Clean Ocean Action Call Obama Drilling Plan “Pure Snake Oil”

Highlands, NJ– Statement of Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action, a coalition of 125 organizations in the New Jersey/New York Region responding to President Obama’s call for new offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.

“We are utterly shocked and outraged with President Obama’s opening of huge portions of our sensitive oceans to dirty offshore drilling.  The policy is a deal with the devil and pure snake oil that puts New Jersey and New York beaches at risk.

It’s a deal with the devil as the clear objective for opening up drilling in the Atlantic Ocean and other sensitive areas is to buy votes for legislation to reduce emissions causing climate change.  It is twisted logic at best to increase a dirty, polluting industry that will increase greenhouse gas emissions in the name of reducing climate change and at the same time threaten our national shore tourism and fishing.

The US Government has estimated that there is about a ½ year of oil from Maine to Florida.  Even if new studies double that amount— it will do nothing to increase energy independence or provide a meaningful domestic oil supply.  To suggest otherwise is pure snake oil.

Moreover, locating oil in these vast areas is like finding a needle in a hay stack and in order to do so, you must blast the area with seismic charges that will endanger marine mammals and fish.

Finally any spill in the south and mid-Atlantic can get carried north to the Jersey Shores by the Gulf Stream, making drilling off Virginia a threat to enjoying the beaches in New Jersey.

Clean Ocean Action stands with our strong bi-partisan NJ Congressional delegation and Governor Chris Christie who oppose offshore oil drilling and vow to work with them to fight against this attack on our way of life.”

Just a Good Man?

woody_zimmerman_118_2007Throughout the 20th century it has been popular – especially among more theologically liberal Protestant denominations – to deny that Jesus was actually divine, but to agree that he obviously was a good man who presented excellent moral teaching: e.g., alms for the poor; render unto Caesar; judge not; love one another; etc. Some adherents of other religions have averred something along the same lines, although there is not monolithic agreement within any of the major world religions that this characterization of Jesus is correct. Muslims used to say that Jesus appeared to be the only perfect man who ever lived – but lately, not so much. People who lack knowledge of the New Testament constitute most of those who say Jesus was just a good man. Those who know the Christian Scriptures in greater depth tend not to say this.

C. S. Lewis – a former agnostic who became one of the 20th century’s greatest Christian apologists – is famous for his many insights into Christianity. One of the most brilliant of these was his demolition of the claim that Jesus was “just a good man.” He wrote:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the son of God: or else a madman or something worse.

“You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

In other words (if any clarification is needed), Jesus was God or a lunatic or a very bad man. But he was not simply a “good man” who made some absurd claims about himself that we can delicately ignore.

I thought of this fairly profound theological debate recently when I reflected upon the blazing career of Barak Obama. (Relax, I don’t think he’s either a new Messiah or the Anti-Christ, but I think it is important for us to describe him correctly.)

Mr. Obama came seemingly from nowhere to take the country by storm in just a few short years. I recall listening to a radio report, just after the elections of November 2004, when this virtual unknown had just dazzled the Media on his way to winning a U. S. Senate seat. The reporters were discussing the possibility that the brilliant, articulate new senator might have presidential ambitions. As I recall the conversation, one reporter thought it was a little early, since Mr. Obama hadn’t actually done anything yet. Another thought people would believe that he could do the job because he looked like he could do the job. Ultimately, the election of 2008 confirmed the correctness of the latter view.

The wild adulation after President Obama’s election had a messianic feel. I heard grown women in the grocery store gushing, “…he’s just wonderful – so well-spoken and well-dressed, such a beautiful family,” etc. Young people expected him to change the country. It wasn’t clear exactly how he would change it. But who cared? Whatever the change turned out to be, they seemed to believe that it would help the country and would be good and advantageous to them, personally. Schoolchildren sang “hymns” to their new president, in a rap cadence. (“Ba-rack Hus-sein – O-ba-ma/mmm! mmm! mmm!/He said that all must lend a hand/To make this country strong again/ mmm! mmm! mmm!”)

Mainstream Media reporters and pundits were giddy with anticipation over the most “transformative” presidency in American history. The M-word (messiah) was on many lips; even the G-word: Newsweek Editor Evan Thomas said, “…in a way, Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God.” It was an amazing time to be an American. Verily, it seemed too bad that the Inauguration couldn’t have been held on Easter Day to confirm the messianic story.

Nearly a year ago, old college friends scolded me for my dour predictions of what Obama’s “hope and change” would bring to the country. (The One had just stiffed the GM bondholders, so I was a little sensitive about where he was heading.) The friends said I just needed “to give him a chance” – that there was more than one way to look at these things. (Translation: it wasn’t their ox that had been gored.) They huffed back to their state of residence – a bastion of liberalism that went overwhelmingly for Mr. Obama.

What a difference a year makes. I don’t know what those college friends think about Mr. Obama’s first year in office, but it’s pretty clear that a majority of voters is under-whelmed. Whatever they hoped Mr. Obama’s “change” would be, what he has produced is definitely not it. I hear 30- and 40-somethings calling in to local talk-radio shows to say, “Well, sure, I voted for him, but I never thought he would do stuff like this…” – and variations on the theme. People out of work for months are scratching their heads and saying, “What the heck is he doing? Who cares about @#$&*% health-care reform when there’s no work?” (Apologies to Joe Biden – this is a family publication.) Others are simply “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.”

Following passage of the Health-care Reform bill, Democratic pols have been soiling their britches and squealing about hateful phone calls from constituents. (“They said mean things. Don’t they know who I am?”) Instead of a happy face when he signed his precious Health-care Reform bill, Mr. Obama acted like he had a bad case of hemorrhoids. Federal agencies are on high alert for possible “domestic terrorism” from pants-suit-wearing housewives and 80-year-old grandmas. (Watch out for those knitting-needles.)

Many true believers wonder when Mr. Obama will start being truly “transformative” – evidently not comprehending that he already is. Some seem to think that his actions so far have only been gestures to his far-left political base – or maybe they’re just honest mistakes. (Don’t we all make mistakes?)

In other words, he can’t really mean all those things he has said about evil corporations, greedy insurance companies, and unprincipled doctors unnecessarily yanking out tonsils and hacking off limbs so they can make more money. He can’t seriously be planning to raise taxes while unemployment is bumping 10%. Surely he’s a good (if somewhat flawed) man who just wants to help the country. Yes, he looks a lot like a socialist, but he can’t really be one. Can he?

Jesus claimed he was God, so by C. S. Lewis’s analysis either he was God or he had to be (pick one): nuts or self-deluded or seriously evil. Just so, we’re coming round to the same basic choices about President Obama. He can’t be just a good man who has made some mistakes – OK, some really big mistakes. (He is obviously a smart guy; nobody makes that many “mistakes.”)

So with “good man” crossed off, what are we left with? That he’s crazy or self-deluded or evil; or he’s who he claims to be. Call me old-fashioned, but I won’t call someone “evil” unless he’s in Stalin’s league. (The Bible says only God can see the heart, so I’ll leave this call to Him.) That leaves crazy, self-deluded, or true socialist as the other possible labels for our young president. What say ye?

I admit that this wasn’t an easy choice for me. After all, Mr. Obama has done some things that looked pretty crazy. A year of pushing legislation that will bring 1/6th of the nation’s economy under federal control – while 10% of our work-force stands idle – looked insane to me and many others. He got his health-care bill, but it might by a pyrrhic victory, dooming his party to a crushing defeat in November. Assuring Dems that it’s worth sacrificing their careers to get health-care reform does not seem sane.

Also, I harbor a nagging fear that the man might be seriously self-deluded about his personal ability to change the country and its politics. This isn’t quite the same as being crazy – more like having a short circuit in your wiring. The Greeks called it “hubris.” It is not a valuable trait in a leader.

Ultimately, I had to conclude that Mr. Obama is exactly what he looks like and what he has said he is – albeit, in only a few unguarded instances, like his unscripted conversation with Joe the Plumber in the 2008 campaign. Mr. Obama is a true socialist who believes government bureaucrats can manage the country’s economy and the health and education of its people better than the people can. He believes that the individual cannot really make it without “government help” (a 20th century oxymoron as ever was). He believes the playing field must be leveled to achieve “social justice” – a construct wherein winners in the Great Lottery of Life subsidize losers. These beliefs have far-reaching consequences, as we are now finding out. Voters who thought Mr. Obama was just posturing for his far-left base, but never thought he would go this far, have had their five-o’clock surprise. More will follow. (Enjoy!)

Actually, I don’t mean to poke fun at voters who got snookered. We all make mistakes. As my old dad liked to say, the trick is to learn from mistakes and not repeat them. Millions of voters made a lulu of a miscalculation in November ’08. Now they have buyer’s remorse, but their timing is poor. Some things can be corrected in November, but we’ll still have The Obamster at the helm. We shall need a will of steel to turn the Titanic. If we don’t, we’re all going down – whether we have universal health-care or not.

And just for future reference – when the next buff, silver-tongued dude wearing a $2000 suit comes along talking about “social justice” and “change,” let’s try to remember the lessons Obama has taught us. If we’ve learned from his presidency, it won’t have been a total waste.

Maybe next time we won’t have to go through all the “fun” before we grasp what is being promised. As Ronald Reagan liked to say: “if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…” Well, you know the rest.

++++++++

Special note: I ask my readers who are so inclined to offer prayers for the health and full recovery of our Herald Editor, Allan Dean. Allan has undergone heart-bypass surgery in recent weeks, bringing great concern to all who know and love him. An 80% arterial blockage was discovered in the nick of time. Bless the Lord for His mercy. Please pray for his wife, Jacque, and their son, Cranston, also. These are very special people who have enriched the lives of many. (WZ)

Lions ‘White Cane’ Drive Will Fund Programs for the Blind

Middletown, N.J. – The Lions Club of Middletown Township is asking members of the local community to support the ‘White Cane’ Drive, a charitable initiative which raises money to assist blind and visually-impaired individuals. ‘White Canes’ are assistive devices used by the blind to guide them when walking. Funds raised will be specifically dedicated to providing devices for those in need.

On Saturday, April 10th, Lions will be stationed at Foodtown in Port Monmouth, located on Highway 36, to accept donations. Anyone who donates will receive a miniature ‘White Cane’ as a token of appreciation. Lions will also collect on Saturday, April 24th at Foodtown in Hazlet, located on Highway 35. Collection hours are 9-4:00 p.m. Continue reading Lions ‘White Cane’ Drive Will Fund Programs for the Blind

Residents to Clean Up the Bayshore Trail on April 3

Atlantic Highlands, NJ – You probably know that recent storms have wreaked havoc on our shore area, including our Bayshore Trail.  The trail now requires urgent cleanup and repair.  To get the process going, the Borough of Atlantic Highlands has designated April 3 as “Clean Up the Bayshore Trail Day,” and is seeking resident volunteers to come share a light breakfast and lend a hand in bringing our much-used trail back to life.

Atlantic Highlands resident Corinna Thuss is among the hundreds of residents who have enjoyed the trail for the past year.  “It is such a beautiful and important part of our town,” she said.  Like others, she was saddened to see that storm damage had forced the closure of the 1.5-mile path.  Thuss contacted Borough Administrator Adam Hubeny, and the two initiated the cleanup idea.

Since Mayor Fred Rast dedicated the new trail last April, it has become a regular destination for scores of runners, strollers, bikers and sightseers of all ages.  That came to an end on March 13, when a fierce storm caused a tidal surge that washed out parts of the trail, brought debris in, and damaged a wooden footbridge.

The town, in cooperation with Highlands Borough, hopes to begin the trail’s restoration on April 3, but many volunteers are needed to support this special effort.  “We hope volunteers will enjoy working outside for a few hours, and knowing that they are having a huge positive impact on our town,” said Thuss.  “The more quickly we can begin to restore the trail, the sooner we will be able to enjoy spring strolls and rides once again.”  The reopened trail would also once again be an attraction for daily visitors.

Volunteers will meet at 9 am at a choice of three locations: Atlantic Highlands playground parking lot, (near the Marina), at Hilton Station (steps) on Bayside Ave., or Popomora Park in Highlands. In Atlantic Highlands, The Flaky Tart will generously provide a light breakfast.  Volunteers will be picking up recyclables, trash, metals and pushing the reeds into piles for a pick-up by heavy equipment provided by Jeff’s Landscaping. You must bring protective gloves, and a shovel or rake, if possible. Wheelbarrows are appreciated as well. Jaspan’s Hardware has donated trash bags, and the Borough will provide the dumpsters.  Work will end approximately at 2pm.  The event will take place rain or shine.

The help of each and every volunteer for this important project is greatly appreciated.  For more information, please Corinna Thuss at 908-692-4457 or call the Borough at 732.291.1444.

English Speaking Union Learns about American Women In Guilded Age London

RUMSON, NJ – The Monmouth County Branch of the English Speaking Union hosted a luncheon with a speaker on Sunday, March 14 at the Salt Creek Grill. Dr. Jane S. Gabin, noted author and educator, presented a slide lecture about American women who went to England at the turn of the last century in order to find success in their fields of journalism, music, acting and literature. Taken from her book, American Women in Gilded Age London, her program presented information on fascinating women whose stories have almost been lost to time.

One of her research subjects was among the most famous actresses of her time, and she had a connection to Rumson. Mary Anderson was married to Antonio deNavarro, son of Jose’ de Navarro. During the 1880’s, the deNavarro family owned the estate that ran river to river between Bellevue and Buena Vista Avenues in Rumson. It seems logical that the two streets were named by Senor deNavarro, a Spaniard who donated the funds to purchase the property that Holy Cross Church was built on. During the N’or easter, Dr. Gabin was able to meet and compare research with Father Michael Manning in front of the two deNavarro stained glass windows in the sanctuary as the ocean winds roared outside.

Coming up for the ESU:

Our Scholars Tea will be held at Bingham Hall in Rumson on Sunday, April 11 at 2:00 PM. Winners of the Shakespeare Competition will present their monologues and sonnets, and this year’s scholar will be introduced. New faces always welcomed.

 

On June 13th, the English Speaking Union Annual Scholarship Benefit will be held at the Rumson Country Club from 4:30-6:30 PM. This Celebration of the Queen’s Birthday will be an elegant Garden Party on the Club’s terrace complete with  entertainment by Gerald Gates on the Tenor Sax and Walter Guthrie on the piano. Ladies are encouraged to wear their favorite garden party hats, and the atmosphere will be reminiscent of the 1920’s and 30’s. Anyone with an interest in attending will be warmly welcomed.

For more information, contact:

Richard Biernacki, ESU President, 732-787-2217, [email protected]

Roberta Van Anda, Benefit Chairman, 732-842-4562, [email protected]

Dr. Jane S. Gabin, www.janesgabin.vpweb.com

Volunteers Needed for Earth Day Event on April 22

West Long Branch, NJ – Monmouth University’s Energy Service Corps is currently seeking volunteers for its Earth Day celebration at Neptune Middle School.  On April 22, Energy Service Corps volunteers will teach ten classes at Neptune Middle School about energy conservation and civic engagement, as part of a week-long celebration of the Earth.  Volunteers need no previous teaching experience. Students and community members are encouraged to volunteer at the event and make a difference on Earth Day by teaching young people the importance of energy conservation and environmental stewardship.

If interested in volunteering, please email [email protected] or call 732-923-4648.

Energy Service Corps is a joint project of NJ Public Interest Research Group and AmeriCorps. Based on college campuses across the state, student volunteers work to make local communities more energy efficient through education, service, and community outreach.

My Fair Haven – A Great Celebration of Community!

FAIR HAVEN, NJ – This year’s Fair Haven PTA luncheon, “My Fair Haven, A Celebration of Community,” held on March 13 was a great success and exceeded the PTA’s goal, raising over $23,000 for Fair Haven schools. The money raised at the luncheon will help pay for many vital programs in the Fair Haven school system.

The luncheon was sold out and 320 people attended for a true celebration of community.  Attendees had a wonderful afternoon dining with family, friends, and neighbors, as well as school teachers, staff, and administrators.  Many were lucky winners of the over 170 auction basket items. In addition, many won door prizes donated by Kate Kostecky, Daisy Chocolates, and Riverview Medical Center “Paint the Town Pink”.  Winners of the Fair Haven table quiz enjoyed a sweet treat from Daisy Chocolates and every attendee went home with a wonderful favor from McLoone’s, Spa at the Galleria, and Daisy Chocolates.  This was the first time the event was held at the Sterling Ballroom at the Holiday Inn in Tinton Falls and the venue exceeded expectations.

Co-Chairs Christine Hearn and Jennie Lucci would like to say thank you to everyone who helped to make this year’s luncheon a success. The event could not take place without the generous support of area merchants and businesses, individual families and neighborhoods, and of course, volunteers. A special thank you to the 2010 luncheon committee chairpersons, and the countless number of volunteers who worked on these various committees.

Congratulations to the lucky Kane Family who won the grand prize and will be heading out on an adventure to lovely, picturesque Montana donated by the Dunphy Family/Dunphy Physical Therapy PC, many generous Fair Haven families, and Gear Loft.   Additionally, thanks to the Fair Haven schools’ administrators and staff for their generous donations and support, and all of the 8th grade Student Basket Runners.

Tea Parties To Converge in Trenton April 15

MIDDLETOWN, NJ – Conservative groups from across the region will converge in Trenton on April 15th.  The rally will be held on the steps of the State House on West State Street from 11:00AM to 3:00PM.  The Trenton Tax Day Tea Party expects between 1500 and 2000 people to attend.  One of the largest Tax Day Tea Party rallies outside of Washington, the gathering will be comprised of Tea Party groups, 912 Project groups, Americans for Prosperity, and Campaign for Liberty, among others.  The messages will be loud and clear:  Recall Menendez, State Sovereignty, and Stop Spending.

Organized by groups across the region, the Trenton Tax Day Tea Party wants to send a message to all elected officials that the country has re-entered a new phase of participatory democracy.   Speakers include Rev. Hugh MacKenzie, Tea Party-backed Congressional candidates Mike Halfacre, Lon Hosford, Justin Murphy, and Linda Biamonte, among others.

“Everyone who holds elected office, either in Trenton or Washington, is there at the request of the voters.  Every voter is now or will be aware of what their officials are doing for us, the taxpayers,” said Mark Falzon, spokesman for the Bayshore Tea Party.  “If they think they have a job for life, they are mistaken.”

The mood in the country has turned against those in elected office. Tea Parties in New Jersey and the rest of the nation can be expected to capitalize on political momentum gained throughout the year, leading up to November mid-term elections.  The Recall Menendez effort recently given the go-ahead by the Appellate Court of New Jersey is a perfect example.

“Voters want a true representative in Washington, someone who represents all the citizens of NJ, not someone who serves a narrow special interest to build up the coffers of his treasury and further his career,”  said Rose Ann Salanitri, a leader of the Recall Menendez campaign.  “Ironically, his out of control spending is destroying the American dream – the dream so many immigrants leave their country and their families to come to America to find.  It’s time we remind those in office that they work for us and not the other way around.”

“The Governor has made several smart and courageous political choices and we applaud him,” said one organizer.  But “we have the highest tax burden in the country and one of the largest debt loads.  Those issues are volatile and need to be addressed immediately.”

The Resurrection Reality – The Witnesses

george_hancockstefanTwo disciples on the Road to Emmaus meet a stranger who travels along with them. As they converse, one gets a sense of despair. As the conversation progresses one of the disciples says, “We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21a). In another place we read “on the evening of the first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for the fear of the Jews.” (John 20:19).  The death of Jesus left the disciples leaderless, fearing for their lives, disappointed and clueless about the future.

The gospel writers spend a sufficient amount of time to let us know that Jesus was dead and that he was buried according to the tradition and customs of the Jews. The women are returning on the first day of the week, namely on Sunday, to continue the burial preparation. It is to these women that the angel says, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day will be raised again” (Luke 24:5-7).

In the interlude between the Resurrection Sunday and Ascension, Jesus spends time with his disciples confirming that He indeed is alive.  When one read the gospels carefully, one can see the evidence that Jesus confirmed that He was the one crucified and buried on Friday.

After the Ascension, as they are waiting for the Holy Spirit to come down according to the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ, the eleven disciples choose one disciple to replace Judas.  It is important to observe the qualification: “Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection” (Acts 1:21-22).

“We are witnesses of his resurrection” becomes a key element in the preaching of the Twelve Apostles.  In Peter’s first major sermon, given on the Day of Pentecost, he traces the life of Jesus culminating in the fact that the Jews and the Romans (Pilate and Caiaphas) condemned him to death. However, Peter continues, “God raised him this Jesus to life and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you see and hear” (Acts 2:32-33).

As the salvation message is being preached in the book of Acts, inevitably the centrality of every message is the resurrection of Christ.  If Christ was not raised from the dead, the quickest way for the new sect to be destroyed was for their opponents to show that Jesus was dead and buried.  If he was not alive, the end of Christianity would have come within the first few days after Pentecost.

When Paul moves to a Gentile territory, he encounters opposition exactly on that topic. “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands people everywhere to repent.  For he has sent a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed.  He has given proof of this by raising him from the dead.  When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, we want to hear you again on this subject. At that Paul left the Council” (Acts 17:30-33).  Because Paul knows the resistance to the topic of the resurrection of Christ in the philosophical world of Athens, he spends an entire chapter in 1 Corinthians detailing the authenticity of the resurrection and why it is so central to the Christian faith.  Again he confirms that the resurrection of Jesus was witnessed by more than 500 witnesses (1 Cor. 15).

As he approaches the end of his life, the beloved disciple John writes, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete” (1 John 1:1-4).

When the Lord Jesus Christ appears in Revelation, the last book of the Bible, he tells John, “Do not be afraid.  I am the First and the Last.  I am the Living One: I was dead and behold I am alive forever and ever” (Revelation 1:17b-18a).

In any court of law, the truth is defended by two or three witnesses. Anyone who analyses the biblical evidence will become convinced that Jesus Christ, the Son of God has been raised from the dead and that he was seen by hundreds of witnesses. As a result, we can believe without a shadow of doubt in His resurrection.