Saturday, June 30, 2012

Winners Win and Losers Lose

Stating the obvious, no matter how furiously the right-wingers spin their failure to destroy Obamacare in the Supreme Court, this is politically good for the President and the Dems and bad for the tea party and the Republicans. Had Obamacare gone down, at least this supporter of the President would have been severely demoralized. And I was not looking forward to an election based on a war against the Supreme Court. I guess the Right is free to go ahead if they want.

This election is still mostly about the economy and jobs. The recovery is slowly chugging along. Republican Governors hoping to be reelected are touting the recovery in their own states (two-edged sword, guys.) We just had another big jump on Wall Street because Germany got European finances sort of straightened out, again.

Friday, June 29, 2012

One More Turned from the Dark Side

It's good to give credit where credit is due. KSL reported today that former Utah State Representative, Stephen Sandstrom, has had a "change of heart" with regard to the anti-immigrant law he sponsored and based on the Arizona law now essentially struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Roberts for the Win

I did see the erroneous CNN banner this morning, but only after I had seen more accurate tweets so I wasn't too disturbed.

It's been a big day. I'll be brief and as Speaker Boehner cautioned us not to spike the ball (wait - that was for his tea party caucus!), I only note for the record that I did predict Chief Justice Roberts joining the majority for this way back in March (see here). Of course, no one ever predicts the Court dead on as they are always full of surprises. So I missed my 6-3. And I haven't read the whole case yet (it's been a busy day.) But I offer these preliminary comments.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Justice Scalia Frustrated and Annoyed

I met Justice Scalia once. It was at the dedication of the new federal court house in Albuquerque a few years ago. He was milling with the crowd as we had refreshments. Having never met a Supreme Court Justice, I went up and shook his hand. It was kinda creepy. I'll just leave it at that.

Scalia's impassioned dissent in the Arizona Immigration case indicates that the politically conservative jurist may be a little frustrated. Also, the separate dissents/partial concurrences of the other two conservative Justices, Thomas and Alito, indicate the conservative wing of the court is not well united. Having been quietly abandoned by their conservative Chief Justice Roberts joining the majority in this politically-charged issue, this all indicates to me that they may have lost to Obamacare. I still think it could be 6-3. I'll eat my words tomorrow as necessary.*

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

O Milagre do Facebook!

[Click "translate" and see if that works]

Que alegria senti hoje! Recém fiz parte de um novo grupo no Facebook iniciado por uns amigos meus da minha missão para a Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Últimos Dias em Porto Alegre na época do Presidente Jason Garcia Souza (1976-1979). A minha benção foi que passei o tempo inteiro do meu serviço missionário (1976-1978) com o mesmo presidente – apesar de ficar uns longos meses no LTM esperando o visto para ir ao Brasil.

Faz uns 15 anos, mais ou menos, que descobri uma página na internet dos missionários da minha época no Brasil. Era bom receber notícias e entrar em contato de novo com alguns amigos missionários, mas não tinha tanta facilidade de uso como o mais moderno Facebook. No Facebook, a gente pode compartilhar fotos e mensagens muito mais rápido, as vezes num momento só.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

"Nattering Nabobs of Negativism"

The Less-than-Honorable Vice President of the United States, Spiro Agnew
Maybe I'll rethink my blog-writing style that does occasionally resort to alliteration. I am currently reading a good book, Very Strange Bedfellows: The Short and Unhappy Marriage of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, by Jules Witcover (Public Affairs, New York 2007). And it reminds me that Vice President Spiro Agnew was the master of musical messaging (oops).

It's a good book by a veteran journalist from Baltimore, so he has a good grasp on the former Governor of Maryland and his background. I know how it ends. Agnew resigned the Vice Presidency in disgrace as part of a plea deal with prosecutors in Baltimore because they had the goods on him for old-style political graft - receiving cash kick-backs for government contracts in Maryland. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dawn's Early Light

Ragnar restored my confidence. I ran a couple of times this week and I feel physically restored as well. This morning I awoke at four, lonely, with my wife out of town. (It's been two weeks!) I thought that as long as I was going to be alone*, I'd rather do it on my terms in a beautiful place. So, as soon as there was enough light, I headed for Centerville Canyon.

To enjoy trail running, I take a minimalist approach. I started pre-hydrating so I wouldn't have to carry any water. It helps to have my hands free on some of the steeper, slippery parts in case I have to grab something or fall, hopefully using the hands to prevent a face slam. And as trail-running is so much better than the asphalt, I drove up to Cheese Park and parked so I could start right on the dirt.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dedication of the Provo LTM (MTC) 1976, Part II

AnonymousD tells me he hates sequels. Regardless, I offer the following that I found while looking for something else. This is my copy of the program for the dedication of the Language Training Center (now, Missionary Training Center), in Provo, Utah, September 27, 1976. The cover:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Baby in the Bathwater

No, it's not me. I was never that cute. (And I'm not saying who it is.)
Almost all babies are cute. But they all stink a lot. They get messy faces. They are in constant need of bathing. After a baby's bath, you don't save the dirty water. Hopefully, you dry off the baby and enjoy the cuteness until the next episode of eating or pooping or both. You simply, "don't throw out the baby with the bathwater!"

That phrase, of course, is not about babies. It is an analogy for losing what's essential when we discard the trivial or the false. It comes to mind so often when I see people struggling with their belief systems in the face of intellectual or other challenges.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ragnar - Wasatch Back 2012

Yes, we medaled! (Well, that means we finished)

About 8 p.m. 6/14/2012:
Our drivers in Van 2 (AnonymousD and his wife) say they know every McD's between Eden and Heber. (I know one at Kimball Junction. Are there really any more? Oh yeah, I know the one in Heber too.) So I will attempt to live-blog the race - even if rather sporadically over the next two days.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"Don't Believe Everything You Read on the Internet" -Abraham Lincoln

Yes! I get a chance to use my new favorite Lincoln quote!

Robin Williams as Mork speaking to the Universe (actually, Orson)
A Facebook friend (who shall go nameless) posted a crazy thing about Robin Williams spouting some rather reactionary conservative screed. I didn't think it sounded right (except for Robin being crazy - but even that's mostly in a good way). I had the same reaction that I had with George Washington supposedly promoting the NRA the other day. So I googled the first part of the quote and "Robin Williams" and came up with several sites debunking the scam. I went with Snopes.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Compromise is Not a Four-Letter Word

It has at least ten by my count. That does make it a complex word. And so often we end up arguing two different definitions of the same thing with our assumptions out of whack and our values unnecessarily threatened.

Senator Rand Paul (R. Kentucky)
This was illustrated very well today on a couple of comments in an article about Paulistas (not the people from São Paulo but the supporters of Ron Paul) being very upset with Rand Paul for declaring his support for Mitt Romney.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Tribute to Ray Bradbury

There's more I have to say about my buddy Ray. He was pretty much a friend to the whole world. And I felt like he was my buddy because he spoke to me through his books - and even helped me in times of trouble.

My teenage angst was rather severe. I suppose everybody who goes through it feels that way or they wouldn't call it "angst." I've already blogged about how the Who helped me, but there was also Ray. In the Spring of my sophomore year of high school, I switched from Juanita High to Inglemoor. That's maybe a story for another day as to how that came about, but the result was that I found myself in a new school with no friends and barely any acquaintances. But Inglemoor had a great little store that sold paperback books and candy. Most lunch hours found me huddled in a cubicle with a bag of peanut M&M's and a Ray Bradbury book. They cost 95¢ in those days, well within my paper-route budget. In my loneliness, how could I help but feel a connection to someone who could express this:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I Still Think Mr. Electrico Was Right

"LIVE FOREVER!" he told a young Ray Bradbury. I honestly thought it just might work. But the L.A. Times reports today that Ray has left his mortal body. Yet even that doesn't mean he isn't still living.

Yes, there are all those trite ideas about as long as we remember someone, they live on in our memories. And Ray pushes past that triteness leaving behind not just his worn-out physical body, but a vast record of his amazingly creative thoughts and ideas in his books and stories.

But if you'll excuse me the indulgence of my personal belief system, I believe Ray will live forever. He's in the Spirit World now and while I can't judge, I know he was a man of a good heart indicating that he is in a good place there. His physical body will one day resurrect and stand before God like all of us. And Ray still has many opportunities for learning and choosing and even creative endeavors beyond his wildest imaginations - and his have been pretty wild to this point. He even has some Mormon friends who preceded him in death who are likely there to greet him. How do I know? I feel like I'm a friend too:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

George Washington said . . . . [!?*]

Yes, the internet is a blessing and a curse. A wealth of information can be easily gained and also very easily abused. Proof-texting is bad enough, but sometimes there is outright fraud.

Monday, June 4, 2012

My Inner Child Helps My Aunt Solve a Family History Problem

There he is, that little guy! It's great to be the oldest grandchild at least on my Dad's side of the family. Christmas 1958 was apparently a major extravaganza that way.

I scanned this one at fairly high resolution mainly so I could see all my haul of toys (I remember the horse and the jack-in-the-box). Then I sent it to my Aunt with a couple of other photos not knowing it would solve a frustrating family history problem for her.

Charity Suffereth

Frustration crept over me in my own failings to express disagreement with the tone of two articles recommended to me by friends. The first from a young woman who has left behind her Mormon Faith for a better relationship with her husband who had lost his Faith, and the second from a well-intended response to the first full of apologetic refutation. A friend commented on my Facebood posting that he found the second judgmental, but not the first, acknowledging the difficulty in ever expressing personal perspective on religion or politics without offending someone. Another friend responded that while her choices have been different in choosing Faith, she still recognized that an open mind, patience, and above all charity are important if we are ever to understand each other.

My brother-in-law, AKA Anonymous/D, messaged me by e-mail providing the following:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Family History - Piecing the Puzzles of Idaho Indian Rock Art

With my inner child calling me again, I've gone back to the work digitizing photographs and transcribing letters from the earliest years of my memory. In that process I posted on Facebook the following photo for  Mother's Day:

Easter Sunday, April 2, 1961. Birch Creek near Salmon, Idaho 

Friday, June 1, 2012

The World Has No Need for our Drones

Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic's resident Libertarian, has a series of articles here, here, and here on the President's drone attacks in his War on Terror (even if this President doesn't call it that). This is an area where I sort of agree with the Libertarians. The drone attacks appear to be an unconstitutional extension of the President's war power and violate principles of due process with regard to the essential human right of life regardless of citizenship. I hesitate to join with the Libertarians for a lot of other reasons and while my criticism of President Obama is justified, I see no alternative in Governor Romney as he would likely be worse in his continued attempts to out neo-con the neo-cons.