Wednesday, October 18, 2006


A plan for Nov. 8

I don’t know who’s gonna win on Nov. 7. I suspect it won’t matter much if the spinmeisters control the aftershocks. And the new faces saunter up The Hill with no real lessons taken to heart, be they Red or Blue.
To me, the only way to make sure they all got the message is to let them know they ALL are on probation. And that we’re watching.
So here’s a relatively easy 2-step process to let them know loud and clear we want it cleaned up – for real, not for show. No new set of pigs at the trough.
1 -- On Nov. 8, we work to set up a new political party in all 50 states. I’ll call it the Whyte Party, because as I said when I started this misadventure, it’s not Red and it’s not Blue. It’s the only color left for patriots who hold dear the phrase Liberty and Justice – for all. It has no platform other than a flat pledge to eliminate privilege, secrecy, and complexity -- and the inevitably corrupt product of a system dominated thereby. It has no officers anywhere other than those required for a ballot presence. And they can be anybody. No candidates -- ever. We pledge that anyone who might try to run as a Whyte is by mutual agreement inherently non-Whyte.
2 – Anyone interested in sending a clear message to those inside the Beltway need do nothing more than change their party enrollment from anything else to Whyte. (There will be plenty of time to change back when necessary to cast a primary ballot. And, for the record, you can be of any tone and be Whyte, for it by definition is the absence of any color.)
My theory is this: The Whyte Party is and will remain a blank slate. If millions of Reds, Blues and unaffiliated folks – and all those who see no purpose at all in even registering – all line up as Whytes, a rather powerful message will be transmitted to 535 folks in our Capitol, and in statehouses across the country.
For the moment:
We’re not for you if you’re Red.
We’re not for you if you’re Blue.
We just want it fixed and we mean it.
And we’re watching.
You figure out which way we jump in two years.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


A view from 9/12: Who are we?

This space has been silent for some time. Part of that is sloth; some is just the press of responsibilities more tangible and telling than the need to rage against the dying of the light. There’s an off chance I won’t even remember the password I’ll need to post this on my own page, so clever I’m sure I was when crafting it.
But maybe I have something to say, even if the odds are long against a great many eyeballs stopping by to wonder. Or to pause long enough, for I know this ain’t gonna be quick, and probably won’t track very well. But people are voting – or not – on the day after the Grand Reflection on How We’ve All Changed and there is this giant hairball I’ve got to purge and I’m sorry if it soils the comfort carpet in your Patriot Room.
I’ve had this refrain in my head for a while now, and I just can’t get rid of it – kinda like when no matter how diligent you are with your car radio, some idiot radio jock slips in “Rockin’ Robin” and it’s stuck in your brain even though you got to the buttons within five seconds. All day yesterday it kept looping. Watching the people in the hole in Manhattan, the field in Pennsylvania and other graveyards. Watching oh so many lips moving on the boob tube, droning on and on and on about vigilance, why-I’m-right, sorrow. Blah, blah blah, blah blah blah.
Son of a bitch I’m tired. Of the lies. Of the manipulation. Of the arrogance. Of the selfishness.
I hear it again; here it is:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
I remember when I first learned that. It was a little room with little chairs and spitballs on the ceiling and a picture of a Republican guy who knew how to kill hanging on the wall. Each day we’d recite those words, even if we couldn’t spell them and some of us couldn’t even speak them properly. And on some days, those words would be followed later in the day by a clanging bell. We’d all get up and march out into the hallway with everyone else, crouch on the floor with our knees pulled to our chest and our hands clasped behind our necks with our backs pressed against the cold cement block walls. Then, when it became clear that the Communists had not incinerated our city and it was safe to return to our ABCs with another flawless drill in the books, we did.
And when we once again came to order and the lessons resumed, they moved us one day closer to a fuller understanding of the meaning of the words republic, indivisible, liberty and justice. We already knew about God, which was why we did not need to be taught why those other things needed to apply “for all.”
I can recall those days quite clearly, but I simply cannot dredge up any notion of fear. I remember the great pride that came with that pledge, and the same emotions I feel when I hear America the Beautiful: “God shed his grace on thee. And crowned thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.” Those words still fill my soul with pride, because in them is what we are, what we believe. I still pledge allegiance – not to that flag, not to the suit on which it is pinned, but to the Republic for which it stands and the values and principles carved in the fire of rebellion against privilege and tyranny.
But that was before Everything Changed.
That was before the Republic I knew went away, when liberty and justice and indivisible resolve under God’s grace dissolved in the face of fear, replaced by vengeance, deceit, pride and the arrogance of power.
Once we cultivated new Republics with the graceful promise of a shining City on a Hill offering “liberty and justice for all.” However imperfect the results, at least the notion endured that it was our obligation to each other to strive to approximate that model.
Then Everything Changed.
Now we tout but the process of democracy, and do so at the point of a bayonet or with the bared teeth of a Doberman – or images, phrases, cues drawing on baser instincts. We have lost our faith in our words, our example, our principles, our ideals, though from time to time we still pull them out and wave them around. We do not believe that our words, our resolve, our hearts will win the day. For they hate us – they hate us for what we are, for what we have. No, some hate us for what we have discarded – things we had way before Everything Changed.
When we cobbled together this wonderful Republic of ours, we set out to establish a nation governed by the rule of laws – Just laws. Not a nation of Men, but a nation of laws, laws that protected us from harm, from fraud, from tyranny because they were just laws and we placed our faith not in the fine print, but in the indivisible commitment to justice. For all. Because only in justice can liberty thrive, or long survive.
I don’t know when it was exactly that Everything Changed. Can someone help me out with this?
When did the Republic agree to erase its signature on the Geneva Convention? When did the Republic agree that it stood for justice only for its own citizens, and would waive justice for those whose apparent – even obvious – infractions were appalling enough, or the threat they posed tangible enough? When did the Republic decide to suspend this essential leg upon which freedom stands? And where precisely was the new line drawn, and how firmly was it established for all to see?
And when did the Republic agree that the ends justify the means; when did the wisdom of Jefferson and Madison bow to the mores of Lombardi, allowing winning to become the only “thing” of consequence, even when it tramples justice and, hence, liberty? When did the Republic establish that lies, manipulations, slanders, thefts and usury were acceptable standards in the democratic process, or in any pursuit of happiness? Even in the pursuit of security?
I need to know these things as I stand with my hand on my heart ready to renew my pledge.
For very soon I will hear the bell, and the lights will flash Orange and I must scurry to a protected place, jam my back to the wall and clasp my hands to the back of my neck. And here I am sure to shiver in fear.
For in my heart I know we are defenseless, for somehow, we have lost our grasp on the only weapons we ever had that would k keep us safe.
Liberty and justice for all.

Friday, June 09, 2006


The value of “experience”…

I’ve always valued the counsel of Vito Corleone, and his murderous honesty. And I think the American people have more often than not been able to sense the inherent wisdom in his assessment of Sonny, his own flesh and blood. He was good son – but a bad Don.
That’s why we have rejected so many Senators in their quests for the Presidency, choosing governors and others with executive pedigrees much more often. For there is a general recognition that there is a big difference between experience and leadership. And what we crave is leadership in public offices, from the presidency on down to the mayor’s chair.
This has long been recognized in the business world. Millions of truly fine, creative and dedicated managers will never become “the man” because they lack the tools essential to leadership. It is a very big step from chief operating officer to chief executive officer. See Dave Wannstedt.
So when a candidate talks about extensive experience managing the enterprise, you are inclined to pay close attention, because that is a very big asset. You do want efficiency, and someone who has proven to be skilled and adept at implementing policy is off to a good start. But skill at making the trains run on time is not the only thing we seek – indeed, it is probably only good to get you past the first interview.
It isn’t the only measure of qualifications for a top job – for a leadership position. Because the top dog sets policy, establishes or maintains culture and priorities, and exercises countless judgments that radically or incrementally determine how the entire enterprise will act. Sonny had a lot of experience, but was a very bad Don.
Even the very best of followers can turn out to be poor leaders. And long political campaigns tend to bring out the traits that allow people to choose who they think is best fit to lead – that was the hair difference that ultimately separated Bush from Gore.
So if you want to be the King, at some point you need to talk about what you would do, where you would take the kingdom, what you think is important and what you think is not, and why. Because why very often provides the critical clues to the soul, which can be the difference between a Level 5 and a Cat 5 – between a Parcels and a Wannstedt.
Just about every poll out there has huge majorities of people saying they think things are not going in the right direction, even as they show huge differences of opinion on specific issues. So the first question I think most people are looking for an answer to between now and November is this: Where would you route those on-time trains and why?
And a word to the wise for all: Answers that begin with "Jane you ignorant slut” probably ain’t gonna get ‘er done.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


State of what union ...

I just don’t know where the anger is coming from, but I find it deeply disturbing. And it’s not just that I am old. I feel some of it and am oh so tempted by it whenever I wade into the barroom brawl that is blog discourse, or talk radio or attack TV, or the letters page or anonymous opinion page of a newspaper.
Everybody is pissed off. And leadership of all stripes hardly bothers to cloak their behavior to mask appeals crafted to manipulate, stoke and fan the anger. Don’t even bother to pander to a position. Just raise the sword and wade in, playing the hate card at the top of their lungs at every turn.
We’re all familiar with the “race card.” Red or blue, you take the debate on whatever subject to a safe room where a critic is either a racist or a panderer. This allows you to ratchet up the volume, swing wildly from the heels from your morally superior ground – and avoid the crux of the matter. Not to say that some are not racist. Or that some are not blinded by simplistic sympathies. It’s rarely that cut-and-dried. But it’s always easier to draw on the anger, to rely on emotion rather than reason.
The race card today comes in a full deck – there’s one for just about any topic, any point of view, any skin coloring, any ethnicity, any shade of faith. You can’t disagree with anyone anymore and just agree to disagree, or debate hard and long drawing on facts and ideals to try to persuade – and shake your head and wonder when you fall short of that. No, every bullet in the clip must be expended, every sleeper hold employed, every ounce of reserve expended and if it does not end in rancor and expletive, the soldier of righteousness has failed to give his all. Wingnut. Moonbat. Liberal. Facist. Socialist. Pig.
The venom in what passes for a discussion feeds on itself, driving the opponent to respond in kind – and to begin every engagement with mortal combat in mind. Because this is war, the winner takes all the spoils and winning isn’t the most important thing, it’s the only thing. Our deepest values as a nation, the very core of our “way of life,” the future freedom or slavery of our children is on the table with each and every exchange.
And God help the referee, anyone who seeks to take the middle, to bring the Yangs and Comms together to find a solution even an inch beyond the purity of the ground each has staked, barricaded and vowed to defend to the last breath. If you even try to wade through the anger and vitriol to weigh the points, to assess both the value and integrity of the supporting evidence, and then show the slightest leaning in one direction or the other, you are thrown to the wolves by whichever side suspected you shared their worldview. Admitting to error is tantamount to treason – or cowardice.
And as each becomes more and more hardened, it becomes ever more impossible for them to fathom how others could possibly see any issue differently. So there must be ulterior motives at work, shadowy figures in play. If we lose – a debate, an election – it must be fixed. The Democrats must be sneaking in people not qualified to vote, marching in legions of the undead with a skeletal grip on ballots to stuff. The Republicans must be rigging the machines. Can’t be an honest verdict.
And now all this anger turns to immigration. Foreigners. Subversives intent not only on seizing our jobs, our homes and our churches, but our heritage – our very culture. What a mistake they made in parading around with Mexican flags and demanding “rights.” Oh yeah? You want to talk about this problem? Guess what? You have no rights. And get the f### out. Now.
Has this been a problem for quite a while? Yup. Have we collectively aided and abetted illegal immigration with easy employment in our businesses and backyards? Yup. Have we underfunded border enforcement for decades, winking at the thousands ignoring our laws? Yup, both Red and Blue. Have we looked the other way while unscrupulous people prayed on this growing underculture, charging huge rents for hovels where families slept and cooked in shifts, reaped usurious premiums on payday loans and wire transfers, or took the greenbacks in thick stacks in exchange for cards, papers and licenses forged or fraudulently issued? Indeed. Is this all a disgrace? Yeah. Do we need to set it right? Yes.
But where is the sudden firestorm of hatred and anger coming from? Has the sight of foreign flags, mistreated flags and raised fists hit a nerve? Yeah, I think those excesses and miscalculations upset a broad spectrum of Americans, me included. But I ask you: Isn’t the intensity of this a little over the top? Aren’t we channeling a lot of frustration and anger at a rather helpless horde of people – yes people – who really yearn to embrace the very values we fear they come to undermine?
Many of us find we are treading water on wages, some sense a drift toward the falls of debt, with no real hope of college for kids, a retirement to anything other than subsistence living. And that assumes the government lives up to the compact of Social Security we all thought we secured with 40 years of payroll deductions. And then there is the inexorable march of gas, and current and all else tied to oil, and we are powerless to alter that too.
We still harbor great anger at 9/11, and the verbal barbs from abroad as we strive to confront that evil, our frustration growing as we inch along a grudging path strewn with blood and treasure.
And so we finally find something that allows us all to be a tough guy, finally provides a target we can rain down on with all our fury, all our righteousness. We can build a wall, send an army, unleash the vigilantes and hook up the southbound trains. And by God we can get this done, we can follow through right to the end with this because it all is within our control. No U.N., no Frenchified considerations, no blurring of who’s a good Muslim and who’s trying to kill us. And you’re either with us or against us. It’s a pure play.
And we’ll make November a referendum on this – and this alone. If you let us.
I hope our reservoir of anger is drained by then, that our better angels can again be heard by then. I pray that this transpires for I fear this is the only force with any hope of making this happen.
Because we can do all of this, or some of this and a little of that, and solve this issue too, just as we have met each challenge in its turn for 250 years. As one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice – for all. If that pledge we ask our children to recite with hand over heart still matters – if that phrasing is still anything more than a string of words similar to this one:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
with conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman
with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning,
and her name Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome;
her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she with silent lips.
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Go ahead. Turn out that light. After all, it’s French.

Friday, April 28, 2006

See, it can work...
I've been reading in the MSM about this group of folks down in Middletown who got all up and bothered by a plan to put up a big-assed radio tower a few hundred feet from their houses. They said this isn't a good thing and the state -- who hatched this idea in the interest of saving some money -- should find another spot where peoples' views weren't ruined. And guess what? The state and the town found a way to do that, with the help of a business owner who agreed to host this much-needed piece of emergency communications equipment on a site that didn't detract from a neighborhood's character. The town will charge less for the company's electricity and all's well.
Now even Rodney King must be smiling about this little tale, one small lesson in what can happen when people listen to one another, stop for a minute and really consider what the other "side" is saying and then see if common ground can't be found. Now this was a relatively straightforward matter, but it's the attitude that matters, as in most things. This was a community acting like a community. And it's damned refreshing. This is the character trait we need to be seeking in six months -- Red or Blue.

And now the news...
ITEM: Microsoft shares lost more than 11 percent -- $32 billion in asset value -- after the company said it planned to significantly beef up investments in many areas where it is not dominant. Analysts said such investments, while risky, may pay off in the long term but could hurt more immediate financial results.
THOUGHT: This is a sign of the core greed that is doing this nation great harm – now, and even more so 10 or 20 years from now. A company opts to invest more heavily in R&D to try to assure its future, and build new business that might create jobs, and it is brutally withered by investors – that’s us. Don’t DO that! Give us the money – NOW! Don’t pour money into a modern-day Manhattan Project to win a dominant market position in 2015 in the manufacture and sale of solar/wind/thermal energy equipment, or non-internal combustion engines. Punch more holes in the ground and give people $100 rebates so they can buy more dead dinosaur juice. Somehow, we have forgotten that we built this country, we didn’t order it up on eBay and have it delivered next-day air. It took time, just as it took time to build Microsoft. It is time to stop talking – and taking – so much and start considering and giving the seeds a chance to germinate.

ITEM: Rumors of immigration roundups prompted thousands of illegal immigrants to stay home this week and are making some afraid to participate in a national immigration protest planned for Monday. Immigration officials said they were unfounded,but rumors of random sweeps were rampant from coast to coast, prompting thousands of immigrants to stay home from work, take their children out of school and avoid church. The absences caused the rumors to build, as some thought their missing friends and co-workers had been arrested.
THOUGHT: Somehow, I’m ashamed by this – that our public discourse leaves thousands already living in the shadows afraid to leave their homes, send their children to school or visit a house of prayer. I’m sure this followed word of the massive roundup of sex offenders the Attorney General touted the other day. I’m sure it was quite easy for an illegal Mexican or Guatemalan to conclude that they were next. And yes I am ashamed that any group of people – save for those sex offenders – would huddle in fear of a roundup with shades of Kristallnacht in the Land of the Free. Something’s very wrong and I wish to God I had something to offer that would even begin to contribute to a solution on this issue.

ITEM: A fire that damaged a house in New Hampshire is being blamed on the family dog who apparently jumped up on the gas stove to get food left on top and forgot to turn the burner back off. No one was home and no one was hurt. The dog escaped.
THOUGHT: I’ve been asked to speak on behalf of Rex and I can say unequivocally that he had nothing to do with this unfortunate affair. Rex will come forward when he is assured of a full and fair airing of the facts uninfluenced by the mainstream media, which is obsessed with the notion that any creature exercising the very freedoms our forefathers gave their lives for must be acting with evil intent. Rex pledges to promptly bite the leg of any member of his household found to have anything at all to do with this conflagration and further wants to assure the people of New Hampshire that he will everything in his power to find the real fire starter. If you’ll excuse me, I've got to go clear some brush.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

ITEM: Cops across the land finished a roundup of fugitives that bagged more than 1,100 sex offenders. The concentrated search for people wanted for federal, state and local crimes "targeted the worst of the worst," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said. Authorities arrested 9,037 people April 17 to last Sunday in a 27-state dragnet led by the U.S. Marshals Service and timed to coincide with National Victims Rights Week. Among those apprehended were 1,102 people wanted for violent sex crimes or failure to register as sex offenders.
THOUGHT: Now this is a good thing, but I can’t help but listen to that voice on my shoulder saying “were they really that hard to find if they bagged that many in a week?” Now where the heck do we put them?

ITEM: Two white teenagers down in Texas severely beat and sodomized a Hispanic 16-year-old boy who they thought had tried to kiss a Hispanic 12-year-old girl at a party, authorities said. They
forced the boy out of the Saturday night house party, beat him and sodomized him with a plastic pipe, shouting anti-Hispanic epithets. He’s busted up real bad and probably won’t live.
THOUGHT: They’ve got a real keen sense of honor down in Texas. I guess this is what Politakid’s talking about with the next generation and racism and all.

ITEM: Indonesia's Mount Merapi is spewing volcanic ash, magma has fully covered its crater, and a powerful eruption could come any day, a scientist said Thursday. But authorities said they’re not ready to force the evacuation of villagers living on the slopes of the mountain.
"It's close to eruption," said Dewi Sri, predicting "an enormous and dreadful eruption" within days.
THOUGHT: Delawhyte to villagers: Run.

ITEM: Hundreds of starfish have been found dead on a beach on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast. Purple sea stars began washing up last week in Trail Bay at Sechelt, north of Vancouver. The authorities have been unable to determine why they died.
THOUGHT: DelaWhyte to authorities: Where was Squidward?

ITEM: Exxon Mobil Corp. posted the fifth-highest quarterly profit for any public company in history on Thursday, but the $8 billion take still fell short of analysts' estimates. Analysts said the company’s massive profits may just get bigger the rest of the year as it benefits from rising crude-oil prices and production.
"This is only the beginning," Fadel Gheit, analyst for Oppenheimer & Co., told the AP. "Let me tell you, it gets better after that.”
THOUGHT: You know, these guys suck. And there’s not much we can do. We could do one thing – make Fadel Gheit a liar, and really disappoint those analysts. What if we all bought our gas from any other company – but not Exxon or Mobil – for the rest of the year. Just drove on by, just to show how really pissed off we are? Would anyone pay attention if Exxon-Mobil made NO MONEY in the next quarter? Would they care? Might they rest of the sisters be a bit more cautious? Just a thought.

Before you cash in for the night, I heartily urge you to go here.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Some news of note ...

ITEM: Associated Press reports that a contractor in Iraq pleads guilty to providing money, sex and designer watches to U.S. officials in exchange for more than $8 million in reconstruction contracts. Philip H. Bloom admitted to paying more than $2 million in bribes to U.S. officials with the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ruled Iraq after the American invasion in 2003. It’s the latest development in a corruption scandal centered on civilians and military officials who worked out of a coalition outpost in the south-central Iraqi town of Hillah. This came to light because of the special inspector general for the reconstruction of Iraq. In January 2004, Bloom began paying bribes to Robert J. Stein, a civilian contractor who controlled $82 million in reconstruction funds as the comptroller for the coalition’s headquarters in Hillah. Stein had a previous conviction for fraud when he was hired. One audit determined that the coalition government, which was run by L. Paul Bremer III, could not account for the disposition of almost $9 billion from the development fund.
THOUGHTS: Much has been made about the comments of the retired generals, who contend that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld should go because his plans sucked, he misread or ignored intelligence that didn’t fit his preconceived notions, he deployed an undermanned, underarmored force and created an atmosphere where dissent was tantamount to disloyalty. And moreover, after demanding control over all reconstruction instead of State, he has failed to achieve any stated objective save for one – regime change. The response has largely focused on criticism of these former generals, now civilians, for disloyalty in raising their voices after the fact. Each allows that they share the responsibility for the unarguable failings of policy – and execution. The indictment clearly stands, even if you agree that the generals were out of line for handing it up.
But as a civilian and one of Mr. Rumsfeld’’s many employers, let me just say that I am damned tired of the atrocious management of this war – and the alleged “reconstruction” of Iraq – by Rumsfeld and his band of merry men. How do you hire a guy like Bloom – a convicted fraud artist – for anything? And how do you defend your administration of a provisional government that can’t account for “disposition” of $9 billion? I am not going anywhere near the questions of whether the policy was appropriate, the strategy sound, or the tactics skilled. I’m just sitting here as a director asking the CEO of this enterprise what the hell is transpiring on his watch – and holding him accountable for one screw up after another. Because this “agent of change” seems particularly adept at transforming billions of MY money into diddly squat.
Are the President and the GOP saying they can find no one out there in their “Big Tent” who can step in and manage this operation? It is critical that this job get done and promptly – and this man has been in charge of an operation that has consistently failed to perform. Loyalty is an admirable quality, but blind loyalty to the detriment of the mission is irresponsible.

Let Reagan be Reagan?
ITEM: Also from the AP -- a group of Baptist leaders calls on its members to “speak positively about public education” in response to a conservative movement to pull Baptist children out of public schools. Fifty-six pastors and organizational leaders -- some from the conservative Southern Baptist Convention and others from the more moderate Cooperative Baptist Fellowship -- signed a letter supporting public schools. The document posted on the Web site of the Baptist Center for Ethics says: “We believe Baptists should recommit themselves to public education, not as a means toward converting school children, but because it’s the right thing to do. We call on Baptists to recommit themselves to the separation of church and state, which will keep public schools free from coercive pressure to promote sectarian faith, such as state-written school prayers and the teaching of neo-creationism.” Ed Hogan, pastor of Jersey Village Baptist Church in Texas said he signed the letter because dozens of public school teachers, principals and other staff attend his church. “I think the Southern Baptist Convention has become increasingly involved in conservative secular politics. A national convention ought to be about how we can minister to and help people and not how we can further political agendas.”
THOUGHTS: Public schools need help to succeed in the mission we, as a community, charge them with – equipping all students with the secular tools they will need to succeed in life, and lead this nation. Those same students – and their educators -- need ministering to strengthen and reinforce the faith and moral groundings imparted in the home. These, I think, are tasks best accomplished separately, unless a parent chooses to merge them in a private school environment. I say this because public schools are a community institution, with a mission we commonly agree to, if fractiously. Since very quickly after the landing at Plymouth Rock, we as a people have been unable to agree on one faith, one interpretation or one set of rules governing observation of it. That is why the founders set up a government with a “shall make no law” mandate regarding “establishment” of religion in its functioning. Recognizing that agreement on all matters of faith was unlikely, they opted to exclude this from the community compact to prevent such a volatile matter from undermining the commonwealth with never-ending struggles for supremacy of belief and its practice. Under God, yes, but without further definition.
Thus the wisdom of people like Pastor Hogan. Let schools be schools, and let us all strive to make them the best they can be in the execution of one clear mission. And let us minister to souls as we always have, in many forms, in many settings appropriate to that mission. And let each take the lessons and values imparted there into the classroom or workplace or legislative halls as guiding principle. Each must come to a faith. They cannot be driven to it or indoctrinated into it – or out of it – by sergeants, DMV clerks or schoolmarms.

This is helpful ...
A suburban San Diego teenager who was barred from wearing a T-shirt with anti-gay rhetoric to class has lost a bid to have his school’s dress code suspended. The code prohibited clothing with slogans that might be provocative and disruptive. The lad – and his parents it would seem – claimed the code violated his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and religion. His shirt said “homosexuality is shameful.”
THOUGHTS: Why is this even an issue? Why would these parents send their child to school wearing a shirt looking to pick a fight, a shirt almost guaranteed to distract and diminish from learning? Who declared a “cultural war” employing such a total lack of common sense and basic manners anyway?

A cheapskate to boot...
A small-town Oklahoma man got his neighbors all in an uproar by posting a sign in his yard saying he’d pay $1,000 for a virgin bride between the ages of 12 and 24. He told the AP he was “looking for a born-again, God-fearing virgin between the ages of 12 and 24 who can bear me children." He said: “What’s the problem? I just think I have some wicked neighbors.” Someone stole his sign so he put up another saying he wasn’t interested in a “pig-worshipping, heathen, white-supremacist wife.”
THOUGHTS: How could a catch like this guy reach age 46 and still be brideless? How about a reality show where 12 women struggle to win this dude’s heart?

A lock for Foreign Relations ...
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman has decided he won’t run for the U.S. Senate, after being courted by a gaggle of Democrats who thought he was the cat’s meow to replace Republican Sen. John Ensign. Just so you know: Goodman is a former mob lawyer known for squiring around a bouquet of showgirls on his official rounds.
THOUGHTS: Might be just the guy to resolve Red-Blue impasse on most issues. Would seem to be capable of multi-faceted offers unlikely to be refused in D.C.

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