Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book of Mormon Pride Cycle (Liberal View)

Every active member of the LDS Church can draw the Book of Mormon Price Cycle with their eyes closed. I would make an attempt, but it is easier explained with a clear graphic:


My son wrote a very popular Guest Post on Humility and Pride on this blog. Anonymous D has hit the Pride Cycle theme in rather direct terms here, here, and here. And keep reading the blog. I don't think he's through yet.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Von Mises Institute Secessionist Theory

Discuss:
"With the orderly, legal secession of the southern states, the American genius for self-government reached its highest moral expression." Donald W. Livingston of the Ludvig von Mises Institute.
Discuss is what I did with my good Libertarian friend on Facebook. With his permission, I will post the discussion here. Any other comments are welcome (under the rules of posting down below).

Russell first recommended the article linked above in this way:
Very well written. Grant, I would like to read a rebuttal on your blog if you can find the time.
Me:
Yikes! My whole blog is a rebuttal to this convoluted argument about the power of states over people. Yes. That's the argument of States Rights. Just a smaller government rather than a big one. And if you've ever been to a City Council meeting, you can see first hand that the idea of "the smaller the government, the better" is a myth. It is still a "state" or "government" power. But can't argue you out of a deeply held belief system. The beauty of the Constitutional Union, in spite of its faults, and your article points out many, is that it allows the government of the people to protect the rights of individuals with the people's power united in a Constitutional system respecting basic human rights. Look, I know I can't convince you. And I don't think even Lincoln can, but here it is in a better summary than I could ever make:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Gay Way in Fruitland

This posting is not what you think.

Having my piece on Nyssa, Oregon, the Amalgamated Sugar Co., and the maternal side of my family published at Keepapitchinin.org, I woke up with a start this morning and realized I had to write about the Gay Way. In the Keepa piece, I made passing reference to my paternal grandfather running a bowling alley across the Snake River in Idaho. That was the Gay Way Bowl, in Fruitland. It's one of those things you just can't make up. If you still don't believe me, here's a piece about Gayway Junction from Fruitland history:
Warren Dorothy bought a small chunk of land and built the Gayway Dance Hall at the junction. Famous country and western bands played there in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1953 George Vaughn renovated the building - turning it into a large bowling alley. A controversy developed later over the building's color - it was pink. When it faded, the owner painted it a brighter pink much to the dismay of community members. A big windstorm damaged structure in August of 1976. In 1981 it was vacated and in 1990 torn down. A mini-mall now stands in it's place. (From Ron Marlow's Fruitland, Idaho page, First printed in The Independent-Enterprise, Payette, Idaho, November 14, 2001.)
George Vaughn was my grandfather, born in West Ogden, Utah, his father and family were immigrants from Durham, England who had spent a generation there after leaving the Black Mountains of Wales.

The Gay Way Bowl at Gayway Junction, Fruitland, Idaho. Sometime not long after closing

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Family Totems IV (Winter Scenes)

With the temperature hovering just above freezing today, we are having a slight thaw. But the fog and dirty air is still thick. Anonymous D and family have fled to Disneyland. There is good news on the horizon that my statistician son just landed a great job with the Disney Corporation in Southern California and we'll be able to visit more often in a warmer climate.

Stuck here for now, I'm trying to convince myself that winter can be beautiful, at least in a picture, I collected up a few more pieces of my dad's artwork. These are Christmas/note card renditions of paintings I don't have access to at present. I will try to remember to take my camera to where more pictures hang at my parents' house and at the homes of many other relatives and friends:

Sleigh Ride © 1949, Larry K. Vaughn
Perhaps a Currier & Ives inspired Christmas scene when my dad was only a teen. His mom was always proud of his artwork.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor Who, Is a Clown

And I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I am a fairly new Whovian with my wife and I catching up on the modern series from 2005 forward on Netflix as we hunker down with the fireplace on to wait out this rather miserable winter. We've seen three modern doctors and they've all been great. I've even gone back to a few classic episodes from the 60s and 70s and seen some others. And they're good too. But there's something about this latest Doctor.

Matt Smith - The Eleventh Doctor
Smith as the Doctor certainly has a comedic style about him. He is prone to pratfalls and "rhimey-whimey" word plays. There is, of course, the overriding, dry British humor style as it is a British show (filmed mostly in Wales, by the way). And comedy, by its very nature is difficult to explain or analyze as the epitome of "you know it when you see it."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Anti-Communism & Racism II (with Digressions to the Spanish Civil War)

I don't know why I can't get more of my FaceBook friends to comment here on the blog. They have these great discussions going there on my links to the blog that I would like to share. This discussion comes out of the previous post about Anti-Communism & Racism which might serve as some background. Two out of three of the main commenters have granted permission to use their names. I'll call the third "anonymous" for now.

To start off the fun, we have Anonymous:  
this article is a liberal generated, unbalanced, and spurious hypothesis that tries to brand as racists anyone who opposes barrak hussein obama and his socialist agenda. the article is consistently typical of openly hostile and viruently anti-conservative liberal tacticians, especially manifest since the year 2000. class warfare and exploitation of the masses with a persistent disinformation campaign against rule of law and order are well documented tactics of insurgent movements and communist ideologues, who expect that the "unwashed" masses are not educated, intelligent, or remembering enough to know the difference, or to recall that it was the republicans that emancipated slaves and the democrats/dixiecrats of the deep south that ran the klan and perpetuated the racists policies and sympathies (to include anti-communism) in that region. The very same that this artical now tries to lay that at the feet of modern/reaganite conservatives. Because one in infavor rule of law over unbridled illegal immigration does not make them a racist - although this article and the left want you to believe it. the t-party is not racist as a whole (there may be individual cases - as in all movements), but rather it stands for rule of law, accountability, and fiscal integrity - which the left, in order to marginalize their opponents, identifies as racist policies.

Anti-Communism & Racism

Waking up this morning I find that Mitt Romney is not President, Barack Obama still is - re-inaugurated after four whole years already - and the world has not come to an end.

I have a question for my conservative friends. It applies to my libertarian friends as well. Why does it seem that there has been a historical connection between strong anti-communist conservative views and racist views like those who opposed Integration? People get really offended when anyone suggests any link between tea-party conservatism and racism. But can you explain this in historical context without just turning it around to accuse the questioner of racism simply because I dared to suggest it?

This has been bothering me for some time. I did a quick Google search to illustrate what I am trying to say. I know there are a lot of texts, too, linking communism with the Civil Rights Movement and Desegregation. We'll save those for another time. This is the internet and visuals are powerful. Please understand that I do not endorse any of the images below, but try some of these and please help me understand:

Little Rock, Arkansas protesters 1957 (in my lifetime!)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Live-Blogging Second Inaugural

I didn't really plan on this, but Senator Chuck Schumer (D, NY) was the first one out of the box quoting Lincoln and talking about the completion of the Capitol Dome during the Civil War and the placing of the Statue of Freedom on top ironically made by a recently freed Slave (Has Schumer been reading my blog?)

Senator Schumer Conducting Inaugural Ceremonies
Keep checking back. We'll see what I can get to. I do want to live-blog the Second Inaugural (ooh! Just typing that sends chills after Schumer's talk. I'm going back up top to change the title of this).

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My 2nd Term Presidential Priorities


Well, I' m not actually the President, that guy above is (so just get over it). But here's my list of what I would like to see President Obama accomplish in his Second Term. I would also like to see some more Republican cooperation. This is to replace their minority philosophy that government is the problem and that the most important political priority is to stop this President with whatever he proposes (as in Mitch McConnell's stated goal last term along with many others). We'll see how many of my ideas below turn up in the Second Inaugural tomorrow. I'll bet anybody we will at least here some Lincoln quotes.

1.  Out of Afghanistan. And we hope for the best. Any future problems are first an internal problem for the Afghanistan people. If they threaten or harm the outside world again, then it is a United Nations, possibly NATO problem with UN Security Council Authorization as happened after 9/11. The United States is not the policeman of the world.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Family Totems III

A couple of weeks ago, I finally had a chance to show my first set of Family Totems and some other postings on my blog to my Dad and Mom and they were quite pleased. So here are some more:

"On the Road to Gettysburg" 1987. © Larry K. Vaughn
My dad had just started with watercolors in those days (after many years of acrylics and oils). He always was good with detail and powers of suggestion. You may have to zoom in to see but there are little blotches of orange in the green trees as this was a cicada-cycle summer in Maryland. The orange ties up with the roof and the farm implement in the barn. The yellow in the grass was emphasized as was the purple-blue of the barn for a good contrast.

This is a real place and is on the road to Gettysburg that our family (and Union Troops) took north many times. It's Highway 97, the Baltimore Pike. It hangs in our front room as a constant reminder of many good family adventures - and the preservation of our Constitutional Union through bloodshed and Lincoln's famous speech there.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Guest Post: Helping Children with Grief

My daughter who is finishing up her degree in Elementary Education offered up this as a Guest Post. I hope she gets an A+ on this class assignment, and I know she'll be a great teacher.

Here's an interesting assignment I had to do for one of my classes.  I had to write a letter to the "parents" of my "students" in response to a tragic incident such as Newtown. You can blog about it...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Guns & God - Less Goofiness

[Editorial Note: Anonymous D claims this still needs some editing. I think it's quite good so he's going to let me go ahead and post it]
From Anonymous D:

Part of the problem in the debate about guns is that not all of arguments on the right are completely loony, and not all of the arguments on the left are sane. Dare I say I support a more moderate approach?  Culturally speaking Americans love violence. I don’t doubt at all that there is a
connection to the cesspool we live in culturally and the violence we see generally.  There sometimes is a need to defend  yourself, the scriptures, both the D&C and Book of Mormon allow for that, but under very strict rules, certainly nothing like “Stand Your Ground”, and also monitoring very strictly our motivations and attitude and circumstances.  It seems clear that the general rule of the scriptures, indeed the first commandment given to the Nephites was to stop all the contention, fighting and bickering.  We are going to have disagreements but they can always be resolved if we observer the teachings of the Savior. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind….Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”  God first, everyone else next, yourself last.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Neolithic Measurer

It's great to find a good book about someplace you know and love. It's even better when it is about the home of your ancient ancestors. I don't know how far my people go back in the valleys and ridges of the Black Mountains of southeast Wales, but that is where they arose, their bones now buried but first forming at the edge of those mountains.

The book is People of the Black Mountains I: The Beginning, by Raymond Williams (Mackays of Chatham, Chatham, Kent, 1989). With exact descriptions of the physical detail of the mountainous land, it tells the story of the ancient people in a serious of vignettes stretching over thousands of years in the context of a modern man on the mountain trails under a full moon searching for his grandfather. Technically historical fiction, the author has given his view of the anthropological knowledge of prehistoric mountain people and breathes life into them.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

God, Guns, and Goofiness


Escaping from an out-of-control discussion on my Facebook page on well-regulated gun rights (calm down, nobody is taking away your hunting, target, even self-defense guns). I am actually pleased that the principal gun advocate in that discussion has referred to the "puppet masters" leading the morally corrupt liberal mob, and of course, tied the whole discussion to:
. . . it is about a sick society that denies faith in God, promotes violence, immorality, self absorbsion [sic], instant gratification, and a free lunch
The last refuge of a scoundrel is to pull the "God" card. So here I go. You are free to choose to believe whatever you want but here's my own big picture view of what is going on here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The New, New Nixon

From Anonymous D:

This from Monica Crowley “PhD” (the italics are mine, she has a real degree from Columbia but with statements like the following it should be revoked). About Nixon on his 100th birthday she wrote:
How we could use his wise counsel today on Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iraq, and al Qaeda. He was, after all, the first president to order a top-secret analysis of Islamic terror (in 1973). We could also use his realism on Russia and China. The world has always been a complicated and dangerous place, but Nixon was one of the rare presidents who could see it functioning as a whole as well as seeing its individual parts. He could also see what the world was going to look like 20 years down the road and dare to make American policy to prepare for that world.

Keepa Still Rules!

Very pleased with my guest post today on the great Mormon History Blog, Keepapitchinin!

I blogged on a mix of Mormon and family history relating to sugar beets along with some political philosophy (It has been made known to me that I was not subtle). There are a few comments that have digressed into a discussion of irrigation practices and the Moody Blues.

Besides my second guest post now published there, I read Keepa regularly and frequently comment. It really is one of the best blogs out there, IMHO.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Glenn Beck's "Disneyland" America


Post from Anonymous D:

Ok, so my paranoid fantasy about Glenn Beck wanting to build his own Theme Park wasn’t over estimated, matter of fact, I underestimated Glenn’s megalomania. Click here.
  
So, he wants to call his new theme park/city Independence, does he?  Why not throw caution to the wind and just call it Zion? But this Zion will cost you a heavy fee. I honestly thought he’d just call it Galt’s Gulch, but whatever.  When will this man reign it in?  I wonder if Glenn realized that if he builds a city he is going to have to govern said city?  Provide services, follow County, State, and Federal Law? I suppose that’s why he wants to make it a business. If Government is business and if your residents are employees, you don’t have to offer them the same rights as you would an actual citizen. Yikes! I know I sound crazy. When I listened to Glenn at the beginning of the week, I could see what his twisted little mind was getting up to.  It’s scary to me that I can occupy even a little of his head space.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

School Teachers - Our Real American Heroes!

School shooting today in Taft, California.

As reported by CNN:
As the shooting unfolded, the teacher in the classroom evacuated his students out of a back door. Then, instead of running for his own life, he engaged the student gunman in a conversation, authorities said.
The teacher suffered a pellet wound to the head from one of the shots fired earlier, authorities said.
The conversation seemed to be a diversion to allow the remaining students to escape, the sheriff said.
The teacher was joined by the campus supervisor -- a campus monitor on the school's staff -- and both of them persuaded the student to drop the shotgun, the sheriff said.
"They stayed and probably distracted him and probably allowed students to get out of the classroom," Youngblood said.
"They engaged in a conversation that talked him into putting that shotgun down that had been discharged at least once." . . . .

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Presidential Power & the People



Found it! I wanted to post a book report on this during the Happy Holy Days break but I couldn't find the darn book. I looked all over the house and tried to think whether I had left it at work, or on the bus, or even in Vegas on my last work trip. Then I found it, of course, in my library. But I'm not really the one to blame for the disorganization. My college boy moved in their during the break and a queen-size air mattress pretty much filled the room and covered the bottom shelf where the book was.

The author is Richard Striner, the guy I heard on that NPR program about Lincoln and Slavery with the racist caller. We exchanged friendly e-mails and I looked on History Book Club to see if any of his books were offered as I had a lot of points saved up. The one I found was Lincoln's Way: How Six Great Presidents Created American Power (Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, Maryland 2010). The reference to "power" was a little disconcerting as Lincoln was a war president and the others listed, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy, were either war presidents or presidents who had fought in wars.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Call Me Pollyanna

But rainbows really do cheer up grouchy old men. Especially during cold winters.
Hayley Mills as Pollyanna hanging rainbow makers
If you remember the movie, Pollyanna and Jimmy Bean were caught by Old Man Pendergast trespassing (perhaps the original "old-man-yells-at-kids-to-get-off-the-grass") and he takes them into his house for a good talking-to. Pollyanna, always looking for the "glad," is intrigued by a crystal light fixture casting rainbows on the wall and begins to experiment at the window. Before long, she and Old Man Pendergast are the greatest of friends stringing up crystals along every window to make all kinds of rainbows.

Friday, January 4, 2013

President Obama's Worst Day

The President learns of the Newtown shootings from Counter-terrorism Adviser,
John Brennan, by White House photographer, Pete Souza
from David A. Graham at The Atlantic
It wasn't the day the Congressman yelled "You lie!" Not the day of the 2010 election. Not the rise of the tea party or all the occasions when people attacked him and his family often on ugly racist grounds. It was the day he learned about twenty young schoolchildren and six of their adult protectors gunned down by a crazed gunman with semi-automatic pistols and rifle.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The "Righteousness" of Conservatives and Liberals

Yesterday, I heard a fascinating discussion on KUER Radio West with Doug Fabrizio discussing the moral basis of politics with Social Psychologist, Jonathan Haidt. It was not in any sense a discussion of Right vs. Wrong but a social scientist's approach to understanding the differences. His thesis is that different groups have different value systems and speak different languages that mean different things to each other. While he conceded that much of it was in broad generalities, he concluded it was very important for a society to include both conservative and liberal groups and mindsets. The important thing is we have to learn to understand each other better. It was amazing - and right up my passionate moderate alleyway.

On the KUER webpage, there is a link to the program and additional information including a survey test to see where you come out on the values of morality tending to indicate a general political worldview, some of which we may not recognize on the surface. So here are my test results:

Emancipation Day Sesquicentennial


Hurrah! Hurrah! We bring the Jubilee.
Hurrah! Hurrah! The flag that makes you free!

January 1, 1863, 150 years ago, the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect under the authority of President Lincoln and the difficult to define war power. See the movie Lincoln for his principled as well as down-and-dirty political fight to get the 13th Amendment removing a significant stain on our Founder's Constitution and fulfilling their ideals. At least Lincoln was able to fuse Jeffersonian principles of the Declaration of Independence with the Constitution for that "new birth of freedom."