Friday, July 29, 2005

Resistance is Futile

I was going down my list of blogsites and got to Resistance is Futile, another member of the LLP group of exceptional writers. I mention this because yesterday I had to work in our Houston heat a little longer than normal, having to make keys to several cars without a break. When I finished and drove down the street and all I could think of was inhaling a chocolate milk shake. It was so hot and humid that I had removed my hearing aids to avoid ruining them as the sweat poured off my head. I have learned that the small batteries quickly corrode and it only takes an hour or so for them to dissolve and so I take special care not to destroy such expensive units.

There was a line of young women, all wearing some kind of sports jerseys trying to decide what to order as I dripped all over the floor, the beads of sweat pouring off my skin. I placed my order and observed a few of the patrons sitting around eating their lunch.

One fellow was sitting all by himself, apparently talking to himself as he occasionally sipped through a straw and went back to talking to the invisible person directly across the table from him. A further study made it clear that he had some sort of device attached directly to his right ear; how silly of me, he was talking into his cellular telephone. The more I looked over in his direction the more agitated the man became, as if I were eavesdropping or maybe he might have a huge zit on his nose. He could not have known that I am almost deaf without my hearing aids, the ones that were in my pocket until I cooled off a bit.

I finally got my chocolate shake and began to enjoy it. The fellow with the large plastic lump on his ear got up and started to walk to the exit. I couldn’t help myself, being a Star Trek fan, “Resistance is Futile”, I blurted out. I quickly forced a smirk of a smile and waved innocuously so that he wouldn’t take a swing at me.

I don’t have to wear a silly ear gadget ever since I purchased a “loop” transmitter that plugs into the base of my cell phone. I have no idea exactly how it works other than it sends the audio information to my hearing aids and now I can listen in stereo. It looks quite a bit like a country western bolo tie and it permits me the luxury of “hands free” communications while working or driving.

I was standing in line at the post office to mail a package to my folks, all the while talking into the microphone located in that “loop”. The lady in front of me had no idea that I was in the middle of a conversation with a “real” person via my fancy gadgets. She actually took a couple of steps to move away from the crazy guy behind her.

“Resistance is Futile”.

Stem Cell Funding - Let’s Spend Some More Money

I see where Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Friday threw his support behind legislation to expand federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, as reported in an article on While quite a bit has been made of the moral implications of stem cell research, not much has been mentioned, if at all, about spending tax payer funds on such an endeavor.

I suppose we all think that NASA is the perfect example of public money having been spent for the greater good of mankind and so the establishment of government funded stem cell research would fall under the same umbrella. We need to have a proper name for such an organization, something that will look good as a logo.

National Stem Cell Life Saving Research Development Project Medical Optimal Spending Group, no that doesn’t have a good ring to it; how about something a little shorter. Maybe something with a Heinlein theme, “The Lazarus Project”; that has some possibilities, I like that already. The shoulder logo could be TLP with some kind of DNA spiraled helix. To be a proper governmental agency would require that vast amounts of tax payer money be spent to come up with such a logo, so never mind that I have already suggested this one; let some advertising agency come up with the same thing and charge us a half a million dollars to make it legitimate.

The Lazarus Project today has proven that life can be extended hundreds if not thousands of years, provided that you have an income bracket capable of paying for such a procedure. Qualifications are that you provide us a genealogical chart proving that at least 72% of your ancestors had red hair and lived to be at least 97 years of age. If your last name is listed in the Long ancestral files a short form is all that is required, that and a donation to The Lazarus Project to meet or exceed one half of your projected earnings for the next 10 years will guarantee an additional 100 years of renewed vitality and health. Remember, this research has been paid for with tax dollars and the benefits to all mankind are our legacy. “One small step for medical workers, one giant leap for big government”, that’s our motto.

With a ringing endorsement from Sen. Harry Reid, how can we go wrong? The idea of spending tax money for anything and everything under the sun will eventually drain the well dry. Regardless of the morality decision involved, spending tax payer money on something that could and should be limited to the private sector is wrong.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

United Airlines - the Unfriendly Skies

I'll let my letter to United Airlines speak for itself.

July 28, 2005

United Airlines
Customer Relations Department
United States Bankruptcy Courts

RE: Case Reference # 4243762

Dear Sirs,

I wanted to thank your front line agent staff for the most impressive handling of my daughter’s travel arrangements with United Airline. I realize that your company is currently in the middle of bankruptcy and has better things to concern itself with; all the same I would like to thank the Birmingham ticket agent who followed your company guidelines rigidly and completely. His name is Dave, and his employee number is 19454. I would like to thank him personally for explaining that all passengers, without exception, need to report to the ticket counter within 30 minutes of departure times. My careless daughter had the nerve to show up 29 minutes prior to boarding and was told that under no circumstances would she be permitted to board. She was also told that she could not talk to any supervisors because the rule was firm and there would be no reason to explain these necessary rules any further or take up even more valuable United Airline time; my daughter would have to wait 4 hours until the next flight while the empty seat, the one that was to leave at 8:05am, continued to consume the same amount of aviation fuel as if she had been on that plane.

It is my hope that Dave be awarded in some way, maybe a set of wings to wear on his uniform, the one he needs to wear while serving up hamburgers at the local McDonalds, Whataburger or Burger King. He can explain to those customers the rigid policy of not serving from the breakfast menu after 11:00am and look down at those wings as a constant reminder of why your particular airline needs to disappear from the friendly skies and never come out of bankruptcy.

My daughter talked with another agent of United Airlines, someone named Mary in Customer Relations who refused to give her employee number. I can see that these faithful United Airline employees are only following some very important rules and guidelines intended to streamline customer satisfaction.

Thank you once again

T. Fraser Stern

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

White Flag Factory in France on fire

AP and UPI reported that the French Government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "run" to "hide." The only two higher levels in France are "surrender" and "collaborate." The increased alert was precipitated by the recent fire which destroyed the French white flag factory, effectively disabling their military.

(Brad the Unrepentant Individual is on assignment in France and was to have sent me an actual photograph; instead I had to rely on this WWII vintage shot taken while Warsaw was being burned by the SS. Credit is given via the title bar)Posted by Picasa

Recognition of a Bribe

I was channel surfing and found another old movie, “A Man For All Seasons”, in progress about 15 minutes from the beginning. Sir Thomas More was sitting in a row boat holding some sort of silver chalice while the oarsman ferried him home. Upon reading the inscription on the bottom of the chalice Sir Thomas recognized it for what it was, a bribe, and dropped it into the water whereupon the oarsman quickly retrieved it and reminded Sir Thomas that it was worth quite a bit of money.

When the boat reached the landing a young man who’d stayed up all the night greeted Sir Thomas and explained that it was his intention to have an audience with the court, through the influence of Sir Thomas. An opportunity had presented itself and Sir Thomas asked why such a bright young man wouldn’t be happier in a teaching role as opposed to a position with the court. The young man wanted recognition and power and saw none of those in the lowly position of being a teacher.

Sir Thomas showed the silver chalice to him, one he’d no intention of keeping, “This is a bribe”. The young man was blank and waiting for an explanation. Sir Thomas read the inscription aloud to indicate that the giver of the chalice was the same as one who had business before the court. He handed the chalice to the young man and asked, “Here, it’s yours. What will you do with it.”

“I will sell it and buy some nicer clothing”, or something to the effect as he admired the chalice in his hands.

A man should avoid placing himself in the way of temptation”, was the rebuke Sir Thomas gave as a warning to the young man. The chalice represented but a small bribe; the power and popularity of being a member of “court” was temptation beyond the ability of most and so the corruption that followed was no surprise.

I had to go do some work and missed out on watching the rest of the movie. Making a living sure gets in the way of entertaining myself on the sofa; why couldn’t I have a job in Washington where I could fritter away my time and get paid all the same? Or I could get elected to some local office, have seats to all the games in one of those fancy private boxes, lobster and steak brought to me instead of day old hot dogs on stale buns, and have a chauffeur drop me off when ever and where ever at the click of my fingers. Better still, I could be elected to a seat in Austin and have even more attention, get even less done and have a larger expense account.

Never mind that the issue of eminent domain has not been resolved, that school finance has not been resolved, that pay raises for judges and …; I forgot, that one passed.

Maybe I’m better off being a locksmith who has time enough to write articles and post them on my blogsite. Thank you, Sir Thomas, for reminding me; for teaching me to recognize a bribe in its varied forms.

You’re a Grand Old Flag

I was looking at a picture of our flag being burned and trampled on. The words of an old patriotic tune came into my mind. I hadn’t heard this one in quite a while, maybe because it’s a little too patriotic and takes for granted that everyone who lives here in the United States loves and appreciates what that flag stands for.

You’re a grand old flag
You’re a high flying flag
And forever in piece may you wave.
You’re the emblem of
The land I love
The home of the free and the brave

Ev’ry heart beats true
‘neath the Red, White and Blue
Where there’s never a boast of brag.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

Music and lyrics by George M. Cohan The complete version along with a very cheesy sound byte can be found via the link provided in the title bar.

I had to think back to the last time I heard that tune; it was when I watched a biographical movie about George M. Cohan that had James Cagney in the lead role. We used to sing this in grammar school; an assembly room full of children being taught to be excited about our heritage, the flag being a symbol that helped us focus on those thoughts. George M. Cohan was awarded the highest medal our country gives to honor him for his patriotic spirit; receiving it at the white house from Franklin D. Roosevelt.

I remember another symbol of our country from a short anti-pollution infomercial. There was a picture of an aged Indian chief. In the background was a smoke stack pouring plumes of toxic waste into the sky. The camera zoomed in to show a single tear that formed in the corner of the old chief’s eye and trickled down his cheek as he wept for the past and what has taken its place.

As I looked once more at the image of our flag being desecrated a tear form in the corner of my eye. I brushed it away and thought about those who live in my country, whether or not they are citizens or guests, and the unabashed disgust that some of them have for our great nation.

Maybe I’ll go down to the movie store and find a copy of that movie, “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, take it home and play it for my kids. I’m not sure they would enjoy it now that they are all grown up and hooked on these new movies with all the violence and fancy special effects. The only special effects I can remember from Yankee Doodle Dandy were stage props being moved around to simulate a boat leaving shore, a horse race scene and a train pulling away from a station. There were no blue or green screen shots with overlay footage to trick our minds into the illusion of space travel or phenomenal explosions with bodies being ripped asunder.

When the movie was coming to an end, the parade marching down the street and George M. Cohan pondering the life he’d led and the music he’d written, I could feel the urge to stand up and salute the flag, be a better citizen and in general, felt pride in my country’s heritage. There’s that tear forming again.

I want to reach out and shake those idiots, bring them to their senses, remind them of how good we have it here and how much better it could be if only… if only. Damn my emotions and the tears that make it difficult to see the words as I write them. Is there no way to get through to this next generation, to have them appreciate and applaud, have goose bumps and a lump form in their throats when they hear a patriotic tune or look upon our flag?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Shaved it off November 14, 1971

T. F. Stern without mustache the day before entering the Houston Police Department Academy. No eye glasses, no hearing aids, no mustache and 60 pounds lighter; oh, and no bad back either.Posted by Picasa

Made me look like I was 17

Brad suggested that I shave off my mustache( linked via title bar); but alas, I lack the courage. He had watched the Simpsons television cartoon show and came up with some interesting ideas. I wish I could find the photograph I took the day before I entered the Police Academy. I'd gotten a call from a member of the Academy staff reminding me that mustaches were not permitted, and, remembering from our interview that I had one, wanted to impress upon me the importance of starting out on the right foot. I will look some more, the photograph is proof that time travel is possible.

I personally don’t enjoy watching the Simpsons as I feel the level of entertainment tends to demean the human spirit with below grade one liners that obtain laughs; but at the expense of dignity and real values, I’d rather read a good book. Brad went on to explain how I might learn from the show that, “it’s okay to follow my religion as long as I don’t violate the rights of others”; something which we both agree on, just down different paths.

Speaking of different paths; I read an article written by, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin,Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which he called, “The Straight and Narrow Way”. I will go ahead and butcher the talk in the interest of space; however, as with any good talk it would be better to read it in its entirety. It can be found in the archived conference talk section by going to and use of the search engine found there.

“While traveling along a mountainous road one evening through a driving rainstorm punctuated with frequent claps of thunder and flashes of lightning, Sister Wirthlin and I could barely see the road, either in front of us or to the right and the left. I watched the white lines on that road more intently than ever before. Staying within the lines kept us from going onto the shoulder and into the deep canyon on one side and helped us avoid a head-on collision on the other. To wander over either line could have been very dangerous. Then I thought, “Would a right-thinking person deviate to the left or the right of a traffic lane if he knew the result would be fatal? If he valued his mortal life, certainly he would stay between these lines.”

That experience traveling on this mountain road is so like life. If we stay within the lines that God has marked, he will protect us, and we can arrive safely at our destination.”

"Even though these teachings of the Savior are plain and direct, we are still at risk of getting sidetracked. Some people choose to follow the teachings of the Lord and of his living prophet only when convenient, but reject them when sacrifice or deeper commitment is required. Some fail to follow only because his divine teachings do not agree with their own preconceived notions.

We get sidetracked by submitting to temptations that divert us past the bounds of safety. Satan knows our weaknesses. He puts attractive snares on our paths at just those moments when we are most vulnerable. His intent is to lead us from the way that returns us to our Heavenly Father. Sin may result from activities that begin innocently or that are perfectly legitimate in moderation, but in excess they can cause us to veer from the straight and narrow path to our destruction.”

When I get my feathers wrinkled, I was going to use “wrankled” but spell check classified that as unacceptable, my first reaction is to hammer back; sometimes without regard for showing my ignorance or my pride. I’m still a work in progress and so maybe someday I will take the higher path. My desire to explain my beliefs often fall short, mostly when I speak before thinking and I end up proving the old adage, “Remain silent and not everyone will know you as a fool, speak and remove all doubt”.

Let me clarify my intentions; I share my beliefs so that those who read them will have more choices to determine the path upon which to embark while here in mortality. I am in favor of individual responsibility to control individual actions as opposed to external forces such as government imposed sanctions. In so stating this, I also believe that individuals are accountable for their actions. I also submit that there are consequences for all actions, whether they are called rewards for right actions or penalties for improper actions, and that these consequences are not limited to this time here in mortality. I would hope that we all might have the wisdom and the courage to chose in favor of the more excellent when given such choices.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Welcome Jocelyne Tracy

My grand daughter, Jocelyne Tracy, was born this morning at 6:21am. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 23, 2005

A line drawn in the sand

Brad the Unrepentant Individual pointed out in an article he wrote that,

Part of the nature of humanity is linked to the environment man is in, which is highly fluid.”

Brad used the writings of Robert Heinlein to express the idea that mankind is remarkably flexible and can adapt to almost any environment, not necessarily conforming to earlier standards or morality that had been accepted; but with different societies come varied and acceptable rules of conduct determined and set by those environments.

He then explained, “I’ve always thought that freedom allows people to do what they want, and that this will result in increased happiness and a society which works better in the long run.”

As much as I enjoy the writings of Heinlein and the Sci-fi format, for it surely permits a wide range of possible environments, I would prefer to remain in the reality of our time and place for the purpose of this discussion. To understand our time and place requires quite a bit of historical input. I was reading Thomas Paine’s, Common Sense, where he defined the American individual as being offshoots from hostile European environments, escapees from tyranny and oppression from all over Europe, not simply from Great Britain or England as many have improperly identified the new colonies. These people had an independent spirit, the desire to hold property, the desire to express thoughts openly, the spark of individual identity were all parts of the American legacy that was being forged. Part of the mix was religious freedom, the desire to express varied beliefs in God without being constrained to one particular sect or religious group; all however being based in a general Christian base.

Our Founders set forth the most flexible form of government ever to grace the face of the earth, acknowledging the necessary evils of a strong central government while also understanding its necessity in order to preserve the “unalienable rights” as so defined. I would refer to an article, Author of Liberty, ( linked via title bar), which I wrote some time back in which I explained that inherent rights come from God, as we are his heirs and are therefore accountable and responsible for our actions to Him.

As a collective of individual’s intent on accomplishing the highest forms of liberty and freedom, there was a compromise made which would insure that the delicate balance of individual agency and the common good of the collective was met. This delicate balance is in jeopardy today because part of the foundation upon which such a fragile form of government was established has been compromised; that being the once strong restraining factors brought to bear on the vast majority of citizens in and by the knowledge that there are Christian values that fill in the gaps left by man’s imperfect laws and ordinances. To exclude this part of the foundation, an integral part of a working whole society, even later as it evolves into a more “mature” population, is to bring about its own destruction.

We may step back and say that we are tolerant of other’s right to believe and express themselves in any number of ways, provided those beliefs and those expressions do not upset the delicate balance necessary to insure stability to the foundation upon which we all depend.

Here is where we as Americans have turned a blind eye, believing that any and all forms of expression are part of our inherent freedom and liberty and that any and all are to be tolerated and even pursued. Such unwarranted toleration has led to degradation of the most noble of human desires, to become worthy heirs to all that our Father in Heaven has. In our pride and our abandoning of Christian values, once an integral part of the fabric of our everyday lives, we have abandoned the sure footing that was intended to guide our society through all times, good and bad. It is not enough to permit individuals their right to continue in their religious belief in a Christian setting; for that is still permissible, the changing environment mentioned by Brad, is that there has been a shift in the percentage of those who adhere to the laws as found in the Holy Scriptures, which go well beyond any laws and ordinances created and set in motion by men.

When I stated that I may not be ready for the Brave New World, one in which the vows of marriage no longer contain the affirmation that such was ordained of God, that such is intended to last until the end of days or that such is intended to be a binding of a man and a woman as husband and wife; then the foundation upon which that society is based has been usurped. When the citizens of a once noble society, one in which our Creator was revered and honored, now refrain from giving Him their respect and obedience; instead insist that their government is the provider of liberty and the provider of freedom, then it becomes only a matter of time when that society will become debased and unworthy of the blessings of that Creator who once they counted on for those liberties and freedoms.

The Christian belief in the Resurrection is central to the idea which I am discussing, an understanding of the state of man being able to defeat the mortal death by virtue of a Savior, even Jesus Christ. When our Founders went about the process of defining the parameters of our government, most of our citizens had a common thread, that our lives would be judged in a more important court setting, one in which our eternal souls would be placed in after mortality. While the intricacies of the Resurrection have been debated by almost every denomination, the fact remains that as a whole, the Resurrection and all that it entailed was held sacred and a part of the reason for holding to a life of worth and good character.

I will draw from an explanation found in the Book of Mormon, one that helps to understand the concept of the Resurrection or restoration, since the body will be restored into its perfected union; spirit with body. In Alma, Chapter 41 the scriptures tell us:

“Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness. And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.”

The concept of having to be accountable to God for your life here in mortality, the reward of having been restored into a body, that body being in the image of either perfect sin or perfect obedience as a reflection of the choices made during mortality, that concept has been the foundation of our society and the ability to contain debauchery and the carnal state of man, not the government’s rules and ordinances.

When I hear that we must be tolerant of the deviant carnal members of our society, that is not the same as permitting these degenerates the ability to remove the foundation upon which our society depends by altering our concepts of liberty and freedom to mean disobedience and rebellion to God’s commandments and the eternal laws which have always been in place, regardless of man’s acceptance of them. We will all have to stand before the bar of justice, explain our transgressions and our willingness to be obedient or the lack thereof. I am not accountable for the sins of any other mortal being, however, I am responsible and accountable to God for advising my fellow mortal beings of the truths which I am aware of; anything less would in itself be slothful and undeserving of blessings.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Poor Choices

There are some serious things wrong with our great society based on a few of the indicators. I wonder if Nero is warming up his fiddle?

One of the billboards next to the freeway reads, “RU the Father?”, along with a brief explanation of the scientific method available to determine the responsible party and a phone number. I can understand how there might be a need for such; but enough to generate a full time business with a billboard to advertise? I ran a Yahoo search and it turns out that there is major competition in the field for this sort of DNA testing.

“Mom, I’m headed over to “RU the Father” after I get off work at “Table Dancers”. We had a great time last weekend over at one of the bouncer’s beach shack. I think his name is Bruno; not sure, that’s what’s tattooed on his inner thigh. It could be his boy friend’s name; who knows? All the guys from the club went along; after the chug-a-lug competition we all just had to do something and so we took turns peeing off the balcony.

That reminds me; I need to take your car in to have the upholstery cleaned; some guy puked all over the back seat. Glad you and Fred are so progressive; Glenda’s mom had a cow when she found out she was pregnant, jeezawhizz! It’s only a couple of hundred bucks for an abortion; why have a cow over that? Oh, and mom, have Fred submit a sample; I think he was at the party too.”

I can see this as a typical mother daughter conversation over pop tarts. Yup, house holds all over America have “RU the Father” punched into their cell phones in one of the speed dial slots.

“RU the Father, is this Mary? Our Caller ID shows that this is your third time to call which makes you eligible for our “Bumped Up Again” discount plan. This program provides for up to thirteen new male partner matches for the price of twelve. We like to think that “there’s one in the oven” shouldn’t be wasted when trying to find the cook so we came up with our own “Baker’s Dozen”; neat, huh? All you have to do is provide us a list of people you may have slept around with. Don’t worry if you can’t remember names or other silly little details. Our DNA tracking files are most comprehensive; heck, even the Criminal Courts come to us from time to time looking for a match.”

The agency of man, a doctrine that has been expressed as Liberty and Freedom, a gift from our Creator has taken some interesting turns. This morning I was reading an article on the Fox website, by Jennifer D’Angelo, about
marriage vows and how these have been altered to reflect some of the current trends.

“Vows like "For as long as we continue to love each other," "For as long as our love shall last" and "Until our time together is over" are increasingly replacing the traditional to-the-grave vow — a switch that some call realistic and others call a recipe for failure.”

I can see how this improves society, oh yes, most impressive commitment levels to help our young people understand the sacred nature of marriage. Dang, there’s that word “sacred” mixed in with something common like marriage. I'm sorry, please forgive me, old habit.

“With this ring and my Continental Airlines Frequent Flyer card, I do plan to spend at least one weekend of riotous living shacked up at the local Motel 6.”; followed by, “I now pronounce you, Jack and George, morally corrupt; but legally bound until Monday morning”. I don’t think I’m prepared for this Brave New World.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Roxie bit the repairman

Tim working on the damaged ceiling

We had a fellow over to repair some damaged drywall in the ceiling from a leak in the upstairs bathroom. This project has been on going for a couple of months; find the leak, repair the damage, find a new leak, repair that damage and so on. We had left a hole in the ceiling for the past week or so to make sure that the leaks had all been accounted for.

Today the carpenter was standing on his bucket taking measurements when Roxie determined that he was a threat to the house, to us and to her puppies. She methodically got out of the maternity pen, walked over to the living room and bit him on the lower leg; pulling him off the bucket and onto the floor. The damage to his leg was minimal, easy for me to say since it wasn’t my leg that got chomped on. There was a slight break of the skin and a nice bruise to the shin bone.

Lucy cleaned it off with some peroxide and applied some triple antibiotic ointment to prevent germs from getting into the cut. I put Roxie’s choker chain on her and then wrapped the leash to the door knob to limit her ability to go after the repairman; she is now under "house arrest" Lucy is going to make a batch of brownies; maybe that will smooth things over. It also helps that Tim works for my son in law's drywall company. Nothing ever happens around here.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Supreme Court Term Limits

I visited Sean Hannity’s site and was interested in a poll that was intended to find the public’s opinion. The question asked:

“Do you support having a mandatory retirement age for justices serving on the U.S. Supreme Court?”

Not too surprising, the results showed that 67.86% who took the time to answer the poll believe that there should be a mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court Justices. The wrong question was asked, again not so surprising. The implication of mandatory age for retirement should be silenced as it demeans everyone. Some folks are sharp as a tack in their older years. They have every reason to be bitter when asked to step down from a position which they not only are capable of handling; but are in fact, superior to most anyone else based on their level of experience and wisdom. Age is not the issue, nor should it ever be the issue; whether we’re talking about Supreme Court Justices or ANY endeavor from Airline pilot to Zoo keeper.

The unspoken concern is that as these public servants ( choke, gag, and barf in the can ), might reach a point when their mental abilities come into question. Make no mistake, their mental abilities came into question the moment their names were placed before the Judiciary Committee of the Senate. Properly stated, the public’s concern is that these fine folks might begin to suffer from CRS Syndrome, develop Dementia or exhibit any number of debilitating mental disorders which would limit their mental capacities and cause this nation to suffer; not that this nation doesn’t suffer when these fine folks operate with all cylinders clicking away. What’s the old saying, “they can’t do us any harm when they aren’t in session”?

The proper question would have been, “Should there be a specified term limiting the amount of time a Supreme Court Justice may occupy that position?” The fact remains that the ideological beliefs of anyone considered for such a position will be at odds with roughly half of those in a position to either accept or reject the nomination of any given person; without taking into consideration a drop off in either physical or mental capacities. If there were a known time limit such as has been attached to the office of the President, Senator or Representative then there would also be a limit to the influence that any one person might have in the capacity of Supreme Court Justice.

Should there be a term limit imposed on the duration for a Supreme Court Justice?

A. Life Term ( no change )
B. 12 years
C. 10 years
D. 8 years
E. 6 years

Please use the Comment Section to explain your position.

Don’t forget about the Carnival of Liberty coming up. ( linked via title bar )

Monday, July 18, 2005

More Eminent Domain in Texas

I sent this off a few minutes ago:

July 18, 2005

Honorable Rick Perry
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428

Governor Perry,

The Texas Legislature has been working on the Eminent Domain issue in this special session. I have been informed that some underhanded political sway has been added in order to facilitate the Crooks down in Freeport in such a way as to aid them in their transfer of ownership of a parcel of land from one individual to another. This outright theft of land under the cloak of Eminent Domain was aided by the recent Supreme Court ruling in Kelo Vs New London.

Freeport City Manager Ron Bottoms has evidently found some assistance in his cause to steal private lands by amending the work of other legislators to the point of rendering such legislation useless, at least as far as the planned Freeport Yacht Club facility would be concerned.

Please review the pending legislation Carefully and Thoughtfully with those who are in the process of drafting a piece of history that will either shine a pleasant light on Texas or take our ability to govern our affairs into the dark corners of the cloak room.. If there is any light to be cast, let it be to illuminate the rats and roaches so that we might have a better understanding of those in office, supposedly to protect and serve.


T. Fraser Stern

Crooks in the Cloak Room

I got an interesting e-mail from some friends in Freeport, Texas. If you read my last article ( linked via title bar) you were aware that during the special legislative session called by Governor Perry, one of the issues to be addressed was an emergency piece to fill in the loop holes of our current Eminent Domain land grab. I wrote that in spite of the efforts being extended by the legislature Freeport City Manager Ron Bottoms felt that their attempts to steal some land would not be hampered.

“Freeport City Manager Ron Bottoms said he isn't sure whether Janek's bill would halt the city's plans, noting that "we're well into the process."

I now find that Ron Bottoms has an inside helper, someone who is as determined to bypass all efforts to hold these scumbags accountable and prevent them from stealing the land they think is already in the bag.

Here is an amendment added, one that would in essence exempt the City of Freeport from any new Eminent Domain legislation and give them a pass to continue in their underhanded theft of private property, working directly in opposition to the purpose of the proposed legislation, at least as it pertains to their desires to have a neat looking Yacht Club facility at the expense of other citizens privately owned property. Ron Bottoms says the land has already been condemned, that it’s too late to change, that it’s already a done deal. It looks like he will have his way unless we smoke out the rat (s) who snuck in the following provision.

"SECTION 4. Chapter 2206, Government Code, as added by this Act, applies only to the taking of private property by eminent domain for which a condemnation petition is filed on or after the effective date of this Act. A taking for which a condemnation petition is filed before the effective date of this Act is governed by the law in effect immediately before that date, and that law is continued in effect for that purpose."

I tried to find out the names of members working on this particular piece of legislation and was told that those names have not been released. It would appear that the rats have gotten into the storehouse; business as usual in the Great State of Texas.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Working it in

I was at the auto auction this morning before church trying to move some old units. I had an older model Mazda 626. It looked very much like one I actually owned quite some time back; burgundy paint that had faded and oxidized badly. The alarm pad fob was not working properly either. The sensitivity setting had been set in such a way as to go off on a change in humidity. I kept pressing the silence button and the alarm kept going off no matter how many times I pushed the button.

Six minutes of trying to get the car alarm to shut off was when I realized that it wasn’t the car alarm going off at all; it was my alarm clock radio trying to get me to wake up and go to my Sunday morning meetings. It’s strange how the mind is always working odd elements in, trying to make things fit when they never were intended.

Getting up at five in the morning is not my idea of a relaxed Sunday; but that is not for me to decide. I have meetings to go to and so I go. August is when our meetings change to a more reasonable time. I won’t have any meetings before 7:30am and regular services start at 10:30am. I am so looking forward to August. Next time the car alarm goes off on a car I no longer own I may just sell the car and go back to sleep.

Friday, July 15, 2005

A few lose ends

Who forgot to fill the tank?

NASA is all a buzz because of a faulty
fuel indicator. Maybe one of the kids took the Space Shuttle out for a cruise the other night and forgot to top off the tank. Sounds more like “Leave it to Beaver” than a National Space program, “Hey Wally, I heard mom and dad were really pissed off at you for going to the drive in with Mary Ellen last night without getting permission to use the Space Shuttle. You better go find a few million gallons of liquid Hydrogen or you’re gonna’ be grounded for a gazillion years.” “Can it Beave, wait till they see I knocked off a tile or two backing over the mailbox.”

Still no word on my job request…

It only took less than 24 hours for my letter ( linked via title bar)
to President Bush to get things going. I see where Justice William H. Rehnquist has stated categorically that he has no intention of retiring now. Had I known my letter would have had that kind of reaction I’d have waited until the old geezer had already turned in his papers. Asked if he would stay on until the Second Coming, Justice Rehnquist reportedly stated, “That all depends”, however he may have been requesting a new Depends, a favorite choice among those in the know.

I hear there’s an opening for baggage inspector/rap singer

Maybe if the position for Supreme Court Justice falls through I could try for
baggage inspector at IAH. I know, you have to be able to rap out patriotic songs with terrorist overtones, “Fly me through the wall, let them burn in living hell, Blow their Christian bodies in a blue September Sky, In other words, let me kill you, America, I hate you.” (Think Tony Bennett or Frank Sinatra)

How many pounds of plastic explosives are you carrying today, fellow traveler? Did you pack the detonators or will that be in another piece of luggage, say the one abandoned over in the corner by that nice looking gentleman with the towel wrapped around his head? So, whose job is it to check the security on those checking security?

Hey Moe! Hey Moe! Doing my impression of Mel Gibson doing his impression of … I’ll need a stage name, how about, “Saudi Terrorist in Disguise” or “Koran This!”? Some of the cuts on my album; “The fuse went out in my shoe”, “I can’t Getmo…satisfaction” and “It only hurts for a little while”.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I want the job!

July 14, 2005

Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Washington, DC.

Dear Mr. President,

I am aware that you are contemplating who to nominate to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court. It is well known that whomever you pick will have to undergo a thorough and humiliating process of personal scrutiny; from your foes on the left, the ACLU and the Democratic minority and even from some of your so called allies in the moderate Republican majority.

I wish to take the job. All you have to do is have me fitted for the black robe and I will promise to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America; something that many of the Supreme Court Judges who are currently serving have no intention of doing. I promise to leave legislation to those elected to do so, while at the same time I promise to actually dedicate my working hours toward the sacred duty of following the guidelines as they are written, not as a flexible document as some have called it.

I am a retired City of Houston police officer, having had a chance to have my name smeared by some of the best Houston has to offer. My sanity has been questioned, my integrity, my ancestry and knowledge of my parents also. I have had the opportunity to engage in the free market system as owner and operator of T. F. Stern & Company, as a locksmith specializing in automotive work. While I am not a member of the Bar and have never been a judge my qualifications are that I am able to read. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are not that hard to read or understand. It would be a pleasure to serve, as one whose mind is based in reason and logic, among so many who fail so miserably in that regard.

It would be a pleasure to serve in the capacity as Supreme Court Justice until such time as my brain no longer functions, something which several of those currently serving should consider as a bench mark necessary for public service. Please carefully consider my invitation to stand in front of the likes of Sen. Edward Kennedy, Sen. Barbara Boxer or Sen. Harry Reid as I summarily hold my head high and give them all my honest and heart felt one finger salute.


T. Fraser Stern

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

They must be Democrats, their eyes are not yet opened

Roxie with all 7 puppies lined up for a meal. My back has been giving me some grief so my blog will stick to pictures rather than political comments today. Vicodan and muscle relaxant do not make for a good combination when trying to think. All the puppies weighed in between 14oz and 16 oz. They are all doing well. I hope to be back in form soon, just hanging back until then. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Roxie's Puppies

Roxie's puppies a few hours old. 7 with maybe one more in the hopper.

Linked to Lucy's Frugal Living via title bar for update. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Kids and Paper Routes

I was having dinner with a friend, catching up on life and finding that we’d both had paper routes when we were growing up. I once heard a business seminar introduction where the speaker had everyone who’d ever had a paper route to raise their hands. It was interesting how many solid citizens and successful business people got their introduction to the capitalistic system via the paper route.

I was ten or eleven when I had my first route. I delivered for Newsday in Levittown, Long Island. It was a small route that I got to take care of, building with new solicitations and subscriptions, something which required meeting new people and convincing them that my product and services would be of benefit. In return I would make a little more; better still, I would earn points toward prizes like a transistor radio and a free trip to the local Saturday Matinee. I learned basic bookkeeping and collections along with the human condition of avoiding the paperboy; all important aspects of the system.

I had my handle bars on my bike turned upwards to hold the canvass sack and was able to manage the extra weight even in my youth. That canvass sack was useful for all sorts of things, not just paper delivery.

I played Little League baseball and one afternoon the umpires didn’t show up. A couple of the dad’s volunteered to serve in their stead. My dad decided that without any proper protective gear that he’d call the balls and strikes from behind the pitcher’s mound rather than risk standing behind the catcher. He stuck the extra baseballs in his back pocket and the first time he bent down to follow the path of a pitched ball the back end of his trousers split wide open.

“Hey Dick, you’re showing a little cheek!”, Mrs. Zapontiac yelled from the stands. Izadore was our short stop and his mother was never one to miss a chance to rattle the umpire, even if it was my dad. I ran over to my bike and brought dad the Newsday delivery sack to wear the rest of the game.

Some time later in the season during a practice, a very boring practice session, Izadore and I decided to pass the time by tossing rocks back and forth from my position at first base to him at short. We’d catch the rocks with our gloves while waiting for the coaches to remember that we were there to practice baseball; not listen to lectures. Izadore miscalculated one of the rocks and it knocked out his front teeth. He went to the dentist and I went home to explain how I busted out his teeth throwing rocks. It wasn’t my fault that Izadore missed the rock; all the same I knew I was in big trouble.

Mom and I drove the short distance to the Zapontiac home. I waited for the dark clouds to form prior to being struck by a lightning bolt as mom knocked on the front door. Mrs. Zapontiac opened the door, Izadore holding an ice pack to his mouth close behind.

“That’s some arm your kid has. You must be really proud of him.” I wasn’t sure I was in trouble or being patted on the back. There was no hint of a law suit, no anger at all; just kids being kids and “that sort of thing happens”. I’m sure my folks paid or at least offered to pay for the dentist’s bill. Can you imagine that happening in this day of litigation and zero tolerance. I’d have been hauled off to some “alternative school” for young terrorists, my family house sold to cover the lawyer fees and Little League baseball would never have permitted me within a hundred yards of their field.

I hope I spelled Izador’s name correctly, I hope his memory of our tossing rocks back and forth to each other is the same as mine and I hope his mother is still heckling the umpires and making fun of folks when the back end blows out.

Eminent domain added to agenda in Texas

One of the headline items in this morning’s Houston Chronicle ( linked via title bar ), by staff writer Polly Ross Hughes, was to inform us that steps are being taken to limit the power of eminent domain by some local governmental entities in their flagrant abuse of that power and bolstered by the recent Supreme Court ruling in Kelo Vs New London.

“Sen. Kyle Janek, R-Houston, said the Texas Senate on Monday could take up his Senate Bill 62 to limit government from using eminent domain to benefit private developers. If the bill passes the House and Senate with a two-thirds vote before the session ends July 20 and gains the governor's signature, it will take effect immediately, Janek said. If Janek's bill quickly becomes law, it could interrupt the city of Freeport's plans to seize the property of two seafood companies to make way for an $8 million private marina.”

I had to take my blood pressure medicine when I read the next line, not that it surprised me all that much.

“Freeport City Manager Ron Bottoms said he isn't sure whether Janek's bill would halt the city's plans, noting that "we're well into the process."

We’re well into the process.”??? What exactly does that mean? Does it mean that the lights in the kitchen have been turned on and we’ve been exposed for the rotten low life scum that we are? Does it mean that we may have pocketed some money under the table, spent that money for our personal gain and can’t figure out a way to give it back? Does it mean that we are so arrogant and above all you average everyday citizens that we have no intention of submitting to the will of the people and the law? Does “We’re well into the process” mean that, well does it Ron Bottoms?

I’ve been down to the beach just the other side of Freeport; they call it Surfside. I suppose if Ron Bottoms had his way it would be called “Serfside” or “Slaveside”.

I would suggest that Governor Perry have the appropriate judicial order signed to “temporarily” halt the City of Freeport, even knowing that they are “well into the process” of stealing land under the cloak of eminent domain. It would be a terrible shame if the City of Freeport got any further into the toilet, so much that the suction took all those city leaders down into the sewer and out into the Gulf of Mexico. Flush!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Darwin Award Winners 2005

Yes, it's that magical time of the year again when the Darwin Awards are bestowed, honoring the least evolved amongus. Here then, are the glorious winners.

1. When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California, would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.....

And now, the honorable mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat cutting machine and, after a little hopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence, sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and lost a finger. The chef's claim was approved.

3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his Vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably,he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn't discovered for 3 days.

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer...$15. (If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?)

7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted thecinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, "Yes, officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from."

9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at 5 a.m., flashed a gun, demanded cash. The clerk turned him downbecause he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast . The man, frustrated, walked away.


10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a verysick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.

Received from Tim Krell via email

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

He's under the weather.

Hi, everyone. TF is under the weather and his back is hurting so I don't think you are going to hear much from him in the next few days. Keep up the good posts and do your carnival stuff. I guess I shouldn't call it "stuff". I will be out of town for four days and TF is going to have to fin for himself. Wish him luck. Hopefully the puppies will wait till I get back to show themselves. Roxie is about to pop. This could be interesting.................Lucy

Monday, July 04, 2005

An Independence Day Blog

I just got back from the airport; my daughter should now be on her flight to Washington where she will combine some business with pleasure. She left a day earlier than she needed to enjoy the festivities, catch some fireworks displays and a concert. The only problem was that she’d left her wallet, the one with her driver’s license, money and credit cards wedged in between the front seat and the door of her car. I got a call to alert me of the fact and to please retrieve the wallet and haul myself over to the airport while there was yet sufficient time. I managed to stay within the speed limits as she had a full hour before flight departure; all the same I knew that she would be anxious to have things set right as quickly as possible.

I called my folks to pass the drive time and let them know everyone was doing well. Mom had to tell me all about the home repairs that she and dad were accomplishing. In their kitchen they have some glass fronted cabinets where the doors sometimes drift open on their own, not having any fastening devices. I had suggested a trip to the local hardware store for some of those magnet catches that would be easy to install. Mom reminded me that the wood was very hard, almost like iron and so I had suggested she buy some “Gorilla Glue”, a product that would eliminate the need for screws and at the same time bond the magnets steadfastly in place. I explained that the product was so good that once in place it would take a jack hammer to remove and so it would most certainly be able to keep her kitchen cabinet doors in place.

Mom had actually listened to my advice; well, most of it. She had failed to properly locate the magnet device and so now she has two magnet devices on her cabinet door; one that serves no purpose because it was put in the wrong location and yet a second that functions as it should. Mom reassured me that I was correct, it would take a jack hammer to remove the one she placed in the wrong place and so it will remain there forever.

Dad was sleeping on the sofa after also working on the kitchen cabinets. Mom told me that he’d used the drill; something that immediately got my attention. Dad has a clause in his contract that specifically prohibits him from using any power tools. He is allowed a hammer, a pair of pliers, a Phillips head screw driver and a flat head screw driver; all other tools are also prohibited. Dad wanted to follow the instructions that had come with the magnet door devices and was determined to use the screws that came in the package, something to do with “waste not want not” from back in the Great Depression. Mom now has a cabinet door that will “almost close”, short of actually closing by an eighth of an inch uniformly because of “somebody” not bothering to measure the location of said drilled screw holes. It’s been like this my entire life and so I just sit back and giggle when mom tells me, “Your father has been in the tool box”.

We’re having some family and friends over later this afternoon to help celebrate the 4th. Lucy loves to cook and so we have lots of chicken breasts, coleslaw, potato salad and baked beans, enough and then some. It’s been so dry for so long I will avoid the temptation to purchase any fireworks and instead will stand guard with the garden hose waiting for stray bottle rockets to land in my yard.

We had a similar backyard 4th of July gathering when I was much younger and living at home. My mom wanted to wear one of those pioneer dresses, those calico prints that go all the way to the floor to remind us of those who had gone before us, those who had gone through many hardships in order for us to have the wonderful freedoms and liberties that we enjoy. I couldn’t tell you the exact menu; suffice to say it would have also had coleslaw, potato salad and baked beans with whatever other fixings she had prepared.

We had two dogs at the time and had to keep them separated because they would get jealous when one or the other thought the other was getting more attention. Gritz was a large mix breed; with shades of red setter, shepherd, Labrador or Newfie in no particular order. Walter was a hound, also of mix breed, tending to favor beagle and basset. Mom was opening the patio sliding glass door to take a plate of food out to the picnic table when the two dogs decided to become ugly. They met underneath that long pioneer dress with snarls and the sound of teeth snapping.

This was not an uncommon occurrence in our house and so mom had stationed Little League baseball bats in every corner of the house; one at the front door, one at the back and one in the kitchen so that there would always be an “equalizer” handy. Mom held the plate in one hand while wielding the bat in the other. “Bopping” dogs blindly underneath the material of her dress without regard for any precise target she broke up the fight. She claimed that one of them had accidentally gotten her on the leg, raising the hem to examine the injury. She claimed it was a bite mark; but upon closer examination it looked like an imprint to me, “Louisville Slugger”. To this day mom claims the dog bit her; I say she bopped herself and won’t admit it.

Dad should be waking up from his nap anytime now; having “fixed” the cabinet door takes a lot out of a guy. Mom will have the potato salad, the coleslaw and baked beans to go along with some hot dogs. They won’t have to worry about bopping any dogs today; they having gone the way of all the earth. I can only imagine the looks that will be exchanged each time one of the cabinet doors is opened and closed as they go about the daily ritual of setting the table. The one cabinet that now has dual fasteners and the one with the screws off set by an eight of an inch for time and all eternity.

These are the kind of stories that my family takes into our celebration of Independence Day, the decision to form a separate and unique country, accepting the consequences for such a bold initiative unto the risk of their very lives. I take a moment to ponder the significance of those courageous individuals this day and am so very grateful for the heritage that I am able to enjoy.

Bonnie should be about half way to Washington D.C. by now, her wallet and picture identification safely in hand. I missed the pancake breakfast at the church while driving to the airport, the flag raising ceremony, a short patriotic program and the children’s bicycle parade complete with streamers hanging from the handle bars. They would be singing, “America the Beautiful”, something I am no longer able to sing; relying on my brothers and sisters to fill in for me. The tears choke my ability to voice those beautiful thoughts as the words drown my emotions in solemn reflection. ( linked via title bar )

The things I celebrate do not come in a box of fireworks, a parade or in a well planed dinner with friends and family. I hold in my thoughts the celebration of individual awareness, such a burning need to establish for themselves, ourselves, a place in which these inalienable rights; Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness as granted to us from our Creator, even God Himself, that these are sufficient cause for celebration, that these are worth fighting for and if need be, to take life or relinquish our own lives. May God protect us from ourselves, provide us with the necessary wisdom and courage to continue to provide these precious intangibles for the next generation, is my hope and my prayer. In the sacred name of our Savior, even Jesus Christ. Amen.

I just read Rossputin's blog and he has some similar thoughts.

Add to that Guy at Snug Harbor's blog article.

Add to your list a nice blog by Stephen Macklin at Hold the Mayo, with links to some important speeches by Douglas and Lincoln.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Janice Rogers Brown should fill Vacancy in Supreme Court

Sandra Day O'Connor has decided to vacate her seat on the Supreme Court creating a fire storm with all manner of contemplation and finagling for her replacement; who might survive the scrutiny of the Senate and the crucifixion and/or castration involved in that process. In the past several years President Bush has nominated qualified, albeit conservative justices for other appellate court positions with the minority Democratic Senators holding up those nominations. The ugly partisan politics have been part of the all too clear obstructionist efforts to deny President George W. Bush his rightful authority to nominate and have confirmed such qualified people.

I listened to the Rush Limbaugh radio show the other day and happened to hear a simple comment that made more sense than anything I would hear the rest of the day. I went back a few moments ago and read the transcript:

“I think he ought to nominate Janice Rogers Brown this afternoon. Just get
started with this.”

The logic of nominating Janice Rogers Brown is nearly too good to pass up. To begin with, the Democratic Senators have already passed off on her ability to serve in the capacity of a appellate court. They have passed off on her credentials to the point of making themselves obviously partisan for their previous efforts to deny her the requested position. Having already approved her on such merits it would logically fit that were her name to be offered as a replacement any attempt to block that nomination would be futile. If the Democratic Senators staged a mock filibuster even their own constituency would know of their blatant hypocrisy; if she was no good then why did they pass off on her for the first judiciary position and if she does have the credentials then why would they deny someone that has already passed their intense scrutiny?

It’s a win/win situation for the President regardless of how the nomination eventually is handled. McCain and his so called band of 14 would be taken out of the equation for the same reasons, leaving them to shrivel in their own politically devised coffins. Rest in peace you morons.

Devil’s Advocate on Education

I was reading Aaron, the Roseville Conservative’s article, “The Case for the Upcoming Special Election” ( linked via title bar) , and it occurred to me that some, if not all of the basic premise for the argument for public education is flawed. Quoting from his article:

“Every child in California has the right to a quality education. They deserve the best schools, teachers, and resources the state has to offer, and that’s why passing the education reform initiative on the November 8th special election ballot is critical.”

I realize that the article was written for California and their special election; however my thoughts are directed toward all the states. The first line, “Every child in California has the right to a quality education.”, has the word “right” placed as if this were a given truism. I do not believe that education has ever been a “right”, much less in the context of such a right being the responsibility of the State.

Parents are responsible for the rearing of children, to include educating them with the necessary basics in order to survive in the world. Our society has transformed that. It has become evident that many parents are deficient in their skills and are sadly lacking in the areas of teaching their children language and math skills, history as an integral and essential foundation for citizenship or spiritual balance. For one reason or another it became easier for the community to provide these basic building blocks we now call the public school system.

The courts have involved themselves in each aspect of this communal process and gone as far as to define the communal goals along with the necessary restrictions to insure equitable non-education for all. Language skills are to be limited because some children come from ethnically challenged environments and are therefore at a disadvantage in a competitive society. Rather than focus on building up those areas of deficiency the State must now overlook them. Math skills, while equally challenging to all students, tend to make some children feel inferior which leads to long term complexes. The State has had to dumb down the levels of acceptable achievement thereby eliminating the need for social behavior that would be deemed “mean spirited” on the part of educators. Spiritual education has all but been eradicated over the years if they in any way refer to Christianity. Children must be taught diversification, Evolution is a fact rather than a theory, the Koran is important to understand cultural differences and the State is all powerful.

The second line starts off, “They deserve the best schools, teachers and resources the state has to offer…” as the closer line for why passing the education reform is critical.
Why do they deserve the best? I would have thought that in a free market system, like the one we have here, or at least are supposed to have, the best is reserved for those who not only have excess capital to spend, they are willing to spend or invest that capital. Why would it be expected that the best teachers would wish to work for the State when they can work at a much higher rate of pay in the private sector? A more honest statement, something that would look terrible on any ballot:

“We need to provide the illusion that educating the your children is moderately important and so we will establish and provide a bare minimum level of skills by marginally adequate teachers in an environment closely akin to State run prisons in order for your children to easily become border line achievers in a highly competitive market place.”

About the only part of the entire statement that is totally accurate is that it is “critical”. No such “right” to education exists, it is an entitlement concocted and then granted by and to our evolving society. It is based on a need to have children reach a point of independent ability and to coexist in our society. If by that we are to accept the socially deficient, the brain dead and the spiritually dead then our public school system is doing a fine job and should be rewarded; if not then quite possibly a more serious examination should take place.

Our State supported public school system has been transformed into a recruitment center for the Communist Agenda, to act as a spring board for the tearing down of the American principles once firmly held by most and now vaguely remembered by an ever dwindling individually minded spirit in favor of the communal status quo. Critical, I would have to say that our educational system is in a Coma and should be permitted an honorable and timely departure from our midst. It’s time to bury the philosophy that presumes to equate such intangibles as educational needs with educational rights at the expense of individual rights, family values and spiritual integrity.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Fireworks and Guns on Night Shift

I had my share of night shift duty on the 4th of July and all the fireworks complaints associated with that holiday. New Years Eve is about the same only with much more heavy drinking; maybe with the cold they had to warm things up with a little “Jack” or “Wild Turkey”.

I had enough sense to know not all those loud popping sounds were fireworks; some were 12 gauge, some were 45 caliber or 9mm. In any event the air was dangerously filled with falling objects during the time between 10pm and midnight when most of these “yea-whose” had downed several long necks. I would listen to the police radio for almost any kind of call that would require a report to be filled out; burglary, a domestic disturbance or anything as long as it would give me the opportunity to get inside and undercover. Once I had a legitimate reason, such as filling in a required form, I could wait out the insanity and listen to the lead falling through the leafy canopy outside.

One 4th of July we had a “rookie” sergeant just sewed on his stripes. He’d spent his entire time working in one of the Traffic Divisions and had no real understanding of how things were done on the street, let alone in Patrol. He called several of us to meet him around 10:30pm a block from one of the major apartment complex areas where several fireworks complaints had already been received. It was his intention to have several marked patrol units drive through the complex in order to cut down on some of the “flagrant disregard for City Ordinances”.

I had 18 years of street experience going through my mind when I raised my hand to offer a better plan. I explained that most of the complaints that he was referring to were, in actuality, firearms being discharged into the air as opposed to simple fireworks. I then explained that last year one of the security guards had been shot, supposedly by accident, while checking out similar fireworks complaints. I further suggested that it might be wise to wait until after midnight and let them get it out of their system without putting any more blue shirted targets out in the parking lot.

“Thank you, Officer Stern, for your input. I’m in charge here and I think the citizens deserve a show of force.” He had no sooner finished his macho speech when from off towards that apartment complex we could hear the clear and distinct sound of a fully automatic weapon, likely an Uzi, being discharged into the air followed by several shot gun blasts. There was a stand of large trees next to the staging area in which we all had gathered and we could hear the pellets zipping downward through the leaves. Sergeant let out a few expletives, “Son of a ….”, some reference to mothers and a request for divine intervention phrased in a rather crude, yet familiar tone, as his shoulders came together. He then decided that maybe it was time for all of us to get back out on patrol and wait until an actual complaint came in. “Y’all be careful out there, ya’ hear.”

I included a sampling of night shift activities in Chapter 3 of Pecaw’s Gift. I then took some liberties with a factual occurrence to create an injury, which never happened in reality, thank goodness. I invite you to enjoy some of my creative writing by following the link provided in the title bar. ( the tool that I depend on to hide URL links is giving me fits, sometimes it works, today it's not )