Archive for the ‘The Chuck’s Comments’ Category

December 2010

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Hey guys,

Sorry I haven’t written much lately, but my life has grown complicated.

Cindy and I have been immersed in a complex struggle to protect two of our grandchildren.  Last week our middle daughter was finally convicted of battery for the 2 April assault on Cindy. We have another court date later this week concerning the custody of the developmentally delayed twins, who have been in under our protection since 1 April.  We have no guarantees, but we are committed to protecting the boys within the limits of the law, as the State of Louisiana is making the major decisions.

The details up to now would be sufficient for a thriller novel, unfortunately I don’t have the ending yet.  Time will provide it.

I’m blessed with employment enough to cover the legal expenses, so this has NOT turned into a financial burden for us.  The boys are enrolled in special education programs and are receiving speech and occupational therapy twice a week.  In addition, we’re working with them very much at home.  Thus, you’ve probably noticed I haven’t written any political columns for many months, and sad to say, my fiction writing has suffered the same fate for now.

I’m a little premature in sharing all of this, but I wanted to let you know that I’m still reading the posts as you make them.  In addition, I post job information on contractor positions as I find out about them, just in case anybody was thinking about that option.

More to follow …

The Chuck


Monday, February 15th, 2010

I opened The Times this morning and noticed on the editorial page a section dedicated to “Presidents Day,” where three little darlings from a local first-grade displayed letters to Mr. Obama.  Their smiling faces accented their prose of acclamations for his awesomeness.  The editor’s note explained how in recognition of President’s Day, the little children were assessing the current occupant of the White House.  It’s a testament to the sad state of the education our nation’s children get from our tax-payer funded schools and of the press when there’s no such thing as a Presidents Day or a President’s Day, either in the official Federal or the Louisiana holidays.

Federal law (5 U.S.C. 6103) establishes the following public holidays for Federal employees.

Louisiana Revised Statute 1:55 declares days of public rest and legal holidays for State employees.

The Louisiana and the Federal holiday observed on Feb 15, was Washington’s Birthday.  Though it shouldn’t be, it’s all a little confusing even for those of us not at the mercy of first-grade teachers.

The father of our country was born on 11 February 1732 of the once-used Julian calendar, but when England and her colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, George Washington birthday became the equivalent date of 22 February.

Later, George Washington led a small group of farmers, trappers, fishermen, and merchants to defeat the most powerful military on the planet at the time, which made it possible for the founder fathers to write the Constitution.  Then without seeking office, he became our first President.  Without George Washington, there would never have been an Abraham Lincoln, a Roosevelt, a Ronald Reagan, and certainly no Barrack Hussein Obama living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Washington was the greatest American, and excepting for a certain deity, arguably the greatest person that ever lived.

Certainly our great republic would desire honor such a life as his.  On 22 February 1832,  Congress adjourned in respect of his memory and in commemoration of his birth.   Thirty years later, the mayor of Philadelphia read aloud Washington’s Farewell Address to a group of citizens.  Eventually, it became a tradition in many places across America to read it aloud every year.

Every year since 1896, the Senate has observed Washington’s Birthday by selecting one of its members, alternating parties, to read the 7,641-word statement in legislative session.  Delivery generally takes about 45 minutes.  The extremes range from 39 minutes to  68 minutes.  In 1956, Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey wrote that every American should study this memorable message.  “It gives one a renewed sense of pride in our republic.  It arouses the wholesome and creative emotions of patriotism and love of country.”

Back in 1880, Washington’s Birthday was first a holiday for government offices in the District of Columbia, then expanded to all federal offices in 1885 as the first federal holiday to honor an American.  Back then they used his actual birthday, February 22.  In 1968, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, moved it to the third Monday in February.

Then in 1971 a newspaper spoof reported President Richard Nixon proclaimed one federal holiday, President’s Day, to honor all past presidents.  Past presidents–interesting how in 1971 we were not so presumptuous as to suggest, even in jest, that we should have a day to honor our sitting president–that was something Americans avoided.  Thought it was common, even mandatory in places like the USSR, China, North Korea, and a hodgepodge of dictatorships around the lesser-developed nations of the world–it was not the America way, not even from Nixon. Nevertheless, some legislators have occasionally attempted to support federal law to make the changes, which were once attributed to Nixon, but none of it has ever managed to clear subcommittee.

I thought I’d provide a link to Washington’s memorable message, but then I reconsidered.  The chances of you going to another site to read a document for 45 minutes, are pretty slim.  And since it’s a document that is part of your heritage as an American, you should be offered the most easy access to it as possible.  I’ve posted it below my tag-line.  Feel free to read as much of it as you’d like, you won’t even have to click the mouse again.

If I’m on target maybe a first-grader will read it and learn what they should have learned in our tax-payer funded schools, or possibly even an editor from The Times, or else-where, might read this and then not make the same embarrassing error in future years.

But even if they don’t, at least you’ll get a chance to read the 7,641 words the father of our nation prayed would sustain us, as he was about to leave public office, 214 years ago.

It just makes sense.



Friends and Fellow-Citizens: The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.

I beg you at the same time to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country—and that, in withdrawing the tender of service which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto in, the office to which your suffrages have twice called me have been a uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this, previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence, impelled me to abandon the idea.

I rejoice that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty or propriety and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that in the present circumstances of our country you will not disapprove my determination to retire.

The impressions with which I first undertook the arduous trust were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust, I will only say that I have, with good intentions, contributed towards the organization and administration of the government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. Not unconscious in the outset of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself, and every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome. Satisfied that if any circumstances have given peculiar value to my services, they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe that, while choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.

In looking forward to the moment which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me, still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise and as an instructive example in our annals that, under circumstances in which the passions agitated in every direction were liable to mislead, amidst appearances sometimes dubious, vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging, in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts and a guarantee of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these states, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.

Here, perhaps, I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger natural to that solicitude, urge me on an occasion like the present to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no in- considerable observation, and which appear to me all important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget, as an encouragement to it, your indulgent reception of my sentiments on a former and not dissimilar occasion.  Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad, of your safety, of your prosperity, of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together. The independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint efforts—of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the Union of the whole.

The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, protected by the equal laws of a common government, finds in the productions of the latter great additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprise and precious materials of manufacturing industry. The South in the same intercourse, benefitting by the agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the seamen of the North, it finds its particular navigation invigorated; and while it contributes, in different ways, to nourish and increase the general mass of the national navigation, it looks forward to the protection of a maritime strength to which itself is unequally adapted. The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communications by land and water will more and more find a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad or manufactures at home. The West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth and comfort—and what is perhaps of still greater consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and the future maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the Union, directed by an indissoluble community of interest as one nation. Any other tenure by which the West can hold this essential advantage, whether derived from its own separate strength or from an apostate and unnatural connection with any foreign power, must be intrinsically precarious.

While then every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in union, all the parts combined cannot fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations; and, what is of inestimable value! they must derive from union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves which so frequently afflict neighboring countries not tied together by the same government, which their own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and embitter. Hence likewise they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which under any form of government are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty. In this sense it is, that your Union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.

These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind and exhibit the continuance of the Union as a primary object of patriotic desire. Is there a doubt whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a case were criminal. We are authorized to hope that a proper organization of the whole, with the auxiliary agency of governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to the experiment. It is well worth a fair and full experiment. With such powerful and obvious motives to union affecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken its bands.

In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations—northern and southern—Atlantic and western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart burnings which spring from these misrepresentations. They tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. The inhabitants of our western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head. They have seen in the negotiation by the executive—and in the unanimous ratification by the Senate—of the treaty with Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the general government and in the Atlantic states unfriendly to their interests in regard to the Mississippi. They have been witnesses to the formation of two treaties, that with Great Britain and that with Spain, which secure to them everything they could desire, in respect to our foreign relations, towards confirming their prosperity. Will it not be their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advantages on the Union by which they were procured? Will they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever them from their brethren and connect them with aliens?

To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliances, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute. They must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay by the adoption of a Constitution of government better calculated than your former for an intimate Union and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This government, the offspring of our own choice uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.

All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations under whatever plausible character with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction; to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common councils and modified by mutual interests. However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to be- come potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

Towards the preservation of your government and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect in the forms of the Constitution alterations which will impair the energy of the system and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, re- member that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments as of other human institutions, that experience is the surest standard by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country, that facility in changes upon the credit of mere hypotheses and opinion exposes to perpetual change from the endless variety of hypotheses and opinion; and re- member, especially, that for the efficient management of your common interests in a country so ex- tensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is in- dispensable; liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is indeed little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits pre- scribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but in those of the popular form it is seen in its greatest rankness and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually in- cline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and the duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true— and in governments of a monarchical cast patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest instead of warming it should consume.

It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power and proneness to abuse it which predominates in the human heart is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern, some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If in the opinion of the people the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.    The    precedent    must    always    greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield.

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the sup- position that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?

Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should cooperate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind that towards the payment of debts there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less in- convenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties) ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.

Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all; religion and morality enjoin this conduct, and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that in the course of time and things the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?

In the execution of such a plan nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded and that in place of them just and amicable feelings to- wards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and in- jury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody con- tests. The nation, prompted by ill will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times, it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations has been the victim.

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the for- mer into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions, by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained and by exciting jealousy, ill will, and a disposition to retaliate in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country without odium, sometimes even with popularity, gilding with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils! Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of re- publican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.

Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence therefore it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest guided by justice shall counsel.

Why forgo the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rival- ship, interest, humor, or caprice?

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world—so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it, for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing in- fidelity to existing engagements (I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy)—I repeat it therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But in my opinion it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectably defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand: neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce but forcing nothing; establishing with powers so disposed—in order to give to trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them—conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view, that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another—that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character—that by such acceptance it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish—that they will control the usual current of the passions or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good, that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism—this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare by which they have been dictated.

How far in the discharge of my official duties I have been guided by the principles which have been delineated, the public records and other evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.

In relation to the still subsisting war in Europe, my proclamation of the 22d of April 1793 is the index to my plan. Sanctioned by your approving voice and by that of your representatives in both houses of Congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me, uninfluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it.

After deliberate examination with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take—and was bound in duty and interest to take—a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it with moderation, perseverence, and firmness.

The considerations which respect the right to hold this conduct it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe that, according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the belligerent powers, has been virtually admitted by all.

The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without anything more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations.

The inducements of interest for observing that conduct will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me, a predominant motive has been to endeavor to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions and to progress without interruption to that degree of strength and consistency which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.

Though in reviewing the incidents of my administration I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be con- signed to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.

Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations, I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize without alloy the sweet enjoyment of partaking in the midst of my fellow citizens the benign influence of good laws under a free government—the ever favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors and dangers.

19th September 1796

Feb 11, 2010

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

The date doesn’t look real to me.  How has so much time passed?  Sorry I took a break for a while there, guys.  I think I’m back now.  At least for now.

I changed companies.  The new company really likes me, at least that what the paycheck tells me.  In addition, I’m helping usher in the new Global Strike Command.  Even dealing bomber issues.  I’m liking this stuff a lot, the only thing better would be having my books published on a regular basis, putting in 40 hours a week or so on the keyboard.  That’d be nice.

You probably remember the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) contest I’ve entered the last two years.  I’m back in for round three.  While my writing is better than previous years, I’d imagine the world is getting better at the same time.  Here’s my opening paragraph:

Pain, gnawing emptiness, hunger so loud it dominated all thoughts, not mine–even though I could feel it–it came from them.  To them, two girls in a chariot must have seemed like easy prey.  I prayed they were wrong.

The essential question is, “Would you read the next paragraph or put the book down and look for something else?”

Here’s the schedule for the contest:

January 25, 2010 Submission period begins; up to 10,000 Entries will be accepted
February 7, 2010 Submission period ends
February 25, 2010 2,000 entries moving to Second Round announced at
March 23, 2010 Top 500 (Quarterfinalists) announced at Weekly reviewing Quarterfinalists full manuscript

Amazon customers can download, rate, and review excerpts on, providing feedback to Penguin Editors about submissions.

April 27, 2010 Top 100 (Semifinalists) announced at Editors reading Semifinalists manuscripts to pick the 6 finalists

Amazon customers continue to download, rate, and review excerpts, and read Publisher’s Weekly reviews of Semifinalists’ full manuscripts

May 25, 2010 6 Finalists announcedAmazon customers vote to pick the winners
June 14, 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award winners announced

While my first novel is locked into this contest until they cull me from the herd, so I’ve started work on book number two.

But enough of that.

Anybody getting snow?  Probably not Ponch.  Rumor has it we’re going to get 4 to 6 inches of global warming tomorrow evening in crawdad town.  That’s just cool.

I could bore you, or depress you with woes of things less than perfect, but all things considered, it could be much worse.  I’m a lucky man.

I pray this 11th finds the lion’s share of you warm, fed, in good company, as free of pain as a bunch of old warriors can hope to be and with a jingle in your pocket.

Until the next time, stay strong my brothers.

The Chuck

Military Aviation, the Beginning

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

American military aviation began almost 149 years ago, in the early days of the Civil War, when the Army for the first time employed balloons for military purposes. The French Army had used balloons for reconnaissance as early as 1794 and American balloonists primarily utilized them for the same purpose.


In April 1861, two members of Rhode Island’s 1st Regiment answered Lincoln’s call for troops–James Allen, a balloonist, and Dr. William H. Helme, a dentist, carried two of Allen’s balloons from Providence, RI to Washington DC. Then on 9 June, they made the Army’s first captive balloon ascent. It was stealthy for it’s day, as no one reported being able to see it on radar–no, not a one.


On 12 June 1861, John Wise of PA offered to build a balloon for the Union Army for $300. Maj. Hartman Bathe, chief of the Topographic Engineers, later told Wise to increase the size to 20,000 cubic-feet, and to use silk. Wise agreed but the cost skyrocketed to $850. This established the two great traditions of military aviation: late design modifications and production costs overruns.


21 July, Wise’s balloon tasked for observation duty in the Battle of Manassas. A ground crew walked the inflated balloon to Fairfax Rd, where Major A. J. Myer, Chief Signal Officer, fastened it to a wagon, and against the advice of Wise, made haste, snagging the balloon on roadside trees, tearing great holes in the bag. Thus, airpower’s first hasty decision by a non-Airmen, who ignored Wise advice.


Wise repaired the damaged balloon. Five days later, while being towed to Ball’s Crossroads, it was blown against telegraph wires, cutting the towropes, and the balloon floated away toward the Confederate lines. To prevent its capture by the enemy, Union troops shot it down near the Lee mansion at Arlington. Was this the first AAA fire (a.k.a. Arlington’s Anti-Aviation fire)?


Neither the Allen nor the Wise balloons were satisfactory, mainly because each needed to be filled with coal gas, from the city mains, and towed inflated to the area of operations. Wise designed a portable hydrogen generator to permit inflation in the field and widen the area of operations.  While he urged the army to construct a unit, leadership was more content to blame him for the disasters and he was fired.


So what happened to Wise? He returned to his home in Lancaster, raised a cavalry troop, and rejoined the army, but after several months of service his health failed and he was compelled to retire from active duty. Seems like a sad ending, but at least he pressed toward his dreams for as long as his health would allow him, which is probably the best any of us can do.


In May 1861 another aeronaut, John La Mountain, twice offered his services, two balloons, and a portable gas generator to the Union Army. The War Department ignored his letters, but on 5 June Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, with headquarters at Ft. Monroe, offered La Mountain a job as an aerial observer. John La Mountain was persistence, wasn’t he? Did you know persistence is one of the tenets of airpower?


I’ll talk more about the tenets of airpower in a later article, but for now let’s go back to the aeronauts of the Civil War.


La Mountain became the Army’s only free-lance balloonist. During his first military captive ascent in the Atlantic a stiff wind prevented him from reaching the altitude necessary for observation. But six days later (31 July 1861) he rose to 1,400 feet to observe a radius of 30 miles around Hampton and reported the Confederate forces were much weaker than previously reported by land reconnaissance.


On 3 August 1861, La Mountain’s balloon was moored to the transport ship Funny, which towed it into the Potomac River where it made the first ascension from a boat. This was not the birth of Naval aeronautics, as the Army owned and operated the Funny. Army boats? Why yes, during World War II the U.S. Army operated over 127,790 ships and watercraft.


La Mountain and the Union Army failed to keep General Magruder’s Confederate forces from burning Hampton, but La Mountain did escape, along with many thousands of Union troops.  La Mountain and his large balloon Saratoga transferred to the Army of the Potomac where La Mountain tried to build support for his services by giving General officers rides. Nothing like that is done today.


In October of 1861, La Mountain made free ascensions, via prevailing east wind to fly over Confederate forces, and a west wind at higher altitudes, to return. After observations, he jettisoned ballast, the balloon rose to the eastbound current of air, carrying him back to his own lines; then he’d release gas to land. Using maneuver, a principle of war, he increased the balloon’s effectiveness.


La Mountain had little control during landings. On 18 October, after returning to the Union lines, he descended in the area of operations controlled by Brigadier General Louis Blenker’s German Brigade, and was welcomed with a volley of shots, riddling the lower part of the balloon, foreshadowing the German AAA of WWII, or maybe not.


On 16 November La Mountain’s Saratoga was blown from its moorings and lost over the Confederate lines, leaving him with only the less capable Atlantic.  After failing to beg, borrow, or buy a replacement balloon, on 19 February 1862, General George B. McClellan dismissed La Mountain from the service.


John La Mountain was one of the first to make significant aerial observations for the Union Army. As a result of his observations, Confederate General Beauregard ordered his division commander, General Longstreet, to employee camouflage, since the deception of dummy guns could not be assured under the eyes of the federal balloons. There’s an idea that caught on.


Thaddeus S. C. Lowe had planned a transatlantic balloon flight, but changed his focus after a 20 April 1861 flight in his Enterprise from Cincinnati to Unionville, SC. The war posed difficulties, but eventually he was permitted to return by way of Columbia, SC, and Louisville, Kentucky. Convinced the war would be long, he decided to organize a balloon corps and offer his services to the Union.


With a little help from editor Murat Halstead, Lowe met with Lincoln on 11 June. 7 days later, Lowe sent the first telegraphic message ever from a balloon, using a wired key in his balloon via a line to the Alexandria telegraph office to the White House. Others messages were sent to the War Department.  Lowe leveraged technology for operational advantage, a hallmark of airpower ever since.


On 26 June 1861, Lowe was asked to submit a report on his proposed operations and an estimate of the cost of constructing another balloon at $500. Soon afterwards, however, the order for a government balloon was given to Wise, who underbid Lowe by almost $200. Remember him? Cost overruns pushed the actual cost to $850, after the Army modified the design.


Though Wise beat him on the bid, Lowe continued to give demonstrations near the Smithsonian Institution. Meanwhile, General McDowell, preparing to advance into Virginia, expected Wise and his balloon but when on July 17 he had not reported, Captain Whipple ordered Lowe to join McDowell’s Army.  As Lowe inflated his balloon, Wise arrived and his balloon was sent forward instead.  Imagine Lowe’s frustration.


When Lowe learned Wise’s balloon was out of commission, he took the initiative to go to the front with his own balloon.  Before he could get there, Gen McDowell had been defeated and on that afternoon of 21 July, Lowe met the retreating Union Army and returned with it to Arlington. Aerospace power can’t save an Army if it’s not used.


On the 24th, Lowe flew from Fort Corcoran to investigate rumors of a march on Washington by the victorious Confederate Army. His report calmed fears at the Capital–no force was approaching. Having defeated the Union soldiers, many Confederates had thought the war was over and they could go home. Little did they know, it had only just begun.


So there we have the first two months of military aviation, interesting how aerospace power has progressed so far in the last 149 years, but can still relate to those fledgling years. 


You might have noticed, I haven’t been writing much lately.  I needed to write something, and the beginning of military aviation history was a great place to start.


It just makes sense.










Amazon Announces ABNA 2010…

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

It’s time for that powerful contest.   

 The third annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, the international competition seeking the next popular novel.

For the first time, the competition will award two grand prizes: one for General Fiction and one for Young Adult Fiction. The 2010 competition will also now be open to novels that have previously been self-published. Each winner will receive a publishing contract with Penguin, which includes a $15,000 advance.

more information available at:

I’ve placed in the first two contests … I’m tempted to enter again this year, but I’m not sure. 

A Walk To Remember

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Few things can leave as deep of an impression on a father’s heart as giving away his daughter.  I’m still in awe of the entire event.

Standing to the right of the beautiful woman in white, I looked out at the 100 or so steps we needed to traverse.  All the guests and the entire bridal party were situated just beyond the small apple orchard we needed to pass through.  Then the harpist changed songs.  Everyone stood up and turned to face us, and we stepped off smartly.

My daughter was nearly 30, but it seemed like it was just last month when I was helping her make those first few steps.  She’s come a long way since those toddler days.  However, the high heels working against the straw-covered, earthen path challenged her to remain steady.  Clinging to my left arm, she found enough support to prevent any embarrassing spill–that would have been terrible.  Meanwhile, my little niece carried the dress’ train as we moved toward the distant alter.  Just minutes ago she was sprinkling the fresh rose pedals onto the path from a large bucket.  Precious.

What seemed like a few weeks ago, the woman on my arm was no bigger than her tiny cousin.  In those days she was a budding athlete.  One day during a church picnic she climbed a 25-foot metal pole.  She stayed up there long enough for her mother to start worrying she might be stuck.  Thus I climbed a parallel pole just beside of hers.  Once close enough to talk I asked her if she was okay.  She said, “Yes, I’m just enjoying the view.”

The view from the apple orchard was marvelous.  Twenty minutes earlier, the sun had pierced through the cloud coverage and was then bathing everyone in warm sunlight.  The slightly stinging breeze had stopped at the same time.  No doubt an answered prayer.  In addition, everyone was smiling and looking at us.  Some folks welled-up as we approached.  I fought the urge as a thousand other memories flashed through my mind.

I reminded my daughter of the time when she was about 8 and she stood on the high-dive at the officer’s club pool until everyone looked at her–then she crawled back to safety without jumping.

“This is better than the high-dive,” I said.

“I’m not crawling away this time,” she answered.

Under the inspection of a sea of smiling faces I said, “They’re all looking at you, you’re beautiful.  God must be smiling today.”

Her answer was slow in coming and muffled.  Must have been something in the air that bothered her throat.

Somehow we made it to the beginning of the chairs.  Cameras flashed.  Some people sighed.  Others sobbed.  The harpists played beautifully.  Then I saw him.

Him–the man who convinced my daughter to marry him stood there waiting for us to finish walking.  Four months earlier he traveled 600 miles to ask me permission to marry my daughter.  That took spunk, because nowadays her mother is most everywhere I am.

But he did good.  Poured his heart out at our kitchen table and convinced me he loved my daughter as much as I loved my wife.  So we gave him our blessings.  Then the surprise came.  Three weeks later he proposed.

Imagine that.

In 21st century America, a man in his 30s asked permission of the parents of a 29 year-old to marry her.  And to beat it all, he really meant it.  It wasn’t just an after the fact idea.  This man had real character.

I like him and I feel good about trusting him.

On the closest end of the row of bridesmaids stood my youngest daughter.  The maid of honor, wearing a beautiful apple red dress, had tears streaming down her face.  She grinned through the salty deluge, needing a tissue I didn’t have for her.  I had to look away, lest this old bomber pilot get a case of the wet-eye himself.

I stopped us at the first row of chairs, just like the wedding coordinator had briefed me to do.  The pastor and the groom stepped forward to close the gap.

“Who gives this woman in marriage?”

She has an MBA and MCSE.  She’s buying a house 600 miles away from mine.  She supports herself and she’s 29 years old.  She was a full-grown, independent adult woman.  Nobody, except the Lord, could say they owned her.  How could I give her away?

Because she asked me to.

How could I not?  There was the man she had waited for almost 30 years.  During those years I had prayed for him, though I knew him not.  Now I know him a little and I’ll continue pray for him, forever.  Over the last few months they’d complete a battery of pre-marriage counseling events with the pastor presiding over the ceremony.  This couple was much wiser than the brides parents were when they married at 21 and 18.  While we survived the shock of married life–these two were doing things smarter–they were planners.  Inside my heart, I knew he would be good for her.  He’d better be.

“Her father does.  That’s me.”

Then before I gave up my ground, I whispered a few last words into the groom’s ear as father of the little girl.  From then on, she would be his woman and he would be her man.  My work was done.  I just needed to get out of the way.  The setting sunlight was bothering my eyes anyway.  I took my place next to my sweetheart–the mother of the bride and I watched.

I watched my little girl marry her soul-mate and I will never forget it.

It just makes sense.


Tuesday, October 13th, 2009




“Alas, eleventy-one years is far too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable hobbits.I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” 

                          Bilbo Baggins


Ok the face book thing is interesting.  I’m still trying to learn what the sections like wall and such are about.  I am conflicted on the whole concept though.  I like the idea of being able to look up old friends and acquaintances, However, I suspect like most people, there are some folks that I am happy to never see again i.e. Creepy Big MAC Mac Pherson showed up on my potential friends list.  Seeing that thug again…even a still picture… was like a swift kick in the nut sack.  And what’s with the advertising with the good looking chicks with big hooters that want to be my friend or supposedly are looking for me? Again with the conflicted thing…I added Brian Bartels to my friends list as well as PWN3.  B2 was an experiment just to keep tabs on the stupid pecker…and maybe an attempt to stick it too him that I’m doing pretty good in life without him and his peckerwood ideas and lack of leadership.  As for PWN3…like Bilbo, I liked PWN3 perhaps better then he deserved.  Also it kind’a creeps me out when people I don’t know request a friends thingy with me.  Either I’m showing my age and am not comfortable with the “new” electronic media or I’m showing my age and can’t remember I once knew the person…or maybe they know me and have the same design’s on revenge as my pseudo friendship with B2.  Either way inerconflict….maybe I’ll just stay off the computer and get back to real life, no wait…damn conflicted!!

11 Oct 2009: The Chuck

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

Not only was Andy the first poster in August, he was the only one.  And unless we count Ponch’s good-news post on 1 September, nobody posted in September.  Not even me.

Me, least of all me.

So I’m certainly caught up in something here.  I’ll share some of it in this posting. As I am making an 11th Band of Brother’s post this month.  This month maybe I’m just lucky the 11th falls on a Sunday.  Or maybe I’m just about to get my life together–either way here it is:

The big event in September for me was the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Denver.  I’ll always remember it as a trip to the mountain top in more ways than one.  A writers’ conference is an amazing thing:

Throughout each day, subject matter experts instruct various classes. The pleasant dilemma is having to decide which ones you’ll attend–as a new writer, you want to attend them all.  Fortunately the classes’ audio are recorded and CD’s are sold.  I’m sure I’m not far off if I compare the education value of a conference to an entire year’s study in a college.

Each meal is multi-faceted.  The tables are hosted by agents, editors, or very experienced authors.  While some hosts have their tables fill quicker, every table had precious pearls to give to those with ears to hear.  The meals included speakers, all with  valuable inspiration for people at all levels.  Of course, the food was appreciated also.

Each evening provided additional opportunities to talk to the agents and editors in small groups–imagine after a day that covered activities from 0700 to 1900 and then want to have another session from 2000 to 2200+.  For me, I couldn’t imagine not taking advantage of such an opportunity.

Of course the conference had more that just education–it also provides opportunities to “pitch” your wares to agents/editors.  I was elated to find someone interested enough in my writing to request a partial.

It’s not a contract.  It’s not a for sure.  But it is the “next-step” I’ve been working towards since the first time I thought I had an adequate manuscript.  The more I learn, the more I discover I have to learn–a bit like flying.  Regardless of the outcome–I’m quickened in my resolve to continuing pressing towards the mark.  Thanks for the encouragement along the way.

The big event this month is my oldest daughter’s wedding.

A few months ago, my about to be son-in-law flew down from Kansas City and met with Cindy and me.  He wanted our permission to marry Jennifer.
The conversation wasn’t easy.  And in 21st century America–it’s certainly not required.

In a retrospective comparison, the first time I met my mother-in-law I had already married Cindy.  I was a cad.  But let’s not digress.

During our conversation many things were said, many promises were made, but one thing rung out loud and true in my ears–and no it wasn’t the tinnitus from over 3700 flying hours in the B-52.

Jeremy listed a lot of verbs he was going to do with our daughter.  He promised to “provide” — she’s got an MBA and the MCSE rating, she’s probably got that part covered but nice to know he’s going to step up to the plate; he promised to “love” — most men love the woman they hope to marry; and at least a dozen other verbs, all of which I processed much like I just did here.  Then he said, “Protect.”


That was my job.  This young man was not just promising his undying love–he was promising to protect my daughter.  “Protect,” went right to the man of the matter.  And I believe him.  I like him.  Like him a lot.

This young man sat there at our kitchen table and poured out his heart to Cindy and me and when he was finished I actually believed he loved my daughter as much as I love my Cindy.

While any parents have concerns over the man who wants to marry their daughter–Jeremy’s visit won us over.  I’m probably cheapening the event by using the term “won over” making it sound something like a pitch I used at the conference, but it’s how my mind was working at the time.

Most people probably consider it sweet or respectful for a man to ask permission to marry their daughter.  A lot of people consider it an “old-fashion” technique.  And a few, especially those who know Jennifer, might suspect she required him to do it.

But here’s the rest of the story:  Two or three weeks after he flew back to Kansas City–he actually proposed.

It wasn’t an after-the-fact facade of a request.  It was for real!  Our meeting with Jeremy wasn’t just a nice thing–it was a sincere heart-felt happening–a happening I will never forget.

And as happy as I am a man of this character will become my son-in-law, I’m even happier he will very soon become my daughter’s husband and her protector.


I offer one last apology for not posting for the last two months.  In addition I’d like to encourage each of you to toss us a paragraph about your health, your wealth, your state of mind or whatever you want to talk about.  This is our Blog and I know the rest of us would appreciate the news from you.

A few of us are on Facebook, but I’d like this BoB-Blog to continue to be our space–at least once a month.

What do you say?

Rejected Sacrifice

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Embarrassing.  The mortal king, openly worshipped by some to the ire of many others, failed to deliver

No, I’m not talking about the failure to deliver on his promise,  “When there is a bill that ends up on my desk as the president, you the public will have five days to look online and find out what’s in it before I sign it.”  He failed there on his first day in office on 20 Jan–he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act just two days after its passage.  He later signed a second bill just three hours after Congress passed it.  Then again, on 17 Feb, he signed the $787 billion economic-stimulus bill one business day after it passed Congress.

And no, I’m not talking about his failure to “eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-ups.”   However, the $787 billion economic-stimulus did reduce them.  Of course, we all know reduction does not equal elimination.

And no again. I’m not talking about his failure to provide new American jobs tax credit.  He promised it to be a $3000 refundable tax credit to existing businesses for every additional full-time U.S. employee hired in 2009 and 2010–it never happened, never will.

The same is true for his failure to provide a hiatus on 401(k) penalties, to eliminate earmarks such as the billions of dollars included in the economic-stimulus, to end the war and bring all the combat troops home by May 20, 2010, to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, to make the first $4000 of college education completely free for Americans, to have “the most open and transparent government in history,” and for that matter–”to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Maybe that was a cheap shot, but only if all Americans know the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution decrees:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The seemingly ever-increasing number of czars–up to about 32 as of this article’s posting–are clearly prohibited via the Tenth Amendment.  Each of Obama’s czars gets paid $172,000 a year and has a staff with offices and supporting budgets.  Does the expense total to millions or billions of dollars?  We don’t know, but the monetary degradation on America is just the down payment for what they will ultimately cost us.

Those who seek to defend this anti-Constitutional practice most often resort to citing previous administrations, as far back as FDR, which are guilty of the same sin–albeit on a lesser scale.  In retrospect, they allowed the camel’s nose to get under the tent.  Still that’s no reason to allow the flea-laden camel to wear your pajamas and dance with your children.

So what was the recent failure to deliver I was talking about at the beginning of this article?

The Olympics–the International Olympic Committee (IOC) eliminated Chicago early in the consideration for the site of the 2016 games.  The winner is:

Rio de Janeiro.

In 2016, the world will be treated to view the unfolding drama of those famous games against the backdrop of the rich culture and beauty associated with Rio and Brazil.  I look forward to it.

By now most everyone has heard of Michelle Obama’s characterization of her jaunt to Europe with her husband and Oprah Winfrey as a “sacrifice” on her behalf for the children of Chicago and the United States.  Considering the result of the “sacrifice”–the Presidential advisors need to review the requirements of a sufficient sacrifice.  In addition, the word “sacrifice” needs to be dropped from her speech-writers’ list of authorized words.

For a quick lesson on sufficient sacrifices, we can look at Hebrews chapter 9:

Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.  For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctified to the purifying of the flesh:

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

In summary, a trip to Europe on Air Force One and doing some shopping in Copenhagen is not a sacrifice–not even close.  And that would be true even if the IOC had bent their knee to Obama, which they didn’t.

With the United States experiencing record high unemployment, a sky-rocketing national debt, fog and friction in the war formerly known as the Global War on Terror, terrorist-sponsoring nations developing nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to our allies and to us, and emerging civil unrest at home–we need a President who will to the best of his ability use his time and energy to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.  In other words, we need the person we’re paying $400,000 a year plus perks to do his job.

Mmm, mmm, mmm.

It just makes sense.

2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Contest Finalists

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

The ACFW has an on-going contest, the titles of the finalists seemed quite interesting–as there are so many people so far ahead of where I’ve crawled to the last 3+ years. Maybe next year I’ll be on such a list … or the year after that.

Debut Author
A Passion Most Pure (Julie Lessman)
Courting Miss Adelaide (Janet Dean)
Every Good and Perfect Gift (Sharon K. Souza)
Hero, Second Class (Mitchell Bonds)
In the Shadow of the Sun King (Golden Keyes Parsons)

Faking Grace (Tamara Leigh)
Picket Fence Promises (Kathryn Springer)
Single Sashimi (Camy Tang)
Sweet Caroline (Rachel Hauck)
Truffles by the Sea (Julie Carobini)

Long Contemporary
Lookin Back Texas (Leanna Ellis)
One Holy Night (J.M. Hochstetler)
Stuck in the Middle (Virginia Smith)
Summer of Joy (Ann H. Gabhart)
Symphony of Secrets (Sharon Hinck)

Long Contemporary Romance
Along Came a Cowboy (Christine Lynxwiler)
Controlling Interest (Elizabeth White)
The Convenient Groom (Denise Hunter)
Finding Stefanie (Susan May Warren)
Zora and Nicky: A Novel in Black & White (Claudia Mair Burney)

Long Historical (6 finalists due to a tie)
The Apothecary’s Daughter (Julie Klassen)
Calico Canyon (Mary Connealy)
Deep In the Heart of Trouble (Deeanne Gist)
From A Distance (Tamera Alexander)
I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires (Cathy Gohlke)
My Heart Remembers ( Kim Vogel Sawyer)

The Case of the Bouncing Grandma (A.K. Arenz)
Death on a Deadline (Christine Lynxwiler, Sandy Gaskin, and Jan Reynolds)
Drop Dead Diva (Christine Lynxwiler, Sandy Gaskin, and Jan Reynolds)
For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls (Nancy Mehl)
Of Mice . . . and Murder (Mary Connealy)

The Cookie Jar (Janet Lee Barton in A Connecticut Christmas anthology)
Dressed in Scarlet (Darlene Franklin in Snowbound Colorado Christmas anthology)
Santa’s Prayer (Diane Ashley in A Connecticut Christmas anthology)
Snowbound for Christmas (Gail Sattler in A Connecticut Christmas anthology)
Stuck On You (Rhonda Gibson in A Connecticut Christmas anthology)

Short Contemporary
Buffalo Gal (Mary Connealy)
Clueless Cowboy (Mary Connealy)
Family Treasures (Kathryn Springer)
Her Unlikely Family (Missy Tippens)
White as Snow (Janice Thompson)

Short Contemporary Suspense
Bayou Paradox (Robin Caroll)
Broken Lullaby (Pamela Tracy)
Countdown to Death (Debby Giusti)
Forsaken Canyon (Margaret Daley)
Killer Cargo (Dana Mentink)

Short Historical
Family of the Heart (Dorothy Clark)
Masked by Moonlight (Allie Pleiter)
Reckless Rogue (Mary Davis)
Return to Love (Susan Page Davis)
Sandhill Dreams (Cara Putman)

The Book of Names (D. Barkley Briggs)
DragonLight (Donita K. Paul)
The Restorer’s Journey (Sharon Hinck)
Shade (John B. Olson)
Summa Elvetica: A Casuistry of the Elvish Controversy (Theodore Beale)

Anathema (Colleen Coble)
The Black Cloister (Melanie Dobson)
Fossil Hunter (John B. Olson)
Lonestar Sanctuary (Colleen Coble)
Perfect (Harry Kraus)

Women’s Fiction (7 finalists due to a tie)
A Month of Summer (Lisa Wingate)
Every Good and Perfect Gift (Sharon K. Souza)
My Sister Dilly (Maureen Lang)
The Perfect Life (Robin Lee Hatcher)
The Shape of Mercy (Susan Meissner)
Stepping into Sunlight (Sharon Hinck)
Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon (Debbie Fuller Thomas)

Young Adult
The Big Picture (Jenny B. Jones)
The Fruit of My Lipstick (Shelley Adina)
It’s all About Us (Shelley Adina)
The Owling (Robert Elmer)
Trion Rising (Robert Elme

Veterans’ Job Fair in Bossier City

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

The 4th Annual Veterans’ Job Fair is almost here!

It’s coming to the Bossier Civic Center July 23, 2009. It is from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

University of Phoenix and the La Work Force Commission will also be facilitating three classes:

1. How to Dress for Successful Interviews 10:30AM to 11:00AM
2. Interview Preparation 11:00AM to 11:30AM
3. Introduction to 11:30AM to 12:00AM
( and how to use it to your advantage.)

Below is the list of attending venders as of today’s date. Please remember we are still accepting venders and that we have some interested in attending that have not registered yet.

Acadian Ambulance Service
American School of Busniess
Army Air Force Exchange Service
Ayers Career College
Bossier City Fire Department
Bossier Parish Comm College Cyber Info Tech Dept
Bossier Parish Comm College Recruiting Office
Bossier Parish Community College
Brookshires Grocery
Caddo Parish Sheriff ‘s Office
Career Technical College
CenterPoint Energy
City of Bossier City
Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police Dept
Dallas Police Department
Deltic Timber Corp
Diesel Driving Academy
Dr. Reddy’s Laborotories La LLC
FCI Texarkana ( Fed Bureau of Prisons)
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Gandy Brown VFW Post 4588
Goodwill Industries of N Louisiana
Halliburton Energy Services
Harrah’s Horseshoe
Home Instead Senior Care
Hunt, Guillot & Associates
Impressions Advertising Specialties
In Line Staffing
Jean Simpson Personnel Services
Kansa City Southern Railway
Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions
L-3 Communications/MID
Louisiana Department of Veteran Affairs
Louisiana Rehabilitation Services
Louisiana State University Shreveport
Louisiana State University Shreveport Graduate Studies
Louisiana Technical College
Louisiana Troops to Teachers Program
Louisiana Work Force Commission
LSU Health Sciences Center Shreveport
Mary Kay Cosmetics
Minact-Shreveport Job Corps
Navy Reserve Recruiting
NEON (NMLA Employment Opportunties Network)
NW LA Veterans Cemetery
Overton Brooks VA Medical Center
Pathology Resources Network
Pride Industries
Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino
Sci-Port Louisiana Science Center
Shreveport Area Electrical JATC
Shreveport Fire Dept
Shreveport Police Department
Shreveport Vet Center
SOS Staffing Services
Tango Transport LLC
The Radio Group
Transportation Security Agency
U S Army
United States Air Force Reserve
University of Phoenix
Wells Office Supplies Inc
Wes-Pak Inc

Please Bring your dd-214 or ID card and resumes.

When Do You Have Rights?

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

It appears the United States has slid so far to the left that you may be considered “a right-wing extremist” if you believe you have unalienable rights. At the rate we’re going, even reading this column may put you in that category in the next year or so. If your unalienable rights have been alienated–who’s responsible?

Since unalienable rights–those mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, and later explained to some degree in the United States Constitution–are given to humans by their Creator, nobody–except their Creator–can take them away.

That doesn’t mean you’ll always be able to enjoy your rights. People can infringe your rights by undermining your free exercise of them, and you can lose them another way. You can forsake them–willingly give them up–but heed this warning: once surrendered, rights can only be regained at great cost.

Since our founding fathers are long since gone, they can’t be asked how much it cost them to regain our rights, those who haven’t already done so will have to read a history book to find the answer–while that’s still legal. If you’re curious about what those rights are, you can read the two sacred documents mentioned above–until that act is eventually outlawed.

Okay, since we have just celebrated the 4th of July, I’ll include some of it here:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Wonderful words. Who could argue with them?

Wouldn’t the Nazis? Well, sure–but we defeated them decades ago.

Wouldn’t the Communists? Definitely, but we won the Cold War.

What about your local police? Say it ain’t so!

Remember hurricane Katrina–the storm that struck New Orleans in 2005? Much attention was given by the mainstream news services about the federal governments inability to make up for the state’s inadequacy and the city’s corrupt ineptness when it come to protecting the people. A little attention was given to the roving street gangs and the heavy crime and looting that followed the natural disaster. But there was another story that received almost no scrutiny.

Once the local police finally went into action, they spent a lot of time collecting guns from the citizens. The stated goal was to disarm everyone. However, it proved easier for the roving bands of police to collect guns from the people trying to live in what was left of their homes than it was to hunt down the more illusive street gangs.

That was some time ago and you might not have paid much attention to it them. If you want to see videos of the police tackling old ladies in their homes and taking their self-protection pistols–take a look at this YouTube video.

It seems unbelievable.

All of us would like to brush-off the Katrina aftermath circus as one-time exception to the American experience. But the problem isn’t constrained to New Orleans and there are more recent examples that should concern most Americans.

Last weekend statements made by a Louisiana elected-politician, shocked me into connecting a few isolated events. You can read the entire transcript here, but here’s a quick summary:

A middle-aged man with a montage of pro-gun bumper stickers on his pick-up truck’s back window was pulled-over for “failure to use a turn signal” and questioned while standing in the street next to the truck in Shreveport, Louisiana. The officer first question was if he had a firearm, which the driver admitted. The officer then entered the vehicle, without warrant or permission, searched for, and confiscated the citizen’s firearm.

Robert Baillio, the truck’s owner and driver, later complained to Mayor Cedric Glover that his second Amendment right to bear arms had been violated. However, it seems to me it was more like an unreasonable search and seizure, which is a violation of his fourth Amendment rights.

Article IV. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, support by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Even if the officer had sought a warrant, I have difficulty understanding what the probable cause associated with “failure to use a turn signal” that permits an officer to search and seize things from a citizen’s vehicle?

Mayor Glover explained to Mr. Baillio that once he was stopped by the officer he no longer had rights–they had been suspended. He went on to explain that “Upon graduation from the police academy, every officer is told they have the power to suspend [a citizen’s] rights.”

Where does that power come from? Is there a local ordinance, state law, or federal law that overrides the Constitution? If so, how can any law usurp the “supreme law” of the land?

The officer returned the firearm to Mr. Baillio, and did not issue him a citation for anything. The video showed the officer to be basically respectful of the driver, except for the unreasonable search and seizure, which can be viewed here.

Then there was the recent case of a Louisiana state trooper being arrested for aggravated assault, simple battery and false imprisonment of District Judge Lewis Sams after a traffic stop outside the courthouse.

The trooper saw the judge driving without a seatbelt, which has recently been legislated to be a crime. So he pulled in behind the judge with his lights on. After checking the standard license, registration, proof of insurance he told the judge of the violation. The judge told him to write the ticket. Then the officer asked him where he was employed.

According to the transcript of the Mayor Glover’s conversation with Mr. Baillio, “citizens must answer all of an officer’s questions truthfully–or they’re committing a crime.” I guess that old “you have the right to remain silent” only applies to actual criminals and terrorists captured on the battlefield in the war on terror–no wait, that’s called ‘overseas contingencies’ now.

The judge told him, but when asked to show further identification he refused. An argument ensued, the officer drew his Taser, threats were issued, and the judge was eventually bounced off the hood of the patrol car during his arrest.

Yes, there were witnesses.

But this seems a little confusing. If an officer has the power to suspend the rights of a citizen, how could the state trooper be guilty of any crime? After all, people with no rights, have no rights. Right? Evidently, the answer is, “Wrong.”

The judge disagreed. It turned out the judge was proficient in using the law to defend his rights. The trooper was arrested and is reported to be on paid administrative leave. Was this just an isolated incident? Would this have turned out differently if the judge hadn’t been a judge? What if he were … you? Or one of your children?

My grandpa once told me that we should learn from the mistakes of others.

So far we’ve learned not to put pro-gun stickers on our trucks and if you’re a judge you can stand up for your rights, but if you do, you can expect to be roughed up and bounced off a patrol car’s hood during your arrest (a.k.a false imprisonment).

A few years ago during a Mardi Gras parade in Shreveport, someone put up a huge US flag, which blocked the view of many citizens. Because of complaints, an ordinance was issued to ban such large banners and flags during parades. However, officers wound up being briefed to ban all US flags. Thus the police, wearing their badges and guns ordered people to take down flags (even the little ones on sticks), put away chairs with Americana decorations, and even change tee-shirts that had pictures of US flags.

So many complaints were made in the days following the parade that the city reported there had been a miscommunication and it wouldn’t happen again.

But think about it.

If the citizens had refused to remove their small flags, what would have happened to them? Would they have been tased, pepper-sprayed, beaten, and/or arrested?

If so, for what crime?

Maybe for failure to comply with an officer’s instructions–an officer who has been told he has the power to suspend your rights. Do citizens really have to do everything an officer tells them to do? Really? Something is very wrong with a society that allows even the lowest qualified law-enforcement officials to single-handedly, suspend the rights of citizens.

Maybe you don’t own a firearm. Maybe you don’t display the flag or wear teeshirts with red, white, and blue colors. Maybe you and your family don’t go to parades. Maybe you think you’re safe. Think again.

Let’s suppose all officers actually had the power to regulate the rights of citizens–just like they’re told they can in Shreveport as they graduate from the police academy. What if they stopped your car because you didn’t use a turn signal or you have a bumper sticker that expresses an opinion they didn’t like?

What if they took your cell phone? Since some people send porn pictures over their cell phones, it is possible that you could have obscene pictures on your phone. The police could just flip through your files and make sure you’re not breaking the law. He could also check to see if you were talking or texting while driving–that is a crime in some places. After all, your rights have been suspended. Right?

Why should the police have to wait for you to get in your car? They could stop you in stores and shopping malls, maybe even in the theater to check your phone. Have you been recording some of the movie–that’s a copyright violation. Better check. Just to make sure.

Why stop there? Why not just a simple pat-down of people as they’re walking around? After all, they can suspend your rights, and some people may be carrying drugs, guns, or stolen material.

Don’t worry, you can have your phone back when you bring your purchase-receipt down to the station. You saved it, didn’t you?

Let me see your papers!

Come to think of it, why should the police have to wait for you to leave your home? A lot of people might have porn on their home computers, or guns in their attics–guns they don’t have receipts for. Maybe a few old guns have been passed down for generations in your family–why should you have those? You might use them for a crime. Maybe they need to be inspected to make sure they’re safe. What’s wrong with that?

While they’re there, they probably need to go through your files to make sure you’re not cheating on your taxes. They could check your computer to see if you’ve been dealing in interstate commerce via Ebay or Craig’s list and then they could check your 1040 to make sure you claimed the income. Wouldn’t want to let tax-evaders get away. While they’re at it, they could sniff around to see what else you’ve been up to. Law abiding citizens should have nothing to worry about. Right?

Imagine the crimes they could catch you and your neighbors doing if they just suspended your rights and searched your homes. You wouldn’t want to stand in the way of law enforcement would you?

After all. They’re there to protect you.

I’ve always had high regard for police officers. They do a vital, tough, and often times dangerous job. Unfortunately, young police officers, like young soldiers, tend to do what their superiors tell them to do–even in America.

And in a police state, the police do what ever they want to do.

“…That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Young police officers, like young soldiers, need competent leaders telling them what to do. Those leaders need to know they only have power from the consent of the governed. They also need to know the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The electoral process is the best way to ensure our government is filled with elected-officials who will remain true and faithful to protecting the Constitution against all enemies–foreign and domestic.

Americans have rights all the time.

It just makes sense.