Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Executive Orders - Since George Washington, 1789

First Executive Order Proclaiming Thanksgiving, October 3, 1789, George Washington (Library of Congress)
Once again, I'm very disappointed and concerned that friends of mine apparently believe (and posted on FB) the insane rantings of Glenn Beck, who, along with Bachmann, Palin, and others, are accusing the President of assuming "dictatorial powers" as the President has clearly and forthrightly stated that where Congress won't work with him, he will issue EO's (that's how we abbreviate them since I went to law school 30 years ago) under any legal authority he has.

Senator Lee Is the Problem, NOT The Solution

The "tea party" response is kicking around there on the internets. It's the same ol' palinesque Paul Revere "ringin' those bells" and firin' shots to "warn the British" that we were going to be free.

To succeed in a political cause among some circles, all you have to do is take a story from the founders and liken it to our present time. That is, phrase it terms to match your present dogmatic needs. Here's Sen. Lee's homage to his fantasies:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Live-Blogging SOTU 2014

President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Feb. 12, 2013.
 (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
It's close to time! Keep checking back as I try to update this as we go along. Although I am using my new notebook with a different keyboard that sometimes trips me up and Windows 8.1 which I haven't gotten used to yet and sometimes the strangest things happen if I accidentally touch the screen.

But I wanted to give you a little preview before the Prez starts. The country is down. Congress is a disaster. The Prez is polling terribly (although much better than Congress!) The Prez is not going controversial tonight. No socialism (as if) and not much liberalism even except for what the Beckheads and Teapots will find regardless of what he says. It will be all the things that he knows John ("Are-You-Kiddin'-Me?") Boehner will at least want to talk about:

Monday, January 27, 2014

We're Still the Same

It's either the poisonous polluted air or simple blogger's block that's got me down. I do hope to be here tomorrow to live-blog the SOTU. My predition - the Prez will play off John ("are-you-kiddin'-me") Boehner and call on the Republicans to cooperate as they have on the new budget (which isn't that bad, selfishly speaking - it couldn't have gotten any worse). It won't help much for him but to further stir the tea-pot turmoil in the Republican Party with hopes that the fever will finally burst for a more temperate next Congress. It's a long shot.

The turmoil over same-sex marriage has been bothering me because I know too much. That is, I know too many. The floor of my freshman dorm at BYU included guys from a multiplicity of perspectives who are now personally involved in this turmoil. And that's all I'll say about that. Except . . . .

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

To Weigh a Man's Soul

Dan Jones - Welsh Missionary
Long ago when my Portuguese Professor at the Y inquired about my Welsh surname, he also shared with me an excerpt from the diary of his ancestor, the famous riverboat captain and Welsh missionary, Dan Jones. At the time and with my limited knowledge of my family history, I didn't connect to the Welsh stories. All I know is that my family with the Welsh surname had come to the US from northern England and arrived too late on faster steamship and train to be considered pioneers (they would have had to arrive in Utah between 1847 and 1869 before the railroad was completed).

The story was still a powerful one. It helped form the basis of my commitment to follow those ordained of God even with faults - theirs and mine. The story follows, "hics" and all:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Family Totems V

Depot, Fruitland, Idaho
(c) Larry K. Vaughn
This is in my Aunt's house at St. George. I'm not sure how she feels about it as she lost the tips of two fingers working at the Fruitland Cannery. Yet, it's another family icon (the painting, not the finger tips).

The next is iconic as the location of the Scout Camp, Jim Bridger Council, Wyoming where several of my family spent their summers. I spent many weekends there cruising up at 90 miles an hour in a Ford Pinto, no less. I think that was its top-out speed.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Why I'm Not Going to my Rep's Town Hall Meeting

My U.S. Congressman of the whatever gerrymandered District we're in now, is holding a town hall meeting this month that I will not be attending. There are some questions I would like to ask, but I don't think they'll get me very far with my political tea-partier, erstwhile Mormon-pop, apocalyptical-fiction* writer, and Beck-buddy Representative. My questions follow:

Friday, January 17, 2014

Guest Post: Utah Medicaid & the ACA

A dear friend provided me with some comments on how the ACA (AKA Obamacare) is being implemented in the State of Utah, one of the less cooperative states of the Union. I asked to share the perspective here. Yes, there are flaws in the ACA. There are also flaws in Utah state government. My friend comes with a thorough background from work and experience. Take it away! (with only minor edits from me):

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

You're NOT In Good Hands with Private Insurance

That's with intentional reference to Allstate, by the way. Thankfully like a pretty good neighbor, State Farm is there.

On the evening of New Years Day, we discovered the above situation with our car that was parked out in front of our house. There was no note from whomever may have hit the dang thing.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Another School-Teacher Hero!

And a senseless, stupid, horrific, American tragedy in Roswell, New Mexico!

I've kept quiet through a few more of these, but not tonight.

What is wrong with us, America?! Let me tell you. We argue about rights vs. regulations when we can have both. We argue about guns vs. children when we can have both (even if I prefer the latter).

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Supremes Slow It Down, Public Catches Breath

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Just as surprising as Judge Shelby's Federal District Court decision striking down Utah's laws against same-sex marriage, the US Supreme Court just surprised us by granting a stay on Utah licensing same-sex marriage after the 10th Circuit twice denied such a stay. There was no written opinion, so any interpretation is pure speculation. Here's mine.

Based on the make-up of the Court, I think there are two things at work here. First, Justice Ginsberg, one of the more liberal four, has expressed her concerns about the activist conservative nature of the present court. She also thinks that the case establishing a constitutional right of abortion, Roe v. Wade, was decided too soon (it's an odd case anyway with it's arbitrary trimesters established by the Court). The Court got ahead of public opinion on that one no matter how strongly she feels about the right to personal decisions over women's health and reproduction and the case has caused a lot of political and judicial turmoil since.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Universal At Onement

Whether it's some unified field theory in Physics, Zion of one heart and mind in a religious context, or the constitutional ideal of a more perfect Union, we seem to have an innate human need to find unifying answers. I suppose the philosophical Darwinists of human behavior call this one of those traits generations bred into our genes for species survival. But it sure seems that we, like the poet Yeats, want a power to unite what may be whirling out from a center that cannot hold.

Stop. Hold on. That's what I choose to do. The alternatives only lead me to despair.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Doctrine of Non-Infallibilty

Anonymous D shared a great insight with me that he gave me permission to pass on:
Catholics have a doctrine of infallibility that many don't really believe, and Mormons don't have a doctrine of infallibility even if many think there is one.
Now, I mean no offense to my Catholic friends who belong to a great Christian tradition. Having survived schism, crusade, inquisition, reformation, revolution, and many difficulties in history, it is a mature church. They seem to be adjusting well to a new Pope who seems to be a sincere Franciscan and true Christian. I don't even think that's all that incompatible with my Faith.

I also mean no disrespect to my Mormon friends as the relatively young Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints seems to be in its teenage years dealing with internal doubt and growing pains. It wasn't much fun for me going through my own teen angst. And somehow, in those difficult years and my young adulthood, I was able to face the fascinating aspects of Mormon history and doctrine that seem to be giving some so much trouble these days. I'm still surprised when members claim surprise this far along.