Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ross Perot? Who? What?

And you thought President Obama had funny ears.
"United We Stand America" was Perot's big movement. We need an episode of "Where are they now?" or something. I still say the tea-party/Randian element of the Republican Party will soon be as forgotten as Ross Perot and his crowd - which did have its effect helping to tip two elections to Bill Clinton. Of course I have the sneaking suspicion that a lot of Ross's folks ended up in the tea party. They just forgot their graphs and charts.

Forbes Magazine on-line, of all places, just published an article on the theme that President Obama may be one of the best, perhaps the best, president for the economy in history! (h/t Phil). Imagine that! Of course, he inherited a mess that gave opportunity to improve and any improvement would look good compared with the economic disaster W Bush left us from the surplus budget he inherited. And remember this - it's called the Great Recession not the Great Depression II. Somebody did something right.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Secretarial Invitation

Congratulations to the White Mountain Apache Tribe and the Arizona Parties on the Water Settlement!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Help Deseret Book Ban Beck

With a very compelling guest post in the SL Trib from Historian Alexandra Karl this morning, I updated my posting here on Glenn Beck's latest disturbing behavior - much more disturbing than even I thought when I was joking about it. And, I was motivated to send the following to Deseret Book:

Friday, July 26, 2013


Big macho guy that I am makes me not much of a cat lover. But I lie - yeah, on both accounts. My feelings and memories were touched this week as a friend re-broke my heart with the sad passing of her cat, Toby.

It was 1961 on the rough streets of Rexburg, Idaho, in one of my early memories in bits and pieces from my four-year-old little brain. A bigger kid with freckles had a yard rake raised and said, "I'm gonna kill your cat!" I have no memory of why the little bully could possibly have said such a cruel thing, but I do know I held that cat tight and got away as fast as I could. Would that I could have kept track to see what prison that guy ended up in.

But that wasn't Gangway. We adopted him as a kitten (I'm pretty sure it was a "him.") It was when I was about six and we had finished a summer at Camp Omache where my dad was Camp Director for Chief Seattle Council. My little brother and I idolized the two sons of the camp ranger - the caretaker who lived up there all year round - his boys in their early teens were so grown-up to us. One of them had a paper route! Their cat had a litter and we were able to persuade my mom and dad to take a kitten home with us.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Shrinking Munchkins

As Mayor of the Munchkin Caucus, in the County of the Land of Flaws, our very own junior senator, mike lee, is finding that no matter how many times he climbs on the table and throws a hissy-fit, he doesn't stand quite tall enough. It takes 40 Senators to stop something and a whole 60 to actually get something done with the abuse of rules, tradition, and Article I of the U.S. Constitution now currently in vogue in that august body.

The funniest part is, when lee began his latest hissy, he claimed to have 13 Senators in support - a far cry from the 40 necessary. However, there were only twelve signing the Munchkin Mayor's letter. Today, three Senators dropped out. Our good Mayor is down to nine.

Oh, wait, that's not the funniest part. Let me share you some quotes about our little BIG senator from his fellow Senate Republicans:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pioneer Trek Heretics

We tread a little lightly here because we don't want in any way to diminish the honor due the Mormon Pioneers on this day of all days. Nor do we want to appear in opposition to local ward or stake leadership. But Anonymous D and I share a similar heartfelt aversion to the excesses of youth activities that manipulate emotional experiences and call them "spiritual."

Don't get me wrong. I am all for historical reenactments and living history activities. What we don't like at all is the tent-revival emotionalism of phony analogies and excessive extravaganza. Go on a hike for historical significance. Climb a mountain because it's there. Above all, do something in service to others that is meaningful - youth temple trips being the best of all. But please spare me the angels of death taking people out and the contrived "women's pull" while the Mormon Battalion boys rest on the hill until they feel sorry enough. Play it straight, or not at all.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Munchkins on the March

Munchkin Soldiers a little "fuzzy" on how they will help
Dorothy. In the movie - not so much.
So I get on Facebook and there's a fan request asking why I haven't blogged on Senator Mike Lee threatening to shut down the government so he can kill the wicked ol' Obamacare. Great. All we need are fans.

And I was meaning to get to it. The question sort of answers itself that our very own junior senator and Mayor of Munchkin City in the County of the Land of Oz is rallying his troops to filibuster any federal spending that is to start with the new fiscal year on October 1 unless they delete all funds for
that evil program to promote private health insurance.

Of course that gives them just the excuse they need to kill all the evil of any form of government. Because heaven knows we can't pay for the benefits we receive, free people that we are! And government must tighten its belt to preserve tax breaks for the corporate wealthy and prevent any help to anyone who might need opportunities for education, low-interest student loans, subsidies for water, power, highways, airlines, clean air, wholesome recreational activities, farm produce, milk price supports, trade protections, fraud protections, etc., etc. The list goes on and on.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Among the First of the Welsh Converts


My Welsh DNA is fairly sparse - but then, there is the issue of my surname. My Vaughns came to Zion in 1887 - on the train. Of course they married into some prominent pioneer families, myself inadvertently going perhaps the farthest with that by marrying a Kimball. At the time, her family name was the least thing on my mind. And I'm trying really hard not to be boastful or proud. But there seems to have been just something, maybe part of it self-imposed, that treated the Vaughns like second-class citizens in Zion.

The first Vaughn over died young and left a family in poverty. His son married and there were troubles in the family. His wife divorced him after the children were pretty well grown. Their oldest son, my grandfather, was never active in the church as an adult. It's a miracle my dad & siblings were. Grandma wasn't active either. She just made sure the children went. My dad and mom were married in the Temple and here I am.

There is a theme running here of faithful women propping up the Vaughns which brings me to . . .

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

One Bad Apple

State Senator Osmond of the famous family
And I thought State Senator Aaron Osmond was going to be a breath of fresh air in the Utah Republican Party, at least as opposed to the anti-federal, states-righter Ken Ivory. Today, a friend's blog linked me to one of those news items that left me speechless - dumbfounded - but at least I had the "founded" part to go on.

The good Senator from South Jordan is proposing that Utah do away with compulsory public education as parents are the ones who should know best but have abdicated their parental educational duties to the "state." Oh my heck! I mean, how do you possibly respond to that? I have no problem with parents in the primary role for the education of their children. Go ahead. Send your kids to private school! Home school! It's all legal now, but please do not do away with public schools as the foundation of an educated electorate of a free and civil society!

I am the product of public schools with the exception of my undergraduate degree at BYU. Law School was the University of Maryland. Yet I have been to hearings in the New Mexico State Capitol in support of friends who home-schooled their children. I even made a presentation at a home school conference on Founding Mothers, emphasizing the role of Abigail Adams as I weaved in my Constitutional heresies about "We the People" and the Fourteenth Amendment and all.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Elder Harry Reid Rising Up to Save the Constitution

Who'da thunk it? Yep. That's Elder Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader of Nevada, faithful Latter-day Saint, now acting to save the Constitutional authority of the Senate to advise and consent with Presidential appointments by democratic, majority rule - well, sorta democratic as smaller-population states still have greater power in that august body under the Constitution.

The Constitution also allows for the Senate to set its own procedural rules which is all he is considering now. Filibusters have great historical tradition, but they are only under the rules, not written into the Constitution itself.

In an odd way, this is the inverse of the problem post-Civil War. Congress passed the silly and ultimately-ruled unconstitutional Tenure of Office Act which in their fights with President Andrew Johnson (and over his veto) required "advice and consent" not just on the selection but on the dismissal of presidential appointees. It was violation of this law that got Johnson into impeachment trouble. He was impeached, like Clinton, but not removed from office as the body politic saw this as what it was - a power play.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Our Heroes Are Furloughed

". . . . we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching. . . ."
-LDS President Spencer W. Kimball, Bicentennial Address, July 1976, "The False Gods We Worship"
Sunburned my head today. 

I shouldn't complain, but the quick walk to church turned out a little differently than expected. We heard that unmistakable crunch of a car accident as we rounded the corner heading to the church. We saw the white car spurt forward and to the right taking out the stop sign. Then there were people on cell phones down the street and a few running out. We did not run as 911 appeared to be in play and several people were already there.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


After a busy day attending the Farmington Parade (Farmington can't seem to decide if it is celebrating the 4th or the 24th, so they have their parade in between), babysitting, napping, house-cleaning, temple, wedding reception, etc., my wife says that her Kohl's cash is about to expire and asked if I wanted to go with her.  I said, "Sure!"  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sheer Lunacy

"I am Moon, the Great and Powerful!"
Big sigh. It's always more disturbing to see troubling images than just to imagine them. MediaMatters.org put up an extensive rundown review of Glenn Beck's "Man in the Moon" show and, yeah, it's kind of disturbing. In a separate piece they also put up a whole bunch of pictures from the moonstruck extravaganza. If you had any doubt that Beck is somehow connected to the tea party, unrestricted gun enthusiasts, survivalists, President-haters, fringe elements, etc., those pictures should clear it up for you. It is troubling that this was in Utah. Even more troubling are some pretty clear links to the LDS fringe.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Why We Do Family History

There have been just too many connections to ancestors recently as we get some sealing work accomplished. Yesterday was Fast Sunday. I got up and bore testimony.  After church, I asked my wife what she had understood from my testimony. She said that I told them that the sealing power heals families and heals us when we do this work. "Yeah," I said. "I guess that's what I was trying to say."

Vaughan/Vaughn Family about 1896
the Generations that Came to America with the Husband & Father in an early grave  

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Supreme Court’s Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage

The recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and allowing lower court decisions to stand overturning Proposition 8 in California makes for a dramatic shift in American society. This brief analysis is to consider some of the possible ramifications of the decision. While not a full legal analysis, it does have a lawyer’s insight in areas potentially impacting Mormon practices past, present, and future. The purpose of this post is not to advocate for gay marriage.

To be clear, the Supreme Court has not declared a Constitutional right to gay marriage. The High Court found DOMA to be unconstitutional because it was enacted to deny federal benefits to a defined group. The motivation for the designation was congressional animus in the attempt to limit benefits to traditional “Judeo-Christian” marriages of one woman and one man. Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority in the DOMA decision, does not declare gay men and women a protected class under a traditional civil rights analysis. In addition Justice Roberts writing for the majority in the Prop 8 case punted on procedural grounds to allow same-sex marriages to go forward in California. With the decisions, there is strong indication that a current majority of the court is prepared to declare same-sex marriage a constitutional right, but that has not happened yet.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Chris Stewart, Politician - But Not that Great of One

Sitting here tonight in thunderstorms grateful for the water on my lawn and gardens, my mind wanders a little south to the outdoor amphitheater where Glenn Beck is to be holding his 'man in the moon' extravaganza. He declared a miracle, a sign of approval from above, when a flock of geese flew over his last rally in DC. I know it would be really, really wrong to pray for a lightning strike. And I suppose if he lucks out and he doesn't get washed out he'll claim the miracle again. But my issue is with Congressman Chris Stewart, Utah 2nd Dist.

Why bring up Beck? Well, the problem is Congressman Stewart is a good ol' buddy of Beck's.

Chris Stewart - old buddy of Glenn Beck

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mormon Polygamy

It's time . . . .

3rd-Great-Grandpa Matthew Bristow Wheelwright center just left of man in suit
President George Q. Cannon seated in back (Utah Pen., November 1888)
Another convicted cohab ancestor just popped out of Family Search, Family Tree today (that makes four!). I knew Matthew Bristow Wheelwright (1828-1891) had plural wives. I did not know until today that he served time in the Utah Territorial Penitentiary for it (he's not in George C. Wood's prison diary). And it's my wife who is a Kimball and a Burton descendant and none of them seem to have been convicted (and the feds really were after Robert Taylor Burton for other grievances as well!)

So, it's time to address historical Mormon polygamy.

The Gospel ≠ Politics

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Good News that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, atoned for our sins and resurrected from the grave so that we all will rise in resurrection and stand before Him to be judged. We will inherit a kingdom of glory (with a few exceptions). Those who exercise Faith in Christ, Repent, are Baptized by His authority, Receive and live by the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end keeping the Commandments (Moses's 10 plus a few related others you'll find in your Temple Recommend interview or the Temple itself), will be joint heirs with Christ of all that the Father has. (See 3 Nephi 27:13-27D&C 76Romans 8:17) And this is available to all, living or dead. (See D&C 128).

Now, what the Gospel is not: