Thursday, June 29, 2006


ACLU, Guns and Religion

Reading this article about a West Virginia school displaying an image of Jesus, I noticed that once again the ACLU is vigorously protecting us against the threat of looking upon a religious image in a publicly owned building. I then wondered about the ACLU's position on gun ownership.

The ACLU makes their position quite clear here. Some of their statements:
We believe that the constitutional right to bear arms is primarily a collective one, intended mainly to protect the right of the states to maintain militias to assure their own freedom and security against the central government. In today's world, that idea is somewhat anachronistic and in any case would require weapons much more powerful than handguns or hunting rifles. The ACLU therefore believes that the Second Amendment does not confer an unlimited right upon individuals to own guns or other weapons nor does it prohibit reasonable regulation of gun ownership, such as licensing and registration.


The national ACLU is neutral on the issue of gun control. We believe that the Constitution contains no barriers to reasonable regulations of gun ownership. If we can license and register cars, we can license and register guns.


"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free
State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The Second Amendment to the Constitution

"Since the Second Amendment. . . applies only to the right of the State to
maintain a militia and not to the individual's right to bear arms, there
can be no serious claim to any express constitutional right to possess a firearm."

U.S. v. Warin (6th Circuit, 1976)
Please go to the ACLU site and read the whole thing. Notice that the ACLU compares licensing/controlling guns to licensing/controlling cars. If you can find anything in the Constitution regarding cars or other means of transportation, please let me know.

I have no recollection of any legal case in which the ACLU has defended one's right to gun ownership and the ACLU sites no case in their position statement. Quite different from their position on religion.

Compare the ACLU's actions concerning this phrase in the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;.

The ACLU fully supports this phrase that specifically states "Congress shall make no law..." in the broadest terms possible. Schools, county courthouses, post offices, etc. are not laws made by Congress. The ACLU argues in many places in its site that it works to protect religious freedom. Arguably, at times it does. But overall, the ACLU's actions suppress religion and force people to act in violation of their religious beliefs. In the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, it is clear that the ACLU expects doctors, pharmacists, hospitals, etc. to perform abortions, dispense "morning after pills" and more despite their religious beliefs or affiliations. The ACLU also clearly expects the government, at all levels, to enforce this position.

So much for the "free exercise" of religion.

Religion is not just going to the church, temple, synagogue, mosque and praying. Every major religion expects its members to carry out the rules of that religion in every minute of their lives. The ACLU position is to force people and organizations to not follow or carry out the teachings and laws of their religion.

It's interesting how differently the ACLU interprets these two pieces of the Bill of Rights.

"the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed," is interpreted in the narrowest terms possible.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" is interpreted in the broadest terms possible and then some.

At the least the ACLU's positions on these issues in intellectually dishonest, endangers citizens who wish to be able to protect themselves from criminals and tyrannical governments, and grossly unfair to many devout members of various religions, Christian and otherwise.


Son Recycles Chest of Drawers

My 13 year old son decided to refinish this 30 year old chest of drawers and use it in his room. He sanded off the several layers of old paint using a belt sander, finishing sander and a sanding block with elbow grease for the drawer edges. He then painted the body flat black and the drawer faces silver. The finishing touches are his skateboard and paintball stickers along with his can/bottle collection. He made the Pepsi can lamp about two years ago at a 4H function.

I try to encourage my kids to use their creativity in a constructive capacity. My son says he wants to be an architect. He definitely has a good eye for design and use of space. I already let him have significant input into choices for paint colors, furniture, gardens, etc. He usually shows more originality and taste than I.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Dealing With Death

During the first grade, one of the girls in my class went to Florida over Christmas break. Her brother, a year older, drowned in the ocean and many of us for the first time realized the finality of death and attended our first funeral. Nearly 50 years later I still remember my bewilderment.

Later as an alter boy I hated serving for funeral Masses and the graveside service afterwards. Coffins along with sad, crying people did not appeal to my adolescent psyche.

In my sophomore year in high school, one of my best friends, Rusty, died in a car wreck along with another student. I decided that dying in a car wreck was one of the most useless ways to die. I also became a nervous passenger. This was also the first death to have a strong emotional impact upon me. When I first found out I just sat down in a chair and felt kind of numb and alone for 2 or 3 hours. I had known Rusty since the age of 4. We played basketball together, visited each other's houses, etc. Now nothing.

Both my grandmothers died during my teen years. I was saddened by their deaths. Mostly because of the sadness of my parents. We lived two days drive from one grandmother and a one day drive from the other. I rarely saw them more than once or twice a year. The emotional connection was not strong.

Twenty years later, when my grandfather died at the age of 86, I felt quite different. My grandfather had led a full life. His marriage to his second wife had lasted over 20 years. He had always been a jovial man. Quick with a joke and a smile. My mother and one of her sisters were each holding his hands when he died. The wake after his funeral was more like a celebration of life. Of course, the fact that virtually everyone in my mother's family is German and/or Irish didn't hurt.

Less than a year later my brother died from AIDS. Watching him and my parents suffer the last days his life is the most heart wrenching time I've been through. It was then that I more fully understood this Zen story on prosperity.

During the early 1990's I worked as Social Service Director in a nursing home. There I became more accustomed to the inevitability of death.

Since my brother died about 20 years ago, I had not lost someone emotionally close to myself until this past weekend when my father died. Although the sadness is greater because of the close emotional attachment, I feel much like I did when my grandfather died.

My father lived a full life of 83 years. He rose from being the youngest son of a factory worker in Hamilton, Ohio to a university professor. He had a wife and six children who lived him for the man he was and, sometimes, despite the man he was. When he died he left the world a little better place. In my mind that's about all one can ask for in life.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Jesus = Homie

Jesus = Homie, originally uploaded by born_a_vol.

Some people express their faith in interesting ways. I believe my spelling of "homie" is correct. Hey, it's better than burning embassies and beheading infidels.


Tackle Shop??

Tackle Shop, originally uploaded by born_a_vol.

I'm not sure what kind of business this is, fishing, football or "personal" services. Seen on Hwy. 52 in Clermont Co, OH.


How Inconvenient Is the Truth?

An interesting article regarding global warming debunks Gore's movie.
Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia gives what, for many Canadians, is a surprising assessment: "Gore's circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention."
Obviously, Gore's motives are political and his grasp of science, and many academic subjects, is suspect.

Having taken several geology classes in college, I realize that the earth's temperature has fluctuated throughout its history. We should always be careful to study the impact of human endeavors upon our environment. But the histrionics of Mr. Gore are for political gain not scientifically based concern.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Father's Day Without Father

Tomorrow will be the first Father's Day of my life that I will not be able to share with my father, directly at least. He died this morning in his sleep. Seems ironic that he would pass away the day before Father's Day.

Like most of us, my father was an enigma and flawed in many ways. Growing up during the Great Depression, he worked his way from a blue collar background to become the first person in his family to earn not only a college degree but a PhD. in child psychology. Yet, despite his education, his parenting techniques followed more closely to his blue collar roots. (Nothing necessarily wrong with that.)

In many ways I feel my best characteristics were developed in the process of overcoming being my father's son. Somehow I was always determined to prove to him I could accomplish and overcome whatever challenge lay before me. I think this came from my father's message to me that I should always try harder. I can clearly remember playing basketball and hearing my father's voice above the crowd, "Hustle, Ross!" And I hustled, if for no other reason but to shut him up.

I learned that I could out perform others by trying a little harder that they would. So far it seems to have worked pretty well.

My primary sympathies turn towards my mother. Through a sometimes tumultuous marriage and six children, she remained loyal and true to my father in every way. Easily, his meeting and marrying the woman who became his wife and the mother of his children marks the most fortunate event in his life. I believe he realized in his later years how lucky he was. I certainly hope so.

One of my father's last acts was to pay for my oldest son to attend Bruce Pearl's basketball camp at the University of Tennessee this past week. My two youngest children and I camped near the Smokey's during the basketball camp. On Wednesday, my parents and we attended the awards ceremony at the basketball camp and then went to eat at Buddy's Barbeque.

Although he required a wheel chair, my father was in good spirits and seemed well. At the age of 83 anything can happen. A few months ago doctors said he had a blood clot that, if it got loose, would kill him. Maybe that's what happened. I am simply happy that just a couple of days before he died my children and I were able to hug my father and tell him we loved him. For all his flaws, he will be sadly missed.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Not Every Climatologist Is Convinced of Global Warming

According to at least one climatologist global warming isn't a no brainer.
The only inconvenient truth about global warming, contends Colorado State University's Bill Gray, is that a genuine debate has never actually taken place. Hundreds of scientists, many of them prominent in the field, agree.


"They've been brainwashing us for 20 years," Gray says. "Starting with the nuclear winter and now with the global warming. This scare will also run its course. In 15-20 years, we'll look back and see what a hoax this was."


Another highly respected climatologist, Roger Pielke Sr. at the University of Colorado, is also skeptical.

Pielke contends there isn't enough intellectual diversity in the debate. He claims a few vocal individuals are quoted "over and over" again, when in fact there are a variety of opinions.


Al Gore (not a scientist) has definitely been heard and heard and heard. His documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," is so important, in fact, that Gore crisscrosses the nation destroying the atmosphere just to tell us about it.
Like the writer of the article, I'm no expert but I lead my life in a more environmentally conscientious way than Al Gore and a lot of other loud-mouth environmentalists. Convince me with your actions.


The Slippery Slope of Gun Control

If gun control advocates tell you there is no slippery slope laugh in their face. We’ve had gun amnesty programs in the U.S. Look at the weapons amnesty program in the U.K.. It’s for knives!
A five-week amnesty aimed at tackling knife crime across Britain - the first of its kind in a decade - has begun.
Until 30 June people can hand in knives at police stations in England, Scotland and Wales without fear of penalty.
But police have warned that once the amnesty is over, tough action will be taken on those found armed with knives.
I presume if you buy a butcher knife you must transport it home in the trunk of your car or have a permit to carry it home. Crime victims don’t necessarily agree with this action.
However, some families of victims of knife crime have questioned the effectiveness of an amnesty, calling instead for tougher sentencing.
Just another example of government fighting crime by attacking and bullying the law-abiding citizens. Criminals don’t care what the law is concerning guns and knives. Criminals will always have knives and guns. Confiscating knives and guns from innocent citizens only makes them more vulnerable. Remember, the police usually arrive after the crime has been committed, when it’s too late.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Environmentalists Gone Wild

Apparently environmentalists want animal manure treated as a hazardous substance and farms subject to the Superfund law.
The activists – including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and Union of Concerned Scientists – are trying to convince Congress that the nation’s farms should be treated as industrial waste sites and therefore subject to severe penalties under the federal Superfund law. Some state attorneys general, supported by trial lawyers, have filed lawsuits toward the same end.

Why? Because, they argue, animal manure is a hazardous substance.

They are now demanding that Congress refuse to clarify that the Superfund law was never intended to apply to natural animal waste. They are claiming – falsely – that without Superfund, animal waste would be unregulated.

The fact is that manure already is heavily regulated under the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and other federal and state regulations. They are claiming – falsely – that small family farms won’t be affected. The reality is that under Superfund, huge penalties can be levied against small operations and even individuals. Tens of thousands of small family farmers could be affected.
No doubt that manure is a smelly, unpleasant substance but, once again, environmentalists have gone way too far. Farming is a very risky business, financially and otherwise. Profits are hard to come by.

Although it's not mentioned in the article I wonder if PETA types and vegetarians are at least partially behind this. If these groups can force farmers to raise fewer animals due to manure restrictions, then fewer animals "suffer" and less meat is eaten.

Of course, part of the impact of this will be to move animal production to other less regulated countries, thereby increasing the pollution in the world as a whole. Plus, the dangers of contaminated meat (Mad Cow disease, etc.) will increase. But PETA types probably think you get what you deserve if you eat meat anyway.

I wonder if a decrease in manure will cause an increase in allergies. According to the May, 2006 issue of National Geographic: "beneficial microbes in dirt and animal waste may help the immune system distinguish later in life between real threats and bogus ones."

What's next? A poop tax?

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