Thursday, June 30, 2011

And a Big Passionately Moderate Welcome to AnonymousD!

Or is it maybe it's "moderately passionate?" I've been agonizing about going off the grid next week to fulfill one of those volunteer obligations I'm not sure I really volunteered for. My wife has a concern as to whether I can make it without any internet. I have already survived worse, including 12 days hiking the mountains of New Mexico with eight 14-18-year-old Scouts, TEN-straight days without showers and no lakes to jump into. P.U!

Anyway, I mainly wanted to be able to have somebody approve comments to not leave people hanging for a week. So I invited my good buddy to join me as a co-administrator of this blog. This buddy is passionately moderate and Mormon (and faithful and Utahn and certainly unique) in maybe slightly different ways, but we really understand each other. And I would be really happy if AnonymousD would share some thoughts with y'all.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Republican Field Update - End of June (well, at least the end of the newt)

Bachman officially in and it will be interesting to watch her make the play for the Sarah crowd. She's only made a few official gaffes like mixing John Wayne with John Wayne Gacy. And she in under increasing scrutiny for farm income from the family farm taking farm subsidies, her husband's counseling practice that qualified for Medicare patients, and questions about any government support of her foster-care parenting. Not that any of these things are bad. They're not. But they are part of the evil government she wants to be President of.

Sarita Palinista is not in (and won't be) but she continues her celebrity events when she feels like it. Josh Green at the Atlantic points out that her popularity could take a severe blow when she does announce that she is not running. I still think she'll be able to pull off some kind of speech from the balcony of the Casa Rosada.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In Which We Discover "Camelot" at South Cadbury

I know, I know. Camelot was an invention of some crazy French guy 600 years after the possible historical period of anyone who could have closely resembled a King Arthur figure in the reality of British History. (And my professional historian friend Ardis still won't share that handout she got at church about how King Arthur had the priesthood taken away because he didn't follow Merlin's prophecies!) But take a look at this and tell me there wasn't just one, brief, shining moment!

South Cadbury Hillfort, Somerset, England

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Money Is Imaginary

Even the Lord says it doesn't matter much. I mean, look at the lilies of the field! And the real treasures you take with you into the next life are so much more important and can't be taken away from you. And you might as well give what you owe to the government as it is that power setting up the financial system anyway. Well, He said it all much better.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jon Huntsman Saves the Union!

Well, that's a bit over-stated. But he did something very important yesterday besides showing the political world that there is more to Utah and Mormonism than Romneyesque stiffness and stuffiness.

In his announcement speech to seek the Republican nomination, Huntsman said, "I don't think you need to run down someone's reputation to run for the office of president." That is absolutely amazing, unusual within his party (and it shouldn't be), and so needed in our current political climate. President Obama, while not achieving the high hopes and dreams of so many who supported him, is nevertheless a very important transitional figure in the positive change coming to this great nation.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Solstice!

The winter solstice is actually more important to me, as I think it was for a lot of ancient people. That is the point the sun stops to move back south north saving mankind from eternal winter. Yet the summer solstice has its charms as I went out this morning before the sunrise to see if the fairy circle had appeared in our backyard. Even with our extra-wet year, it hasn't. My fourteen-year-old boy noted that we haven't seen it since we had the wedding reception for our oldest boy and his sweetheart in our backyard two years ago. Maybe she's the pixie who has spirited him away along with the circle.
Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, England, 23 August 2010

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Boy Is a Socialist (Making His Dad "Kinda" Proud on Fathers Day)

Another moment in church when you want to slap your forehead hard but hold as still as possible hoping not to be noticed. The funny part is that I know of at least two other Democrats in the room who were looking at me trying to make me crack.

We were in with the Priests Quorum because some guy from the Stake called me to ask if our Teachers Quorum could go in with the Priests at the beginning of our class time so he could take a picture. He thought there might not be enough Priests so the idea was to boost up the numbers with a few Teachers as extras. I'm not sure if this was for Stake purposes or Church Headquarters on North Temple because we have a lot of guys in our Stake who work for Church Magazines and Public Affairs, etc. Our Varsity Scouts were even videoed a couple of years ago by a mission buddy who is on the Young Mens General Board, but so far, we haven't made it into any Church productions on-line or elsewhere, at least that I have seen.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Vaughan Family History: Hay, Trewalkin, Rhôs, Genfford, Y-Neuadd-Fach, Talgarth, and Glasbury

You have no idea how much work it took me to find some of those places. The worst of it is, we drove right by them last summer just below Castell Dinas on our way to see even more ancient Vaughan Family sites in southeast Wales. I spent a lot of time the past few days searching out on-line and on British Ordnance Survey Maps, which are quite fantastic, by the way. The beauty is that every house and farm in Britain has a name. The problem was that I linked to a 1782 will of an ancestor, and it doesn't help when the Bishop's copy misspells Welsh place names and the handwriting is almost impossible to decipher in the first place.

Now I have an eternal cyber-link to these places and maybe there are other distant cousins out there who may find this by accident or design. Send me a message and I'm more than happy to share our research.   And you can share what you have with me!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Huntsman vs. Romney

I did read some background stories that indicate there was a little tension between the two at the time of the 2002 Olympics. Both were in consideration to come in and "save" the games from the scandals that had plagued the bidding process.All bad blood is denied, but it may be that Huntsman was a little resentful towards Romney. The Olympics were a great success, and Romney is very popular for that. I have a friend who worked for the Olympics as a computer guy and he said he was a big Romney fan and would vote for him, no matter what, for whatever office he ran.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Faith in Things that Are Real

I don't want to leave any misconceptions about my Faith. It is not just a good feeling to decide or commit to believe. There is a current cultural phenomenon interpreting it that way both inside and outside the LDS Church. And while I have clearly made a choice to be loyal to my church and my belief, which cannot always be explained rationally, that does not mean it is merely cultural or arbitrary and capricious totally devoid of rationality.

The classic definitions of Faith in Hebrews 11:1 and Alma 32:21 both include the concept that true faith is belief in real things that simply aren't seen. There are a lot of people who believe in things that have nothing real behind them. There are even things I have believed in my many years of experience that I have discovered are not true and I have discarded them. Now that is very interesting because in very broad terms, that is the same as the scientific method or Popperian Falsification - the concept of coming up with ideas and testing them to see if they hold up. If they fail, they are discarded and you move on to the new hypothesis.

Republican Debate June 13, 2011: Live Blog (attempted)

Here we are giving this a try again. John King with CNN is excited. Santorum is peppy in his intro ending abruptly with his 7 children. Bachman also lists 5 children and 23 fosters (nobody will beat that). Gingrich invoking the "Obama Depression."Romney also has kids and kids-in-law but why the self-deprecation about getting it right? Oops Paul just beat Bachman having delivered THOUSANDS of babies. Pawlenty is married and then he sort of lost me (cuz he's kinda boring). Cain- it's about his grandkids too because he's a problem solver.

NH old guy gets to ask a question about jobs. Hispanic guy apparently. Republicans don't have plans for jobs. What are those plans? Mr. Cain? get the economy "boosted" government has put all the money in the caboose. Put the right fuel in the engine which is the private sector.

Friday, June 10, 2011

MX Missiles to Immigration Reform

It's not that I've ever been in conflict with the LDS Church and its official statements even though I may maintain some oddly moderate positions, it's just that it's been thirty years since I felt so vindicated by a political position the church has taken. For some background, read from the June 1981 (!!) Ensign on the Church's opposition to the MX Missile. It really is quite an extraordinary document. It's not just a conflict with the proposed basing system (which was a little odd - and expensive - with miles of paved ovals and bunkers in the Utah and Nevada desert so the Soviets wouldn't know where the missiles were), but the First Presidency gave a rather strong moral condemnation of the whole nuclear arms race mentality in the decade before the end of the Cold War.

Today, the Church issued an official statement reaffirming and strengthening it's call for moderation in immigration reform. This is also quite remarkable. It recognizes the supremacy of the federal government's role in immigration contrary to states' rights doctrine so popular these days among the tea-party and Skousenite/Beckian crowd (i.e., most of the Utah State Legislature and our Congressional Delegation). It calls for a "pathway to citizenship" for illegal immigrants already here. It says that an enforcement only approach will "fall short of the high moral standard of treating each other as children of God." Sounds like a strong moral position to me.

Senator Matheson, Congressman Shurtleff

It could be worse. The down side is that Utah could very well send four Republicans to the House with a new Congressional District and we need to figure how to balance that out a little. And it certainly won't help the National Democratic Party trying to capture back some influence in that body. But maybe, just maybe, there's a chance to send a Democrat from Utah to the U.S. Senate which hasn't happened for 40 years!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Divine Right of Kings

I have long been in awe of Lincoln's arguments in the Lincoln-Douglas debates. (I think you can find them if you click on the picture of the Great Emancipator on the right to get to the Abraham Lincoln Online Archive.) They are a joy to read as he made short work of Douglas and his theory of Popular Sovereignty. (Although Douglas did win that election, Lincoln clearly won the argument.) One of the principal themes against slavery that impressed me was the link to the arbitrary "Divine Right of Kings," that is, as Lincoln put it, "You work and I'll eat the bread."

I've been thinking long and hard about that and how it may relate to our present political situation. Not being as smart as Lincoln, it has sorely taxed the electrically charged chemicals darting about my gray matter.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent"

I'm getting closer to a unified field theory on government and religion. Keeping aside the obvious First Amendment requirement that Congress shall not establish nor interfere with the free exercise of religion (thus, building a "wall of separation" in Founding Father Thomas Jefferson's words for you proof-texters out there), I can make whatever linkage I want because I am not Congress and heaven knows everybody else does! (In spite of "no religious test" of US Const. Art. VI, clause 3).

There is a big lie continuing in our nation most visibly demonstrated with the "tea party crowd" whose aversion to representative government in general and our historically unique president in specific, are claimed to be founded on the anti-tax philosphy of our Founders. It's gotten to the form of religious belief (actually mythology) that we had a revolution to keep us free from taxes or that taxes (or health insurance) destroy our freedom. I just don't get it.

Monday, June 6, 2011

What Do Sarah and Anthony Have in Common?

Sexting? Lying? Hypocrisy? Making stuff up? Nope.

Actually, it's what a lot of people have in common. They are normal.

Now, I'm not making excuses for either one of them. They should get the consequences of their actions and choices. The Congressman may have to resign or at least his influence is significantly diminished. And someday, consequences will catch up with Sarah. It may take a while.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Stickin' Up For Sarah (Sorta)

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the big bus ride of Palin dear
On the third of June, in two thousand 'leven
Hardly a man this side of heaven
Who doesn't know Sarah both far and near.

She said to her dude, "If the libruls ask
By land or by sea how the British came
I'll blame it on Katie who took me to task
Who asked me the papers and mags to name
Write on my hand, and two scams we'll see
And I with the confusing tale will be
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
So sure of my sex and with you on my arm
For the country folk, they love all my charm"

Friday, June 3, 2011

Why the Jell-O Salad (with Carrots) is Green!

If you didn't already know, green Jell-O brand gellatin with grated carrots is one of the icons of Mormon culture left over from the 50's and 60's along with those big, plastic grapes and weird politics. And fusing two of those three, the Utah State Legislature has designated Jello-O as the official state snack. And I finally figured it out! This is from  my own personal observation, but it just might be the explanation why the famous Jell-O is green!
The strawberries would help a lot!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Romney In - Sarah Becomes Huckabee

I wish I could get a message to Mitt. I would tell him that he's a great guy. I really liked him as a moderate governor of a liberal state. It was good to save the 2002 Olympics.  He made a lot of money and maybe could help our economy grow. His dad was a great guy. His family's great. He was probably a great bishop and stake president. He went to my alma mater. But Mitt, please stop embarrassing yourself!

It's official. He's running for President. And this time, instead of trying to out-macho the neo-cons on torture and war, he's trying to recast himself, and even his Massachusetts mandated health insurance in a Tenth Amendment, states' rights way to appeal to the Tea Party. While I admit that is a really good, clever argument in attempt to justify Romneycare (which was a good thing), will anybody really buy it? I think it only appeals to the theoretical states-rightists, maybe the idealistic Libertarian wing. Does anyone think he can out-tea-party the likes of Bachman and Palin?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Knights of the Errancy: A Serious If Unintended Pun

So my subconscious is working overtime. Yet it all seems to come rolling back to my common themes. I blogged on Memorial Day about the honor due our Veterans (just below). And the link to my earlier blog about good intentions even among misguided knights and kings was intentional. Thinking on my title, "Knights of the Air and Sea" I realized it sounded like "Knights of the Errancy" (not to mention that "knight" easily becomes "night,"but let's not go down that Freudian path).

This is deep inside my idealistic heart and I find it hard to explain. But it does help in the distinction to be made from misguided soldiers of good intent and those who followed orders, whatever the intent, to commit horrific crimes that they would recognize if their hearts were not completely closed.