Friday, March 27, 2009

All the way to the Supreme Court?

Here’s a tip of the cap to for reminding me of a case set to go before the Men in Black; still shaking my head when I read the information supplied. The case going all the way to the Supreme Court has to do with a young school girl having been strip searched because the administration was fearful that she had brought prescription strength ibuprofen to school.

“The New York Times says the case will require Supreme Court justices to consider the "thorny question" of just how much leeway school officials should have in policing zero-tolerance policies for drugs and violence.”


“"But the fact is, whenever they do these strip searches -- in this case to a 13-year-old in the eighth grade -- and literally do a very humiliating body-cavity search, or something akin to that, it seems to cross the line to go into areas where school officials should be regulated by the Constitution," he states.”

Doesn’t this pretty much answer its own questions regarding policies which include the thought process, scratch that; policies which include the lack of a thought process by having Zero Tolerance as the guiding force? I’ll go a step further and ask the question, why has this case gotten all the way to the Supreme Court?

The 9th Circus Court actually ruled properly; the Constitutional rights of the young girl were violated by the school district. The administration refused to accept having been put in their place and have pushed it along with bags and bags of taxpayer money to throw around on ridiculous law suits. These school administrators appear to be blinded by their own lust, perhaps a poorly chosen word under the circumstances; their own cankered and distorted view of authority over those in the prison system they call public schools.

That doesn’t say much about the sanity, integrity or stability of the folks along the way who have heard the many presentations which at one point must have had at least one reference to something once called “common sense” or “legitimacy”. I’d bet their history curriculum doesn’t teach American History, Tea Parties, and certainly nothing about individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Well, dang me for bringing up a dead horse like common sense. I’d forgotten how it was buried years ago; my apologies for even considering that such an approach to real life situations might have avoided this entire incident.

Submitted for your perusal , (You should hear the voice of Rod Serling’s dry invitation to ponder that which is presented through the senses, distorted in time and space accompanied by deep and foreboding background orchestration ) in the stark reality displayed through the purity of a black and white television, a society in which individual liberties have been exchanged for the false promise of perpetual safety. Here is a utopian landscape of the imagination which can only be obtained through total subjugation without regard for compassion, dignity or even legitimacy. This evening’s performance should awaken your faculties of the dangers when thinking is replaced by zero tolerance policies. I give you, “Strip Search”. You are about to enter… The Twighlight Zone .

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Push the Button!

If you like Jackie Chan movies you’ve surely seen the Rush Hour series. There’s one in which the daughter of an influential Chinese dignitary gets kidnapped. The little girl has a vest of explosives rigged to go off, the detonator held by one of the bad guys. When “every thing goes down” and all involved are within range of the blast, her father, the police and all the bad guys too; there is the taunting by the little girl to her captives, “Push the button”. She knew there was nothing to lose by being courageous.

Today’s bad guys are sitting in the House of Representatives and Senate. They are systematically replacing the free market system which made America the most powerful nation in the world, replacing capitalism with socialism. Along with that they are destroying our currency by printing worthless trillions of dollars which will eventually make the dollar worthless. Each and every act shows their contempt for American principles as they ignore the Constitutional protections put in place that would prevent them from doing exactly what they are doing.

At the top of the list of bad guys would be President Barack Obama; following his playbook to install a form of government alien to American thinking. This pack of rats is holding all of America hostage with “crisis” after “crisis”, all the while perverting American foundations which once were protected by the Constitution and Bill of Rights into some form of totalitarian socialism that Comrade Marx would have been proud of.

I was looking for something entirely different in my archive files and happened to glance at an article I posted two years ago, April 2007, How to Murder a Socialist . Please take a moment to read (Okay, that should have given you time to read the other rant.) and then follow my instructions to the letter.

There is an emblem at the top of today’s piece, the now famous Obama campaign button. I want you to print out a copy, then cut it out into a nearly perfect circle; use rounded Kindergarten approved scissors since the only folks hanging with me to this point could only be Republicans, not just Republicans but Conservatives at that, and therefore unable to use sharp pointed scissors. Now place the button on the desk in front of you. “Push the Button! Come on, Push the Button!”

Now, you’ll have to have other buttons held in the ready; God help us if the orderly transfer of power went to that idiot Bidden; because, when his button got pushed, the next President of the United States would be Pelosi. That may be the most terrifying thought I’ve had all day.

I read somewhere, can’t remember how many times the email was sent or how many different folks sent it; but it had to do with how “history had been made by a Black man being elected to the Oval Office”. That wasn’t the focus of the email; it went on to wonder why nobody was making a big deal out of the fact that a brain dead moron was now the Speaker of the House, third in line to the Presidency under our Constitution.

Universal Health Care

No, we don’t need Universal Health Care or what ever the “progressives” wish to call the all inclusive mandated medical coverage for everyone. What we need is to enforce the laws in such a way as to leave health care as a viable and affordable service for citizens who live here legally; that means closing the borders and then finding the illegal aliens and send them packing, that includes the so called “anchor babies”.

Not so long ago I took an ambulance ride, a nine mile trip to the emergency room. The bill for this service was $ 1,100.00, which included my $ 100.00 deductable; insurance paid the rest, paid it without contesting the amount. “Insurance paid the rest” means we all pitched in a portion of our money because that’s how it works; it wasn’t “like, free man”. Why so much; recognizing the advanced equipment and quality personnel who did a fine job of getting me to the hospital alive?

After having seen the bill which came in the mail a month later, I made it a point to call and thank them for doing a great job. I then explained how, in the year prior to my medical emergency, I’d booked round trip air fair from Houston to West Palm Beach, considerably more than the nine mile jaunt to the E/R. “For those living in Rio Linda”, as a well known radio talk show host likes to say, round trip means I took off in Houston, landed in West Palm Beach and on a later date took off from West Palm Beach and returned to Houston. The total bill for the round trip air service, which included a meal in both directions came to right at $ 200.00 because I took advantage of an empty seat which would not have been used had I not filled it at the last minute.

You and I both know the answer; that $ 1,100.00 ambulance bill included many “free” ambulance rides taken by folks who could not pay, many of them illegal aliens. Ambulance companies, much like emergency rooms, are not in a position to turn away those in need and the cost of business must eventually be reckoned with or the next time you call for an ambulance you’ll have to settle for Yellow Cab or maybe the Metro Bus because there won’t be any ambulances left in service.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

“Give me a lever…”

I’ve been taking my time with Horowitz’, Unholy Alliance; it’s not a book written merely to entertain and deserves more than a cursory glance as the pages unfold. The information hits a place in my awareness, something akin to the way the Spirit testifies of the truthfulness of gospel doctrine. I find this interesting since a majority of the arguments given by detractors of America have to do with our being the “Great Satan” of the world, reason enough to destroy anything which is American or which might be attributed to our foundational beliefs.

In Part III of his book, an explanation struck me as more important than others in the book; it quoted Archimedes, the Greek scientist, “Give me a lever and a place to stand on and I will move the world.” In the same paragraph, “The radical Islamist believes that by conquering nations and instituting sharia, he can redeem the world for Allah. The socialist’s faith is in using state power and violent means to eliminate private property and thereby usher in the millennium”.

I see a couple of key words which run counter to my beliefs which center around something called the “agency of man”, not only the general grouping of mankind; but to individuals involved in the process of living out mortality. When groups have to conquer others to institute laws which are highly restrictive to keep the “people in line” such as sharia or violent means to eliminate private (individually owned) property, little red flags start waving.

To be sure, all three forms of government; radical Islam, the socialist/communists and the religious right (Judeo/Christians) are faith based and require a certain adherence of/by its followers. Then it becomes a matter of “choice”, pardon my sense of humor, as to which religion one will align his/herself.

Perhaps the word “choice” isn’t exactly the right word since under radical Islam everyone is subjected to sharia law, the law of Allah their god. The same holds true for the socialist/communists who subject everyone to powers of the State regardless of individual desires since it is all for the good of the collective and individual liberties must always be relinquished in order to progress toward that eventual Utopian State in which all are equally provided for; the State being their god so to speak. In the Judeo/Christian faiths individual’s have Agency or choice, a gift from God, to either progress toward what ever may be obtained, or not progress, which Agency or choice is protected from arbitrary governmental interference through the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

In the United States of America the Constitution and Bill of Rights provide a framework whereby individual Agency is protected as God given rights; these rights are set down in writing and differentiated from government powers or entitlements which may be granted through acts of government. This acknowledgement on the part of a group of men, our Founding Fathers is that all liberties, agency and rights spring from our Creator and not from government. It sets our nation above all the others on the face of the earth. Is it any wonder then, that those who wish to destroy America have made attacks on the Constitution and Bill of Rights a primary target?

Horowitz quotes Marx, “Religious suffering is at one and the time the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of a soulless condition. It is the opium of the oppressed”. We are to believe from this famous quote that, “religious belief is a response to the suffering caused by private property, and a mask that obscures its practical causes. The revolution that removes the cause of this suffering will also remove the religious beliefs it inspires.”

It seems I’m singing to the choir when I say that America is a nation defined and set apart by God Himself for the purpose of showing mankind how it should be done, how it can be done and how it is done. But there are those among us, high ranking individuals who will tell us differently, we have separation of church and state; find it in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights if you can. It’s not there because what we have is a nation founded by wise men who listened to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and followed those promptings when they wrote down our founding documents.

Douglas Callister once wrote, referencing Psalm 53:1 , “The fool proclaims in his heart that there is no God, but our eyes, hands, hearts, and souls unhesitatingly testify to the contrary.” In that same piece of wisdom he later included:

“Our entire perspective of ourselves, our worth, and what we can make of our lives is altered for good when we come to understand that we are God’s children and that we can become like Him.”

The foolish men who deny the workings of our Creator in the formulation of America’s basic documents have never realized who they are, their birthright and the importance of doing all that can be done to make America work the way it was set up to work. Some of these fools do so out of ignorance while others are just rebelling in the same manner which Satan did. They would have everyone be miserable, the same as they are; but since they claim there is no God there is no Satan either, how convenient.

We have been shackled by a term “separation of church and state” to advance the concept that America was never to be thought of in religious terms; a lie from the lips of those who have perverted the statement to leverage, as Archimedes so wisely stated, a place to stand on and move the world. If we buy into the lie, separation of church and state, then we also must buy into another facet of the delusion, that our founding documents were not inspired by our Creator. Those who intend to destroy America must destroy the foundations of our nation by convincing enough of the citizens that our nation is built on sand ( lies) rather than upon the Rock (God). Take that out for a spin and see what happens.

If we give in to the efforts of the socialist/communist movement private property will be done away with, the suffering caused in order to obtain private property will no longer exist and therefore the need for God and the notion of religion will all disappear as figments of diseased minds under stress give way to rational like minded thinking. The State will provide an equal share of wealth to its subjects, why fight the inevitable?

In a perfect world…isn’t that how it goes in the dreamed of Utopia the left promises will be there? In a perfect world everyone will have what they need; but who decides what that level of need is? Better yet, when productivity drops below a level capable of sustaining the needs and desires of so many, where will the wealth come from, the wealth necessary to drive any economy regardless of what you call it? There won’t be enough to go around and the system will eventually collapse like a house of cards.

If radical Islam has its way everyone automatically lives under sharia law and bares the consequences regardless of their individual belief that such laws are just, much less that those enforcing them claim sharia law comes from Allah. Is there really a choice given; totalitarian government through socialism/communism, totalitarian government through radical Islam’s sharia law or the democratic process afforded citizens of the United States of America under God’s protection of individual rights and the Agency of man?

So who is the Great Satan of the world? A short history lesson is required and then you can decide for yourself. Read from the Pearl of Great Price, Moses 4:1-4:

"And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.
2 But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
3 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;
4 And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice. "

Some of you may not wish to accept the words from a book you are not familiar with, try the New Testament, Revelations 12:9

"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."

They both say the same thing; Satan, the father of all lies, wanted to keep mankind from having the God given gift of Agency, the right to chose and for this he was cast out of the presence of God. Agency must therefore be a most treasured gift, one which should be guarded, more than gold, more than silver or any of the riches to be gained; Agency, once lost is gone forever. The socialist/communist movement would have us believe that Agency is a delusion, the product of a diseased mind, a mind so perplexed at having to obtain private property that it created the idea of religion and God so as to ease its pain. If you believe that I have some beach front property in West Texas up for sale; don’t bother with the fine print, just sign on the dotted line and it can be yours.

Radical Islam and the socialist/communist movement would have you believe that America is the Great Satan, reason enough to destroy it from off the face of the planet along with Little Satan, Israel. If it weren’t for America there would be no oppression in the world, only peace and good will among all mankind. Once again, if you believe that I have some beach front property in West Texas up for sale; don’t bother with the fine print, just sign on the dotted line and it can be yours.

What exactly constitutes the definition of Satan, in case my references to scriptures are in error? Is it the land where individuals have Agency to chose the way they distribute their income, to actually own property, to donate to the charities of their own choosing, the land where an individual may join a religion which fits within the scope of his or her beliefs even to the point of having no religion or is it because we are able to lend our military strength to smaller countries which are powerless to oppose totalitarian regimes bent on forcing individuals into slavery conditions and absolute poverty? Which of these definitions of the Great Satan fits the United States of America?

How long are we going to let the anti-Americans among us, those who claim to be Americans but who hate everything America stands for; how long are we going to let them deride and destroy that which is sacred, our Constitution and our Bill of Rights? Yes, I said sacred, as in from Above; turning to the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, section 101:

"According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;
78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.
80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood."

On a daily basis our House of Representatives and Senate, our Judiciary and Executive Branch knowingly violate the very foundations of America. These traitors to liberty continue to trample over their oaths of office to uphold the Constitution and do so with impunity. Are we to let them grab powers never intended to be wielded by elected representatives of a free nation, a liberty loving people without reminding them that they were put in office to serve us not for us to serve them?

I’m tired of the bad taste in my mouth each time I hear these usurpers, these liars and thieves explain how one socialist program after another is supposed to heal the broken dreams of America. The dream that is America works, it has been proven to work if we would only use the framework originally provided and quite trying to make us a third world totalitarian state in which everyone becomes enslaved equally to the burdens placed on them by elitists who have no intention of relinquishing their elevated positions to the proletariat.


Yea, I know; that looks a bit off, and I did it for a reason. The classic definition of pariah would indicate a person in exile or someone to be avoided; perhaps the character from Lil Abner, the one with the black cloud and lightning following him where ever he went would fall into the category.

One fun movie to watch is Pure Luck with Martin Short playing an unlucky soul who learns to live with it; just don’t stand too close or it might rub off. There really are people who have incredibly bad issues to deal with.

I read where a fellow in Japan is the only certified survivor of both Atomic bombs during WWII. I was a member of the science club back in high school; but how many folks would hold up a hand signifying they were Atomic bomb survivors, much less double dippers?

“Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on a business trip on Aug. 6, 1945, when a U.S. B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on the city. He suffered serious burns to his upper body and spent the night in the city. He then returned to his hometown of Nagasaki just in time for the second attack, city officials said.”

This is the kind of stuff Sci-Fi is made of, poor quality faded color films made in Japan showing cardboard cities, model railroad track with toy trains zipping towards the ocean with a backdrop of mountains painted on a sheet of canvass. There are at least two American scientists to aid the research team who stumbled upon the “monster” while drilling into the deepest regions in search of renewable energy supplied by the molten core.

At some point in the movie, in case you’re wondering where all this was going, a voice from the past reminds everyone of the horrors of war as “grandfather” speaks to the ever present newspaper and local news station announcer; usually grandfather is blind, in a wheel chair or sitting in an old folks home set aside for WWII survivors missing arms, legs and skin worthy of the poor color film. His voice carries a hushed story of the day he lost his wife and pet goldfish as their house erupted in flames leaving him the way he is today.

Then the camera shows the ground cracking and the wing tip of Rodan, Godzilla or Mothra; panic strikes and hundreds if not thousands of citizens attempt to flee the city into the pastoral refuge of the nearby hills. Some get stepped on, others incinerated by the radiation blasting from the beast's mouth and the never ending tragedy of war is presented for our entertainment. Eventually science wins the day; but it is only a temporary victory since man has forever altered the natural environment when he unleashed the atomic virus on what lies below.
(Photograph is of a Hydrogen blast off the Bikini Atoll)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Presently Reading - Unholy Alliance

A couple of books I’d ordered earlier in the month arrived this afternoon. I’ve plunged into David Horowitz’ book, Unholy Alliance; subtitled, Radical Islam and the American Left. My understanding of the folks who have aligned themselves with our enemies, my opinion or call it what you will, these folks should be classified as Anti-Americans; calling them the American Left elevates them to a level they don’t deserve.

This is when the battle cry, “McCarthyism” is shouted by the unhappy throng of protestors who heard about my comment while attending a symposium at Columbia. One and a two and a three, “McCarthyism”; the only way these intellectuals can silence the truth is to shout it down, “McCarthyism”; this is just another witch hunt so the capitalist pig war mongers can drop bombs on innocent sheep tenders.

The book will do one of two things for anyone reading it. Those who understand what America stands for will get angry; agreeing with the content. Those who hate what America stands for will get angry for being shown for exactly what they are, enemies of freedom willing to destroy the only nation which supports their freedom to belly ache and moan about how bad our country is.

I’ve an associate who stops by occasionally to put me to task. One of the lines drawn in the sand which bothers this person can be found at the opening page of Part One: A Defining Moment.

“Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” - President George W. Bush, September 20, 2001

That having been said; I’ll restate what I started with, “My understanding of the folks who have aligned themselves with our enemies, my opinion or call it what you will, these folks should be classified as Anti-Americans; calling them the American Left elevates them to a level they don’t deserve.”

Now I can go finish the book; don’t bother me for a few hours.

Find at Least 6 Differences

I don’t know how many of you read the funny paper each day; there’s one in which two seemingly identical pictures are placed one above the other, the challenge being to find at least 6 alterations or differences. Here’s the one from today’s Houston Chronicle; have fun. Before my eyes started getting older the challenge was a little easier; now I find myself lifting my glasses slightly to raise that portion at the very bottom of the lens where the magnification is maxed out.

With all that’s been going on around us, I wondered what kind of a drawing I could come up with to bring into focus the alterations or differences I’ve observed in the workings of America over the past 50 plus years. I’ll have to work on this one; but here would be some of the items which could be used:

American Flag with 48 stars changed to 50; or the ever popular 57.
American Flag flying in the breeze from a flag pole changed to one on the ground being set on fire or stepped on.
Picture of Constitution hanging on wall changed to empty picture frame.
Bill of Rights hanging on wall changed to shredded document on the floor.
White President in the White House lying to the public changed to Black President in White House lying to the public.
Official Seal of the President of the United States changed to the “One’s Seal”.
Dollar bills with the words Silver Certificate printed on them changed to reflect fiat money.
Sign next to a gas station showing price per gallon $1.29 changed to $3.99.
Oil well pumping on a hill missing in the updated picture.
A large airplane off in the background flying over with Continental Airline logo on its tail changed to a military aircraft with a Hammer and Sickle on the tail.
A line of folks waiting to get into a department store changes to folks waiting in the unemployment line.
A factory with smoke stacks in operation the gates open with signs of production changed to locked gates and no smoke to indicate a closed factory.

These just came off the top of my head; the list could go on and on with a little effort. I’d like to see what some of you come up with.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Don’t Make Keys for Dumpsters

I got a call late yesterday, a referral from one of my regular customers, to make a set of keys for a 1985 Buick Regal. The car business has been slow and it would be nice to have a job lined up early. This morning I drove over and gave it a quick look while one of the employees explained how they wanted to make a total restoration from the base layer of paint on up; but first they needed a key.

The seats had been unbolted and formed a heap in the center of what used to be a car, the rest was discarded lumber, drywall material, straw and spider webs. I explained that he should have told me over the phone that I’d be making a key to a dumpster and saved us both a wasted trip, “I don’t make keys to trash cans or dumpsters.”

“What do we do now; we still need a set of keys?” I pointed out where the steering column had been broken by thieves at one time, patched over with a piece of aluminum covering material and the after market quick release steering wheel that had been slightly crumpled in some long forgotten traffic accident from years ago.

I went over their dream of a total restoration and suggested they toss out the damaged steering column in favor of one in better shape from a junk yard, one that would come with a set of keys to the ignition switch and in that way avoid having to make keys. They’d already expressed how the total transformation would include getting rid of door locks and handles; sleek and activated electrically by a remote keypad.

As I got in my truck to drive away I made a final suggestion, one which flew past their ability to digest. “Why don’t you get some gasoline and a box of matches, set it on fire and from the ashes it will be reborn and you can call it a Phoenix.” I know; that was a waste of time; but it seemed like a good fit.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mesmerized Was A Really Bad Movie

Lucy brought home some “cheap” movies the other day from the grocery store’s mark down table; twenty five cents each and I think we over paid at that price. I watched the first one this evening when I figured out there wasn’t anything worth watching on the cable channels either.

Jodi Foster and John Lithgow, if you happen across this short article I have a proposition for you, a “deal you can’t refuse”; that large lump under the covers might be your favorite race horse’s head. Each of you send me a crisp twenty dollar bill, “no more no less”, as Alfred Doolittle would have said, and the DVD gets nuked in the microwave.

This isn’t blackmail, at least not in the normal sense; this is a professional courtesy presented to folks who have climbed high in their field as actors and would prefer to have some of their earlier miserable attempts forgotten, destroyed or otherwise removed from the public domain.

The alternative would be for me to crank up the DVD copier and start mailing free copies to movie critics who might not be as generous. The only reason I watched it to the end was so I’d know for sure I’d seen it and would never be tempted to watch it some night when the cable went out.

I have folks who stop by my blog, evolutionists, who claim we all climbed out of the slim way back when. They would say the only reason apes evolved into humans was so their opposing thumbs could be aimed down for this movie.

Stephen over at Hold the Mayo has t-shirts and bumper stickers that say, Socialism Sucks . If he’d seen this movie there’d be someone up all night printing new t-shirts and bumper stickers, “Mesmerized Sucks almost as bad as Socialism”.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sometimes you throw the book away

I read in the Houston Chronicle where a DUI crackdown landed the groom in jail on the night his wedding as he left his own reception. Last time I looked, “Up against the wall and spread ‘em”, wasn’t part of the wedding ceremony.

“…a family friend who has known Puckett for 10 years, said he strongly believes the law should be enforced, but that in this case the police displayed a lack of discretion toward the couple.”

The problem with some police officers is they never road with a seasoned veteran in their training phase, one who could teach them how to show discretion while at the same time enforcing the law. I’m not saying the officers did anything wrong; please don’t misread what I’m saying; from what the report showed the letter of the law was enforced.

I had a senior officer explain an interesting perspective on law enforcement the first month or so I was wearing a blue uniform for the Houston Police Department. I couldn’t tell you his name; but what he said stayed with me the whole twenty years I was on the street.

“If you stop someone for a traffic violation and they hand you a valid driver’s license which happens to alert you to the fact that it’s their birthday; wish them a happy birthday and let them go on their way with a simple warning.” That was the first part of the rule; one which sounded fairly innocuous.

“If you stop someone for a traffic violation and they give you an excuse, one which you have never heard before and regardless of whether or not you believe it to be truthful; let them go on their way with a simple warning too.” How’s that for a neat change of pace?

I know I’ve shared this before; here it is again for those who may have missed it. I had a call; actually I was dispatched several times in one night to the same apartment project regarding a loud party disturbing the neighbors. The first time I showed up I warned the parties involved to turn down the music as it was in violation. The second and third times I had to be more than a little inventive; I failed to mention that this was a wedding party and instead of renting a hall these folks had a boom box and several vacant parking places to use as a dance floor.

Instead of writing tickets or hauling anyone off to jail I reached into my wallet and pulled out a $ 5 dollar bill, walked over to the bride and pinned it on her wedding dress. I asked the mother, sitting there with great concern as the “law” had shown up, if it would be permissible to have a dance with her daughter to celebrate the wedding.

After the dance was over I explained that due to the hour of night the music would have to be turned down, opening my wallet to show I had no more money to buy some time for the party. Enforcing the law requires more than a ticket book and a jail; there are time when you have to throw the book away.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

They Got It Right and They Got it Wrong

One of my favorite movies has to be Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye explaining his thought process at every turn, “On the one hand…and on the other…then again…, all the while the camera somehow removes him from the situation visually as if to stop time. In this morning’s Houston Chronicle Mike Tolson has an interesting insight as to how the criminal justice system handles very minute details, Appeals court grants new trial for condemned Houston man .

On the one hand, according to the article, the suspect admitted everything necessary for a conviction and yet; on the other hand, the second part of the process, the punishment phase may or may not have had a significant legal blunder, one which gave the defense and the convicted murderer a chance to “beat the rap”. “If I were a rich man, a divvy, divvy, divvy do; all day long I’d…”

“(District Judge Jim) Wallace and another judge, Lon Harper, split pre-trial duties before the start of Haynes’ 1999 capital murder trial in the death of police Sgt. Kent Kincaid, with Harper presiding over the voir dire process in which potential jurors are questioned individually by prosecutors and defense attorneys.”

The first part of setting up grounds for a retrial, does State law provides for such a split; can one judge hear the pre-trial voir dire process, knowing that a different judge will be in attendance for the rest of the judicial proceedings? I am not given the answer, at least not from previous experience and not entirely through the information in today’s story; however, logic tells me the answer. The State Court of Appeals, mentioned as part of the justice system having heard the appeal, did not toss out the original findings of the District Court. A division of duties between judges, one only hearing voir dire, presumably to insure that important process is handled within the framework of our laws, is within the accepted day to day operations of the justice system.

“But the 5th Circuit panel said there was no way for Wallace or state appeals courts to determine from the printed trial record whether the defense objections had merit. And because Wallace had not witnessed the questioning, his ruling cannot be given the deference it normally would, the panel said.”

“It is clearly established that the cold record cannot accurately reveal the demeanor of live trial participants,” the opinion stated. “We cannot correspondingly apply . . . deference to the state court, because the state courts engaged in pure appellate fact-finding for an issue that turns entirely on demeanor.”

Here’s where the 5th Circuit panel got it right and wrong, both at the same time. In their reasoning they pointed to the “cold record” and correctly state that such a “cold record cannot accurately reveal the demeanor of live trial participants”.

What they neglect to include in their reasoning was how Judge Lon Harper had observed and could reveal the demeanor of live trial participants; the records were not “cold” and therefore should have had no sway in the 5th Circuit order for a retrial. Judge Harper observed and insured equal, impartial and accepted voir dire proceedings as part of his lawful duties; at the first sign of any deviance from accepted lawful proceedings he would have, by law, been required to halt the trial and start the entire process over.

The 5th Circuit has re-written a long established and accepted portion of human conduct within the frame work of the criminal justice system which, at one time provided a reasonable amount of weight for human observation by officers of the court, to include judges, who are well aware of each aspect of their duties. Had the 5th Circuit stated in their review that either judge had not been alert or carried out their individual duties, then and only then would this case have had merit. (Grammar check keeps insisting I put a question mark after the word “merit”; oh well…)

For anyone looking at the old adage, “Better a guilty person be let go than an innocent man be imprisoned”, then look elsewhere. This particular convicted felon never at anytime denied his involvement; he and he alone shot and killed a police officer. The impaneled jury which heard the evidence and determined the penalty phase came up with a verdict based on what they determined to be valid observations. The only issue the defense claimed was worthy of a retrial was a technical issue, an incorrect technical issue at that. Sorry, 5th Circuit, you got it wrong in the long run.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Diurnal and Plagiarism

What are the odds of those two words, Diurnal and Plagiarism, showing up in the same sentence much less as the title of an article? Going through the comic strips this evening I ran across one of my regular reads, Funky Winkerbean. The teacher pointed out how one of the students had used a word in a paper he’d turned in; but apparently had no idea what the word meant.

There’s a strong possibility the student plagiarized someone else’s work; never mind that the student happens to be a comic strip character. Plagiarism is the act of including someone else’s creative writing within the body of your own work without properly acknowledging the original source; in short, it’s the same as stealing.

Teachers have tools at their disposal which are able to detect “borrowed work”. One simple way, as shown in the comic strip, would be to recognize the student’s inability to explain what had been written by virtue of the level of vocabulary or sentence structure. The internet has provided additional tools which are able to instantly compare previously acknowledged works and spot duplications or modest alterations of some other author’s original work. The solution being self evident, document and annotate any and all borrowed work and avoid the appearance of impropriety.

“A little bird whispered in my ear”, forgive the old worn out excuse line; but in a delicate and on going situation it sometimes is wise to pretend ignorance of facts, anyway, “A little bird whispered in my ear”, about a reversal of sorts in regards to plagiarism. Rather than a student being “caught red handed”, in this instance it was the other way around.

There was a serious paper turned in by a doctoral student a year or so back which somehow was copied by folks in a position to take advantage of the student’s article. The interesting part occurred by pure chance when the doctoral student attended a lecture only to find her paper being presented by those giving the lecture, almost verbatim; without any acknowledgement or annotation as to the true author of the work. I’m sure there had to be a proper explanation; but as most students will agree, “The dog ate mine”, won’t float.

In case you’re wondering, Diurnal: Active in the daytime; in zoology it has to do with animals which are active during the day, as opposed to nocturnal creatures. In botany it describes flowers that open during the day and close at night. Another meaning of Diurnal: The book of worship in the Roman Catholic Church, a book containing the material for daily prayers and worship.

How unfortunate; the folks holding students to an honor code lack the integrity and character they presumably are attempting to instill. All I can say for the thieves who stole a creative piece of writing from a student; hope you say your daily prayers and obtain some measure of forgiveness, after you complete the process of repentence.

NASA Photograph of Gulf Coast?

Sorry to disappoint you; no, that’s not a photograph taken from the orbiting space station of the Gulf Coast or any other coast for that matter. I just walked out to the foot of my driveway after a short cloud burst collected a sampling of tree pollen.

With any luck the weather system which is supposed to move through the Houston area later today and into tomorrow will not only bring the temperatures down a bit; but will bring us some much needed rain. It could be worse; those imbeciles in Washington might pass the pork spending bill and send it off to Obama to sign; sorry, too late.

American Tune

I’m not sure what was going on in Paul Simon’s mind at the time he put this song to music. I’ve been told the tune goes back to Germany, even Bach; but that doesn’t quite explain how it turned into an “American Tune”. I do find it interesting for the information and feelings associated with the tune to work in today’s landscape, even more so than for what ever purpose might have existed, real or imagined, when Paul felt the urge to express these thoughts.

I do know this, while leaving a comment to David’s article,
Trenchant Observation , this morning, the verses came to mind and wouldn’t let me alone.

For we lived so well so long

Still, when I think of the
Road were traveling on
I wonder what’s gone wrong
I cant help it, I wonder what’s gone wrong

American Tune
Words & music by Paul Simon

Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I’m alright, I’m alright
I’m just weary to my bones
Still, you don’t expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far a-way from home, so far away from home

I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
Or driven to its knees
Oh, but its alright, its alright
For we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the
Road were traveling on
I wonder what’s gone wrong
I cant help it, I wonder what’s gone wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The statue of liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying

We come on the ship they call the mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the a-ges most uncertain hours
And sing an American tune
Oh, and its alright, its alright, its alright
You can’t be forever blessed
Still, tomorrows going to be another working day
And I’m trying to get some rest
That’s all I’m trying to get some rest

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

HBO’s Big Love Temple Scene

I understand the lack of respect for anything religious in nature coming from those who produce and provide so called entertainment on most cable channels, to include HBO. If Hollywood had its way; well, let’s not go there, haven’t got enough hours in the day.

I am aware of a show, Big Love, which, under the thin veil of entertainment, portrays a polygamous family. That show being on the air as entertainment is marginally acceptable; however, and that which is not excusable is the lack of respect for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by including within the show ( to be aired Sunday March 15,2009) scenes depicting sacred temple ordinances. (photo credit: iStockphoto and borrowed from Meridian Magazines website)

“Certainly one of the hallmarks of a civilized society is that we grant others the opportunity to reverence their beliefs. If a group or individual holds something as sacred, an advanced and compassionate society gives them that privilege and does not seek to desecrate it… HBO has violated that critical idea and the LDS Church with their unseemly depiction. If you choose to send a letter to HBO, make sure it is dignified and reasonable, and note the counsel of the Church given here”

I am told the information used to recreate these sacred ordinance scenes along with the set designs to simulate the ordinance rooms within a working LDS temple, this information was obtained from a former member of the LDS Church, who left the LDS Church with an ax to grind and who does not hold these ordinances sacred. Even with that in mind, what lapse of respect on the part of HBO would lend a reasonable entertainment company to believe that airing such material would be acceptable in any light?

HBO has lowered, yet again, the minimum standards for the entertainment industry and those involved in the production and distribution of the show, Big Love, owe an apology to each and every member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the entire community for trampling that which is sacred, regardless of which religious institution has been abused.

Connecticut No Longer Recognizes 1st Amendment

Well, perhaps the title should have been directed to a couple of folks rather than the entire state of Connecticut, more precisely, Senator Andrew McDonald and Representative Michael Lawlor no longer recognize the 1st Amendment. I want to acknowledge and give a tip of the cap to Cassy Fiano, one of the many fine bloggers at Stop the ACLU, for her article posted yesterday, Connecticut looking to regulate the Catholic Church? .

I was going to write this blog last night when I ran across it; but wanted to be awake rather than half asleep. I did manage to send off some email letters to the offending government representatives, which I will include a little further down.

“The Lawlor-and-McDonald-controlled Judiciary Committee has introduced
Raised Bill 1098, a bill aimed specifically at the Catholic Church, which would remove the authority of the bishop and pastor over individual parishes and put a board of laymen in their place.”

I want that to sink in for a moment or so, these government representatives want to alter the ways in which a church goes about self governance and organization. Does that throw up a red flag, anyone; is anyone at all paying attention out there? Please read the entire linked article over at Stop the ACLU, it should make your blood boil.

Here’s a challenge for you; write these “wonderful” government representatives a letter and get it out to them. Then let someone in the Catholic Church know you care as well. I sent a complimentary copy of the below letter to Thomas Peters, , who is part of the Catholic Church up there in Connecticut and who is working to stop this piece of legislation.

Senator Andrew McDonald; ( )

Perhaps Bill 1098 would have been something worthy of approval in some other country, say Russia; however, this is the USA and we have a constitution and a bill of rights which were put in place to protect the citizenry from tyrants such as you and Representative Michael Lawlor. ( )

There is even more to Bill 1098 than simply imposing the will of the state on any religious organization they chose, the Catholic Church being in their target today. This same imposed state meddling could as easily be used to target corporations, small businesses or even families if you think about it.

If the state doesn’t like the way a particular board of trustees has been organized for a corporate giant then theoretically, under this same brazen usurpation of power, the state could alter that board to one more in line with what ever agenda is being pushed forward, regardless of the desires of stockholders, profitability or internal operations.

Take that same usurpation of power and apply it to the family unit and the state takes the place of parents in making decisions such as going to school, church attendance and social rules of engagement to include sexual relations which may or may not meet with the standards of the family.

This legislation must be quashed and then buried so far as to make sure the stink of it never reaches out for a second chance of life. Perhaps a public hanging of the bills sponsors would serve as a reminder, “Don’t tread on me”!

T F Stern
Houston, Texas

Don't bother coming down here to explain why you want to destroy God given rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, the smell has already preceded you. Stay up in Connecticut and pray I don’t come up there.

The G Spot of all G Spots

No, this not going to be “R” rated, unless the “R” stands for religious. FoxNews wants us all to know we all have a “God Spot” according to a report published in the U.S. Journal of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Jordan Grafman and his colleagues.

“A team of U.S. researchers has obtained strong evidence that religiosity is managed by the same parts of the brain that are used every day to interpret other people’s moods and intentions and to analyze experiences.”

“Moreover, the spots exist in the brains of ordinary people, not just those whose extraordinary religious experiences have been triggered by brain injury or neurological conditions like epilepsy.”

Did you catch that interesting twist which puts religious experiences and brain injury together? This would explain how the “progressives”, call them the liberal left, the godless or whatever; this is how they view the poor unfortunate souls who have to live with the burden of religious disease. You think I’m going off on one of my sarcastic rants; well, not so this time.

“Britain's controversial evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins contends that religion is essentially a cultural virus, spread from brain to brain.”

A little further down this news article I found other tid bits which would fit with the over all assumption that folks with religion might be suffering from delusions rather than actual experiences with deity.

“According to University of NSW evolutionary biologist Rob Brooks, the study shows that religion taps into existing parts of the brain that evolved to handle complex social interactions.”

“"It exploits existing parts of our brain," Associate Professor Brooks suggested.”

The choice of the word “exploits” in the sentence, “It exploits existing parts of our brain,”, exploits? Which meaning of exploit; to take selfish or unfair advantage or a person or situation, usually for personal gain or to simply use or develop something in order to gain a benefit?

Words have colors or hues attached to them, either by design or subconsciously fixed through years of casual association. Personally, the word exploit connotes something less than honorable, devious or even pernicious; then again I’m one of those brain damaged souls who believe in God and this is only my defensive reaction to what I perceive as an attack on the crutch used to maintain my sorry excuse of existence. I expect to fall down on the floor in uncontrollable jerking fits any moment; quick call a scientist to absolve me from the sins I’ve committed.
I came up with my own “conspiracy theory” after reading the articles. Use of the word “evolution” was laced throughout; a regular diet of phrases such as, “the brain’s evolution” or the “brain evolved” sort of makes you come to the conclusion that the information might have been slanted, at least to some degree by folks who support evolutionary theory and just might have a rigid attitude against anything associated with Intelligent Design , God or Religion. Remember that line, “…religion is essentially a cultural virus, spread from brain to brain.”; biologist Richard Dawkins isn’t by himself and has a whole bunch of similar thinking folks in his corner.

This scientific fact finding study on the brain which had to do with religion was conducted by a portion of society which does not believe in God and thinks religion is essentially a cultural virus; wouldn’t that seem rather pre-destined to a particular outcome? Forgive the use of the word pre-destined as such terms tend to annoy clear thinking scientific folks. “Okay, we got that paper out of the way; let’s move on to something worthy of our efforts. How about spending gobs and gobs of the taxpayer’s money on a new study, “the sexual habits of flat worms”? It will be much more satisfying and take at least 5 years to complete. We should all have enough to retire by then.”

How's this for a thought; scientific findings or results will match the theory regardless of the lack of scientific methods used to obtain them; isn’t that how “modern scientific consensus” works? This abuse of real science, having been switched with its evil twin, the one called “scientific consensus” gets a rubber stamp of approval by the progressives, or more accurately, the godless who would have everyone drink their Kool-aid.

Evolutionism is not science; it more closely falls into the category of a religion complete with Priests, Bishops and High Priests. So why were Priests from the religion of Evolutionism doing the brain study when it more properly should have been some other religious order, say Lutherans or Episcopalian Priests dressed in fancy white lab coats? It would seem more probable that the Lutherans or Episcopalians would recognize the God Spot; are we having fun yet?

These are the same reasons why the religion of Global Warming is able to survive in spite of the shabby so called scientific studies and intentional distortion of data used to further their agenda, one which either inhibits industrial growth in the free market system or which destroys it entirely. The High Priest of Global Warming, Algore, has decreed and handed down the tablets; I think Carbon Footprint was listed as the second violation of the 10, right after Greenhouse Gas.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Courage and Resolve

These two closely related words, Courage and Resolve, came up over the weekend and then again this afternoon. I’ll work backwards, something I used to do when working traffic, backing up with the flow of traffic as large trucks hid smaller vehicles from view in the middle of rush hour traffic, cars which might jut out to get from behind a large truck and run me over while directing traffic if I didn’t pay attention.

This afternoon I checked in on
Angel’s blog where she’d posted about Israel’s tennis victory over in Sweden. The real story had nothing to do with tennis; but with the courage to attend where so much resentment had been thrown their way, not only from the Muslims who stood outside where the tennis match was being held; but as shown through the cowardice of the host city and the way things were handled. Go read the article and see for yourself.

Continuing to move backwards, paying attention to details along the way, was something I heard in a talk given at church on Sunday by a friend of mine. The talk was centered around prayer; but, I heard one sentence and that made all the difference, that which struck a nerve. He used the word “resolution” and then tossed in, “Many of you will make a resolution today, some of you might even keep that resolution as far away as tomorrow”, close enough since I’m not a stenographer.

I heard the hint of frustration; his words trailed off as they escaped his mouth, his knowledge that a good portion of those hearing his words would not act upon them, and even if they did, their actions would only be a token acceptance rather than become long term habits. Resolve is more than a word in our vocabulary; it should be part of our character. I knew right away what he was referring to was applicable to other aspects of life here in America, important character traits which at one time were prevalent and for one reason or another seemed less important.

Lots of folks make New Year’s Resolutions, pie in the sky promises to themselves which last all of a week or a month; “I’m going to keep a journal”, “I’m going to eat a proper diet”, “I’m going to read the scriptures daily” and the list goes on for as many improvements as can be implemented. The trouble with “resolutions”, at least for most people would be the lack of understanding; they have no resolve, no discipline or integrity of character and so what they really meant to say, instead of having a New Year’s Resolution was they had a Wish, a kin to winning the lottery and about the same odds.

If you go back and study our founding documents, the words resolve and courage are woven directly into the fabric of our nation. With resolve our nation was formed and with great courage to back up that resolve was our independence obtained and kept. For those not paying attention we fought for independence twice; the first time we won and Cornwallis surrendered and then again in the War of 1812 we proved we could keep them at bay.

You should know by now that the battle for freedom and liberty is a never ending process, one which must be taken seriously for there are many who would deny us the temporary victories of the past at a moments notice. I wasn’t around on
December 7th, 1941 to hear President Roosevelt’s declaration; but it’s available through the miracle of the internet if you wanted to both hear and read it.

“No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.”

President Roosevelt could have just as easily said, “This day we resolve…” instead of, “No matter how long it may take us…”, a statement of our determination as a country of like minded individuals with a righteous cause, that of liberty and freedom from fear, freedom from cowardly attacks on our soil. Years after the speech was given, even now, these words of common indignation toward our enemy are thought of in high regard, as they should be.

I did listen with a somber spirit on
September 20, 2001 when President Bush spoke to the nation and the rest of the world in response to an attack on our soil by terrorists, those who have declared without reservation their desire to destroy our nation and way of life.

“Our grief has turned to anger and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.”


“But our resolve must not pass. Each of us will remember what happened that day and to whom it happened. We will remember the moment the news came, where we were and what we were doing.”

Go back and read the whole of it, “{…}” hardly does it justice. Try to remember how your head nodded affirmatively as we silently agreed to the resolve mentioned, to hold on to the required resolve until justice had been taken to our enemies. I find it interesting, if not beyond the pale, for the traitors living among us and enjoying our freedoms to speak carelessly and with insulting derision toward former President Bush and the resolutions which should remain a common goal, that of bringing the terrorists to justice.

Isn’t it sad how many of us have lost that resolve in a relatively short period of time; not because there wasn’t sufficient reason, simply because so many lack the necessary character to qualify as Americans due to a lack of courage and self discipline. I keep a reminder of the 911 attack on the sidebar of my blog; it wasn’t a bad dream and waking up each day doesn’t make it go away, the image doesn’t fade, nor should it ever. Those who would destroy America through terrorist acts are still out there and what are we doing to bring them to justice?

“Wouldn’t it be nice if…, fill in the blank”; that’s not resolve, that’s wishing. The terrorists we wanted to bring to justice eight years ago are laughing at us today and will one day shake us to our very foundations if we don’t show some backbone, some courage and resolve to do that which we know should be done.

Being politically correct, not making the rest of the world angry for standing up for what is right will not stop our enemies from advancing against us. Those who cave into bullies invite continued bullying; only from then on not only is there a taste of blood in your mouth but the taste of cowardice to wash it down.

We now have a president who has decided to close Gitmo, turned a blind eye to justice and let one of the terrorists responsible for blowing up the USS Cole go, wants to hold serious peace talks with agents of the terrorist nations harboring the very people who have vowed to annihilate us and to top that off has invited the dregs of Gaza to have a safe haven here in America.

We resolve this day not to resolve anything any more, and we will stand by this resolution!

I’ll Be Running 4 Years From Now

If you just fell off the turnip truck you might have missed a news article which explained that President Obama signed off on an executive order to overturn the Bush executive order banning the use of taxpayer dollars use in Embryonic Stem Cell Research.

The New York Times had a short explanatory article with the following paragraph; but you can be sure most any media outlet has a similar story.

“The ban, known as the Dickey-Wicker amendment, first became law in 1996, and has been renewed by Congress every year since. It specifically bans the use of tax dollars to create human embryos — a practice that is routine in private fertility clinics — or for research in which embryos are destroyed, discarded or knowingly subjected to risk of injury.”

Obama has stated that his administration “make clear that the government intends to support” the use of taxpayer dollars in Embryonic Stem Cell Research; the difference between the Bush administration and the Obama administration being the use of taxpayer dollars in what many consider a very hot topic and which is just as volatile as the abortion issue.

While driving down the road in between jobs and listening to the news I got to hear the interview; you know the one that had to be coming, the one showing the Bush folks as heartless for having kept researchers from discovering the miracle cure for damaged nerves that kept her paralyzed.

“Obama’s signature today means I’ll be up and back to running four years from now!” I’m not making this up, that’s what I heard in the interview. Never mind the private sector has been doing embryonic stem cell research all this time; the Bush executive order kept taxpayer dollars from being spent, not the research from being done.

I’d bet the same woman who said, “Obama’s signature today means I’ll be up and back to running four years from now!”, lives down the street from the woman who thinks she’ll never have to worry about buying gasoline since the “O” got elected and down the street from that woman lives yet another who thinks the “One” is going to furnish that free house with all new appliances and a new bathroom. All this can be done with a signature from Obama; just think what he can do for sexually transmitted disease, illiteracy or a host of other human conditions.

For the record, the use of embryonic stem cells to secure a scientific break through, even if that break through cures cancer, repairs spinal cord injuries or makes time travel possible; a created human being, even if the creative process was done outside the womb, has the same rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as any other human being.

When we forget or ignore the rights of one individual it is the same as ignoring those same rights for all. When we perform scientific experiments on humans, regardless of how old they are, we are guilty of the same crimes performed in NAZI Germany on folks who had no say in the matter.

What’s next in the name of scientific medical research; are we going to start dunking people living at the old folk’s home into freezing tubs of water, timing them to see how long they can survive the cold? How about we expose them to extreme heat to see how long before their skins falls off the bone; after all, these folks have served their usefulness and have now become a burden on the health care system.

I don’t see embryonic stem cell research as a step towards a more humane world of science, a world where we no longer have one or two medical issues that once plagued our society. No, we as taxpayers are being told we have no choice except to join in and be a party to the murder and torture of defenseless human beings. I can see flakes of ash falling from the sky; thought it was my imagination at first or the ashes were simply pieces of cardboard from the local trash incinerator. God help us for ignoring what we know to be wrong.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

School Textbooks Distort Religion

Lauren Green, not to be confused with Lorne Green , the actor from the old Bonanza television show, Lauren Green with the FoxNews network had an article, “Authors Warn That Many Textbooks Distort Religion” . From that article:

“Authors Gary Tobin and Dennis Ybarra of the Institute for Jewish and Community Research found some 500 imperfections and distortions concerning religion in 28 of the most widely used social studies and history textbooks in the United States.”

Errors are going to happen, isn’t that what the bumper sticker says; close enough. The problem with errors and distortions is how they prejudice or bias the teaching process as well as the learning process when dealing with the different religions of the world.

“Islam has a privileged position,” he said. “It’s not critiqued or criticized or qualified, whereas Judaism and Christianity are.”

“One example is in the glossary of “World History: Continuity and Change.” It calls the Ten Commandments “moral laws Moses claimed to have received from the Hebrew God,” while the entry for the Koran contains no such qualifier in saying it is the “Holy Book of Islam containing revelations received by Muhammad from God.””

Whether or not the bias was intended or perceived determines the future in so many ways as the printed text becomes part of the distribution process, is handed out to “eager young minds”, then is turned over to the public schools and the teacher’s union operatives who at one time were called teachers. The trend, at least in the United States, over the past several decades has been to drive a huge wedge to separate church and state, to be in compliance with a Supreme Court ruling, one intended to turn America toward communism . We are to become a godless society in matters public, what you do in private; well, that’s your business.

“But First Amendment scholar Dr. Charles Haynes , who has written extensively on the subject of public schools and religion, says he thinks sometimes the criticisms go a little too far.”

“There’s no conspiracy in the textbook industry to favor one religion over another. ... I think the group that bangs the pot the loudest gets the most attention,” he said.”

Naturally I’d have to side with anyone who has “Dr.” in front of their name over some religious whacko with an ax to grind. I’ll use only one more quote from the original article and finish up, an example which pretty much covers the topic of distortion.

“A “true or false” question on the origins of Christianity asserted that “Christianity was started by a young Palestinian named Jesus.” The teacher’s edition says this is “true.””

I mean, anyone with half a brain knows, Jesus, just like Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were all Mormons. You can bet the farm that won’t get printed in the next history text book.

Out My Back Door

“Doo-ot, doo-ot, do, looking out my back door”, a line from a Credence Clearwater song; don’t care if it’s spelled properly as long as you get the point. Looking out my door is not all doom and gloom in spite of what Obama and congress tell me.

Spring has sprung here in Houston. The Colanchos, which word is spelled correctly, are in full radiance there on the back patio. These are off-spring, pardon the pun, of the same plants my folks gave us when they moved off to Florida many years ago. Originally they were potted plants; but they seem to have thrived in spite of the neglect and lack of gardening skills offered them. These plants found a crack in the concrete and I didn’t have the heart to pull them up as if to equate them with weeds which suffer such a fate.

Another sure sign of spring around here are billowing yellow clouds of tree pollen rolling down the street. Strangers in their cars slow down as they look around for a building on fire, believing the air to be filled with yellow smoke. A film of the powder covers everything so it’s almost a waste of time to wash the car; half an hour later it’s back. If it ever rains, we’re six to eight inches behind for the year and it’s only the first of March; if it ever rains the pollen floats as it’s collected in puddles at the edge of the street so as to look like pools of sulfur.

Mockingbirds, my favorite of all, dive in front of vehicles as they challenge the percentages of survival. I’ve come to admire their sheer grit, wondering if perhaps the Mockingbird should have been the symbol of our nation over the Bald Eagle. No, come to think of it, the Mockingbird has more spirit and would be ashamed of how we cower in the face of adversity. You thought I’d never get around to a political twist.

I listened to the Rush Limbaugh radio show the other day and heard a neat line of thought, one which beats the crap out of, “Oh no the world is ending, my 401k has lost half its value, companies are laying off workers and I might be next”, and the list could go on and on.

No, the right attitude expressed by the host, “I refuse to participate in the recession.” It won’t matter what happens as long as I keep my shoulder to the wheel, continue doing what got me here to begin with and do the best I know how. There will always be challenges; it’s not the challenge that breaks you, it’s how you deal with it. I refuse to give in and let someone else bail me out of something I can accomplish myself.

Now, aren’t those some beautiful Colanchos? “Doo-ot, doo-ot, do, looking out my back door”.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Headline Was Misleading

A headline on the KPRC website got my attention, “Judge Arrested On DWI Suspicion” . My first thoughts, and without having read anything except the title, “That judge must think he’s above the law…”, without adding, and yet having a related thought, “…just like most every other elected official”.

The problem with glancing only at the headline was how badly the headline matched up with the facts of the article. I guess if KPRC were out to smear someone’s good name, saying he’d been arrested for DWI would go a long way; but the honest thing to do would have been to say, “Breathalyzer Proved Judge Was Not DWI” or something about how the system in place works to protect everyone equally; but that won’t get anyone to spend time or money, now will it?

“Judge Alan B. Sadler was arrested after a minor accident involving another vehicle in the 2100 block of North Loop 336 West on Wednesday night.”

“Police said the judge was given a Breathalyzer test and he had .0257, which is below the legal limit of .08.”

“No charges were filed and the judge was released.”

“.0257”, you could get a reading like that from brushing your teeth and then gargling with almost any brand name mouthwash for goodness sakes. Think about it, “.0257”, would be the equivalent to maybe two sips of wine or maybe a quarter of a can of beer.

What kind of a non-story would that have made? I’d go so far as to say there are probably normal folks who have interesting body metabolism functions, whose body naturally produce a blood alcohol level of “.0257”.

I don’t know Judge Sadler, never heard of him before this article came out; however, the man had a minor traffic accident, he didn’t violate the public trust. I think KPRC owes Judge Sadler a public apology and perhaps dinner at a nice restaurant to be enjoyed with his wife or “significant other” as the case may be. Throw in a bottle of the house wine and tickets to the symphony, the Rocket’s or Astros game and hope he is gracious enough to let it go at that.

Due Process and Confiscated Firearms

First off I need to give a tip of the hat to Say Uncle for putting a link up which led to yet another blog site with an interesting name, Ride Fast and Shoot Straight , Eventually the path led to Inside Bay Area dot Com’s blog where the original story had been posted; I’d feel bad not giving credit for each step along the way, especially since a key word involved is the word “process”.

The long and short of it had to do with police officers confiscating an entire collection of firearms under the guise of protecting a community. I read the little bit that was offered in the articles and came away with a few bullet points, none of which add up to the end result; the 9th Circus Court of Appeals leaving a citizen without his gun collection which had either been destroyed and/or sold off at auction.

There were at least two people living under one roof, a father and a son; both owned guns either in joint ownership or individually.

The son was Bi-Polar, had not been taking the prescribed medication and had acted in such a way as to be a danger to his father and others in the community through threats along with the ability to carry out those threats by virtue of having weapons readily available; however, as was included in the article, the son was arrested, outside the house by police and had no weapon on him at the time.

The police conducted a “protective sweep” of the house, after the arrest had been made, and confiscated every weapon in the house. Please explain the definition of a protective sweep; make sure the language meets recognized legal standards. If the break down of events is accurate, where’s the court order to enter the house, to confiscate any weapon, much less every weapon, and upon what lawful basis would such a court order come?

According to the report, officers proceeded to search the house using “search incident to arrest” as their justification. I may have been retired for quite some time now; but the laws covering “search incident to arrest” are fairly direct and limited.

Search incident to arrest applied only to the immediate area of control by a suspect being arrested, that which was on his/her person or within reach and could be used as a weapon against the arresting officers. If a glove box was locked and within reach of a suspect, then anything inside the glove box was not considered within the scope “search incident to arrest”, nor would anything in the trunk of the car; it had to be within reach, as in under the seat, between the seat or over the sun visor.

If an arrest was made at the front porch of a house nothing inside that house fell within the immediate control of the arrested suspect and so nothing inside that house could be searched without a signed search warrant which would require all aspects of probable cause.

Even if the suspect was completely irrational and a danger to society, nothing inside the house was within his ability to use and once he was under control and handcuffed he no longer posed any threat to the officers or the community. The father, while his age was listed as 82, was in control of his faculties and no mention was made as to his being a danger, either to himself, the police officers or the community. Without such a finding neither the police nor the courts would have a legal leg to stand on for removing property from the house “incidental to an arrest” of his son.

The son was taken to jail, convicted of crimes, not enumerated specifically in the article; but which included at least one charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He then served approximately 7 months before being released.

Without further information, facts not included in the article, it would be nearly impossible to explain how a conviction would be gained for the offense “possession of a firearm by a convicted felon” since he had no weapon on him at the time of arrest. The only weapons of interest were those either referred to on recorded telephone conversations or through self admission; in any case, pretty thin evidence and certainly nothing to justify confiscation of property outside his immediate control.

Some weapons were destroyed by the police department; again, what court order gave anyone the authority to destroy any weapon, presumably as part of a specific related crime? If the weapons destroyed were evidence used in court to gain a conviction then and only then would the court have authority to dispose of such a weapon. Police departments do not have the authority to destroy or auction off weapons without a court’s written authority when such weapons are the property of an identified individual; property rights are all inclusive.

This is not the same as destroying weapons which have ended up in the police property room over a long period of time, weapons for which ownership can not be verified and which would never be claimed by a rightful owner. In cases where ownership is disputed and ongoing there is no lawful justification to either destroy or auction property, to include weapons. The rest of the weapons were sold at auction; where’s the original court order to confiscate property and auction that property?

A portion of the auction revenue was given to the son as recompense for property taken. So, read that last paragraph and explain how that works; can’t be done, can it? Even with a wide application of the 5th Amendment, 10% of the property’s actual value would hardly be considered “just compensation” for items seized by the government, even had these items been seized within the limited and rigid parameters of our laws, that which sustain us as a nation ruled by law.

The father requested the return of weapons and then filed a formal complaint to have them returned and was denied by local law enforcement and then the courts. The moment the request to return the property was made is that same moment when destruction of the property and/or auctioning off of that property became illegal. There is no room for violation of property rights, even when that property falls under the classification of being a weapon.

The courts sided with the police department for not returning the property even though the son was not permitted to live under the same roof after having completed the court’s sentence; the son would not have had access to any of the weapons unless he entered the house without permission. Apparently the courts see any house with firearms as a threat to the community because anyone can break in and obtain a weapon, is this the reasoning the 9th Circus Court used; their reasoning is not explained sufficiently and therefore is unacceptable.

There was never any reference to the possibility of join ownership or implied ownership of each item should the son be declared incompetent, or unable to have ownership of firearms by virtue of his being a convicted felon. Even if the son owned every single item confiscated, property rights would naturally flow to a member of the family and not automatically to the discretion of either the police department, the city or even the courts.

“…the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against him. "The district court correctly determined that Barsch's Fourth Amendment rights were not violated when police officers entered his house in conducting a protective sweep based on reports of multiple guns on this premises in the possession of Barsch's bipolar son, who reportedly was not taking his medication, making death threats, and saying that he had stabbed someone the night before," said a court memorandum filed Monday. "The district court also correctly determined that Barsch's Fourteenth Amendment due process rights were not violated by the sale/destruction of the weapons found in his house."

Go read the 4th Amendment, add the 5th Amendment while you’re at it since they both include the idea of Due Process, something the 9th Circus Court may never have done. The search of Barsch’s house most definitely was not within the limits placed on government, the police department being the defined representative of government at the time. There was no probable cause to believe the arrested suspect could obtain control of anything within reach, certainly nothing inside the house. There was no written search warrant and no judge following the strict rules of probable cause would have a legal reason to search for anything other than a dead body, any other lawful items being outside the lawful interpretation of any search warrant.

If an officer, while searching for an injured party without the aid of a search warrant, under the attitude of such a search going past the need for obtaining a warrant, finds a bag full of opium in plain view, opium being listed as an illegal substance, then that may be taken as evidence of a crime; however, a weapon within a house is not in and of itself evidence of a crime since weapons are legal to own and more than one person lived under the roof of that particular house.

A police officer must obtain a warrant if he believes he’s searching for a body; not the same as an officer’s search for an injured person whose life hangs in the balance and for which immediate action might determine life or death and for which waiting for a court signed document might jeopardize the outcome. Laws are written to protect the rights of each citizen, to include 82 year old men who just happen to be the fathers of Bi-Polar children living under the same roof. 82 year old men have the same right to own weapons as do any other citizen unless a court has ruled them incompetent.

The 14th Amendment was written to secure individual rights to former slaves and is one place where the phrase “due process of law” is found. Due process of law goes all the way back to the Magna Carta as a means of defining individual rights and protecting individuals from indiscriminate abuses by tyrannical leaders and governments. It has been a part of civilized society, in whole or in part ever since King John of England signed off, admitting that even kings had no right to abuse citizen’s lives and property.

Apparently the 9th Circus Court has never read any of the history which lead up to the Magna Carta, and certainly has no idea how to interpret the 14th Amendment given their rather wide paint brush of supposed authority which they have granted to the police department and the city of Hayward. I feel sorry for anyone living under the abuses imposed by the 9th Circus Court, under the pretence of justice and the American way of life.

The opinions expressed here are mine and I’m just a plain run of the mill ignorant citizen with no clue as to the intricacies of the laws of the land, rights of citizens, the constitution or anything of real importance. The only information I get comes from MSNBC, CNN and Time Magazine. I never listen to extremists like Rush or Hannity and the last thing I’d ever do is read a book, much less one that didn’t have lots of pretty pictures to entertain me.