Archives for February 2016

Generosity of the Bulldog Nation

devon-gales-fundI’m proud to call myself a member of the Bulldog Nation.

There have been a couple of down days for me as a UGA fan since the glory days of Herschel Walker but not many, and especially few since Todd Grantham left Athens for Louisville. The day Mark Richt was fired was something of a downer.

But we look for ways to move forward…

When Devon Gales of Southern University was paralyzed in a game against UGA in Sanford Stadium, Dawg fans donated generously to a fund to help pay his rehabilitation-related expenses. Although Devon has been released from the Shepherd Spinal Center, his rehabilitation efforts are far from over.

Now the Triumph Over Tragedy foundation is raising funds to convert the Gales family home to become handicap-accessible. I’m proud to be one of many who rallied to support this tenacious young man with such a positive attitude in spite of the unfortunate injury that made him a household-name for Bulldog fans. I fully intend to support Triumph Over Tragedy both now and in the future, now that I’ve learned a little about their organization and know about their work.

Another worthy cause that I’m proud to say Bulldog fans support is the Mission Dawgs outreach to Georgia’s homeless. UGA fans have teamed up with the Hope Springs Church in Athens to assemble and distribute what are being called “Goodness Bags” for the homeless.

#Mission Dawgs

#Mission Dawgs

The Goodness bags contain toothbrushes, tooth paste, deodorant, combs, baggies, chap stick, soap, socks, gloves, blankets a McDonald’s gift card for five dollars plus five dollars cash, some crackers, hand sanitizer, soap, hats, hand warmers, books, and something chocolate.

The Mission Dawgs have also been collecting and giving away winter coats, gloves, toiletries, gift cards, and food. What started out as a couple of UGA fans handing out gift bags to homeless people on the streets of Atlanta has mushroomed into a serious endeavor that’s helping hundreds of homeless people ranging from Athens to Atlanta, with several other places in between.

Donations to the Mission Dawgs effort can be made online or sent to:

Mission Dawgs c/o
Hope Springs Christian Fellowship
1025 Baxter St
Athens, Georgia 30606
Phone: (706) 549-0350

One last worthy cause to mention — and this one has a personal connection for me, is the GoFundMe page for my cousin Hank.

Hank is a UGA alumnus, class of ’77. A purebred Dawg, with the papers to prove it.

542541_3623560185365_1621794872_nHank suffers from a rather pernicious form of multiple sclerosis that has kept him confined to a wheelchair.

We’re trying to help him raise money for the robotic exoskeleton he’s shown using in the video, so he can walk again.

Win with integrity. Lose with integrity. That is the Georgia Way.

Give generously. If not of your time, give the money you don’t really need, what you’d otherwise blow on a video game or a twelve pack of Budweiser, the official beer of the Dawg class of ’83.

That’s just the way the Bulldog Nation rolls…we Dawgs might be ferocious between the hedges, but otherwise for the most part, we are generous and kind hearted. We do what we can for those who could use a hand…or a wheelchair accessible house…or a really cool robotic exoskeleton.

Always remember — every little bit helps.

 

The inevitable election of Donald Trump

DonaldTrumpNormally, I try to avoid writing about politics.

In my opinion, I already write enough about controversial topics like atheism, religion, evolution, and existential science to satisfy any subliminal need that I might have to infuriate people I’ve never met.

No matter what impression I’ve given my audience, it has not been my intention to antagonize readers who might disagree with me.

Writers need to attract an audience, not repel them. My goal is NOT to alienate every conceivable demographic in the general public. That sort of defeats the purpose of writing books and having them published.

Besides, it seems that my political instincts are lousy.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I confess that I have liked Dr. Ben Carson since first watching his speech at the national prayer breakfast and previously mentioned that I support his candidacy. Admittedly, my second (preferred) choice for the Republican nominee was Scott Walker, who became the first candidate to drop out of the race. Ben Carson’s campaign doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, either.

Unfortunately, it seems that whenever I begin to like a candidate, it’s like the kiss of death for that campaign. Donald Trump continues to dominate the news cycle, and it looks like my choices will eventually boil down to either Trump, Cruz, or Rubio by the time the Georgia primary is held.

Yesterday I read an interesting take on the candidacy of Donald Trump published by American Thinker, which I felt compelled to share with my friends on Facebook.

One friend of mine suggested that Trump’s win in South Carolina cemented his status as the Republican candidate, citing some poll that claimed 94 percent of Trump voters say they won’t change their mind, no matter what the guy says or does. The thought which immediately occurred to me was that even 94 percent of 35 percent (Trump’s current share of the Republican electorate) is not enough to elect the man as our next president. If an alleged 60 percent unfavorable rating (compared to Hillary Clinton’s 52 percent) is true, then Trump has the very difficult task of improving his popularity.

Eventually Trump has got to convince people like me to vote for him, even though half the stuff he says scares the crap out of me. To be brutally honest, I don’t want to argue with my friend, but I still find that 94 percent statistic extremely difficult to believe for this reason: Trump says a lot of things that will eventually alienate true conservatives.

For example, in a recent debate he said that Planned Parenthood “does a lot of good things” for women (except for performing abortions, naturally). With comments like that, he has a better chance of appealing to Democrats than he does of expanding his Republican base, in my opinion.

Not everything about Trump bothers me, though. I like what I’ve heard Trump say about protecting our borders, bringing jobs back home, and making America great again. I even like the idea of someone who isn’t a professional politician — but that’s precisely the reason I’ve been supporting Ben Carson, that plus his accomplishments and personal integrity.

What I haven’t liked about Trump is his hypocrisy. He’s launched blistering attacks on Marco Rubio accusing him of questionable financial transactions, though Trump’s businesses have declared bankruptcy four times since 1991. I wonder — how many companies went out of business because Trump refused to honor his financial obligations to them? He’s a billionaire, so it isn’t like he didn’t have the money to pay his debts. He protected his own personal wealth.

Trump brags that he doesn’t take campaign contributions from special interests, but he IS a special interest. Furthermore, it disturbs me that Trump accused Ted Cruz of being the “worst liar”in American politics … when he’s been cozy with the Clintons in the past. In fact, Politifact awarded Trump the 2015 Lie of the Year for his collective campaign statements (not that that really matters — I’m not a fan of Politifact, either).

Just sayin’.

It bothers me quite a bit to know that Trump has made significant campaign contributions to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in the past. That tells me Donald Trump cares more about promoting his personal business interests than he cares about the future of our country.

Donald Trump apparently supports universal (single payer) healthcare, an expansion rather than a repeal of Obamacare. In other words, Trump is all over the map with his campaign promises. He alternates between pandering to conservative and liberal special interests and seems to check to see which way the political winds are blowing.

Is it possible that I am biased?

Absolutely. I still haven’t completely forgiven Donald Trump for luring Herschel Walker away from the University of Georgia in (our) senior year to play in the ill-fated USFL, even more than thirty years after the fact. I’ve never watched a single episode of The Apprentice, either, because I have no interest in scripted “reality” television.

Pope Francis rubs his face after completing the speaking part of his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Jan. 15. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (Jan. 15, 2014) See POPE-AUDIENCE Jan. 15, 2014.

(CNS photo/Paul Haring) (Jan. 15, 2014)

But I’m even more upset that Pope Francis recently decided to insert himself into the U.S. political arena. The Pope’s suggestion that Donald Trump was not a Christian because he wants to build a wall along the southern border of the United States to stem the flow of illegal immigration was most inappropriate.

That’s one of the few campaign promises Trump has made that I actually want him to keep.

Hey, Pope Francis…if you’re going to criticize someone’s faith, why don’t you start by looking a little bit closer to home? For example, why haven’t you excommunicated Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, and the other “Catholics” that support abortion from the church that you lead?

I can’t believe the Pope, of all people, would really care less about the innocent unborn than he does about protecting the “rights” of foreigners violating American immigration laws.

To balance my outrage at this injustice, I have reminded myself that Donald Trump mocked and ridiculed Dr. Carson’s faith as a Seventh Day Adventist. He also suggested that Dr. Carson had lied about a stabbing incident from his childhood, diminishing any sympathy I might have otherwise had for the enigmatic real estate mogul.

Nevertheless, it’s one thing to have Donald Trump challenge your faith, and quite another to have your loudest critic be the leader of the Catholic Church. It made me feel a little bit sorry for Trump. But not too sorry — he is still a billionaire, and he could become the next President.

In summary, I can think of at least one very good reason to vote for Donald Trump — if my only other choice is either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.

Then voting for Trump becomes a no-brainer.