedys; Headliners and Legends, with Lestor Holt, The Kennedy Brothers, narrated by Chris Matthews, and the most compelling: the HBO documentary, Teddy in His Own Words.

When my parents were young toddlers, Joseph Kennedy Jr., the eldest in a family of nine, was the first to lose his life. He died in the military, fighting in WWII, on August 12, 1944 at the very young age of 29. I was only one year old when our 35th President, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated at the young age of 46, riding in his limousine beside his wife Jacqueline, on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas . And I was six when Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was only 42, was assassinated on June 5, 1968 in the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California.

Today I am 47, with a love for history and a fascination with politics, and was able to view the funeral mass for the final Kennedy brother who, unlike his siblings, was given the gift of a long life, coupled with the responsibility that follows. The mass celebrating Ted Kennedy's life was held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help and aired for all Americans to see. With so many family and friends paying their respects and saying their good-byes, I was not only taken back to my Catholic roots, I was left emotional, shedding a few tears because Ted Kennedy was first a son, a brother, a husband, father and an uncle. In the pews sat our current President, Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle, as well as three former presidents: George Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, along with other political figures from both sides of the aisle, which brought me to the conclusion that this was a somber day in politics and American history – a day I will remember forever.

Click here to read the entire article: The Kennedy Brothers: And Then There Were None

Whole Foods Boycott and Protests?


Whole Foods CEO: Good is the New Bad
The left is now attacking and punishing one of their own for disagreeing with ObamaCare!
Opinion in Politics — by Christine Lakatos — on Aug 23, 2009

This past week I noticed an article in the Wall Street Journal written by John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare -- Eight things we can do to improve health care without adding to the deficit, and the a controversy followed...

I realize that health-care reform is a very sensitive subject and it seems that there is an even divide over what the Obama administration is proposing. There are also many ideas floating out there on how we can fix health care in America. That being said, Mackey's stance and alternatives to health-care reform has pissed-off a lot of people, so much so that they have formed "boycotts" and "protests".

After reviewing the article in detail, I had to put my two-cents into the mix! My article can be found on Blogcritics.

EXCERPT:
The criticism of Mackey’s article was swift, Mark Rosenthal, a 39-year-old playwright in Massachusetts, was so angry that he started a Facebook group called Boycott Whole Foods the next day. Rosenthal’s beef apparently wasn’t just the health care portion of the op-ed. It was Mackey’s suggestion that “if you’re sick, it’s your fault,” that really got him fired up. “For anyone who has ever had a friend or family member get sick and you watched them die even with a good diet and exercise, it’s really insulting. I don’t know that [Mackey] considered the consequences of this statement”.

This is over Mackey's attempt to bring attention to the types of diseases that are preventable, and how these diseases affect health care costs in America today. Prevention is an important tool in cutting the risk of certain diseases and health care costs at the same time — something we are not discussing enough in the health care debate. Mackey wrote, “Rather than increase government spending and control, we need to address the root causes of poor health. This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for his or her own health.” I can’t agree more–-many on the Left want to claim that health care is a civil right, but first and foremost, it is an individual responsibility. There are exceptions: birth defects, children’s health, the handicapped, elderly and the extreme poor, as well as health issues resulting from accidents and unforeseen circumstances like war, pandemics and natural disasters, and of course, diseases that manifest despite every effort to live a healthy lifestyle.

Nobody wants to see someone suffer and/or die from any illness, even if it is self-inflicted. If you read the entire article and have any sense, you would discern that Mackey had no ill intent and does care about the sick; since he is well informed about the dangers of an unhealthy lifestyle, he wants others to consider the consequences of their choices. By the way, Mr. Rosenthal, Mackey never stated that all who are sick are to blame for their own illness, just many. These are Mackey’s exact words,

Unfortunately many of our health care problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account for about 70% of all health care spending—heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity—are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices.
To read the entire article click here!


OTHER THOUGHTS:
I have been in the fitness industry for over 27 years and know a lot about health and fitness and Whole Foods Market is recommended in my book and on my website, MY DIVA DIET: A Woman's Last Diet Book, as a place to find high-quality foods that are beneficial to health and losing weight.

I'm not saying that Whole Foods Market doesn't have its share of foods that I would not recommend, just a place like, Trader Joe's, that you can find wholesome foods. You will always find so-called "healthy" and "diet" foods that are actually bad for you in all stores, even health food stores, specifically man-made and processed foods. The questions is how to know the difference...something I discuss in my book.

Lets face the facts, if we all took better care of ourselves (including me), we would have a much healthier nation and, yes, it would have an impact on our health care costs, individually and collectively.

In my book, I talk about how an unhealthy lifestyle can damage our health and make us fat....

EXCERPTS from MY DIVA DIET: A Woman's Last Diet Book
We need to confront the fact that poor nutrition and lack of exercise usually trigger our weight difficulties as well as some of the medical predicaments we find ourselves facing. However, the methods we use to confront these issues are extreme, to say the least. Instead of trying to gain control over our diet problem the right way, we have become desperate, seeking out programs that only end up as major disappointments— creating multiple health risks and costing us money.

What We Offer
FIRST (and foremost): MY DIVA DIET addresses the root causes of why we are overweight and not at our full potential for optimal health. These comprise the Five Factors Affecting Body Fat and Health.To help you understand how these factors work for or against you, you will be taking a diet quiz in PART THREE (pages 61-83) for specific answers about why you are in shape—or not.

These Five Factors are addressed and dissected throughout the book, then we give practical ways (rules) to incorporate them into your diet to achieve the body you've always dreamed of: fit, lean, healthy, vibrant, more functional, etc....


In summary, MY DIVA DIET incorporates all Five Factors Affecting Body Fat and Health into one comprehensive diet program that works! Using the thirty-two subtopics listed above, MY DIVA DIET directs you within each of the Five Factors between two phases (Diva Reduction and Diva Maintenance) beginning in PART TWO.

In PART FOUR we provide you with some background information on the thirty-two sub-topics of the Five Factors Affecting Body Fat and Health (the thirty-two question categories you responded to in PART THREE’s Diva Diet Quiz). We also give you some MY DIVA DIET rules that will help you get healthy & fit for life.

Click her for more about the Five Factors

Final Thought:
I guess when you mix sound diet advice with politics, people go crazy! I respect everyone's political viewpoints; that of John Mackey and those protesting, however, I personally will continue to support Whole Foods Market!

Florida Principal and Athletic Director Face Criminal Charges for Praying


Florida Principal and Athletic Director Face Criminal Charges for Praying The ACLU is at it again. Opinion in Politics — by Christine Lakatos — on Aug 18, 2009

EXCERPT
I never thought I’d live to see the day when Americans would be put in jail for praying.
But it’s true –
[T]wo school officials are facing criminal charges for offering mealtime prayers at an appreciation dinner for adults who had helped with a school field house project. Principal Frank Lay and athletic director Robert Freeman are scheduled to go on trial next month (September) on criminal contempt charges. If convicted, both are subject to fines and imprisonment.

Go to prison for praying? You’ve got to be kidding me!


The story starts in August of last year, when the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and the ACLU of Florida filed a lawsuit on behalf of two Pace High School students who “alleged that school officials regularly promoted religion and led prayers at school events”.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Santa Rosa County (Pensacola) School District, charging the school officials with committing widespread violations of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The ACLU got the District to agree to an order that essentially “bans all employees from engaging in prayer or religious activities, whether before, during, or after school hours.” Without any legal argument, the federal district court in Pensacola, Florida, entered the Consent Order.

Matt Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, who has appeared on Huckabee and other news outlets this past week, is representing the two administrators, and will argue that the court order prohibiting prayer at school-related events violated Lay's and Freeman's constitutional rights. Staver has announced that Lay and Freeman could be fined $5000 and face six months in jail, and with over 70 years collectively as administrators, could lose their retirement.
Click here to read the entire article: Florida Principal and Athletic Director Face Criminal Charges for Praying

President Obama’s Czar Power


President Obama’s Czar Power
Our beloved community organizer is taking our country toward socialism and he is enlisting pit bulls to assist!
Opinion in Politics — by Christine Lakatos — on Jul 23, 2009

EXCERT:

Is anyone alarmed by the number of czars appointed by President Obama — over 30 czars (and counting) in just six months in office? In fact, you can find a "tweet" on John McCain’s Twitter page that says, “Obama has more czars than the Romanovs - who ruled Russia for three centuries.”

Apparently, in the United States, the title “czar” is an informal term for a certain high-level official who directs and oversees federal operations on a given topic. Czars have been around for a while and President Nixon was the first to appoint an energy czar during the 1970 energy crises. Other Presidents have appointed their share of czars: President Reagan (1), President George H. W. Bush (1), President Clinton (3), and President George W. Bush (4). So why is President Obama adding so many so fast? Are these good intentions to handle issues of the day or just another layer of government that is accountable to no one but the White House?

Czars are appointed at the discretion of the president (even though there is no provision for it in the constitution), they are not vetted, and there is no background check. The “chosen” not only hold unelected positions, but they rule with absolute authority and no accountability. Their job descriptions are nebulous, yet their salary is a mystery, and they all require a staff. As reported by Neil Cavuto of Fox News, the czars “oversee more than $1.7 trillion of taxpayers’ money and they don’t have to justify how much money they’re spending and even how they are spending it.” There is no transparency, no congressional oversight, and they only answer to the president.

My sister had a dog named Czar that I adored. Czar was a pit bull, a terrific, striking, smart dog that was very loyal to my sister. If you study the nature of the American pit bull terrier, they are good-natured, amusing, extremely loyal and affectionate, and if raised correct they make a great family pet. However, this particular breed of dogs have a strong temperament, are very muscular, and powerful, and some are bred to fight, which is an utter disgrace.
Click here to read the entire article: President Obama’s Czar Power

TV Review: Shouting Fire - Stories From the Edge of Free Speech

TV Review: Shouting Fire - Stories From the Edge of Free Speech
This Independence Day 2009, let’s commemorate the fact that our First Amendment is for all Americans and worth fighting for!
Review in Video — by Christine Lakatos — on Jul 03, 2009

EXCERPT:


The HBO documentary Shouting Fire: Stories From the Edge of Free Speech, directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus, aired on June 29 and is scheduled to broadcast throughout July. Garbus chronicles four main stories while highlighting the era of McCarthyism as well as other pivotal times in our nation’s history when the First Amendment was put to the test and articulates that since 9/11, it is under attack again.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Garbus’ focal point is her ongoing interview with and commentary by her father, “legendary” attorney Martin Garbus. Interwoven are commentaries from David Horowitz (American conservative writer and activist), Daniel Pipes (commentary and analysis on radical Islam and the Middle East), Kenneth Starr (former U.S. Solicitor General who led the inquiry into President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica L. Lewinsky), Joan Wallach Scott (professor and consultant to the American Association of University Professors), Leslie Cagan (co-founder of United for Peace and Justice and a leader in the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism), and others, each articulating their views on particular cases in support of the First Amendment.

Garbus' cases are intriguing; however, the documentary seems more concerned that “academic freedom is under attack today” than it is concerned with freedom of speech in general. It has a very political overtone, takes a leftward lean, lacks detail in some of the stories, and seems to be complimentary instead of confrontational toward its edgy examples......

Shouting Fire was is well done, thought-provoking, and it does come to some profound conclusions; free speech is not “free” but is worth fighting for, is critical to a democracy, and 9/11 has impacted the civil liberties of all Americans. However, this documentary leaves more penetrating questions than it answers (at least debates), surrounding one of our greatest, yet most complex, constitutional rights........


In the words of Collin Powell, "Free speech is intended to protect the controversial and even outrageous word and not just comforting platitudes too mundane to need protection."


These are just the highlights, to read the entire article go to
Blogcritics.org., and read many other great articles and reviews!








Happy 4th of July to all my blogger friends!

Michael Jackson's “This Is It Tour”: Moonwalk To Heaven

Michael Jackson's “This Is It Tour”: Moonwalk To Heaven
The man, the music, and the humanitarian.
Opinion in Culture — by Christine Lakatos — on Jun 30, 2009

EXCERPT:

Who would have predicted that when Michael Jackson announced his “This Is It Tour” on March 5, 2009 that a little over three months later the title of his concert tour would have a more prophetic meaning -- his final heartbeat -- his death on June 26, 2009 at 2:26PM.

Michael Jackson’s announcement on Sky News was heartfelt. “This is it… these will be my final show performances in London… when I say this is it, I mean this is it… this is the final curtain call… I’ll see you in July… and I love you, I really do… from the bottom of my heart!” Rolling Stone magazine reported on March 12, 2009 that the 50-concert affair, scheduled to start July 2009 and to continue until February of 2010, sold out within a week.

As the media and tabloids spew out of control covering every angle of the controversy and mystery surrounding Jackson’s death and his life, addressing and analyzing the fate of his children, the Jackson family, reactions and opinions of his life, death, and music, and his legacy, tributes to “The King of Pop” arise around the world. However, even though he is not even buried yet, there is too much coverage, too many discussions, and gossip about his estate, debt, his lavish lifestyle, his physicality, and other perceived negative aspects of Jackson’s personal life.

Michael Jackson is the “King of Pop” who changed music forever! We can all recite his hit songs and probably even the lyrics ("Bad," "Beat It," "Billie Jean," "Black or White," "Dirty Diana," "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," "Heal The World," "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," "Man In The Mirror," "PYT," and so many more), but do we know and can we list the amount of time and money Michael Jackson spent helping others?

Bristol Palin: Hypocrite or Courageous Young Woman?


Bristol Palin: Hypocrite or Courageous Young Woman?
Will somebody please give Joy Behar a dictionary?.
Opinion in Politics — by Christine Lakatos — on Jun 18, 2009

Exclusively on Blog Critics!


The fallout over David Letterman’s tasteless joke about Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter has spun out of control ever since it hit the airwaves on June 8, 2009. "One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game," Letterman said, "during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez."

In the midst of the chatter, reactions by the Palin family, and finally an apology by Letterman on the Late Show June 15th, the furor escalated to the point where protesters gathered across the street from New York’s Ed Sullivan Theater on June 16th, holding signs that read “Dirty Ole Man” or “We are ALL the Palins,” and wanted CBS to penalize, suspend, or fire Letterman. I’m still waiting for Janeane Garofalo to claim that this protest was about racism and the protesters are all “racists”!

I must say that this particular news story was over-inflated by many, including the media, and I feel that Letterman’s final apology is sincere, I don’t think he should be fired, it’s time to change the channel on this one! However, I do believe this opens up a bigger issue: the children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to crude jokes and satire.

That being said, no gossip story is complete until The View, starring Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Whoopi Goldberg, and Sherri Shepherd, puts its two cents in the pile.
Click here to read the entire article!

Eminem: New Album and Old Movie -- Reviews Blog Critics

Movie Review: 8 Mile
A road, a week, and a pivotal point in a rappers' life!
Review in Video — by Christine Lakatos — on Jun 14, 2009

Music Review: Eminem – Relapse
Eminem is back in the number one spot with a new album and new lifestyle!
Review in Music — by Christine Lakatos — on Jun 14, 2009

Over the past week, I took the time to watch Eminem's film, 8 Mile, and listen to his new CD, Relapse. I then posted my reviews on Blog Critics.


Eminem is back in the number one spot with a new album and new lifestyle!
Review in Music — by Christine Lakatos — on Jun 14, 2009
Eminem: New album, new lifestyle. Eminem’s Relapse released May 19, 2009 and was reported to have sold over 650,000 in its first week and is expected to set 2009 sales records. J!–Ent headlined on June 6th, “Eminem takes the #1 spot for the second straight week.” The Billboard currently places Relapse at #2, while it continues to hold Relapse at the #1 spot for “Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums”.
A road, a week, and a pivotal point in a rappers' life!
Review in Video — by Christine Lakatos — on Jun 14, 2009
8 Mile is not about Eminem's rise to stardom in the rap world, it is a story about one week in his life back in 1995, when he lived on 8 Mile Road, the name of a road in Detroit that marks a figurative and literal boundary between the haves and have-nots. 8 Mile chronicles a week of Eminem's life with his friends, family, and his personal drama that draws you in and leaves you on the edge of your seat, wondering what is going to happen next. So much transpires in this one week, you could only speculate what could happen in a month or more.


On a final note, rap music is an interesting cultural phenomenon and has its share of controversy and critics, but it continues to grow in popularity. In fact both of my daughters have grown up with rap music and love Eminem, each holding their own perception of "rappers" and their significance.

In the words of my teenage daughter, Angelica,
“Rap music has been considered a disgrace by some people, mainly adults. But not all rap music is appalling and not all rappers rap about drugs and murder -- some tell a story like Eminem. If you look far beyond the surface and past the fowl language, you will find Eminem’s story about his mistakes and how they have affected others. He raps about his childhood, his addiction, and his daughter, all of which have altered him a great deal. Eminem is more than a rapper; he’s an author of his very own life story expressing it through song."






Movie Review: Religulous



Movie Review: Religulous
If doubt is humble, and Bill Maher is the king of doubt, why is he so arrogant?
Review in Video — by Christine Lakatos — on Jun 05, 2009

EXCERPT:

“The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the 'big questions' is not the arrogant certitude that is the hallmark of religion, but doubt. Doubt is humble. And that’s what man needs to be, considering human history is just a litany of getting shit dead wrong!”
This is the wisdom Bill Maher offers in his film, Religulous, directed by Larry Charles (who directed Borat and Seinfeld). If doubt is humble, and Maher is the king of doubt, why is he so arrogant?

I used to watch Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, have on occasion agreed with some of his political points, got a kick out of “New Rules”, and loved the music. While I appreciate some of his sarcastic humor, at times I wonder why Maher sometime acts like he was dropped on his head. My enjoyment of Maher and his show changed this past election (2008) when he showed more of his bias and his contention blossomed towards Bush, the Republican Party and religion, specifically Christianity. Oh, and there’s that occasional slam on Jesus (“Oh, I kid”).
Since I am a Christian and sensed Maher’s aversion to religion and his contempt for Christians, I was hesitant to watch this film, but curiosity won the day. Religulous was put together with good music and terrific shots of the Holy Land, as well as random, yet strategic, Photoshopped excerpts of news coverage, old movies, photos, and satire. I found Religulous somewhat entertaining and at times humorous, but I did experience those uncomfortable moments and not just for Maher’s mannerisms and lame jokes, but more so for some of the folks he interviewed.

While Maher does mock religions like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and the “marijuana dude” (Cannabis Ministries), most (not all) of the people he interviewed probably deserved to be ridiculed. Where did he find these characters? Knowing his agenda I wasn't too surprised, but was shocked that he wasn’t assaulted by one of them, which would have given him more ammunition towards his belief that all people of faith are stupid and violent!
One of the highlights of Religulous was Father Reginald Foster (Senior Vatican Priest) filmed in front of the Vatican. The interaction between Maher and Father Foster was charming and amusing especially when Maher asked Father Foster, “So how do you convince people of what’s the true faith?” Father Foster’s response: “You don’t… Forget it, you (they) just have to live and die with their stupid ideas.” Very profound when you think Father Foster was sharing his wisdom with a highly charged and opinionated skeptic.
Click here to read the entire review and find out what Bill Maher and Spongebob have in common! Father Foster has a Facebook page!











If you are an atheist or a hater of religion you will love this film, and if you have faith, you may be offended. That being said I am a Christian and was not offended and was actually entertained and found it humorous at times.

It did make
me realize how imperative it is to know my faith, why I believe, and most importantly to behave like a Christian–you never know who's gonna make a documentary about us!

Faith is the greek word
pistis (noun) and pisteuo (verb) which means: 1) a firm conviction, 2) a personal surrender, 3) a conduct inspired by such a surrender. So faith is not just belief but an action!


Galations 5:22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Heinous Crimes against Children and the Death Penalty

Heinous Crimes against Children and the Death Penalty
What in the hell do we do with the perpetrators of heinous crimes against children, especially when they kidnap, molest, and kill our kids?
Opinion in Politics — by Christine Lakatos — on Jun 03, 2009

EXCERPT:

Considering over the past few days most of the news coverage and discussions were dominated by the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, we may have overlooked the June 1, 2009 story about a killer and his fate, “In a unanimous decision the California Supreme Court Monday rejected a laundry list of appeals by convicted killer Richard Allen Davis, reaffirming the death sentence handed down for the murder of twelve-year-old Polly Klaas.”

On October 1, 1993, Polly Klaas had invited two of her friends over for a sleepover. Around 10:30 p.m., she opened her bedroom door to grab sleeping bags, when she saw a man with a knife. He tied the girls up, told Klaas' friends to count to one thousand, and then kidnapped Klaas. Over the next two months, about 4,000 people helped search for her. TV shows such as 20/20 and America's Most Wanted covered the kidnapping extensively.

The man responsible for this heinous crime, Richard Davis, confessed to breaking into Klaas' Petaluma home in October 1993 and tying up two of Polly's friends before abducting and strangling the girl. According to the New York Times, Davis was convicted on Tuesday, August 6, 1996.

Mark Danon and Darya Folsom of KRON 4 Morning News reported some of Marc Klass’ reactions to the recent June 1, 2009 ruling . "I had no doubts the death penalty would be upheld. I believe that this is a process that will continue for decades to come and it's really nothing more than a delaying process by the defense bar and the anti-death penalty lobby in this country."

Capital punishment is as controversial and contentious as abortion, and some even try to compare the two, though I don’t see any valid comparison. The death penalty kills convicted criminals while abortion kills innocent babies. There are so many directions I could take this article and questions I can pose, including but not limited to, the history of capital punishment and how many have been executed as a result. Is the death penalty necessary or humane? What methods are used and what crimes are punishable by the death penalty? What about those who are innocent, juveniles, or have mental problems? Is the death penalty really a deterrent and does it provide justice for those victims (and their families) who suffer and die as a result of violent and brutal crimes?

To read the entire article Heinous Crimes against Children and the Death Penalty

This was posted on Blogcritics June 3, 2009 and since I have changed my attitudes about the death penalty and feel these people should be put in PRISON FOR LIFE!

Get Shorty!

Posted June 5, 2009
There was a movie that came out in 1995, starring John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, Danny DeVito, and more, called Get Shorty! If you haven't seen it, you should rent it because it is one of the funniest films I've ever seen. But this blog is not about that, it is about my dog–Shorty!

Shorty (photo left) is a mixed chihuahua that I adopted from our local animal rescue center called Woods Humane Society. Shorty is the cutest, sweetest dog! My kudos to Woods–a place that was so well run, very bright and clean, and the staff really cares about their animal population. But still it saddened me that animals have no home!

After the death of my last dog, Whiskers, who I found on street corner, I swore I'd never get another dog–but that was short-lived because I love animals. I knew that Whisers was abused and neglected because when I found him he had so many issues. It took him about one year to trust me, but still he continued to have many emotional problems.

Then there was Jessie (adopted from the dog pound), who too had many issues, specifically fear. When I went to the dog pound, I was sickened by the dark and horrific conditions. I wanted to take home every dog there. Photo of Whiskers and Jessie to the right

Since I was a little girl I have always loved animals, and in 1996 I was the parent of two Rottweilers, Brigette and Marilyn (name after the sex symbols: Bardot and Monroe). They were purebred German Rotties with papers and everything. They were the best dogs on the planet.


Since I had a crappy childhood, these two dogs
taught me more then any human ever did up to that point in my life: about bonding, unconditional love, responsibility, and so much more. But when Marlyn was just three, she was diagnosed with Lymphoma Cancer and died within a few months. Brigette, at age eight had the same cancer, and this time I tried the chemo for dogs. She lived a little longer, but she died six months later. I was devastated both times!


I tell this story because dog breeding is out of control in our country and it's all about money–greed. Very few breeders do it for the love of animals and most are inexperienced. My two Rotties suffered and died because they were inbred. I think we should have much stricter laws when it comes to breeding dogs! I won't even go into the animal cruelty that takes place with the breeding farms, or with dog fighting, puppy mills, and even our food supply–that would just piss me off!

FYI Articles:
I'm writing about "rescuing animals", because our animal population is out of control and our animals are treated poorly (neglect and abuse) and I am sick of it! We humans have the power and we should do something about it:
  • Educate ourselves and our family about this topic
  • Teach our children at an early age how to treat animals
  • Actively protect our animals
  • Make sure our animal shelters have decent conditions for the animals
  • Be watchful and report anyone that is abusing or neglecting an animal
  • Adopt more pets
  • If you can't or don't want an animal, and you have the money, you can:
  • Support your local shelter or animal rescue center
  • Volunteer to help out at shelter or animal rescue center
  • Join or support organizations that fight animal cruelty
  • So much more!

PS I also adopted two cats, Bandit and Tinkerbelle, that I will blog about later! So what are you waiting for? You can't have my "Shorty" but there a thousands (or more) adorable pets YOU CAN adopt! And check out the movie too!

Racism, Politics and the Media

Racism, Politics, and the Media Janeane Garofalo is hostage to her own deranged opinions. Opinion in Politics — by Christine Lakatos — on May 31, 2009


Has Janine Garofolo become the prisoner of her own deranged opinions?

EXCERPT:
I realize this is old news, but while I was “news hopping”, I did happen to catch an interview that Keith Olbermann (MSNBC) had with Janeane Garofalo (comedienne, liberal activist) which I think is worth confronting.
Her words penetrated my soul and are clear in my mind today, “...this is about hating a black man in the White House…this is racism straight up…nothing but a bunch of tea-bagging red necks." Garofalo was referring to the Tax Day Tea Party which took place on April 15, 2009, in which hundreds of thousands of citizens gathered in more than 800 cities to voice their opposition to out-of-control spending at all levels of government.

During this interview, she continued to mock Conservatives; "this is about racism", "these guys hate that a black guy is in the White House", "these people...Fox news loves to foment this anti-intellectualism", "the Conservative movement has now crystallized into the white-power movement", "right wing has….there’s no shortage of the natural resources of ignorance, apathy, hate, and fear”, “who else is FOX talking to, what is it, urban, older white guys and the women who suffer from Stockholm Syndrome.”
They say you are not supposed to talk about politics or religion (my two favorite topics), but I decided to break this rule in response to Janeane Garofalo and her deranged opinions about Conservatives–an article entitled "Racism, Politics and the Media"; exclusively for Blog Critics-Politics
“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Click here to read the entire article.

Here is a snapshot of my first article that made top headlines for Blogcritics Mag Political Section























I realize some critics of my article wonder why I would give any credence to the words of a celebrity (Garofalo is also an activist), and this is a valid point. However, I think these opinions are more than just that of Garofalo. It also speaks volumes to the irresponsibility of MSNBC and celebrities that spread such nonsense. You never know who is watching, may believe the propaganda, and become followers of these celebrities and their ideas!

Some also state, that Garofalo was just going for the "shock factor"–being funny! Well, if this was part of her stand-up comedy routine, that may make sense, but she chose "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" as her platform to spread her harsh words. To make it worse, her attacks were generalized–attacking citizens who happen to be Conservatives, like me! When are we going to understand that words are very powerful and have a long lasting impression–they can be informative, can build up or tear down?

Unfortunately we are in a "star-struck" era, and in my opinion celebrities have too much power in the political arena, whether it's with their presence, money, or words. "With power comes responsibility"--you would hope that celebrities would take the time to do more research before they publicly display their opinions, especially when they are so radical (both sides left and right, Liberal and Conservative).