Oklahoma Joins the Union – 1907

Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory collectively entered the United States as Oklahoma, the 46th state. Oklahoma, with a name derived from the Choctaw Indian words okla, meaning “people,” and humma, meaning “red,” has a history of human occupation dating back fifteen thousand years. The United States acquired Oklahoma from France in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. In 1907, Congress decided to admit Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory into the Union as a single state, with all Indians in the state become U.S. citizens.

Representatives of the two territories drafted a constitution, and on September 17, 1907, it was approved by voters of the two territories. On November 16, Oklahoma was welcomed into the United States by President Theodore Roosevelt. Oklahoma initially prospered as an agricultural state, but the drought years of the 1930s made the state part of the Dust Bowl. During the Depression, poor tenant farmers known as “Okies” were forced to travel west seeking better opportunities. In the 1940s, prosperity returned to Oklahoma, and oil production brought a major economic boom in the 1970s.

But none of this would have been possible if not for the action of the warring territories. It was only when the Indian territory and Oklahoma territory joined together to be a part of a bigger family – the United States – that they realized their ultimate dreams.

So it is with life. It is when one person joins another person, or one church joins another church, that the kingdom’s work can really be done.

Coca-Cola

In 1997, one of the finest business leaders in the world died. His name was Roberto Goizueta, and he was the chairman and chief executive of the Coca-Cola Company. A few months before he died, he said, “A billion hours ago, human life appeared on Earth. A billion minutes ago, Christianity emerged. A billion seconds ago, the Beatles performed on The Ed Sullivan Show. A billion Coca-Colas ago . . . was yesterday morning.

He told the Atlanta newspaper he had no plans for retirement. Six weeks later, he was dead. And so was Coca-Cola. Or was it?

Normally, when the CEO suddenly goes away, the company goes in the tank. But not so with Coke. Goizueta had grown Coke from a $4 billion company to a $150 billion company. But he did something more important than that. He groomed Douglas Ivester to take his place, if and when the need would arise. Goizueta taught Ivester everything he knew, just in case. And “in case” happened. It always does.

You see, the key to your success in any venture is not what you do, but what you prepare others to do. Paul mastered this concept, and he told Titus to do the same. He understood the importance of finding good men and training them to lead the next generation.

 

Golf and God

I am go golf what rap is to music. Technically, I am a golfer, as I have hacked at the ball an average of once a year over the past ten years.

One day, I was playing out of the rough. There was a tree directly between me and the green. God knew my ball would be right there, but he stuck a tree in my path anyway. I never hit my target, so I aimed right for the tree. And then it hit me – the ball, that is. It didn’t hit the trunk of the tree, just a small branch. But the ball came right back at me. It is amazing what big damage a small branch can cause. One tree limb turned a promising double bogey into something much worse.

What are you aiming at? Standing between every man and his target is a small branch. Remember, not all branches are made of wood. Some are made of bad habits or attitudes. What is your target?

An old philosopher once said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” The best way to miss the branch is to not swing the club. But if you do that, you will never hit the green.

So keep swinging, and keep your eye on the ball, or the ball may keep an eye on you. And watch out for small branches.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

World War I Ends – 100 Years Ago Today

For those of you who are under the age of 105 or so, you may not remember the significance of November 11, 1918. At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War ended. At 11:00 that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiegne, France. The First World War left nine million soldiers dead and some 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives.

In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure. World War I was known as “the war to end all wars” because of the great slaughter and destruction it caused. Unfortunately, the peace treaty that officially ended the conflict – the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 – forced punitive terms on Germany that destabilized Europe and laid the groundwork for World War II.

That’s how it usually works in this world. Just as man concluded “the war to end all wars,” he laid the foundation for the next World War. It’s not a matter of intention. We mean well. But meaning well and knowing truth are two different things.

As for peace – don’t expect it anytime soon. After all, it was man’s best thinking that got the world in the shape it’s in today.

The Rushmore Report – Supreme Court Set to Rule on 40-Foot Tall Cross

The United States Supreme Court will hear an appeal on whether a 40-foot tall cross dedicated to Americans who served in the First World War will be removed from public property. Over the past few years, the Bladensburg cross has been the subject of a legal battle centered on if the memorial violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.

In an order issued last Friday, the high court agreed to hear the consolidated cases of America Legion, et al. v. American Humanist Association and Maryland-National Capital Park v. American Humanist Association, et al.

First Liberty Institute, which is representing the American Legion, released a statement on Friday hopeful that the Supreme Court will overturn a lower court decision against the cross.

“There are some who want to erase the memory of the service and sacrifice of these 49 fallen servicemen of Prince George’s County,” stated Kelly Shackelford, President and CEO of First Liberty.

“If this monument is bulldozed to the ground, it’s only a matter of time before the wrecking ball turns on Arlington National Cemetery and the thousands of memorials like this one across the country.”

AHA attorney Monica Miller stated, “We remain confident in our legal position and look forward to presenting arguments to the Supreme Court. The Fourth Circuit’s decision correctly recognized that the government’s prominent Christian cross memorial unconstitutionally favors Christian veterans to the exclusion of all others.”

In 2012, the AHA sent a letter to the Maryland National Park and Planning Commission demanding that the cross be removed.

In February 2014, the AHA filed a lawsuit against the Planning Commission on behalf of two members who lived in the area and a third person from Beltsville.

U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow ruled in late November 2015 that the cross was constitutional, as it fulfilled the secular purpose of honoring fallen soldiers.

AHA appealed Chasanow’s decision and in October of last year, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2–1 in favor of removing the cross.

In March, the Fourth Circuit voted 8-6 to reject an appeal in the case. In a concurrent opinion, Judge James Wynn rejected the petitioner’s argument that the cross held a mostly secular meaning, as it was part of a war memorial.

” … to accept the Commission’s assertion that the Latin cross erected at the Bladensburg intersection does not convey a predominantly sectarian message would prohibit the ability of those who raised the symbol to prominence to continue to safeguard and define its primary meaning,” wrote Judge Wynn.

In one of the dissenting opinions, however, Judge Paul Niemeyer warned that letting the panel decision stand “needlessly puts at risk hundreds of monuments with similar symbols standing on public grounds across the country, such as those in nearby Arlington National Cemetery.”

In June, First Liberty and others appealed to the Supreme Court to prevent the removal of the cross. They were joined by 109 members of Congress in an amicus brief filed in late July.

About the Author

Michael Gryboski writes for the Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report – The Problem Republicans Must Fix by 2020

The 2018 midterm elections are over. Americans rendered a split decision – Republicans hold the Senate; Democrats hold the House. The only question still outstanding is whether Florida will decide its 2018 Senate and Governor races before the 2020 elections. Democrats are celebrating their new control of the House as they threaten a never-ending series of hearings in order to “make America dysfunctional again.” Republicans will seek middle income tax breaks, border security, and continued progress on international fronts. But Republicans must be warned. They have one huge problem, and if they don’t solve it soon, they will become a minority party as early as 2020. What is that problem?

Suburban voters.

Republican strategist and former adviser to President George W. Bush, Karl Rove, offered this warning to the GOP following last week’s elections: if they continue losing elections in America’s suburbs, they will be in serious danger.

Rove analyzed the election returns and came to the following conclusion: “We’ve got to be worried about what’s happening in the suburbs. We get wiped out in the Dallas suburbs, Houston suburbs, Chicago suburbs, Denver suburbs – you know there’s a pattern – Detroit suburbs, Minneapolis suburbs, Orange County, Calif. suburbs,” Rove said Saturday during a panel discussion for the Washington Examiner. “When we start to lose in the suburbs, it says something to us. We can’t replace all of those people by simply picking up farm country and the Iron Range of Minnesota, because, frankly, there’s more growth in suburban areas than there is in rural areas.”

Rove was referencing five hotly contested congressional races in California as well as several races in Texas – all in suburban areas – which all flipped Democrat.

“We’ve got to examine the reasons why we lost and figure out how to fix those problems going forward,” Rove said. “Problematically, the purple places, with the exception of Florida, didn’t go blue, but they got bluer.”

Shoshana Weissmann, the founder of CityGOP, agreed. She tweeted, “Beating the drum again – but Cruz’s race was WAY tighter than it ought to have been. And the map tells at least one obvious story. Republicans need to compete in suburbs, or, as I’ve been saying for years, Texas WILL be purple one day.”

Suburbs are the future of America. They must be the future of the Republican Party, as well. There was a time when the GOP could take the suburban vote for granted. That time has passed. If Republicans don’t return their focus to the suburbs quickly, their time will pass, as well.

 

The Rushmore Report – Was Trump Right to Fire Jeff Sessions?

We knew it was coming. And less than one day following the midterm elections, the inevitable came to pass. President Donald Trump fired the Attorney General of the United States, Jeff Sessions. The first senator to endorse Trump’s presidential campaign and the fourth person the president credited with his victory during his inaugural address had become a liability. He simply had to go. But the question lingers – was Trump right to fire Jeff Sessions?

Yes.

I loved Jeff Sessions as a senator from Alabama. I appreciate his faith, his principles, and the way he has handled diversity from Day 1. He has endured more verbal attacks from his boss than any man should ever have to experience. He has served every day with the class of a southern gentleman. So, let’s rethink it. Was the president really right to fire Jeff Sessions?

Yes.

First, the president has every right to fire anyone in his cabinet without explanation. This is something Democrats don’t understand. Clearly, they did not take the same high school civics classes as the rest of us. They think that they – not the president – should name his cabinet. Shortly after Sessions was hired, the likes of Schumer and Pelosi cried foul. “Sessions must go!” they screamed. Now that he is gone, they cry foul again. This is their circular argument. “President Trump is corrupt for firing the man we demanded that he fire.”

Despite protestations from the Democrats – Sessions’ unexpected supporters – Trump did it. He fired his Attorney General. Was this the right thing to do?

Yes.

Here’s why. Sessions had failed to win the confidence of the president. That was the only reason Trump needed. There are 340 million people living in this country (legally). But only one vote counts when it comes to the longevity of members of the president’s cabinet. The fact that President Trump fired Jeff Sessions is all we really need to know. But still, many ask, was Trump right to fire Jeff Sessions?

Yes.

Sessions recused himself from the Russian investigation. He failed to prosecute the Hillary Clinton email crimes. Sessions did not impanel a grand jury to examine the conduct of fired FBI Director James Comey. And he failed to do anything about the illegal surveillance activity of the FBI.

Was President Trump right to fire Jeff Sessions?

Yes.

 

The Proud Americans – What Blue Wave? It Was a Green Wave!

As usual, the media whiffed. The much anticipated “blue wave” did not happen. If it had, Republicans would not have kept control of the Senate, let alone extend that control by two or three seats. If it had been a “blue wave,” Democrats would have picked up more seats in the House. Their gains were half of those made by Republicans in the first midterm of the Obama years. No, it was not a “blue wave” or a “red wave.” It was a “green wave.”

Newt Gingrich was right in his post-election commentary: “The biggest change in this election was the sheer volume of money generated by left-wing billionaires and activist groups who hate President Trump.”

Still, let’s not overreact. By losing 26 seats, Republicans fared far better than Democrats, who lost 54 seats in 1994 (under President Clinton), and 63 seats in 2010 (under President Obama).

But one cannot deny the “green wave.” By “green,” I mean money.

Case in point – Texas. Democratic (Socialist) Beto O’Rourke became a media darling in his race against conservative stalwart Ted Cruz. Make no mistake – O’Rourke was far from qualified for the United States Senate. Texas boasts at least two dozen Democrats with far more impressive credentials. But none of them ran. Why? Because they knew they would lose.

So enter one young Congressman from El Paso – committed to the impeachment of the President (though he never said why), 40 percent tax increases (he did say why), and the demise of ICE (no one cares why).

Who would bet on O’Rourke? Democratic billionaires. Beto raised $70 million for his Senate campaign – the most of any candidate for any office other than President in the history of the United States.

But it wasn’t just Texas. Liberals – who normally whine incessantly about there being too much money in political campaigns – poured tens of millions of dollars into Senate and House races in Missouri (they lost), Georgia (they lost), Indiana (they lost), North Dakota (they lost big), etc. In some cases, the expenditures paid off, especially in the House.

The irony cannot be missed. Why were Democrats allowed to literally buy dozens of Congressional seats? It’s called capitalism. And what do these very Congressmen just elected find abominable? Same answer – capitalism.

Democrats did what they have accused Republicans of doing for decades. They poured ridiculous amounts of cash into Congressional elections. They played by the rules of capitalism in order to attack – say it with me – capitalism.

The “blue wave” was barely a ripple. You probably missed it – under the weight of the green tsunami.

The Rushmore Report – The Top 10 Reasons People Get Divorced

If you think that sexual infidelity is the leading cause of divorce, you’ve got it all wrong. We polled over 100 YourTango experts to see what they say are the top reasons married couples decide to split, and — believe it or not — communication problems came out on top as the number one reason marriages fail. Here are some other culprits our experts blame for the high divorce rate.

1. Getting in for the wrong reasons.

Marrying for money — we’ve all heard that that is a ticket to a quick divorce, but what about when you marry because it’s what you think you should do?

I’ve met many divorced women who say the problems that made them leave were there right from the beginning but “everyone expected us to live happily ever after” or “we had already spent so much money on the wedding” or “we had just built our dream home.” So, remember, until you say “I do,” you always have the choice to say “I don’t!”

2. Lack of individual identity.

A codependent relationship is not healthy. When you don’t have your own interests or the opportunity to express yourself outside of coupledom, you become “couple dumb.”

If you are not comfortable doing things without your partner, or you don’t know what kind of music, movies, or food you used to like, you are likely in deep and you probably feel like you are drowning and don’t know why.

3. Becoming lost in the roles.

Just as many couples “forget” their single friends and single ways when they get married, when you add children into the mix, most parents soon neglect or completely forget that they are a couple.

As children grow and need less attention, many husbands and wives find that they have grown apart and they can’t remember why they ever got married in the first place because they no longer have anything in common.

4. Not having a shared vision of success.

“Everything changed when we got married!” He drives you crazy because you’re a saver and he’s a spender. Your idea of a weekend getaway is a cozy cottage in the woods; your partner wants to the hit the town and catch a game. He thinks it’s your job to cook and clean, but you disagree.

Why didn’t he mention these things before? Maybe you should have asked. Chances are that he hasn’t changed — your expectations did. Is it possible to survive major differences in philosophy? It is possible, but many do not.

5. The intimacy disappears.

Somewhere in a marriage there is a subtle change in the intimacy department. One person has an off day, there is a misunderstanding or someone doesn’t feel well. Then there’s the idea that he isn’t as romantic or she isn’t as sexual.

Whoever is the one with the subtle change can trigger a downward spiral in the intimacy department. Men generally need sexual receptivity to feel romantic and women generally need romance to be sexually receptive. As long as both people are getting what they need, they willingly provide what the other person wants. However, when there is a lessening on either’s part, that can trigger a pulling back in the other. If gone unnoticed and unchecked, before the couple realizes, they are seriously intimately estranged and wonder what happened. This can lead to divorce as couples begin to feel unloved and unappreciated.

6. Unmet expectations.

Somewhere written into a human’s genetic code lie the instruction that when a person isn’t happy, he or she is supposed to force his/her significant to make the changes required to make the unhappy person happy again. This usually takes the form of complaining, blaming, criticizing, nagging, threatening, punishing and/or bribing.

When one or both people in the marriage are attempting to coerce each other into doing things they don’t want to do for their partner’s happiness, it is a recipe for disaster. When you are unhappy in a relationship, it’s okay to ask for the change you want. But, if your partner doesn’t oblige you, then you become responsible for your own happiness.

7. Finances.

It’s not usually the lack of finances that causes the divorce, but the lack of compatibility in the financial arena.

Opposites can attract but when two people are opposites in the financial department, divorce often ensues. Imagine the conflict if one is a saver and one is a spender. One is focused on the future while the other believes in living for today. One has no problem buying on credit, while the other believes in saving up for what one wants.

Over time, this conflict can reach such heights that divorce seems to be the only logical conclusion.

8. Being out of touch… literally.

I’m talking about physical contact. Of course, sex is great, but you also need to supplement it with little hello and goodbye kisses, impromptu hugs and simply holding hands. Couples who don’t maintain an intimate connection through both sexual and non-sexual actions are destined to become virtual strangers.

9. Different priorities and interests.

Having shared interests and exploring them together is essential for a successful marriage. Of course, having “me time” is important as well, but unless you can find common passions and look for ways to experience them together, you’ll inevitably grow farther and farther apart.

10. Inability to resolve conflicts.

Every couple has disagreements. The key is to develop ground rules so that each partner feels respected and heard. Sometimes it takes a third party “referee” to help define those rules and teach us to move through the charged emotions so resentments don’t linger.

About the Author

Lisa Payne writes for Huff.Post.

Titanic

Robert Ballard was a man on a quest. He wanted to find the Titanic. And on September 1, 1985, he discovered the sunken ship in the North Atlantic, more than 350 miles off the coast of Newfoundland.

I got chills when I read his account for the first time. He sent down that bright probe light and saw that sight more than two miles below the surface of those icy waters. “My first direct view of Titanic lasted less than two minutes, but the stark sight of her immense black hull towering above the ocean floor will remain forever ingrained in my memory. My lifelong dream was to find this great ship and during the past 13 years the quest for her has dominated my life.”

What quest is dominating your life? What do you dream about when you are laying in bed late at night? What would you do if you could do anything? What is the carrot that keeps you going?

God created us with passion. Ask him to give you a passion worth committing your life to.

Paul wrote, “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).