Guns Don’t Kill People – Videogames Do!

“Ban these evil games”, “Videogame violence corrupting our nation’s youth”, “video games stole my husband”. It seems everyday that the media are making more and more claims about the evils of videogames. But are these claims based on fact, or is it merely that there is a juicy new scapegoat out there that the woes of the world can be pinned on?

Many people will be aware of the Daily Mail’s ‘Manhunt’ story by now. The paper ran with the first page headline of ‘Ban these evil games’, claiming that 17 year old Warren LeBlanc’s obsession with the ultra-violent Rockstar game ‘Manhunt’ drove him to beat his 14 year old friend, Stefan Pakeerah, over 50 times with both a claw hammer and knife. The tabloid then proceeded to assert “the hammer-and-knife killing mirrored scenes in the ultra-violent game”. The paper also ran a quote from the mother of the victim, saying that, despite the fact the game had an 18 certificate, “it’s no good saying this game is marketed at adults. Everyone knows that young children get their hands on them.”

But what was the real motive behind the murder, and the follow up story? It’s easy to see where the motive for the Daily Mail’s story came from. In the words of the panel of the IGDA (International Games Developers Association) “it was a slow news day”. And what better to liven it up than blood, violence and a convenient scapegoat?

There are two other important facts to remember about this awful murder. Firstly, what do the police say? After the headline in the Daily Mail you may think that they came to the conclusion that it was the game that set Warren off on his murderous way. However the conclusion that the police arrived at is that the motive was robbery. It turns out that Warren Leblanc had, in actual fact, a £75 drugs fuelled debt to a local gang when he lured his erstwhile friend into the park that night, and originally intended merely to rob him. The police report makes no mention of ‘Manhunt’ whatsoever. This may be because the game was discovered in Stefan’s room, rather than that of the killer. Both of these pertinent facts were absent from the Mail’s front page the day this story ran.

And one must ask, how was it that Mrs. Pakeerah missed the fact her own 14 year old son owned this ultra-violent game, which he could only have acquired if an adult had purchased it for him.

“But is the game any good?” I hear you cry. Quite simply, no. ‘Manhunt’ is one of those games that are the key stumbling blocks in the path of truly adult games. Computer games are now reaching the point where mature themes, meaning detailed, involving stories that can deal with events in the real world, and portray realistic reactions to them, are becoming possible. Yet some developers insist on pouring out games that are aimed only at fuelling the testosterone driven adolescent fantasies of teenage sadists. When you consider tack like ‘Manhunt’ in the light of games like ‘Half-Life 2’, with its compelling narrative interwoven through beautiful, breathtaking scenery, you realise just how tawdry ‘Manhunt’ really is.

The consensus at the IGDA meeting this year was that the game was merely “a rubbish game with a layer of crunchy ultra-violence slapped on top”. No doubt the loss of such a young child as Stefan Pakeerah was a tragedy in its own right, but the true tragedy here is twofold. Almost overnight the game, whose sales had been a mere trickle before, started flying off the shelves of those few shops who hadn’t banned it, the concept of censorship lending the game a certain cachet. Even worse, in the words of Rob Fahey of the IGDA, is the way in which “the games industry ‘close ranks’ to defend it [Manhunt] when its an aberration compared to most games – do you see Stephen Spielberg defending hardcore porn films?”

There are many well-documented stories of the media blaming video games for the world’s woes. They blame the twin-towers terrorist attack on Microsoft, who trained the pilots with their flight simulator software. They blame Doom for the shootings at Columbine High School, because the game where you openly flaunt weapons helped the boys secretively plan their murderous rampage. There is often claimed to be a direct link between the American sniper incident and videogames, because the target shooting skills of the sniper were developed from videogames, and nothing to do with the comprehensive rifle training he received from the US army. The simple truth is that it takes more than just games to transform ordinary people into murderers.

According to the tabloids we should currently be inundated by hordes of slavering, violence obsessed gamers. However as this plague has yet to develop maybe we should take what they are saying with a pinch of salt. When a game player unglues him (or her) self from the computer monitor and doesn’t find a machine gun lying at their feet, the suspension of disbelief is broken. It takes planning and training to carry out acts like these. Saying that violent games turn people into killers is the same as saying that people exposed to Islam will become terrorists. There is no more violence in most games than there is in movies, or horror books. In fact even the U.S court of appeal wrote, “(the idea that) there is a strong likelihood that minors who play violent videogames will suffer a deleterious effect on their psychological health is simply not supported in record.” In other words, videogames are not the cause of violence.

What this really comes down to is the parents, and the worldview that they impart onto their children. If the parents don’t take the time to talk to their children explain to them right and wrong, then how will the child know what he or she should do? How many parents explain to their child that the game is not real; that in real life you can’t do everything you can in the game? While violence sells it does not educate, and unfortunately in this day and age ‘upbringing by Playstation’ is becoming a more and more common phenomenon as parents’ time constraints get the better of them.

All games have a strict rating system in place, called ESBN. This system is designed to prevent games from falling into the hands of minors, and yet often when a child is refused a game by the management the parent, even after the rating system has been explained to them, buys the game anyway. Parents need to be educated more about what they are buying, instead of buying whatever game the kids ask for; maybe they need to consider what they want their children to be seeing. Would you let a child of 12-14, or even younger, watch hardcore porn or an 18 rated movie? Then maybe you shouldn’t let them play an 18 rated game. The stereotype that games are just for kids is badly out of date, and maybe it’s time parents started to take more responsibility for what their children play on.

In every group there are a few who don’t fit in with the social norm. Is it true that these people can be influenced by violent videogames? No doubt. But is this the root cause of their affliction? No. Books, movies, rough and tumble play; all of these blend reality and fiction. What people need to accept is that they must take responsibility for their own actions, and that maybe societies ills are rooted in larger problems than a small animated character shooting another small animated character.

What is Daniel’s 70 Week Prophecy?

The prophecy in Daniel 9: 24-27 reads:

“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

Daniel had been earnestly praying for his people, the Jews, who were in captivity in Babylon when he was given this vision.

It is the most amazing and accurate prophecy about the coming of the Messiah. The timeline begins in 457 BC with the decree of Artaxerxes to rebuild the temple. Ezra 7:8-17 shows that the decree went out in the seventh year of the reign of Artzxerxes, so history can confirm the year.

In Bible prophecy they work on the day for a year system, Ezekiel 4:6 “…I have appointed thee each day for a year” so therefore 70 weeks, 490 days is 490 years.

This prophecy is split into three sections. Seven weeks (49 years, which is the time it took to rebuild the temple), 62 weeks (434 years) till Messiah the Prince. This takes us to the year the year AD27, which is the year that Jesus was “anointed” and began His ministry, and finally there is another week, 7 years.

It says that in the midst of the final seven years the Messiah will be “cut off, but not for himself” (showing that Jesus would die after 3 1/2 years of ministry) and would cause the “sacrifice and oblation to cease”. Jesus’ one time perfect sacrifice on Calvary put an end to the need for animal sacrifices once and for all.

What happened in the final 3 1/2 years of this prophecy? The gospel message was still preached exclusively to the Jews, but at the end of this period, Stephen was stoned, marking the final decision of the Jewish leaders to reject Christ as the Messiah and from this time on the gospel was taken to the gentiles.

This prophecy also predicted the destruction of the temple “the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” which occurred in AD70, and signified the final “desolation”. The destruction of both the first and the second temple were both as a result of the people’s rejection and disobedience to God.

This event signified that the sacred appointment of the Jewish people as God’s chosen ones was forever annulled. Through Christ a new covenant was made, that all who followed Him would be called the children of God and seed of Abraham. Galatians 3:29 “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

What a wonderful display of the power of God these prophecies are. To foretell almost 600 years ahead of time, when He would send His son to this world to die for our sins. How Jesus would “confirm the covenant” and cease the need for performing the sacrifices that had been put in place as a shadow of the fulfilling work of our Lord.

The Unique Writing of Daniel Quinn

A trip to the local bookstore or online book seller can be a daunting task. As soon as you walk into your bookstore you see racks upon racks of the most popular books at the time. You may see authors such as Dan Brown, James Patterson, Stephen King, and others. While all of these authors are popular for a reason and write a great story, what if you want to read something a little bit different? What if the usual fictional story filled with murder, mystery, and the usual thrilling plot just is not for you? Well, there is an author named Daniel Quinn who may not be the most recognized author, but deserves much more attention and readers for his unique ideas.

If you think about writers such as Dan Brown or John Grisham, their books are straight forward and predictable. There is usually a murder or two, a mystery which slowly unravels as the chapters pass by, characters that the reader despises and characters that the reader tends to root for. Daniel Quinn’s writing is nothing like this. His writing is completely unique and refreshing. He does not simply give you a story to read through at your own leisure, he gives you a though-provoking tale which will make you think about the world in different ways. His stories are told from a fictional point of view, but there is underlying nonfiction throughout each of his books.

Quinn’s most notable books are Ishmael and its sequel My Ishmael. These books are told from the point of view of a young man who is naïve to the workings and history of the world. He encounters a gorilla named Ishmael who teaches him to see the world in a new way. Basically, Ishmael teaches the man through several talks and one-on-one sessions that humans are not the light of the world and that evolution is an ongoing process. The human species may be the most advanced species on planet Earth, but we have evolved from primates, and we will keep evolving in this process into something else. It is an idea that most people do not think about, but very interesting: One day, the future advanced species may look back onto their evolution charts and see that our present day humans were just one step in a long line of evolving species. While humans are a great species and very intelligent, there will one day be an even better human species.

As you can tell from reading the last paragraph, Quinn’s writing is not for everyone. Daniel Quinn tends to side with Darwinism and strays from religious view points such as Christianity. Much of his writing parallels evolution and the idea that all organisms evolve from other organisms. In one of his other books, The Story of B, he goes after religion directly and dismantles many beliefs of modern day religion. Quinn points out discontinuities and topics that do not make sense and through a fictional story about a religious oddball simply named “B”. This man has created a large following by his unique religious teachings and causes many of those around him to think twice about their own religion and consider B’s religion as their own.

If you are looking for a unique reading which combines fiction, nonfiction, and philosophical ideas that will blow your mind, read some of Daniel Quinn’s writing. If you are very religious, anti-Darwin, or simply do not like to entertain wild, new ideas, his writing is not for you. Either way, it would not hurt to open your mind to a unique style of writing which will make you at least consider different views on humanity and the world. Daniel Quinn’s books Ishmael, My Ishmael, and The Story of B are all rated 5 out of 5 and definitely deserve a read.

Another 5 Movies You Think Would Be Better Than They Are

Here are another five movies you think would be really better than they are, unfortunately for the films, the scripts, the direction, and the actors, they are not.

Gods and Generals – 1 Star (Terrible)

This so-called historical epic finds Director-Producer Ron Maxwell taking 3 hours and 49 minutes (yes, you read correctly) to re-tell the story of the Civil War from its beginning in 1861 through the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863. Yikes.

Ted Turner wanted this film done real bad, he coughed up the entire $60 million budget to make it happen. Hopefully, he did not fall asleep watching the result of his investment. As near as I can tell, this effort earned virtually no recognition or accolades, and rightfully so.

The Netflix postscript tells us that the film is about Confederate General Robert E. Lee (played by Robert Duvall) and Colonel Joshua Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels), a Bowdoin College professor from Maine who becomes the central character representing the Federal (Union) troops.

This movie is really the story of Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson (Stephen Lang); whoever wrote the Netflix postscript apparently did not see the movie. This movie attempts to show the human side of the tragic Civil War in our country, and suffers from the lack of a narrator for the battle footage which goes on forever without great consequence.

Showing the battle scenes does not do squat for this film; having a narrator is the only way to explain the action so it makes sense to the first-time viewer. I really think Maxwell (the director/producer) was more impressed with his own effort than the subject matter.

If Maxwell wants to see a good presentation of the subject matter, he should watch Ken Burns’ documentary on the Civil War (I suspect he did and decided to make it into a movie, ’nuff said. He just did not make a very good movie).

Mr. and Mrs. Smith – 1 Star (Terrible)

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (who would later be joined at the hip) are guns for hire who find their next target is each other in this sorry flick. This is a sad, disappointing movie with no redeeming qualities worth talking about.

The story line is slow to develop, it has sound problems, it suffers from action flickitis (continual killing, mayhem and explosions), and comes across as sophomoric, juvenile and simply bad to the core.

The chaotic shooting scenes are reminiscent of the early cowboy flicks where both the good guys and the bad guys are systematically firing off 200 rounds from their revolvers without reloading. Good grief, if you are going to make a movie with two superstars of this caliber, bring something to the table.

Actually, this filmmaking effort was so poorly done it could not have been saved even with two superstars like Pitt and Jolie.

Just Like Heaven – 1 Star (Terrible)

Just Like Heaven is cute but not substantive. This movie effort takes off on the concept of Ghost in the reverse; instead of a dead person who can see the living but cannot be seen by the living, here we have a dead person who can also see the living, but the living can also see the dead person.

It just does not work like Ghost. Ghost is 1,000 times better than this effort. Ghost works because it is a drama and courts reality. Just Like Heaven does not work because it is a romantic comedy and has nothing to do with reality (just a minor point).

There are several more reasons why Ghost works, and Just Like Heaven does not (too many to mention in detail here). This effort entertains but lacks substance, and hence believability.

The best part of this movie is Reese Witherspoon (who would go on to win an Oscar for her lead role in the Johnny Cash story, Walk the Line). I would not see Just Like Heaven again, even with a monetary incentive.

Miracle – 1 Star (Terrible)

Miracle is the story of the U. S. Hockey Team that won the Gold Medal during the 1980 Olympic Games at Lake Placid in New York.

A potentially great story line that had a poor script and poor direction. I doubt whether the writer or director of Miracle has ever played competitive hockey. There was only one really good moment in the movie that should have had 30 great moments, and kept you on the edge of your seat, even though you already know the ending of the film.

I was so disappointed in the artistic effort of this movie, I consider it a petty crime to make a movie of the stunning, historic 1980 Olympic Games United States gold-medal performance with the script they had to work with.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days – 1 Star (Terrible)

This romantic comedy stars Kate Hudson. Of course, she does not follow through on losing the guy in 10 days, she finds him, he finds her, and he makes it happen for both of them. Forget the script, the acting and the directing. OK to see it once.

Copyright © 2006 Ed Bagley

Do You Have What It Takes to Be A Successful Author?

Being an author is no job for wimps. It takes a lot more than glamorously writing books in Paris cafes surrounded by admirers. It takes long solitary hours of writing-what John Steinbeck called “the loneliest job in the world.” And it takes a willingness to promote your book, no matter what the cost.

Authors have to deal with the public-not just admiring fans, but indifferent readers, and those who want to string them up by a rope when a typo is found in a book. Authors have to work long hours both writing and marketing, often with little reward. And authors have to sacrifice their free time and sometimes make difficult decisions such as using that money saved for a new car instead to print the next book. And yes, when someone tells you how he loves your book, it can be all worthwhile, but a lot of work is required before you may receive that compliment.

Before you publish that book, you may want to find out whether you have what it takes to be a successful author. It’s a lot like being Superwoman or Hercules while having the patience of Job. Find out whether you have what it takes by taking this short quiz:

The Successful Author Quiz:

You are invited to speak at an event on Saturday that is a three-hour drive from home, both ways, for which you will not get paid and there is no guarantee you’ll sell any books. Do you:

a. Instantly say, “Yes!” and feel elated that someone wants to hear you speak. (2 pts)
b. Tell the event planner you can’t come unless you are paid for the mileage. (1 pt)
c. Say, “No, sorry. Saturday is family time.” (0 pts)

A reader points out to you the typo on p. 38 of your book. Do you:

a. Realize no one is perfect, but fix it for the next printing. (2 pts)
b. Tell the person, “I’d like to see you do better.” (1 pt)
c. Go home and cry. (0 pts)

The local bookstore wants 60 copies of your book delivered before it closes in two hours, all autographed, and they want a 40% discount payable on consignment (after the books sell). Do you:

a. Say, “No problem,” drop everything else, print up an invoice, sign those books, load your car, and make a delivery within the hour. (2 pts)
b. Say, “Sorry. I can’t make it today but I’ll be there tomorrow, and my price discount is 30% and I need to be paid up front.” (1 pt)
c. Reply, “Are you crazy? Do you realize how much work that is and how heavy those books are-I’ll bring you five and when you sell those, then I’ll bring you more.” (0 pts)

You are inundated with requests from people who say they are also writing a book and want to meet you for lunch. Do you respond by:

a. Saying, “I’m sorry but I don’t like to talk about my writing or share my publishing secrets-and it cuts into my writing time.” (0 pts)
b. Give out free information in the hopes other people will be interested in reading your book even though they are actually only interested in their own. (1 pt)
c. Refer people to a local publishing or writing group where they can learn everything necessary and which you belong to, while politely explaining you’re just too busy right now to meet. (2 pts)

You are invited to an event where the event planner assures you you’ll sell 100 books and insists you bring that many with you. Do you:

a. Refuse to come. (0 pts)
b. Bring only one box of 20 books with you because you know you’ll never sell 100 (1pt).
c. Buy a dolly to reduce how many trips you need to make to carry that many books back and forth from the car and hope for the best. (2 pts).

You are at an event where a customer complains that your books are too expensive. Do you:

a. Say, “Sorry, ma’am. It’s not my fault you’re poverty-stricken.” (0 pts)
b. Patiently explain about the costs of printing and profit margins on books. (1pt)
c. Tell her you’ll make her a deal and if she buys two books, you’ll give her a free one. (2 pts)

You’ve successfully sold over a thousand copies of your self-published book and are invited to a local event where an author newly published by a small press is also appearing. This author tells you if you are interested in becoming a “real” author, she can hook you up with her agent so you can sell more books and get royalties. Do you:

a. Jump at the chance to become a “real author,” kiss her butt, and contact her agent. (0 pts)
b. Explain that you are a real author and that you make more money off of self-publishing your books than you would traditionally publishing them. (1pt)
c. Thank the pompous author for the offer and avoid her in the future. (2pts)

You are asked to speak to a group of schoolchildren about being an author even though you have not written a children’s book. Do you:

a. Say, “No, I’m not a children’s author.” (0 pts)
b. Show up and give your usual talk about writing and put the children to sleep. (1 pt)
c. Spend hours planning and thinking up ways to engage the children in writing activities and entertain them so they are interested, then come home exhausted but hoping you made a small difference in the children’s education. (2 pts)

You have written a historical novel set in your hometown. A reader asks you which house the fictional people in your novel lived in. Do you:

a. Say, “What are you stupid that you don’t know the difference between fiction and non-fiction?” (0 pts)
b. Explain that the characters are fictional but the fictional house is based on a real house in town. (1 pt)
c. Take it as a compliment that your characters seem like real people to your readers. (2 pts)

You are inundated with requests from other authors to read and edit their books. Do you:

a. Say, “Sorry. I have a day job and like to write my own books in the evening. I don’t have time.” (0 pts)
b. Form a writing group with the few authors you think are serious so you can exchange manuscripts and give each other feedback. (1 pt)
c. Agree to help in exchange for payment and spend your evenings working on other people’s books until you have enough clients to leave your day job and make it your full-time business to be an author expert and help others, thereby selling more of your own books as well. (2 pts)

SCORING:

18-20 points: Congratulations! You have the makings of the next Stephen King, Danielle Steel, or John Grisham! I’ll see you on the New York Times Bestseller list…maybe. Well, at least you should make a profit someday.
10-17 points: You might become fairly successful, if you consider success as selling 500-5,000 books over your lifetime. Keep at it.
10-0 points: Keep your day job. There are real authors out there.

The Compromise of 1850

With the addition of territories ceded by Mexico after the war between it and the US, The Missouri Compromise (of 1820), the prevailing federal law, no longer meets the needs of the United States. Henry Clay, the aged senator from Kentucky, chief author of The Missouri Compromise, comes out of retirement, determined to find a solution, to piece together legislation to appease the various sections of the country and preserve the union. His failing health precludes much “hands on” work, but Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas, “the little giant,” takes the omnibus bill, which fails to pass, and submits each component individually, achieving passage.

Zachary Taylor, military hero of the Mexican War, particularly his exploits at the Battle of Buena Vista, is elected president on the Whig ticket. When the California Territory applies for statehood as a free state, the 31st, which Taylor endorses, it threatens the balance of fifteen each anti- and pro- slavery states achieved in the Senate. With the discovery of gold at John Sutter’s sawmill along the American River in California in January, 1848, settlers from throughout the country go to the area (one estimate for the city of San Francisco is that it goes from around 6,000 in population to over 24,000 in one year. Another, from early 1848 to late 1849 puts it at 1,000 increasing to 25,000. The actual records were destroyed by fire). As the Whigs learn with William Henry Harrison, the best way to reach voters is with a war hero at the top of the ticket. But like Harrison, Taylor dies in office.

With The Compromise of 1850, the old men in the Congress make their final parliamentary move; a last moment on the stage. John C. Calhoun, infirmed and near death with throat cancer writes an opinion opposing Clay’s bill, but is unable to deliver it himself, instead having someone help him into the Senate chamber to sit while another (Senator James Murray Mason) reads it aloud. A black coat, which he had gathered around his gaunt body, added to the tragedy and solemnity of the sight. Clay goes to the spas in Newport News, Virginia for his ailing health. Daniel Webster, now approaching seventy years of age, is still strong of voice but his gait is somewhat slowed and he gets winded easier.

Never has the federal government been as close to the reality of disunion.

The Wilmot Proviso, proposed by Democratic Congressman (Pennsylvania) David Wilmot, a slavery opponent, in 1846 amends an appropriations bill and is introduced in the House. It provides that any land acquired from the war with Mexico will not be open to slavery. The first Proviso passes the House but is not voted on in the Senate. The second Proviso (1847) passes the House but is removed in the Senate bill.

The Compromise of 1850 contains these major provisions: the Texas boundary dividing it from New Mexico/Mexico would be established; the US would monetarily compensate Texas for any ceded land and any Texas debt would be paid by the United States; the California territory would enter the union as a nonslave holding (free) state; the territories of New Mexico and Utah, land acquired from Mexico, would be divided without respect to slavery; Washington, D.C. would no longer engage in the (continent’s as well as the) country’s largest public slave trade; the last and most controversial aspect is rigid enforcement by the federal government of the Fugitive Slave Act.

In his Seventh of March Speech (March 7, 1850), Daniel Webster greatly enhances the bill’s chance of passage by publicly endorsing the last component. Henry Clay figures, quite rightly, that only an immensely popular New Englander can help attain passage of the whole bill by approving the Fugitive Slave Act. For Webster, it’s political suicide; he expends decade’s worth of political capital with one speech (abolitionists call him, “Traitor”). The South would secede en masse without a provision whereby the northern states guarantee the slaveholder’s rights.

The Compromise of 1850 passes Congress, and with President Taylor’s death, making Millard Fillmore Chief Executive, he being much more open to compromise than was Taylor; the bill is enacted into law with the new President’s signature.

Webster’s Seventh of March Speech, “I wish to speak today not as a Massachusetts man, nor as a Northern man, but as an American, and a member of the Senate of the United States” Daniel Webster while receiving plaudits in the rest of the country for its conciliatory tone, costs him much in the way of political support at home, leading to his resignation from the Senate rather than his risking embarrassment at the polls.

In support of his measures, Clay says, on the Senate floor, “I implore, as the best blessing which Heaven can bestow upon me here upon earth, that if the direful and sad event of the dissolution of the union shall happen, I may not survive to behold the sad and heart-rending spectacle.”

Clay and Webster’s measures supply only a temporary fix but they do provide much-needed time. Calhoun more firmly believes the individual states are independent and sovereign, not subject to federal law but Webster’s Senate speech does much to allay states’ righter’s fears.

The Compromise of 1850 accomplishes what it hopes to do (keep the country united) but the solution is only short-term. In the decade following the deaths of the Triumvirate, all occurring around 1850, the North and West combine the necessary men and resources to defeat the South. Alone, the North or West hasn’t the means to subdue the South but in tandem, they are able to accomplish the feat.

The Six Figure Mentors – Who Is Responsible For Your Online Success?

The Six Figure Mentors is an Internet Marketing Mentoring, Training and Educational organization set up by Stuart Ross and Daniel Wagner, both highly successful Internet Marketers in their own right, with the aim of showing that anyone with the right tools, training and support can build their own successful Six Figure Income online.

One important and much discussed element of the Six Figure Mentors Training is access to an online mentor who will work on a one-to-one basis with motivated individuals to help them build their own legitimate income online.

Whilst having access to a Six Figure Mentor may suggest that a Six Figure income is almost guaranteed it is important to understand that mentoring is a two-way process and both parties must understand their individual responsibilities for the relationship to be mutually beneficial.

What are the responsibilities of the Six Figure Mentors?

In my view the answer to this question is simple. My preferred definition of the role of a mentor is an individual who serves as a teacher or trusted counselor. The key words for me here are TRUST, TEACH and COUNSEL.

On this basis it is fairly easy to define the responsibilities of a mentor;

  • Trust – anyone investing in an Internet Marketing Training program, based on the fact that they are led to believe they will get hands-on help, has a right to expect just that. It is important therefore that, when doing their due-diligence in selecting a Six Figure Mentor, they actually speak to the mentor and confirm that the mentor has both the time and inclination to deliver on this promise.
  • Teach – for me, as people learn in different ways, a mentor much be capable of delivering training via both verbal and visual methods. It is never enough to simply provide the text books and say get on with it, everything you need is there. For many people being shown AND told is the best way to learn.
  • Counsel – for many people the Internet provides a hugely exciting opportunity to build their own Six Figure income and sometimes, in their enthusiasm to get to this level, they lose sight of the fact that making money online is a business and requires hard work. A mentor should make this very clear from the beginning, discourage those who don’t want to work hard and support those that do when they encounter difficulties.

What are the responsibilities of the Mentored?

  • A committed member of the Six Figure Mentors can only provide the tools, guidance and support required to deliver online success. The individual being mentored also has responsibility in reaching a successful outcome. Those typically are;
  • They should be prepared to work hard and implement the steps they are being taught.
  • They should commit to some degree of self-education. Not every conceivable situation can be covered in any course and self-education, through simple research, helps any individual to grow and develop both an inquisitive mindset and a can-do attitude.
  • They must proactively ASK THEIR SIX FIGURE MENTOR FOR HELP when they hit a roadblock they can’t overcome.

Ultimately, a relationship where both parties accept their individual responsibilities will result in a successful and mutually enjoyable relationship.

Having a successful relationship, based on the above factors, is the easiest way to learn how to make money online. Going it alone is often the hardest way!

70 Weeks of Daniel, An Amazing Prophecy!

Did you know that the non-Messianic Jews, who this 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel is partly about, actually leave it well alone? Why? Because they believe it to be cursed, and these Jews are known to have actually put curses on people who do choose to study the 70 weeks prophecy. The unfortunate thing is, if these Jews had studied and understood the seventy weeks of Daniel, then they would have known exactly who Christ Jesus was.

So what did the 70 weeks of Daniel foretell? There are 3 important truths revealed in this prophecy.

1. The end of the Jewish Nation as the special chosen nation of God.

2. The first coming of the Messiah, Christ Jesus.

3. The destruction of Jerusalem in AD70.

So if we take a look at the key verses from Daniel 9, we will see these truths revealed. But before we take a look at this, I would like to make a point about something Daniel did before he received the 70 weeks prophecy. In Daniel 9 verses 3-4, you will see that Daniel prayed to God. But this wasn’t an ordinary prayer, no, Daniel prayed with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. Meaning that he was so sorrowful for the sins of the people (he included himself) that he did not eat, and he truly humbled himself before God in prayer. If only us professing Christians would start praying this way, rather than the casual vain prayers we tend to pray. We really should follow Daniel’s example in praying. Now let’s look at this 70 weeks prophecy:

1. Daniel 9:24…..’Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness.’

So these 70 weeks of Daniel were given to the Jews to put an end to their sins. If you read through the Old Testament, you will find that the Jews kept falling into apostasy, they kept disobeying God, not trusting in Him. Now this shows how loving and merciful God is. He gives His people plenty of warning and time to put an end to their evil ways and to turn fully to Him. What would happen at the end of the 70 weeks if they didn’t end their sins and turn to God? They would no longer be the chosen people of God, which Romans 9 and Galatians 3 confirms.

But what are the 70 weeks of Daniel? Are they literal weeks, as in 70 lots of 7 days? No, they are prophetic weeks, whereas the days equal years. If you take a look at Ezekiel 4:6, you will see that God appointed a year for each day, so the 70 weeks are in fact 70 lots of years, or 490 years to be precise. Also it could not be 490 days because nothing significant happened 490 days from the starting point of this prophecy. It has to be 490 years, which you will see further on in this article. So what is the starting point? In Daniel 9:25, God said the starting point of the seventy weeks would be at the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. Now in 457 BC, King Artaxerxes gave the decree to rebuild the city. so it is in 457 BC that the 490 year countdown begins.

2. Daniel 9:25…..’from the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks.’

So we have seven weeks plus threescore and two weeks, which comes to 69 weeks, until Messiah the Prince. But as we learned the weeks are lots of 7 years, so this time period is 69 lots of 7 years, which equates to 483 years. Now what happened 483 years after the command to restore Jerusalem in 457 BC? Well, if we work it out, it comes to 27 AD. What happened in 27 AD? Christ was baptized in the river and the voice of God came down from Heaven saying “THIS IS MY SON”, and revealed Jesus as the Messiah!!

But why was this part of the time prophecy split into two time periods? We have (7 weeks) and (threescore and two weeks, which is 62 weeks). So we have two time periods of 7×7 = 49 years and 62×7 = 434 years. Is this significant? Yes! What happened 49 years after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem in 457 BC? The restoration of the city! It was complete, in 408 BC. And then 434 years from 408 is 27AD, Christ’s baptism! The prophecies from God are always fulfilled exactly to the letter, and this 70 weeks of Daniel is no exception!

Now we’ve had 69 weeks of this 70 weeks of Daniel so far, and there is one week left to fulfill. Now many Christians take this last week and place it in the future from us. But this 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel is a continuous timeline and there is no scripture whatsoever that suggests the last week is to be taken away from the 70 weeks and placed in the future. Daniel 9:26-27 confirms for us what this last week is. It says that He (Jesus) would confirm the covenant for one week, the last week (7 years). This is the new covenant which Jesus did confirm. Now it says in Daniel 9:26-27 that in the middle of the last week, 3.5 years after Jesus baptism, He would cause the sacrifice to cease. Did Jesus do this? Of course He did, on the cross of Calvary in 31AD. But who confirmed the covenant for the last 3.5 years (the last half of the last week)? His disciples did!! And this brings us to the end of the 70 weeks of Daniel, when Stephen was stoned by the Jews, which happened 3.5 years after the cross of Jesus. Stephen preached to the Jewish leaders, but they “stopped their ears” and finally rejected the gospel message, and forsook their special status as being God’s chosen people.

3. Daniel 9:26…..’and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.’

Finally, the 70 weeks of Daniel confirmed that the city of Jerusalem would be destroyed. It didn’t confirm the date of the destruction in the prophecy, but gave a warning for it. The Jews rejected Christ as the Messiah, they didn’t put an end to their sins as God warned in the seventy weeks prophecy, and therefore lost their right as the chosen nation of God. And as a result the beloved city of the Jews was also destroyed by the Roman army, and over 1 Million Jews lost their lives in the siege. If only the Jews studied and understood this prophecy of Daniel, they would have remained as God’s chosen people and all this desolation would not have come upon them.

Is Bible prophecy important? I believe it is very important for us to study and understand, and this 70 weeks of Daniel has great lessons for us all to learn.

Rants From a Tweet Within a Context – Stephen Fry Laid Low

Personally, I use Twitter as a business tool and only tweet stories I write associated with the web. It seems to make little difference commercially, but I continue regardless. So why does a highly intelligent and talented man like Stephen Fry, who recently and publicly declared he was quitting Twitter due to a lame remark that he was “boring”, leaving his near-million followers bewildered and angry, tweet as he does?

The phenomenon of this perpetual, asinine running commentary about mundane events in one’s daily life is baffling, to say the least; and it is not confined to the purview of everyday journeymen and women of the social media circuit, but extends to celebrities such as Stephen Fry which, in turn when controversial, makes social news in heavyweights such as the BBC and the New York Times.

Let me give you a real-life example of the social futility syndrome: the wife of a friend of mine actually wrote on Facebook today: “Why is it Benson the dog gets to have his nails done, but I am not allowed?” Isn’t it sort of curious why someone would put such a trifling domestic issue out there in social space rather than discuss it with her husband and the dog? Moreover, who really cares?

But let’s then move on to one of Stephen Fry’s entries on Twitter: “A spoonful of paté de campagne Ardéchois à l’ancienne is not really that far distant from a spoonful of catfood. Just notably more expensive.” Odd, isn’t it, when Stephen Fry, a highly respected British actor, writer, comedian, author, television presenter and film director, writes that? Why does he do it? I just don’t get it.

Last Saturday, a follower of Mr Fry from Birmingham, England, sent him a tweet that said although he “admires” Mr Fry, he finds his tweets rather “boring”. Emotionally flattened by this comment, Fry then threatened to quit Twitter. This provoked a vitriolic attack against The Man From Birmingham by Fry’s followers, who reacted in intense derisory unison like a cackle of hyenas. Stephen Fry then responded to the supposed furore with: “I am so sorry to hear ppl have been abusing you. You had every right to say what you did. Pls accept my apols. This is so awful.”

@brumplum, in retreat, then replied: “You bet. Thank you for being so understanding. I feel more sheepish than a sheep and more twattish than a twat.” Spat over? No, not at all. What resulted from it were news reports from the Guardian newspaper, the BBC and the New York Times. Doesn’t this simply confirm that not only has trivia become the main focus of interest among social media conscriptees, but personal snipes by the unknown against celebrities are now being carried into traditional media space.

The take on it by tech.blorge.com was that it should be buried and forgotten: “[Social media] seems to be being used by adults to play some spectacularly childish games, with memories of the school playground flooding back as I read the latest tweets. Stephen Fry ended up not quitting Twitter and is back to normal. But the controversy surrounding comments made by one of his followers and the backlash immediately afterwards is rumbling on.”

This story was so far removed from the delicate and benign tweets I’m accustomed to, I turned my attention to rant.com, as that surely would be a site where this type of spat should be centred. The comments on their Twitter account look sensationally libellous, so I daren’t repeat them. Just a thought.

Stephen Fry has lived a colourful life, as extracts from Wiki attest: his maternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Slovakia and his mother’s aunt and cousins died in Auschwitz; at seventeen, Fry absconded with a credit card stolen from a family friend, was arrested and spent three months in Pucklechurch Prison for fraud; later, he gained a degree in English literature at Queens’ College, Cambridge; he has written many books, appeared in numerous television parts and plays and lives in London with his partner, Daniel Cohen.

In 1995 Fry suffered a nervous breakdown while appearing in a West End play Cell Mates and walked out on the production. He went missing for several days and contemplated suicide. It is well documented that he suffers from depression and last year the BBC ran an interview with him titled, “Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive”, where he talked about his experience of having a “bipolar disorder” and recounted his suicide attempt after walking out of Cell Mates and the “continuing severe mood swings he has to endure”.

So I can understand his sudden disinterest and dejection when he was attacked on Twitter. But it’s the social fallout of all this that has gone so badly awry; to me, at least, his “followers”, in an almost Biblical sense, reacted in what can only described as psychotic hysteria, akin in essence to Brian’s disciples in Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Also, for mainstream media to run stories about an insignificant remark in the rarefied ether of the world’s most glorified and celebrated online chatroom is a particularly disturbing trend.

Fry suggested he was feeling very low and depressed. Whether that is can be attributed to the rogue remark from The Man From Birmingham or not, we cannot possibly tell. But hasn’t Twitter taken on the mantle of a new social media contract; one where misplaced and often innocuous tweets from unknown individuals provoke personal depressions, resulting in rants from “disciples” that fuel a now-important source of information in mainstream media’s social news?

Twitter is not the problem; it’s a platform. But online human interaction these days is decidedly weird.

About the Daniel Wells Snooker Guide

Snooker is a cue sport that is very popular and has a large following in the UK as well as in many other countries around the world. This is a sport that requires skill, precision, and some strategic thinking, not to mention patience, a clear head, and a very steady hand! There are many big names in the world of snooker and this includes Alex Higgins, Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, and Daniel Wells.

Daniel Wells is a Welsh snooker professional who has spent time learning and practising at the World Snooker Academy and has since gone from strength to strength in the world of snooker. He is seen as one of the best young Welsh players to come into the world of snooker and has enjoyed some great successes including joining the professional tour.

Undoubtedly, this young fresh snooker player has excellent skills when it comes to this game and snooker enthusiasts can now pick up the skills, techniques, and tips that Wells has used in his own career to improve their games. The online snooker coaching programme, Snookerguide featuring Daniel Wells, is an excellent online coaching guide where Wells imparts invaluable tips and advice to those that are looking to improve their own snooker games.

In addition to actually featuring in this coaching programme Wells also helped to devise the programme, which means that those using this Daniel Wells snooker guide will enjoy the huge benefits that come from learning first hand from one of the true professionals. You will be able to improve many different aspects of your game through this guide and with the help of Daniel, who demonstrates useful techniques and invaluable tips to help snooker players to keep bettering their game.

Once you join the Daniel Wells snooker coaching programme you will be able to enjoy a range of facilities such as access to video lessons and tutorials, articles on different tips and techniques that can help you, competitions designed for members only, and exclusive snooker related discounts and offers.

Through his tutorials and presentations Daniel will demonstrate and talk about vital aspects of the game such as stance and positioning, taking shots, breaking off, new techniques, cue action development, and more. This is a great way for those that want to develop and improve their game to learn from one of the experts – a professional snooker player who knows the game inside out. This will not only help you to improve your game but will also help you to enjoy the game more as you develop your confidence along with your skills.