Wednesday, October 29, 2014

THYME Magazine: Special Senate Race Edition

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume VIII, Issue XVIII

Time to Awaken a Sleeping Giant

Looking at the percentage of eligible voters who actually vote, and even the percentage of REGISTERED voters who actually vote, one thing stands clear; I believe that if we could motivate substantial participation in the Great Valley of Virginia, we could overcome rampant voter fraud and the "Northern Virginia" blue vote. In the last few elections, we watched the results come in and saw a fairly representative victory for more Conservative candidates... until Northern Virginia precincts reported. They always came in last and suddenly skewed the results to the left. Most Virginians were left without representation!

Another thing to remember is that even though some of us really want to see more candidates like Shak Hill and Jamie Radtke, we dare not sit out any election at this point. We dare not remain unrepresented in the times we cannot support our 'ideal' candidates. The Left knows our tendency to 'sit out' elections and have advanced their agenda through our apathy! Yes, we have every reason to be frustrated at the treatment given a candidate like Mike Farris in the past by the party establishment. Here Jamie Radtke Talks About Cantor's Defeat [click to view]. Now is NOT the time to step back from the process. Now is the time to honestly address the business of representing the people! We can achieve that goal!

Restoring Senate Representation

We must elect Ed Gillespie to the United States Senate; here's why. Most Virginians are NOT represented by the two Senators presently in office. Though many of us trekked to his office and made phone calls, pleas to Senator Mark Warner to vote against OBAMACARE fell on deaf ears. I went there with a large group opposed to this terribly bungled legislation. We were herded into a conference room and lectured by staffers on why we "had to pass it." We can ill-afford the effects of this poorly crafted legislation in our current fragile economy. We need leadership, not men who blindly follow the President. Please consider the following statements by Mr. Gillespie himself. I'm sure you will find him a welcome alternative to the present one-party representation in our Senate. Mark Warner [click to read] has been the subject of previous THYME pieces, so we will not discuss his positions at length here. Mr Gillespie helped to craft the Contract with America in 1994, which was instrumental in the election of a Republican majority to Congress for the first time in forty years.

Ed Gillespie Has a Plan for Jobs and the Economy

"By moving us away from our Constitutional principles of limited government and personal liberty, President Obama, Harry Reid and Mark Warner have enacted policies that have killed jobs, reduced take-home pay, and increased health care and energy costs. We can do better.

Conservative, pro-growth policies promoting lower taxes, less government spending, and ending excessive regulation create jobs, raise take-home pay, and reduce health care and energy costs by unleashing private investment and allowing working Americans rather than political appointees in Washington to make decisions about the best way to allocate their resources. Americans want and deserve intelligent policies to promote job creation, expand opportunities for recent high school and college graduates, and make career advancement a reality again for the many Virginians who have found themselves trapped in a weak economy.

The Obama-Reid-Warner economic policies are not only destroying jobs; they are undermining the American work ethic. There is not just economic value in labor, there is human dignity in work. We must enable more people to have that dignity. If elected I will promote a pro-growth economic agenda to create good-paying jobs for families, foster upward mobility, help those currently employed to keep more of what they earn, and enable people to lift themselves out of poverty.

Too many Virginians are living paycheck-to-paycheck—if they’re fortunate enough to have a paycheck. The U.S. labor force participation rate is at its lowest level in more than three decades, hovering somewhere around 63%. The Congressional Budget Office reported in February that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will mean millions fewer in the fulltime workforce. More people will be working only part-time and we will see the equivalent of 2.3 million fewer jobs over the next decade (nearly 64,000 in Virginia alone).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 92 million people are out of the labor force entirely, and 7 million Americans are working two or more jobs to make ends meet. That’s wrong, and policymakers must make a top priority of solving this problem, which I would do as our senator."

Priorities for All Levels of Education


Every child deserves a high quality education, and I believe parents should be empowered to make the educational choices that are in their children’s best interests. Opportunity is enhanced by competition and choice, which is why I support public schools, charter schools, private and parochial schools, magnet schools, and home schooling. All Virginia children should have an opportunity to receive a world-class education, and no child should be forced to remain in a failing or unsafe school by the constraints of his or her zip code. That is why I support school choice programs that help ensure that all families have access to meaningful and accountable educational options.

Education policies and curriculum are state and local prerogatives. Virginia is rightly among a handful of states that have not adopted Common Core standards. We know that a one-size-fits-all approach will not work, and I will always support efforts to empower students, families and teachers, not political appointees at the Department of Education, to make these important educational decisions.

Higher Education

A. Virginia boasts some of the best public colleges and universities in the nation, and a strong system of community colleges, but for many Virginians, college tuition remains out of reach. There is work to do in making higher education more accessible and affordable. Higher education is an economic engine for the Commonwealth. The business community has documented the value of higher education through the “Grow By Degrees” effort, estimating that one dollar of investment produces over seventeen dollars in increased GDP and returns more than a dollar in new tax revenue to the Commonwealth.

I support the empowerment of higher education students by increasing transparency of higher education programs with information on earnings of graduates, by institution and degree, to be readily available to all potential students as they make choices to pursue their studies. Working Virginians require the resources to tailor their skills to the changes of a dynamic economy. That is why I applaud Virginia’s efforts to turn our community colleges into engines of workforce development, and why I will support intelligent workforce investment policies in the Senate, like those embodied in the SKILLS Act. There is no better program of social welfare than a good-paying job, so I will advance policies to help Virginians, and all Americans, develop the skills and expertise they need to compete in a global economy."

Supporting Basic Tenets of the Bill of Rights

"As Virginia’s senator, I will oppose efforts to infringe upon our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, which is an individual right. I would not vote in favor of treaties that would cede firearm regulation to international bodies like the United Nations, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Senator Warner voted against the Senate rejection of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, which could undermine our Second Amendment rights and infringe on U.S. sovereignty. I would have voted for the amendment."

Repeal and Replacement of OBAMACARE, a Priority

"Virginians are concerned about having access to quality, affordable health care—and they know that Obamacare is making things worse. Everywhere I go, I hear from Virginians who face skyrocketing insurance premiums and stand to lose the coverage they like and the doctors they trust. We understand that Obamacare is not the solution, and that the problem with it is a lot more than just “a failed website launch.” It is harmful legislation that must be replaced with policies that make insurance more affordable, let us keep our doctors and insurance, and allows businesses to grow and hire.

Virginians know that a quality health care system empowers doctors and patients, not politicians and political appointees. We know that the way to reform health care isn’t to kill jobs, reduce wages, deny us our choice of doctors and cancel health care plans that Virginians like, cut $700 billion from Medicare, impose new taxes, and increase our deficit.

Sadly, Obamacare would not be the law today if Senator Warner had voted in the interests of Virginians instead of with his party line. As Virginia’s Senator, I would vote to replace Obamacare with policies that put patients first, provide more affordable options, and do not include a mandate. We need health care reform that works—and that means repealing Obamacare and replacing it with market-based reforms that take health care decisions out of the hands of political appointees.

We also need to focus on ways to keep Virginians healthy, not just treat them when they are sick. As Senator I will focus on medical innovations and finding cures for diseases, reforms that will produce more jobs, and keep America first in health care research. In the course of our campaign, I’ll outline policies in line with these principles."

A Plan to Spur Domestic Energy Production

"With the right policies, Virginia can be the East Coast’s energy leader, creating high-paying jobs here in the Commonwealth, bringing down costs for home heating in the Winter and prices at the gas pump in the Summer, and helping to move our nation closer to energy independence. We need a Senator who shares that vision and will support the growth of a vibrant, responsible energy sector.

Virginia’s energy sector directly employs more than 30,000 workers and indirectly supports as many as 200,000 jobs, making it a crucial component of our economy. With our natural resources, geographic location, and port access, Virginia can and should be a more integral part of America’s energy supply. From clean coal to wind energy to offshore oil and natural gas, Virginia is blessed with abundant natural resources, but efforts to develop these resources are often thwarted by an overreaching Federal Government.

I believe in an energy approach that embraces both traditional and alternative energy resources. I support oil and natural gas production—including responsible deep sea drilling off our coast—because we can protect our environment while ensuring access to the domestic energy resources we need to create new jobs, lower prices at the pump, and keep utility bills affordable.

As Senator, I’ll fight to protect coal jobs, because I understand how important coal is both to our economy right here in Virginia and to our nation’s energy independence, and I’ll stand up to the EPA’s failed policies that are driving up energy costs and imposing unnecessary regulatory burdens on our homes and businesses. Protecting public health and safety does not require duplicative regulations, needlessly complex and costly compliance requirements, or bureaucratic inefficiency. We need to make use of our abundant natural resources to create jobs and lower energy costs for Virginians. I will work to give Virginia the opportunity to lead on American energy independence.

Unfortunately, Mark Warner has voted in lockstep with the Obama Administration’s war on coal. He stood with Barbara Boxer and John Kerry when they released the Senate version of Cap and Trade in 2009, and has said, “The most significant thing we can do is send the market signal that either directly through a carbon tax or indirectly through cap and trade, we are going to put a price on carbon.”

Last year, Mark Warner voted against creating a 60-vote point of order against any budget resolution that includes a tax or fee on carbon emissions. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, a carbon tax could cost up to 21,000 jobs in Virginia. Five Senate Democrats broke ranks to protect their constituents from these job-killing policies—but Mark Warner toed the party line.

Mark Warner voted against an amendment that would have moved the Keystone pipeline project forward over President Obama’s opposition, and the amendment was defeated. He later backed a “non-binding resolution” supporting the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in an effort to cover his tracks on the binding amendment. When it mattered, he voted against the Keystone pipeline, and when it didn’t matter he voted for it. That’s political posturing, not real leadership. I will work to get the Keystone XL pipeline approved.

As Senator, I’ll not just focus on developing energy resources, I’ll also work to remove the federal red-tape that slows down the development of energy infrastructure and limits the development of our energy sector and the creation of jobs. Energy projects, like building new pipelines and refineries, are a critical link between production and lower prices for consumers. Unfortunately, Senator Warner and President Obama, have shown no leadership in removing the barriers to job-creating, cost-reducing, energy infrastructure projects."

A Pro-Life Voice for Virginia's Citizens

"I am pro-life, and believe we should foster a culture that respects human life. This means that as a civil society, we must respect and protect the most vulnerable among us, including the unborn, the sick, those with disabilities, and the elderly.

I would oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, and believe it was a mistake to abandon the explicit prohibition in federal law against it, as Mark Warner voted to do with Obamacare.

I understand that women facing an unplanned pregnancy need compassion and support, not judgment or condemnation. I support education and health care to help women avoid unplanned pregnancies, and believe we must offer life-affirming alternatives to women facing difficult decisions, ensuring that they have the opportunity to choose life. I support adoption and believe that government should help both women and children by making it easier, more affordable, and more accessible for both newborns and those in foster care."

A Firm Supporter of a Balanced Budget Amendment

"Mark Warner once endorsed a Balanced Budget Amendment, but when he had a chance to vote for one in the Senate, he voted against it. As your Senator, I will not only support a Balanced Budget Amendment, I will introduce one. I will make it a priority to reduce wasteful, inefficient, and duplicative federal government spending.

At a time when millions of Americans have been forced to make due with less, it is an outrage that government continues to spend taxpayer dollars in such a reckless manner—particularly when profligate government spending is at the root of our economic problems. Deficit spending on the part of government sucks money out of the productive sector, impedes growth, and is a drag on our economy.

Raising taxes on American families and businesses that are already too high would only impede economic growth and make the problem worse. We do not have deficits because taxes aren’t high enough, we have deficits because Federal spending is out of control and our economy is not creating enough jobs. I promise my fellow Virginians I will fight and vote against any efforts to increase marginal income tax rates on individuals and businesses, and oppose any net reduction or elimination of tax deductions and credits unless they are matched by equal reductions in tax rates. Growing our economy and getting spending under control are the keys to resolving our burgeoning federal debt, not further adding to the tax burden on American families and businesses.

Mark Warner has voted to increase taxes by nearly $1 Trillion, and to increase our debt by $7 Trillion. An $18 trillion debt is simply unacceptable, and we cannot afford the consequences of continued inaction. We’re saddling our children with debt to pay for promises made in the past, and new promises President Obama and Mark Warner made in Obamacare.

It’s time we stop spending money we just don’t have."

Secure the Borders, Reform Our Visa System

"I am proud to be the son of an immigrant. My father came to this country through Ellis Island from Ireland as a boy, because his father found work as a janitor. I appreciate the opportunities provided to my father — and by extension to me and my children — by the greatest country ever to grace the face of the earth.

When it comes to immigration reform, I believe we have not only a right but a responsibility to secure our borders. We must also enforce our existing laws. The steps we take to secure our borders would not only enable us to keep out those we don’t want coming into our country illegally, but to allow in legally those we want to welcome here.

An estimated 40% of those in our country illegally now have overstayed their visas, so we clearly need to reform our visa system. If this were a private sector problem, it would have been fixed by now, and our Federal Government needs to fix it. I also believe we can improve the E-Verify program to help employers be sure that anyone they hire is a citizen or a legal resident.

While steps like these would help stop illegal immigration going forward, they do not address the 10-12 million people here illegally now. I do not support amnesty, and oppose granting citizenship to them, which would be unfair to those who have come here legally and played by the rules. And I don’t believe we should give one of the greatest privileges in the world—American citizenship—to those who are here by virtue of having broken our laws.

At the same time, I do not believe that our nation will implement the mass deportation of 10-12 million people, so we need to come to terms with those who are here illegally now. It would be in the interest of both American citizens and those here illegally to be able to come forward and, after a series of processes (i.e., criminal background checks, payment of back taxes, assimilation, demonstration of self sufficiency), be issued new visas to be here legally." [1.]

Jimmy Stewart's classic film: Mr.Smith Goes to Washington.

Everyone Should See This Film

This Classic Tale [click to watch] of a man of integrity who finds himself in the United States Senate, and who ultimately has to fight for that integrity, is one that we would do well to heed today!

“Capra was able to make this film so good because he both believed in the American ideal, and understood how easily it could be co-opted and undermined by the unscrupulous and the greedy. America, he's telling us, should be celebrated because it’s the kind of country that can produce a Jefferson Smith; but at the same time, we must always be on our guard, because it’s also capable of destroying one.” -- Gina Dalfonzo [2.]

Jimmy Stewart as Senator Smith visiting the Lincoln Memorial.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

THYME Magazine: The Voice of C. S. Lewis

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume VIII, Issue XVIIa

BBC Talks Encouraged Nation

A war-weary nation was once greatly encouraged by the BBC addresses of C. S. Lewis. These talks would later become the basis for his apologetic: Mere Christianity.I found an audio book version of this classic and was impressed at how the work flowed as it was read aloud. There is only one small fragment of BBC audio remaining of C. S. Lewis speaking and here it is presented for your enjoyment!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

THYME Magazine: "Elites and Intellectuals"

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume VIII, Issue XVII

The Vacuum at the Top

There was a time when the "elite" truly seemed to be better than most people. For example, Leonardo da Vinci was an architect, cartographer, engineer, painter, sculptor, writer and legendary inventor among other things. Socrates was a superb stonecutter, soldier, politician and philosopher. Galileo studied medicine, mathematics, physics and has been referred to as "the father of modern science." For much of human history even the lesser "elites" from noble families had a tremendous advantage over the average man in a time when an education was hard to come by and their wealth and position in society provided them with opportunities to acquire skills that the general populace couldn't." writes John Hawkins. In an article entitled: Elites Are No Longer Elite [click to read], Hawkins explores the reason this is so. Essentially, Hawkins says that there are no more Renaissance men and women, as people tend to become highly proficient in one area of expertise while remaining woefully ignorant of the world outside of their area of expertise. That was not always so.

There was a time when brilliant people like Claudius Crozet and Isambard Kingdom Brunel needed to know a broader range of knowledge in order to do the works they were able to accomplish. They needed to know more than engineering tables. They needed to understand commerce and markets. These men built railroads, but their work ultimately built communities as they provided avenues of commerce and prosperity. Crozet and Brunel seem far closer in stature to da Vinci than their modern counterparts. Hawkins continues: "Today, in a world where there is a nearly infinite supply of news sources, there are far fewer shared activities than there used to be; college educations are commonplace and people can become extraordinarily wealthy based on a terribly narrow skillset." Indeed, my own experience often included such exercises as drawing for architects who couldn't draw and sometimes in the presentation process, creating design for designers who couldn't. Indeed, I was sometimes amazed that by simply stepping back and taking in a larger picture, the resulting contribution to a work would be better than imagined.

The Académie des Beaux-Arts taught through the process of drawing. The advent of computer drafting led to a whole era of designers who's drawings, though they guided the mouse, where essentially drawn by someone else! The art once deemed so essential to design remains as a brief portion of the course, but it is no longer something a designer immerses oneself in every moment. One feels at times, watching the process, as if the designer is connecting lines and templates. The window manufacturer provides the cuts which are pasted into the drawing on screen. To be sure, the computer has opened up new vistas for the exploration of complex forms, but the buildings we live our everyday lives in do not require complex forms. Before the Second World War, in the early Twentieth Century, there existed a beautiful Classicism that made small houses noble. There was a sense of scale and proportion. There was a sense of shadow and texture. I learned much copying the styles of the renderers of those days.

On a far larger scale, Hawkins observes that our leaders often emerge having shown little or no expertise beyond their small sphere. Virginia boasts an 'elite' Senator who's 'expertise' consists of making a fortune by buying cell phone licenses. His good fortune in acquiring wealth is his credential. He does not know what it is like to struggle for years, paying your employee but not yourself to build a business. That might not be such an issue but for his stated derision of those who do: ""you’re going to see a coalition that has just about completely taken over the Republican Party in this state and if they have their way, it’s going to take over state government. It’s made up of the Christian Coalition, it’s made up of the right to lifers, it’s made up of the NRA, it’s made up of the homeschoolers, it’s made up of a whole coalition of people that have all sorts of different views that I think most of us in this room would find threatening to what it means to be an American." -- Mark Warner [1.]

There was a time when Beauty, Truth, Virtue and Nobleness were seen to spring from a Divine origin. The problem with Senator Warner's statement is that he summarily dismisses a whole group of people who embrace that. The Right to Life springs from the concept of IMAGO DEI, that belief that mankind is created in the Image of G-d. The Second Amendment acknowledges the belief that government serves the people and that power remains with the people. The ability to engage in self-defense is simply an expression of that greater principle. Homeschoolers simply acknowledge that the parent is the first one responsible for training up a child. They extend that responsibility in providing instruction in a broader body of knowledge than early language. Here Hawkins swerves into a greater truth. Modern relativism has rendered obsolete the concept that there is an ultimate source of Wisdom and Truth. The Academy, believing this, no longer teaches it.

Until recent times the Divine underpinning was foundational to learning. By its very nature it invited exploration of a broader world. Design had its inspiration in nature. Flawed human nature was continually challenged by a Divine benchmark. Relativism states that "all truths are equally valid," resulting in a diminished sense of the need to pursue absolute truth. Indeed, there is NO need to pursue absolute truth, for it doesn't exist in their thinking. This immediately serves to narrow one's experience. The celebration of 'Diversity' does NOT serve to broaden because it rails against the notion that there is an absolute. One steps up to the human experience like a consumer of a buffet, sampling interesting dishes but learning nothing about the creation of a meal! Indeed, Hawkins notes that one phenomenon inherent in this mindset is that now we have people who are famous simply for being famous. They need not present a resume of accomplishment. Hawkins cites the example of our President, who was elected despite the conspicuous absence of a resume of accomplishment.

As his election was sealed and his inauguration began, news anchors remarked: "We know VERY LITTLE about him!" A colleague of mine lamented the general lack of investigative journalism in our day, remarking that they must not have the resources for it. NO!, all you needed to do was READ HIS BOOK and you would come away with a strong sense of his Anticolonialist Socialist sentiments. But such is the Modern Age, that we can style the blank canvas of a Presidential candidate to be whatever we want him to be. Because many in our day are unfamiliar with true accomplishment, we fail to look for it!

That is why this publication has recently presented a series of stories of great accomplishment. Neil Armstrong and President Kennedy show us something of it. They showed us how to lift our eyes to the horizon. Kennedy, though a flawed man like most of us, did heroic things in the Pacific War and wrote a book called Profiles in Courage. I read it in Middle School... not as an assignment, mind you, but because it sat on Dad's voluminous bookshelves. Those people assigned to find counterfeit money do not spend a lot of time studying counterfeit money. Instead, they study real money in GREAT DETAIL. By doing so they develop a sense for what the true currency looks like. Even when presented with a very skillful counterfeit they can "feel" it. That is why THYME Magazine has become, if you will, Profiles in Faith! Indeed, there is a real vacuum of true stories of accomplishment that, if we knew them, would inspire us to set our vision higher.

Da Vinci was in fact the illegitimate son of a peasant woman. Nobles in Eighteenth Century England were often useless "idle rich," yet there is a greater nobility that is recurring in the human experience. The First Earl of Mansfield, William Murray, might never have understood fully the depravity of slavery without the presence of his great-niece, Dido Elizabeth Belle in his life! She was an illegitimate child of a slave but because of her father's love, she was accorded the status of a noblewoman. Like Esther of old, she became in a way a representative for the humanity of her people. George Gist was derided by his neighbors, but he created a language for his people. Such is the true nobility that a free society is able to nurture in its people. America has been such an incubator for human brilliance for over two centuries! Those who would cast her aside in the pursuit of their Socialist solutions would do well to reconsider!

The Magician's Twin
C. S. Lewis and the Case Against Scientism

C. S. Lewis explores the modern tendency to elevate science to the status of religion.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

THYME Magazine: A Story in a Painting

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume VIII, Issue XVI

Belle, A Story in a Painting

The Eighteenth Century painting is intriguing! Its subjects appear to be an English noblewoman and a mysterious princess. But this is not some flight of fantasy, the women depicted are actually cousins who lived together at Kenwood House under the care of William Murray, First Earl of Mansfield. Dido Elizabeth Belle, the woman on the left, was the daughter of Captain John Lindsay, Murray's nephew, who fathered the girl when he was stationed in the West Indies. Lindsay was knighted and promoted to Admiral and left his daughter in the care of Murray in 1765. The daughter of a slave woman, she was nonetheless brought up as a free gentlewoman along with William's niece, Elizabeth Murray who is depicted on the right.

When my wife and I watched the movie Belle, which is the story of Dido and William Murray, the painting seemed familiar. It was a bit later that it came to me that that was an image my Art History professor had had on one of her slides. I've often asked fellow artists if they enjoyed Art History? They often reply that they did not, seeing it as a torturous process of memorization. They did not have the privilege of studying under Penny Griffith. She was an adjunct professor who obviously loved her material. She told us what to memorize for the test and then proceeded to weave spellbinding lectures about the story found in the art! Francisco Goya came alive as we learned his keen observations of Spanish nobility and his depiction of the darkness of war and the darkness of the human soul!

Yet the painting by Johann Zoffany, executed in 1779, remained a mystery. Perhaps it was a bit of romanticism as noblewomen might enjoy, but it would be years later that I would learn the amazing history contained in that canvas. It is the story of how Belle's relationship with William Murray led to significant advances in the fight against slavery. Belle's mother was a slave, but Belle, living at Kenmore, was accorded all the rights of a free person, including a sizable inheritance! Her great-uncle, acting in his capacity as Lord Chief Justice, made two significant rulings on the issue.

In 1772 Murray, the Earl of Mansfield, was called upon to rule in the case of an escaped slave who's owner wanted to take him back to the West Indies for sale. The Chief Justice called the slave to court. This action let it be known that the court considered him a person! Murray declared in his ruling: "The state of slavery is of such a nature, that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or political; but only positive law, which preserves its force long after the reasons, occasion, and time itself from whence it was created, is erased from memory: it's so odious, that nothing can be suffered to support it but positive law. Whatever inconveniences, therefore, may follow from a decision, I cannot say this case is allowed or approved by the law of England."

The effect of this ruling was the recognition that English common law did not support the institution of slavery. Years before William Wilberforce campaigned to end the institution in the legislature; Murray, in his capacity as Chief Justice ruled that the institution had no basis in English law. In another case, that of the Zong massacre of 1781, he again dealt the institution of slavery a solid blow. The ship Zong, dangerously overcrowded when she left Africa with her human cargo, 442 souls in all, saw an epidemic break out among them. The slavers decided to throw one third of the slaves overboard. They then presented a claim to their insurers, arguing that they did not have enough water and needed to do so. The insurance company refused to pay.

The captain had reasoned that rather than have the slaves get sick on board and be rendered worthless, he would kill them and collect the insurance money. He would then argue that the slaves sacrificed for others when there was not enough water. It was proved beyond doubt that water was adequately available, making clear the dark intent of the slave ship captain! The UK Daily Mail writes: "Insurance was Lord Mansfield’s speciality, and he concluded that the insurers were not liable. The breathtaking brutality of the murders and the fact that drowned human beings could be reduced to an insurance claim brought home the urgency of abolishing the slave trade."

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

THYME Magazine: Neil Armstrong Interview II

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume VIII, Issue XV

"We Choose to Go to the Moon..."

Last week we presented a rare Interview with Neil Armstrong [click to view]. If you have not had a chance to watch it in its entirety, please do so. It is a refreshing look at the fulfillment of great human aspiration from the perspective of the very humble man who did it! Alex Malley is refreshing in his open style of interview and he allows Neil Armstrong to be seen as the man he is. There is no drive to sensationalize or twist the story, rather one sees how Armstrong rose from a little boy who was uneasy with the concept of death to a man capable of taking great risks in a well reasoned manner. That was a quality he would need in his journey to the moon.

Alex Malley converses with Commander Neil Armstrong.

Indeed, his story is one to remember, but he is not the first brave man who did not appear so in our first glimpse of him. The morning of my birthday I found myself reading from the Book of Judges in my daily reading. The story was that of Gideon. When we first meet him in Judges chapter 6 he is threshing grain while hiding in a winepress. Normally grain was threshed on a hill in the open so the chaff will blow away, but Gideon fears the Midionites, who raid the land and steal the grain. Hence, he is hiding in the winepress.

An angel of the Lord appears to him saying: "The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour."

Gideon's answer is anything but valorous, he replies: "Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites."

And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?

And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.

And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.

And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.

Gideon might have been the 'least in his father's house.' He indeed asked for a lot of confirmation but then he boldly stepped out and trusted G-d, who did mighty things through him. He went on to win a decisive victory over the Midianites with just 300 men! The time Gideon lived in was one of great despair for the people, as the Midianites had robbed and disheartened them. At times like that (and times like our own),we often find ourselves crying out for extraordinary leaders.We forget that extraordinary things are often done by very ordinary men and women in the face of extraordinary challenges.

Listening to Armstrong, one is struck by his humility and matter-of-fact description of the incredible events he participated in. He does not like to talk about himself and though he is a man of high accomplishment, he is reluctant to take any more of his share of the credit for it. I am incredibly blessed to know young men and women cast in the same mold who live in our times. What will the Divine accomplish through their lives, I ask? I think of President John F. Kennedy's setting the bar: "We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too." [1.] The challenge before us in our times is great indeed!

I step out of the tent and gaze up at the stars. In my lifetime I saw mankind reach for them. My father was an engineer with NASA in its golden age and he developed a device known as the Launch Phase Simulator. [2.] Framed in the trees in the night sky I see the constellation Orion. That was one of the first ones my father taught me to recognize... the mighty hunter with his dagger and his distinctive belt! Generations must have been inspired by the sight before me this night! I think of the young people I have been priviledged to work with. I have seen them grow into people capable of being used to change the world (for the better), and I am humbled to think that I might have somehow been used to influence their lives. And so I plead; we NEED to leave them a country that challenges them as those before us were challenged... to dare and do great things!

Man's First Act on the Moon:

Buzz Aldrin describes, in his own words, the first act of men visiting another world, to honor G-d: “In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.’ I had intended to read my communion passage back to earth, but at the last minute [they] had requested that I not do this. NASA was already embroiled in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O’Hare, the celebrated opponent of religion, over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas. I agreed reluctantly. …I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”

Eric Metaxas writes: "And of course, it’s interesting to think that some of the first words spoken on the moon were the words of Jesus Christ, who made the Earth and the moon — and Who, in the immortal words of Dante, is Himself the “Love that moves the Sun and other stars.” [3.]

Next Week in THYME:
A Story in a Painting

Meet Belle, her real life story is the story behind an intriguing Eighteenth Century Painting. It has recently been made into a fascinating movie and tells the story of how her family's love for her compelled them to stand against the beast within; the human depravity that would enslave and destroy her people!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

THYME Magazine: Neil Armstrong Interview

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume VIII, Issue XIV

Interview with Neil Armstrong!

The first man to set foot on the moon!

In this rare series of interviews, Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, tells the story of the historic mission from his own perspective. Alex Malley of Australia's EvoTV's The Bottom Line looks at the life and leadership of the lunar mission's commander. Fascinated by aircraft, even at a very early age, Armstrong obtained his pilot's license at the age of fifteen!

He went on to fly combat missions during the Korean War and later became a test pilot. He then became an astronaut as NASA geared up to meet President John F. Kennedy's challenge to put a man on the moon in the decade and return him safely to earth.

The Russians had already orbited the first satellite, Sputnik, on October 4, 1957 and subsequently orbited cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin as the Americans struggled to develop a dependable booster. After Alan Shepard's short suborbital flight in 1961, President Kennedy challenged the fledgeling space agency to go to the moon.

Armstrong is refreshingly honest in his discussion with Malley. The interview is presented in four parts and is worth watching to the very end. Neil Armstrong expresses very real concern that the space agency lacks the vision and sense of purpose it had in those early years. He ends with a challenge that we as a people would do well to heed and pursue in our own time!

Forty-five years ago two human beings changed history by walking on the surface of the moon. But what happened before Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong exited the Lunar Module is perhaps even more amazing, if only because so few people know about it.

Retake the Senate!

It is time for action! Many in this country have been discouraged and have been told that their vote didn't matter anymore. Even when the results were close, many Americans rightfully feel they were given lip service but then ignored as the Progressive Liberal faction took over the governance of our land. Are you shocked that you can't keep your health insurance (after you were PROMISED that you could)! Are you troubled by the weakening of our national defense, as we quickly send 3000 troops to 'fight' Ebola but can't seem to muster the resolve to face ISIS? Obamacare is a disaster and many Virginians feel frustrated that their two Senators voted for it. Ed Gillespie is outspoken in his criticism of the legislation that was ramrodded through the legislature despite many reasonable objections. As more and more of "what's in it" is seen, some provisions are being delayed. Even the most optimistic financial projections have the fully implemented program a financial disaster. Kicking the can down the road is suicidal for an economy as fragile as today's.

The media will likely try to paint Mark Warner as the 'moderate' he is not. Let us not forget that he does not even pretend to represent many Virginians' values. When he thought he was alone with his elite buddies he said: "One of the things you are going to see is a coalition that is just about completely taken over the Republican Party in this state and if they have their way it’s going to take over state government. It is made up of the Christian Coalition, but not just them. It is made up of the right-to-lifers, but not just them. It’s made up of the NRA, but not just them. It is made up of the home-schoolers, but not just them. It’s made up of a whole coalition of people that have all sorts of differing views that I think most of us in this room would find threatening to what it means to be an American."[1.] Is there no journalist curious about what being an American means to Senator Warner? Also the media will make much of the fact that Gillespie is the underdog in this race. What you WON'T hear is how he's closed the gap since he announced his candidacy... and he's brought his party to surprise victory before!

The Washington Post says this of him: "Gillespie believes in things, like conservative ideas of lower taxes and less regulation. These may sound bland, but Ed adds a personal perspective. Having grown up in a working-class family, he believes that the key to restored prosperity lies in a renewed middle class, one that relies on its own work ethic and a business-friendly government, not an expansion of a welfare state. He is, I imagine, rather angry with what he sees as liberals' condescension to the middle class and what he views as their assumption that only government can solve their problems." [2.] Unfortunately, the media will probably not underscore the fact that Gillespie can probably relate to us a whole lot better than many privileged politicians. He is wealthy, but he understands how wealth is ultimately created. He is one of the creators of the Contract with America, so instrumental in the 1994 victories by Republican candidates. He is considered a very important strategist and policy writer. Up to now he has remained largely behind the scenes.

Before running for office the first time, Warner said he got BILLIONS from taxpayers: “As Warner –himself a winner [in the FCC lotteries]- says, ‘The government has basically given away tens of billions of dollars of an asset that is yours and mine and everybody’s in the country.’”
-“Winners And Losers In The Great Cellular Giveaway,” Fortune Magazine, November 5, 1990

Running for Governor, Warner changed his story: “‘Nobody gave me anything,’ he said. ‘I’m proud of my business success . . .’”
-R.H. Melton, “Va. GOP Making Issue Of Warner’s Fortune,” The Washington Post, August 5, 2001

Mark Warner’s Former Business Partner Says Warner Is A “Vulture.” Peter Zecola, a Warner partner in a cellular company, described his former partner’s business practices by saying, “At the same time, these people are called by some ‘vulture capitalists,’ rather than venture capitalists. They’re basically in it to make a buck. They’re always there to grab that last crumb off the table.”
-Peter Baker, “Before Politics, A Run For His Money,” The Washington Post, September 2, 1996

The media Won't tell you that thanks to Obamacare implementation, Warner's support has significantly softened. As people "see what's in it," they realize it is going to have a negative effect on them personally. Many potential voters are disheartened now as Northern Virginia has thrown it's weight into the past few elections. Still, if voter percentages in the heartland of Virginia increased by just a small percentage, Northern Virginia would not be able to dominate the process. The statistics are worth repeating:

Time to Awaken a Sleeping Giant

In 2004, Christian voter turnout increased by 93 percent over the 2002 turnout, and 42 percent of voters identified abortion as an important issue. As a result:

• 63 percent of the freshman U.S. congressmen elected were pro-life.
• 77 percent of the freshman U.S. senators were pro-life.

By increasing pro-life representation in Congress in the 2002 and 2004 elections, America witnessed the first four major abortion-restricting bills enacted since Roe v. Wade:

• Infants Born Alive Protection Act
• Unborn Victims of Violence Act
• Partial-Birth Abortion Ban
• Fetal Farming Ban

In addition, those senators helped confirm strict constructionists John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court. By 2006, Christian voter turnout decreased by 30 percent from the 2004 numbers, and only 30 percent of voters said that abortion was an important issue. As a result:

• Only 31 percent of the freshman U.S. congressmen elected were pro-life.
• Only 10 percent of the freshman U.S. senators elected were pro-life.
• The Baltimore Sun labeled the 2007 Congress as “the most pro-choice Congress in the history of the Republic.”

Your vote does matter, and you have the opportunity to protect life, marriage and family. Will you commit to cast your vote in support of the family this November?

Virginia Voter Information:

State General Election: November 4, 2014
Virginia polling times: 6:00am to 7:00pm
Registration deadline October 14, 2014
Register Online [click to register].

A Call to Action!

Right around you, in your church or place of business, are the discouraged people who likely share your values but won't bother to vote! Elections have consequences and we are losing religious freedom and basic protections found in the Bill of Rights by our apathy. There are Excellent Resources [click to read] to help you get your friends and neighbors registered. There are voter guides to help them make informed decisions.

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." -- Galatians 6:9

Solving an Age Old Problem

At Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, items left on a plane are returned quickly as Sherlock sniffs out their owners!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

THYME Magazine: Motherhood and Invention

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume VIII, Issue XIII

How the Gilbreths Changed Work

When my children were younger one of the things we enjoyed was reading the story: Cheaper by the Dozen. We later found Belles On Their Toes and continued our adventures with the Gilbreth family. The books tell the actual story of Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Sr. and his wife Lillian Moller Gilbreth from the perspective of two of their twelve children. The books focus on the life of a very interesting family, to be sure, but touch briefly on a most amazing and inspiring couple and how they changed the way we work.

Frank Gilbreth was born in 1868 in Fairfield, Maine where his father ran a hardware store. Frank's formal education ended with high school and he became a bricklayer's apprentice. It was as a bricklayer that Gilbreth began his life's work improving the way we work.

Film of Frank Gilbreth's work to improve bricklaying.

Noticing that a lot of time was spent reaching down to pick up bricks from the scaffolding below, Gilbreth devised a work level height platform for staging the bricks. The result was improved efficiency in performing the job, but an added benefit was that the workers received less fatigue from the reduction in repetitive motion. Frank Gilbreth went on to become a building contractor, but he also developed and patented a number of such innovations that improved efficiency and workflow.

He became sought after as a consultant and became involved in the engineering process for many industrial processes. He lectured at Perdue University and founded his own consulting firm with his wife Lillian as collaborator. Together they studied how work was done in factories and offices and devised better ways to accomplish it. Their office is described in Cheaper by the Dozen. Gilbreth Inc. consisted of Frank and Lillian sitting across from each other at a colossal table/desk where they performed their analysis.

When the Simmons Harware Company built their large warehouse in Soux City, Iowa, they hired the Gilbreths to design and manage the flow of work and materials, a process often taken for granted as part of construction design today. When  World War I began, Frank Gilbreth went to work developing procedures for rapidly assembling weapons, reducing it to a relatively simple series of steps. He developed a system whereby soldiers could train blindfolded and successfully assemble their rifles, allowing them to smoothly do so in total darkness if required to later.

The Gilbreth's work even led to improvements in medicine. It was their idea to have a "caddy" hand instruments to a surgeon during operations. The Gilbreths employed motion picture technology to analyze and identify essential motions. Then they refined them. These "Therbligs" (Gilbreth spelled somewhat backwards) became the building blocks of improved workflow. It is worth noting that while their contemporary Frederick Winslow Taylor sought to reduce the time it took to DO each process, the Gilbreths sought to reduce the number of processes and so make the worker more productive through the wise focus of their energy.

"Blessed is the man who makes two blades of grass grow where only one grew before. More blessed is he who multiplies the harvests of toil not merely two-fold, but three-fold or more-fold, for he virtually lengthens life when be adds to its fruitage. Such a man is Frank B. Gilbreth who tells in this book just how he wrought this wonder. For years he has closely watched workers at tasks of all kinds ; he has discovered how much they lose by moving unprofitably hither and thither, by neglecting to take the shortest and easiest paths. In the ancient trade of bricklaying he has increased the output almost four-fold by doing only what must be done, and using a few simple devices of his own invention."

--George Iles (1917) in: "Introduction" of Applied Motion Study

"Management practitioners today largely ignore Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, possibly because the principles of motion study they pioneered are now very unfashionable. Motion study entailed the detailed examination of the movements individual workers made in the process of carrying out their work. It was, however, just one of the concepts the Gilbreths developed. Through Frank's concerns that the efficiency of employees should be balanced by an economy of effort and a minimisation of stress, and Lillian's interest in the psychology of management, their work laid the foundations for the development of the modern concepts of job simplification, meaningful work standards and incentive wage plans."

--Editors Of Perseus Publishing (2002) Business: the ultimate resource. p. 994

Frank Gilbreth died of a heart attack on June 14, 1924. He was 55. He died as he was talking on the telephone at the Lackawanna railway station in Montclair, New Jersey. Lillian Gilbreth continued in the work that they had shared. She was a brilliant person in her own right, having received an undergraduate degree from the University of California in English. She went on to obtain her Phd. in Industrial Psychology in 1915 from Brown University. Her dissertation subject: Some Aspects of Eliminating Waste in Teaching.

Most of us are familiar with the fact that the Gilbreths had twelve children, carting them about in the Pierce Arrow nicknamed "Foolish Carriage." Cheaper by the Dozen has indeed immortalized this family. Perhaps what is forgotten is the contribution they made to American life, enriching the way we live and work.

20th Anniversary of Opus 24
An Evening of Beautiful Music Offered to the LORD

The organ at Christ Lutheran Church in Staunton.

Friends of Christ Lutheran Concert Series; Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Taylor and Boody Pipe Organ installed at Christ Lutheran Church with a Choral and Organ concert. This will be Sunday, September 28th at 4pm. We will be presenting Bach's Cantata 80 "A Mighty Fortress is our God" with professional soloists and instrumentalists. The choir will also be singing Cantate Domino by Pitoni, César Frank's Psalm 150, and Nunc Dimittis by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Does My Vote Really Matter?

The importance of One Vote!

In 2004, Christian voter turnout increased by 93 percent over the 2002 turnout, and 42 percent of voters identified abortion as an important issue. As a result:

• 63 percent of the freshman U.S. congressmen elected were pro-life.
• 77 percent of the freshman U.S. senators were pro-life.

By increasing pro-life representation in Congress in the 2002 and 2004 elections, America witnessed the first four major abortion-restricting bills enacted since Roe v. Wade:

• Infants Born Alive Protection Act
• Unborn Victims of Violence Act
• Partial-Birth Abortion Ban
• Fetal Farming Ban

In addition, those senators helped confirm strict constructionists John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court. By 2006, Christian voter turnout decreased by 30 percent from the 2004 numbers, and only 30 percent of voters said that abortion was an important issue. As a result:

• Only 31 percent of the freshman U.S. congressmen elected were pro-life.
• Only 10 percent of the freshman U.S. senators elected were pro-life.
• The Baltimore Sun labeled the 2007 Congress as “the most pro-choice Congress in the history of the Republic.”

Your vote does matter, and you have the opportunity to protect life, marriage and family. Will you commit to cast your vote in support of the family this November?

Virginia Voter Information:

State General Election: November 4, 2014
Virginia polling times: 6:00am to 7:00pm
Registration deadline October 14, 2014
Register Online [click to register].

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

THYME Magazine: Special Election Issue

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor
Volume VIII, Issue XII

INTEGRITY: Special Election Issue

Davy Crockett's speech to Congress about the 'Indian Bill.' We need more like him!

The scene above is one of my all-time favorites from the movie starring Fess Parker. It brings tears to my eyes as Parker's portrayal of Davy Crockett shows us how a man of integrity stands on his word, even when it costs him his political career! As we move toward an important Senate Race it is imperative that we seek out men and women of integrity today. Watch the scene above if you haven't already. It is a model for what we need to restore to our civic discourse today.

The real skalwags in this here capital of the brave and free is us! YOU and ME, and I'm the worst of the lot!" -- Fess Parker as Davy Crockett, addressing Congress regarding the 1830 Indian Removal Bill.

David Crockett's Speech
by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher

Mr. Speaker, below is the text of a detailed report of a speech given on the floor of the House of Representatives that I believe will be of interest to my colleagues. The description was included in a book titled ``Speeches on the Passage of the Bill for the Removal of the Indians,'' published by Perkins and Marvin in 1830. The speech was given by Rep. David Crockett of Tennessee on May 19, 1830, in opposition to the Indian Removal Act. Unfortunately, the Congress disregarded Crockett's objections and passed the bill, which was then signed into law by President Jackson.A Sketch of the Remarks of the Hon. David Crockett, Representative From Tennessee, on the Bill for the Removal of the Indians, Made in the House of Representatives:

Mr. Crockett said, that, considering his very humble abilities, it might be expected that he should content himself with a silent vote; but, situated as he was, in relation to his colleagues, he felt it to be a duty to himself to explain the motives which governed him in the vote he should give on this bill. Gentlemen had already discussed the treaty-making power; and had done it much more ably than he could pretend to do. He should not therefore enter on that subject, but would merely make an explanation as to the reasons of his vote, He did not know whether a man (that is, a member of Congress) within 500 miles of his residence would give a similar vote; but he knew, at the same time, that he should give that vote with a clear conscience. He had his constituents to settle with, he was aware; and should like to please them as well as other gentlemen; but he had also a settlement to make at the bar of his God; and what his conscience dictated to be just and right he would do, be the consequences what they might. He believed that the people who had been kind enough to give him their suffrages, supposed him to be an honest man, or they would not have chosen him. If so, they could not but expect that he should act in the way he thought honest and right. He had always viewed the native Indian tribes of this country as a sovereign people. He believed they had been recognised as such from the very foundation of this government, and the United States were bound by treaty to protect them; it was their duty to do so. And as to giving to giving the money of the American people for the purpose of removing them in the manner proposed, he would not do it. He would do that only for which he could answer to his G-d. Whether he could answer it before the people was comparatively nothing, though it was a great satisfaction to him to have the approbation of his constituents. Mr. Crockett said he had served for seven years in a legislative body. But from the first hour he had entered a legislative hall, he had never known what party was in legislation; and G-d forbid he ever should. He went for the good of the country, and for that only. What he did as a legislator, he did conscientiously. He should love to go with his colleagues, and with the West and the South generally, if he could; but he never would let party govern him in a question of this great consequence. He had many objections to the bill--some of them of a very serious character.

One was, that he did not like to put half a million of money into the hands of the Executive, to be used in a manner which nobody could foresee, and which Congress was not to control. Another objection was, he did not wish to depart from from the foundation of the government. He considered the present application as the last alternative for these poor remnants of a once powerful people. Their only chance of aid was at the hands of Congress. Should its members turn a deaf ear to their cries, misery must be their fate. That was his candid opinion. Mr. Crockett said he was often forcibly reminded of the remark made by the famous Red Jacket, in the rotundo of this building, where he was shown the pannel which represented in sculpture the first landing of the Pilgrims, with an Indian chief presenting to them an ear of corn, in token of friendly welcome. The aged Indian said ``that was good.'' The Indian said, he knew that they came from the Great Spirit, and he was willing to share the soil with his brothers from over the great water. But when he turned round to another panel representing Penn's treaty, he said ``Ah! all's gone now.'' There was a great deal of truth in this short saying; and the present bill was a strong commentary upon it. Mr. Crockett said that four counties of his district bordered on the Chickasaw country. He knew many of their tribe; and nothing should ever induce him to vote to drive them west of the Mississippi. He did not know what sort of a country it was in which they were to be settled. He would willingly appropriate money in order to send proper persons to examine the country. And when this had been done, and a fair and free treaty had been made with the tribes if they were desirous of removing, he would vote an appropriation of any sum necessary; but till this had been done, he would not vote one cent. He could not clearly understand the extent of this bill. It seemed to go to the removal of all the Indians, in any State east of the Mississippi river, in which the United States owned any land; Now, there was a considerable number of them still neglected; there was a considerable number of them in Tennessee, and the United States' government owned no land in that State, north and east of the congressional reservation line. No man could be more willing to see them remove than he was if it could be done in a manner agreeable to themselves; but not otherwise.

He knew personally that a part of the tribe of the Cherokees were unwilling to go. When the proposal was made to them, they said, ``No; we will take death here at our homes. Let them come and tomahawk us here at home: we are willing to die, but never to remove.'' He had heard them use this language. Many different constructions might be put upon this bill. One of the first things which had set him against the bill, was the letter from the secretary of war to colonel Montgomery--from which it appeared that the Indians had been intruded upon. Orders had been issued to turn them all off except the heads of the Indian families, or such as possessed improvements Government had taken measures to purchase land from the Indians who had gone to Arkansas. If this bill should pass, the same plan would be carried further; they would send and buy them out, and put white men upon their land. It had never been known that white men and Indians could live together; and in this case, the Indians were to have no privileges allowed them, while the white men were to have all. Now, if this was not oppression with a vengeance, he did not know what was. It was the language of the bill, and of its friends, that the Indians were not to be driven off against their will. He knew the Indians were unwilling to go: and therefore he could not consent to place them in a situation where they would be obliged to go. He could not stand that. He knew that he stood alone, having, perhaps, none of his colleagues from his state agreeing in sentiment. He could not help that. He knew that he should return to his home glad and light in heart, if he voted against the bill. He felt that it was his wish and purpose to serve his constituents honestly, according to the light of his conscience.

The moment he should exchange his conscience for mere party views, he hoped his Maker would no longer suffer him to exist. He spoke the truth in saying so. If he should be the only member of that House who voted against the bill, and the only man in the United States who disapproved it, he would still vote against it; and it would be matter of rejoicing to him till the day he died, that he had given the vote. He had been told that he should be prostrated; but if so, he would have the consolation of conscience. He would obey that power, and gloried in the deed. He cared not for popularity, unless it could be obtained by upright means. He had seen much to disgust him here; and he did not wish to represent his fellow citizens, unless he could be permitted to act conscientiously. He had been told that he did not understand English grammar. That was very true. He had never been six months at school in his life; he had raised himself by the labor of his hands. But he did not, on that account, yield upon his privilege as the representative of freemen on this floor. Humble as he was, he meant to exercise his privilege. He had been charged with not representing his constituents. If the fact was so, the error (said Mr. Crockett) is here, (touching his head) not here (laying his hand upon his heart). He never had possessed wealth or education, but he had ever been animated by an independent spirit; and he trusted to prove it on the present occasion. [1.]

5th Grader Takes on 'Nanny State'

Eleven year old Grace Karaffa is not exactly a stranger to politics. Her father is Augusta County Supervisor David Karaffa, who ran for the office as an independent to restore integrity to local politics. His campaign stressed open dialogue and the practical addressing of issues, even when doing so was hard. Since second grade, Grace has suffered from bleeding lips and this causes her quite a bit of discomfort in school. When she asked if she could use Chapstick, she was told that it was not allowed. She could not use the over the counter lip balm because it was 'prohibited' as it was considered a 'medication.' Grace was forced to wet her cracked and bleeding lips in the school washroom as an alternative.

This year, encouraged by her father, Grace brought a petition before the Augusta County School Board asking for the ban on lip balm to be overturned. Citing concerns that students might 'share' medications, the board responded saying they would study the matter. We at THYME have covered 'Nanny State' overreach before, most notably the Wendy's Incident [click to read] but it tends to remain a local story, for the most part. Fox News [click to read], however picked up on Grace's petition, as did Independent Journalism Review [click to read]. The eleven year old's campaign had gone viral!

'Of the People'
Public Servants Should Remember Who They Serve

I grew up with Davy Crockett as a hero. I still remember the part where he rode through the night to defeat the Indian Bill, a bad piece of legislation that cost him his congressional career for opposing it. Davy Crockett was one of us! There was no question.

Fast forward to the past few elections and you have two 'public servants' who let their hair down with their elite buddies and say things like: "You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. … And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." [2.]

Or consider this quote: "One of the things you are going to see is a coalition that is just about completely taken over the Republican Party in this state and if they have their way it’s going to take over state government. It is made up of the Christian Coalition, but not just them. It is made up of the right-to-lifers, but not just them. It’s made up of the NRA, but not just them. It is made up of the home-schoolers, but not just them. It’s made up of a whole coalition of people that have all sorts of differing views that I think most of us in this room would find threatening to what it means to be an American." [3.]

Scary stuff! The man responsible for the second quote is sitting in the U. S.  Senate from the State of Virginia. He once ran ads saying that then Senator Obama "respects" your Second Amendment rights! But even though he claims to be a 'moderate,' Senator Warner's voting record says otherwise. His vote gave us Obamacare, in spite of strong appeals (I went to his office with a lot of other people) to do otherwise. He has voted with the President 97% of the time, yet the media this fall will paint him as a Centrist!

Home schoolers, dangerous?, I've had home schoolers and former home schoolers work in our model shop and I can tell from the above quote that Mark Warner has far less experience with home schoolers than I do. I've seen fifteen year old kids who've developed professional proficiency and have pretty good heads on their shoulders to boot! I think I'll send Senator Warner a copy of Alvin Schmidt's book Under the Influence. I think there are many spiritual underpinnings to what it means to be an American. I don't think Governor Warner's coctail crowd should be so afraid of us.

In the early Nineteenth Century, Crockett's Tennessee was the Alaska of its day, sitting on the frontier with hostile forces beyond. I'll bet you their were no teenagers working out their angst either. Young people were working the farms and defending them. So, once again in troubled times, should we look to the frontier for leadership? I think so!

Still, it is not surprising that the press will repackage Elite Liberals as 'Centrists' as the election approaches. They all read Howard Zinn [1.] together in school and are steeped in his narrative. A recent piece I read by Gerry Warburg preaches: Lessons in the Wake of Watergate. [2.] It is interesting reading. Warburg went to Washington as a young Democrat aide in the wake of Nixon's resignation. He helped write Jimmy Carter's nuclear policy bill. Warburg calls those years: "...a time of national renewal. In crisis there is opportunity: Reformers of all political persuasions helped advance crucial measures..." So, while Warburg admits to the need for deficit reduction his call for "informed voters" to elect "Centrist" candidates needs some analysis.

In 2009, the Tea Party sounded the alarm about rising government debt and the folly of larger government. The media has worked overtime to marginalize it. Does Warburg not see that the activists from all backgrounds today are often calling for a return to Constitutional principles and a reigning in of the government as part of an overall strategy to return health to the country? President Obama took with him to Washington over fifty of the most overtly Leftist Idiologues as Czars. The media yawned. The IRS was employed to hobble the Conservative movement. The media yawned. Eric Holder's Justice Department ignored the New Black Panther Party suppression of white voters in Philadelphia. Rioters 'rightfully' burn down their neighborhood when a white policeman kills a black youth but hundreds of kids die in these neighborhoods at the hands of people the same race and the media yawns. The suspicious nature of Benghazi, 'Fast and Furious' Extortion 17 and the arm-twisting passage of the so-called "Affordable Care Act" might cause one to pause and ask": "What did Nixon do, again?"

Indeed, if one honestly considers Richard M. Nixon's place in history, the Watergate break-ins seem to be JV league compared to the weight of the present documented scandals. Warburg might do well to remember that Nixon, aside from Watergate, actually embodies the true Center-Right candidate. Under Nixon's leadership, the Environmental Protection Agency began. Nixon also is known for the controversial Wage/Price Controls, under which Insurance as an employment benefit became cemented. Rubbing shoulders with Robert C. Byrd, he should have realized where much of the ensconced racism of this country resided. In conclusion, I would have to agree with Gerry Warburg's desire for an informed electorate, but I would caution the media to report honestly and let the informed electorate, not the pundits, decide who is 'extreme.'

Serge Belo's Amazing Mosaic

To raise awareness among the general public about the global clean water crisis, the artist Serge Belo created an image composed of 66,000 cups of colored rainwater. (Contributed by Kristina Elaine Riley).

Wes Stafford in his book: Too Small to Ignore [click to read] speaks with affection of the time he lived in Africa with his missionary parents. One of his most cherished memories was digging out a well for a village with his father. Tired and muddy, they submitted their story to their mission board's newsletter. Sadly the newsletter overlooked this wonderful story and did not publish it. So many people in the world today would be spared so much suffering if they could just be provided with clean water! And clean water is such a practical testimony of G-d's Love!

Stafford went on to found Compassion International [click to read] and they have helped a lot of children with the basic necessities such as clean water, bringing the Love of G-d to their communities in practical acts of service. To this day, Wes Stafford and his partners continue to embrace the muddy work of building the Kingdom of G-d! But still, digging wells and fencing out cattle is often overlooked as a work of the Kingdom.

To raise awareness among the general public about the global clean water crisis, the artist Serge Belo created an image composed of 66,000 cups of colored rainwater simulating levels of impurities found in water all over the planet. This major work of 3,600 square feet, representing a baby in the maternal womb, emphasizes the necessity of water, even before birth, for each living person.

Does My Vote Matter?

Imagine the impact Americans of faith can have on the future of our nation, the character of its leadership, and the health of its families if we all applied biblical principles to every aspect of our lives — including committing to vote.

Commit to Vote 2014 [click to read]

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

THYME Magazine: Back to School Issue

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume VIII, Issue XI

 The Problem of Original Zinn

Last week THYME asked the question: Could it be that the modern activist narrative, perpetuated by writers like Howard Zinn, conveniently ignores the sin, violence and retribution that lies outside of 'Western' activity. His 776 page A People's History of the United States [click to read] is required reading on many college campuses. No doubt, his philosophy has influenced many an aspiring journalist in their own activism. But Zinn must be seen for the Marxist that he is, and his convenient 'omission' of important history needs to be corrected.The problem is that Zinn, not sin, has become the basis for the activism of men like Sharpton and Jackson, who for the media serve as icons of the Civil Rights Movement.

First of all, it must be noted that Zinn himself admits: “Once I was bar mitzvahed, and I had done my religious duty, and my family needn’t be ashamed of me anymore…. that was the end of my religiosity.” He further perpetuates the marginalization of Faith in his works. Bob Cheeks [click to read] writes: "Rhetorician Richard M. Weaver in his essay, Up From Liberalism, explained the spiritual discernment that gave birth to his intellectual epiphany: “Original sin is a parabolical expression of the immemorial tendency of man to do the wrong thing when he knows the right thing.” By acknowledging Original sin, Weaver, abandoned a youthful dalliance with what at that time (the 1930’s) was called liberalism. Unfortunately, historian/activist Howard Zinn had no such epiphany."

The problem is not so much that Zinn has a narrative,but that the academy has embraced Zinn's one-sided narrative as a base for understanding our culture. Daniel J. Flynn sums it up quite nicely: "Who is the most influential historian in America? Could it be Pulitzer Prize winners Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. or Joseph Ellis or David McCullough, whose scholarly works have reached a broad literary public? The answer is none of the above. The accolade belongs instead to the unreconstructed, anti-American Marxist Howard Zinn, whose cartoon anti-history of the United States is still selling 128,000 copies a year twenty years after its original publication. Many of those copies are assigned readings for courses in colleges and high schools taught by leftist disciples of their radical mentor."

That is the problem. Steeped in the narrative that the world was doing fine before the evil white oppressors arrived on the scene, Zinn ignores the sin that has plagued men of all colors and cultures since long ago. Raiding and retribution were seen in tribal cultures and are still seen today in the tragic breakdown of civil society in places like Rwanda. Somehow the only real 'evil' in Zinn's world is that of the Western 'Imperialist.' That is why history, like mapmaking, requires an honest telling. Even America's Romantic period Romanticised the "Noble Savage." Indeed a lot of bloody raiding and retribution was left out even then. Ironically the best anti-colonial emergence of all, the American Experiment, is lumped in with the great empires of Spain and Britian.

No doubt, this is possible because men like Zinn see America as simply a continuation of European Imperialism. What is missed is the bright hope that burned briefly in newly freed African nations who initially modeled themselves after our Constitutional government. I remember that time in the middle of the Twentieth Century where Africans in traditional garb met in gleaming new assembly halls to take their rule from their former colonizers. That seemed such a time of hope and promise. Later I was saddened to see the destruction of Uganda, once known as the 'Pearl of Africa,' by despotic leadership feeding off of the bad feelings and retribution culture of the old tribalism. Rwanda's bloody descent was a terrible playing out of the same scenario.

But the United States Constitution actually acknowledges quite clearly the weakness of man and his propensity to take advantage of his fellows. Thus it enumerates basic rights held by all and limits the restriction of those rights by the institutions of government. Within the framework of Constitution, slavery, long a part of human history, becomes problematic in a way that allows the work of a William Wilberforce to go forward. But, as Bob Cheeks writes: "Zinn’s ideals have a misanthropic ring to them. I don’t believe he loves humanity as he claims. I believe he worships the idea of a state that can transform Americans into that antiseptic android, the socialist’s “New Man.” Perhaps he is angry with a G-d who would allow pain and suffering in this world?"

That last thought of Cheeks, so well dramatized in the movie: G-d's Not Dead [click to read], appears to drive far too much of the narrative at the academy. That would explain the steady stream of socialist solutions coming out of that world and their antipathy for localized initiative outside of government oversight, as in the case of healthcare reform. It may be seen as well in the state's resistance to Faith-based solutions and the desire of the state to create 'compelling public interest' legislation to force businesses run by people of Faith (Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood Products) to provide coverage of abortion causing drugs or prohibiting them from refusing service to those who would force them, in providing such service, to violate their conscience (Elane Photography, Sweet Cakes by Melissa). Such is in keeping with the molding of the "antiseptic android," the "New Man." It can be no less than that.

Remembering September 11, 2001

Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)
Alan Jackson

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or working on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin' against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?

Did you weep for the children who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out in pride for the red, white and blue
And the heroes who died just doin' what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell
you the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you teaching a class full of innocent children
Or driving down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty 'cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you loved her?
Did you dust off that Bible at home?

Did you open your eyes, hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Or speak to some stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Or go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watchin'
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns?

Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers
Did you stand in line and give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love?

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell
you the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to G-d
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?

Lower Manhattan, New York, New York. Photo by Detective Greg Smedinger
Arlington, Virginia.
Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The Southeast Reliability Project

"There are no simple solutions, only intelligent choices." -- Caterpillar Advertisement.

Intelligent Choices, that was the message of a series of advertisements by construction equipment giant Caterpillar in the 1960's. Of course Caterpillar had a vested interest in the construction industry moving forward, but the thought is a good one. Augusta County, Virginia now faces the need, in the case of Dominion Resources' 42 mile proposed pipeline route through the county, to make some intelligent choices.

"Pipelines tear up the land..." "Affordable Energy requires pipelines."
Those could be the conflicting sentiments in today's discussion, much like the opposing viewpoints highlighted in the Caterpillar advertisements. And they can guide us, as we consider the impact and opportunity of any project. A badly designed pipeline route will indeed affect us for years to come, but design is a beautiful process and through intelligent considerations we might indeed arrive at a very workable solution.

The first map of the proposed route simply cut across the expanse of George Washington National Forest without regard for terrain or sensitive natural areas. A second map corrected the route to reflect concern for sensitive areas in the National Forest, but cut a swath through the growing community of Stuarts Draft. The pipeline mappers now had created conflict with the county's comprehensive plan. Supervisor David Karaffa also pointed out the need to protect important underground aquifers in the Stuarts Draft area. Obviously more design is in order.

Pipelines are easiest to site in open country. After they are buried and the land is restored you can indeed farm right over them. They are problematic where there is heavy development. They require an open right of way where only roads may cross them and no structures may be placed over them. It might surprise you to know that a gas pipeline runs right through the Virginia Horse Center Complex outside of Lexington Virginia. At one point the center's designers considered covered walkways from stables to arenas and were stopped by the need to leave pipeline right of way uncovered.

Pipelines are least desirable where there is a dense community or in natural preservation areas. The 100' right of way MUST be maintained clear in order to perform necessary inspection and maintenance. Thus it is imperative that the route be sensitively threaded through the mountains by its designers. But that is certainly possible. Just North of Calf Mountain Shelter on the Appalachian Trail, one first crosses a very obvious swath cut for power line right of way. The electricity crackles in the lines overhead, supported by enormous towers... it is a bit eery... but walk a bit farther and you step into what appears to be a wildlife clearing just past Jarman's Gap. Wildflowers and butterflies abound.

You leave the trail and walk to the edge to take in the view a little better. Only then do you realize you are standing on a natural gas line right of way! You can see now that the cleared path extends on past the end of Buck's Elbow Mountain, far in the distance. I grew up with gas lines. In fact, as a boy I walked to my favorite lake, Triadelphia Reservoir, on the gas line right of way. The gas line actually ran right under the reservoir!

One resource I still have from my younger days is a copy of Ian McHarg's 1967 book: Design with Nature. It is a great guide to intelligently siting projects with sensitivity to their environment. McHarg used a series of semi-transparent overlays on which important natural features, historically important sites and existing communities are all colored in. The result of analyzing the composite of McHarg's overlays is the most environmentally responsible design. Such is the process we must insist be applied to the Southeast Reliability Project.

Samuel Truett Cathy: 1921-2014

Samuel Truett Cathy.

No goal is too high if we climb with care and confidence.”

Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else – our time, our love, our resources. I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return.”

“I’d like to be remembered as one who kept my priorities in the right order. We live in a changing world, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed, and the important things will not change if we keep our priorities in proper order.”

“You have to be very careful about what you say. More importantly, you have to be very careful about what you do. You never know how or when you influence people – especially children.”

“It is when we stop doing our best work that our enthusiasm for the job wanes. We must motivate ourselves to do our very best, and by our example lead others to do their best as well.”

“I believe no amount of business school training or work experience can teach what is ultimately a matter of personal character. Businesses are not dishonest or greedy, people are. Thus, a business, successful or not, is merely a reflection of the character of its leadership.”