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Genius vs. Stupidity

June 4th, 2007 by Halli

Good friend Ed Cook, The Lone Gunman, reminded me of this great quote, which is as true today as the day it was first uttered:

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.
– attributed to Albert Einstein

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Posted in Education, Family Matters, General | No Comments »

On Birthdays

June 4th, 2007 by Halli

Having just passed another year’s milestone, I have taken a moment to reflect on that dreaded event, the birthday.

Most women of my age are in a permanent holding pattern at 29 (or even 39), loathe to admit that they add 1 to their age with the passing of each new year. Some men are even hesitant to observe the anniversary of their birth. Almost universally, birthdays bring taunting from the younger set, commiseration from peers, and groans from the birthday girl or boy.

(Our oldest daughter used to tease her father on each birthday that he was “half way to 100”, or whatever. That suddenly ceased as she is approaching the age of 30 herself!)

I happen to see this anniversary of birth a little differently. I love the celebration, attention from family and friends, expressions of love and friendship, and the small (and large!) remembrances I receive.

In my own naturally unbiased opinion, I feel I get better with each passing year. I am smarter, wiser, more compassionate and understanding. I have observed more of life and learned from the mistakes of others as well as my own. I am less motivated by “keeping up with the Joneses”, and more motivated by family, friends, and the truly lasting.

I refuse to believe that the best is in the past and I enjoy being a grandmother. There are very few moments in my life I would wish to relive, though admittedly there are a few I wish I could “do over” with my increased wisdom and perspective.

In retrospect, I don’t know why my husband married the immature, self-assured, callow child of 20 that I was when we tied the knot. All bright young men should get ahead in life instantly by marrying a 50- or even 60-year-old woman of wisdom. Imagine the advantage an older wife would bring to the union, with her life experience, sagacity, and common sense!

Yes, I enjoy my birthdays, every one. And as I like to tell my octogenarian friends, birthdays surely do beat the alternative!

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Posted in Family Matters, General | 2 Comments »

Guest Post: Liberals Suffer from Selective Tolerance Disorder

June 4th, 2007 by Halli

When losing an argument, simply make an accusation. This seems to be the modus operandi of many in today’s political environment. When presenting the concerns about the current immigration legislation before Congress, for example, all the arguer has to do is charge the opponent of the current open-borders policy with being a bigot, racist, or xenophobe. And regrettably, it frequently works. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have, after all, made careers of doing just that.

There was a time when liberals were recognized as being tolerant, open-minded, and logical. Indeed, most definitions of liberal include references to tolerance and broad-mindedness. That time apparently is long gone. The same advocates of political correctness in the name of tolerance are among those who have absolutely no tolerance for people of faith, especially Christians, or anyone of a different mind-set on political issues. Yet these are they who claim to be more enlightened and more tolerant than the rest of us. If they are so enlightened, why is it that they cannot engage in debate without calling names, casting aspersions, or labeling their conservative opponent in pejorative terms? Perhaps they’re not that enlightened after all.

I think most of us on the right don’t expect those of opposing views to agree with us, or necessarily even respect our positions. But in the realm of ideas, emotion is the least desirable element to be invoked into the public discourse. Debating someone over the technical merits of legislation while they’re invoking emotional arguments is like arguing over potatoes and bananas. They have little in common and no clarity is achieved through a debate over their respective attributes. What we on the right strive for more than consensus is clarity; however that is impossible when the emotion card is played.

You’d never guess this based on my columns, but I’m slightly opinionated. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my perspective, though I believe they’re in alignment with most Idahoans, but I would hope others would be open-minded to my rationale. Do I hate those who don’t concur with me? Absolutely not. Those who are intellectually honest deserve my respect, even absent my agreement. But to hear the acrimonious diatribes launched against conservatives by those on the left, I think it’s pretty safe to say that not only do they not tolerate us, but they hate us.

I’m convinced that many on the left are smitten with a mental defect, something like selective tolerance disorder. Terrorists, criminals, law breakers, conspiracy theorist nuts, and sexual deviants are deserving of tolerance, but heaven forbid that tolerance be extended to anyone with a conservative ideology who argue a position based on logic rather than emotion.

The vituperation, intolerance, and abject hatred are painfully obvious. Illustrative examples abound. Ward Churchill, the mendacious Colorado professor travels around the country spewing his anti-American venom on college campuses to standing ovations. Yet the Minutemen, a group of vigilante-like citizens dedicated to assist in the protection of our borders get physically assaulted on college campuses. Vice President Cheney can’t even deliver a commencement address at BYU without drawing protesters. Jean Kirkpatrick, the brilliant former U.N Ambassador quit visiting university campuses years before she passed away because she couldn’t even deliver a speech without being heckled and verbally assaulted.

Even here locally, conservative bloggers on the Idaho State Journal websites are called virtually every name in the book because of their opposing views. By advancing a logical and cogent position on the illegal migration problem, we earn the scorn of leftists who think the issue should be approached emotionally instead of logically. They implement an untenable process of extrapolating racism and bigotry from rational arguments opposing open borders and amnesty.

This lack of tolerance is most obvious in the language utilized to describe opponents. I could have created a very nice stock portfolio if I just had a dollar for every time I’ve heard President Bush or Vice President Cheney referred to as “Nazis” over the past six years, or a dollar for the virtual quiver full of demeaning and hateful adjectives used to describe the administration or conservatives in general. Yet they claim conservatives are the ones who use “hate speech.” You’d think they’d realize a little culpability on their part. I think they suffer from the “I see the mote in your eye but I can’t see the beam in mine” syndrome. If we advance a cogent position which they oppose, we are the ones using hate speech because there may be perceived victims of our proposals. Yet they liberally use literal hate speech, and they are not culpable. Explain that one for me. If you really want to see how far the hate speech and intolerance of the left goes, check out any of the liberal “blogs” after Rev. Jerry Falwell died. Absolutely disgusting!

Even Christopher Hitchens, the secularist and author of “God is not Great” said in a New York Post interview, “More and more I find that those people are the real enemy intellectually. There’s no dishonesty like liberal dishonesty, just like there’s no intolerance like liberal intolerance. There’s nothing they won’t excuse and no excuse they won’t deploy. Their piety is a big aspect of that.”

It is obvious that the left has its own set of “values,” thought by them to be superior to any value system espoused by the right. And the highest value of all is emotion. Emotion trumps all others as the penultimate trait. One of the local bloggers is fond of quoting scripture for validation of his argument which is proper if we are genuinely seeking counsel on how to direct our personal lives. It is not, however, the canon for government operations. Christ taught us how to live our lives, and he showed us the way through his compassionate service. However, he did not use his doctrine of charity to take over the Sanhedrin and impose charity as the ruling doctrine for the small Roman vassal state. Largesse and magnanimity are admirable, even requisite, traits for individuals, but not for the government at the expense of taxpayers in a “rob Peter to pay Paul” redistribution scheme.

Despite all the platitudinous talk of being “tolerant” of peoples’ differences, “open-mindedness” has been rendered nothing more than empty rhetoric by liberals’ tendency to label all things conservative as “ignorant, racist, xenophobic, homophobic and extremist.” A little more actual tolerance and abandonment of the churlish politics of the left would go a long way in narrowing this ideological chasm the country is experiencing right now.

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Posted in Family Matters, General, Guest Posts, Politics in General | No Comments »

Guest Post: Some Uncommon “Common Sense” Tips for Pet Care

May 29th, 2007 by Halli

From Andi Elliott, Humane Society of the Upper Valley

- There is no law that says hounds must spend their lives chained; most have very shabby housing (which often matches that of their owner). It is NOT illegal for hounds to have decent living conditions.
-Most other advanced nations (including South Africa), have banned the mutilation (cropping of ears and docking of tails) of dogs. These procedures are performed for cosmetic reasons (can we say “owner vanity”) …very few for health reasons…such as the bloody condition know as “happy tail”.
-It is an old wives’ tale that a dog should have a litter of puppies before spaying…sometimes the process of pregnancy changes the dog’s disposition for the worse. (It sure has for many women.) If you want a pet, then make her a pet from the beginning and not a puppy factory.
-The local Bar is NOT the repository for unwanted animals…this is no place for pets. When patrons leave the bar, it becomes hazardous for abandoned animals and humans alike.
-Contrary to popular belief…neutering a dog or cat does NOT affect the masculinity of its male owner in the least, unless the man is experiencing some personal psychological issues.
-Because a senior citizen has cats does not mean that she wants your drop-offs. Chances are she is good hearted and trying her best, on a limited income, to spay/neuter and feed the ones she already has. Next time you “drop off” a litter, be sure to “drop off” a check along with it.

Andi Elliott
President
The Humane Society of the Upper Valley
POBox 51021
Idaho Falls, ID 83425

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Posted in Family Matters, General, Guest Posts, Property Rights | 1 Comment »

Greater Love Hath No Man Than This: Thoughts on Memorial Day

May 27th, 2007 by Halli

Each year Memorial Day brings us an added opportunity to reflect on the men and women who have given their lives to secure our liberty.

From the Revolutionary War to the conflict in Iraq, nearly countless American lives have been laid down willingly for the benefit and freedom of others. How true it is that “The tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots . . . “.

I cannot help recalling the verse of scripture found in John 15:13:

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

However, as great as is the legacy of the mortal freedom fighters, there is one sacrifice that is still greater than them all.

Only one life, given as an offering for others, could yield both freedom in an eternal sense and new life, even immortality, to those who have perished in freedom’s cause throughout earth’s history.

That one life belongs to Jesus Christ. And so immense and far reaching is this dearly-bought gift which He offers that all, both the great and the small, the honorable and the shameful, the famous and the unknown, will be partakers of the “heavenly gift”.

As we remember this Memorial Day those who have given the last full measure for freedom, even their lives, let us also remember He who is the giver of life, our “author of liberty”.

Posted in Family Matters, General, Politics in General | No Comments »

Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts Helping to Raise the Next Generation of Leaders, Part II

May 18th, 2007 by Halli

Read Part I here.

Given the challenges boys and young men face in our society, how can the programs of the Boy Scouts of America help train them to become our future leaders?

These programs have been specifically designed to provide safe, positive and age-appropriate adventure and risk-taking. From field trips and pocketknife skills for 8- and 9-year-olds, to fire building and hiking for 10- and 11-year olds, to camping, canoing, ropes courses, high adventure camping and world travel for older boys, and first-responder/first aid skills for all ages, the Scouting program has something for everyone. Built into the program are lessons on citizenship, service, career choice, personal responsibility, and leadership, accompanied by practical application.

Overseeing all activities are trained and vetted adult leaders – role models.

The result? Boys who participate in the Scouting program have their energy, creativity, and desire for adventure and risk directed in a positive, socially acceptable manner.

It has proven difficult to measure the positive effects of Scouting in a reliable fashion. However, several of the best studies have been commissioned by the Scouts themselves, and include Values of Scouting, Values for Americans, Volunteer Outcomes Study (which measures positive effects on adult Scout volunteers), A Year in the Life, and Summer Camp Outcomes Study. All document the positive effects of the BSA program on youth, adults, families and communities.

An additional Scout program (which has actually been conceived and implemented by the Grand Teton Council of the BSA in Bonneville County, Idaho), known as Positive Attitudes Through Scouting (PATS), has proven highly effective. This is a program for male juvenile offenders. Juvenile judges in the county have the option of “sentencing” youthful offenders to the PATS program as part of their rehabilitation. Statistics do not appear to be available online, but the program has proven over a number of years to greatly reduce repeat offenses among participants.

However, just when it is needed most, the Boy Scout program and organization have been in the cross hairs of various special interest groups. Atheists object to the “duty to God” statement in the Scout Oath. Homosexuals are firm in their belief that the “I will keep myself … morally straight” statement in the Oath should not exclude them. Feminists object to the exclusion of girls from the organization (never mind that Lord Baden-Powell, Scouting’s founder, also organized Girl Guides, the forerunner of Girl Scouts, with the help of his sister and later his wife).

Indeed, the Scout organizations of both Great Britain and Canada have essentially capitulated to the demands of these extremist groups and as a result have experienced dwindling membership and support from society. Fortunately most attempts to dilute the program here in America, and hence its effectiveness, have been deflected, often in the arena of the courts. But future attacks are sure to be launched, and the future of the BSA is not assured.

In conclusion, the United States needs Scouting. It is worth the effort and resources necessary to preserve one of the most successful organizations in training and preparing boys and young men for adulthood and leadership, readying them to help preserve our society and form of government.

Take a stand. Support the Boy Scouts of America in your community with financial contributions or your time. Help the young men in your life find a Scouting opportunity in their neighborhood. And take a minute to review the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. How do YOU measure up?

Scout Oath or Promise
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

Scout Law
A Scout is …
trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly,
courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful,
thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, General, National Sovereignty, Politics in General | 1 Comment »

Global Warming Scientists Now Abandoning Theory in Droves

May 16th, 2007 by Halli

Thanks to Matt Drudge for highlighting the fact that many early believers in the human-caused global warming theory are now defecting – and for good reason.

The website for the US Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works features an article listing a dozen prominent former believers in human-caused global warming. Included is the story of each “defection”.

The theory of human-caused global warming has garnered support bordering on religious fervor, a comparison that is all the more apropos because most of its tenets must be taken on faith.

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Posted in General, National Sovereignty, Property Rights, Taxes | No Comments »

Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts Helping to Raise the Next Generation of Leaders, Part I

May 15th, 2007 by Halli

There are few if any organizations (with the exception of a handful of churches) which are even trying to help meet this pressing need.

Why, you may ask, should we worry about our future leaders? Don’t they just appear when needed?

The answer is an unequivocal and vehement “NO”. You need look no further than the majority of people serving in Congress to understand that there is little will to do what is right instead of what is convenient or even profitable. You’ll see the same in the business world, and even in many religions. Indeed, honest, upright, fearless leaders are in very short supply.

What challenges do boys and young men face on their way to adulthood and future positions of leadership? In addition to the examples set by corrupt leaders described above, they frequently must weather neglectful parents, too busy with their own careers, love lives, and pursuit of happiness to provide appropriate guidance. Even if parents have time and energy to devote to their children, they likely lack the moral strength to raise their sons to be “servant-leaders”. So many parents indulge themselves by refusing to say “no” or enforce family rules (if they bother to set any).

American society in general, and public education specifically, have become so “feminized” that normal active boys are routinely labeled troublemakers at best, and ADHD at worst, and administered drugs which can rob them of natural energy and initiative. Tailored for quiet, obedient little girls with advanced small motor skills, schools are not designed for boys’ natural and healthy proclivities. (There are some interesting theories that might explain some of this tendency towards feminization.)

Boys naturally have different needs and interests than girls of the same age. In my observations as a parent of 2 boys and 3 girls, as well as a Cub Scout leader, and church youth volunteer, I have learned that little boys have a much higher need for excitement, risk-taking,and large muscle activities, and very different learning styles and needs from girls. (Dr. William Pollack has studied boys and men, and what makes them tick, then has authored a number of books on the subject, if you wish to delve further into the subject.)

When the unique needs of boys are not met by their female teachers at school, or by their parents at home, boys will often seek out risky adventure, excitement and danger in inappropriate ways. It is no wonder that up to 30 times more homicides are committed by juvenile males than females. More than two thirds of all arrests of juveniles are of males. In every crime category (except prostitution and runaways), boys far outstrip girls as lawbreakers.

How do the programs of the Boy Scouts of America fit into this?

Be sure to read Part II.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, General, National Sovereignty, Politics in General | 1 Comment »

Stanger Wants Kinder, Gentler Nazis in COTHNA Neighborhood Association

May 1st, 2007 by Halli

Today Kathy Stanger, member of the “readers’ advisory board” for the Idaho Falls newspaper, responds to our posts, The Gestapo Comes to Idaho Falls, Part I, and Part II. The area of Idaho Falls in question is known as COTHNA, or the Crow’s & Original Townsite Historic Neighborhood Association. It is important to identify this group because the newspaper article never refers to it by name.

In our posts, a COTHNA publication is quoted which urges residents of the area to report to the city any neighbors whose property may fail to meet city code. If found in violation, the reporting will result in citations, fines, etc. for the property owner. It was observed that the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police, employed similar tactics in urging neighbors to report on each other to expose anti-Nazi sentiment and illegal behavior in the lead up to World War II.

While never denying the obvious parallel, the author of the newspaper article opines that there is justification for such reporting. Several of her points simply cry out for response.

1. The article asserts that the formation of COTHNA was intended to return the area to the “friendliness and safety” of her childhood.

I experience a variety of feelings when I suspect my neighbors of watching my property for code violations in order to report them. “Friendliness and safety” are not among those sensations.

2. The author observes that “our success has been heartening…in our search for a sense of community”.

Apparently her sense of community is based upon the ability to personally supervise neighbors and enforce compliance with city code.

3. And yes, “We’re talking about city code,” the article reads, “not city proposition. In other words, it’s the law.”

That’s right, and all citizens of Idaho Falls are glad you feel that way. Can we also count on COTHNA board members to report our curfew-defying teens, police the restrooms at Kate Curley Park (located in your neighborhood) for vandalism, and rid our streets of gangs? Best left to law enforcement, I believe.

It is important to note what the law is NOT. The law does NOT require citizens to report those who fail to comply with city code. The only lawbreaking that REQUIRES reporting (of which I am aware) is abuse of children. And that is not city code.

There are even some lessons from Kindergarten that can be applied to this situation. Do you remember how everyone hated the bossy little girl who had her nose in everyone else’s finger paint? She was the first to remind you to keep the paint on the paper, and the first to “tell teacher” when you accidentally dripped it on the floor. We didn’t like her. She didn’t make the class feel friendly and safe. We didn’t feel like a “community”. We resented her actions.

4. The article states, “It’s also a way of finding the elderly and challenged who can’t help themselves and need the help of their neighbors.”

Let’s see, “it’s” in this case must refer to reporting neighbors to the city for failure to comply with code, because that is what this entire discussion concerns. So, I report overgrown weeds in a yard down the street, and the elderly and/or challenged property owner receives a citation from the city enforcers. I’ve done my civic duty, according to this reasoning.

Perhaps we could leave government out of this altogether and simply invite neighbors to help the elderly/challenged neighbor clean up. Wouldn’t the desired result be obtained, without making the neighbor feel like a criminal outcast? Government does very few things well. Charity and compassion are best left to individuals – neighbors, if you will.

In conclusion, a humble suggestion is made. If, as the author claims, she wishes to feel friendliness, safety and a sense of community, I suggest she sell her home, which (we learn from her comments) is located in a deteriorating and dangerous section of Idaho Falls. It is clearly beyond the ability of the City or the neighbors to improve the situation.

Then, for peace of mind, she could move into a more controlled community, with gates, armed guards, and a strict Home Owners’ Association (HOA), where she will feel more comfortable.

The article contains a scripture reference, 2 Timothy 1:7, to describe the author’s attitude towards her neighborhood. I do believe, as claimed, that she feels the spirit “of power” – over her neighbors as she seeks to force them to comply with city code. However, I believe COTHNA residents may justifiably feel the “spirit of fear” referred to in the same verse as they await possible code enforcement, fines, or worse, as a result of neighborhood reporting.

I suggest another verse of scripture, found in the 7th chapter of the book of Matthew.

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets.

Some folks call this the Golden Rule.

But the bottom line is this: We do not have an argument about the validity of city code. The argument is about method of enforcement. Kathy Stanger has issued and defended a call which pits neighbor against neighbor in order to force compliance with government regulation (which, incidentally, will ultimately improve her own property values).

She cloaks the call in warm and fuzzy terms designed to evoke happy childhood memories and visions of happy neighbors interacting on the front lawn. But the result of complying with her request to turn in neighbors will be hard feelings, suspicion and isolation.

I issue a call to Kathy to seek non-governmental solutions to real problems, to be forthcoming about her personal goals, and to be intellectually honest with herself and others.

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Posted in Family Matters, General, Politics in General, Property Rights, Taxes | 2 Comments »

Congressman Ron Paul Warns of Increased “People Control” After Virginia Tech Massacre

April 24th, 2007 by Halli

In his weekly column, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas observes that while increased gun control may result from the tragedy at Virginia Tech, increased “people control” almost certainly will.

Rep. Paul observes that too many Americans look to government rather than themselves for protection and security. This is in direct contradiction of the principles upon which our nation was founded.

It is impossible for government to protect its citizens from all threats, yet many rights and freedoms will be infringed or discarded completely as our leaders try to reach that goal.

I am reminded of Benjamin Franklin’s observation: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”.

As copy-cat shooters keep raising their heads and threats of attacks and bombings continue to be reported, we are in a very dangerous and precarious position. Especially with Democrats in control in Washington, almost anything could happen.

Rep. Ron Paul:

Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and a false government security blanket beckons.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, General, Second Amendment | No Comments »

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