Thursday, June 23, 2011

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XXVI

Does it Still Matter?

The 'other' weekly news magazine asks this week: "Does the U.S. Constitution still matter?" Not surprisingly, the 'other' weekly concludes that good old concepts like limited government and checks and balances might be archaic! All the while, TIME asserts that there is no 'Constitutional crisis.' It is just those 'crazy Conservatives and Tea Partiers' again. The framers couldn't possibly have wanted the document to be so.. "inflexible!" Afer all, the framers didn't know about "Lady Gaga" [1.]

TIME states: "We can pat ourselves on the back about the past 223 years, but we cannot let the Constitution become an obstacle to the U.S.'s moving into the future with a sensible health care system, a globalized economy, an evolving sense of civil and political rights." [2.] Read: "Don't let 200 years of history stand in the way of Obamacare, Globalism and new rights for 'special interest' groups." TIME asserts that the founders were not all that clear about their intent to limit Federal power anyway. Certainly we can't let it stand in the way of becoming more like Socialist Europe (even though Europe seems to be enjoying a resurgance of Conservative thought right now).

Too bad. Now more than ever we need those restraints on government gone wild. Even though our government collects unprecidented amounts of revenue, we're running up record debt as we allow programs to replace historical means of caring for one another and use the money that should be set aside for them to fund other things.

Our founders hammered out a wonderful system of government that takes into account our human frailties. Checks and balances and clear definition of powers granted have served us well for over 200 years.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rendering of Recycling Facility in Hiroshima

Concept for the New Office of an Existing Facility

I overlayed the rendering of the new office section on a photograph of the existing plant. 

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XXV

So What is a 'Baracket' Anyway

The 'other' weekly news magazine is analyzing the likely field of contenders for the Republican nomination. Their NCAA style 'baracket' pits the old guard (Romney, McCain) against the new upstarts (Palin, Bachmann), you get the idea.

Along the way they deduce that the new Conservatism is 'impractical.' Conservatives, according to TIME, are the new ivory tower academians. Their beef: "all they want to do is starve government and lower taxes." They obviously don't read publiccations like City Journal that wrestle with real ideas about funding legitimate government functions after years of distinctly non-conservative legislators kicking the can down the road. They missed the article in the latest issue about the necessity of funding the rebuilding of the Tappan Zee Bridge.

They missed Augusta County's Candidates' Forum Wednesday night, where a group of conservative thinking candidates from both parties presented a unified vision for funding public safety and education needs. They missed Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell committing state resources to rebuilding and upgrading crucial infrastructure.

I wish they would do an equally critical analysis of our young Keynesian President, steeped in the teachings of James Cone through Jeremiah Wright. A junior Senator who's previous experience as a 'community organizer' was left unchallenged while the experience of popular Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was constantly called into question during the last election.

Americans deserve better from their media. Dare to put out ideas and what the candidates are actually saying. Help people understand the Constitutionally mandated functions of (and limitations on) government. Let the voters make informed choices.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Thinking Independently in Augusta County

Four Contenders for Board Offer Fresh Vision

Supervisor Tracy Pyles led the drive to respond to citizen concerns about property assessments, often acting alone as the 'conscience' of the BOS...

There is already much press about the 'Tea Party' and its effect on the way things are done in government. Some see it as a negative force, but they need to take a close look at what's happening in Augusta County.

Augusta County provides a wonderful example of just such a scenario. A while back the sitting board of supervisors pretty much rubber-stamped a skewed appraisal of property values. They accepted the new, higher valuations without much question. Tax rates, they said, could be adjusted after the fact.

The problem came when the 'suddenly' more prosperous county saw the formula for allocating State revenues now worked against them. Schools and public safety functions were suddenly strapped for funds as the return of collected tax revenues dropped based on the county's 'jump' in prosperity -- at least on paper.

One lone supervisor, Tracy Pyles of Pastures District, did the math BEFORE the vote. He became the 'conscience' of the board as he attempted to bring the realities of the situation to light. He proposed a motion to return to the more realistic valuations that were in place before the mass appraisals. Only one other supervisor joined him in voting for the rollback.

This November County residents will have the opportunity to elect three more candidates who share Pyles' vision of honest representative government. David Karaffa, Dr. Kurt Michael and Dr. Marshall Pattie are all running in separate districts, and they all want to talk about substantive issues. Together with Pyles they are hosting a townhall meeting this Wednesday, June 15, 7:00pm at the Verona Government Center. The meeting is the first of a series designed to inform citizens and bring them into the process of responsible government.

Citizens are encouraged to come out and hear the candidates' vision for themselves. My feeling is that the mainstream media will largely miss the historic nature of this gathering. You will need to be there in person.

...he is joined this election cycle by a bipartisan group of candidates who share his vision.

SWAC Girl Reports on the Meeting [click to read].
The News Leader Reports on the Meeting [click to read].
WHSV TV Reports on the Meeting [click to read].
NBC 29 Reports on the Meeting [click to read].

Putting America Back to Work [click to read].
Here's some historical perspective that supports the vision put forth by Tracy Pyles for economic development. Says Pyles: "We're not competing against Staunton and Waynesboro... we're competing with the world."

Econonic Development: "As the DuPont Plant continued to grow, so did Waynesboro... Waynesboro grew by 27 percent in the 1950's to reach a population of 15,694 by 1960. Medium income in 1959 was $6154 and 17 percent had incomes over $10,000. Waynesboro was a manufacturing town with 5,817 people directly employed in manufacturing. Over half of those jobs were at DuPont." [1.]

Tracy Pyles referenced the interest by Toyota in building a plant in Augusta County. The plant would have most likely created the same sort of opportunty that DuPont did in the 1960's.

1. A Short History of the Waynesboro DuPont Plant [click to read] by Ashley E. Stanley

Friday, June 10, 2011

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XXIV

Great Myths of the Obama Recession

The 'other' weekly news magazine finally gets it (sort of). They ask on their cover: "What Recovery?" They're admitting that the much touted 'recovery' just isn't there. What is interesting is that they still don't get a lot of the reasons.

So, here are some myths about the "Recovery" er, a... "Recession," if you will.

Myth #1. FDR Spent Us Out of the Depression. Obama will too.

First of all, I must offer the excellent work of Lawrence Reed:


Great Myths of the Great Depression [Click to Read] by Lawrence W. Reed

"President Herbert Hoover is mistakenly presented in standard history texts as a laissez-faire president, but he signed into law so many costly and foolish bills that one of Franklin Roosevelt’s top aides later said that “practically the whole New Deal was extrapolated from programs that Hoover started.”

"Americans voted for Franlin Roosevelt in 1932, expecting him to adhere to the Democratic Party platform, which called for less government spending and regulation." -- Lawrence W. Reed
The really frightening thing about history is how it repeats itself.

Myth #2. There is Nothing Special About America. We're Toast.


In light of the President's recent assertion that 'America is not a Christian Nation' I would like to offer Alvin Schmidt's book Under the Influence, How Christianity Changed the World. There are many legitimate arguments to be made about how Faith and Government should function together but a look at the principles that our Nation was founded upon will show a clear Judeo-Christian influence.

"If no other consideration had convinced me of the value of the Christian life, the Christlike work which the Church of all denominations in America has done during the last 35 years for the elevation of the black man would have made me a Christian." -- Booker T. Washington in 'Up from Slavery' (1901)

To those who would write off the American experiment at this point in history, I offer the observation that history says much of the intuitiveness and resilience of this unique people.

The REAL American Dream [click to read].

Myth #3. Growing Government will Grow the Economy.

Government, of itself, produces nothing. Every function of government requires the removal of resources from the productive sector of the economy. Certainly the provision of defense and the maintainence of infrastructure are reasonable and proper functions of government and serve the productive sector. Excessive regulatory structure and redistribution only serve to harm it.

The Recovery Myth [click to read].

Myth #4. Private Sector Growth Enriches CEO's and not Us.

Think about who really is invested in these companies. That's YOUR retirement money. Those 'obscene' profits are mostly retun on the investment of people like you.

Where the Jobs Are [click to read].

Myth #5. Barack Obama is a Great Unifier.

Wow, where do I begin? The man who told Eric Cantor to "sit down, shut up, I WON!!!" is hardly the voice of reconciliation he promised to be when elected. Here's a man who WANTS $5.00 a gallon gasoline and has said so. He has resisted America's efforts to produce our own energy. He says: "You can build a coal fired power plant if you want to... but you'll go bankrupt." (due to administration supported policies).

Why it Won't Fly [click to read].

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A New Vision for Board of Supervisors

Four Candidates who Matter Make a Statement

Dr. Marshall Pattie is running for the seat in the North River District.

Four candidates for the Augusta County Board of Supervisors will host a townhall meeting on June 15, 2011, the first of a series of such meetings hosted by the candidates to be held at the Government Center in Verona at 7:00 p.m. Their message is refreshing and straightforward, as evidenced by this joint statement:

"We believe in an open, responsive government that is smart enough to understand that hearing from our bosses, the voters, more often than every 4 years makes us a better government.

We believe that economic development needs to be more professionally driven than politically and bureaucratically driven.

We believe that Fire and Rescue needs to be more professionally driven and less politically and bureaucratically driven.

We believe that the Board of Supervisors has stumbled and failed to secure and provide the fair funding historically due the Augusta School Board.

We believe that delaying relief from land values done during the best of times hurts us now in these worst of times.

We hope to show that when people work together, putting aside party and personal interests, consensus can be reached with the people being the beneficiaries rather than those making the decisions. We hope to demonstrate the individual knowledge and principles of each of us such that the public will have confidence both in our corporate vision and our individual resolve."

--David Karaffa, Dr. Kurt Michael, Dr. Marshall Pattie, Supervisor Tracy Pyles

Lynn Has More [click to read]. If you have felt frustrated that your vote might not make a difference, Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 will be your day!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sarah Palin's History Lesson

"That 'Twit' Knows Her History" -- Jack Kelly

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in Kuwait.

"If liberal journalists were more introspective than they are, they would reflect on why it is that a woman they regard as so stupid seems to outsmart them so often." -- Jack Kelly

Sarah Palin's History Lesson [click to read] by Jack Kelly in Jewish World Review.

Palestine's Nakba Narrative

The Biggest Obstacle to Peace in the Middle East

In The Nakba Obsession [click to read] Sol Stern in City Journal presents a clear-headed analysis of the Palestinian problem and why it needs to be better understood.

"There is only one just compensation for the long history of suffering, say the Palestinians and their allies: turning the clock back to 1948. This would entail ending the “Zionist hegemony” and replacing it with a single, secular, democratic state shared by Arabs and Jews. All Palestinian refugees—not just those still alive of the hundreds of thousands who fled in 1948, but their millions of descendants as well—would be allowed to return to Jaffa, Haifa, the Galilee, and all the villages that Palestinian Arabs once occupied.

Such a step would mean suicide for Israel as a Jewish state, which is why Israel would never countenance it. At the very least, then, the Nakba narrative precludes Middle East peace. But it’s also, as it happens, a myth—a radical distortion of history." --Sol Stern

The problem today is that the origins of the problem are ignored in the discussion. The original attack on Israel and the subsequent refugee problem are succinctly stated in Stern's piece. Also noted is the fact that Israel's neighbors, who could have assimilated the refugees, have instead chosen to perpetuate their status. The Left today has run with the Nakba Narrative. Anti-Israel sentiment runs high, often bubbling over in Vitriol of the Worst Sort [click to read], but it was not always so.

The Left, in fact, once viewed Israel as a great triumph. Stern Chronicles journalist I. F. Stone's initial praise of the modern Jewish State and his subsequent conversion to Palestinian apologist. The progressives who once lauded Israel for its... progress... cutting edge agriculture and technology, modern cities and inclusive government later abandoned her as they took up the causes of victimology and redistribution.

The Left's own narrative that those who have achieved prosperity have obviously stolen it from the disadvantaged plays well here. Also ignored in this narrative is the fact that Israel groans under the burden of the many refugees it has brought in, such as the Russian Jews who populate places like Sderot and often bear the brunt of missle attacks from places like Gaza.

Perhaps a better narrative for this part of the world would be one that sees most everyone in the region... Jewish, Coptic or Palestinian as one who has suffered under or fled the forces of oppression.

Let's Hope the World is Right About 'Evil' Israel

Can we trust the world's compass if it is that broken?

Dennis Prager [click to read] in Jewish World Review.

"The reason mankind has to hope that the world, its leaders, its newspapers, its so-called human rights organizations and the United Nations are right about Israel is quite simple: If Israel is the decent party in its war with the Palestinian Authority and Hamas — and nearly all the world's countries, nearly all the world's media and the United Nations are morally wrong — what hope is there for humanity? If the world's moral compass is that broken, are we not sailing into a dark age?"

The Plain Truth about Israel [click to read] by Caroline B. Glick.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

T. J. Collins Building on Beverley Street

Part of Staunton's Architectural Heritage

Three windows step up the wall of a townhouse by Staunton Architect T. J. Collins.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XXIII

He's Mark Levin's 'Favorite' Congressman

Remember the old nitrates warnings. Weiners in particular were singled out as a source of unhealthy nitrates. This week the 'other' weekly news magazine offers a special health report.

THYME is issuing its own 'Weiner warning.' Obviously cell phone use can be hazardous to your political health. That is on top of the already issued radiation warning.

Dr. Mark Levin has already had much to say about Weiner's policies, including his support for Obamacare and subsequent seeking of waivers from Obamacare. If it is so good, why do you need a waiver anyway?