Elections Don’t Change Culture

Just a quick note on a topic rattling around in my brain this week. Who you elect will not change the culture of the community, state, or country.  Society at large will dictate what values are enforced.

By way of example, members of a community may ask “Why does the city not do more to make the downtown look nice?”

The city council may, in this purely hypothetical example, spend $3-4 million dollars on improving infrastructure in a compact and highly trafficked part of its downtown area.  Despite the improvements to sidewalks, street lighting, and landscaping, it is up to the business owners and citizens to take it to the next level.

As ridiculous as it might seem, a business owner could paint the front of their establishment a hideous shade of purple.  People of discriminating taste will complain to their elected leaders, but it is really the owner of said business and property that they should take issue with.

A couple of months later, another business owner could paint a business sign on the side of their building with hand scrawled lettering.  Can you imagine how that might look to those trying to improve the downtown area?  It is so silly we don’t need to worry about that actually happening, right?

If this were to happen, you could quite well expect some concerned people to petition the government for restrictive codes, sign ordinances, and more.  Even small government minded political conservatives could enter the fray, asking for code enforcement officers and police to go after the graffiti “vandalism” occurring on the businesses.

For those with a more libertarian point of view, I am reminded of the famous quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who when asked what came out of the long meetings at Independence Hall, is supposed to have said, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Is it really the role of government to tell property owners what color to paint their buildings? Or to dictate a type of signage that is deemed “tasteful?”

The local schools ask students to respect others. (Junking up the neighborhood’s appearance is a failure to do this.) They also ask students to make good decisions. (Purple storefronts and hand lettering on the side of your business sound like good decisions?)  They also ask students to solve problems. Well, if large numbers of people are complaining about you, you might reflect on how the problem solving is going.

Just hypothetically speaking of course.  This is only a thought experiment.

Sharp Legal Analysis Of Expanding Presidential Powers

Suicide Pact_240_360_Book.1406.cover

Judge Andrew Napolitano’s new book “Suicide Pact, The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty” analyzes legal and historical treatment of individual liberty under a Natural Law philosophy.  Much of the book is devoted to wartime society’s balance of security concerns with respect to the rights of the individual.

Going back to the Revolutionary War era, Napolitano explains that soldiers accused of treason were given a chance to defend themselves in court before being punished, and gives examples to support his claims.  As the book progresses, he gives his perspective on major legislation and changing views of society with excellent analysis of The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, The Espionage Act of 1917, The Sedition Act of 1918, World War II internment of Japanese, Cold War conflicts, and concludes with the Global War on Terror.

While I agree with many of his views, and much of what he has to say regarding the Patriot Act, I disagree that all of those accused of terrorism should be tried in civilian courts.  However, there is no denying the lack of justice in the security state, where people like Edward Snowden have disclosed the complete lack of respect the government is showing to the rights of individual citizens.

Given the abuses that are possible when Presidents are given near dictatorial power, it is no surprise that shameful things are being done in the name of “protecting” Americans. For these reasons, Napolitano makes an excellent case for judicial proceedings that are as open to the public as possible, with appropriate checks and balances on the various branches of government.

This book will surprise you with its modern and historical examples, and leave you second guessing the current crop of those in the political class.  Restoring the values enshrined in the Bill of Rights is of vital importance if our American way of life is to continue for future generations.

A solid five of five stars for this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

No Greater Valor, A Review of a Book on The Siege of Bastogne

No Greater Valor_225_350_Book.1402.coverNo Greater Valor, The Siege of Bastogne and the Miracle that Sealed Allied Victory,” by Jerome Corsi, Ph.D., focuses on how the faith of the men involved in this key battle of World War II factored into their fight for survival and ultimate victory.  This key nexus point became the center of attention for the Allies and the Nazis during the Battle of the Bulge, resulting in the 101st Airborne Division and others being completely cut off and surrounded by enemy troops.

Soldiers in the battle became known as the “Battered Bastards of Bastogne,” and are admired for their resolve in harsh conditions with long odds.  When the Germans sent a group under the white flag of truce to negotiate terms of surrender for the U.S. troops, Acting Division Commander General McAuliffe gave his famous one word response to the German military commander: “Nuts!”

What makes this a fascinating read, is Corsi’s exploration of the faith backgrounds of famous commanders and key leaders.  The fact that McAuliffe became the acting division commander could be chalked up to fortunate chance, or as some believe, to Providence.  In accounts of the battle following the war, McAuliffe himself attributes the hand of God to the successful placement of units around the town. When they were emplaced, McAuliffe did not even have the guidance of a map when making initial decisions on where to place his assets.

Patton’s Third Army eventually broke through the German siege, and the author describes the military and spiritual components of that side of the action as well. Patton’s chaplain was awarded the Bronze Star medal for offering what the general deemed to be a successfully written prayer.

Prayer for Good Weather to Kill More Germans

General Patton ordered his chaplain to produce a prayer in December 1944, just as the Third Army began its turn North to rescue the beleaguered men in Bastogne. 250,000 copies were distributed to soldiers, with the prayer on one side and a Christmas greeting on the other.

“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen.”

On the reverse, Patton’s Christmas greeting:

“To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I wish a Merry Christmas. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We march in our might to complete victory. May God’s blessings rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day.

G.S. Patton

Lieutenant General

Commanding, Third United States Army

The story behind these developments makes for a great read, and honors the memories of America’s brave heroes who sacrificed so much to defeat the Nazis.

This book earns a solid four stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Veterans will like “Killing Patton”

Killing Patton

A book about General George S. Patton? Of course I am interested in reading it! The author, Bill O’reilly, even suggests (in a humble and selfless fashion of course) that you rush out and buy it in order to gift it to a veteran on Veteran’s Day. In my case, I checked out the eBook from the local library. Regardless, all veterans will indeed like this book if given the chance to read it.

This is the latest installment in the “Killing” series of books coauthored by Bill O’reilly and Martin Dugard. Other titles in the series are “Killing Lincoln,” “Killing Kennedy,” and “Killing Jesus.”

Killing Patton” is subtitled “The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General.” The authors put forth a theory that Patton did not die as the result of the official story of an unfortunate automobile accident, but instead, was deliberately killed.  At the end of the book, they ask that the government reopen the case, and conduct a full investigation to research the possibility of the death being a murder.

The authors do not express with any certainty that the official explanation of Patton’s death is incorrect, but instead, lay out facts, and suggest there is enough uncertainty that authorities should research the matter further.

Most of the book is devoted to telling the story of Patton’s leadership of the Third Army in the European Theater of World War II. It summarizes some key battles and other moments in the last half of the war, with profiles of other high level leaders during the period. The authors also discuss relationships these men had with women outside of the bounds of marriage.

Although Nazis have few fans, it is annoying to have some of them described with pejoratives like “despicable” without any context or explanation.  In the aftermath of the war, Patton’s decision to use low-level former Nazis to help run post offices and keep trains rolling drew criticism from many in America.  While Patton did not consider the totality of the German people to be “despicable,” it is not clear where the authors themselves come down on this issue.  Many of the Nazis were indeed “despicable,” but where terms like this are used, additional explanatory information should be included.

Overall, this is a solid work, and is recommended reading for anyone interested in World War II history, and Patton in particular.  It presents a well rounded view of the man, to include faults and deficiencies in his character too.  The U.S. Army’s most effective combat leader certainly had no shortage of enemies, and the authors make a good case for continuing an investigation into the circumstances of his early demise.

This book earns four out of five stars.

Daily Sun News Political Coverage Criticized By Media Peers

Sunnyside’s community paper, Daily Sun News, finds itself in an uncomfortable position, having inserted itself into the hotly contested Congressional race in Washington’s fourth district. One candidate is accusing the other of lying, and the accused says they got their information from the Daily Sun News.  When a TV station researched the issue, as part of a story on the truthfulness of campaign ads, they pointed out that the source of the information in the Daily Sun News could not be verified.  The criticism does not stop there, however.  Now, another political reporter from print media is taking the Daily Sun News to task for taking things personally in their political coverage.

KEPR Action News Logo used on their Facebook Page

Freedomworks, an organization advocating for less government, lower taxes, and more economic freedom, documents the flap over truthfulness in campaign ads, complete with video from the TV station.  The TV news story shows the Daily Sun News article, and describes how they could not independently verify the information in it. The headline is entitled “KEPR-TV catches Dan Newhouse lying about Clint Didier.”

Following this, the Daily Sun News political reporter wrote a scathing piece, accusing Didier of being the liar, despite third party research into the matter. They conclude their tirade by saying “…there is no way in heaven or hell Didier is getting my vote.” Ouch.

The piece is called “Newhouse is not a liar,” and is written by the reporter that most often covers Sunnyside City Council meetings, who also writes opinion under the heading of “Word Nerd.”

The newspaper also included another article on its front page entitled “Newhouse wrapping up bid for Congressional seat,” where the Daily Sun News reports that “Newhouse sees his campaign ads not as negative…” Um, what?

This breach of journalistic professionalism elicited another criticism from a media peer of the Daily Sun News, this time from Mike Faulk, a political reporter for the Yakima Herald-Republic.  He linked to the Daily Sun News opinion piece on Twitter, and then followed it up with a personal critique for the individual reporter who wrote it:

Mike Faulk criticizing Daily Sun News Reporter

Mike Faulk criticizes Sunnyside Daily News reporter on Twitter.

This criticism of the Daily Sun News comes from a reporter at another paper that is endorsing Newhouse for Congress.

Moses Leads the People

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This is part of the “I Can Read Book!” series.  The series includes a large number of secular titles, while  “Moses Leads the People” is a version of the Exodus story, written for juveniles ages 4-8.  This one is designated as Reading Level 2.  Reading this with a first grader; he needed some extra help with the words.  With a second grader; she needed minimal help with a few unfamiliar words, and with a fourth grader who sailed through without any difficulty.  All three children had good things to say about it.

The story is told in a simple condensed way, with full color illustrations on every page.  Two of the kids said the artwork was very important to them in understanding the story, while the third said that he enjoyed hearing a Bible story written with kids in mind.

This book is based on the Adventure Bible for kids, which I have no experience with.  However, based on the reactions of the children I read this book with, it is a great way to reach kids with Bible stories, while also instilling in them a love and affection for reading in general.

For its appeal to the young ones, this book gets five of five stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Biography of David Wilkerson

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The Cross, The Switchblade, and the Man Who Believed

David Wilkerson

by Gary Wilkerson, with R.S.B. Sawyer

This book will be of interest for anyone that has ever heard of the best selling book, “The Cross and the Switchblade,” Teen Challenge, World Challenge, The Springs Church, or Times Square Church.  It’s profile of mission work in U.S. cities provides details about an ordinary man doing extraordinary things among the poor and unreached people among us.  It is written by his son, Gary Wilkerson. The author is now the pastor of a church himself.

David Wilkerson’s work is widely recognized in the Christian community for its impact in making lives better for countless individuals and family members.  Many folks have heard of Teen Challenge, and its high success rate in getting drug and/or alcohol addicted people to reach recovery successfully.  Despite this, few know the story of David Wilkerson as a man.

The author, who is ideally placed to describe decades of events through first hand knowledge, traces the life of his father from beginning to glory.  Gary Wilkerson chronicles the home life of his father as a child, college student, evangelist, and pastor.  He sticks with the story all the way through its conclusion, and discusses how his life continues to make an impact even now.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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