Monday, October 31, 2011

A Walk to White Rock Falls

Autumn Turning to Winter with Fresh Snowfall

Autumn leaves create a pattern of ripples in the stream below the falls.

I hiked to White Rock Falls [click to read] on Sunday. This is a relatively short hike from the Blue Ridge Parkway to a beautiful watefall.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall...

An October Snowfall Creates Images of All Seasons

Flowers, Autumn leaves and some Summer green mix with a new snowfall to create a collage of seasons.

More Snow Pictures [click to view].

The Danger of Confusing Unity with Conformity

Rabbi Berel Wein Clarifies the Difference


The Danger of Confusing Unity with Conformity [click to read] by Rabbi Berel Wein in Jewish World Review addresses an often misunderstood understanding of the two concepts. They are, unfortunately, easily confused.

"Though there are many in both the secular and religious world who, given the chance, would impose conformity upon the rest of us, we are simply not built that way." -- Rabbi Berel Wein

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Renderings for the Clean Energy Company

New Corporate Headquarters in Hiroshima, Japan
Penthouse view of the building.

Comfort Care Banquet Goal Exceeded!

Two Evenings Net $112,000 in Pledges

Abortion Survivor Gianna Jessen spoke. People responded. Comfort Care was hoping for $75,000 in pledges but organizers were rejoicing when $112,000 was promised. The canvasses with scripture that decorated the room were provided by Laney Mural Art for Young Peoples' Spaces [1.]

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XCIII

Think about this for a minute: Did you ever know much about Margaret Thatcher's husband, Sir Denis Thatcher? Do you even know his name? He might have indeed been "the smartest man in the UK" but the news media never trumpeted it.

Similarly, how much do you think about Mr. Bachmann? You didn't know who Todd Palin was until his wife was tapped to run for Vice President in 2008.

The 'other' weekly news magazine just pulled out the old "smartest woman in America" template to describe the style of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Mrs Clinton may indeed be a sharp cookie (even if she doesn't BAKE cookies), but if she hadn't hitched her wagon to a star... young and rising Bill Clinton, she might well be doing real estate deals today in her law firm.

That is not to deride her success, given the opportunity handed to her. Still, to be quite honest, Mrs. Clinton is in some good company when it comes to 'Smart Power,' as TIME calls it. Consider the young Mother from Wasilla Alaska who got involved in local politics out of her own concern. She took on oil interests and became governor. Read her op-ed pieces in the WSJ [1.] and the folksy accent is gone along with the whole beauty queen thing. What remains is good solid analysis that is worth reading.

Michele Bachmann is another person worth listening to. Though she's faded in the presidential race, her input has been valuable in forging the debate. The 'mainstream media' clearly has trouble embracing brilliant women who do not embrace their ideology. The alternative media and citizen journalists are more than happy to fill this void.

Sir Denis Thatcher, husband of UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, greets US First Lady Nancy Reagan, at No.10 Downing Street, June 2, 1988.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Lesson in "Choice and Competition"

Nanny State Update from 'The Journey'


It's a Dad's dilemma. I've been there, done that, but a dear friend of mine recently went through it with some unimagined consequences.

A parent of a young child, running late to get that child to school, decides to forgo the homemade lunch and stops at Wendy's to get something. Surely this would not cause any problems.

Upon arrival at the school, the child's drink from Wendy's was taken because 'it is not approved as healthy.' Consciencious parent forks over milk money to the child and goes off to work. The administrator now holds on to the child's Wendy's meal and at lunch time the child has to eat the meal in the office. The reason: The government lunch program does not allow 'competitor's' products.

Wow! Use a broad brush with that and you could ban the whole lunch from home thing... unless you make everything from scratch. Any packaged portion of a brown bag lunch could be considered 'competitor.' You get the picture. I'm including a link to Tom Harkin's Letter [click to read] explaining the whole 'healthy lunch' thing. It is instructive.

But here are the facts. The children in this family are all thin and athletic. They play soccer and run track. They are fed very healthy meals at home. They need no 'nanny state' intervention.

As to Dave Thomas, who created Wendy's. His Adoption initiatives and other programs that he started have done more to help real children in real situations than the 'uber-nanny state' ever will.
On Tyranny and Liberty [click to read] by Myron Magnet in City Journal

Would the Founders Approve of the Nation We've Made?

Journey to Jesus, the Complete Mural

The Epic of Human Civilization: Isaiah 60, Rev: 21

Click Here for larger image.

Click Here for larger image.

Mural at SAC
We began in July of 2010 with the painting of Mizuki, our Japanese girl. Our project took images of real children, often in very difficult places, and made them princes and princessess of the New Heaven and New Earth...

Girl from Peru an expression of Christ's redemptive work towards people of all nations.

On November 18, 2011, the rainbow (Benjamin Riley's handprints) and the guide to the names and their meanings were installed. Our mural was finished.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fiscal Health and Local Government

New Challenges Require Clear Vision

The next board of supervisors will face some tough choices. The problems facing local governments today require thoughtful solutions rather than simple slogans.

The local newspaper said it well: "The next Augusta Board of Supervisors will have to make some difficult decisions." The phrase: "Bring me men to match my mountains." comes to mind. Indeed, the need for informed individuals willing to hammer out the hard choices has never been clearer. The recent property assessment debacle proves that well.

Nichole Gelinas in City Journal writes about the indicators of health in local and state finances. Her article: Hidden in Plain Sight [click to read] says that disclosure requirements are a step in the right direction, but they alone will not fix the situation.

Fair and Honest Property Assessments

Think of our own local government and the recent property assessment battle. The historical pattern had always been one where assessments were performed in a rather casual way to follow the then predictable rise in real estate values. Governments planned expenditures based on this pattern and boards of supervisors rubber stamped the whole process.

In a steadily growing economy there was no need for questioning reality, after all. The can kicked down the road was highly unlikely to roll back on you.

After 2006, reality changed. The appraisal and budget process that followed underscored the need for lively and open debate. Tracy Pyles, supervisor from the Pastures District, took the bold and necessary step of addressing flaws in the process that would eventually come back to bite us. The assessors were using values derived from a real estate bubble that had already burst. There was no reality in letting tax rates be driven by these numbers. Furthermore, the inflated numbers created a false report to state revenue agencies, resulting in reduced payments to the county from state taxes collected. Northern Virginia localities saw their property values reduced in a more honest process and actually received increased state funding while Augusta's was reduced.

The inability of other local elected officials to throw themselves into this debate is telling. In low-crime Mayberry, Barney Fife can keep his service revolver empty and his bullet in his pocket. If revenues can be counted on to rise 'safely,' we can afford to let the supervisors kick the can down the road, or so it might seem. Actually the need for open and honest debate is even more important when we might plan honestly for a range of contingiencies. The best reforms happen quietly and in a timely manner. They may never show up in print.

The 2011 campaign for supervisor's seats in Augusta County should create no less than a mandate for the kind of debate that will monitor county vital signs BEFORE a fiscal disaster occurs.

First Responder Support Strategies

Recent audits of Augusta's fire stations uncovered problems that beg the question: "Why didn't the board of supervisors impliment key elements of a fire plan they commissioned?" David Karaffa, candidate for Beverley Manor District Supervisor proposes some strong steps to support our volunteer community. Property tax credit of up to $750 is a great incentive for someone like an artisan farmer who is willing to give her time to protecting the community as a fire fighter/EMT. Reimbursement for mileage and training also help her with practical support as she provides real safety to the county. Tuition credits for young first responders would enhance recruitment of the next generation.

Supporting the volunteer community now makes perfect sense. This 'stitch in time' response to volunteer support would help to preserve the ideal of self-protecting community service. At the same time, Karaffa suggests, we need to unfreeze and fill key paid positions.

Education as a Priority

Seeing an educated population as a key element of economic development, Karaffa says: "Education is vital for our economy, our children, our government, and our future. If elected, I will work side by side with the school board in terms of budgeting and other needs to make sure that every dollar put toward education is used to its fullest and not wasted. I will frequently be checking in with the school board representatives and will attend their meetings to hear the concerns of the parents in our community." Believe him. As the parent of two young daughters, he's concerned that monies reach the classroom. He's already going to more meetings than some people who are already elected and makes a practice of informing himself going into decisions.

Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability to the People

David Karaffa supports budget process where the people are given the opportunity to see the actual figures before the budget is voted on. Openness, he feels, would be a great deterrant to unnecessary and frivolous spending. A quesionable hundred-thousand dollar expenditure on new cell phones for county employees might well have been cut before unnecessary spending occurred. In an era of tightened belts and necessary sacrifice, it is refreshing to see a new generation of candidates who see tax revenues as the people's money.

Note: The Author of this post actively serves in the campaign of David Karaffa for Supervisor.

Abortion Survivor Gianna Jessen to Speak

A Voice for Those Who Cannot Speak

Gianna Jessen survived an abortion. Now she speaks for the unborn.

Gianna Jessen [click to read] has been on Dr. Dobson's show to tell her story. Since the unborn cannot speak for themselves it is a powerful thing to hear from someone who wasn't supposed to live. Tonight and tomorrow night, Ms. Jessen will be speaking at the Comfort Care Womens' Health Center Banquet at the Waynesboro Best Western (at exit 94 on interstate 64). Banquet time is 6:15 both evenings, October 24th and 25th. For details and reservations click Here.

Gianna Jessen does not quit. Giving up is not an option to her. Gianna has what she refers to as the "gift" of Cerebral Palsy. She weighed a mere 2 lbs at birth and the doctors said she would never be able to hold up her head, sit up, crawl or walk. She began to walk by the age of three years old with the help of leg braces and a walker.

Gianna is a Christian. Her life was given to her by the grace of God. She shouldn't be walking, but more miraculous still; she should not even be alive. Gianna's biological mother was 17 when she had a saline abortion in her third trimester. Many Americans don’t realize it is legal to have an abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. After being burned alive for approximately 18 hours in the womb from the saline solution, Gianna was delivered alive in a Los Angeles County abortion clinic. Her medical records state, "born during saline abortion"...this is what caused her Cerebral Palsy.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Notes from Our Critter Consultant

Is this what Bears Really do in the Winter?

Our 'Critter Consultant,' Laney Riley [1.] found this interesting image. She writes: "Who would have known?"

Thursday, October 20, 2011

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XCII

China Conundrum Confounds Capitalists

It is time for America to come to terms with China. No sooner than we reported on the dissapearance of Liu Xia [1.], the 'other' weekly news magazine is reporting on China's bubble. We need to, as Herman Cain says: "outgrow China." Surely the world benefits from a robust economy in China, but we dare not neglect the dangers of turning over to her the role of world superpower. China is a land of many complex and contradictory realities. Persecution of people of faith and creative individuals is a dark problem wherever it occurs and China has long been known to suppress. In 1989 tanks rolled over peaceful demonstrators in Bejing's Tianamen Square. That event marked a dark time for freedom loving people in China.

Asian Megacities as Political Theatre

What Le Corbusier would have wrought in Paris has become the new reality of Bejing and Shanghai.

Le Corbusier once wrote of his Plan Voisin for Paris: “Since 1922 [for the past 42 years] I have continued to work, in general and in detail, on the problem of Paris. Everything has been made public. The City Council has never contacted me. It calls me ‘Barbarian’!” -- Le Corbusier’s writings, p. 207.

Fast forward to the Twenty-first Century and Shanghai [Le Corbusier on steroids]. It all seems like the realization of the fictional Coruscant from Star Wars... a completely urban environment that stretches as far as the eye can see. The entire planet of Coruscant is one continual city.

Guy Sorman discusses the rise of Asian 'Super Megagopolises' [click to read] in City Journal. Looking at the Mega-model of Shanghai, one could begin to wonder: "can Coruscant be that far off." Sorman points out, however, that Shanghai is largely a political creation...designed to create the impression that China is ready for business with the world. [1.]

Every day the city teems with life and every night the workers necessary to make it function vacate the pristine city. It is like Disney World, where the 'cast members' descend into 'Utilidor,' remove their costumes, and disappear to homes elsewhere.

For Shanhai workers, 'homes elsewhere' often means crowded andsubstandard. Just as China's factories are seldom seen by Westerners,those who maintain the stage for world commerce live in a vastlydifferent world than the one they 'portray' in their 'day jobs.'

Or perhaps, the Death Star in Star Wars is a better analogy. Its scale is way beyond human. It is intended to convey a sense of awe. Might we be looking at the work of some latter day Nimrod, seeking to elevate himself to the heavens?

Sorman points out how the mad rush into the 21st Century has obliterated the traditional spaces of Shanghai and Bejing, which were much more human in size and scate. Again Star Wars comes to mind. Green beautiful planets like Naboo and Alderon risk elimination as the Empire expands its grasp.

This scale model of Shanghai dwarfs the people in the room...

...and calls to mind the fictional city of Coruscant.

In the 'Sixties America sought to 'remake' her major cities. Le Corbusier style housing blocks were constructed to elevate the urban poor. Many of these 'projects' have since been torn down. While we were building them Moscow was building similar blocks of apartments. Today in Moscow, urban youths flock to the rooftops. [2.] Called 'Roofers,' these young people seek the rooftops simply for the openness and the view.

How to Return to the Village
Returning Government to the People in the 'Audience'

Nineteenth Century America was a nation of villages. Great centers of commerce existed, but they were fed by a vibrant countryside. When Thomas Jefferson created his ideal 'Academic Village' to house the University of Virginia he purposefully left one side open to the surrounding agricultural land. From the steps of the Rotunda one could look upon the rolling hills of Albemarle County.

Architect Stanford White convinced the University to fill the void with Old Cabell Hall a long time ago. The recently completed South Lawn attempts to recreate a space leading off into the trees of Charlottesville. The challenge of getting back to the garden is ever before us.

Rooftop Gardens [click to read] offer one method of getting people and open spaces together. Reclaiming existing environments is another. Aging strip malls could be recycled into village centers for the surrounding suburban homes, offering a place residents could walk or bicycle to. Vacant lots and neglected riverfronts can become parks and gardens.

Proposed Renewal of the Crozet Shopping Center.

Suburb bashing has always been a fashionable intellectual pastime.That is one reason I like Robert A. M. Stern. He sees the reasons people seek out single family dwellings of a traditional form. I have a friend who lives on the upper West side and his penthouse with a view of the Hudson is very nice but give me my gardens.People put up with the wretched infrastructure overload and strip centers because the village is still appealing. The residential areas become landscaped oasis for their residents. Kids play outside the house in view of the kitchen window. People visit at the back fence.Moreover the suburbs are seen by their dwellers as affirming opportunity and safety. If people had no emotion for their homes they would be fine with Le Courbusier type high rises but that is simply not the case.The problem is really one of infrastructure and public space [or lack therof]. Strip malls and box stores create a sterile wasteland but they may become the village centers of the future.

Time magazine once featured a piece called 'Repurposing Suburbs' which shows some fine examples of recreating this type of public space. This Crozet project turns a tired strip mall into a village center. One cannot wait for Crozet's redesigner to get his creative hands on some of the new "Town Center" projects which are now just collections of big box stores. Some time ago I drew a concept where the CSX tracks between Staunton and Charlottesville became a light rail line connecting Staunton, Fishersville, Waynesboro, Crozet, Ivy, The University of Virginia Medical Center and Downtown Charlottesville. The result would be a series of village centers and a better utilization of existing infrastructure.

City Journal's writers draw conflicting conclusions. Houston is touted as encouraging its middle class while Gotham offers limited options. Dense urban areas do tend to create energy efficiency. The trick is to see opportunities to improve the communities we have already created.That would certainly involve offering condominiums and a pedestrian friendly center to suburban communities and reclaiming all those wonderful old low density neighborhoods of our cities.

There is more to solving this problem than finding architectural solutions. Redemption too, must begin on a human scale. In a future post I will explore the role of 'New Monasticism' and activists like Star Parker in this aspect of redemptive work in our culture.

Next: Counterpoint to Coruscant [click to read].

Our Future Should be Built on Our Past Success

Valley Railroad Bridge
The Valley Railroad was once a branch of the B&O that ran all the way to Rockbridge County.

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.
Fishersille Mike shares this piece: Hard Choices All Around [click to read]. The bottom line is that it is time to start making things again. He references This Article by William Gross [click to read].

"The global economy is suffering from a lack of aggregate demand. With insufficient demand, nations compete furiously for their share of the diminishing growth pie.

In the U.S. and Euroland, many policies only temporarily bolster consumption while failing to address the fundamental problem of developed economies: Job growth is moving inexorably to developing economies because they are more competitive.

Unless developed economies learn to compete the old-fashioned way – by making more goods and making them better – the smart money will continue to move offshore to Asia, Brazil and their developing economy counterparts, both in asset and in currency space."
Drive past the once flourishing DuPont plant in Waynesboro and this will soon start to sink in. Once this complex employed thousands. Today a few hundred workers make Lycra. To qoute Billy Joel: "We're all in Allentown now."

Well we’re living here in Allentown
And they’re closing all the factories down
Out in Bethlehem they’re killing time
Filling out forms

Standing in line
Well our fathers fought the Second World War
Spent their weekends on the Jersey Shore
Met our mothers at the USO
Asked them to dance
Danced with them slow

And we're living here in Allentown.
But the restlessness was handed down
And it's getting very hard to stay.

Well we're waiting here in Allentown
For the Pennsylvania we never found
For the promises our teachers gave
If we worked hard
If we behaved.

So the graduations hang on the wall
But they never really helped us at all
No they never taught us what was real
Iron or coke,
Chromium steel.

– Billy Joel, 1982
But 'living in Allentown' is not an option. The decline of the American economy cannot support our large urbanized population.

"The constructive way is to stop making paper and start making things. Replace subprimes, and yes, Treasury bonds with American cars, steel, iPads, airplanes, corn – whatever the world wants that we can make better and/or cheaper. Learn how to compete again. Investments in infrastructure and 21st century education and research, as opposed to 20th century education are mandatory, as is a withdrawal from resource-draining foreign wars. It will be a tough way back, but it can be done with sacrifice and appropriate public policies that encourage innovation, education and national reconstruction, as opposed to Wall Street finance and Main Street consumption."
Some of the developments that make American plants less competitive are not bad. American mills in the Nineteenth Century employed children, often in dangerous environments. A system that has made life better for the workers is not a bad thing. High corporate tax rates, unsustainable pension plans and redundant Federal oversight that discourages production are very bad things.

We needn't reclaim all manufacturing. We need to find opportunities to excell as new technologies develop and master their development. New processes and craftmanship should fill our vacant plants and find market share enriching customers around the world.

Producing our own energy is essential. Increased nuclear capacity must be developed along with our own oil, gas and coal resources. Controlling energy costs is essential to our future productivity.

Localized production, small and home businesses and artisan farms are part of the answer too. Less centalization of such things as food production is good and renders us less susceptable to worldwide economic chaos.

The 1904 Saint Louis World's Fair and American Superiority

This Article by Guy Sorman in City Journal caught my eye. In 1904 the robust American economy was recognized as a world leader, but Sorman quotes a study showing the American economy coming into its own by 1820! He goes on to point out how egalitarian American ideals actually created the first mass market. Joseph Schumpeter's “creative destruction” is also mentioned as a reason for economic prosperity as the new constantly replaces the old and the market reallocates resources accordingly.

That translates into new innovative technology and methods. Eventually we'll be driving hydrogen cars and seeing advances in healthcare delivery. Government mandates won't accomplish this, changing economies, innovation and market demand will.

I once did a reconstruction of the Nineteenth Century town of Ellicott's Mills, first terminus of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad outside of Baltimore. The Ellicott Brothers had migrated from Bucks County, Pennsylvania and settled on the banks of the Patapsco River. There they convinced Charles Carroll [the signer of the Declaration of Independence] to diversify his plantation agriculture. They intruduced wheat, flour mills, limestone mining and many other innovations and that is a model of what happened throughout the young Republic.

Our real cultural diversity as a 'Nation of Nations' fuels discovery and innovation. In spite of the professed loathing of so many world rulers for our Nation, the best and brightest still want to come here.

Ellicott's Mills is typical of many American communities in the Nineteenth Century. Model by Mr. Kirchman.
Sorman points out that the U.S. economy and its spirit of enterprise still set the pace for the rest of the world. We must not invoke change that diminishes that.

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.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Freedom to Create in China

Works of 'Forbidden Artist' Liu Xia Seen for First Time

Liu Xia
Artist Liu Xia disappeared this past January.

Her work was not allowed to leave the country but six images by Liu Xia were smuggled out. Why is this artist's work censored? Surely her abstract black and white images are no threat to the modern 'open' Chinese state.

"Liu Xia is the wife of Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, jailed for 11 years for threatening the security of the state. His only crime was to have written a petition—an act permitted by the Chinese constitution, by the way—asking for dialogue with the Communist Party in order to organize a transition toward democracy. This petition, circulated on the Web, was signed by several thousand Chinese scholars and artists." -- Guy Sormon

Here are the images and commentary: Freedom to Create [click to read] by Guy Sormon in City Journal.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lotus Pond at Miller School

'Old Main' Rises above the Tree Shaded Grounds

The Lotus pond is one of my favorite places at Miller School in Albemarle County.

Friday, October 14, 2011

William H. Howland

The Mayor Who Made a Difference

This is part of the 'Milestone Monday' series.

An Article for the June 1996 Deep Cove Crier
by Reverend Ed Hird, Rector,
St. Simon’s Anglican Church, Used with his permission.

So often, Toronto functions as the city that other Canadians feel the most ambivalent about. The proverbial expression "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" readily comes to my mind as I think of Toronto. And yet ironically, the nickname "Toronto The Good" points to a side of Toronto that has largely been forgotten in the Canadian amnesia about our own heritage and roots. I was talking recently to Phyllis Beck, the Deep Cove Crier Seniors Columnist, about Toronto roots, only to discover that her daughter-in-law, Barbara Hall, is the current Mayor of Toronto. I commented to Phyllis about the recent discovery that my Great-great-grandfather, Thomas Allen, was a senior Alderman in Toronto during a period of 19 years. When I was in Toronto a few months back, getting a first-hand glimpse of the "Toronto Blessing", I kept driving back and forth past Allen Road. My ignorance about this road named after my Torontonian ancestor reminded me afresh of our Canadian forgetfulness about some of our own heros.

William H. Howland

One such hero was Mayor William Howland of Toronto, a public servant who was so dedicated to helping the disadvantaged that he gave away most of his wealth. Son of the Honorable W.P. Howland, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, William was possessed with a bubbly enthusiasm and phenomenal capacity for hard work. By the age he was 25, William was president, vice-president, or a director of more than a dozen companies in the fields of insurance and finance, electrical services, and paint manufacturing. When he became president of the Queen City Fire Insurance Company in 1871, he was the youngest insurance company president in Canada. As well, Howland was President of three influential organizations: the Toronto Board of Trade, the Dominion Board of Trade, and the Manufacturer’s Association of Ontario. Out of his love for his country, he served as Chairman of the Canada First movement, personally financing its weekly newspaper "The Nation".

At age 32, Howland was led to Christ by his priest, Dr. W.S. Rainsford of St. James Anglican Cathedral. His life-changing experience gave him a new passion for helping the poor. He became involved helping with the Hillcrest Convalescent Hospital, the YMCA, the Haven Home for Unwed Mothers, the Prisoner’s Aid Association, the Central Prison Mission School, and the Toronto General Hospital. Night after night, Howland visited the slums, going from house-to-house, and reaching out to the poor, the sick, and the alcoholic. He also purchased 50 acres to start an Industrial School in order to steer youth away from the life of crime. Other initiatives were his building an alternative school for drop-outs, and a Home for the Aged and Homeless Poor. When he began to teach an interdenominational bible study for 100 young men, his new priest J.P. Lewis objected to Howland’s involvement with non-Anglicans. Out of this rejection, he began the interdenominational Toronto Mission Union, which operated seniors’ homes, convalescent homes, and Toronto’s first-ever home nursing service.

Because of his great compassion for the poor, he was elected as Mayor of Toronto in 1885, with a strong mandate to clean up the city. Howland signaled his arrival in the mayor’s office by installing a twelve-foot banner on the wall, reading, "Except the Lord Build the City, the Watchman Wakes but in Vain". Despite fierce opposition, Howland was so successful, that Toronto became nicknamed "Toronto the Good". As champion of the poor, Howland and his Alliance friend, Rev. John Salmon, would tramp the lanes and alleys, feeding the poor, praying over the sick, and comforting the sad. With a population of just 104,000, Toronto had over 800 licensed and unlicensed saloons. Over half of all criminal offenses recorded in 1885 were related to drunkenness.

Howland is described in Desmond Morton’s book "Mayor Howland: the Citizen’s Candidate" as the first reform mayor in Toronto’s history. Due to bureaucratic corruption, municipal garbage collection was all but non-existent. Even City Hall’s own garbage was rarely picked up. Rotting garbage fouled the alleyways, yards, and streets, giving Toronto a reputation for flies, stench, and disease. With no general sewage system, Toronto lived on the verge of a typhoid epidemic. Children swam in the same Toronto harbour area into which raw sewage was flowing from the ditches. Toronto’s fresh water supply was sucked through leaking and rotting wooden pipes, half buried in the sewage and sludge of the Toronto harbour.

Howland believed that we didn’t usually need more laws; we just needed to enforce the ones that already existed. He shocked the city bureaucrats by enforcing the already existing bylaw which forbid the depositing of garbage within the city limits. After he threatened to send the city commissioner to jail for breaking this bylaw, garbage miraculously began to be collected! Howland also worked hard in the construction of a trunk sewer system, to redirect the sewage away from the Toronto Harbour. He had such a dramatic impact in reducing the crime rate that other mayors began visiting Toronto, hoping to imitate Howland’s miracle.

During his re-election campaign in 1887, all the taxi cabs were paid off by Howland’s opponent so that they would refuse to take Howland’s supporters to the polling stations. Women however (2,000 widows and single women with property) had just been given the vote. So they held up their long Victorian dresses, and trucked through the snow to give Howland the moral reformer a second term. When Howland was re-elected by a landslide, over 3,000 of his supporters at the YMCA hall spontaneously burst into singing "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.".

After he unexpectedly stepped down as Mayor after two terms, Howland became the founding President of the Christian Alliance (which later took the name C&MA: Christian and Missionary Alliance). The unique interdenominational nature of the early C&MA allowed Howland to be its president, while still remaining an Anglican. When he died unexpectedly at age 49, his funeral involved Anglican, Alliance, and Presbyterian clergy. With more than a thousand mourners on foot from all social classes, it was the largest funeral procession that had ever been held in Toronto. A poem published in the Toronto Globe said of Howland: "And not Toronto mourns alone; All Canada his fame had heard; His name is dear, a household word, And far and wide, his worth was known". May William H. Howland continue to be a living symbol of the difference that just one Canadian can make.

Reverend Ed Hird, Rector,
St. Simon’s Anglican Church

Toronto in the late Nineteenth Century.

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XCI

Asserting that the majority of Americans long for moderate politics, the 'other' weekly news magazine stuggles to understand the rise of Herman Cain.

The staff of THYME has travelled to Tea Parties. We've picked up a cup of Joe at Kline's and hit the road ourselves to catch the pulse of America. Here's what we see.

First of all, the Tea Party is the real deal. This is the real grassroots movement and it has flooded Washington DC with real working people in reasponse to what is happening there. When one party rule shut down representative government, the people demanded a hearing anyway.

A Journey to Washington...

Pennsylvania Avenue! A marcher shares the moment on his cell phone.

The avenue was packed with thousands of marchers! We were able to squeeze in behind a large group of Texans [is that redundant]? Sam Houston and Bigfoot Wallace would be proud! Our voices echoed off the large buildings lining the way. Someone started the song:

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern impassion'd stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine!

O Beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

-America, The Beautiful Lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates - 1913

We only sang the first stanza. Only 'dangerous' [1.] home schoolers can remember the whole song. They read things like the Constitution too. It was enough to stir my soul. We were on our way to the Capitol!

People pulled out their cell phones and called friends and relatives at home. the feeling in the air was just too big to keep to yourself. I phoned my wife. Every one of us represented many more who wanted to be there. A friend of mine in Williamsburg called me!

Around us were people representing every state in the Union. They were all doing the same thing. The great dome grew closer!

Clouds breaking over the Capitol.

The crowd surrounding the Capitol Reflecting Pool.

"Prepare to witness great and mighty miracles in your life time."--Glenn Beck

The West Front of the Capitol was already packed with people when we arrived. we managed to find this spot near the reflecting pool and behind us people continued to stream in. Every one in the crowd was motivated by their own concern, anger and love of country to make the journey.

I never saw the speakers' platform. We barely were able to hear the speakers but I especially remember the car dealer from New York who spoke about how the government takeover of the manufacturer had led to his dealership being taken away. Three decades of strong sales and good service to the community was dissolved overnight!

Now we were faced with the government controlling healthcare and an even larger share of the economy. Social Security and Medicare are bankrupt, the Post Office is losing money too. The language of HR3200 provides for expanded role for government in your health care and your health care decisions. Cap and Trade puts more tax burden on industry as it tries to compete with the world. Patrick Henry's worst nightmare seems poised to become reality. The American people have gathered on the National Mall to say "enough!" [to be continued]

SWAC Girl Can't Stop Writing About It Either [click to read].

London Daily Mail Estimates Crowd at One Million [click to read].

"The size of the crowd - by far the biggest protest since the president took office in January - shocked the White House." -- London Daily Mail

A Lady from Australia comments: "After all the first 'tea parties' were ridiculed in by many actors, politicians and the so called main stream media when they hit out the first time, they can't be ignored now. I think that there are many Americans who now regret the way they voted."

Pajamas Media on 'How Big Was The Crowd?' [click to read].

Looking Back: 9 Principles, 12 Values [click to read]. Glenn Beck plants the seed.

"It is the duty of every patriot to protect his country from its government." -- Thomas Paine



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Signs Seen on Greenville Avenue

Sixty Years of Staunton Eateries on Display

Harry's Lunch.


The Most Important Level of Government...

Bumper Stickers Seen on Greenville Avenue

David Karaffa bumper stickers remind you to vote on November 8th. Be sure to check if your local polling place has changed due to redistricting.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Forgotten Christians of the East

Egypt's Copts Struggle Under Persecution

One of the world's oldest churches, the Coptic church, is under siege.

The American News is saturated with the 'anti corporate' protesters. There was even a protest in Staunton, conveniently staged on a Federal holiday. The News Leader took great pains to tell us how 'nice' the mob was. Corporationa are evil. I HAVE a corporation (the rendering and model studio). OK, main stream media, I'm evil and greedy already. Let's move on.

On Sunday night, Egyptian Coptic Christians staged what was supposed to be a peaceful vigil at Egypt's state television headquarters in Cairo. The 1,000 Christians represented the ancient Christian community of some 8 million whose presence in Egypt predates the establishment of Islam by several centuries. They gathered in Cairo to protest the recent burning of two churches by Islamic mobs and the rapid escalation of state-supported violent attacks on Christians by Muslim groups since the overthrow of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February.

As many as forty of them were killed by soldiers and muslim thugs. They were beaten, dragged through the streets and run over by military vehicles. They are my brothers.

Caroline B. Glick has This Report [click to read] in Jewish World Review.

Autumn Color Begins on the Parkway

The Mountains Take on a bit of Color

Raven's Roost Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XC

The Passing of a Modern Day Edison

Steve Jobs has died at the age of 56. The 'other' weekly news magazine joins us in honoring the founder of Apple. Many will write today about the man's amazing ability to see into the future and apply technology in new and meaningful ways. Perhaps the greatest thing to celebrate and contemplate is the unique climate of inventiveness that is so much a part of American life.

I have friends who invent products like Rider's Rasp and Paddock Patch. Therefore, in my work I encounter many people who work in the realm of ideas. Some have called the creation of ideas the 'greatest American resource.' Indeed, as we look to the future, might we see young minds rise to the challenges before us? I believe we have yet to see the greatest work of the wunderkind who are among us. I have two friends who are building electric vehicles.

Being in the business of communicating ideas gives you a unique perspective on the creative experience. I think of the time in the Nineteenth Century when it was suggested that the government close the Patent Office because: "everything that is going to be invented has already been invented!" Good thing we didn't heed that advice too seriously!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thoughts on Purpose in Life's Work

Every Person's Calling to Build G-d's Kingdom

Glass 1
Painted glass vase by Carmen Rose Shenk.

I came upon this quotation which seems to recast significantly the purpose we so diligently seek for our lives. It is worth reflecting on these truths in a world where our retirement funds are dissapearing, our masterpieces fade and our trophies tarnish. There is a better place to invest our time and treasure... that Kingdom that was the hope of the faithful in Hebrews 11:

"But what what we can and must do in the present, if we are obedient to the gospel, if we are following Jesus, and if we are indwelt, energized, and directed by the Spirit, is to build for the kingdom. This brings me back to 1 Corinthians 15:58 once more: what you do for the Lord is not in vain. You are not oiling the wheels of a machine that's about to roll over a cliff. You are not restoring a great painting that's shortly going to be thrown on the fire. You are not planting roses in a garden that's about to be dug up for a building site. You are -- strange though it may seem, almost as hard to believe as the resurrection itself -- accomplishing something that will become in due course part of G-d's new world. Every act of love, gratitude and kindness; every work of art or music inspired by the love of G-d and delight in the beauty of his creation; every minute spent teaching a severely handicapped child to read or walk; every act of care and nurture, of comfort and support, for one's fellow human beings and for that matter one's fellow nonhuman creatures; and of course every prayer, all Spirit-led teaching, every deed that spreads the gospel, builds up the church, embraces and embodies holiness rather than corruption, and makes the name of Jesus honored in the world -- all of this will find its way, through the resurrecting power of G-d, into the new creation that G-d will one day make. That is the logic of the mission of G-d." -- N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, page 208.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Stimulous We Could Believe In

The President Needs to Look to Teddy, Not Franklin

The Great White Fleet with the battleship USS Connecticut at the lead...

"There's a stimulus plan that President Obama could put forward that would attract strong bipartisan support and which would also produce great jobs at great wages while strengthening the nation's defenses.

He could propose to build the Navy the country needs."
-- Hugh Hewitt

This Proposal [click to read] would basically consist of carrying out a plan put forth five years ago to deploy a fleet of 313 ships by 2020. "The Navy is short by more than 30 ships of its own admitted needs. That is the equivalent of just under three complete aircraft carrier strike force groups (each with 13 ships built around a carrier and each requiring about 8,000 sailors)," according to Hewitt.

...left Hampton Roads, Virginia in December of 1907 to circumnavigate the globe. The ships were all painted white, the Navy's peacetime color scheme.