Monday, April 30, 2012

Visualizing America's Future Greatness

It is Time for Optimism Based on Reality...


Susan Allen and Jason Bibeau.

Susan Allen joined residents for lunch at Wright's Dairy Rite in Staunton to talk about her husband's campaign for U.S. Senate. George Allen, who has served Virginians as Governor and U.S.Senator, has a Blueprint for America's Comeback that is a pro-growth plan of action to get our country back on course by focusing on jobs, competitiveness, freedom, and opportunity.

George Allen's Blueprint for America's Comeback includes:

Part 1:
Making America Competitive for Job Creators (America is Open for Business!) [click to read]

If America is going to make a comeback, we must reinvigorate our economy so that it is growing and creating jobs again. Yet, more than two years – and nearly a trillion dollars – after passage of Washington’s jobless stimulus bill, the American economy is stuck in idle. GDP grew at an anemic 1.8 percent rate during the second quarter of 2011. Unemployment continues to hover around 9 percent, with more than 14 million Americans looking for jobs while millions of others have simply given up.

Part 2:
Unleashing America’s Plentiful Energy Resources and Creativity (American Energy Freedom Act) [click to read]

The good news is that America has the most plentiful energy resources of any country in the world. U.S. reserves plus technically recoverable oil, gas, and coal amount to 1,320 billion barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) – ahead of Russia, Saudi Arabia, and China. And American ingenuity has traditionally led the way for new and expanded global energy resources.

Part 3:
Reining in the Over-Reaching, Over-Spending Federal Government [click to read]

With the national debt at $14 trillion and growing at an alarming rate, America urgently needs to take control of our financial destiny. By restoring American competitiveness and unleashing our energy resources, the Blueprint for America’s Comeback will help by bringing in new revenues, but runaway spending must also be brought under control.

A future based on using America's abundant natural gas resourses could put us at the front of the new global economy. Graphic byBob Kirchman.

The dream of a bridge between the Americas and Asia has been a staple of publications like Popular Science for years. Will the next generation make it a reality?

Our parents lived through the Great Depression. Then they saw a war that practically destroyed the Continent of Europe. Our Country had barely survived its birthing and was almost destroyed by Civil War in the Nineteenth Century. Now rising powers across great oceans threatened our continued existence. Still, in the midst of the Depression, the 1939 World's Fair showed us the world of the Twentieth Century.

A few years later the National Socialists in Germany were busy creating Hell on Earth. Surely to a person of faith at that time, the World was ending. For over six million people it did. The attempt to install a new order and a Master Race almost destroyed Western Civilization.

Faith gives us hope in the midst of such dark terror. Certainly the hope expressed in Isaiah 60 and Revelation 21 is necessary to anchor us in such desparate times. One day the Divine will establish His Kingdom. A kingdom that is without end.

Mankind has moved through ages of deep depravity and times that we have come to know as Golden Ages as well. What will we do with the time that is ours?

The great irony is that Heavenly minded men and women, far from being "no Earthly good," have often been the catalysts for building a better life for their fellows. Alvin Schmidt documents this in his book "Under the Influence." Many advances in compassion and society are the result of people like England's William Wilberforce, who championed the abolition of slavery for years, and Charles Dickens, who changed the way society responded to the needy among them.

With our eyes set firmly on the "hope of things to come," will we bring the touch of G-d to our age?, or will we surrender to our dark demons?

Now is not the time for quitting.

The Bering Straight Crossing might have cable stayed sections to allow ships to pass...

...and miles of floating piers.

Is the human ability to dream big dreams a gift from the Divine? I believe it is.

The Monacans of Mohomony

Celebrating Heritage of  Central Virginia's First People

A lady of Monacan ancestry presents the history of her people at Natural Bridge.

Monacan Lady (above) and warrier (below) as painted by Laney Riley on the Crozet Trestle Mural.


A Monacan ati, or house, covered with bark...

...on a framework of branches.

Here is an ati thatched with cattails. This variation would be used in lowland areas with plentiful water.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mohomony Poplar in the Sunlight

Large Tree Along Cedar Creek by Natural Bridge

This poplar is along Cedar Creek near the reconstructed Monacan village.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume IV, Issue XVII

The Last Days of Obama & Biden

This week the 'other' Weekly News Magazine [click to read] features 'The Last Days of Osama Bin Laden.' We must remember the havoc wrought by Bin Laden and his minions on Septmber 11, 2001 and the brave and good people who led us in response. Today we face another threat to America in the policies of the current administration. Record debt and investment in growing government threaten to undermine the America that has taken Centuries to build. "Hope and change" are not thought out policies, they are slogans. How did we end up with a President and others in government who think so radically differently about America than most of her people?

As the next election approaches, it becomes clear that those who are paid to inform us want us to be unduly obsessesed with how the Romneys spend their money and ignore how those already in power spend ours! Clearly the Wednesday night partys at the White house deserve more scrutiny in this regard that what Mrs. Romney chooses to drive. Obama's cadillac way outprices anything the Romneys own (yes, I know it is bulletproof), but did you know that the Secret Service had to build a bigger car wash for it after they ordered it?

I spoke with a young person who is about to head off to the university who told me "it's all so complicated... I can't understand the politics." My response was: "No it's not, and it is a need-to-know situation." Clearly there are those who benefit greatly from relegating essential information to the "experts," but a little homework can make for a very enlightened electorate.

I was watching television this week. A documentary on the derivatives market in mortgages came on. I was fascinated so I watched as the show began with the Wunderkind at J.P. Morgan who came up with using derivatives to spread risks and free capital in their corporate lending. It was intended to add security to a marketplace where a company like Exxon Mobil would borrow a huge amount from J.P. Morgan and then J.P. Morgan would be required to hold a lot of funds in reserve. By 'selling the risk' the bank was able to free up its own capital to lend to others.

So far so good. Now the show sped into a discussion of bundled mortgages... predatory lending and the great meltdown we have just experienced. Conspicuously absent from the presentation was any discussion of the role of the Fair Housing Act. On paper this was a noble piece of legislation. Everybody should be able to have opportunity, but the result was unsustainable mortgages that the banks were compelled to issue.

Also absent was any discussion of how Senator John McCain had tried to stop the runaway train in 2005, but the Congressional leadership ignored him. "Beware," I told my young friend, "of any narrative where the good guys are all from one party and the bad guys are all from the other." As the show descended into a replay of the "Main Street vs Wall Street" narrative, I shuddered. If this is what passes for "news," Operation Educate for 2012 is really needed.

Bundled mortages were a disaster. Here was risk that no one could measure, being sold in a market that has very little oversight. A bank might bundle its bad mortgages and sell them as an investment only to find that another division of the same bank had bought them back as an "investment." The transaction might have literally travelled around the world. The effect was just the opposite of that of spreading out corporate debt. By 2008 the web was unvavelled.

Universal Health Care sounds wonderful until you consider countries who already have it in place. Costs do not go down and rationing of care is soon to follow. As much as there is to complain about in our present system, there is precious little discussion of how insurance reform and market forces could do far more to improve it. In order to affoord insurance at all, I have a very high deductable. That means we ask what things cost up front, often finding a natural alternative to the expensive perscription. I have drawn a portrait of the doctors' office so someone in my family could have a procedure. Also we have found that many practices will look at your income and bill on a scale. Not only that, there are many who will set up a payment plan for you (often without interest)! None of this will happen in a single-payer system.

Augusta Health writes off about 20 million dollars in services annually. These include bad debts, indigent patients receiving care and reduced fees for services. The fact remains that most people DO have medical insurance or an alternative sharing plan. The uninsured could be covered with far less expense and with far less disruption by addressing simpler solutions. The point that must be made is that the present medical system provides more care than government run healthcare actually will. You need to see more than the slogans to learn this though.

Energy Policies that depend on untested 'alternative' sources and prohibit exploiting our own proven resources are foolhardy from both an economic and national security standpoint. Energy Secretary Steven Chu states a desire to raise our gas prices to the level of those in Europe. That,in my mind, gives the administration no credibility when they claim to feel our pain at the pump.

President Obama was speaking to college students in Colorado. They're starting to feel concerned. Jobs aren't out there. Students graduate now with a year's salary in student loan debt. Costs are rising, opportunities are shrinking. The President said to them that after they graduate, they should: "go out and start a business." Enterpreneurship, according to the President, would save the day for them.


The President, unfortunately, has never started a business (I have, my muraling assistant, still in college, has two), and the first thing you learn is that it takes a lot of time and energy before you actually make money. When you actually make money you need a really good accountant because the government is looking to take a huge chuck of it. Taxation and regulation create huge hurdles for the serious enterpreneur.

When you are a small shop serving the design and construction industry and bad policies have decimated that industry, you go back and get a second job like you had when you were launching your business in the first place. It's not exactly like 'Community Organizing,' Mr. President.

Meanwhile, Mr. Romney is wasting no time framing the upcoming election according to The Washington Examiner [click to read].

"Romney made it clear he does not intend to allow Obama to own the very concept of fairness."

"I’ll tell you about how much I love this country, where someone like my dad, who grew up poor and never graduated from college, could pursue his dreams and work his way up to running a great car company. Only in America could a man like my dad become governor of the state in which he once sold paint from the trunk of his car." -- Mitt Romney


"Time for America's Grand Comeback"
By George Allen Richmond Times-Dispatch Thursday, April 26, 2012

America has always been energized by the power of ideas, the decency of its people, and the unifying passion of a purpose in our lives and blessed country. Although we've faced many challenges, we have always risen to overcome them. As a result, America is known throughout the world for its extraordinary courage: To come together. To stand in harm's way. To speak out. To reach for new heights. And to never, ever give up.

With millions unemployed and an economy sputtering, many people today have seen their dreams diminished. Parents don't know if their children will enjoy the same opportunities they had growing up. And entrepreneurs are worried Washington will make it impossible for their business to survive or be passed on to their children. These stories are being told all across Virginia and the nation. And though they're very real stories of our present, they don't have to be prevalent stories in our future. The power of our nation's purpose remains as strong as ever and that fight for America's future is ours to win.

We need people in Washington who share America's vision for the three ideals most of us still want our nation to be: free, strong, and a beacon. In many ways, this election is about the freedom that made America great and prosperous. Freedom to start and grow a small business. Freedom to choose the doctors and medical care we want. Freedom to practice our religion and uphold our moral traditions. Freedom to use our plentiful energy resources to control our destiny for job growth and more affordable fuel, food and electricity. Freedom to make local decisions. Freedom from a bloated, debt-ridden intrusive government that not even the richest country on Earth can afford.

We are currently on a dangerous path for our nation and our families. With every new tax, regulation and mandate our country grows less free and less prosperous. America's citizens — not a distant, unaccountable government — are most capable of making the decisions for ourselves and our families. Washington powers are wrong — and this November, we must stand together to tell them so. … Read More [click to read] ht/Lynn


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mohomony, the "Bridge of G-d"

Unique Natural Formation Saved Early Monacans

One can almost imagine the battle...

...raging above this deep chasm.

Amazing Story of Deliverance in Monacan Heritage

Running desperately through the forest, the small band of Monacan men, women and children were vastly outnumbered by their pursuers. Powhatan warriers were overtaking them. Suddenly they came to the edge of a vast chasm! They could see no way to cross it.

They closed their eyes and prayed. Then they looked up and saw the formation we know today as Natural Bridge, one of Virginia's most unique wonders, spanning the chasm. Hurrying their women and children across the stone span, they followed. Then they turned to make their stand. The much larger army was constricted by the narrow bridge and could only attack the Monacans in a much smaller number. The bridge became a great equalizer between the two forces and the Monacans were victorious that day.

Passed from generation to generation, the story of Monacan survival has made Natural Bridge a sacred place to the Monacans. They named it Mohomony, meaning 'Bridge of G-d."

Today a recreated Monacan village stands at the base of the bridge. Because the story predates written accounts, it is easy to dismiss it as legend, yet as we considered it my wife said: "I believe it recounts an actual event." The strategic element inherent in the story (the narrow bridge equalizing the battle) is too much like something another Rockbridge County resident, Thomas Jackson, would want to remember.

Like Homer's accounts of the Trojan War and the Odyssey home, some unknown Monacan warrier seems to have recounted this amazing story, remembering the time when geography aided them in battle. I walked across the bridge on route 11, imagining an epic battle like something out of Tolkien (like Gandalf facing the Balrog)! Young Monacans standing shoulder to shoulder to protect children and wives from an overwhelming enemy, who prevailed that day, passed the story to their children.

It just seemed to me like one of many grand moments in history where the unseen hand of G-d was seen as deliverer.

Today visitors walk beneath the bridge...

...but her greatest story may have played out above!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume IV, Issue XVI

This week the 'other' weekly news magazine again presents their list of the 100 most influential people. THYME is also looking for influential, so we reached back in history. Influential, in our way of thinking, would change the course of men's lives. Leading them upon a better path.

Think of John Henry Newton. Born in Wapping, London in 1725, he became a mariner... a slaver to be precise. Dealing in the miserable trade of enslaved human beings, but Newton was enslaved himself by his participation in this vile commerce, and experienced freedom when he gave his life to Christ in 1748.

Eventually Newton left the slave trade and became an Anglican clergyman. His influence led parlementarian William Wilberforce to labor almost fifty years to eliminate slavery in all British territories.

Both Newton and Wilberforce were influential men, to be sure, but they were 'under the influence' of someone who's followers see him thus described:

"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:

But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."
-- Isaiah 11:1-12

Mankind has moved through ages of deep depravity and times that we have come to know as Golden Ages as well. What will we do with the time that is ours?

The great irony is that Heavenly minded men and women, far from being "no Earthly good," have often been the catalysts for building a better life for their fellows. Alvin Schmidt documents this in his book "Under the Influence." Many advances in compassion and society are the result of people like England's William Wilberforce, who championed the abolition of slavery for years, and Charles Dickens, who changed the way society responded to the needy among them.

With our eyes set firmly on the "hope of things to come," will we bring the touch of G-d to our age?, or will we surrender to our dark demons? Charles Dickens was addressing social issues of his day. When Dorethea Dix and Florence Nightengale improved healthcare methods, it was their faith that moved them. History calls to men and women of faith. Their influence, 'under the influence,' is no less needed in our day.

He was born in an obscure village, a child of a peasant woman.
He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty,
Then became an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never did one thing that usually accompanies greatness.
He had no credentials but Himself.
While still a young man, public opinion turned against Him.
His friends ran away.
One denied Him.
He went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
His executioners gambled for His only piece of property - His coat.
He was laid in a borrowed grave.
Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone.
Today He is the centerpiece of the human race.
All the armies that ever marched,
All the navies that ever sailed,
All the parliaments that ever sat,
And all the kings that ever reigned put together,
have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as that
One Solitary Life. -- James Allan Francis

Trillium on Old Rag Mountain.

Mountain Laurel on Old Rag Mountain.

Fun as a Teaching Tool
A Drab Hallway Becomes a Bright New World

At Staunton Alliance Church, we were confronted by a long institutional hallway that led to our childrens' outdoor playground. Tracy Daniels, our administrator, approached me one day with the idea of painting a mural to "brighten up the hallway." Her idea was that we create a missions theme along the walls. Thinking that a mural paintedby an architectural illustrator might be a bit boring, I partnered with Laney Riley, a very talented artist in our congregation.

Our theme soon grew into a depiction of Isaiah 60 and Revelation 21where the restored Earth and Heaven are one. Representatives of every Nation are brought into the presence of the Lord. It is the hope of every believer, according to scripture, but is often depicted as a white-on-white perpetual harp concert. I'd read some books by Randy Alcorn, who writes about Heaven and puts it in its true context: a world of delights more delightful than anything we in this world can imagine... and yet, our imaginings here, and our most delightful experiences are but an indication of the joy that awaits us.

Thanks to what I refer to as 'Laney Magic,' bright colors and faces reflecting 'sanctified mischef' are the norm. This isn't your Mother's nursery mural. The figures are life-sized. We start the sketches by finding real children's pictures. Often they are kids in rags. We turn them into 'princes and princesses' of the New Heaven and the New Earth. We leave a bit of mischef in their faces though so the kids can see themselves in that beautiful world. The Creator who made the otter and the hairy-nosed wombat certainly has a playful streak, and Imago Dei would suggest that our love of fun is divinely authored.

Laney has recently added composite images of the mural so that you may view the entire work. Click on the link below to see them:


Perspective on Human Nature and Economics

Mcormick's Mill
Agriculture was revolutionized by Cyrus McCormick, who built his first reaper at his Father's mill in Augusta County. The operation moved to Chicago to become the International Harvester Corporation.

Randy Alcorn, author of the book: Heaven, offers This Perspective [click to watch] on economic systems and human nature. The question that should really be asked is: "which economic model best mitigates human tendencies toward depravity?"


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Motherhood and Invention

Mom Taught Us How to See the World

Massanutten Lodge
Addie Pollack's Massanutten Lodge at Skyland under an early Autumn snow.

During the great World War my mother went to work at the Martin Company in Baltimore. She worked in the engineering department and helped develop the airplanes that fought in the Pacific. Her background in mathematics and physics gave her a unique perspective, to say the least. She proudly stated of her tenure at Martin: "I REFUSED to make coffee for them!" Yes, this was the late forties and early fifties you have to remember.

How cool is it to have a mother who pointed out beautiful airplanes! She grew up in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains so she pointed out many other wonders as well. Her drawing skills were amazing. So was her ability to convey lessons about the way the world works in everyday tasks. Her kitchen was a laboratory and once she continued to divide the last piece of pie to show us kids how you could divide something in half for infinity. There were five of us kids and Mom could cut a pie into seven equal pieces flawlessly. Her good eye was often not appreciated when we did home improvement projects. If something was crooked, Mom saw it!

Mom could show you "all the colors of grass." Something I always mention when I do workshops with students. She knew the subtle signs that the seasons were changing. I am eternally grateful for her teaching me how to see!

We took her ashes and Dad's to the beloved mountains overlooking her girlhood home and it is always a sacred time for me to step into that little spring valley that is green all the year and remember.

Monday, April 16, 2012

49 NASA Scientists Dispute 'Climate Change'

Taking the Agency to Task for Activist Stance

January 7, 2010 Great Britian
January 7th, 2010 NASA photo shows Great Britian covered with a blanket of snow.

In a letter to Nasa administrator Charles Bolden, 49 former NASA scientists and asronauts, including Charlie Duke, Al Worden, Richard Gordon and Walter Cunningham question the agency's activist stance on 'global warming:'

"We, the undersigned, respectfully request that NASA and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) refrain from including unproven remarks in public releases and websites. We believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled."

The Record of Ignoring Empirical Evidence [click to read] is explained further in Business Insider. The full text of the letter is included as well. NASA has long held the reputation of supporting open investigation and avoiding promoting extreme positions but the letter warns:

"As former NASA employees, we feel that NASA’s advocacy of an extreme position, prior to a thorough study of the possible overwhelming impact of natural climate drivers is inappropriate. We request that NASA refrain from including unproven and unsupported remarks in its future releases and websites on this subject. At risk is damage to the exemplary reputation of NASA, NASA’s current or former scientists and employees, and even the reputation of science itself."

David Coppedge, a former computer specialist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was terminated by the agency. A wrongful termination lawsuit now being argued asserts that Coppeddge was terminated for his interest in, and advocacy of the theory of intelligent design.

This Article [click to read] in the San Jose Mercury News raises further speculation as to whether the agency actually adheres to a rather strict narrative rather than encourage open inquiry. The Journey [click to read] has inquired before into the bias against intelligent design in the academy.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spring is in the (Plein) Air

Miller School Event Draws Painters to Scenic Campus

Art Lesson.

Once again, Miller School of Albemarle hosted local plein air artists for their annual painting event. My daughter puts it on every year so I'm always invited. It is a great time, beginning with breakfast in Old Main where I enjoyed some art talk with my fellow painters.

Not feeling particularly inspired, I walked toward the lotus pond. All of my past visits had resulted in paintigs of the lotus pond, so it was time to expand my vision. A very round and red plum tree caught my eye.

Ordinarily one wants to avoid "lollipop" trees, but here was my challenge... my mission for the morning, as it were. I set to rendering the little plum and her majestic fellows. But the resulting painting was... er... plain, not particularly plein. It was time for some subtle glazing to try to capture the aerial perspective and lighting of the entire scene.

Then came the realization that much of the richness of the scene came from the play of light, not only in shadow, but within the eye. There was more happening here than the camera could record. I recalled the experience described to me by my assistant this past Summer, of being given a coloring sheet in Kindergarden: "Color the tree trunk brown, the grass green and the leaves green." the teacher said. Her reaction had been to paint the tree trunk green, the leaves orange and the grass brown... all colors that can be observed on those subjects in certain subtle variations. If I remember correctly, the teacher was not amused, and initiated a parent conference over it.

Occasionaly I have had the opportunity to speak to school groups. One of my favorite opening questions is: "What color is grass?" Someone's hand shoots up and before it is recognized, a child will invariably blurt out: "Green!" Then the fun begins: "Do you see any OTHER colors in the grass?" and (if a large window is available) it is amazing to see how many colors the eager little minds actually see. Let's just say I've been surprised and educated by the words of the students.

I laid down a challenge for myself, to paint the glazes with the contrasting color suggested by the casting off of conventions, to achieve the lighting and mood of the actual scene. That is why I gave the top painting the title: "Art Lesson." A light green glaze went on the trunks (there was actual lichen there), orange and brown hues had to be used in the deepening of field and foliage.

As the morning passed into afternoon, I noticed a big oak's golden new foliage overlaying the windows of Old Main, Miller's grandest building. Now my challenge would be to render as simple as possible, a recognizeable portion of Old Main while avoiding "Architectural Rendering." The resulting painting is below.

Old Main.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring Trip to Top of Old Rag Mountain

The Play of Light on Rocks and Ridges






Crozet Shopping Center Murals Refreshed

Retaining Wall Tells the Story of Crozet Community

Meg West has created a treasury of Crozet scenes on the retaining walls...

...and led volunteers in refurbishing them last week as well as the trestle murals. Here she discusses the restoration with Laney Riley.

Debbie Little touches up the mural of Mint Springs Park's beach...

...while Morgan Munson repaints a mountain.

The Blue Ridge Mountains.

We have no idea who created this chalk drawing on the wall of the shopping center itself.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume IV, Issue XV

The World's Most Distinctive Club

Eight men from Virginia shaped the world we live in. The 'other' weekly news magazine this week calls the fraternity of Presidents: "the most exclusive club in the world." Virginia is sometimes referred to as the "Mother of Presidents" because eight U.S. Presidents come from the state.

George Washington led the fight that preceded our founding. He was President of the Continental Congress and led the Continental Army. When Congress failed to pay the Continental Army, Washington rode out to intervene, saving the young nation. He was the first President of the young United States. John Adams of Massachussetts followed as the second President. Then three other Virginians followed.

Thomas Jefferson, who drafted the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom and the Declaration of Independence was our third President. He bought the Louisiana Purchase from France and more than doubled the size of the country for 15 million dollars. Napoleon Bonaparte badly needed the money. The Mississippi River would open up a whole new world. Jefferson also asserted America's right to the seas by standing up to the Barbary Pirates.

James Madison, our fourth President, is known as the Father of our Constitution. He was President during the War of 1812 when Washington City was burned by the British.

James Monroe was next in line. He had been sent by Jefferson to France to negotiate the Louisiana Purchase. His Monroe Doctrine told European powers to stay out of South America.

William Henry Harrison was our ninth President. He had fought in the War of 1812. He has the dubious distinction of having been killed by his inaugural address. Contracting pneumonia after giving the speech on a very cold day, Harrison died a month after taking office. His was the shortest term of office of any American President.

John Tyler, his Vice-president succeeded him, becoming the tenth President of the United States. He was referred to as "His Accidency" because of this. He was the first President to be married while in office.

Zachary Taylor, of Orange County, Virginia, became our twelfth President. A career soldier who had fought in the Mexican War, President Taylor died after sixteen months in office.

Woodrow Wilson, born right here in Staunton, Virginia, became our 28th President. He was President during World War I and aferwards worked to establish the League of Nations. A leader of the Progressive Movement, Wilson pursued an agenda that included the Federal Reserve Act, Federal Trade Commission Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Federal Farm Loan Act and an income tax. Interestingly enough, Wilson's early career took place far from Virginia. He was President of Princeton University and then Governor of New Jersey before running for President in 1912.


Raising Five Kids Isn't Work, Staffer Says

Obama staffer Hilary Rosen has hit a nerve when she says that Ann Romney hasn't 'worked.' In Rosen's eyes, taking care of five children is not 'work' of importance. My Mother raised five of us and once rolled her eyes when Barbara Walters admitted she didn't know where to buy Gatoraid! Mom had worked in the engineering department of the Martin Company. After she married Dad, she would take her slide rule to the A&P Grocery Store and do her own 'unit pricing' before the stores instituted it. She would illustrate Zeno's Paradox by continually dividing the last piece of the last piece of pie.

This was one of Mom's best lectures. She'd cut the pie into eight pieces instead of the flawless seven she usually did. Then she'd keep dividing until the pie filling refused to cooperate with the lesson. Her kitchen was a place full of learning and wonder.

We raised our young daughter with a program called Joy School in her preschool years. Mom would have loved it. Richard and Linda Eyre, a couple in Utah invented it. [1.] I'm sure Ann Romney availed herself of resources like this.

The administration distanced themselves from Rosen's remark, but the remark was an honest window into the thinking of those who are running the country right now.

"Of course they had to disown Hilary Rosen. She was egregiously honest. She told people exactly what she genuinely believed. She has no understanding of; and no respect for a woman who could do anything with her life and considers raising her children the highest possible calling. Hillary Rosen considers this a waste of time and talent. It makes her a perfect representative of the anti-traditional left. The only thing she did wrong, in the reptilian eyes of David Axelrod, was publically admitting it." -- Red State

In fact, Red State wonders about The Administration's Record [click to read] on paying female employees.

On March 15, 2012, THYME Wrote:

"But looking at Proverbs 31, we run the risk of cheapening the true value of a person if we reduce her to simply a wage earner, albeit a powerful one. A while ago I asked a young artist to help me in the studio. I told her: "I'm not going to pay you what you're worth, I'll pay you what the job is worth. If I had to pay you what you are worth I couldn't afford you." That distinction comes to mind as we ruminate on the value of our wives and daughters to our family and society. Every now and then someone will try to assign a number value to the service of a women who takes care of her home and family (not working outside the home). It is always in six figures and that calculation makes a great point. There are many great people who's influence far exceeds their monitary earnings and society is the richer for it."

Lynn Has This to Say [click to read] as a homeschooling Mother who raised and educated her own children:

"So some parents don't think it "takes a village" to raise our children ... we take the responsibility of doing it ourselves. Not every stay-at-home mom is rich ... we sacrifice, scrimp, and do without to create a family atmosphere. Barack Obama's "female gap" advantage may have just taken a blow. Why can't liberals MYOB?" -- Lynn Mitchell

My suspicion is that the administration is well aware of what an asset Mrs. Romney is to her husband and her family. Otherwise, why would they bother to attack her?


Monday, April 9, 2012

Homage to Thomas Kinkade

The 'Painter of Light' Enters the Kingdom of Light

Thomas Kinkade.

A Milestone Monday Feature

“There was a time when artists were cultural leaders, revered within society as visionaries, people who might point the way to a better world, a better life. America's nineteenth century landscape painters embodied the notion of eminent domain, for example their visions of the overwhelming, overpowering beauty of vast landscapes of the American West were captured in paintings that, to the common imagination, became icons of Westward expansion. They became messages of America's power that was yet untapped; a very powerful, constructive form of art that really symbolized the times. I could cite dozens of other examples where art was not only a part of society, but when the artists became important leaders in society." --
Thomas Kinkade

Homage to Thomas Kinkade
With an economy of deft strokes, Kinkade was able to capture the play of light on leaves. Details of his paintings are a masterful composition of abstracts that blend to create his glowing scenes.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Greetings from the Journey

Celebrating Ressurection and Renaissance

Have a blessed Easter.