7-17-2015 12-10-24 PMThere are days that I lament the fact that the people of the globe are able to communicate at the speed of light, but this is not one of them. I am old enough to remember hearing about Jews being turned into soap, wallets and lampshades during WWII, and then later, during the Age of Aquarius, I naively thought depravity could be permanently subdued by a fat doobie. Surely “Never Again,” the sign I have seen with my own eyes at the Dachau death camp in Germany would ultimately prevail, right? Nope. We now have what appears to be irrefutable proof that there are Planned Parenthood franchises functioning as mini-Auschwitz holocaust centers from sea to shining sea, and they are apparently feloniously trafficking in fetal body parts.

Solomon so wisely said that there is “nothing new under the sun,” and this week we as a nation were once again reminded that we are sacrificing our children to Molek. That did not work out so well for the nation of Israel, and it won’t for us, either.

If the undercover video produced by the Center for Medical Progress is true, then we have something that looks like a female reincarnation of the infamous Nazi, Dr. Mengele, eating and sipping a glass of red at lunch. This is while she casually mentions that for the first time, the day before, at their particular facility they had received a request for lungs. Human, pre-born baby lungs. The attending physician’s name is Dr. Deborah Nucatola, and to hear her talk about how sometimes she crushes the lower extremities of the fetus, and at other times the head of the fetus, (depending on the “need” for tissue) is like hearing and watching something out of a really bad horror movie.

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Planned Parenthood, of course is attempting to push back with the classic “we’ve been ‘spun’ and taken out of context” argument by saying,

“A well-funded group established for the purpose of damaging Planned Parenthood’s mission and services has promoted a heavily edited, secretly recorded videotape that falsely portrays Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research.”

Hold it right there. According to Planned Parenthood founder and flame-on racist, Margaret Sanger, the original “mission” of the organization as she conceived it 100 years ago was to eliminate the black race.

“Colored people are like weeds and are to be exterminated.”

But wait! There’s more! Planned Parenthood operators are standing by to take your order for whatever you need! Hearts, lungs, heck, even baby muscles! Just ignore the following, and your conscience won’t smite you!

“We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”

And just to prove that Miss Margaret ultimately became an equal-opportunity murderous eugenicist, ever willing to spread the killing around equitably, we have this:
“Slavs, Latin, and Hebrew immigrants are human weeds…a deadweight of human waste. Blacks, soldiers and Jews are a menace to the race.”

Fully 79% of Planned Parenthood facilities are located in primarily black neighborhoods. I guess my question is, if the current “mission” is “to provide life-saving scientific research,” what are they doing harvesting the body parts of babies who are inherently, according to Ms. Sanger, “a deadweight of human waste?” Shouldn’t there be a hue and cry from the “customer in the marketplace” over the fact that they are paying for inferior merchandise? If Dr. Nucatola is Margaret’s spiritual spawn, she is in a real pickle. Here her foremother wanted us inferior ones weeded out, but Miss Debbie wants us to know that she and the other Mengeles have become “very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that I’m not going to CRUSH that part.”

You might not crush that particular “part,” Dr. N, but you are, according to your original boss, trafficking in “weeds” and “waste,” and on every front, there will be hell to pay. May God have mercy on you as well as the rest of us. We are going to need it.
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Bidding Dan Goodbye

7-3-2015 2-43-48 PM“Bittersweet” is the only word I can think of to describe the passing of former Athens Mayor Dan Williams, who was also currently serving us in the Alabama State House of Representatives. He fought a brutal and brave war against cancer, and on the morning of July 1, 2015, he slipped away. He is suffering no more, and eternity has begun for him. Much has already been said about his public and military service, his life as a family man, his ability to tell a yarn, and to strum a guitar. I have heard tales of campfires that were legendary for their laughter.

There are many in the area who knew him their whole lives, and while I understand the sharp grief of a small town which has lost one of its longstanding public servants, I would like to talk about Dan from the perspective of only having been in Alabama since the year 2000.

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When we first moved here, and websites were still relatively new, as the Mayor he would post the most endearing and comfortable details of life here. He’d talk about the kids and grandkids, BBQ, sitting on the front porch in the summertime, and he made me feel at home, even though at that point I had never met him.

I got to know him mostly from Coffee Calls at the Vets’ Museum, and then he hired me to write some articles for him when he decided to run for the District 5 seat. It was there that I got a deeper glimpse of his heart, and there are two stories about choices that he had made that I will never forget. I would like to share them with you.

One was when he stood up on the House floor in Montgomery, and confronted what I have come to call reverse racism. One of his grandchildren is adopted, and is African American. Representative Alvin Holmes of Montgomery made the inflammatory statement that “99 percent of the whites who are sitting in here now, if their daughter got pregnant by a black man, they are going to make their daughter have an abortion.” Dan stood up and challenged him by saying, “I have a black grandchild running around my house, and I love him just like I love the rest of my grandkids.” I would have loved to have been there for that, and am proud both that he supported his son and daughter-in-law in their decision to adopt the child, and standing up for the truth that all kids are worth loving.

He was no stranger to controversy while serving in the House. He voted for Carly’s Law, the bill that would allow for the medical use of an oil form of marijuana to help reduce seizures experienced by children with a rare form of epilepsy. He was not for the bill at first, but it was spending 20 minutes face to face with a mother whose child suffered from up to 300 seizures per month that changed his mind.

“Ali,” he said, “It shook me up. I can’t imagine going through that with one of my children or grandchildren.” Dan, we are shook up, because life in Athens just won’t be right without you. But, we are people of faith, and we have the deep hope that we will see you again. If there are campfires in heaven, then I have just one request: save me a seat next to you on the log while you strum your guitar.
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6-18-2015 2-25-09 PMWhen I was in theological school in the ‘70s, I remember coming across the warning In 2 Timothy that one of the signs of the last of the Last Days would be that essentially people would be “off the charts” when it came to completely distorted self love, obsession with pleasure, treachery, lack of self control, egomania, hatred for parents, lack of love for God, and the list goes on. Several things of late have made me think about that warning once more.

As we wrestle in the grip of social media, and media of all types, for that matter, we find ourselves surrounded by stuff that is so goofy that even back in the heyday of the rebellion of the ‘60s we would have said, “Man, that’s messed up.”

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We have a new term to illustrate this malady, fairly recently coined, and no doubt a candidate to win the annual “new dictionary word” award. It’s called “self-identification.” It defies reason, logic, common sense, and couldn’t get any traction if we didn’t have the ability to just about take “selfies” on time lapse in our sleep.

Bruce Jenner, arguably one of the greatest Olympic athletes of all time, now wants to be known as Caitlyn, and “shis” picture is everywhere. I do feel sorry for “shim,” I do, because I cannot imagine how empty his soul must be, to tolerate such levels of pain and abuse to have his body mutilated in the process of being “transformed,” and no amount of surgery or airbrushed photos can fix that.

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Rachel Dolezal, who was born blond and with fair skin, could have been a poster child as an “Aryan” in Hitler’s Germany. She radically changed her appearance, “self identified” as a black woman, and finally her parents exposed the fact that their daughter was not who she said she was to those in her world. She resigned from the NAACP, lost her African studies teaching job, and ended up on all the morning shows. When asked by Matt Lauer if she is African-American, she said, “I identify as black.”

Rush Limbaugh decided for the sake of satire to “self-identify” as a “skinny guy.” He has had a well-publicized life long battle with his weight, and to illustrate how self-absorbed we as a culture have become, Rush is taking the position that we should see him as skinny. Thankfully, he is not serious.

6-18-2015 2-25-41 PMSaddam Hussein, according to one of his mistresses, used to stand in front of a mirror in his skivvies, wearing cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, and with a cigar clenched in his teeth, would vigorously holler, “Heil Hitler!” I guess my question in that example is, was Saddam “self-identifying” as a cowboy, der Fuhrer, a model for Fruit of the Loom, or all three?
This kind of stuff has always existed, as illustrated especially by the Caesars and the Pharaohs, but times of hardship and war have tended to keep it at bay. You don’t have time for “transanity” when Pearl Harbor is being attacked or the Twin Towers are coming down, or Katrina is turning the French Quarter into “K-ville.”

And while I certainly don’t want to see calamity come to our great nation, I have started to wonder if it’s the only thing that will get our heads screwed back on straight. I would hope that if Caitlyn Jenner is anywhere near a flood or a fire, “shis” decision will be to use “shis” legendary athletic prowess to pull people to safety. We shall see.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

6-6-2015 8-33-35 AMActually, more than a hundred times; 102, to be exact. What am talking about? This June 5th, 2015 edition of Athens Now marks the 102nd time I have “put the paper to bed.” How did I get here? Well, you can blame everyone from God, to my husband Steve, to that rascal, Jerry Barksdale, (whose latest yarn appears on page….), to Wayne and Deborah Huff; but I ain’t complainin’, in fact, I am celebrating!
While I never, ever had any notion of being an author, a writer, and good heavens, a newspaper publisher, I intend, in the body of this op-ed, to convince you that you should “never say never.”
I always liked English, and it came easy for me, but writing was mostly something one did for assignments. I wrote some poetry, privately, and columns for homeschool and ministry newsletters. I also composed a fair number of songs, some of which got published, but writing was a means to an end, and not a mission.

Then, I had the adventure of a lifetime, and spent 2004-2007 in Baghdad. A Juice Plus client of mine, who is a real-live, highly trained professional writer and editor, encouraged me to send home an e-zine from the Great Sandbox, which I did. She also put me in touch with Morgan James Publishing Company out of New York, and miracle of miracles, they published my first attempt at serious writing, A Ballad For Baghdad: An Ex-Hippie Chick Viet Nam War Protestor’s Three Years In Iraq.

I got home from Iraq in April of 2007, and Ballad was published in November of 2008. I took about a year and a half to market the book, and then, it and I kind of stalled out.

In February of 2010, I met Jerry Barksdale at the Alabama Veterans’ Museum, and that was all she wrote. At the time, Athens Now was owned by the people who started it, Wayne and Deborah Huff, and to this day Deborah is one hard working one woman sales force. Jerry mentioned me to the Huffs, who hired me to write for them, beginning that same month.

One year later, they decided to go a different direction, and after prayer, consideration and consternation, we decided to buy the paper. My life has never been the same.

At first I faced every publication cycle, (affectionately known as Pub Week, where one might be tempted to live in one, a pub, that is), with a knot in my stomach, and wondering if I was going to toss my cookies. All nighters were the order of the day. I had no idea what I was doing, and the lingo, the biz, the invoicing, the collecting, the not being able to collect, all of it threatened to swamp me. Like all good life lessons, it was sink or swim, and by God’s grace, I began to swim, (or at least, dog paddle somewhat lamely).

I inherited a dear set of columnists, and found some of my own. My production guy, Jonathan Hamilton, should be sainted for what he has endured with me, and has become a dear friend. Hunter Williams has helped with delivery, Rachel Clark with editing, Teddy Wolcott with the online edition. We laugh hard, every edition, and also sometimes we want to tear our hair out. We always wonder how it is going to come together, but somehow, it does.

Now Athens Now is being read in 5 towns, 3 counties and in over 120 locations. Its hard copy circulation is 4,000, and in an era when newspapers are being seen as dinosaurs, we are not dying out. Due to the miracle of technology, we now also being read in my beloved Iraq and Israel, in China, Uzbekistan, and elsewhere. We have over 1,000 Google index pages, domestically we get more than 100,000 hits on the online edition and no one is more surprised than I am.

However, it is you, oh dearest of readers, that have made me forever glad that I said yes to what is at times an extraordinarily high level of discomfort. You have emailed me, come up to me on the street, thanked me for what I am doing, and cheered me on.

Your stories have warmed my heart, and it has been my pleasure to tell them. Thank you forever for making it possible to say with joy and at least a touch of confidence, “If I’ve done this once, I’ve done it a hundred times.”
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

5-15-2015 11-43-07 AMTwo time Academy Award winning actor Denzel Washington was asked this year to be the commencement speaker at Dillard University, a traditionally black college in New Orleans. Dillard boasts such well-known alumni such as Coretta Scott King and Marvin Gaye, but 40 years ago, Denzel himself was flunking out of Fordham University with a 1.7 GPA.

Denzel did eventually go back to Fordham, and he did graduate, but not without first some “laps around Mt. Zion.” Perhaps Denzel was invited to be the keynote speaker because the Dillard administration knew he would unashamedly exhort the grads to have a healthy dose of humility. Perhaps it was his willingness to publically command the cap-and-gown clad young people to “put God first.”

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In the 11-minute speech, he “went there,” talking about how arrogant he had been when he first began to gain success as an actor. His mother basically told him that he could take himself outside, get a mop and a bucket, and start cleaning. However, that was not until she asked him, “Do you have any idea how many people have been praying for you?” But Providence was not finished with Mr. W. While still in his “all that and a bag of chips” state of mind; he went and visited his mom at her beauty shop, and a woman sitting under the salon dryer kept staring at him. Finally, she asked someone to get her a piece of paper and a pencil, and she said she had a prophetic word for him. She told him many things, including that he “would travel the world, and speak to millions.”

At the time, he said, that did not seem very likely. But it has indeed come to pass. And, now that he is 60, is successful by anyone’s estimation, and is an open book, he has earned the right to speak to what works, and what doesn’t. So, imagining myself as someone who was sitting in the audience, I decided to apply what he said had helped him get there.

5-15-2015 11-44-07 AMFirst, he said, “Put God first.” No political correctness there, thankfully. He made it clear that everything he had and is was due to the grace of God. He spoke of goal setting, and said, “Don’t confuse movement with progress.” His mom would be the one to remind him that he could move while running in place, but not go anywhere. He spoke of service, and the fact that there is no greater joy than serving. It is indeed a divine selfishness, because nothing feels better. He described himself as being three things: “Protected, directed, and corrected.” He was quick to point out that even when he had not been faithful to God, God had been faithful to him.

However, there was one admonition he gave that I shall never forget. He told the students when they go to bed at night, to put their slippers way back under the bed. As the well-trained actor that he is, he paused the perfect amount of time, and then told them that the only way to get to the slippers was to get on their knees. Once there, he said, “Say thank you in advance for what you already have.” Timeless gratitude, and thus good advice for grads and grandparents. Thank you, Mr. Washington!
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

5-1-2015 11-49-52 AMAthens is a town with an uncommonly positive spirit, something that is rare these days. I don’t mean to go all “Pollyanna” on you, because we do have real problems that need real solutions. However, a trend is returning to our nation that I haven’t seen for close to 50 years, and that is, especially in the past year, law enforcement officers who protect us are now having to do what soldiers do when they deploy: kiss their families goodbye, with everyone facing the real possibility that Daddy or Mommy may not come home. And, I might add, they have to do it afresh each morning when they leave for work. This is something that police officers sign on to do when they are sworn in. However, as someone who used to think of police as porcine, and soldiers as baby killers, I am all too familiar with what happens when people vilify first responders, and the damage it does to the accusers as well as the accused. It is what causes cultures to unravel, and that’s why we must stand together.

Baltimore is still on fire, Ferguson has been so at least twice in the past year, New York City cops have been executed while eating a meal in their car, and rival gangs have decided to bury the hatchet, join forces, and go after the cops.

5-1-2015 11-50-01 AMWhile all of this is cause for grave concern, what I am about to tell you is why I love being an Athenian. A project is underway, the brainchild of local author and Athens Now columnist, Jerry Barksdale. It is called “Together We Stand,” and the desire is simple: show the thin blue and thin brown line that we support them by throwing them a party. More precisely, it will be a dinner held in the Limestone County Event Center on June 12th at 6:30 pm. Jackie Greenhaw is putting together a show to entertain the officers and spouses that are attending, and fundraising is underway so that the law enforcement officers can be the dinner guests of the citizens of Athens Limestone County.

The details are still being finalized, and soon posters will be seen throughout the city advertising the dinner, and giving the public the chance to donate, volunteer, and make this evening memorable. There has even been a song written to commemorate the evening, and what is hoped is that it will become the anthem of what becomes a movement. This summer the guests of honor will be law enforcement, 2016 will be firefighters, and 2017 emergency medical personnel and those support personnel who make it possible for them to do their job.

bulb-29564_1280-189x300Whether or not you involve yourself with the organization or the dinner, there is a way to show solidarity with “our boys (and girls) in blue,” (or brown). You can signal your support by burning a blue light at night time while our police are keeping you safe. At our house, we took a Christmas electric candelabra and switched out the clear lights for blue ones. I am hoping that eventually everyone on our street will follow suit, because I want our block, our town, county, state and nation to say thank you, come together, and defy the haters through the use of something far stronger, and that is love and gratitude. Won’t you join us?

For more information on the organization, its mission, and how to help, go to togetherwestandal.com
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

4-17-2015 8-57-35 AMAs I “pen” this Publisher’s Point, I am writing from a hotel room in Sacramento, California. The weather is perfect, there is a gorgeous tree waving in the constant yet pleasant breeze outside our third story room. I ate at an Italian bistro/deli where the staff gave excellent service and the food was superb. I am, in no small way dazzled by the God of Second Chances.

I am here for the better part of the week in what is sometimes known, (and with a fair amount of justly deserved cynicism, I might add,) as the PRC, the Peoples’ Republic of California. I am gathered with several thousand of my “closest friends,” and we are all here to attend the Juice Plus Spring Leadership Convention. Because of the blessing of technology, I am able to “put the paper to bed” while I am on the Left Coast, and because of the two hour time difference, I have two extra hours to marvel at the shower of blessings by which I am drenched.

Some may take the fact that I am mentioning Juice Plus, my “other love,” (besides being the happy Publisher of Athens Now), as being an unabashedly shameless expression of free market capitalism. However, my purpose is not to plug what is inarguably the most researched nutriceutical on the planet, nor the company or community that produces it, as tempting as that might be. It is rather to give glory to God for being given a second chance, and this week I am not alone in giving thanks.

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Tomorrow, when the Convention officially starts, I will begin to hear extraordinary stories of people who as children, literally ran through the jungles from the Viet Cong, and who are now grateful American citizens who have worked their way to the top tier of the company’s compensation plan. I will be in the presence of people who literally give away millions of dollars to charitable causes that train inner city kids to become healthy entrepreneurs, or who rescue sex slaves all around the globe. I will be around people who have lost children, and in spite of their grief have helped others to build their health as well as their wealth. I will be standing in line with the ordinary who are secretly extraordinary, and I know I will arrive home next week both tired and energized.

4-17-2015 8-57-57 AMThere was a time when I hated all corporations. I believed from the bottom of my heart that it was utterly impossible to be wealthy without having harmed someone in the process, and moreover that wealth and greed were intrinsically inseparable. Having been literally brainwashed by socialism as a kid in the ‘60s, I have had to aggressively and tenaciously re-brainwash myself into not just intellectually assenting to, but actively embracing the Biblical tenets of marketplace ministry, and I am still clumsy in my endeavors. The fact that I, as a deliriously free American woman, own (or co-own with my husband,) not one, but two businesses, is what I fiercely hope makes the disciples of Karl Marx twist hard in the wind.

One of my favorite scriptures is found in Psalms 124, and it says, “Our soul has escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowler. The snare is broken and we are escaped, our help is in the name of the Lord.” What is the snare? In the context of this edition’s Publisher’s Point, it is the slavery of socialism. Now I can choose to make as much money as I am able and give it away as I feel led, without looking to the government as my guide. Now I can genuinely believe from the bottom of my heart that anyone in America can “do well, do good, and do good by doing well.” I am indeed dazzled by the God of Second Chances, and stunned that I am the recipient of His grace. And someday I am going to walk the stage at a Juice Plus Leadership Convention as a National Marketing Director, if for no other reason than to say, “Thank You!” as well as, “Free at last!”
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

4-3-2015 11-12-41 AMOn March 31, 2005, the third state sanctioned attempt on Terri Schiavo’s life actually took, and she breathed her tortured last. Iraq was a brand new democracy before it was overrun by ISIS, and the torment-by-starvation-and-dehydration of a brain damaged, but vibrant and beautiful young woman threw Iraqis for a loop. Her death and the spin that led up to it hurt our soldiers, damaged morale, and I talk about it at length in a chapter my book, A Ballad For Baghdad. The chapter is entitled Stetsons For Terri Schiavo.

Life is strange, and one of the many amazing blessings that came out of becoming a published author has been to come to know and love Terri’s dear family. This happened as a result of interviewing them for the book, having several phone conversations, being on radio together, and spending time with them in person. Her dad, Bob Schindler, has passed on. I am convinced that the stress of their ordeal ultimately killed him. Her brother Bobby, her mother Mary, and her sister Suzanne have since gone on to fight a noble fight for those who have no desire to die, but are being forced to. This relentless fight for life has happened through the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network, and on March 31, 2015, the Network celebrated Terri’s Day.

4-3-2015 11-12-48 AMThe Schindlers are Catholic, and each year on March 31st, there is a Mass celebrated in Terri’s memory. For the past three years, in association with Terri’s Day, there has been a gala fundraising celebration held to further the impact of the Life and Hope Network, and has had keynote speakers such as former Alaska Governor and US Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, as well as talk and TV host, Glenn Beck. There is also an award given to an individual or family that has gone to extraordinary lengths to protect a life in peril as the result of the machinations of the pro-death culture in which we live.

Prior to Terri’s death, Glenn was living in Florida, and had his own successful radio show. When the Schiavo case first became daily fare in Florida, he was, by his own admission a complete idiot when it came to what was going on. He thought, as did I, that Terri was dying anyway, her family was not willing to let her go, and his ignorance of the facts of the case turned out to be as stunning as they were revelatory.

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Then, Glenn experienced a fantastically painful but necessary humbling journey that he thought might be the end of his career. He broadcast an improvisational 18-minute radio segment in regard to his arrogance and stupidity, and became one of the Schindler’s strongest advocates. He fought hard for Terri, and when the battle was lost, he gave the eulogy at Terri’s funeral.

4-3-2015 11-13-07 AMBy contrast, our President, during his first run at the Oval Office, told a reporter that the biggest mistake he had made as a US Senator was signing the legislation (which passed unanimously, by the way,) that would have saved Terri’s life. As long as I live, I will never forget the day after he made that comment.

I was driving westbound on Nick Davis Road, and was on the phone with Terri’s brother, Bobby. With a hurt that I cannot begin to describe, Bobby rhetorically asked me, “How could he say that about my sister?” In this life I will never have an answer, but what I can say is that the Schindlers, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and multitudes of others who continue to fight for the vulnerable give me hope, 10 years later.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

3-20-2015 9-34-27 AMAthens Bible School invited me to hear U.S. Congressman Mo Brooks speak to their student body on the morning of March 10th. This was only a few days after he was a part of history when recently re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed both Houses, and told me, “It was great! It was like being in a pep rally!” In addition, more on Benghazi was being released to the public, the Iranian nuclear crisis continues to loom large, and he mentioned later to the older students that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs declared our national debt and possible bankruptcy to be a greater threat to our security than terrorism.

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He told me before his talk, that because of the fact that the younger students were going to be present, he would give a “day in the life” speech, educating our young people on just what it is like to be a legislator. He told about the challenges of being expected to somehow miraculously be in three places at once while working in DC, meet with constituents at home, and carve out a family life in Huntsville on the weekends. And, the entire time he spoke, I never got the feeling that he was whining. It was an engaging “just the facts, ma’am,” type of speech, and the kids paid attention.

Hearing him describe what it is like to keep such a taxing schedule, I became more aware than ever of the precious gift of time he was giving to these kids, and I learned that when school groups come to see him in DC, he takes them on a tour to places that few ever get to see, and spends several hours with them.

However, it was after the little kids were dismissed, and he opened his heart to the secondary students that I got a fresh understanding of what it means to swim against one’s own personal “tide” out of the conviction that something else that benefits someone else is more important. And, I hope you will see that same spirit in Hunter Rogers’ article, Choosing To Be A Minority on page 5. It is a refreshing perspective, indeed, and in my mind, Hunter is wise beyond her years.

Mo went to Grissom High, and graduated in 1972. His plans were to become a nuclear engineer, he was “peggin’ the meters” in math and science, and for those of you who remember slide rules, Mo carried one on his belt like a gunslinger would carry his Colt. He was dreadfully shy, shot hoop for the JV team and occasionally got to play varsity. Then, in his sophomore year, he received his draft number; (his number, not his notice), and that piece of mail changed the course of his life.

His mom was an Economics and Government teacher at Lee High, his dad, an engineer out at Redstone, and Mo began to delve into the management of the Vietnam War. He did not like what he learned, and decided to do something about that and other serious situations if he possibly could. Mo quit the basketball team and joined the debate team in order to force himself to overcome his shyness. They took the state debate championship the next two years. He decided to become a lawyer, double majored in political science and economics, graduated with honors from Duke in three years, and went to Alabama for his law degree.

Most of us are aware of his storied career in law in Madison County. We also remember with a smile when he inadvertently chagrined MSNBC correspondent Contessa Brewer, (who snarkily asked him if he had a degree in economics), by politely answering, “Yes, ma’am, I do. Highest honors.” Re: that exchange, he told me, not long after it happened, “Sometimes you get lucky.” He grinned, but there were clearly more important things that mattered to him than besting someone’s ignorance and arrogance.

For the last week, as a result of Mo’s “slide rule story,” I have thought a lot about getting out of one’s comfort zone, or even flying in the face of what the tests in school say are one’s strengths, and therefore, one’s undisputed destiny. I have to wonder, what if Mo had decided to stay shy, shoot hoop, and hang on to his slide rule? You may not like him or agree with him politically, but seriously, are you willing to live permanently out of your comfort zone for the sake of your conscience?
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3-5-2015 1-55-42 PMOn Tuesday, March 3, 2015, a historic speech was delivered to the House and Senate by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In my view, there will be a number of phrases that appeared in the speech that will become part of our vernacular, some of which may be, “a deadly game of thrones,” as well as, “the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.” The reference was to Iran and ISIS, about which he said, “In this deadly ‘Game of Thrones,’ there is no place for America or for Israel. No place for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed …So when it comes to Iran or ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.”

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That statement drew the crowd to its feet, which happened several times. To a reasonable person, the common sense of stating the obvious folly of allowing Iran the capability to have nuclear weapons was inarguable, and the legislators seemed to agree. If you have an Ayatollah actually tweeting that Israel should be annihilated, you might want to take him seriously, and not give him the opportunity to do so.

Recently the PM went on record as inviting European Jews to “come home to Israel,” given the growing anti-Semitism that is creeping over the continent. His desire is to prevent a repeat of what happened to Jews in Europe in the 1930s. What was the response of the leader of Hezbollah, which is only one group that is backed by Iran’s program of state-sponsored terrorism? “If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down.”

I had the blessed opportunity to both hear speak and be part of a group that interviewed former UN Ambassador John Bolton in Nashville last week. His comments echoed Netanyahu’s, with one difference in historical perspective. If one examines the rhetoric that was screamed from Adolph Hitler’s lungs before multiple thousands in Berlin, there were never any open threats against the Jewish people that began to approximate what we are hearing from Iran and its proxies. Nevertheless, only a few years later, millions were dead at the hands of a mad man, and I have no doubt that history is threatening to repeat itself.

11-21-2014-2-30-04-PMSo let me bring down the threat of jihad as described by Bibi to a more personal note. I got home from work around 8 o’clock on Monday night, having worked a 12-hour day. My family commented that I did not look very good. What I did not want to tell them, but did, was that moments earlier I literally had to fight retching at the sight of a picture of the headless body of a 5 year old girl being held up by a member of ISIS like she was some kind of trophy. She had on a little blue plaid dress with a ruffle along the hem and she was wearing a cardigan sweater. She had on lacy socks with ruffles along the edges, and black shoes. By all appearances, she could have been on her way to Sunday school. In addition, what ISIS is doing with Christian children in Iraq after they behead them is put the children’s heads on spikes, and displaying them for all to see in the city park.

By contrast, this makes what happened to the little girl in the red coat from Schindler’s List look like a literal walk in that park. May God bless Bibi Netanyahu for speaking truth to power, and may someone in power actually hear him.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner