Wednesday, December 10, 2008

After action report - Prairie Grove, Arkansas

Traveled down to Arkansas this past weekend to participate in the reenactment of the battle of Prairie Grove. Fortunately my folks live about 45 minutes away in eastern Oklahoma so Mrs. Spiff and the youngsters had a warm place to stay over the weekend.

Arrived at my parents' Thursday evening and caught a last rest in a real bed before the event. On Friday morning my brother called and let me know that he would be unable to make the trip to join me. Undaunted, I headed off into the December afternoon with the intent of getting set up in the daylight. Amazingly I did just that, got some wood gathered, and started a fire prior to the arrival of anyone else in my unit. As the evening wore on various men from the 9th trickled in but nowhere near the numbers that we had been told to expect.

Saturday dawned bright and cool. Not as cold as forecast. Surprisingly I had remained warm and comfortable all night. Soon the fire was going and morning salutes taken care of. That done we settled down to burn and devour breakfast. A rations issue followed and then brigade drill for most of the morning. During drill Mrs. Spiff and the young fry arrived. Spiff Jr. enjoyed performing his own drill with his wooden musket. Following drill it was back to camp for a quick lunch. Spiff Jr. was quick to show off his new shirt and vest to the members of the 9th and then it was time to fall in for the battle.

For most of the battle we waited in reserve. After the Yankees had gained the crest of the hill in front of the Borden house we were called up and hit them square in the flank. Down they tumbled and we pursued to the bottom of the hill where our formations were broken up by Federal artillery stationed across the field. We returned to the top of the hill and reformed. That ended the combat for the day.

Following the battle we had word that the paymaster had reached the army. Spiff Jr. managed to rejoin us for this and received his full two months pay of six dollars Confederate. Needless to say, he was thrilled. Then we were called back into formation for mail call. Period letters were passed out and some were quite amusing. Then it was time to clean muskets. As I finished this task the shadows began to lengthen and the temperature started to drop. The family headed off to warmer quarters and I joined the rest of the unit in preparing a stew that turned out quite well. After some fellowship around the fire I headed off to bed.

Sunday morning was actually a bit warmer than Saturday although the night had been cooler. I managed to stay warm all the same. Following morning formation and breakfast we had church call. Decent sermon and welcome as always. Then it was off to a rapid-fire competition. Much to my surprise I managed to pull off a first place finish.

Shortly after noon we again formed for battle. This time we were the lead battalion. We advanced down the slope to meet the Yanks in the open field and carnage followed. We slugged it out with infantry and artillery before falling back to the base of the hill. Our ranks were thinned and the enemy pressed us. All appeared lost. The color sergeant removed the flag from the staff, stuffed it in his jacket, and took to his heels. I followed suit. We remained at the top of the hill until the end of the battle.

Following the battle it was one final formation and then off for home. I drove back to my folks and managed to get in before dark.

Overall it was a good event. Extra welcome since I had been unable to get out to any of the others this year. The weather cooperated and there were many familiar faces. Prairie Grove is also always special because we get to reenact on the actual battlefield. That is a rare treat and much appreciated.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Murderous irony.

I find it amusing that a large number of today's pro-choice politicians were once active in the Vietnam peace movement.

In the 1960's and 70's the John Kerry and Jane Fonda types made life miserable on soldiers, sailors, and airmen returning from Vietnam. Meeting the returning servicemen in the airports, they would scream and spit at them. By the mid 1970's returning veterans were being told not to wear their uniforms on the flight home.

One of the favorite labels that the peace protesters hung on the military was the thread-bare "Baby Killer" tag. How ironic. The same folks who shouted "Baby Killer!" at soldiers returning with honor now defend a woman's "right" to kill her child for any and all reasons or for none at all. These same people who cursed and reviled the military refuse to stop doctors from stabbing infants in the back of the head with scissors.

Apparently the hippies of the sixties have now devolved into the hypocrites of the new millennium.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hold that thought.

I was working a case and telephoned dispatch to ask for some information on the suspect. The dispatcher started on what I needed and then asked if she could put me on hold. Sure, I said.

After a few seconds my in-car radio crackled to life. It was dispatch calling me. The same dispatcher who had me on hold. I checked to make sure I was still on hold. Yup. Ok, keyed up the mic and let dispatch know that I was tied up on the phone with dispatch. Click, the phone picked up. Sorry about that, the dispatcher said. She told me that she knew she had someone on hold but had forgotten it was me.

Say what?!?!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Good deal?

It's been awhile since I posted. In the interim, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. I must say that I have never been so embarrassed or ashamed to be an American as I was watching the election results come it.

My reaction was sparked in part by Mr. Obama's color. Not his skin color, the red of his politics. Mr. Obama's socialist tendencies are well documented and must have the Founding Fathers spinning in their graves.

It is hard for me to see how Mr. Obama's plan to "spread the wealth around" can co-exist with any sense of freedom and personal responsibility. When the government is willing to take care of one's family, a sense of duty is lifted. No longer does a breadwinner have to make decisions based on what will best provide for their family. If a person wishes to do without a job or take a job that cannot pay the bills, that is fine. The government is there to make sure that the "wealthy" help out their fellow man. With everything from food to clothing to medical care, the citizen may rest easy, the government is there.

Admittedly some of this is already in place, but Mr. Obama has proposed the biggest expansion of government entitlements since FDR's New Deal. Like FDR, Mr. Obama is not planning on letting the lagging economy stand in his way. Rather he intends to use it as an excuse to "take care of" the American people.

There is perhaps one small catch to such an increase in government largess. It may do us well to remember that the government that is powerful enough to provide you with any service will also be powerful enough to require any service from you. Perhaps we will find that government benefits do not come cheap.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Interesting take.

"We of the North couldn't make it [slavery] pay, so we are convinced that it is the sum of all villainy. Our plan is more profitable; we take care of no children or sick people except as paupers, while the owners of slaves have to provide for them from birth till death. So how we view the issue depends on what kind of glasses we use.

If we of the North were called upon to endure one half as much as the Southern people and soldiers do, we would abandon the cause and let the Southern Confederacy be established. We pronounce their cause unholy, but they consider it sacred enough to suffer and die for. Our forefathers in the Revolutionary struggle could not have endured more than these Rebels.

A nation preserved with liberty trampled underfoot is much worse than a nation in fragments but with the spirit of liberty still alive. Southerners persistently claim that their rebellion is for the purpose of preserving this form of government."

- Private John H. Haley
17th Maine, US

A couple of fascinating points here. Private Haley seems to think that the North's opposition to slavery had little or nothing to do with moral concerns. He last paragraph is one which concisely sums up the views of the South about the war. Much more need not be said.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Child custody dispute.

The young woman wanted a police officer to accompany her to her mother's house and retrieve her child. The grandmother had been keeping the child and now would not return him to his mother. I asked the young mother for her name and her mother's name. She gave them to me and I immediately recalled the grandmother.

Grandma had come into the Police Department a month or two earlier. She explained to me that her daughter had left her grandson in her care and had taken off with no explanation as to where she was going, how to contact her, or when she would return. Grandma wanted to know what to do to be able to keep the child. I told her to immediately contact an attorney and inquire about getting custody. From what I had heard about her daughter and was now observing with her and the little boy, he was better off with Grandma. I stooped to talk to the little guy, about the age of my own son. I then wished Grandma luck on getting custody. She thanked me and left. Now I was on my way to her apartment with her daughter and hoping she had gotten the paperwork done, or at least started.

As soon as Mom and I started up the walk, Grandma came out of the apartment. She didn't want us on the premises. I asked her if the woman with me was Mom. She admitted that she was. I then asked her for any paperwork giving her legal custody of her grandson. She had none. I would have settled for anything to muddy the water a little and allow me to leave the boy with Grandma. There was nothing. She hadn't even called a lawyer. I was incredulous and out of options. I told her she would need to turn the lad over to his mother. She protested, pointing out rightfully that she was the better guardian. I explained that I had no choice without some kind of legal paperwork to back me up. We entered the apartment.

Mom gathered up the boy and some of his clothes and started out the door. The child began to cry and call for Grandma. Mom carried him out the door as I looked at the floor. It wasn't right, Mom taking this child, but it was legal and I had no options. Right at my feet was a toy hammer identical to the one that my own little boy would be playing with when I returned home. Mom carried the young one to the car, buckled him in, and drove away without a backward glance. She hadn't even told Grandma goodbye or how to contact her.

I had Mom's contact information and decided to pass it on to Grandma. She would need it if she decided to pursue custody. I cleared my throat and began to speak. Grandma cut me off. She began to yell at me that I shouldn't have let her daughter take her grandson. I tried to explain that I had no choice. Unheeding, she got louder. I didn't care about children at all, she explained. I was probably corrupt anyway on top of it all. If the child died or was injured as a result of her daughter's lack of care she would be sure to let me know since it would be my fault and should rest on my conscience. Of course I probably didn't have one. I could leave now that I had put her grandson in danger, probably had donuts to eat or bribes to collect anyway.

That was enough. After five minutes of the tirade I cut Grandma off. My turn I told her. Shut up and listen. She had been told previously to get the paperwork in order to avoid just such a situation as this. She didn't do it. Not my problem. Having a boy of my own of the same age I understood her frustration and did care.

That seemed to catch her by surprise but she quickly rallied. What she had or hadn't done didn't matter. I had no right to let the boy's mother take him. Having my own lad didn't insure my sensitivity, my boy was undoubtedly white and her grandson was black. I just hated black children and it didn't matter to me if they lived or died. I was a racist and didn't value her grandson as much as I would have a white child in the same circumstances. Had the boy been white I would have acted differently.

I turned, walked back to my car, and left. As I pulled away from the curb I called dispatch and advised them that I was done with the call.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Paul Revere where are you?

I have come to the conclusion that we need a modern day Paul Revere. Someone to sound the alarm. To wake a sleeping populace to the danger that marches on them.

Paul warned the colonists of the danger of the British troops approaching. It was the middle of the night and the Redcoats were on the move in secret. The sleeping colonists were sitting ducks. We're in the same situation. Obama polls higher all the time. He is on the move. Christians and conservatives are sleeping. Some are considering voting for him. Where is the alarm?

Obama is proposing some of the most massive and invasive government expansion since the New Deal. Notwithstanding his recent nods to the unborn, he is not pro-life. Any judges he appoints will be liberal. He plans to lose the war in Iraq as well as put us in increased danger from radical Islamists. All of this is on the record. We as Americans should be terrified. We aren't. Why?

Some say that a McCain administration would not be what we are looking for. I for one agree. Remember this though, only about ten years after Revere's ride the Americans scrapped their new government and started over. The system of government that the colonists tumbled out of bed to fight for was not what they were looking for. It was easier though for them to fix a government they controlled rather than an oppressive one that would consolidate its' power and increase its' grip on the daily lives of the people. Perhaps we are in the same situation.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Book review - They Called Him Stonewall

Finished up They Called Him Stonewall last night. This biography of Thomas Jonathan Jackson was written by Burke Davis and published for the first time in 1954.

The book focuses on Jackson's wartime career and is a good read. Davis does a good job of balancing the personal life and professional accomplishments of Jackson. Using primary sources, eyewitness accounts, and Jackson's own reports; he covers Stonewall's initial Confederate commissioning, his subsequent rise to the upper levels of command, and his fatal wounding at a critical junction in the war.

Davis clearly thinks highly of Jackson but he does not attempt to whitewash the General's failings. While praise is included there are also some critiques when needed. Jackson is portrayed as a devout man who possessed a great military mind.

While an electrifying commander, Jackson did clash with his subordinates on occasion. Davis admits that the clashes were not all one-sided and that Jackson contributed. One notable incident involved General A.P. Hill. General Lee had just assigned Hill to Jackson's command and wrote him a note with advice on the best way to handle Hill. Lee urged Jackson to inform Hill of his plans. He stated that, should Jackson do so, he would would find Hill to be a superior officer. Old Jack ignored Lee's counsel and stuck with his habitual secrecy. The officers used to him played along but not Hill. The spark was struck and only death would end the feud.

All in all a good book. Written before the current trend of historical revision, the book manages to humanize Jackson without trivializing him. Whether a Civil War buff or a newcomer to the field, you will enjoy it and find it interesting.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Damp around the edges.

The radio crackled at me. It was about 0500 in the morning and dispatch wanted me to respond to a report of a water leak. No problem. I'll go check it out, call the city crew, and keep anyone from driving over the broken main.

It didn't take me long to find a problem. There was no broken water main, no water coming up through cracks in the street. I wondered what was going on. Dispatch provided me with the address of the reporting party and I knocked on the door.

The woman who answered appeared to be in her 80's. She was grateful I had come. Didn't know who else to call so she called the police. I asked her what exactly the problem was. Down a narrow hall she opened the door to her utility room. Water was showering everywhere. Apparently the rubber hose coming from the faucet to her washing machine had split. The effect was like turning on a high volume sprinkler in the small room.

With a sigh I turned up the collar on my coat. Did I mention there was snow on the ground? I splashed across the room through the two or so inches of water on the floor. Five or six feet later I got to the washer and turned the faucet off. The water was dripping from the ceiling and off my nose.

I advised the lady, who had watched the show from the safety of the hall, to call her plumber sometime after 0800. She thanked me for coming. Don't mention it I said as I sloshed out of the house. On the way to the car I tried to brush off as much of the water as I could. No success. As soon as I got in the car the windows fogged up. Apparently car heaters and soaked officers don't mix.

By shift change I was mostly dried out. My replacement was amused at my appearance and laughed heartily at my tale. He was less amused when I hopped out of the driver's seat and he jumped in. I hadn't gotten out of the car since I left the call.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I was on duty and stopped by the local Stop-n-Rob to refuel the car and get a drink. It was evening, maybe 2130 or so. After pumping the gas I went inside to sign the charge ticket.

At one of the tables was a young mother and her daughter. The girl appeared to be about three years old and was apparently eating dinner. Why you would take your child to a gas station for dinner is beyond me. It also seemed to be beyond the little one as she wasn't eating. Mom was trying to talk her into it when she saw me. She pointed, "See that policeman? If you don't eat your dinner he will take you to jail."

That kind of comment gets under my skin a little. Great way to get your young one to thinking that the police are the bad guys. Misbehave a little and they are just looking for a reason to take you away from Mom and Dad and throw you in a cold cell. These are often the same parents who will wonder is several years why their kids think the police are bad and won't trust officers. I normally just shrug and ignore those types of comments. I tried that tact on this particular evening.

Mom was persistent. "You had better eat or he is going to take you away." The girl looked at me and then at Mom. "Ask him if you don't believe me." The child looked my way questioningly. I was caught. I spoke to the girl, "If you don't eat I won't arrest you. Your mother will probably give you a spanking though." Mom was shocked. She stared at me as the girl turned back to her. She stammered and then told the little girl that nobody was going to spank her but that she still needed to eat. Sorry to void your abdication of responsibility lady.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Ever been someplace and been asked, "So, what do you do for a living?" Yeah, me too. I generally try to avoid that question. When it comes up I give vague answers. "Well, I work for the city." Occasionally that ends the exchange, other times not. "Really, what do you do for them?" Depending on the setting and questioner I will sometimes equivocate. "A little of everything I suppose." Most times I just shrug and give in to the inevitable, "I am a cop."

That draws a wide variety of responses. I have heard all of these. "Really? I would never have guessed, you seem so normal." "Awesome! So you get to shoot a lot of people?" "I got pulled over once and the cop was a real jerk. He told me..." "How can you be a police officer and a Christian too?" These are just a small sampling. Sometimes I wish I had written down all the ones I have heard. My mother-in-law used to introduce me as, "A police officer in a small town, like Mayberry." She meant no disrespect, the town is only about 2,200 people. As dangerous as being an officer in L.A. or New York? No. As interesting? Sometimes. As hard? Yes.

Maybe some background is in order. The city is small (see above). The Police Department (PD) consists of five full-time officers including the Chief. We have one part-time officer who mostly works weekends. We provide 24-hour coverage seven days a week. All the full-time officers are required to become state certified emergency medical technicians (EMTs). This is because the Chief is also in charge of the Emergency Medical Service (EMS). The service started out all volunteer but got four full-time positions several years ago. They kept the volunteers though and so we are a mixed service of full-time EMTs and volunteers. Two of the positions are currently filled and one of the techs is cross-trained as a part-time police officer. The goal is to eventually have all four positions cross-trained. We have to do EMS, they have to do PD. While the PD covers only the city limits the EMS crew covers three quarters of the county. We drive for them on emergency runs and so often end up outside our jurisdiction. We are more than willing to backup and deputies or state troopers who need us and are also expected to help as volunteer EMTs in our off-time.

All dispatch and jail facilities are provided by the Sheriff's Office (under contract of course). The S.O. has five full-time road officers counting the Sheriff himself. For the sake of unity we'll say they provide 24-hour coverage. There are four full-time and one part-time dispatchers and several corrections officers. The total county population (including the city) is maybe pushing 6,000.

There is one other PD in the county that consists of one part-time position. Currently it is being filled by one of our officers during his time off. All the fire departments and the EMS crew responsible for the other quarter of the county are volunteer. State Troopers zip by on the highway and once in awhile drift into town. Sometimes they even wave. Once or twice a week a State Wildlife and Parks officer makes an appearance on the radio, we are lucky to see him once a month.

So that's my workplace.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

British defeated, colonists have the right to bear arms!

Well, the Supreme Court has handed down their decision in D.C. v. Heller. According to the big court the Second Amendment applies to individual citizens and not just to members of the "militia."

The decision makes sense to me. Some have argued that the amendment was put into place to keep the Federal Government from disarming the states ans so did no apply to the individual citizens outside of state sponsored and organized militias. I have always felt that this interpretation just didn't fit. Looking at the time period of the writing of the amendment we see that the British had recently (within 10 years) been defeated by an armed citizenry. Granted, the colonists were formed into militias during the conflict but the individuals usually owned the weapons they were using. The individual colonies, or states, did not normally supply small arms.

I also find it ironic that the weapons in question Heller were handguns. At the time of the writing of the Second Amendment sidearms were the weapons of officers and some mounted troops. The vast majority of the colonists carried muskets or hunting rifles. These were the assault rifles of the day. If the amendment is strictly construed it seems that an argument could be made for overturning assault rifle bans as well as D.C.'s handgun ban.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Book review - Lost Victories

Just finished reading a book called Lost Victories: The Military Genius of Stonewall Jackson by Bevin Alexander. The book is an analysis of General Jackson's military career in the Civil War.

Mr. Alexander makes several good points in his book. He accurately points out that, in some areas, Jackson was ahead of his time in his strategy and innovative in his tactics. He covers the early war and Jackson's desire to take the war to the Northern populace. This strategy was proposed by Jackson just after the Valley Campaign while the Army of the Potomac was engaged creeping up the peninsula towards Richmond. Mr. Alexander accurately states that Lee and Davis overruled Jackson and ordered him to Richmond to take part in the Seven Days battles.

What Mr. Alexander does not discuss was the grand strategy of the Confederate States. Their aim was to be seen as defending themselves, not as the aggressor. By the time of Sharpsburg it was clear that the tactic of defense had succeeded in winning the emotional battle on the diplomatic front but a win on Northern soil was needed to firm up the deal. As Mr. Alexander properly notes, no politician likes to back a loser.

Sharpsburg is the point where Mr. Alexander makes his next unusual point. He claims that Lee's orders to concentrate at Sharpsburg effectively lost the campaign. As evidence he points out that the Army of Northern Virgina had already scored a major victory by capturing Harper's Ferry and the garrison there. By concentrating at Sharpsburg, Lee committed to a stand-up slugging match with no room to maneuver and against a heavier foe. This resulted in his army being bled white. Upon reflection it seems that Mr. Alexander has a point here.

While his Sharpsburg analysis is interesting and thought provoking, he has one major flaw. In Mr. Alexander's book Jackson made no mistakes. Those that history has attributed to him are credited to his subordinates or to Lee. Lee is knocked about pretty sharply on the strategical and tactical fronts as well. While Mr. Alexander is proper to credit Jackson with much, it may be a bit of a leap to consider him as the strategy source for the Army of Northern Virgina.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thorny dilemma

Recently Mrs. Spiff received an interesting email. It was from a fellow Believer who claims to be politically conservative. The gist of the message was that this person had found out about a third party candidate that they felt was an attractive alternative to John McCain.

While the particular candidate involved was not a decent choice in my opinion it got me to thinking. In my mind it doesn't take much to be an attractive alternative to John McCain. There are several third party candidates that would be much better than McCain, in my view. The idea of voting for one of them is indeed a powerful draw for conservatives. However, before we sign petitions, put up yard signs, or pull the lever let us consider the big picture.

History shows us that in modern times no third party candidate has ever won the presidency. Most barely break double digits in the polls. This means that, absent a concerted defection on behalf of a huge chunk of one of the two major parties, McCain or Obama will win. Given the recent failure of conservatives and Christians to act in concert in the GOP primaries, the chances of such an defection are dim indeed.

I am no John McCain fan. See previous posts if you need any doubt removed. McCain is pretty spineless and is a crackpot on several issues. While I am not a McCain fan I am very offended and worried by Barack Obama. Let's take a look at the candidates.

McCain is not a conservative but he may well choose a conservative running mate. Obama probably has the list narrowed down to Raul Castro and Raila Odinga. McCain has a pretty solid pro-life voting record. Obama is pro-abortion. McCain has stated that he will appoint Supreme Court justices in the vein of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito. Obama probably considers the Ninth Circuit to be too conservative. McCain has clearly stated his intention to win the war in Iraq. Obama has stated just as clearly his intention to lose it.

I don't like John McCain. I have nightmares about Barack Obama. A vote for a third party candidate might send a message to the Republican Party. It might also put Obama in the White House. At this point I don't plan to vote for John McCain; I plan to vote against Barack Obama.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


Read this and then come back to this post. I am bothered by this on a very deep level. The disrespect shown is almost unreal.

I am sure that Obama didn't know where the porta-johns were placed. I am also sure that he is in charge of his campaign and that he would be among the first to call for a police chief's head if his officers placed porta-johns on a memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. during a police function. I am sure that Obama and his ilk would scream bloody murder and hold the chief directly responsible, even if he didn't know where the porta-johns were placed.

Aside from that aspect, what kind of people is Obama consorting with? Who would do something like this anyway? What kind of thought process leads someone to put toilets on top of a memorial dedicated to those who have died to maintain the order that allows for rallies such as this?

Perhaps we can learn more about Barack here. That should make you at least wonder about Barack and look deeper into who he is, what he stands for, and who he flushes the toilet on.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Movie time!

Has anyone seen the movie Expelled? Mrs. Spiff and I went and saw it on Saturday on the recommendation of my in-laws. Excellent flick which I highly advise everyone to see as soon as possible.

Expelled is a documentary done by Ben Stein on the scientific controversy surrounding the theory of Intelligent Design. I have little information on Mr. Stein but I know he does a good job with the topic at hand. Most of what was covered I already knew or had surmised but seeing all the pieces put together was invaluable. Mr. Stein interviews several prominent Darwinists and it is fascinating to see the masks come off. These men and women truly have little to hide and no fear of retribution.

If you are looking for a movie defending Creationism then you will be disappointed. If you are concerned that there is discrimination against anyone not toeing the Darwin line then this is the movie for you to see. In my view it gets several thumbs up and is a must see for anyone, on either side of the debate, who values free exchange of ideas.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Was it something we forgot?

"We have been recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us."
- Abraham Lincoln, Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of 1863

There are few subjects that I agree with President Lincoln on; not the least of which his disregard for the U.S. Constitution. One must admit though that the man knew people. He knew Americans best of all. The above quote is over 140 years old but rings as true today about this nation as if it had been spoken yesterday.

President Lincoln hits at the heart of the matter. If we refuse to recognize God's grace then he will withdraw it. On a national level he will remove his protection. On a personal level the offer of redeeming grace can only stay open for so long.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


"Society is an open-ended partnership between generations. The dead and the unborn are as much members of society as the living. To dishonor the dead is to reject the relation on which society is built - a relation of obligation between generations. Those who have lost respect for the dead have ceased to be trustees of their inheritance. Inevitably, therefore, they lose the sense of obligation to future generations. The web of obligation shrinks to the present tense."
- Edmund Burke

Of course we should not always emulate those who have gone before us. Rather we need to understand them as best we can and learn from their experiences. We also have an obligation to those who follow us that they be able to honor us when we are gone and not be ashamed of what we did in our short space in time.

Americans in general have forgotten what those before us did and we have no thought for those who are to come after. We live for the day by a set of ethics and standards that have no root or stability.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


Well, with the race for the GOP nomination all but decided it is down to the Democrat race to keep things interesting. Only problem is that it is just about as interesting as the NBA regular season. With that in mind we turn to the fact that Spring is crouching to spring.

All the Major League Baseball teams are in camp and the Spring Training games have begun. We are only 24 days from the start of the regular season. So far it is looking like the Rangers did well in obtaining Josh Hamilton from the Reds. Hitting Coach Rudy Jaramillo says that Hamilton has more power that Juan Gonzalez did. Quite the compliment. We'll have to see if Josh can make contact enough to make that power count.

Here in Kansas the temperatures have been fairly nice the past few days. This prompts young boys to ask if they can go outside and play ball. With the mud still not dry this proposal has not been a big hit with most mothers.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mitt's out.

Well, Romney withdrew this morning. The race for the GOP nomination is effectively over. There is no difference between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum and so no reason to vote in Saturday's caucus.

I guess the Republican party is moving the center. It will pay. Ford was a moderate and lost. H.W. Bush won on Reagan's conservative record and lost when it became evident he was a moderate. Dole was a moderate and lost. There is no reason to think it will be any different with the moderate John McCain.

That's the bad news. The good news is that pitchers and catchers report in seven days.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

McCain wins big on Super Tuesday

I do not like John I Am,
I do not like him with green eggs and ham.

I do not like him as nominee,
I do not like him with Teddy Kennedy.

I do not like him with Lieberman,
I do not like the man.

I do not like him with Feingold,
I do not like the policies he holds.

I do not like him on taxes,
I do not like him to the maxes.

I do not like him on stem cells,
I do not like him no matter how he sells.

I do not like him with 13 others,
I do not like him stabbing his brothers.

I do not like John I Am,
Of him I am no fan.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Race tightens.

Real Clear Politics shows Romney moving up in California and Georgia. McCain still seems unconcerned though and Huckabee is saying that he thinks Romney should drop out of the race. Seems like a ridiculous statement to me since Romney has been winning and Huckabee hasn't. Also, given Huck's downward movement in the polls and Romney's rise it is understandable that Romney has classified the contest as a two man race.

McCain meanwhile keeps desperately lunging to the right in an effort to keep the Republican base from waking up before it's too late. If he can keep enough of the true conservatives lulled then it will be either him or Hillary and he is certian that they will suck it up and vote GOP. McCain's biggest problem to date is that he is not a conservative and the nametag that he is wearing doesn't fit. Most people in the room realize that something is amiss if a big old biker man is wearing a tag that says, "Hi! My name is Julie." One has to wonder what is going on with the GOP base. Are we willing to trade principles for electibility?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Rudy routed - turns comand over to McCain.

So, Guiliani is out of the race and did what most expected, endorse John McCain. Arnold did the same the next day. Looks like the straight-talker is picking up a lot of backing. That is what concerns many. The folks who are endorsing McCain are at least partially a liberal to moderate bunch. What does this say about McCain. If I endorse someone without qualification then I am saying they agree with me. Do we really want Rudy's social views and Arnold's social and fiscal views in the White House?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fred drops.

The GOP primary field got smaller today. Fred Thompson dropped out after placing third in South Carolina. This puts conservatives in a real pickle. Who to back now? Giuliani? Not a chance. Paul? Except for his head in the sand stand on Iraq and the fact that he has no chance then maybe. That leaves Huckabee, McCain, and Romney. McCain makes no claim to be conservative and the sting of remarks made in 2000 still rankles. Huckabee at least claims to be a conservative. He isn't though in most areas and seems to have a problem getting his positions and stories lined out. That leaves Romney. Not a first choice by any means but perhaps one of the few real Republicans left in the hunt.

Monday, January 21, 2008

SC Decides.

South Carolina chose John McCain. Hunter is out of the race and it looks like Thompson is on the ropes. Romney still leads the delegate count and so is comfortable for now. He needs to follow up Nevada with additional wins though. Huckabee appears to be in about the same boat. Interestingly, both lead McCain in delegates even after South Carolina. Florida is fast approaching with its winner take all primary. McCain is leading in the polls there and if he wins that could just break Rudi. Time will tell I suppose.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Voting in Charleston.

Well, South Carolina is in the process of conducting their Republican primary as I write. I am concerned to say the least. South Carolina has never really bothered me before because they are generally pretty conservative. It seems like this time though things are a bit different.

McCain has gained traction there that he never got in 2000 and Huckabee is riding high on a wave of evangelicals and homeschoolers who are emotionally tied to him. The true Reagan conservative (read: Fred Thompson) is fighting with Romney for third in the most recent polls. Fred does seem to be moving up though and I hope that even if he doesn't win he will stay in. Richard Land seems to think that evangelicals are waking up and taking another look at Huckabee and are switching to Thompson. This could account for some of the upward movement. Of course, if Fred can't afford to stay in then all the second looks at Huck could be for naught. Evangelicals and homeschoolers could find themselves out in the cold when they realize that Huckabee is not a conservative and could lay some very dangerous groundwork if elected.

As one who considers himself to be an evangelical and was homeschooled from second grade through highschool I find the Huckabee movement to be somewhat confusing. Sure the man is pro-life and pro-homeschool. I'll also give him his profession of faith and classify him as sincere and well-meaning. All that makes his misunderstanding of the U.S. Constitution, big government views, and lack of straight talk even more concerning. Sure he means well. Equally sure is that he will grow the government and make it even more intrusive than it already is. Ok, so he is a good man of faith. Who will take over from him and how will they use the machinery that he has put into place?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Romney on the rebound.

Well, Mitt Romney won Michigan and Wyoming. That puts him back in the running and actually gives him more delegates at this point than either Huckabee or McCain. Boy am I glad to see Romney win one. He is really my second choice but neither Huckabee nor McCain are my first. I was fearing that they would be able to knock him out of the race without ever facing him in a true GOP primary. That would have been bothersome and might have destroyed the party.

With a possible recession looming I really don't think we need the liberal fiscal policies of Mike Huckabee. I don't doubt that he is a good man and means well but he is not a conservative on fiscal matters. He is a populist. If folks would just look at what he is saying and advocating I think the conservatives who are supporting him would have to jump ship. Sadly the Republicans seem to be following the Democrats by judging a candidate solely on his personality and likability rather than by the whole package.

Of course McCain isn't a conservative and doesn't really claim to be. He wins by drawing in the moderates, Dems, and Independents. That will end when he gets into the closed primary states. Hopefully his chances at the nomination will end there as well.

I have several questions and concerns about Romney but none to the level of McCain or Huckabee. While I wouldn't just go wild about him he is the one of the three who have won to this point that I feel most comfortable with.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Giving it a second try.

Been a long while since I posted. Got to thinking and decided that I should give the blog thing another try. Not that I have much interesting to say, just think it would be a good exercise. I don't really make New Year's resolutions but if I did this would be one. Hopefully I can stick with it and come up with something interesting to post.