Monday, December 24, 2012
In October I wrote the following. In November we all cast our votes. I try to avoid following politics at this point. From what little I am inevitable exposed to, my predictions that the incumbent would continue his dictatorial behavior has been accurate. Prudence vs. Penuriousness, Assertiveness vs. Bullying I've been following presidential politics for over a year now. During the Republican primary season I had various favorites but Governor Romney was not one of them for several months. This was primarily because of 'Romneycare', the program he instituted in Massachusetts during his time as governor. I finally warmed to him during the debates in Florida. I have never cared for Newt Gingrich, who debated with Romney and seemed to lose ground as a result of his failure to rise to some of the challenges he met. RicK Santorum and Michelle Bachmann were two of my favorite candidates for their solid conservative records. I am close to being a Libertarian. I believe that the federal government should be severely limited in its powers. We need a common defense against our enemies, but instead of having federal laws that cover virtually every aspect of our lives, I think that the states should deal with each other on most issues. In my view one of the few federal responsibilities would be the regulation of international borders, but our current administration has followed a pattern set by previous administrations that create chaos on the borders. As the final weeks before the election provide us with the spectacle of a government losing control of foreign relations, failing in providing economic stability, and burdening business and citizens with ever more onerous regulations, we are given the opportunity to review the people seeking the office of President of the USA and Vice President of the USA. I disagree with the policies pursued by the current administration. Crippling domestic oil production and the transportation of oil from Canada through dubious environmental concerns, imposing an expensive and extensive medical program on the entire population, pursuing a policy of producing edicts from the White House whenever the President grows weary of the constitutional practice of letting Congress make law, and the encouragement of Islamic fundamentalists such as the Muslim Brotherhood instead of shoring up our alliance with Israel are my primary reasons for wanting a change. On a more personal note, I admire Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for what I have seen of their character as revealed in the recent debates. Both of them maintained a positive and intelligent demeanor while debating their opponents. On the other hand, President Obama seemed disinterested and repetitive. Certain memes repeated again and again by the Democratic campaign, such as the 5 trillion dollar tax break for millionaires seems to have been made up from a few obscure and biased studies and then fixated upon as if it were holy script. However, it is the behavior and demeanor of Joe Biden that has caught my attention more than any other single fact. At his debate with Ryan, the notably penurious vice president behaved in a manner that disgusted me. I have contemplated ending my relationship with those who approve of his antics. He acted as a bully and a bore. The moderator added to the insult with her permissive behavior toward the Demoncrat, clearly aiding him by interrupting Paul Ryan when he was getting to the point. Ryan gave us the compliment of assuming we would understand his message, and I did, what I could hear of it through interruptions and the loud laughter and OMG expletives. Biden gives me the creeps
Thursday, December 06, 2012
I serve a shift at the Provo Temple every Friday morning . A few weeks ago, the day after Thanksgiving, I was posted near the front area where recommends are checked. The temple parking lot was full and people of all social stations from young to elderly, poor to wealthy, most in vibrant health and some restricted to using motorized wheelchairs, streamed into the temple wearing smiles of anticipation for an hour or so of simple service to those who had departed this existence. Once inside the temple they would change their clothing to white gowns and suits. I thought of the many who had camped out the night in the parking lots of various malls to take advantage of 'Black Friday ' sales. What a contrast.
My neighbor has a tree on her yard which is a puzzle and a bit of a problem for me. It overhangs my yard and has damaged my roof over the years. If it were planted so that it gave her shade, or if it were near a window that overlooked it in such a way as to provide a pleasant prospect I could understand why she hasn't had it removed. However, it is in an obscure area near the back of her house on the north side and planted so near her house as to threaten damage to her foundation. Several months ago I suggested that I would be willing to share the cost of having it removed but he seemed to take mild offense and said she had it checked out regularly by a firm of tree people. A month ago a heavy, wet snow fall cracked off the major branch that had concerned me. It was suspended from the tree by a bit of frayed wood and bark and weighed down the wires that come into our house from the telephone pole at the back of my yard. It also leaned against the roof of my back porch. My greatest concern was that one of the wires suspending it was my electrical supply line and I called the city utility emergency line. The storm had brought down many limbs and trees and it wasn't until nearly two days later, at 3 AM on a Sunday morning that a crew showed up. They informed us that since the electrical line came in a a different angle, the branch was no concern of theirs, but they stayed around for more than an hour cutting branches from the trees along our fence line that impinged on the neighborhood power feed. The following Monday morning my son carefully positioned a ladder next to the branch and began to trim away the smaller branches that had snagged the various phone and internet lines that supported part of the branch. Looking out the window I suddenly sensed the need to pray for his safety. Opening my eyes, I saw him remove the last of the smaller branches and relieve the weight on the lines. With a snap and a whoosh, the branch separated from the tree and fell, displacing the ladder. My prayer for my son's safety was answered as the ladder remained upright against the house, even though it was vertical with one side only inches from the edge. My daughter quickly ran out of her apartment downstairs and steadied the ladder while my son descended. In the end, no harm was done to either my son or the house or the various supply wires. I noticed that the branch, nearly 8 inches in diameter at the base, had a dark streak at its center and several other, smaller branches had also been broken to hang loose above a less vulnerable area of my back yard. So essentially I need no longer worry about the branch, but the tree itself may well be suffering from some disease that will bring the entire thing down eventually. The problem I then faced was whether or not I should contact my neighbor about the potential threat. She lost her husband to age related problems a few months ago and she recently survived a long bout with cancer. She is old and frail and lives alone These factors were part of my quandary. Fortunately I was able to consult my bishop during tithing settlement. He advised it would probably be best to ignore the problem under the circumstances. I am really grateful that I was able to obtain his counsel. Meanwhile we have a lot of fire wood when we get around to clearing up the branch with a chainsaw and other equipment as soon as it is warm enough.