Thursday, November 29, 2012

Presidential Check (maybe Mate)

Republicans are breaking on the edge of the fiscal cliff.

The President set this up very well politically. A few Republicans, having learned some difficult mathematical reality on election night, are now facing reality on the Bush tax cuts. My new hero is a Reality Republican Congressman from Nebraska:
Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., signed Norquist's pledge but says now that he's open to a deal that includes some new tax revenues. . . . “We're screwed either way,” Terry said. “We really have no leverage in these discussions.”
Representative Lee Terry, Republican, Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Founders & Sally Hemings

Chris Matthews is rude and talks over his guests. But then it's his show just like this is my blog (well, and Anonymous D's). I find him entertaining because sometimes he says the most unusual things plucked from outside of any box. The other day I was watching when he said something in a discussion of Republicans and women's issues about how the Founders probably weren't thinking of Sally Hemings.

Sally was a house slave of Thomas Jefferson. She was also the younger half-sister of Jefferson's deceased wife. There are no existing pictures of Sally, but reports say she was attractive. She was of 1/4 (or less) African descent and 3/4 (or more) of European ancestry. Her children were at most 1/8 African and most of them passed for "white" and entered the dominant society (generally outside of Virginia) when they were freed in Jefferson's will. A few of her grandsons fought for the North in the Civil War.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

How Do You Solve a Problem like Mitt Romney?

Bye, bye Mitt, American Guy!
Utah is heart-broken. (See this article in the Deseret News). The Republican establishment is throwing Mitt away. They are also, finally, going after their former intellectual leader, the infamous Bloviator, Rush Limbaugh. But maybe that's a story for another day. And we'd like to see them successful first.

I'm pretty upset about Mitt Romney too. He used to be one of my heroes as the guy who saved the SLC Olympics in 2002. Then he went on to be a moderately progressive Republican Governor of Massachusetts (i.e., Romneycare). He even gave Ted Kennedy a run for the money as a progressive Republican competing for the Senate a few years earlier. That's why I was so confused when I saw Romney running in the Republican Primaries of 2008 and 2012. I was sure he wasn't ever "Severely Conservative" (whatever that is) except for maybe the neo-con part. I don't think the Republican Party has a Mitt Romney problem, the Republican Party has a Republican problem.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lincoln - The Movie

Daniel Day-Lewis makes Lincoln live

It was an amazing historical re-enactment of people in books come to life. We only have the barest physical traces of them left in our modern world. I've seen the pillow in the Petersen House across the street from Ford's Theater with the stains of Lincoln's blood. In the movie Lincoln's head lies on a pillow with blood flowing red in the same pattern as the stain. "Now he belongs to the ages," said Secretary of War Stanton and while I knew he was going to say it, it seemed so natural. The dead body of the President contorted on the small bed had the artistic elements of Spielberg to portray it in pale white but also with a slight glow without being obtrusive. Ford's theater was not portrayed and the assassin had no mention. It seemed only right.

No Love for Mia

Mia Love, Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah
Speaking at the Republican National Convention
There are 768 people in Utah's 4th Congressional District I would personally like to thank. That is how close the vote was after all ballots were finally counted yesterday to re-elect Jim Matheson as Utah's only Democrat in the state's Congressional Delegation. Of course Matheson is about the bluest Democratic dog in the House, but that's beside the point. He's not in or of the tea party as is Mia.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rebooting Christmas (and Life)

Mellow as I am these days, I gave in early to the Christmas music. My wife has been sneakily listening to it since Halloween. She asked me last night if I would make a couple of playlists on iTunes so she could plug in the iPod to the stereo receiver since we don't have a CD player hooked up to it anymore.

But technology comes with a price - a heavy price of frustration. I had finally given in to downloading iTunes 10.7 on my old netbook worried whether it would exceed its capabilities. I uninstalled Bonjour that comes with iTunes because I knew I didn't have any of those fancy devices that work with it anyway and an earlier version had given me a lot of trouble. I started to import the MoTab version of Christmas music and my dang iTunes wouldn't work! (I think I can say "dang" if I've already said "MoTab"). So I tried all kinds of things to get it going - trouble shooting this and that, re-installing "Bonjour," uninstalling iTunes 10.7 and installing 9.2.5 (which couldn't read my files since they'd already been read by a more "advanced" version, and all kinds of other stuff I'm not even sure I can explain (without embarrassing myself with my techie friends and family).

Saturday, November 17, 2012

General Petraeus Did Us a Favor

The adultery and fallout are tragic events for the Petraeus Family and not helpful at the CIA. And then there's the whole Benghazi mess to straighten out only because the right has stirred the pot so badly and unnecessarily to discredit somehow the Obama Administration when it was their own presidential candidate who embarrassed himself so badly (the 47% tape, the night of the attacks, and Debate II).

General Petreaus accomplished great service to the country. Yet he proved himself human and resigned with the President's encouragement. Tragic, yes. But this helps restore and reinforce civilian control over the military - a very important part of our constitutional law and tradition.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Election Post-Mortem 2012 III - E Pluribus Purplum

OK, I wasn't going to do any more autopsies, but I found the best map ever showing the United States of Purple. It was from an Atlantic piece explaining why city voters tend Democratic and is a really good read. It's a little more complicated in the busy industrial, commercial, and population centers than lazy people sitting around waiting for free stuff.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

One Week Later - The Union Endures!

Wanting to call this "Election Post-Mortem II" I read the first one and figured I didn't really need to say much more. Still trying really hard not to gloat especially with my own son making me feel a little guilty about being too prideful, I have to confess that I only slightly lost my cool last Sunday in High Priests' Group.

I have a really great ward that avoids politics for the most part. While I've only seen one other member at the Democratic Caucus, I know there are a few other sympathetic souls, more than even appear on the Democratic registration list I had when I was Precinct Chair. But sometimes, those old guys in HP Group can get a little crotchety so I have to respond.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Humility & Pride (Guest Post)

My BYU Freshman Son gave me permission to share the talk he gave in Sacrament Meeting today as a guest post. He had been asking me for a little advice not using what I thought was my best idea (perhaps he was appropriately inspired not to). I'll share it at the end so as not to detract from this excellent talk:

Good morning Brothers and Sisters, [introduces self], I am primarily from Centerville, Utah, but I used to live in New Mexico. I am majoring in physics with a minor in music, and I plan to go into acoustics. I would like to start off by sharing a quote from a talk by President Benson. It reads:
“Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion. I repeat: Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion.”

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Election Post-Mortem 2012 (by Faith, nothing wavering)

A few days have passed, so it's time to share a few thoughts, and my thoughts alone, about what happened. And as I promised, no gloating. (At least I'll try really, really hard.)

Electoral College Map 2012
And here's another version from the University of Michigan (h/t HF & PB) with the geography contorted to represent population of states:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Talking to your Kids about the Election

From Anonymous D:

I was talking to my daughter last night. She was asking me about the election, what I thought so forth. She knew I voted for President Obama, and that her mother did as well. It’s also well known in the ward that I did. She was telling me that her friends were giving her a little bit of a hard time about it. I told her just to let it go. It isn’t worth losing a friendship because of a disagreement about politics. She then informed me that one of her friends told her that she needed to look up a scripture, Helaman 5:2 and that would pretty well explain our situation.  
“For their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.”  
That’s when I got a little annoyed. I fancy myself as at least competent in the Book of Mormon, I was a aware of the verse of course but I was also aware of the context. So I sat down with my daughter to explain the context.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Live-Blogging Election Night 2012

Well, I was running around to Utah County and back for my kids. Oddly, I was in Utah County for election day four years ago with my oldest boy and his now wife. I was in McD's briefly in American Fork checking Twitter and CNN and now I'm back at home with CNN and MSNBC on TV. I guess I could check how they're doing on FOX. Maybe we'll wait a while.

We'll try to keep up with some updates. I have an interruption coming with our Scout Commissioner to work on registration renewal. But we'll try to keep up. Nobody is calling Florida, Virginia or Ohio, but Florida is looking surprisingly well for the Prez on CNN analysis.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Early Voting Lines

Many people have already voted. Sacrificing time, some say a "poll tax" of time, if time is money. There has to be a better way. But everyone who hasn't voted, should go vote tomorrow and wait in line as long as it takes. This is America.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Absolute Truth? Absolutely! Except . . . .

For some reason, perhaps inspired as it turned out, I was up late enough to be turning the clocks back in the actual 2 o'clock hour. I checked the blog and e-mail as compulsion requires before I finally headed off to bed and found a message from my freshman son at BYU who was also up late with some worries. Knowing his dad, he gave me permission to use some of it in the blog. I appreciate that trust. His slightly edited message and my response follow:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Why I Voted for Obama

Now that I have through early voting, I suppose I should explain myself. I have frequently referred readers to a general perusal of this blog to explain my support for the President which should give a fairly good understanding. I link some of those as we go along, but it is very hard to explain things that are a mixture of sentiment, logic, feelings, study, experience, inspiration and all kinds of different electrical impulses darting through my brain. Let me start with this:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Four Days to Go! My Picks for Tuesday

Time for Final Predictions. Obama by 2% in the popular vote. A solid win 303-235 in the Electoral College. If this link right here works, you can see my predictions on the CNN interactive map for the Electoral College by state. I couldn't figure a way to save or cut and paste.

Oh, and the Dems stay in control of the Senate. I'm going very optimistic to call it as 52 Dems, 46 Repubs, and 2 Independents who will caucus with the Dems. Not quite enough for the 60% cloture rule (only Constitutional in that the Senate can set its own rules, but it's a stupid rule), but the Republicans put up some really bad candidates for the Senate and Dems are doing better than originally expected. Repubs keep the House mainly due the short coat tails of the President. They will hold the House by a smaller margin, unfortunately not as unbounced as Tiggers should be.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Finally Figuring out Math

My wife is a Science Teacher. She used to teach Math. She's a lot smarter than I am in these areas. In fact, that applies in almost every area. The smartest thing I ever did was to marry her. Our kids do pretty well with Math. They get that from their mother. So far, none of them want to be a lawyer. They get that from me. 

Math has always been a problem for me. I'm smart enough, but still struggle with the Math Anxiety I developed in Mrs. Sather's class at Finn Hill Jr. High when she introduced something called polynomials. I've been lost in Mathematics-land ever since.