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?"


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 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.