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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Ever hopeful for finishing the job at hand.

The lesson I learned from the Washington Monument


   I have driven past the iconic Washington Monument numerous times. I have been up inside, walked it grounds during kite festivals and cherry blossom festivals alike. It like no other monument epitomizes what is wrong and what is right with Washington D.C.
  When L'Enfant laid out the design for DC, he left a spot for a memorial to the founder of America, George Washington. In 1848, construction began on a six hundred foot tall Egyptian style obelisk that would be surrounded by thirty 100 ft columns. Funding and construction proved difficult. It became so difficult that all construction stopped by 1854 leaving a 154 ft tall stump. Now why would funding stop on something so important? Straight from the National Parks' web page: "In 1853, a new group aligned with the controversial Know-Nothing Party gained control of the Washington National Monument Society in the Society's periodic board election. Having always struggled to gather funding, the Society's change in administration alienated donors and drove the Society to bankruptcy by 1854"
   Stop me if this sounds familiar to you. A group of "Know-Nothings" getting in the way of respecting the founding fathers. Fortunately after over two decades of the nation's capitol living in the shadow of this monument to obstructionism, Congress stepped up on July 5, 1876 and resumed construction of the obelisk. What they found when trying to make it whole and right was that certain opportunities had passed. The Baltimore stone quarry for the first 156ft was no longer available. Stone was brought in from Massachusetts but, the color was not a good match and so they ended with a second Baltimore quarry. When you look at the monument you can see the three stripes of stone.
   Does having three different stones diminish the monument? Not to me. I see it as a monument to the inevitability of rational thought over "Know-Nothings" The stripes remind me daily that even after decades of inaction, Washington has the ability to make itself whole and right again.
 
  

Monday, October 2, 2017

The passing of a music hero, Tom Petty



   From the first time I heard "Breakdown"  way back in the late 70's I was a fan of this guy. He was a snarling punk who had a voice full of attitude. The album was self titled: "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers" That album was so well received they had 3 charted hits including their first #1 with "Breakdown" 
   Sophomore jinx? Not here "Your going to get it" followed up with "I need to know" and "Listen to her heart" Ever the hero for the little guy and the strong willed girl. The writing kept improving and the touring paid off with the 1979 release of triple platinum "Damn the Torpedoes"  This album has three songs you know even if you think you don't know Tom Petty. "Don't Do me Like That", "Refugee" and "Here Comes My Girl" This album saw him take over his own publishing rights and receive widespread critical and monetary success. Ariel Swartley from"Rolling Stone" reviewed it claiming it was the  "album we've all been waiting for – that is, if we were all Tom Petty fans, which we would be if there were any justice in the world." 
 The songs kept coming and the band carved out a niche for itself making a sound no one else could make. I heard Tom talking about it on his Sirius station a year or so ago. He laughingly stated that neither he, nor any of the band members sounded like that on any of the solo projects. It was something they made together and that is why it was so special.
   The Albums came fast with hard tours following. "Hard Promises",followed by a collaboration with Stevie Nicks on "Stop Dragging my Heart Around" then "Long After Dark", "Southern Accents" followed one of my personal favorites "Let Me Up I've Had Enough" touring so hard took a toll on all of the members and the 90s saw the firing of the drummer Stan Lynch being replaced briefly by Dave Grohl. Yes music fans, THAT Dave Grohl. 
More albums, more fame, more tours followed in a near endless stream of albums with his group, solo recordings, guest spots and endless cities on tour. It seemed he couldn't share enough of who he was with the rest of us and it all seemed to hit a chord with his faithful audience.
    But this post isn't about "The Heartbreakers" it is about the heartbreak. Sometimes people enter our lives unexpectedly either in person or as celebrity. Some do good some do harm some like Tom just did his thing. I can't for a moment begin to suggest his lifestyle as an option but I can say this without question. Tom Petty knew who he was. I would like to think he liked what he did and that simple joy of being made him a hero of mine throughout the years.
 Thank you Tom, thanks for the memories, for the smiles every time I hear the words "Hello CD listeners" Thanks for the music and the way you made it. Rest In peace.
  

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Monuments Matter

Monuments Matter

 

   I would like to share a personal story of how a rather obviously controversial monument made a difference for me. Being a bit of a Civil War fan, I have spent some time in and around Fredericksburg, VAThere is a sandstone blocks in old town, at the intersection of Charles and William streets it is a rather odd piece of stone. I had never given much thought to that stone or the area in general. Then on May 6, 2005 I read a paper saying the stone had been vandalized. 
that article is here:Slave Block Vandalized
   I had been on that intersection many times, even rested on that stone and not been aware of its past.After reading the story, I immediately felt dirty for having touched it. I clearly knew that Fredericksburg was part of the South, that the area had clearly held slaves and it follows that being a regional hub it would have been a natural place to have auctions. But, having been in the proximity of that stone made that more real and more "today" for me than anything I can imagine. That stone was a reminder of a stain on  America. It became my stain as I had leaned against it in such a cavalier fashion. I knew that those other souls that had been that close to it felt no comfort, no respite from their struggle by being there. They were sold as cattle to the highest bidder.
   We are erasing monuments and reminders to our history. In doing so, we lose opportunities for people to have these epiphany moments. America needs more connections to our past, not fewer. I find that when I am in Fredericksburg now, I avoid the square, choosing to walk around it instead of through it. That is a powerful reminder and a needed one. When we are ignorant of our past, we risk repeating it.
   If you hate a monument, perhaps that is the best reason to keep it. Let others feel that same visceral gut punch. Let others remember our shared past lest we chance to repeat it.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Tim Kaine said WHAT?

Tim Kaine continues to make stupid choices

The above link is the 08/20/2017 Breitbart story by Pam Key.

   I am shocked and dismayed. Even from a politician who has made as many bad choices as Kaine, this is a Duesey. Tim Kaine is now on record wanting to take down a statue of General Lee in an area that makes tourism dollars from history buffs and replacing it with a statue of Pocahontas.
    Pocahontas was a girl, 9 or 10 yrs old, kidnapped from her family like a scene from Boko Haram's playbook. This poor child was repeatedly raped and eventually impregnated by her captors. As a token symbol of an alliance,  John Rolfe married the child, still not 18 and converted her to Christianity and changed her name to Rebecca.  Despite her use to Rolfe, she was never allowed to see her family again. Rolfe got what he wanted in the bargain and was taught how to cure tobacco by her tribe.
   Because the cured tobacco was so valuable, her native nations lands were stolen and the tribe suffered greatly at the hands of the invading Europeans.So what happened to our poor child after the kidnapping, rape, and forced marriage? She was made into an English side show to keep money flowing to those conquering the  colonies. Once she realized she was being used to continue the persecution of her people it is widely believed she was murdered for speaking out. 
    Now Timmy, that is certainly a history to be proud of. Raise that monument to your personal ignorance and lack of sensitivity.
This image aside, the girl was 10 this was not a Disney moment folks she never got this old.
<updated to remove typos, I was a bit angry writing this>

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Natalia Veselnitskaya

This is a story Hollywood would pass on as unbelievable. Yet, it appears to have
happened.
   Polling is a fairly accurate science when done by professionals and examined by the same for error. So despite the "News" polls showing Hillary comfortably ahead, the Obama administration knew this was going to be close. We may never know who started what but, when Natalia Veselnitskaya applied for entry on an expired visa, the deep state saw an opportunity. Ms. Veselnitskaya was allowed an extraordinary circumstances entry to the USA by the Obama Justice Dept.
   We have seen Donald Trump Jr.'s emails he went there looking for dirt on Hillary. That motive was clear. What we were lacking was the motive for Ms. Veselnitskaya. That now appears to be her appearance before a House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting regarding the Magnitsky Act, a pet project of hers for years. She also attended a movie regarding the Russian viewpoint of the Magnitsky Act with at least five house staffers and State Department officials. This was then the motive for her to be willing to collude with Pro-Hillary forces to help smear Trump enough to get a FISA warrant allowing Obama and his minions to bug Trump Tower.
     What I still can't put into place is how John McCain, who ran a honorable and clean campaign, is seemingly one of the men behind the fake dossier on Trump that was shopped around and helped add temporary credibility for the wire tap. FusionGPS has history with Planned parenthood and Ms. Veselnitskaya so they fit into the puzzle neatly. McCain, not so much. I hear he has accepted donations from Soros but I have a hard time thinking he would sell out his nation. I'd like to think better of him.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Thoughts on immigration

Why a travel ban?


   Conservatives often get flagged as anti immigration on good days and racist xenophobes on most others. The reality is that every conservative can trace their ancestry to other nations. We are no different than any other Americans in that. We do however believe in legal immigration not open borders. This nation was always a beacon of freedom for oppressed and eager people from around the world and it always should be. One thing about those who came years ago was their desire to embrace America. They wanted to be free. They wanted the opportunity to make their way in this new world. They wanted the American dream.
   Edouard de Laboulaye, a French intellectual, set out to create a work to celebrate the American centennial and the recent abolishment of slavery after the civil war. He rased money and then turned to a young Auguste Bartholdi who created Lady Liberty. It is important to remember the words she uses to welcome those to our shores:

“The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

   Leave what imprisoned and lorded over you behind, come here to seek freedom from all that kept you from being the free souls your Creator desires for you.Those are the souls that create Americans. Sadly those are not the souls that we rally against today. We have people who want not only to bring the oppression of their life with them but to rise up and usurp the freedom that we know and replace it with all the horrors and atrocities that this nation was created to stand against. The degradation and physical mutilation of women, the calls for ignoring the law of the land and replacing it with sharia law is at odds with the very basis for this nation. We are a free people. We agree on few things even back in the days the Constitution was penned but, we agree on our Bill of Rights. We cannot allow any citizen any soul living on our soil to be denied these God given rights or we stop being a nation and deserve to fail. 
     So I say to potential immigrants everywhere, Come, come seeking freedom. Come to breathe the rarefied air of freedom. But when you come, bring your yearning to be free and leave your storied pomp, your laws and habits of oppression behind you and make your way forward as Americans.
   


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Benghazi

We may never know who gave the stand down orders, we may never understand why we did not send men in to get our soldiers or at least their bodies. I remember thinking at the time it happened that the only positive from this was that there was no way that Americans would nominate someone who had this happen on her watch. Hillary is a politician. I say that with all the praise and damnation that it deserves. I wonder if she started with a different lie, one where she claimed remorse for the deaths and appeared shaken by the loss of American lives if now she might be hated less. I don't think she has it in her to have actual compassion, but I think she could have chosen a better lie
. Facebook Post July 4,2016

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Kennedy stepping down

   As I write this it is Sunday evening. All expectations are that tomorrow, Justice Anthony McLeod Kennedy will retire. The Hon. Judge Kennedy was appointed by none other that Ronald Regan but did not share all of Regan's conservative values. Many will remember Kennedy as the less divisive candidate offed up after Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg became nonviable. A similar battle is expected for his replacement.
   Justice Kennedy's tenure has earned him a reputation as the "swing vote" in many of the landmark cases he has seen. He is considered a reliable vote for all things Gay Rights having voted with the majority in  Romer v.Evans, Lawrence v. Texas, United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v.Hodges. It is hard to imagine his replacement will continue that support.
  Kennedy's other major decisions included:
Citizens United v. FEC
  Kennedy found that you cannot restrict free speech from corporations and unions. This overturned a law that limited/banned them
Texas v. Johnson
   siding with the majority that flag burning was protected as free speech.
Boumediene v Bush
   siding with the four liberal judges that detainees at Gitmo and those designated as enemy combatants have a right to habeas corpus 
District of Columbia v. Heller
  Kennedy sided with the conservatives and ruled DC's ban on handguns was unconstitutional
Florence v. County of Birlington
   Kennedy ruled that people detained and admitted to the general population in prison were subject to strip searches.

If you want to know why all the snowflakes are melting down it is this: Kennedy was a moderate. He could not ever be claimed by either side as a dependable vote for Liberalism nor Conservatism.Liberals will want an identical candidate to replace him and quite frankly, Justice Kennedy proved over and over he was one of a kind.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Obamacare stroll down memory lane

   Some folks seem to either not know or perhaps conveniently are forgetting how "Obamacare" became law. I thought I would help bring some of it back for your perusal. 
   The Democrats controlled all three branches of legislature and were driving this forward against the Republican resistance to a one payer system. Nancy Pelosi could not get their version of a healthcare bill past the Republican opposition. the Senate had a Democratic super majority. They could pass anything against any Republican opposition. Since all revenue bills have to start in the house, The senate grabbed HR3590 a bill about military housing, stripped it of all its original language and stuffed Obamacare into its corpse.
  The Senate usually then sends their version back to the house, a bit of arm wrestling and negotiating happens and a compromise piece of legislation gets passed by both houses. Well, the unthinkable happened during this process. The voters in MA handed "Ted Kennedy's" seat over to Republican Scott Brown. As painful as this was for the Democrats on principle, it was more damaging in its reality. They were about to lose their super majority in the Senate. Harry Reid (D-NV) was in a hard place. If they sent the bill to the House any change made would require a new Senate vote, one he could not get the required 60 votes on. 
   What happened next is why Obamacare failed. rather than iron out a bipartisan bill, Reid met with his House counterpart Pelosi and agreed to pass the unfinished, unpublished, unread bill into law without changes by a party line then the Senate would pass a separate bill called the Reconciliation Act of 2010. That is how Obamacare became law. Sadly had the legislation gone through channels, many of the glaring mistakes would have been repaired and the costs could have been potentially reduced or contained.But, at least we did get perhaps the most absurd political statement of all time from it:


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

All Amendments Matter

     Most of us heard at least one of Aesop's tales growing up. These fables are by design supposed to make us think and learn. One that I personally think needs more repeating is the story of The Trees and the Axe:
     A Woodman went into the forest and begged of the Trees the favor of a handle for his Axe. The principal Trees at once agreed to so modest a request, and unhesitatingly gave him a young ash sapling, out of which he fashioned the handle he desired. No sooner had he done so than he set to work to fell the noblest Trees in the wood. When they saw the use to which he was putting their gift, they cried, "Alas! alas! We are undone, but we are ourselves to blame. The little we gave has cost us all: had we not sacrificed the rights of the ash, we might ourselves have stood for ages."
    We have to stand when our rights are endangered. Even if you do not own a gun, you need to support the rights of those who do. Look no further than the creep of "Eminent Domain" from taking of private property for public use to the taking of private property for commercial use. This is the nature of decay. It starts with a tiny cut. Unattended, it festers until the host has died. Make no mistake there is an agenda of removing all or part of that pesky Constitution.

“Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.”
 - Mahatma Gandhi

Who was in charge?

Can anyone, anywhere explain why the DNC would not turn over a compromised email server to find out who was in fact responsible for the hack?  Jeh Johnson had no answers in court today as to why the DNC refused the offer to help. I guess my question is if this was a matter of national security and election integrity (as Democrats now claim it to be) Why were they given an option to deny that help? Who was running the FBI then? Who was President? WHO WAS IN CHARGE???

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Karen Handel

Have you noticed that each election since the one that Trump won is going to be a statement against him? Right up until the Trump supporter wins? Then it was a local race with no national significance. Congratulations to Ms. Handel who not only beat her challenger but beat back the liberal special interest money from around the nation! Turns out all the money in the world cant give a California snowflake a chance in Georgia

Feeling the Bern...


I got a kick from the post on FB from the Socialist Senator from Vermont. "The House passed health care bill is the worst piece of legislation I have seen in my lifetime. Now you have a process where maybe a dozen Senate Republicans even know what the bill will look like. Not only is this is a disgrace to the Senate, to the Congress, but it is an insult to the American people. We must stand up and fight back immediately." I find it amazing, astounding even that Mr Sanders has such a short memory. He voted for The Affordable Care Act without ever having read a page of it. I am afraid his offended act on this is as solid as his convictions against corruption in politics. ( Enjoying that big new home, Bern?)



The Unhappy Handshake

    America was built on the art of the unhappy handshake. People of differing views getting together long enough to iron out an agreement that both sides dislike but can tolerate. Somewhere in my lifetime we have lost that art or at least stopped electing people who were willing to practice it.

New Sheriff in town

From both the twitter and FB accounts of Donald Trump comes the following message:
"While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help w/ North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!" That most certainly does not sound like any desire or intent to engage North Korea but rather resolve that we have turned a corner and those options are now gone.
    For those living under a rock, North Korea had held an American, Otto Warmbier,  He was returned to the US in a coma and subsequently died. The grievous charge he was held on? Stealing a propaganda poster to keep as a souvenir. Between the continued provocations of missile launch after missile launch and the declaration that he can now hit American soil, this march has been coming since the 1950s. It is a long popular saying from Voltaire that "Nature abhors a vacuum" but I think that Tennessee  Williams got it right when he said that "A Vacuum is a hell of a lot better than some of the stuff that nature replaces it with." We have had a kick the problem down the road attitude with Korea since the end of the conflict. We have supported South Korea in arms and talk but failed to stop North Korea from the slippery descent into the dark minds of the Kims. I feel that the can is about to be kicked in a whole new direction.
A vacuum is a hell of a lot better than some of the stuff that nature replaces it with.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/tennesseew138009.html?src=t_vacuumThere
A vacuum is a hell of a lot better than some of the stuff that nature replaces it with.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/vacuum_2.html
A vacuum is a hell of a lot better than some of the stuff that nature replaces it with.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/vacuum_2.html
A vacuum is a hell of a lot better than some of the stuff that nature replaces it with.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/vacuum_2.html