Thursday, April 30, 2015

Everything Starts with Teaching, so Teach the Cops not to be Racists

   Not that all police violence is the result of racism, but what of the portion that is? What should we do to curb it, to prevent it?
   The first step in anything is to teach. Nothing taught, nothing learned. So, both in the police academy and in on-going training, every police officer should be taught against racism. It might sound like a small thing, but, you start with what you teach.
   I would guess it is not taking place. Why not? It is the obvious thing you do. There might be other things, but this is basic. If you have someone doing something wrong, the first thing you do is to let them know it is wrong. You warn them against it. You teach them against it.
   Nothing taught, nothing learned. If we think we have a problem, this is the first thing we should do.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

We Should Not Take Their Faults as Excuse Not to Help Them

   The rioters of Baltimore and Ferguson and other cities? Treat them not as criminals, save for the crimes they commit. Yes, do prosecute them for rioting, for looting, for burning, for throwing rocks at police.
   But, have some compassion.
   If we can find a way to make their lives better, we should. The how-to, is the hard part. The what-to-actually-do, is the hard part. Improve their educations? How? Help those of them who are on drugs get off? How? Open more treatment centers and provide free treatments? I hesitate on that, but, perhaps if that really works, then do it. Give them jobs? Yes, find a way to give them jobs.
   And, we must listen to the growing din of opinion that race is a factor in police violence. We must consider it and seek for a solution.
   I think we stumble if we dismiss these protesters as criminals. They are people, citizens of our country, having good and bad characteristics, same as all of us. They may have faults, but we should not take their faults as excuse not to help them.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

This is a Law We Should Demand Until the Act is Done

   Drop a ball, and give up a touchdown. I think of what I wrote the other day, of how we need a law against charges being unlawful if they are grossly beyond the value of the product. There is no such law, but there should be. It is a law that would protect people. It is a law that could plummet our hospital bills, thus bringing about as much improvement in our society as perhaps any single law could make.
   But, if I don't push the idea, it will never catch on. If I only once suggest the law, then never blog on it or mention it again, I am like the football player who drops the ball and watches the other team scoop it up and score a touchdown. I think of the quote from John Stuart Mill: "Bad men need nothing more . . . that that good men should look on and do nothing,"
   If this law has a crying need in our society, and might save our medical system, why should we not demand it, and keep on demanding it until the act is done?

Monday, April 27, 2015

If We Would be a Christian Nation, We Must be a Loving Nation

   I am not so sure this isn't the greatest flaw in our nation, our hatred, one to another. We bicker and bite. We find fault. We accuse, We assail. We libel and slander.
   We pick a fault and poke a stick.
    If its ability to love is to be the measuring stick by which we judge how great our nation is  -- and it might be as worthy a measuring rod as any -- our picking at each other leaves us in want.
   More, consider on this: If America is to be considered a Christian nation, shouldn't it be a nation of love, not hatred. Love thy neighbor is the second great commandment. By their fruits, ye shall know them? How can this be a Christian nation without being more of a loving nation?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Anti-Nephi-Lehies? 'Anti' Might Mean 'One Who is of a Different People'

   Not long ago, shuffling through listening to my Book of Mormon CDs, it again occurred to me that those Lamanites who were converted by Ammon and his brothren were given a seemingly contradictory name.
   Anti-Nephi-Lehies? The prefix "Anti" struck me as odd, for they were not against the Nephites in any way, and anti in this day and age implies you are opposed to something, you are on the opposite side of it.
   I thought how, if we only had access to the language of those Book of Mormon people, it would probably show that the meaning was different than what we use today. I wondered, too, what if this would be a topic for Book of Mormon scholars of Hebrew to study, as there might be a commonality in that language and how it is used in the Book of Mormon.
   I don't know that a week passed before I happened on a few passages in the New Testament, I John, to be exact. Can I share a couple? I John 2:12 says an antiChrist is one who denies the Father and the Son. So, in this context, an antiChrist is not necessarily an arch enemy of the Savior, but simply someone who is not of him. I John 4:3 says the antiChrist is simply someone who "is not of God," and I am left wondering if that means not that they are wicked, but simply that they have not joined the fold.
   This is very similar to the usage of "anti" in the Book of Mormon where it speaks of Anti-Nephi-Lehies. Here is does not mean they were opponents of the Nephites, simply that they were not of the same fold, not of the same people. Yes, it is true that the antiChrist might also be opposed to Christ, but it does seem that part of the meaning of the word is simply that they are not among the believers, they are a different people.
   To me, it is interesting to see the sameness in this word in the way it is used in the epistles of John and in the way it is used in the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Medical Bills are Criminally High, So Let's Level a Law Against Them

   From the "There ought to be a law against that" category, I bring you the most crying need of all. I might just catch you saying, "Duh, of course," when you hear it.
   It's the law that ought to be, that isn't. The one that could save millions of individuals thousands of dollars. The law that -- just maybe -- could save America's medical system.
   Yes, an amazing amount of good could be done with one single stroke of a pen enacting this new law. It's a simple law, and one you'd think would already be on the books, but isn't.
   Drum roll, please.
   There should be a law that you cannot charge vastly beyond value for a product, especially when the customer has no choice but to buy that product from you.
   Such a law might do as much as anything to reduce the price of medical care in the United States. A single aspirin for $20? It clearly is wrong to charge so much. Why, then, do we not outlaw it? Why do we let hospitals get away with this? If we can see something is wrong, and that people are getting hurt because they are being wronged, haven't we forever made such things against the law? You can't rob and you can't steal, because it is against the law. This new law would fit right into that category.
  The question is, why don't we already have such a statute on our books? Some would argue, it is because we should not restrain the free market system. That doesn't wash with me. It is the kind of argument I can see coming from a corporate lobbyist, not from someone who simply demands fairness. Every lobbyist needs an argument, and that would be his.
   Let's do what's right for the people, not what is best for corporations. This law makes sense. It protects the people. It makes it so that a wrong that is happening is henceforth a crime. And best of all, it stands a real chance of significantly lowering our medical bills. It isn't the only thing that needs to be done, but, all by lonesome, it well might make a significant dent in how much we pay when we visit the hospital.

Friday, April 24, 2015

You Can't Outlaw Popular

   So, marijuana is harmful. The list of harms starts with doubling the risk of car crashes. It includes cardiovascular damage and cognitive damage. Then, there are the social harms, such as doubling the chances of dropping out of school and the affect on the desire to work. Still, if people want their weed, there will only be more states that legalize it. You can't outlaw popular. Alcohol was popular, and we legalized it. Now, marijuana is popular, and we are legalizing it in more and more places..

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Taking the Power from the People Says You Don't Trust Their Vetting

   With yesterday's news came the most interesting development in all the recent history of the Republican Party. These Repubs are considering requiring potential candidates to sign a statement promising support of the party platform.
   Or the candidate can't run as a Republican.
   Oh, and the candidate would have to go through a vetting interview with someone from the party. You don't pass the interview, you don't run.
   'Tis late, and I don't have time to properly edit, nor even time to properly format this, but here are some thoughts I gave while discussing this on Facebook tonight.

 I am guessing the party will come around to Todd and Steve's reasoning. Vetting? That is what the election process is about. The Republican voters vet the candidates. It is the voters who should decide if they approve of the ideology of the candidates. If it is fine with the entire membership that the candidate favors allowing more immigrants, for example, then that is what the vetting process approves.

To take the power from the people is to say you don't trust the voters to do the vetting.

Freedom of thought, freedom to hold an opinion of ones own, and not that of the party leadership, is at stake. Oh, Cherilyn. You speak of shutting down freedom of speech. In a way, that is what this move does. It forces the candidate to think and act and talk only within the box given by the party leadership.

The republican form of government is a good one. It has not survived well. We were set up that we should be electing our president in a republican fashion, but we don't. That said, the republican from of government should not rob democracy. What belongs to the voters should not be taken from them.

What the party is proposing actually runs counter to the spirit of what a republican form of government seeks to achieve, to me. I view the value of having someone select the candidate for you to be that that person will weigh the candidate not on a predetermined list of standards given to the representative, but just using the wisdom the representative has. The elector uses his own wisdom and criteria, not something imposed upon him or her. You select a wise person to select the candidates, rather than giving him or her a list of standards and saying, in effect, You are not wise enough to pick a candidate just using your own wisdom, so use this list of requirement we are providing you.

Some organizations fit that description. I am not sure political parties do. I believe parties need to allow broader ideology. Question: If those who choose to affiliate with the party should be required to pledge to support all the things in the platform, then does this mean the the full membership should do the same? Should we require a voter to pledge not to cast a vote for a candidate who does not meet our standards? Do we say, You can't join the party unless you are with us on this and this and this and this?

Parties can have core values, but they run a danger when they insist membership comes off an assembly line on every issue.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I'm Thinking My Bill is Criminally too High

I'm facebooking this to the county attorney:

Hello, Sim. Don't laugh at me too hard. I'd like to file criminal charges against the hospital for overcharging me. I don't know if there is a law on the books that touches on this. I hope so. It does seem there should be some kind of statute against charging far beyond value of service. Sim, the price of medical care is one of our nation's biggest problems and constitutes a definite social injustice. Prices are, well, criminally too high. My case is but an example. Without having an operation, without them so much as diagnosing or sewing stitches in two broken lips, I was charged about $40,000. Insurance paid half, and I owe $19,600. Today, they threatened to turn it over to collections. Sim, along with all the other social issues we protest against, along with all the other things elected leaders need to fix, this is one of them. If the industry is breaking a law, and no one ever seeks that law out and makes them answer to it, they will continue to do it. All I'm asking is for you to review the laws, and consider if there are any that can be applied, and, if so, to help out me and a million others.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Lessons of History and the One Called Timothy McVeigh

   As we commemorated the 20th anniversary of the horrific Oklahoma City Bombing Sunday, did we stop to think what brought that event about, the mind-frame of the man who did it?
   Oh, horrors to us all, if we did pause. For, his thoughts were to a large extent the same as those of many Americans. The thoughts and beliefs that led him to do what he did, are thoughts and beliefs you likely share with him.
   I start to say, you don't need to feel culpable. But, indeed, society should feel culpable. Society lend him the spirit. It taught him the things he believed. It gave him the will and desire to do what he did.
   The very things you teach to others, were taught to him by others.
   Tim McVeigh simply believed we should get guns as a hedge against the chance a tyrannical government might rise up. That's the same belief you might have.
   And -- here's the kicker -- he believed the government already was tyrannical, same as you might think it is.
   If weapons are needed for the day the government gets tyrannical, and if that day has already arrived, what do you do?
   Well, some have said, You always reap, just what you sow. We sowed a dangerous seed, and we reaped a bad apple.
    And, some have said, Those who refuse to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it. Did we learn anything from the Oklahoma City Bombing, or, 20 years later, are we still sowing the seeds we sowed back then.
   I fear, we are only sowing them more.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Was it Prophesied that there Would be Many Atheists in the Last Days?

   As more and more turn to atheism, as I hear of projections that it might overtake Christianity as the world's top belief, I stumble into a a couple passages in 1 John 2 (verses 18 and 22) and wonder if we are not seeing the fulfilling of prophecy.
   Now, this won't be an easy prophecy to cite, for it suggests the end of times were back in the day just after Christ died. This passage I found is not the prophecy itself, but it contains reference to that prophecy. It suggests there had been a prophecy that many antiChrists would come in the last days. And four verses down, it says the antiChrists are those who deny the Father and the Son.
   That would be the atheists, among others.
   So, was there a prophecy that in the last days, there will be an abundance of people who do not believe in God, the Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ? Was there a prophecy that atheism would rise? I do not know, but it seems worthy of wondering. (And, after reading 2 John 1:7 and 1 John 4:3 -- where the same definition of antiChrist is given -- I wonder only the more.)
   Yes, it is true that some studies suggest atheism is faltering, not growing. You might suggest that undercuts the premise of what I am saying. For now, I will simply say, I do believe we live in a day in which many are turning from Christ and denying him. And, while I have read stories going both ways, some saying disbelief in God is not faltering, the weight of evidence provided by the articles saying disbelief is faltering is persuasive to me.
   As for the author of 1 John saying that that was the last of time, as opposed to either today, I wonder. Is it an example that the New Testament writers were not infallible, and that the author wrongly came to the conclusion it was the end of times?  I, frankly, have no major problem with that, if if John wrongly thought those were the end of times. But, I know many shall.
  Or is there another explanation, another reason he spoke of then as "the last time"? Was back then when the antiChrists were to be so many, not today?
   And, so I am left to wonder if I am seeing prophecy being fulfilled before my eyes. I do not know, but I wonder.

(Blog slightly reduced and altered 4/21/15.)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

If --

by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you 
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Two Kinds of People

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
There are two kinds of people on earth today,
Two kinds of people no more I say.
Not the good or the bad, for it's well understood,
The good are half bad, the bad are half good.
Not the happy or sad, for in the swift-flying years,
Bring each man his laughter, each man his tears.
Not the rich or the poor, for to count a man's wealth,
You must know the state of his conscience and health.
Not the humble and proud, for in life's busy span,
Who puts on vain airs is not counted a man.
No! the two kinds of people on earth I mean,
Are the people who lift, the people who lean.
Wherever you go you'll find the world's masses
Are ever divided into these two classes.
And, strangely enough, you will find, too, I mean,
There is only one lifter to twenty who lean.
In which class are you? Are you easing the load
Of the overtaxed lifters who toiled down the road?
Or are you a leaner who lets others bear,
Your portion of worry and labor and care?

Sermons We See

by Edgar Guest
I'd rather see a sermon 
than hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me
than merely tell the way.
The eye's a better pupil
and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing,
but example's always clear;
And the best of all the preachers
are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action
is what everybody needs.
I soon can learn to do it
if you'll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action,
but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver
may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lessons
by observing what you do;
For I might misunderstand you
and the high advice you give,
But there's no misunderstanding
how you act and how you live.
When I see a deed of kindness,
I am eager to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles
and a strong man stays behind
Just to see if he can help him,
then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful
as I know that friend to be.
And all travelers can witness
that the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells them,
but the one who shows the way.
One good man teaches many,
men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noticed
is worth forty that are told.
Who stands with men of honor
learns to hold his honor dear,
For right living speaks a language
which to every one is clear.
Though an able speaker charms me
with his eloquence, I say,
I'd rather see a sermon
than to hear one, any day.

The Touch of the Master's Hand

by Myra Brooks Welch
Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin,
but held it up with a smile; "What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?" "A dollar, a dollar"; then two!" "Only
two? Two dollars, and who'll make it three? Three dollars, once; three
dollars twice; going for three.." But no, from the room, far back, a
gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow; Then, wiping the dust
from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings, he played a melody
pure and sweet as caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low,
said; "What am I bid for the old violin?" And he held it up with the bow.
A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two? Two thousand! And who'll make
it three? Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, and going and
gone," said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, "We do not
quite understand what changed its worth." Swift came the reply: "The touch
of a master's hand."
And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin, A
"mess of pottage," a glass of wine; a game - and he travels on. "He is
going" once, and "going twice, He's going and almost gone." But the Master
comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand the worth of a soul
and the change that's wrought by the touch of the Master's hand.

Man Making

by Edwin Markham

Why build these buildings glorious
If man unbuilded goes?
In vain we build the world
Unless the builder also grows

We are blind until we see
That in the human plan
Nothing is worth the making if
It does not make the man.

Why build these cities glorious
If man unbuilded goes?
In vain we build the work unless
The builder also grows

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Home

by Edgar Guest
It takes a heap o' livin' in a house t' make it home,
A heap o' sun an' shadder, an' ye sometimes have t' roam
Afore ye really 'preciate the things ye lef' behind,
An' hunger fer 'em somehow, with 'em allus on yer mind.
It don't make any differunce how rich ye get t' be,
How much yer chairs an' tables cost, how great yer luxury;
It ain't home t' ye, though it be the palace of a king,
Until somehow yer soul is sort o' wrapped round everything.
Home ain't a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute;
Afore it's home there's got t' be a heap o' livin' in it;
Within the walls there's got t' be some babies born, and then
Right there ye've got t' bring 'em up t' women good, an' men;
And gradjerly, as time goes on, ye find ye wouldn't part
With anything they ever used -- they've grown into yer heart:
The old high chairs, the playthings, too, the little shoes they wore
Ye hoard; an' if ye could ye'd keep the thumb marks on the door.
Ye've got t' weep t' make it home, ye've got t' sit an' sigh
An' watch beside a loved one's bed, an' know that Death is nigh;
An' in the stillness o' the night t' see Death's angel come,
An' close the eyes o' her that smiled,
an' leave her sweet voice dumb.
Fer these are scenes that grip the heart,
an' when yer tears are dried,
Ye find the home is dearer than it was, an' sanctified;
An' tuggin' at ye always are the pleasant memories
O' her that was an' is no more -- ye can't escape from these.
Ye've got t' sing an' dance fer years, ye've got t' romp an' play,
An' learn t' love the things ye have by usin' 'em each day;
Even the roses 'round the porch must blossom year by year
Afore they 'come a part o' ye, suggestin' someone dear
Who used t' love 'em long ago, an' trained 'em jes' t' run
The way they do, so's they would get the early mornin' sun;
Ye've got t' love each brick an' stone from cellar up t' dome:
It takes a heap o' livin' in a house t' make it home.

Only Just a Minute

by Dr. Benjamin E. Mays

I have only just a minute,
Only sixty seconds in it.
Forced upon me, can't refuse it.
Didn't seek it, didn't choose it.
But it's up to me
to use it.
I must suffer if I lose it.
Give account if I abuse it.
Just a tiny little minute,
but eternity is in it.

Good Timber

by Douglas Malloch
The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.
The man who never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.
Good timber does not grow with ease:
The stronger wind, the stronger trees;
The further sky, the greater length;
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.
Where thickest lies the forest growth,
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life.

I Wonder if the Very Hands that Would Save Our Land, Will Slaughter it

   Sorrowful anniversary to ye all, as it was 20 years ago this day that Timothy McVeigh bombed the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. It was a shot that should have been heard round the world, but wasn't, a warning shot that -- despite the cost of 168 lives and the injury of more than 600 others -- went unheeded. Unfortunately, since that fateful day of April 19, 1995, we have only seen an increase in the attitudes that brought about the bombing. What led Timothy McVeigh to do what he did has only increased. His beliefs have become more accepted, more popular.
   You want this government to hang by a thread? It could if enough people hate it.
   McVeigh viewed the U.S. government as tyrannical and hoped to inspire a revolt against it. Are we to be so blind as to not realize this is just what we teach each other? On one hand, we teach that we must arm ourselves to the hilt and be wary lest our government become tyrannical. And on the other hand, we teach that it already is tyrannical. Now, there's a formula for trouble. Our own hands are against us, in this one.
  Some have said that if this land is to fall, it must fall from within. I wonder. I wonder if the very hands that would save it, will slaughter it.

Forgive Me When I Whine

by an unknown author

Today upon a bus I saw a lovely maiden with golden hair;
I envied her—so beautiful, and how, I wished I were so fair;
When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle;
She had one foot and wore a crutch,
but as she passed, she wore a smile
Oh God, forgive me when I whine,
I have two feet –the world is mine
And when I stopped to buy some sweets,
the lad who served me had such charm;
he seemed to radiate good cheer, his manner was so kind and warm;
I said, “it’s nice to deal with you, such courtesy I seldom find;”
He turned and said, “Oh, thank you sir.”
And then I saw that he was blind.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine,
I have two eyes, the world is mine.
Then when walking down the street,
I saw a child with eyes of blue;
He stood and watched the others play,
it seemed he knew not what to do;
I stopped a moment, then I said,
“Why don’t you join the others, dear?
He looked ahead without a word,
I realized –he could not hear.
Oh God, forgive me when I whine,
I have two ears, the world is mine
With feet to take me where I’d go,
with eyes to see the sunsets glow,
with ears to hear what I would know,
I am blessed indeed.
The world is mine Oh God, forgive me when I whine.

Sermons We See

by Edgar A. Guest
 

I'd rather see a sermon
than hear one any day,
I'd rather one would walk with me
than merely tell the way;

The eye's a better pupil
and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing,
but example's always clear;

The best of all the preachers
are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action
is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it,
if you'll let me see it done,
I can watch your hands in action,
your tongue too fast may run;

The lectures you deliver
may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lessons
by observing what you do;

I may not understand
the high advice you give,
But there's no misunderstanding
how you act and how you live.

We Learned It All In Kindergarten

by Robert Fulghum


Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandbox.

These are the things I learned. Save everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren't yours. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Live a balanced life. Learn some and think some, and draw and sing and dance and play and 
work every day some.

Take a nap in the afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up, and nobody really knows why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice — and even the little seed in the plastic cup — they all die. So do we.

And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK. Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The golden rule and love and basic sanitation. 
Ecology and politics and sane living.

Think of what a better world it would be if we all had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then laid down with our blankets for a nap. Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations always to put things back where we found them and 
cleaned up our own messes.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

It's the Journey that's Important

by: John McLeod


Life, sometimes so wearying
Is worth its weight in gold
The experience of traveling
Lends a wisdom that is old
Beyond our 'living memory'
A softly spoken prayer: 
"It's the journey that's important, 
Not the getting there!" 


Ins and outs and ups and downs
Life's road meanders aimlessly? 
Or so it seems, but somehow
Leads us where we need to be, 
And being simply human
We oft question and compare.... 
"Is the journey so important
Or the getting there?" 


And thus it's always been
That question pondered down the ages
By simple men with simple ways
To wise and ancient sages.... 
How sweet then, quietly knowing
Reaching destination fair: 
"It's the journey that's important, 
Not the getting there!" 

Climb 'Til Your Dream Comes True

by: Helen Steiner Rice


Often your tasks will be many,
And more than you think you can do.
Often the road will be rugged
And the hills insurmountable, too.
But always remember,
The hills ahead
Are never as steep as they seem,
And with Faith in your heart
Start upward
And climb 'til you reach your dream.
For nothing in life that is worthy
Is ever too hard to achieve
If you have the courage to try it,
And you have the faith to believe.
For faith is a force that is greater
Than knowledge or power or skill,
And many defeats turn to triumph
If you trust in God's wisdom and will.
For faith is a mover of mountains,
There's nothing that God cannot do,
So, start out today with faith in your heart,
And climb 'til your dream comes true!

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, 
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 
Then took the other, just as fair, 
And having perhaps the better claim, 
Because it was grassy and wanted wear; 
Though as for that passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black. 
Oh, I kept the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads to way, 
I doubted if I should ever come back. 
Somewhere ages and ages hence: 
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Success

by: Ralph Waldo Emerson


To laugh often and much; 
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; 
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; 
To appreciate beauty, 
To find the best in others, 
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, 
A garden patch or a redeemed social condition; 
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. 
This is to have succeeded.

The Victor

by: C. W. Longenecker


If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don't. 
If you like to win but think you can't, 
It's almost a cinch you won't. 
If you think you'll lose, you're lost. 
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow's will. 
It's all in the state of mind. 
If you think you are out classed, you are. 
You've got to think high to rise. 
You've got to be sure of your-self before
You can ever win the prize. 
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man. 
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.

Don't Quit

by Pam Fraser

When things go wrong as they sometimes will, 
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill, 
When funds are low and the debts are high, 
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh. 
When care is pressing you down a bit. 
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit. 
Life is queer with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns. 
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out: 
Don't give up though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow. 
Success is failure turned inside out -
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt. 
And you never can tell how close you are. 
It may be near when it seems so far: 
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

He's Just A Little Boy

by Bob Fox

He stands at the plate with his heart pounding fast. 
The bases are loaded, the die has been cast. 
Mom and Dad cannot help him, he stands all alone.
A hit at this moment would send his team home. 
The ball meets the plate, he swings and he misses. 
There's a groan from the crowd, with some boos and some hisses.

A thoughtless voice cries, "Strike out the bum." 
Tears fill his eyes, the game's no longer fun. 
So open up your heart and give him a break, 
For it's moments like this, a man you can make.
Please keep this in mind when you hear someone forget, 
He is just a little boy, and not a man yet.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Banks are the Parasites of the Poor

   Banks are the parasites of the poor. It is not just by investing our money, that the banks make their living, but by charging fees. If we overdraft, there's a fee. If we come up short on a loan, there's a fee.
    And, who overdrafts and who comes up short on payment of loans? Typically, it is the poorer folk. It leads me to wonder if this is true: In banking, the best customers are the ones who cannot pay their bills. In most other businesses, the last person you want to sell to is the person who won't be able to pay you. But, in banking . . .
   I think of the subprime mortgage crisis of about 2008. We've assumed the banks did not over extend the loans on purpose. But, now I wonder. I think of loan standards falling from 2004 to 2007. I think of high-risk customers, including undocumented immigrants, being brought in. Was any of this brought on by a thirst not to make money just off the loan itself, but to make it off those who would default?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Is Freedom to be Protected Only With a Gun?

 Is freedom to be protected only with a gun? Some how, I must believe there are also other ways to protect it. It was Mao Tse-Tung, and not George Washington, who said, "All political power comes from the barrel of a gun."
   I do wonder how it is the tool of oppression that becomes the tool of freedom. I would that we also consider on the other things that protect us. Few nations have won their liberty without the use of a gun, it is true, but please note they have won nothing if they have not a mindset to keep it.
   I do not see the gun as the first line of defense. It, rather, is what you must resort to when other things have failed. And, what are these other things? The civic diligence of a community is one. If you have a citizenry involving itself in the political spectrum, in studying the issues, and in ensuring freedom not just to themselves, but to others, you create an atmosphere that resists being overthrown.
   I wonder but what the righteousness of a nation is also a factor, for I believe God blesses a people who are righteous.
   Thirdly, not just having freedom of speech, but using it for good, is a protection upon a nation. Speaking out against injustice and evil, using gentle persuasion and love in the convincing of neighbors, teaching others not to have evil attitudes -- these things reduce the odds of oppression from rising up in your midst.
  


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

If ISIS is Eight Miles from Our Border, What are Doing to Stop it?

   Fox News, among others, is reporting Islamic State forces are within eight miles of our southern border. I would guess the report might not be true, for, if it were, it seems every news outlet would be on the story.
 Still, supposing it is true, what should the U.S. do? If the State Department and Department and Homeland Security have verified it, what is the proper action? Immediate deployment of troops all along the border? And, if so, how to we keep our troops from becoming targets? Or, do we fill the skies with surveillance and attack aircraft, though keeping them out of reach of possible missiles?
  Or, do we handle this as we do any other illegal border entry?  I would hope not. To put all border crossings in same bucket is blind. Surely, we can see the need to divide the entry of terrorists and criminals from the entry of farmers and laborers.
   For this threat (ISIS), I like the idea of the fly-overs. And, it would be nice to have a timely invention. How about a battery of cameras capable of taking pictures of every stretch of ground in the swath of the jet as it passes over? And, a computer that analyzes the pictures on the spot and identifies humans and gives the coordinates for them? While we may not have such a thing, I would not be surprised if the technology exists to create it. It would have been wonderful to have had such a thing as we deployed planes in Iraq recently.
 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

States Might, After all, Deserve a Say on Immigration

   Okay, the Constitution gives Congress power over naturalization, and in the past, I've assumed that means over immigration, but does it?
   Considering on it tonight, it occurs to me naturalization means just that, naturalization -- rules on how to be naturalized -- once you are already here. It isn't referring to rules on coming here, just to rules on how to be naturalized once you are here.
   I've thought on our first citizenship laws, of how they don't say immigrants can't come, but rather how they just spell out what they shall do once they are here be naturalized. I've wondered that many of the founding fathers may not have even had the thought that people would be restricted from coming here.
   So, if Article 1, Section 8 is referring only to naturalization (granting Congress power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization), and not to immigration, itself, then what of the 10th Amendment, where it says, the powers the Constitution does not delegate to the federal government, if they be not prohibited to the states, are then reserved to the states and to the people.
   Are there other parts in the Constitution that weigh on the issue? How about Article 4, Section 3, where it says Congress shall have power to make needful rules concerning the territory and property belonging to the U.S. and nothing else in the Constitution shall be construed as to prejudice any claims of the U.S., or -- get this -- of any particular state. My thought is, that gives both Congress and the states power.
   Or, how about Article I, Section 9? There it says, the migration and importation of whatever persons the state shall think proper to admit shall not be prohibited by Congress prior to the year 1808. Perhaps that was written with a thought that slavery would someday be prohibited. Still, it carries the weight of giving states the right to bring such persons as they "think proper to admit," unless Congress says otherwise.  The trick with this clause, though, is that Congress, indeed, has ruled against much of our immigration.
   It can be argued, though, that this clause does not stand against the 10th Amendment's giving the right to the states. I say this because it was arguably written to restrict no more immigration than the forced immigration of the slaves.




Monday, April 13, 2015

Alas, Nothing is More American than Picking a Fault and Poking a Stick

   If America were a nation of charity, many of our problems would be swept away. If Americans felt charitable, one towards another, the wonderfulness of our country would be exceeding.
   But, it is a charm we do not have. America is great in many ways, but we are not a nation that thinks kindly one toward another. We bicker and bite at each other, we find fault, we accuse, we assail, libel and slander each other.
   No, we are not charitable, one with another. Each looks to find something wrong. Pick a fault and poke a stick.
  Republicans hate democrats, Democrats hate Republicans, and each considers the other without moral character. Nor is it just in politics that our hatred is displayed. We find fault with co-workers and with neighbors. It sometimes seems we can't do something as simple as going to the gas station, without finding fault with the gas attendant. We complain about the other drivers on the roads and we complain about the boss not giving us a big enough Christmas bonus.
   Pick a fault and poke a stick.
   I am not so sure this isn't the greatest flaw in our nation, our hatred, one to another.
   There is a better way. If you don't have to feel ill toward another person, don't do it. Don't criticize their job performance, their character, or how they do or do not take out the trash, or the way the do or do not wash the dishes, or how they drive down the street.
   Not to say there are not times when we should. There are times when things do need to be corrected. But, it should be, find a fault, and fix it, not, find a fault and poke a stick.