Tuesday, July 29, 2008

This is why I Homeschool

There are a lot of reasons why my LW and I decided to Homeschool the Horde.

Incurring additional debt by purchasing curricula was not one of them.

Having a cluttered home was not one of them.

Forcing my LW to have no eight hours a day, nine months "down-time" a year was not one of them.

But every year, the National Education Association reminds me of a long, long list of reasons. They just did it again.

Here is the original article.

Aside: for those who are unaware, the NEA is the largest teachers union in the USA. They are the 900-pound gorilla that sits in judgment upon all who dare question so-called Public Education. (And believe me, some of them really ARE 900-pound gorillas. But I digress.)

A few weeks ago, the NEA held their annual national convention. Every year as part of this convention they spend time passing resolutions, as well as preparing their platform of ideals and official policies. One would assume that these resolutions, ideals, and policies dealt with public education and the education of our children.

One would be so wrong as to not be able to even see the Light of correctness from where one stood.

The first line of the article gives you a pretty good idea of the attendees' attitudes: "Delegates sported buttons with provocative slogans such as 'Gay marriage causes Global Warming only because we are so hot!,' 'Hate is not a family value,' 'The "Christian Right" is neither' and 'Gay Rights are civil rights.'"


It all went downhill from there.

You see, the NEA truly desires diversity. Which one would assume to be a good thing, except when you consider that all "diversity" means is "pro-homosexual." That's it. Sexual orientation and so-called "gender identification" are now discussions for pre-schoolers.

Thats right, I said pre-schoolers. Fingerpaints, graham crackers, and why Billy has two daddies.

"But wait!" I hear you say. "These issues are related to education."

Oh really? It's necessary to teach my children about homosexuality before they can read?

What would Mr. Chips say?

Need more convincing? How about supporting statehood for the District of Columbia? Urging support for and ratification of the International Criminal Court Treaty? Gun control? How about "the right to reproductive freedom," and "the use of nonsexist language"?

Or this little gem from the article: "The NEA even urges its affiliates to work for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment." The article's author points out that the "ERA was declared dead by the U.S. Supreme Court 26 years ago."

Not that all the above-described Socialist sputum and progressive pap does not offend me. Far from it. But the position I take as a personal attack on my freedoms is the vitriolic opposition the NEA puts forth against ANY form of competition posed toward public schools.

Vouchers? Racist.

Tax credits? Nope.

Homeschoolers? Uneducated hicks with no training teaching their own children? No freakin' way. (You never know, after all, the kinds of things they may be teaching their children. They may even use [gasp] THE BIBLE as a textbook!)

The NEA opposes homeschooling unless children are taught by state-licensed teachers using a state-approved curriculum. The NEA wants to bar homeschooled students from participating in any extracurricular activities in public schools even though their parents pay school taxes.
That's right, boys and girls. A parent no longer has the capacity to know what is best for their child/children unless they are trained by the state Big Brother The State.

It doesn't stop there, either.
The NEA wants every child, regardless of age, to have “direct and confidential access, without notification to parents, to comprehensive health education. That would include things such as learning how to use condoms for premarital sex, as well as social and psychological programs and services.”

The NEA wants public schools to take over the physical and mental care of students through school clinics that provide services, diagnosis, treatment, family-planning counseling, and access to birth control methods “with instruction in their use.” Family planning clinics are called on to “provide intensive counseling.”
Did you catch the key phrases? "without notification to parents" and "regardless of age."

What is wrong with these people? Why and how are they getting away with espousing and teaching our children things with which, honestly, the majority of American citizens disagree.

What's wrong with them? That's an entire blog entry in itself. (Aside: briefly put, I would not argue with mental illness. I would also not argue with Evil. (and yes, that's "Evil" with a capital "E.")) Why and how are they doing it? Putting aside the "what's wrong" question for a moment, I think they have been given free reign for so long that they have completely lost sight of what they are about.

Remember the "3 R's"? Reading, Writing, 'Rithmetic? They are no more.

Abortion, Birth Control, and Diversity are the new "A-B-C-D's."

When is society going to wake up and take our children back? They are OUR children after all, not The State's. When will it be too late?

I suspect we are getting close to the tipping point right now.

Look, I don't really care whether you agree with Homeschooling or not. I recognize your right to choose how to educate your child. But please whatever you choose, choose well. And know what it is you're choosing. Don't just accept it simply because accepting it is simple. In essence, it goes to your children's Liberty.

Remember: once something is put into these empty little vessels, it is very hard--if not impossible--to get that something out again.

And believe me, the other side knows that.

That's what they are counting on to survive.

Read More......

More IQ

OK. I feel even smarter.

IQ Test Score

Unfortunately, this test did not provide the answers to the questions, so I have no idea which ones I may have missed. I have a pretty good idea, because at least one made absolutely no sense to me, and I think I may have overthought another one.

But that doesn't matter, because I have been certified a Universal Genius!

Now... When do you suppose I get my plaque and certificate? Hmm?

Read More......

Monday, July 28, 2008

For the thousandth time.....

So I was at a Creditor's Meeting today.

Aside: for the uninitiated, when you file a bankruptcy you must attend a hearing to which all your creditors are invited to attend and ask random questions or generally vent their spleen at you. Oh yes, the Trustee overseeing your case is also there to grill you and your attorney about minutiae and miscellaneous errors. Except very few creditors come.

I use the same spiel with every client at these hearings. I have my own little set script that tells them all the things I want them to know and the things that they are not to do, et cetera. One of the things I tell them is that while they are in their Chapter 13 bankruptcy, they are not to buy anything (particularly big ticket items), they are not to sell anything, and they are not to take out any new loans. Any of these type of transactions require court permission, which can be very difficult to obtain in some circumstances.

Pretty clear to understand, right?

So, after delivering this information, one of my clients says: "I have a big Dodge pickup and I really don't like the mileage it gets and I would really like to trade it in and get a new car that gets better gas mileage because in this economy I really can't afford to drive the big truck and everyone is selling off their big trucks and getting rid of their SUVs and pickups because they can't afford the gas."

OK. This wasn't exactly what he said, but a more grammatically-correct translation of what he said. But the feeling is there.

I literally believe my mouth dropped open. Physically. I'm really pretty sure it did. At least, it took me several seconds to form a response to him.

What came out was this:

Ummmm. No. You CANNOT do that. You would be breaking the law three times if you did that. Three times. That would be Federal Law. FEDERAL. First, you would break the law by trading in the truck--you would essentially be selling that car and as I just said you cannot do that without court permission. Second, you would break the law by agreeing to purchase a new car and as I just said you cannot do that without court permission. Third, you would break the law by taking out a new loan to purchase the new car and as I just said you cannot do that without court permission. You cannot do this. Period. If you want to get rid of the truck, now is the time to tell me and we'll give it back through the bankruptcy and then you can buy a beater for $250. But no, you cannot trade in the truck, you cannot buy a new car, and you cannot take out a loan on a new car.

His response: "Well, I don't want to get rid of it because I need transportation. I just can't afford to put gas in it. So it just sits. That's why I was asking. And everyone I know is getting rid of their trucks. So that's why. But I don't want to give it up."

I need transportation but cannot put gas in it but I don't want to give it up.

I wanted to yell at him to just give up the car and go buy an engine on wheels with the $250 he was going to save putting gas in his truck this month.

I really wanted to say that.

I SO wanted to.

But in the interest of good client relations, all I said was: "Hmm.... Well, just remember what I told you." All while shaking my head.

I'm still shaking it, but not in disagreement...

...but disbelief.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Constructive Thoughts: Dad

I've had a difficult weekend.

I learned my father has cancer.

He has been fighting benign bladder tumors for several years, but they've not been serious.

Now he has cancer. Prostate cancer.

They're not going to operate, because the physicians figure it would only buy fifteen years, and my father is old enough that they don't expect he has fifteen years anyway.

That's a nice bedside manner, eh?

It has not metastasized, so that's a bit of good news.

As good as it can be, I suppose. Needless to say, it's been tough to concentrate on anything else this weekend. Watching him hold my six-month-old in his arms just minutes after reassuring me of his mortality was nearly more than I could take. The question popped into my mind: would she ever know him, remember him?

I don't know how even to begin putting into words my memories of the stories of and experiences with my father.

Some of my fondest memories of Dad center around the little black-and-white television that stood in Mother and Dad's bedroom for so long, perched precariously upon the little, rickety television stand. The tear-streaked, red, laughing face that always appeared following Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal's race through the streets of San Francisco. Michael Douglas and bulbous-nosed Karl Malden racing through the Streets of San Francisco. There was F.B.I. and Hawaii Five-O. And of course, M*A*S*H*. Nothing (other than What's Up Doc?) would make Dad roar with laughter like Hawkeye's antics or Frank Burns' buffoonery. I didn't always understand the joke, or what was going on in the show, but just to see that twinkle in Dad's eyes was something special.

Dad would get that same twinkle in his eye when he had the opportunity to tease. He loved to tell stories in front of my grandmother about her and my grandfather. I'll never forget how he would tease my siblings' dates and spouses. It was never mean or hurtful; he always knew how far to go and how to do it with love. Dad could also take it well as he could dish it out.

There were the years and years of University of Utah football--Dad's alma mater--that just seemed to end in misery, with Dad frustrated, yelling, and pounding his open hand on the bedspread, and the inevitable gloating telephone call from his brother after every BYU win.(Aside: Of course, now when I do the same thing watching the Utes or the Utah Jazz, it has somehow become "just a game" and I'm told to settle down and just enjoy.) Dad eventually got his fair share of gloating telephone calls in . . . but Dad's brother wasn't nearly as good a sport about getting the calls as he was about making them! Then there were the late nights at the local college watching basketball, while eating smuggled-in popcorn and sodas out of Mother's big white purse--that Dad inevitably ended up carrying into the building.

Dad would also be the one to carry the purse into movies--it was a giant purse, usually filled with home-popped popcorn in supermarket produce sacks and illicit canned sodas. The movies? They were movies such as the interminable Gandhi, Chariots of Fire, and King David experiences. Dad was always trying to broaden my horizons like that--we never seemed to go to the good "fun" movies that I wanted to see, or do the "fun" things that I wanted to do. Instead, it was hours and hours of boredom while we went around on odd jobs while he was unemployed. I can still remember the heat and the boredom--I was never allowed to take a book or any toys, except for a large, plastic, yellow model of a Honda Civic. There were also the (seeming) hours of travel to visit family, or to after-hours business meetings. Traveling to and from anywhere seemed like forever when reading in the car was forbidden.

But Dad made up for those times by introducing me to the dean of science fiction, Robert Heinlein, and to Martin Caidin, and to David Morrell--authors whose names my classmates seldom, if ever, recognized. It was Dad to whom I could turn to discuss books, although it will forever baffle me how his taste in books could be so broad, from Burroughs to Heinlein, from Clancy to L'Amour, but he could never stomach for a moment anything fantasy-related. "Why should I read about something that never happened and never could happen?" he would ask me. "It's just fantasy." The argument would frustrate me and I would simply let it die. Someday I hope to find a fantasy novel that he will read and enjoy . . . Someday.

Dad was forever trying to bring my head out of the clouds. Somehow, it was always he who would assist me with my math homework. He would get so livid at my inability to retain the quadratic formula or simple mathematic definitions, while being able to recite trivia ad nauseam. Sometimes I wonder whether, subconsciously, I did it on purpose, just to harass him. Years later, when I first read David Copperfield, I felt that I could relate in some small way to the terror and anguish young David felt when reciting his lessons (or attempting to) to his step-father. While Dad was never that harsh or brutal, the circumstances were similar--I could never keep the figures in my mind, but would soon find myself thinking about the crack in the wall, or the book I was reading, or anything but my homework. Dad would just get more and more upset. He would pound the table and drill me until I cried, but somehow the numbers would slip away; the more he pounded, the faster the numbers would fly. Inevitably, there would come a point where the futility was apparent and one (or both) of us would flee the table to find sanctuary elsewhere.

I know Dad tried so hard because he loved me. I can see that now; with the benefit of time and the aid of fatherhood, I can see many things more clearly, and I'm grateful for the patience that he showed in trying to teach me. I am grateful for the love he showed in trying to teach me, and for the quiet pride--and the sometimes not-so-quiet pride--he would show at my accomplishments: the first time I ever directed the music in Priesthood Meeting; the first time I ever water-skied; the first time I trailered the boat by myself; the first time I ever backed the trailer down the ramp, or parked the van and trailer; high school, college, and law school graduations; the look--and tears--in his eyes as I boarded the plane for my mission.

However, the feelings of pride are not one-sided. Dad likely does not know the pride I have for him, and the esteem in which I hold him. For example: the years as a Gospel Doctrine teacher, the dedication, knowledge, and spirit he could bring to bear on a given Sunday; the feeling of seeing him lead the congregation in song for many years; the dedication to the service, and the endurance that the many hours of long flights and lonely vigils that flying involved; the firm, quiet testimony he would sometimes stand and bear; hearing my voice blend with his on Sunday, singing hymns; the strength and knowledge in his hands as he would perform some simple chore or repair; and the love with which he has always looked at Mother.

As time goes by, I regret more and more the years I have wasted when I could have been learning from Dad. All those years, complaining about yard work, or helping Dad with the car, plumbing, or other odd jobs; I could have learned so much. Instead, I did as little work as possible--always excusing it with schoolwork, or reading, or any available excuse. When I did help, it was grudgingly, never thinking for a moment that any of what I was being asked to do, or what I could have done, would ever benefit me in my life in any way. Putting it in print even now embarrasses me beyond belief. I remember Dad spending his time to come to summer camp with the Scout troop one year. I am mortified now to think of how embarrassed I was to have my Dad there, lecturing to my buddies and taking them to task. Or at family reunions when I was too concerned about my own activities and pleasure to listen to and learn from Dad the stories of my heritage. Or the plethora of times I was too annoyed to listen to the lectures and the lessons he was trying to teach me.

I see now that I spent too long blinded by my youth to recognize the storehouse of knowledge that is Dad. If I was ever to tell him that I consider him such, he would pass it off as vain praise, but to me it is a statement of truth. Dad worked so hard with me as a Scout to learn knot-tying; to this day, I have to struggle to remember a simple square knot--anything more complex is beyond my abilities. He struggled to get me to achieve my Citizenship merit badges; how much that knowledge could have helped me in school classes if I had bothered to learn it! (Aside: "Learn it" rather than "know it long enough to pass off the merit badge.") There is so much I could have learned from him as a child that would have enriched my life and helped me to grow. Instead, I was too "busy" and just didn't care--there would always be another time, after all. In retrospect, I wonder just how much my inattention and my uncaring attitude hurt Dad. I know that it did, and hope that I can make up for that injury someday, somehow.

As I look back, I am amazed at how Dad's work troubles never seemed to impact the family, at least not that I ever saw. He was able to separate his professional and family lives, and not let the stress of daily life interfere with his time with his wife and children. He was always able to provide a wonderful Christmas or birthday for us, and he always had a little something--usually a Matchbox car (in the old cardboard box) and a packet of airline peanuts--tucked away in his suitcase every time he came home from a trip. Those little gifts always made me feel so special, showing me that he had he had thought about me and missed me while he was away.

More recently, it has been a joy to grow closer to Dad as an adult friend. The rapport I feel and the snippets of telephone conversations we have back and forth while watching Everybody Loves Raymond or a particularly gritty NBA game ("Where was the foul?!") are priceless and important to me. So is being able to discuss the gospel with one another and to be taught by his example, or having someone there to whom I can turn for advice. Most importantly, as one who was not able to fully experience the joys of vital and vigorous grandparents, it is touching beyond words to see the expressions of love and the level of devotion that Dad shows my children. In some ways, I am able to imagine what it would have been like for me to have the opportunity to truly know my grandparents, and can vicariously enjoy the thrills, joys, and love that my children feel for their grandfather.

I can only hope that, one day, I can be as good a grandfather as he has been to the Horde. I only hope that I can be as good a father-in-law to my children's future spouses as he has been to his. I can only hope that I can be as good a father to my children as he has been to his.

I'm going to jealously guard every moment I have with him. Hoard every snippet of family lore I can gather. Glean every bit of life-knowledge from him that I can. Ask for his advice while I can get it.

Make him proud of me.

And love him while I can.

I love you, Dad.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

PewNews IQ


I feel smart.

After taking this test, here are my results:

Here's Your Score: You correctly answered 12 of the 12 possible questions along with approximately 3% of the public. You did better than 97% of the general public.
The test itself is provided by the Pew Research Center, a self-described "nonpartisan 'fact tank' that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world."

The stats on the test are more frighteningly revelatory rather than interesting. Unfortunately, giving you any examples would give away questions on the test. If you want to be frightened, when you finish the test take a look at the demographic breakdown question by question. (The one that jumped out at me was the comparison between questions 2, 5, and 7 for nearly every demographic.)

Read More......

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Constructive Thoughts: Liberty, Pt. 2

When last we discussed this topic, I asked two questions:
(1) Has this nation dwindled since the days of our ancestors?
(2) In how many of these beliefs is America still solid?
Let's look at some possible answers.

Today we face challenges we have scarcely known in the past. We have come through wars, both civil and international, with victory and found peace. Now we are a people of contention, with strident and accusatory voices heard in argument across the nation.... Our spiritual power is sapped by a floodtide of pornography, by a debilitating epidemic of the use of narcotics and drugs that destroy both body and mind.
We are forgetting God, whose commandments we have put aside and obey not. In all too many ways we have substituted human sophistry for the wisdom of the Almighty.
(Gordon B. Hinckley, "America Must Look to God," Address at Provo, Utah’s "America’s Freedom Festival" (June 26, 1988), in The Spirit of America 29, 32-35 (Bookcraft 1998).

Is there any question, any argument what each of us has to face in our daily lives?

Is there any doubt that this nation--at least many of the population--have dwindled?

Is the promise God gave our forebears still in force?

Consider these additional words from Gordon B. Hinckley:
Can we expect peace and prosperity, harmony and goodwill while turning our backs on the source of our strength?
An acknowledgment of the Almighty and a return to the teachings of God will do more than all else to keep our ship of state on a steady course as she sails into the third century of nationhood. Here is the answer to the conflicts that beset us. Here is the answer to the evils of pornography, abortion, drugs, and the squandering of our resources on evil pursuits.... Here is the answer to tawdry politics that place selfish interest above the common good.... [T]he strength and prosperity of the nation will not be found in her resources or her industries unless also her pulpits are aflame with righteousness and her people bow in reverence before the Creator and Ruler of the universe.
Let the pulpits of all churches ring with righteousness. Let people everywhere bow in reverence before the Almighty, who is our one true strength. Let us look inward and adjust our priorities and standards. Let us look outward in the spirit of the Golden Rule. If we will do so in significant numbers across the land something marvelous will begin to happen.Id.

Is our prosperity suffering as a result of our dwindling? We have been promised this consequence and I believe it is happening all around us. The evidence is everywhere and is incontrovertible. Even more frightening in today's environment is this idea, from the 29th chapter of the Book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon:
26 Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law——to do your business by the voice of the people.

27 And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.

Now, I do not think we are quite at the point wehre the greater part of the people choose iniquity--at least, not actively choosing iniquity. Passively, however, may be another story altogether. There are a growing number of the citizenry who are content to sit back and be given everything at the trough. They are content to be told what to think, what to feel, what to believe. There are those who do not actively work to preserve their freedoms. The problem with this attitude, this attitude that is ever-increasing in prevalence among us, is this: "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We did not pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." (Ronald Reagan)
Freedom is delicate, fragile, and is not a static thing. Maintaining our freedoms, preserving Liberty, requires us to be active, not passive. Back to the sermon that the Book of Mormon prophet, Lehi, was giving to his family, in 2 Nephi 1:
13 O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful cchains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal dgulf of misery and woe.
14 Awake! and arise from the dust, and hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return; a few more days and I go the way of all the earth.
. . . .
21 And now that my soul might have joy in you, and that my heart might leave this world with gladness because of you, that I might not be brought down with grief and sorrow to the grave, arise from the dust, my sons, and be men, and be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things, that ye may not come down into captivity;
. . . .
23 Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust.

Notice that these are all active solutions; we are urged to awake, awake, awake, arise, awake, put on the armor, shake off the chains, come forth, arise. These are not passive solutions, they will not happen by themselves or with mere lip service. They require activity, substantial activity, on our part to be completed.

So, first, what does it mean to "shake off the chains"? It means to put away sin. And how do we accomplish this?
"Shaking off restrictive chains requires action. They cannot be wished away. A declaration will never break chains. It requires commitment, self-discipline, and work.... These chains cannot be broken by those who live in lust and self-deceit. They can only be broken by people who are willing to change...to give up some behavior or habits that [may] have been very important to us in the past." (Marvin J. Ashton, "Shake Off the Chains with Which Ye Are Bound," Ensign, Nov. 1986 at 13.)

Second, what does it mean to "arise from the dust and be men"? Consider this statement from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: "A man is but a beast as he lives from day to day, eating and drinking, breathing and sleeping. It is only when he raises himself, and concerns himself with the immortal spirit within him, that he becomes in [very] truth a man." (The White Company)

Third: how does putting on the "armor of righteousness" help us "shake off the chains"? Remember that it takes commitment, self-discipline, and work to shake off the chains? Consider a suit of mail armor; it can weigh between twenty and thirty pounds, and that is only the chest, arms, and back. Well-tempered steel plate weighs upwards of forty-five pounds. There are a lot of straps and rivets to fasten; it takes a considerable effort to put on armor. If we are focused on THAT effort, where will there be room, time, energy, etc., to spend on sin?

These "chains which bind the children of men"--are we talking here just about physical chains? Physical liberty? No.
Are we talking about mental liberty? In part.
Are we talking about free will or free agency? In part, but not completely. "Free agency, as precious as it is, is not of itself the perfect liberty we seek." (Marion G. Romney, "The Perfect Law of Liberty," Ensign, Nov. 1981 at 43.)
Are we also, when we speak of the ideal of Liberty, talking about spiritual liberty? Of course. Remember Webster's definition of Liberty? Freedom from restraint, in a general sense, and applicable to the body, or to the will or mind--and we added 'the spirit' to the mix.

Think of all the chains--physical, mental, emotional, spiritual--that plague our everyday lives. Think about the bad habits, think about the choices we have made that restrict our physical, emotional, and spiritual growth, mobility, and happiness. Think about the passive choices we have made, the things we have allowed to happen to us and around us that bind us just as soundly as our proactive choices. "These [bad] habits...have impeded our progress, may have made us forget who we are, may have destroyed our self-image, may have put our family life in jeopardy, and may have hindered our ability to serve our fellow beings and our God.... These chains weigh heavily on troubled hearts and souls. They relegate us to lives of no purpose or light." (Ashton, supra.)

Is it any wonder that we are urged to throw off these chains?

Is it any wonder that a people so shackled, so wrapped about with chains, could so easily lose their spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical liberty?

Is it any wonder that we, as a country--that our Prosperity is suffering?

We must each raise ourselves. We must concern ourselves with the immortal spirit within each of us. We must awake, arise, shake ourselves, and put on the armor of righteousness.

Interestingly, Webster's definition of "armor" includes the following comment: "In English statutes, [the term] armor is used for the whole apparatus of war; including offensive as well as defensive arms." Thus the counsel we have been given: "Wear the helmet of salvation, pick up the sword of truth, use the shield of faith, and accept the full protective coverings of the Lord." (Carlos E. Asay, "Be Men!" Ensign, May 1992 at 40.) All of these things make up the armor of righteousness, bout our defenses against the adversary and the offensive tools we wield against his forces. Consider the admonitions we receive from Paul concerning the "armour of light," the "armour of righteousness," and the "armour of God." Joseph Smith discussed the "whole armor" in modern revelation.

In this battle for Liberty, the whole armor is important; we must have and use all of the defensive and offensive tools and protections that we have at our disposal. "Righteous living is a shield, a protector, an insulation, a strength, a power...." (Ashton, supra.) Consider this thought: "A Democracy requires men and women to be agents unto themselves to defend their freedom. When a democracy collapses, it is because the individuals and families are dropping their arms." (Charles Didier, "Liberty," New Era, Jul. 1986 at 4.)

Liberty. Freedom. Precious, sacred gifts given to us by our God.

"Freedom...obtained...by obedience to the law of Christ--is freedom of the sould, the highest form of liberty. And the most glorious thing about it is that it is within the reach of every one of us, regardless of what people about us, or even nations, do. All we have to do is learn the law of Christ and obey it. To learn it and obey it is the primary purpose of every soul's mortal life."

How sacred a gift is freedom? We obtain freedom when we learn and obey the law of Christ, which is our primary purpose in mortality." (Romney, supra.)

That's big time, folks.

Don't forget, though.... Once we learn it and find Liberty, we must keep it, we must keep from dwindling, we must keep away from the chains. We must help others learn it, find it, keep it, keep from dwindling and keep away from the chains. "Our most important need as defenders of liberty is to know what true liberty is, to teach it, to profess it, and to testify of it." (Didier, supra.)

You know, I'm reminded of the words of the Lord to Moses: PROCLAIM LIBERTY THROUGHOUT ALL THE LAND UNTO ALL THE INHABITANTS THEREOF. Many around us know of no way to escape their bonds. Many may not know they are enslaved. Again, I'm talking about Liberty on all levels: physical, mental, spiritual.

The adversary, however, cannot hold someone if they use the keys they have been given. And is it not our duty--those of us who hold our Freedom and Liberty dear, those of us who know of the keys and how to use them to be free--is it not OUR duty to proclaim liberty--Liberty--throughout all the land--and all the world--to all the inhabitants thereof?
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream that seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deeds redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Concord Hymn")

I have stood on that bridge, watched the dark stream pass. I have witnessed the rise of an April mist, which drifted and covered that green bank. While I did so, my mind turned to the sacredness of the spot, one of the birthplaces of freedom in the world, a Fount of Liberty, if you will.

This poem stands as a memorial to those farmers--the Minutemen--who took up arms in defense of their freedoms.

We have a chance to be modern-day Minutemen, to allow others to hear once again that shot heard 'round the world. We also have a chance to share with them the blessed sound--the Gospel. Both lead to freedom.

Both lead to liberty.

To Liberty.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Big Outer-Spacey Sucking Hole Thing

Thanks to The Spirit of the Law for this little tidbit.

The little tidbit that broke me away from trying to reconstruct some missing/damaged computer files...which was what I was doing instead of preparing some Motions to file with the Court.

The little tidbit about Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price decrying a white Commissioner's use of the term "black hole" to describe an area where things enter and vanish, never to be seen again. Commisioner Price, as well as a Judge who was present--and also took offense at the scientific term--are both "racially diverse."

Instead of completing my self-appointed tasks, I'm pulled away to marvel at the Texas-sized politically-correct idiocy the story represents.

Oops. Maybe I can't say "Texas-sized" any longer.

Maybe that's racially-insensitive too.

You see, I have to say "racially diverse" because apparently the adjective "black" is racially insensitive. I refuse to hyphenate people, so I'm left with "racially diverse."

So you see my dilemma with "Texas-sized." What if one of my readers is shorter than average and is from Texas? What if they are unusually slender and are from Texas? Is using the reference "Texas-sized" implying that everything from Texas is abnormally large and therefore discriminatory to the unusually small (or normal) Texan?

I won't even talk about the "Texas-sized can of whoop" that could be opened up on me. Even if it's not my fault no-one has ever heard of a "Rhode Island-sized can of whoop."

That would be just plain silly, after all.

Oops. I did it again. I'm being insensitive about the fact that Rhode Island is so small.

Darn it.

I have a solution.

Let's introduce legislation in Washington, D.C. that bans the use of the adjective.

That pesky, evil adjective. That part of speech that has caused--and continues to cause--so much trouble in the world.

Think about it... no "black." No "white." No "yellow," "brown," "green," or "safflower."

Of course, Crayola would go out of business: Not only is "Indian Red" out of the question, "Red" itself is out. We couldn't even reduce it to one crayon in a box, because who would decide what color it would be. Even if Crayola started to market those incredibly stupid pencils that have six or eight different colors all mixed together it still wouldn't work. After all, who gets to tell blue-violet that they didn't make the cut.

That would be insensitive to all the blue-violets out there.

No more "canary yellow"...or even "yellow."

You would, of course, have to watch out for certain nouns as well. "Whale" comes to mind, as does "New Yorker," "Californian," "Nerd," and "Geek." (Dang. Those last two mean I can't even call myself that, for fear of offending not just myself, but someone else who may be offended that I call myself such or that I consider myself in their same demographic.

No more "four-eyes," "brace-face," or "metal-mouth" that would have made my junior high school days much better. But on the flip side, you lose "spicy," "fiery," and "delicious"--all of which makes a trip to the Chinese, Thai, or Mexican restaurants a bit more bland. (Oops. I've labeled the restaurants; I can't do that. Neither can I use "bland.")

While it may be good, at first glance, to lose "greasy" as in "greasy spoon," remember how much you like a good greasy hamburger, or greasy fries.

If we lose "black hole" consider how many science texts have to be changed. You could only refer to them as "holes" which may take a little getting used to; what do you do, however, with "red dwarfs" or "white giants"? We lose "red" and "white" but also "dwarfs" and "giants."

Speaking of giants, the Jolly Green Giant could be neither "jolly," "green," or "giant." And don't even get me started on the creepy little "Niblet."

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price also says that "angel food cake" and "devil's food cake" are racist. If so, what do we do about cheesecake? We can't describe it with "cheese" and even "cake" is questionable, as in "A piece of cake." That also does in pie, as in "Easy as pie." What if pie-ists and cake-ists don't like being described as easy or simple?

Well, that's O.K., because we won't have "easy" or "simple" either.

Commissioner Price also complains about "black sheep." I agree.... Have you ever thought about how those poor sheep feel being compared to your cousin Harold? Sheesh.

If, as Commissioner Price demands, we must all be more careful about what we say, there are going to be a lot of quiet people. Which would make a certain segment of our society much happier, as they won't have anyone who dares to oppose them.

I think I'm gonna pick up my phone and call my Congressman. We've got to do something about all this labeling crap, garbage, err... stuff.

Hold on.... Maybe "stuff" is also--somehow--insensitive.

Anyway, I'll call my Congressman (hold on, is THAT a description? It could be taken as a derogatory term.) Ahem. I'm going to call my Congressman Congressperson Representative and suggest the legislation. On second thought, however, we may as well make it a Constitutional Amendment.

Amendment XXVIII:
The right of the people to be secure in their self-esteem, self-image, self-regard, and individual, personal sensitivities, against unreasonable labeling and description, shall not be violated, and no adjectives or descriptions shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly referencing the exact characteristic or personality trait to be described, and the persons able to employ such description.

Whoops. "Constitutional" will have to go too.

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Technical Difficulties. Please stand by....

Due to a number of technical difficulties, including two (2) failed flash drives, crappy home DSL service, and semi-restricted access from work, I have:
(a) lost my next lecture on Liberty;
(b) lost my vacation notes; and
(c) may have lost my vacation pictures.

Therefore, I will be somewhat delayed in getting my next post up. Please keep checking back, though, as I am determined to have a post for you early this week.

Thanks for understanding.


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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Back from vacation!

I'm back from vacation and suddenly realized that I still need to finish my lecture on Liberty. While I'm working on that and a vacation report, take some time and check out this video.

Chances are you've seen it (or an earlier version) if you've been around the Internet the past few months. It's odd, and possibly a little bit annoying.
It won't stick in your head like Numa Numa and it won't have you laughing out loud.

....but something about it.... Just. Feels. Good.


Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

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