Slow Down & Enjoy Life

We live in a fast-paced world, rushing to arrive at places quickly and multitasking at every opportunity. We keep our mobile devices handy at all times, giving us instant access to emails, texts, social media, games, news, and almost anything to keep us entertained. We use our mobile devices while eating, socializing, working, and even driving.

That last one is what bothers me the most — using our phones while driving. In this quickly moving world that we find our self in, maybe it is time to slow down and free our self from distractions, especially on the road. Many of us are driving too fast (guilty) and are distracted while driving.

I know, I know — you are excellent at driving while looking at your phone. If you’re anything like 90% of the people I pass on the roads, then your just lying to yourself. I don’t look at my phone while driving anymore, because I know that I can’t drive while doing so.

Distractions while driving are not only limited to mobile devices though, but also include eating, putting on makeup, a dog in your lap, messing with the radio, and reading a book (how the hell do you read a book while driving anyways??). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that 3,477 people lost their lives in 2015 due to distracted driving and 391,000 others were injured.

The Alabama law states that wireless telecommunication devices cannot be used to write, send, or be used for other text-based communications while driving — this includes handheld phones and computers. You are still able to use your phone for calls, but novice drivers are not able to use their device at all while driving. It is time to advocate for stronger laws and strictly enforce the laws that are already in place.

A few days ago, we were driving on a small side road about one mile away from our home. A lady driving on the opposite side of the road was traveling around three times the speed limit, and she drifted into our lane coming over a hill. I had a very small amount of time to react, but luckily she swerved at the last second — somehow managing not to flip her SUV. The lady was holding her phone in front of her face as she came over the hill, not knowing that she was drifting out of her lane.

Unfortunately, this is happening far too often. Try driving down the interstate for more than two minutes without looking over and catching someone on their phone. Vehicles are swerving all over the road due to distracted driving, and it is time that we all do better. Driving is a responsibility that we must all take seriously — our lives literally depend on it. Accidents are going to happen, and there is nothing you can do to about them, but we should do the best possible to prevent a few more.

A few weeks ago, there were several deadly crashes in Blount County, which is where I grew up and went to high school. There were 11 people killed over a period of a few weeks, which is far higher than normal. It’s just so devastating to hear news like this, especially from an area where I spent so much of my life. I’m not blaming anyone or distracted driving for any of these crashes, but if drivers were to slow down and pay attention, we might be able to prevent other deadly crashes like these.

When your driving, think about your life, think about your family’s lives, and think about the lives of others. Slow down, take your time, focus on the road, and enjoy the drive — it could be the difference in life and death.

Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast — you also miss the sense of where you are going and why. – Eddie Cantor

M David Scott


Syrian Refugees: To Welcome or Not To Welcome

More than 60 percent of the nation’s governors now oppose the Obama administration’s plans to relocate thousands of Syrian refugees into their states.

There are currently 31 governors of states located across the country that disagree with allowing these refugees. All but one state is headed by a Republican governor.

Courtesy of CNN

Courtesy of CNN

The fear of having Syrian refugees relocated in America comes after the terrorists attacks in Paris. Authorities released information that one of the suspects entered Europe using a false name during a recent wave of Syrian refugees. Today, Honduran authorities arrested five Syrians intending to make it to the United States with stolen Greek passports.

These governors are opposing the plan in hopes of protecting the safety of each state’s residents while also asking for a stronger screening process of refugees.

I find myself at a crossroads when it comes to allowing refugees into our country. My heart tells me that I should be accepting towards these people that are fleeing from violence, but at the same time my head tells me that we should be cautious about this process too.

Alabama’s Governor, Republican Robert Bentley, talked with reporters on Tuesday saying that governors are looking for answers about the process of allowing refugees into the states. “We’re asking for answers on how these individuals who will be coming here, how they will be vetted and whether or not they will be vetted.”

Republican Nathan Deal, Georgia’s Governor, also said he will not accept Syrian refugees until the federal government and Congress conducts a thorough review of current screening procedures and background checks.

President Barrack Obama wasn’t happy with the Governors that oppose his plan though. “Apparently they’re scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America as part of our tradition as compassion,” he said. Parts of the video can be seen below.


President Obama wants to try to make us citizens feel bad for not allowing women and children into this country. I’m sorry Mr President, but ISIS is training women and children to kill.

According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are more than 4.2 million Syrian refugees. Of these refugees, 49.7% are males and 23.4% of those males are 18 or older. That is far from a bunch of “widows and orphans.”

Once again though, my heart tells me that we need to help these people — it is much more complex than that. Would you be willing to allow these people into your neighborhood? Would you be willing to allow these people into your home?

Unfortunately the actions of a few have hurt the entire group in this situation. All Syrians are not bad —All Muslims do not agree with these terrorists.

I want the United States to come across as a compassionate group of people. I want to allow them into our beautiful country and experience all we have to offer, but I want to know that we are doing all we can to keep those out that have no right being here.

Governor Bentley said it best, “One mistake on our part could lead to tragedy.”



That Starbucks Cup…It’s Actually Just a Cup.

The Design of Starbucks Holiday Cup For 2015

The 2015 Design of Starbucks Holiday Cups.

As most of you have seen, Starbucks has decided to go with a simple look for their cups this holiday season — a plain red cup accompanied by the Starbucks logo. Seems harmless right? Well, apparently some people have become outraged by this decision of Starbucks because they feel as if the liberal coffee giant is taking “Christ” out of Christmas.

Starbucks Cup from 2013.

Starbucks Cup from 2013.

This is no different from last year or 2013, or even 2009. You wont find a nativity scene or anything to do with Christ on those cups either. Cups of the past featured ornaments, carolers, and snowmen…all of which can be associated with a secular view of Christmas. If you look at the picture to the left, you will see a cup from the 2013 holiday season. You can see how Starbucks could evolve into a plain red cup with a more sleek look, right? Eh, maybe it’s just me.

This controversy over the cup was started by American evangelist and social media personality Joshua Feuerstein. He posted the video about Starbucks removing Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus. He also points out that Starbucks employees are not allowed to say “Merry Christmas” to customers.

In an email from Starbucks received by The Atlantic, a Starbucks spokesperson said that baristas “are not provided a script or a policy around greeting customers. They are simply encouraged to create a welcoming environment to delight each person who walks through our doors.” I guess Joshua was wrong. Starbucks does sell a “Christmas Blend” coffee and offer a variety of gift cards that even say “Merry Christmas.”

Even presidential hopeful Donald Trump weighed in on the issue during a campaign rally on Monday. “Maybe we should boycott Starbucks? I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t care,” Trump said. “If I become president, we’re all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you.”

A Starbucks cup has never been about Christ though. Starbucks isn’t starting a war with Christians or on Christmas, at least not on the Biblical version of Christmas. We should be more mad that they are taking away from the worldly view of Christmas. No snowmen? No reindeer? No Santa Clause?? Why???

What about people who don’t celebrate Christmas, should they have to drink out of a cup that says “Merry Christmas”? I understand that other people practice different religions. I respect people who have their own beliefs and faith, even if it isn’t the same as mine. This cup has nothing to do with religion or Christianity…its simply just a cup.

Instead of being mad about this, Christians should be having conversations with non-believers over a (red)cup of Starbucks coffee. After all, the place IS pretty inviting, and the coffee IS delicious. If you still don’t agree with what they are selling though, then you have the right to not buy the product. But you can find me over at the corner table in Starbucks enjoying my White Chocolate Mocha in a little red cup.


Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Congress recently voted to appeal the policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell”, which allows homosexuals to serve in the military as long as they do not discuss their sexual orientation. Many homosexuals have been affected by this military policy.

This policy has resulted in the discharge of around 16,000 patriotic soldiers since it policy was put in to effect 17 years ago. Approximately 4,000 other service members have voluntary left the service because of this policy. Military services are experiencing shortfalls, and allowing gays to serve openly could be expected to increase recruitment.

This policy seems to be based off nothing but fear and has nothing to do with performance. In a 1993 study by the Government Accountability Office, it was shown that allowing gays in the military was not a problem and that there were no issues in the functioning of military units. This policy was not based on sound research, we know of no research to prove that an openly gay service hurts the military.

This is not a matter of whether or not you support gay lifestyles or gay marriages. These are the people that fight for our freedoms. We should find it disrespectful to tell the men and women who are fighting to protect this nation that they cannot be open about things like their sexual orientation.

The late Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., is a respected conservative and was the 1964 GOP presidential nominee. He also served in the United States Air Force and was a veteran of World War II. Goldwater got it right with one sentence, “You don’t have to be straight in the military, you just have to be able to shoot straight.”