March 10, 2014
Just about an hour ago I got back from Chapter meeting in Tempe. I enjoy visiting St. Augustine’s where the service is slightly different than at Grace-St. Paul’s. Both parishes follow the Book of Common Prayer but there are differences between the two that keep me on my toes. Then after the service there is the Chapter doing Sext in Plainsong, which I am still getting used to and using the Breviary rather than the BCP. I need to get my own breviary for use at all other times besides the chapter Sext. I have committed myself to trying my best at being a Benedictine Canon and this is part of it.
I tried to get a breviary for myself by bidding on a used one on EBay but I got outbid at the last minute. I’ll have to get one elsewhere and probably a new one which doesn’t bother me as I intend to keep it and use it for the rest of my life. Once I have that, the next on my list is a cassock and later, once I make my vows, a hooded scapular. The Prior, Brother Chad and the other members of the Chapter take their cassock off once they leave the church campus, I was going to ask but forgot, it that is a requirement. It isn’t a big deal either way but I had in mind using my religious garb as a means of outreach. I have talked about a religious life to several people but those conversations started on another subject and drifted to religious life. I think it would be nice if, by wearing my religious garb, people would ask me about religious life and I could start a conversation based upon what they ask rather than drifting into such a conversation. Wearing my garb would be an invitation to conversation.
The election machinery in Pima County is wearing out at an increasing pace. There was a special meeting of the Election Integrity Commission last Friday to take some action on the issue. From a comment made during the meeting, I forget by whom, this is a problem elections departments face all over the country. What makes is worse is that the Federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is dysfunctional and cannot be expected to certify new equipment, which is one of (if not the) primary jobs of the EAC. The Arizona Secretary of State has added a requirement in the Election Procedures Manual that any equipment we (Pima County) buy has to have an EAC certificate – a requirement not stated in the Arizona Revised Statues. So, the meeting was finalize a pair of letters, one to the Board of Supervisors asking them to ask the Secretary of State to waive or drop that extra requirement and a sample letter that the Board could use to write their letter to the Secretary of State. These won’t be on this weeks agenda but on the agenda for March 18th. This week I have to meet with my Supervisor and discuss the issue with him in hopes of persuading him to support action now. Plus there is the regular EIC meeting this Friday and I have to run around seeing about a breviary. Nice full week.
I got the first book in the Sister Fidelma series and read it. As a detective novel it isn’t all that great as I was able to figure out who the murder was very quickly but the story is good and the background color is great. I enjoyed it in spite of the low quality as a detective novel – it is too good on all the other levels as a novel. I am going to collect the series and I hope that Peter Tremayne gets better as a mystery writer.
If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop for Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military and in combat zones especially Adrian, Ken, Adam, Margaret H., Shannon, Kevin, Chris, Melanie, Jason, Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Jane, Gerie, Donnie, Rick, Russ, Shirley, Cedric, Jeri, Shane, Shannon, Virginia, Donald, Odell, Monica, Eleanor, Patty, Robin Beelen, Jay Elliston, Oma “Sam” Guard, Sara Heitshu, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Jennifer Orvis, Elise Petropoulos, Doree Ramey, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Millie Zuniga, Ed, Lee, Betsey Bret Harte & Mkay Zeeb, Francisca Jarvis, Brian Johnson, Cheryl Johnson, Robert Jonas, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Mari Ortiz, Peggy Southwick, Jack & Mary Lou Sullivan, Tark Sweet, Beryl Todd, Mary Wilcox, Amy, Phil & Vince, Charlie, Deana, Jerry & Rondy, Joshua, Karl, Mary Jo, Maureen, Mike & Rainbow, Monica & Carri, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Rob, Judy Turberg, Kurt Monroe, Ron Adinolfi, Sylvia, Father Ernest, Amy Bryan & Dave, Scott & Starlight Baker, Gerry Smith, Manny Cruiz, Maria, Wendy, Ty & her mother, Judy & Jeromy, John & AJ, Roxie. Dana Gault, Roy Jr., David Carey; for animal companions in need especially ZsaZsa, Ziggy; for animal companions who have died especially Salander; for those who have died especially Nichole Dryfous, Michael Rael, the husband of Carol, Charles the husband of Roxie, David L. Poirier, Caleb L. Erickson. I also ask that you pray for the thousands of Christians who have been murdered, the tens of thousands of Christians who have been driven from their homes and the hundreds of thousands of Christians who are being persecuted – as well as the unknown number of thousands of Jews in those categories as well – in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Kenya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia and elsewhere by moderate Muslims.
I’ve stopped working on my Arlun campaign and have decided to use the Harn campaign setting but stay with the GURPS rules. This way I don’t have to make all the maps, that is already done and the societies are done up as well. This way I just have to come up with the adventures and I have sources for those – the company that makes the setting has some published and I expect more. Plus, now that I can concentrate on adventures I should be able to come up with some. I have ideas already.
What I’m reading: Harn material and GURPS books, of course. But I’m also reading The Making of the First World War by Jan F.W. Beckett. It isn’t what I expected but it is interesting nonetheless.
What I’m watching: Not much of anything, except the late night news and maybe the Simpsons. I haven’t even been watching any of the DVDs I have.
What I’m writing: I have been getting some done on Magic in the Monastery but not a lot. I discovered I skipped a whole section that I wanted to have and I’ve been going through what I have written to make sure that I have written something that would make inserting that part troublesome.
March 6, 2014
Right after World War 2 America disarmed because it was obvious that there was no need for a strong military since everyone was going to play nice now that the UN was in place. President Truman, in what was probably an off-hand fashion, guaranteed the safety and survival of the Republic of Korea since they had no military at our insistence. And, of course, the Russians and their cohorts in crime invaded the Republic of Korea. President Truman acted with honor and sent in American forces to uphold America’s honor. Granted, he got approval from the UN and did it under UN authority, but that was only by a trick of fate and IO would like to think e would have done t anyway.
Fast forward to 1994. President Clinton, in a deliberate and reasoned fashion, guaranteed the safety and survival of the Ukraine since they had no serious military forces at our insistence. They were given that guarantee in order to help persuade them to turn over the nuclear weapons that the Soviet Union had previously stationed in what became the Ukraine to Russia.
Russia, needing no further criminal cohorts to help, invades the Ukraine in 2014 and President Obama has a chance to act with honor and skips it.
What’s the difference between the two? The American military is stronger now, albeit wearied from Afghanistan and Iraq, than in Truman’s time. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq took up less of America’s strength than WW 2 did (America had not recovered from the efforts of WW 2, Afghanistan & Iraq made no demands on America in general) so war-weariness was not a major-factor – America has the capability to generate military strength from peace-time activities. The news media then and now were not in favor of action so that is not different. America, then and now, was not concerned.
What was the difference? Courage. President Truman had it and President Obama does not. Perhaps I am being too strong, President Obama does have a different world view and that is a factor but I think cowardice is a factor; or at least, President Obama does not want to test the level of his courage.
I do not like war, having been too close to active fighting during the Vietnam War. Even though I am Air Force, I still got shot at in 1970. I was just inches from getting wounded or killed and that was too close for me. Unfortunately, there are times that violence (war) is justified. At my age and with my health I probably would never be recalled to active duty or accepted if I volunteered to return to active duty. But I did volunteer to return to active duty back when Iraq invaded Kuwait and President G. H. W. Bush instigated Desert Shield and I would probably volunteer if President Obama did something about the Ukraine; I just have no illusions about my being accepted. But I do not want to believe that I am someone who would be willing to advocate putting someone else in harms way and not volunteer myself.
But, if we stand up to Russia will war necessarily result? Not guaranteed either way.
March 3, 2014
There is car alarm going off in the parking lot of the convenience store next door, and this is the third time in ten minutes it has gone of. It is an annoying alarm, which it was probably designed to be, but hearing it go off time and again makes me wonder about car alarms. Does anyone, even the owner of the car, pay attention to them any more?
I hurt a lot right now, not real painful pain-type hurt, just strong aches. My arms are sore and my knees are sore and I am just waiting for my back to decide to act up, but that rarely happens so I will probably miss that, which is good as I hurt too much as is. I don’t mind getting old, but I do mind getting decrepit. The Triage nurse for my clinic at the VA has suggested that my tripping so much is because of diabetic nerve damage in my left leg. I do not like using my cane so much but I like tripping and falling even less. My last fall was three weeks ago and my left arm still aches, and I broke my right arm back on Labor Day (September 2, 2013) and it is still sore also. What ever happened to getting better? I guess I will have to step up on my exercises for my arm and maybe that will strengthen it and restore the flexibility enough so that it stops hurting. When I was on active duty I worked on the flight line and pulled a lot of ground equipment around, now just thinking about getting my wallet out of my back pocket causes my soreness level to increase. Thinking about it, Tucson had almost half an inch of rain over the last few days (a huge amount for us) and my aches are probably the result of the higher humidity. I still don’t like it.
I enjoy attending the Pima County Supervisors meetings. Last week I proposed, in connection with an issue on the agenda regarding priorities for work specifically road work in the county, that the Board assign an absolute priority number to each project and fund according to that priority. One of the supervisors told me that he, and by implication the rest of the Board, didn’t want to interfere by doing so as he (they) let the staff assign priorities. And then, because one supervisor and tried to get the roads in her district (which are the worst in the county) placed on a slightly higher priority, the Board removed all the funding for road work in her district and used it for a project in another district – that and she had been finding places where money could possibly be taken from in the budget and used for road repairs. And the roads in Pima County, all five districts as well as the incorporated limits of Tucson itself, are in horrible shape. About two-thirds of all the miles of roads are in Failing shape. I have been mulling over a letter I could write to each supervisor on the issue of priorities. I’ll probably write it tomorrow and give it to the Board then. I know that it won’t make it onto the agenda for Tuesdays meeting, that agenda is already set by now, but it might make it for next week or sometime in the future. Maybe I’ll start something going and have a real impact on the way the County is governed. Won’t that be nice.
If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop for Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Oma “Sam” Guard, Sara Heitshu, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Jennifer Orvis, Elise Petropoulos, Doree Ramey, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Millie Zuniga, Ed, Lee, Betsy Bret Harte & Mkay LaRue, Mari Ortiz, Peggy Southwick, Beryl Todd, Mary Wilcox, Amy, Phil & Vince, Charlie, Deana, Jerry & Rondy, Joshua, Karl, Mary Jo, Maureen, Mike & Rainbow, Monica & Carri, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Rob; for animal companions in need especially ZsaZsa, Ziggy; for those who have died especially Nichole Dryfous, Aaron C. Torian; for animal companions who have died especially Salander. I also ask your prayers for the thousands of Christians who have been murdered, the tens of thousands of Christians who have been driven from their homelands, and the hundreds of thousands of Christians who are being persecuted my Muslims in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Kenya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia and elsewhere.
What I’m watching: Not much of anything. Just the occasional news show and some old westerns that I liked growing up and of course, Mythbusters and Pawn Stars but not as much of the latter as before. Perhaps I am getting weary of that show. I do wish the History Channel would show more history shows.
What I’m reading: Some Nero Wolfe and of course the GURPS books plus a campaign setting called The World’s Largest City. I’ve stopped working on my Arlun campaign because I hit a wall on trying to come up with adventure ideas and The World’s Largest City has several adventure hooks and quest ideas that I can use to start my mind going. I’ll keep Arlun in the back of my mind and maybe in a few years I’ll have it ready.
What I’m writing: Not much of anything. I am working on converting the World’s Largest City setting from D&D 3.5 to GURPS for the characters and getting some of the adventure hooks blown up into full adventures. I know what I want the full campaign to be so that helps.
February 27, 2014
Marriage is in the news a lot recently so I thought I’d state my opinion on the subject. I haven’t done a lot of thinking and research on the subject but I have come to a conclusion. I used to ask, when someone asked me asked if I supported gay marriage, “Is marriage a religious or secular rite?” What the other person responded would determine my own response which was the same regardless of their answer.
However, I have come to a conclusion regarding marriage and that marriage is none of the government’s business. Let each religion and denomination make their own rules for marriage. The extent of government involvement, and this includes taxes, should be in regards to the extent that marriage is a contract. If one or more parties to the contract cannot enter into a contract because of age, incapacity, or whatever, then the government should stop the contract from being enforced much like a contract is void when a minor enters into it and orders goods or services such as a magazine or a job or whatever. The government might stipulate certain clauses such as divorce that have to be in the contract but only because otherwise that lack can and will create severe problems.
Homosexuals no longer have to fight the government to get recognition for marriage, they can go to whatever church they wish or create their own marriage contract and simply declare themselves married. Look at all the energy that will no longer be tied up in that fight. Lawyers will probably hate this since this will eliminate a source of wealth for them.
Lawyers will be involved in the negotiations creating the marriage contract but that won’t be as lucrative as divorce is now; and even divorce won’t be as lucrative since most of the details will probably be worked out in the marriage contract.
I think I have something worthwhile here. It is a shame that it will never be seriously considered much less ever tried.
February 20, 2014
Why have governments? Are governments needed to ensure fairness? Are governments needed to ensure safety? Why have governments?
Governments force people to do things that they would not normally do by themselves. For example, pay taxes to provide a military force that protects the people from external threats and a police force that protects against internal threats. There are others but those two are perhaps primary, or if not primary then close to it. Governments typically start out with few powers but gain powers as time goes by. Why is this? Well, the people who run governments typically like power and gather it whenever they can. And I do not mean just politicians but bureaucrats as well. Indeed, a healthy bureaucracy will run the government in place of whoever is nominally in charge given the chance. Perhaps you saw the BBC series Yes Minister and Yes Prim Minister where the civil service functionaries totally dominated the poor elected official who was supposed to be running the show.
So governments have some proper functions such as war and policing. But what else? The other powers can probably be summed up as: Whatever the people explicitly give the government. And I mean explicitly not by passive acceptance. The US Constitution has given the US Federal Government certain explicit powers but over the decades politicians and bureaucrats have taken power from the people and expanded their power at the expense of the rule of law. Most of what the Federal Government does has no justification in the Constitution and even when trying to justify the powers taken, the justifications are weak and not worth much. The main one being “Well, somebody has to do it.” which is perhaps true but that is no justification for the Federal Government doing it.
There is a lot behind this expansion of government power in violation of the Constitution, government-run schools teaching that it is only when the government acts that something gets done and also fostering a dependence on the government, various media outlets and historians who equate government action with being good. I have a copy of the biography of Calvin Coolidge that is on my “to read” pile and I listened to the author in a talk at the Goldwater Institute. She said that Coolidge did a lot for the country by shrinking the government and getting it out of the way of the people and it is only when Hoover disregarded the principles of Coolidge that the Great Depression happened. And from other sources I have been told that the actions of Hoover, and later FDR, actually prolonged the Depression (which kept getting worse until about 1937 when the arming for WW II masked the underlying problems that still existed) and it wasn’t until well after WW II that the economy actually returned to pre-Depression levels.
The government cannot manage the economy regardless of how much it wants to or we want it to. The economy is too large and fast-changing for any government to manage. Every government that has tried to manage an economy has failed at the task. Not only because of the size and speed of the economy but also because governments rarely allow for human nature, thus the government will try to do something that will fail because it goes against human nature. Prohibition was a classic example of that, as is the present War on Drugs.
And yet, all too often, people will try to use the government to force people to do what they think people should do because it is “right” or “fair” rather than try to persuade people to change their attitudes and actions. And thus fail.
Yes, government is violence and coercion made legal but violence and coercion fail against human nature, at least in the long run. Is doing something like smoking bad for you? The evidence is yes but people still start smoking anyway. Programs to teach people to not smoke have been going on for decades and, if they work, it is only slightly – but at what appears to be an increasing rate, evidence not conclusive yet. Taxes and other coercive measures have had some small success but not much really. There are laws against adultery but people still cheat on spouses. Yes the same argument can be made for any law prohibiting something, even murder, but adultery is more obviously human nature. Most people won’t want to kill someone except in extreme anger but many people will have a wandering eye as it were and perhaps even follow-up on it.
The law can be considered an attempt to impose a morality / set of religious beliefs on the population. Look at the laws, all are based in some religious beliefs - even the laws against murder. Such laws as are to be enforceable should have a clear secular component – murder obviously disrupts society for example. But government should stay clear of anything where there is no explicit authorization and where there is no clear secular need. People should be free to do what they want as long as they do not harm others – and thus disrupt society.
February 17, 2014
So far this last week has not been all that great. On Tuesday I fell and injured my left arm so that now neither arm works right and I have twinges quite often; it’s getting better but it still took me half an hour to get dressed on Wednesday morning and my shower was, at best, skimpy. On Wednesday I had my first major nose bleed in over 50 years and the shirt I was wearing is covered in blood (I may not even wash it as it is old, but still) Those were the two low points of the week but there were a lot of little problems mainly connected with the soreness of my arms. But one not so connected was my big tow on my right foot. Trimming that nail resulted in a bad trim because the nail is brittle and thick, and the nail broke and is no digging into the tow. Constant soreness and it may end up becoming ingrown. I think I am dragging my left foot, why I do not know, and that is why I am tripping so much. I have tripped several times where I did not fall but each could have been a fall and a serious hurt.
Up in Tempe the Bishop for Arizona (Kirk Smith) made a formal connection between the diocese and the chapter. I wasn’t abler to be there but I am glad that there is now a formal connection and I hope it becomes a long and happy one. When I take my vows sometime in the future I will probably be the first postulant after this forging of a connection. I don’t know if that would be significant in any way but I have hopes that the chapter grows and is a foundation for Benedictine chapters throughout the diocese.
I really need to get my taxes done. I know I had expected to get them done earlier but I put them off. Indeed, I am putting a lot of things off recently. I may be getting old. If I am getting old, that is one thing but I refuse to grow up.
If you wish to do so, please pray for Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop for Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-S. Paul’s Episcopal church; for those in the military and in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Agok Garang, Oma “Sam” Guard, Stephanie King, Gerrie Mackaben, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Elise Petropoulos, Doree Ramey, Susan Southwick, Al Whitehurst, Heather Williams, Dana, Ed, Lee, Sara, Betsy Bret Harte & Mkay Zeeb, Antonio Estrella, Jane Greer, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Maricela Moore, Tom Peterson, Peggy Southwick, Beryl Todd, Mary Wilcox, Amy, Phil & Vince, Brenda, Charlie, Jennifer, Jerry & Rondy, Jonas, Karl, Margaret, Maureen, Mary Beth & Jeff, Mary Jo, Mike & Rainbow, Monica& Carri, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Phyllis, Rob; for those who have died especially Marie Smart, Joshua A. Gray. Also please pray for the thousands of Christians and Jews killed, the tens of thousands of Christians driven from their homes and the hundreds of thousands of Christians and Jews persecuted in Syria, Egypt, Sudan and South Sudan, Libya, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Indonesia and elsewhere throughout the world by Muslims.
What I’m watching: Not much of anything. I catch the occasional episode of Have Gun Will Travel and Wyatt Earp and various news programs but nothing intensive.
What I’m reading: Various Nero Wolfe books and, of course, GURPS books.
What I’m writing: Still trying to get some done on my Arlun campaign but I keep dumping what I have gotten done and starting afresh.
February 13, 2014
During the 1920′s or thereabouts the Federal Government shut down all civilian intelligence programs because, so it is said, the Secretary of State at the time said “Gentlemen do not read the mail of other gentlemen.” Our intelligence programs were restarted just in time to be of tremendous value during WW II. We cannot afford to be without intelligence today. However, we must still protect the rights of the American people and not trample on the Bill of Rights.
We cannot be without any protection but we cannot, or should not, give free reign to the NSA. Like all government agencies the NSA is after power. The people running the NSA are humans with human motives and desires. And a human desire, especially for those who enter a government bureaucracy, is the lust for power.
There are supposed to be rules in place to govern how the NSA operates (are they followed?) and whenever the NSA takes a look at your communications data they are supposed to have a search warrant issued by a secret panel of judges (are they just rubber-stamping the requests?) but how would you know? The NSA does not have to show you the warrant nor even let you know that it exists. Where are your protections? They are written down in secret, used or abused in secret and you are never the wiser. And a lot of what the NSA does is done without a search warrant since the courts have ruled that aggregate data is not protected. So you are doubly in danger of having your information taken by the NSA, once by secret warrants (if they bother) and once by gathering such “public” information on you that they can and analyzing that.
What improvements can be made in the present system to correct the abuses and what needs to be dismantled in the present system? Any argument for more openness and transparency will be met with the argument that this will alert the “bad guys” and they would counter the efforts to thwart them since they would learn what they are doing that is not working. I can see that argument but reject it. And I refer to the famous comment attributed to Ben Franklin: Those who would give up their rights for security soon find that they have neither. Or words to that effect. Reasonable precautions should be taken of course but there is a lot of precautions being taken now that could be done away with. For example, the secret court should no longer be secret and the rules that the NSA operates under should be jut as available as any of the remainder of the Federal Register. The actual warrants might be kept secret, or perhaps served or at least available to those being searched. But the total secrecy now in place needs to go.
Paranoia does not speak well of liberty. Maybe subjects need not be trusted but citizens should be.
February 10, 2014
There wasn’t much that I did last week, attended the Pima County Board of Supervisors meeting and met with my friends for gaming on Saturday. Other than a little shopping it was just sleep, eat, read, get some writing done on my book and think about my upcoming GURPS campaign. Granted, Tucson hasn’t been as cold as a lot of the country, but for someone who as been here for over 25 years, it has been cold enough for me to stay at home for the most part and not even go out and sit by the pool in my apartment complex. Today, however, was busy since it was the Chapter meeting in Tempe.
Now, normally I get up at 4 AM and do all the usual things I do in the morning (check blood sugar, check blood pressure, shower and take my morning medicines including an insulin shot) then I go to a local restaurant for breakfast and then walk to the shuttle terminal (the city bus system does not work early enough on Sundays for me to ride the bus) and nap on my way to Sky Harbor Airport. Once there I take a couple of light rails and a shuttle bus to get to the church by about 10 AM or so for the service that starts at 10:30 AM. Today, and next month as well, one of the brothers was in Tucson on other business so we rode up together but attended the Cathedral service before going to Chapter. Last month at St. Augustine’s and this month at Trinity Cathedral there was a baptism at the service and I always love baptisms. I always try to tell the person being baptized, or the parents if they are too young to understand: Now you have two birthdays.
Anyway, that was nice and the ride back to Tucson was uneventful. I was able to get a nap in, the shuttle was too bumpy for me to get any reading done, I guess at my age it is just too hard for my eyes to follow the bouncing text easily.
I have to get my taxes done now that I have all my paperwork for last year. I should be getting a refund, enough to get a few things that I need. I agree with the idea that refunds are an interest-free loan to the Federal Government but trying to adjust my withholding so that I don’t get one is just too hard. Or maybe I am just not willing to change the situation. I don’t really know and I doubt that it is worth it to me to make the change.
I bought Atlas Shrugged for my Nook and tried to read it. I haven’t read anything else by her and I wonder if the dull writing style is her natural style or if it was chosen to match the tone of the book. Regardless, I cannot finish it. I doubt I will ever go back and try to read it again. The only reason I bought it was that it had been recommended by so many people I know. There is even an Ayn Rand club here in Tucson and given my feelings towards the book I doubt I’ll ever join.
If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, and Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Agok Garang, Oma “Sam” Guard, Stephanie King, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Elise Petropoulos, Doree Ramey, Susan Southwick, Al Whitehurst, Heather Williams, Dana, Ed, Lee, Sara, Betsy Brett Harte & Mkay Zeeb, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Maricela Moore, Peggy Southwick, Beryl Todd, Mary Wilcox, Amy, Phil & Vince, Brenda, Charlie, Jennifer, Jerry & Rondy, Jonas, Karl, Margaret, Maureen, Mary Beth & Jeff, Mary Jo, Mike & Rainbow, Monica & Carri, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Rob, Judy Turberg, Kurt, Monroe, Ron Adinolfi, Sylvia, The Reverend Ernest, Amy & Dave Bryan, Scott & Starlette Baker, Gerry Smith, Manny Cruiz, Maria, Wendy, Ty & her mother, Judy & Jeremy, John & A.J., Roxie; for those who have died especially Charles, Hank Rentschler, Marie Smart. I also ask your prayers for those thousands of Christians persecuted and murdered in The Middle East and elsewhere around the world.
What I’m reading: Who is Jesus by Darrell L. Bock and The Path of Centering Prayer by David Frenette. Plus, of course, various GURPS books.
What I’m writing: I got some done on Magic in the Monastery but for the most part, it has been working on and reworking my GURPS campaign.
What I’m watching: Not much of anything. I’ve been hitting the various news shows in the evenings but that has been about it.
February 6, 2014
There are two types of law in three categories. The two types are oral and written. The categories are: statue, case, common. Of the two types, written law is safer and more dependable since human memory is so fallible. Statue law is always written, this is the law enacted by a legislature. Case law is usually written, and in modern times is always written now, this is the law established by court cases and judicial rulings based upon the facts of a case and how those facts relate to the statue law. Common, or customary, law is never written down, it is the customs of a region or state or nation that are treated as if they were the law; thus, a common-law wife or husband, being a marriage that has no legal formality but is treated as if it had been accomplished under the relevant statute that ordinary marriages are done under.
The US Constitution is a special type of statute law. It was enacted by its passage by nine of the thirteen American states that existed at the time. But once that happened, all other law must be traceable to it – case law, common law and statute law – at the Federal and State levels. But governments do not like to be limited – or more precisely, politicians do not like to be limited in their pursuit of power for personal gain.
So, in the late 19th Century Progressive politicians came up with the idea of the Constitution being a “living, breathing document.” This converted a written statute into the worst of a common law, one that kept not by the people but by the ones the statue was designed to protect the people from. Much like having pedophiles administer the laws on underage sex. The Founders had fought a war in order to get out from under a government under an unwritten constitution. The British constitution, being unwritten, is pretty much whatever the British government says it is. Yes, there are limits but they are few – and noticeably they are written down.
There is another aspect of American law, it is pretty much a secret from those who have to live under it. Oh, yes, people know that murder and robbery are against the law but little else. The government can swoop in and arrest you for breaking the law and confiscate your property (under civil forfeiture laws that do not have near the protections that they should) or imprison you under criminal laws that you probably never knew existed. You are required to know those laws – ignorance of the law is no excuse after all – but the government never makes those laws easily available to you. If there are copies of the law available, you are kept ignorant of where those copies are. Maybe you might find them on the internet or in a public library but there is no guarantee. If the laws are on the internet, do you know where to look? And if you find a copy of the laws, can you understand them? Legalese should be considered a foreign language. Legalese makes written statutes as reliable as oral common law.
So, it is my contention that the idea of the Constitution being a “living, breathing” document be declared Unconstitutional and forbidden from the public arena, that a copy of the statutes be immediately available – and in common English – to everyone and that the government have no powers other than what is explicitly given it by the Constitution.