Red and Blue Make Yellow

Two hundred years ago this fall, one of the greatest heroes in English history, Admiral Nelson, led the British fleet to a smashing victory over the combined French and Spanish navies at the Battle of Trafalgar. Nelson, who had already lost an eye and an arm in the service of his country, was killed by a sniper during the battle. But the British victory there ended any threat of Napoleon invading England.

This week in commemorating of the bicentennial of Trafalgar, seventeen "tall ships" staged a mock sea battle. Yet according to news reports, to avoid offending the French, the mock battle was between the "blue" and "red" navies. What a cowardly display of political correctness.

In our sensitive day, we are so concerned that we avoid giving offense to anyone that historical correctness has been replaced by political correctness. As a result, history is being dumbed down to the point of irrelevance. The British did defeat the French, and deserve to celebrate it. Past conflicts do not dictate present relationships. We fought two brutal wars against England, (one of them more recent than Trafalgar) yet they have been and remain our closest ally in the world.

It's important to tell people the truth. Wars have winners and losers. Many times (though not always) one side is right and the other is wrong. And we should be willing to say so. We haven't given up "The Star Spangled Banner", written during our second war with England, as our national anthemn to spare British sensibilities over their defeat...yet.


With Friends Like These

It would be nice to be able to count on people. Especially in the world I inhabit, working mostly with people who are at least nominally Christian, you hear a lot of lip service paid to high standards of behavior. But in reality, when push comes to shove, the truth is that most people who claim to be Christians don't act any differently than those who don't.

Oh they dress it up nicely, and say all kinds of platitudes--but if you judge them by conduct rather than speech, they fail miserably. When I read stories of the old days, when a man's word was his bond and you could count on what people said, I wonder if that was reality then, or just the gloss of history covering the pockmarks of human nature from a distance. I think perhaps it was real. It's not hard to believe that character has declined to the point that things really are different now.

It's just sad. It shouldn't be that way.


Poetic Justice

I heard today on Rush Limbaugh (yeah, well ok...so I listen to him once in a while...I have other bad habits too) that a developer has filed a motion with David Souter's hometown to take Souter's home to build a hotel based on the doctrine just handed down in Kelo. I almost ran off the road I was laughing so hard. Of course it won't go anywhere, but one could certainly hope!

The trend away from personal and private property rights in this country is frightening. If you don't own your home (well you and the bank and the second mortgage company--but you get the point), what do you have that can't be taken away? There's been a lot of talk lately about the "housing bubble" and whether we're going to see a collapse in home prices. I think the demographics and the laws of supply and demand argue against a major bust, but if people start getting the idea that any local developer with enough ties to the city council or county commission can take your home, that may change. Home ownership looks a lot less attractive if a deep pocketed developer can take it away at will.

And it's more than passing strange that the "liberal" side of the court sided with the developers against the "little people." Isn't it supposed to be the conservatives on the side of corporate greed? Yet the court's conservative wing opposed this innovative definition of public use and supported the homeowners. There are valid, truly public reasons for which homes must be taken--but such takings, while authorized by the Consitution should be rare, not common. And the unpleasant reality, highlighted by the new Souter land grab attempt, is that the well-connected and powerful are not the ones who lose out in these arrangements.

So Mr. Hotel Developer going after David Souter's land--good luck. It would certainly be poetic justice for you to succeed.


Pick a Side

I'm more than a little disgusted with the Supreme Court. Today they ruled on two Ten Commandments cases. In the Kentucky case, they ruled that an inside display of the Ten Commandments along with other documents was wrong. In the Texas case, they ruled that an outside display of the Ten Commandments along with other monuments was okay. This from people who meet in a building with the Ten Commandments carved on the walls.

I don't believe that the First Amendment requires the level of hostility toward religion that is currently accepted as normal. In fact, if you showed Washington or Adams or even Jefferson what is going on now, I think they'd be horrified with how their concept of the freedom of religion has been twisted. But even if you come down on the other side of the fence, I don't see how anybody can happy with today's rulings.

We don't have anything resembling the rule of law when every display has to be individually judged by nine people who give different answers based on something they can't seem to clearly define. It's judicial tyranny. And it should stop.


I HATE Airplanes

No, it's not the noise...or the crowded planes with their tiny seats...or the guy in front of you who slams his seat all the way back...or the wait at the airport...or the fudging the airlines do with their schedules so you can push back from the gate 14 minutes after the scheduled departure time and still land 5 minutes before the scheduled arrival time.

None of those are the basis of my complaint. Airplanes make it possible for your oldest child to go off to for a weeklong camp at the college she's about to attend in the fall. Given that she was born about six months ago, I'm not sure how we came to this point. Not sure how she became a young adult--poised, confident, gifted, and mature--overnight.And I'm not sure how we're supposed to live without her at home.

I REALLY hate airplanes...and time.


I Have Been Assimilated

Resistance having proved futile (as predicted by certain rather prescient sci-fi scriptwriters) I have finally broken down and joined the blogosphere. It remains to be seen if anyone will notice or care, but then, that's really content dependent isn't it?