Monday, January 30, 2017

Lawyers? Are Heroes?!

The guy in the White House has sparked something quite a bit larger than the tea party. And he's only been at it a week.

His "Muslim Ban," hugely part of his campaign, is going down before judges, protesters, and hopefully Congress now that we have enough Senate Republicans (McCain, Graham, Flake, at least) to reign it in.

What surprised me the most was the crowds cheering . . . the lawyers! Now, that's something you don't see every day!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Why Do You Keep Bringing Up Abortion?

A female friend of mine shared a thought:
Getting a little tired of the narrow-mindedness that thinks women's rights, women's concerns, women's interests begin and end with abortion.
Somehow the issue of abortion keeps coming up, most recently with some who question what the Women's March of last Saturday was all about. It was about a lot more than abortion.

Since this is a blog of an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or Mormon Church), it would be good to check out what the official policy of the Church actually is:

Monday, January 23, 2017

Science Student of the Month

My wife just finished this narrative for an 8th Grade Hispanic student. This is the real America.

[I have edited only to remove the names for obvious privacy concerns.]

Student of the Month Recognition Letter 
Dear X_____,

I am pleased to nominate you as a Mueller Park Junior High School student of the month for the month of JANUARY, 2017. I have enjoyed having you in 8th Science this year. As I considered all the amazing students I have, your name surfaced as the one I should select. You are a wonderful student with a cheerful smile and a positive attitude. You work hard to complete assignments. One quality you have that stands out the most is your kind and generous disposition. Let me briefly explain what I admire.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Another Family Link to the Brecon and Monmouthshire Canal

Publication date was 14 October 1871:


I believe this is William Vaughan christened 1830 in Hay, Breconshire, and who died before 1881 when his wife Elizabeth (Betsy) is listed in the Llanfoist Census as "widow." It appears that he was engaged in dredging the Brecon and Monmouthshire Canal and not in the illegal activity.

John and Elinor's first-born child, that we know of, was named William. He died in 1823. It was a common practice to name a child after a sibling that had already died. In fact, John's uncle William (1768-1851), who we believe may have trained him as a butcher, was the third William in that family after two others died as infants.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Yes, We Still Can!

Yesterday morning on the way to work I listened to the album produced for the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2008. I cried.

I haven't seen anything about a trump album. Maybe Lee Greenwood joining in with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or something.

The good news is that the "Yes We Can" album is still available from 3rd parties through Amazon.

"All rebellions are built on hope."

Here is a run-down from what I can link off of YouTube:




Monday, January 16, 2017

Harriet Tubman, My Long-time, Historical Friend

Harriet, upon obtaining Freedom
It's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. And Harriet Tubman will soon grace our twenty dollar bill. I rejoice as we've been friends for almost 50 years.

Scholastic Book Services was one of the great blessings of my childhood. My Mom loved reading and always scraped up some spare change to allow me one or two from the tantalizing list of books that my teachers at Thoreau Elementary gave me. In 1968, I believe in the Fifth Grade at 11 years of age, I chose a great one.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Big Pit, Blaenavon, Wales

Big Pit's wheel machinery for the ore and people lift.
It's interesting that mines are called "pits" in Britain when we would tend to associate that with a surface strip mine or something like the Kennecott Copper Mine, spiraling down to remove a whole mountain of ore.

It might be because the word in Welsh is "pwll" which is a cognate for "pool" and also means "mine." The Big Pit in Blaenavon, just over the hill from where my ancestors lived, is known as Pwll Mawr in Cymraeg.

We were not allowed to take pictures in the mine which was good in a way because my SD disk went haywire that day. That bothered me ever since because I had limited surface shots, but then I realized there would be pictures on the web!

I've been in potash mines in New Mexico. This was my first coal mine. And it was fascinatingly horrifying.

The Big Pit website even had a photo of the guide who took us down.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Some Kind Words for Trump Voters


There are those explanations on social media as to why liberal-minded souls are upset, hurt, and angry at their Trump-supporter friends and family. They are sincere about the concept that if you voted for the vile man who spouted and acted out such ugly views of the disabled, women, ethnic, racial, and religious minorities, etc., you  must be insensitive or complicit in such things. Let me take a slightly different tack.

One reason why we progressive, anti-Trump voters are so upset is that the election result was such a shock to our very being. Admit it. The results were a surprise to nearly everyone.

For myself, I was not a big fan of Hillary Clinton. I think you can see that in this blog especially if you go back to see some posts when I was supporting Bernie Sanders in the Primaries (although a Joe Biden would have been my ideal choice). After she locked up the nomination, I tried to support her to the best of my ability as a loyal Democrat agreeing with her on most issues. And my biggest issue was that she was the best and only chance to defeat the Republican nominee, the man for all malfeasons  [OK, I just made up a word. If Shakespeare can do it, I can, even if not as well].

So here's my idea.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Scenes from American History



Paul Revere: "The Redcoats are coming! The Redcoats are coming!"

Massachusetts: "YOU'RE FAKE NEWS!"


Patrick Henry: "Give me Liberty or give me death!"

Thomas Jefferson: "YOU'RE FAKE NEWS!"

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Putin Pravda


We may never know what is real or unreal, fake or not news. But this we know. Vladimir Putin, former KGB Agent and Tzar-like leader of Russia, has done what the Soviet Union was never able to accomplish. American Democracy is suspect, our First Amendment protected Free Press is completely unreliable, and our intelligence agencies are compromised.

Oh.My.Heck! How did we get here?

I can't explain it.

There are a few items falling out after that really weird tele-novela today in which the President Elect had his staffers boo and ridicule the press. And the CNN reporter fell right into the President Elect's small but grabby hands as he squeezed the "fake news" right out of him.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

President Obama's Farewell Address


Yes, I liked the speech. It reaffirmed that the President's views of politics and the Constitution are very much like mine. I don't agree with him 100%, but it's in the nineties.

This is a great speech. This is the best President of my lifetime.

I provide here the full text of the speech as found on CNN. I provide no further commentary at this time, but I have highlighted the parts I like the best.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

My Predictions for 2017

1. Obamacare will not be repealed. If the Republicans have half a brain among them, they will do some necessary technical edits and call it something without the "Obama" name in it. And everybody will be relatively happier.

2. Many Trump supporters will regret their vote so much that they will come to say, "If only Obama were back. Things weren't so bad then!" (Which I already believe).

3. I'm going conservative on this predicting only six (6) major scandals in the first year of the Trump White House. (Remember President Obama's record, a big fat 0 in eight years*. Even if you insist on Benghazi and "Fast and Furious" which even the promoters don't directly link to the President, that's two in eight years.)
[1. February 13, 2017, General Michael Flynn forced to resign as National Security Adviser for failing to tell the truth about discussing sanctions with Russia before the inauguration.]
[2. May 9, 2017, trump fires James Comey, FBI Director, in the same week Comey is testifying before the Senate Subcommittee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and the same day a federal grand jury subpoenas records. The reason given is untruthful statements regarding Hillary Clinton's emails. This ain't over yet.
[3. May 15, 2017, the Washington Post reports citing senior intelligence sources that trump revealed confidential national security information compromising a foreign-partner source to the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador in a meeting in the oval office last Wednesday, May 10.]
[4. July 11, 2017. Donald J. Trump, Jr. releases emails evidencing that he sought out allegedly harmful information on Hillary Clinton offered by Russian sources when he previously denied he had any Russian contacts during the campaign.]
4. I do think our institutions are strong enough to withstand even Trump in the White House and we will not sink into Fascism. Even if he manages to burn down the Capitol and blame it on the terrorists or the Democrats, the military won't allow him to establish martial law. And many of us will not just be standing in front of the tanks if they do,but  they will have to go over the top of us. We are too many (a solid majority of voters, for one thing). Our service men and women are true patriots, not Trump stooges.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Why Liberals Leave the LDS Church (and This One Isn't)

Well, obviously because they're evil. duh.

It's a bit more complex than that.

IMHO, a lot of people leave the church because they don't feel comfortable there. They hurt in the very place where they want to feel healing. And the hurt overpowers the opportunity for healing.

It's hard not to judge. We do it constantly. And we often judge unrighteous judgments.

And when there is a cultural and political conservatism imposed where it need not be, it can create insurmountable conflict.

Yes, I'm speaking of the "wink, with, nudge, nudge" crowd who are so anxious for the world to be evil as they point it out so that they can rejoice when the wicked are punished and they are proven right.

Anonymous D gave me some insight recently that this kind of prideful thinking is very much the "Nephite Disease" of the Book of Mormon. It is in classifying people with whom we disagree as the "other" and relegating them to a level of righteousness and eternal judgment much lower than our own. If they're not with us, they must be against us and likely Lamanites to boot!