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.


Back to Blogging

It has been roughly two and a half years since I last posted on this blog. Needless to say, everything has changed.

I reached a point where it became hard to write. I would sit and stare at my laptop for hours to find myself finish only one paragraph. I wanted to write — I had so much to share! But for whatever reason, I wasn’t able to translate my thoughts into words. I’m going to give this another shot though.

I’ve missed blogging. Sometimes I feel the need to write. I’m not always great at saying what I want, but I tend to be a little better at writing it. The contents of this blog will remain completely random, like my thoughts. I hope I can free your mind, spark your interest, and open you up for debate on certain topics. I also want to share entertainment and laughter through my writing.

I also wanted to give a quick update on life for those that I have not been in contact withBR much. 2014 was an incredible year. Me and my fiance, Natosha, were able to quit the jobs that we hated so much and move to Baton rouge for new jobs. We are enjoying the Cajun food and beautiful Baton Rouge scenery, tolerating LSU football, and preparing for our first Mardi Gras.

BR2In September, we got engaged in Birmingham. We are both happily engaged and still working on wedding plans. We promise to keep everyone informed on all wedding updates.

I don’t know where 2015 will take us, but I hope you will join me on the journey through this blog. I’m looking forward to sharing more posts with you this year. I hope you will join me!



Twelve Twitterless Days

Hi, my name is Michael, and I’m addicted to twitter.

It’s a very safe and harmless addiction though. If I want to find the latest news quickly then I use twitter to do so. If I want updates on sports or even sports related news, I also turn to twitter. Politics, technology, movies, videos…it’s all on twitter!

Sometimes I find myself tweeting too much in a day (I’m sure those of you who follow me feel the same way too), but that’s not what made me decide to log out of my account for 12 days. I follow almost 600 people, and I spend way too much time reading all of the tweets. The “lists” function helps me navigate to what I’m looking for, but my eyes tend to get stuck to the screen and read much more than I had previously planned.

I just wanted to see how a life would be without twitter..

It was actually tough to stay off of twitter, because it was no longer as easy to find the things that I normally had right at my fingertips. During my time away from twitter I missed tweets about the battle between Viacom and DirecTV, the Colorado shooter at the Batman movie, and even tweets about Friday the 13th. Not staying up-to-date on my sports was the hardest part for me, and I couldn’t share my opinion about topics either (which I know you have all missed so badly). I missed the debate about the Dream Team vs. the current USA basketball team (I’m picking the Dream Team, of course), SEC Media Days, the great ending to the Open Championship this past weekend, and the removal of Joe Paterno’s statue.

I couldn’t even let you all know that I finally saw Sir Charles Barkley in person while I was at work last week, even though I’m probably the last person from Alabama to not see him before now.

Twitter has made it easy to quickly access anything that you want to find. I follow people that appeal to my interests, and by reading their tweets I can get instant access to almost anything. There is something on twitter for everybody, and that’s why it is so appealing to everyone of all ages.

I remember reading an article on The Atlantic’s website that said “Twitter is something we enjoy, not something we need.”

The last 12 days proved that I don’t need twitter, but it really does make life a little easier. It would also save me a little time If I would just use it to serve a purpose, but for now I’ll just enjoy being obsessive.

To keep it at 140 characters or less, It feels so good to be back.

Where is the love?

I’m about to rant and make some animal lovers mad, but then again that’s what this website was intended for…my rants and ramblings.

It is sad to see how much we have started to value the life of animals, particularly dogs. With that being said, I want to go ahead and clear something up – I love animals, and I can’t wait to own a dog. But it seems to me that we are valuing the life of animals more than our fellow humans.

Every time I turn on the tv I see a new commercial that is showing beaten and abused animals while trying to get me to donate fifty cents a day to help these animals. This is truly a great cause, but what about the people that are beaten and abused everyday? Have we forgotten about them? Do we care more about animals now?

I don’t know the answer to those questions, but I’m guessing that people are becoming more aware of the problems with animals than people.

Michael Vick is the most popular story of abuse being done to animals in the past ten years. I don’t condone the behavior of Vick, but I feel that he did his time for his actions. I’ve never seen people more enraged by the way the dogs were mistreated though.

NFL player Donte Stallworth got 90 days in prison in 2009 for killing a pedestrian that he hit while driving under the influence. Where we’re all those enraged people when Stallworth only received 90 days for killing a human? Is a dogs life more valuable than a humans life now?

Both of these incidents were close to each other, but I know for a fact that the story about dogs was more popular and fueled more rage. I’m sure a lot of people didn’t even know about the NFL player that killed a human. I’m just mad to see the turn that people have taken. I have nothing wrong with showing love for little Scruffy, but don’t forget to show some love to your neighbors too.

Happy New Year!

My favorite picture of the year. Photographer Bertrand Kulik snapped this picture of the Eiffel Tower being struck by lightning.

Auburn started off the year 2011 by winning their second National Championship, and they just ended the year with a win over Virginia in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Not too bad of a year if your an Auburn fan, right? Alabama started off 2011 by beating Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl on New Years Day, and now they are preparing to face LSU for this season’s National Championship. Not a bad year for an Alabama fan, right?

In the state of Alabama, a good football season means that it has been a good year. Maybe your a fan of pro sports though? The Dallas Mavericks beat out the Miami Heat to win the franchises first NBA championship. The St. Louis Cardinals came from behind to win game six of the World Series in dramatic fashion to tie the series with the Texas Rangers and then would take game 7 to win the 2011 World Series. The Packers’ Aaron Rodgers helped bring the Super Bowl trophy back to Green Bay for the first time since the Favre era.

But 2011 wasn’t all about sports — a team of Navy SEALS invaded Osama bin Laden’s compound and killed him, Casey Anthony was found not guilty in the murder of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was killed by Libyan rebels, “The Royal Wedding” took place as Prince William of England married Catherine Middleton, and more than 15,000 people died and 5,000 people are still missing after a tsunami struck Japan.

The world lost many great people this year such as the “Macho Man” Randy Savage, singer Amy Winehouse, boxer Joe Frazier, inventor and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, golfer Seve Ballesteros, saxophonist Clarence Clemons, actress Elizabeth Taylor, actor Peter Falk, former First Lady Betty Ford, Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, journalist Andy Rooney, actor Harry Morgan, and Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon.

April 27, 2011 will forever be a day not forgotten in Alabama as tornadoes ravaged through the state. Over 60 tornadoes hit the state killing around 250 people, injured another 2,000, and destroyed almost 8,000 homes. The tornadoes hit 43 of the 67 counties and was deemed Alabama’s top story of the year by The Birmingham News.

This year has been good to me as I finally reached one of my lifetime goals by becoming a college graduate. I’ll start the new year off by trying to decide what the next step is that I take in life. God has always provided for me and I trust in him that he will show me the right path to follow in 2012.

I hope that this year has provided you with much laughter and success, and I wish all of that and more to you all in the coming year. I know that 2012 holds many great things for us all, and I cant wait to see how it all unfolds. Don’t be afraid to take chances and chase your dreams this year — make 2012 your best year! Happy New Years!


I don’t care how poor a man is; if he has family, he’s rich.

I don’t care how poor a man is; if he has family, he’s rich.

I had this past summer all planned out — I was going to work my internship at the St. Clair Times and in my free time I would hang out with all of my friends that I haven’t seen or talked to over the past few years. If there is one thing I’ve learned in life it is that plans never work out.

I spent most of my summer working at The St. Clair Times. Some days I would come in early to get started on a story or to meet with someone…other days I would work late because I would have to attend city council meetings. I learned a lot that summer, and I put myself one step closer to a career in journalism. I didn’t make any money though, and my internship drained my bank account.

Since I wasn’t bringing in any money, I was unable to hang out with my friends as I had planned. I basically went to work and came home for the night. I still haven’t really been able to catch up with old friends, but I still plan on it! I found myself spending a lot of time with family though this summer.

I was able to see most every member of my family one way or the other. I went to two family reunions, family from out of state visited, and I was able to get closer to my immediate family. I know that it may not sound like the most interesting summer, but it turned out to be one of my favorite summers.

I see myself as a family person. I value the family that God chose for me, and I want to take every opportunity given to me to learn from them.

This past month I lost one of my uncles after an 11-year battle with cancer. My Uncle David was an amazing man who always made sure that he took the time to sit down with you to talk and find out what was going on in your life. He was an unselfish man, and express generosity towards everyone that he came into contact with.

My Uncle David and Aunt Becky, along with their two daughters (cousins) and their families, are all from Texas. It’s not very often that I get the chance to spend time with them. My aunt and uncle were able to make it down this summer for quite some time, and I was very thankful that I was able to spend time with them this past summer.

I can remember my uncle this last summer pulling me off to the side to get that one-on-one conversation that he was so good at. We talked about college, my future career, sports…we just talked about life. I always loved talking with him, because his conversations were always entertaining and humorous, but there was also so much knowledge to possess from him.

His funeral was held in Texas. I traveled with my dad, step-mom, sister, uncle, aunt, and cousin out to Texas for the services. It was good that we could all make it out there to be with my Aunt Becky and the rest of the family. I have been wanting to take a trip to visit them all, but I never wanted it to be this way.

The trip turned out to be good, because I feel like it brought all of the family closer together even through this tough time that everyone was going through. It was nice to reconnect with family members that I haven’t seen in years. It was a long ride there and back with my family in a crowded mini-van, but I don’t think that there could be anything that would make us get tired of each other — we always seem to be so happy around each other and get along like a family should.

Always take the opportunity to spend time with your family if the opportunity is presented to you — I guess that is the message that I’m trying to pass on. I thought I was going to be going out every night during the summer with old friends, but instead I was reunited with family members. I couldn’t have asked for anything more that summer.

Families are like fudge — mostly sweet with a few nuts. Just remember that your family is a gift to you from God. Sometimes we may find members of our family crazy, but you still love them because they are family! They have so much to teach us if we will just take the time to learn from them.


My internship comes to an end

After two months of working with The St. Clair Times, my internship has come to an end. It seemed like a very short two months, but I was able to accomplish a lot during that time.

In the last nine weeks, I had 36 articles published in 15 different papers. I also had around 10 photos with cut lines that did not include stories.The experienced I gained by working with them was far more than I could ever learn from journalism classes.

Since I was given the opportunity to work at a smaller paper that was only published weekly, I was able to work with all aspects of the newspaper. I wrote articles in the news, local, lifestyles, sports, religion, and school sections of the newspaper. I typed up police reports, edited news releases, updated the website and designed pages of the newspaper.

The Daily Home and The St. Clair Times taught me how to be a better journalist, and for that I am grateful. I am thankful that they took a chance on me this summer, and allowed me to work my internship at their agencies. I was a part of an incredible staff with years of experience — they never turned down an opportunity to show me something new. It was a humbling experience.

The people I met while reporting and writing articles were so generous and eager to help me in any way possible. I never met anyone that wasn’t nice to me from the county commissioners to the residents of Shoal Creek valley. The one thing I hoped to never cover was local politics. Then I found myself going to city council and county commission meetings covering local politics. Every councilman and commissioner was extremely nice and made my job a lot easier, and even enjoyable at times.

At times it felt like I was a little overwhelmed with work, but I knew the hard work had paid off when I was offered a job with The Daily Home. Unfortunately, they thought I was graduating in the summer, and I would have to accept the job in August. It was a good feeling knowing that I had what it takes to get the job though. After working with them, I now know that I am one step closer to starting a career, and for that I am thankful.


Cursive writing becomes an ancient art

Cursive writing is slowly being erased out of schools in America as schools set their focus towards keyboarding.

Cursive writing has become an ancient form of writing, while keyboarding, texting, and emailing are shaping the future for children.

The initiative to remove classes that teach cursive writing is headed by the Common Core standards, which is used in 45 states including the U.S. Virgin Island and the District of Columbia. Cursive is not apart of the standards, but keyboarding is.

Keyboarding has become the newest and most popular form of writing. Kids are using computers more than they are writing now.

Cursive is a form of writing that allows you to write more quickly and save time. Personally, I never enjoyed cursive and I do not use it today. I’m a journalist, and I find it quicker for me to write in print than cursive. They are both hard to read after I’m done writing, but I can understand the print much easier. Shouldn’t legible writing be more important than the speed of writing?

I think it is important for kids to learn keyboarding—much more important than cursive. Typing on a computer has become a necessity in life. You have to use it to type papers all throughout school, and you can find it being used in most careers.

Many people think that cursive should still be taught in our schools because it plays a major role in the way kids learn. “How will they know how to sign their name” has become the major question brought up during this. “How will they read old documents and writings?” But the real question should be “why cant both still be taught?”

Keyboarding has become part of the future, and cursive is just an ancient art now.


Rickwood Classic

The Rickwood Classic once again proved to be a win for the city of Birmingham. A crowd of 6,871 showed up to watch the Birmingham Barons play in temperatures just shy of 100 degrees on Wednesday, June 1. Center fielder Justin Greene hit a walk-off home run in the 11th inning to give the Barons a 4-3 win over the Chattanooga Lookouts.

The game turned out to be a win for the Barons, but it was also a win for the city of Birmingham. The Rickwood Classic is a chance for family and friends to gather to see a piece of the city’s history.

Rickwood Field is America’s Oldest Baseball Park and the first game was played at the park 100 years ago. It was once the home to The Birmingham Barons and the Birmingham Black Barons. Rickwood field even hosted football games for Samford, Alabama and Auburn before Legion Field was built.

Each Classic is setup to look like it was played back in the early years at Rickwood Field. Players wear jerseys that are replicas of a past team, and the umpires also dress the part. The billboards along the outfield wall feature companies ads that look like they are from 1930. You will also find old signs around the park like “No betting in this park”  that give that extra feel of living in the past. Between innings, even old songs like Chubby Checker’s The Twist can be heard playing over the intercom.

You can also see pieces of Birmingham from sitting in the stands at Rickwood. If you sit down the first base line, you can look over third base and see Legion Field peaking over the trees. Also, you can look out over the left field wall and see the Bimingham skyline. Airplanes flying into Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport fly over the stadium before reaching the airport, and a train runs behind the right field wall, which usually can be seen at least once during a Rickwood Classic.

The Rickwood Classic is a piece of history in Birmingham that we should appreciate. It’s also something that should help shape the future of Birmingham. As long as the Barons continue to play the Rickwood Classic, it will be another small piece of tourism that will attract visitors to our great city. I hope to one day see Birmingham make changes to bring more people to this city, but for now we need to preserve the history in Birmingham, and let it help shape the future.