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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Season of Ghosts, Goblins...and Witches!

  Well, it is that time of year again. There is a chill in the air, the leaves begin to fall, and it starts to get dark early. It is hard to put a finger on, but there is a certain something in the air. For a Witch like me, it is truly a magickal time of year, Halloween is here!
  For Wiccans and Pagans, Halloween is Christmas. Our highest of holy days, or Sabbats. Halloween is an ancient Celtic holiday called Samhain (pronounced sow-en). In addition to being the Pagan New Year, it is the third of three harvest festivals on the Pagan calendar. I could go on with a lot of history here, but that is not why we are here. I realize that I am up against about three hundred years of bad publicity, but part of what I try to do here at The Conservative Cauldron is not only to educate, but also to share my holidays. Why they are important to me, and how I can help people relate to them.
  Besides being a harvest festival, it is also a day in which we remember and honor our ancestors, our loved ones who have gone on to the other world. It is a day that we believe that the veil between this world and the other world is the thinnest. Halloween is a day that we might traditionally engage in some form of divination. Maybe some Tarot cards, runes, or perhaps and old fashioned form of apple divination.
  Unfortunately, it is also usually this time of year when the freaks come out, and not just at night. The mainstream media, always on the lookout for stereotypes which they deem "offensive", wastes no time in trotting out the resident Witch, more than likely, directly from "Witch Central", a.k.a., Salem Massachusetts, wearing the regulation flowing black robes, and way too much eyeliner. And let's not forget the over-the-top fundamentalist Christian Pastor, who is convinced that Halloween is nothing more than an evil Pagan celebration, it's only purpose, to corrupt and persuade good Christians over to the "dark side".
  What I would want everyone to know is this. There is no hidden agenda behind Samhain, or Halloween. I hope I have shown here that Wiccans come from every walk of life. We just want to practice our religion like everyone else. And just like Christians who like to decorate trees and bake cookies at Christmas time, we love the fun part of our holiday too.
  So when my Samhain ritual is finished, I will be on the lookout for fun size Three Musketeers bars, and maybe a few black and orange M&M's. And what card-carrying Witch's Halloween would be complete without watching a perfectly fun Witchy movie like "Bell, Book, and Candle", or my personal favorite, "Practical Magic".
  From The Conservative Cauldron, have a happy, fun, and safe Halloween!      

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Growing Pains

  There is an old saying, that the only constant is change. Most things, be they animal, vegetable, or mineral, or even politicians, must change in order to grow and remain viable and successful. Change is not always pretty. In fact, in most cases, it is down right messy.
  Perhaps nothing on Earth illustrates that more than the current state of the Republican Party. In light of last week's latest cave-in to Democrats during the government shutdown debacle, it has become clear that some serious "growing" needs to happen.
  We have seen it happen before. After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, Democrats were suddenly flapping in the breeze. A young, good looking, vibrant, dynamic President was cut down in his prime. As the sixties wore on, the Democratic Party seemed to come perilously close to splitting in two. On one side were the Kennedy loyalists. Democrats who, by today's standards were quite Conservative. Many of them were staunch Union members, but strong on defense, and strong on lower taxes. On the other, the emerging counter-culture. Hippies who believed in things like, "make love not war", and were so virulently anti-war, they spit on American soldiers coming home from Vietnam. The culmination of this perfect storm being the riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention. It pitted the anti-war Eugene McCarthy-ites vs. the establishment Hubert Humphrey wing.
  Fast forward to today's Republican Party. With the Tea Party sweep in 2010, many of the old guard, the "establishment" Republicans were voted out of office. A new wave of new blood rode into town. Guys like Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz. These were guys who were sent to Washington by ordinary Americans, tired of the go along to get along back slapping of the establishment. It's guys like Ted Cruz who are not afraid to rock the boat, and name names. And it's got the John McCains, the Lindsey Grahams, and the Karl Roves scared out of their minds. For the first time in a long time, possibly since Ronald Reagan, the status quo is being seriously challenged.
This means that the 2014 mid-term elections will truly be a defining moment for Republicans. There is a choice to be made. If rank and file Republicans choose to back the establishment, and believe them when they say things like the Tea Party is dangerous, they will not win another election for a long time. True Conservatives will not tolerate the same old tactics, and it will be time for principled Conservative candidates who will not back down from what they believe, who will not be threatened by Party bosses, and will stand up for their constituents, and Constitutional principles.
  True, the government shutdown would have been bad for Republicans had election day been in the midst of it. But by this time next year, Americans will be deep in the those of Obama care. The Democrats will own it, and election day 2014 could be bright and sunny, not just for Republicans, but Conservatives as well. For it is becoming more apparent, they are not necessarily one and the same.
  There is a song from those turbulent times in the sixties that says,"the times they are a changin". It could be change that Republicans can't afford to ignore.              

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What's In A Name

  One of the things that the Left is good at, is distracting from the real problem with a series of small inconsequential ones. The "war on women" being a textbook example.
  Over this past weekend, NBC Sportscaster Bob Costas was at it again. Poor Bob, he just can't seem to grasp the fact that his job is to report what is going down on the playing field. But since he is an employee of NBC, a.k.a., propaganda wing for the Democratic Party, he gets free reign to comment on what ever flies into his head. Bob decided that his opinion was badly needed regarding the ongoing Washington Redskins name controversy. Bob lectured everyone who really just wanted to watch football, on how racist we all are for letting this team name exist for as long as it has. Eighty one years to be exact.
  While Bob and his fellow New York Liberal buddies are busy being appalled by the name "Redskins", let's take a brief look at life for some real life "Redskins", oops, excuse me, that Bob usually just flies over on his way to this game or that game.
  The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is located in three counties in South Dakota. Established in 1889, it is the eighth largest reservation in the United States. It is also the poorest. With approximately 29,000 residents, the size of a small American town, the per capita income is roughly $6200 dollars a year. As of 2011, the latest figures available, unemployment on Pine Ridge is a staggering 80%. Many people have no electricity, running water, telephone, or sewer systems, and must heat their homes with wood burning stoves. Alcoholism, which many Native Americans seem almost genetically prone to, is around 80%. The rate of heart disease, twice the national average. Rate of suicide, twice the national average. The infant mortality rate, 5 times the national average. Life expectancy for the people of Pine Ridge, 48 for men, 52 for women. It is second lowest, only to Haiti in the Western Hemisphere. Offensive enough yet for ya' Bob?

  The list of grim statistics for these proud people goes morbidly on. But perhaps the most grim fact of all is that, for 124 years, the federal government has supported and overseen every aspect of the lives of Pine Ridge residents, and millions more just like them across the nation. And just how has that worked for them? Crushing poverty, disease, and practically no way off the Reservation, and the government dole to escape it.
  Despite all of the bad news however, there is some good news to report from Pine Ridge. There is a new 60 bed nursing home facility that will provide jobs, and a new Justice Center in the works, also a job creator. The recent construction of a WalMart in nearby Chadron Nebraska was built with the Native American clientele of Pine Ridge in mind.
  So Bob, having heard all of that, are your big boy pants still in a wad over the name "Redskins"? If so, two things. Maybe you should be asking what can be done to help the people of Pine Ridge recover from their "help" from the federal government. Or maybe, you should just stick to touchdowns, balls and strikes.

If you would like to know more about Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and how you might help, go to         

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Little Girl Lost?

Sometimes, in the course of everyday life, you see something that you have seen many times before, but every so often, there is a twist on it that makes you stop and think.
  One evening last week, I was on my way home. I stopped at a light at a busy intersection. On the opposite corner, on one of those concrete islands that separate lanes, was a woman. She was standing on the island with a sign. As she was not facing me, I assumed that it was some sort of "homeless need help" sign. I have seen it before. Unfortunately, many people work that intersection. But this was different. Standing next to her, was a little girl. She was maybe 3 or 4 years old, kind of jumping around, playing with something in a bag next to her.
  As I watched her, trying to keep busy, my first thought was disbelief. How is this woman panhandling on a corner with a child?! The light turned green, and I went on my way. But I could not get that sight out of my mind. On a very practical level, I found it sad, that in one of the richest nations in the world, people feel such desperation that they see no other way out than to stand on a corner with a sign. But what about that little girl? As she stood on that corner with her mother, she was being taught an ominous life lesson. She was being taught that it was OK. It's OK to stand on a street corner and beg. It's OK to assume that other people will take pity on you and throw you their pocket change. It's OK to expect total strangers to bail you out. Even worse, what if this woman brought her child to this corner with her to gain more sympathy, thus make more money? I didn't want to go there.
  I keep thinking about that child, and others like her. In our entitlement society, will there be anyone in her life to correct this lesson? Will anyone tell her that education is the one true way off of that corner for her? Will anyone tell it to her straight, that in America, if you are willing to work hard, you can be anything you want to be? Will anyone teach her that she does not have to rely on the government, or others feeling sorry for her? That she can rely on herself?
  Fast forward twenty years. Is that little girl now a junior or senior in college, working on her degree, eager to graduate, and go out into the world and try her hand at her chosen profession? Does she possess that "look out world here I come" swagger that getting ready to dive into your dream job can give you? Or has the cycle continued? Is she a mother herself, with jobless, hopeless men who fathered her children meandering in and out of her and her children's lives? Has someone told her that the more children she has, the more money she can get from the government? Has she learned how to "work the system"?
   I guess I hope for two things. I hope that her Mom can get through this
temporary rough patch in her life. But maybe even more than that, I hope that it is not too late for this little girl. I hope this street corner education, is a lesson that she will soon forget.