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Viewing Blog: As I Opened the Door, Most Recent at Top
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As I Opened the Door will present my thoughts and questions regarding issues relevant in our society. I hope your enjoy reading and the posts will encourage conversation and perhaps raise a few questions of your own.
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1. Didn’t We Have Something Called Free Speech

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects our right of free speech. I question if this freedom is only granted to those who hold specific political or social views.

The case of Carrie Prejean clearly illustrates this point. Prejean was representing California in the 2009 Miss USA pageant. As the pageant progressed, Judge Perez Hilton asked Prejean of her thoughts on gay marriage. Prejean stated she was glad we lived in a country where people had freedom to choose their life partners. As for her personal views, she said she was raised to believe marriage should be between a man and a woman. I viewed the segment on Youtube

Although she received applause at the pageant after her statement, the main impact was yet to happen.

Prejean was vilified in the media and eventually was fired from her position as Miss California. There where allegations made about her past and she was labeled a bigot by attorneys defending pageant officials against the lawsuit filed by Prejean.

I question if Prejean had not made that statement against gay marriage, would she still have faced the wrath of the media? It seems to me if you do not hold certain opinions on specific issues such as gay marriage or abortion, you subject yourself to the scrutiny of others.

What has happened to our nation when people cannot tastefully and respectfully express their opinions without being maligned and given a derogatory label such as racist, bigot or homophobic? Does free speech only apply if you agree with a certain political agenda? I find it ironic that someone who can call someone a bigot is perpetrating the very offense they protest. They are being prejudiced against anyone who holds an opinion different from their own.

Those who care about individual freedom and the right to express one’s opinions must speak out. Let you feeling be known. Let us all respect the opinions of others. After all, this is America. People came to this country for freedom. Let us all strive to preserve our freedom of speech and stand up to those who use bulling tactics against anyone who disagrees with them.

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2. Didn’t We Have Something Called Free Speech

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects our right of free speech. I question if this freedom is only granted to those who hold specific political or social views. The case of Carrie Prejean clearly illustrates this point. Prejean was representing California in the 2009 Miss USA pageant. As the pageant progressed, Judge Perez Hilton asked Prejean of her thoughts on



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3. A Former Philadelphia Eagles Fan

The wearing of the green.

This phrase commonly refers to St. Patrick's Day. But at my house, the wearing of the green occurred on Philadelphia Eagles game days. Not only would I wear my Eagles jersey, I would also drink from my Eagles coffee mug that I only used on game days. My two Beagles were Eagles dog collars.

Notice how I speak of these rituals in the past tense.

I had been an Eagles fan for many years. I remained loyal to the team through the worst of seasons and the humiliating losses on national television. No matter what, the Philadelphia Eagles were my team.

But that changed during the 2009 preseason when the Eagles signed Michael Vick.

Vick was not a silent financier of the dog fighting operation. It was something he began planning from the time he originally signed with the Atlanta Falcons. Apparently, being blessed with the skills to play football and make a tremendously outrageous salary was not enough for him. He had to make money from the torture of animals.

Pit Bulls are not the only breed to suffer from dog fighting. Other breeds of dogs are often tied to trees as bait to teach the fighting dogs to develop a taste for blood. Imagine your own dog, frightened and tied to a tree, defenseless. Imagine the fear they experience as the pit bulls charge and savagely kill them.

For those pit bulls that do not perform well in the fight ring, they are often abandoned or face death by hanging or electrocution.

Vick was directly involved in these activities. Granted, we all get angry and may do or say things in the heat of the moment. But Vick committed these horrid acts coldly and with a rational mind. He obviously saw nothing wrong with what he was doing. I have to question the morality of someone who could do such things.

There are things more important than winning a football game. There are character and moral values. I hoe the Eagles realize this soon.

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4. A Former Philadelphia Eagles Fan

The wearing of the green. This phrase commonly refers to St. Patrick's Day. But at my house, the wearing of the green occurred on Philadelphia Eagles game days. Not only would I wear my Eagles jersey, I would also drink from my Eagles coffee mug that I only used on game days. My two Beagles were Eagles dog collars. Notice how I speak of these rituals in the past tense. I had been an Eagles



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5. Gun Control in New Jersey

The State of New Jersey passed a new law that will take effect January 1, 2010. The law will limit an individual to one gun purchase per year. The intent of this law is to stem the trafficking of handguns obtained by straw purchases. Virginia, Maryland and California have similar laws. This passage of these gun control laws has been touted as a step to curb gun violence.

But will they? Will such regulations stop violence in our communities? Consider the following points.

If a criminal wants a gun, they will get one. These people do not live within the boundaries of the law and no gun control legislation will stop them. Gun control laws are similar to legislation intended to stop the practice of pay to play. The laws are passed and promoted to correct a problem but are basically just words on paper as there are ways to circumvent the legislation.

If someone is intent on causing physical harm to another human being, will not having a gun stop them? Derrion Albert, an honor student at Chicago’s Fenger High School, was brutally beaten to death. The Simpson murders were committed with a knife. My point in mentioning these horrid crimes is to illustrate that violence will occur regardless of the gun laws that may be enacted.

My suggestion for the state of New Jersey would be to allow anyone with a clean criminal record to take a written test on gun operation and safety issues. The individual would then take a gun operation test where they will demonstrate their abilities to load unload and fire a weapon. They must also show their knowledge of a gun’s safety features.

After passing both tests, the individual would then be eligible to have a gun operator’s license. They would carry this document as they would a driver’s license. Each gun they purchase would be registered as a motor vehicle is now. The certain aspects of the testing process would be repeated for different types of guns purchased.

There would be fees paid to take the tests and to register the guns. This would generate revenue for the state without growing the state payroll. Private vendors could apply to administer the written and operation tests. This could generate new business or expand existing establishments.

Let’s take a common sense approach to gun ownership. Let law-abiding citizens evaluate their need for a gun. Do not allow our government to curtail this freedom.

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6. Gun Control in New Jersey

The State of New Jersey passed a new law that will take effect January 1, 2010. The law will limit an individual to one gun purchase per year. The intent of this law is to stem the trafficking of handguns obtained by straw purchases. Virginia, Maryland and California have similar laws. This passage of these gun control laws has been touted as a step to curb gun violence. But will they?



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7. Some Thoughts on Health Care Reform

You can keep you present health care coverage. Medical care will be rationed for the elderly. Universal health care will dramatically raise taxes on individuals and small business.

These are some of the arguments presented by those on both sides of the health care reform issues. But there are a few points I would like to make on this issue.

We now have complete freedom to have any medical treatment. All we need to have is the financial resources to pay. Would we still have this freedom if universal health care become law in our nation? Will doctors be restricted by the government in regards to the treatment they can provide? Will the concept of self-pay medical care be banished from the United States? At the present time, insurance companies to not deny medical treatment, they just refuse to pay for certain procedures. We always have the option to have any medical treatment, provide we have the financial ability to pay.

I was discussing health care reform with a co-worker and she made the point that health care is already being rationed for those with limited financial resources. For people covered by Medicaid, it can be very difficult to find medical providers that accept this plan. This is especially true if the person needs a doctor in a specialized field of practice.

If universal health care become law, many argue that the elderly will face end of life counseling and quality of life issues will become a factor in medical decisions. Will the same thing happen to special needs individuals? Will the government-run health care system only provide the basic care for those afflicted developmental disabilities? The administrators of the health care program may reason that those in group homes and institutions will never be able to fully contribute to society and suffer a diminished quality of life. They may state medically prolonging the lives of such individuals will not serve the taxpayers well and only cause undue suffering.

Perhaps I am being skeptical but one phrase often comes to mind regarding legislation endorsed by politicians. The phrase is follow the money trail. Yes, it is admirable that President Obama wants everyone to have access to health care. But I have to question why there is such an urgency to pass House Resolution 3200? Who will financially benefit from the passage of this legislation? A newly created government program will obviously require a large number of workers to implement the plan. Who will be paid a substantial salary to administer this health care plan? It is reasonable to suggest there will be regional health care administration offices located throughout the country. Where will these offices be located? Will they be located in areas represented by politicians loyal to Obama? Will those hired to work for the program be connected to major Democratic Party financial contributors?

I pray the answers to these questions will be answered before House Resolution is passed.

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8. Some Thoughts on Health Care Reform

You can keep you present health care coverage. Medical care will be rationed for the elderly. Universal health care will dramatically raise taxes on individuals and small business.These are some of the arguments presented by those on both sides of the health care reform issues. But there are a few points I would like to make on this issue.We now have complete freedom to have any medical



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9. Iron Dog

Joey is the older of my two Beagles. Being that he was adopted from the Beagle rescue, we do not know his exact age. The rescue estimated his age as 8 or 9 when we adopted him 5 years ago. So that makes him about 13 or 14 years old. (I did the math in my head. Imagine that)

Joey is a retired hunting dog. Although he enjoys living in a warm comfortable home, Joey is happiest when he is outside tracking a rabbit or squirrel. When he finds a trail, he begins to bark. Now Joey does not have an average hound dog bark. The sound he makes has been described as a sea lion, a fog horn and a duck. Some people have heard him barking and could not be believe that sound came from a dog.

Ornery is a great way to describe Joey. He opened a refrigerator when he lived at the rescue. While staying at a foster home, Joe chased some geese onto a frozen pond and would not come off the ice when he was called. They family was very concerned and called the police department to help get him off the ice.

Joey never walks around anything. He will step on anything (or anybody for that matter) that is in his way. He will push something aside rather than take a step sideways. When my Father was installing a new kitchen facet, Joey walked over him to see what was in the cabinet under the sink. Maybe that is why the hot and cold indicators are reversed.

I realized I have yet to explain why I call Joey “Iron Dog”. He earned this nickname because just when I think his age and the hard life he endured as a hunting dog have finally caught up to him, Joe surprises me. He will become energized and spend the remainder of the day turning us in to human dog doors. He will go to the back door to be let out. About twenty to thirty minutes later, he will bark at the door to come in. This process will be repeated about every two hours.

Joey is a stubborn dog. If he is doing something such as chewing cardboard and we tell him to stop, Joe will momentarily look at us and return to whatever he is doing. Being that Joe was older when I adopted him, I did not know him as a puppy. When I recall the Beagle mischief he has gotten into at our house, the thought of him as a puppy scares me.

Joey stole my heart the first day I met in him at Penny Angels Beagle Rescue. I will love him for the rest of my life.

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10. Kimberly

Let me give you some background information about all the members of my family.

Kimberly is 15 years old and a sophomore at Delsea Regional High School. She is taking 4 "Honors" classes this year and is very excited about her course work. Kim is also in the marching band this year.

The kids in the marching band seem nice. But based on what Kim has told me, they can get somewhat wild. But she enjoys being in the band's color guard and is helping her overcome her shyness. For example, she was sitting in the stands at Kingsway High School watching the football game after the band's performance. A friend dared her to yell "Come on Delsea, Show them what you are made of".

Kim took this challenge and said "Come on Delsea, show those pansy-a#### what you are made of. Show them how real men fight." Needless to say, this drew laughter and surprise from the other kids in the band. Many had not heard her speak a full sentence and now she was screaming at football games.

Then there was the bus ride back to Delsea. The kids were laughing and joking around. At one point, someone yelled to the band director that two kids were "making out". Kim claims all she did was sit and talk with a friend while this was happening. Such innocence.

I think I will offer to chaperon on future band outings.

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11. Life with Shelly

Watch your nose.

I never said that phrase until we adopted Shelly, a tri-colored Beagle.

For those of you not familiar with Beagles, they are known to be “chow hounds”. They are on a constant mission to find food. Open the refrigerator, they are there. Open the oven, they are there. Open the dishwasher and soon you will find your Beagle with their front paws on the door of the machine. Their nose will be diligently surveying each dish for the most microscopic morsel of food.It is this behavior that warrants the phrase, “watch your nose”. The basic rule is that before you close a food related appliance; make sure the Beagle’s nose is not in the way.

Shelly may appear to be a low energy type of dog. And for a good portion of the time she is. But she can strike with the speed of a cobra when food is involved. A perfect example of this ability occurred one day when I was looking for something in my refrigerator. Shelly was by my side. Suddenly, she runs in to the living room. I follow her and discover she had stolen a chicken drumstick from a container in the refrigerator. On another occasion, she had taken three pancakes and left two on the plate.

Shelly was not fully housebroken when she came to live with us. She has now progressed to being about ninety-five percent trained. Although she has shown great improvement since that time, Shelly still has an occasional indoor accident. In fact, I find my self entering the house like a cop on a television show. I carefully open the door and quickly glance in to the living room.“Good, nothing there,” I quietly say to myself.I then slowly look around the front door to see if there is anything in the hallway. My head spins as I look into the hall and then into the kitchen. It as if my mind is telling me that if I sneak up on the “indoor accident”, it will not be so bad. If the hall is clean, I am faced with the final option of my search. I look at the dog. I scan her face to find any signs of guilt. There are none.

A lack of guilt on a Beagle’s face can be very misleading. They can be very strong-minded animals. When they get an idea they want to do something, they do it. If you happen to catch your Beagle doing something wrong, they will look at you as if to say, “Why are you telling at me. I’m just sitting here”

Walking on a leash was another skill Shelly had to learn when she came to live with us. Being a retired hunting dog, she has always enjoyed going for leash walks. Just the sight of her leash and harness sends her into a frenzy of barking and jumping. Unfortunately for me, I have to put her harness on at this time. After about five minutes of Beagle wrestling, Shelly is ready for her walk.

I am ready for oxygen.

After I regain consciousness, we go outside. You must understand that one does not take a Beagle out for a walk. You take then out for a sniff. The moment a most Beagles are outside, their noses are on the ground. This is especially true of dogs that are trained to hunt.

Being a retired hunting dog, Shelly has two modes of sniffing. There is the normal sniff and the trail sniff when the dog has found the scent of an animal and begins to track. Shelly makes a sound similar to that of a helicopter when she is tracking. I almost expect her to lift off the ground and circle the house.

Nothing will stop the Beagle who is on the trail of a rabbit or squirrel. Not even their owner at the other end of their leash. Walking Shelly has not only sharpened my agility and reflexes, but it has enhanced my own tracking skills. I can now find people drinking coffee at sports arenas and pizza shops at shopping malls.Shelly has also learned things from me. She surfs the Internet, watches football on Sundays and is a fan of Court TV.

Well, I have to go now. Shelly has to check her email.

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