Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Musical Socialism

Last night, I went to the annual awards ceremony of the jazz music program my two youngest boys are in. I won't name it here because of the title to this piece and I don't want to unnecessarily politicize the Director. I continue to take responsibility and flak for my passionate moderation seen by some on the right to be as evil as Mau-Mau Marxism.

Anyway, the Director said something interesting last night. In getting a little emotional about how much he respects his students for their talent and their basic goodness even more, he said that music education is so important because it teaches good citizenship as a lesson in civics. My ears perked up.

Whistling Utah's Dixie

Out for a run before the dawn yesterday, I remembered I had my camera in my luggage so I went back to get it. It was worth it.

The Santa Clara River flowing into the Virgin
Note the broken bluffs towards Zion National Park in the distance

Saturday, May 26, 2012

On the Border by the Lamanites

Kansas City, Missouri Temple
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently dedicated a new Temple in Kansas City, Missouri (no, not that Temple!) And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just announced a $4 million settlement with a Questar company to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act in the Unitah Basin, Utah. In my mind, of course, these things connect.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Boys Will Be Boys

Actually, that's an odious phrase to me. My parents never liked it and I don't either. My parents expected better and I tried to deliver (and neither Catholic nor Jewish moms are any match for Mormon moms in imposing guilt). In age, I fall between Governor Romney and President Obama and I think I knew guys in high school just like both of them:

Yes, the caption is in the original
"cool" but highly inappropriate behavior

While far from any prep school culture, the three public high schools I attended all had good-looking, fun-loving guys who loved to joke around like the young Mitt is above (and to the left). No pictures have yet surfaced of his "fun" with the gay kid he went after with scissors to cut his hair. I was the kind of kid that got picked on sometimes, apparently without regard to any sexual orientation. And I didn't like hanging out with guys who did that sort of joking around.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Family Totems

As wonderful as it would be to have a Great Hall decorated with the chivalrous exploits of your dad and granddad in defense of the King, we are blessed in our family to have several of the artworks of my dad gracing our home. Recently, I realized that these are landscapes of locations we hold dear with significance to our family history and some occasional adventurous exploits even if not on the field of battle. It helps that some of them are actual totems:

OA Longhouse at Camp Omache, Chief Seattle Council, BSA
circa 1963, © Larry K. Vaughn
As evidence that this great scene is connected to my family, here's a couple of contemporaneous photos:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hawaiian Bureaucrat Battles Birtherism

As a long-time federal employee, and I know that makes me spawn of satan for many of you out there, I can't help but appreciate a classic case of the bureaucratic stall imposed on someone who very much deserves it - the Secretary of State of the State of Arizona.

The hero of our story is Deputy Attorney General, Jill T. Nagamine, of the beautiful State of Hawaii, the Rainbow State. Here she is (on the right) litigating with Orly Taitz, Birther Extraordinaire. (Nagamine won.)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Davis County Conference

Regional Conference turned out to be all 35 65 Stakes in Davis County. At least we could watch by delayed transmission at our regular church time in our own building.

President Uchtdorf gave the statistic that there are 223,000 members in the 35 65 Stakes. US Census quick facts for Davis County say our 2010 total is 306,479 people in the whole county, so by my calculator (assuming I'm pushing the right buttons) that's 68% LDS. Of course statistical analysis being what 14% of people know it is, I don't know if the membership number includes children of record. It likely does not distinguish or exclude less-active members who do not attend meetings. But you get the general idea that there are a lot of Mormons in Davis County.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Romney Stands for Something, Sometimes

To his credit, Governor Romney repudiated the attempts of an independent PAC to go negative on the President over his former religious associations. As noted by Wolf Blitzer, this will also likely earn Romney some support from moderates who like the President personally even if they disagree with some of his policies. And it does Romney no harm in helping to deflect negative adds on his own religious affiliation. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"We Seek after these Things"

On the bus this morning, I was reading the conference edition of the Liahona (em português), I was struck again by Dickensian irony of President Monson's positive attitude on living in the worst of times as well as the best. So I had to go check it in English:
"There is much that is difficult and challenging in the world today, my brothers and sisters, but there is also much that is good and uplifting. As we declare in our thirteenth article of faith, “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” May we ever continue to do so."
I am so glad that the Prophet Joseph Smith, inspired by the Apostle Paul, stated this in positive terms. On the bus, I began to imagine what it would have been in the negative:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Getting in Touch with the Temple

My Grandson touching the granite walls of the Salt Lake Temple on his Uncle's wedding day.
Yesterday, my son was married to a wonderful, young lady in the Salt Lake Temple. Last Tuesday, we went with her to the Bountiful Temple where she took out her own endowments in preparation for the Temple sealing to my son. The Temple links generations through this life and beyond the grave.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Romney: "Tender and Sensitive"

Romney deserves credit for his temperate remarks of yesterday regarding the President's personal expression of support for same-sex marriage:
"This is a very tender and sensitive topic as are many social issues. . ."

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Testimony by Lack of Evidence

Trying not to go all logical on a legalistic evidentiary basis, but I am fortified in my testimony of the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith, Jr., in what is not said in the history of some of my ancestors.

My most persistent pioneer forebearer was Ira Rice (1793 -1868). Born in western Massachusetts, he helped pioneer western New York. As a veteran of the War of 1812, he took a land bounty and pioneered in what is now Michigan. Converted to the LDS Church, he moved to Illinois and helped build the communities in the neighborhood of Nauvoo, Illinois. Following Brigham Young west with the Saints, he pioneered Farmington in Davis County, then North Ogden, then he went to help settle Providence in Cache County. When a call went out to pioneer the Muddy or Cotton Mission south of Utah's Dixie, Ira readily volunteered. President Young supposedly told him that he had done enough pioneering in his lifetime. (He was up to seven pioneering experiences by my count). And he probably should have listened as Ira died from the effects of exposure in a flood at Beaver Dam, now in Arizona. He is buried in Washington, Utah.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"For the Strength of the Hills"

The story about my Great Grandmother's brother Gus Roman's tragedy with the motorcycle prompted me to go deeper in the family history archives with my ancestors of the French-Italian Piedmont. We did get a hymn (#35) from our people of the mountains. And Malan's Peak above Ogden, Utah, is named for one of my ancestral families.

Malan's Peak from Weber State University

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dems Make Good Scouters

So, there I was m at Scout-o-rama trying to enjoy it - and I did for the most part. My wife was on the committee in charge of publicity. She worked with my son-in-law the past few months on the development and execution of a web-based game for Scouts to gather clues to find the location of Honorary Chairman Shawn Bradley's bicycle. The former NBA player and Eagle Scout has a custom built bike that is quite unusual. But then anything customized for a 7'6" guy has to be somewhat unique.

Congressman Matheson and I

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bachmann Backs Romney

Thank you, Michelle!

Not for supporting Romney so much, but for actually showing a little respect to the President of the United States. In her declaration of support for Romney, she reportedly said:
"There is no question in my mind Americans will go to the polls and they’ll be saying `Mr. President you’re fired!’ "
Did you catch that? She called him "MISTER President!" Wow, just wow! I guess she forgot all that "he's illegitimate and not-one-of-us" stuff she was promoting earlier.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Newt Has Left the Building!

In honor of the former Speaker's departure from the presidential race, tending to disprove the Preacher that the not-so-swift can actually win races, I refer you to this wonderful tumblr collection I found entitled "Newt Gingrich Judges You."

It is a collection of the newt's rather condescending or patronizing visages in various circumstances with captions explaining the context (well, actually the humorous interpretation of context). My absolute favorite is below, after the jump, also revealing why sitting here in Republican-land Utah, it is perfectly safe for me to go after the newt:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Live-Blogging the President in Afghanistan

[No banners, no flight suit, no spiking the football.]

New agreement with Afghanistan

Why we came to Afghanistan - it was here that Al Qaeda operated to attack us on 9/11.

Bin Laden escaped in 2002. We spent 8 years fighting a different war in Iraq. Over the last three years the tide has turned here. Taking out Al Qaeda leadership, including Bin Laden. Goal within our reach.

Transition to Afghan responsibility for security.