Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Knockout Punch by Harry Reid

Cross-posted from MormonDems:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Consults with President Obama
We congratulate the team of Democrat Leaders negotiating the successful end to the government shutdown. We supported their efforts and have a special passion for Senator Reid's masterful legislative skill as Majority Leader. Throughout the ordeal Reid refused to give in to any of the changing demands from Republicans. He also won support from several Republicans in the Senate and eventually prevailed with a bill that was ratified by the House. 

Throughout the standoff Republicans continued talking about "negotiation" and "compromise" but their actions reminded voters that a significant portion of their party does not believe in either. Many Republicans took an extreme stance regarding government's role, pushing the mantra "government is the problem" to new heights. Some, like Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, even celebrated the shutdown. Harry Reid recognized their gleeful posturing and understood the improbability of governing those who maintained ideological divides around the role of government. 
Sister & Brother Reid as he checks his scriptures
on his smartphone during Sunday School

We here at MormonDems are proud to call Senator Harry Reid, "Brother". Senator Reid is a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He attends church on a regular basis in a local Mormon congregation as an active participant in Sunday school classes. As a convert to the LDS Church, Harry Reid's religious commitment is an exemplary personal choice. For many of our readers this is surprising, but Senator Reid does not leverage his religious practice into a media event. Former Republican US Senator Bob Bennett (who was relieved by the Tea Party giving way to Mike Lee) recently spoke at BYU Idaho about politics and noted what a good member of the church his friend Brother Reid is.

In a church where members are held together by common beliefs and uniformed practices we are surprised by the extreme animosity directed at Senator Reid by fellow members. Throughout the 2012 presidential election the authors on this site took care when disagreeing with Governor Romney, as not to be disagreeable. Even though there were wide divides in our positions, we never would cower to the level of personal attacks because Romney didn't share our political preferences.

We all acknowledge that as an individual and politician, Senator Reid has flaws. Who doesn't? Some imagine him to be weak because of his soft-spoken demeanor. Others find him to be abrupt or even ruthless when challenging political opponents or leading to a resolve. Many do not understand Senator Reid's personal history, a great American story of a young man from a small corner of our country that was able to rise to his current influence. Regardless of understanding, Senator Reid has been a very effective political leader; one who promotes the same values the Framers aspired while writing the Constitution.

Senator Reid was a talented boxer in his youth setting him up well for his battles in politics. His pugilistic tendencies to fight for what he believes may be part of his internal nature.

We're just glad he's on our side. Go, Harry!

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Glitch at the End of the World

When I got back in my office after the shutdown, there was a urgent message (one of many) from the Homeland Security folks that my government ID would expire on November 2, 2013. It gave me a link to the site I use every few years for my ID renewals. I went there and of course had no idea what my password was so after clicking the "forgot" button and creating a new one, I went in to make an appointment on their user-friendly calendar. It's at this place down on 21st South and Redwood Road so I have to arrange to go with someone with a car or skip the bus that day and drive in. Guess what? The first available appointment was December 2, 2013. Instant Catch-22 gonna get ya!

Gratefully, there was an email later that day from one of my work associates who had learned that the Bureau of Reclamation in our building had been given authority to designate an employee relations specialist to renew the ID cards. As we do work for that agency (who d'ya think did the title work for the land we flooded to fill Jordanelle?), they graciously let us go up there to renew. I went up with our Paralegal who had an appointment and they allowed me to squeeze in after her. I did run downstairs to see if I had written my password in my secret place (oops. You're not supposed to do that! But I have a couple of dozen or so just for work!) And it was not there. So thinking through it carefully and meeting the requirements they gave me to log in to activate the chip on my card, I came up with it! Yeah! And that only took about 15 minutes.

So I got to thinking about the rest of our government IT system.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sorry, Disney. Wrong Princess

It's always exciting to get a package in the mail! Today especially so, because I could see the return address was from Disneyland! Well, we did leave those slips when we were looking for our lost items. My grandson lost his baseball cap and my granddaughter lost one of her Minnie Mouse slippers, left foot - cloth, not glass.

It could have been the baseball cap. The nice lady at the booth asked us to describe it. I said it was an Angels' cap. "Well, what color was it?" My daughter-in-law and I shared a puzzled glance as we were in Anaheim, California, home of the Angels! But we proceeded to describe it as red with a big white A that had a halo. We thought they might have a few as it was Anaheim, California! So I also described the Velcro fastener in back that was attached at a diagonal slant to fit my grandson's head. Well, the package didn't have an Angels' cap.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Let's All Repent & Be Humble

A little harsh, perhaps, but let's all repent and do better. From Anonymous D:

After the lesson on self-reliance last Sunday I’ve come to recognize just how much the average Latter-Day Saint despises the poor.  The occasion was nothing more than an opportunity for the resident businessmen and bankers to moralize about the incredible laziness of the less fortunate and potential employees.  Even those who themselves have been out of work got in on the act.  My reaction was not anger but an overwhelming sadness.  It’s come to this. We actually despise the poor and the needy.  I could, as I sat there, hear the words of Moroni ringing in my ears.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tea Party Losing Their "Cause"

Tea Party Protest over the Shutdown - Attended by Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, and Utah's one-and-only Mike Lee

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Raw, Executive Power

Still trying to synthesize my basic political thoughts into bumper-sticker phrases or at least Twitter-length, I was mulling over something along the lines of:
You can't negotiate with someone who challenges your legitimacy as President
Yes, bumper-size fail. But it is congealing into the big picture.

The President it on the verge of a major political, personal, and even progressive victory. He will finally be the President of the United States.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Shutdown 2013 Update No. 7

Civil War? Anyone?

I certainly hope not! And it won't be me who starts the shooting. Lincoln, after all, let all the allegedly seceding states go peaceably in seizing federal property until South Carolina actually fired on Fort Sumter. The confederate rebels blamed Lincoln, of course, because they thought they had every right to destroy the federal Union and argued that Lincoln provoked violence by calling up troops to defend the United States. South Carolina's firing on Fort Sumter was "justified" because Lincoln attempted to resupply the Fort ignoring South Carolina's claim to it.

We will let our "erring sisters" go in peace to a point. I'm sure the "exempt" Park Rangers left behind to secure the Parks for safety and protection will not fight it out when the County Sheriffs show up to re-open the National Parks. But, by what authority?

Southern Utah counties have called a state of emergency because of the economic effects of the closure of the National Parks (Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Lake Powell - and that's just the big ones.) The Governor of Utah has "offered" (threatened) to take over the National Parks during the shutdown. People are shouting, "Open the PARKS!" Many promote the simple notion of, "Hey, why not? States have parks. They should be running them anyway, states rights and all, ya know."

Monday, October 7, 2013

Shutdown 2014 Update No. 6

I have avoided blogging since we were thrown out of our offices because this whole thing is personally exasperating beyond words. As I said, I don't mind a few days off work with or without pay as I'm financially comfortable and I have a lot of other things to do. I've been concentrating on family history, visits to the Temple, and taking care of things with the family at home. Those aren't bad.

What I can't get my mind around is the House action to approve a measure that they will provide back-pay to the federal employees affected by the shutdown regardless of whether they were called in for life-and-property functions or deemed "non-essential" as is yours truly. The Administration has attempted to avoid using that word "non-essential," but actions speak louder than words. And what the House did speaks volumes.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Live-blogging LDS General Conference Sunday P.M.

Well, we just about lost the start here in the excitement of swatting a wasp in our family room. My Ute son has been for allergy testing and stings are a great risk to him. As my 16-year-old was waiving around the newspaper (D-News, of course), his older brother was yelling, "Don't anger it!" But it was successfully swatted.

President Eyring conducting.

Live-blogging LDS General Conference - Sunday A.M.

Here we are. I was at a high school marching band competition yesterday, so my apologies for not being able to live-blog. In other words, I spent a week in Herriman yesterday. Or maybe it was a whole winter because it was cold! And I had to give my jacket to my boy who was in shorts and t-shirt when he took off his band uniform. This is a serious conference distraction (as it was yesterday), but you can see the video I put up on YouTube:

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Not Quite Live-blogging Saturday, LDS General Conference

Sorry, I have an important family matter to attend to today and I will not be able to live-blog the Saturday general sessions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints General Conference. You can catch it at LDS.org.

I will, however, live-blog the General Priesthood Session tonight for the first time ever! While they still encourage fathers & sons to attend a satellite broadcast together in a local chapel, it will be freely available on live-broadcast on BYU TV (I think) and on the itnernet. As my only son left at home has other business tonight, I'll just sit here in my comfy chair and blog.

And I won't be commenting on any protest, etc. I'm sure there will be plenty of coverage in other places.

Some time later . . . .

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Lincoln Analogy

Obamacare pales in comparison to the importance of freeing the Slaves. And shutting down the government is nothing at all like Civil War. But the principles are exactly the same.

President Obama came in inexperienced and made mistakes - so did Lincoln. But there was an overriding principle of promoting Constitutional government of, by, and for the People - all of us People - not any particular faction, party, or philosophy, except for this: The Constitution is not some stale, old parchment perpetually framed in the National Archives and in the context of the 1700s. No, the principles that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" and that all our individual ideals and aspirations have value as we learn to work together within the framework for government that our Founders were inspired to construct should last the eternities.

Check those words again, all men are created equal. Well, for one thing, it now includes women, too - and children. The 'all' also has a bit more meaning than it did originally. It's not just white male property owners anymore. Go find those words in the Constitution! (spoiler - they're not there!) No, those words come from the brain and pen of Thomas Jefferson who wrote the Declaration of Independence (in committee with Ben Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston). The concept has always been important to the American Spirit, but those words were not in the Constitution. There needed to be a phase-out of the concept of State Power as opposed to the rights, protections, and even responsibilities of individuals.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bumper Sticker Time!

Sitting at home with my thoughts percolating into little blips for tweeting, I am able to express what I've long been believin':
You Can't Govern with those Who Think Government Is the Problem.
You Can't Compromise with those Who Believe Compromise Is the Problem. 
Compromise Is Not a Dirty Word 
Federal Employees are People Too!
Federal Employees Have Families

Shutdown 2013 Update No. 5

Well, I'm cheered up a bit more. Getting dressed, I found a symbolically purple shirt, a tad more blue than purple. Then I dug in my top drawer for the box that had my 20-year and 10-year Interior service pins. Together they make 30 which I have on the calendar, but not on service computation date until March 4 coming up. Then I snapped my government ID onto my lanyard and draped it over my head. That's something I rarely do because I so easily catch it and choke myself. Today I wanted to look the part of a federal employee.

As I came in the federal building, I showed my ID then saluted the photos of the President and Vice President and then saluted the Constitution up on the wall as I said to the guard, "That's some good stuff in there." (I know, you think I'm looney tunes. But that's just the way I am.)

Senator Lee's Staff - Chips Off the Ol' Blockhead

There will be a Shutdown 2013 Update No. 5, but this part of the story is just too good not to tell it separately. I took a trip down to Munchkinland today.

Senator Mike Lee's Staff
When I signed my furlough notice, I wrote a little note on the top: