Posted 7/3/15 at 8:38 AM | Karen Kramer
At 6’10” he was the tallest bellhop we’d ever seen. His ebony skin was in stark contrast to his brilliant smile—which shone every time he apologized for his broken English. He carefully managed our suitcases and guided us to our hotel room.
We asked where he was from. He’d traveled from Kenya—wanting a new beginning in America. Working nights, he went to college during his days. “Take years to learn enough.” (Smiling broadly again) “Hard work brings good life.” He pointed to the ground and said, “America is my chance.”
America is our chance too. Let’s celebrate the opportunities and work through the challenges. We are America, one nation with many shades of the same color. And that color is called freedom. Let’s celebrate liberty—together.
Posted 7/1/15 at 8:04 AM | Karen Kramer
According to former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, the White House should take seriously the terror threat July 4th represents in our nation. Ridge stated that it’s real, “I think it’s a permanent threat, I think this is a scourge with which we’re going to have to deal with…for the foreseeable future.”
Ridge also warned that unless we take the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) seriously and halt their expansion beyond Syria and Iraq, Americans will be living in the “reality of the new world.”
Echoing the terror threat seriousness was former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell. He alerted citizens to be aware and said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re sitting here a week from today talking about an attack over the weekend in the United States.”
House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul indicated that our American independence celebration is occurring during a “confluence of events”. Besides the United States 4th of July festivities, it’s also the one-year anniversary of major ISIS territorial wins, and it’s the holy month of Ramadan—where some extremist leaders are asking for strikes against non-believers. FULL POST
Posted 6/30/15 at 8:20 AM | Karen Kramer
In a time of contentious Supreme Court decisions, economic woes, and opinionated Americans living in a post-Christian nation, it’s easy to see what’s wrong.
But economist Morgan Housel compiled a lengthy list of good things in America. I winnowed the list and as we get ready to celebrate our nation’s independence, here are 13 good reasons to party:
1. Way back in 1949, Popular Mechanics predicted that someday a computer could weigh less than one ton. Now iPads weigh less than a pound.
2. One hundred years ago, the average American died at age 51. Now the average American retires at age 62.
3. In the 1950’s the median household income was half what it is today (adjusted for inflation).
4. Even though the US population grew by 60 million from 1991-2010, crime fell dramatically. Rape is down by a third, robbery is down more than half, and there were nearly four million fewer property crimes in 2010 than in 1991.
5. In 1900 almost no one had a refrigerator. Now you can have one in your car. FULL POST
Posted 6/26/15 at 8:17 AM | Karen Kramer
I’d barely finished moving into my first apartment when through the paper-thin walls I could hear angry female words of reproach and mocking.
I muffled the noise by turning up the stereo. Yet I wondered about my sharp-tongued neighbor—and the one on the receiving end.
A couple weekends later, when I’d hoped to sleep in, I was awakened by a crash. I could tell something broke—but the words that followed were worse.
“You’re a complete idiot!” she screamed with her trademark venom.
I could hear the sound of feet running and a younger voice saying, “Sorry, sorry, sorry!” Her tirade was more than mean-spirited; it was cruel. I felt awful.
Later, I was outside watering the plants by my front door when my neighbors emerged from their apartment.
The woman looked at me briefly, unsmiling and holding the hand of that young boy. His dark eyes locked onto mine. Was he silently pleading with me? FULL POST
Posted 6/25/15 at 5:05 PM | Karen Kramer
Thanks to President’s Obama’s recent Executive Order, family and friends can now offer ransom money for their kidnapped loved ones. Once illegal here in America, now folks can offer money to the kidnapping terrorists without fear of breaking the law.
Does anyone else feel this might lead to perhaps more kidnappings rather than impede them? The reason our government chose not to offer ransom payments to kidnappers was to reduce their incidence. It already is a 1.5 billion dollar worldwide enterprise.
But now that prohibition has been lifted. Supporters of this action claim that it enables families to have some power and the tools to negotiate on behalf of their loved ones. Yet, we're now dealing with far more sinister kidnappers. We have seen the grisly outcomes to some American victims kidnapped overseas. Should we be concerned with kidnappers closer to home—like the drug warlords in Mexico? Will we see an increase in kidnappings? How about travelers to Mexico for Spring Break or winter vacations? Try not to "look" American when you travel.
While American families are wealthier than their foreign neighbors, they generally don’t have the finances to meet the unreasonable ransom demands. Part of the new regulations will set up a government office to help with negotiations—more bureaucracy but it remains very uncertain that it can offer much hope for the victims or their families here at home. Unfortunately this new order could make new targets out of innocent American travelers, workers abroad, or anyone who happens to be at the wrong place at the right time.
Posted 6/24/15 at 8:20 AM | Karen Kramer
If you enjoy Twitter and you tend to follow seemingly innocent accounts, you may have already discovered porn showing up on your Twitter feed.
You weren’t asking for porn, but porn found you. Financial analysts on Wall Street estimate there are upwards of 10 million Twitter accounts dedicated to porn. And according to financial experts, unless Twitter gets its filtering act together, the company is going lose market share.
With 10 million Twitter porn accounts you have pretty substantial odds of “accidently” following some porn hustlers. And what about your kids? Do you know who they are following?
Twitter is grappling with the porn issue as key brands like Gatorade, and NBCUniversal and Best Buy have been notified that their promoted tweets were appearing on porn pages. FULL POST
Posted 6/19/15 at 8:11 AM | Karen Kramer
“Listen my sons, to a fathers instruction; pay attention and gain understanding." Proverbs 4:1
As Father’s Day approaches, American Family Association (AFA) shares some fatherhood-shattering statistics:
• 24 million children in the United States of America live in a fatherless home.
• 40% of students in grades 1-12 come from homes with no biological father in them.
• 71% of teenage pregnant mothers have no father in the home.
• 71% of high school dropouts have no father present.
• A child is 4 times more likely to live in poverty if there is no dad in the home.
We won’t be fixing our schools, our broken homes, or alleviating much poverty until we elevate our dads to their rightful place in our family structure. Fathers have become the fodder for Hollywood sitcoms—mocking them with cheap jokes and diminishing their family leadership roles. To be a good father in the 21st Century takes strong resolve, sacrifice, and an unashamed commitment to God. FULL POST
Posted 6/19/15 at 8:06 AM | Karen Kramer
“The world cries for men who are strong, strong in conviction, strong to lead, to stand, to suffer.” Elisabeth Elliot
The tiny infant in the intensive care incubator was his first child. It all happened too quickly. When his wife’s labor had started two months too soon he rushed her to their rural doctor. She was immediately flown to a medical center 100 miles away. A fierce snowstorm couldn’t stop him from hurrying to get there. As a farmer he knew about hard labor, caring for a crop, and the harvest. But this was unexpected and out of his control. Welcome to fatherhood.
As his work-worn fingers gently touched the tiny fingers of his precious daughter, he knew his life was no longer his own. He had no idea what that meant.
It meant cutting and selling more firewood while waiting for his summer crops to harvest.
It meant shoveling snow in the bitter cold, building fences, digging ditches, taking odd jobs—all so he could come home afterwards and enjoy his baby girl’s smile. FULL POST
Posted 6/16/15 at 8:23 AM | Karen Kramer
America’s voracious sexual appetite will get the next installment of the Fifty Shades of Grey series June 18th. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE) fears that domestic abuse will be rationalized as millions of viewers pay to watch a wealthy man torture his current “love interest”. Grey, retells the first novel in the Fifty Shades books, but from the perspective of Christian Grey—the man with the violent and abusive personality.
There is absolutely zero entertainment value for millions of women who suffer sexual abuse at the hands of sick and deranged men. Thanks to Hollywood, this brutality is now sexy entertainment. Even worse, audiences could see wealth and power as meaningful tools to abuse others.
As you go about your day notice the clock—every minute 24 people become a victim to rape, or some sort of physical violence by an intimate partner here in America. With movies like Grey, it only perpetuates the problem, even normalizing it for some. The message audiences could receive is that victims of sexual abuse can “fix” a controlling partner by being obedient. FULL POST
Posted 6/13/15 at 9:30 AM | Karen Kramer
Passwords—we all need them. We’re advised to give each account a separate, complex password and then memorize all of them. Yeah right. I was actually doing fairly well until my personal data was hacked. Twice. I had to change a dozen passwords. Twice. Last month I changed my email password three times because of fraudulent activity.
But I won’t have to memorize passwords much longer. Pretty soon I’ll be able to eat them. No kidding. Fingerprint and eye scans are now old-fashioned, and technology is going straight to injectable, embeddable, and ingestible devises for foolproof personal identification.
At a recent tech conference, PayPal’s head technology developer, Jonathan Leblanc enthusiastically explained the advancements in human identification. The next wave of ID for online interactions will be a “true integration with the human body.” FULL POST