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Attack on our Democracy

This email came from my Congressman, Dan Kildee of Flint on Jan. 7th.

Attack on our Democracy

Janet

Like you, I am horrified by the attack on the U.S. Capitol and our democracy.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would have to lie on the floor of the House Chamber, fearing for my own life and for the safety of others, as police dispersed tear gas and guns were drawn to stop an angry mob from taking over Congress.

I am grateful to the U.S. Capitol Police for their efforts to protect Members of Congress, our staff members and the institution at large. This moment we now find ourselves in requires brutal honesty and hard truths—about how this could have happened and where we go from here. Every American, regardless of party, should be outraged about this attack on our democracy.

Let me be clear: President Trump, and his enablers, have brought us to this moment of violence and chaos. For years, many Republican leaders have turned a blind eye as the president ratcheted up his hate-filled rhetoric. Just yesterday, hours before angry mobs of Trump supporters broke into the U.S. Capitol, Rudy Giuliani called for “trial by combat.” The president’s son threatened Members of Congress who didn’t vote to overturn the results of the election, saying “we’re coming for you and we’re going to have a good time doing it.” And the president himself expressed his love for those that had just broken into the Capitol, calling them “very special” people.

We have every right to be angry, but no one should be surprised that this type of rhetoric led to the deadly violence we saw yesterday.

There’s no warranty or guarantee on the back of the Constitution. As the world witnessed yesterday, things can fall apart quickly. This democracy is what we make of it. If we want to preserve our way of life and the rule of law, then it requires all of us to remain vigilant, speak truth to power and demand better.

Thankfully, democracy prevailed. Despite yesterday’s horrific events, Congress came back into session and certified the results of the 2020 presidential election. In 13 days, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in as the next President and Vice President of the United States. Their leadership is sorely needed so that our country can begin to heal.

— Dan

Congressman Dan Kildee – a Flint native – is proud to represent Michigan’s Fifth District. As a Democratic party leader, Dan is fighting hard to ensure every American has access to quality health care, clean water and a good-paying job. The path to protect the Democratic majority in the House runs right through the Midwest, and as Heartland Engagement Chair, Dan’s job is to protect and elect Democratic candidates.

3 Reasons the ‘Christmas Star’ of 2020 Is Bringing So Much Hope

As we celebrate the holidays this year, some of us around the country will be able to see a special “Christmas Star” in the sky.   I am publishing an article, written by writer Hope Bolinger, instead of just a short blog for the holidays, so readers can fully understand the significance of this year’s Christmas Star and hopefully be able to view it.

Wishing everyone a happy holiday! Enjoy the article, first published on crosswalk.com!

  • Hope Bolinger Contributing Writer
  • 2020/3 Dec

As Christians, we may have heard a great deal about the star of David that appeared during the birth of Jesus. But did you know that a certain astronomical phenomenon involving stars will occur in late December of 2020? That’s right. The planets Saturn and Jupiter will align on December 21 and will form a “Christmas star” shape in their alignment. 

Just how rare is this phenomenon? According to Christian Headlines, you have to go back to the 1200s just to see something similar to this occurrence happening around the same time.

The news of this so-called “Christmas star” has sparked hope and excitement for believers around the globe. In this article, we’ll dive into some of the reasons we can look forward to seeing the Christmas star and what it reminds us of this Advent season.

Christmas Star Meaning in the Bible 

We’ve seen a star used in about every nativity skit we’ve watched at church. But what is the significance of this celestial body, apart from the fact it directed shepherds (and eventually the Magi) to Bethlehem? Stars do seem to play multiple roles throughout Scripture. Let’s analyze some verses in which they play an important part.

Matthew 24:29“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

Stars play a role here in the events at the End of Days. But on a brighter note, let’s take a look at the passage that talks about the star of David over Bethlehem (AKA: “The Christmas star”).

Matthew 2:1-2 “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

The star placed over the birthplace of Jesus points the way for the Magi to find him. Although many theologians have speculated as to which astronomical phenomena occurred with this star (including conjecture that Saturn and Jupiter had aligned to form the bright light), the star clearly brings people to Jesus. It lights the way to him. Therefore, when believers heard about the Christmas star of 2020, they understandably got excited about the parallels. 

What Is the ‘Christmas Star’ of 2020? 

As mentioned above, the Christmas Star of 2020 will occur in late December when Saturn and Jupiter align. The two planets, together, will look like a “double planet” and will produce a significant amount of light

You can observe the “star” on any position on Earth, clear skies dependent. But you’ll have the best chance to get a view of it on December 21. So during your preparations for the holiday season, take a break and get some night-sky viewing in.

Why Astronomical Events Are of Interest to Christians

It may seem like a surprise that so many Christians seem so invested in two planets aligning near the time of Christmas. Even apart from the Christmas season, it does seem the case that believers get excited about blood moons and other astronomical events. Why is this the case?

For the answer to that, we have to turn to Scripture.

Genesis 2:1 “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.”

First and foremost, God created the heavens and our planet. This includes every speckled star we see in the night sky. Of course we’d be invested in the beauty of creation that our Creator has formed for us. 

Luke 21:25“There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves.”

One of the key signs that we’ve reached the events to occur in Revelation happens in a natural disaster level and via signs in the cosmos. Christians get excited about astronomical signs because it reminds us that Christ will come again to set the world right.

Revelation 8:12 “The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.”

At the end of days, we will see signs in the skies from the sun darkening, the moon turning blood red, and the stars falling like figs. Scripture has told us to watch vigilantly for the Day of the Lord, and when we see these signs, we will be ready for that day. 

Of course, we should also add that it’s dangerous to place all of our hope in astronomical signs and predictions. After all, none of us knows the day or hour in which the Son of Man will return. If we think back to the 2012 Mayan prediction of the end of the world, many believers thought the Second Coming would happen then. Or the number of blood moons that have occurred in the past few years. 

3 Reasons The ‘Christmas Star’ of 2020 Brings Hope to Christians 

Aside from the fact that stars are a delight to view during any season of the year, Christians have a number of great reasons to look forward to witnessing this star during the final month of 2020.

The Christmas Star Reminds Us of the Original ‘Christmas Star’

Theologians have speculated if Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn’s alignment formed the first “Christmas star.” Considering we have two of those planets aligning now, something that hasn’t happened in this way for centuries, we get to have a very real and tangible reminder of what the star of David would have looked like during the birth of Jesus.

The Christmas Star Reminds Us of Jesus’ Second Coming

Astronomical signs point to the second coming of Christ. Although we cannot predict when he will return, when we see natural phenomena occurrences, we remember that such will be the conditions of the Last Days.

The Christmas Star Points Others to Jesus

In the same way the Christmas star lit the pathway for the Magi to find our Savior, we can use the star as an illustration for those who don’t yet know Jesus. We can explain to our non-believing friends and family members about the events that took place the night of Jesus’ birth when they talk about the bright “star” in the night sky. 

Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing program. More than 1,000 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her modern-day Daniel trilogy released its first two installments with IlluminateYA, and the final one, Vision, releases in August of 2021. She is also the co-author of the Dear Hero duology, which was published by INtense Publications. Find out more about her at her website.


Fun Facts About Thanksgiving

  • The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 over a three day harvest festival. …
  • Turkey wasn’t on the menu at the first Thanksgiving. …
  • Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday on October 3, 1863. …
  • The history of U.S. presidents pardoning turkeys is patchy.

As we celebrate our first “pandemic” Thanksgiving, it’s good to remember the past.  The event that Americans commonly call the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in October 1621. This feast lasted three days, and—as recounted by attendee Edward Winslow—was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims.

One of my main memories from my childhood is that we always had ham when we ate at home, because my dad did not like turkey. As a result, ham is my favorite holiday or party food.  I always remember as well the joys of Thanksgiving in a large family so that while you ate at home first, you also visited lots of relatives over the Thanksgiving weekend, so it was a massive feast.  While we may be limited this year to how many gather around the table, or be unable to visit others, it is still a time to be thankful.  Miracles come from gratitude and faith!

 Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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PALE RIDER: The Spanish Flu of 1918

As we wear masks and shelter at home from the 2020 pandemic, it is helpful to read about an earlier pandemic.  Science journalist Laura Spinney has written an acclaimed history, Pale Rider: the Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World (published in 2017).   I read it to understand how that worldwide pandemic Impacted this country and others. 

More than anything it amazed me to read how medical professionals hope future leaders would respond to a recurrence. First, in the future, the author hoped that health authorities would introduce containment measures such as quarantine, school closures and prohibitions on mass .“These will be for our collective benefit, so how do we ensure that everyone complies?”  She notes that experience has shown that people have a low tolerance for mandatory health measure and that they aremost effective when voluntary – and why she felt it was important to tell the story of the Spanish flu.

Additionally, Spinney argued that the media clearly have a critical role to play in any pandemic, and1918 taught us a valuable lesson in this too:  censorship and playing down the danger don’t work. Relaying accurate information in an objective and timely fashion does. As we struggle with our current pandemic, I highly recommend this book – for everyone, including our leaders.

Investing in Detroit – Jamie Dimon of Chase on 60 Minutes

The failure of Detroit’s neighborhoods was a personal tragedy for me.  I grew up in a vibrant working class neighborhood on the Northeast side of the city.  My family home was sold in the 70s after my parents retired from their UAW jobs in the auto industry  and moved to Florida. The area gradually deteriorated and was bulldozed.

So it was heartening to watch a segment of 60 Minutes last weekend hosted by Leslie Stahl on how JP Morgan Chase is using data to invest more efficiently, helping entrepreneurs open businesses in parts of Detroit that most need their services.  She interviewed Jamie Dimon, the CEO of Chase, who told her that the idea grew out of his interest in changing the way the bank was engaging in philanthropy.  He wanted to try and tackle a major national issue, and focused on Detroit first.

Dimon explained that the Chase program (launched in 2014) is currently helping young Detroit entrepreneurs by building a database just for Detroit that identifies neighborhoods in the city ripe for redevelopment.  JP Morgan’s program also steers funds to minority businesses that wouldn’t otherwise qualify for them.  And now Chase is getting ready to commit half a billion dollars to take what it has learned in Detroit and export it to other cities like Chicago and Washington D.C.

Stahl pointed out that the financial crisis of 2008 decimated fragile economies like Detroit’s and Dimon acknowledged that “we owe back to society.”  For a summary of the 60 Minutes interview, visit this link at https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jamie-dimon-jp-morgan-chase-ceo-makes-data-focused-investment-in-detroit-60-minutes-2019-11-10/

An August to Remember

August was a month of both musical love and precious, renewed friendships.  Most importantly, I celebrated my 55th Cass Tech High School Reunion this month with former classmates – opening with dinner and a program at Sinbad’s Restaurant  in a room overlooking the river on the first night, then lunch and a bus tour on Belle Isle,  and finally at a Tiger’s ballgame (oh my, they even won for us!).

My friend Bob Allen was my guest in the fun put together by an incredible committee led by Jeff Crockett that included Ocie, Jacquelyne, Trey, Morry, Susan Patricia, Helen, Sarah, Mildred, John, Anne and Jacquelin.  I was lucky enough to be active on the committee in the early planning.   We had about 90 active participants over the two days, many from out of town who stayed at the Atheneum Suite  Hotel on Brush Ave. and many took a sightseeing bus tour as their opening event.  I am so grateful that I got to experience my high school years with these incredible comrades and hope more good times lie ahead.

The first dose of musical love this month was at DTE’s evening concert with “Heart” (with sisters Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson) on the band’s “Love” Alive tour —  including opening acts Joan Jet & the Blackhearts and Elle King.  I had first seen only Ann on tour a few years ago at a Detroit waterfront festival.  But I had always loved their music – and the crowd seated on the DTE hillside around us went crazy as Heart ended their set with their biggest hit, “Barracuda.”  I shared in the exhilarating experience with my friend  Bob, and we joyously stumbled when we arrived across more of his friends.  They already occupied a large space on the grass and shared their blanket for seating on the hillside as they used folding chairs behind us.  Amazing.

I also got an exhilarating dose of musical “love” from the 60s by watching PBS’ American Experience documentary “Woodstock”, a chance to remember three days of peace, love and music in upstate New York.  I was just graduating college and starting my journalism career when that musical milestone in upstate New York produced 400,000 fans and four days of musical history that miraculously stayed peaceful and produced many signature musical moments, including the unforgettable Jimmy Hendricks, Santana,  Joan Baez and Janis Joplin – plus many more evolving superstars.   What an August!