Saturday, April 10, 2010

Back on Uncle Sam's Plantation

Back on Uncle Sam's Plantation -- Star Parker -- Monday, February 09, 2009

Six years ago I wrote a book called "Uncle Sam's Plantation." I wrote the book to tell my own story of what I saw living inside the welfare state and my own transformation out of it.

I said in that book that indeed there are two Americas. A poor America on socialism and a wealthy America on capitalism.

I talked about government programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS), Emergency Assistance to Needy Families with Children (EANF), Section 8 Housing, and Food Stamps.

A vast sea of perhaps well intentioned government programs, all initially set into motion in the 1960's, that were going to lift the nation's poor out of poverty.

A benevolent Uncle Sam welcomed mostly poor black Americans onto the government plantation. Those who accepted the invitation switched mindsets from "How do I take care of myself?" to "What do I have to do to stay on the plantation?"

Instead of solving economic problems, government welfare socialism created monstrous moral and spiritual problems. The kind of problems that are inevitable when individuals turn responsibility for their lives over to others.

The legacy of American socialism is our blighted inner cities, dysfunctional inner city schools, and broken black families.

Through God's grace, I found my way out. It was then that I understood what freedom meant and how great this country is.

I had the privilege of working on welfare reform in 1996, passed by a Republican congress and signed into law by a Democrat president. A few years after enactment, welfare roles were down fifty percent.

I thought we were on the road to moving socialism out of our poor black communities and replacing it with wealth producing American capitalism.

But, incredibly, we are going in the opposite direction.

Instead of poor America on socialism becoming more like rich American on capitalism, rich America on capitalism is becoming like poor America on socialism.

Uncle Sam has welcomed our banks onto the plantation and they have said, "Thank you, Suh."

Now, instead of thinking about what creative things need to be done to serve customers, they are thinking about what they have to tell Massah in order to get their cash.

There is some kind of irony that this is all happening under our first black president on the 200th anniversary of the birthday of Abraham Lincoln.

Worse, socialism seems to be the element of our new young president. And maybe even more troubling, our corporate executives seem happy to move onto the plantation.

In an op-ed on the opinion page of the Washington Post, Mr. Obama is clear that the goal of his trillion dollar spending plan is much more than short term economic stimulus.

"This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending-it's a strategy for America's long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, health care, and education."

Perhaps more incredibly, Obama seems to think that government taking over an economy is a new idea. Or that massive growth in government can take place "with unprecedented transparency and accountability."

Yes, sir, we heard it from Jimmy Carter when he created the Department of Energy, the Synfuels Corporation, and the Department of Education.

Or how about the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 -- The War on Poverty -- which President Johnson said "...does not merely expand old programs or improve what is already being done. It charts a new course. It strikes at the causes, not just the consequences of poverty."

Trillions of dollars later, black poverty is the same. But black families are not, with triple the incidence of single parent homes and out of wedlock births.

It's not complicated. Americans can accept Barack Obama's invitation to move onto the plantation. Or they can choose personal responsibility and freedom.

Does anyone really need to think about what the choice should be?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

McNeil Island -- costs taxpayer $160,000 per year per person

Monday, March 15, 2010  -  Last updated 6:23 p.m. PT
Sex, drugs and child porn at McNeil Island
full text
Internal documents show staff-offender relationships, drug smuggling

That Donald Gamer would want photos of child sex is no surprise.

A convicted sex offender, the wheelchair-bound old man was locked away with 291 others at the state's Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island. There they were in September, Gamer and six other offenders, when FBI agents arrived to take them into federal custody. Five of the seven men have since admitted to obtaining digital copies of photos and films showing children being raped or put on display.

That men inside the facility would do so was also no surprise. It had happened before and, apparently, has happened since.

How they managed to sneak child porn into a semi-secure facility, though, remains a mystery.

Internal reports show the facility -- an un-prison designed to house sex criminals who've served their prison but are deemed too dangerous to be released -- has suffered from contraband problems often associated with penal institutions.

Documents obtained by show should that in the past five years child pornography has been found at the center on at least 16 occasions. The total number of incidents is likely higher, due in part to redactions of information related to ongoing criminal investigations.

Beyond the residents' behavior, disciplinary files show that several Department of Social and Health Services employees hired to manage the facility apparently broke or bent rules of conduct.

In one case, an ex-employee attempted to smuggle a package to a sex predator residing at the center. In another, a female employee was found, her clothing in disarray, at a private home in the company of an offender she was supposed to be escorting.

Another former employee is under federal indictment following allegations he conspired with a Special Commitment Center resident to smuggle crack cocaine into the facility. The pair were handed over to federal authorities by the sex offender's girlfriend, a former nurse at the center.

Not prison, not hospital

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Man and His Rosary

Years ago, a student in Paris, on his way to the university, hopped on the train and found an empty seat next to an elderly man. As the train moved off, the student noticed that the old man was praying the rosary. Watching him for a while out of the corner of his eye, he finally blurted out, "Excuse me, sir, but I couldn't help but notice what you are doing, and I wonder if you are aware how superstitious and old-fashioned it is." "Oh, really?" replied the old man, "Tell me more." "I have to get off at the next stop," replied the student, "but just give me your name and address, and I will send you some books that will explain what I mean." As the train came to a halt, the man wrote his name and address on a scrap of paper and handed it to the student, who stuffed it in his pocket and hurried off. Later in the day, the student remembered the scrap of paper, took it from his pocket, and opened it. Reading the name scribbled on it, he was dumbfounded: "Louis Pasteur." To his dismay, he realized that he had been talking to a famous scientist, known the world over for his achievements in the field of bacteriology.

Like that student, many people today have the mistaken idea that praying the rosary cannot be reconciled with a modern outlook. Yet the fact is that peole everywhere are depressed and in despair, their lives seemingly out of focus. Having lost a sense of the meaning of life, they have not found true happiness and satisfaction in all the material blessings available to them. Why?

The answer may lie in the well-known prayer of St. Augustine: "Our hearts were made for Thee; and they will be forever restless 'till they find their rest in Thee." It is in opening our hearts to the Lord who created us that we discover true peace and happiness. And that is why prayer is often compared to rest. Who can continue working and living from day to day without rest? Likewise, it is prayer that gives us new strength to continue to face life from day to day with the fullness of determination and courage.

There are many kinds of prayer. Sunday mass, for example, is communal prayer, a kind of prayer with which most of us are familiar. Another kind is individual prayer. It can be spontaneous, where we simiply talk to the Lord as we would speak to any friend. It can also take the form of what is called "meditation". The rosary is an example of meditation, and one reason why many people do not appreciate it is because they do not know how to meditate. Meditation means focusing one's thoughts on one particular subject. The rosary focuses our thoughts on what are called "mysteries," that is, fifteen events in the life of Jesus and his mother Mary.

Franz Joseph Haydn

The great composer Franz Haydn loved Our Lady and the Rosary. Once, when discussing mental fatigue, he shared his secret. "I always carry a rosary with me. After a few decades I am sure to feel refreshed, both in mind and body."

Joseph Haydn once set out to write a religious oratorio. In order to do so he became practically a hermit. For thirteen months the composer remained in seclusion praying, studying and working. Some days were filled with success, others with anguish. Often he went for days without an idea. "Then I would pick up my rosary," he later said, "and, as the beads slipped through my fingers, I would relax, gather new strength and collect my thoughts. I would return to my piano and once again hammer away!"

Thursday, April 1, 2010


The poor should be helped through acts of charity, not by demands based on human rights

Few errors have so firmly entrenched themselves for so long a time as has the Error of Liberalism. Few sins have been so misunderstood as has been the Sin of Liberalism. In reprinting this timely book, first printed in English in 1899, we hope to enlighten Catholics as to the causes and effect of and remedies for Liberalism.

Museum of the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Museum of the Holy Souls in Purgatory

A collection of objects supposedly singed by the hands of souls in purgatory

Located in the back of the Chiesa del Sacro Cuore del Suffragio on the banks of the Tiber, the tiny century-old Piccolo Museo Del Purgatorio, or "Museum of the Holy Souls in Purgatory," holds a collection of bibles, prayer books, tabletops, and articles of clothing said to have been singed by the hands of souls in purgatory.

According to Catholic belief, the soul is stranded in purgatory until it atones for its sins, but can hasten its ascent to heaven through the prayers of loved ones still on earth. The scorched handprints and other burn-marks collected in this museum are believed to be the product of souls begging their earth-bound loved ones to pray harder.

Though not mentioned in the Bible, the idea of purgatory is a very old part of the Catholic faith, dating back to at least the 11th century. The notion that trapped souls might need to be freed comes from a story allegedly told to the Abbott Odilo of Cluny by a monk returning from the Holy Land. He told the Abbott how his ship had been wrecked, and he had been cast ashore on a mysterious island. A hermit who lived on the island related his own story of a mysterious chasm, from which burst forth demonic flames and the agonized screams of trapped souls. He pointed out that the demons were always complaining about losing souls when the living prayed or gave alms to the poor on their behalf.

The freeing of these trapped souls became a priority for the Church, and for family members grieving dead loved ones. November 2 was established as All Soul's Day, whereon it was believed that prayers by the living could intercede on behalf of the faithful dead who had died without absolution, or babies who had died before baptism, thus freeing them for Heaven. (According to Catholic doctrine, one cannot go to hell from purgatory.)

Victor Jouet, the collector and French missionary, was supposedly inspired to build this purgatorial museum after a fire destroyed a portion of the original Chiesa del Sacro Cuore del Suffragio, leaving behind the scorched image of a face that he believed to be a trapped soul.
The museum's tiny collection of objects is contained in one glass case.