Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Flowers are Red and Green Leaves are Green

I left a comment to someone’s blog the other day, danged if I could remember which blog it was now. I’d made reference to an old Harry Chapin song, one where he took a shot at teachers who destroy the creative and imaginative minds in our children.

It seems that a young boy began coloring a picture on his first day of school and found that his teacher had very limited ideas on how he should present his expression of thought. The young man was put in a corner and had to repeat, “Flowers are red, and green leaves are green, there’s no need to see flowers any other way than the way they always have been seen.” Fortunately the boy eventually moved to another town where his new teacher was overflowing with freedom of expression and encouraged the boy, “There are so many colors in the rainbow, so many colors in the morning sun, so many colors in the flowers, so let’s use everyone.”

Now, as for my photograph; it’s a Hibiscus bud from my backyard on a gray and slightly drizzly day. I was impressed by the intensity of the leaves, the newly formed young unfurling ones being a reminder that winter will soon give way to spring, the fully developed deep green leaves with a few droplets of rain in contrast with the energy hidden within the fresh Hibiscus bud are one of the wallpaper photos that I have on my computer monitor now and again.

Easter is around the corner, a chance to reflect on more spiritual things. Much like the Hibiscus in my back yard, there is a rebirth awaiting each of us, a promise from our Savior; our mortality to put on immortality. May the waters from Heaven land upon our leaves and wash away our imperfections and permit our lives to burst forth in equally splendid fashion.

A Two Chiropractor Day

I’d bet dimes to donuts that you won’t find that title anywhere. I’ve been under the weather, picked up some kind of ugly bug that settled in my chest. My voice was never going to get me booked at the Music Hall; now it’s even better. Here’s an inside joke for members of my Church, I now can do Spencer W. Kimball impersonations quite easily.

Last night I woke up coughing my lungs out and popped something in my rib cage and never could get back to sleep. Wednesday is my regularly scheduled day to visit the chiropractor so I didn’t have to schedule an appointment, just had to show up. It turns out I actually pushed a couple of ribs out of place which explained why my right side didn’t enjoy moving. She inflicted a proportional amount of pain to justify my paying and I left, quite a bit of soreness remained as I went about a few simple but very rewarding locksmith jobs before heading home to ice down as I’d been instructed.

All afternoon the pain grew until I decided to call my chiropractor and beg for some relief. It was almost 4:30 and they opened up a spot for me. The whole left side from my neck to just below the rib cage was so tender as to make the simplest movement a challenge. They led me back to the “therapy room” ( use your imagination; dungeons, torture equipment, sensory depravation ) and put the electrode things on my back, massaged and rubbed and then adjusted my back again.

I can’t remember having been to the chiropractor twice in the same day and I’ve had plenty of times when my back hurt. The best part was when it came time to settle up for the second visit; it was considered “under warranty”, a little like the warranty I put on some of my jobs, “Twenty thousand miles or one day, which ever comes first.”

In case I forgot to say it, “Thank you for being overly generous with your skills and mindful of my budget.” If your in the Houston area, here's a link for when you need a good chiropractor:

Monday, February 26, 2007

Individuals Make Us a Great Nation

I read an interesting article by Dana, of Principled Discovery, where she posted, “The coming crisis in citizenship.” Please take the time to read why our public schools are not providing the necessary foundation for good citizenship once provided, not in a school room environment, through that which parents engrained in children at home (link provided in the title bar.)

“We have left behind the
roots of our system which were laid deep enough and strong enough to sustain us even through long periods of neglect and decay.”

It was early in the morning as I considered what I’d just read. I left a brief comment:

“The idea occurred to me that the public schools, to include colleges and universities, might be intentionally turning students off to American History by the manner in which it is presented. These classes had no purpose other than to test students on how well they could remember a date, a name or some other important occurrence. At the end of the year nothing had been gained regarding the struggle of individuals to stand for concepts which made America great. My college level course was no different, maybe even worse.

I’m not a big fan of the word “coincidence” believing instead that most everything has a purpose. Looking at the miserable track record regarding the teaching of important American values as pertain to History would be the same as going over the many blunders that Jimmy Carter chalked up while he was president and then crowning it off with his giving away the Panama Canal; you can’t do that many things wrong by accident. There must be an explanation as to why American children are not given a proper lesson in the history of those who have gone before them, the spirit of America has not been promoted, an interesting choice of words when talking about students, which is why they have been failed.”

Go back for that last paragraph, find that word “coincidence” and then finish off with, “American children are not given a proper lesson in the history of those who have gone before them.” I finished my wake up bowl of oatmeal and glanced at the fancy media multimedia center on my computer only to find a wonderful old black and white movie, “The 49th Parallel”, all about the individual actions of freemen in Canada when pitted against an invading force from Nazi Germany.

I looked it up on Google and found a plot summary written by Steve Cook, “A damaged U-boat is stranded in a Canadian bay in the early years of World War II. The Fanatical Nazi captain and his crew must reach the neutral United States or be captured. Along the way they meet a variety of characters each with their own views on the war and nationalism.” I suppose the use of the words, “variety of characters” will have to do for my purposes.

Mind you, this was a movie; however, it was put together in a time when Hollywood stood behind the basic belief that we, that being those in America to include the Canadians, were on the side of goodness and virtue as opposed to the present day when Hollywood is synonymous with sympathizing with our enemies because we are an evil capitalistic society intent on taking advantage of the rest of humanity. In the movie, each individual who came across the small band of Nazis stranded in the back country of Canada rose to the occasion affording us a look, as if in a museum, a brief explanation of what it means to be in a free country while at the same time drawing into focus the terrible hypocrisy of Nazi Germany under the Third Reich. Each individual acted with dignity and stood as shining examples of what humanity is all about.

The movie which followed, Destination Tokyo, about life on a submarine headed to Tokyo bay to obtain needed first hand knowledge in preparation for a future military mission. Each individual was shown, character flaws included, to be worthy of the title, American citizen. You should have noticed by now that the key is in the American individual; the hearty breed which mixes compassions, desires, fears and even being a little cocky or boastful; all those human emotions which elevate us as a race and as a people.

I wrote an article last year, “Who’s Audie Murphy?” after I was faced with the fact that I could find no members of the next generation who knew who Audie Murphy was. I repeated that same question to a few young people this morning; having taken a short break in my writing to make a living in my chosen field of locksmith work. I asked if they knew who Alvin York was as a bonus question. The results were a total zero, just as before.

The public schools in America are partially at fault; however, the responsibility must eventually come to rest within the walls of our individual families and finally upon each individual. I know a few wonderfully self taught individuals who came from homes where the parents might have well been lumps of coal for all the lessons they never taught. In spite of that neglect, it is the responsibility of each of us to find our place in our glorious history, the history of the United States of America. Parents are not doing the job of instilling those values, those peculiar American character traits which set us apart from all other nations of the world. We have a history worth imparting and yet it is being left in the dark closets to grow mold and mildew, to rot as if a thing of naught. When our children are not taught the importance of the past it is lost, and that loss will be a sin before God, the Author of our Liberty.

I have entered this as my second article in the Carnival of Principled Government since principles should be taught at home.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Why are these Three stories relevant?

This may not be near as good as DL’s writings from the padded room as found over at TMH Bacon Bits; but I think he’s still off ice fishing or something. My apologies; but somebody’s got to say it. That reminded me, I just started reading Neal Boortz’ new book, Somebody’s gotta say it. WARNING: This article is not Politically Correct!

Romney Family Tree Has Polygamy Branch
By JENNIFER DOBNER and GLEN JOHNSON, Associated Press Writers
Saturday, February 24, 2007

“While Mitt Romney condemns polygamy and its prior practice by his Mormon church, the Republican presidential candidate's great-grandfather had five wives and at least one of his great-great grandfathers had 12.”

“Romney's father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, where Mormons fled in the 1800s to escape religious persecution and U.S. laws forbidding polygamy. He and his family did not return to the United States until 1912, more than two decades after the church issued "The Manifesto" banning polygamy.”

Slavery Ties Sharpton to Thurmond
Associated Press writer Paige Ivey in Columbia, S.C., contributed to this report.

“NEW YORK (Feb. 25) - Genealogists have revealed that the Rev. Al Sharpton is a descendent of a slave owned by relatives of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond - a discovery the civil rights activist on Sunday called "shocking."”

Virginia Apologizes for Role in SlaveryBy LARRY O'DELLAssociated Press Writer

“RICHMOND, Va. Meeting on the grounds of the former Confederate Capitol, the Virginia General Assembly voted unanimously Saturday to express "profound regret" for the state's role in slavery.”


“The resolution says government-sanctioned slavery "ranks as the most horrendous of all depredations of human rights and violations of our founding ideals in our nation's history, and the abolition of slavery was followed by systematic discrimination, enforced segregation, and other insidious institutions and practices toward Americans of African descent that were rooted in racism, racial bias, and racial misunderstanding."”

To set the record straight, a few facts would be important before continuing:

Mitt Romney is the only front runner male candidate running for the office of President who has only had one wife. Think about that for a moment and it may grow on you as just a little funny.

Al Sharpton was never a slave.

In the Virginia legislation there is not one member who ever owned a slave.

Having established those three important facts; why would Mitt Romney have to condemn the act of polygamy which he had no control over, why would Al Sharpton be upset that a family member long ago passed away was a slave as if it would mandate a change in his present life style and how is it possible for any group of people to apologize with any degree of sincerity for actions which transpired a hundred years before they were born?

I’ll start with Mitt Romney’s individual situation. Historically it can be shown that somewhere in Mitt’s family polygamy was practiced. Anyone who claims to be a Christian would also have to admit the same. What’s that you say?

The Bible recorded that Abraham was instructed to take an additional wife in order to bear children. Abraham followed the Lord’s command; it was not a matter of Abraham lusting after a foxy looking woman while married to Sarah, he was following an approved union which authorized more than one wife. The Book of Abraham, found in the Pearl of Great Price, gives additional insight into the fact that such practices were “ordained before the foundation of the world”. The Doctrine and Covenants, section 132 goes on to explain the ordinance of marriage for time and all eternity as being part of the New and Everlasting Covenant which permits a husband and wife to advance to the highest degree of glory in the Celestial Kingdom.

I ask again, why would Mitt Romney condemn something which the Lord has proclaimed as not only acceptable but has placed it among some of the most sacred ordinances available to mortals? I have my own answer, “Politically Correct”. It does not matter that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints no longer condones polygamy, that is also a matter of historical fact.

The 12th Article of Faith of the LDS Church proclaims:
“We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”

Any discussion regarding polygamy in the United States of America in the year 2007 sounds like a moot point if you ask me, unless you just want to talk about it philosophically. Personally, I thank Abraham for having been obedient and for following the Lord’s instructions, that I might become so fortunate as to become one of his seed through my baptism.

Hey Al, why are you so upset about some ancestor who had been a slave, one you never even bothered to look up as part of your responsibility, being a close family member and all? What difference would it make if, for the sake of argument, that long ago slave had been owned my Thomas Jefferson or any other well known slave holder? I find this amazing, or should I have sung, Amazing Grace?

What kind of explaining are you going to have to come up with to justify your helping to enslave thousands; make that millions of folks by yoking them with various social programs rather than letting them rely on their own resources and truly becoming free? Haven’t you ever heard about the lesson provided by a baby chic as it gains it freedom from within its shell? The chick gains that strength necessary to survive in the world by accomplishing the “break out” all on its own. If assistance is given or provided which helps that process, the chick is doomed and will never survive long enough to attain that which it should have.

Socialism is no less a form of slavery than placing chains on someone’s ankles and preventing them from achieving all the rights and freedoms afforded to citizens of the United States of America. By spoon feeding via socialist programs, the redistribution of wealth, giving that which was not earned to those who did not earn it, such actions reduce the chance for true freedom, essentially making them slaves forever because they never develop the necessary character, skills and integrity required to stand on their own.

Unfortunately, media pimps like Al Sharpton have no clue as to how much damage they inflict on their fellow citizens in the name of equality for all. What that boils down to is that all citizens will be equally yoked with socialism while at the same time each citizen will lose a certain portion of their God given rights. Way to go Al!

Last in that group of pure hype, for there really is nothing worthy as news unless you simply wish to divide the citizenry further apart rather than move into the present or even the future, why would the Virginia legislature feel good about apologizing for actions which they had no control over? This isn’t the same as the Japanese government acknowledging the atrocities which were carried out during WWII to some who are still living and might accept such an apology. It might be a little better than those who claim that the Holocaust either never happened or that those who suffered should just get on with life. Haven’t the folks in the Virginia legislature heard about Global Warming; just a lot of hot air, not to mention all the heat generated each time they pat themselves on the back for;. . . just what exactly did they do anyway?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Wall Street at Broadway

I got a call from Bonnie, my oldest daughter a while ago. She’s away on business in New York and so when she called I figured out right away what she was up to.

“Guess where I am?”

“You’re standing on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, near the railing, and contemplating jumping into the river.”

“No; but you’re on the right track.”

“Dehere, with an "e", at the Walle, also with an “e”?”

“You got it. I’ll take a picture of the sign, Wall Street at Broadway for you.”

Bonnie knows one of my favorite movies is National Treasure, that whenever I’m flipping channels attempting to find something worth watching; that’s one movie I’ll watch over and over. She bought me a book last year, The Portable Benjamin Franklin, containing the Silence Dogood Letters, among many other interesting articles; not for those who are in love with being politically correct, quite outspoken in many areas.

Lucy bought a book for me last week, “The Declaration of Independence, A Museum in a Book”, by Rod Gragg. I opened the cover and skimmed through a few pages and found that it’s a little like a child’s pop up book, only instead of pop ups they have pasted folded translucent envelopes to many of the pages, as if aged by time and similar to those used in days gone by to hold photographs to an album. Inside each envelope could be seen the blur of a document or some item which appeared to be from antiquity, a reproduction of a pamphlet or map which could be removed for closer examination. It was a chance to become part of history, a chance to live National Treasure in the comfort of my easy chair. I’d write more; but I want to play with my new toy.

As a side note, our petty cash envelope is getting thinner day by day as we both have been stopping by the book store picking out items of interest. A friend of mine told the lady at the cash register to post a picture, perhaps from each of their driver’s licenses, near the front door. If they are seen entering the store they are to be tossed out in order to save the family budget. I may have to do the same.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Believest thou that there is a God?

I’ve wondered how to exchange ideas with Christians who are not members of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Somewhere there must be a line drawn in the sand that makes it difficult for those of Protestant or Catholic faiths to relate with my beliefs; how unfortunate.

I thought about it quite a bit and decided that perhaps it’s simply a matter of nomenclature, my use of words in a slightly different context or maybe that I have additional text which I consider to be scripture to go along with the Bible. For whatever reason there might be that separates us, I feel certain that we have much more in common and so I will endeavor to establish some mutual ground. In the Book of Mormon, ( or Mom-ron as one fellow recently chided me ), I remember a passage in Alma, chapter 18, where Ammon went about explaining his beliefs to king Lamoni.

To begin with, Ammon was on a full time mission; he was also in the capacity of servant to a unfriendly people and in direct command of their king. After Ammon had single handedly dispatched a large group of folks who were hostile toward the king’s servants, word got back to the king. Ammon had an advantage in that king Lamoni was amazed and astounded by the powers that Ammon had displayed; even to the point of conceding the possibility that Ammon might be the Great Spirit. King Lamoni felt pangs of guilt for having abused and even killed many of his subjects; the idea of having the Great Spirit standing in front of him left him in considerable anxiety.

“And Ammon began to speak unto him with boldness and said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God?
25 And he answered, and said unto him: I do not know what that meaneth.
26 And then Ammon said: Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit?
27 And he said, Yea.
28 And Ammon said: This is God. And Ammon said unto him again: Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and in the earth?
29 And he said: Yea, I believe that he created all things which are in the earth; but I do not know the heavens.
30 And Ammon said unto him: The heavens is a place where God dwells and all his holy angels.
31 And king Lamoni said: Is it above the earth?
32 And Ammon said: Yea, and he looketh down upon all the children of men; and he knows all the thoughts and intents of the heart; for by his hand were they all created from the beginning.
33 And king Lamoni said: I believe all these things which thou hast spoken. Art thou sent from God?
34 Ammon said unto him: I am a man; and man in the beginning was created after the image of God, and I am called by his Holy Spirit to teach these things unto this people, that they may be brought to a knowledge of that which is just and true…”

I started off as a Presbyterian, following my parents to church and, as much time passed, eventually sought answers to many questions I had regarding faith and religion in general as I approached that time when I would be the patriarch of my own family. Those in the Presbyterian ministry were unable or unwilling to satisfy my desire to know more and I began to look elsewhere; eventually stumbling into the young missionaries who rode up and down the streets on bicycles.

We had interesting discussions at first, leveling the playing field much as Ammon and king Lamoni came to an understanding on the most basic of ideas. I believed that there was a God in Heaven, that His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, was born of a virgin named Mary who was married to Joseph of the lineage of the House of David. I further agreed with these young men that the Gospel truths that they wished to share with me would be established, not so much through an intellectual endorsement; rather, the Holy Ghost would testify to my soul of any and all truths which my Father in Heaven desired I should know. This doctrine was the same in the Presbyterian Church and we were able to proceed from that starting point. Yes, I claim to be a Christian (link in title bar)

I still feel like the step child at the family reunion when I visit “Christian” sites in the blogsphere. This troubles me to some degree, not that it shakes my testimony regarding my belief that the Book of Mormon is the word of God acting as another witness to the divinity of Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer of the world. I feel that I have so much to offer in the way of pure doctrine that is not taught for one reason or another in Protestant sects or the Catholic Church.

This past week I read an excellent piece about the sacred roll of husbands to their wives and felt limited, possibly by my desire not to “rock the boat” in which those of another faith were comfortable with. I wanted to explain the eternal nature of marriage, that while the secular world might be content with “till death do you part”, that marriage was intended to be so much more, an eternal bond between a husband and a wife; a celestial bond for time and all eternity.

I should stop here, not wishing to stir the pot beyond that which it will bear. I invite those who might be skeptical, those who may have been leery of associating with “those Mormons” to lay aside those minor differences and discover that we, as Christians, hold that God is our Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ is His Son and the Holy Ghost completes what is commonly known as the Godhead. We can discuss the rest as it comes around.

“Wherefore, by the ministering of angels, and by every word which proceeded forth out of the mouth of God, men began to exercise faith in Christ; and thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing; and thus it was until the coming of Christ.” Moroni 7:25

You might not wish to nod your head in agreement, “That didn’t come out of the Bible!”, all the same it remains a true statement, one which anyone who claims to be a Christian had better comes to grips with. Is it so very different than other scriptures?

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4

Lastly, my invitation:

“But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.” Alma 32:27

Obedience and Self Restraint is Liberty

The idea of liberty and freedom are eternal in nature and to discuss them in the limited terms of our mortality does not do them justice. Those who cannot accept that liberty and freedom are part of God’s plan will continue to demand total freedom, the agency of man, and it will do no good to explain such eternal concepts. The purpose of life is to progress daily in such a way as to become nearest to that perfection which is possible, to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, to use His examples and His teachings as a means of checking that progress.

We make decisions to abide by those eternal principles and laws; that is liberty. The rewards or blessings come from obedience to eternal principles and laws which have existed before the world was formed and come in the form of individual progression. Those who act in opposition to the same eternal principles and laws, either through ignorance, omission, neglect or in defiance with full knowledge of their actions impede their progress; hence they are “damned”. In effect we are free to either progress toward the optimal goal of becoming a true child of God, one who follows the admonitions of a loving Father in Heaven, or we are free to be slothful, self serving and, at times, reckless.

The concept of being forced to achieve blessings is foreign to God’s law and was introduced by Satan in his attempt to alter and destroy God’s law. When we are less than obedient to natural laws, laws which are eternal, in effect, we settle for something other than the blessings associated with those same natural laws; call it a curse if you will.

Satan attempted to implement his own plan, one which was contrary to the mind and will of God, one which would have given him power to force total compliance with God’s laws with the exception of the most important law, man’s agency to choose for himself; for this reason Satan was cast out and remains an enemy to God and all who would do their best to follow God’s law. Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind represents the ideal pattern, total obedience to His Father’s laws and we have been instructed to follow His example in order to obtain all that God has. The choice is ours, as individuals, to obtain each blessing that has been provided or to reject them.

Now, apply those same eternal principles and laws in mortality; we are most fortunate to live in the United States of America, a country founded on eternal principles and laws that God inspired the Founders to include in our Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. There has been a steady degeneration from living up to the highest goals, which we as individuals and as a country are capable of, in favor of the path which our elected government has taken, a less than desirable path which enslaves each citizen to servitude through social programs which deny individual choice. Those placed at the head to insure our God given Liberties remain in force are a reflection of our overall society; the degeneration which I mentioned has been brought about by selfishness and greed rather than from a poorly designed framework; the framework remains the most perfect form of government on the earth. It is the responsibility of each individual to properly impose self restraint rather than expect government to override and impose such. Our Founding Fathers recognized the necessity of having an educated citizenry who were capable of self restraint for this “great experiment” in government to remain workable. If we do not acknowledge the need for self restraint in all aspects of our lives and at the same time acknowledge the Author or our Liberties we are doomed to failure both in mortality and in the eternities.

"There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." Doctrine and Covenants 130:20,21

I’ve supplied a link with Dana’s article, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Debt”, which she posted on Principled Discovery. Dana is also sponsoring the Carnival of Principled Government and I have entered this article in honor of Liberty Day.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ya gotta wonder about Hillary

I get a kick out of how pollsters hedge their projections, usually throwing in some cautionary built in degree of miscalculation, somewhere between 3 – 5% either way. I read an article on the AOL website, originally from The New York Times and co-written by Patrick Healy and Jim Rutenberg, “In Both Parties, Politeness Falls to Infighting”. (link provided in title bar )

“The sun was not yet up yesterday, and members of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign team were confronted with the kind of attack that most infuriates them: one questioning the character of Mrs. Clinton and her husband.” Can you believe it, somebody questioning the integrity of Queen to be Hillary Rodham Clinton?

I could care less who donated money to the coronation proceedings or, in this case, not.
The interesting poll taken through on line readers did catch my attention. There was a statement, “Geffen said the Clintons lie “with such ease, it’s troubling.”, Your opinion?” 73% of the respondents agreed that the Clintons, that being Sir Bill and Her Majesty to be Hillary, lie “with such ease, it’s troubling”.

Back to my original idea that most pollsters hedge their projections to some degree, how can anyone consider Hillary as a person with sufficient character to hold office; as a Senator, much less a power hungry egomaniac intent on sitting on the Oval Office Throne? Just for fun, let’s say the poll taken was off by a margin of staggering proportions, maybe 20% error (either way), that would mean that somewhere between 53% believe the Clintons lie with impunity, or going towards a more plausible thought, 93% of those polled believe the Clintons lie with such ease as to make them habitual liars incapable of telling the truth.

In the event of a Hillary coronation and subsequent matriarchal dynasty, this blog opinion will self destruct. I never said a thing that would imply a lack of honesty in Her Majesty’s more than generous platitudes.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Simply Splendid

I learned a lot from my Granny, long since gone the way of the world. In her later years age reminded her of her frailties, her aches and pains that never seemed to let her alone; she taught me something of real value. Granny would listen as folks around her complained about their lumbago, their teeth hurting and this that and the other. When they’d ask how she was feeling, “I’m simply splendid”, was her favorite reply. It did away with the competitive conversation to see who had a worse case scenario and cleared the air for more upbeat exchanges. Granny could smile and mean it; “Simply splendid” was a mind trick that got her past those aches and pains.

I get to visit Raine, a “little old lady” who goes to church with us. I think I was drawn to her because she reminded me so much of my Granny. I tried getting Raine to use Granny’s “Simply splendid” approach, a way to roll past the never ending supply of folks who’d ask how she was feeling. Somewhere between her knees troubling her all the time and ankles not supporting her with any degree of confidence I was unable to convince Raine that she could, with any believability, say, “I’m simply splendid”. Oh, she tried it a few times and almost fell out of her chair laughing at such a preposterous line; but eventually that line ended up in the scrap heap so I have to listen while she goes on about how rotten she feels; almost wishing I’d never asked.

This morning I was driving down the road toward a job and managed to get her to pick up the phone, a mild miracle since she doesn’t like answering the phone; might be a stranger, a wrong number or somebody trying to pay their water bill since her number is similar. She sounded cheerful, at least until I told her so; a few minutes of going over how it’s flu season and how it’s important to avoid contact with large groups of folks who might have the flu or some other communicable disease brought me up to speed.

I did manage to bring up some calendared items that she might want to attend; this weekend is Stake Conference, an adult session this Saturday at 7:00pm, “No, I won’t be going to that.”, then on Sunday the Stake officers will be addressing everyone at 10:00am, “No, I won’t be going to that.”, oh, and Friday is the Ward Chili Cook off at 6:00pm, “No, at my age I can’t eat all that spicy food.” I waited half a moment, still trying to get something positive to happen.

“I suppose that this last item, the bungee jumping from the top of the church steeple is out of the question?” I finally found something she wanted to do as a burst of laughter rang back through my phone. I had succeeded in my quest to brighten up her day. Sometimes it takes a ridiculous suggestion to make a dent when somebody is intent on being miserable. I still think she’d be better off with, “Simply splendid”; it worked so very well for my Granny.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I like Ron Paul for President

I was walking across the parking lot on my way home from church this past Sunday when a good friend of mine, a dyed in the wool Democrat, asked me if I was on my way to the Obama rally. We chide each other from time to time knowing that there is a fairly deep canyon in our political philosophies. I mentioned that I didn’t have much regard for any of the front runners in either party, that I considered them all to be too shallow and transparent. I told my friend that my personal choice would be Ron Paul; admitting that Ron Paul had about as much chance of winning the presidency as I would winning the lottery.

I read an article by Radley Balko on the Foxnews website this morning, “Ron Paul, the Real Republican?”. It covered my thoughts on the matter better than I could myself so go read it ( linked via title bar ).

“Paul isn't a reflexive contrarian--he doesn't oppose just to oppose. Rather, he has a core set of principles that guide him. They happen to be the same principles envisioned by the framers of the U.S.
Constitution: limited government, federalism, free trade and commerce -- with a premium on peace.”

A little further down in the article Balko stated, “I don't agree with Paul on everything. His stance on monetary policy (he wants to return to the gold standard) is a bit out-there for my taste. He favors strict limits on legal immigration, and is far more alarmist about illegal immigration than I think is necessary.” I happen to agree whole heartedly with Ron Paul on both of those issues.

There has got to be an end to the devaluation of our currency through our own government’s policy of printing worthless paper backed by nothing more than a hollow promise. Having seen the lack of principles exhibited by our elected officials, with the exception of a very few, their “promises” are as worthless as the money they print. Look at how they have managed Social Security into bankruptcy because of the way those in charge have looted the system. Holding them to a fixed and structured monetary system such as the Gold Standard might be the only way to salvage the Dollar.

I agree with Ron Paul’s alarmist attitude regarding illegal immigration; however, I would add to that alarm the added burden on our infrastructure created by the increased numbers of legal immigrants as well. I have reviewed Roy Beck's celebrated demonstration of the population consequences of current U.S. immigration policies. This video is packed with the facts and analysis that make moral and practical sense of a complex and highly contentious issue. What’s the line from Star Wars, the one where Yoda cautions young Skywalker about confronting Darth Vader, something about being afraid… “Afraid you are not,. . . you will be.” I should probably ask my daughter and resident expert on Star Wars trivia; but you get the idea. A tip of the hat to my friend James Orr for sending me the link to Roy Beck’s immigration video.

I’ve been disappointed with the crop ( spelling options available ) of candidates showing up on the ballot; so poor are their qualifications as to make voters stay home rather than pick from the “lesser of two evils”. Ron Paul’s character rises above the mire; I would rather “waste” my vote on a good man who hasn’t got a chance of being elected than to endorse any of the so called front runners. The Presidency is all about character, isn’t it about time America returned to the basics?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Link by any other name…

A couple of random thoughts; how appropriate, recalling a stand up comedy routine given by Robin Williams some time back. He was explaining how the internet was similar to the human brain and gave the example of “links”. You want to look at one thing and then, Boom, you change directions and go somewhere else instantly. Sorry for the John Madden sound effects; hope your speakers were turned down.

In this mornings Foxnews I was reading an AP story that highlighted the conservative nature of Brigham Young University as they implemented a policy to block YouTube from on campus computer systems. The given reason was two part, to avoid content which did not meet with Church standards and also because of limited "band width" on their computer systems (linked via title bar).

“PROVO, Utah — The popular Internet video-sharing site
YouTube has been blocked on campus at Brigham Young University, the Mormon church school where students agree to live a "chaste and virtuous life."

(Wouldn't you know, my embedded links refuse to work which is why I don't use them here in Blogger."

Out of curiosity I clicked the embedded links for Brigham Young University and the Mormon Church to gain insight as to how they would be represented by those links. I'm familiar with the short recruiting films that are inserted during sporting contests, usually during a half time break, a chance to see the very best that each school has to offer, a shining light upon a hill so to speak; that’s not exactly what the links did.

Under the links to Brigham Young University there were all manner of articles which had appeared on Fox; problem was with the way they picked subject matter; the key word they used was “Young”.

“. . .allegedly taking captive two young siblings who had ...” and, “. . . this is another case of young adults "gone wild" simply because they can. . .” were lumped in with other relevant stories about the prestigious university, “. . .Cy Young Award winner with a nasty curveball. . .”, “. . .Vince Young turned in another gritty performance. . .”

I’ve learned so much about BYU from those links, what could I glean from the links for the Mormon church?

“Cannibalism Rife in Mormon Cricket Swarms…”, not making this up folks, that was the first item linked. There were several articles on Mitt Romney, “Will Christians Back a Mormon Candidate?”. I loved the one, “. . . self-described "Mormon fundamentalists" who live in Utah. . .”, a story pointing to a group that isn’t even associated with the same church. I quit looking after that; but there were pages of links that, I’m confident, covered important doctrine taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons.

From Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet:

“'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;

Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet;...”

According to some literary scholars Shakespeare was also making a joke at the expense of the Rose Theatre. The Rose was a local rival to his Globe Theatre and is reputed to have had less than effective sanitary arrangements. The story goes that this was a coy joke about the smell.

Maybe Fox wanted to make a similar coy joke as they linked with such utterly absurd items of interest; however, it’s my guess they were too lazy to think about what would happen if they left of key words, opting instead to go with Young and Mormon rather than look up the correct links.

It might seem strange, at least it must to Fox; but here are the official links for Brigham Young University and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints:

Friday, February 16, 2007

Grounds for Dismissal

I read an AP article by Kim Curtis in the Houston Chronicle this morning, “Woman accused of burning homeless prostitute to death” (linked via title bar).

“SAN FRANCISCO — Two women are accused of soaking a homeless, drug-addicted prostitute with gasoline and burning her to death after she reported that one of them had robbed her.”

A little further down the page:

“Prosecutor George Butterworth said the crime showed "exceptional depravity."”

I’m not trying to make light of a tragic event that has taken place; however, it happened in San Francisco where it would be difficult to define “exceptional depravity”. Yesterday the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held hearings at the Stanford University Law School to determine what constitutes “hate speech” regarding natural family values and homophobic fear. I’m not making this up.

The use of the term “exceptional depravity” might easily be construed to mean that Mr. Butterworth, a representative for the State of California acting in the capacity of prosecutor, does not approve of the alternative lifestyle that prostitutes exhibit. A careful examination of Mr. Butterworth’s religious background, previous statements regarding natural families or unacceptable relationships might be at variance with the progressive or even non existent social code in the San Francisco metropolitan area.

In a country where the right to life has been interpreted in such vagaries as to permit late term abortion and state assisted euthanasia it might be difficult to imagine any particular act committed by an individual or group of individuals as qualifying as “exceptional depravity”. It sounds like Mr. Butterworth might be a radical right wing Christian attempting to impose an ancient and outdated moral code on an advanced society far removed from any such restraints.

I’m certain that the term robbery will eventually show the earned wages that were forcefully taken from one individual and then redistributed clearly intended to mimic the actions of governmental attempts to do exactly the same thing. These individuals were simply advancing the State’s policy of maximizing social burden relief through confiscatory taxation.

The tragedy is that two hard working women of the streets have been castigated by an employee of the State of California intent on imposing his personal beliefs on the rest of society. Case dismissed!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Must be a Blue Moon

Every rare now and again you hear the phrase, “Once in a Blue Moon”, referring to the oddity of such an occurrence. In actuality it means that there will be a full moon twice in a calendar month; but most folks use it when talking about something truly odd; not necessarily having anything to do with the phases of the moon.

Years ago I had a police extra job directing folks into the Memorial Professional Building garage. There were two main entry drives, one for customers to use and the other for doctors and others with VIP status. I’d wave to anyone entering, nothing special, just being friendly.

There was one of the VIP types who drove a brown Lincoln who’d sneer at me when I would wave, as if some sort of class distinction existed which precluded her returning any such familiarity. I’d wave at her anyway and never let it bother me as the years went by. One day she must have forgotten to put starch in her underwear as she accidentally waved back.

I took out my pocket calendar and jotted a quick note in the square for that day. I noticed the woman in the brown Lincoln nearly had a wreck while driving up the ramp to the next floor, all the while trying to see what I was doing in her rear view mirror. A few minutes later she made it a point to confront me, asking; no, demanding to see what I’d written about her. I took out my pocket calendar, doing my best to keep from laughing as a huge smirk took the corners of my smile past respectable.

“She waved back”, was all I’d written. I explained in simple terms, how I’d waved to her for quite some time and that there must be a Blue Moon out for her to have chosen that particular day to wave back. She never forgot to wave from that day on, a lesson on being friendly that hit the mark.

I’ve gone around the long route to explain what a Blue Moon means. In today’s Houston Chronicle I read an op-ed piece by E. J. Dionne Jr. titled, “We can blame ourselves for abortion shuffle in politics” (linked via title bar). I should mention that I instantly related to that woman in the brown Lincoln because I have little if any use for the opinions and articles written by that moron.

I can hear Marshall Sam McCloud’s chastisement from the old television series, “There ya’ go; getting’ all riled up…” I suppose my conservative leanings are so antagonized by most of what E. J. Dionne Jr. writes as to discount nearly anything he has to offer. My apologies for calling him a moron; blithering idiot might sound a tad less offensive. “Now, there ya' go agin’” My dad has his own way of reminding me, “But he always has the nicest things to say about you…”

There must be a Blue Moon out because I actually agreed, at least in part, with what he had to say today. I’ll wash my mouth out with soap later and repent for having said that; but here’s what he said:

“But there is something systematic about the willingness of politicians to adapt their views on abortion to suit the preferences of whatever electorate they are facing at any given time. The reason: Our political system has created strong incentives for candidates to be less than candid about what they really think.”

He went on to explain the conservative view point on abortion with clarity of thought and then the liberal view point on “a woman’s right” with equal clarity followed by his concluding statement:

“But it's easy for me to take this less-than-pure position. I don't have to run in a primary. As for the politicians, we have created a system that encourages many in their ranks to adjust their convictions to their political needs. And then we denounce them.”

There are very few politicians with the courage to state their beliefs and hold to those basics without waffling in order to pander votes. I’m admitting my sophomoric attitude toward one of the dirtiest rackets ever played or entered into. In the back of my mind I see the need for congressmen and senators to ride off into the sunset riding on a white horse; knowing that when they complete the race we need to check for signs of doping or other clandestine operations implemented in order to win the day, how unfortunate.

Okay, EJ, you can mark this day down in your book, “He agreed with me”.

Jet Blue Gets Iced

I read an AP article on the AOL news site where some Jet Blue passengers were forced to remain on the tarmac for up to eleven hours due to winter storm conditions in New York.
“. . . the jam arose as the airline sent outbound flights to the runway - so they could leave immediately if the weather let up - while incoming flights filled up the gates. The problem grew as some equipment used to tow planes away from gates froze to the ground, he said.” (Link provided in title bar)

The thought of having to remain on a stuffy airplane for hours waiting for a chance to either take off or exit the aircraft is an unpleasant thought at best; however, the need to recognize that even in our age of technology, the forces of nature can still find a way to put us in our place. I’d rather be sitting on the ground while the weather pours out her furies than up in the air wishing I were on the ground.

Several years ago I was on my way home to Houston and had a lay over in Atlanta, one that lasted a couple of extra hours. The airplane I was waiting for had been delayed by bad weather on its way from Houston, one of those flights that goes back and forth and must thrill the pilot no end, kind of a human ping pong ball with stripes on his sleeve. Most of the passengers who got off in Atlanta had a pale green pallor; not a good sign, as they hugged and kissed the ground. I might be exaggerating some; suffice to say they were happy to be alive.

It never occurred to me that that same weather system would be crossed on the way back to Houston, no, not once did I think about such a prospect as I took my seat in the back of the plane. I don’t fly all that often, maybe a couple of times a year and that’s more than I would prefer except that it makes it possible to travel great distances in a relatively short period of time. I’m able to force myself during the unpleasantness of flight through small tricks, playing music in my head as a distraction helps to some extent.

Half way to Houston, long after the sun had gone down, the turbulence began to toss the airplane around; not just little dips and throws, this was more like a big roller coaster, the one I never rode after carefully analyzing the odds of heart failure. In between the groans which escaped the shadows from elsewhere in the plane came the special effects part of the show as lightning illuminated the cabin creating a horror film of kaleidoscopic extremes. Several of my fellow passengers lost the ability to control their bodily functions, opting to force the contents of previously held meals into the limited confines of the remaining barf bags; many of which had been used up on the flight before ours.

There is a point at which even the most experienced traveler desires to be on the ground, that issue becomes a bit disconcerting when the pilot joins those ranks and feels compelled to turn the plane around. “Ladies and gentlemen, due to weather conditions in the Houston area which are out of our control we are forced to turn back at this time.” He went on to explain that we would land in New Orleans and wait for a break in the weather. I can only guess; but it seemed that we had been bucking the storm for upwards of two hours and I had to wonder how Lucy was, seeing as how she was supposed to have picked me up several hours earlier.

We got to that point where the flight attendant tells everyone to put their seat backs in the upright position, make sure the tray tables are secured, “We’ll be landing in New Orleans momentarily.” I think most of the passengers had assumed crash position, sort of bent over with their heads tucked low; all that is except one passenger who had managed to sleep through the entire flight.

“New Orleans?” She let out as her ears took in the words, “I got on the wrong airplane!”, her panicked voice repeating her alarm a couple of times in the darkness of the cabin; the wheels made that wonderful sound as they hit the runway below. It was a tonic the rest of us needed as we broke into laughter and forgot all about the flight from hell we’d all been put through. I’m not exaggerating at all; suffice to say we were happy to be alive.

We all got off, stood around the empty New Orleans airport while a special crew came in to clean up and deodorize the cabin. A couple of hours later we managed to limp into Houston, the weather system which had spawned tornadoes around IAH had worn out its welcome and moved on. Lucy had arrived at the airport just as the storm hit and had waited the entire time there in her car protected by the multi level parking garage.

It never occurred to me that the airline owed me anything for having kept me aloft all that extra time, for the delay in New Orleans or the nasty on board experience. I figured that kind of went with the territory. Maybe those folks in New York had a bad time of it, all that snow and ice keeping them pinned down and having to wait on a stuffy airplane. Maybe the airline could have figured out a way to make things happen, maybe not; after all it was a really nasty storm. I’m a little old fashioned and think they should have said “Thank you for keeping us safe and giving us a chance to fly a little later, to live another day.”; but that’s just my opinion.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Timing is important

I caught a glimpse of a “breaking news story” last night as I was getting ready to turn in for the night, something about a lone gunman going postal at the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City. My memory of the Trolley Square Mall is minimal at best; having been there only once, the night before my daughter Jennifer got married.

We decided to eat at a popular place, one I’d never heard of, The Rodizio Grill, a South American themed restaurant where the waiters dressed up like Gauchos. It was a great idea and I was impressed with the variety and quality of meats that they cut and served right there at our table. We had a feast, one that marked a spot on our family’s event list.

This morning I read about the nightmarish event and looked at some images posted on the Foxnews site. There were photographs of panicked citizens, not sure how to react to the carnage which had been brought to their own quiet lives, some shopping, some out for a walk and, no doubt, some out to have a special family meal. There were pictures of police officers going about the business of protecting the citizenry, some in protective gear going through the parking lot, others inside stationed at various positions of deployment.

I saw one picture (linked via title bar) that brought my thoughts into focus, three police officers standing together, one of them holding a shotgun as he peered cautiously down from his location; the large Rodizio Grill neon sign in the background above them.

“For hours after the rampage, police searched stores for scared, shocked shoppers and employees who were hunkered down awaiting a safe escort.”

Timing is important; being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or, in our case, being able to look back and breathe a sigh of relief that we’d been in that same exact location so many years ago and been blessed to have a peaceful family dinner together.

The last line in the article summed up my thoughts, both as a retired police officer who has seen the ugliness in our society and as head of my family, one who desires to shield his family from those dangers.

"We are devastated and shocked by this senseless, random act of violence and tragedy at Trolley Square, owner Tom Bard said in a statement posted on the KSL-TV Web site. "At this time our greatest concern and prayers are with the victims, their families and loved ones."

Friday, February 09, 2007

HPD Guidelines for Unauthorized Beards

I found a set of photographs taken after I’d come back from two weeks in Colorado at the end of a vacation from the Houston Police Department. I was to report back for duty that night and procrastinated shaving off the beard I’d managed to produce in that short time. I trimmed it and took these photographs. You might say these are the HPD guidelines for unauthorized beards which might one day become authorized based on how great my particular beard looked. I did shave off the beard and I will never know how much hot water I’d have been in had I shown up for work that way; however

I was going to link with an article that I’d posted back February 19, 2005; but, try as I might, I couldn’t locate it anywhere in the archives. I found the date it was posted by going through my “posted” files; but the article wasn’t to be found when I went to get the URL link. That got me to wondering how accurate the archive process is and how much I could depend on it when looking for old posts. Rather than go on and on I’ve decided to just add it on here.

Roll Call Inspection

Night shift for the police department was more relaxed than any other shift. That included mandatory inspections, a formality that was nearly non-existent on nights. I can remember officers borrowing hats or nightsticks from officers getting off of evening shift out in the hall just so they’d have the proper equipment for a few minutes. At least it was that way until Sgt. Kennedy transferred in.

Sgt. Kennedy came to us from the other side of the city where it was even more relaxed. His hair was much longer than Department guidelines would allow, even for night shift. It might not have been an issue except that we’d also gotten a new shift commander, Lt. Crawford, who was in every way a product of the “spit and polish” generation.

I was sitting in my regular seat, the center of the back row, while Sgt. Kennedy was reading the nightly bulletins from the podium. Lt. Crawford sauntered into the room and placed himself directly behind Sgt. Kennedy. After all the bulletins had been read and signed Lt. Crawford announced that he’d noticed how SOME officers had strayed from Departmental guidelines in grooming habits and there would be a formal inspection in two days. Lt. Crawford made his announcement, all the while looking at the back of Sgt. Kennedy’s head; not specifically mentioning anyone by name and yet making his point quite clear. It made for a rather awkward moment that would have to be addressed.

My personal grooming habits had not changed much from the days when I was in the academy. I considered my overall appearance satisfactory; possibly exemplary. While preparing the night of the intended inspection I took a good look in the mirror after putting on my uniform. I thought a little mustache wax might add to the general effect. I looked around but could not find any. I rummaged through a drawer and could only find some Halloween make up that had been saved in a zip lock baggie.
There was a container of black mustache “enhancement” base that I concluded would have to suffice. I stroked it liberally into my mustache. I noticed immediately that the black contrasted with my own natural brown pigment; however, it would not wash out and tended to smear rather than come off. Time was running short and rather than panic I decided to have some fun. I was two weeks from retirement, a little mischief might be just the ticket. I dipped the brush into the enhancement base and formed an exquisite “Jerry Colona” style handlebar mustache; painting areas of my face that had never had hair with the thick medium.

“Dad, you’re not going to work with that, are you?”, my son asked as he got a good look.

I made it a point to enter the station via the back door, not wishing any supervisors to see me, at least not until inspection time. If I was going to have some fun, let it run its full course. I motioned for the desk officer to hold his tongue as he gasped.

I found my regular seat as my fellow officers entered the roll call room. I made sure that they would play along. The K-9 unit officer next to me was busy removing dog hair from his trousers until he happened to get a look at my “creation”.

“Hey man, I got nothing to worry about now!”, he blurted out and left the matted dog hair on the other half of his trousers. At ten o’clock Sgt. Kennedy walked in, sporting his new haircut, well within policy. He never looked at anyone while going over the bulletins. He then began assigning each officer to his respective beat, whereupon he had to look at each officer for acknowledgement. “Stern, Five Frank Twenty Six.”, he glanced in my direction reflexively since I normally sat in the same place.

“Oh, shi…..”, was all he could say. He quickly looked down at his clip board; praying that something there would help him. Lt. Crawford had been sitting in the very last chair on the back row, waiting to have formal inspection. Several officers had blocked his line of sight from me; at least until that moment. Lt. Crawford, sensing something amiss, leaned forward and turned in my direction. I was all smiles, silly mustache and all. The entire roll call room exploded in laughter.

“I guess that about takes care of the inspection.”, Lt. Crawford breathed out in a sigh. “Stern, I’d like to see you in my office after roll call.” Sgt. Kennedy swallowed hard as the rumble of laughs settled out. I swallowed to clear my own worries about what I had done, still mildly confident that my two weeks until retirement would count for something.
“Promise me you won’t do this again?”, there was a pleading in Lt. Crawford’s demeanor. He hoped the prank was a one time ordeal.

“You have my word on it, Sir.” It may have been the best thing that could have happened around our station. Lt. Crawford had made his point about following policy without having to be too hard nosed, Sgt. Kennedy was out of the spotlight and able to retain a semblance of dignity and the troops had a good laugh. My only regret; I wish someone had taken a picture.

Legitimate State Interest

I read the hand writing on the wall, a glimpse of our future, in an AP article posted on CNN, “School wants lawsuit over gay discussions dismissed” (linked via title bar).

“Officials from a suburban Massachusetts school district asked a federal judge Wednesday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by two couples who claim their parental rights were violated when homosexuality was discussed in their children's classrooms.”

{. . .}

“John Davis, an attorney for Lexington school officials, argued in court Wednesday that teaching diversity is a "legitimate state interest." He said that it would be "an administrative nightmare" for schools in Massachusetts to try to predict when the topic of gay marriage will come up and to inform parents ahead of time.”

Teaching diversity is a “legitimate state interest”; diversity is everything and nothing because it’s a lie, the idea is to teach something other than what used to be taught. Diversity is teaching children about the religion of evolution under their assertion that evolution is a provable science; but doesn’t include teaching alternative religious theories which might compete with the chosen religion of the state.. Diversity is teaching that we should respect religions of the world such as Islamism or atheism; but refuses to permit any hint of Judaism or Christianity in our schools.

It has become necessary to remove the Judeo/Christian God in order to advance the State as His replacement. Diversity is the mechanism by which deviant lifestyles such as homosexuality or same sex marriage can be shown as something other than deviant while removing moral judgment from the teaching process because it might advance Christian foundations which at one time were a part of the American philosophy, that part of our American background which might be in conflict with the godless agenda.

Teaching diversity is how the state schools implement their socialist agenda, an agenda which eventually destroys the family unit, the foundations of a free society, religion and replaces God with “the State”. Democracy is replaced with pure socialism and communism. I suppose I should be grateful that John Davis was so open about the purpose of our state run public educational system. John, keep talking, I want to hear all about it.

Edited 2/09/07 3:45pm

Stop the ACLU is celebrating a 2nd year anniversary by holding an open trackback weekend. You might stop by and leave a comment to let them know their efforts are valued.

Edited 2/10/07 7:25am

loboinok of Stop the ACLU cross posted on Ogre’s Politics & Views. The article was about folks distributing Bibles on a public sidewalk who were arrested after a school principle called local police.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Don’t you dare honk at us, we’re talking!

I happened to get behind a car with three or four young people during rush hour traffic this past Wednesday. We were on a major artery of traffic, Stuebner-Airline where it crosses FM 1960. The light changed and I could see the young woman in the driver seat was too busy talking to a young man in the passenger seat, too busy to notice that traffic was moving ahead while her vehicle sat idle. I tapped lightly on the horn to catch her attention and the young man in the passenger seat put is arm out the window and flipped me off as the young woman looked in the mirror, as if to say, “Don’t you dare honk at us, we’re talking!”

A couple of intersections down the road I had the misfortune of getting into the left turn directly behind the same vehicle while waiting for the light to change. These young people could be seen chattering away and not paying attention to traffic as the light changed indicating it was safe to turn left. I waited a “three count” before tapping my horn to get their attention; time was running out for a chance to proceed. The young man put his arm out the window and held it with his middle finger extended. “How dare you honk at us, again, while we’re talking; we’ll show you a thing or two!”

Their vehicle made the left turn; but instead of moving along in a normal fashion, they decided to play the blockade game. They moved down the road never going faster than fifteen mile an hour, all the while flipping me off and taunting me to attempt to pass them; knowing that it would not be possible in rush hour traffic. I was happy to see them turn off at the first opportunity; even so, I have to wonder what these young people have been taught.

I must be maturing, at least a little. I was on my way to serve at the temple and refused to sink to their level. In my younger days, like this past Tuesday, there might have been a much different outcome than my waving and smiling at their inappropriate behavior. This is not to say that should they pull that kind of stunt during the rest of the week I might not revert to a more primitive mindset; after all, I’m a work in progress with plenty of room for improvement. A night or two in jail might be worth teaching those little jerks some manners.

(Just as a note: The new Blogger version is acting more than a little strange this evening. The tool bar has no means of changing the style or size of text.)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Apollo 13 Spoof on YouTube

This may be the best spoof of a movie ever made. A big tip of the hat to my daughter Bonnie for sending this to my email. Rated PG-13 ( Two Swear Words )

Monday, February 05, 2007


I saw this article on the Houston Chronicle website this morning, “HPD dog bites man attempting burglary at impound lot” (linked via title bar). In the briefest of summations:

“They found the man hiding in one of the cars, but he refused to exit the vehicle. A canine unit was called in to get the suspect out of the car.”

“The man suffered a dog bite to the arm. He was arrested for trespassing and could face burglary charges.”

I may have shared a similar police incident some time back; one that fits the same mold, it bears repeating, or should that be dogs repeating? I’d been dispatched as a one man unit to an alarm going off on a combination gas station grocery store. One of the windows of an all glass store front had been broken leaving a large enough hole for somebody to enter. I caught a glimpse of movement, a head wearing a ball cap that dropped down as I arrived so I had a K-9 unit check by.

We called inside to advise the suspect that we were about to let the dog go and got no response. The dog picked up on the suspect’s location in a matter of moments and latched onto his shoulder and dragged him out through the hole in the window. We handcuffed the suspect, searched him down, looked at the bruised and torn shoulder area and took him off to jail. Now, if we as police officers had bruised or bitten the suspect’s shoulder we’d have been up in front of the grand jury for violating his rights; but since the K-9 dog had performed his duties within departmental guidelines every thing was hunky dory.

Somewhere there’s a bit of Dirty Harry mentality in all cops, knowing that some small measure of justice had been dispensed prior to the courts slap on the wrist. I was always grateful when a K-9 unit was able to check out the dark corners of a building prior to my having to go in after the bad guys. Give that dog a bone.

Can you say, Passport?

I took notice of an article by Leslie Miller posted on the AOL news site, “States Challenge National Driver's License” (linked via title bar). There was a veiled threat, the big dogs in Washington holding everyone in check, “States will have to comply by May 2008. If they do not, driver's licenses that fall short of Real ID's standards cannot be used to board an airplane or enter a federal building or open some bank accounts.”

I can’t buy into that particular empty threat. There already exists an authorized national identification system; it’s called a Passport. In January it became mandatory to hold a passport upon entering this country, something which should have been done years ago. I see nothing sinister about requiring a passport to enter the United States of America and since the use of airports and flying is of major concern to the safety and security of our citizenry it would seem only a natural extension of thought to include passports as a means of identifying passengers on domestic flights as well.

They better be more specific about opening “some bank accounts”. Maybe they think that an IRA account funnels money to the Irish Republican Army; you know how rotten Republicans are. That part about entering a federal building might have some teeth in it; oh golly gee wiz and Auntie Em I want to go home; give me a break, so I won’t open an office in a federal office building.

The flip side of such an asinine requirement would be how easily it is to forge a passport, to manufacture them in mass quantities; at least that’s what I got from watching the Bourne Identity and the Bourne Supremacy movies. That guy had a passport for every day of the week and they all looked real enough to get him where ever he wanted to go.

We’re back to square one then, liars are going to lie, thieves are going to steal and we keep sending them to Washington where they make our lives more difficult ; what is wrong with us?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Freedom of Speech and The Harm Principle

Originally I started this out as a “brief” explanation to comments I received via email in which the following was stated, “My understanding of freedom of speech is that anyone can speak, print their ideas no matter how offensive and the good news is you can select who to read or listen to (buy from).” I had planned to send my “short” response back as a direct reply, “I see where, “no matter how offensive” was included as part of freedom of speech; you are not alone in that false presumption, so much for brevity of thought.

The topic “Freedom of Speech” is a double edged sword that cuts deeply into the foundations of our society’s and our so called “commonly held” beliefs. It’s a hot topic at every level of our society to include cases which now are in front of the courts. I read recently where one particular “freedom of speech” issue has some long lasting implications.

From CNN’s website Friday February 2, 2007:,4670,ProfanityArrest,00.html

“An officer who arrested a man for cursing in a public meeting violated the man's right to free speech, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's decision that Montrose Township police officer Stephen Robinson had probable cause to arrest Thomas Leonard in 2002 when Leonard cursed while addressing the township board.

"It cannot be seriously contended that any reasonable peace officer, or citizen, for that matter, would believe that mild profanity while peacefully advocating a political position could constitute a criminal act," the three-judge panel wrote in Friday's decision.””

This particular case hinges on the presumption, by an extremely liberal court, that profanity has become common in our society, that it can no longer be considered objectionable and has become acceptable. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could be ranked 2nd only to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in rendering decisions that fly in the face of two hundred years of case law.

Historically it isn’t hard to understand how we have fallen to such a level as to consider profanity or pornography as being anything other than obscene. You might look up the changes that have occurred beginning with
John Stuart Mill's “Harm Principle” (1978) which outlined morality by redefining social norms.

“...the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilis(z)ed community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right...The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”

Our most basic “rights”; the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness as found in the Declaration of Independence are given through powers which belong to God, not government. Our nation was the first to make such a declaration of rights and tie them directly to God while forming a new nation. This followed the Magna Charta and other attempted reformations to existing governments; the idea was not new; however, it was an experiment in self government and novel to the world. The Constitution and Bill of Rights were established to define those God given rights by limiting our government’s ability to infringe upon those rights; not as some claim, to explain those rights which our government has seen fit to permit the individual citizen.

The Harm Principle turned upside down how the law interpreted injury through expression, such as so called freedom of speech, to include any and all expressions regardless of content. Our Supreme Court has fallen into this philosophy and this has become the standard by which solipsism or the destruction of common held interpretation of long standing principles became possible. It creates a society of one in which nothing is dependent on society, one in which reality is decided daily and subject to revision based solely on that individual’s desires or needs; in a nut shell, the end of the rule of law.

I have also written about how absurd it is to presume that God would provide our founding fathers with divine inspiration to pen our most precious documents; The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in order to establish a nation in which pure doctrine could be established and then expect those documents to presuppose that God has included anything in those documents which would or could be in direct conflict with his expressed commandments. (How’s that for a run on sentence?) Men have found ways to rationalize corruption; you might be familiar with the scriptural reference from Isaiah, “Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

The current level of moral decay has gotten us to a point where the law of the land is dependent on whatever the highest court says it is, that being the Supreme Court. I have in the past referred to an article in the Meridian Magazine and an interview with Robert Bork.

Unfortunately the elitist status which has been granted those 9 unelected overseers has created a schism which ought not to exist, that they can determine morality rather than review constitutional law means that they now believe themselves to be above the populous for whom they serve, gods if you will. They have created constitutional rights which do not and never were in the constitution such as the right to privacy, the right to abortion and other current popular notions not found in the document, all in the name of political expediency. Laws which protected morality have come under a constant barrage from the godless; laws which covered profanity, pornography and obscenity have been struck down in the name of “freedom of speech”.

Well, freedom of speech never included the right to offend your neighbor’s ear in public, no different than slapping someone in the face or spitting on them. Such actions have historically been considered a form of assault; that is until recent times. No one will argue that it’s against the law to yell “Fire” in a crowded theater; however, some feel that it is perfectly within the scope of individual freedoms to offend, strike that, to express any manner of profanity as if such expression was acceptable no different than “please” or “thank you”.

My reference to Isaiah stands and such profanities are and should continue to be against the law in public. Granted, most popular movies and television shows would have to be thrown in the trash; but they are only the tip of the ice berg when it comes to how depraved our society has become.

The article to which I voiced my complaint regarding pedophilia being objectionable has to do with a known pervert who continues to prey on the innocents in our society, regardless of the Canadian law which claims that sex with a 14 year old does not constitute any violation of law. His having published a book through a company in direct affiliation with and then having act as his agent to distribute such depravity under the recently acquired rulings that support such deviant behavior as expressions covered by free speech only underscores what I have stated.

The self imposed censorship that should use, that which in former days would have been accepted as reasonable by those who wish to salvage some semblance of morality, has been set aside in order to obtain either notoriety among those with little or no moral foundation or to exact a few more dollars to an already profitable venture. The smut dealers, the hole in the wall outlets which have always existed sell XXX material to the dregs of society, should not and do not represent society as a whole. The fact that a mainstream distribution outlet such as has elected to sink to such levels of depravity, all in the name of freedom of speech or freedom of choice; which I have shown to be nothing but self centered interest in direct opposition to anything which God intended when such freedoms were provided to men.’s policy to provide obscene material on demand stands as a declaration that they have no morals or intent to uphold the standards of the community.

Saturday, February 03, 2007 - Pedophilia is Objectionable

I sent the following letter off to voice my complaint; it explains what I wanted to say.

February 3, 2007
Public Relations Department

Subject: Pedophilia is Objectionable

Dear Sirs;

I came across an article by Glib Fortuna while reading one of my regular blogs, Stop the ACLU, entitled, “Amazon defiantly, unexplainably continues to line pockets of a child molester” (link provided below). In the article was a response to a complaint regarding’s policy to include the work of a pedophile as a regular stock item.

“Thank you for writing to As a retailer, our goal is to provide customers with the broadest selection possible so they can find, discover, and buy any item they might be seeking. That selection includes some items which many people may find objectionable. Therefore, the items offered on our web site represent a wide spectrum of opinions on a variety of topics believes it is censorship not to display certain articles because we believe their message is objectionable.” ( emphasis was added by Glib Fortuna in his article )

I commented that this would fall under self censorship or the right not to do business with scum. It isn’t any different than the publishing house that backed away from OJ’s book, even if that took an angry public to force them into making that happen. The public’s outcry does have significant power. I enjoy the ability to purchase books and other forms of entertainment through the convenience of your site; fact is I made a purchase this past week and am awaiting its arrival.

I’ve never been a multi million dollar company with the ability to do what ever I pleased without regard for the loss of one or two customers, treating even the smallest customer who chooses to do business with me as if he/she were my only customer. I would think that companies which have the benefit of such power as could be more selective in their choice of marketing standards, call it censorship if you will; but you also have an obligation to maintain a minimum level of moral decency to be considered reputable.

Thank you,

T. F. Stern