Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

We want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

And a safe holiday. If you're traveling, be careful. Drive carefully.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Should Proprietors of "Gun-Free Zones" Where Shootings Occur Be Shielded From Liability?

This columnist laments the fact that the vast majority of media reports of incidents like these rarely ask why these shootings most often occur in "gun free zones", but he also advocates that those who block peoples rights to self-defense, and therefore their right to life deserve to pay a financial penalty.

From an op-ed column in the Las Vegas Review by Vin Suprynowicz:

Nebraska issues permits "allowing" qualified individuals to carry concealed handguns. (The Second and 14th amendments reaffirm that carrying a weapon is a right, not a privilege -- states have no more legitimate power to require a "permit" for weapons carrying than they have to require a "permit" to attend church or publish a newspaper.)

Leaving aside this "permitting" scheme, Nebraska law allows property owners, such as the Westroads Mall, to post signs banning permit holders from legally carrying guns on their property.


The question is not whether private property owners have a right to bar firearms on their property -- they do.


Rather, the first question here is whether our government agencies are making it fully clear to the managers of buildings otherwise open to the public -- such as Clark County's courthouses and public libraries -- that they will not be shielded from the financial repercussions should employees or customers die under circumstances where they could otherwise have defended themselves and others with their own firearms.


If you frequent public buildings or work for an employer who bars you from carrying your otherwise legal self-defense weapon, consider advising your loved ones in writing that -- in the event you should die under circumstances where you could have saved yourself and others with your handgun -- you want the proprietor sued personally.

Guns save lives. Since banning guns costs lives, shouldn't the individuals who ban self-defense -- not the victimized taxpayers -- pay the price?

It's an interesting column. Read the whole thing.

By the way, I've put up a poll over on the sidebar. If you have an opinion regarding proprietor liability, be sure to vote.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We Can Barely Predict the Weather--Yet We Want to Control the Climate?

From a report published in the Canada Free Press:

Climate scientists at the University of Rochester, the University of Alabama, and the University of Virginia report that observed patterns of temperature changes (‘fingerprints’) over the last thirty years are not in accord with what greenhouse models predict and can better be explained by natural factors, such as solar variability. Therefore, climate change is ‘unstoppable’ and cannot be affected or modified by controlling the emission of greenhouse gases, such as CO2, as is proposed in current legislation.

These results are in conflict with the conclusions of the
United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and also with some recent research publications based on essentially the same data. However, they are supported by the results of the US-sponsored Climate Change Science Program (CCSP).

The report is published in the December 2007 issue of the International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society [DOI: 10.1002/joc.1651]. The authors are Prof. David H. Douglass (Univ. of Rochester), Prof. John R. Christy (Univ. of Alabama), Benjamin D. Pearson (graduate student), and Prof. S. Fred Singer (Univ. of Virginia).

Co-author S. Fred Singer said: "The current warming trend is simply part of a natural cycle of climate warming and cooling that has been seen in ice cores, deep-sea sediments, stalagmites, etc., and published in hundreds of papers in peer-reviewed journals. The mechanism for producing such cyclical climate changes is still under discussion; but they are most likely caused by variations in the solar wind and associated magnetic fields that affect the flux of cosmic rays incident on the earth’s atmosphere. In turn, such cosmic rays are believed to influence cloudiness and thereby control the amount of sunlight reaching the earth’s surface and thus the climate." Our research demonstrates that the ongoing rise of atmospheric CO2 has only a minor influence on climate change. We must conclude, therefore, that attempts to control CO2 emissions are ineffective and pointless. – but very costly.

So--we can barely predict the weather 5 days out, and we want to control the climate. We'll bring back the Dark Ages before that happens.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Proud Day For New Jersey--And New Jersey Murderers.

AP photo/M J Schear

New Jersey Democrats: Proudly working to defend the rights of New Jersey's murderers.

New Jersey’s governor Jon Corzine signed legislation banning the death penalty today and commuted the sentences of 8 convicted murderers to life imprisonment without parole.

Families of murdered victims opposed the legislation, and Republicans had sought exceptions for murderers of law enforcement officials and those who murdered rape victims and children. Democrat legislators would have none of that.

Read the AP Story here.

Capital Punishment for capital crimes. If a killer is put to death, he will never kill again. There is genuine deterrent value in that fact alone.

Google ads vs. "my" ads.

Again, let me remind you that I have no control over Google ads that appear at the top of this blog, so they don’t necessarily represent my point of view.

However, ads that appear in the sidebar are there because I placed them there, and I heartily endorse those products, businesses and people.

So far, I have never received any monetary consideration for ad space on my blog. However, I'm not saying that will never change.

Okay, I'll admit it--I have issues. Here they are.

"Anthropogenic Climate Change" Activism is a Socialistic Fraud. We’ll bring back the Dark Ages before we control the climate or have any appreciable effect on climate change.

Gun Control/Second Amendment/Gun Rights/Self-Defense: Law abiding citizens have the right to keep and bear arms. "Bear arms" means to carry firearms. Law abiding citizens have a constitutional right to carry guns. Disarmed citizens aren’t citizens at all, but rather are unarmed subjects of a tyrannical government and potential victims at the mercy of criminals and thugs. Law abiding citizens have a natural right, indeed a moral obligation to defend themselves, their families, their homes and property from harm, theft, destruction or mischief.

Main Stream Media Bias/Liberal Dominated Old Media/New Media/First Amendment Freedoms–The First Amendment was designed primarily to protect the rights of citizens to free speech and free exercise of religious liberties, not as the media would have us believe, to protect the rights of an elite "professional" media. Because the media is dominated by liberals and Democrats, it has morphed into a bizarre , unelected "fourth branch of government" that has arrogated to itself the exercise of checks and balances on the "other" three branches. They have a liberal agenda to push, and they don’t let little things like facts get in their way.

Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act/Campaign Finance Reform/McCain-Feingold/Term Limits/Usurpation of First Amendment Freedoms–This act didn’t do what is was touted to do, keep big money and big donors out of the political campaign financing process and prevent them from buying political influence. People have quickly found ways around those provisions. Instead the BCRA very effectively curtails First Amendment liberties and entrenches a permanent class of professional politicians in Congress by making it extremely difficult for challengers to get elected. It makes it virtually illegal to mention incumbent Congressional members by name in campaign ads within 60 days of a Congressional election. Congress never should have passed this law, but they knew it was an incumbent protection law disguised as campaign finance reform. President George W. Bush should have vetoed this travesty of a bill, but cravenly chose not to fight Congress and signed the legislation. The Supreme Court should have overturned it on the grounds that it abridges First Amendment freedoms, but they tucked their robes between their legs and fled. The American people were betrayed by all three branches of the government in this case. Checks and balances were non-existent when it came to the BCRA. McCain/Feingold should be repealed and term limits set and imposed, but it won’t happen because Congress is a den of thieves.

Government is too big and Taxes are too high. Democrats have always been "tax and spend". Republicans have touted themselves as being conservative and fiscally responsible, but lately have been "spend and spend". Pork Barrel politics has got to end. Congress is a den of thieves.

The Constitution means what it says and says what it means. It’s not a "living document" with hidden meanings and rights emanating from "penumbrae" or any other absurd gyrations of elitist rhetoric.

Capital punishment for capital crimes. If a killer is put to death he will never kill again. There is genuine deterrent value in that fact alone.

Hate crimes legislation is bad policy because it divides society into protected and non-protected classes of citizens vying for political clout, and negates "equal protection under the law". With the deplorable backlog of cases in America’s courts, there’s the genuine possibility that "hate crimes" against minorities and homosexuals would be given prosecutorial priority, while equally serious crimes against "non-protected" classes of victims would languish in the backlog.

The Long War/The Global War On Terror/National Security, etc. We need to fight all forms of tyranny, especially Islamofacism and terrorism, not surrender to it.

The problems with Social Security can be alleviated significantly if Congress will do one thing: Refrain from plundering the funds to finance pork. Put the money in a fund to pay current and future entitlements and don’t touch it for any other purpose. That condition by itself would go a long way toward fixing the problem. But Congress is a den of thieves, and they can’t resist taking money that doesn’t belong to them.

Earthly legislatures have no authority to repeal the laws and commandments of God.

The Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:3-17) are good rules to live by.
1. Don’t worship other gods.
2. Don’t make or use any image for the purpose of worship.
3. Don’t profane the name of God.
4. Keep the Sabbath.
5. Treat your parents honorably and respectfully.
6. Don’t commit murder.
7. Don’t commit adultery, fornication or other sexual sin.
8. Don’t take what isn’t yours, neither through embezzlement, fraud, thievery, burglary or robbery, or any other exercise of unrighteous dominion.
9. Be honest and truthful in all your dealings.
10. Don’t covet what doesn’t belong to you, neither wealth, property, political power or personal relationships.

I’m not saying that the Ten Commandments should be incorporated lock stock and barrel into our civil code. However, legislatures and courts should cease and desist from waging war on religion and religious expression in the public square.

The basic building block of society is the family, and families are built on the foundation of marriage. I support a Constitutional amendment stipulating that marriage is between one man and one woman. If gays want to live together in "social unions" or whatever, I’m okay with that. But don’t call it marriage or give it the same legal status.

Gays should have the right to serve openly in the military as long as heterosexual servicemen’s rights are protected equally. Any sexual harassment or quid pro quo should be prosecuted and guilty perpetrators dismissed from the service without pension benefits.

Abortion for convenience is wrong and immoral. It’s pre-natal infanticide and a deliberate violation of the Sixth Commandment.

If tissues and organs can be grown without killing fetuses, I’m for it. But why should research be paid for by taxpayer dollars? Again, government is too big and taxes are too high.

The United Nations Opposes Democracy and Rights to Self-Defense or Individual Gun Rights. It has morphed into a dictator’s club and den of thieves where human rights are routinely trampled and abused. We should quit funding the UN, withdraw from membership and expel it from our shores.

The Law of the Sea Treaty surrenders U.S. sovereignty. Our government should not be a party to it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Update: Dutch Ryan Petersen

Born Monday 10 December 2007, 1:04 a.m.

7 lbs. 5 oz. 19 inches.

He looks healthy, ruddy and robust. We're thrilled.

GLOBAL WARMING--It's Not About Saving the Planet.

The “Anthropogenic Climate Change ” movement is not about saving the planet from catastrophic pollution and disaster. It’s about political power and redistribution of wealth. It’s a socialist scam. What it will do is bring an end to industrial progress and prosperity, create massive worldwide poverty and therefore a (perceived) need for more socialist programs. It’s at it’s heart nihilistic. It’s in no way beneficial to mankind or the planet.

BALI, Indonesia – A global tax on carbon dioxide emissions was urged to help save the Earth from catastrophic man-made global warming at the United Nations climate conference. A panel of UN participants on Thursday urged the adoption of a tax that would represent "a global burden sharing system, fair, with solidarity, and legally binding to all nations."

"Finally someone will pay for these [climate related] costs," Othmar Schwank, a global tax advocate, told Inhofe EPW Press Blog following the panel discussion titled "A Global CO2 Tax." Schwank is a consultant with the Switzerland based Mauch Consulting firm.

Schwank said at least "$10-$40 billion dollars per year" could be generated by the tax, and wealthy nations like the U.S. would bear the biggest burden based on the "polluters pay principle."

The U.S. and other wealthy nations need to "contribute significantly more to this global fund," Schwank explained. He also added, "It is very essential to tax coal."

The UN was presented with a new report from the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment titled "Global Solidarity in Financing Adaptation." The report stated there was an "urgent need" for a global tax in order for "damages [from climate change] to be kept from growing to truly catastrophic levels, especially in vulnerable countries of the developing world."

The tens of billions of dollars per year generated by a global tax would "flow into a global Multilateral Adaptation Fund" to help nations cope with global warming, according to the report.

But others are raising their voices in opposition to a global tax, claiming that it's futile.

However, ideas like a global tax and the overall UN climate agenda met strong opposition Thursday from a team of over 100 prominent international scientists who warned the UN that attempting to control the Earth's climate was "ultimately futile."

The scientists wrote, "The IPCC's conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions." The scientists, many of whom are current or former members of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), sent the December 13 letter to the UN Secretary-General.

Others let it slip what it's really all about: redistribution of wealth.

The environmental group Friends of the Earth, in attendance in Bali, also advocated the transfer of money from rich to poor nations on Wednesday.

"A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources," said Emma Brindal, a climate justice campaigner coordinator for Friends of the Earth.

This is incredible bald faced insanity. Read the whole thing. And check out all the links.

Friday, December 14, 2007


When I was in my first marriage I started putting money into the company employee savings plan, a 401(k). After a few months we got a statement in the mail, and for the first time, my wife became aware that we had $900.00 tucked away in that plan. She wanted that money, and she pestered me and hounded me to get it out for over two months. I told her that the taxes and penalties for early withdrawal would cost us $300, but she didn’t care. I finally relented, withdrew the money, and she took the $600 and "paid off the Mastercard", or something like that. And I forgot about putting money away in the company savings plan.

That woman and I parted company a few years later at her request, and the first thing I did was to start putting money away in the company 401(k) again. With the company match, and by watching and managing my investments carefully, that nest egg grew until four years ago when I was able to combine it with a company buy-out and retire comfortably at the age of 56.

I regretted that our marriage ended the way it did, but some things are just not meant to be. If I had stayed in that marriage, I’d be over 60 years old now, with no savings and no prospects for a comfortable retirement. I didn’t see it then, but when she demanded a divorce, it was my lucky day.

I remarried 11 years ago, to a lovely woman who had never been married before. She had always managed her own financial affairs, and we never even thought about merging our bank accounts or other financial matters. In fact, we’d been married for four years before it occurred to me that I should put her on the company health insurance, and she should do the same with me where she worked, and we’d be double covered. And because she’s always maintained a stellar credit rating, when it came time to find a home, we were able to finance the purchase of a brand new home with no income other than our monthly withdrawals from our retirement funds.

Marriage is a partnership, and ideally, it should be one that works for both parties. Saving should be a part of that partnership, and saving for retirement should be part of your saving strategy.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda, did. Thank heaven.

Announcing a New Arrival, Baby Dutch.

Some time earlier this week, we hear, our new grandson arrived.
As you can see, he has lots of curly blond hair.

His name is Dutch. Other than that we don't know much about him. We haven't heard anything of birth weight or length, or even the time and date of birth. We'll see if we can find out more.

A couple of years ago their mother gave birth to twins, a boy and girl, who were premature. They didn't survive, and we were all heartbroken. Naturally we're thrilled that this little guy was born full term and appears healthy, even robust.

Welcome, little one.

Update: Incidentally, for more details about our other recent arrival, grandson Elmer Kai Barrientos, check out my daughter Noelle's blog.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

National Review Endorses Mitt.

You read that right. National Review has endorsed Mitt Romney. Yes, I agree. It's a big deal.

From the endorsement essay:

We believe that Romney is a natural ally of social conservatives. He speaks often about the toll of fatherlessness in this country. He may not have thought deeply about the political dimensions of social issues until, as governor, he was confronted with the cutting edge of social liberalism. No other Republican governor had to deal with both human cloning and court-imposed same-sex marriage. He was on the right side of both issues, and those battles seem to have made him see the stakes of a broad range of public-policy issues more clearly. He will work to put abortion on a path to extinction. Whatever the process by which he got to where he is on marriage, judges, and life, we’re glad he is now on our side — and we trust him to stay there.

For some people, Romney’s Mormonism is still a barrier. But we are not electing a pastor. The notion that he will somehow be controlled by Salt Lake City or engaged in evangelism for his church is outlandish. He deserves to be judged on his considerable merits as a potential president. As he argued in his College Station speech, his faith informs his values, which he has demonstrated in both the private and public sectors. In none of these cases have any specific doctrines of his church affected the quality of his leadership. Romney is an exemplary family man and a patriot whose character matches the high office to which he aspires.

More than the other primary candidates, Romney has President Bush’s virtues and avoids his flaws. His moral positions, and his instincts on taxes and foreign policy, are the same. But he is less inclined to federal activism, less tolerant of overspending, better able to defend conservative positions in debate, and more likely to demand performance from his subordinates. A winning combination, by our lights. In this most fluid and unpredictable Republican field, we vote for Mitt Romney.

Hat tip: Matt Drudge and Hugh Hewitt.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Ward Christmas Party (With Santa Claus).

Last night was the ward Christmas party. I took pictures. We had a special visitor, and most the kids were thrilled. Here a charming little girl tells Santa she's not only cute, but good, too.

"Hey, weren't you just here?"

"No, that wasn't me, honest!"

This little guy's shirt read "Dear Santa, Define Good..."

This little guy was having none of this Santa Claus business. Give him a scary Jack O'Lantern and trick or treat any day.

This little boy, a twin, tried to bribe Santa with money.

This charming little girl explains to Santa all the things that are on her list.

This little girl thought Santa was pretty entertaining.

This little guy was thrilled to show Santa what was on his list.

There are lots more pictures over at the R T W photoblog. Check it out.

Friday, December 7, 2007


Here’s my choice for Miss America, Sgt. Jill Stevens, a decorated combat medic and veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan.

Hat tip: Gateway Pundit.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Paul Greenberg Calls Bubba On His Revisionist Memory.

In a recent post I referred to an ABC News story that quoted Bill Clinton as saying he’d always been opposed to the war in Iraq, but offered evidence to the contrary.

Paul Greenberg has an article online at the Jewish World Review which he calls "Slick Willie Rides Again", and in which he goes into more detail.

Was his ex-post-facto support for that war just an innocent lapse of memory, or of character? Me, I've always had the greatest respect for Bill Clinton's memory.

Now he's back playing games with the past again. But never fear, should the long light of history reveal that in the end this long, long struggle in Iraq has bolstered freedom and stability in that always-volatile part of the world, rest assured, Bill Clinton will have been for it all along.

It's well worth reading the whole thing.

The Face of Facism: Sudanese Muslims Call For Teacher's Execution in Blasphemy Case

Thousands of Muslims gathered in Khartoum's Martyr's Square and demanded the death of a British school teacher convicted of blasphemy because she allowed her students to name a toy bear after Islam's most highly esteemed prophet.

Gillian Gibbons was sentenced by the court to 15 days in jail and deportation. The maximum penalty under Sudanese law is 6 months in jail, a fine and deportation. But protesters gathered in the square and chanted: "No tolerance! Kill her. Kill her by firing squad!" and "Shame on the U.K." Even her defense attorneys have received death threats.

Gibbons had allowed her 7 year old class members to vote on names for the toy. Their overwhelming choice was Muhammed.

The school where she worked regrets her deportation because she was a good teacher.

So Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance? I don't think so. And I don't think this is the end of the story. Before this blows over, someone will die at the hands of some fanatical nut job in the name of Islamic honor. These people don't teach or practice tolerance and love, but they glorify hate, practice intolerance and preach murder. Despicable.

And by the way, calling the haters on their hatred does not make me an Islamophobe, nor a hater. But I do despise this silly uproar over a teacher's minor faux pas. It's taking political correctness to ridiculous extremes. Capital punishment for capital crimes. To borrow a phrase from HRC, this requires the "willing suspension of disbelief."

You can read the A. P. story here.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Freshly Picked

All photos for this post were provided by Susan Petersen

My daughter-in-law, Susan Petersen has gone into business for herself. She sews handmade blankets, quilts, diaper bags, handbags, baby clothes and lots of other stuff. She calls her little business "Freshly Picked", and she has a website. Check it out. If you like what you see, be sure to leave a comment and tell her I sent you.

Here's a sampling of things that she has made and posted on her blog. I'm sure a lot of the items you see here have already been sold, but this should give you a good idea of the kind of things she sews. She doesn't have a store but works at home and goes to bazaars and farmers markets and she's been quite successful.

She'll be at the Beehive Bazaar in Provo on next Friday and Saturday, Nov. 30th and Dec. 1st. The address is 425 W. Center St. It's the Covey Center for the Arts. The hours for Friday are 10 a.m. till 9 p.m. and for Saturday it's open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you see her, tell her I said hi.

Here's her contact information:

Susan Petersen

801 502-6623

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

BYU Cougar Fight Song Ad

For four days after the Utah-BYU football game Google has taunted me by posting an ad for the Utah Utes Fight Song ringtone on my blog.

Finally, tonight, they post one for the BYU Cougar Fight Song. 'BOUT TIME!!!

Papa Jack's Bacon Chili Cheese Nachos

1/2 can Nalley’s Chili Con Carne with beans
1 generous fistful of nacho or tortilla style corn chips
2 slices of bacon
1 tsp of Tabsco Habanero Sauce
3 or 4 slices of sharp cheddar cheese
1 generous dollop of sour cream
1 generous dollop of salsa

Put the bacon on a paper plate, cover with a paper towel and nuke in the microwave for 2 minutes.

Pour half the can of chili in a large cup or small microwaveable bowl, cover with paper towel and nuke for 1 minute.

Cut bacon into bite size pieces and mix into chili and Tabasco Habanero Sauce. If preferred, mix bacon grease into chili. Nuke for another minute or so.

Place corn chips on plate and break into bite size pieces.Pour chili and bacon over chips, place cheese over chili and nuke until cheese is melted.

Top with generous dollop of sour cream and another of salsa.

Accompany with preferred beverage. Mine is Diet Dr Pepper.


Serves one.

If you want more, use the whole can of chili and double up on everything else.

Double yum!!

Yes, like is good.

Bill Stumps For Hill, Claims He Was Always Against the Iraq War. Huh?

That’s what he said yesterday while campaigning for his wife in Iowa. But other people’s memories aren’t quite so fuzzy, and they’re saying "Not so fast!"

From ABC News via Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters come the following:

"So, you're sitting there as President, you're reeling in the aftermath of [September 11], so, yeah, you want to go get bin Laden and do Afghanistan and all that. But you also have to say, well, my first responsibility now is to try everything possible to make sure that this terrorist network and other terrorist networks cannot reach chemical and biological weapons or small amounts of fissile material. I've got to do that. That's why I supported the Iraq thing." ("His Side Of The Story," Time, 6/28/04)

"'Saddam is gone and good riddance,' former President Bill Clinton said yesterday. Clinton also said Bush should not be faulted if banned weapons of mass destruction aren't found. 'I don't think you can criticize the President for trying to act on the belief that they have a substantial amount of chemical and biological stock. ... That is what I was always told.'" (Joel Siegel, "W Fought A Good Fight, Clinton Says," [New York] Daily News, 4/16/03)

"I supported the president when he asked the Congress for authority to stand up against weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." (Former President Bill Clinton, Remarks At Tougaloo College Commencement, Jackson, MS, 5/18/03)

And then this comment from Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters blog:

Those who profess an undefinable discomfort with a Clinton return to power may find more definition for that discomfort after this display. It's not the equivocation that has people squirming; it's the ease with which Bill Clinton can issue flat-out lies. In fact, the fact that he issues such researchable and exposable lies and still has the chutzpah to use them on the stump that may worry people most of all. Does he really think that the media will allow those statements to go unchallenged?

The pattern here is really unmistakable. In the early days of the war, Bill had no problem climbing onto the Bush bandwagon, claiming support for the war. Now that it has proven as unpopular as it is, Bill wants to rewrite history and claim that he always opposed it, despite his record of public support. He will say anything to match up with the public sentiment of the moment, showing himself as a man completely without reliable principles.

That's the problem for Hillary, who almost completely lacks his campaigning skills and needs his assistance in connecting to voters. Her reliance on his campaigning winds up associating herself with his lack of honesty and credibility. When his slickness combines with her high negatives, Democrats should consider the likely result -- a general-election disaster.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm In Business!

I designed this business card for my neighbor, who's a realtor. She provided the logo, the slogan and the pretty face. I provided the house key and did the photography and the Photoshop work. What do you think? Would you buy a home from this lady?

The black border does not appear on the card. I just added it for the purposes of this blog.

"Gun Owners Are Cowards And Idiots."

The bottom line is this - If you feel that you couldn't live in a major city without a gun, then you live in fear. And there's a word for people who live in fear. The word is "Coward." And Coward + Gun = Dangerous Idiot.

Got that? If you live in a large city, and you have a gun, you must be a coward, and also an idiot. A dangerous idiot.

The tortured logic is astounding.

I read the above comment in a blog called Classical Values. The post was about Barack Obama's recent comment about people in rural Iowa being likely to need guns but city dwellers neither need nor should be allowed to own guns. Most commenters agreed that Mr. Obama was up in the night, except for the very last commenter.

Guns are dangerous and evil. If you live in a large city and own a gun, you must be a coward and a dangerous idiot. I'm still trying to get my head around that.

People, guns don't kill people. Gun control laws kill people by disarming the law abiding public and guaranteeing career criminals a safe work environment.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Google Ads

I've posted before about the fact that the Google ads that appear on this blog don't necessarily represent my views. Ever since I blogged about the BYU-Utah football game, they've been running the Utah Utes Fight Song ad. I think they're taunting me at Google. How about "Rise and Shout, the Cougars Are Out"?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Utah at BYU

1st quarter

The defenses have come to play. At 1:18 there’s no score.

Max Hall is not on. He’s only completed about 2 or 3 passes with one pick on the 16 yardline. BYU got it back on a pick and then Harvey Unga broke loose on a running play out to the 48. On a subsequent play Unga fumbled, but the Utes couldn’t move the ball and wound up punting.

End 1st quarter Utah 0, BYU 0

2nd quarter

BYU starts out moving the ball mostly on the strength of Harvey Unga carries.
BYU’s passing game isn’t clicking.
8:39 left in the half and Utah held BYU to a 47 yd field goal attempt that went wide left. BYU’s weak kicking game is a factor already.
BYU got a pass interception at the 40 yard line by Matt Bauman.

Austin Collie tried a halfback pass that was incomplete. Matt Allen was the intended receiver who was triple covered. The pass floated and the defensive backs caught up to Collie.

BYU gets first and 10 near the 10 on a pass to Manase Tonga.

Utah held the Cougars to a field goal attempt on fourth from the 2. The 22 yard attempt by Mitch Payne was good.

UofU 0 BYU 3

Double reverse by Utah loses 4 yds
Long pass by Johnson goes incomplete.

Utah called for dead ball unsportsmanlike after punting. Fair catch on BYU’s 18 + 15 yd penalty puts the ball on BYU 33 yard line 1st and 10.

Harvey Unga limps off field, there goes BYU’s running game Max Hall 8 for 19 with one pick so far
After a long gain unsportsmanlike conduct on BYU for tossing the ball to a Ute. Taunting, I guess.

Touchdown pass to Austin Collie but Collie called for pass interference. 15 yard penalty.
Looked like a picky call to me.

Long pass to Matt Allen incomplete. The Ute pushed Allen as he tried to make the catch. No PI call.
BYU punts, Utes take a knee.
At the Half Utah 0 BYU 3
2 turnovers apiece

3rd quarter

BYU’s kickoff is out of bounds, a common occurrence for BYU. Utes get the ball at their 35.

Utah converts on 3rd down for the first time today.
Another pass for another first down at the BYU 37.
Another good running play on first down picks up 9 yds.
First and 10 at BYU’s 24.
First down play nets another first down at BYU’s 13.
First down play nets 8 yds to BYU’s 6.
Holding penalty on 2nd down backs ball up to BYU’s 16, 2nd and 13. Option keeper gets the ball to the 11.
3rd down play Jan Jorgensen sacks Johnson.
Utes have to go for a 35 yd f.g. is good. So Utah scores on their first possession of the 2nd half.

9:45 Utah 3 BYU 3
Austin Collie returns kickoff to BYU 26.
Unga carries on first down for 2 yds.
2nd down pass to Collie dropped, incomplete.
3rd down pass good for 7 yds, not long enough for a first down.
BYU punts. Utah fair catches on the Utah 27 yardline. 8:05 left in the 3rd.

1st down option run to the right for 3 yds
2nd down counter trap for 5 yds.
3rd down Johnson keeps for no gain.
4th down Utah punts. Mohuica fair catches on BYU’s 28.

BYU 1st down on BYU 28 Unga carries followed by a quick snap running play for 1st down. TV missed the play while interviewing someone on the sideline.

1st down at BYU’s 41 pass to Unga for big gain.

1st down at Utah 32 yardline run for 2 yds.
2nd and 8 at 30 pass to Pitta good for first and goal at 10

1st down at Utah’s 10 yardline. Unga carries to the 7.
2nd down run carry by Seminoff for 2
3rd and goal Max in the gun pass incomplete Pitta wants PI but no flags thrown.
4th down Mitch Payne’s 22 yard field goal attempt is good.
Utah 3 BYU 6

BYU kickoff return pitched back by Utah with penalty for block in the back. Utah will start at the 6.
1st down Johnson in gun tries to pass then runs to the 13.
2nd down Mack runs left for a loss of three.
3rd down false start, half the distance,
Repeat 3rd down from the 6 false start again half the distance. Crowd noise must be bothering the Utes.
Repeat 3d down from the 6 Johnson can’t find anybody and scrambles to the 10 yardline.
4th down Utah punts from the end zone Muhuica returns to the BYU 43 yardline.

BYU 1st down pass incomplete.
2nd down Unga runs to the Utah 49.

End of quarter
Utah 3 BYU6

4th quarter

BYU 3rd down at Utah 49 4 to go. Max hall in shotgun throw to Collie at Utah 41.

1st down pass to Michael Reed for big gain down sideline to Utah 24 yardline.

1st down pass incomplete to Matt Allen, who complains to the official that he was held by the defender.
2nd down run by Tonga to the Utah 17 yardline.
3d down and 4 to go. Pass to end zone incomplete. Pitta complains to the official.
4th down f.g. attempt by Mitch Payne is good.

Utah 3 BYU 9

BYU isn’t getting the touchdowns it’s going to need to win this game. But then, so far, Utah isn’t getting them either.

Payne kicks off and Utah returns to their 25.

Utah 1st down pass to Richards for 7 yds.
2nd down pass complete for 1st down

1st down at Utah 42 run by Mack for 6 yds.
2nd down at Utah 48. Pass to outlet back tackled for loss of one
3rd down and 5 pass complete to Godfrey for a first down.

1st down at BYU 44 Johnson throws a high incomplete pass, receiver blasted by a Cougar while in the air. No penalty called.
2nd down pass for no gain.
3rd down and 10 long pass into end zone overthrown and incomplete.
4th down punt for touchback

I think the first team to score a touchdown is going to win this game

BYU 1st down on BYU 20 Long pass to Austin Collie to Utah 36

1st down Unga runs for 2
2nd down Unga runs for 4
3rd down poorly thrown pass incomplete to Unga, who was wide open but couldn’t find the ball.
4th down pass incomplete to Unga who was all alone with the ball just off his fingertips. If he could have caught it Utah couldn’t have prevented him from scoring. Ball goes over on downs.

Utah first down at Utah 32 run for no gain.
2nd down pass to Godfrey at Utah 35 yardline.
3rd down run for first down by Johnson.

1st down Johnson almost tackled for loss, but he gets away for a 2 yard gain.
2nd down at Utah 46 run by Mack for 5 yards
3rd down at BYU 49 3 to go Mack runs for 15 for a first down

1st down at BYU 34 Johnson drops back to pass, but tucks and runs for 3 or 4 yds.
2nd down 7 yds to go run for 3 yards. Clock ticking away, with 4:16 left in the game.
3rd down pass to Godfrey for first down.

1st down at BYU 23 Johnson scrambles for 3 yard gain.
2nd down at BYU 19 run by Johnson for 5 yd gain.
3rd down Loucks is in for Johnson and runs to 6 for first down.

1st and goal at BYU 6 Loucks stays in and gets the ball to the BYU 1.
2:10 to play and the clock is running.
2nd and goal pass thrown away by Johnson.
3rd and goal Mack runs for TD around right side. PAT good

Utah 10 BYU 9 1:34 left in the game. Did Utah score too soon?

Utah kickoff is deep in the end zone for a touchback.

BYU 1st and 10 and BYU 20 Hall back to pass, the ball is knocked loose, Hall recovers for an 8 yard loss.
BYU takes 1st time out.
2nd down at BYU’s 12 pass to Pitta is incomplete.
3rd down 1:19 left. Another pass to Pitta is also incomplete.
4th down and 18 to go. BYU must go for it. Pass to Austin Collie all by himself completed for a Big Gain.

1st and 10 at Utah 39 pass to Collie is incomplete.
2nd and 10 1 minute to play. Pass incomplete but a penalty flag is thrown. Personal foul called against Utah for unnecessary roughness gives BYU a 1st down at the Utah 24

1st and 10 false start. Crowd noise must be bothering the Cougars, too. See, what did I tell you, there’s no home field advantage for BYU when Utah is in town.
1st and 15 at Utah 29 long pass to Michael Reed incomplete. Flag thrown. PI against Utah. Reed was hit while the ball was in the air.

1st and 10 at Utah 14 run by Tonga to Utah 11.
BYU takes their 2nd time out. One time out left. 43 seconds left to play.
2nd down at Utah 11 Unga runs for a Touchdown with 38 seconds left.

Coach Bronco Mendenhall is calling their last time out. Will they go for 2?

BYU is going for 2 points to get a 7 point lead. Delay of game is called on BYU. BYU’s coaches protest that the clock was started after the time out incorrectly. The officials are stand firm and walk off the five yard penalty.
BYU will try for 2 from the 8 pass is caught for 2 points by Austin Collie in the back of the end zone..

Utah 10 BYU 17 with 38 seconds left in the game.

BYU kicks off and Utah returns to the Utah 39 with 30 seconds left.

Utah has all three timeouts left.
1st down pass dropped by Richards.
2nd down pass to Godfrey for a first down.16 seconds left.

1st down. Utah takes their first time out. Two left
1st down at 50 yd line. Johnson scrambles and throws what clearly looks like an intentionally incompleted pass. Johnson was ruled down, and Utah takes their 2nd time out.
2nd down pass complete to Richards at BYU 44. 5 seconds left.
3rd down pass thrown by Johnson but batted down in the end zone, with time expired.
BYU Wins 17-10!

Fans are rushing out onto the field.

Well, I was wrong. Max Hall was able to throw long on several occasions and the Utes had to honor that. And Tonga and Unga were awesome as the running game proved very effective in allowing BYU to control the ball and the game clock. The defense was able to hold the Utes to 10 points and that was good enough. BYU’s kicking game was still shaky, but it wasn’t enough of a factor to effect the outcome of the game. It was an awesome, hard fought well deserved Cougar victory. So I’m fine with being wrong in my prediction.


Gameday is here, and it’s time for me to make my prediction. Utah in a close one, by 3 points.

Not that I like Utah, because I don’t. Well, not when they’re playing the Cougars, anyway. I attended BYU in my youth, back when it was drawing a large share of it’s student body from Utah County kids. My wife, who’s from California, graduated from the Y and worked at the Missionary Training Center in the Health Clinic as an employee of BYU and retired with 12 years of service. And she’s as loyal a BYU football fan as there is on the female side of the aisle.

My son attends the University of Utah as a graphic arts student, so naturally he and his wife are Ute fans. But he roots for the Cougars when they’re playing anybody but the U.

A lot of people, particularly in the media, have started calling this rivalry "the Holy War", but it has nothing to do with religion. Or maybe it does, but it has less to do with Mormons vs. non-Mormons than it does with the fact that the schools are in such close proximity and have historically drawn from virtually the same population. Many LDS Church General Authorities hold degrees from the University of Utah. If I remember correctly, BYU’s current president graduated from the U. The Utes’ head football coach, Kyle Whittingham, played football for BYU. His dad Fred was a coach at BYU.

The two schools have very similar roots. I remember when I attended BYU I had a 3-ring binder that had an embossed BYU logo on the front, consisting of the seal of the University. The central figure in the seal was an old-fashioned beehive, complete with a few bees buzzing around it. Not many years later I saw a 3-ring binder with a University of Utah logo on the front. It was the seal of the University of Utah and had an old-fashioned beehive with bees buzzing around it. It was identical to my BYU binder, except for the fact that it said University of Utah instead of Brigham Young University.

So back to the game at hand.

First let me talk about BYU’s home field advantage. There is none. The Utes have proven that in recent years. When the Utes are in Provo, they’re as likely to win the game as the Cougars. I don’t think today is going to be any different.

BYU is at a disadvantage on offense because Max Hall is a sophomore and Brian Johnson is a senior. Johnson was hurt early in the season, but he’s back, and he’s proven he’s capable of playing at a high level. Hall, on the other hand, was dinged in their game last week against Wyoming, and I suspect that right throwing shoulder is not going to be 100%. If Hall can’t prove that he can hit Austin Collie going deep down the sideline or Dennis Pitta at medium range over the middle, I don’t think BYU’s running game alone is going to be able to get the job done against the Utes.

BYU’s defense is banged up, and they’re missing Quin Gooch, who’s out for the season with a knee injury. He’s been like a coach on the field, recognizing offensive formations and making defensive calls before the snap. The Utes are in good shape offensively, hitting on all cylinders. The Cougars are really going to miss Quin Gooch.

Where the Utes really have the edge, though, is on special teams. BYU has been shaky all year in their kicking game, and they’re only just now getting even close to mid-season form. They’ve kicked fewer field goals than any other team in Division I football. True, they’ve attempted fewer field goals, but there’s probably good reason for that. And they’ve had some kicks blocked, and they haven’t got it fixed, as evidenced by the fact that they had two kicks blocked just last week. Meanwhile, the Utes have been blocking kicks and setting up scores all year, and I think that’s going to play a role in today’s game. Add the fact that they have a solid kicker/punter and it’s clearly advantage Utah.

I think it’ll be a close game. There will probably be several momentum shifts, but I don’t think anyone’s going to break it open. In a close game, I think Utah’s advantages, especially in the kicking game, give them the edge.

If I’m wrong, though, I can certainly live with a Cougar victory.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


The BCRA (Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act), better known as McCain-Feingold, struck at the heart of the First Amendment by making it illegal to mention incumbent Congressmen by name in articles or ads within 60 days of an election. It’s clearly in violation of the spirit and intent of the First Amendment, but it has the effect of protecting and insulating congressional incumbents from criticism.

All the campaign finance reform stuff was a complicated smokescreen that hasn’t worked out as it was supposed to. But it served it’s purpose, which was to muddy the water and have a chilling effect on criticism of Congress when it’s members are most vulnerable, during election campaigns, making members less answerable to the people.

George W. Bush picks his fights very carefully when it comes to taking on Congress, and this is not a fight he wanted to get into. He passed on his opportunity to veto this bill and signed it into law. Perhaps he thought the Supreme Court would bail him out and rule the legislation unconstitutional.

But the Supreme Court picks its fights carefully, too, and apparently didn’t feel very feisty in this case. They ruled that BCRA was constitutional and let the law stand, despite the obvious First Amendment prohibition.

We, the American people, were betrayed by all three branches of the government! Checks and balances didn’t work in this case.

As a result, Congress is no longer accountable to the people. Once they’re in, they’re in for the long haul. And a Congress that isn’t accountable is corruptible, and this Congress is no exception. They’re lined up at the pig trough and they’re ready to feast and dine on pork. They view the American Taxpayer as a vast herd of dairy cows that they’re ready to milk for all they’re worth.

So we have a Congress that will pass laws that benefit Congress, not the people. We have an Executive that will veto legislation that threatens the power of the executive, but not fight for the rights of the people, and a Supreme Court that isn’t really interested.

Our only recourse now is to push for repeal of BCRA. It’ll be a hard sell to Congress because it’s obviously not in their interest. But it’s something we should work for.

Another thing we need to do is enact term limits on Congress. We have term limits for the Executive Branch and we certainly need them for Congress, to prevent the entrenched career politicians from retaining their deathgrip on power, particularly the power they have over the mountain of money they have at their disposal, which is the main reason they’re so corruptible. We need to limit the tenure of tax-and-spend Democrats and spend-and-spend Republicans who’ve betrayed our trust.

While we’re at it, we should enact term limits on Supreme Court justices, too. That might have the effect of making confirmation hearings less of a circus than the death matches that they’ve turned into in recent years.


Here at blog648 we wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving holiday.

Travel safely. Be careful out there.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Elmer Kai Barrientos
6 lbs. 6 oz. 19 inches
Born 11-21-2007 7:03p.m. Pacific Time
Pasco, WA

Welcome, little one.

Evening Skies Are Way Cool

That's all I have to say about it.

Gays in the Military, and the 800 Pound Gorilla in the Room.

While at a town hall meeting last night, when asked by an Air Force Major about gays serving openly in the military, Hillary Clinton spoke her mind about what kind of policy she would hew to if she were Commander-in-Chief.

"I feel strongly that if someone wants to serve their country, if they’re a patriot, if they comply with the code of military justice and they have the appropriate behavior, they shouldn’t be disqualified from serving simply because they’re gay," Mrs. Clinton said to applause.

The Air Force major, Gary Mathis of Cedar Rapids, said afterward that he appreciated Mrs. Clinton’s points about conduct, but that she had side-stepped his question about privacy – specifically, what she would do to ensure the privacy of male soldiers who shower, sleep and work out in the gym alongside other male soldiers.

"I don’t think her answer fully recognized the day-to-day realities of military life," Major Mathis said. "You could extend her argument and say that you don’t need any separate facilities for men and women because as long as their conduct is appropriate with one another, there is no privacy concern."

Dafydd ab Hugh at Big Lizards blog had a snappy reply for the Major–"Who the hell cares? If a soldier or Marine is so freaked out by the thought that he's taking a shower next to another man who happens to be gay, then he's too psychologically fragile to be a soldier or Marine."

Now, I don’t know this for certain, but I suspect Mr. ab Hugh has never served in the military.

The problem is that most people who have never been in the military really have no concept of what military life is like. So let me explain what it was like for me in the Marine Corps some four decades ago. Maybe things have changed. I don’t know. I doubt it’s changed much.

If you’re low ranking enlisted, you don’t have any privacy, and very few rights. You have to follow orders, and you are constantly reminded of the pecking order that is rigidly enforced, based on rank. Your immediate superiors can make life miserable for you, and if you’re in a combat situation, they hold the power of life and death over you.

The solution, of course, is to gain rank by being promoted. Consequently, there’s a lot of butt kissing and brown nosing that goes on (in the figurative, not the literal sense) simply because of the facts of life in a close knit group confined to close quarters with limited opportunities for promotion.

It’s well known that if a member of a squad is perceived as a trouble maker or uncooperative, NCOs will make their displeasure known by giving all the crap details to those individuals, while more cooperative "good" soldiers get the easier, more pleasant assignments. Promotions are based on how your immediate superiors perceive your performance, and that perception isn’t always based on how well you do your job. NCOs are large frogs in small ponds, and unfortunately, many are not above abusing their power by taking unfair advantage of those in lower ranks.

Now here’s the 800 pound gorilla in the room that no one seems to be willing to talk about; let’s throw a gay squad leader or a gay platoon sergeant into the mix, and things get a lot more complicated. If a gay NCO is not above abusing his authority by seeking sexual favors in exchange for easier assignments or consideration for promotion, it will have a direct effect on morale and discipline. In a combat situation, if a soldier perceives that his survival depends as much on his willingness to couple with his squad leader as it does on his ability as a competent soldier, morale and discipline is likely to become the first casualty of any conflict. It’s an additional burden that no soldier should have to endure. If this were a widespread phenomenon, it could adversely effect the morale and effectiveness of our entire armed forces.

We can all agree, I’m sure, that no female soldier should have to endure sexual harassment or a hostile environment. I suppose it’s only right that homosexual soldiers, if they’re allowed to serve openly, should be afforded the same guarantees. But is it going to be a two way street? Are heterosexual soldiers serving under the command of homosexual superiors going to have the same assurances? Or will homosexual soldiers be immune to prosecution for sexual harassment because they’ll be given special status as a protected class? I don’t think I’m out of order by asking that question.

Now let me say, as a heterosexual male, that the thought of another male inserting his erect penis up my rectum is a ghastly, horrible thought. Saying that doesn’t make me psychologically fragile, nor does it say I’m a homophobe, Mr ab Hugh’s opinion notwithstanding. I’m sure it’s a fairly typical heterosexual attitude. It’s the same attitude shared by the vast majority of Marines I served with. Having a heterosexual orientation or preference is not equivalent to having a racially or religiously bigoted philosophy.

I remember an incident that occurred in the M.P. barracks at Camp Elmore in Norfolk, Va. in 1969 or ‘70. A Marine was awakened late at night to find another man trying to get into bed with him. He responded violently and beat the man up. It wasn’t hard to do because the poor fellow was so drunk he couldn’t defend himself. He had come home drunk and wandered into the wrong cubicle in the dark, had gotten undressed and tried to go to bed, not realizing the rack was occupied. At least that was his story. I’m afraid he didn’t get much sympathy from his fellow Marines, myself included. But the truth is, that’s probably all there was to it. I can’t remember what the final outcome of this case was. I only remember that there was a lot of discussion among ourselves, and we all agreed, if you come home late, drunk or not, make sure the rack is unoccupied before you get in.

And I think the Major asked a valid question. How do you protect the privacy of heterosexual members of the armed forces if you’re going to allow gays to serve openly in the military? How far is the military establishment expected to go in order to accommodate gay members, and will heterosexuals be afforded the same considerations, or will gays be given special protected status as they are in the civilian milieu?

Supreme Court to Decide if Second Amendment Applies to Residents of DC.

I was watching a news report on TV where they discussed the DC gun ban and the Supreme Court case. They said our nation's capitol is also our nation’s murder capitol, (showing footage from a crime scene, with a dead corpse on the ground under a sheet, with cop cars and flashing lights all around). They mentioned the high murder rate, and that all these victims were "killed by guns" (showing footage of a gun collection with hundreds of evil handguns displayed in a large glass case). They quoted DC authorities saying that the gun ban "saves lives".

What a crock.

All those victims were killed by criminals. That never came up in the report.

Guns don’t kill people. Gun control laws kill people by disarming law abiding citizens and giving career criminals a safe working environment.

Will the Supreme Court rescue the Second Amendment? Historically they haven’t shown a lot of consistency in interpreting the rights of the people, because they’ve defended some rights that aren’t actually mentioned in the text of the document, such as our Constitutional rights to sodomy, while muddying the water concerning other rights that are specifically mentioned in the text, (the People’s right to keep and bear arms, for instance). So who knows? But we can hope. And so I do.

I think this highlights the importance of keeping liberal gun grabbers out of the White House, because it's the president who appoints justices to all our federal courts, including the Supreme Court. Some of those justices are well advanced in years and are nearing death or retirement. Our next president could have the opportunity to appoint as many as four new justices to the Supreme Court. That could have a huge impact on our civil rights in the not too distant future.


Kirk Walters cartoon

Saudi Arabia is indeed a barbaric, backward country.

This woman and her escort, an unrelated male, were both gang-raped by a group of perverts. The rapists were given rather light sentences, but the woman was sentenced to 90 lashes. She appealed that her punishment was inappropriate.

The Saudi court responded that of course she was correct, and adjusted the sentence to include six months in jail. After all, she was escorted by an unrelated male; clearly she brought the rape upon herself.

Primitive. Backward. Barbaric. Oppressive. Misogynistic.

Read the whole story here. Take your blood pressure meds first.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Presidential Politics From 1960 to the Present

John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson (D) 49.7%
**Richard M. Nixon, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (R)
Incumbent Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower probably could have won a third term, but was the first president precluded by law (the 22nd Amendment) from running. I was 13 years old and this is the first election in which I took an interest. I watched the Democratic convention on TV with my parents. They supported Lyndon Johnson for the nomination. They considered Kennedy too young and more likely to "go off half-cocked." I was thrilled when Kennedy won the nomination and then the general election.

*Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert H. Humphrey (D) 61.1%
Barry Goldwater, William E. Miller (R)
I was a senior in high school when this election occurred. Goldwater struck me as a bit of a nut-job, Johnson as Southern, competent, kindly. I supported Johnson, though not enthusiastically.

Richard M. Nixon, Spiro Agnew (R) 43.4%
**Hubert H. Humphrey, Edmund Muskie (D)
George Wallace, Curtis Lemay (AI)
Incumbent Johnson had decided he couldn’t win and declined to run for re-election. This was my first election, and I wanted to vote, but I didn’t like any of the candidates. Humphrey was a tax-and-spend Democrat, but Nixon gave me pause because I remember the 1960 TV debate with JFK. Nixon seemed uncomfortable, sneaky, furtive, and that perception stayed with me. He just looked sleazy, and I was uneasy with his candidacy. I voted for the candidate least likely to win, Wallace. I didn’t vote "none of the above" because I was afraid my ballot would be invalidated, and I considered the state and local elections too important to risk that happening.

*Richard M. Nixon, Spiro Agnew (R) 60.7%
George McGovern, Sargent Shriver (D)
Eagleton was the original Democratic V.P. nominee but was discarded after reports surfaced that he had received shock treatment therapy for depression. Shriver was a compromise selection (after 6 others declined). McGovern’s campaign was a disaster, as he looked weak, indecisive, even incompetent. By comparison, Nixon was sleazy but clearly a competent politician. I had moved to California and forgotten to register, but if I had voted, I would have held my nose and pulled the lever for Nixon.

Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale (D) 50.1%
*Gerald Ford, Bob Dole (R)
Ford had been appointed Vice President after Spiro Agnew resigned due to legal "improprieties". He was seen as a bumbler, and he’d fallen down stairs and off stages at several public appearances, and these mishaps always made the news. The fact that his first presidential act was to pardon Richard Nixon left a bad taste in many voters’ mouths. I honestly can’t remember who I voted for. If I voted for Ford, it was unenthusiastically. If I voted for Carter, it was because he campaigned as an agent for change, and Nixon had left a taint of corruption on Republicans. It makes me uncomfortable to think I may have voted for the worst president in our nation’s history.

Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush (R) 50.7%
*Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, (D)
Carter’s presidency was plagued by economic "malaise" (his own discription), a chaotic foreign policy, and his inability to provide strong leadership. He was seen as weak, indecisive and incompetent, mostly because he was all of those things. He’s viewed by many as the worst president of this period, perhaps even the worst in our history. His administration abandoned the Shah of Iran, whose government was replaced by the mullocracy which has fostered so much chaos in the Middle East. Since he wasn’t Jimmy Carter, I voted enthusiastically for Reagan.

*Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush (R) 58.8%
Walter Mondale, Gerraldine Ferraro (D)
Mondale was saddled with his association with the failed Carter administration and Reagan won decisively on the strength of his successful first term. I joined the landslide.

**George H. W. Bush, Dan Quayle (R) 53.4%
Michael Dukakis, Lloyd Bentsen (D)
The only thing I remember about this election is when Lloyd Bentsen ambushed Dan Quayle in the vice presidential debate. Quayle had (idiotically) compared himself favorably to JFK. Bentsen licked his chops and pounced. "I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. You are no Jack Kennedy." It was a devastating slap-down, but Quayle got the last laugh, because he became vice president. Bush was no Ronald Reagan, but on the other hand, he was no Michael Dukakis either, so he got my vote.

William Jefferson Clinton, Al Gore (D) 43%
*George H. W. Bush, Dan Quale (R)
Ross Perot, James B. Stockdale (Independent) 18%
Third party candidate Perot took votes away from Bush, allowing Clinton to win. Bush had said in the previous campaign that Congress would press him to raise taxes, and he’d resist. But when push came to shove, he caved. Then Democrats ran that clip in very effective ads. It’s ironic that the Dems controlled Congress when they pressured Bush into acquiescing. It was the Dems who raised the taxes, but Bush got the blame. And I fell for it. I blamed Bush, voted for Perot, and gave Clinton the White House.

*Bill Clinton, Al Gore (D) 49.2%
Bob Dole, Jack Kemp (R)
Ross Perot, Patrick J. Choat (Reform)
Dole was seen as old, tired, stodgy, and more suited for retirement than the rigors of the office of the President. Clinton, on the other hand was youthful, vigorous, charismatic (some say "slick"). I voted unenthusiastically for Dole.

George W. Bush, Richard Cheney (R) 47.9%
**Al Gore, Joe Lieberman (D) 48.4
Slick Willie Clinton was a compulsive liar and a cheat who couldn’t keeps his hands to himself. His philandering was despicable, but it didn’t infuriate me as much as the lying did. I took it out on Al Gore, because I figured it was just going to me more of the same kind of duplicity in government. Obviously, I’m not the only one who felt that way. Bush won the Electoral College, even though he lost the popular vote. Democrats have been bitter and divisive ever since. Chairman of the Democratic National Committee Howard Dean exclaimed that he hates Republicans and everything they stand for, and Dems have marched consistently to that drumbeat.

*George W. Bush, Richard Cheney (R) 50.7%
John Kerry, John Edwards (D)
The mainstream media openly and unabashedly campaigned for Kerry. CBS News anchorman Dan Rather ran a defamatory story on Bush’s military service in the Texas Air National Guard based on forged documents. The New York Times later defended the documents as "fake but accurate." When they lost this election, Democrats vowed to oppose anything the Bush administration advocates. They have blamed Bush for everything bad, including Hurricane Katrina, global warming, drought in the south eastern states, the bridge collapse in Minnesota and the wildfires in California. If it’s bad, it’s Bush’s fault. If anything good has happened, it’s in spite of Bush, not because of him. The Dems have consistently put their own political interests ahead of the interests of the American people and it shows.

*Incumbent President
**Incumbent Vice President

Monday, November 19, 2007

River Trail Sunset

I live a block or so from the River Trail. These pictures are of the sunset that we had a few nights ago.
Actually, this is what they call an "anti-sunset" because it's the sky on the horizon opposite where the sun was actually setting.

Again, the eastern sky at sunset.

Waxing, not waning crescent moon, from my driveway.

This is just before the lamp turned on.

The same lampost a few mornings later, at sunrise, just before the lamp turned off.

Hattie Mac 'n' Cheese

The other night I spent some time with my son and his family. My granddaughter Hattie was just finishing up her dinner--

She was having the all time classic kid's favorite, mac and cheese.

As you can see, her smile is not the only thing that's "cheesey".

I thought at first she was just waving, but I see now that she was trying to make the sign for "Grandpa", which is the open hand with the thumb toward the forehead, then wave forward in two loops. What a clever little darling.

"Now I'm ready for my bath!"

"or not!"

It's jammie Hattie!

(Note Mommy's expression is nearly as precious as the daughter's).

And Daddy's arms (and heart) are full.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Last night I was invited to attend the open gallery at Jeff Hein's Salt Lake gallery and studio. He has several new works on display that will be featured in the New York Armory Show.

Here are Susan Petersen, my daughter-in-law, and her friend Jen Hein, Jeff's wife. They live in the same LDS ward in Salt Lake City.

I couldn't get Jen to actually pose with her husband, but I managed to grab this shot of them while they scmoozed with guests. Jen and Jeff first met while they were serving LDS church missions in Utah. They both grew up in New York state, she in Rochester, and he in Windsor, which is just up the Hudson River from NYC. Incidentally, Jen posed as the model for at least two of Jeff's paintings, which you can view at . See if you can find them.

Here Susan and her husband Christian sit to watch a portion of the featured demo video "Painting the First Shade".

Jeff scored the cover of this year's Spring Salon catalogue of the Springville Museum of Art.

Here is one of the featured new works.

These new paintings will be featured later this month at the New York Armory Show.

He has a distictive, instantly recognizable style. Amazingly, he never studied painting until he got into college. Incidentally, he has studied at Ricks College in Idaho (now Brigham Young University Idaho), Salt Lake Community College, and University of Utah.

I asked Jeff what his policy was regarding photography in his gallery, and he seemed puzzled. He admitted he didn't actually have a policy.

I mentioned to Jeff that I have a photoblog, and that I had included a photo of one of his works in my post about the Spring Salon of the Springville Art Museum. He remembered seeing my blog because I had sent him an email with a link to it. (I'm a shameless self promoter).

Jeff's a quick study. He responded, "Well, here's the new policy--as long as you provide a link to my website on your blog, you can shoot all you want". It's a great policy. And as you may have noticed, I have thoroughly complied with the policy.

This lady is one of Jeff's students at his Academy of Art, posing with her works. I regret that I neglected to get her name, but I believe she posed as a subject for one of Jeff's paintings in 2002. If I'm not mistaken, there is an article about Jeff and this lady in one of the publications featured on Jeff's website. Here's a link to the website: .

This is my photograph of Jeff's work "12 Shades" as it was displayed at the Spring Salon of the Springville Museum of Art earlier this year. Here's a link to that post:

Be sure to check out Jeff's website. There's a lot of fascinating stuff there.