Monday, August 31, 2009

Christian Persecution in America II

Homeschooler Ordered to Attend Public School

This Story in World [click to read] ought to worry anyone concerned about government overreach, not just "dangerous"[1.] homeschoolers. Seems like the problem wasn't academics:

"According to the court report, the mediator found that Amanda was excelling in her schooling, using curriculum that was approved by her school district, and routinely taking standardized tests. She was also taking art, Spanish, and P.E. classes at her local public school, where the instructors said she was well-rounded in her social skills. The mediator was concerned, however, by Amanda’s faith."

Sounds like the mediator was of the same mind as Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, who told some of his elite buddies:

"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."

Of course he thought the microphones were off!

I've mentioned Alvin Schmidt's Book, Under the Influence [click to read] before. There is plenty of good evidence to suggest Christianity has been a healthy force in the creation of Western Civilization, yet so many 'intellectuals' seem to be steeped in the lampoon that Baltimore writer H. L. Mencken created in the wake of the 1926 Scopes trials. It was Mencken who coined the oft quoted phrase "monkey trials." Yet I'll bet most would be hard pressed to remember the substance of Bryan and Darrow's arguements. Sadly, the popular media has run with the notion that men of much faith are by default men of little thought. We are the poorer for it.

'Broken Windows' and Afton Mountain

Public Safety Policy and Rockfish Gap

There is a principle in policing known as 'broken windows' where it is a matter of policy that if a window is broken it gets fixed. A building gets tagged, it gets fresh paint. This discourages crime and the results of such policies are well documented. It is one of the reasons you feel safe in parts of large cities like New York. Thirty years ago this was not the case.

Now look at the situation at the top of Rockfish Gap. Burned out motel units with the plate glass long broken out leer ominously from the edge of what is a popular parking spot for hikers.

Lynn and I have written repeatedly about the condition of things up there and we even have a realistic vision for What Could Be [click to read].

A recent letter writer to the Staunton newspaper laments the decaying Afton complex but it is but one more in a long line of such laments. My hope is that somehow a group of private investors will partner with, do a land swap or buy the project outright from the present owner. Sadly the present owner seems to have little interest in doing anything beyond what necessity forces him to do.

My Jeffersonian ideals want this to be one of those good ideas that happens because the private sector makes it happen. Unfortunately, I think the 'potential hazard' case has become too big to ignore. The fact that something horrible hasn't happened there already should not lull anyone into complacency. Thus I would welcome some sort of 'official' intervention as a last resort.

More on the Concept of 'Broken Windows' [click to read].

Village at Afton Facebook Page [click to read].

Burned out motel units are open to the elements and potential intruders.

Inflation's Moral Hazard

Character is Destroyed Along with Savings

Theodore Dalrymple in City Journal [click to read].

"Information from the most diverse sources sometimes coalesces and provokes reflection on a subject to which one has not previously given sufficient thought."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

This is My Father's World

We Sang This Today...

Sunlight filters through trees in Shenandoah National Park.

Words: Malt­bie D. Bab­cock, 1901, While a pas­tor in Lock­port, New York, Bab­cock liked to hike in an ar­ea called “the es­carp­ment,” an an­cient up­thrust ledge near Lock­port. It has a mar­vel­ous view of farms, or­chards, and Lake On­tar­io, about 15 miles dis­tant. It is said those walks in the woods in­spired these lyr­ics. The ti­tle re­calls an ex­press­ion Bab­cock used when start­ing a walk: “I’m go­ing out to see my Fa­ther’s world.” Music [click to listen] -Cyberhymnal

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face.
I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”
This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son,
Came—a pledge of deathless love.

This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad?
The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.
No place but is holy ground.

This is my Father’s world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.
This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate’er my lot, it matters not,
My heart is still at home.

The song makes reference to the wonderful promise of Revelation chapter 21:

1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God
4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

5And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

As I took my usual Sunday afternoon walk in the woods in Shenandoah National Park I found myself humming this song. The thoughts Babcock expresses ring so true today. As I watched butterflies dancing around thistles it was clear that "He shines in all that's fair." The truth is that "He speaks to me everywhere." That is true even as we see "That though the wrong seems oft so strong, G-d is the ruler yet."

"This is my Father's world: the battle is not done: Jesus Who died shall be satisfied, And earth and Heav'n be one."

You might question the veracity of what I hope in, but I ask you dear reader; where is your hope? Think on this: "He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mary Gray and Betsy Bell

Staunton's Twin Mountains from the Blue Ridge

Mary Gray & Betsy Bell
Looking West from Bear Den Mountain, Mary Gray and Betsy Bell show you where Staunton is.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Two Hikers Slain Near Blacksburg

This Kind of Thing Always Strikes Me as So Wrong...

Two Virginia Tech Students [click to read] were found shot to death at a popular spot in the Jefferson National Forest Thursday morning. My prayers are with these families.

Winter Trail
Echoing the sentiment of another writer: "Places like this should be safe."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Morning in Ellicott's Mills

Site of the First Terminus of the B&O Railroad

B&O Station
B&O Station.

Patapsco Hotel
Patapsco Hotel.

Arch of the old railroad bridge.

Floods of the Twentieth Century.

Bridge Cornerstone
Cornerstone of the railroad bridge...

...still carrying Chessie System trains today.

Yesterday morning I was in Ellicott City to make some changes to the model of the town as it existed in the Nineteenth Century. It was a lovely sunny day so I walked around the center of town and enjoyed the play of sunlight on quarried granite. When the site manager of the museum arrived I set to work adding stables and reshaping some topography to make the model more accurate. The museum opened at 10:00 am but they assured me there would not be too many visitors. School was back in session.

My first visitor was Billy, a young Marine who was studying at a journalism school at Ft. Meade. "Would I mind if... " Next thing you know I'm miked and describing what I'm doing as Billy rolls tape. Billy said he'd send me a copy. After the interview I'm wishing we could replace the whole MSM with a few good men like Billy.

A few railfans with huge cameras trickled through. It was a quiet day. Those guys just want to get pictures of trains. I modelled furiously and reached a point where things just had to dry.

I took my afternoon meal at a little tavern/grill across from the station known as the Phoenix. I found the name interesting as the business had arisen from the floodwaters of the Patapsco rather than a fire. It was a busy place and I was amazed as one young lady covered the entire dining area by herself. The sandwich fare at the Phoenix is delicious. The decor is stained-glass transoms from turn of the century houses.

Back at the museum things were drying up nicely. I added some paint and again had a short drying wait. I gave an impromptu 'tour' of the model to a nice homeschooling family from Pennsylvania. I learned where they were from as I explained how the Ellicotts had come from Bucks County PA to settle on the banks of the Patapsco. They seemed to enjoy learning about how the Quaker Ellicotts settled in the midst of Catholic Maryland and convinced Charles Carroll to diversify his crops and use limestone on his fields.

A little before the museum's closing time I was finished. We put the plexiglass case back over the miniature town and I packed up my tools to leave. It had been a long day and Virginia was still a long drive away.

G-d is On Who's Side?

Surprising Observations on Faith in Public Discourse

Jonah Goldberg in Jewish World Review [click to read].

""Politics has always been a contest of values, and religion remains the chief source of those values. Our political discourse has long been cheapened by the canard that only conservatives try to use the state to impose a religiously informed moral vision, while liberals are guided by science, reason and logic as well as some secular conception of decency and compassion. No party has a monopoly on such resources, and it's about time we all recognized that." -- Jonah Goldberg

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Roads to Rails

Our Model in the B&O Museum, Ellicott City

Roads to Rails
The Roads to Rails display.

Roads to Rails
Banner for 'Roads to Rails' on the old station.

One of the highlights of the Summer has been preparing the model of Nineteenth Century Ellicott's Mills for display in 'Roads to Rails.' Today I was at the museum adding the old stables. Did you know that the first railroad horsepower was... literally horsepower! Prior to the introduction of the upright boiler steam engines cars were pulled by teams of horses.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Virginia Dare and the Gosmic Triglor IV

Sand Sculpture...

A gull visits the pyramid. Photo by R. Stern


Detail of the Church.

Sand castles are a serious pursuit in our family. You would think that after creating architectural renderings and scale models all year this would be too much of a busman's holiday. No, we usually have at least one day of 'serious' sand modelling.

This trip found us building the usual architectural fantasies. My son's girlfriend caught the photo of the seagull perched on an Egyptian pyramid.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Brian Baird's History Lesson

David Hedrick Explains 'Brownshirts' to the Congressman

There is obviously a double standard when it comes to likening one's opponents to one of the darkest regiems of the Twentieth Century. Congressman Baird likened honest citizens protesting the overreach of government to Nazi 'brownshirts.'

Retired Marine Veteran David Hedrick Had to Set the Record Straight [click to read].

ht/SWAC Girl

'Hope and Change'

Schumer Stumps for One Party Rule...

2010 Election Calendar included with letter.

"It's going to take more than two years to undo the damage of the Bush administration," a letter to Democrats from Senator Charles E. Schumer dated July 31, 2009 direly begins. The letter urges Democrats to deliver President Obama a "filibuster proof" majority to "...overcome Republicans' repeated efforts to stand in the way of 'change' and 'progress.'"

Wow! Sound's like one party rule to me. Like it or not, these people seek to push unread legislation that would create massive changes in the way we live. All this from the people who promised to make government more open and accountable. How is nuking opposition 'reaching across the aisle?'

The letter goes on to explain how filibusters are 'negative.' "Because of the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney are on the radio and TV day after day, taking nasty swipes at the Democratic Party and President Obama. They have no interest in bridging divides. They just want us to fail."

Amen! I sure don't want Canadian style Nationalized Healthcare. Nor do I want 'Cap and Trade' laws that will tax energy we need into unaffordble and destroy American competitive ability. A Democrat majority; would it have spared us Freddie Mac under Franklin Raines? I think not. Our founding fathers were wise to acknowledge human depravity by setting up a system of checks and balances. We dare not disarm them now.

To understand why many Americans are understandably skeptical of overreaching government control in their lives, one simply has to look at the flap surrounding The Death Book for Veterans [click to read] as mentioned in the WSJ by Jim Towey. Towey begins:

"If President Obama wants to better understand why America's discomfort with end-of-life discussions threatens to derail his health-care reform, he might begin with his own Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). He will quickly discover how government bureaucrats are greasing the slippery slope that can start with cost containment but quickly become a systematic denial of care.

Last year, bureaucrats at the VA's National Center for Ethics in Health Care advocated a 52-page end-of-life planning document, "Your Life, Your Choices." It was first published in 1997 and later promoted as the VA's preferred living will throughout its vast network of hospitals and nursing homes. After the Bush White House took a look at how this document was treating complex health and moral issues, the VA suspended its use. Unfortunately, under President Obama, the VA has now resuscitated "Your Life, Your Choices."

Without checks and balances, what other 'choices' are we likely to lose control of?

Now add to this SWAC Girl's thoughts on The Ruling Class in America [click to read]! See you in Washington on the 12th!!!

Update: Other Voices:

The Ad ABC TV Banned [click to view].

Erika Lassen [click to read].

"During his acceptance speech, President Barack Obama said, "And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too."

"The disconnect between President Obama's acceptance speech and his current tone is remarkable. However, it is what I most assuredly can identify as "change." -- Erika Lassen

Michelle Malkin on 'One Party Rule' [click to read].

The 'Mob' Pelosi Loved [click to read].

The First Amendmend Does Not Apply to You! [click to read].

Stacking the Deck at Dean/Moran Town Hall [click to read].

We can't have those pesky rabble standing in the way of 'hope and change,' can we?

Time to Stop Blaming Bush? [click to read].


...Welcome to Washington!

Welcome Sign
This one's for the people Lynn mentions below...

Here are some Stories from the Bus [click to read] of the people you will meet on the way to Washington. Lynn has collected some good ones already and I expect to hear a good many more.

Welcome to Richmond...

These billboard messages will soon be appearing as you drive around Richmond thanks to The Richmond Tea Party.

Foundational Virtue

Our System Cannot Survive without Moral Underpinnings

Here is an Article by Steven Malanga [click to read] that makes a good point.

"In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville worried that free, capitalist societies might develop so great a “taste for physical gratification” that citizens would be “carried away, and lose all self-restraint.” Avidly seeking personal gain, they could “lose sight of the close connection which exists between the private fortune of each of them and the prosperity of all” and ultimately undermine both democracy and prosperity."

Christian Persecution in America

Fathima Rifqa Bary's Plea Rings Through History

Here is the Story [click to read] of a young woman from a Muslim home who became a follower of Jesus. It is of interest for a number of reasons.

First of all, I found the story on Jewish World Review, not a denominational mission magazine, or even a Voice of the Martyrs publication. Binyamin L. Jolkovsky is not exactly an Evangelical. He IS one of the most honest, straight shooting voices in the information industry today and his intgtrity deserves an honest listening.

Second, the story is timeless. It has never been safe or easy for truth seekers in this world. Truth has a way of unsettling the Status Quo and truth lived out is... dangerous. In places like China there is a growing population of believers and like Christians in the old Roman Empire, they are perceived as a real threat by the people who maintain the Status Quo. Fathima's plea is one we would hear many times over if we could but visit the far corners of the Earth. Voice of the Martyrs and other organizations do a good job of telling their story but to publish such an interview would be sealing someone's death certificate so many such pleas go unheard.

Third, this is the story of a young girl in America. This is the land that wrote religious freedom into the First Amendment of its Constitution. Yet a byproduct of our so-called 'tolerance' has become the turning of a blind eye to 'honor killings' that happen in the Muslim community. These 'honor killings' are well documented old news in the land of Fathima's ancestry but they are becoming a part of life for American Muslims now.

Listen to her story. She speaks for many who cannot.

Parting Thought:

It is interesting to note that many who hold to a worldview that espouses secret abortion as a 'right' for children and do not consider it a crime to push secularist thought in elementary schools have in this case so suddenly discovered 'parents' rights.

Old Rag Rocks
Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hatteras Light

Probably the Most Photographed
Lighthouse on the Carolina Coast!

Hatteras Light
The Hatteras Light has guided ships for many decades.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Senators Warner and Webb...

...You're Invited

The Shenandoah Valley invites
Virginia U.S. Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner
to a Healthcare Town Hall Meeting!!
Sunday, September 6, 20096-8 p.m.
Auditorium at Riverheads High School
Augusta County, Virginia

All Valley residents are encouraged to attend. Please bring your questions, support, or criticism.This is the Valley's opportunity to have its voice heard.
Come out and be heard!

More Details [click to read]

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Virginia Dare and the Gosmic Triglor III

A Week at the Beach Always Goes Fast...

Jockey Ridge
Sunset on the Sound from Jockey Ridge.

...Unless its Raining!

Funny, how random names in a comic book you read aloud to your little brothers stick in your head. Forty-five years later I still recall us all sitting in the Volkswagen Bus. I was reading as we waited to find out if the rain would let up so we could see 'The Lost Colony.'

Being the children of Aeronautical Engineers [Mom worked for the Martin Company too], a trip to the Wright Brothers Memorial was an essential part of any visit to the Outer Banks. The first flight of the Wright Flyer was shorter than the length of the Boeing 747 that took me to Japan! Still, the simple Wright Flyer is the ancestor of modern aviation as we know it.

Today you can see people hang gliding off of Jockey Ridge and Parasailing in the Sound. Kites are everywhere! The two bicycle mechanics from Ohio really started something.

Floral Worlds

Nature's Wonders Up Close

A lilly up close.

Praying in School

The Anti-Christian Litigation Underwriters Strike Again

This Story from Florida [click to read] courtesey of Yankee Phil shows you the lengths the ACLU will go to to make sure no one is 'offended' by Christianity.

When I was younger a fellow student asked if I would be interested in joining the American Civil Liberties Union. They were promoting 'First Amendment Rights' so I took a pamphlet. Of course I made the 'mistake' of reading some of their literature and told my friend that there was no way in a very hot place that I could EVER join the ACLU.

The ACLU was founded ninety years ago by Roger Baldwin. He was a socialist thinker who said things like: "America must follow the example of Stalin's Soviet Union where greater freedoms exist than anywhere else in the world". Wow, I never would have known from the history I read! Knowing America would never follow the path to 'social u[dys]topia because of her Judeo-Christian foundations, Baldwin set out to diminish the influence of Christianity in America.

For 80 years the ACLU has twisted the Constitution to exclude Christianity from the public square and the public discourse. That sense of mission is what drives the endless stream of lawsuits against prayer and Christian expression. That is why your kid's 'religious' message is excluded from the poster contest. That's why the school 'Winter Holiday' assembly is devoid of sacred traditional music. Thankfully there is the Alliance Defense Fund [click to read] which was founded to counter this destructive movement.

Reflected sunrise. The ACLU would find most of my thoughts about nature 'offensive.' If you don't believe me, check out my previous post below and see if you don't agree.

More Information on America's Judeo-Christian Roots [click to read].

ht/SWAG Girl

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Beauty and Truth

The Beauty of Nature Speaks for Itself

Fish Sculpture
Fish sculpture at the North Carolina Aquarium.

I'm reading the Psalms and the Psalmist is right. All Creation does give Him praise. Looking at the magnificent and terrible creatures in the sea one has to be impressed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Taxpayer Protest

10:00am Events begin at U.S. Capitol, Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial
2:00pm March begins at Lincoln Memorial and ends at the U.S. Capitol Building
Thursday, 9-109:00am to 12:00pm Liberty Summit at DC Armory (REGISTER NOW!)
1:00pm: Press Conference on Capitol Hill (REGISTER NOW!)
1:30pm to 5:30pm: Grassroots lobbying visits on Capitol Hill
5:30pm Doctors Rally Against Socialized Medicine (REGISTER NOW!)
Friday, 9-119:00am Leadership Institute: Internet Activist Workshop (Agenda and Registration) (Complete Leadership Institute Workshop Schedule here.)
10:00am - 5:00pm Lobbyist and Activism Training Seminars, various sessions (Agenda and Registration)
1:00pm Leadership Institute: Grassroots On the Ground Workshop (Agenda and Registration)
2:00pm to 5:30pm Grassroots lobbying visits on Capitol Hill
4:00pm Bureaucrash Happy Hour at Bullfeathers
5:00 pm Leadership Institute: Grassroots on the Hill Workshop (Agenda and Registration)
6:30pm to 10:00pm Remember 911 and support the troops at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. (see the map)
Saturday, 9-129:00am Crowd gathers at Freedom Plaza
10:00am March on the Capitol Begins down Pennsylvania Ave. (See Map)1:00pm March ends and Rally Begins at West Front of the U.S. Capitol
Click here to register for the March on Washington!

Dick Armey - FreedomWorks
Matt Kibbe - FreedomWorks
Mason Weaver, San Diego, CA
John Tate, Campaign for Liberty
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN)
Apostle Claver T. Kamau-Imani, Houston, TX
Jenny Beth Martin, Tea Party Patriots
Darla Dawald,
Brendan Steinhauser, FreedomWorks
Steve Elliot, Grassfire
Kellen Giuda, New York City
Deneen Borelli, The National Center for Public Policy Research/Project 21
Andrew Langer, Institute for Liberty
Stephen Baldwin and Kevin McCollough, X-Treme Radio
Yaron Brook, Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights

Rep. Phil Gingrey (GA)
Rep. Tom Price (GA)
Update: Catch the Bus From Staunton [click to read].

Burma Shave Signs

Richmond Tea Party 'On the Road to Myanmar'

How creative! Richmond Tea Party has published these Burma Shave Sign Rhymes [click to read] in honor of Senator Webb's trip. At least a staffer [see below] is answering the Senator's mail.

Richmond Tea Party asks why Senator Webb is doing Kurt Campbell's job instead of meeting with the good people of Virginia? Fair question when you consider the scope of legislation being pushed on us.

Senator Webb Responds...

Response from Jim Webb on Healtcare Bill:

Dear Mr. Kirchman:

To follow-up on your earlier correspondence regarding health care reform, I wanted to update you on where this issue stands.

As you may know, Congress has adjourned for the month of August without enacting health care reform. During the coming weeks, I will be carefully examining the reform proposals currently on the table. The fact that the legislation is now on hold will give Congress the opportunity to study these proposals carefully and to hear from interested citizens. It is important for us to be very deliberate on an issue of such importance to the lives of our people.

I have stated on several occasions my concerns that the Obama administration should have begun the process with a clear proposal that could have been the starting point for the work of the five separate congressional committees charged with responsibility for this issue. Without such a specific format, Congress has had difficulty crafting a bill of such challenging scope and complexity. I am hopeful that the President will remedy this problem in the coming weeks.

Currently in the Senate, two committees have jurisdiction over health care – the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the Finance Committee. The HELP Committee has completed work on a health reform bill, the Affordable Health Choices Act. This bill aspires to significant reforms in the health insurance market, including provisions to prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. In the Finance Committee, negotiations continue on a reform package that might win support from both Democratic and Republican members of the Senate. The success of these ongoing negotiations will be critical in determining whether a bill can be achieved this year.

While most people are understandably satisfied with their health care, the system is not working for millions of American families. Spiraling costs for health care have placed our biggest industries at a severe competitive disadvantage, as employers struggle to provide insurance for their workers. By the same token, families are increasingly unable to depend on their health plans when they need them the most. This has contributed to the mortgage foreclosure crisis and the rise in personal bankruptcies. In short, our nation’s continued economic recovery would be advanced by meaningful health care reform, although such reform must emphatically be reasonable in scope, cost, and impact.

In the coming weeks and months, I encourage you to visit my website at for updated information about the healthcare reform debate. Additionally, the Senate Finance and HELP Committees have posted on their websites useful information about their respective proposals.

Again, I thank you for your past correspondence on this issue. Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with me and my staff.


Jim Webb
United States Senator

JW: kw

Update: Question for Senator Webb...

By 'meaningful healtcare reform," are you referring to:
1. Tort Reform
2. Increased Private Competition [crossing state lines] and the ability of Citizens to form and join Groups for improved buying power.
3. Meaningful reform of the insurance industry regulatory structure.
4. Government role limited to that of a safety net and enforcer of reasonable regulations?

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Village at Afton

Needed Now More than Ever...

Welcome Center
The Tourist Information Center will soon move to other quarters. There is no running water and guests must use portable toilets outside the facility.

Dear Mr. Dulaney,

My family just spent a wonderful week on vacation and I was impressed with the visitor information facilities one finds on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Well maintained facilities with clean rest rooms make a wonderful first impression. Coming back into Augusta County on the way home I was impressed in another way. Rockfish Gap, the entrance to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway... is falling into ruin! Once the Gap boasted a Howard Johnsons and a flagship Holiday Inn. The numbers would seem to be there, but this valuable piece of real estate resembles Bosnia Herzegovina after the war. What a sad first impression for our visitors!

While I an a believer in private property rights, it just seems that this current economic crisis would be an ideal time to begin to build something wonderful on top of the pass. Many talented people could be employed by a project such as The Village at Afton [click to read]. I think there are people who would find such a development an attractive investment.

I have created The Village at Afton Concept [click to read] to fit into the existing infrastructure in the hopes that people of vision will rise to the task and create a World Class Entrance [click to read] to our beautiful part of the world. I implore you to take a look and see if you might agree that this would be a great blessing to your neighbors in this difficult time and yourself as well.

Little Bosnia
Ruined motel units at Rockfish Gap...

...and a vision for tomorrow.

Have You Seen Me?

Too Funny for Words from Richmond Tea Party

Lynn Comments on Missing Mark [click to read].

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Virginia Dare and the Gosmic Triglor II

Symphonic Drama, Lighthouses and Ferry Rides

Storm Over Nag's Head
Storm over Nag's Head.

"I can't believe you remember the NAMES in that comic book" my lovely wife remarks. We're waiting for the drama to begin. Forty-five years later [if the rain holds off], I'm actually going to see 'The Lost Colony.' The story is bittersweet as it opens to Native American life on Roanoke Island before any settlers arrive. If you know the history you know the ending. Sadly, the murder of a local chief seems to settle the colonists' fate. The first settlers simply vanished.

We had sunny weather for the first half of the week and our children and their significant others played on the beach with us. After they left and we had the place to ourselves came the rains and reminiscences.

When I was almost thirteen and the rain was continuous, my Uncle suggested we drive down highway 12 and ride the ferry to Ocracoke Island. My wife and I decide to follow in the family tradtion so we pack a lunch and drive down this amazing stretch of thin terra firma between the Atlantic and the sound. We cross the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge, an engineering marvel that impressed my NASA engineer Father. "That thing will not be crossing the channel in ten years! The sand is MOVING!!!" Dad knew his stuff! As we crossed the bridge we saw dredging rigs hard at work keeping the channel open UNDER the high arch of the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge.

We decide to head straight for the ferry and ride over. We'll explore Ocracoke and make our way back North at a relaxed pace. We arrive at the ferry as a storm does. We spend a soggy afternoon on Ocracoke and I enjoy some memories.

Ocracoke Ferry
Ocracoke Ferry.

Ocracoke Light
Ocracoke Ferry. Notice the dog in the pickup.

Ocracoke Light
Ocracoke Ferry. Rain and salt spray.

Ocracoke Light
The Ocracoke Light.

Hatteras Light
The Hatteras Light.

We arrive at the Hatteras Light as the setting sun peeks under the clouds. The light was saved from falling into the ocean by Expert Housemovers Company. Expert Housemovers recently moved the American Farm at the Frontier Culture Museum which wa a piece of cake compared to the lighthouse. The hydraulic jacks and creeper track that had to be built for the Hatteras light would certainly have impressed Dad!

The Hatteras Light has to be the most photographed lighthouse on the Carolina Coast. After I took a few photos I watched a stream of people all trying to get a photo of the lighthouse. The lady after me admitted she was going to Photoshop a better sky in! By the time we made it to Bodie Island light it was too dark for me to get a photo.

Church in the Park

Worship in Art and Music

Church in the Park
Photos by Brandon H.

Church in the Park
Creating a painting during worship.

Once again Staunton Alliance Church moved our Sunday morning service to Gypsy Hill Park. Our outreach pastor Kipp Purath is really looking for creative ways to put the message of the Gospel into the fabric of our community. This time he asked if I would do something with a painting as part of the worship. I lightly sketched this composition on green paper and did all the painting in forty minutes.

My son told me about 'the Jesus Painter,' an artist who does this all the time. I can't imagine what it would be like doing art under pressure with an audience all the time. Sometimes its nice to be alone in your studio.


Here's the Jesus Painter Website [click to read]. Mike Lewis, the 'Jesus Painter' is the inspiration for 'performance painting.' Also a note on the image source. I was looking for inspiration so I searched the term: "Jesus with Child" and found some images that were offered as 'free' phone wallpaper or clip art [1.] Here [click to read]. The thumbnail looked like an older image and had no attribution but upon further research I've determined that it is actually a fairly modern work by Greg Olsen who needs to be properly credited for the original.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Wright Stuff

Two Bicycle Mechanics Changed the Way We Travel

The first flight of the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk.

Town Hall Meeting Etiquette

Michelle Malkin and Miss Manners

This is Priceless [click to read].

Virginia Dare and the Gosmic Triglor

Every Generation Has a 'Final Frontier'Press photo from 'The Lost Colony.'

When I was almost thirteen our family travelled to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for the first time. We arrived on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, so did a weather system that stalled for the week. Monday morning we awoke to a grey wet world that stayed until we departed.

My Grandmother was an Outer Banks regular and she rented a large Nag's Head cottage from the village postmaster. Mom remembers Grandpa using tractor gas to get the family to Nag's Head during the War. My younger brothers were old enough to travel well so our family was ready for new adventures on the road.

Halfway through our soggy sojurn someone suggested we take in Paul Green's 'Lost Colony.' The story is about the first attempt to plant a British settlement on Roanoke Island in 1587. Eleanor Dare, dcaughter of the colony's governor John White gave birth to the first English child in the New World and named her Virginia.

Think about it. It was in a sense more remote than the International Space Station. There was no communication with home. It took a special kind of courage to sail off into the unknown and start a family. These people were brave folks!

War with Spain delayed the colony's resupply ships and some sixty souls simply vanished. They were never seen or heard from again.

We arrived at the Waterside Theatre as another torrential rain began. They would wait thirty minutes before deciding to go ahead with the play or cancel the performance. We sat in the Volkswagen bus [Mom had her minivan before they were cool], and read aloud from a 'Space Action' comic book. Some noseless aliens were involved in a life and death struggle and Cam Remba aquired the 'Gosmic Triglor,' a device that looked like an old radio antenna that would bring peace to the galaxy.

Thirty minutes passed and the galaxy was saved but the British wouldn't be colonizing Roanoke Island in the unrelenting rain. We headed back over the bridge to our beach cottage.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Living Color

Flowers by the Sound

Paintbrush Dasies
Paintbrush Dasies.

Hate Crimes

Kenneth Gladney to File 'Hate Crimes' Charge

Remember Kenneth Gladney? He was the Africaan-american conservative beaten by union thugs at the St. Louis townhall meetings. Two of the perps were clearly associated with SEIU and Mr. Gladney is about to file a charge under 'hate crimes' statutes. Right on, Mr. Gladney!

One of my favorite commentators is Michelle Malkin. If you visit left leaning blogs you may find some slurs about her Asian heritage. Racism is alive and well, sad to say, and the people who promised to eliminate it seem to be in no hurry when it comes to trashing conservatives.

Just look at the recent attempts to tie Bob McDonnell to the 'evil' Confederate battle flag. The problem is one of integrity here. If you want to charge 'racism,' you'd best not practice it yourselves.

Mikchelle Malkin Discusses Robert Byrd [click to read].

Racism by Theodore Dalrymple [click to read], 'The charge for which there is no defense.'

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Living Color

Flowers by the Sound

Paintbrush Dasies
Paintbrush dasies in Nag's Head.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Living Color

Primary Joys

1941 Willys
1941 Willys, Ivy, Virginia.

Morning Coffee
Morning Coffee, Nag's Head, NC.

Rockfish Gap
Spring flowers, Rockfish Gap.

Building, Charlottesville, VA.

Urban Garden
Sunflowers, Charlottesville, VA.

Black Bear

A Feeding Bear Shows His Face

Ursus Americanus
Ursus Americanus in Shenandoah National Park.

Sugar Hollow

Light on the North Fork

Moorman River
North Fork of the Moorman's River.