Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out of an abundance of caution

Last week Enfamil pulled all their products off the shelves coast to coast out of an abundance of caution after four babies died from Cronobacter bacteria; it MUST have been in the baby formula and the news media ran with the story.  The FDA later made the statement, “the bacteria that are found naturally in the environment and in plants such as wheat and rice”.  

“The FDA tested factory sealed containers of powdered infant formula and nursery water with the same lot numbers as the opened containers collected from Missouri and no Cronobacter bacteria were found.”

No harm, better to be safe than sorry; and besides, Enfamil has made a fortune selling products to the pubic; it’s their duty to absorb such losses. 

The latest victim in the “let’s scare the public half to death” and pull all their products out of grocery stores is lettuce. California pulled all Arizona Lettuce off the shelves because a field NEXT to a place that grows lettuce tested positive for salmonella. 

“None of the lettuce in the markets has tested positive for salmonella but the grower alerted retailers of the test results and sought a withdrawal of the product “out of an abundance of caution.”’

I think this all has something to do with Islamic terrorist networks trying to recruit illegal Mexican labor and George Soros’s desire to be World Emperor.  If you’ve noticed, all these products require either paper or plastic bags to transport home; could be a Green Movement uprising, never can be too sure about folks who watch Whale Wars on television.

“Out of an abundance of caution”, if translated into terms we all understand means, “Our society has become so litigious that if we don’t do something drastic to show the world we did Everything humanly possible then we’ll be seen as heartless greedy capitalists who don’t care what happens so we’d rather go bankrupt and throw perfectly good inventory down the toilet and minimize our losses if and when this ever goes to court”. 

There may be a sinister plot to destroy American consumer goods one crisis after another until we all start eating Soylent Green, the daily nourishment bar made from our “dearly departed”. Is the purpose of collapsing the free market so we can usher in some form of state issued product like Soylent Green to take the place of dangerous privately produced or manufactured goods?  Never let it be said the government hasn’t shown an abundance of caution; it’s taken years to destroy our free market system one brick at a time.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Aromas of Christmas

Christmas time is when I’m prone to catching colds, this year being no different.  My work takes me out in the elements and this past week we’ve had our share of damp and soggy air; not complaining, after this year of drought we needed the rain.  Monday the symptoms started to appear so we took steps to minimize the impact; lots of vitamin C, extra Zinc and Lucy’s magic box of essential oils.  I don’t claim to know the names of these mysterious fluids, only that she applies some to the soles of my feet and around the base of my neck and instantly my breathing becomes more efficient.  Remind me to avoid trips to Salem; last I heard they burned witches for this sort of thing.

Lucy has a fancy diffuser machine for these same oils, a futuristic oblong thing which casts a pale blue light while operating.  Small amounts of mist escape from the opening spreading a most enjoyable fragrance throughout the house.  The properties of oils which make up the mist are supposed to kill viruses and germs.  The best part of having the diffuser going may be how it makes the air smell like crushed Cedar or Juniper tree needles; pretty neat since our Christmas tree comes in a box for easy storage and contains no aroma of its own.

This evening Lucy will be in the kitchen with our granddaughter helping bake the last batch of gingerbread cookies, a family recipe that at one time was kept under lock and key.  Some folks dream of waking up to a brand new car in the driveway, a huge red ribbon wrapped around it on Christmas morning; at least that’s what television commercials would have us believe.  There’s nothing wrong with getting a new car, bicycle or even a genuine Red Rider BB Gun; but a tin filled with home made gingerbread cookies from this recipe is on top of my list.  I could handle some Dark chocolate, maybe some Maple syrup candy to melt in my mouth and then, as I breathe out, carefully let the vapors circulate in the olfactory caverns for a second chance to enjoy the subtleties created by that confectionary delight.  These varied aromas make Christmas a special time; and me with a cold, go figure.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Canons and Cloning

The human soul responds to certain musical tones when arranged properly.  Shepherds watching their flocks by night were treated to heavenly inspired messages inviting them to visit the Christ Child in a manger and we’ve marked this advent with music down through the ages. 

Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D major has always touched my spirit and it has been transformed in many way, even been called the Christmas Canon.  This one short piece of perfection may well be the master key that opens a gate in heaven; aligns the angels row upon row to greet those who’ve come this far past the sentinels who stand guard. 

“We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”  13th Article of Faith

Robert Tiso is a master at plying the glass harp and needed to clone himself in order to perform this version of the Canonin D major.  May the music find a place in your soul this day and find you at the gates of heaven one day.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Monday, December 05, 2011

The Gift of Life

It’s Christmas time and we go about looking for gifts, enjoying store front windows filled with items of interest and trimming the tree to create a pleasant atmosphere in our homes.  My wife and I attended a simple Nativity re-enactment this past Saturday, Journey Through Bethlehem, one which required an hour’s drive to the country; but  set the tone we wanted as we approach Christmas.

Yesterday the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints presented its annual Christmas Devotional.  Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Councilor in the First Presidency of the Church shared his thoughts as he reminded us, “Christmas is about Christ”.  He related a story from when he was a young boy enjoying magical visions created by a candle he’d held in his hand as the energy from it danced behind a curtain in the front window.  The magic of that moment turned to horror as the curtains caught on fire.  He wondered if he’d destroyed Christmas as his parents pulled the burning fabric from the window and put it out.

Before President Uchtdorf could finish his story my mind immediately knew where it was going; the young boy holding the magic of the flame as it danced before him made my stomach tighten.  He was describing my own youth, a boy sitting at the dinner table watching a candle flicker while his mother took dishes into the kitchen after our evening meal.

I’d been entranced by the flame as it beckoned further attention.  Passing my finger through it permitted a line of carbon to form, a line which rubbed off easily and didn’t hurt.  It would be neat to leave similar trails on my paper napkin; dragging it carefully through the flame.

In only a moment the napkin flashed into a ball of flame startling my ability to control its decent as it fell from my hand and landing on the table.  I should explain; my father was a furniture salesman and our dinner table was a fine Cherry wood piece polished to near perfection.  In only a moment the flames from the napkin ignited the gloss finish as a wave of blue flames pushed from one end of the table to the other quickly and yet; at the same time, in stop action moments stacked one against the other, a never ending nightmarish reality.

Mom ran from the kitchen and put out the flames and if any words were said I don’t remember them.  My feelings of guilt and horror required compassion rather than scolding as she gathered me in her arms.  I don’t recall ever hearing my father scold me; but I know the pain it must have caused, destroying a piece of furniture was secondary to nearly burning down the house.  It amazes me to this day I survived the moment, that he let me live.

Along the way to adulthood I’ve tested my folk’s ability to keep me alive; and to my amazement they still are pleased to call me Son, go figure.  How does this tie in with Christmas?  Have you always been this slow?

Our Father in Heaven has given us His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  He is our Savior and mediator with the Father.  He gave us life in this mortality and beyond that, eternal life.  He is easy to forgive our frailties and remembers them no more.

“I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable  servants.”   Mosiah 2:21

This Christmas as we search for gifts, pleasing packages with items that will bring a smile or a hug, let us not forget the Lord; His only requirement is a broken heart and a contrite spirit.  Merry Christmas.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wisconsin Third World Mentality Recall

Wisconsin voters appear to be headed for yet another round of recall elections; Governor Walker being targeted by the United Wisconsin coalition according to an AP article.  The opportunity to alter Wisconsin’s balance of power is in play following last summer’s recall election losses of 2 Republican Senators, considering 4 more Republican Senators have been targeted for recall.

“The recall drive was motivated by anger over Walker’s proposal effectively ending collective bargaining rights for most public workers. The law passed in March despite massive protests and the fleeing of all 14 Democratic state senators to Illinois for three weeks.”

The laws governing Wisconsin recall elections are fairly simple; if you don’t like the way things are going, get a petition signed by enough angry voters, hold an election and see what happens.  The targeted official need not have committed any wrong doing or crime; but a recall petition drive can be instituted any time after the first year in office.

Getting away from the topic of recall elections for only a moment; there was a movie not too long ago, Jurassic Park, which came to mind.  The main characters were sitting around a conference table considering how much money could be made off a theme park modeled around dinosaurs. 

Dr. Ian Malcolm, mathematician and chaos theorist played by Jeff Goldblum, pointed out his concern regarding work which had enabled scientists to genetically recreate dinosaurs from DNA samples extracted from mosquitoes trapped in amber.

“Don’t you see the danger…inherent in what you’re doing here? Genetic power is the most awesome force the planets’ ever seen; but you wield it like a kid that’s found his dad’s gun. Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether of not they could; they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

Election cycles are set up to enable citizens to voice their opinions and desires in an orderly manner.  Occasionally a person of dubious character gets elected (had to stop typing for a moment to get something out of my throat), someone who performs so miserably or conducts business in such a way as to stand out from the ordinary criminal element who gets elected, enough to be an embarrassment to society.  Is this where we stand up and say, “Throw them all out”?  Never the less, election cycles are intended to be carried out in an orderly manner.

Targeting elected officials for recall based on partisan politics implies a lack of faith in the system of government we depend upon.  If you think about it, targeting individuals for recall isn’t much different than the way third world countries get rid of the opposition.  Okay, maybe they aren’t going to throw Governor Walker in a shallow pit, shoot him full of holes and cover the body with a new fruit orchard; but the result is the same, getting rid of the opposition any way you can. 

The right of the people to have a representative form of government is dear to the hearts of most Americans.  As election time rolls near many of us immerse ourselves in the issues, contestants and possible ramifications of our collective choices.  If it becomes necessary to plan for recall elections as a way of life; isn’t that injecting chaos into the election process; a means whereby malcontents can interrupt the natural process of government?

The folks in Wisconsin are so preoccupied with whether of not they could force a recall; they didn’t stop to think if they should, (altering the movie line to fit the script).  Wisconsin voters should be ashamed for having been duped; this sort of political power play reduces the election process to that of a third world country.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving kicks off the Christmas Season

Thanksgiving begins the Christmas Season, at least it has been that way ever since I can recall.  After diner my folks would have us write our Wish Lists for Santa.  We’d spend the afternoon dreaming of Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets, shiny new bicycles, Mr. Potato Head, telescopes, baseball gloves as sugar plums danced in our heads. 

That night before going off to bed these Wish Lists would be placed ceremoniously on a plate in the center of the dining room table along with some cookies and a glass of milk; might have been a cold bottle of Coke, memory could be a bit fuzzy.  We were told Santa would stop by, read the lists and the magic in his mittens would incinerate the lists leaving only ashes on the plate; hard evidence that he’d made his rounds. 

In the morning we’d run to the dining room, smiles racing across our faces as we observed a small pile of ashes along with a slight burn mark on the china; Yes, the big guy made it! 

My father worked as a furniture salesman at Foley’s Department Store when we moved to Houston.  Each year Foley’s sponsored the Thanksgiving’s Day Parade and it was fun to get up early to watch the festivities.  Later in the evening, after having enjoyed a meal fit for kings, we’d drive back downtown for a chance to gaze at the opening of the store windows where Foley’s had kids with their parents lined up around the block. 

As a young police officer getting up at five in the morning and reporting for six o’clock roll call to work the parade wasn’t as much fun.  You didn’t want to be late; calling in sick was not an option unless you were wearing a toe tag.  The parade didn’t start for hours; but like the Army, hurry up and wait was standard protocol. 

The first few years I was assigned crowd control at various intersections along the parade route.  Later, when I was in Point Control and rode the old three wheeler motor cycle I escorted Santa’s float at the end of the parade. 

I’ve gotten older and no longer put my Wish List on the table for Santa to read; anxiously waking up the next morning to look for the burnt remains on the plate.  Foley’s got bought out by the May Company and goes under the name, Macy’s now; they no longer have a special evening dedicated for children to catch a first glimpse of their Christmas windows on Thanksgiving night.  I’ve long since retired from the police department and no longer have to get up at five, throw on my uniform and race to make six o’clock roll call just so I can stand around waiting for the parade to start.

In a little while the parade will be televised and I can enjoy watching it from the comfort of my sofa.  Marching bands with neatly formed ranks of high school students will fill the air with music they’ve been practicing all month, a chance to shine in the morning sun as their director prays for yet another miracle. 

Helium filled balloon characters will dance along Main Street, held in place by scores of Boy Scouts or other volunteers from the community.  Clowns and merry makers will serpentine along the parade route as young boys and girls sit along the curb hoping to catch a peek at the main event; Santa waving and smiling back, the Christmas Season is here.

Enjoying the parade and all the festivities on Thanksgiving Day brings lots of memories to mind; but let’s not forget the deeper meaning of this celebration, gratitude for all the blessings the Lord has provided.  Jesus is the reason for the season; hold that thought as we prepare to celebrate His birth.

“For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.”  2 Cor 4:15  

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Prove it!

Truth in advertising gets more interesting everyday according to an  article on the Fox News website.  Take for instance a recent edict by the European Union which goes into force next month; Bottle water manufacturers saying their product rehydrates could result in jail time.

“Bottled water manufacturers will not be allowed to make the claim that water can prevent dehydration, when a new law goes into effect in the UK next month.

The edict, the Daily Telegraph reports, follows a three-year investigation. European Union officials now conclude there is no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.”

This imposed insanity would be laughable, a joke if it weren’t so serious.  If a similar burden of “proof” is required across the board the EU could alter other aspects of expression.  We’ve gone from accepting “a likelihood of actuality” and now require proof beyond a reasonable doubt; looking for certainty in an uncertain world.

If the local pastor preaching from the pulpit were tasked with proving the doctrines of religion, what then?  “Jesus is the Christ”, the EU will require proof; but religion requires faith, not proof. Haul that fellow off to jail for making statements he can’t prove.  

Some might say, “This could never happen.”  Think again, how else could the Gospel be considered Hate Speech?  Those who speak out against abominations of immorality are threatened with criminal charges by miscreants who fall back on their “right” to behave any way they please; then go beyond that and make it a crime for anyone to ridicule their lifestyle choices.

Closer to home, you might recall the Canadian anti-gay activist who was found guilty of hate speech because he believes that homosexuals are “sodomites” who spread filth and disease.  “In 2005, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission ordered him to pay a $17,500 fine and stop passing out his leaflets after four complainants said they were offended.”

“In matters of free speech, Canada and the United States draw the line in very different places. The U.S. First Amendment is so strong that it guarantees the right of the KKK and neo-Nazis to march through the streets. Canada is far more squeamish – “a pleasantly authoritarian state,” as Alan Borovoy, the former head of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, once put it.”

Isn’t that special, I love the way totalitarian rule got painted as “a pleasantly authoritarian state”; the only thing missing might be “Disney-esk” birds chirping under an azure sky filled with soft puffy clouds.  Instead of jack booted brown shirts their goon squads are dressed in Martha Stuart color coordinated ensembles.
The evening weather report could be fun too, “There’s a cold front moving in later and might bring rain.  Hazardous driving conditions which used to be caused by wet roads can no longer be included in our forecast; because, as we all know, rain can’t be proven to cause wet roads.”  I can see a Saturday Night Live skit in there somewhere.

One thing is an indisputable fact; the EU has some of the dumbest bureaucrats on the planet, which can be proven.  Their total financial collapse might not be such a bad thing after all; give that area of the world a chance to start over, this time let common sense have a chair at the table.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gun Rights Paradigm

Our constitution provides limits on government in order to protect every individual’s God given inalienable rights.  The right to defend your life, those around you and your property existed long before the establishment of government and is often referred to as a “natural right”; perhaps to assuage the small percentage of folks who would rather avoid involving our Maker’s hand in things.

It has taken nearly two hundred years for our Supreme Court to validate the 2nd Amendment and clarify our founder’s intentions; that Individuals have the right to own and bear arms; that this right was not singularly for those serving as militia members.  At one time there was a short explanation of the Supreme Court’s District of Columbia v. Heller ruling at FindLaw dot com which covered the essentials, which is quoted here; but not linked with a specific URL.

“Prior to the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, the courts had yet to definitively state what right the Second Amendment protected. The opposing theories, perhaps oversimplified, were (1) an “individual rights” approach, whereby the Amendment protected individuals’ rights to firearm ownership, possession, and transportation; and (2) a “states’ rights” approach, under which the Amendment only protected the right to keep and bear arms in connection with organized state militia units. Moreover, it was generally believed that the Amendment was only a bar to federal action, not to state or municipal restraints.

However, the Supreme Court has now definitively held that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that weapon for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Moreover, this right applies not just to the federal government, but to states and municipalities as well.”

Not wishing to appear obtuse; but where in the 2nd Amendment does it say an individual’s God given right to keep and bear Arms is limited to his/her home?  I’ll save you the trouble, it doesn’t.  Government is limited; an individuals right to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed”, no different than an individual’s right to free speech.

This morning there’s an AP article which appeared on the Fox News website, House Approves Concealed Firearm Permit Bill

“A state permit to carry a concealed firearm would be valid in almost every state in the country under legislation the House passed Wednesday.”
A majority of folks in Congress are attempting to move in the right direction. Those who voiced opinions against this legislation lack faith in the citizenry which placed them in office and the individuals who are America; perhaps lacking faith in the very foundations upon which America was built.  There was a sentence in the article which brought me back to the keyboard to write today’s article. 

“Under the House legislation, people with a concealed carry permit in one state could carry a concealed weapon in every other state that gives people the right to carry concealed weapons.”

Maybe I should highlight the part which jumped out at me, “…every other state that gives people the right to carry concealed weapons”.   States do not give rights, God gives rights.  States hand out entitlements, permission, grants and many other things; but their powers are limited and they can only obstruct or usurp individual’s God given rights.  If you gain no other information this day, understanding this one principle of government is what separates America from all others.   Our founders recognized God as the Author of Liberty and the only Being capable of bestowing rights. 

You and I have the right and the responsibility to properly defend our lives and property by whatever means is prudent and necessary, to include deadly force.  The right to own and bear arms was defined and recorded in the Bill of Rights and cannot be taken away except under specific judicial action as pertain to being of sound mind or having been convicted of a felony rendering that individual unfit; regardless of which State you happen to find yourself. 

In all likelihood the issue of being able to use one State’s concealed handgun permit in other States is a moot point; the left leaning Senate has not addressed the issue and even if such a bill were to pass it would require Obama’s signature to become law.  Obama has in recent days pressured members of the Senate to ratify the U.N. Small Arms Treaty which would, in effect, do away with the 2nd Amendment. 

Do the elections in 2012 make a difference?  Mind you, the person we elect to the Oval Office gets to pick vacancies on the Supreme Court, sign into law pieces of legislation or veto that legislation; all of which affect each and every individual. 

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Habla English?

Last week at church was Stake Conference for our area; various Wards getting together to hear our local Priesthood leadership speak.  There were translators on hand to accommodate Spanish speaking members in attendance which meant audio/visual requirements would have to accommodate the streaming of Spanish into television sets and head phones in rooms set up for them. 

I was recently called as an assistant Stake Clerk/IT specialist; in other words, getting cables and audio/visual equipment set up for presentations; satellite transmission, internet or other similar events.  The equipment room has all manner of fancy gizmos with cables running in and out, here and there and everywhere; how unfortunate, looks similar to the way my stereo, cable television and DVD are wired.  If you listen closely you might hear an old Beatles’ tune, Helter-Skelter, playing amidst the chaos.   

Several of us were hooking up cables, checking audio signals and making sure the camera transmission was working prior to the actual conference.  I happen to mention how it was probably a good thing I wasn’t a member of the Stake Presidency as I would be putting pressure on the various Bishops to have Spanish speaking members learn English.  My remark must have landed on a raw nerve; there was a cold silence where some kind of conversation normally would have happened. 

During the week I was thinking about that conversation, the one which never came about. I challenged myself to figure out why my suggestion garnered such a negative reaction.  The language in the United States is English and while we have immigrants from nearly every nation on the planet; English is the language used by the vast majority.  English is also the “preferred language”, the language which enables folks to climb out of the depths of poverty and achieve substantial rewards in most areas of our society. 

If I were planning to live in a foreign country it would be important for me to learn the language of that country; French if I were planning to move to France, German for Germany and so on.  Those who wish to be assimilated into any society must first learn the language of that society; either that or accept the fact they will forever be relegated as second class members, being denied full status and privileges.  The assumption on my part is these folks wish to eventually be assimilated, become equal partakers in all aspects of our society.  If this is not the case then why bother leaving their country of origin?

As a church it would seem a natural extension of leadership to point this aspect of assimilation to those attending meetings.  How difficult would it be to have Bishops invite Spanish speaking members to attend on-going English as a second language classes?  We certainly have talented people who could be called as instructors, folks who would jump at a chance to improve the lives of fellow church members.  Individuals who learned to speak English would make themselves eligible for upward mobility within the natural framework of our society and could only benefit from having made such an effort. 

There is no intent to ridicule individuals who speak only Spanish or the culture from which he/she came.  The recommendation is to have these individuals adjust to the society which they now find themselves in rather than remain dependent as a result of their not understanding our language.  Up until now I’ve directed my remarks mostly toward Spanish speaking individuals; but the same holds true regardless of one’s primary home language.  Those who are easily offended will continue to be easily offended; not much I can do other than accept the laws which govern percentages

Perhaps my communication and diplomacy skills could use improvement; being direct and to the point is not always the best course of action.  In any event, it would be better for my brothers and sisters who are imprisoned, not by cell walls; but their inability to be completely assimilated into our predominantly English speaking society, the society of a nation blessed beyond measure by the Lord for any and all who wish to climb as far and as high as is individually possible.  Learn to speak and understand English and watch as your efforts are rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Peter Pan’s Green Cake was Poisoned

I remember watching the movie Peter Pan as a young boy and feeling physically ill at the thought of Peter eating the poisoned green cake which had been placed where the Lost Boys would find it.  The shape of the green cake has changed over the years; now it’s disguised as green energy.  The poison introduced in America has been carefully manipulated; the hoax of man made global warming and the necessary redistribution of wealth to save our planet through socialism.

You might recall a poisonous statement made by Robert McChesney, influential adviser to the Obama administration:

“There is no real answer but to remove brick by brick the capitalist system itself, rebuilding the entire society on socialist principles”

Watching tax dollars being thrown away is a bit disconcerting; is it due to incompetence of the Obama administration or is such wasteful spending attached to something more sinister and corrupt? 

Not too long ago we learned of the Obama administration full court press to throw money at Solyndra, an unstable green energy company; the Bush administration had turned down the loan previously.  It turns out Solyndra wasn’t the only scandalous loan provided under Obama; this morning Fox News reported about over half a Billion dollar loan to an electric car manufacturing company; in Finland.

“The Department of Energy is standing by a $529 million loan guarantee to an electric car company that is outsourcing production to Finland.” 


“The ABC News report noted the political connections enjoyed by Fisker and another company, Tesla Motors, which together received about $1 billion in loans. Fisker reportedly is backed by a firm that counts ex-Vice President Al Gore among its partners. The article said just 40 of Fisker's Karma cars have been produced so far, and that Tesla is consistently losing money.”

Fancy that, Al Gore profiting from tax payers in a green energy deal.  I read an article in the New York Times by Joe Nocera which tried to justify wasteful spending of taxpayer money for green projects.  The New York Times was once regarded as something other than a mouthpiece for the progressive agenda; but most recently they seem to be nothing more than useful idiots or worse.

“…if we could just stop playing gotcha for a second, we might realize that federal loan programs — especially loans for innovative energy technologies — virtually require the government to take risks the private sector won’t take.”

Why would American taxpayers risk hard earned tax money on questionable investments; aren’t we depending on those in charge of these funds to carefully discharge their duties?  I keep forgetting the reality of public office; tax payers and their money are endless in the eyes of government bureaucrats and politicians; Fannie Mae, Tarp, Cash for Clunkers and the list goes on and on.

An article by Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. which appeared in the Wall Street Journal countered the idea that government money wasted on Solyndra was simply an investment in developing energy technology which the private sector would not venture into.

“This illustrates what might be called the macro Solyndra policy failure. A poor commercial risk is a poor commercial risk, whether private or government investors take it.”


“But, of course, the calculation behind Solyndra was political, not financial. Factories were wanted. Factories suggest jobs. Factories create photo-ops. Oh well. Solar subsidies have been part of the federal panoply since Carter, and even Reagan tried only to trim them, not eliminate them. The second Bush amped them up bigtime as a way to suggest that his only approach to problems in the Middle East wasn't to send in the troops.
 The Obama contribution hardly amounts to more than a banal urge to take whatever government does and do more of it, as if any chance to expand the role of bureaucrats is too good to miss. In one way, however, his Solyndra venture does fit nicely into today's megatrend, which, from here to Athens, consists of embarrassingly poor financial management.”

There you have it; the Obama administration lined their own pockets and the pockets of political allies through the use of bogus and manipulated data which they have proclaimed to be the result of man made global warming.  The promise of green energy, regardless of its practicality has been used to squander billions of dollars, not so much on innovation and new technology; but on long shot ventures which reasoned investors won’t touch.  The taxpayers are being played for suckers while at the same time our free market system is being dismantled brick by brick.

Up until now I’d heard detractors of Obama compare him to many unsavory characters; but until today it never occurred to me how similar he and his administration are to Captain Hook and the pirates of Never Never Land.  The magic of America, the free market system, has taken in the poison; isn’t it time for those who still believe in America to begin clapping in order to save her? 

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pledges, Oaths and Testimonies

Several years ago there was a movie with Steve Martin and John Candy, Plains, Trains and Automobiles; but that has nothing to do with my title choice for today’s article, Pledges, Oaths and Testimonies.  You’ll have to forgive me; my word association test results given to the police psychiatrist must have been similarly amusing. 

According to a story listed on the Blaze out of McAllen Texas:

“Students in a Texas public high school were made to stand up and recite the Mexican national anthem and Mexican pledge of allegiance as part of a Spanish class assignment, but the school district maintains there was nothing wrong with the lesson.”

Things have changed a bit since I took Spanish in high school.  Back in my day we sang Christmas Carols “en Espanol” and recited how to order spaghetti while at the bibliotheca; it’s been a long time so the recitation might be off a bit.  In today’s public school environment there’s no way students would be singing Christmas Carols; but what’s this nonsense about the Mexican national anthem and Mexican pledge of allegiance?

“School district spokesman Mark May defended the presentations, saying it’s a state requirement for upper-level language classes to teach about foreign culture.”

Let’s say it was a poor choice on the part of the teacher and give her the benefit of the doubt; it might be better for students than eating spaghetti in the library with the chance of getting tomato sauce on all those books intended to indoctrinate our children with progressive leanings.  I don’t believe that any more than you do; but I’m still willing to give it the benefit of doubt.

Back in the late 70’s I thought about taking Kung Fu and began looking at various schools in the area.  Victor Chang’s name came up as one of the better instructors so I went over one day to observe.  

I was asked to quietly sit on a bench during class.  Each student upon entering the room bowed reverently which caught my attention.  There was a recess in the wall which, given my position, kept me from seeing what was within that recess; but clearly each student would bow in front of it.  In my mind there was an immediate “red flag”; I’m a good Christian and there’s no way I was going to bow before Buddha or any other pagan image.

After the class was completed I mentioned my concerns to Victor in his office.  He broke out in laughter as he explained, “There no idol there, student miss target and kick wall, make hole.  Students showing respect for class and teacher.”  

There’s a lesson in there somewhere, something about not jumping to conclusions.  I wasn’t very good at Kung Fu; but that’s a “whole other story” as we say here in Texas.

Several years ago I flew out to see my folks and attended my dad’s Presbyterian church so we could enjoy the morning together.  During the service the congregation was asked to stand and recite the Nicene Creed.  Out of respect for my dad I stood next to him; but remained silent as I found the creed to be in conflict with my beliefs as found in the Articles of Faith .

The words we speak are important, what we pledge allegiance to, what we hold sacred and what we will defend, even until death.  If we raise our arm to the square we are taking a solemn oath, one which requires more than lip service.  Maybe that’s what grabbed my attention to a high school class being asked to recite the Mexican national anthem and Mexican pledge of allegiance as part of a Spanish class assignment; it’s not the same as reciting a poem or any other so called cultural experience. 

I mention this, picturing in my mind every public servant from a local police officer on the day he/she receives their badge with an oath to protect, serve, enforce the laws and defend the Constitution all the way up to the President of the United States of America as the Oath of Office is administered, an oath to uphold the Constitution.  When we raise our arm to the square it is a promise to our fellow citizens that our words are true as well as a covenant with God; there is never a time when Pledges, Oaths and Testimonies are to be treated lightly.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Captive Audience

A woman’s car was having trouble on a major roadway in Houston, allegedly, so it was reported she pulled off to the side of the road; I’ll get to “allegedly” later on.  An officer of the law issued her a ticket for “driving on the shoulder and decided to arrest her”; sounds a little over the top for a minor traffic violation; but having dealt with the public often times things “escalate”.

“To make matters worse, Boyd claims in a lawsuit that the handcuffs were put on her wrists painfully tight and that she was forced to listen to conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh “make derogatory comments about black people” all the way to the jail. Boyd is African-American.”

According to the article written by Mike Tolson in the Houston Chronicle, she’s suing everyone involved.

Some folks, upon reading the article may have become indignant after seeing only half the information regarding this incident; there was no comment offered by the Sheriff’s Department.  I began laughing; but it had nothing to do with the actual incident, rather it reminded me of something which happened many years ago on night shift.

My old partner, Bob Kersten, was the station sergeant at NW.  Some of the folks sitting in temporary holding cells were “unappreciative” of the music being piped into the jail; for that matter all over the police substation, don’t think anyone liked Baroque classical.  I happened to wander in off patrol to the pleadings of the desk officer, “Turn that stuff off, please!”   Those in the jail used other words; all things considered there’s nothing worthy of a law suit for damages caused by Baroque music.

At one time I worked downtown during the day and “allegedly” happened upon a woman parked in a moving lane of traffic outside a bank where she was waiting for someone to cash a check.  She was instructed to move along as she was backing up traffic; but she refused saying it would only be a few more minutes.  When asked for her driver’s license she “allegedly” turned up the music so high folks a block away could have heard it and then turned away as if by doing so I’d disappear; I didn’t.

The car she was driving was nifty little sports car, a Nissan 260 Z with the “T-tops” removed as it was a beautiful clear blue sky kind of day.  When I continued to ask for her driver’s license she “allegedly” climbed up on top of the car and sat on the bar which separated the open “T-tops”.  

I commented, “If you want to act like a baboon it’s fine with me; however…”, and pointing to the uniformed supervisor who was standing across the street watching this unfold, “…you can hand me your driver’s license, sign the ticket and move on down the road or go directly to jail.”  She had a sudden change of attitude and signed the ticket.

In other unrelated incidents, when I issued traffic tickets I had my own version of short hand scribbled in a small vacant spot in the corner of the ticket to help my memory of the violation months later in court.  My traffic judge at the time thought he’d figured out my system as I’d testified to red light violations over an extended period of time he’d match my testimony with the numbers and letters coded on the bottom.

One day after I’d testified about a female violator who’d run a red light by 3 car lengths the traffic judge wanted something clarified.  Restating what he thought I’d said, “So, Officer Stern, you said she ran the red light by 3 and a half car lengths?” 

“No, Sir.  I said she ran the red light by 3 car lengths.”  There was a noticeable pause as he looked down at what was written in the corner of the ticket.

“Then what’s this 3 and ½ notation?”  Things like that aren’t supposed to happen; judges aren’t supposed to introduce testimony.  The prosecutor tried looking at the floor as the judge began to blush.

“The 3 means she ran the red light by 3 car lengths while the ½ means she put her foot through the floor and went out of her way to run the red light, Your Honor.”  

The judge considered the information and then asked, “Then what’s this letter “B” for?”  That was an awkward moment as I searched my mind for an acceptable answer which would not be too crude.

“The “B” means, ah…she was, ah…Belligerent, Your Honor”, thinking to myself how fortunate it was to have a better than average vocabulary available on the spur of a moment.

I’ve no idea what transpired the other night when the woman “allegedly” drove on the freeway shoulder and got hauled off to jail and had to listen to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh; I wasn’t there.  I don’t remember the name of the woman who climbed up on top of her car so many years ago and acted like a baboon; but wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a kindred spirit.  Police officers are faced with all manner of folks.  Depending on how civilized they act often times determines how a minor traffic offense turns into a can of worms. 

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Ring, Ring - This is a Police State

Yesterday my attention was drawn to an article written by Buck Sexton which appeared on The Blaze, “Calif. Appeals Court Approves Cell Phone Searches During Traffic Stops”.   I didn’t know cell phones were that big a deal; okay, maybe we shouldn’t text while shifting and most of us would agree that hands free is better than having half your field of view blocked. 
“In a case explicitly decided to set a precedent, the California Appellate court has determined police officers can rifle through your cellphone during a traffic violation stop.”
There is a problem with granting police powers which extend beyond protections built into a citizen’s God given right as covered under the 4th Amendment.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Times may have changed since this wonderful document was penned; however, the intent to protect a person’s “papers and effects”, which would now include digital information housed in any number of devices, shall not be violated.  Police officers have been empowered to enforce the law and when needed to search suspects for weapons or illegal contraband; but have never had the power to go on “fishing expeditions” under the color of “inventorying” a prisoner’s property. 

Speaking from the standpoint of a retired police officer, the rules of evidence were put in place to secure individual rights; not to empower a police state.  Items found during a lawful inventory which were clearly prohibited such as weapons or illegal substances could be entered into a court of law as evidence; however, there is a limit to what can be considered “in plain view” or what items might be considered “hazardous” and a risk to the safety of either the public in general or the officer’s immediate safety.  

“On December 6, 2009 Reid Nottoli was pulled over for speeding by Santa Cruz County Deputy Sheriff Steven Ryan. Sheriff Ryan then suspected after pulling Nottoli over that the 25-year-old was under the influence of drugs.

As Nottoli’s license was also expired, the Sheriff decided to impound the vehicle. Nottoli requested to leave his car parked on the side of the road. Sheriff Ryan refused, and decided to conduct an “inventory” search prior to the towing.”

Up until this point the police were acting in the interests of the public, taking the suspect into custody as a possible DUI and an expired driver’s license is a lawful arrest.  The officer was obligated by law to inventory items in the suspect’s vehicle prior to having it towed to an impound; again, for the benefit of the suspect and to protect the officer from unwarranted accusations of theft or neglect in the event items later turned up missing or were claimed to be missing.  

“A fully legal Glock 20 pistol with a Guncrafter Industries 50 GI conversion that should have been stored in the trunk of the vehicle. He also noticed Nottoli’s Blackberry Curve which, after it was turned on, displayed a photograph of a mask-wearing man holding two AR-15 rifles akimbo.”

Aside from that first sentence being incomplete, the court was informed that a legal weapon was found during the inventory.  Depending on the laws in California the officer either would file additional charges for improperly transporting a weapon or, since this was a lawful weapon, the officer might have stored the weapon in a proper manner until such time as the suspect was released.

Pay attention; this is where the court has stepped over the line and violated the 4th Amendment rights of every citizen via this one case.  The officer stated the suspect’s cell phone was not on during the inventory process; this was not a “search incident to arrest”.  The officer turned the cell phone on and at that time observed a photograph which caused him to believe photographs contained therein may link the suspect with an unrelated crime. 

Read the intent of the 4th Amendment once again.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

If the officer stated he feared for his personal safety or perhaps the phone was hollow and contained illegal drugs it might have been reasonable to play with it.  If the suspect could be connected with terrorist activities in which cell phones were used to trigger explosive devices from a remote location; at that moment the officer might have the authority to turn on the device even if such actions would be fool hearty considering the possibility that the simple act of activating the cell phone might be enough to trigger an explosive device depending on how it was programmed.

Idle curiosity caused the officer to turn the cell phone on; nothing more.  No warrant could be obtained under such circumstances regardless of what images where presented to the officer’s view since he had to turn the device on when it was no threat in its present state.  There was no probable cause to believe the officer was arresting anyone but a DUI traffic violator who failed to secure a legal weapon in the trunk. 

“…the appellate court’s decision, written by Franklin Elia, which read in part:

“The deputies had unqualified authority under Gant (*) to search the passenger compartment of the vehicle and any container found therein, including Reid’s cell phone. It is up to the US Supreme Court to impose any greater limits on officers’ authority to search incident to arrest.”


“This case demonstrates that the scope of exception to the Fourth Amendment’s protection against governmental searches and seizures relating to searches incident to arrest is still unclear. Both parties address Belton’s bright-line rule to the Fourth Amendment allowing warrantless vehicular searches incident to a lawful arrest. If the Supreme Court adopts Arizona’s position on Belton, police will have broad discretion to search the vehicle of any arrestee, subject only to the limitation that the arrestee was a “recent occupant” of the vehicle. A decision for Gant, on the other hand, would require an officer to reasonably fear for his safety or the integrity of the evidence before he could search an arrestee’s vehicle without a warrant. In either case, the Supreme Court’s decision may further define the extent of police authority to perform warrantless vehicular searches incident to a lawful arrest.”

I’m sorry Franklin Elia, opening a closed container which may or may not hide from plain view weapons or contraband is not the same as opening a closed digital file belonging to a citizen.  This no different than extracting information directly from the suspect’s mouth and is most definitely a violation of the 4th Amendment. 
As a concerned citizen and retired police officer it is my duty to uphold the Constitution of the United States.  In the long run we are trading security for liberty; and those who do so deserve neither security nor liberty; isn’t that what Benjamin Franklin warned? 

Our judiciary system is being used to transform America into a police state; troubling to say the least.  The rule of law which holds our society together appears to have been abandoned in favor of the police state.  Our founding documents and the limits placed on government act to protect individual God given rights.  Our courts now act with impunity violating individual rights, and with each new decision advance the notion that such actions are justified; not by our Constitution but through each amended court decision linked one upon the other.  It would appear we have already become subjects of the state rather than citizens.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.