Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Challenge of Restoring Civil Society

Is There Something Missing from Our Modern Discussion

First of all, here is Phillip Blond [click to read] in The American Conservative. He offers an interesting perspective in light of our current alternating possession politics. Perhaps he's on to something when he says that Civil Society has been lost.

Taken in light of Rabbi Yonason Goldson's Observations [click to read] that the best foundations of Conservative thought are found in the traditions inspired by Divine revelation. Then Rabbi Goldson points out that the noblest aspirations of Liberalism are also so rooted.

We all love the story of Star Parker [click to read] but deep down we lament that we're not creating more stories like hers. Big government provides the serfdom of the welfare state but a capitalism that excludes all but the best, brightest, and well funded from the marketplace does not reach those who need it with something better. Educational choice is a great starting point. In an honest discussion [excluding the teachers' unions] it would seem that both Liberal and Conservative could embrace the empowering reality of programs like the DC Opportunity Scholarships.

Policies that are Pro-Market more than simply Pro-business might make it possible for more people to create businesses and products. As Blond points out, this is another point where the common man must be empowered. Why CAN'T there be small players in every industry. The Tucker Car Company [click to read] in Chicago might be a good example of the kind of company Americans should be creatiing. Unforunately Preston Tucker was put out of business by the US Attorney Otto Kerner. Even though Tucker was eventually proven innocent of the charges brought against him, the trial bankrupted his company. The whole concept of government stepping in to rescue failing companies that are 'too big to fail' means effectively that government is taking sides. The loser is the smaller company, who's failure is not deemed so threatening.

Regulatary mechanisms unfortunately are often the means for creating efffective monopolies and decreasing value as protectors of the public interest. Corporations regularly make large contributions to politicians so that the legislation they craft -- often hurtful to ALL industry, hurts them less than their competitors. Our goal should be a marketplace with reasoned rules that encourage a variety of creative solutions to enter the marketplace.

Bell Tower
Samuel Miller, a wealthy Lynchburg businessman, founded this school for disadvantaged youth in his native Albemarle County.

Giving that Worked [click to read] by Marvin Olasky in World Magazine. People of faith need to reclaim their heritage as healers in the world. With "work tests" for the able-bodied and disdain for indiscriminate givers, Christians in the past fought urban poverty with generosity plus discernment

A Habit of Thrift [click to read] by Marvin Olasky. John D. Rockefeller’s economy and efficiency led to a better life for millions.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The REAL Goldman Sachs Scandal...

Franklin Raines, Obama, Al Gore, Goldman,
Joyce Foundation, CCX and Barack Obama

A Partnership Made in Hell to Fleece America [click to read]. Once again that 'Mad Man,' Glenn Beck is ahead of the curve with a report on 'the usual suspects.'

Franklin Raines, bundler of worthless mortgages and major force behind the destruction of the construction industry makes his appearance as the purchaser of the technology to measure and manage carbon [using Fannie Mae money -- our tax dollars]. The patent was awarded the day after Barack Obama and Democrats won the election. Coincidence?

Is it a coincidence that the CCX or Chicago Climate Exchange, is projected to gross 10 Trillion a year if Cap and Trade becomes law? Is it a coincidence that this institution is in Chicago?

Glenn Beck diagrams the 'smoke and mirrors' involved.

The Real Education Scandal [click to read]. Nat Hentoff in Jewish World Review on how the teachers' unions are fighting aa gubernatorial candidate who want's real reform.

"Even if he loses the primary, staying in the state legislature, I will keep reporting on Anthony Williams because he will surely continue to be heard from on saving students from dead-end schools. He is a founder of the Hardy Williams Academy Charter School in his state. Like another historic Pennsylvanian, Benjamin Franklin, this model citizen practices what he preaches."

Visit Beautiful Arizona

Arizona Travel Guide [click to read].

Experience the State of Freedom -- Arizona

Once again the liberals are boycotting a state when someone there does the right thing. Another great travel opportunity folks! Enjoy a drive to the Grand Canyon without those nasty Obama bumper stickers!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Meet the 2011 Freshman Congress

A Congress that Looks [and Thinks] More Like America

Star Parker (photo: Center for Urban Renewal and Education)

Remember when Bill Clinton promised to assemble an administration that '"looked more like America?' Well, they all looked a lot like Janet Reno if you stared for a while. Barack Hussein Obama promised an 'inclusive' administration as well. You don't have to look to hard to see that they all look like his old law professors [or 'guys from his neighborhood]. OK, you get the picture.

But now we have the 2010 elections before us. Just Look at these Exciting Candidates [click to read] that those nasty racist tea-partyers are talking about!

Star Parker

Meet the former welfare Mother from Los Angeles who went back to school and founded a Christian magazine for urbanites. She's the author of three books: "Pimps, Whores & Welfare Brats," "Uncle Sam's Plantation" and "White Ghetto: How Middle Class America Reflects Inner City Decay." She speaks at universities now and testifies regularly before Congress as a social-policy consultant.

"Government now takes almost half of our national income, yet poverty does not change, Poor kids don't get educated. We're piling up debt that our kids will never be able to pay. And we're becoming less rather than more competitive in the international marketplace. We're becoming weaker, not stronger."

"So the question today before us: Are we going to be a free nation under G-d? Or are we going to be a welfare state?" -- Star Parker.

Ms. Parker is running for California's 37th Congressional District.

The 'Other' Weekly Newsmagazine [click to read] seems to be in serious denial.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Walk on Wildcat Ridge Trail

An Afternoon Walking in Shenandoah Park

Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly
Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly [Papilio troilus] on Mountain Laurel.

mountain Laurel
Laurel blossoms form a star pattern in a Divine design.

Showy Iris
Showy Iris along the trail...

...and a toad.

Showy Iris
Showy Iris.

Mountain Laurel
Mountain Laurel about to blossom...

mountain Laurel
...and in full bloom.

mountain Laurel

New Green
New green leaves...

...and moss.

A Photo Journey Along Skyline Drive

Virginia's Unique Mountain-Top Experience

Ice on the Trees
An ice storm turns the Drive on High Top Mountain into a Winter wonderland.

Skyline Drive [click to read]. More photos of the Drive.

Milepost 97
The original 'South end' of the drive was near this marker at Jarman Gap. You used to be able to cross the mountain by car on the Jarman Gap Road here. The 32 mile Swift Run Gap to Jarman Gap section was opened to the public on August 29, 1939. It was built for $1,666,528or $51,000 per mile.Skyline Drive from Jarman Gap to Rockfish Gap was originally constructed as the Northernmost segment of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was completed on August 11, 1939 at a cost of $358,636 or $40,000 per mile. It was deeded to Shenandoah National Park in 1961 and the Jarman Gap Road crossing the Blue Ridge was abandoned on the West side of the drive. Today you can drive up the Eastern portion to a gate at the edge of the park.

Mary's Rock Tunnel
Mary's Rock Tunnel on the Skyline Drive.

Obama's 'Bridge to Nowhere'

Modern Liberalism's 'Moral Laziness' Exposed

Lewis Mountain
The lodge and cabins at Lewis Mountain were designed by Marcellus Wright, who also designed the Big Meadows Lodge. Lewis Mountain was created as a separate lodging area for African-American guests in the 1940's. A decade later segragation would be abolished in the National Park although it would continue in the state of Virginia well into the 1960's.

SWAC Girl sent out the news that we had been challenged. A left-leaning blogger down in Richmond wanted to know if a certain beer made in Nelson County [which had just won a major taste competition] was any good. Not wanting to drive the two hours from Richmond to see for himself, he laid down the challenge for Conservative bloggers close to the brewery to go and "tell him if it was worth his while to go there himself."

We all politely declined. I opined that since 'Politics is Genetic' [click to read], his taste buds and mine were likely quite different. We were all inclined to put the matter to rest.

But a bigger question seemed to gnaw at the back of my consciousness... why does modern liberalism seem so adverse to the hard work of good old-fashioned research? I thought that was what 'higher education' was supposed to instill in you. Yet more often than not, serious scholarly works appear that simply pull out a tired old template and fill in the blanks. The Latest Obama Biography from David Remnick [click to read] does just that. Placing the 'Anointed One' squarely at the other side of Pettus Bridge as the fulfillment of the Civil Rights Movement.

The problem is this. The writer only wants to wade in deep enough to make Obama the tragic hero of America's racial drama. A drama that in modern liberal legend only has two chapters: Roots and the KennedyAdministration. It is left to Rush Limbaugh [who didn't go to college] and Glenn Beck to point out the great thought that took place at the time of our nation's beginnings: The wording of the Declaration of Independence changes the wording of earlier such declarations from 'property' to 'pursuit of happiness' precisely for the purpose of excluding slaveholding from the list of Divinely endowed rights. Also ignored are the civil-rights initiatives of the pre-Kennedy era. While Robert Byrd was wearing white robes and going to Klan rallys it was largely Republicans who were dismantling American Apartheid.

America's racial history is far from simple, but to those who would pull out the template, consider a few facts from modern history. The Left still bases much of its 'call to action' on the template that America is a 'racist' nation. That racism exists today is true, but you don't see it at tea parties. The American Right holds as its heroes men like Alan Keyes and packs out venues to hear him speak for Pregnancy Help Centers. Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell and Larry Elder are lauded for their intellectual contributions to the movement.

It is the Right, largely, that supports initiatives like the DC 'Opportunity Scholarships' [1.] that give disadvantaged children access to school choice. The Left is deeply committed to the 'one size fits all' public school that unfortunately limit educational opportunities for too many minority children.

It is the Right that sees opportunity for all in the American experiment. The Left seems bound to the notion that America creates a permenant underclass based on minority status. Thus we must create ever expanding government programs to redistribute the wealth.

It is the Right that sees innovation and freedom as the engine that produces new streams of prosperity. The Left sees a finite pool of resources and feels compelled to assert itself as the distributor of them. The Right senses that the best of human innovation is yet to be seen.

It is the Right that sees humanity for what it is and deals with sin. It is in free societies that history is allowed to point out the errors and outright atrocities. Massive Resistance, Lynchings, Jim Crow Laws and other dark chapters of our history are rightly remembered. The Left sees mankind as basically good but the institutions have not been perfected yet. To study the history of the movement though, the deaths of millions unter Stalin and other leaders is the price that must be paid. With no notion of sin, the carnage may actually be greater. Denial of one's Own Depravity [click to read] is a dangerous thing indeed.

History suggests that there is a better way. Our own history tells us of Ruby Beck [click to read] who, with her sister Lizzie, built a dream. During the height of segregation and Massive Resistance Ms. Beck convinced Alexandria bankers Burke and Herbert to loan her money to build a restaurant in Culpeper. She did it and was later honored as Virginia's 'Businesswoman of the Year.' Every school child in Virginia needs to know her story.

The Boxwood House in Culpeper, Virginia.

A Point of Contrast: George W. Bush's New Book

George W. Bush's Decision Points [click to read] should be interesting. Andrew Breitbart reports that is not your typical memoir but 'an account of key decisions' in his life. ht/SWAC Girl

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dove and Her Baby in the Nest

Little Birds Grow Fast

Doves in the nest.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Urgent Prayer for Our Nation, May 1st

Prayer Gathering at the Lincoln Memorial


"And whereas, it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history: that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord."

Abraham Lincoln, March 30, 1863

Proclamation appointing a National Day of Prayer and Fasting

May Day 2010 [click to read]. They can tell us the National Day of Prayer is 'unconstitutional' [although that proves they've never read it], they can 'disinvite' Franklin Graham from the Pentagon... but they can't stop us from praying! Consider joining the people praying at the Lincoln Memorial or go to a local meeting but by all means pray as the situation is urgent!

Rainy Saturday Morning in the Garden

An Iris Bejewelled with Raindrops and Other Wonders

Garden Iris
Iris in the garden.

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

THYME Magazine, Volume II, Issue XVII
Volume II, Issue XVII

The Bill We Had to Pass to 'See What's in it'

It passed, thanks to some good old fashioned bribery and arm twisting. Now some Dems are admitting their reservations about this legislation. WND Has More on Dem's 'Buyer's Remorse' [click to read].

Ken Cuccinelli [click to read] has a clearer perspective than most. Here he spells it out in the WSJ. ht/Phil & Augusta Conservative

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Words at the Top of the Monument

Laus Deo, 'Praise to G-d' on Washington's Highest Point

I'm getting together some photography for a show on May 1. Today Glenn Beck mentioned the inscription in the aluminum capstone of the Washington Monument. This is a photo of the April 15, 2010 rally.

Our Indispensable Ally in the Middle East

Why a Good Relationship with Israel Matters

Indispensable Ally
US and Israel's flags together...

The Strategic Foundations of the US-Israel Alliance [click to read] By Caroline B. Glick.

A MUST READ essay explaining why a strong Israel is essential for US national security. Its author is one of the foremost commentators on Middle East affairs.

Indespensable Ally they should be.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Russia Studies 'Anti-Socialist' Healthcare

As America Rushes to State Control, Look Who's Not

This Article in the Moscow Times [click to read] explains. ht/Mike.

Tea Party - The Left Doesn't Get It

Some Straight Talk from Larry Elder

Larry Elder [click to read] in Jewish World Review talks about the Left's inability to understand what's happening with the American people.

Bob Tyrell [click to read] on Tea Partyers, Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Clinton.

"A long-standing conceit of American liberals has been to lecture conservatives on how to conduct themselves. They are famous for telling us what we can and cannot say. They tell us we cannot call them socialists even when they take over industries and transform the federal budget into a simulacrum of European social democracy. Yet they can call us racists and enemies of the poor when we advance alternatives to such failed policies as affirmative action or welfare. In fact, much of the liberals' stance toward conservatives in our ongoing dialogue with them is an insult. The most recent politician to dabble in race-baiting was not a conservative, but Bill Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries."

If this is supposed to be an angry racist mob...

...then why is everyone I meet at these gatherings...

12/15/09 nice?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nesting Dove in a Pine Tree

The Birds are Settling Into Spring Routines

Nesting Dove
A nesting dove in the pine tree.

Baby Doves
Baby doves.

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

THYME Magazine, Volume II, Issue XVIA
Volume II, Issue XVI A, Special Edition

Is Joe Klein Good for America?

I had two dogs who were really good at sniffing out the truth of the matter: Their names; Henry and Lucy. Perhaps they were the real inspiration for THYME Magazine. Some dogs seem to sniff old trails so much that they never look up to see the rabbit standing right in front of them. Henry was a Dachshund and Lucy is a Beagle. They rarely missed when it came to sniffing out the truth.

The 'other' weekly news magazine was founded by Henry Luce in 1923 and while I suspect his leanings were always progressive I don't think his journalistic integrity would allow him to mischaracterize a whole citizen movement. That is where Joe Klein dishonors the memory of the magazine's founding father... or does he?, read on and decide for yourself.

Accusing Glenn Beck and Governor Palin of 'Sedition' is a cheap shot at a revitalized Conservative movement that has its life in the grassroots of America. Beck, Palin, Hannity, Levin and Limbaugh wouldn't have the following they do if they didn't resonate with something that is happening in the hearts of the people. [1.]

The real reason Henry, Lucy and I founded THYME was in response to this Mainstream Media Myopia. it was September of 2009 and the 'other' weekly news magazine had just labled Glenn Beck a 'Mad Man.' [2.]

So I started out, remembering TIME's old 'Is Rush Limbaugh Good for America' template [3.] and asked stuff like: 'Is Cass Sunstein Good forAmerica?' Here was a template that could have been repeated for every Czar into a long and boring set of covers. So I had to ask myself who the 'Mad Man' really was? That led to THYME's most controversial cover... an illustration of the POTUS as portrayed by Alfred E Neuman that I saw at the September 12th rally on someone's sign.

But think of it for a minute. If the President's goal is to 'remake' America in the form of Europe's failing Socialist states and in the process dim the individual liberty and personal initiative that built the greatest Nation on the face of the Earth, what constitutes 'Madness' really?

To paraphrase Limbaugh: "If that is what Barack Obama is doing, why would anyone in his right mind want it to succeed?"

Henry Luce's Empire of Facism [click to read]. TIME actually has an interesting history as a propoganda tool according to Steven P. Meyer and Jeffrey Steinberg.

"In an article in 1928, Luce declared the U.S. Constitution obsolete and called for "a new form of government." What was this new form of government? In March of the same year, in a speech to businessmen in Rochester, N.Y., he stated:

"America needs at this moment a moral leader, a national moral leader. The outstanding national moral leader of the world today is Mussolini."

A Very Informal Hiking Group Forms

For the Simple Love of G-d's Mountain Gardens

Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park.

A number of us in our small group at church expressed a love of places like this so we've decided it would be fun to have some slightly organized hikes. A lot of people love the woods but are hesitant to go beacause their friends who hike all seem to be interested in long hard walks or don't seem to slow down and enjoy the scenery. I've been accused of enjoying forced marches myself, but I really enjoy slowing down and seeing what nature has to teach me these days.

We determined it would be good to provide short, fun hikes we could all share. We'd bring lunch and a change of clothes to church and share the afternoon after 'formal' worship was over.

Then we decided we'd love to share this opportunity with our friends. Consider yourself invited. Email Me [click to email] if you'd like to come along.

Sawmill Ridge Overlook
Sawmill Ridge Overlook in Shenandoah National Park.

Mountain Laurel in the Blue Ridge

Spring Comes to the High Ridges

Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel

Iris in the Garden

Spring Color Keeps Showing Up Everywhere

Garden Iris
Iris blossom.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Showy Iris in Shenandoah Park

Spring Comes to the Mountain

Showy Iris
Showy Iris flower.

Mountain Laurel
Mountain Laurel is about to blossom.

Nehemiah Project, Spring 2010

Young Volunteers Work on Service Projects

Nehemiah Project
This Saturday, all across Augusta County, young people participated in the Nehemiah Project. Here two participants illustrate the concept of painting yourself into a corner.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume II, Issue XVI

The 'Leaderless Movement's True Leaders

Patriots Assemble in Washington April 15, 2010

Richard Viguerie's 'Rules for Patriot Leaders:'

"You are the leadership you are looking for. Arm yourself!" Viguerie played a huge role in bringing about the Reagan Revolution but his roots are in William F. Buckley.

Rush Limbaugh and others have brought Buckley's thoughts to millions.Many of these people are ready to go to the source. At a Virginia Sovereignty rally Mr. Viguerie challenged us to do just that. 'Knowledge is Power.' Patriot, Empower Thyself!

We're ready to read the 'classics' as he calls them. We're the leaders that need to be in place to turn the country around.

Virginia Rally
"G-d may have given America one last chance." -- Richard Vigueri

'Fourth Leg' of the Conservative Movement

CULPEPER, Va., April 15th /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Richard A.Viguerie, Chairman of, told hundreds today at the Constitutional Tea Party's April 15th rally at Yowell Meadows Park in Historic Culpeper, Virginia their activism could be America's last chance to restore the Founding Fathers' vision for America. "The Tea Parties are an unfettered new force of the middle class tapping into the anger and disappointment felt not only towards Republicans and Democrats, but most major American institutions such as Wall Street, education, Hollywood, the media, big labor, and others who have betrayed their public trust," said Viguerie.

"This new force, unlike most conservative leaders, is unfettered by old relationships and ties," said Viguerie. Viguerie expressed his belief that the principles and philosophy championed by the Tea Parties constitute a fourth leg of the conservative movement.

"For 35 years, the conservative movement has made do with three legs-- foreign policy, social conservatism, and fiscal conservatism," reflected Viguerie. "It may take ten years, but this revolt of the middle class is the fourth leg the conservative movement has been waiting for."

"G-d may have given America one last chance to restore the vision of our Founding Fathers and empower citizens over their government," stated Viguerie.

April 15 Tea Party in Culpeper.

Yowell Meadows Park in Culpeper is where the Culpeper Minute Men assembled. It is April 15, 2010 and I'm listening to Constitutional Lawyer Michael Farris and Richard Viguerie befor boarding a bus for Washington, the Virginia Sovereignty Rally and the National Tax Day Tea Party. Sovereignty will be center stage today and is the subject of Mr. Farris' talk.

Michael Farris.

Now it's off to Washington.

Virginia Sovereignty Rally at the US Capitol.

More Pictures of the Virginia Sovereignty Rally [click to read]

Thousands at the Washington Monument

A group of patriots from Tennessee...

...form the 'Tyranny Response Team!"

This lady showed up before Michele Bachmann likened them to gangsters!

"We the People."

People Opposed to Obama's Policies... my favorite tee shirt message at the rally.

The 'Mob Czar' was there...

...and doesn't this mob look angry?

What am I doing wrong? this business owner asks.

People kept streaming in around the Monument. The crowd grew to possibly 100,000. By the time the speakers started there was no more grass visible.

IMG_9469 IMG_9474 IMG_9482 IMG_9485 IMG_9486 IMG_9489 IMG_9490 IMG_9492
Speaker portraits from the jumbotron, But later I was 25 feet from Michele Bachmann...

...and the thought 'Presidential' came to mind.

The sun went down. All too quickly it was over.

The Monument grounds were left spotless. Trash cans were filled to overflowing.