Saturday, December 31, 2011

YTREBIL: That's "Liberty" Backwards

This is the problem I have with the the Libertarian/Conservative viewpoint as evidenced by the newest attention to old revelations about Ron Paul. We apparently see the world differently--frontwards or backwards. And who is to tell what side of Alice's looking glass we are on?

It's a simple difference in perception. Paul and other conservatives, particularly those of a Libertarian bent, or in LDS culture, the followers of Skousen and the ultra-conservatives, are offended by classifications of people by groups that give them "special rights." (Of course, if it is a group under "states rights doctrine," that is somehow OK).

Thursday, December 29, 2011

You Really Ought to Give Iowa a Try

My predictions are:

Ron Paul will squeak out a win in the Iowa Caucus creating all kinds of headlines. Romney will come in second which is still a win. Iowa is not his crowd and Paul can't win the nomination. But Paul's supporters are more motivated than Romney's. Gingrich (again, finally and deservedly) will be soggy toast even if he stays in until South Carolina. Santorum will "surge" just enough to think he can keep going and crash in the next contest. Bachmann and Perry will end their campaigns. Huntsman will come in dead last but not quit because he's got the cash to go to New Hampshire.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Race and Ron Paul (and Mormons)

The best thing you can say about the Ron Paul newsletter controversy is that his Libertarian sentiments are broad-based to the point that they simple don't recognize race. Worse, and more accurately (IMO), with Paul's attempts to distance himself from an unidentified author, and allowing such expressions under his name without much contemporaneous concern, reflect societal cancers of racial prejudice--at least the prejudice of neglect and avoidance of the malignancy.

I've been reading a quite a few reports on the Paul controversy, mostly on the Atlantic website and on Andrew Sullivan's where he initially endorsed Paul then withdrew the endorsement after a reconsideration of the newsletter issues.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In Which We "Niggle" J.K. Rowling on Grand Themes from J.R.R. Tolkien

On watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 on Blu-ray (which is pretty cool by the way), the reminder came that J.K. Rowling was clearly influenced by Tolkien. I think she's admitted this, but it became fairly obvious in  Harry's great life-after-death scene in King's Cross Station  where Dumbledore uses a single word that connected me back to my favorite Tolkien story Leaf by Niggle.

In the station, Harry asks Dumbledore what is to happen to him now. Dumbledore responds, "We're in King's Cross, you say. I think if you so desire you'd be able to board a train."

"And where would it take me?"

"On."

The Retreat

No, I'm not back-tracking on my blogging. I'm just enjoying my break. Even before the Holiday (holy day), I was thinking about issues of race with regard to Ron Paul and the curse of Western Society - not that false one of "Cain," but of all the things we've done wrong with regard to our brothers and sisters of a different tone of skin color. I'll work on this some more including a re-read of  the chapters on the Revelation on the Priesthood in the book on President Kimball's years as President of the Church, which I recommend to all.

I am also somewhat in shock by the Christmas gift I got from my son and his wife, with a little help from my wife and others of our children. I had a vague idea from pop-up adds that you can have a book made of blog posts. My family went ahead and did that for my first year of this blog. It would the height of vanity press except that I didn't do it myself. It was a thoughtful and respectful gift from family which humbles me and fills me with love and appreciation. And, of course, my wife accurately pointed out that it is a little circular vanity of me to take a picture of the book with the intent of posting it here on this blog. But it's not for public sale, you'll just have to read things here in cyber-world.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Nativity: "Let There Be LIGHT!"

Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst 1622
Attempting to leave politics aside for a few days to celebrate Christmas with my family, I will leave you with a Christmas poem.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Oh, Honey! We're out of tea. Is the party over?"

Yep. The tea party is so over. Our Constitutional Union is saved yet again as one chamber of one branch of government learns that it doesn't dictate terms to the other branches of government. One small minority of the electorate does not constitute the only "real America." Coming back down to a little reality, I'm sure there will be a lot more silliness to come in this fast-approaching election year, but the teapot dome of the Capitol has cracked.

Compromise is not a four-letter word. It's the most sacred word in our inspired and God-blessed American system--the best Constitution yet established on the earth. Well, actually, the word itself is not written in there, but you don't have to proof-text the Federalist Papers to find it. You just have to recognize it in the obvious structure and intent of the founders, not to mention the very fact that it took major compromise just to get us our inspired Constitution in the first place. It's not some crazy rock-paper-scissors power-play as that idiot Gingrich proposes. It requires the eternal vigilance of compromise to keep it going. The only people I refuse to compromise with are those who refuse to compromise. (Well, duh.)

"Ho! Ho! Ho! I'm Santa Claus!"


That's what I have joked with my kids over the years in loud, jolly voice. Now I do it with my grandkids. The response has generally been, "No, you're not!" And I just laugh all the merrier. As years go by and they grow up, they join with me in the jolliness with a twinkle in our eyes.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Winter Solstice!


As I blogged at the last Summer Solstice, it is actually the winter one that we should celebrate. It may not be as much fun to cavort outdoors with the Neo-pagans, but it's a good day for blazing fire and a warm hearth.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"We Are Met on a Great Battlefield of that War"

I guess I was wrong again. Speaker Boehner does not have his tea party House under control. I'll leave the rest of how I was wrong in that posting to your own conclusions. The Republican House refused to accept the compromise with the Senate and the President, even though the Senate and the President came to a bipartisan agreement on the extension of the payroll tax cut. And now we have several Republican Senators, generally those up for reelection in bluer or battleground states, who are furious at the Republican House for their silly grandstanding.

The payroll tax cut will likely survive somehow. Even if they can't get it done in this pre-Holiday debacle, the Congress could always come back in January and pass it as a furious electorate will likely demand and even "rebate" retroactively what will be charged against all workers' pay beginning January 1, 2012. It could end up sort of like those "stimulus" checks President W Bush used to hand out--yet another win for President Obama in turning a "tax cut" into a "stimulus" he can't get any other way out of this Congress. The dysfunctional tea party House just handed the President a political plum.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Rebel Not Without a Claus

I love Christmas. And I'm trying not to grind any axes or chainsaws even for a Christmas tree. I want peace on earth, good will toward all men and women. And I enjoy this seasonal fusion of all kinds of traditions and everyone, well almost everyone, at least trying to be happy and spreading some joy.

The commercialization doesn't even bother me that much. Yesterday, I was out with my wife briefly for some holiday food shopping. The big secret in Centerville is to shop at Fresh Values, the store formerly known as Albertsons. They are across Parrish Lane from WalMart and nobody goes there much anymore. They were offering samples of dips and party platters better than anything you can get on Free-Lunch Saturdays at Costco (Well, there is no such thing, of course, because you have a membership to get in at Costco, they expect you to buy at least one 25-pound bag of Cheetos or something, and it certainly costs a lot out of your life to navigate that parking lot!)

We even made a quick, strategically well planned stop at WalMart for something Fresh Values didn't have. I got close enough to the front door to drop off my wife, then hit the jackpot finding a parking spot four spaces from the door right next to the handicap spots! I parked and went into the madhouse to find her. I hung by the front registers while she made one more desperate swim against tide to grab something else she had forgotten. I just chilled and smiled at people. There was one of my bus friends I see nearly every day. I still don't know his name, but we recognized each other and smiled.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Family History 101- Just Talk and Write It Down!

I have  been caught up (rather obsessively) recently with a family history project on behalf of my wife's family. The most important thing to learn about family history is that it is best accomplished as a collaborative project. In fact, as it is all about family, I'm not sure there is any other way to actually do it. Families and family history are all about connections anyway. They without us and we without them cannot be made perfect and all.

We all have different talents and abilities that can complement each other in our family history work. My wife, for example, is a very organized and determined person. She has been trying to get some personal histories out of her parents for some time. This last year she set up a project in conjunction with the monthly family dinners we have at my parents-in-law. She prepared some outlines of questions to aid in discussion of several themes on parents, school, work, dating, etc. I'll post those that I have in digital form on a separate page. Then she started off discussion with these questions. A niece and I typed away furiously on our laptops to record the discussions. We provided our rough draft notes to my wife. She has been meaning to get to them but didn't really know how to start or what to do.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Republicans Are Not Stupid

You might not know that from the Fox Republican Presidential Debate that went on tonight which I did not blog as I am engaged in family history research and writing pursuits. And I just couldn't take another debate. Check it out elsewhere as apparently Gingrich continues to surge, Romney and the rest ('cept maybe Huntsmand and Paul) continue to pander. And the beat goes on.

I am also on travel (holed up in my hotel room this evening) to attend a conference and some work meetings. When I checked my work e-mail remotely this morning, there was yet another notice to prepare for furlough and government shut-down. In fact, it said that anyone on travel should return to their duty station as soon as possible as the funding could run out Friday at midnight and then we would all turn into pumpkins for attempting to do any government work including returning home from government travel. I figure I can get out of Vegas even if I have to walk to St. George. The desert isn't as hot this time of year.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gingrich Is NOT Brilliant

Erratic, yes. Mentally energetic, maybe. Undisciplined, best not to ask (he admits that one himself).

As most of my Conservative, Republican friends are Romney supporters, with a few Ron Paul Republitarians  or Liberpublicans, and a smattering of Huntsman fans (actually, I think most of those are my Mormon Dem friends), I think I can pound on Mr. Former Speaker without raising too much controversy.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Third Seal Opened the Market Based Economy?

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Vasnetsov
Note the third rider on the black horse carrying the market scales

So, I was sitting there in Gospel Doctrine Sunday School class amazed by the teacher skimming through that lesson on Revelation Chapters 4-22, which is quite a lot to cover in forty minutes. We did have the McConkie outline explaining that it is mostly historical based on the dispensations of the Gospel and not all still to come. We read about the first four seals and the horsemen. There was a comment about the third seal representing famine and starvation because people of the world don't share the resources we have resulting in inequities. I went back and read the verses again:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Not Beating a Dead Horse Republican Debate

Sorry. Not live-blogging tonight as my wife and I are working on Christmas Cards and watching Home Alone movies. There is some live-blogging that's pretty good over at Andrew Sullivan. Apparently so far, Bachmann scored a point referring to "Newt Romney" [she means both of them] as being just too liberal for her party. Gingrich is maintaining his front-runner arrogance saying the only reason Romney is not a career politician is because he lost to Ted Kennedy. Romney is a little flustered. Santorum says we need allies in our challenges against the Soviet Union. (Hunh?)

Total Eclipse of the Moon

Pretty cool sight as I woke up early this morning. I wish I had gotten my own picture but my photography skills are pretty weak and this is great!:

Photo courtesy of Cousin-in-law Randy De La Mare
Our inversion skies are a bit yellow making the moon creepier as it got darker and sank into the western horizon just as the light came up in the East.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Suppose They Gave a War and only Rick Perry Came?


If only it were just him. I'm afraid he would be joined by Gingrich, Bachmann, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and probably pretty much everybody else at Fox News and those who watch.

Yes, I find this really offensive. There is no war on Christmas. President Obama is not warring on religion. He has a Christmas Tree in the White House, for Heaven's sake! Christmas is a legal, federal holiday since President U.S. Grant! (I looked it up once. I knew there was something I liked about that guy.) President Obama is one of the best, solid family guys we've had in the White House.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The President and the Beast

No, I'm not blogging again about Gingrich. More of that will come to the extent that the amphibian is somehow able to stay ahead of Romney and Huntsman can't have his turn to peak. What I want to address is how the President is changing the game in dealing with the "beast."

A year ago I was pleased to see the President cutting deals with Congress just to get anything he could because any compromise helped defeat the tea party philosophy of no compromise. One of the best ones he got was the reduction in the payroll withholding tax. It was a small but effective stimulus to get more money circulating in our economy, necessary in order to have a market in the first place whether free, regulated or somewhere in between. Republicans love cutting taxes. This cut helped out all taxpayers, especially the middle class. It was a tax cut. How could the Republicans refuse? It was ideal.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Family History A to Z (Check Your Work!)

There is a great set of suggestions for researching and writing family history sketches over at Ardis's Mormon History Blog Keepapitchinin.org. It was very gratifying to get an honorable mention there.

Reading that today, I had a nagging thought that my work wasn't finished on my report on the Davis County East Winds and my Great Grandparents' experience in 1906. There was that confirmation in the 1907 Davis County Clipper about the great east wind storm of October 20 and 21, 1906, but there had to be more to the contemporaneous account from 1906. The one note I found in the "Bountiful Briefs" section about the Giles home destroyed by the winds was all that came up in my digital search.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Rhetorical Nationalistic States Rights

Sorry for missing that Republican debate last night. I took my wife out for dinner which was infinitely more enjoyable.

I found a good summary on the Atlantic website. It points out one of the serious intellectual flaws of the modern Republican Party. States Rights are OK for things you don't like everybody to have like health care, but you need national power to force people not to be atheists and follow your version of the cultural wars.

Great Destruction in the Land Bountiful


Out for my usual Saturday errands, I went past the Bountiful Cemetery where there had been so much wind damage from the recent storm.  It really did look pretty bad as there were many trees down. There had been some work done by city crews as the lanes through the cemetery were clear. And there were a lot of families checking things out and clearing off brush from headstones. I did some of that myself.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Davis County Winds

Well, we know what the results of a "Category 2" look like now. I don't know what it feels like, because I missed it. I just got home from a few days with the Ute Tribe in Ft. Duchesne, Utah, and with their attorneys in Colorado.  On the way in we stopped at Arby's in Spanish Fork where a got a free meal because their power was flickering and they couldn't read my card.

Still, I'm a witness to the aftermath here in Davis County with at least a third of the signs down in Centerville's commercial district on Parrish Lane. There are some roofs missing over gas station pumps, and trees down everywhere. A few are down on houses. Some are down on power lines. Ours are still up but our blue spruce out front whipped off all the Christmas lights. And while the gate to our fence that I have repaired at least a dozen times is still up, there are several other segments of the fence missing. I told the guy next door that we'll have to be better neighbors now. He responded that he'll have to start wearing something when he's in the hot tub. TMI!

Our fence (well, part of it). Note the neighbor's hot tub.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mitt vs. Newt

Son of a Politician!

Now, Romney goes negative on Gingrich, calling him (horrors!) a politician! This from the son of a prominent Governor of Michigan and presidential candidate in 1968. Mitt Romney himself has been Governor of Massachusetts, a candidate for the Senate from Massachusetts in a serious challenge to Ted Kennedy that got a lot of national attention, and a guy who has been running for president himself for at least four years, and really, much longer than that. Gingrich, to his credit and our relief, has at least been out of politics the last ten years. (He, ahem, sort of had to because of ethical issues and because his reputation had been trashed for his breaches of "family values" as he was going after President Clinton for his).

I really wish I could like Romney. He is the best of the Republican field (with the exception of Huntsman). But he seems so desperate to be president he will say things and take positions that are against his better self. I would love to see the old Romney successful. I really liked him as the moderately progressive governor of Massachusetts. I really liked the legacy of his dad who truly was an old-style progressive Republican and perhaps, the last of the Republicans who promoted civil rights for African-Americans.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Is Newt More "Utah Compact" Than Romney?

The most interesting outcome of the last Republican debate, well, besides the Cain/"Blitz" exchange, was the dispute between the newt and Mitt on immigration. The newt evidenced a slight sense of compassion in an attempt to remain consistent with his Reagan-era immigration-reform record. The newt injected "humane" sentiments back into the immigration debate much to the consternation of some of the other candidates and the Republican base as well.

Lest we forget, the Utah Compact is a broad-based approach to influence the tone of the discussion about immigration in the State of Utah. It calls for humane treatment of our fellow human beings as we recognize some general principles that illegal immigration is a national problem of the civil law - not local, criminal law enforcement, and that families are important along with a free society and free markets. I signed it. Have you?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What About Mountain Meadows?!

That's how I first heard about it, shouted at me when I was just a kid heading to Primary. With our suburban Seattle ward spread out for miles - in fact, the eastern boundary in those days was the crest of the Cascade Mountains - we had a mothers' car pool to gather us up every Tuesday after school to take us to church for Primary some miles away. One of the kids we sometimes picked up was a girl my age who blurted out those words on one occasion, I'm not even sure it was on a Primary trip, but I was with one of the Primary moms. This girl lived in terrible conditions that I guess we were not supposed to talk about because no one ever did. Her mom was very active in the church and silently strong, yet always appeared a little bedraggled with her hair out of place. The dad was not active, in fact the whisper was that he drank and it was doubtful he worked much if at all. Their house was not the typical suburban tract home like the rest of us came from. It was hard to see it other than as a shack, and the yard was full of junk.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Mormon Helps End The Cold War

One more mild Mormon I have known came to mind as I rewatched one of my all-time favorite movies, "The Яussians are Coming! The Яussians are Coming!" This was the first film for child actor Johnny Whitaker (credited as "Johnnie" Whitaker). I knew him as a missionary heading for Portugal when I taught in the MTC (the LDS Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah). He was a very nice Elder and an example of the rare successful survivor of childhood stardom. He had his troubles later as an adult, and he still came out a survivor now counseling those with substance abuse problems.
Johnny Whitaker circa 1966

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks!

I am grateful (and continually surprised) by any and all who care to read what I have to say.

I am grateful I am not running for president (and I bet you all are too.)

I am grateful for a good family, a wife who amazingly loves me, and kids who are better than both of us (even if they get most of that from their mom). And, of course, the grandkids including the one on his way and hopefully many more to come.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

LIVE Blogging Republicans on Foreign Things (CNN National Security Debate)

Banned to the bedroom. I was all ready once the visiting teachers left to go down and blog from the family room but my wife said I should stay here because she really didn't want to watch those guys. And she's a registered Republican!

There are some like Senator Marco (Sort-of-a-son-of-refugees) Rubio who say that this debate season has not been a good idea for the Republican nomination and maybe the party as a whole. What about the idea that the Republicans have not been good for debates? I mean, good grief!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Government Is the Problem?

So say the Reaganites, the Anarchists, the Culture Warriors, the Old South, the Ayn Randian Utopians, the Newtonian Amphibians, a lot of taxpayers (especially the wealthiest or wanna-be-ers), etc., etc., etc.

The funny thing is that it is an easy self-fulfilling political philosophy because if you do get a little authority in government, as one supposes, you can prove your thesis by acting incompetently. The last administration is pretty much the prime example. ("Heck of a job, Brownie" and "Mission accomplished" come to mind lest we forget.)

Now, even our current President is buying in at least to the point that he says "Congress is the problem." We'll see how that flies. I still think that he may be trying to restore some of the balance and responsibility to the constitutionally designated branch of government for the budget, taxes, and debt (Article I - the Legislative Branch, people). And of course, those are the people's representatives to the extent they're not bought up by all the corporate people.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

LIVE Republican Values Blogging ("Christian" Edition)

Don't know if there's enough Diet Coke in the world to keep be going through these two hours. Even Romney is passing on this Iowa Values Debate. But we'll give it a try. It's not on TV either, but there is a live webcast here. This is in a church. It is purposely a "Christian" test of the Republican candidates (in spite of Art. VI)

Ron Paul challenged on "so help me God." His oath is to the Constitution and Rule of Law - before God. Cain needs God. Bachmann on Washington kissing the Bible. "Without His Hand" we won't get back on track. She got baptized in Iowa (that's both political and religious pandering). She was a sinner and needed Jesus.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mike Lee Learns He Doesn't Rule the Senate


Yes, our Junior Senator (that's not supposed to be a pejorative, but . . . ), Mayor of the Munchkin City (OK, I'll admit that one), had to learn the hard way that one U.S. Senator just can't make up his own rules and run Senate Office Buildings. This week, he had what he called a "hearing" in the Capitol to have a tea party group announce how they would solve all our economic woes (I think it had something to do with dismantling the government of, by and for the people - especially all the parts that actually help people - except the corporate ones, of course).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Can You See the Real Me?


So it begins, the Who's over-the-top Wagnerian Rock Opera, Quadrophenia. Actually, "The Real Me" comes crashing in on Pete's guitar after a brief prologue of waves crashing on the cold, wet coast of Brighton, England. I was 16, exactly the right age for teenage disillusionment, loneliness, and search for something to cling to for salvation. Sometimes we all feel like we're drowning.


Let me flow into the ocean
Let me get back to the sea
Let me be stormy and let me be calm
Let the tide in, and set me free.
Set me free.

Monday, November 14, 2011

From Deep within the Labrynth

Still battling the Minotaur. Rather than talk about it now, the ultimate decision will be a public document so win or lose, I'll post it when it comes. It will be a few months, though. These things take time.

Without going into the substantive issues or the relative merits I can tell this story. As it is a mining contest before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), it is still sort of in-house. The ALJ also works for the Secretary of the Interior. His decision will be subject to appeal to the Interior Board of Land Appeals. That decision can be taken to federal district court for a hearing on the record. With the best luck, as it is still in the Department, the hearing was scheduled for our federal building. We got up there early this morning to help arrange the setting in the 8th Floor Conference Room.

It's not a pretty place. The 3rd and 4th Floors have been nicely remodeled in the past few years. The 8th Floor motif doesn't go quite as far back as New Frontier style when the building was dedicated, but it goes back at least to Reagan with the metal paint-peeling walls. We moved the tables around guessing at how we thought the ALJ might be satisfied still giving us our preferred counsel table on the right. We carried up our notebooks and exhibits. There was still something missing.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stay Tuned: LIVE Republican Blogging Tonight! 11-12-11 Spanish Inquisition Edition

The last one proved so entertaining and popular, even if I did miss the best part live (you get three guesses- well at least two). We're looking forward to 8 p.m. Eastern tonight for the next Republican Presidential Debate. I finally found a schedule of all the debates. Of course they could let me down by ending up boring again. Yet with the newt now climbing in the polls and attention focused on him, besides all the fall-out from last Wednesday, it really can't help but be entertaining.

So, I'll try to be here live-blogging. Tune in elsewhere to watch or on the internet link above. And keep clicking here for live commentary updates later tonight. (I'll try to get my work done in time - both the laundry and case preparation).

Battling the Minotaur


Apologized to my wife this morning because I was a little grouchy yesterday. I have been stressed and anxious working with another attorney as we get ready for a mining contest on common variety building stone because the U of U asked BLM to help protect some rare, soft-bodied, Cambrian fossil. We were in the office yesterday on the federal, Veterans Day holiday, and I've got to keep going through the exhibit notebooks today and maybe even tomorrow to make sure I didn't miss anything. That's all I will say about the case because I don't talk specifics about my government work.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Republicans Piddle while Rome Burns

Last night at the Republican debate, besides Perry losing his marbles, the crowd booing a female reporter just for raising a question about sexual harassment, and the newt pontificating his general idiocy, I was most astounded that they pretty much brushed off the issue of Italy going bankrupt. "Europe is Europe's problem," said Mitt. Cain acted like he had never even heard of Italy or even the question mentioning "cabooses" for some reason (probably not the best choice of words under the circumstances). Ron Paul said that we should stand back and let Italy liquidate its debts - maybe selling off Michelangelo's David in the free market of art masterpieces?

FOR SALE
One slightly used Civilization and Nation State
credits to: jaymce Flickr gallery [http://www.flic)

Mild Mormons I Have Known

It’s name-dropping time today. It occurs to me that I have met some moderately well-known Mormons in contexts out of the norm, all tending to establish they there good, decent people. I’m not sure if any of them would really remember me, (well, Rick is one of my Facebook buddies) but if I ever become famous . . . . (maybe linking them on my blog will do it!)

Terryl Givens – College Professor, Scholar, Author.

Terryl and I were in the Language Training Mission, or LTM, now MTC, on our way to Brazil. In fact, we were stuck there for some months waiting for our visas. I had no idea at the time that Terryl was so smart yet he was as part of another district of Elders that was very serious about their studies – not all districts had that reputation. The distinct recollection I have is from our gym period one day when Terryl collapsed on the floor and turned green. I didn’t know that actually happened to people. It happened to Terryl because his appendix burst and he was rushed to the hospital and fortunately returned soon to his missionary duties. He always seemed very serious-minded and obviously determined as I saw him for a few days before the appendix attack clutching his side in some pain but determined to run his laps along with all his other missionary training duties.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Republican Debate November 9, 2011 LIVE (until I have to leave)

I do have to go bowling with the Scouts a little later. I will attempt to get this started, and it will be a great relief from the painful boredom to go bowl a line or two.

Is it really true that the newt is on the rise now that the Cain bubble is deflating? Ya gotta be kidding me!

Well, Mitt, Herman and Dr. Paul are still getting the cheers. I'm not sure I can stand listening to Jim Cramer and that Santelli guy.

Cain starts out on platitudes and cabooses in response to European debt. Mitt says Europe is Europe's problem. No TARP in US for Italian debt! (Reminds me of staying out of Wiemar Reparations). I kind of like Cramer yelling at these guys. Then Paul says we liquidate Europe? (I think he means their debt). Huntsman says Europe is our future (using big words) Huntsman wants smaller banks (so join a credit union!) Mitt still wants to have seen auto industry bankruptcy and people in Detroit actually applaud. Mitt gets a flip-flopper question and he says he's steady and constant but nearly forgets his anniversary and that he's been in the same church for all his life (that's an odd basis for consistency. What's he getting at here?) and he won't "apologize" for America. Perry says America will be America again. Consumers not DC pick winners and losers whether it's Wall Street or Italy. The newt on tax reform question responds by firing Bernancke. And he's waxing nostalgic on "Contract with America" as he declares class warfare on Saul Alinsky. Bachman whining on taxes. She says we're stuck in 1986 (well, somebody is). Santorum wants to compete on taxes.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Civil War Isn't Over

Hat tip to Ardis at Keepapitchinin.org who linked on her Mormon History blog a fascinating clip from the National Archives of elderly Confederate Civil War Veterans giving the "Rebel Yell." It is entertaining, informative, and absolutely chilling.

Also, in the same Smithsonian article is reference to another clip of film that I haven't been able to find yet on-line--an elderly Union Veteran, William Smallwood, of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment performing the manual of arms with a wooden crutch. That I would like to see. The 54th Massachusetts was the all African-American Regiment honored in the film Glory. If I were King of the World, I would require every U.S. Citizen to see that movie. Of course, the whole point of that film is to inspire us beyond the divine right of kings and the ownership of humans in chattel slavery. But it is so much more than that.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ezra Taft Benson, Prophet of God (not Politics)


I was present when then President of the Quorum of the Twelve, Ezra Taft Benson, gave his "Fourteen Fundamentals" address in the Mariott Center at BYU. I didn't have any particular problem with the substance, it was a little of the tone and the context that made me, in a purely human way, feel a little odd. President Benson was the senior Apostle after then President Spencer W. Kimball and would likely be the next President of  Church. The speech is a strongly stated testimony of the authority of the Prophet in all areas, spiritual, temporal, and even "civic."

Well aware of President Benson's very conservative political views, and also aware that they were not the same as the rest of the church leadership, he being perhaps, the most conservative on any continuum, I lodged it away in my mind sure in my ultimate faith that all things work out under the Lord's ultimate leadership.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Are the President's Successes His Failures?

There was hope among so many that the election of our current president would help move us to a more post-racial, post-partisan nation. That was the promise and even the Hope of that campaign, wasn't it? Something went terribly wrong. Don't get me wrong, I still really like the guy and his political philosophies are so close to the ones that I have independently developed over the years I can't help but like him. The lack of anything but craziness and opposition in the opposition leads nowhere but to Romney, the obvious result as we ask what it is that they really stand for? Because, of course with Romney, it could be anything. But we'll deal more with Romney later.

And we'll put the "easy" issue to the side, at least for a moment. It's basic human nature in American politics that the current president is held responsible for the current situation of the economy. It’s a simple formula. If there is a big boom (unlikely) or even a stronger wind at the back towards a boom (possible), President Obama wins in a landslide. If the slowest recovery in history continues to eke (most likely), he has a chance. If there is a double-dip, even if on European debt or something else outside our borders (hard to tell), he loses and we can only hope and pray that Romney can run the country as well as he did the Olympics.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Who's Your Senator? Nevada Edition

The Honorable Gentleman A
The less than "Gentleman" B 












The Honorable Gentlewoman C
The Honorable Gentleman  D















Thursday, November 3, 2011

Serving the United States in the Hour of Our Nation's Need

When  colleague of mine retired a few years ago, I inherited his files (and his work) and found a framed poster from the days back when his career began. I put it up on the wall in my office:

Our Role in the New Frontier
Let every public servant know, whether his post is high or low, that a man's rank and reputation in this Administration will be determined by the size of the job he does, and not by the size of his staff, his office or his budget. Let it be clear that this Administration recognizes the value of daring and dissent--that we greet healthy controversy as the hallmark of healthy change. Let the public service be a proud and lively career. And let every man and woman who works in any area of our national government, in any branch, at any level, be able to say with pride and honor in future years: "I served the United States Government in the hour of our nation's need."
John F. Kennedy
President of the United States
From his State of the Union Message
January 30, 1961  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cain Just Blew the Settlement

We will never know what really happened with the allegations of sexual harassment with soon-to-be toast candidate Herman Cain. (Actually, he never was a serious candidate - just a little better at playing the self-promotion game than the donald or the sarah). I certainly haven't seen the settlement agreement with the female employee either, but I know enough of personnel law to say that Cain has blown it big time.

No doubt the settlement has a confidentiality provision that the parties are not to talk about the settlement or the allegations. That is the condition the woman's attorney is trying to justify getting her out of. It may have been accomplished by Cain's stupidity in saying what he has said so far. By saying that it was a settlement to get rid of a nuisance complaint, he may have broken another likely provision of such a settlement.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Death Needs More Respect

I enjoy Halloween with its pagan traditions. I even like the idea of an "All Saints Day" that follows even if outside my own religious faith as I like holy people even more. But imagination, magic, ghosts, a scary story or two, even a "Ghostbusters" movie, and especially the trick-or-treating are fun except that I enjoyed it a lot more when I was a little kid and didn't have to keep answering the door bell. What I really don't like about Halloween is the pretend gore, especially that associated with the commercial haunted houses - or horror pics. Or jumping out and scaring people. Oh yeah, and zombies.

I read in some pop psychology-type articles that some people crave the adrenalin rush they get from being scared. Others may have adequate stimulation with regular life. For me, reading a book and taking a nap are plenty of stimulation. I think there is also a psychological aspect to confronting fear and even gory death in a sufficiently fake and safe environment. It's sort of a way to deal with or even hide from the reality of our own potential gore and death.

In real life we do eventually have to face those things. Some think I'm odd because they just don't bother me that much.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Liberal Mormon and the Irony of Romney & Huntsman

I'm not saying that Romney and Huntsman are liberal. That would just be silly. But I am struck by the odd situation that in spite of the very strong political conservatism that runs through cultural Mormonism, when I see Huntsman and Romney in the midst of the Republican field for the presidential nomination, they are the sanest members of crazy-town. And I don't think I''m the only one that has noticed.

Now, both of them certainly have their problems and are unlikely to get my support in a general election. Huntsman just pegged Romney accurately as a "well-oiled weather vane" which also does in Huntsman's promise to run a "positive" campaign. But there is a basis for rational, progressive politics in Mormonism, even if you set aside Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as most Mormons and conservatives tend to do anyway.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Truth and Love with Honors


I attended a very beautiful funeral today. It may seem odd, but I really love funerals, especially Mormon funerals which I find so uplifting and positive because of the strength of powerful faith that this life is not the end and there will be a glorious resurrection. This funeral also included military honors as the deceased was a Navy Veteran of World War II. It was not at a National Cemetery which sometimes are limited to abbreviated ceremonies due to budget cuts and increasing demands. The elderly Veterans who served their brother-in-arms today performed a very moving, patriotic, graveside service.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

7n>∞ (where n=never)

I've had my troubles in life and still do. One of them is Math- so I think I got that equation right. Much more importantly I've had to learn and practice painful repentance because of problems I have brought on myself. The one thing I have learned above all else is that the Lord loves me and always will. I am nothing without His Grace.

This came to me a few years back with I was overcoming some challenges by my hard work mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even physically. And absolutely none of it would have worked without the Grace of God.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Romance of Protest

The Sixties are often a blur to me, difficult to pin point specific dates in my childhood memory. The recent “Occupy” protests have reminded me of a vivid memory of a sunburn in Seattle, that alone would be a memorable event, but it was a tan worn as a badge of some rebellious honor by one of my mom’s former MIA girls.

I remember it without any romantic thought of even pre-adolescent crushes. The romanticism was classic as she appeared at Sacrament meeting one evening after having skipped Sunday School in the morning to attend an anti-war protest at the University of Washington. Just skipping church was an attractive rebellion, and then to have the war protest on top of that!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Christians? Maybe A Fourth Way

Or first, depending on where you start counting. The whole dispute over "Are Mormons Christians?" I find kind of silly. Besides the total irrelevance of the question in political considerations - as in, "no religious test" under the U.S. Constitution, I see the conversation going something like this:

"You're not a Christian!"

"Yes, I am!"

"No, you're not."

When Jesus Christ Himself had silly questions or accusations leveled at Him, He either refused to answer or turned it back on the challengers. "Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others . . . ?" "A certain man went down from Jerusalem . . . ." Maybe we should respond with something like, "Have you asked of God?"

Monday, October 24, 2011

Remember the Slave Masters! er, the ALAMO!

The headlines screamed, "ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS INVADE TEXAS TO IMPOSE SLAVERY!"

Actually, it would have been Mexico City in Spanish in 1836. It reminds me of the time, quite a few years ago when it was safer to stroll the streets of Ciudad Juarez, I was in the museum reading the interpretive signs on the exhibits about the settlement of "Tejas" by someone named Esteban Austin. As I was reading and thinking in Spanish (no English translation) my head was pronouncing it "ow-STEEN." And I stopped. And still in my head I said, "Wait a minute! That's Stephen Austin!" It was interesting to see a little of the history of Mexico from a different perspective.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Practical Spirituality

I'm sure I'm going off the deep end here into metaphysical and theological issues that have been argued through the ages by intellects infinitely greater than my weak mind. My whole point here, though, is to try to keep this as simple as possible. With my posting of late last night about an inexplicable, possibly spiritual impression, I realized that my personal faith which I'm pretty sure is well grounded in my religious tradition, requires spiritual revelations to make sense.

That's maybe going to be a howler to many out there who have a good time with the oddities of historical and theological Mormonism. I'm going to put that aside for the moment as I have addressed it elsewhere on this blog to some extent. My point is very personal and very practical. Spiritual manifestations have to mean something. My mind and spirit both require an answer to the question, "What is the point?"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"Return to the Holy Yew"

This blogger & the ancient, possibly pre-Christian Yew at St. Mary's Churchyard,
Cusop, Herefordshire, on the border with Wales August 16, 2010.
I've had a few, clear spiritual experiences in my life. I don't often share them as I hold them most sacred. This one, I think was a spiritual manifestation, and I share it here mainly because, unlike the others, it doesn't make any sense. Maybe somebody can help me figure it out.

Who's Your Senator? New Mexico Edition

The Honorable Gentlewoman B
The Honorable Gentleman A














The Honorable Gentleman D
The Honorable Gentleman C














Answers after the jump:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What Free Market?


It's fine if you believe in a theoretical or philosophical free market - even if you believe than any decision on the economy should move more toward that freedom. I think I understand that position. My personal view is that a free market subject to regulation by a democratically-elected representative form of government is preferred. I respect and believe in the right of individual property and its protections. I am not a Socialist. But could someone please tell me where that pure, free market has ever existed or how it ever will exist except in pure theory? And, by what authority?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Western Republican Debate - Slightly Late Live Blogging

OK. I had to go to a marching band competition.

As I turn on the TV, I see the newt pontificating on tax policy and Cain look like he's been squirming a little. This is supposed to be "beat up on Herman" night. Then Bachmann comes on a little shrilly about repealing the tax code and making the poor people pay. And Perry seems to be on the stump preachin' up the drill-baby-drill! (and we thought we would miss Sarah).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Who's Your Senator? Idaho Edition

The Honorable Gentleman B
The Honorable Gentleman A














The Honorable Gentleman C
The Honorable Gentleman D













Saturday, October 15, 2011

Who's Your Senator? Utah Edition

???
???













We Can't Be Perfect without Each Other

While riding the bus to work yesterday morning, I had one of those flashes of spiritual insight. I was reading the latest BYU Studies, Vol. 50, No. 3 (2011), which about as far as I go with subscriptions to scholarly journals not being much of an intellectual myself. There is an article in there by a non-Mormon theologian, Stephen H. Webb, who stumbled on Mormonism while studying the obscure Christian concept of "Heavenly Flesh Christology." He was amazed to find in the unique teachings of Joseph Smith interesting reconciliation of many of the conflicts of the early Christians about the nature of God and Christ along with the whole concept of a physical world and human existence. If the internet still exists two years in the future, then you can read it on line at BYU Studies. Otherwise, you have to get a subscription or go to some library that has one. The article's title is "Godbodied."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Will Republicans Play the Cain Card?

This is fraught with danger. And I recognize the difficult history of race relations in my own religious tradition. We are doing so much better now and there were always heroes like Mitt's Dad, Michigan Governor George Romney, who really was a champion of Civil Rights and may actually have marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. more than just figuratively.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bloomberg Republican Debate LIVE-BLOGGING

Well, we'll give it a try. My wife is using my netbook because she needs two screens to do her homework to re-certify as a substitute teacher. She already has a few gigs lined up as they still have a shortage of science teachers. With federal pay frozen, tuition, dental, and medical expenses spiking in the family budget, she is going back into the work force. So, Republicans- What are you going to do for us? Oh yeah, cut taxes, cut aid to schools, cut social services, kill health care reform, maybe some more wars. Yeah, we get all that.

Anyway, I'm using my boy's hand-me-down MacBook because our antiquated desktop PC is too darn slow. This keyboard is kinda funky though.  I think I did find the Bloomberg channel - not one I watch much (if ever).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

No [cultist] Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any office or public Trust under the United States

You have no idea how annoying this is. I have not intention of voting for Romney for president because I like the one we have. I can't vote in the closed Utah Republican Primary because I'm not registered that way. And I would prefer the old, moderate Romney to the new one who has been pandering to the right and misrepresenting the positions of our current President (the whole "apology" obsession thing). And yet, I feel some responsibility to defend Romney against some in the fundamentalist base of his party with their charges that he is disqualified to be president on the basis of religion. So I'll do it this way:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Constitution Is Not Dead

Do you realize the implication of those like Justices Scalia and Thomas, along with Beck and the late Skousen who argue against a "living Constitution?" I hope they are not saying the Constitution is dead. I much prefer a living Constitution to a dead one.

As far as I can tell, I don't believe those who promote a living Constitution believe it is a "free-for-all" to interpret however we want. To draw a little scriptural analogy, which many on the right are so fond of anyway in spite of the First Amendment and the "no religious test" of Article VI, why can't we "liken the Constitution unto us" and consider its principles as applied to our current situation?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Anarchists Occupy and Ron Paul Supporters Come Full Circle

Proving the political continuum is not a line but a circle, the Occupy Wall Street Movement marched through downtown Salt Lake with dispossessed Libertarians. As we watched from the windows of the Federal Building, they were at least smart enough to realize that a branch of the Federal Reserve was across the street and that's where they focused their pass-by march rather than just yelling at us for trying to serve the public. There were over 200 of them which beats out the last tea party tax day protest by a long shot.

Pretty cool design - the whole red revolution-thing going
with the socialist (oops, "industry") beehive 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dontcha Hate It When I'm Right?

Palin says she's not running for President. And as a final blow from the liberal, lame-streamers, Steve Jobs, the Thomas Edison of the iPod, dies and steals her headlines.

"Buh-bye!"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Utah Legislature Pizza Special: Hold the Pepperoni!

The Utah State Legislature is in special session! Oh, no! Actually, I hate being the eternal optimist, but I just don't think it's as bad as all that. People, especially Congressman Matheson, are pretty upset that they just sliced him out of the Congress with their pizza knife to form a new Congressional District. And that is a shame. Yet he's used to a difficult election every two years. Now he will have his option to go after a state-wide office, maybe Governor, maybe Senator to replace Orrin Hatch. And there's a chance he could even make it.

The gerrymandering charge may be valid. Yet the Republicans seem to have a fool-proof defense in articulating four districts with a mix of rural and urban without having to articulate a Salt Lake/Park City only district that could be a Democratic stronghold. With no extensive racial minority neighborhoods anywhere in the state, except for small, urban pockets of Hispanics and Polynesians in West Valley City, and a real scattering of Indian Tribes throughout the state, there is no clear manipulation that would dilute the vote of suspect classes. For good or ill, mildly progressive, Democratic neighborhoods on the east side of Salt Lake County and up to Park City, don't count as a protected class.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Where Are the Court Rolls for the Borough of English Hay on the border of the former counties of Brecon, Radnor, and Herefordshire?

Hay Castle, Hay-on-Wye, Powys, Wales, August 21, 2010, Now a bookstore. Who could ask for more?
Note the War Memorial prominent center right.
I get more traffic with my LDS General Conference postings than anything else - even a handful of hits from Britain. So, I'm taking advantage to throw this out there in an attempt to find a record that has to exist somewhere but has so far alluded us as well as our Welsh researcher. Maybe someone will be intrigued by the mystery and offer good suggestions or clues. Maybe somebody actually has this record or at least knows where it is.

LIVE BLOGGING! LDS General Conference Notes: Sunday Afternoon, October 2, 2011

Sorry. I'm not asleep. Dinner was late. So, we're back at it: See it live here.

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Spoke about covenants [I was listening]
If I got this right, he said the visit of the Father to the Prophet Joseph Smith was to restore the Abrahamic Covenant.
We take on the Abrahamic Covenant by entering into sacred covenants in this life.

LIVE BLOGGING! LDS General Conference Notes: Sunday Morning, October 2, 2011

You could be watching live here. The Choir broadcast is already streaming live.

My second youngest boy, age 17, went off with friends to the morning session. Now we all have to watch the crowd shots closely for him. Let's hope he's not at the top for the final smile. (Probably the engineers are watching for something like that.)

You never know who to expect from family dropping in for conference and the eventual Sunday dinner. Most likely, the grandsons will be by. In-laws not coming so we can cook the ham (sodium issues). Which means I now get to peel potatoes.

Spuds peeled. On to Conference:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Priesthood Session LATE Blogging: October 1, 2011

This is now online for all to watch. It was probably online live.

While our chapel has now gone wireless, and I know the password, I think I will still refrain from live-blogging the priesthood session on my netbook which could prove too much of a distraction to others. Although it might keep me and others more awake. I'll just have to try and scribble some notes in the inevitable darkness (they turn out all the lights to watch the screen!). And I'll try to blog highlights later.

I still don't know why they don't just broadcast it on TV. It's not any big secret or anything. To the credit of the LDS Institute at the U, they will rebroadcast at 9 pm so people can see it after the football game with the U of Washington Huskies. We'll see if any of my boys make it up there.

LIVE BLOGGING! LDS General Conference Notes: Saturday Afternoon, October 1, 2011

WATCH LIVE HERE

Not totally alone as my married daughter dropped by to get some lunch. Yep, that's right. Actually, she left it here in the fridge from going out last night with her husband. I went outside to mow the lawn for some more Saturday points (even if only self-awarded). I try to save that job for my boys to earn a little money which I'd rather pay than do it myself anyway. But my boys are all busy today and I like to save a few bucks now and than. Besides, I figured I only had to mow the front lawn to keep my good standing in the neighborhood. I just closed the gate to the backyard and one of my boys can earn his pay next week mowing the extra-long back yard.

The highlights this morning were to hear about the new Temples, especially the restoration of the burned-out Provo Tabernacle as a new Temple. What will they call it? They already have a Provo Temple. The Temple in American Fork is named for Mt. Timpanogos. The two in South Jordan, Utah are named for  the Jordan River and Oquirrh Mountain. Maybe Y-Mountain Temple? No, that probably wouldn't work. Also - President Packer on evil, but not end-times - that's actually rather significant. And Pres. Uchtdorf of being of value to the Lord.

Back to Conference:

LIVE BLOGGING! LDS General Conference Notes: Saturday Morning, October 1, 2011

I have my Cheese Nips and Diet Coke supplies. My UofU boy went off to his game-day activities. My Viewmont (BYU fan) boys are going off with the marching band competition soon to be followed by their mom as the uniform mom. I already took the old, Dodge van to Jiffy Lube so I did a Saturday chore if anyone is keeping points (apparently not). I saw the Jiffy-Lubers struggling to open the side, sliding door. I told them, "Don't open that door. If you do, it won't go back on." They gave up on it. The green van looks like it might keep going for a few more miles.

The pre-conference ads [not official church sanctioned but this is KSL] on Nashville songs for missionaries and newly digitized Book of Mormon cartoons.

On to conference:

Friday, September 30, 2011

Eternal Families Eternally Enshrined in Art

Every time I enter the Family History Library across from Temple Square in Salt Lake City, I am greeted by family.

 At least it's not "political."

"The Eternal Family through Christ" by Judith Mehr.
Entrance to LDS Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
It's hard to do a larger-than-life mural justice on a computer screen. Click here for a fuller view as well as an interpretation of the mural.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Richard L. Bushman: Honorary Passionate Moderate Mormon

I was not able to attend this lecture, but I read a report from Peggy Fletcher Stack in the Salt Lake Tribune. Professor (Brother) Bushman is right on my themes of moderation and political tolerance that should be coming out of Mormonism. He may even be a bit more optimistic about all this than I am. But I welcome the voice.

He is the author of Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. This is a great biography, some have characterized as "warts and all," while I see it more as a fascinating, true story of a real human being who many millions, including Bushman and yours truly respect and honor as a prophet of God. Read it. I heartily recommend it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Christie and Palin sound like Sherman saying, "Flirting Is Hell."

Sherman is Hell. Just ask Georgia and South Carolina
Sorry for swearing. And here I am getting ready for conference. Sigh. Actually, the quote I am looking for was that if you don't want to run for President, then you need to be upfront and direct like William Tecumseh Sherman and say, "I will not accept if nominated, and will not serve if elected."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

LDS General Conference Prep: Actually, Review from 35 Years Ago

One of my few blog followers expressed that she is looking forward to my live-blogging of LDS General Conference. I still find it surprising that those are some of my most popular posts. Looking forward to this weekend (and I do enjoy conference weekend) I remembered that I have my digital transcription of my mission journal/letters/notes including the conference I watched while in the Language Training Mission (LTM). That was in the original buildings of the current Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah, just after its dedication (9/27/1976 - also in my journal!). So, as a little conference preparation and with some interesting historical perspective, I cut and paste my notes here below.

I am most pleased that my note-taking as a 19-year-old holds up pretty well. But then, so do the messages. Asterisks were added contemporaneously to the talks or points I found especially of interest. The bold highlight on Elder Maxwell's name reflects that as well for his classic discourse.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cool! I Finally Have a Blog Frenemy!

This morning, I received an e-mail from one of my regular followers notifying that it appeared someone had attempted a little cyber-bullying going through all my past postings for some time and clicking on "dislike." This was on all of them, political, religious, personal, and otherwise. I found it highly entertaining. My passion is generally so moderated I don't stir up a lot of contention. I've had a few challenging comments but not as many as some were expecting. It's hard to argue with a moderate. Most dissenters simply dismiss me as no threat without a second thought. (Hence, their eventual surprise when we meek actually do inherit the earth!)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Political Apologies, as in True Repentance: Ya know it when ya see it.

In Sunday School today we read this from Romans:
There is none righteous, no not one.
With all the Republican primary candidates trying to prove how "Christian" they are and how their opponents "aren't," this scripture comes as a friendly little reminder (most having forgotten all about the "no religious test" of the U.S. Constitution, Article VI). And it also reminds us of all the sad history of political apologies, I mean the apologies of politicians because nobody really apologizes for politics (take Cheney's book, for example). The non-partisan list of those politicians apologizing for getting caught in their various indiscretions goes on and on. I've racked my brain to think of one of those that I thought was really sincere, and I'm still thinking. So if anyone out there has any ideas on that, please let me know.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Snake River Crossing

Snake River Crossing at I-84--Idaho on the left, Oregon on the right.
September 21, 2011
Last week I was in the land of my birth as I have throughout all my life never staying, always passing through. It was evening and the late-afternoon sun was bright in the west across Oregon. I looked up the river to the south to make out my birthplace but never quite hometown of Nyssa, Oregon.

I passed over much higher once on a commercial flight head pressed against the little window watching the river, towns, and my Grandpa's dairy farm like reading a map. Another time I was in a small, government plane flying a little lower heading away from the dawn sensing a flight through the same fluffy clouds I had tried to grab onto with my fingers to slow that first, spiritual arrival to my earthly form.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Gary Johnson Is Not A Mormon

Pretty much from the start of this blog, the most common searches that hit me are asking whether the Republican candidates for President, especially Gary Johnson, are Mormons. Even though I have personally seen former Governor Gary Johnson in a Mormon Church at an Eagle Scout Dinner, he is not Mormon. Just to set the record straight, here is the definitive list:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Passionately Moderate Suburban Seattleite

Olympic Mountains across Puget Sound on Elliott Bay
September 19, 2011
In Seattle for a work meeting brings me to a theme I have thought about a lot without any definitive answers. Seattle is a beautiful place, yes, even in the rain. And there is a calm, easy-going, positive personality to the place and the people. Having grown up in the suburbs of Seattle, I wonder how much a place can shape personality. Were my formative years in the Seattle area a factor in moderating me?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Brother Udall's Home Teacher

Well, he didn't really see me that way. And we didn't follow any traditional practices. In fact, it was more of a developing friendship - just the way it should be.

Stewart Udall 1920-2010. Secretary of the Interior 1961-1969

Friday, September 16, 2011

McGinnis Will Have to Take Care of Palin without Me

I canceled my order of McGinnis's book since it hadn't shipped yet. It's not just because I was feeling guilty to be accountable to a public on this blog, few though you may be. I would have done it anyway had no one known just because it was making me uncomfortable and I have better options for my limited book buying budget.  But I thought I'd better report it here as I already announced the now canceled purchase.

The more I see of reviews and advance peeks, the more it appears that the book will be petty and non-substantive. Not that it wouldn't be a perfect match for Sarah, but I was hoping for something with a little more journalistic or literary merit. And I really would like to see a serious explanation of the Palin phenomenon because my only sense of it is that it was all petty and non-substantive. At least the ugly result will be just too much controversy swirling around to allow her ever to be a serious candidate. The sheer weight of all the tawdriness destroys any gravitas she could ever attempt.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Moral Decline of America

It's not about drugs, sex, and rock & roll. - or even gays. It was bad enough to hear people cheer executions in Texas in one of the debates. But hearing people cheer for those who die because they are in comas and don't have medical insurance, that was about the most horrifyingly immoral political message I have ever heard. If you didn't see it, here it is:


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

So Long, Sarah!

Actually, she will be around for a while longer. And she will be getting A LOT of attention next week when Joe McGinnis's book comes out. It looks like it will be a pretty hard-hitting treatment from the author and brief next-door-neighbor of the Palin's. However annoying it may have been to have him next door, it was Sarah who insinuated that he was a sex pervert. This from the same mother grizzly who frequently hides behind her children.

And I will read the book. (It's on order from Amazon). Some of you may wonder why when I am such a moderate and fair guy and wouldn't touch Cheney's book with a ten-foot pole. Am I being fair and objective? Not really. I find Palin appalling for reasons I have set out. And thanks to McGinnis, I think there will be more to come. I want to understand better. This book will be far more controversial and interesting than Cheney's book could ever be. It will likely be a significant historic and cultural event in and of itself.