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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Favorite Author

First major book signing March 2007 at B. Dalton's in cottonwood Mall.

Halloween has become extremely easy for me this year. The English department came up with the idea that teachers should dress like their favorite author. When they ask me why I'm  not in costume I reply that I am. My favorite author is me. Duh!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just to look nice

Frieze from Cistine Chapel, Michealangelo

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Things settling down

  • Most of the heavy stuff E and M's boyfriend helped move for Mom. She's not completely out yet, but soon will be, her next problem is to try and find a place for all of it. I see a huge garage sale in the future.
  • After a couple of crazy weeks at school things are back to as normal as possible on this stupid schedule.
  • Weather's been nice the last few days, but a storm's supposed to hit tomorrow, hope it's gone by the weekend so I can hit the golf course. This is the best time of year for golf, you don't have to get up so early to beat the heat and the weather isn't as windy like it is in the spring, the only real problem is trying to find your ball under all the dead leaves.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The system

Belief in the system

After I wrote my last post, which I freely admit is biased by the fact I teach history at the high school level, I read an article in the latest Harper's Magazine by Roger D. Hodge entitled Creative Destruction.
The article is coming out this week, but that means it was probably written end of August or early September right after the conventions and the polls were showing a dead heat between the two major candidates.
Mr. Hodge was terribly upset that the race was this close and blamed it on the Democratic ideology that elections are about the People's will. In essence the major points of my last post. Mr. Hodge's assertion is this:

narrative concerns “democracy.”
According to the classic theory that
appears in our civics textbooks,
modern democracy is a political system
in which the people decide how
they wish to be governed by electing
representatives who carry out their
will. The ultimate source of authority
in the democratic system is thus
the individual voter, whose solemn
and heroic responsibility we celebrate
at every national, state, and
local election. The basic premise of
the classic view is that the people
rule, and so we are told ad nauseam
from the time we enter kindergarten—
and that, we tell one another
at every opportunity, is what
makes America the greatest nation
in the history of the world...

The direct
strategic corollary to this mystical
belief in rule by the people, and the
central flaw in the Mondale,
Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, and Obama
campaigns, is the idea that a party
can win a national election by appealing
primarily to Americans’ reason
and better instincts—to faith,
hope, and love—by presenting sensible
programs, together with respectful
criticisms of the opponent’s
record, detailed critiques of his policy
proposals, and polite refusals to
engage in the politics of personal destruction.

His attitude is that this is a school boys' dream and that the Democrats need to grow up and fact the real world of dirty politics or McCain and the Republicans will win agan.

I too was worried in those dark days of Sarah Palin's basking in media glory. Since the debates and a steady pulling away by Obama in the polls since then I am less concerned, but as Russ says at his blog the only poll that counts is in on election day. (Grinnygranny and I voted today -- so glad that is out of the way)

I am not the total idealist that Mr. Hodge would think all Democrats are. I believe in the system and trust its premise, and this election is supporting my belief. It was hard to swallow that "The People" drank the Kool-aid in 2004, but in 2006 there was a healthy dose of buyer's remorse. Candidates are now packaged and sold to the public like any other commodity. I've heard the story (unsubstanciated, but it sounds good) that Ronald Reagan in 1984 walked into the advertiser's meeting planning his re-election campaign and said, "I heard you were selling a can of peas, though you'd like to see the can."

The only blessing after eight years of Bushco is that he has left such a huge stench on the Republican brand that even the bumbling and inept Democrats should walk a way with a congressional landslide and regain the executive.

The article was written before the economic meltdown, so Mr. Hodge can be forgiven for his doom and gloom. After all there is a sure fire way that Democrats win elections: IT'S THE ECOMONY STUPID!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Rule of???

Scott Horton on his No Comment blog, David Iglesias when here speaking to the students, Bruce at Mainstream Baptist, and more bloggers than I can count are all decrying the need after bushco's raping of the Constitution to restore the Rule of Law. Which has had me pondering over the weekend (since I teach a high school class in law) What is the Rule of Law?

I don't think what we need is the Rule of Law.
We need a return to Common Law and move away from Civil Code.

Here is where I go back to being a basic high school history teacher. I cover the Constitution and no I don't make the students memorize the Pre-amble, like I had to when the same age, but it still says: WE THE PEOPLE...
Not God and the Ten Commandments, not Rome's twelve tables,  not even Alfred the Great's Dooms (which actually is closer to our legal system than the Bible). This country is founded on the RULE OF THE PEOPLE not the Rule of Law. We vote for and against those who make our laws and execute those laws, and if we don't like the laws they pass or the way they are executed we vote them out of office and replace them with people who respond to the WILL OF THE PEOPLE. 
Divine Right of Kings (or Presidents according to Roberto Gonzales) is what is at the heart of Bushco's raping of our Constitution. Under this kind of legal system (Civil Code) the leader (King, Emperor, whatever) is the law and everyone must obey their laws or suffer the consequences. That is a true Rule of Law. The law is king, because the King makes it. This is what we rejected in the Declaration of Independence referencing Natural Law.
In short we don't need a return to the Rule of Law, we need a return to the Rule of the People and the Spirit of the Law: our checks and balances so our next executive leader can no longer make it up as he goes along like Der Decider has for eight years. 

Civil Code (Letter of the Law) Legal system updated by Napoleon and used in all the countries he conquered or the colonies of those countries.  System was devised by Monarchs, Emperors, and dictators; earliest form Rome's Twelve Tables circa 600BC.

Common Law (Spirit of the Law) The law held in common by Germanic Tribes of Northern Europe. Since England (Germanic country) was not conquered by Napoleon the legal system used in all the British Empire. Everyone is subject to the law, even the ruler. Greatest examples being the Magna Charta, English Bill of Rights, American Declaration of Independence and the American Bill of Rights. Allows for Jury Nullification and Judicial Review.

The Spirit gives life, the Law gives death.  ---Jesus of Nazareth

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Wellness of the Soul

Penni had a very touching post on her caringbridge site today. It gave me a sense of warmth and tears at the same time.
Those who come by here please click on the link, read her post and leave a message on her guestbook, and if inclined offer prayer, it will be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Surprise speaker

I was notified yesterday that David Iglesias would be speaking to the students today. It was a shame that my Law class wasn't meeting today. I took my World History class to hear him and saw a number of my Law students in attendance, so on Monday we'll have something to discuss.
I was right by the door when he (Iglesias) walked in, shook hands with him, and he went on down to the stage. His wife and daughter were there as well. She was very gracious asking all of us what we taught. I gave her my card for Optimus.
He had a nice little talk about the importance of getting an education, working hard, and doing what is right, no matter how much that might hurt your career. It was a good message for the students to hear. Their behavior was very good considering every seat was taken in the auditorium and I knew some of them to be rather disruptive. He left plenty of time for questions and it was gratifying that the students had more questions than time allowed. It's a shame all of my classes didn't get to hear him.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Jumbled thoughts

  • Penni seems to be doing well, I wish to express my deepest and warmest sense of gratitude to all those who have added her to their prayer list, and have left a message on her caringbridge site.
  • Balloons went up Saturday morning and there was a balloon glow last night, too much weather between times. It was too windy this morning, but the rest of the week looks for good flying weather.
  • I've posted some balloon pictures and an interesting op-ed piece quoting Kippling on the Captain's Log blog
  • Paul Krugman had this to say about McCain's health care plan today in his op-ed piece: In short, the McCain plan makes no sense at all, unless you have faith that the magic of the marketplace can solve all problems. And Mr. McCain does: a much-quoted article published under his name declares that “Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.” I agree: the McCain plan would do for health care what deregulation has done for banking. And I’m terrified.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Treading water

  • Mom came home yesterday. She needs to get moved into her new house and Penni seems to have rallied enough for her to get some things done here.
  • Finally got a new computer in my classroom. It's a desktop instead of a laptop, but it's better than using a computer meant for the students. I couldn't have my test generator programs on it and had to keep my grades on a flash drive.
  • It's surprising how fast four bags (two bushels) of apples are disappearing. They are good!
  • I keep running into supporters of McCain here at school, who are against Obama because he's a "Socialist." God in Heaven, so was FDR, if you use the Republican definition for socialist. "How horrible that anyone would dare think of regulating businesses again, just look at  how wonderful Wall Street is working right now! he said sarcastically."  Are these people living in the real world? A return to the New Deal that the Republicans have systematically dismantled since 1981 is the only thing that will save our economy.
  • I supported Hillary Clinton over Obama in the primary, but made it clear I would support either candidate in the general election. Since that time (Feb of last year) Obama has been a pleasant surprise. He's grown into the position. I'm pleased to see that after the smoke screen McCain threw up in late August and early September that there is more distance between the two and Obama's numbers keep going up. I've noticed that in the local election races for Representatives and Senator that the sleezy, negative adds are working against the Republicans: about bloody time. Waiting for early voting to start so we can get that out of the way.